2

Claustrophobic

 

I want to move

Looking for fresh air and a whiff of spring flowers
I want to move past all the slow walking people in front of me.

But I can’t

Blurred images keep me back
it keeps me indecisive.
My space keeps getting smaller and smaller,
but then I remember to take a deep breath
clear the mind,
and remember to take a breath to let the toxic out

Slurring of language blocks my entrance
images flip like a change of lenses do in an
While in  the optometrist’s office.

Click…flip
Click…flip
Click…flip

Blink…blink

The surface disintegrates into clarity.

2

Love My Dad

Who you were, who you are and who you will be are three different people –  Author Unknown

 

Your identity is the most valuable part of you, but most of us, some of us have no idea what it is. Knowing who you are minus all the titles we play day in and day out can blur out the truth of your identity. Confusion is a big deterrent and a likely suspect in losing ourselves to the constant swirl of life.

~

As a little girl, I loved the feel of the cool green grass under my bare feet. I believe at the time that I had the biggest backyard than anyone I knew. I could hide in our tree house that existed out of weirdly shaped trees that bordered our property. In the summer, I would walk over the cracks in the cement in our backyard because I never knew for sure if stepping on them would break my Mothers back. Clothes hung on the clothesline overhead. I could go visit my (Hebrew for grandmother) Bubi anytime I wanted. I remember the sand stuck between my toes and ants crawling over the big peony buds right before they would bloom.

Fear that no one wanted me

Ever since I started this blog, I have used each post as a place for my healing. It has become a place where I have been able to share who I am without fear of rebuff of any kind. Finding my identity and claiming it has been a long process. From an early age, I have been shy, preferring to stay close to my Mom.  When I met Jesus, I became more aware of myself, and at times it was extremely painful. Slowly, I would surprise myself at how well I would speak to others. Over time, the shyness that I assumed was a part of me disappeared, as I would go to reach for it. It was my protection over what I felt I couldn’t control. From the world that I had a hard time processing through.

Shyness is a reaction to feeling rejection. This was at first confusing because as that little girl with the ash blonde hair I thought knew who I was. I believed that the shyness was a part of the package of my personality.

If we lived in a perfect world, I would be living my dream. I wanted to be loved. I didn’t know if I deserved it but it was this silent, persistent need that over time gave my credence of what I didn’t see as acceptance. You see I wanted my Dad to see me as a lovable little girl, but what I didn’t know at the time was he didn’t have the skills on how to fill my emotional needs.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I learned that daughters’ need their fathers love as much as we need oxygen to breathe. The extreme anxiety and depression that I struggled throughout my childhood through to my early 30’s. spoke volumes of how I tried to teach myself on how to handle my emotions.  I can’t breathe unless I know my father loves me unconditionally. It was the root. I really believed I was a terrible person.  Desperate, I was for my Dad to notice me. To take an active interest in who I was.

Before I go on, this is not a post to bash fathers because they are hurting too. Too many men are being pushed down, or believe it’s not good to be masculine and to be as they have been created.

As I have learned about all my parts, or at least the ones He has chosen to show me, I have had many aha moments. He has brought clarity into my being, and a peace that is everlasting. And get this! People really do like me.

Knowing who I am, the peace can flow into every part of my being

As a little girl, I desired for my Dad to notice me, to see me and pursue me. I wanted him to be interested in who I was, but as time went by, he did none of what of what was in my heart. So I did the only thing I knew and I began shutting down emotionally, mentally and physically. Instead, I sought out my Dad, I asked him about the rules of Canadian football, what and why he washed his car. Nothing I did got the attention I was desperate to have from him.

It took me a long time to realize I couldn’t change him, no matter how many times I initiated something with him. I had finally got it, that it had never been my job in first place. It was his job as my father to delight in me – as his daughter. To show me his love, protection, values, and everything that was important to him. I wanted to know who he was and is, but that part of his heart to me has never been opened to me.

