Adventure in Lies as Truths

Admittedly this post is spurred on by two things. 1) service this morning and 2) recent messes

Admission number two, I’m a little out of it today, and was therefore, distracted enough in service to probably only really hear this one piece. If I’m honest, but it was a good thing to hear.

clover

Lately, life has been good. Things have been steady. Both good and bad have been constant. Balanced for the most part.

Summer, as I’ve mentioned before, is the worst for me. I’m trying so hard this year not to let it rattle me or worse kill me (still likely), but still it tears at me. I feel constantly tired and worn. Around 4:30, no matter what, a wave of fatigue washes over me, and I’m left deciding whether the rest of the day is even worth pursuing or if I should just go to bed. I keep living. I don’t sleep when it happens, but it’s only just mid-June There’s still time to collapse altogether.

With this increase in summer, so comes an increase of all of the rest of the bad in me, including the welling up of insecurities and ineptness that has plagued me these last 27 years. It’s manageable the rest of the year, but it always becomes so much worse in the summer. And I let myself fall victim to it. I’m already sad, and sadness is comforting to me, so why not let my brain take over? Why not let me imagination run wild with things I know to be lies? Or things I know I’m supposed to believe are lies? Or things I’m not supposed to believe because they are lies? Obviously, I’m uncertain on what the actual truth of that is or the proper verbiage.

I let former failings creep back into my heart. I let past and present insecurities roll around and around inside my head. And I do start to lose it. I start to lose any drive to leave the apartment, to see people, to speak, to explain myself. I’m so tired of explaining myself. Maybe I’m being a baby for even letting summer affect me as it does. Maybe I just am a little baby. But then. Ya know, that’s probably one of those lies. All of these lies I tell myself. My greatest truth is who I am in Christ, and yet that’s so hard to hold onto. No excuses, it’s simply hard.

What I do know is we’re all lying to each other. All of the time. “I’m fine,” we sigh when we’re plainly not. “Nothing,” we’ll add when we’re asked how someone else can help us. Personally, I always know how specific people can help me, but one of my greatest weaknesses is not being able to ask for help, even when help is offered.

And for those of you keeping the record, Tom Abels spoke in service today, and the one thing he said that truly hit me. A thing I want to scream at people all of the time, but never know how to say it. “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” People say it all of the time. Chapter verse that shit. 1 Corinthians 10:13 right? Nothing more than we can handle? Right?

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure.”

Want to look again?

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure.”

“‘God does not give us more than you can handle.’ That’s true about temptation. Not life. No one can handle life.” -Tom Abels.

Adventure in Adventure Bag

Peter Pan is my favorite book. I have three copies of it. All of them are annotated. All of them are worn.

When I was little I was determined to be an adventurer. I was going to explore the whole world. There were tigers hiding in the day lilies. There were hunters hiding in the trees. And while I knew it was just a story part of me was pretty sure that Peter Pan was based on actual events. In the same way I believed (believe) the Doctor is real. It’s all just so generalized now. One person heard one specific story, and those details spread. With the Doctor, if I’m honest with you, I believed every detail. Gobbled it up. Now I know–erm imagine, some details stuck. Big, blue box. One person saw a big, blue box a few times and was like “yep, it’s always that.” And then came a tv show. And then came a fan base. And then came a skewing of the truth. But I know that if I wait it out, he’ll come to my TARDIS. my tardis

With Peter Pan I got carried away. Maybe. Understand me here. I had a great home life. I did. Shoot, I still could if I wanted to move back. But I was a restless kid. I still am. And I thought one day I’d run away. Not out of spite or fear or anger. I just needed to get away. To be free and to explore without restrictions. So I packed a bag. I kept a bag packed, for just the right time. Truth be told, I kept a bag packed in quiet anticipation of Peter Pan coming to my window. I remember crying myself to sleep a few times thinking about how I’m not English, and he’d never come to America.

It wasn’t a big bag, but I wasn’t a big person. A change of clothes. Underwear. A stuffed animal. Webby, from Duck Tales, I think. And my blankie.

