Lessons from Love

I’ve been seeing someone I’m quite fond of. He’s a big car guy. Loves all things four wheels from NASCAR to go-karting. Meanwhile, I only care that my car is functional and gets me from Point A to Point B. A few days ago, he came over to clean my windshield. I was beyond annoyed. My windshield wasn’t overtly dirty, only a little smudgy. I didn’t understand how or why my smudgy Kia was driving him crazy. My objections to his request were:

“I can see just fine out of it.”

“It’s not even dirty.”

“I’ve been driving this way for a long time.”

Regardless of my annoyance, he cleaned it anyway. On my way to work the following day, I fell in love with the crisp outlines of my scenic drive.

For some time, I’ve been taking Lexapro. I need Jesus, but I also need Lexapro. Those two can and do exist together. This past month I experienced myself without any medication.  Before ever taking medication, I could describe myself as being held underwater. Unable to see clearly or breathe smoothly. However, none of that is bothersome, because I’ve been like that for so long that I didn’t know I was being held under. Everything I saw, I believed to be true, not recognizing its distorting characteristics. Missing that aspect of a balanced being–breathing fresh air and seeing clearly–brings a whole new level of awareness that is torturous. I was fully aware that I was being held underwater. I was aware of object distortion, yet still completely unable to combat what I saw and felt. That was my hell–being without control and being aware of it.

However, my lovely boyfriend offered me clarity on the tiniest of scales. He offered something that I believed I didn’t need because my car (and me) had been this way for a long time. How many times had I previously gotten angry with someone or a situation because it brought me clarity I didn’t think I needed? How long was functional beating out safety? In my moments of being held under water, my boyfriend was the breath of fresh air I needed. He reminded me that I was still underwater, and I still needed help. And those two things were okay.

Isn’t that what love does? Love lets us know that we’re not seeing through clear eyes. Love removes the scales and lets us move confidently forward. With great persistence and without hesitation, love kindly corrects.

Today I hope…

…for continued goodness. It was only going to be goodness but continued is necessary. I hope for ruptures of laughter that cannot be continue, relationships to grow an ounce more, and the hope that I will still be part of this cosmic dance that exists beyond and within what looks like chaos. I hope for complexity and nuanced decisions. Mostly, I hope for bravery to be honest, to be loving, to be extraordinary. I hope whatever spark is produced today adds to tomorrow, where eventually, a fire will show. I hope for everlasting goodness.

Metamorphosis IV

December 9, 2019

I am here. I am here at my breaking point of school waiting to be released. I am here believing that my life is more than this. I am here going crazy.

If I hang myself at this exact moment, will I still have to write this paper? Hell is me writing academia over and over again. I never thought I’d get here. I never thought that I would hate academia, but I guess this is metamorphosis. This is me coming out of my cocoon. This is me getting my wings.

I am here with feathers outside my back and the world feels differently than it did months ago. I feel different. I’m not sure what to do here, except to fly. I always wondered how birds knew exactly where to go. I am learning that freedom is innate. I don’t know how I know where to go, but I know I am headed there with my new wings, new heart, and my awakened spirit. This is what it means to fly.

Metamorphosis III

July 21, 2019

They lied to me. They said I would sprout and I would be aware of it. That didn’t happen. I felt a coldness under my shoulder blade. I felt a scratch from the inside out that I couldn’t reach, and I knew: It was time to fly. I did everything that came to mind consciously, continuously, and passionately. Every little detail I held dearly. Every decision I made rested well into my soul. Night after night I tossed and turned. Flying should never be this restless. It was worse than restlessness. It was falling knowing you were able to keep yourself up. It was Icarus. What is wrong? What is wrong? I asked myself. And what poured out were dreams deferred. Dreams that I had buried and held wonderful ceremonies for. With every decision being made firmly and no new whims, I was able to refocus on the reasons I began my shift in the first place. I recollected all the reasons why I wanted to be where I was at, and I remembered the goodness of those dreams. How me then thought that I wouldn’t get to where I’m at now, but knew I had to get there. I’m here now, and it was hard, but it was worth it. I’m doing internal and external work—spiritual and supernatural work—to be made whole in the image God has promised me. With each resurface of a dream, I cry. I cry for stagnation, frustration, uncertainty, unplanned resets, and children I wish I had. I wail for children I wish I were prepared for. Then I rest, and the scratching in my back has left. Wings don’t grow at the same length. They’re like wisdom teeth. One finally broke the skin, and I am able to get off the ground, but not for very long, and it cannot carry me. So, now I wait. I wait to see under what circumstances and when the other will break the skin. But they lied, they said I’d know my wings when I got them. I won’t, and you won’t either. I can’t be sure, but I do believe that no one’s wings grow in symmetrically perfect and full and lush. It takes determination and faith for them to sprout, and honesty and consistency to water them.