My Dad is without the skills I need. I believe his own father didn’t give him what he needed as a boy growing up. His own feelings about his Dad (my grandfather) aren’t the memories that you hold close to your heart. Rather they are the kind that you push away, and you let everyone else teach you how to be a man. Yes, we need our parents, a mother and a father to show us how to be a man or woman –  learned from their parents. A family is about love, trust and passing it down because it is good to know that there is a place where all of us can truly belong and be accepted. There is no cost to join, we simply need to be the product of our parents love that is between them. I believe how we are brought up determines a lot of who we become. It guides our perception of the world, it certainly leads mine.

I speak with my Dad once a month, we chat for about 15 minutes on the usual things. I would love to go to visit him but that just doesn’t seem to be his thing.  Does my Dad love me? Yes. I have no doubt that he does, he kind of gives it away in the way his eyes shine and sparkle when he first sees me. This could be a whole other post because I know my heavenly father has and is filling me with what I lack.

I’m not the shy, scared, self-hating little girl with ash blond hair anymore. Nor am I am the girl who hid from her peers. I am not the awkward adult who didn’t feel that she was a full-grown adult and just a child in disguise. Don’t get me wrong there are still times, the child in me comes out and gives a sly smile at those around her, and allows some of them into her heart so that they can see for themselves that God still saves.

2

An Offering of Love

LovE

 

He offered his heart to me.

It took me by surprise, though, it really shouldn’t. He’s the kind that wears all his emotions on his sleeve. You don’t have to guess how he feels about the situation. He was concerned about me, and wanted to offer the best part of him to me.

Standing in the chapel in the far corner, his hand forever placed on his heart. He’s not looking at me but I know his heart is with me.

Most days, I don’t understand how he uses His love for me. His love isn’t standardized the way humans use love. We don’t most days do things in love for others. We do it because we have to, or we need to or were just plain selfish, and then it’s isn’t about love. But everything in God is about love. He gets love in a way we will never will. It isn’t hard for him, while we all have someone in our life, (more than one usually) who is difficult for us to love.

He gives us pure love, and we give the kind of love that you have to haul the bucket down deep into the ground. Even when you pull up the bucket and water splashes over, it’s still just well water. It’s flat, and you can taste where it comes from.  Our love is selfish. I don’t know about you, but loving (some) others is hard.

My heart isn’t pure like God’s, and so if I can have any part of His heart in me, I’m going for it. But at the end of the day, can I tell the pieces of His love from my mine?

I remember shortly after I moved out on my own, that the cold hard reality of life plummeted me from all angles. I wasn’t expecting this harshness, but it’s something that we all eventually experience whether we want to or not. For long periods of time, He is silent in our struggles. It’s like treading water in our clothes, the heaviness contributes to the overwhelming emotions in us.

Maybe I’m the only one, but in my humanity I was still not convinced of taking his heart – even though I had accepted it. It’s like the gift you receive from a well-meaning relative, who doesn’t really know you that well. It sits in a in place where you can stare at it, and think about what you can use it for. You received the gift but you’re not sure of its exact purpose in your life. I know He loves me, but I like when his directions are more specific.

A Better Replacement

In this the year of Mercy, each diocese has their own Holy Door. The last Holy Door that I last walked through was when I was in Rome (St. Peter’s), over 16 years ago. Truth be known, I know I walked through them, but I’m not sure when I did exactly. No flashing lights indicate when the graces fall on you. This coming weekend, I going to my dioceses holy door before the year is up. It’s been at least over a week and a half since He offered, and I said I would take His heart.

At a certain point a reset button was pushed inside of me this week. It was as simple as talking it out, and having a listening ear and heart to hear me. No advice, or words of wisdom. Just the silence that is deafening to the outside world, but a river of peace that spreads inside of me.

2

I Have Nothing to Say

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All this week, I’ve been waiting, and patiently I might add for God to inspire me as to what to write. So far I’m empty handed. The last day or so the desire to just write is stirring within me. Is God asking me to just jump in with the words, and he’ll add the spice later? This kind of waiting, this dependence on His providence reminds me of Hannah, or even the widow of Zarephath who didn’t think she would have enough oil and flour to last herself and her son.

I haven’t heard from God.

His voice stays behind the grill, as I come empty-handed to prayer. I tell him the same thing and wonder if it makes any sense to keep praying the same thing. I don’t think I have anything to give, but maybe this waiting will show me that I do, in fact, have something to display. Not in the physical sense that we expect, but an offering at that. I’m waiting for faith to emerge, but the work is thankless and I want to give up.

