Tag Archives: life lesson

I Live In Between

Most of my life is spent in a place of too much and not enough.

Too much to do, and not enough time.
Too much stuff, and not enough space.
Too much eaten, and not enough activity.
Too much spent, and not enough saved.
Too much stress, and not enough rest.

You get the picture. You probably live in this picture too. Most of us internet-trawling, Facebook-posting, smart-phone-clutching, Consumers-and-Users do. We don’t want to. We don’t plan to. We read and write and repost all sorts of things to avoid it. But, it’s the curse of modern life.

I suspect the subsistence-farming, factory-working, drought-surviving, war-enduring, HaveNots-and-MakingDoers are living their own form of too much and not enough. A far grimmer version. Perhaps, it’s the curse of human life.

This morning I gamely wrestled six bags, three children, a dented flute, a half-eaten muffin and a small plastic snailery (hastily fashioned out of an old pop bottle for Mrs Gander’s class) out the front door. We were running late. Again. With even the smallest chance of sunshine, ghostly white people like us must sunscreen before leaving the house. I always forget to account for this extra 5 minutes in my mad dash to all our various schools.

Fortunately we have very good friends who give the highschooler a ride everyday. The elementary schoolers were impatiently buckled into the van, the preschooler was crawling between the seats chasing a bug and I was checking one more time to make sure I had a good copy of my paper for my Creative Non-Fiction class. Even Mom goes to school these days.

As we pulled out, we began our not-so-beloved, but totally neccessary for Mom’s sanity, prayer ritual. Everyone pitches in a couple items, out loud, on the way down the street. And I remember that I actually love these little people and that life, and this day, is bigger than the latest version of yes-you-really-have-to-wear-that (shoe/sock/coat/sunscreen). It’s like a reset, as we face down another day. My favourite was the boy’s prayer:

Ah… God,
School!!!
Ah-mennnnn.

What more needs to be said, really? We arrived at our first stop, flush with success, just as the first bell rang. Of course the snailery was sitting on the porch by the front door. Of course.

Pack it back in, turn around, scoop it up, try again. Even later than ever. Again.

I used to think that this is where life is lived – in the doing: in the tasks accomplished and customers served. The bulk of my life – so  full of too much, so starved by not enough – is not a bad place, not really. I don’t regret it or hate it. I’m not willing to trade it in for another rendition. I’m not looking for a transformation or some fancy new system guarunteed to cure all my woes. Sure, I’ll seek a better balance, but I don’t imagine I’ll ever arrive.

Instead I’m changing my focus. I picked the word “Breathe” as my resolution this year. And it’s a strangely powerful one.

I’m as busy as ever, but that is not how I live. Not anymore. I live in the spaces between too much and not enough.

I live in the slight breeze tickling my face.
I live in the warm press of little bodies beside me at 6 am.
I live in the stretch of my legs on the trampoline during ‘ring-around-the-rosie.’
I live in the laugh shared over a ridiculous inside joke.
I live in the beat of a catchy tune, the blue sky as far as I can see, the smell of rain on the horizon…

I live in these moments that are just right and more than enough. There’s no trick, no equation, no escape needed. Life trickles into the gaps of everyday. It’s a gift. We just have to live it.life

Be still and know that I am God.

Breathe.

So here’s me, the crazy person who thought an intensive May/June writing course (cram 13 weeks of work into 8) would be a great fit for our life. Maybe not, but I’m actually feeling a lot LESS stressed than expected because those technicolour moments of life are powerful. Who knew, I just needed to learn to breathe all these years.

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Everything! Everything! Everything!

Five Minute Friday:

Remember

One of the interesting side effects of being a known blogger amongst your circle of friends, is the influx of blogging suggestions. Remember when… becomes a prelude to “you should blog about that.” All the time.

When I hear the word “Remember”, I know what’s coming next. And I often do. Blog about the things we’ve waxed nostalgic about. But some of my best stories will never be immortalized online. Some, I choose to keep my own. Some, don’t feel like mine to share. And some, I just can’t remember right, no matter how hard I try.

I had one today. And I’ve been wracking my brain since I got this e-mail. The timing was perfect.

