Revel in the Revelation

My thoughts are jumbled up and caught in the midst of a deep knowing and a precipitous drop into a wild learning that I’ve been searching for these past five years. 

Everything has been layering into place to get me to here.

Right now. 

Revealing this. 

I’ve been taking lessons from my own body. Learning to trust it when it says yes, and no, and wait, and rest. Maybe everything was simply too loud, before. 

And now I’m listening for the gentle voice of my own being, created, good, and whole, and returning to fullness. 

I became thin, a veil to my own self, and rather than thickness I’ve built into this fullness, even as my milk runs dry and my tears run dry. 

From the thin place I entered, I have been guided to a place to understand my own theology of touch. 

I’m learning where the yes comes from. I’m learning more about how the yes has been closed off and told it was inappropriate and shamed and negated and gaslight and relegated to the smallest portion imaginable. 

But I am not settling for crumbs. 

There is more than enough to go around and I will help you get your enough while I seek my own. 

And I will listen to the gentle rhythm of the rain and my heartbeat and the wind in the trees and the rushing of the creek and I will dance with my whole self. 

Dance like my five year old and my two year old and dance like I’ve learned it already and like I’m creating a new kind of dance and there is only the true way to do it if you are dancing with the creator of the dance. 

There are no wrong steps if you are trying to listen. If you are able to say you are sorry. If you are willing to confess where you have been wrong and where you have hurt others and if you are willing to be contradicted with grace and learn. Learn. Learn. 

Then. 

Then we can move together and learn to hear our bodies together and listen to the voices that have been ignored out of ignorance that claimed it was innocent and now. Now we have seen that what is harmful is not holy, now that it has been revealed as the opposite of good, we can turn to the revelation and see. Actually see. 

And now that we see, we can help others see. And as we reveal our full selves, we dance and sing and twirl and party and circle around with joy and pleasure. We Revel. We cultivate this joy that cannot be denied or shut up or blocked out or dissipated or disappeared or ignored. Rather, we move, sing, embrace, listen, experience, breathe, and rejoice in this freedom. 

Nothing is created out of context, and I want to acknowledge that this is a response to what I am reading and hearing and listing to in this current time. Right now, my conversation partners are adrienne marie brown, Prentis Hemphill, Monica Byrne, Heather Willet Olsen, Kate Bowler, Sarah Howell-Miller, and Rose Eveleth. I wonder what I will learn next.

Good Enough

Its a little meta, but I am being good enough at having grace for myself. 

I’ve been listening to a lot of Kate Bowler’s Podcast, Everything Happens and her main point is that there’s no winning at life. She asks: what happens when you can’t “live your best life now” and really does a great job at deflating that concept in the first place. 

It’s really healthy for me to listen to. 

Because I’m not what I considered to be an over-achiever, and I really didn’t think that I was obsessed with perfection or anything, but because I picked up some messages along the way that excellence was the only measuring tool for accomplishments, and I also keep thinking I have to accomplish something or my life isn’t worth something.

Which is all shit, by the way.

I don’t need to publish a book in order to be a full person. 

I don’t need a raise to show that my call to ministry is valid. 

I don’t need to cook a particular diet of food to prove that I understand nutrition and all it’s facets, and I don’t have to get every new recipe perfect the first time I try it. 

I don’t need to spend at least three hours a day outside with my kids a day to be a good parent. 

I don’t need to attend every protest in a hundred mile radius to be a good advocate for justice.

I don’t need to lose those ten or fifteen pounds that I lost when I was significantly unhealthy and unable to care for my body well. (That wasn’t a healthy body… it just looked like it could have been. Or maybe what normative/opressive beauty norms say are right.)

I don’t need to have sex every night with my husband to be in a healthy, committed, romantic relationship with him.

I don’t need to keep up with twenty people and know how they are to the depths of their souls in order to have friendships and connections with my community.

Sometimes the pictures are misleading. (Scratch that.) The pictures can only ever show a part. And there are some things that will never be able to be captured in a photo still. 

Life isn’t a series of stills stitched together linearly to describe a progression. 

Life can be cyclical. Life can be dark. Life can be found in the quiet moments. Life can be found in an expression and glance exchanged over the dinner table. 

I think I feel like sometime soon someone is going to ask me what I want to do with my life, and I want to say, this… but… maybe with a particular thing added. But if I add something, it’s not because this, whatever this is, isn’t enough. It will be different. The balance will shift, an exchange will be made, and I will figure out a new pattern with the people I live my life with. 

And I want to begin what ever I start doing with the expectation up front that I am not trying to be perfect, but I am endeavoring to be whole. 

