Monday, June 13, 2011

if you call, I will answer.

I have been consciously absent. And even though this is my space, I feel obliged to explain why. I have had a lot on my heart and on my mind, but I am just not sure how much I should share. I say that I'm an open book, but some parts of what's smokescreening all over my insides right now are just not ready to be aired yet, and I'm just not sure they are meant to be aired. Just for tonight, there are no photos. I have words to spill. Forgive me if they don't flow well.


As a child, I loved to tell stories. I am told I am a decent storyteller.
Somehow now that I have written Amos's story (in four parts here, here, here and here)
I am not sure where to go next,
and I am feeling a great many things.

... that I am in a state of growth in my life, where my old skin is drawing tight and itchy, straining and begging to be burst open, again revealing something new, the glorious, refreshed and changed, shiny fresh life within,
that I am mourning a loss, that someone very close to my heart had his freshly knotted young wife walk away -

 - and into the arms of another man. sigh. it hurts. like hell.

that I am struggling with that in my heart and my mind, and in finding a balance 
as a mother, a woman, a wife, a writer, a follower of Jesus, a Whatever Else I Am (not necessarily in that order),

that our marriage at times is some of the hardest work I have been called to do,
and that people in happy, easy-from-the-outside marriages cause me to furrow my brow in astonishment, dig my heels in at the same time as restoring my faith,

that I need to focus on the positive things, hence the start of my gratitude list,

that I fail - often.
and that I need to seek help.

I knew I needed to come clean about this list of weights holding me down, keeping me from writing.

I was feeling guilty. The mess of emotion inside my heart and mind has been keeping me somewhat swamped, when what I really want to be able to say is:

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
- Mary Oliver 

I have always felt called to do something. Maybe a great many of us feel that, and I am not any different than anyone else. If there's anything I've learned, it's that we are all more alike than different, so I guess we all feel called in some way. 

I had thought that one big purpose in my wild and precious life was to wrap my arms around other women, other mamas, other people who are struggling with an unexpected diagnosis using my words here. I have spoken of this before, here, and here. I hope I can help even one person. I feel this so strongly, and still believe it to be true.
Perhaps because I felt so strongly compelled to do something, I had thought another calling way was I could get in touch with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society and begin a fundraiser in honor of my precious boy's first birthday.

... but honestly? I was terribly uninspired. 

Perhaps because I have had no contact from this organization, ever.

Perhaps because I heard the words to thine own self be true resonating in my head... and in coming clean, I know truthfully that I was trying to copycat this idea, and it would not be from mine own self. 

Yes. And most important of all, I didn't feel that this was where God was asking me to direct my energy

I take those words to heart. I spent time in prayer, and contemplation. I searched for inspiration. For this precious baby man's birthday, we had a peaceful, joyful, celebratory day amongst people who love us and our Amos that was not punctuated by a smashingly successful (or smashingly unsuccesful!) fundraiser for awareness, but what we most certainly felt was a heartfelt and joyful acceptance of these special and wonderful, beautiful and precious little people with their designer genes.

Maybe one day, I will still do a fundraiser.
What I'm sure of now is that when God means for me to do it - He will clear the path for me and light the way.

Sigh. Feels a bit like since the birthday party decorations are still up (I like them.) that maybe I'm hosting a pity party again, but I just wanted to get a load of this off my chest. Come clean, so to speak. 

Once I had done, brushed aside and completed, that perhaps then I would have the energy and the focus to draw word pictures of positive things and share them with you (you know the saying? you can attract more flies with honey). I thought this is what I am called to do, this is what people want to read, and this is what makes people feel good.