This week I did something I hadn’t done for a very long time. I packed the bag. It’s a bookbag I stole from my brother. Olive drab canvas. I stole it when I reattached a strap. “I fixed it, so it’s mine now.” (I’m a bad person). A change of clothes. Shorts. Jeans. Two shirts. Underwear. Spare toothbrush. Deodorant. Yellow, stone-washed Toms. My favorite copy of Peter Pan. The current book I’m reading. Blankie.

Adulthood isn’t so different, and I know I’m not going anywhere, but I feel like I could. I could run away. Is it running away if you’re an adult with no actual obligations or ties?

Know that if the Doctor comes, I’m going. I’ve got my bags packed just like Donna Noble (on a much smaller scale). And when–if he does, we’re picking up Jeff Blossom, and hitting the infinite time/space highway.

It’s summer, and summer is brutal to my heart and mind. The way that winter destroys so many other people. Summer kills me. I’ve been trying to prepare myself. Getting myself ready with favorite memories from summers past. How can any summer live up to the summer of Fox Mulder? How can I survive another summer at all? This one may do me in.

I’m just so fitful. Restless. Chickenshit.

Adventure in Codependent Empathy

The last time I saw a counselor was this wonderful woman named Drew while I was living in Indy. Right at the end of my time in Indy. I only saw her a couple of times, but in those few sessions she almost immediately informed me I’m highly codependent. Not because I can’t function without other people around. I can. I do. I have done many times. My codependency comes from the fact that I place a lot of my self-worth in identifying with the struggles of other people.

It is my greatest ambition in life to love people by making their lives easier. In theory this sounds like such a selfless ambition, but if you look at the fact that this is where I find a lot of my self-worth, it turns out I’m sort of a monster. Just one of those things. It’s such a dangerous balance. Such a slippery slope. Constantly seeking out my motivations and checking my impulses to see why I’m helping or listening or moving or acting or remaining.

peter petrelli

The beauty (I think I can say this without you taking this to mean something boastful) of this codependency is that it makes me inherently empathetic. I’m not fantastic at empathy. I’m not, but I work terribly hard at it. If I’m going to let people’s lives wash over me then I need to be able to handle it and take them into such delicate consideration. I want so desperately to help.

The danger of this codependency is that I can let that empathy consume me. I let problems or pains of others pour over me like the final, straining wave taking me down with it. I’ve gotten better about this. Once after college a friend informed me very secretly that he had cancer. I didn’t leave my room for a day. Not because I was concerned or sad. No no no. Because I put myself in that position and became useless. Because that’s what happens. I become useless. (On the whole, I am useless)

It’s important, it’s so important to empathize. Those that can accurately and appropriately do it with me have been known to change my life. Those that completely lack it are sociopaths. (That’s a truth) Those that let it consume their lives and destroy them are selfish. I’m my most selfish when I allow the pains of others to wash over me like they are my own.

Codependency, in any form, is so tricky. I’m finding my balance now, but it still can destroy me. It can destroy me so quickly.

Adventure in Nashville Cats

This is what we listened to as we made our way into Tennessee. It was a much needed retreat.

A few months ago I saw that Ben Folds would be performing his concerto with the Nashville Symphony and the Nashville Ballet. After a few weeks we pulled the trigger and my friend Jared and I bought the tickets.

Saturday morning we packed up the car and made our way south. 7 hours.

Some times a thing a brain and a body needs to do is get away. Just forget about the rest of life for a couple of days. Some call them “vacations.” We call them “braincations.”

Things I recommend packing if you ever take a trip to Santa Claus, Indiana:
acid indigestion
books
cryogenically frozen head of Walt Disney
donut
eggs
fire
grandma
hip hop
imagination
juice
king of spades
Let It Be
money
nasty notes
opiates
policies
quiet disposition
ruckus
soup
trouble
unlimited fun
veal
whale watching book
x-rated whale watching book
yodelers
zip-lines
(that’s just good advice. you’re welcome in advance)

On our way we passed Dinosaur World. If you know anything about me, you know this means I started screaming “DINOSAUR ZOO! PEE PANTS NOW!” We agreed we should stop on our way home.

