Tag Archive - Marriage

Empty….

In each of these pots I planted……1 blue ageratum, 1 dark purple petunia, 1 variegated sweet potato vine, and 1 lavender lantana.  Tiny little things when I bought them. They have outdone themselves. Really. They are out of control. Beautiful, yes. But also needy. I am watering them EVERY day. One gallon each. If I am late in delivering their water…ie. after noon….they pout. Leaves shrivel and hang all pitiful. Blooms nod like they will drop right off. Sometimes they do. If you look closely you can see brown leaves that have not forgiven me. Their jubilant show has been costly. To both of us.

Yesterday I looked very like them. Leaves hanging all limp and lifeless. Begging for….something.

Empty

Life moves in seasons, I suppose. In some seasons we receive, and in some we give. Over a lifetime they sort themselves out and arrive at some equilibrium.

I guess.

Maybe.

I am reminded that I have a responsibility for caring for myself. I can only give that which I have. If I allow myself to be depleted…used up…I have no more to offer. The irony is that the closer I get to empty, the more I choose that which harms rather than that which satisfies.

Why is that?

I wanted to run away. To just tell my family they were on their own. To escape somewhere…anywhere….where no one would know me. Where no one would ask anything of me. It seemed like oasis. Like rest.

I avoided talking to God. Crazy, I know. I did not want His input. I did not want Him to tell me this was for my good. And, quite frankly, I was afraid He would give me another assignment. I was DONE! DONE, I tell you! Spread so thin I had become transparent. Invisible. Easy to step on. To trounce on the way to the next thing… So long as I had the laundry washed and folded, the dishes washed, everything running so smoothly no one knows where it comes from. And no one cares….

Throwing myself a pity party. With balloons. Talking out loud in my car. To NO ONE! To every one. Everyone that asked anything of me. Letting them know just how much it cost me……

Today, I begin again.

With the same people. The same expectations.

How can today be different? What will keep me on the rails?

This morning, I will begin with God. I will pray the morning prayers. I will give Him myself. I will ask Him to pray Himself in me. All day. No guarantees that anything will be easier today. Only one thing will be different. I will ask Him in. I will not hide. That’s all.

And if  He comes to pour water upon me, I will not make of my leaves spouts that deflect. I will receive. Even if the water costs me something. For I am empty.

Empty

Empty….

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning
Lamentations 3:22-23

Whatever Things Are Lovely…

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. ~Philippians 4:8

In the midst of a week that has offered many opportunities for worry and for tears, I choose to nourish my heart with the grace of gratitude…

…for new mercies…

…every morning…

…for angels among us

…for vision

…and execution

…for play

…for winning, fair and square

…for going all in

…for sweet snuggles

…for strange, unexpected beauty

…and for taking cathedrals wherever you find them.

 

Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me

Home is not just a place; it’s a knowing in the soul, a vague premonition of a far-off country that we know exists but haven’t seen yet. Home is where we start and, whether we like it or not, our life is a race against time to come to terms with what it was or wasn’t.

Here begins one of the most riveting stories I have read in a long time. In fact, I read it twice. Ian Morgan Cron is a marvelous storyteller. He could weave the most mundane happening into an engaging narrative. But as it turns out, his life has been anything but mundane.

It seems too fantastic to be real. Movie stars, heads of state, life among the social elite and privileged, mysterious silences and questions that were not permitted, and the terrifying uncertainty of life with an alcoholic father. Cron whisked me into this world so unlike my own, and I found myself identifying with his longings, his hurts and needs, and his fugitive moments of transcendence.

Wounds formed early in our tender hearts by fathers who are absent to us send out tendrils that wrap themselves around everything that follows in life. Nothing is untainted. Unspoiled. Most of us can relate at some level. Questions about our worth. Am I loved? Do I deserve to be loved?

A boy needs a father to show him how to be in the world. He needs to be given swagger, taught how to read a map so that he can recognize the roads that lead to life and the paths that lead to death, how to know what love requires, and where to find steel in the heart when life makes demands on us that are greater than we think we can endure.

