Remnants

This day was filled with thoughts of you.

Cracker crumbs, sweet jam, and strong cheese; so close I could nearly brush the trail of morsels from my lap.

I lifted your pen in my own hand, fingered through your Bible, and felt the graze of your sweater near my cheek.

The sensation of the dusty-blue hued carpet in the coach you made a home lingers on my toes even now, while your eagle guarded door still opens wide in my mind’s eye.

There is a phone call to your eldest, comfort and warm laughter with the women, and boldly brewed coffee with the men.

I’m touching the remnants.

You have left them everywhere, like a splendid mess– they exist in the curve of our womanly hips, the height of our stature, and the strength of our hearts.

Your remnants are in our service for our country, or the innate hospitality for our neighbors- our open tables that invite and nourish all those we love.

Traces of you are wrapped delicately in our love for writing, or our compassion in nursing.

They remain in our determination of walking the narrow gospel trail, or our understanding that this world is not small.

It is a profound reality.

How each of us, in our varying manners, carry you within the posture of our lives.

You were always been the thin place for us.

The paper-thin place where we could see through to the divine.

It was your kindness, your wisdom, and your sincerely woven beauty.

And now as the twilight of your life has come and gone and the break of each day is void of your morning grace, know that we carry a legacy forward filled to the brim with these remnants.

Remnants of strength, passion, and service; deeply rooted and knotted to the soul you broke into pieces and placed within each of us.

We salute you, Lieutenant.

You are loved, you are missed, and we are so glad you are home.

539756_560606484311_1358670425_n

 

Come Calling

I have this image of my grandmother.

Not one that I’ve ever witnessed in real life; rather it is one made up of fragments of memory, or stock images I’ve piled in my mind, and a glimpse of her as I’ve never physically seen her.

She’s walking up a winding pathway, just walking, walking, and walking… up, down, curve, bend… just walking. It’s one of those soft pathways, ya know? Not difficult to climb, or with jagged stones to catch her step… just a gentle path.

You’re thinking it’s metaphorically about some journey she’s been on, right?

It’s not. She’s just walking.

A little faster now.

Not metaphorical either… she’s just excited.

And then she calls… she calls out.

“Here I am. I’m coming.”

She hasn’t arrived yet… but, she’s coming.

Come calling.

You see, there’s a reason I am watching her walk this path.

My whole worldview on 2016 is wrapped in this theme… come calling.

But it is she, specifically because in many ways, and for many reasons, we know that my sweet grandmother is in the twilight of this life.

None of us are pretending it’s a secret, or it shouldn’t be talked about. We are expectant of her homecoming… because, that… is… what… it… is.

And you know what’s lovely?

I imagine, the Lord and Poppy leaning in the doorway, or at the gateways, maybe sitting on a porch- and with a smile the Lord just leans over and says:

“She came calling.”

Because, she knew that this whole time- they’ve been waiting for her homecoming.

They’ve just been waiting, expectantly.

Because that is what you do! That’s what you do when someone is in a place they are not made for! You wait for them to come home.

I think I’m thankful for this incredible imagery I’ve been gifted with of my grandmother walking this path, it’s a beautiful vision for the words the Lord has put before me for 2016. He’s been waiting expectantly for me for a long time, as I’ve navigated the battles of these last years… fought the same demons each day, just to be worn out by them.

He’s pressured my heart, and pressed in to tell me He’s been expectantly awaiting my return and has been holding the peace I’ve sought after the whole time.

The peace of rest, of knowing you can approach home again and that you can call out- because the light is on, and He’s leaning in the doorway watching you break the horizon.

And the joy…

The joy that begins to abound when He hears His own wander the path home…

But especially when they come calling.

 

Low Tide

Jess. She always does this to me.

“I miss your writing.”

I know what she’s really saying…

“What’s going on with you, cause you’re still absent.”

When she said this, I felt a twinge of guilt.

She’s right. When I don’t take the time to put pen to paper, I lose myself in the shuffle of life, and 3 weeks later I’m crashing and burning.

“I know you. Your introverted self is crumbling from not having the opportunity to speak with your heart and mind.”

I’m paraphrasing. Because whether this is what she said or not- it’s what I heard.

Tides have been on my mind, as a result of this very unconventional, scary, challenging, and beautiful year. In my recent history, I’ve found myself in low tide… that retracted, heaving backward motion that is accompanied by an energy, which could be described as wounded.

Low tide has defined a journey I’ve been on for—to be honest, I’m unsure of it’s longevity, but I am deeply aware of it’s toll on me.

Low tide has been like that one long yoga pose that burns and aches and it pulls all of your energy inward to the core- it settles you deep within yourself, amidst apparent safety.

Waiting.

Just waiting.

Held breath.

Yoga pose.

Until the inevitable crash of the next wave.

The final wave of low tide. It has hit my world… the tightly held breath has dissipated and the aching muscles of my core have shifted from exhaustion.

To be honest, that little area of safety you find within the withdraw of low tide, is terrifying, tiring, and has no respite- other than to surrender to high tide.

Want to know what’s scary?

Moving into an apartment by yourself, with a budget that is worked down to the dollar.

Starting over in a new city where you have to literally go seek out community.

Going to a new church in said city, alone, and not knowing what questions to even begin to ask at that newcomer lunch.

Scary is; the shift from low tide to high tide.

I think plenty of people would like to romanticize living overseas, doing the volunteer thing… those people have never done it. It is the phase of my life that has shifted me as an individual more than any other time, occurrence, situation, etc. in my life.

