Spiritual Journey


If you’re like me, there are certain words or phrases that set your teeth on edge, for example,

“If you’re like me…”

Why do people say that?
What sense does it make?

The underlying assumption slaps the I’m right assertion with a heavy hand.
Its backhand hits on the recoil, <subtext> and if you’re not like me you’re stupid.

This phrase is kin to another irksome spin, “You’re like me that way.”

Unless you are fully vested within my inner circle, whether I am or am not like you in any way, remains a comparison for me alone to name. That aside, there’s something intrusive, counterintuitive and hyper-intimate for someone to assert, “You’re like me in that way.”

It offence blisters my sense of whimsy and chafes my authenticity meter.

Furthermore, there’s no appropriate rejoinder to dissent such an assertion without giving offense.

How am I supposed to respond?

“No, I’m not like you in that way and never wish to be?”

“No, I’m a first edition.”

“No, I’m like me that way?”

It’s all so very, order-your-own-dessert-if-you-want-cheesecake-dammit-I-don’t-want-to share-of-me, but really, how can anyone be like you in that way?

Speaking of, “Do ya wanna share < a/n appetizer/entree/dessert> with me?”

That drives me bat cakes too!

Again, I don’t want to sound contrary nor offend, but no, I don’t want to share the Meatloaf Plate with you. Actually, I want to choose my own meal, get it on my own big-girl plate, eat how I want of it precisely to my fill, and hog all of the gooey condiments for myself, thank-you very much.

Another line that consistently toggles my gag reflex like a throat culture is, “I need to tell you something, but don’t get mad.”

Too late!
I’m already mad.

If you knew me well enough to tell me something so potentially volatile, you would know how to tell me without making me mad.

I smell judgement all over the statement too. It asserts that I assassinate messengers and lack self-control.

I need to tell YOU something, but don’t get mad. You’re an idiot.

“I need to tell you something, but don’t get mad,” is kissing cousins to, “I hate to tell you, but I heard…”

One, you don’t hate to tell me at all, in fact you’re breathless from having rushed over right after you heard it to dish it to my face, capture my every micro-expression on your smart phone, and report back to your base ship.

Nothing good this way comes after the segue, “I hate to tell you, but I heard…”

I did not win the lottery,
You do not want to help me fold laundry,
Your neighbor Susan does not think my kids are well-behaved angels,
Only pain fills the pail of that conversational bucket.

If any of you find me cheeky, or worry my intensity may begin to spin hard enough to drop a house on your sister, please for the love of all that is linguistically good and reasonable don’t order me to

“Calm down,”
“Relax,”
“Take it easy,”
“You’re gonna burn out,”
“Don’t burst a blood vessel…”

Really?
REALLY?
REALLY?

You don’t find it just a tad bit above your pay grade to assess the legitimacy of my emotional range?

Talk about condescending!

Why don’t you

Excite up,
Tense,
Jig it out,
Burn baby, burn!
Hemorrhage an emotional taboo…

The only thing worse than you telling me to take it easy is if one my kids suggests that I, “Chill.”

Of course, then I could tell him, if you’re like me, there are other phrases that make you mad because you’re like me that way. We should share some buffalo wings and discuss it so you can calm down.

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

It’s time to come clean.

Amid the transitional issues from Here to There, one of the kids has developed some serious behavioral issues.

We’ve consulted experts in the field and done family sessions together, but thus far, nothing seems to help.

It’s reached a crisis point both in terms of marital resources as well as how the other kids respond. They know we would NEVER put up with these behaviors from them and are tired of making concession after concession for their troubled sibling.

Here are some of the behavioral features that challenge us with our boy:

    • Suffering from severe separation anxiety
    • Refusing to “come” when called
    • Out-of-control whining
    • Biting
    • Aggressive growling
    • Constantly begging for food at the table
    • Fear of strangers
    • Fear of strange objects
    • Bullying small children
    • Theft personal possessions
    • Vandalism/destruction of personal property
    • Destructive habits like chewing and digging
    • French kissing house guests
    • Jumping on strangers
    • Taking lead during family walks
    • Ignoring basic obedience commands
    • Pooping on the bathroom floor
    • Peeing the bed

 

It’s gotten to the point that we don’t even know who he is anymore.

This once adorable, snuggly, sweety boy has mutated into his own Dr. Hyde.

As much as my education should make me philosophical, I cannot reconsile that puberty could so transform a soul as this.