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We also came across signs for the Falls of the Ohio and had to stop. We had so much time. (it’s important to know that there are a lot of secret pictures coming, and Jared hates secret pictures. I won’t apologize, because he won’t know. Will he?)

This was a whole tree, a whole dern tree. Just sloshing back and forth in the waves. River waves. Can we talk for a moment about how some times rivers have waves? If they’re big enough and full enough. Splash. Splash. photo 5 (2) photo 5 (1) photo 4 (4) photo 3 (2) Trees essentially reduced to mulch. Giant, sloppy, sloshy mulch.photo 3 (1) photo 2 (2) photo 2 (1)We made our way south and arrived in Smyrna. I-24 Campground. Very adequate. We set up camp and went for an exploration. Scenic Smyrna. Where there are no restaurants on Saturday night when you want them, but food stops galore on Sunday when you don’t. Important fun fact about Smyrna: Pretty sure everything in this town is named after my cat. Or maybe the Fates were trying to remind me that I abandoned her for a weekend. Gilley Lane. Gil’s Hardware. Gil’s Family Center. Pretty sure my cat was mayor of Smyrna at some point. Cat Mayor of Smyrna. I’m sure you saw it in the Times.

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Dressed like we weren’t sleeping on the ground we drove to downtown Nashville. Some times a symphony is enough to open your soul again. To let it breathe. Some times a ballet pushes your soul over the edge. Some times the combination of symphony, ballet, Ben Folds, a good friend, and a night away are enough to clear your head completely.

After the show it was so nice out, and we were so close that we couldn’t not stop by James K Polk’s grave. Before getting trapped in a parking garage for a year.

photo 1 (3) photo 4 (5) photo 5 (3)After we were graciously allowed freedom from the parking structure by a car of treasures we went back to the old homestead. I-24 Campground, again, classy as it sounds. Right there on Old Johnny’s Rest.

A cold, cold night led to a hot day. We got up early and sought out coffee, much needed coffee. It’s amazing how 7 hours in a car can really wear on a body. In Smyrna there are signs all over about a man named Sam Davis. (Based on the actual photograph of Sam Davis on a marker near “his home”,” he looked nothing like his statue. Seriously, nothing like.) We had to know who he was, so we went to his home. A couple of things, Smyrna. It wasn’t ole Sam’s home. It was his parents’. Also it was closed, because Sunday. Sam died in the Civil War, as so many 21-year-olds did. Basically he died because he was captured and had papers on him. He also said this thing, “If I had a thousand lives to live, I would give them all rather than betray a friend or the confidence of my informer” Again, the marker by “his home” left off that bit about informers. Glossing over history, Smyrna. He also, apparently, gets compared to both Nathan Hale and Jesus a lot. Like a lot a lot. I, um, okay, Smyrna.

We drove around for a while, and finally we saw it. The word “Marina.” We followed the signs. We ended up at the place I had tried to get us into for camping. One. Huge. Lake. A reservoir really. This reservoir. A fishing hobo called us “Tarzan and Jane,” as we pointed out to him where we saw a bunch of fish and carried our shoes. It was beautiful. It was life-giving. It was so peaceful.

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What’s wrong with your, firefly? Don’t you know it’s day! Go back to the night!photo 4 (7) photo 4 (8) photo 5 (4) photo 5 (5) photo 5 (6)

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A little more than reluctantly we packed up our campsite and headed into East Nashville to meet a couple of my friends from Huntington for lunch at the Lipstick Lounge. Before we hit that open road again.

We had three objectives on the road back. DINOSAUR ZOO!!! Cave. Most Awesome Flea Market in the World. We made it to Dinosaur World. We reasoned ourselves out of a cave and missed the flea market because the conversation got too good, and we were distracted.

At exit 9 on I-469 in Fort Wayne there are 9 of these way up by a house. I have wondered for years what they were. People, the answer is here. Thank you, DINOSAUR ZOO!

photo 3 (14)Spared no expense.

