Archive | December, 2011

Screaming, then silence: what hat-wearing llamas taught me about forgiveness.

16 Dec

As I once again reduce the entire meaning of my existence to a handful of cardboard boxes, I’ve thought about the last few years of my life in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I’ve fallen in love.

I’ve fallen in lust.

I’ve just fallen face-planted.

I’ve been wronged.

I.guess.i.can.grudgingly.admit.that.i’ve.wronged.others

And “I’m a big girl,” I like to say, with my tongue pressed firmly to cheek. “I’ve moved on. I can handle this. I have forgiven.”

But that’s a lie. As my two favorite llamas demonstrated to me in the following video:

 

I see engagement announcements from my ex-fiance, when I’m still receiving “Tell Us About Your First Year Of Marriage And Win A Second Honeymoon!” promotional emails, and I want to scream. Not because of any residual feelings left for him (because I assure you they do not exist) – but sheer anger and frustration at stealing my happy ending, and leaving me in the lurch back in Tulsa picking up pieces and scrambling to find a new normal, by myself, hundreds of miles from home.

And every now and then, the ghosts of arguments past will sneak up behind me and jab me in the heart with their hurtful words I can’t ever un-hear. Some of the refrains have come up more than once.

“You can’t be what I need.”

“I just want to be friends.”

“This was a mistake.”

Variations on the age-old theme of You Aren’t Enough. 

And these words don’t send me spiraling into a cloud of morose emo groveling – because Pride and I are well acquainted – they make me angry. Oh so very angry.

I cringe when I remember things I said to people while flying off my hot-tempered handle, things that are probably hurting them to this day, and that I so desperately want to crawl to and beg, beg, beg forgiveness. But I can’t.

And I thought I had forgiven them, and forgiven myself. I did.

I was defining forgiveness as “Gee, I no longer want to commit homicide when his name is mentioned.” Which is, you know, a radical improvement on some counts.

But when I was kneeling in the confessional last week, crying and pouring my broken, wounded heart out to the priest, and facing the consequences of some decisions I have no one to blame for but myself, and other decisions that I had no say in whatsoever. . .I heard a quiet voice in my heart.

That is what forgiveness sounds like.

Screaming, then silence.

All through mass, it’s the only thing I could think about. And when I went forward to receive communion, I heard it again.

That is what forgiveness sounds like.

Screaming, then silence.

I knelt down in the aisle, and cried again. We’re talking, two sobs away from ugly cry.

Because I wanted to forgive not just the new and the recent and the fresh, but to chase down the ugly tangled leftover roots of unforgiveness left behind, and destroy them, too.

I wanted them to drown.

And for the first time, I could do that. Because the beauty of the Sacrament is that the Eucharist, if you let it, is like a form of divine regeneration. It restores the broken and the tarnished and the scared and the bitter and transforms you into something new, something beautiful, something Christlike. Something very much you at your core with all your memories, and your hopes and your dreams – but very much different. Something holy.

And in that moment, I found silence.

 

 

Pure and Undefiled

9 Dec

Two dear friends of mine, Timothy and Kristin Putnam, recently miscarried a precious daughter. Kristin’s godmother sponsored Baby “Lydia” through Love Without Boundaries in memory of the Putnam’s own baby Lydia, praying for us all with Jesus right now.

My heart aches for Timothy and Kristin and their beautiful family. Their friendship has been special for me in many ways, and their heart for life and the Church is beautiful. They’re new converts like me, and their faithfulness in the face of trials and tribulations is humbling. If you’re looking for an Advent project this year, please consider taking baby Lydia in China as a special intention in mass – or donating to her surgery fund.

I can’t say enough good things about LWB – without their organization’s intervention in the orphanage that my two youngest siblings spent their first years in, Trent and Aeren would, beyond a shadow of a doubt, be dead right now.

And if you do pray for Lydia and the Putnam’s or donate to the surgery – even if it’s a dollar or a single Hail Mary –  I would greatly appreciate you either leaving a comment, or sending me an email that I can pass on to Timothy and Kristin. They need the love of their Church family to surround them right now. Your prayers and support have meant the world to me throughout the last year, and I want to share that with them.

Changes. . .

5 Dec

Well. Nanowrimo, also known as National Month Of Writing Failure, went about as well as can be expected when you sincerely believe you are going to write 50,000 words on an iPhone. Yes. On an iPhone. Because I’m not being cute when I say I’m crazy. I’m really basically crazy. I’ve been computer-less for a while and have been writing papers, emails – pretty much every thing – on my phone. I’m sitting in front of a friend’s computer screen right now, and my eyes are all “What the what is all this space we have to roam??”

Go ahead, little eyeballs. Roam away.

Speaking of roaming, and space – I’m moving to Texas. 

In 17 days.

For real this time.

One of the children I nanny is starting a new school program soon, and there really wasn’t a full-time nanny job available for me in the Tulsa area. And I need to eat. And pay bills. And finish school. So it’s back to Texas with me. I have a handful of nanny interviews in the DFW area, so HELLO to any of my readers in Dallas. 

I’m actually going to miss Tulsa. I’m leaving a lot of wonderful people behind, and it’ll be hard to say goodbye. I got teary-eyed today picking the kids up from school, as I realized I’m only going to do that a handful of times before I leave. I’m not sure if that’s a testament to my emotional instability as of late, my current off-the-charts estrogen production, or me falling off the deep end – because pick-up is a pain.

I keep spanning the spectrum between crying into my pillow over leaving Tulsa and everyone in it and being giddily excited at only having a few weeks left before I’m back in Texas, and that’s usually occurring while I’m supposed to be packing and purging (clothes, not food. I’m not that much of a ballerina). 

What are your plans for Advent and Christmas?