Falling Apart

It took 3 years to make a house a home, two days to pack it into boxes and empty it, and seconds to drop off those boxes at Goodwill.

I have no words beyond these. I don’t even know where that statement was supposed to lead. I have so much hope for Christmas. I am praying for hope beyond this week, beyond November, beyond 2017. That the light and the cheer and the carols will carry me into an ether dispersing my sorrow. I have been grounded for too long.

I think this is my last blog for 2017. It is labor to process to order to write to author words. Y’all, I am just here. Hoping to be elsewhere. I don’t even think it is about being housed anymore. A room is a room. Numbers mixed with letters addressing people to places, where more people exist.

It’s about not knowing who to place in the emergency contact forms.

It’s about not wanting to wake people because my throat is closing on itself.

It’s about not knowing who I would call if I got into a flat or in a wreck.

It’s about not knowing who to call to help me move.

It’s about not trusting anyone to know how to care for me.

It’s about not giving the people the opportunity.

It’s about the fear of being present and detached.

It’s about not being a priority.

Maybe this isn’t my last post. My fear is that people read my words in sequence and don’t see a pattern. I need for people to ask me good questions. I need to feel safe. I am losing it. I am losing it.

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Rambles

The grass withers and the flowers fade, but they come again, for seasons change.

I drove past my old neighborhood this morning. It was refreshing to see green grass emerging from its watery grave. Nothing is back to the way it used to be. It probably never will be, but it was nice to see runners on the Bayou and trash no longer being the most common decoration in Meyerland. Not much has changed in these months.

I am amazed that a series of days could unravel an entire year. I am perplexed at the nature of time and the illusion of control. I control nothing, barely myself. Perhaps that’s why it’s a fruit of the Spirit.

I am grateful. I am grateful for a common coffee shop, that will always feel the safest. For Monday mornings to catch up on school work and buy tickets that would have been $100 cheaper if I bought them a month ago. For hair product that smells like romance. For life. For seasons. For death, but for life.

The grass withers and the flowers fade, but they come again, for seasons change.

Simple

I was in Seattle. I had found myself haphazardly sitting in a Mediterranean restaurant drinking mango lemonade. Reading Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. It was the chapter titled, Simplicity. Life was not chaotic at the time, but it was regimented and oriented in a way that made me relentlessly busy. I felt the Lord breathe this phrase into my soul, “Live simply, love extravagantly”. It has stayed with me ever since.

I don’t think, I have pursued simplicity this past year as much as I have just decided it. Rather than fixing a car, that wanted to be broken, I took the bus. Rather than stay in one church, I left. Rather than maintain an active social life, I chose moments of solitude. I don’t regret these decisions. Simplicity is not easy, though it can be eased into. I have learned that when one peels away the busyness and superfluousness of life, there is a foundational depth desiring exploration.

There is something more wonderous being known by a handful of people than networking with hundred. There is something rich about waking up at 5am, just to embrace the last moments of the world being silent, before it pummels back into its chaos. There is something about lowered expectations for entertainment and leisure that makes a simple drive adventurous. Simplicity is grand. I don’t make these statement to condemn the networker or the late riser or the thrill seeker. I am just kind of blithering about.

There is another side to simplicity though. It can become isolating. Thematically, I have always struggled with loneliness. I remember prepubescent evenings in my basement room, bawling because I just didn’t feel like I could attach to people. I realize that in hindsight. This is exacerbated by the fact that, I would rather be alone than with people. But in this simplicity, I am left to contemplate my sorrow. I know, I am not fully alone, but there are desires for companionship that go unmet.

In the past Harvey season, I am continuing to live a simple life. I have relocated to a place where I don’t have my full wardrobe at my disposal. I have probably worn the same 25 articles of clothing repeatedly. I don’t need as much clothing as I think. I have no access to a kitchen on a daily basis, but there are simple meals, that don’t require stove tops or ovens. At the end of the night, the bed is not always the most comfortable, but somehow I find rest. Perhaps, God was preparing me a year ago.

Simplicity does make way for immense gratitude. Right now, I am in College Station. I cooked in a kitchen for the first time in about two months. I slept in a cushioned bed for the first time in 62 days. I soaked in a tub for the first time in 3 years. My room was completely dark bringing no light in. I was alone in all the best ways. In ways that were refreshing and healing.