Tell me Papa, tell me that it’s not wings.

Someone recently told me that I am one of few people she knows who she believes thinks things thoroughly through. Because she associates that with a connection with the Spirit. The Spirit of God that pulls these wings out of me. It was one of the kindest things anyone has ever told me. She may not know it, but her wings are growing in quite nicely too.

We don’t know it because we don’t remember, but we are angels entertaining one another. We are magically divine because the Source of the Spirit that we come from is the most of all magically divine creatures to exist. The Spirit without creation, without birth, birthed us into forgetfulness to encourage one another to believe that we are all divine.

My, Sundays are always whimsical.

Metamorphosis Part II

June 16, 2019

Think past all things. Think past all your wants, your jealousies, your desires, your ailments, and peek out into the unknown. Seek the intentionality of the universe and ask it, “Is it all on purpose?” Because I believe it is. I believe that the feathers that I am waiting for patiently to sprout out of my back are the same ones that a writer had in mind when s/he wrote them into The OA. I think it is not a coincidence I spoke of flying and feathers and this irresistible feeling to burst out of this exterior shell and then it appears in my life weeks later. I think the sky that is hanging on my walls and the women who embody it are all on purpose. I think this moment of pure ease and delight of the purposefulness of my life was always planned. I think it is here that my feathers begin to sprout. It is here that I learn to grow. It is here that I will begin to feel what it is I’ve always known.

Cause God, goodness God has never been a genie in the sky or a lion in the clouds. God has never been the voice of James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, or Howard. But God has always been the face that welcomes me into the tent, the face I cup in my hands, and the heart that beats slowly with mine. God has always been the rhythm of resets on Sunday afternoons and the glow of four-legged friends in the dark. God has always been impossibly large and steadily close. It is here, in this moment, that I recognize truly how close God has been. Because the God I cusp in the dark is the one that appears to me in the light. That God has consistently worked and appeared in all things. So here I am now, watching a video of captivity of myself, and trying to convince myself that I am not crazy. That the feathers are a coincidence. And maybe it is, but I can never be that person. I can never be the person who believes in incidentals because here I am dancing with That Which Has No Name and All Names. Some people, they pass the greatness of God and they say, “Blessed am I who has walked with the Lord.” And that is true, and they are. But oh, oh are the heartbreaking ones who spend this life and the next dancing with God for eternity.

Here I am, beginning to learn. By the end, I don’t think I’ll be the only one with wings. I hear You, God. I see You. And here I am, dancing with You.

“Would you still love me if I wasn’t a surgeon?”

I’m rewatching Grey’s Anatomy, and that is the question that has surfaced out of two different surgeons. Derek Shepherd asked Meredith after he botched a brain surgery that killed a new mother. Cristina Yang asked Owen after she repaired Derek’s heart when he was shot. Both asked after periods of trauma if it would be okay to be someone other than who they are.

My stint in seminary seems to only get longer. The papers are growing more in length and depth, but I cannot bring any motivation to care. The beginning of this semester has brought discomfort. I want so badly to say trauma, but I won’t. My mom has cancer. Her cancer has been out of remission until this year. I spent the weekend before school began in the hospital with her. She was getting her second surgery of the year. I could kill her doctor because when he came out, he said, “What we removed wasn’t malignant.” We’re just slicing folks up for fun these days, I guess. Weeks later, my mom told me that her cancer is in her voice box. I can’t imagine a world without my mom. I especially cannot imagine a world without her and her laugh.