But it doesn't just come easily to me when I am sitting within the four walls of my house, as I've said before, to write of skipping down lollipop lane twirling in sunshine and bluebird happiness and such. Was this more of me just being negative? Where I needed to work harder to only write of my gratitudes and of consciously seeking out my blessings in order to fix what is broken in me? Yes. A large part, yes. But In times of little boys tag team nap times so a tired mama spends the better part of an afternoon trudging up and down stairs once, twice, thrice in but a moment to settle little heavy headed sleepy boys in dire need of restful time to grow... where a moment is so longed for to simply sit, clear my mind and reconnect with Jesus and start the day anew, and many times this just does not get to happen, so intimate time with my Father in heaven is spliced in between the every day toil and labor so through gritted teeth and a heavy heart that I would hide away to regale you with stories of cotton candy afternoons and handspun yarn delicious overflowing moments of bliss in our house of love? Sigh. No.


But somehow, when I go outside these four walls, it all seems so much less heavy, less impending, gloomy, sleepless and stressful. Sigh.

Don't get me wrong, many days in this house are joy filled, beams of sunshine spilling in and laughter and happy hearts prevail.


And many days are not.

... and then I read this, and it blessed me.


And I think I have found a more truthful and soul filled piece of what God has called me to do. Tell my stories. All of them, when and where He prompts me to tell them.

In my life, I have not walked down as many lollipop lanes sprinkled with fairy dust and sunshiney lilypad tiptoeing moments where pixies flit about and daydreams are reality as the times where I have been smacked in the jaw, stars in my eyes as I struggle to get my wits about me, senses reeling and heart pounding. In truth, the soles of my feet are cracking because of the weight of where my feet have trod, and my soul is bare bones in places where not many can see because I keep them covered. My tears burn my cheeks with threadbare stains and yet, all of this is who I am. 

All of it. 
Not just the pretty, the joyful, the easy, the beautiful.

There is much joy amidst the pain, good days and bad days. And through it all there are stories. Ann Voskamp from A Holy Experience coined it so well:

I come to you tonight with nothing but a string of stories… for that is all I have, all we all have, reallythe Word God making our lives into lines that we throw to each other.

The lines of our stories become literal life-lines that we throw to each other when the storms come and beat hard on our lives.

When you sit down to your keyboard, and you write a blogpost — you are writing for me. You are writing for messed up me, and the messed up woman next door, and the messed up woman sitting beside you in church and messed up You. We need your messy stories. And you need your messy stories.
 
Why do I need your story and why do you need your story?

Because story is a way that the Spirit of God can bind our wounds.

It is in story, we meet the Spirit of God. The reader meets the Spirit of God in the reading of story — the word made flesh in your life. The writer, you, meets the Spirit of God in the writing your story – the word made flesh in your own life.

The Word God wastes nothing and He heals two broken hearts with one story – the reader and the writer.

Us who are fighting for joy from behind the laundry heap and in the trenches with the crying kids and with the bruised marriages and the crushing debts and the battered, frayed dreams, and We. Don’t. Want. To. Get. Out. Of. Bed — we need your messy, real, authentic, unmasked stories. And you who are fallen and broken and scraped–  you need your messy, real, ugly stories.  Because in the hands of the Spirit, story becomes a salve to the skinned souls. 
- Ann Voskamp

Whoosh. 

So it's not just me?

Did you feel that as strongly as I did? 
I knew what I was trying to do here was not about attracting more flies with honey. And somehow I knew it was for my own healing, too.

God has called me to be who I am, a vessel to be filled by Him to pour out to others, to show His grace and His goodness and His overflowing mercy, and by doing so, hopefully helping you heal in some way, and receiving healing of my own.

I don't know if what I speak of is what you are struggling with. Things I do know are that Down Syndrome is not what defines our family, but it sure is a significant part of our family because we are so in love with our sweet and brilliant babe - but there is still pain there from time to time.