I know I cannot stay here. I also don’t want to stay here. Simplicity is grounded in acceptance of reality. I will return to the bed that is uncomfy, kitchenless meals, standing showers, and limited clothing, but I will return with gratitude. Knowing this, God finds ways to provide simple things for me.

Tuesday

Tuesdays begin early. Alarm ringing at 5:30am, telling me I have 30 minutes more of rest before I need to get up. School begins in an hour and a half. You know 7:00am is real early to discuss when the union between soul and body. I love it. By the time, my mind arrives my body is prepared. Theology was meant for the beginning of the day. To ponder and discuss the divine as light breaks the chill autumn morn. It’s a transcendent three hours. Where the mystery somehow gets revealed but all the more becomes more enigmatic.

Transitioning to the tiniest of spiritual formation groups. Lead by a girl who is spiritually disfigured. Hands inverted inward, spine distorted twisting, limping hobbit-like with two women who find me “insightful”. Constantly wondering, finding truth in the quote, God draws straight with crooked lines.” So crooked, I don’t know if I could be considered a line anymore. I’m trying to align myself with the One who sees straight, but it is hard to straighten what is twisted without breaking it. Two white women and one black woman talked about race. It was good. It makes me grateful for grace.

Time between school and work is minimal. Scurrying, my drive is mindless. I just begin composing my mental to-do list, while chatting with a friend. Drafting up conversations I will have with my staff. Dreaming up ways to change the world. Damning myself for my weight. Dropping the responsibility of caring about it this week.

Tip-toeing into the office, hiding from those who want to talk or task me with what is not mine. The youth floor is so self-contained. I don’t even know what goes on beneath me. I’m more aware of matters taking place elsewhere in the facility. Texting my Chick-fil-A order to a friend who loves me beyond what I deserve. Receiving her love and general presence was a gift. Once she left, the afternoon soared. Until it pummelled into having to find a lost student. We found him.

Tears flowed this evening, unexpectedly. Trying to reach a beautiful adolescent mother, who needed encouragement. I was never told my heart would be taffy in the hands of adolescents with strong hands. She trembled in my arms, tears falling out her eyes, torn hearted. I held her as my own. She is my daughter, browned and slight with glimmering eyes.

Tired, I refuse to stay late. I walk to my room and author this to commemorate a Tuesday. Thankful that it happened.

Thirty-One Days Ago

Thirty-one days ago, I postponed my 27th birthday. My existence was in too fragile of a space to generate emotions, positive or negative. I just needed to know that I could live. Much has happened in the past month. There have been days where anhedonia set in so deeply that even food was not captivating. I know I have lost weight in this season. I moved away from the home I have dwelt in for nearly 3 years. Tucking my minimal belongings in a 5×5 storage unit. Work and home have become synonymous. School resumed for me and my students at work. I cried really hard. I have felt nothing. I have been depressed. Thirty-one days ago, I thought my life was over. Postponing my birthday was my own feeble attempt at creating a timeline where problems are solved in the span of a sitcom.

I drove past the Caversham Estate last night. Someone else had moved in already. I wept. I knew the house would not remain abandoned. I just didn’t know life would resume so quickly. There were plants and a chair on the patio with my old bedroom lights aglow. Selfishly, I wanted to be the only one to move on. I didn’t really want the house to be repaired before I was. Why does restoration of a home only take a month? Why can’t my healing process move more quickly? Why has God chosen an agrarian pace for growth? Is my life pruning or punishment?

Thirty-one days ago, I postponed my 27th birthday. I celebrated with friends yesterday, who have slowed their pace to walk with me in mine. Life doesn’t move at sitcom paces. Life moves at the rate of life. Thirty-one days later, I am realizing that that’s perfectly okay.

God, You’re gracious

God, You’re good

Help me change my attitude

By Your Hands

I am fed

Remind me that You’re Home again

Amen

First Rain Since Harvey Left

It is the first rain since Harvey departed. In his wake, he left ruins that still remain unbuilt. As disastrous as the Houston landscape has been it was merely been a physical representation of the human heart. I have been gutted. Noahic flooding that seems like judgment, but actually is healing. Personally, I still don’t know what to make of a hurricane that felt like that of a Grecian epic. I don’t think it is mine to decipher. I am not the one who controls it.

