twenty-sixteen

Hey there.

Hey, lift your head. What has you so tied in knots? You think there’s nothing left, don’t you. 

That every time you try, you mess it all up. You’ve asked-is any of this worth it? 

Am I worth? 

Come here.

Let me hold your hand, and listen to you. Pour out your fears. I won’t tell you there’s nothing to be afraid of. You have seen enough of this life to have earned the truth.

I am so sorry that load you have been carrying is crushing your very spirit. And you have been doing it all alone wondering why no one has noticed how you walk, bent, limping.

I can’t take this from you, but walking alone ends now. 

And I can support you so that burden is a little bit lighter for the rest of this particular journey. 

You are not weak by allowing someone to help. We are simply not meant to do this life alone. 

Maybe some frames of our film are solitary pictures of just me, you. 

But you have been trying so hard for so long.

So now, feel those hard, painful emotions you have pushed away. Yes, I know they are not pretty, but they are valid, real. However, they are not you. 

You are simply beautiful. And you do not have to believe it, see it, claim it, not now, not yet-for it is true. 

You say, dirty is not beauty; soiled, blemished, scarred.

Let me search with you for the source of this dry river-bed. Then you can drink handfuls of clear, sweet water until you are filled, and then, we need only to find a patch of sunlight. There you can plant your roots for a time, and catch your breath.

Maybe we will take a look at that cumbersome load over there-together unpack and see if there are any pieces we can discard. 

Of course, I will stay with you until we have reached the bottom. Let me take your garbage. Please know, there is nothing that you hand me that makes you less than.

This garbage, its not recyclable, not something to donate-it must be thrown away. 

Here, I’ll light a fire for you and we will burn your refuse. Then. When the embers glow within the wood and the ashes fall onto our skin, you will know. 

It is time.

You get to choose, how long before you pick that burden back up. Because, let’s be clear, it still exists. I’m so sorry it does. 

But you get to decide how you will carry on. 

I cannot imagine your suffering, your pain. I wish we could fix this.

How unspeakably punishing it has been. It’s no wonder you have grown thorns. 

But that will not keep me out.

I must tell you though, that I have limits; that my strength fades, my hope disappears, my faith can be overcome by fear. Know it isn’t my heart that chooses this completely. We all receive love and gift love uniquely.

And my aim is love.

We will navigate this trial, walk this trail with another, a helper.

So let’s prepare. We have enough to start. We will look for provisions along the way. 

We may stumble, fall apart, weaken: but we are sculpted out of the finest clay-mud from dirt and water formed in an image of the very One who created this world.

Ready?

…i found this one recent night, late when I couldn’t yet sleep. So i was up, looking for a good read to help me fall asleep, and found a pile of my drawings, doodling, writings I had done over the year. This one caught my eye. I remembered writing it, wrapped in a blanket in my cozy chair, in the deep midwinter of last January, when 2016 was still new and relatively unmarked. I wrote this as a letter to myself originally. To remind myself when that I am valuable and valued, and real. Looking at it again, i also felt the pull to share it here. It is what I would say to a suffering one, whether I know you or not. I hope it speaks to you or someone you know. This past year was difficult for many, in so many ways, on so many levels; so let’s be for each other buckets of water to together throw onto the dumpster fire that was 2016.–hollie

beautiful scars

I’ve wrapped my heart in a writing tourniquet.  I can find any number of turns of phrase to say it in a nice way, except it’s not a nice situation.

I gave myself a week off to think, to step back, to feel, to find wisdom and to heal.  After any emotional and relational storm, I have the aftermath and the injury to treat. Just like healing from a physical wound, there is a sort of protocol and process to restoring me.

During the hurting and broken time, I am learning to dive deep into the emotional wreckage, search for the cause of the storm (me, someone else, situational), and sit there. Be uncomfortable.  Ask the hard questions.  Come clean to God. Do the apologizing, forgiving and right thing.

This brings me to my knees, and I usually discover that there was a “something” sitting in me unresolved, waiting for a chance to surface.  It’s super nice when I’m healthy, well rested, filled up and secure;  because I don’t get to this part.  I’m fully able to either circumvent my emotional bomb or able to immediately deal with someone else’s with grace and love.