... and I also know that the multitude of ground where my path has traveled amongst thorns thrashing my skin, causing me suffering and torment -
these are not things unique only to me, or to our family -

and therefore it's not fair for me to hide them away and pretend they aren't happening, especially here, where this is my space to share and be most myself, and perhaps be of some use.
Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it. 
- again, Mary Oliver


This is what I (need to) blog. Because this is who I am. I am a mess – who often doesn’t want to get out of bed. Who struggles and preaches ugly self-sermons to herself and some days just really doesn’t know how to go on. I don’t have it all together. I blog about not having it all together. And you know what? I’m almost willing to hazard a guess that there a whole lot of other women out there like me who are a bit of a mess and who don’t know how to get out of bed some mornings and who have to fight. Hard. For. Joy. 
- Ann Voskamp

This is what I am called to do. And where it goes it not up to me, and not for my glory.


For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. 
Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields...Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.
- there she is again, Mary Oliver 

And now, I fight, Hard. For. Joy. and start the day in happiness, in kindness. For both of us. You and I. And for my family. My man, my children.

I had to come clean about it. I have been carrying it awhile and it has only made me stronger. It now holds a little less weight over me, but leaves me with some mighty strong shoulders to help carry yours. 

Let me help you.

11 comments:

  1. Wow....oh friend, how my heart needed to hear your words tonight! Perhaps we are kindred hearts in the body of Christ because you are describing ME in your words! I'm so tired tonight, I will be back tomorrow to continue reading....because my tired little boy is waking up as I type! But I am here more times that I too like to admitt. Called. Perhaps called to be imperfect, struggling Mama's after Christ's own heart? I leave you tonight with the reminder that HIS strength is made perfect in our weakness!

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  2. my new friend, we have so much to talk about...

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  3. Thank you for sharing and for your strength, which has given me strength today.

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  4. Oh, sweet Laura!

    Your words don't come as a surprise to me. I could sense it. I relate. I am so glad you found the strength and courage to reveal it for yourself, though! And like Poot &Boogie above, "we have so much to talk about..."

    You are precious, you are worthy, you have a purpose & you will find it & complete it....in due time....In HIS time!

    Be easy on yourself. Love yourself. The Lord loves you sooooo much. I know you know that, but sometimes we need to hear someone else say it, to remind us. Again, You. Are. Worthy.

    Be blessed today ~
    Much, much love,
    Kelly

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  5. I just discovered your blog yesterday. I'm a mom to two little boys & a stepmom to three kids, including Madeleine, who has Down syndrome. We all struggle and we all fight to come up for air sometimes, but knowing that we're not alone helps more than anything else. Thank you for writing. You have a beautiful family.

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  6. i'm not walking the same line, along the same path in this crazy journey of life, but i feel this post times ten. hang in there, mama. tune out the noise when you can and tune in to your heart. and you'll always through out the good vibrations for all who listen. big love, girl.

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  7. most nights i think to myself,
    "that i survived that day, is a miracle. hands down."
    survived as in, i'm still alive.
    ...
    and i'm with you, i have no desire to hear the "pretty" part of the story,
    please humour me! for the love! please!
    ...
    loved this http://gremadcha.blogspot.com/2011/06/doubt-and-peas.html.
    ...
    and i love this http://deathisnotdying.com/ at least once a month. it helps me with the whole "purpose" thing.

    peace.

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  8. Thank you for the salve dear friend.
    -Kiki xx

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  9. Oh darling, are you sure we are not the same person?

    "This is what I (need to) blog. Because this is who I am. I am a mess – who often doesn’t want to get out of bed. Who struggles and preaches ugly self-sermons to herself and some days just really doesn’t know how to go on. I don’t have it all together. I blog about not having it all together. And you know what? I’m almost willing to hazard a guess that there a whole lot of other women out there like me who are a bit of a mess and who don’t know how to get out of bed some mornings and who have to fight. Hard. For. Joy.
    - Ann Voskamp"

    yup

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  10. Your blog is fantastic! Thanks for these words...

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  11. laura - i'm glad this is a long post... then i can come & re-read when you go too long between posts.
    i love what you give so *freely* here...
    mo' please.

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make no mistake, I am smitten with your words. please say hello, or pour something out - you will make my heart happy.

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