Saturday, October 15, 2011


For the last four weeks, I have been on a journey of self-discovery.  I guess we’re all on some sort of journey like this for our entire lives, though not necessarily in such a focused and purposeful way.  I’m really not sure how I ended up here.  I think I decided to take a break from some of the major roles I play, I was encouraged to use my time to “dig into myself” if you will, and with little energy left, a heavy heart, and great fear at what I might find, I stepped off the edge and went for it.

It’s been challenging.  I’m gushing words on paper.  Sketching out my history, major events, things I remember.  Figuring out how each moment has made me who I am today, for better or for worse.  It’s raw, painful, yet refreshing and uplifting.  There are people who genuinely care for me that check on me, guide me, spend time with me as I do this.  I’m deeply grateful.  I’m learning to accept love.  I’m learning that the “love” and time I give, while well-intentioned, may not always have the proper motives behind it.  I’m finding a deeper connection with my Creator than I’ve had in a long time.  I crave time with Him.  I’m learning to speak the name of Jesus when I realize I’ve lost control of my feelings or my thoughts…and amazingly, all feels calm.  Yep, He works like that, if you just let Him.  I’m learning to be thankful for the gifts He gives.

I’m reading books and finishing them for the first time in a long time.  If you haven’t read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, it’s a gem.  Check it out.  If you’re sad, if you’re in a funky place with yourself right now, it can really put things into perspective.  It’s also beautifully written. 

Somewhere in the midst of all my reading and writing, I’ve decided (at no particular prompting) to describe some things about myself in my own words.  Narcissistic?  Possibly.  However, I’ve never done it.  I think I will indulge.  I feel like it.  And this is my blog.  So here goes…

My soul is low-pitched.  Low tones resonate with me.  Perhaps that’s why I always find myself singing the male harmonies.  Perhaps that’s why I pick up the bass lines in most songs and wish that I could touch the bass being played while it’s being played.  Kings of Leon bass player dude…your bass is on my list.  I mean that in the least sexual way possible.  I really do.  I’m married and this is purely musical.  Perhaps that’s why I love a loud, thumpin’ bass beat.   Ya’ll gon’ make me lose my mind…

I am a bittersweet combo of chords.  I love sounds, music, stories that make your heart twinge.  I love to be happy also.  However, that twinge is bittersweet, but mostly sweet.  I’d much rather relish in that than be super bubbly and cheery.  Cotton candy is NOT my thing.  Sweet-N-Sour, well yes, that is my flavor.  Coldplay’s Fix You and The Civil Wars’ Poison and Wine…these taste like me.    

I’m learning that touch means something for me.  In the same way I’d like to touch an instrument being played and feel the sound, I’d like to touch the faces or throats of some vocalists I admire as they’re singing.  Adele.  Yes, she’s on the list.  Bonnie Raitt.  I missed out on Otis Redding.  Marc Broussard.   Probably some folks I know personally.  I know that sounds creepy.  But I mean that in the least creepy way possible.  I promise.  And while I’d love to, I also promise not to touch you.  As much as I’d like to, that would probably be very weird.

Purple and green are my colors.  They go with the low tones, the bittersweet, the inner dark room where music is always playing and glow-in-the-dark stars are on the ceiling.  I have no idea where this comes from.  It just IS.

I love laughter.  If you could bottle up one of those deep, never-ending belly laughs where you can’t breathe, I’d pay for that.  That’s priceless.  AND it tones your stomach muscles.  Yes it does.

I am a mozzarella cheese stick.  There is nothing better than a greasy, ooey gooey, properly breaded mozzarella cheese stick.  Hold the marinara sauce.  My cheese sticks need no embellishment.  I’ve found THE best mozzarella cheese sticks in this area.  Unfortunately, I rarely go to the establishment that sells them.  Nevertheless, I at least know where to find them.

Finally for today, I am a dancer.  But on the inside only.  Someday, I will get my body to match what my soul wants it to do.  Haven’t figured that one out yet.

On with the weekend….

Break to Be Broken

A few weeks ago, I started a "break." I wrote this as I was heading into that.  I wasn't sure how comfortable I was posting it, but is what it is and I am who I am.  So here we go!

This week, I started a break.  I broke from everything normal, everything I used to enjoy, everything that has framed my identity for the past two and a half years.  It was necessary, yet painful.  Almost a literal break, like a breaking of the heart so that it can be bandaged, nursed, and healed to form scar tissue that will ultimately remind me of my mistakes and misdirection.  Who I am has been so incredibly wrapped up in my daily routine, versus a strong connection with my Creator and a strong sense of me.  What that implies is that my daily routine doesn’t strengthen the two most important areas of my life.  Something’s broken.  So, I took a break.

