Laughter, a safe place, and a tear

His face lit up with laughter, his eyes dancing as he eagerly tried to climb up and bring the story closer and closer to himself.

A gentle reminder from the librarian and he was down again, at least, until the next page when he sprung back to life, eager and excited by the room buzzing around him.

I’m not sure if anyone noticed me, standing off to the side, wound tighter than a spring, ready  to intervene. I’m fairly certain no one noticed as I wiped a stray tear or two away when my little one jumped up and enthusiastically clapped his hands a full measure behind the rest of the group during songs.

To the few who noticed me, I probably appeared half mom, half helicopter, buzzing around until I took our youngest back out to the  fish tank which has left his imagination abuzz and let my husband step in to watch our oldest who was enjoying story time with the passion he so often brings to  things . .  . on good days.

You see, while the hovering was noticeable there was so much that wasn’t.  The sensory issues we’ve fought for 2 years to have recognized because we “coped” better than others that give him his high energy but also contribute to ground shaking meltdowns. Our son’s lack of boundaries that allows him to open  up to strangers as well as family. The communication delays that can leave him struggling to follow the fast moving rhythms of a group.

I shed a tear that busy, messy Saturday because after months of work we had a normal family outing. My boys  joined in with the group games and songs, they came home and told their grandparents about their grand adventures,and went to bed with smiles on their faces.

The library has become a safe space. When your child has an invisible condition, the safety, the ability to sit and watch your child, and i some cases your own, world expand even slightly is such a monumental victory wrapped up in such an inconsequential package to  the unknowing eye, that you  want to shout it  from the rooftops.

Yet, it still begs the question,how many in those scenarios, see the child who has overcome and how many see a child taking away from their experience. How do  we change

words

I’ve always loved words.

As a child, my parents used to give my word games to keep me occupied. I’d always try and follow through but, inevitably, I would get lost within the stories that would come pouring out of my imagination, straining to run once they  were given the chance to break free. I suppose, in some aspects, my parents were more successful in their attempts.

Later on I found my escape in words. Whether streaming on a page, flowing through lyrics, or being brought to life through actors in scenes, words continued to touch and shape my inner world and filling it to the brim with colours and sights  fantastical. Ironically, my own words started to grow silent as life and circumstance taught me the safety in silence. Honestly, who was I too care, it was loud enough in my head without increasing it through my own voice.

Isn’t it true, as we grow older we all learn how violent words can be to the soul when handled maliciously or without  care? Words, once a friend, became a foe, and my spirit shrank as people used their words to  attack my faith, my abilities, and my soul until I could no longer tell if there was anything left of myself left to salvage or the validity of trying to salvage in the first place.

It’s funny the effect of words.

Even now as I do attempt to salvage and rebuild, grabbing a scrap of colour from here, some joy from there, and clumsily trying to wrap it in hope I recognize my own inadequacy for the task. After all, I didn’t build myself, I am created and I need the creator to restore what was broken.

 

 

Risk

By all accounts 2016 has been a rough year.

I’m told if you turn on the news you’re faced with obituaries of beloved stars, wars tearing apart lives and countries, and mother nature wrecking havoc on those caught in between. Add to that personal struggles: illness, finances, relational, etc. . .

I know so many who have simply stopped watching the news (myself included) and so many eagerly awaiting the advent of 2017 solely for the blank slate it offers.

This makes sense to me.The eagerness for a new start, the hungriness for hope, the longing for the  world made right again. The other day I saw someone posting a link to a news article referencing the crisis in Syria. A commented,  unknown by me, lashed out at our mutual friend for posting the article full of dire statistics and heartbreaking images, angry at what they deemed another guilt inducing post. This made sense to me too.

Thanks to social media, 24 hour a day news service, and our constant connectivity doom and gloom is always threatening to encroach upon the bubbles we build up for ourselves, our carefully constructed walls of self-care and “positivity”, walls we build up lest our mental health crack under the strain and crack it does.

Secondary trauma is real and it’s becoming more apparent in my everyday life how much a role media plays in that.  Social media and all hours newscasts give us access  to the horror, meant to inform but often does little more than shock, entertain, and close off it’s audience to the need, relegating user participation to little more than a like or emote to show our response to a world gone mad.

and hence enters our problem, we were made for more.

According to my  own understanding of theology and scripture the church is meant to be the hands  and feet of Christ in the world. We are meant to grieve with this who grieve and bear one another’s burdens.  This are almost impossible to accomplish through a disconnected screen in our  own little worlds.