God is the Author. He is quite the Author, but such an interesting Reader and Listener to the story as well. He placed Himself in it momentarily, but it has always been about Him. He is a mysterious Author. The best books are the one that leaves me wondering what the author was trying to tell me. He has left a Commentary who teaches, but even then, mystery. Divine and material mystery.

I have gone through the gamut of human emotions since Harvey.

Sorrow. Anger. Loneliness. Shame. Envy. Abandonment. Displacement. Fear.

Anger. Loneliness. Shame. Envy. Abandonment. Displacement. Fear.

Loneliness. Shame. Envy. Abandonment. Displacement. Fear.

Shame. Envy. Abandonment. Displacement. Fear.

Envy. Abandonment. Displacement. Fear.

Abandonment. Displacement. Fear.

Displacement. Fear.

Fear.

Those have been my most persistent friends in this season. They are terrible friends; they leech themselves onto me. As I turn to them, they turn on me. I don’t think they have all departed. I still think they linger, but in this moment, I have felt something I have not felt since the flood waters rose.

Hope.

It was by way of a woman I have always admired. How kind is God in the midst of ruins to sift through the rubble.

Good Father,

I am devastated, in both definitions of the word. I have looked inward for so long, that I have lost sight. Your truth is so simple. Your call is so clear. My cross is so much. Teach me to trust. Teach me to bear burdens better. Remind me that you are both the Builder and the Cornerstone. When I burrow into the complexities of the human ego, remind me of the simplicity of the Gospel.

The Good News is the hope for those who have fear.

The Good News is a refuge for those who are displaced.

The Good News is reclamation for those who feel abandoned.

The Good News is gratitude in a heart that envies what is not hers.

The Good News is penitence in the place of shame.

The Good News is the hope of companionship for those who are burdened with loneliness.

The Good News is understanding rather than anger.

The Good News is joy in the middle of sorrow.

I am not fully “telos-ed” by the Gospel today. I will not know if I will be tomorrow, but Mrs. Ellen, thank you for the reminder. I don’t know if you will ever read these words but bless you.

In Christ. By Way of the Spirit. Directed to the Father.

Amen

Hope.

Hope. Refuge.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation. Gratitude.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation. Gratitude. Forgiveness.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation. Gratitude. Forgiveness. Penitence.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation. Gratitude. Forgiveness. Penitence. Companionship.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation. Gratitude. Forgiveness. Penitence. Companionship. Understanding.

Hope. Refuge. Reclamation. Gratitude. Forgiveness. Penitence. Companionship. Understanding. Joy

Frailty

Frailty is essential to humanity. In all our collective efforts to be strong and amass wealth, protection, and muscle mass, there are some things in which we cannot be protected from natural disaster, heartache, and a bullet through the skull. Frailty, not strength, is what heightens my senses and emotions to engage and experience all of life. It is with the frailty that I exist in this season. I welcome the #houstonstrong hashtag, but strength is only necessary for those who feel weak. I am weak. Boy, am I weak.

The past 23 days have brought change. None of it planned. None of it expected. None of it wanted. All of this change beating against the doors of my insecurity and fears. The change has reacquainted me with an adolescent version of myself filled with questions and wonder but disillusioned to the “answers” people give me. How does one define family? Where is home? Why am I still here? Fittingly enough, this semester I am taking an Anthropology and Hamartiology course, that may provide direction for answering these questions. God has always used my studies as a not so subtle way to provide direction. I’ll probably write about all of this in more depth later, but to explore the inner workings of my mind in isolation and then publish them on the internet seems foolish…ice cream is a much better idea.

I am adrift.

I don’t know what is to come.

I don’t know which way, I’m coming from.

God,

I wonder if humanity was always meant to be frail. Is frailty a product of a fallen world? Or is it just a natural element to being human? It might be the second. It makes us need one another, but it also proses potential for amassing weapons or isolating oneself. Lord, I am a confused little girl. God, be a lamp unto my feet.

Amen