When I get discouraged, I am trying to remember to ask him to help me to trust him. Mentally, I will go through what I do have through His blessings. Sometimes I want to go back to my old ways of doing stuff, but I’ve noticed that I can’t. That part of me can’t bend like Gumby would, instead of raging, I breathe and lean into Him. I am learning how sturdy he is.

Normally, I won’t look back, but maybe by turning around that I will see what God sees, and my vision will clear. The road will open up to greet me and invite me into mystery of this journey that I don’t understand, and struggle to make sense of. I have learnt by experience it is better to follow than to try, and find all the answers that are suspended in His silence.

 

 

1

Pruning the Branches

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Beginnings.

That’s what spring feels like to me. When you can see the ugly brown snow melting away, and the mottled grass starts to show. It used to be as a little girl  – I knew that spring was here when my Mom would get the axe out, and start chopping the ice that lined our front sidewalk. Even the air seem to smell like spring, and no I don’t think they’ll ever bottle it, though no doubt they’ll keep trying. The birds chirp, crocuses push their heads up through the snow, and thoughts and sights of tulips and daffodils are everywhere.

Spring is a time of gift giving.

A time when everything is new and increasing. Just thinking about it, it’s this great metaphor to signify that I am indeed growing! I am idling in spring, picking wildflowers in one hand, and somehow I’m holding burrs in the other. I can’t do one without the other. I may be showing wholeness, but it also reminds me of the hard trek it has taken me to get where I am going. It has been a prickly journey thus far…

I’ve spoken about how it good to be in the valley, but sometimes it’s nice to take a holiday, and travel up to the hill country. The weather is warmer, the breezes are ample and easy, and the sweet fragrances of life are generous.

In the last week, I’ve had three people after hearing everything that God has done, remark that he’s been doing a lot in my life. He has. Though most of what he has been working on probably has been a work in progress for the last 10-15 years( and longer!), and whatever has been healed in the vineyard of my life is going to have a really good year. All the branches that have has been pruned has allowed and cleared the way for a new area of branches to finally gain strength to break out on their own.

My sister is similar to my Mom in many ways, and I used to say jokingly, I was a fluke because I don’t have those same qualities. While I have remained in the same area/city as my Mom, my sister left around the same time that I entered the Catholic Church, probably a little earlier. Over a month ago, I wrote a post about my Mom, and wrote about her simplicity, well my sister isn’t quite a carbon copy, but so much of what they do usually makes me think of either one. It was having this knowledge that led me to an understanding of how my sister had probably been able to forgive my Dad in his inability to father her when she was growing up a lot earlier than I was.

I tend to process ‘events’ in my life longer and deeper depending on the emotional impact it had on me. While there were parts of me that understood, that forgave him for the reasons he was not able to meet my needs as little girl and adult. Still, there were emotions that I held onto because one I knew what I needed but I was unable to give them to the Lord. There was an ache that had punctured my heart so deeply that it needed to heal before I could breathe in the Holy Spirit, and know without doubt that I am whole.

I want truth and I want beauty, and it is hard to come by those two things. Beauty is truth and the truth from that is beautiful, but in reality, it is easy to mimic what is real. Truth and confusion often sit on the same shelf in our lives and in the world. I have struggled to separate from the past, and allowed it to integrate itself into what is now my present, and indeed, it is truly a gift that I have been given.photo-1447958374760-1ce70cf11ee3

3

Colour Blind

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Squeaky wheels always get the most attention.

I‘m the one who is quiet and sits in the back so I won’t be called on. Curiosity crawls inside of me, but often the questions remained inside my head. Inside, the high tides of anxiety overwhelm me and any thoughts or ideas were washed off in the waves of fear.

Value thy self

As I was reflecting back to growing up, I resembled a mixed up Rubik’s cube. All that was needed was someone to turn all the cubes back to what it looked like in the store. In many ways, I am to blame to how and what I believe about myself now. Instead of acting out, drinking, taking drugs, I isolated myself from everyone and thing. It wasn’t the greatest self-care.

