Sleepy Hollow

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fragile Grey

Fragile Grey
When the gray descends I feel the victim, a status most times I refuse.  But the fog robs me of my fight and all that is left is the fragile.  Only a thin veneer keep me from the unflattering sobs.  This facade is so easily pierced and I am left exposed. 

My thin veneer

The skill of camouflage never properly learned, I leave others uncomfortable with my unconcealed need.  I hate the tears, yet they flow unable to be checked, they come and I attempt to mask the deepness with a Mona Lisa smile. 

I don't understand the source, this unintelligent, illogical, untruthful pain that whispers lies of unworthiness, yet no intellectual argument lifts me.  The intensity is beyond logic.  I watch the static come, praying it will be a brief visitor, a reminder of my need, hopeful it won't rob me of days or even months like the one summer. The summer where I surrendered to its haze, unable to get out of beds with a pile of books, dirtied dishes, and unwashed laundry creating walls against the exposure of fellowship. 

Job's cries and David's tears serve as my expression.  Nothing "bad" need happen for my visitor; in fact, I am blessed beyond measure.  This too feels condemning, I should have no need for tears.  Many others suffer so much.  I don't see these warrior Pollyannas with tears streaming down their faces.  Those who rejoice when starving or feel God's presence in their child's terminal illness seem so much more deserving of moments of self-pity.  But even still my enemy, depression, comes and causes me to sink.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Gift of New Eyes

The farmer's field behind our house that we pretend is ours
It has taken me some time to learn to love the unique beauty of West Tennessee's Delta Plains.  Not too long ago, I would be struck for a deep longing to return to the gentle slopes and heavily rural area of Murray, Ky.  I was used to being within walking distance of wooded parks, reserves, and just a few minutes away from LBL.  I was used to being able to walk among tree covered streets and feel relatively safe.   Then I moved to Jackson.  One of the biggest statistics floating around about Jackson at the time was that Jackson was the fifth most violent city per capita in the nation.  Not exactly a place that a country girl of 18 would feel safe to explore alone.  I like many people who attend Union felt a little trapped by "the bubble" and one of the biggest areas I felt trapped was the disconnection I felt from the land.  Let me explain, .when I lived in Murray and I would need to be alone, I would drive to LBL (much to the chagriane of my mother), find a random access road, and then hike sometimes on a trail, sometimes not.  What's so funny about this longing was just across the street from Union, in some land rumored to be owned by Union, was a wild field, with developed trees, and a little pond.  I would walk by that forest daily and completely ignore it's possibilities because I didn't have the eyes to see it.  I was so homesick that I didn't see it until God gave me the eyes to see it.
   Once I was gifted with eyes, I could walk with quiet step to the waist high grass, push briars back, and sit quietly at the small pond.  In the middle of Jackson, there was a refuge for me.  I began to remember that when I realized that I had viewed my neighborhood in a similiar way.  I love my home, but my neighborhood has a cookie cutter feel to it.  The mailboxes are all identical due to a home owner's agreement.  They have the same size yard, the same size house, and the same fences.  It is so nice, but it's not exactly wild.  Or so I thought until God gave me new eyes: Isaiah and Eli.  All the sudden my blah backyard has become a wild jungle, and the field behind us, only appreciated as eye candy before is a place of adventure and exploration.
   It started when my husband, hiked home from work one day, coming in excited, he told me that there were paths cut by four wheeler's in the fields behind me.  We could walk to a pond, to a little woods, and through puddles.  I don't have to drive 45 minutes to hike (which is something I always felt compelled to do) I can find a wilderness in my backyard.  Tuesday after naps, we decided to appreciate the January day by going to the mud pile of Romie, past the jungle of trivet, and to the marsh lands along side the woods.  There is a slight element of fear that the long forgetful farmer will demand we leave his land that he left to the wild, but in a way that makes it more fun.  As I watch Isaiah jump from "mountain to mountain," Eli look for the grasshoppers and squish the clay soil in his hands, and have to pull my shoes out of the bog I realize that for 6 years this wilderness was behind me and I never had the eyes to see it.  I never had the curiosity to explore it and now that I can see what a wonderland.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wonder what other blessings I've closed my eyes to.  I wonder what other ways my grumbling spirit has kept me from joy.

Not for the Squeamish

Sick Day at the Carlsons
It was a Mount Vesuvius eruption.  The vomit streaming from Isaiah's mouth served as a chastisement.  Just before that moment, Isaiah in tears and defiance had told me that he wasn't "going anywhere," the repetitious three year old petition eventually irritating me sufficiently for a stopped car and a swift spanking.

Oh, the horror!!!

On the one hand my heart is humbled at my deficiencies as a mother, particularly my lack of listening. All my bad mom moments flood to my mind and I have to live in my need for forgiveness. This event is filed along with a food battle with then 15 month old Isaiah. My pride at stake, my usually ravenous and non-picky eater has expressed he will not eat his green beans...Or so I thought. Determined to win, I ignore his epic fit to wait to acknowledge him until he is not throwing his head into high chair and screaming. This takes about twenty minutes of heart wrenching cries and my inward speeches of how this is for the greater good. Then he folds into exhaustion and I respond only to find a trapped pinched finger. Floods of condemnation come and I find once again that I am too busy responding, not listening. Shouldn't it be the reverse?
It was bad for me too!

Still sick, but feeling better

On the other hand, I am amazed at myself in this moment.  I hold his little body, rubbing his back, and in between the heaves place my cheek on his cheek.  The whit carpet turned orange, my hair and clothes soiled, and as my stomach turns I pray.  Clarity comes and I am able to love.  To just sit with him and love him unworried about the mess.  Me, who used to gag at the smell of dogs and nursing homes.  Me, who wouldn't want to visit certain homes because they smelled different from my home.  Me, who used to view cleaning the toilet as a task that I wasn't sure I could survive.  And I realize that this isn't me.  That it is God in me.  I couldn't love enough to sit and cuddle still dirty.  I am incapable.  But I am encouraged because if he can make me overcome my aversion to the gross, he can help remove the wax buildup around my ears and help me listen.