Forgotten to Remember

It is terrible to forget.

And yet I have.

For clusters of months, mounting to a year.

Until I found my way, one Sunday, to Cedar Lake Park, the place that had held me in the storm of my soul’s transition into the life I never wanted, didn’t know I’d need.

I took the wrong exit off the highway like so many times before; I can never remember which one it is, but I don’t mind the turnaround. I am proud that I am now able to maneuver the back roads and find my way to the park’s swan-necked entrance.

It isn’t big, but is sizable enough to find a spot to myself, down twisted gravel lanes where my tires spray pebbles, and straight to the edge of the water’s bank, slant in the grass to the same bench I like to spread my arms and legs.

As soon as I settle on my wood bench, clouds roll over the sun, and when the breeze swings, the coolness catches my skin.

There are many people dotting the lines of the lake, throwing fishing lines into the water. It’s mid-afternoon, not an ideal time to cast, but I guess there’s simply something cathartic about creating another wrinkle in the current.

I have forgotten the quiet, the crescent of trees, call of birds, spread of sky. Forgotten the sound of my own heart when it is breathing. Forgotten what it’s like to let go and surrender up my life. To give it away, to gain it back.

There are people all around me, coming and going, and though I am by myself, I do not feel alone.

A bullfrog throbs its throat and echoes across the wind, finds my ears. There is no need to fear what is not known; this life is meant for exploration, welcome. Mystery discovered and changed into new life unfathomed. Every single piece should be treated as a pleasure and not a puzzle. Let it all go, slip into nothing, transform everything.

It feels good to write for me, because it pleases my soul and not to beat my mind up in pressure to fill a page, some self-prophesied destiny. I had forgotten how it felt to just be, wrapped up in the land, quiet and unhurried, and let the words come, rather than crash about and jam wrong ones together, break their brittle hands.

I had forgotten how good it feels for me to rest, to receive what is necessary for me to remember. In a way, I have forgotten to remember. All that once I thought I lost, now, found once more.

Dear God, let this day last forever.

Sometimes, I even forget such a prayer.

Do not let this go.

I will spend my heartbeats remembering, tell my spirit to never forget the way it moves most alive when it is immersed in simple wonders marked by the earth, loosened time.

Only an hour has passed, but it disguised itself as an eternity. It is good to be myself, bare, sacred. My true, deep, unhidden being. And when I return to the ways of life around me, there is a wiseness around my eyes, clear and soft. And in a way, I have shifted into newness with hope ballooning strong within, still the same, always evolved.

Reply to Me

Then call, and I will answer;
Or let me speak, then reply to me.
-Job 13:22

 

My voice is an echo that reverberates into the abyss. I strain to speak and folly falls from my lips. Pride seeps from my pores; I say I want Your will but do I truly? Am I willing to lose myself to gain life?

You are close, yet I stretch to touch You. I spin myself in circles deciphering Your direction. A thousand nights I search the sky to catch Your eye upon me. Each star blinks, coolly, secrets veiled in an inky canvas.

I know my prayers get caught in jet streams on their way up to You, a little muddled and twisted when they finally reach Your ear. Words are crossed, punctuation forgotten, it is a jumbled mess. Sometimes, I don’t even know what I’m saying when I begin my message.

Then I wait with pensive anticipation. Hoping for a response, afraid I will be left standing in my solitude. Day after day, I send my secrets in exchange for forgiveness, yet when I construct a note for You to notice me, I create it out of crystal and am afraid the edges will brush against the dust of destruction and shatter and scatter back at my feet.

You hear. You receive my words but do not give response and I continue to swell in a tide of torment.

Once. That’s all I ask. For You to roll Your voice against this tempest raging inside me and speak sanity to my soul. For an answer. Just a clue. Something to tell me I am not sailing this sea blindfolded.

The heavens cannot contain You. You give borders to unending galaxies and the angels sing of Your great glory. You are seated on Your throne, mighty, above all. How dare I demand Your presence, offering you every scraped and patched hole in my heart, digging to uncover Your depth? I am selfish, believing I deserve Your conversation. But I linger, still waiting for Your mouth to turn to me with wisdom.

The storm grows stronger in Your silence. Do not let me toss about the waves much longer, for my legs grow weary and my soul faint.

 

I know You hear me when I pray, but I feel that You are answering in silence. I know I have no right to question why You answer this way, but still I get confused. Grant me patience to wait a while You work Your will. And let me realize that even silence is communication from You, and I should be thankful. Amen.

New Year Wide Open

Snow shakes from the tuft of clouds like salt falling from its holder. There’s a freshness in the air that’s breathing quiet, steady. Cold is smooth, like satin on my exposed skin. And above in bare branches, birds speak with one another, their whistling coos calm across the trees.

This white-painted world washes this new year wide open.

We believe the burning hope within to start again.

But I, I wonder.

Where am I beginning?

Do I reset and start from scratch? Or simply continue in new cadence, found rhythm? I am still experimenting with the intricacies of this unexpected life.

To embrace the uncertainty and rest in what I cannot see. Stir with hope a resilience that balloons my chest for reasons unexplainable. Revel in wonder and unlatch “What if?”. Step into my destiny and approach it, not with fear, but anticipation. And truly let my belief bloom. Believe God to be bigger than my mess, bolder than what makes me afraid, and working beautifully on my behalf.

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Read the rest of my essay over at Awake Our Hearts!

To Bleed and Break

Sometimes all I can see of my heart is red.

Red for the bleeding, the breaking, the pain. Red for the sorrow, the wonder at the way I’m wired. It takes a lot to hold out my heart. To bleed for others, their hopes, their suffering, a relentless concern for those who repeatedly break me open. How can I possibly continue to pour myself into the lives of those who keep brushing mine away?

I don’t know how to live any other way. Is there beauty in this broken? Is there purity in the pain? Is there a white shawl of grace for my upended heart?

I hold out my heart to a man who came to me unexpected, to patch apparently more than my kitchen ceiling, but my broken heart as well. My loyalty-induced DNA and mercy makeup keep me on my knees, grateful at the unexpected gift, feeling every aspect of both our healings as we receive God’s pure, patient, gentle, selfless love again and again. As we give, we receive tenfold, my heart expanding to sizes I never expected it to reach. I love without end.

Who will hold me when my heart lies burdened and expanded? Am I enough?

***

Honored to have an essay on Red Tent Living–want to read the rest of it? Visit the page here.