i am at a stage in my own personal life that is choppy and intense, dischordant and different. unlike any stage i've been through before. call it 'mid-life', call it pre-menapausal? i don't know. but it is definately a time of personal change and upheaval.
it's like the tapestry that's being woven of my life has lots of threads, different colors being used, lots of cutting, knots and tying of threads that make little sense or continuity from my perspective. i know something is happening, it's just on so many fronts that i can't seem to keep track of it all and it seems so jumpy that it's difficult to put into words.
when looking back over this tapestry of my life i'm sure this will be one of the richest, most colorful places - filled with texture and depth, but in the middle of it all i am longing for some stability and cohesion.
the words 'dark night of the soul' flashed through my mind in the wee hours this morning. i thought 'is that what this is? am i in a dark night?' i don't know, maybe. i just know that so much is changing within me. my health, my faith, my community and my recovery are all in a very strange place. none of them are in crisis, but they are all very different somehow. all taking a lot of work to maintain, when this time last year they were simpler, easier, more natural.
but looking back i realize that was then, this is now. i want more than 'that', than last summer. i want deeper. more than easy answers and trite homilies. i have grappled with much in this past year. i've past my 'blogiversary' and didn't even acknowledge it. i feel like i've woken up in the middle of a very big storm and it's not over yet, but i'm gonna ride it out. i'm going to make it to the other side, deeper and richer for it.
i know that at this stage many women chuck it all. just walk away and start over. the only thing through this weird stage that has remained stable is my marriage and my family. we've tucked in here nicely. we've spent our tax refund on home improvements and are making our little home a true nest that reflects our personalities. investing in ourselves for a change instead of the church and community. it's been nice. i guess this is how other people live most of their lives. it's very new to us.
i had been pushing for change for so long that i didn't even realize that what i wanted wasn't change, but improvement. it's starting with a can of paint. it's a metaphor of sorts that says to me that a change of location isn't the real issue and won't solve my problems. what i need to own is here, right here - take the rest of the storm and be who i am here - alone or in community.
i read this quote at the end of an email from darren at alternate hymnal
"And - this reason is why I do it. Because I feel far more comfortable lying on a beanbag, in a softly lit room, with a crayon in one hand and piece of paper in the other, pouring my heart out onto the page with a deep sense of trust, that God is with me and hearing my prayers of worship than I do sitting on a chair listening to some one telling me how to be better or how to love more or all the things, they think, I really should be doing. Because you know, I could always be doing more.
My deep love for God and Faith in the saving Grace of Jesus never seems to be enough for 'Church'!"
Anne Sorenson - Artist
it really resonated with me. i guess anne sorenson is a therapist in perth who uses art and drama. she sounds like an amazing person. i'm thinking of starting 'the first crayola church of the bean bag chair' myself these days.
two other things i read yesterday are also threads that are being woven into the tapestry of my life today. the first is by si. wes drew my eye to this post about how god uses the weak to confound the strong. i am part of this dissonent breed. i am a critical thinker and a bit of a rebel. i am finding that this is very threatening in community as those around me try to fit my 'irregular shape' into their very round hole.
While we were at Fuller weeks ago, we talked about nurturing leaders for a mission environment. 'Permission giving' was discussed, but I still feel there are too many people waiting for it. For some, permission is not an issue because they, like Jephthah, have been given the squeeze, for others, they're ability to function out of chaos is being domesticated because they're prematurely working with the old 'order' and waiting for permission.
As long as the church thinks that 'all is well and if we perpetuate that which hasgone before, we will live at peace,' then permission may come too late.
Those in leadership should be playing 'spot the dissident' and listening to everything the reckless adventurer is saying. Much will need strained out, but in the straining, it might pay to bear in mind that God seems to have a lot of time for the 'rebel soul'.
i have been waiting for permission all my life. the word dissident stuck out to me and i wanted a really good definition to find out if that is a word i'm going to own. here's what i found:
- characterized by departure from accepted beliefs or standards
- dissenter: a person who dissents from some established policy
- dissentient: disagreeing, especially with a majority
yep, that's me. fits me like a glove these days.
the other post that sings my tune is by rachelle - broken for me.
rachelle has created her own wailing wall.
So I have built a little altar in my backyard, a stack of odd stones each bearing a sad thing. But I’ve also needed a place to be angry – and so have a lot of my friends, especially my female friends. (Go figure.) So we’ve added an option to this ritualized thing. Tonya and I went to Value Village. There we found a shopping basket full of plates – flower rimmed saucers, black salad plates with leopard spots, gilt edged dinner plates, shallow leaf-shaped sauce dishes with roses in the center. (These last dainties a big splurge at 99cents each.)We came home and stacked our found treasures in an old wine crate then wedged the crate next to our small stack of stones. Catie sprinkled it all with white flowers—our sacred bittersweet space, our corner of our very own.
This is our place where God is big enough: big enough to handle our anger, big enough to not be afraid of rage, of bitterness unleashed, of unrelenting sadness over the state of things. This is where we lay it all out and say, ‘Do you really want me? Because I come with this.” This is where we hope to hear, “Yes. And do you really want me? Because I come with this too.”
she then goes on to write about a woman named anna who's own tapestry is captured in the apocrypha.
Today I came into my quiet, clean office and sat at my desk. I lit a candle; I read the day’s entry at Sacred Space. The scripture for today was from Tobit, an apocryphal book that I, the good Protestant, do not know. In this story Anna, takes up her “women’s work,” weaving. We now consider weaving a “craft” rather than an “art.” But really, it is this designation as “women’s work” that has placed it into this slightly less valued category. For good weaving is art in and of itself, and Anna it seems was a sought after artist. In this story we learn that Anna the artist has completed a commission. She is given not only her pay, but a goat, this being the ancient equivalent of a very lavish tip. Her husband comes home and is shocked. He begins to berate her. How could she accept this goat? It could not possibly be for her work! It must be stolen! He feels deeply ashamed of her.
I put on my shoes. I walk out in the rain. I stand under my lilac tree.
I break this plate for Anna. Anna, unacknowledged for her skill, for the excellence of her work. Anna not seen as the fine artist and shrewd business woman, but accounted as a fool. Anna of the nimble fingers, of the good eye, of the quick mind. I imagine Jesus standing or sitting besides me. I deliberately turn and make my throw…He makes a sound, a low short hmm in his throat, heavy-weighted on the downbeat. “It is fitting,” he seems to say “So be it. Toss away.”
Anna is not held by Tobit, and neither are her tales. Her truths are her own to tell, to hold, to barter. I break this plate for Anna. As it chimes among this hardness, Anna’s story will sing.