i want to start again

I wrote this in April, but couldn’t…wouldn’t publish it…maybe it was to raw or to vulnerable at the time but now I want to. So here is a piece of my processing from April. When winter had just ended and I was tired. When I felt like a lot had gone wrong and I couldn’t see past my own failings, and when all I wanted was to see how it would have been if I hadn’t lost my focus on Jesus, on the one truth and light I know to be consistent and constant in life.

……

I want to start again…or rather I want to have enough time to sit and see all the things and times I missed because the clock moves too fast and the pace is doubled and I haven’t had a moment to take a breath, except for when I do, and all I do is sleep.

I want to start again, or maybe just sit and watch my life on video tape so I can see the moments that I forgot and remember the cups of tea, and pieces of cakes and fresh juicy pineapples I don’t remember the taste of.

I want to start again, but not forget the things I learnt before I fell, so that this time when I re-start I do not re-do the same mistaken steps, and maybe this time I will start again and keep on going, instead of falling and stumbling and failing.

I want to start again, but really this time I want to see and hear and taste it all, and learn and jump over the trick-ropes that cut my legs from under me. I want to start again, with my eyes never leaving your face, and my feet never leaving your well trodden footprints.

Because I know that if I start again with my eyes and feet firmly where you lead then maybe, just maybe I won’t have to start again, again.

……

I did. Start again that is. But I couldn’t watch back my life on video tape, but I read over the journals lining my bookshelf and I looked over the words underlined in my Bible. I made myself lift my eyes again, to see the Jesus I knew. I made myself re-read words I have read since I was a child, but this time I saw something else, something new, because God is good that way. I allowed myself time to see my own failings and see how to be better next time, how to choose better next time.

Choosing. I have learnt that sometimes in just is a choice. A choice to make time, a choice to lift your head, a choice to learn and move on. Sometimes it is a choice to get out of bed to run, or to not watch TV but to read. I have learnt I have a choice, as crazy as that sounds, I have a choice to move forward, to learn, to become better, to focus, to rest.

r/

 

tan lines and dirty soles

it’s summer, the sandal tan lines on my feet prove it, as do the polaroids taken in hammocks and balconies, in lakes and at late night tire swing conversations.

and the time of farewells for this blonde beauty as she travels back to the place called paradise and the place that sent her here in the beginning.

it’s the season of no shoes, and late night conversations, and new friends, and swimming in lakes that aren’t that clean, and all the fresh vegetables and fruit you can find.

a little update/ i try to promise there will be more

r/

4 days

4 days away. almost no planning. walking and talking. escaping.

pizza, coffee, gelato, crazy waiters and a friend who patiently waits as you set up camera angles on napkins and menus, just so you get that one good photo of the two of you.

thanks for the memories.

r/

more to say

Just stand up and take a breath and let the words come out your mouth. 

You have more to say that you are letting on, 
you have more to say that your heart racing and fingers sweating would have you believe.

 

 There is always been more to say, conversations that I finish in my head because in that moment I did not quite get to say everything that was spilling through my brain. I’m learning though, slowly but surely just to speak out the things that make my heart race and fingers sweat and that make me a tiny bit fearful of what comes next.
But sometimes, and this is one of the most important things I am learning, sometimes, although there is more to say…it is just better to stay quiet, or to just say one simple sentence.
I miss this space I came to process, where words tumbled out my fingers, but it has always been sporadic, I think I am a sporadic person in general. So it shall be, sporadic and uncertain. Sometimes with all the words there are to say spilling out into these screens and sometimes just silence, a photo here or there.
R.

you said breath and life stood up

You have never ever given up

You have never turned your back on us

You said light, and light there was

You created all that was,

You said breath and life stood up,

You are God and great above it all.

 

You are more than we’ll ever know

You give life and life to the full

You have never ever given up.

soft snow flakes

 

it snowed on christmas day.

winter is here. the wood store is going low. the layers are adding up…5 long-sleeves today and counting.  i am simultaneously loving the cosy evenings and dreaming of the sun-soaked spring days that are coming.

r/

 

in the rear view mirror

You look different from this angle, through the rear view mirror as the ’06 turns to ’07 and the memories are all that I have to see.

2016, you look different; different lines are showing now, different moments and revelations are showing their faces as I look back through the glass.

You weren’t easy to drive through, you gave me pot holes and unexpected turns and twists in the dark, but somehow looking back at you I can see the path driven clearer now.

The turns and hills more in focus. The lessons and adventures and friendships are like crisp mountain outlines and clear horizon lines, created to be noticed and appreciated as I turn my head around and see where I’ve come from.

Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

R/

Let’s jump into lakes

Has anyone ever asked you to jump into a lake when you don’t think it’s safe, or told you to close your eyes before they feed you some unknown thing, or asked you to ‘trust me, I know its going to be fine’?

Has anyone every just taken you so far out of your comfort zone and all the things you feel safe and secure in and then shown you why it was a good idea to travel so far away. Why it was a good idea to trust them with it all?

There is a surety in trusting someone. Knowing that someone has your back 100%, in so many ways that whatever crazy thing they ask of you, you know it will be fine. There is a surety in those relationships: I think that’s part of what I admire in the marriages of my parents, and my brother & sister-in-law (and so many others I know) this certainty in one another that means they trust the other would catch them if they fell blindfolded.

