reconciling things

“Allow it all to happen: beauty and terror…” Rilke

  • The heart can hold two seemingly opposing things at the same time and it does not have to make sense to anyone. As Pascal says, “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of… We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart.” I have learned to hold two truths in the last few years, such as life is fucking hard and God is overwhelmingly good. And also, one can be extremely lonely and very content at the same time. A less abstract example: my marriage should have never happened, but I would do it again for the sake of these nine children who make the world go around for me. (NEWS: My marriage was annulled this summer. There was much rejoicing.)
  • You can only ignore stress for so long and you cannot “power of positive thinking” your way out of trauma. You have to walk through it, acknowledge it, honor it, release it, lather-rinse-repeat. Because you may think mentally you are fine. And then your body will remind you—first in subtle ways. And then in increasingly dramatic ways that get your attention. (NEWS: I had an autoimmune flair that nearly killed me this summer. But, I am recovering very well.)
  • We all live with holes. When someone important leaves your life—because of death, divorce, misunderstanding, or pure malice, there is no filling the hole they leave in your life with someone else. That’s not the way life works. You may make new friends or fall in love again, but that does not mean the new person fills the role of the previous person. I mean, if you have ever loved anyone, you know this intuitively, right? Instead you just somehow learn to live with the hole, work around it, and find some kind of beauty in it. Your life becomes like lace, which wouldn’t be beautiful if it didn’t have strategic holes.
  • Which reminds me of the time my now 20 year old was about 7 years old and was following me around Target as I bought some accessories for a party I had to attend. He look at the fishnet stockings and said, “Mom, you should get different ones. These are full of holes.”

Summer Reading: A little bit of everything: Kafka, Dostoevsky, Kurt Vonnegut, and currently Viktor Frankl. I think the reoccurring themes in my heart are about living the Incarnation so authentically that nothing else makes sense. To really see the dignity of the human person (including myself) and the beauty of the natural world—however incomplete and fleeting it is as we look toward a better and eternal Kingdom. Also human relationships are messy as hell, but are worth it.

I also loved Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal. It’s very brief. You can read the whole thing over your morning coffee, but you will want to come back to it for precious little gems, like this one: “Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon.”

Summer Listening: The songs that come back to you like a flood of healing waters when you are at your extremes (worst and best) are the ones that define you, I think. While I was sick in bed and unable to sleep for weeks or when I got the news that I was annulled the songs The Goodness of God by Jenn Johnson, Gratitude by Brandon Lake, and Graves Into Gardens also by Brandon Lake flooded my brain. I could weep (and have wept buckets) for how good God has been to me. I can say without a doubt that I have lived in the goodness of God.

Also Holes by Passenger, Honest by Kyndal Inskeep, and Brave by Nightbirde.

In the Kitchen: It has been so hot and as much as I love cooking, making a sauna of my old farmhouse is not something anyone enjoys. Introducing TOAST! Avocado Toast with bacon and hot sauce. Butter and Pickled Radish Toast with blue cheese. Nut butter toast with dates and raw cacao an açaí powder, drizzled with lilac honey. I mean the possibilities are endless. Feels like a meal. House does not get hot. And you can eat it with your hands minimizing more dishes, which are also not fun in this humidity.

On the Altar: One of the fun manifestations of the autoimmune flair was abscesses and boils. It was a Biblical Summer. Most all of them have healed. Some have left scars, but scars carry stories, so I don’t grieve about them too much—except my vanity is a little bruised, but that’s not altogether a bad thing. The ones on my shoulder blade are still not completely healed and sometimes still cause me pain and discomfort. While asking God to heal me quicker has not brought the desired result, great consolation has come from this devotion:

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