To  enter in, to bear, to love these are all actions they require response and actions to truly be brought to fruition and to stunt these natural responses leads to increased hopelessness, isolation,  and shutting down.

If we are truly to see 2017 as a better year it is not going to be due to less celebrity deaths, happier news, or less severe weather (though all those would be a nice bonus). To truly see a better  2017 we must embrace a riskier form of love that calls us out from behind our screens and seeking out ways to embrace  and bear with our neighbours and brothers who are suffering whether it is in person or collecting supplies and information from afar. If we really want a better 2017 it’s up to us to risk.

Writing is a path to the soul, the innermost thoughts and, as an introvert, it has often been my friend. The chance to see the words flow out through my hands rather than stumble and trip out of a red tinged face while my social awkwardness betrays me once again.

But writing, at least pre-publishing, doesn’t give much grace or space to  hide behind as you examine the heart  and soul of who you are and for these last few years, there’s just been too much pain to let the words run loose out my finger tips and into the world to been seen and shared. It’s  too  exposing, too much vulnerability to a world that often seems harsh.

So I haven’t written, I let myself curl in and hide in an attempt to heal as dream after dream has continued to die before my eyes leaving me picking up the pieces only to watch new dreams shatter.

I’m still watching my dreams shatter, dreams that once seemed so good and hope filled now in a million pieces.

I’ve done myself  a disservice though because writing gives a voice when mine’s been taken away. What I thought was protective was actually silencing. Where I thought I was curling in to heal. I’ve actually been caging in behind walls of my own devising.

So I write.

Not with any elegance or theme but to give a voice where none has been allowed to sing and hopefully find my song once again

So, I fell off the side of the earth and landed in Wonderland . . . or is it Neverland? These days I’m not quite sure.

I used to write to explore a world I was anchored in. I was a student who was passionate about academics. I was a single woman striking out. Then I got married. New world, less writing.

To find myself, I also needed to learn the relationship and that left less time for writing out my thoughts.

Then I stopped writing. Did you notice?

I did.

Here’s the thing.

I’ve lost my anchor.

I don’t know who I am anymore because my life has done a 180.

I’m a stay at home mama now and I have no clue what that means but I’m willing to explore it. Eager, maybe, amid the fear.

A wise woman I know called motherhood “kingdom work” and it is, but it’s the most terrifying call I could have been given. As I look into little dude’s sleeping face I’m amazed that we were entrusted with this special gift, blessed beyond measure as I watch him walk through even these first few weeks. Yet, I grieve the loss of who I was. I’m no longer the woman I was and that’s okay but her passing needs to be noted, worked through, celebrated even and then we move on.

Now, if I can just figure out how to get a little more sleep maybe I can come back here and write 🙂

 

Relationships are the source of life’s greatest blessings  . . .

They are also the source of some of life’s greatest wounds and here’s the fun part, those wounds, they can only finding healing in community.

 

I know community is a blessing, even for this, finally, self-acknowledged introvert. I rejoice to see what God is doing in the lives of those around me and I grieve with those who walk through difficult times. Today, I am weary. Weary of relationships that hurt and recoiling to protect a heart I know i can’t protect on my own.

I’m not sure how it seems to happen that relationship complexities seem to happen in droves. No, I realize life is messy. I realize good and bad come together but oh, some days, it just is hard.

Lately I’ve noticed an unexpected part of growing up. Life away from your childhood home is a good thing. You get new experiences, new opportunities, and, for me, it introduced me to much beloved husband. However, on the flip side, I didn’t expect the cost of childhood and adolescent relationships.

People who were my friends, I thought, those who comprised those formative years, in an almost synchronized fashion went from catching up on holidays, to cutting off conversations, to no longer responding at all. It’s one thing to deal with one such loss when you’re already considered to sensitive for this society. It’s another when they all do it inside a month.  Talk about getting a slap upside the head with self-doubt and self-worth issues. It’s enough to make a girl wonder if maybe those relationships were projects, if that’s all i ever was. . .

My conscious side says that’s ridiculous but . . . old wounds die hard sometimes.

 

I wish I could say it was just old relationships, those are hard enough to mourn, the pain of an adolescence cut off abruptly from the present life. I wish I could but why lie when you already hide behind a penname in the anonymous world of blogging.

I’ve had two significant relationships currently go much the same way. My highschool friend and cousin recently cut off contact. Citing a desire to retreat from online things, cause anyone important can text what they need. I don’t have a cell phone. Yeah, that smarts.