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Mostly our time at DINOSAUR ZOO consisted of Land Before Time and Jurassic Park references. Spikes. Long Necks. Three Horns. Flyers. We aren’t very good adults. Just don’t tell the government or they’ll take away our…adult privileges? I don’t know what adults get.

This is a Sharp Tooth (technical name)photo 1 (5) Three Hornphoto 1 (6) More three horns.photo 1 (7) photo 1 (8) J and that Mammoth had a real thing going on. As is my custom, I ruined the moment.photo 1 (9) This Sharp Tooth tried to end mephoto 1 (10)photo 1 (11)The selfies are for my friend Katie. Follow her hashtag. #selfiesforkatie
photo 1 (12) This may be my favorite picture. Ever.photo 2 (7) Long Necks.photo 2 (8) Three Horns are my favorite dinosaur. They’re racist, but I love them.photo 2 (9) photo 2 (10) This guy looks like a total idiot.photo 2 (11) photo 2 (12) photo 2 (13) The Sharp Tooth tried to eat J, then ya know, changed his mind. Classic dino.photo 3 (7) Long Necks. Probably looking for tree stars.photo 3 (8) Yep yep yepphoto 3 (9) photo 3 (10) photo 3 (11) photo 3 (12) photo 3 (13) This guy just looked a real bully. a classic bully. the kind that got picked on himself so to make up for it he was extra mean.photo 4 (9) photo 4 (10) These reminded me of Muppets. I think mostly because bright blue, but I also have a pretty clear memory of marionettes that weren’t too far off from this.photo 4 (11) photo 4 (12) photo 4 (13) photo 4 (14) photo 4 (15) photo 4 (16) photo 5 (7) photo 5 (8) photo 5 (9) photo 5 (10) photo 5 (11) photo 5 (12) photo 5 (13) photo 5 (14)A beautiful landscape. I’m sure it was always this peaceful then. photo (64)

Also, an important and weird truth about DINOSAUR ZOO. There were hundreds, and I do mean HUNDREDS of caterpillars all over the ground. Racing along at our feet. I spent most of our time walking on my toes. I think the objective is to keep you aware of your surroundings, super aware, so that when the dinos come to life (you know they do) you’re already so on edge that you can run. I still would have been eaten alive.

950.2 miles.

It was all worth it.

It’s true that some weekends you just need to be aware. Like a brain restart. In a few weeks, we do it again with our friends Dan and Rachel. This time we head north. My brain is already freaking out, so that the braincation will be worth it. (I’m a planner)

 

 

 

Adventure in Redemption Tales

They’re remarkable. They’re the most beautiful stories that exist to tell. Stories that take completely hideous, shattered pieces and put them back together even better than before. It’s beautiful. More over, they’re important. No. They’re essential.

I have a few favorite redemption stories.

Severus Snape: Harry Potter.

snape

We go on a journey with Snape for 7 books. Arguably, Snape’s story in the series is just as important, if not more. The thing that saves Harry in the first place is love, and the thing that gets him through every year is love. Snape makes some pretty horrible life decisions, following the Dark Lord being a key one. And honestly, Snape is redeemed the moment he turns to Dumbledore for help, but we don’t see that until the end of his life. We see the actions of a man so ravaged by heartache he won’t or can’t let us see beyond that. And in a few tears we learn the truth about Snape. That his redemption came with great pain, as all redemptions do. A lot of Snape’s was self-inflicted. Most of it. Grace is a terribly hard thing to accept. Dumbledore offered it to him, but Snape chose to hide his true intentions. I won’t get into why that too is selfishness, but to some degree that choice took away the pride of it. I can’t say this enough. Grace is a terrible hard thing to accept. Wizard or not.

Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader: Star Wars

vader

Regardless of your opinions on episodes 1 through 3, what you’re looking at is a six movie series about one story. One. Story. The fall and redemption of one man. Innocent kid. Noble ambitions, and then. Guys, darkness is so tempting. It’s so, so tempting to just give in. To want power. To crave accolades. I get it. I really do, and then once you’re in that mess it’s even harder to get out of it. An addiction, to anything, is always with you, and it rested with little Anakin until the end of his life. Until he made one final push in his last moments and sought redemption. Darkness is so tempting.

