Sunday, January 22, 2017

Reasons

Shortly after the New Year, I took about a three week break from Facebook, deleting the app from my phone. I felt that it was in my best interest. As a whole, it made me feel wretched about myself (or bitter, or judgmental, or a slew of other negative emotions). Not to mention the amount of time I wasted.

It was hard at first, as most habits are, to break. But, as the days went on, it became easier, and I had more time to be engaged in the present. I was looking less at my phone for the red notifications. However, there were certain things I missed, such as seeing pictures of those that live far away, or sharing in others' happy news.

So, after some time, and after I felt like I had found some balance, I decided to log back in. It was the day after the inauguration and the day of the women's march. Two of my best friends and I went together. We joined about 5,000 others in Riverside. People of differing beliefs and backgrounds came together in solidarity, each person choosing to march for his or her own reasons.

For me, this is why I marched: I marched because I believe that our individual and collective voices matter; I marched because I believe that misogyny and xenophobia need to be addressed and eradicated from government; I marched because I believe that all children (including the children of undocumented immigrants like those who attend my school) deserve the best possible education; Most importantly, I marched because I believe that every single person is to be valued. Every one. We do not get to decide if we think someone is worthy of love. I marched because God loves ALL people. Period.

Then, it seems, the world, especially the social media one, went berserk. It is so easy to find articles that prove your viewpoint. It is easy to disregard others behind the safety of your keyboard. It is easy to share some pointed post that will show them what's what. But, ultimately it is never effective.

So, when a distant family member sees that your friend marched and he asks her if she has been ¨kicked in the head,¨ well, that is just plain unacceptable. He could have asked her what led her to march. He could have attempted to understand her feelings.

There is so much division and hate. He is the president, and I do hope to God that he does well, but his actions are unnerving to me. His insatiable ego has no place in the White House. His actions (which I honestly thought were enough to not get him elected) have not changed. His refusal to release his tax records, as was confirmed today, is thoroughly suspicious. And it is so telling that he would rather live with peoples' suspicions than to divulge the truth. Truth matters not to him. Whatever he is hiding must be so damning. I won´t even go into his conflicts of interest.

He has censored the National Park Service for reporting facts, he had Press Secretary Spicer lie to us, then the next morning his counselor, who he publicly called ´baby´ while thanking her,  straight-faced said that he did not lie, but gave ¨alternative facts.¨ Seriously?

Anyway, I think it is time to take a more extended break from Facebook. Now is not the time to remain silent, but nor is it the time to engage over social media. I appreciate what President Obama said in his Farewell Speech: ¨If you're tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking to them in real life.¨

So, that is what I am planning. I will regret potentially not seeing pictures of your cute kiddos, or missing an opportunity to connect with you or encourage you, but I am still here (I just won't be on online much).

Remember, you matter. Kindness matters. You are loved. And never be afraid to speak out against hate. Peace.

xo.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

when you are done

This will probably read more like a quick update instead of my usual posts. It's been a while. I am not entirely sure when I last wrote, or what I wrote about. Probably Grace. Or thanksgiving. And I am sure there was certainly some angst woven somewhere in there. Maybe even a curse word or two.

I can be all about the angst. Sure, there is a time and place, but it's heavy, man. I mean, it's a lot for one person to carry. All. The, Time.

I think it is inherently good to be honest about areas of necessary growth. A huge area for me {although it can be a positive thing} is my emotions. They own me. I feel things deeply. For all the things. All. The. Time. This can be problematic when I have been wounded, or when my emotions are overspent on the same scenarios.

But, with the New Year we ventured back out into the pews or chairs. Among the old and the new. Heavy with liturgy or twinkling with lights under purposely exposed ducts.

I began to feel like Edward Norton's Narrator in Fight Club. He kept going to different support groups to find meaning. Connection. I keep going to all these different churches. Always looking for connection and meaning, but ending up feeling tragically more lost.  

Nothing in these places of worship have changed. I have changed. My heart has finally accepted that we are all broken. There is something so freeing about letting go of all of the junk and looking ahead without any expectations. Expectations that could never be met by people. There is something to be said for sticking it out. Even when it is uncomfortable and difficult. Especially when it gets uncomfortably difficult.

This past Sunday was communion. My best friend's teenage son had not experienced  communion at a Lutheran church before. He was accustomed to walking up and taking the bread and grape juice. The rails and elements were foreign to him. When he was handed the wafer, he stared at it in his hand, not knowing what to do with it. I looked at him, pointed to the wafer, and then pointed to my mouth. **blinkblink** He stared at me quizzically. I whispered to him and he then ate the wafer {discovering the wine was a whole other thing}

This interaction stayed with me. It was me. It is all of us. Or it can be.

