Years have gone by as this little blog collects dust.
I’m beginning to shake it off. Tip toeing back.
Right now, a lot of stuff is stirring in my heart and mind and I’m trying to process it all. For the past couple of weeks that has meant that I cry on my way to work as I have little revelations about myself, the world and how I’m connected to it all. It means that on the way home, I sit quietly in between consoling my toddler and reminding her we are almost home, sometimes peeling a banana and throwing it in the direction of her car seat and hoping it makes it to her little hands. It means that my vulnerability is on showcase more than I would like. I’m coming back here, because I need a space outside my mind to collect these revelations. My car rides can only hold so much.
I have learned that when you become a Mother, who you were before dies to itself. Morbid sounding but it’s not as terrible as it sounds. When you become a Mother, there’s a death. There’s also a resurrection…I’ll get to that later. But theres also this in between time that no one ever tells you about. The in-between time is really messy, foggy and hard to distinguish. At least, that has been what it is like for me, anyways. That in between time has been too long for my liking, but I fought hard and wrestled with things and doubted deeper than I ever have. Half way through that time though, I got tired. Really tired. Tired of doubting out loud, tired of defending myself, tired of not finding the answers, tired of advocating, tired of being angry at injustice, tired of trying to reconcile my ethics with a faith I had quickly become disillusioned from all while being in the trenches of changing diapers and repeating the same thing over and over. It was too much. So I hit the “shut down” button on it as much as possible. I compartmetalized the reconciling my faith a part from everything else and shut the door on it and moved forward as fast as I could. I ran.
It’s funny how obvious it is now, of course. But at the time I was oblivious. Oblivious to the fact that the part of myself I had always been so deeply compelled and called to had been left behind in the dust. A tragic move of my sub conscience but it was a self preservation/survival tactic I’m sure.
It’s never a great idea to suffocate any one part of you. Obvious, you would think. But especially so the part that has always been the driving source to all you do. For me, my spiritual journey has been the well that everything else has sprung from. And when you dry up that well, everything else seems to dry up too. I had become an angry cynic. Forever on the verge of another anxiety attack, barely able to clean up a puddle of dog pee without crying; a silly and shallow example of a much deeper inner turmoil that was going on. It was really bad for a while.
Despite all of that, I am fortunate I married very well and my solitary offspring is joy defined. My husband was patient with me as I cried over dog pee puddles, knowing there was a much bigger story narrative going on but not forcing me to tell it. Even through his frustration, he held me gently and allowed me the space to work through it. He respected my journey and I his and it was a gift of mercy and grace.
We eventually began dragging ourselves out of the pit together. We started eating well and resting well and investing care into our bodies. We began cleaning out boxes that had been packed away for years. It’s funny how obvious and cliche’ that is too. We started unpacking literal boxes all while unpacking and unearthing things we had long suppressed. I reclaimed old, theological books that had help shaped my ethics and reform my fundamental faith years ago, reminding me that girl was still there. Still curious, still compelled to ask the hard questions without the promise of answers. Not completely as zealous and a little worn and beat up from the in between time. But she was still there.
Nadia Bolz-Weber said it best:
“How the Christian faith, while wildly misrepresented in so much of American culture, is really about death and resurrection. It’s about how God continues to reach into the graves we dig for ourselves and pull us out, giving us new life, in ways both dramatic and small” (Pastrix, xvii-xviii).
It was nice to have her back. It’s a little awkward meeting your old self and introducing the different self. Still trying to reconcile the two to each other and figure it all out. And that’s the really hard work I’m doing right now. It’s a lot of tears, sighs of relief, wrestling, and thankfulness. Thankfulness that I’m having another chance to work it out with a wildly different perspective.
And I have to mention, that Nadia Bolz-Weber’s book Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint was dropped in my lap at the most precisely, perfect time in all of this. It reminded me why I am drawn to Jesus, why I feel compelled to serve, and was so disturbingly honest, it forced me to do the same.
So, it’s not that “I’m back” as I nearly typed. It’s that the part of me that I dug a grave for and buried is being brought back to life. Resurrection. And I want to be honest and transparent and this is the space outside of my drives to work and back that will hold my new found truth. Maybe you will nod your head back and forth and whisper, “me too”. Or maybe you will tilt your head to the side, puzzled, and say, “Huh?”. Whatever you take or don’t take, I hope this to be a safe and respectful place of death and resurrection for us both.