I confess I lament:

This is NOT what I signed-up for!

This is WAY outside of my comfort zone!

This is NOT easy!

This is NOT fun!

I have even asked they why question….

Why do other families enjoy such perfect sons when ours is so OUT OF CONTROL?

At the risk of TMI (too much information,) he’s taken to stealing my dirty thongs and hiding them in his bed.

When I retrieve them they are chewed crotchless.

Is it regression?

Is it hormones?

Is it an underlying psychological disorder?

Is it growing pains?

Or is it simply, The Puppy?

And why is it we allow behavior from our pets
that we would
NEVER,
STINKIN’,
NEVER

tolerate from the issue of our own loins?

 

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken HallelujahHallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

Many life changing transitions come down to one sentence.

The phone rings,
the in-box pings,
the letter arrives registered
and requires signature,
and silent words unspoken
crash like thunder in a storm.

Such sentences silence hearts and still rooms as they simultaneously shift everything into two indelible categories:

Before X and After X.

My life changed 10 days ago with such a sentence said by The Husband, “I hate that you are not thriving Here.”

He didn’t say it in a mean way, it was a soul cry. He declared it from the core of his being.

Loved ones, never a rooster gave more of a wake-up call.

The love beneath his words still wrap me in a bear hug.

This man,
my best friend,
all he wants is to maximize me,
he delights in the good use
of my gifts and talents
in the service of others,
the work I choose,
and the community I make.

My recent Mistress Silence sabatoged the unity of my marriage.

The husband’s sentence interupted my understanding in a most welcome way like The Word being burst open before me.

Precious family, please know I have made thriving my new battle cry.

Reappropriated as an action verb, I choose to thrive.

I talk,
I write,
I work,
I share gifts,
I show up,
I exercise,
I command laundry,
I meet new people,
I give my husband the
“gift of presence.”

In it’s way, it’s like being born anew.

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

I knew that birthday parties would be different Here when my BFFH (You know the BFF part, the H stands for here) shared her discomfort that her third-grade daughter was invited to a party that she considered, “A little over the top.”

Said party promised that a stretch Humvee limo would pick up each 8 year-old princess for a luncheon at the Bistro, a five star “dive” on the beach.

After lunch, their Humvee pumpkin was to ferry them onward for a shopping expedition. Each guest was given a $100 Visa gift card within a new Coach wallet to spend on their mall outing.

Packages loaded in the limo, their next stop was to be an oceanfront, spa resort where they would be reunited with their mommies for a mother/daughter spa night. Naturally, spa experiences for the girls were chaperoned by resort nannies while the mommies were to sip champagne cocktails while cucumber masks would cleanse their pores and their pedicured toes-toes would tango in paraffin dip. A Botox party would follow manicures for interested Mommies. (Presumably the champagne cocktails by then of high enough levels to offer anesthesia.)

Night-night would include room service popcorn and root beer floats for the girls in their Princess Suit with resort nannies. After a quick peck good night, the mommies would head downstairs where the limo would await to wisk them off to the “Hot Spots,” on the beach.

Breakfast buffet to follow on the beach the next morning served from 9-11 a.m. Check-out would be at noon when the girls would be taken home via Humvee stretch.

Engraved invite motto for the Princesses: One need not be born royal to have Princess fun!

Engraved invite motto for the Mommies: What happens in the “Hot Spots,” stays in the “Hot Spots.”

“A little over the top, don’t you think?” my BFFH asked me.

“Ya think?” I chortled, as we continued to jog the park, me in my hand-me-down Nikes and Good Will tennis skirt.

So much for my homemade dump truck cakes with chocolate-covered donut wheels…

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

I bathed in loving responses to Mistress Silence yesterday.

Thank you precious ones.

Used with permission, I post the one that wrapped my heart in a hand-stitched quilt and my response.

These words from my gifted Sister in Christ warm me like hot chocolate on a snow day after sledding.

To use her own words, may they bless you, “…If our lives can be poured out like a drink offering for the sake of others, then it is worth it.”

Dear Jael,

…Yes, please feel free to share on your blog.  If our lives can be poured out like a drink offering for the sake of others, than it is worth it…

Oh how your words have resonated deep within.

The alluring silence is that indeed.

I know that temptation and have given in to it myself.

Trying to seek the Lord apart from praise is like trying to drive a car without fuel, or trying to drive in three feet of snow without four wheel drive…spinning the wheels, but going nowhere.  I have forgotten my First Love and have gone through the motions of a marriage…loveless or at least numb on my part.