William the Bloody/Spike: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

spike

Spike is a monster. I mean that literally. Spike is a vampire, who spends centuries killing people. And like Anakin he started out a sweet guy. Just taking care of his mom, writing horrible poems, being the butt of all of the jokes. He kills not one, but two slayers. He spends the better part of 7 seasons trying to kill Buffy too. At the end of season 6 Spike snaps. He tries to rape Buffy, and when he realizes what he’s done he leaves. Seemingly forever. He goes through a series of trials, cleansings, for one purpose. Vamps don’t have souls. Well, now two do. Angel and Spike. And Spike paid for his. When it was back, it ate him from the inside. Because knowing the truth makes the whole world a lot harder to take. Ultimately, Spike’s soul saved us all. Knowing the truth makes the whole world a lot harder to take.

Edmund Pevensie: The Chronicles of Narnia

edmund

This one is my favorite. Edmund did not start out a sweet kid. At all. He was a brat and a bully. He deliberately betrayed his family. Not like “hm, ok this is fine.” No. Edmund was all “yeah. they’re dumb. I can be king. I’m outtie, and they’re done.” (Pretty sure that’s a direct quote). Ya know what’s worse about Edmund? He knows. Even as things get worse, he knows. AND he knows how he could get out of it. BUT HE DOESN’T DO IT!! He just keeps on saying “yeah, no thanks. Ol’ Pete’s a know-it-all and Susan is a snot and Lucy is funny looking. I’m not gonna deal with them anymore.” And Edmund is STILL welcomed back into the fold, AND his king says “yeah, you’re supposed to die. I’ll take care of it.” Which Edmund assumes means negotiate. Oh Aslan negotiated. He negotiated himself right onto that stone table for ONE kid. One punk-ass kid. One punk-ass kid who grew up to be a kind king and a grateful and wise man.

In 1999 on the floor of a huge room of a lodge on a winter retreat, curled up in a ball next to Katelyn Knuth, Hayley Johnson was also redeemed. She continued to make horrible mistakes. She continues to make horrible mistakes. And every day she struggles to look at the world and live in it knowing the truth. Why even bother staying knowing it’s only going to get darker here and there’s light she can live in? Darkness is so tempting. Every day darkness is tempting. And some times she gives into it. Every day, every hour is a struggle to accept grace. But without it she’d be lost. Without it she’d be dead. Without I am lost. Without I’d be dead.

Adventure in Phrasing

A thing about my life is that there are a lot of words I don’t like. And words that I think have gross meanings or make me think of gross things or things I simply don’t like. No, I’m talking about the words out there in the world that I think are gross to hear. Many of you will relate to this when you hear the word “moist.” For me, it’s a lot about the way a word feels when I hear it. The way the letters add up in my head. Alphabetic calculations. Some of the other ones also come from when I say them. How they feel in my mouth as they come across my tongue and exit my lips on their journey to destroy my ears. “Jiggle” is high on this list. I won’t give you more of them. It’s too risky. But everything about “jiggle” feels gross in my head and my mouth and saying and hearing them makes me hate everything. Usually they make me gag. There are over 200 of these words. Over. 200.

That’s a lot of negativity. A lot of reactionary negativity. Soooo here is a very short list of four words or phrases that I keep falling in love with and why I love them. Are you reeeeady? You’re not, is the lie I’m telling myself to make sure I feel good and important.

Fainthearted:
it seems to so often perfectly express my weariness from life. less “all of the sadness in my soul,” and more “all of the fatigue that soul sadness brings.”

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Hebrews 12:3

Tenderhearted:
tenderness is severely under-appreciated and under-acknowledged. when was the last time you noted something tender? when was the last time i did? not quiet and sweet. straight-up tender. a quiet, gentle, tender spirit. that’s what i want. (i don’t have one even a little)

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of god, by who you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted,  forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:25-32

in my bones:
our bones are our structure. they hold us up. to feel something so deeply one feels it in one’s bones is to feel it in one’s stability and structure. to feel it in your framing. to feel it within your marrow. your essence.