Ian’s life is laced with luminous moments. Eucharist. A sacred encounter with a young fawn in the wild. Even a university professor whose reveries over certain pieces of literature are “better than church.”

I never told anyone how fascinated I was by the Eucharist…the harmonic frequency that rings at the center of the heart of God made something vibrate in mine while all this was going on…He placed the Host on my tongue…and I fell into God.

He says that with his First Communion a tether was tied around his waist. Although he would test it sorely, it would never let him be completely lost. After years of being angry at a God who he had once loved purely, but who had done nothing to mitigate the tragic circumstances of his life, he finds himself back at the communion table again. And a lifetime of radiant moments are woven together into a glorious crescendo that leaves me sobbing.

I didn’t want to parse God–I wanted to be swept up in His glory. I didn’t want to understand the Holy One; I wanted to be consumed in his oceanic love.

The road from here will not be easy. So many broken places need healing. Cron is vulnerable and honest about just how much this costs.

My favorite chapter in the whole book is the next to last where he talks about his children. I have had the joy of meeting Cailey, Maddie, and Aidan, and they are wonderful. I have seen their father ruffle their hair and hug them long. I have seen the easy laughter and camaraderie between Anne, Ian, and their children. I had no idea how miraculous that was.

How can I give something to a son that I myself never received? I want my son to know how to be in the world; how to love himself; how not to settle for too little; how to walk with God with humility, compassion, and an inclusive heart; how to never hide his true self because he’s afraid.

In one magical story we see this coming into being. We learn the difference between falling and jumping. And we see the astonishing sweep of redemption…just how far it can go. I must confess, this chapter had me laughing hysterically. Just wait til you read it. You’ll see. 🙂 But as Ian poured his heart for his son onto the page and I saw a whole family who is FOR one another, I was undone. The beauty of what God has wrought is astonishing. Astonishing!

You probably already know Ian from his novel, Chasing Francis: a Pilgrim’s Tale. Official release date for Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir…of Sorts is June 7th. But you can get it now from Amazon. I cannot recommend it highly enough. An engaging story. Artful articulation. A miracle of healing and restoration.

Gift…

I have a “keep it forever” box. In it are gifts. Drawings and early scribbles from my babies. Love letters. Notes from my students. Cards from friends. Bits and pieces of one’s heart placed lovingly on paper and given to me. To an insurance adjuster it is worthless. But to me, it is priceless.

Today my husband and I have been married for 24 years. I would like to give him a keep it forever something. Last year I said thank you for the gift he has been to me. I thought this year it might be time to give something back.

So baby, these are my gifts to you:

I give you the gift of being heard. Your hopes, your dreams, your worries and hurts, your stories and jokes, your Snapple facts 🙂 … Share these with me. I’m listening.

I give you the gift of belief. Belief in who you are and who you can be. Belief in endeavors you wish to pursue. Belief in you as husband, father and friend.

I give you the gift of shared adventures. Whether racing up some mountain, navigating strange foreign cultures, trying crazy new foods, running all night, or something so wild we have not dared to imagine it yet, these I share with you.

I give you the gift of kind words. Words to you and words about you. I promise to be your biggest fan. Not blind. Not oblivious to challenges or faults. But honest enough and intentional enough to choose to acknowledge all that is good and true about you, to you and to others.

I give you permission to speak. Permission to speak hard words to me when needed. I do not promise I won’t be hurt. Nor can I assure you I won’t lash out at you. But I say to you that I need your input in my life. So if you are courageous enough, and I believe you are, say on.

I give you permission to not speak. 🙂 I give you the gift of long silent hours shared on the porch, or the beach, or a run, without the need to say anything.

I give to you my vulnerability. My hopes and dreams, my fears and worries. Not so you can fix them. But so you can know me. I trust you with me.

I give you the gift of years. Years to know one another better. Years to add to the deep well of our shared experiences. Years of laughter and tears. Years of sunsets, and chocolate, and dinners with friends. Years of watching our children build lives of their own. Years of playing with grandchildren. Years of ripening and deepening and becoming.

Happy Anniversary, Mike. I love you!

P.S. The chocolates at the top of the post are yours as well. 😉

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