My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as to those who simply love to read. You will find snippets of things I am working on and special announcements here.
The first time I traveled to Italy, Giovanni took me to Verona. That June afternoon encapsulated all that Italy can be at its best--a mild blue day, pots of roses on window ledges, and the quiet murmur and melody of people speaking Italian. Our shadows cast romantic silhouettes as we walked hand in hand down cobblestone streets. We stopped at the site of Giulietta's balcony, the location where she and Romeo pledged their love to one another. We have a photograph of me standing by Giulietta's statue, the stone carved to depict the maiden holding up a silk gown just above her slender ankles. I'm grasping her waist, my hand touching the folds of her garment, my appearance incongruent with hers, wearing Chuck Taylors and skinny jeans, a red knapsack slung over my shoulder. Just behind me is a wall of notes and graffiti. Couples come each year to add their names to the wall of lovers. I wrote our names on a post-it note and placed our symbol of love on the wall.
Currently, I'm experiencing some health issues. I've hated this reality, honestly. I don't much like being the weak one--feeling so vulnerable. Needing help. I've been fascinated, though, and encouraged by the response from others. I suppose if anyone is going to give me something I relate to and love, it's words. I adore words, whether I'm writing them or reading them. The people who love me seem to know this. And they've posted their love notes on the wall of my life. Just as I'd never be able to count all the names on the wall in Verona, I wouldn't be able to count all the lovely words I've collected on my wall since I've been ill...
Sometimes life can be quite inhospitable. There is news you never expect to hear. Bad news. Unspeakable news. And whatever that happens to be (fill in the blank here), there are questions to ask. What does this mean for me? What am I to learn?
I am asking these questions now. It doesn't really matter what I placed in the blank line. I am faced with how I choose to respond to life's unwelcomed events. I select rest. I fight to rest. And this decision is a battle. In some ways, an anxious, fearful reaction would be easier. That is where my emotions want to go--to fling me into the realm of self-pity and worry. I would shake my fist and shout, "No it's not fair." Yet, I believe it is important to walk toward an opposite response to survive this austere geography where my fingers are numb, my lips blue. Frozen.
For me to stay warm, I must look to the One who can breathe on my winter and offer me warmth. And so this means...
Next weekend I'll travel a few miles up the South Carolina coastline to speak at a women's retreat. I was invited to create a presentation about the Holy Spirit. I am not a theologian. I felt some intimidation. I did not want to misrepresent the beauty and mystery of this third person of the trinity in any way. Yet there was a stronger internal knowledge that surfaced. I knew my relationship with the divine Paraclete encapsulated an intimate and organic connection. I sensed God may want to use me as a conduit to speak about my intimacy with Him, the relationship that holds me together, that stitches up the frayed threads of my life, that keeps me free. Comforted. Empowered.
I decided to use symbols the Holy Spirit has provided to me over the years. Metaphors in my life. If you walk into my house, you'll notice pictures of doors and gates. The Holy Spirit has used these images over and over to remind me that He makes a way through life's passages. The door is open. I can walk through. When my husband and I travel, he knows to wait for me while I capture photos of colorful portals. The Holy Spirit delights in revealing Jesus. Jesus refers to Himself as the door.
Sometimes my husband and I like driving around our city on Saturday nights. We drive because it's difficult to find parking. We don't usually talk much. We hold hands. This night it's dusk. I feel as if we're driving into a lavender tunnel, the sky a delicate lilac. Gas lights burn in lampposts on street corners. Rows of palm trees border shop fronts, their fronds gently waving, brushing the violet evening. The car windows are down, and we can hear the banter of people speaking, tires grazing pavement, a distant siren. A young woman skips down a side street. She's wearing a black mini skirt and silver sandals. I'm thinking of all the memories my husband and I have collected in this town on nights just like this--dinners in expensive restaurants, eating a cup of gelato on a park bench, window shopping, strolling through parks--things that couples do. Things that we take for granted--that we believe will never end.
"To know that which lies before us in daily life, is the prime wisdom."~John Milton, Paradise Lost
I have an affinity for lists. Sometimes my lists are friendly directives and keep me on track. Other times my lists shout that I have not accomplished enough, and I become discouraged when I see that only a handful of expcetations for myself have been checked off. I've been known to actually add something I've completed to the list and then check it off to make me feel better.
This week I picked up a list I'd made for last weekend: Walk x2; paint nails; laundry; write; social media; work on talk; prepare for work; email x4; buy card and write editor; file appeal for health insurance; work on financials with husband. I actually forgot about the list, then I found it a few days later. I realized I'd completed about half its assignments. I didn't feel guility as much as I believed I needed to be more realistic about how to use my time. I frequently pack my schedule, not to mention my shoulder bag that I take to work. That bag is stuffed with items. I'm sure if I took time to dig to the bottom, I'd find my favorite lipstick I've been missing for a while. Living life like this can cause me to feel so tired, I numb out. Then when I get home from work I do stupid stuff like sit in front of the TV, mindlessly eating ice cream and watching shows that don't really matter--empty calories, empty mind.