five months and counting

[I don't know how many days or decades it takes for a heart to be sewn together again.]

I see your face in my mind as I drive away
'Cause none of us thought it was gonna end that way
People are people and sometimes we change our minds
But it's killing me to see you go after all this time

Music starts playin' like the end of a sad movie
It's the kinda ending you don't really wanna see
'Cause it's tragedy and it'll only bring you down
Now I don't know what to be without you around

Never wanted this, never want to see you hurt
Every little bump in the road I tried to swerve
People are people and sometimes it doesn't work out
Nothing we say is gonna save us from the fall out

It's two a.m., feelin' like I just lost a friend
Hope you know it's not easy, easy for me

And we know it's never simple, never easy
Never a clean break, no one here to save me

I can't breathe
Without you, but I have to
/ (T. Swift)


what is faith?

By faith Abraham... obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
-Hebrews 11

I was crying with K on Saturday, this incredible woman and mama and human who has lived through more than any sane, optimistic, peace-bringing North American I know--I mean suicides and rapes and prison sentences and evictions and deaths and mental illness and broken trust and broken marriages and step-children and mothering and making a family out of wounded people-- just so much--and I asked her, barely able to choke the words out, ''Do you ever wish you could go back and give yourself a hug?''

Meaning in between those lines don't you wish you could hold your younger self, oh honey, these are gnarly things you should have never seen, this is hairy stuff you should not have to live through. I am so sorry. The things that make you feel one hundred years old, and batter down your pride of having it together so much that when you feel judged by those who don't know your story, who maybe haven't even lived through sadness, you are not angry, only full of sorrow.

''Every day, Cari,'' she told me. ''Be gentle with yourself. Be patient.''

And I don't care if it is cheesy, this is a year that I love Taylor Swift, and not ironically, and her song Fifteen just nails it.

You sit in class next to a redhead named [K.J.]
And soon enough you're best friends
Laughing at the other girls who think they're so cool
We'll be outta here as soon as we can

When you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
When you're fifteen and your first kiss
Makes your head spin 'round
But in your life you'll do (harder things)
But I didn't know it at fifteen

When all you wanted was to be wanted
Wish you could go back and tell yourself what you know now

'Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
And when you're fifteen, don't forget to look before you fall
I've found time can heal most anything
And you just might find who you're supposed to be
I didn't know who I was supposed to be at fifteen

It is so difficult to unlearn the practice of gaging your worth from men, from their attention and perceived interest and desire. One problem with that is when it is absent, you feel worthless. But you are desirable because you are a daughter, and not a bastard, even if you feel fatherless. You are desirable because of who you are, or as Elle might say, who you belong to, and not based on who or how many want you.

I was thinking last week about how I wish there was some kind of service where you could pay someone to call you every day and just tell you, with total conviction, ''You're making it. You're going to make it.''

Feeling so old this year has brought a lot of reflection. On worth and habits and patterns and love, on trust and protection and relationship and community.

So far in my life, I haven't really felt like I had to rely on God for provision. In my upper-middle class existence, things have always been provided for me, and I am sorry to say I have even acted very entitled. Extensive travel, great jobs, a high quality education, minimal debt, organic food, easy access to the outdoors and tools for recreation.

Since my departure from Central America though, things have become a challenging exercise in trust. Leaving was premature, I felt unprepared--I was unprepared. I didn't have it together. I don't have it together.

And yet here I am, living in a safe place obviously provided by the One I try to trust. With a great car I wasn't at all expecting to be able to buy. And three good job offers. And I still don't know what I will be doing at the end of two weeks from now, and all summer has been this way. And honestly, I hate it.

You can spend your life worrying and anticipating what will happen to feel more in control (''I will close my heart to this person. I will decide now how things will work out''), obsessing over finances and a scant savings account, your body, over-analyzing relationships and interactions. Or you can choose to live each day as it is, and embrace it. The weather, the food, the work and activities of the day are particular and will shape you, and I want to drink my coffee slowly and allow each tear to fall without wiping them away. I want to bless my body with every mile I hike and honor the land with each peach that I pick. I want to be slow and intentional and receive the ocean of sadness that is this year, though I feel like I am dying.

I always read the creation story of the Torah or heard its interpretations and thought, ''but I don't want to be in charge. I wouldn't want to be God, I've never wanted that. I guess I just don't relate to these two first people, metaphorical or literal or whatever they were.''

Now I see how that issue of trust marks my own life as well. That issue of wanting to feel safe and wanting to feel in control and trusting only yourself, being unable to rely on a force that you can't see or understand to care for you. Thanks G-d, but I'd rather know everything. What will happen with a certain person, where I will be living, what job I will take. I worship certainty, I reject faith. But if I have learned anything this year, it's that I can't trust myself. And it's that, like Bill Johnson says (I think I've listened to his sermon ''Living Unoffended at God'' about seven times in the past two months), ''God is more concerned with our intimacy with him than with our comfort.''

In Honduras whenever you see someone eating, whoever they are, even someone you don't know and you are just walking by, you look them in the eye and say Buen provecho. Good provision. I think of God the Provider and realize that is such a new concept for me. To say, 50 times a day if I have to, I trust you. You provide.

And I think of faith as not knowing all the steps and pieces and trail conditions on the journey (and vistas and lighthouses and dangers and disasters), but continuing to follow. Not to run ahead. Not to bushwhack your own path.

?Piensas que un persona se puede darle una otra persona paz? I asked R, more than once. Peace, what I have wanted so badly, my whole life, to have. And though he told me, Si, eres mi paz y yo seré tu paz, I see now that God is my peace. You are my refuge, and you care for me, so I will be sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see.