But first, I think I’m going to go eat another cookie and get another sticky hug from Roar. 

A Memory of My Father

My mom was telling me recently that dad was doing some recent advocacy work by calling the conference office and asking them to include the resources that the multicultural committee he serves with had worked on in their list of anti-racist resources. As a followup, he called the leaders of the committee, to let them know that their work was going to be included (and in fact, the bishop highlighted their work in a later communication). 

On the phone, the Black female leader told dad that she appreciated him for this specific act, and for his continued acton within the conference over the past three decades.

And said, yes, we’ve seen that work, and that’s why you were black-listed. 

It’s a heck of a thing to be recognized for, getting missed and skipped and excused and pushed to the back over and over and over again in a system of white cronyism. 

Fourteen years ago, dad and I went driving to a landscaping company and asked if we could have three hundred stones, and the person was like, these? That are super expensive? Or those, the run-of-the-mill river stones. And we said, those, can we have three hundred? How much will they cost? And the guy was like, oh, those? Those I’ll just give you. 

So dad and I bent over in the rain and picked out three hundred smooth stones so that members of his congregation could take them and put them as a foundation on the land where the church was building a new property. But then he was moved, and the new pastor that moved to that place listened to the guy that nearly gave dad a heart attack and that place that we prayed over is not united methodist anymore, even though it is a place where the people of God worship. 

I’ve lost count of the number of stories like that about my dad. 

But he doesn’t stop. He also makes it in the paper as the faster pastor, and the running community defacto chaplain. The savannah mayor knows who he is. The imam and the rabbi know who he is and are glad when he is with them. 

The work we do isn’t glorious. It is hard, and relentless, and never-ending and doesn’t earn us praise or a better salary or institutional recognition. But that doesn’t make it not worth it. It is worth it. We just gotta keep showing up. 

Keep Me In Your Heart

Rebel has started saying this to my husband and I whenever we take our leave of her. It doesn’t matter if we are going to the grocery store, a quick run to the church to pick up more supplies for work, taking a walk, or even just upstairs for a nap or getting some non-interrupted work done. 

“Keep me in your heart! You’ll be in mine!” then kisses and ASL “I love you” hands until we are out of sight. 

It’s one of her ways of coping with this season of uncertainty. She is quite old enough to understand that something important is going on. She knows the world is different. Her world is different. She hasn’t been able to give a friend a hug in over a month. She’s only seen one, for that matter, and that was from her carseat for a five minute chat while the other friend was on her porch. We had to cancel visits from and to grandparents. (And the beach, which I’m super torn up about.) She can’t go to the grocery store. Or church. Or school. Or the playground. 

I don’t even want to let her see the playground, because I don’t want either kid to see it surrounded by police caution tape. That’s not an image I want to help her process. 

So. She knows something is going on. But how well can she understand that half the world is at home. Half the world has basically ground to a halt. I can’t process it. But it is happening. And so I’m trying to help her understand what she can and being with her when it overwhelms her. 

It is rightfully overwhelming. 

Hank Green shared the realization that this is the single largest collective intentional action in the history of humanity. That’s a big deal. It’s not a war. We are unified for one goal. It’s an action that we are taking to protect those most at risk among us. We aren’t all doing it the same way, but we also don’t understand it. We are still learning and realizing new trends and figuring out the best way for the most people to be healthy and share the best way to communicate what we need to do to be a responsible society. 

We want answers, but sometimes they simply don’t exist. We are learning how to live with ourselves in this current reality that is nothing like normal even on days when it could be. 

And so, because of the uncertainty, my daughter asks me to remember her when we are apart, even if it is with a door between us. And I do. I keep her in my heart. 

And I keep you in my heart. Because I cannot keep you in my hands, or offer you a gracious touch or comforting hug, you are in my heart. I remember you. 

Keep me in your heart. 

turning

The sky should be a different color

yellow

or red

purple perhaps

maybe jade green, a harbinger of shift and 

change

and 

Chaos.

This blue is wrong for a world so turned

into fear and scarcity

and the presence of death.

We ration out our conversations 

with those who live outside our homes

trying to live on 

the threads of conversations limited to ten words a day.

The world is turning inside itself, and we don’t know how long we will be staying inside. 

We are all apart from each other.

Dismembered. 

Scattered and sifted because we cannot know if 

we will endanger our neighbor by being too close. 

The sky has no right to be this blue. 

The world is not normal. 

We will be changed. 

Oh, I yearn for a red sky of warning or a glint of 

green ushering in the storm about to break and pour over us.