Welcome home

I’ve been pondering the meaning of welcome lately.  What does it mean to welcome someone into your life?  Into your home?

In Judaic law, if you shared a meal with someone they could no longer be considered your enemy.

This is hard for me, but not with other people.

With myself.

When I welcome people into my home, I focus on meeting their needs.  I take time to listen to them.  If they need space, I try to stay out of their way.  If they need help, I try to provide it.  I try not to make them conform to my own patterns of life, but rather try to accommodate their preferences as much as I can. My hope is that they will feel loved and comfortable and important during the time they are with me.

Why is that so hard to do with myself?  Why is it so hard to find time to listen to me?  Me when I’m tired and need to rest.  Me when I’m full of food and don’t need to eat.  Me when I need a new pattern and don’t need to conform to the one I’m in now?

This week, I’ve been trying to see myself with a different perspective:  one that welcomes me as I am and not a version of myself that may never be.  One that sees that I’m doing what I can, but also encourages me to do just a bit more, like taking small walking breaks through the day.  One that also recognizes the things that my sweet Jason says are amazing and that focuses on my capability instead of my weaknesses.

And y’all — it’s hard.

Life is hard.  Really hard.  I think and feel like I’m doing my best and then I completely drop the ball or words fly out of my mouth at the wrong time and place and they can’t be pulled back in.

Or they fly through my head and just bounce around in there and don’t have a release.

It isn’t welcoming to constantly tell a guest how they could have done something better.  It isn’t welcoming to remind them of who they used to be or might be in the future, but are failing at being at the moment.  It isn’t welcoming to sigh every time you see them wearing a size of clothing that’s larger than you think they should.

So it’s a goal that I’m adding to my previous goal to talk to myself the same way I would talk to others.  I want to also welcome myself as I am right now in the same way I would welcome others; to welcome myself in the same way that Jesus welcomes me:

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

I’m thankful

I’m thankful for this man.

I’m thankful for the way he can make me laugh and cry and how he comes alongside me in all of life’s crazy situations.

I’m thankful for the healing that comes with time and the fact that sometimes — years later — we get answers.

Last week my friends J and C had a baby.  A bit earlier than expected, but everyone is healthy and home.  In the middle of their story about why their sweet girl was a few weeks early, I found an answer to why I never got to bring my first baby home.

For the first time in my life, I heard the term cholestasis of pregnancy The chief symptom is intense itching in the final weeks of pregnancy.  My main experience at the end of that pregnancy?  Intense itching.  Extreme itching.  Itching that nothing could relieve and itching that kept me awake at night.  Itching that I would scratch in my sleep and wake up with bruises from the scratching.

Although there are no long term risks for the mother, it can lead to fetal death if left to go full term.

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So although I’m still waiting to hold my baby and I still wonder who she would be and who I would be if she had lived, a part of my questioning soul has been calmed.

And I’m thankful for that sweet man up there who listened to me talk through all of that and who has taken flowers to her grave when I couldn’t and has understood the very complicated heartache that is the story of my firstborn.

For answers and second chances, I am thankful.

Sometimes, I just don’t know

I don’t know why, but tonight I want to scream.  I want to run and scream and get a lot of the yuckness of the world out.  I don’t know how to explain it, but sometimes I feel like I absorb emotions from around me.  I’m not talking about some wishy-washy hocus-pocus thing.

It’s that I care.  I care and so I listen to people and I hurt with them and I listen and I hear about the unrest and hurt and injustice in the world and somehow, it seeps into my soul.  Into the fiber of my being and tonight, I want to scream and yell and run and get so worn out that all of that yuckness is gone.

But I can’t even tell you where this yuckness came from.  It’s just there.  I was home from work this afternoon and I realized how very heavy and burdened I felt. Like I had absorbed a lot of that unrest and hurt and wasn’t even sure where it came from.

Part of me wanted a time like this:

Yesterday, I cried.
I came home, went straight to my room,
sat on the edge of my bed,
kicked off my shoes, unhooked my bra,
and I had myself a good cry.
I cried until my nose was running all over the silk blouse I got on sale.
I cried until my ears were hot.
I cried until my head was hurting so bad
that I could hardly see the pile of soiled tissues lying on the floor at my feet.
I want you to understand,
I had myself a really good cry yesterday.

Yesterday, I cried,
for all the days that I was too busy,
or too tired, or too mad to cry.
I cried for all the days, and all the ways,
and all the times I had dishonored, disrespected,
and disconnected my Self from myself,
only to have it reflected back to me in the ways others
did to me the same things I had already done to myself.
I cried for all the things I had given, only to have them stolen;
for all the things I had asked for that had yet to show up;
for all the things I had accomplished, only to give them away,
to people in circumstances, which left me feeling empty,
and battered and plain old used.
I cried because there really does come a time when
the only thing left for you to do is cry.

Yesterday, I cried.
I cried because little boys get left by their daddies;
and little girls get forgotten by their mommies;
and daddies don’t know what to do, so they leave;
and mommies get left, so they get mad.
I cried because I had a little boy,
and because I was a little girl,
and because I was a mommy who didn’t know what to do,
and because I wanted my daddy to be there so badly until I ached.

Yesterday, I cried.
I cried because I hurt. I cried because I was hurt.
I cried because hurt has no place to go
except deeper into the pain that caused it in the first place,
and when it gets there, the hurt wakes you up.
I cried because it was too late.
I cried because it was time.
I cried because my soul knew that I didn’t know
that my soul knew everything that I needed to know.
I cried a soulful cry yesterday, and it felt so good.
It felt so very, very bad.
In the midst of my crying,
I felt my freedom coming,
Because…

Yesterday, I cried
with an agenda.

…Iyanla Vanzant

But I’m not really a cry-er so I don’t have times like that. I hear people talking about having a good cry and I don’ t know what that is.  So, instead, today I wanted to scream and yell and run and get rid of the yuck. I drew some, tried to sleep some, watched Criminal Minds some, cleaned some, cooked some, and thought some, but no screaming, no yelling, and no running.  Truth be told, I’m not even sure I can run right now.

So I’m writing in the hopes that writing will take care of the yuck.  Tomorrow morning, I’m going for a walk and maybe test the waters to see if that running thing is even an option because it’s good to be able to run when you feel like running the yuck out.