So I sing that Brooke Fraser song all the time now, tears running down my cheeks because I know that, even though I do not feel it, it is becoming true.

If to distant lands I scatter
If I sail to farthest seas
Would you find and form and gather 'til I only dwell in Thee?
If I flee from greenest pastures
Would you leave to look for me?
Forfeit glory to come after
'Til I only dwell in Thee

If my heart has one ambition
If my soul one goal to seek
This my solitary vision 'til I only dwell in Thee
That I only dwell in Thee
'Til I only dwell in Thee


''Life is both loss and renewal, death and resurrection, chaos and healing at the same time.''


currently reading

''Altogether, the Old Bailey, at that date, was a choice illustration of the precept, that 'Whatever is is right,' an aphorism that would be as final as it is lazy, did it not include the troublesome consequence, that nothing that ever was, was wrong.''
-A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens


a poem Rusty sent me [by Ted Loder]

How shall I pray?
Are tears prayers, Lord?
Are screams prayers,
or groans
or sighs
or curses?
Can trembling hands be lifted to you,
or clenched fists
or the cold sweat that trickles down my back
or the cramps that knot my stomach?
Lord, help me!
Help me to accept you as you are, Lord:
Lord, help me to trust you.


silver valley reflection

What does it mean to be loved, or to love someone?

Like when you're at the fair and somebody plays some ridiculous-odds game to win you a completely silly and in a normal context childish stuffed bear, but you just feel happy and proud. Or when you have a partner for all the roller coasters, someone coaxing you into cold water, because they know you're a wimp when it comes to anything less than 85 degrees but they also know you'll jump in if properly encouraged.

Someone who is rarely angry with you, and never scary, but if they do get upset you are immediately convicted and repentant, because their word really matters. Someone to hold your hand when your blood is being drawn or you're getting an IV, even though you've had it done a hundred times before alone, and you were okay. Someone to care for you when you're sick and take you seriously.

Someone to feel safe with in a foreign city or a late night. Someone to share the rising moon and owl call, the coyote dance and the sound of the river where you're camping. Someone to talk about things with, like aren't caves crazy? And can you imagine waiting out a wildfire in a tunnel for a week, or the feeling of a friend lost in the woods even for only 20 hours, or what it'd be like to stumble onto a hibernating grizzly?

Someone to kayak and canoe and rockclimb and hike with. To go on bike rides and road trips and almost kill each other but then make up at the top of the pass, or when you first glimpse the ocean. Someone who listens to you and engages you and questions you and shares with you, stories and thoughts and questions. Who also calls you out when you're being ridiculous, or petty or selfish or elitist or bossy, all of which you can be.

Someone who adores your body, and tells you so, in a healthy, celebratory way. Someone who gets your commentary and adds humor to the rough and the awkward and the strange and the heartbreaking. Someone who doesn't need to have an opinion about everything and helps you to know that you don't either. Someone who holds you and protects you and trusts you and wants you. Or maybe desires you.

Maybe these things are the way of love, yes, but perhaps, I would argue, to love someone the most is to let go.


sisters in india

Elle and Rita's writing from their current pilgrimage through India is worth reading, if you have a minute.

I know I only post in other people's words these days, but this quote got me:

"If you keep telling the truth, regardless of how embarrassing, it'll have a profound effect on you. It'll begin to free and heal you. And you'll actually begin to behave like less of a neanderthal.''


3am / gregory alan isakov [listen here]

well it's 3 a.m again, like it always seems to be
driving northbound, driving homeward, driving wind is driving me
and it just seems so funny that i always end up here,
walking outside in the storm while looking way up past the tree-line
it's been some time…

give me darkness when i’m dreaming
give me moonlight when i’m leaving
give me shoes that weren’t made for standing
give me tree-line, give me big sky, give me snow-bound, give me rain clouds
give me a bed time…just sometimes

you were my friend, and i was the same
riding that hope was like catching some train
well now i just walk, i don't mind the rain
but i’ve been singing so much softer than i did back then

the night, i think, is darker than we can really say
and god’s been living in that ocean, sending us all the big waves
and i wish i was a sailor so i could know just how to trust,
maybe i could bring some grace back home to the dryland for each of us

say what you say, you say it so well
just say you will wait, like snow on the rail
i've been combing that train yard for some kind of sign
even my own self, it just don’t seem mine

give me darkness when i’m dreaming, give me moonlight when i’m leaving
give me mustang horse and muscle, 'cause i won't be going gentle
give me slant-eye looks when i’m lying, give me fingers when i’m crying
and i aint out here to cheat you, see i killed that damn coyote in me…


''Seek the real--with everything that is in you. More than life. More than breath. More than health. More than blessing. More than gifts. Ask for love. Not just once. Over and over for the rest of your days, till your voice is hoarse, and with shriveled hand you point to your own aged heart and with one dying word whisper, 'More.' ''
-Beth Moore


''Alas, another form of tainted trust is dishonesty with Jesus. Sometimes we harbor an unexpressed suspicion that he cannot handle all that goes on in our minds and hearts. We doubt that he can accept our hateful thoughts, cruel fantasies, and bizarre dreams. We wonder how he would deal with our primitive urges, our inflated illusions, and our exotic mental castles. The deep resistance to making ourselves so vulnerable, so naked, so totally unprotected is our way of saying, 'Jesus, I trust you, but there are limits.'

By refusing to share our fantasies, worries, and joys, we limit God's lordship over our life and make it clear that there are parts of us that we do not wish to submit to divine conversation. It seems that the Master had something more in mind when he said, 'Trust in me.' ''
-Brennan Manning