I … <had an opportunity>…yesterday.  Much time and energy was put into prayer, thought, calculating and communicating… and ultimately gearing up to take that leap of faith…only to have the opportunity snatched away like a dangling carrot…

Yet…God is still faithful.  Still loving.  Still steadfast.  Still the same…

He sang to me in the ice cream shop this evening in the form of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way you Are”. Then, a short while later, He caught me off guard before the display of onions in Kroger in the form of Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”

I know God doesn’t play games, but it sure does feel like it sometimes.  Was yesterday’s move God’s or Him just sitting as the enemy moved his chess piece?  I may never know.  But when He sang to me in the shops, I knew, once again, that He is for me.  And when I read your entry, I knew you’d understand.

We cannot diminish His love for us no matter what we do or don’t do.

Be encouraged, dear Jael.  His mercies are new every day.  His faithfulness is great.  His plan is perfect, so matter what our eyes can see, our hearts perceive or our feelings think they dictate.

The Lord be with you, sister….

Much love to you,

Mononomous

xo

 

Dearest Mononomous

I read Yesterday
a wonderful idea
I contemplated
for good use today
to seed Tomorrow.

Its gist was that fallen we,
sons of Adam
and daughters of Eve
view the world
as a dense globe,
a massive ball of rock
spinning,
(…all but out of control…)
twirling,
(too fast,
too fast,
I think I might puke…)
and orbiting the sun.

God, however,
sees the world as a glass bowl.
events to His
Face of Love
gleam Transparent,
Clear,
Ordered,
and Perfectly Perceived.

He pours in
amid
among
and out over us
from The Well of Life.

I share your Faith that God doesn’t play games.

I also take deep comfort
in the assurance that though
you may not understand why your leap was deferred_

Not yet,
not yet, my sweetling,
not yet, baby girl,
child mine,
not yet.
_He knows for certain.

And His plan for your life is
a good and marvelous one,
a perfect plan,
not easy every minute,
but good.

Love you so…
xoxoxo

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Silence may become as seductive a mistress as a golden idol breast.

I have been unfaithful.

Unlike Sméagol, I became a Gollum, not for making a horrible swallowing noise from my throat, but for the absence of my cry.

Even a Hallelujah.

Silence became my Precious.
Perilous Precious.
Stillness Precious.
Precious swill,
now no longer precious
still.

Like infidelity, my precious silence has cost me.

The silence I wrapped around myself like an insidious shawl to camouflage my self-reliant perversity, protect my marriage, and keep me warm became like a sword in our bed.

Silence cut like a knife and it divided covenant promises as I bled quietly onto blank pages never penned.

Initially my silence had virtue. I chose to partner The Husband and heed God’s call on our family to move Here. All the fight in me became mute to the undeniable will of our Father and I was encased in an aisle of precious and Supernatural peace.

I knew that I was to wait upon the Lord,
Called to trust and obey.
And when I would bid Him
when would I feel fulfilled again,
He replied to me
just what he said to my sissy, Ester,
“Not yet.”

Historically, I am a hpyer-verbose verbal processor. I am a word girl who has a GRE vocabulary word ap on her iPhone just for kicks and giggles. I mention this not for bragging rights, but to confess I really am that much of a logophile. Words thrill me. I go weak in the knees for a bon mot with a powerful hilt or verb with a preposterous thrust.

However, as many detour signs I placed in my mind and thoughts I aborted mid sentence, no matter how many conversations I didn’t entertain, eventually the quiet of His peace mutated into the silent din of my own self-indulgent tantrums.

Are we there yet???
I have to go tee-tee…
I’m not happy Here…
I was drafted…
I’m tired…
It hurts…
I want to go home…
I am unfulfilled dammit!

Yes,
PATHETIC!
You know it’s true,
I admit it’s true
and that I even stomped my feet too,
but oh, so quietly,
you couldn’t hear me,
I never made a sound.

However, my ever loving, intercessory Father has never needed words nor lightning bolts to make His will known.

In addition to His illustrious Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow sealed upon my heart, I also limped through my own disastrous yesterday.

Like tax day, silence left its bill.

The debt is large.

I diluted the unity of my marriage.
I created distance in key relationships.
I abandond this platform of Praise.

Here I am
a woman of His Word,
seduced
by a silent masquarade
of obedience,
led by feeling,
not by Faith-
even though
I know Who made me,
perfectly imperfect as I am.
I know Who died to set me free.

