Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sometimes in August

Sometimes in August, little girls help their great aunt water her plants…

Sometimes in August, I ask for something odd for my birthday like guacamole and the opportunity to drive to Denver to mingle with a bunch of people I don’t know so that I can meet one of my favorite bloggers/creators/storytellers in person…

Sometimes in August, my big, beautiful, brave girl starts third grade…

Or the sweet, littlest one begins playing soccer for the first time…

Sometimes I start a new writing job and contemplate other new projects with friends.

Sometimes (usually) in August, God does something big and unexpected. He knows this is the month I can handle changes. It’s might be because my birthday falls in this month and so I am already thinking about a shift. Or maybe I am ready for something new because school starts. It might be the bittersweet memories I have of volleyball season beginning. That something good can happen when we’re surrounded by others who are on our side.

Whatever it is, August is a gift.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Putting Down (New) Roots

I’m writing from my favorite Panera, with a perfect view of Pikes Peak and the sight of hot air balloons bobbing along the neighborhood--a definite sign that it’s almost Labor Day.

It feels so good to be back in our home community. The fire this summer helped me to realize that I had not deeply invested much when I lived here prior. I think I was afraid of the pain of pulling up roots to church plant somewhere else one day. So I guarded my heart.

But then the fire…I watched in horror as the flames raged live on the screen. As a child, I played with friends in that neighborhood. I went on Kyla’s field trip to Flying W Ranch just a couple years ago. It’s gone.

Inside, I screamed, “That’s my home. That’s my community! Those are my people!”

I was ready to come home from Kansas. So ready to be part of this people who never imagined that their town could be ravaged with such destruction. In some sense we are all rebuilding from the pain and hurt that took place in recent months. From the devastation and grief we could not have imagined last summer.

As part of my own rebuilding, I’m paying attention for ways to invest in the community of writers, artists, and spiritual directors here in Colorado. Several of the directors and counselors joined forces to help individuals work through the loss caused by the fire. They have been holding weekly meetings at my place of employment. I love seeing the community work together.

For several years, I’ve been looking at national conferences on faith and writing. Each year they come and go, and I just can’t get to them with our young family, working on projects with fierce deadlines, and Jeff finishing school. At times, I’ve been discouraged because I long to build relationships with other writers. I see them talking to one another online. They have something special together.

But, I think that perhaps I have been focused on the wrong group. What about the people here in Colorado who are listening and creating and connecting to people only minutes from them? National connections are not bad but I realize I have neglected my own neighbors.

I will not do that again. I want to dig down and put roots here. Deep roots. For myself, for our family, and for whatever God wants to do through us here in the present. I’m starting a new job here in Colorado Springs, with an old group of people that I love. I’m also hoping to attend a local writing retreat next month.

Community does not burn down. I’m so glad to be part of this one.

Thank you, Lord, for all you’ve done and what you will do. Bring healing and restoration. We need it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Life Lines: Let It All Hang Out

I try to write this afternoon about my exit from the state to my east. The right words won’t come. The lines string out dull.

I walk away from my laptop and remember the laundry. I was supposed to hang it on the clothes line about three hours ago. I huff. Unsure if I am frustrated about the lack of lines or the looming laundry or just life.

Hanging clothes on a line seems like such a romantic thing. I especially thought that in my childhood. I used to run through the rows of sheets in Aunt Susie’s backyard, dreaming the spaces between the flowing fabrics were hallways in my castle.

I don’t feel much romance about it today though. I grab a towel and try to steady the wet, matted cotton next to the line while I pin. Not bad. The big gray t-shirt next to it is another story. Flop. Pick it up. Shake it off and start again. Pin by pin. Line by line.

As I move down the lines, I wonder if I have lost my words. If the state bordering my home has taken my writing from me. Do I have anything left to share with the world? How do I write without being angry or worried that someone will use it against me?

My vulnerability seems to be a liability recently. Is there really a safe place?

A few socks. Kyla’s princess panties. My favorite camisole with a couple of holes in it. I wear the camisole under my summer tanktops and can’t bring myself to get a new one. This one is so soft, even if it’s torn. I reveal the imperfection I usually hide.

It’s strange that I wonder about my vulnerabilities, yet here I am, letting other pieces of my life all hang out. For everyone on Carson Boulevard to see. I have never shown this part of myself to the world like this.

I go back to fill in the gaps between shirts with more socks. I pray. I ponder about dreams. I think there will be new dreams. Right? I wonder. And try not to feel afraid.

I think about the forthcoming wind that will do its thing with the laundry. No work of my own after all the clothing is hung. I trust that to the wind.

And so it is. With laundry lines and life lines. The work of the Wind. The Spirit. And if He deems that no words come for me on a quiet afternoon, so be it. I will trust the lines to come in another way. Or at another time. Or even not at all, if He wills.

For now, I’m wondering how long my laundry will take to dry. Will I be out removing clothing at midnight? I don’t know how to do this. How long do I wait?