Tuesday, October 24, 2006

what i happened to work out to tonight... (coincidence?)

Follow me through the door to the great unknown
(something was telling me
that this would shape my destiny)
Take my hand, understand you are not alone
(shame on me if I oppose
the stirring of the Holy Ghost)

I heard a voice calling out to me
I have come to set your spirit free
And in me you are free indeed

I took a dive
(I took a love plunge
into your arms)
I took a dive
(I took a love plunge
into your arms)
I took a dive
(I jumped in
with all of my heart)
I took a dive

I'm breathing underwater
I'm sinking like a submarine
Your ocean's so much deeper than
anything I've ever dreamed...

Won't you come and take a dive with me
Won't you come and take a dive with me
Jump in with all your heart and
take a dive

("Dive," From DCTalk Supernatual)

Monday, October 23, 2006

summer memories: the deep end

More than five minutes left to go, and they are telling her to get out of the pool. Her confused look registers from clear across the aquatic complex, but she obeys, nonetheless. She stands on the cold tile, shivering and squirming, her questioning eyes following her instructors as they begin to walk toward the other end of the pool, the rest of her class in tow. My daughter follows them blindly as they lead her away from her three-and-a-half foot safety zone, take her around the corner, lead her to the rim of a twelve-foot-deep water-filled hole in the ground, stand her at the edge, and tell her to JUMP. She gapes at them with wide-eyed disbelief.

I recognize her anxious look—indeed, I feel it in the pit of my stomach, having grown up with a paralyzing fear of being in over my head. The shallow end is much more my style—I am infinitely more comfortable where my feet touch. My daughter lines up along the side of the pool, and I cringe inwardly, remembering my own first encounter with deep water. Get pushed off a diving board at swim lessons just once and you’ll learn not to trust. But that is my issue, not hers, so I smile encouragingly from my perch along the wall, and mask, yet again, my anxiety for my daughter. SHE trusts. Not fully, but enough to be brave. Enough to be obedient. I pray they won’t fail her.

Fourth or fifth in line, she has a few moments to contemplate her fate, her feet shifting back and forth, hands wiggling and wringing, as the questions flash across her face like the LED ticker in Time’s Square: will they catch me? Can I do it? What if I can’t? What will it be like? Do I HAVE to? The answers, unfortunately, will not come until after she takes the risk. Her turn arrives, and my heartbeat races as she approaches the edge. Her toes curl over the side of the pool in a final moment of hesitation—her arms stretching out in front of her nearly three times the length of her body in an attempt to cling to her instructor—and she half jumps, half falls into the water. Enough trust to jump, but not enough to do so with abandon. But she jumps, just the same. My daughter is in the deep end.

I am learning, albeit more slowly than my daughter, that so much of life is about just jumping in. High dive, low dive, running leap or barely falling off the side clutching our swim instructor—at least we’re in the water. But I can’t help but think there is more joy in the running-leaping-falling-diving kind of jumping than in the fearful-clingy-clutching kind. My daughter is getting it—learning what she is capable of, what she is comfortable with. She will learn to dive—of this I am certain. Me? I’m not so sure…

Having been caught, she makes her way to the side of the pool held by strong, trustworthy hands and searches for my face among the other mothers. She smiles—half victorious, half still uncertain—and I flash her a thumbs-up sign, once again in awe of this child that is so amazingly flesh of my flesh and yet so amazingly unlike me. Oh, to have the trust of a seven-year-old—to look into an immense stretch of deep water and only see the hands ready to catch me. To jump without hesitation, to obey without fear, to risk without answers. To embrace life, deep end and all, and jump in full force with a flying leap.

Oh, to have the faith that someone will catch me.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters. Psalm 18:16

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


…fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies with a large glass of milk… order in the midst of chaos… time… apple crisp, right out of the oven… heart-felt worship… connection with friends, with family, with God… chips and salsa… faith, hope, and love… but the greatest of these is more chips and salsa… time at the piano, at the computer, at the art table… creative outlet… mama mimi’s pizza… intimacy… play-time… touch… fresh-baked bread with real butter… a night out with my husband… freedom… relief… breakthrough… satisfaction… more chocolate chips cookies… warm brownie sundaes with nuts and caramel… apple pie a la mode… the last pack of school lunch cookies… the crumbs at the bottom of the potato chip bag… stale graham crackers out of the back of the pantry… anything I can get my hands on…

What am I hungry for?