“Foolish child,”
He said to me with a chuckle
that tickles like a butterfly kiss
when His Grace restored
my senses,
Enough.
I said, not yet.”

Waiting is.

Hear my cry, Lord.
HALLELUJAH!

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

William Glasser, M.D. challenges my beliefs with a yesterday, today, tomorrow reality that cousins Scripture. As adverse to idols as ever, I do not assert him a deity, rather I acknowledge that his psychology of personal freedom well partners my Christian faith. We all have vinyl in our heads, a combination of feel-good songs and rank rants. Within my mind, my shiny Jesus and Glasser are happy artists that both sing from the hopeful label of Joy.

Joy pours from the fountain of the stream of life as certainly as my deep cries out to Deep, “Come Lord Jesus come.”

How does Glasser factor into my prayers this morning?

Glasser’s concept of Total Behavior helps me consider why I choose to do (and choose not to do) the things I do.

Total Behavior refers to four components in Reality Therapy: Doing, Thinking, Feeling and Physiology.

Glasser challenges us to consider two, total behavior loops and their outcomes. One path examines total behavior that leads us away from our Quality World, what we value and desire. The other looks at total behavior that drives us toward our Quality World.

Glasser created a chart to visualize these choice loop complete with color symbology. Scarlet represents the total behavior loop that leads us away from our Quality World. Yellow symbolizes total behavior in accord with our Quality World outcomes.

I tell you all this to to confess that like Dorothy in her Ruby slippers I have wandered away from the yellow brick road of home, my Quality World, especially in regard to my writing.

Instead of writing, I’ve been depressed.

Glasser would confront this sentence with the friendly assertion that I have been choosing to depress or depressing. He would remind me that people choose to depress for many reasons that include the following: to keep anger under control, to get others to help them, to excuse unwillingness to choose something more effective and to gain power or control over others.

Glasser would encourage me to make choices that focus based on what I am doing (or could choose to do instead), instead of what I am feeling.

This is the direct opposite of what I have been doing of late. My focus has leaned too heavily on feeling instead of the cornerstone of my precious Faith and doing (putting my feet to it!).

All this emphasis on feeling kept my choices in the scarlet total behavior loop of withdrawal.

Wanting to feel less or feel differently, I’ve instead chosen to withdraw.
Like the impotent scrivener, Bartleby,
“I would prefer not to.”
So I’ve stopped talking,
writing
and communicating-
especially to the people I most miss from There, our former home.

These choices haven’t made me feel better, in fact, this total behavior has deepened my choice to depress.

This post is a battle is my battle cry!

He makes everything glorius.
I prefer to!
I CHOOSE to!

I know my Redeemer lives.
I know my pen sings Him praise.
I know that I miss you because I love you so.
I know I should write.

I choose to post that my Redeemer lives!
I choose to write that my pen sings Him praise!
I choose to record here that I miss you because I love you so!
I choose to write!

“To be happy, I believe we need to be close to other happy people.” -William Glasser

To be happy, I believe I need to stay close to my dearest There-dwellers. Your portraits hang in my Quality World gallery under lights.

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Major Mommy was deployed to Germany about the same time my family moved Here.

Major Mommy is a passionate sister in the Word, a beautiful friend, and an eager Well drinker.

We survived the Beatitudes study together…

I still wish we had made T-shirts for the other ladies!

Across the globe, we join forces to read Annonymous together.

As if in confirmation of that effort, I was overwhelmed by the God wink that awaited me in an email this morning:

Hi Jael,

“One of the most difficult lessons to master as we struggle to create effective change is to
learn not to label something as bad just because it is different from what we want.”

–Dr. William Glasser on page 32 in Take Charge of Your Life.

I wish I’d had this quote when Sylvester and I were writing our book on diversity. It really summarizes the message about embracing difference.

This echoes Alica Britt Chole’s assertion to never mistake God’s silence for His absence.

It reminds me again that anonymous seasons nurture potential and prepare us for Spring like bare trees in the winter.

The challenge is not to mistake bare for barren.
Silence does not equal absence.
Stillness is not lifeless.

I am grateful for God winks.

He consistently shows up in my day to day,
especially when I need Him most,
like this morning.

Bare is not barren.
Silence is not absence.
In the stillness, there is dancing.

Well Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
she tied you to her kitchen chair
And she broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

 

Thank-you for asking.

Yes, I am absolutely crazy.