O LORD, you have deceived me,
and I was deceived;
you overpowered me
and prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all the day;
everyone mocks me.
For whenever I speak, I cry out,
I shout, “Violence and destruction!”
For the word of the LORD has brought me
insult and reproach all day long.
But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.
Jeremiah 20:7-9

and now for something completely different.

My fellow Americans:
        this phrase, i don’t know who first said it, who first wrote it for a president, but that person was a genius. what a beautiful phrase. it says to the population “i too am one of you. i am in this too. we’re all the same.” i should really research that.

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Adventure in Losing Myself

Let’s take a minute and just breathe. I need to. Pulse. Breathe. Pulse. Pulse. This one is a heavy one for me. I’m asking you to breathe with me, because I need to do it, and some times things are easier as a team. Okay. Here we go.

When I was younger, I’d some times wake up not being sure where I was. If I slept in the bed a different way than I usually did, I wouldn’t know where I was. Or if it was darker than normal. Or lighter. or too hot. or too cold. Many factors, or no factors, could contribute to my confusion. “I’m in my bed at mom and dad’s. No. Grammy and grandpa’s. no. Nana and papa/s. No. Wait. Am I in a bed?” I mostly kept this information to myself. It didn’t seem like the sort of thing one s supposed to share, so mostly, I didn’t.

Eventually, I’d figure out where I was, and my mind would settle.

Last year, it happened on a grander scale. I may have written about it. I don’t remember, which would make sense. Last year one day, I needed to go to Walgreens. There’s not a Walgreens in my neighborhood; I’m fully aware of that. I was fully aware then. Nonetheless, I drove in a circle for over half an hour looking for something I knew didn’t exist. I drove and drove. I let Erica know what was going on in my head. It seemed like someone should know, in case I got lost. Which was possible. I knew I was thinking of the Walgreens near my apartment in Indy, but I drove and I drove. Finally, I ended up at a Walmart, because all roads lead there. I wandered and kept Erica apprised of my actions. Then something worse happened. At the time I was still working at yogurt, and I ran into one of my kids from work. I saw her a few times a week. I knew her. I knew I knew her. I stared and stared and couldn’t think of her name or who she was or why I knew her. I only knew that I was supposed to. I followed her around the store, because it’s what you do when you’re at a store and you run into someone you know. I bet. She left, and I made my way home. I think I bought things. I don’t know why I did that. What I needed was at Walgreens.

The year wore on. Alice increased and decreased. Monday Alice was bad. My brain was bad. Then yesterday happened. I woke up and had no idea where I was. Then, I did something stupid, I guess. I listened to the Arnold Schwarzenegger episode of Nerdist Podcast. That’s what I think ultimately broke my brain. Outside of thinking how amazing his goal oriented drive was, my brain also kept thinking it was about 1990. It was not. I assure, yesterday morning it was not 1990. Not 1988. Not 1992. Yesterday morning it was as 2014 as it is now.

I went to work. “It’ll go away,” I kept assuring myself. “It always goes away.” The day went on. “What day is it?” I stood up twice to say something to Justin. Justin my boss from Indy. He no longer works on the other side of my cube wall, because I no longer work for Justin. I slid my chair back at least once to call over to Devin and show him something. Devin doesn’t work in Indy anymore either. We don’t work together. We haven’t for a couple of years. I went to Target with my mom and was convinced I was at my Target in Indy. “I should stop by that Marshall’s on the way home before it’s gone forever.” It is gone forever. Moreover, I don’t have a car, AND driving to Indy to a Marshall’s would be so inconvenient.

I walked home fine, waging my war against the wind. I could see exactly where I was. I knew my exact position on the planet when I got home, and still the feeling grew. I explained what was happening again to Erica and to Rachel and concluded that perhaps a walk would clear my head. Then I instantly changed my mind because I knew I’d get lost. I went to Henry’s. I sat quietly by myself and wrote in my journal to Joel, forcing myself to try to explain it.

