thump-swoosh

The moment was filled with comfort. The few moments before were filled with whining on his part and patience on mine. With a little edge of irritation thrown in for humanity’s sake.

But then we stop in front of the oldest brother’s school and settle in for our daily wait. On queue, as soon as we hear the creak of the emergency break being set, I tip my seat back and he unbuckles and climbs over the collection of toys and trash that sprinkles the floor of the van.

He crawls into my lap and snuggles with ghee (aka his favorite blanket since birth). He rests his ear against my chest and I know it won’t be long. Since his baby days, this has been his landing place before his eyelids get too droopy to fight.

I assume he is soothed by the sound of my heart. Thump swoosh, thump swoosh, thump swoosh. I remember being soothed by the same sound when I would lie against my dad while we watched tv.

A moment to stop. Be quiet. Be still. Listen. Live.

Thump swoosh, thump swoosh, thump swoosh.

I hear his breath simultaneously slow and deepen and my shoulder muscles release just enough of the tension they habitually hold. I see his head rise up and fall ever so slightly with my breath.

I become aware of my own heart, aware of the pressure of his head against my chest making the muscle work just a bit harder, aware that it too is slowing and deepening.

Thump swoosh, thump swoosh, thump swoosh.

The realization sinks into me that I need these moments of comfort just as much as he does. Why do Ineed comfort? Why does nurture and closeness feel so good? What is behind my need?

Fear. A low level of fear and shame, dwelling inside of me. Hiding ever so deeply in the most vulnerable parts of me. A question I have asked for perhaps all of my life. Am I enough?

Am I good enough? Smart enough? Brave enough? Am I enough for approval? Am I enough to be deemed valuable?

And behind that question – in all its different forms – is a dread that the answer waiting for me if I acknowledge the question is no, you are not enough.

So I spend my life ignoring the question. And I have all the right coping skills to do so. Lucky me.

But then moments like this happen. And they sink into me and rub their salve into the place inside that asks the question. And in these moments of comfort, of connection, of being present, of peace, of love….the question doesn’t make sense anymore.

Thump swoosh, thump swoosh, thump swoosh.

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lost

red flower

I lost myself that day. I had been shoving aside my creative time week after week making room for the urgent. Life’s urgency can be that way from time to time, can linger longer than I intend.

lost

There was a school carnival to plan. Then there was the unforeseen enormity of a school carnival wrap up. Then there was Halloween costumes to put together and celebrations to be had. And of course trick or treating with The Grim Reaper, Robin Hood, and Bumblebee the transformer. That cannot be missed.

Then there was a sinus infection to recover from.

And after all of that, I came back to a precious Tuesday. Tuesdays are preschool days. Three hours doesn’t sound like much, but compared to nothing it can be the world.

the world

That morning my oldest complained that he didn’t feel good and maybe he should stay home. Back off buddy. I have been waiting for this Tuesday for a long time. You don’t have a fever. You’re not throwing up. You are going to school.

I landed at Balboa Park with my camera. I chuckled to myself as the compliments people have given me about the pictures on the blog floated through my mind.

Never in a million years have I thought myself a photographer. I just want readers to have an image with each post as a way to connect. So I try to capture one. Emphasis on try.

white flower stone wall

And because I don’t think of my self as a photographer, taking pictures is an easy way for me to let go of the results and immerse myself in the process of being creative. That and the ease and affordability of digital images.

So immerse I did.

bathe

Little did I know my soul was so dehydrated. My logic turned off and I listened to that little intuitive voice I talked about last post.

Go this way. Move in. Try. Try again. Move on. Over here.

Before I knew it, I was lost. Having an experience completely away from my normal life, my normal self. Being satisfied by something I cannot explain.

As I drove back to preschool I realized I was still sort of there, in the creative world. And I loved how it stuck to me and refused to be shaken off.

What was your last experience in the creative world? 

discernment

I don’t truly grasp the concept. If I am terribly honest with myself, I will admit I don’t really want to. I would prefer formulas. Rules. Distinct black and white. Abundantly clear clarity. I would like to do away with life’s murkiness.

Tell me who the safe people are in this world and how I can distinguish them from the unsafe ones. Is there a mark on their cheek? Do they wear certain clothes? Could everyone just walk around carrying signs?

But no. This is something that requires discernment. Learning as I go. Listening to my intuitive side.

And quite frankly my intuition often feels underdeveloped. Only in the last two or three years did I learn I even have an intuitive side. Or that it could be helpful to me in any way. That little voice. That sense of something without tangible proof.

So I am continually baffled.

But of course, life has been doing what life tends to do and presenting me with opportunities to practice and learn this foreign concept of discernment. Making choices or understanding people or situations in the current moment without needing to label or put them in boxes where I will keep them forever.

Allowing for mystery and fluidity beyond what I see while still working with the reality of where I find myself in the current moment.

Acknowledging that sometimes discernment happens in a moment and more often it requires a process.

And I have been doing what humans tend to do and making mistakes and feeling awkward and discouraged in my learning process.

But I also believe in the midst of this, God has been showing me his gentleness and tenderness toward me. Even when the learning curve of life feels steep and painful.

And he wants me to know that he loves me in the midst of it all.

So he gives me sons who pick up on my tension and hurt feelings from others as I learn the hard way (by experience – yuck!) and give me extra hugs and kisses and tender looks and sweet shoulder rubs. And I think my heart might explode. When did they develop such a capacity for compassion?

And he gives me friends who remind me of truth and encourage me and listen and listen and listen and give me hugs. Friends who don’t put people in boxes just to make me feel better but who help me understand the complexities of life and walk with me as I struggle with all of it.

And of course he gives me a husband who provides comic relief while he communicates his unending loyalty to me with his over the top protective comments.

And he gives me this sense that he is with me. That he is for me. That he loves me. And that he is in fact helping me learn this thing called discernment.