In fact, I’ve taken to describing my current cognitive condition as a non-concussive brain injury. Nothing hard or large hit me on the head, but I am nonetheless operationally impaired. My never great, short term memory is now completely shot. Like I can’t remember my children’s names shot. Never mind their birthdays, they always remind me of those anyway. Where as a recent CAT scan would prove my brain is physiologically intact, the road from the driveway There to the driveway  Here cost me at least 59 IQ points. They promise me it’s temporary. I operate like a brain injury patient who’s run away from her rehab facility. And the laundry. My physic wounding has also deleted my laundry function capacity. We live in a sea of dirty clothes piles. The children don’t even expect I’ll get their PE uniforms back to them in a timely manner. They taken to wearing them dirty and using lots of deodorant and body spray.

Some of you have seen this dysfunction in action, or should I say inaction?

It is from among that group I’ve gotten the question:

“Are you crazy?!?! Did I read that right?!?!?!?!? Tell me YOU DID NOT GET A PUPPY!!!!!!!”

Again, however testily queried, thank-you for asking, and trust I admire the emotion behind your multiple use of the exclamation point and question mark/exclamation point combo.

Very, “Really? Really!”

We did, in fact get the kids a puppy for Christmas.

Here he is:

Check out that sweetie-boy-face!

He’s of the smallest of Japanese breeds, Shiba Inu, and his name is Hoshi.

Hoshi is the Japanese word for star.

He is our widdle, shiny Christmas star.

Hoshi fulfills a pre-relocation promise The Husband made to the children. Much like Obama, The Husband vowed our babies would get a dog if we came to live in this little ,white house in Far Far Away.

Hoshi flashes us back to past years with newborns complete with nocturnal crying, potty explosions and scheduled time for tummy play.

I understand why you would ask if I was in my right mind to introduce a puppy into our transitional mix, but I already admitted that I’m really not.

Really.

And that’s OK.
It’s even good.
Not easy, but good.

It’s a time that challenges me to Trust Him more,
go deeper into The Word,
and always,
always,
always,
carry a plastic bag
when walking outside.

‘Cause poopy happens.

Well maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who’d OUT DREW YA
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen in the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

 

 

I sing along with Addison Road’s beloved Praise song, What Do I Know Of Holy this morning:

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

Our ever Patient, Holy Father ministers of me this week. As ever, He heard my plea for intercession and has bathed Light into darkness. In fact, He downloaded a treatment plan and bid me follow.

Just like the Grinch on the Christmas morning, I puzzled, How could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags!  It came without packages, boxes or bags!

Selfish, little, Burning-Bush-girl me, was admittedly disappointed in its simple, righteous stock. Nonetheless, He was as clear as a prism breaks Light into rainbows:

Foolish, Baby Girl,
You’re never gonna pull this off
on your own strength.
Aren’t you tired?
Get off the gerbil wheel,
Re-read Anonymous,
Get back into the Word,
Turn to Me,
My Will is sufficient enough plan for your life.

Fallen, broken and selfish I may be, but stupid I am not, and I AM tired.

Monday I began to Re-read Anonymous,
get back into the Word,
Turn to Him,

<Again, and again,
and again,
a combination of prayer
and thought redirection….>

And seek spiritual confirmation of His Sufficiency in my life.

It won’t surprise you, sweet fellow Sojourners, that His scandalous Grace is more abundant than the stars in the Milky Way.

Every day since, I found Him waiting for me in Alicia’s text as He used her teaching to burst open the Word to me anew.

In random moments, He’s prompted me with a thought that helped to nurture an insight.

Again,
and again,
Yesterday,
Today,
and Tomorrow,
that be how He do.

He comes without ribbons! He comes without tags!  He comes without packages, boxes or bags!

Just as He came, born in a stinky stable as lowly shepherds bore Holy surrender to His Grace, fallen into the skein of man, but entirely God.

He comes to me today as He came then, a certain presence of divine Love.

When I turn to Him,
Genuinely wide,
He shows up,
Every time.

The palpable pulse of the Living Word feeds the hungry and draws water for the thirsty from the Well of Life.

My Jesus is still too shiny to be any good at hide-and-seek,
but I do have to look for Him,
not just with my eyes,
but with an open heart
and every breath a hallelujah.

When I catch a glimpse of who He might be, the slightest hint of Him brings me down to my knees.

Well there was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me do you?
And remember when I moved in you?
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

 

 

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