The other is more complicated and the reason i’m writing tonight. I don’t know how to find the words to figure out where it went wrong, but I know he’s hurting and so am I. Maybe I’m writing more to figure out my own heart. Text always has come easier than the written.  I know life changes as are circumstances do. I knew getting married would change the dynamics between my friend group. We were no longer “students” (we still are we just don’t quite live that lifestyle anymore). However, I didn’t expect the friend who encouraged us to start dating to recoil so badly, depression alone doesn’t explain his behaviour.

Where we once talked, he now actively avoids me, seeking my husband’s company alone when he comes over, his behaviour and body language telling me i’m more a time killer until my hubby’s free.

Where he once listened, being a brother and one of my closest friends, instead, he used those secrets to hurt me. Something, the friendship we shared hopes was accidental and not malicious.

There are few guys i’m comfortable around, if I’m honest, I no longer count him as one of them.

So here’s my question? What do I do?

As Christians, we are called to love. However, that love does not necessitate an active  relationship. In fact, in some cases the most loving thing to do is to step away so that one does not continue to be harmful but how do you know when it is your fear and when it is simply time?

 

I think this musing requires another hot drink…

Pain, frustration, and a rainbow of a different colour

Many of my posts online tend to be about pain.

I never start out intending to write out the dark thoughts and painful struggles in my life yet, somehow, when given a pen name and a blank page they just begin to flow. Perhaps it has something to do with the lack of safe places I have to pour out my confusion when I’m away from the screen.

and yet it isn’t enough. I think a good deal of my ranting is do to my feelings of helplessness. I cannot change my disability. No matter what I do, time will erode my joints at its own pace and as I try to live a healthier life in order to maintain my joints I see them erode faster. Life isn’t fair.

I’ve tried pouring my pain out in prayer but, even though the “stereotypical” Christian in me cringes at the words, sometimes I feel like I’m talking to the wall (or ceiling in my case, I’ve had epic ceiling rants). I know my God is big enough to handle my pain but sometimes I’d love a more tangible response.

However, I’ve found a pain I can do something about, at least, if nothing else, I can share this pain with those of you brave enough to enter in with me.

Now, here’s a disclaimer.

I don’t like pain. Honest, I actually rather despise it and wish it’s lessons had a different method of instruction. In this particular case, I’ve walked away more times than I care to imagine and yet, find myself inexplicably returning to the scene which causes my heart to break. But, you know, I think sometimes, there are things worth breaking over. Sometimes, there is no getting over or working through because the injustice of the situation demands a voice, and those who suffer as a result demand someone to cry when they, themselves, cannot.

Whether it is the sheer overwhelming need, fear of the unknown, lack of education, or a society which reinforces the devaluing of those who are different (and to be honest, humanity is to complex to label a specific cause for each circumstance) half a world away there are thousands of orphans who exist and nothing more, a number of which will simply fade away without a family to mourn their absence.

These are the disabled orphans. The children who are locked away, left in cribs to wither, who’s gifts and dreams lay unrealized. These are the children who break my heart.

Margaret is one of these children

Last week, Margaret moved from the “Other Angel” page on Reece’s Rainbow to the “in Loving Memory” Page.

I didn’t know this child, never could, and yet, the fact that she has passed is an event, in my eyes, worthy of noting.

Reece’s rainbow is an organization dedicated to stemming the tide of stories like Margaret’s. They exist to advocate, fund raise, and build general awareness about the plight of disabled orphans around the world who are facing a life of unmet potential and even early death due to a lack of adequate care in their area’s for children in their position.

It was interesting when I found Reece’s. I’m a student on loans, disabled, and, at that time, single. I could not do anything . . . or so I thought. Turns out, all you need to do to make a difference is pray. The first child I saw was a beautiful little girl that I committed to pray for. Her forever family is currently waiting for their travel date to go and bring their daughter home.

I’m still a student, now a newly wed, and for the time still cannot do much for these kids but I can write and I can ask you for help.

Sometimes, a little movement can start an avalanche.

You can pass this post along.

Visit http://reecesrainbow.org. There is plenty of information and many children who need someone to care for them, even if it’s praying from a difference.

If you like coffee, think about ordering from https://justlovecoffee.com/about/beneficiary/coffeeforkirk/. All the proceeds go towards, the little dude on the front page’s adoption fund, helping his forever family whenever they find their son.

Maybe, if you’re like me and can’t sit idly by, you can commit to formally or informally fund raise for one of the children or families or pray for a child who is in the process.

If I’m going to be fired up, may as well be for a purpose 🙂

Be forewarned. I’d like to pick a different child each week and highlight them on here, in the hopes that maybe, cases like Margaret will become the exception.

Confused Introvert on the Prairies

I`m a confused introvert. At the very least, I`m a conflicted one.

