Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Big Bear Moments

 A few days* of goodness really does something for the soul. Even a few moments of quiet beauty does wonders. I know it’s said that for every negative comment, you need 5 positive comments to cancel it out. However I feel that for every stunning moment, I am given the courage to face the next week with eyes wide open.

For labor day weekend I traveled to Big Bear for the first time for a girls trip while Scott was away for a Bachelor party. I’ve been dreaming of this trip for some time now. My heart has longed for nature living in an urban neighborhood in San Diego. My soul has missed water living in the drought here and chlorine pools and salt water don’t just do the trick sometimes. I was raised on fresh water. Growing up, I learned how to canoe, water ski, tube and fish on fresh water lakes.
We stayed in a community called Sugar Loaf on top of the mountains. I could feel the altitude changing as my breathing became more thin. Trees on trees on trees as we slowly climbed. Our little log cabin we rented was from Air B&B. It was as quaint and cozy as they come. It was even smaller than Scott and I’s one bedroom apartment I think and that is saying something. The girls and I took shifts making dinner in the kitchen because it was so small only one person could comfortably stand inside it. There was a fireplace and a loft. These are my favorite things. First things first, I climbed up the log ladder onto the loft and overlooked our cozy cabin with dancing eyes and breathed in my surroundings.

 There is something about mountain air. It just smells so fresh. The trees smells of oak and leaves and must. The whole world smells like earth and somehow I feel like my soul belongs here. In nature I feel closer to God. I know that it’s not like God suddenly shows up as if he doesn’t hang out in the urban areas, I just feel it more. I can sense something divine and heavenly up high in the mountains where I am swallowed up in blue.

 Up here I felt released from my financial concerns as if making dinner every day and making my own coffee was how things were supposed to be. Cabin life made me feel like I lacked nothing. I didn’t wear make-up and I didn’t feel a need to shop for clothes. I felt safe in my own skin. I was with my safest friends and in an environment I have always felt serene and safe in. Growing up in the country, I seemed to find what most people deem as dangerous as friendly: specifically wildlife. I feel that bears and coyotes just want to be my friend. Thunderstorms are just there to remind me that everything is being made new. Jumping off and driving boats and climbing on rocks and jumping off of them are just part of nature life. I am not very realistic when it comes to fears as I’m sure most of you understand. For example, I am still deathly afraid of kidnappers. I am also afraid I will leave my journal in a public place…mainly like church. I don’t think they would appreciate my profanity.

The girls and I settled into an easy rhythm of sleeping, eating, laking and rom coming (chick flicking) In the mornings I had my coffee outside watching the trees sway to the breeze and hearing the pinecones fall with a thud every few minutes. We rented a boat and had a picnic on some rocks overlooking the lake.

 The moments where there is no need or desire to numb with shopping, drinking or restricting food. There is no need to numb by hiding how I really was. I don’t have to pretend with these mountains and with these friends. 

These moments change me. 

I can’t believe there is a place where I don’t need my vices to fix my anxiety.

I don’t need to mute my joy. 

It can just be.

 I think this place might be inside all of us. It’s the image of God that tells us you.are.okay. I know life is hard but you don’t have to shield yourself from it, you can experience life. You don’t have to numb yourself from feeling it. 

It’s like I was naked and raw all weekend and it was beautiful. My sensitive brain and body accepted all of me. When I jumped off the boat and felt the shockingly mind numbing cold, I felt it. When I realized it was a 4 feet jump and I didn’t have the strength to do one more push up to get back on the boat, I felt small panic seeping in. When I drove the boat like a boss I felt sheer joy. When I inhaled the fresh air I felt relief. When I looked at my friends in our pajamas and fuzzy heads after a day of sun and lake I felt understand. I could laugh and cry, no pretenses necessary.  

          These are the moments that give us courage to face whatever is next. For me, it’s financial struggle. It’s the excruciating wait of that next pay check. This weekend took the edge off. My problems are not necessarily fixed. I was just given permission to let them be and to be scared. When I gave myself this permission I realized I could handle it.  I can face myself and be okay with it. God in me is brave. And me abiding in Him is strong.


* Written September 1, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Love Difference

Sometimes I see red. Blatant, 500 shades, red.

Chaotic, throwing, ripping and shredding. 

It screeches with a capitol A.

Profanity strung in a neat row across the clothes line of my life.

It sinks; plummets like metal; like a ball of lead settling into the pit of my stomach.

My anger.

I was once told, “he never should have married her, she’s from a broken home...”

I was also told, “I can’t change in the locker room with all those other girls, my stomach is big and they are skinny.”

And this, “She didn’t do a natural home birth delivery??!!”

I’ve heard, “He’s a little off, he takes medication.”

I hear that Tiffany and Company was sued for racial discrimination and likewise now, Louis Vuitton, for a racial comment made by an employee. 

What seems to be communicated here is that being different is bad.

This is why I see red.

There my anger lays flat, wide and deep, I grimace and squeeze the pain, shut it out, close my eyes.

Now it’s black

My anger ceases to be helpful at this point.

Rage at everyone for hating what is different. For rejecting what is contrary to them. Fire spills over, black ash remains.






All those who were the catalysts and the perpetuators of the ‘isms’ of our world, I feel hatred pulse, pound in the dark.

I grasp for my air as black draws my knees to despair.

I wait.

I too, am afraid of differences. I too am scared of what I don’t understand. Scared that my husband will want pizza and I’ll want pasta. Nervous that our mild discrepancies are only symptoms of a greater disease.

In our world, we have different ethnicities. We are different genders and races. We have different cultures, backgrounds and traditions. We have different body types. We are different ages. We have different beliefs and values. We are from different places and we traverse different paths while pursuing different visions. And all of this difference has made us all crazy. It has scared the figurative shit out of all of us. We cannot tolerate the discomfort of being different. 

And so we are mean.

I don’t want to be mean.

But I don't know how to be different.

The black fades.

The red returns.

I see it again.

I see again.

A brilliant woman once wrote, “Maybe anger is like compassion, in that it can point us directly toward the place in the world we were born to help heal.1

Perhaps there is a little tiny part of me that can hold compassion for those who have started the “isms”. They were scared. They are scared. And so am I. They speak from a place of fear. Fear of different. I too am afraid of the different. 

I want to love different. I want different to be okay; not just okay, but good.

We need each other. We belong together. What we have in common is this, we are human, we have feelings, and we, all of us, have the image of God fluttering around somewhere in all the places we deemed lost. 

This is the power of our commanility. 

Our sameness. 

Our differences.

Our togetherness.

Eyelids flutter open.

The red. 

Red that was spilt because He was different. Too different to handle, to tolerate, to dwell in the presence of. 

I won’t try to take away the differences. 

I won’t clean it away, bleach out my red, I need my red. My anger reminds me of the pain that we all experience. My anger points me to a world marred by sadness, wildly searching for love and compassion. I need my red, I need this anger that ultimately fuels my empathy.

It bleeds scarlet, it permeates, it feels the weight. It tells me I am different, and that it is good.