Once when I was over you told this story (the details are sketchy in my mind) but the essence of the story was a crying fit with Glen that had you repeating over and over ‘Everything! Everything! Everything!’.

I just wanted you to know that among my friends and my friends friends this has become a phrase that communicates crystal clearly when we feel like we’re waaaaaay in over our heads and we’re feeling emotional, about it.

It came up this morning again, and I felt like I should tell you that you are a legend. You should blog about it. 😉

I’m not at all surprised that I have acquired some small amount fame based on my complete emotional breakdown. Not even a little bit. I’m sure the story was both funny (at my own expense) and personally embarrassing. They usually are.

I do remember this story. I remember the day. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed, beyond words and reason. But I can’t, for the life of me, remember the comedy of errors that preceded it. The details have completely faded.

I’m pretty sure it was that magical time of the month. I had just given Glen an exhaustive list of everything that was wrong with my day, my life, my wardrobe and the universe in general. And I remember him asking what SPECIFICALLY I was upset about. No doubt so he could whip out his handy-dandy, husbandly tool-kit of advice to FIX it for me.

Rookie mistake.

Everything! Everything! Everything!

I can’t remember what EVERYTHING was that day. But it’s still the cry of my heart on a regular basis. And it really does feel better to say it. Next time you’re overwhelmed you should try it. I promise it helps. Then, maybe you should blog about it.

Remember that most of life’s overwhelming moments will be nothing more than a funny story someday.

overwhelmed

So here’s me… I spent the morning in a mall in Bellingham with my aunt and the 4 kids. B threw up all over herself and me, then used up every pull-up I had brought and one of her brother’s diapers (stomach bug is officially back). S had a meltdown and proceeded to get his head stuck under the canopy of his stroller while thrashing and screaming. My aunt walks with a significant limp, so this whole sticky, smelly, grumpy, shrieking gong show moved at snail’s pace down the length of the mall.

Everything! Everything! Everything!… indeed.

Today I’m joining up with Lisa Jo and a whole group of writers for a fun writing challenge. Though I must confess, I slightly exceeded my allotted Five Minutes today. Just one more thing to add to Everything. 😉

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


The Myth of Us and Them

I watched a documentary about the Amish last night. It reminded me of drives to St. Jacob’s for the farmer’s market and Amish bakery. Sour Northern Spy apples. Giant sugar cookie pigs. Sweet buns and fresh bread. The quaint characters we craned our necks to see as we zipped past in modern convenience. But most of all, it reminded me of me.

The program explored this strange subculture, both good and bad. The ones who left. The ones who stayed. Neither ones the villains. Both the victims, in their own way.

The customs. The secrets. The lines drawn in the sand. Tradition. Conviction. Fear.

And it all sounded so familiar. Not only from family stories of our strict Brethren sect, but from my life here and now. Because we draw lines in the sand too. In different places, but they are still there.

This is something I wrote a few months ago. It is a little different. I usually keep the rambly “poetic” pieces securely hidden in journal pages, but I’m running low on time and energy, and feeling a bit brave today.

How do we separate “us” and “them”?

We try to wrap our skinny arms around it, digging in our nails, gritting our teeth. So we can throw it down and beat it into submission.

We’re the church, we’re big on submission. Not the doing, but the saying.

White knuckled and wide-eyed. You can almost smell the fear. In whispered rumors and wild innuendo… cause that sort of thing is contagious, you know? We have to keep that shit, excuse me, sin out. We cannot let them win.

So we create our own. Our own music. Our own slang. Even our own breath mints.

But we are them.

And they are us.

No matter what brand of candy we chew.

Culture was never the problem. Creating a new one won’t save us. Bullying “them” pleasantly, with our kind intentions, until “we”, happily deluded, feel safe.

But we are them.

And we are as full of shit as anyone.

And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else.

Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God.

What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin.

Romans 3: 20 (MSG)

So here’s me, and yes, I used the word “shit.” If that’s all you can think about, then you probably missed the point anyway.

And I’m not kidding about the breath mints. “Testa-mints” – has anyone tried them? They’re like Certs, with a righteous after taste.


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