I wrote this last Thursday:
I’m calling it this week. We just got chik-fil-A for the second night in a row, and I don’t really even enjoy chik-fil-A. The seasoning is weird in my mouth… I felt so much shame about it that I almost asked David to hide the red and white food bags as he walked up our front steps and walkway so our neighbors wouldn’t see that I was neglecting to feed my family, again. At least I cut up some red bell peppers to go with the nuggets and fruit cups. See? Even there. I felt like I had to tell you that I gave them a veggie to go with their fruit cups. Crap…….
My husband, David? He’s started levitating. That’s how saintly and holy he has become. I try and reach for him when he gets too high up, I tug at his ankles and beg him to make a mistake. He’d love to come back down, too. It’s just, he’s a man too after God’s own heart.
My girls? My wonderful monsters? Sometimes I want to throw them onto a pile of pillows that’s lacking one too many pillows, so they don’t actually get hurt, but they’re afraid they’ll get hurt. Because I think that will put things in order, that will re-establish my control over the home and over behaviors. Just scare the living shit out of them, that’s what Jesus did. He threw us when we got hard and bickered and hurt each other. And the Little Boy? He would actually combust if I left his sight. I tried it earlier today and steam started spraying out his face holes. It’s the worst. Also, it’s the best…
At least the animals are getting along. Our Great Dane (Winnie) cuddles with our Maine Coon kitten (Peso) on the big dog pillow. It’s like the Garden of Eden back in the animal corner. Except for our kitten didn’t eat all day because we ran out of food. I am certain God did not let His/Her animals go hungry in Paradise. I just know it.
Ask me about my garden/yard. Go on, I dare you.
I was texting someone close tonight and wrote the following:
“Nothing is wasted on God, and this season will be just that, a season! I will pray for bravery to voice what wants to be voiced, diligence in seeking and finding the things that are begging to be discovered, peace that ruins any attempts shame is making in your direction. It’s what He does— untangles things in their due time. I just see Him/Her up there like a salivating spirit dog, staring at the bone that is our life and our choices. When you are ready to let Him devour you and your life (the bone), He will gobble you up and make all things right. All things click. All purpose revealed. All peace rained down. All joys unleashed. And you’ll know it couldn’t have happened any other way ; ) Don’t worry a single second though, just be brave! We love you!”
Then I realized the text was actually meant for me. Diligence?! Bravery to voice the deep shames!? Don’t worry a single second?! Just three hours ago I wanted David to HIDE ANY AND ALL EVIDENCE OF PURCHASED, PRE-MADE FOOD??!!! I’m actually laughing right now thinking about the irony… Oh goodness, forgive me, Lord.
I don’t like chik-fil-A, but I eat it anyway. I don’t particularly enjoy parenting, but I love being a Mama. I love my animals, but I don’t feed them all the time. I love my land and my gardens, but the Dahlias and Cosmos are now growing completely horizontally on the ground, there are 10 unharvested squash in the squash bed, dozens and dozens of tomatoes, eggplants that squirrels indulge in post-coitally, and a weed that is taller than my (tall) fence. Lucy asked if we were going to “CHOP it down.” So much tension; I’m pulled in two directions by the same thing.
And then it hit me, just sit down! If I am standing up during all of this tugging and tension and turmoil, then wouldn’t it make sense that I’d lose my balance and trip and stumble and fall and get up and stumble again (especially with my weak ankles). If I resist this pull and over-compensate for that tug, then I’m a goner. I look like a striving, over-stressed, frizzy-haired, frantic weirdo. And I know it. That’s the worst part, knowing that you look like you’re unsuccessfully trying to keep the tower from collapsing in front of you.
But if I steady myself and sit down, firmly. If I find a courage deep, deep down that lets me exist in the tension, feel the tension, and then embrace the tension? That would create balance, right? It’s totally counterintuitive, and it’s scary as eff. Maybe if I sit cross-legged like the Buddha and the Christ and the Sufis, if I plant my tail bone into the earth, the tugs and the pulls lose most of their power? If I breathe His name and keep my eyes closed, maybe I won’t be so easily swayed? I may still/will probably look like a weirdo—chanting, breathing, and meditating can do that. But I won’t care that I look like a weirdo. Because peace can surpass all understanding.