It changed me.

In all of the good, bad, and ugly… and I mean ugly, ways.

I have never been more aware of my humanness, and my bent for what my heart desires.

It was my low tide. 

That morning, during the really scary church service that I went to alone, the pastor said this about the proclamation of the gospel coming to earth: “they had been longing for Jesus to put things back together- to restore everything, and to renew their calling.”

It couldn’t be more perfect.

This gathering that happened during my low tide, my retracting into supposed safety, my gaze out to the world that was untrusting and wary of everything that crossed my path, my wounded energy claiming it’s place like a warrior attempting to protect the mistress of the tide.

I was like a caged animal, just sitting back in the silence, refusing to speak any of my truth to the world, waiting for the new moon to allow me to exhale into a high tide.

This is what this change is to me.

This is what a new chapter is.

This is why I’m being called to something new.

This is providence.

Because, He knew.

My time of low tide needed to end.

11041320_617765262661_2094512061_n

He’s calling my retracted sense of self to come back to a deepening in Him.

I’ve been watching and waiting for the safety of His call during my low tide- longing for him to come put things back together- to restore everything, and to renew my calling.

To work out the implications of His calling to me.

Wave upon wave.

 

One Word

People are doing this thing.

This thing where they carefully select one word at the beginning of the year.

One word to define your year; a tool to guide your journey through the coming new year in a way that will allow for substantial and focused growth.

I haven’t ever thought much about having one word. In my mind, it’s a great concept- but much like resolutions, they come with a limited lifespan.

However, I’m finding myself returning time and time again to a certain theme in my life. It is something between health, healing, and wholeness…

Coming from a year that has undoubtedly changed me more than any other time or situation in my life, I’m carrying an awareness of how much this season has taught me. Not only taught me, but aged me… taken a toll on my heart and soul, and I’ve come to the moment where the necessity of collecting myself with a deep breath, and focus on what is ahead is crucial for my well-being.

So what’s the word?

I woke up last Sunday morning, knowing I was going to go visit a new church- I had been talking myself into it all week.

Alone.

In a new city.

With no one to step through the doors with me, nothing to stabilize me, and no idea what to expect. Completely dependent on trusting that the Lord would be my security. Mulling through all of these fears that morning, something came to mind….

“All I need is to feel safe as I seek Him.”

As the Pastor began his introduction he mentioned the name of the church, “Sanctuary”, how this place was reflective of its name, a place of “safety to seek the sacred”.

There it was.

I texted a few friends…

“I’m trying a new church this morning. I’m nervous. In fact, I’m sitting in the pew about to burst into tears.”

And then it happened.

Ugly, sniffly, tears.

Everyone saw… at least I was fairly sure they did.

I’ll be honest, I’ve retracted some this year.

My heart has been hurt, my trust has been pressed, and I’ve come out a little less open and much more wary. It is hard for me to feel safe these days; the state of my soul being slightly fractured.

When your soul is splintered in this way, it translates into everything. How your body feels, how tired you are, the effort you put into relationships, how you view the world and the people who fill it…

The refracted light bouncing off these fragmented pieces is shedding some new perspective on what should happen in my life this coming year.

I need to heal.

10933280_613458263921_1724504165_n

My heart, my body, my soul.

I have yet to find out how that works, what direction it will take me, and what it will cost me.

But I do know these things…

It will happen with safe, loving community.

It will happen with a little bit of pain.

It will happen with heartbreak and hard decisions.

It will be freedom.

 

 

rescue

Golden Heart and Celeste Eyes

This day was filled with thoughts of you.

Upon awakening this morning; I felt drained, emotional, and like one more roll over might do the trick.

You came to mind.

Imagining you rolling over as well, eyes that my own tend to mimic, hazy on opening, puppy between legs, and cat curled around neck, the stretch and roll was no doubt hindered more than mine.

My eyes that so match yours slowly closed.

In my mind I am wandering the hall from my room to yours… thinking about this new empty space in your morning.

The last one left home not long ago.

My father, the cat, and the dog, now the only recipients of your daily morning grace. 

I know that these mornings are likely hard, just as the afternoons are difficult to pass now, and the evenings bring challenges all their own.

In all the right ways, we are the same. So I know, as your days stroll forward you see our footprints everywhere.

In the driveway, across the lawn, to and from the mailbox, propped up on the coffee table. We’ve left our signs of life in droplets all over your path.

So I know, these days are hard. Empty nest and such.

Take heart.

You let us fly from the highest places- whether a tree fort or a plane… you flung our doors wide open.

Watching the journeys of these days are the reward for your love.

Golden heart and celeste eyes; your hues are splashing all over the world, and touching more lives than you could have ever imagined.

Those who love him, love the strength and wisdom you have passed on.

The ones who treasure the other him, admire the capacity for loyal friendship you have instilled.

Everyone that crosses her path sees how your gentle touch carries on like an innate gene.

And then there are the ones who hear the other her’s words and know the deepness and sincerity in her voice, can only be yours.

You, who are our home

We will always return.

And we will bring with us the gifts of full life- no matter the hurdles and heartache we pass each year.

Because you have taught us; a full life is always present, if we will only walk in it.

So, roll over once more tomorrow morning, blink wide and take an extra few minutes.

Pet the cat, pour your coffee, sit on your porch, and declare that you have done well these past 30 years…

 

10313047_10152022359285986_7089674818084059354_n