Spring has officially sprung! New things are growing in my yard and in my life. Lent has been a wonderful journey for me thus far. Digging my hands deep into the soil today, I reflected on how much growth I have recently encountered. Sacrifices made, good causes stood up for, battles fought and won in my own little life. How beautiful the seasons are, always promising us sunshine at the end of dark and cold nights. Today, I feel full. Full of gratitude. Because no matter what happens, goodness is always greater.
“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance… A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, 8
I made a big-girl-grown-up purchase today. A new car. I must say, it was very hard leaving my old car behind. But I had to remind myself, “It’s a car!! It doesn’t have feelings!!! Let it go!!!” I guess it was the memories that was hard to let go of. Another door closed, another chapter begun. I learned a lot through this car buying process; a lot of big-girl-grown-up things. Like how to talk to a salesman and what a V6 engine is. I also learned a lot about people and how different we all are. One of the things I have to constantly remind myself of is that people will have varying opinions, experiences, and perspectives. I have had so many people give me advice that if I were to consider them all I would never buy a car. I constantly strive for people around me to like what I like, believe what I believe, and act the way I act. I’m not sure why I am this way, or why I naturally want life to be that way. I guess it’s my passionate side that takes over. Maybe my opinionated side. Maybe my stubborn side. What I do know is that I am learning to just let people be. It’s actually a hard thing for me. But anything worthwhile is never easy, right? Neither is big-girl-grown-up decisions. But they sure are exciting. 🙂
While talking with my spiritual director about all of the discouragement in my life and dwindling friendships, she encouraged me to meditate on Jesus’ Agony in the garden. This is when He felt the most discouraged and friendless. How appropriate that I would be feeling this way now, during Lent and before his death and resurrection – the same time He felt it too. On Sunday, my dad came over and helped Blake and I work in the yard. We trimmed down nine of our trees. Needless to say, that was a lot of branches; most of them being really thick and heavy. As I drug them over my shoulder to our pile in the back yard, I had an image pop into my head. This physical sign of me carrying these branches over my shoulder, is reflective of my emotional crosses that I currently bare. What a beautiful image it was for me. And to leave all of my crosses in a pile, to step back and look them straight on, knowing that I carried them and then put them aside… Ah, freedom. It gives me hope and strength to know that we don’t have to carry our crosses forever. And we surely don’t have to carry them alone. As we were finishing up, I literally jumped for joy when I spotted two special surprises. A bird’s nest and a cocoon. Both signs of new life. Both signs of hope and blessings. Both signs of waiting hearts.
During the past month, I had quite a few almost-fights/verbal arguments/curse-out-the-teacher moments/temper tantrums, etc. When it rains it pours I guess. All of these incidences back to back, caused me to lose a lot of my passion for teaching. It discouraged me, it beat me down, and it brought me to the bottom of my caring level. Thank God for wonderful teacher mentors. If it were not for my teaching family, I’m not sure what I would do. One of my main go-to-teachers helped encourage me and reminded me that the kids I am teaching are someone’s child. No matter what happens, I have to always remind myself of that; I have to care for them just like they would be my own. I also have to discipline and stay on top of them like they would be my own. This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I don’t have kids, and I don’t know how to parent yet – especially teens!! And unfortunately, I am finding myself more and more of a parent than a teacher. It is totally bringing me out of my comfort zone to a place that I have never explored. I hope that it is making me stronger and better, instead of bringing me down. I hope that in time, I will be able to see how this is affecting me and my professional potential. I can end by saying that this week has been a better week. I experienced a tear-filled moment when some of my struggling students were finally grasping the concept I was teaching. It felt good, and I felt proud… almost like a parent would…
I’ve recently stumbled into a state of being. A somber, contemplative, sad, thoughtful state. I hesitate to call it depression. It’s something different. A soul stirring.
“Is it possible, I asked myself, that I’m being summoned from some deep and holy place within? Am I being asked to enter a new passage in the spiritual life – the journey from false self to true self? Am I being asked to dismantle old masks and patterns and unfold a deeper, more authentic self – the one God created me to be? Am I being compelled to disturb my inner universe in quest of the undiscovered being who clamors from within?
Unfortunately, there has been little emphasis on this summons within Christian circles. When it comes, we don’t understand that we’re being thrust into personal transformation, into the task of birthing an “I” that is not yet. We write it off as just another predicament or plight – perhaps the result of burnout or our dissatisfaction with life.
I believe, however, that in such a summons we’re actually being presented with a spiritual developmental task. We’re being asked to unfold a deeper self – what we might call the life of Christ within us.”
– When the Heart Waits. Sue Monk Kidd.
I think that’s it. I am in the process of ‘birthing an I that is not yet’. My soul needs changing. It needs transformation. It needs to die to itself in order to become more. To become better. To live fully.
I now enter the cocoon… I now begin to live the question once more.
Sadness took the day off today,
Joyfulness is subbing for him.
Cool air refreshing the soul.
Coffee so strong, bold and brave – bringing strength to my frailness.
Cameras capturing hummingbirds.
Tasting. Feeding. Humming.
Dogs playing. Sniffing. Chasing.
Birds chirping and singing praises.
Bibles and books, open, offering wisdom and comfort.
Rocking chairs rocking. Soothing.
Flags flapping and waving. Allowing the wind to take them, lead them.
Letting go of all control.
Wind chimes playing notes of fall.
All giving thanks to God.
I am currently reading a book about recognizing blessings. It is really making me think about living in the moment. How many small, yet wonderful, everyday gifts do we let pass us by?
…. the sun rising or setting against a sky melting with color, the smell of a freshly opened bag of coffee, a seed growing, a vine weaving in and out with a mind of its own, the smell of the air after a good rain, a bird’s nest, a great song playing at the right time, a dog sleeping….
“For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson