Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Hello there, friends,
When we think about our project here at hello there, friend, our thoughts often going to noticing, paying attention, staying present in our lives, and letting go of what may no longer serve us. There's been lots of talk around here about letting go. And while we're not ready to let go of this project yet, we've decided it's time for us to take a break for a while, to let this space rest and give us a chance to reconnect to what we truly believe is good about our work here.
It's hard to make these kinds of decisions, but it's becoming exceedingly clear to us that a break is in order. We hope to be back, when our hearts are rested and our eyes are clear. This project has deepened our friendship, given us direction, and reminded us again and again that we're not alone. Our gratitude is overwhelming -- for you, for this project, for this life we share.
We hope to be back soon. Thank you for sharing this journey with us.
b + L
Friday, March 10, 2017
hello there, friend,
i met with a friend this morning for coffee. we met early after our kids got off to school and before we each started work. to say that i'm grateful for her friendship is an understatement. we talked about our kids, our struggles, caught up on the last few week's happenings and found ourselves musing as we often do on something that we continue to learn and relearn.
no matter what is happening, it won't last forever. i remember this realization when my kids were young. at first i thought they would never sleep through the night. i worried about it, asked my friends about their children, read books on sleep, and months later was worried about something else entirely - when to eat solid food, how to get them to nap, would they ever be potty-trained, would a certain one ever stop complaining about going to school - and on and on.
i try to remember this in these years of parenting teens because what you say is true. it's hard to know if or when something might happen for the last time - the last time i read out loud at bedtime, the last time either one of the 'littles' wants a kiss before bedtime. nothing lasts forever - whether it's the things we worry about or the things we hold dear.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Hello there, friend,
Very early this morning, I was awoken by a little voice, my son's, saying he was scared in his room. I pulled back the covers and he climbed into bed with me. He cuddled in as close as he could, pressed his body up to my torso and pulled up his knees. Every time this happens, I wonder how much longer he'll fit like this, his little body curving right into mine. I often think about what it'll be like when he grows taller than me. Will I remember this little boy who visited me in the middle of the night?
The only certainty is uncertainty, and I felt that as I walked him back to his room. I had gone to bed early last night, tired from a long day and anticipating another. Here I was, up in the middle of the night and when I returned to bed, I couldn't get back to sleep. Sometimes it's so overwhelming, not being able to control everything, including sleep. I try to have realistic expectations, but sometimes I wonder how any of us goes on, so tired, so overwhelmed.
But this morning, I came downstairs and started the coffee. I wrote in my journal for a bit, then the kids came out from breakfast. We kissed good morning and I turned on the music. Perhaps there's uncertainty under all of it, but some things remain the same -- the coffee is hot, the music is happy, we're starting the day together. Forget the bad night's sleep or the cold rain outside -- we're here. Today is another day.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
hello there, friend,
just today i listened to a podcast in which it was said the only certainty is uncertainty. the context was a conversation about faith and the idea that at times, we might begin to question a particular belief or idea, which throws us into disequilibrium. whether it's our faith or our future, it can be hard to be in a place where we just don't know the answers.
human beings are hard-wired to crave certainty, which prompts us to think in terms of black and white, right and wrong, making us uncomfortable with uncertainty. that alone is comforting to me - that it's normal to want answers and structure and certainty.
so often, what i write about one day feels untrue and hypocritical the next. sometimes throughout the course of one day, i find so much contradiction in myself i wonder how to hold these various bits of me together. like you, i'm starting to understand how this is true for each of us - we are more alike than different - each sinner and saint, each full of love and longing for love, each certain of so much and uncertain, too.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Hello there, friend,
I've been thinking a lot about contradictions lately, and what we're talking about here is exactly that. We want things to be this or that. We want clear-cut lines, even though we know we'll never be able to fit into them. We are walking contradictions, all of us, and so often holding that tension is difficult. We do things we don't want (or don't mean) to do. We say we believe something, then do the opposite. We cower in the difficult choice, and even the not-so-difficult one.
It leads me to believe that I'm a big phony. What I'm learning, though, is that contradictions are not phoniness; they are our human reality. We have to accept ourselves as both honest and liars. We have to see that we that we both hold others close and also push them away. We can't help but contradict. It's human nature.
To me, this is why forgiveness is so important. I grew up in a family that never apologizes. To this day, it's one of my biggest irritants, that people wouldn't apologize when they're wrong or hurt someone else. We hurt each other and hurt ourselves; we can't help it. Because of that, we need to be gentle with each other and gentle with ourselves. I'm learning that every single day, holding the broken pieces of myself up to the light and saying it's okay if it doesn't all fit together because it all is part of me.
Monday, March 6, 2017
hello there, friend,
how grateful i am for your wise words, for the idea of seasons and the way life ebbs and flows. it's all more simple and complex that we can imagine. and sometimes i forget that i might be the one making it more complicated.
the imagery of being refined is so beautiful. to think of my life's journey as one in which i'm constantly being refined helps me better understand this idea of the longer view - the wider picture. not so much a destination as a process - as always in progress.
in addition to the quiet stillness of meditation, i've picked up my gratitude journal again. as things ebb and flow, so does my need for this reminder that i have all i need. that i am already blessed beyond measure. this is what i need to pay attention to in order to believe i am living with abundance and not scarcity. i begin this week in a different place than i ended last week... encouraged and grateful.
Friday, March 3, 2017
Hello there, friend,
What you say about being good enough versus striving for more make me think of the old saying that God loves you as you are but He refuses to leave you that way. There's a tension in it that can be hard to understand. How do we accept ourselves, but also strive to be better? Why can't we leave well enough alone?
I can give you the quick-and-dirty answer for myself. For me, the stakes have always felt high. My parents had a messy divorce; I was an angry, withdrawn kid. I didn't have a happy childhood and as a teenager, I knew any change in my life would have to come from within me. So, when I got married, I stepped away from that old story, and when I became a mother, I stepped even farther. But all of this stepping away actually brought me closer to myself -- to my anger and my pain, to letting go of who I was to become who I truly am.
The process of refining who I am, learning more and realizing I still have work to do is a part of life I've come to accept. It wasn't until the last couple of years that the idea of "good enough" even came into my scope of understanding. I've never felt good enough; I've always felt broken. Accepting myself as good enough has been more difficult than working through my issues.
I think the key is to think of it in seasons. There's a season of good enough and a season for working on ourselves. There's a season to press in and another to rest. If we slow down long enough to figure out which season we're in, maybe we can give ourselves the grace we need to be where we are, to let go of the striving in either season and simply be.