A few pages later I wrote thing. (it’s important to remember that Brian is what I call my brain)

“It’s broken. I thought it was just Alice, but this isn’t Alice. Something is wrong with Brian. Something is wrong with Hayley, and Hayley means me.

It won’t rest. It won’t settle. Make it stop. I don’t even know how to explain it to you. It hurts. It genuinely hurts my head. But it also feels like when a limb goes to sleep. All tingles and pain.”

I wrote myself directions home in my journal to Joel. I wrote directions to walk four blocks. i called Jared back. He picked me up.

Eventually I fell asleep, but there’s no knowing when it will happen again.

I only know that when I woke up today, I knew where I was, but wasn’t convinced that I didn’t simply dream an entire horrible Tuesday.

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Adventure in Moleskine

I’ve always been dreadful at filling notebooks completely. I don’t do a lot of things well in that way. But once in college I filled an entire journal. I forced myself to write in it every day. It was bleak. The end result was bleak.

But something about a Moleskine, this Moleksine, has made me faithful. It’s the second one I’ve ever filled completely. Almost two full years (short by a mere two weeks), and as it has come to the end of its journey, I offer you several of the trinkets in it that stick out to me. May they serve you as they serve me.

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This Sunday I crack open my Moleskine with the sketch of Smaug on the cover, and a new adventure shall begin. A Moleskine befitting Resurrection Sunday.

Adventure in Strength

strength

(some times, even I don’t understand my neighborhood)

Let’s be clear. I’m a weak lady. People are far too generous when they tell me they think I’m strong. I’m here to tell you that I am not. Not really. I’m a persistent person. I’m an independent person. Ya know what? I’m well-practiced. Let’s call it that. Can we?

I am not strong. I am easily manipulated, particularly through guilt. I am quick to relinquish power. I have multiple times found myself in dangerous situations and thought, “yeah. Of course, this is happening. And this will be how I die. That’s fine.” I survive, because I’m supposed to. Not because of anything I’m doing. Every day that I am alive is not because I woke up and said, “Ah yes, I shall live on.” I never make that decision. That decision makes me. No. That’s dumb. And not true.

Here’s what it is. Here is why I continue on.

A few years ago, I finally started to get the wherewithal to recognize that I needed prayer. not just “oooh stuff is bad. I need prayer.” I mean, okay, that’s where it came from, but soon I started recognizing that that was something I needed all of the time. So I started asking for it, and would in return offer prayer for those individuals as well.

*That has value. Please, don’t misunderstand me on this. Having others pray for you is important. Praying for others is important. These are intrinsic to strengthening the body of Christ.*

What I didn’t learn, or learn to embrace and then practice, until about a year ago was one very important thing. Hear me. Please. It is not selfish to pray for yourself. It is imperative. Open communication with the Father about your needs, fears, pains, victories. All of it. Let me tell you, from my own personal experience though, having others pray for me to understand and have peace, strength, be surrounded by hope? Is virtually useless if I am not also admitting to God that I need those things. It’s one thing to say to a friend “I am broken here. Please pray for me that it can be repaired.” It is something else entirely to say to a friend “please pray with me in this brokenness.” AND to take that brokenness and say “Father, I know it’s broken. Help me fix it. Fix it.” It’s easy to admit to those who don’t already know and can’t fully understand “oh this is broken.” One, because you don’t ever have to be completely honest in that. Two, because they can’t fully comprehend it with you. It’s hard to admit to the one who actually gets it and already knows, but wants to hear you say “I know you know, but hear me out.”

Ultimately, it’s taking actual responsibility for your head and your heart, your spirit. Anything else is really shirking that responsibility. Not always. I know that. Some times it is impossible. It is impossible to say what you need to say to God. Some times all that comes out is a string of expletives that would not only make you sound like you just murdered a pirate, but also probably embarrass your mother that you even knew all of those words. He wants those too.

Pray is our greatest strength. Christ is my only strength.

rail