Thursday, May 30, 2013

the fire in my bones

I don't want to retract yesterday's blog post- because it's honest, and I will never apologize for honesty. But honesty without context isn't always truth.

Here is the truth.

I am generally happy, joyful and content. Sure, there are days and moments when I get caught up in the monotony of my days, or frustrated with my temper tantrum throwing strong-willed toddler. Some days I'm overwhelmed, some days I'm busy, some days I'm grieving, most days I am a little bored. But I am fundamentally content, and relieved that it is spring.

This winter was hard, but it was not without hope.

But here is my problem: sometimes I get stuck at hope. Because I am hoping for something more and I'm just not sure exactly what that is. And so I never get much beyond hoping.

Every day I am grateful for the abundance of blessing in my life, and many days this gratitude translates into peace. But under it all, always, under it all, is restlessness.

It's this essay by Shauna Niequist - putting into words something I have been thinking about lately and striking a chord of truth deep within. It's the call to freedom and courage by Glennon Doyle Melton in Carry On, Warrior - that's resonating in the very depths of my being. It's the words said to me many years ago by a woman I greatly admire, that I have fire in my bones. And the words of my friend who caught me off guard completely when she called me an artist. It's all this and so much more, swirling around and around. Restlessness, longing, dreaming, hoping. Trying to figure out what it means, how to let the fire that is within, out.

And I think about this, incessantly. About who I really am, who I want to be, what I want to do. Who God created me to be. I have wonder-filled glimpses of my destiny, and then sit on the couch and watch Days of our Lives.

I allow melancholy to win.

So it's not that I'm sad and depressed and can't get the laundry done (although that happens, too). This is not that season.

This is a season that's filled with excitement as I feel my soul stir. And it's a season that is filled with frustration at feeling so stuck.

I had high hopes that after a circumstantially difficult winter that I would emerge renewed and refreshed this spring, ready to really live. 

And that is the source of my frustration and the context to yesterday's words.

I'm not making excuses, eating my words or changing my story, but I am amending them.

It's not so much that I've been slow to thaw. It's that I don't just want to be un-frozen. It's that I want to find a way to be on fire.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


In case you hadn't heard, we didn't have a great winter.

It was a winter filled with tears and rain and sickness and death and not a whole lot of sunshine. It was a rough season for our family. Surely spring would be better. Surely there would be happier times to come. Surely the sun would shine again. Surely my heart would stop aching.

And here we are, well into spring. We made it past the funeral and got our relaxing vacation and now we have much to look forward to in the coming months. We are firmly in a new season - a good season.

Yet the change in me is slow to come. I am not thawing as quickly as expected.

I am still sitting like a lump on the couch during Anna's naps wasting away precious hours, more tired and lethargic when she awakes than before. I am still up in the night worrying about the same things. I am still feeling guilty for all that is left undone. I am still only dreaming and definitely not acting. I'm still longing. I'm still aching.

This has nothing to do with winter.

This has everything to do with me.

So, now to move on.

And, now to do better.

Because to move on is to do better.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

my goodbye

(This is what I said at my Grandpa's memorial service. Some of it you have heard before, but all of it deserves to be repeated.)
Grandpa surprising his grandkids in the middle of the night with a serenade. Boxers and all.

Growing up, I always thought that I might be the luckiest kid in the world to have the grandparents that I did.

Now that I'm all grown up, I know that I am. That we are.

Grandpa was an amazing man, unlike any other, and each of you here are a testimony to that. You knew him as pastor, father, friend, uncle, brother, coach and mentor. But I would argue that the eight of us got him at his very best. He was our grandpa.

And he was the best.

Always larger than life, he brought, joy, laughter and fun wherever he went - which makes for a great Grandpa. He lit up every room that he was in, and in a family full of big personalities, Grandpa's light shone the brightest of all. After our wedding, our photographer told me that she had never taken so many pictures of someone's grandpa before, she was enamoured. I wasn't surprised. We all know that he was the star of that show. Every show.

He was there for all the major milestones, holidays and regular days in between. We lived together in White Rock; traveled together in Sweden and Norway. He was there for graduations, visits at camp, our weddings and our kids dedications. We watched countless hockey games and curling matches and had long talks at the table. There are memories at the farm in Manitoba, at the beach in White Rock and in the snow in Calgary. He was there when it mattered, and even when it didn't. He was there when we needed him, always praying, always a phone call away. In recent years, the talks were more poignant and the visits bittersweet as the years charged on while Grandma faded and Grandpa fought on, a gentler and tenderer version of himself. I watched history repeat itself as my daughter, Anna, fell madly in love with her great-grandpa.

And these last few hard and beautiful months, he let me stumble along beside him as he slowly made his way Home, gifting me with moments I wouldn't trade for anything - except even more of them.

Grandpa taught me that there is nothing more beautiful than the prairie sky, to love the crunch of snow under my feet and that every day is a glory day. He loved Jesus with every single fiber of his being. He showed me that means loving others, too.

I'm standing here now, trying to wrap my head around the fact that he's gone, trying valiantly to say goodbye and the truth is that I can't. I am simply unable to imagine my world without him. That's the kind of grandpa he was.

But then again, Grandpa was always so much larger than life. Thank you, God, for that.

I love you, Grandpa, always.

And, thanks.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Meditation

(when Adam's Grammy passed away she left behind copies of this meditation - one for each of her family members. I have it hanging on my wall and read it to Grandpa while he was in hospice. I'm grateful for these words.)

I am standing on the seashore -
A ship spreads her white sails in the
   morning breeze and starts for the
   blue ocean -
She is an object of beauty and I stand
   and watch her until at length she hangs
   like a speck of white cloud just where
   the sea and sky meet to mingle with
   each other.
Then someone at my side says, "There!
she's gone!"

Gone where? Gone from my sight, that's all. -
   She is just as large in mast and hull and
   spar as she was when she left my sight, and
   just as able to bear her load of living
   freight to the place of her destination.

Her diminished size is in me, - not in her.

And just at that moment when someone at
   my side says, "there, she's gone!" there
   are other eyes watching her coming and
   other voices take up the glad shout,
   "There she comes!".

And that is living, not Dying.

author unknown