I’m in my last week of a two-month break from my normalcy. I’ve spent the past two months traveling to see people, helping my parents pack up their home and generally trying to get my mind, heart, body and spirit rested. If I am honest with you I would say 98% of that time has been spent in avoidance of what I came home thinking I needed to process.

When I boarded my flight to London in June I had these romantic ideas of coffee shops and endless notebooks full of my brain on paper, days spent in quiet processing of the past three years and all that I have seen. I wanted to delve deeper into theological questions and find solutions and answers to things that were plaguing my mind. That was what I thought I was jumping into.

Those days and coffee shops didn’t happen. I didn’t seek them out and I avoided the idea of them. I instead spent time watching TV and reading novels, sleeping and becoming way to interested in made-for-tv Hallmark channel movies.

And then on Thursday evening I had dinner with Becky; a sound solid friend who never fails to get to the heart of everything. She has the ability to draw out the inner thoughts of me that I didn’t know were there simply by asking me the right questions.

As I answered her questions and thought about what she was saying I began to see that maybe I had been processing in the past two months. That while I was ignoring my usual focused, determined, coffee shop and moleskin idea of processing, my brain and heart were doing in for me.

In this time away, in the simple act of doing something else and breathing a different rhythm I had begun to process the exact things I had wanted to when I left Romania.

last night as I read back over the few journal entries from the past month I found this written and circled:

“The surety of Gods call and goodness over the safe and secure and comfortable”

I’ve never heard God say ‘trust me’ as much as he did this last year, and I’d never been so unsure if I could trust him.

However there was something in this idea of being sure of his goodness and call… of trusting him the way Jeremiah does when all is going wrong and he declares that the idea of holding onto and stopping doing as God asks “… is like fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!”

It’s like being asked to jump into a big dark lake, or being blindfolded and not knowing what is coming.

You take a deep breath and trust the person, you jump and end up in the most beautiful lake you’ve ever been in, with the stars their brightest above you and the lake the freshest temperature. And you breath and you float and you are thankful they took you there, and asked you to jump.

This summer I went into it with expectations of big things happening, of God changing everything. Leaving Romania for two months was stepping far away from my comfort zone. And it wasn’t until Becky and her beautiful perfect questioning that I saw that I was in the lake, the perfect one, staring at the stars and the biggest, brightest moon I’d seen in a while. The jump just looked so different from what I had thought it would.

We have to be willing to jump, it doesn’t work if we don’t. We have to be willing to jump in friendships, relationships, work, life, growing up. We have to be willing to jump when it comes to God- whether we are deep in relationship with Him or not even sure He exists. Trust that he is going to catch us if we ever fall, and that when he asks us to jump or close our eyes then it will all be okay because He’s got this.

Because if we don’t jump, if we don’t trust then we get stuck: on the cliff edge, on the heather, comfortable but never knowing the reality of the beauty and experiences that lie beyond it.

R/

those two tiny words

I don’t want to pack. The task of laying out everything I need for two months on the floor, and then trying to fit it into a suitcase that only weighs 23kg is not something that makes me jump out of my bed and rush to do.

How am I meant to know what to take for two months, how am I meant to know what will happen in that time? I’m writing mainly as a distraction from it all, the packing and the cleaning…but also because I have figured that I haven’t written much in 2016. I haven’t given time to it or made it a part of my life. I swore to myself that I would on January 1st – that writing would be something I did regularly. That it would be good for me. And then as with most things I promise myself I forgot and I got too busy with other things.

I have been having this conversation with various people over the past few years about the word ‘no’. The word which somehow kids seem to learn early and say all the time and then when we reach adulthood some of us forgot it exists. I’m often a yes person; ‘yes’ i will help you out, ‘yes i will come to that event’, ‘yes of course i have time to do all of the jobs you are giving me’.

It has lead to me not necessarily making wise decisions over the years. It has lead to me having experienced some form of burn-out, encountered panic attacks and generally being tired more often than rested.

I fully believe that sometimes you have to say yes when you don’t want to, or when it might be hard. But I also know that the word ‘no’ is just as important. Learning to say ‘I’m sorry but I can’t come’ or ‘I’m sorry but I don’t have time to do that as well as all the other things’. Because when I say ‘yes’ all the time, and i don’t think this only happens to me, my yes becomes a mess of tiredness and half done jobs or helping out, and seems to lead to disappointment, and broken promises.

I mean Jesus said it best:

 “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Matt 5:37

It seems this isn’t just a modern day problem, but something humanity has been struggling with for a while.

But I think, very slowly I’m learning when to say yes and when to say no, and how to do it all in the best way. I should have said yes to more writing this year, yes to more of the words flowing out of my head than being stuck there for months swirling around. I should have said no to a lot of the things I have done and taken on. And right now I should say yes to packing, so I can fly back to England tomorrow.

So if you know me and you start to hear the word ‘no’ more often, please encourage it, I’m sure in some ways it will lead to a more healthy way for us all to live.

R/

*image from http://beautifuffle.tumblr.com/post/145521297441