I wanted to be valued but I had zero value to for myself, but to be honest, I didn’t know how to value who I am and was as a little girl.

Lately, the Lord has bringing been up how I don’t value myself, and he’s been showing me through my love languages. Even when you don’t love yourself, He continues to love and show me that I am deserving and worthy of all of his gifts that he has given me. I am priceless to Him.

People come from all over the world to see famous paintings such as Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, or the Prodigal Son at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. But most of us don’t put much work into ourselves because we’ve been taught not to value who we are. Trying to find your value in what you are or to others, will never satisfy the thirst to be all that you were made to be, and what is that? When we start to see ourselves through God’s eyes, the labels we attach to ourselves aren’t what we once thought they once were.

I don’t want to be confined to what I am, defined by what clothes I wear, or who I associate with.

Some of my clients call me their cleaning lady, and if I was a kettle you would see me boiling over with anger. I don’t consider myself just a cleaning lady, but it is a huge aspect of what I do every day. A lot of the seniors I work with want and need to make a connection – we all do – and sometimes I am the only person they will see all day. I have been doing this job for over five years, and every day I am working to do a better job. By putting value into my work maybe they will know they are valuable. Maybe they won’t feel the sting of being forgotten by their family or long for things to be the way they used to be.

Where we are now is to know how much God values us. He doesn’t give us what we can’t handle, or so were told. I am learning that this might hold true when we surrender what isn’t ours to hold onto, and put value into what He is giving us right now.

The value of our life does not depend on the place we occupy, it depends on the way we occupy that place.

St. Therese

11

Cultivating Poverty

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A staff member from Madonna House asked me how I thought about having a mother whose poverty was so deep. No one had ever asked me this question, so I had no ready answers. How do you live and love someone who in many ways is opposite of you.

My Mom is simple.

For over forty years, she had run a home day care out of her home. She plans on working until – the Lord tells her otherwise. Once she turned 60, she made the decision, one child for each hand, as she often says to anyone who will listen. She teaches the children who are in her care about the birds sitting in the trees; and they listen and know each bird’s song, the many wondrous shapes of the clouds. They stop to smell flowers and, she discusses what colour is on the city bus or the school bus. She knows most of the employees who work at Herb and Spice Shop, where my mom does her groceries. She grew tired of the big groceries stores and just being another customer. She knows the name of each employee, and if there is a new one, give her time because she will learn their name, and use it every chance she gets. If they don’t know her name, they know her by her familiar face.

The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them. ~Gilbert K. Chesterton

Growing up I thought she had the greatest job because she got to work from home. She loves to take photographs of nature, she stops to smell the flowers especially the wild pink roses, the ones that are full of bees humming and buzzing around. She sees the world very differently than I see it. What I see or notice months before, takes her months to see, and in it she sees its simplicity. Each morning after the parent(s) of each child arrive, my mom insists on a hug to start the day. She’s big on letting both the boys currently in her care having lots of time to play. They visit the library and sing songs with Jennifer on Tuesdays, and on Thursday there’s playgroup. The other days there’s grocery shopping, and sometimes they go riding on the city bus.

My mom has always maintained she would never want a big house because then she would have to clean it. But I always point out to her, if she had a big house, she would probably have money to hire a cleaner. She is generous to a fault, and I find as time goes on, she is always trying to find ways in which to give. She doesn’t mind stopping to give money to those asking on the streets. But she keeps her toonies because they pay for her bills.

How is she simple? She just is. In her knowledge of the world, herself, her God, and to those around her. Her poverty comes from a purity of heart that she cultivates the entire day. She delights in His creation. Whether she has her eyes closed seated with her bible underneath her fingers; or as she goes for her morning walk. Smiling to those who pass by her. Even though she doesn’t realize it, she is surrounded by people who live in poverty. Sure, monetarily she makes less than them, but she is abundant in what really matters, and what really and truly turns the world round. She is on a personal mission to learn everything she can from God and without knowing it, she shares it with those who he brings into her life.

However mean your life is, meet it and live it:  do not shun it and call it hard names.  Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage.  Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends.  Things do not change, we change.  Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.  ~Henry David Thoreau