I’d love to be able to blog all the time about how I’ve grown so much in the latter, how I’m living out His love daily.  I’ve grown.  Its’ just that the former is much more my m.o. And I am built to feel everything.  Express everything.  Also, it kills me to hurt someone.  So why am I so good at doing that very thing?

I’ve never really had an issue with full disclosure.  Honest to a fault, or maybe honest to my own detriment, that’s me.  See what a mess I/This/We are!!  And the truth of this is that I’m much, much more able to easily and quickly forgive someone who has done the hurting than to forgive myself.

So, there is always a wound.  Either caused by another or self-inflicted.  And either way, it needs treating.  The speed and ease at which I will move through these steps depends on the wound(size), the wound-e(who,intimately) and the wounded(who else got hurt).

My plan? Do whatever it takes. Do no harm.  Making sure I share and debrief with people who love and understand me, and love and understand God’s love and grace is priority. While our prayers work out the kinks in my soul, I still have to rebuild my self-worth. Everyone has their own prescription they take, the ‘thing’ that gives you distraction from the pain, relief from the thoughts and (hopefully) adds structure to your rebuilding.  These are just mine.

Watch movies.  Because they are long, engrossing, and transporting. This last week or so, I have renewed a relationship with my Walgreens RedBox.  I gasped when I saw there were GOOD MOVIES AGAIN!!  (long dry spell this summer).  I picked what felt good to watch, just me.  Bad Words (irreverently awesome), Belle, (historical real life story of justice, triumph, and love. Better than the book), The Lance Armstrong Lie (fascinating personality docu), Winter’s Tale (not like I thought it was going to be…half okay, half wtf), Mom’s Night Out (cute, surprisingly good, a little corny). You are so welcome for the reviews!

Walk/run/lift/hike/move: with or without dog or others, though alone can be best for processing.  Builds serotonin and dopamine…those are the brain chemicals you want more of. Stat.

Sleep. I consider this important, having lived through almost a decade of continuous sleep deprivation (love you boys!).  After the anxiousness wears off, you may sink to depressed for a bit.  So, monitor how much you are sleeping, but a full night of rest and a nap here and there is good for perspective and normal feeling.  If you feel way at the extreme for a long time on either, please seek help.  I did, and it’s been the best year and a half of my life.

Say no.  Kindly, to occasions and opportunities that just feel yuck. Don’t make the mistake of overloading your schedule consciously or unconsciously to escape dealing with the painful self revelations. You are allowed a break, even from things you love to do too. Just make sure you when you do say no, that you say NO to guilt, shame, blame, social anxiety, shoulds and self bullying.  It is ok to do (or not do) what you need. Healthy you will shine and fill the places and times you have been created for!

Get out and away.  I’ve gone for walks in my neighborhood, and to neighboring states and towns.  If it’s for a half hour, a day, or five minutes, it’s good for you.  Perspective happens when we can detach and shake up our thinking.  I’ve discovered some pretty great things about myself on these sojourns.

Feel. Outloud. I found myself talking to God and ended up crying because I stumbled across what was hurting.  I go to my backyard that is like a mini forest and look up at the trees and sky, listen to the wind, and let landscape move me to awe.  I have been singing some songs really loud, I usually save it for when I’m alone, and it feels good.  No, great. I’ve even lol’d a few times, from something I listened to, or from a memory of laughing with someone.  Just allow yourself the freedom to feel.

Pintherapy!! How to fix yourself or life in 42 easy steps!!! Most popular thing written ever!! Must read!  Recipe included!!  I do love Pinterest.  It’s visual and interesting, like reading fifty different magazines and tearing out what speaks to me.  This week I have attended pintherapy (so named by me and my sisters) every day, and every time I’ve come away with a spark; a new blog, a yummy desert to try out on my boys, so many amazing quotes and words to fill in my blanks, a super cute outfit. And a few cute puppy/baby/cat pictures. I always leave feeling better. Or stay on until I do.

This is perhaps the hardest work of the process.  The deliberate act of making time in the long days to choose me.

Slowly, my wound has healed.  I unwound the tourniquet that had been covering my vulnerable heart.  It’s time to let the fresh air in, and to seek some glowing sun to fade the scar.

It’s beautiful, really. I’ve earned every one of the scars that I bear, tattoos and testaments to the truth; that I survived.  Every scar has a story.  A tale of hurt and battle and redemption. A story that someone needs to hear.  Now, be brave.  Show your scars.