Monday, June 28, 2010

The Morning Before

I think last night was the first night of a full 8 hours of sleep in at least 2 weeks...but quite possibly in a month's time. And now, after a night filled with anxiety-ridden dreams, I am sitting by myself in bed with my computer upon my lap wondering when the last time was that I had a few minutes in the morning to myself. Brian is off to get a couple of cavities filled before he picks up the big yellow moving truck. The girls are still sleeping...and it's 8 in the morning. Considering the sun has been up already for about 3 hours, the fact that not a single one of them has yet wandered into my room this morning is evidence that their little bodies have also suffered from the chaotic swirling of events as of late.

So here I sit. Procrastinating. I don't want to finish packing up all of our belongings today. I'm resistant to ending. But no matter how long I procrastinate...the deadline will inevitably arrive. Since Friday of last week, where I attended a moving and overwhelmingly emotional graduates breakfast filled with the sharing of memories, I have had little time to stop and identify what is going on within my own heart and soul. Without any time or space to simply let emotions flood over me I found that every moment I had to myself became an opportunity to release the tears that needed to come out. Seriously...every moment I was alone. But those few moments were not spacious enough to really reflect or "process" as we like to call it at MHGS. Pause here. I just realized that I probably shouldn't say/write things like "we...at MHGS" any longer. One more gut-wrenching thought to add to my list of things needing to be processed at a later point in time.

Actually I've been anticipating that it will be the long drive from WA to CO where I'll finally allow myself to fully feel all that I am carrying with me right now. But I will try to be present today as I finish packing each room and scrub it clean till it shines. I will try to count all the things for which I am thankful, for all the faces for which I have grown to truly love, for all the ways in which I have been marked by this place, these faces, these moments.

Friday, June 25, 2010

No words...

There are no words to describe all that I am feeling in these final moments.

So when there are no words...there is always dance.

Click here to watch what happens when words are abandoned and movement becomes language.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Then and Now

This photo was taken a couple of weeks after we sold our vehicles, garage-saled a quarter of what we owned, put the rest in storage and left Littleton, Colorado to live briefly in the beautiful country of Uganda. This was the girls' first day as students at the Kabira International School and it was Brian's very first day of teaching his own class!



Now, nearly four years later, we are about to return to Colorado, the place we used to call home. It's strange to think that it no longer feels like home. At about the three month mark of our time in Uganda I remember thinking that there was no way we could handle being away from all of our friends and family for the three years it would take me to complete a masters degree at MHGS. The months we spent living in a foreign country almost entirely on our own left us feeling a kind of loneliness that I think few people experience in their lifetime. We were fortunate to have one another - and at the same time it was that level of "togetherness" that revealed so much of the brokenness that had been covered up by the distractions of our daily lives before that season.

It was the isolation we experienced in Uganda that Brian and I were forced to face the fracture of our marriage. And it was because of this fracture that we decided not to return after we had traveled to Colorado for Christmas that year. Unsure of what our next step should be, we moved to California to live with my dad so that both Brian and I could work and attempt to save up the necessary funds we would need in order to relocate to the Pacific Northwest so that I could pursue further education. The six months we spent living in California were not necessarily any easier than living in another country. It was the first time since I was five years of age that I had spent any extended amount of time with my father. There I was, a grown woman with three kids of her own, discovering that the wound from his absence in my life was still very much a part of who I had come to be and how I had come to relate to others.

In that six months Brian and I wrestled with our plans for our future. We questioned if such a thing as "our future" even existed anymore. After having grown up in a broken family I never imagined that divorce would be a word in my own relational vocabulary. And yet, we were at our breaking point. Neither of us knew what to do. Years of marriage counseling. Years of seeking out advice from spiritual advisors, friends, and family. Nothing seemed to help. We couldn't help but wonder if the stress of relocating a family of five and the demands of grad school were just simply too much for our fragile relationship to withstand.

So Brian and I were forced to get really real with each other. I know that's horrible grammar...but there's no other way for me to describe it. We had to speak honestly to one another...like really honest. The kind of stuff you only write in journals when you think no one else will ever read them. We spoke of the possibility of divorce and wondered about what that would look like. We talked about our ideas around custody and how we would still be co-parents and that we would have to get over ourselves so that we could celebrate every holiday and birthday together as a family. It was perhaps the most difficult conversation of my life. We also talked about the financial struggles such a decision would inevitably create. And that's when we both agreed that we simply had to move so that I could acquire the degree necessary for me to pursue a career that would make it possible for me to survive with while raising our three girls in a joint-custody situation.

It's so crazy for me to think that it was because we were contemplating divorce that we set sail on this journey three years ago. Sure there were plenty of other things set in motion to point me in this particular direction towards this particular school. But the possibility of us divorcing was one of the deciding factors. We were both hopeful that the experience would help us find one another again, but I don't think either of us really believed such a thing actually was possible.

There were a lot of things that happened in this journey that I never would have believed possible three years ago. And the most surprising has been that somewhere along this road I fell in love with my husband. I had always cared deeply for him before...but I'm not sure that I had really been capable of loving another...choosing to love another...until I began to discover my own true voice, true face, true beauty. In discovering my real self I became truly free to choose.

I am 5 days out from graduating from Mars Hill Graduate School with a Masters in Counseling Psychology. There truly are no words to describe my gratitude for this experience. It is not just an institution that I am thankful for - because anyone who has experienced Mars Hill quickly discovers that it is about the people you walk beside on this journey. So I am thankful for the people that make up this institution. I am thankful for the books I've read and the papers I've wrestled through. I am thankful for God's hand in it all. It truly is a place where text.soul.culture are embodied...they are made tangible, real, fleshy.

One week from tomorrow I will be returning to Colorado. It is no longer the place that I call home because I have actually discovered a home in my own soul. It is there that I have taken up residency and don't plan on ever leaving. Thank you MHGS, for helping me find home...a place where love simply abounds.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

working on my last MHGS paper...

And I stumbled upon this wonderful video. Faith was apparently entertaining herself a few mornings ago with my computer!

video

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

31

I know the truth
You think you do
but you don't
I'm strong
I'm fragile
I'm young
I'm old

I know the truth
You think you do
but you don't
I'm wise
I'm faking
I'm content
I'm hungry

I know the truth
You think you do
but you don't
I'm smiling
I'm lying
I'm laughing
I'm bleeding

I know the truth
You think you do
but you don't
I'm beautiful
I'm ugly
I'm giving
I'm longing

I know the truth
You think you do
but you don't
I'm brave
I'm trembling
I'm busy
I'm hiding

I know the truth
You think you do
but you don't
And I want you
to see beyond the front
to know more than me
the layers beneath
the core, the Desire
that makes up
31 of me.