Begrudgingly, awkwardly, and somewhat clumsily, I’ve now stumbled into territory I’ve NEVER navigated.  I don’t do me very well.  In only a couple of days of hiking through my inner wilderness, I’ve found that me lies behind a deteriorating dam that holds the water that covers a massive, heavy rusted door that leads to a stairwell that spirals down, down, down to a deep dark cellar where I’ve unconsciously locked away boxes, trunks, and piles of me.   Let’s talk about YOU…you’re here and now.  Even if your junk is locked away, I’ll hold the rope while you descend to find it versus journeying down through my own muck and mess.  I’m a rope-holder, if you will.  A chameleon, ready to color myself to everyone else’s feelings and empathize.  You’re blue, I’m blue.  You’re yellow, I’m all smiles.  That’s held up well for a long time; it’s made me seem normal somehow.  But the dam is cracking.  Water is spewing forth.  My chameleon colors are faltering as the water hits me in the face.  I’m not ready to tap into my well of whatever-it-may-be and own it, but if I don’t, the ensuing flood could do damage.  So, I’d rather control this.  Patch the cracks.  Work it out in my cellar, and swim everything to the surface versus reacting to a disaster waiting to happen.

So, I took a break.  It officially started Monday.  However, there were loose ends to tie.  Little things I wasn’t ready to let go of just yet. Which is ok.  I think God wanted it that way.  He knows we’ve got some big work to do, He and I.  Well, I’ve got some big work to do.  He’s just ready and waiting for me to do it.

I wasn’t sure what I’d do with myself.  Like I said, I don’t do me.  I deflect.  I watch TV.  I read blogs.  I check out Facebook.  Anything to avoid doing me-work.  However, for the first time in a very long time, last night after tying up all loose ends and heading into a day off, I found myself alone.  I think God wanted it this way.  He was preparing a place for me.

Lenny left yesterday afternoon for his Emmaus walk.  I’m thankful for this for him.  He deserves this time, his own break of sorts.  One of our two roommates, Lenny’s nephew, moved out yesterday afternoon before I got home.  My sister, our other roommate, made plans elsewhere.  For the first time, in a very long time, I found myself alone.

I found myself on fire to write.  Not to write this opening story of my break, but to begin writing about my history.  What I remember about growing up.  In one hour, I’d cranked out five very descriptive pages.  It felt freeing.  Yet, I wasn’t yet writing about how it shaped me.  That’s ok.  I’ve got lots of time to get to that part.

I followed my writing by looking up Michael Hyatt’s Creating Your Personal Life Plan, a book and template recommended by my friend, Beth Stoddard.  She did it.  She said it was good for her.  I thought I’d give it a try.  So, I simply read a little.  I made a couple of lists, not even directly related to what the book instructed me to do.  My lists were a start for my day off: 1) Talk to God, read my Bible, journal, 2) Write,  3) Make music, 4) Take care of Lenny.   Lenny’s not here for three days.  So, I’ve got some good me time.  I’m ok with that and feeling good about it.

Today, on my first real day off, I’m hit with the reality of the gift God has given me.  I’m alone once again.  My house is in order.  It’s raining out.  It’s…peaceful.  I’ve turned off my phone.  I’m ready.  Thank you God.

I very intentionally followed my list.  God reminded me that He’s always with me (Genesis 28:15) and that I have a Counselor (John 14:16-17).  Wow, what a way to start.  Thank you God.

Even with the intentionality of following my list, I allowed myself to branch off almost immediately.  Versus going directly to number two, this “thing” that I’m writing, I read a little of Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts.  What a blessing.  In her own words, she sums up a quote from Jean Pierre de Caussade as follows:

“If we are dying of thirst, passively reading books about water quenches little; the only way to quench the parched mouth is to close the book and dip the hand into water and bring it to the lips.  If we thirst, we’ll have to drink.  I would have to DO something.”

Yes, I have to DO something.  I have to drink.  I’m drinking.  It’s a slow, ultimately satisfying.  But the cup is full and I have a long way to go.  In reference to giving thanks to God by naming very specifically his gifts, she goes on to say:

“This naming is how the first emptiness of space fills; the naming of light and land and sky…naming offers the gift of recognition…Naming [is] to find identity, our identity, God’s.”

I will name my gifts during this process.  However, to fill my emptiness, I have to name me during this process.  Find my identity.  Open up to brokenness and let the scar tissue form.  I take a deep breath and dive.