Living in a small town can be a blessing to an introvert. Small crowds and wide open fields means there are usually a multitude of ways in which you can find some time, on your own, and recharge. Even as I write this my company is the sound of crickets in the field next to the house which, without exaggeration, stretches as far as the eye can see.

The problem comes when the introvert in me says it`s time to be social. In a small town, you run the risk of over-exposure. We used to joke that you could sneeze in your room with the doors closed and curtains drawn, but it would still be news across town in under an hour.

Small town humour. It`s great, at least, until the lady across town asks how your allergies are going.

Sometimes I cringe against the interconnectedness that abounds here, other times I recognize it for the blessing it is and do my level best to interact with the community in which I live.

However, I also live in a college town. That means that at this time of year, it can be hard to find anyone with some spare time to talk. What`s a girl to do?

I suppose I could be patient . . . However, as someone who struggles with depressive thoughts and addictive behaviour, probably not the best option.

I could talk to my husband more, but, he’s not intended to be my entire social world. Not fair to him or me.

I could go online. This is actually the route I took. After all, I have lots of friends from life outside of school online.

Or at least, I thought I did.

It’s hard when an old friend doesn’t want to talk. . . it’s harder when none of them do.

Doubts begin to creep into your head. Did they ever care? Or were you merely a project or worse a duty. Interaction based on religious obligation is my worst fear, and tonight, that fear rattles around my head.

Were the relationships that governed my high school years, my summers, my life in Ontario all merely an illusion? Some joke played on the one person who wouldn’t get it . . . me?

 

I know my thoughts are dark and I know some relationship must have been real but tonight I feel dejected. Perhaps I’d be better off going on a walk.

Quotes

Taking off from my last posts. Some words from people more eloquent than I tonight.

“The toughest thing is to love somebody who has done something harmful to you…especially when that somebody has been yourself.” – Mr. Rogers

“There come dark days when I do read
These scars of mine like Braille
But not as words of grief or pain
But proof that Christ does heal”  Author unknown

Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.  by J. K. Rowling

“It has been said that time heals all wounds. I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue, and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.” R. Kennedy

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. Maya Angelou

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Kahlil Gibran

Without pain, there would be no suffering, without suffering we would never learn from over mistakes. To make it right, pain and suffering is the key to all windows, without it, there is no way of life.      Angelina Jolie

“Grace heals our shame by removing what shame causes us to fear most: rejection and abandonment. Grace gives us a sense of worth and value that no shadow within us … can revoke.”  Jerusha Clark

“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.”  Audrey Hepburn

“for those of you who feel like you’re in a moment, or season, or year of hopelessness, know that I am with you. Those moments when you feel like forcing a smile is the biggest lie you’ve ever told, know that we are with you. You don’t have to fear honesty, or feel wrong for not subscribing to optimism. We aren’t intimidated by your questions. Your voice is beautiful and your breathing serves as a protest to all that is holding you down. You can scream at the darkness, make it afraid of your life, and we will be there cheering you on.” Unknown

“Tell her something true when all she’s known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses.” TWLOHA

Stories wait for endings, but songs are brave things bold enough to sing when all they know is darkness  TWLOHA

Pain and voices

I really don’t seem to be posting much of late – whether it’s here or one of the many other sites I frequent.

I haven’t disappeared. I have just become a silent lurking searching for their lost voice.

Perhaps you have seen it?

If you have, would you mind sending it home? It’s rather lonely here searching for expression to the confusion inside when your voice has failed.

I remember having a voice.

Sometimes it whinged like no other about my health or life in general. Other days, my voice railed against the injustices that I encountered, each one breaking my heart until it had to come out lest I went crazy. On occasion my voice sang with the beauty of the day, unable to be silent in the face of so much goodness. Those were good days.

These days, I think, it has become lost in the chaos and I have yet to hear its whisper amid the winds.

Pain has a way of silencing the best of us and sometimes that silence isn’t chosen, regardless of those who claim that we should just move on with life. In fact, these people do a disservice because they disqualify the place and purpose of pain. Pain can teach us, so long as we don’t demand it follow our lesson plan. That is not pain’s purpose.  I could write pages on the many views on pain but today that is not my purpose.

Someone once said  that “Pain is not something that needs to be justified, In order to heal, pain must simply be understood.” For some, pain’s purpose is complete when it is understood and incorporated into their story. Rather than a raw wound, the pain becomes part of the character, its lessons shaping the life it has now been incorporated into. For others, understanding the pain gives voice to action. Rather than an acceptance, pain becomes a vehicle to change.