I was feeling so lost. Looking everywhere. But, when I looked down, there was Jesus.

And He was there the whole time. He was waiting. I hadn't known what to do, but it didn't matter. I had been carrying him around from place to place in my hand like that wafer, but He wanted me to receive Him. Again. And you know what? All of the heavy stuff I had been carrying around, like a shackled prisoner, just faded away.

I was ready to release it. I was ready to be done.


Monday, November 2, 2015

The Unattainable

November is probably my favorite month. I adore autumn. And Thanksgiving. Late this afternoon, as I was leaving work, the sun was starting its early descent and there was a distinct, crisp bite to the air as storm clouds rolled across the sky. I breathed in deeply and felt invigorated, like in that brief second, I believed that anything was possible.

Sometimes, I feel stuck. I start things, and for whatever reason, I don't finish them. Maybe it's just part of my quirky personality. I lose interest. Or simply move on. Some things, however, feel unfinished. I think about these things as if they were completely unattainable. But, you know what? They're not.

Tonight I drove by the plaza and the sight of the Christmas tree surprised me. It reminded me that seasons eventually change. Abruptly, even. The days eventually get shorter. In a few weeks I will turn 41. A new year. A fresh start of sorts. And I want to make the most of it because these years are going by at breakneck speed. I want to be able to look back and know that it mattered.

So what now? If I am able, I want to go back to school and finish my degree. I know it'll be challenging and take awhile, and maybe it's all the magic in the air, but I feel as if it's within my reach.

Regardless of what the future brings, my prayer is that it will be filled with endless possibilities to love. And to love others well.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Unexpected

It was supposed to be a quick check-in with my doctor. My foot was bothering me. My ankle would swell and all of my walking I had done in Washington seemed to have exasperated the issue. My doctor told me my arch had fallen. She instructed me to stop wearing flats and get some inserts. Easy enough. As I was checking out, she reminded me that since I was 40, I should stop in for my first mammogram.

I had already been gone longer than I had wanted. After all, school was gearing back up and I had so much to do. I didn't want to take any more time. I don't know why, but I decided to go anyway.

It was very routine. The "squeeze" didn't hurt as much as I had anticipated. As I wrapped the open-in-the-front gown around me, the technician said I'd get the all-clear postcard in the mail.

I did not receive that postcard, but a call instead. They suspected something and asked that I come back in nine days to have the images redone. I tried not to think too much about it, and I was so busy with work anyway.

This mammogram was different. They weren't gentle. I sucked in my breath and tried not to move. The machine beeped and I looked at the resulting image on the monitor. It was like looking at endless galaxies the likes of which I would never see; the white spot shined bright. I blinked in disbelief.

Within moments I was waiting in a different department for an ultrasound. I tried not to hyperventilate. I focused on my breathing. Deep breath in, slowly blow it out.

The tech struggled to find the area as I waited, bare breast, arm over my head while she called for the radiologist to come in. She froze the image. I stared at it. It looked like a spider or a weird starburst or some demented sea creature with tentacles. The radiologist got right to the point and stated that I needed a biopsy. I was scheduled the next day.

The biopsy wasn't as bad as I had imagined. It only took about 10 minutes. I tried to make light of the situation by telling the doctor that my husband wasn't happy about another man fondling my left breast. He laughed nervously and I instantly regretted saying it. But I couldn't take it back.

And I couldn't make the mass disappear either. After placing a titanium clip to mark the area, the kind nurse cleaned and bandaged me. She said that the results would be available on September 1. A nurse would call me in the nine o'clock hour.

The waiting has been harder than I thought. Educating myself of the terminology in preparation for the call has been dizzying. Discovering that my mass is presenting like a malignancy is sobering and scary.

And yet, I feel at peace. I want for it to be nothing. A mistake. Benign. Anything but cancer. But, if it turns out that it is cancer, I know two things for sure. One: God is good. Always. And two: I am not alone.

In these past few days I have vacillated between feeling emotionally fragile and feeling extremely brave. Such a dichotomy. But aren't we all? I want to choose brave.



But the sun still rises. I have been looking at things a bit differently since all this began. I have been specifically looking for the good. It is there. Good in each day. Good to be seen when we take the time to look. That, and taking things one day at a time. That is my goal.

All I know is that in this time of waiting and in the unknown, I have been changed. I can't quite explain it, or even pinpoint what it is exactly, but it is there just underneath. And it's permanent.

And somehow, it feels necessary.