It’s a good thing too, this call to sit. Because I make big babies that ruin my sciatic nerve while they grow inside me, and so I do a ton of sitting while I am pregnant; I already do a ton of actual sitting. I am making a promise to myself, to God, to my community and family. I will sit. I will not sit and squirm and look at Instagram of Facebook or DailyMail or email or H&M. I will sit intentionally in the midst of the tension and the pulling and the internal fires. I’ve got a good feeling about this…
It works, you guys. It works when I’m brave enough do it. When I start to feel myself being ripped in half, one piece going to the fear of dirty floors, and the other half going to thank God for my gorgeous and useful hardwood floors, then I stop (excuse myself to my room for a moment if it’s too crazy), go into my safe brain bits and breathe. I visualize an angry and frantic Claire brandishing the Swiffer and Bona mops around while tugging one end of the rope. On the other end is a rested, content, thankful Claire struggling to release her end of the rope, even though she knows it’s best. Then there’s the Claire of THIS MOMENT; the Claire needing relief. She’s in the middle with the ropes tied to her wrists. I acknowledge and honor each side, no part of me is bad. It’s not bad of me that I want clean floors. So I take notice of each Claire, then I choose to sit down, it’s my choice. I have the power here and I choose peace and presence, I say to my waring selves, thank you for showing up and pleading your cases, I hear you, but I am still choosing Love, peace, and presence. The pulling becomes softer, much less jolting, and sometimes it even stops.
Sometimes I am not brave enough to sit in the middle of the tension. Sometimes I waltz up to angry Claire with the mops and I hit her and abuse her and call her names and perpetuate the anger. I don’t honor her existence, I don’t pray for her healing or love her well. Sometimes I listen to her and believe that my worth is indeed determined by whether of not I would eat off of my floors. Sometimes I go abuse the other Claire, who just wants peace, and who loves her floors so much. Sometimes I take her too literally and begin to believe that my worth is dependent on how peaceful, joyful, loving, gentle, present, and patient I am— it is not. I am loved and lovable regardless of how sweetly I behave.
What are your tensions? There are so many we all navigate today. So many expectations, so much information telling us to do things differently. So many products we NEED, so many essentials for living the modern life (I think “Essentials” is even a Target brand of home goods). We are a society based on fear and fear-mongering. Eat this and you’ll get cancer, don’t eat this and you’ll get cancer. Do this to improve your sex life. Don’t miss the latest episode of this! They said God doesn’t love that type of person… Make sure you have X amount in savings, or else. What if I don’t send my kids to preschool? What if I do? What if he/she notices? What if they’re right? What if I’m wrong?
No. Stop it. You have power and you have choice. I was having such a hard time with all those voices and those inputs that we got rid of TV and I cancelled all my magazine subscriptions. Whatever it took for the voices to stay small, that’s what we did. It’s poison, only we get to choose how much of it we want to inject. How much will we identify with the government and kingdoms of earth, and how much we want to identify with His/Hers? Tension. False Self vs. True Self. Earthly realms vs. Heavenly/Cosmic realms? Tension. Jesus came down and straddled that sweet little line so well, the Pope is doing a great job of it now, too. There is nothing we must do other than what our most-centered self, our Divine self, helps us do in each moment. How can we find a center, a balance, a moment, a peace, and a presence if we’re constantly swayed and pulled apart by all the “shoulds,” the identities, and the layers we pile on?
So plop down smack dab in the middle of it all! It’s such grueling work, it goes against every fiber in my body, but it works! It’s made these past few days so much sweeter! And this is coming from a miserably pregnant mother-of-three!? I am HERE. FULLY HERE. Mostly. And I LIKE being HERE… I want you to LIKE being HERE, too. Wherever your HERE is, I so badly yearn for you to truly enjoy it. It’s possible. It’s possible to want nothing else. It’s possible to want to choose your existence, right now, over anything else your most creative self could imagine! It’s called Joy. It’s called contentment. And it’s our for the taking. This week I’m calling it, again, but for all the right reasons. Not because I’ve failed at so much already. No, I’m throwing in the towel so that God can pick it up. I just want to sit.