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Isaiah 55:2

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

on semipermeable membranes

It is 8:27 and I’ve just gotten off the phone. Again. I resume my place on the couch and the cat resumes his, nibbling on my elbow in his attempt to solicit affection. It is not working—affection is definitely not the response it evokes in me at this moment. In between the two first paragraphs I’ve already written and disposed of, my daughter has come out of her room not once but twice, complaining, tonight, of a hangnail. “My finger hurts…” she whimpers in a voice just loud enough to know she’s talking but not loud enough to hear her—her ploy to be beckoned to the edge of the staircase. I send her to her father, who is already upstairs, though I know it is me she really wants. But right now, to be quite honest, I don’t want to be wanted.

Tonight, I want to be left alone. I don’t want to be touched tonight—I don’t want to be climbed on, nibbled, elbowed, fondled, tickled, kicked, head-butted, or stepped on. I don’t want to be talked to tonight—I don’t want to hear about the neighbor’s cousin’s dog’s puppies or the problem you had with your bosses boss and the brilliant way you handled it or the trouble with the doojie-hoojie that hangs down under the thingamajig on the car and how it will affect the amount of rainfall in China. Tonight, I don’t want to be nice. I don’t want to smile and nod. I don’t want to pretend I’m interested. Tonight, I want to put my oxygen mask on and take a deep breath so that I can do it all again tomorrow for everyone else. Tonight, I want to be left alone.

I chose these things—indeed, I continue to choose them. I chose to be a wife, a mother, a cat-owner, a friend. I chose to be a counselor, a leader, a teacher, a mentor. These are things I invited into my life—consciously, willingly, freely. But having chosen them, does this mean I must choose them all at every moment? It does not, but you cannot tell me this—the compulsion to be all things to all people forms “yes” on my lips even while my insides scream “NO!”

“Mo-mmy… Mooo-mmmmmy…” I hear faintly from within my daughter’s room, having threatened her not to open the door again. Door. There is a good “boundary” word. Door. Gate. Window. Fence. Wall. Door. I have closed the door tonight. But it doesn’t stay closed…

In this world of “boundary” talk, I am a semipermeable membrane—allowing all that fits through the unclosable doors to pass through my sham of a barrier and enter my day-to-day living. In my spreading thin I have become too easily diffused—matter spreads, rationalization spreads, real need spreads—my membrane becomes thinner yet. Pressure is exerted from the outside and I allow passage once again. This is not always a bad thing. Not always.

But then there are nights like tonight—nights that have followed days that have followed weeks of meeting other people’s needs and neglecting my own. Our pastor once said that if you feel like you don’t have time for any more friends, you need more of Jesus in your life. This from a man you have to make an appointment three weeks out to talk to. Not that I don’t understand his point—I truly do. But perhaps if I were a man and my children were grown and I had an assistant who managed all my contact with the outer world, I could be as cavalier about the issue.

The truth is, I do need more of Jesus. I need him to fill me up so that when I pour myself out yet again there is reserve left for me to survive upon. I need him to teach me to love when I don’t feel loving, to forgive when I don’t feel forgiving, to listen when I don’t feel like listening. But I also need him to show me when to serve and when to withdraw into the solitude of the wilderness, to show me how to find and take those quiet times alone with the Father, to show me how to rest in the Lord and wait upon him. I need the Heavenly Flight Attendant to remind me that my mask goes on first.

So, if you call my house and get the machine—I may or may not be there. I am trying to learn, slowly, that it is okay to not answer the phone, to not go back up to my daughter’s room for the fourth time, to not have to meet every need presented to me. “The need is not the call,” another pastor used to remind me. Tonight, I listen to the call—and it is not the telephone. Tonight, I allow myself to meet my own needs.

the apple that didn't fall far from the tree

I'll write tonight. I promise. I promise MYSELF. I'm dying to finally get into a routine again...
In the meantime, here are a couple of cuties, taken this weekend!

pumpkin picking

what a turkey!

fun times at the fun run

Forgive me, but I have to play the Proud Momma for a moment. First place, second grade girls. 7:41. First girl across the finish line, grades K-3. The only two girls faster were 5th graders. Okay, I'm done now. This is taken at the finish line.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

on trust

Perhaps it is because I am trying to do both that I found this quote compelling...

Writing a book, I've discovered, has much in common with resolving weight issues. You can proceed from the fear that unless you force yourself to do it, you won't. Or you can proceed from the belief that you want to do it, and will, but that doing it may sometimes look like not doing it. One way is as difficult as the other; both require perseverance and commitment. The way you choose depends on how you want to live. You can fear yourself or trust yourself.

From Breaking Free From Emotional Eating, by Geneen Roth