The beginning of the semester was about mourning. It was about me processing this level of grief and comprehending my mom’s desire for treatment, which is not to have anymore surgery. I can’t do anything but respect that, so I grieve very privately while still finding the willpower to go to work and do homework and practice yoga.

Now, I’m at the end of the semester, and I am asking, “Would you still love me if I didn’t go to school? Would you still love me if I didn’t teach? Would you still love me if I took a break from becoming who I am supposed to be?” I’ve tried having this conversation with my therapist and close friends, but honestly, I’m not desiring their opinion. I’m desiring God’s.

Even in my grief and growth, I feel a drop of disappointment within my spirit. That drop is rippling out into frustration, which has led me to where I am now. Will the paper I’m writing about matter in three weeks? Three months? Three years? Is this academia for academia’s sake? Because if it is, I cannot exist like this any longer. So, I’m asking God, but I’m also asking me: “Would you still love me if I didn’t teach?”

Metamorphosis Part I

June 9, 2019

With every admission of guilt, fear, or regret a new seedling finds itself blooming inside my chest. I can feel them sway and hit the inside of my rib cage, begging to be let out through my back. But what they tell me, and what I know, is that they are not the little green seedlings of new plant life but baby feathers. They are accompanied with many mature ones that live inside my chest cavity. I feel them balled up and waiting to explode out of my back so that one day I may be able to fly. All of this energy that is stored up, all of the goodness, all of the praise, and all of the recognition, all of the talks with the Mystery that has no name has created a release of growth inside my chest. I cross the threshold now, of this world and the next, hoping and begging for God to cut my back open so that they may have the room they need to grow, and I might have the tool to fly. I wait as all of the Spirit welcomes me in my home and greets me into time with the Mystery.

“Tell me I’m lying. Tell me that everything I feel is wrong. Tell me we aren’t the angels entertaining one another. Tell me that it is not us circling your head marveling at every glimpse of You that is revealed. Please, tell me I’m wrong. Tell me that I can’t fly. Tell me that they aren’t wings. Tell me that this energy coursing through my veins can be released under my control. Tell me that when it does explode, everything else around me will still be intact. Tell me that I am wrong.”

Silence. Overwhelming silence and that surge of power of the Spirit that cannot be explained. It is like wrapping your arms around a lover—being both familial and erotic without ever being sexual. It is a feeling that is pure and raw and forever guarded and untouched.

“Tell me it is not God I embrace. Tell me it is not You that I will one day see. Tell me I haven’t crossed over. Tell me that it is impossible to live the way I live in here out there where they cannot see.”

“Because I feel You hovering over my day. I feel You always. It is Genesis every single day. I don’t care if You’re God the Mother or God the Father. You are this intangible existence that I lay no claim to. You are what You are, and You are perfect. You are what is and what was and what is to come, and I lay no claim to You now or otherwise.”

“You are an experience I am never ready for, and I am terrified to even ask. But, I want to experience more than holes in my hands. I want to experience the explosion being stored in my body and the curls of feathers tempted to rupture my chest. I want to be let out. I want to fly.”

“I’d carve my chest open and the only things they’d see are a heart and lungs and possibly a loose kidney. They wouldn’t see it, and they’d think of me crazy for believing it. So, tell me, God. Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me this fire is wrong and the energy pounding in my chest is nonexistent. Tell me You’re tame. Tell me I’m all crazy for being equal parts excited to live and to die…just to see if I was right. Tell me You fit perfectly in the Holy book I pedaled around. Tell me that You’re neat and exactly as they see You.”

“Why would you, though? I still wouldn’t believe You. There is more than what we can see. There is more than what we believe. There is more than what I was prepared to give credit to. But, in order to know there is more, I must believe I am more too. So, I’m starting there. I won’t order, but I will ask. God the God that is, will You teach me how to fly?”