Monday, March 10, 2014

The Thaw

I went running tonight for the first time in a long time. This winter was nothing but cold, frigid actually. Michigan hit a record with 108 inches of snow and consistent single digit temperatures. So running has been out of the question. But today we hit 35 degrees, and it just seemed to be the right time for many reasons. So I strapped my shoes on, threw Noah's U of M beanie on my head, turned on my Pandora station, and set out.

I remember when I first started to run almost a year and a half ago now. I could barely make it twice around the subdivision. I would eagerly give up after I hit that second loop because I was tired and ready to be done. But now I hit that second loop and have no problem pushing right through the breathlessness. I really don't think I am in any better shape. I have had a pregnancy and two months of no exercise. The difference is that my view of pain has changed. When I was pregnant with Si, I wanted so badly to go out and move. To run, to feel the wind, to have that outlet. But I couldn't. I could barely make it through a day. I think two years ago when I started using exercise as an outlet, I knew in my spirit that I was about to enter a defining time of my life. I didn't know then all that would come down, but I sensed it. Having lived the past two years, I have learned to lean into the pain, knowing it will make me stronger. I no longer run from it. I have learned to lean in.

Tonight as I ran, the snow was melting all around me. Water was running down the street in cascading rivers reaching for the drainpipes. It was as though I could visibly see the snow hills shrinking. I couldn't help but feel it in my soul too. Just as I felt it two years ago, but in a different way. Tonight I felt the thaw. So much has happened and I have gone to such lengths to protect my heart that it has been safe, but frozen. Which means all but dead...dormant. Tonight as the streams of melting snow ran down the road under my feet, it was as though it was running out of me too. That maybe, just maybe this is the beginning of something new. That spring could be on the horizon. That new life is about to spring up, and the parts of me that have laid dormant will awaken in the warmth of the spring.

I didn't want to thaw. I resisted it. I knew I was choosing to remain safe and to keep my illusion of control. And I didn't care. I loosened my grip on hope and faith and love. I all but let it go. But Love held me. And the warmth of Spring is gently beckoning me. And my heart, while still buried under a mountain of snow, can feel the sun seeping through, and instead of refreezing in an attempt to be safe, I think I am going to give into the thaw. I had convinced myself that to thaw was weak...to trust, to believe, to hope, to dream...it all felt weak. But I am learning that to open up...to take risks...to even begin to hope is the strongest action I can take...because it takes a thousand times more courage than does staying holed up in my protected safe zone. I hope to go forth smarter, wiser...but with the same heart that God created me with. There may be cracks and scars...but its still mine. I am still me. I don't want to be held back by the bondage of shame and fear and hurt that has held me captive. I want to go forth in freedom. And to do that...I must give in to the slow thaw. I must begin to dream again...to hope...to love. And that starts by simply opening up my hands, and lifting my face to the Son...basking in His warmth, knowing that in it and through it all, He held me. And He holds it all.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Shattering

I keep hearing the shattering...the glass hitting the ground and shattering into a thousand fragmented pieces. Pieces that could maybe be put back together under the tedious care of one completely devoted to restoring wholeness. But even then, there would be cracks. I once heard that a pipe is strongest at the spot that once was broken. When welded, it becomes stronger at that spot than all others. Perhaps the cracks are strong like that. But the shattered piece will never be the same.

Sometimes revisiting the past feels like this. With every memory I can hear the shatter, as though the memory goes into slow motion as it replays in my mind. And then as the full force of the reality hits me, I hear the shatter. For some its a diagnosis. For others, the infamous call that they won't ever forget. Still others, its a traumatic experience. But there is always that moment. That moment when your standing on the precipice...that tiny spot that lies between your greatest desire and your greatest dread. For a moment you waver on hope...knowing you could be 2 seconds away from your hearts desire, or being forced to let go. Its a tricky spot, let me tell you...to stand on that small spot that balances these two poles.

But whats worse is that when you are forced to move...when you hear that shatter...and you know your forced to let it go...and you have to do so alone. When you have to walk through something dark and seemingly hopeless. When the rest of the world sees your painted smile and expects the same old things out of you that they always do...and you don't have it to give, but no one knows that...because they can't know why. When the reality hits that seclusion and isolation feels safer than community. When you reach out, and no one takes your hand, or worse yet...pushes you further under.

I am not in that spot any longer. I have moved. But I was. And digging out from the shatter...the fragmented hopes and dreams, is a process, long and elaborate. Sometimes it feels like three steps forward and two backwards. Sometimes being forced to remember the moments of impact set off a chain reaction and all I can hear is the shatter. And I don't want to. I don't want to be reminded. I still haven't decided where to land and pitch my stake on many issues coming forth. I know I am stronger. I know that I have learned a lot. But the lines between self preservation and self sacrifice so easily get blurred.

I am not even sure what point I have to make here. Dreams and hopes and ideals have all been shattered. I am now in the process of rebuilding. For what? I am not certain because nothing in this life holds the promise that it won't be shattered once more. Nothing is completely about us, or for us. I believe it all serves a greater Purpose. But faced with a choice as to if I would rather sit in the rubble or start building, I choose to build. To gather supplies, lay the mortar, and place the bricks. The shatter may come again. In a different form. But I will always build. It is who I am.