Friday, July 3, 2015

[new season contemplations]

I am convinced that I am not a real blogger. I lack consistency, discipline, and focus. Yet, I somehow find my way back here to journal some thoughts and share photos. To be frank, I have been re-thinking my online presence again. I wonder, what's the point of it all? I am always questioning certain areas of my life, examining if it's contributing to my self-growth (and sanity) or not. It's a complicated ordeal. For the moment, I will carry on as if blogging and sharing matters.

May and June slipped through my hands. I simply had no energy or inspiration to write or to take out my camera. So many transitions, set-backs, and new opportunities have marked the past two months.
May was living with my generous in-law's, getting addicted to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander, and learning to physically rest.

June was securing our apartment in Durango, the exhaustion of moving, and making a trip to Urgent Care (oh yeah, all while still obsessing over Outlander!).

 In the whirlwind, I can now say, with much relief, that I live in Durango, CO. Two years ago, as newlyweds, my husband and I didn't even know where we were going or what we were doing. It has all been a journey of many surprises, not all of them pleasant, but still full of comfort from Grace along the way.

I have lost many things along this journey. Friends, what I perceived or knew as reality, family stability and security, vibrant and functioning physical and mental health, my views on God and myself, and more.

It's only since the beginning of this year that I have begun to awaken to the normality of loss. Life is very much like the changing of seasons and it is inevitable that there will be loss involved on some level. Having living a privileged, stationary, and unaltered lifestyle for so long, it is obvious why loss has been so jarring to me. It came all at once and I was unprepared for it. I have felt my inner self changing and evolving, a process which has unveiled my humanity to myself. I am weak. I am frazzled. A mess. My identity, shifting and confusing. All is uncertain. Permanence is an illusion. My thoughts are scattered, broken questions. All I can say is, I wish someone had told me that adulthood was this bizarre and unsettling!

If anyone has read my previous posts on my blog, you will know that, though I write as if I'm totally disoriented, I have found the core to my identity through the pain. It's funny...sometimes Jesus is just sitting there on the roadside, so ordinary and nonchalant, as we carry on trying to pull ourselves together and bring a sense of purpose and stability to our lives. I have known Him almost my entire life, but I haven't known Him quite like this before. It's His own humanity staring me down. Well, yes, I am quite aware He took on flesh and became like us for a time. But just for a time, right? The relatability levels kind of plummet after 2000 years, I think. That was then, this is now. The disconnection seems so obvious. I want to protest and question and doubt. It's easier to react that way then to do the hardest, the best, thing and open myself to trust. To trust that we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. For anyone who resists and doubts the existence of such Love, all such verses from Scripture will seem trite, empty, superficial. I know because I resisted His love for a time. Then, it became apparent that the more I resisted such love, the sicker and more bitter my heart became. It scared me. I scared myself. So, I chose to bring my broken shards back to Him who I knew would never reject me.

As I have entered into this new season, it hasn't been smooth. I am learning new beginnings are from easy. You'd think I'd be glad about the new surroundings, but I ain't Pollyanna, let me tell you that! Again, I am tempted to linger on all that I lost, on all that was before, on all that I still cannot make sense of. I am tempted to become bitter that my body is riddled with numerous concerning symptoms and anxiety. I am tempted in a million ways every single day to sin willfully in my heart and thoughts. There's a battlefield in my mind and I wonder if I shall ever know victory. That's when the Word comes to me,

"In returning and rest you shall be saved,
In quietness and trust shall be your strength"

My cry is to not be unwilling, to not run away and pursue on my own what I cannot do, what I shall always fail at doing. It is the patient heart of Christ that has allowed me the opportunity to no longer run. If He was not patient, kind, and gracious, there would be no safety net for me in such moments. He knows I have been frightened and has pulled me all the more close to Himself. This is Jesus, the man well-acquainted with the fragility of humanity and the sorrows of this world. He doesn't want to give us religious answers. He wants to hold us close. In quietness, we will hear every whisper of Him affirming us.

I have experienced the loss of many things. I am not promised anything to be certain or permanent. My weaknesses are blaring. Fear seems all-encompassing.

Yet, the sun rose again today. My husband sleeps by my side. After long, tormenting thoughts, I reach out for him. The familiarity of his skin, his strong hands, and quiet movements. Pressing close to him, I remember. My marriage. My husband. My friend. Many things have been stripped from my life, but not him, not what we have. Communication is often difficult. Our personalities rub against one another with a coarse friction. But, this. This, Lord! Let the nurturing of this gift be my greatest work on earth, if nothing else! Friends will come and go. Babies, successful careers, vacations, grand accomplishments, and a great home may never be guaranteed to us. But I know I want to come to the end of my life and be satisfied that I loved this man well. To love him unconditionally. To love him without reserve. To love him with raw honesty. To love him even when he changes, even as I change. To love him with shocking vulnerability and gentle tenderness. To learn to love him in the exact way I am learning how Jesus loves me. Everyday, re-learning in renewing my vows to him in word, thought, and deed. This is the hardest thing. The best thing. So, today, I breathe a thank you for this man, my ranger. And I learn the steps of our new beginning.

In my usual style, I end my post with some photos. The images below were taken by my sister this past April at the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, AZ - a special little place to me and Nolan. It is the park he took me to in the summer of 2012 and quietly surprised me with my first-ever kiss. That moment was like magic and I don't ever want to forget the simple little place that became the setting of something so extraordinary.

And because it's on my mind, two quotations from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander that keeps things in perspective.

Love forces a person to choose. You do things you never imagined you could do before.
[Jenny Murray]
For where all love is, the speaking is unnecessary. It is all. It is undying. And it is enough.