Reflections & Ramblings: Volume Nineteen

Soaking up the fullness of life, and getting back to some writing.

I.

As the earth has its seasons, we too have rhythms and seasons in our own lives.

Here in Omaha the warm winds of spring have finally been blowing with more consistency, and wonderful springtime thunderstorms have rumbled through a few times in the past week, giving the dry and fertile soil the refreshment it needs for the miracle of life to push through and show off this season’s colors and reminders of transitions and new beginnings.

II.

I am the eager springtime soil.
I am thirsty.

I am full of potential of new life.
Of new hope. Of new faith.

Bulbs of hope and joy and beauty lay dormant,
ready to burst forth through the surface.

It rains. And it gets messy.
But in the mess, there is room for roots to deepen.

The winds blow. Seeds are scattered.
Weeds infiltrate my space.

Why are the weeds the first to grow?
They mimic beauty, yet only for a moment.

Little hands pick them as gifts.
Undiscerning, ignorant, and innocent.

Warm sun. Strobing clouds.
Smell of worms. Early birds.

Roots go deeper. Stalks stretch upward.
Fragile beauty opens up for all to see.

The courageous flower. Open and vulnerable.
Attracting both butterfly and bee.

Some observe. Some ignore.
Some find connection and love.

I am the springtime soil.
Ready for life and resurrection.

III.

I haven’t written much recently. There’s been plenty to write about, but my days have been so full as of late that I have lacked the energy to write about my story. Some days when I have sat down to write, I just haven’t known where to start.

There’s been a lot going on in my life that I’m trying to soak in and appreciate. Micah’s speech has really been improving in leaps and bounds. He’s able to say three and sometimes even four word sentences now. It seems that everyday both he and Ezra are getting better at communicating using words and short sentences. That’s been such a joy.

In an effort to live wholeheartedly I’ve been trying to be better at being fully present with my family, my friends, and even the new people I’ve met this past month. That takes a lot of energy. I don’t regret it at all, but it can be emotionally and even physically draining. At the end of the day, when I’m finally able to catch my breath for a moment I often have a desire to write but lack much brain function or inspiration.

There’s also been a lot going on in the lives of close friends of mine that I’ve been thinking through a lot on my own. Things that are too personal to write about on here, but take up a large portion of what I’m thinking about and processing through. But writing is important to me, so I do still journal my thoughts. I scribble out longings, frustrations, laments, and prayers, often in jumbled and incomplete sentences.

But I hope to get back to writing more consistently here on the blog. The fullness of life has been pouring out into the soil of my heart throughout the month of April. So I anticipate lots of May flowers (and probably some weeds).

IV.

I’ve mentioned in a couple posts recently that I’ve been experiencing a bit of a transition in my faith and that I’ve been on sort of a faith journey in which I describe myself moving from certainty, through doubt, to faith. I will probably write about this more at length here soon as Part Three in my Faith Journey. Sarah and I have transitioned to a new church in the past month and have found it to be a breath of fresh air for us. We left a faith tradition that we were uncomfortable with, yet one in which we were very familiar – and it was the sense of the familiarity that kept us there. Looking back now, it feels as if we had almost been bound there against our will. Trapped by the fear of the unknown.

Throughout the process of this transition, I’ve been reading (and by reading, I mean listening to) a lot books. I thought I’d share some of the books that have really been helpful to me over the last few months (listed in the order that I’ve read them):

Daring Greatly, Brené Brown

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Accidental Saints, Nadia Bolz-Weber

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Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith, Sarah Bessey

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Searching for Sunday, Rachel Held Evans

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Faith Unraveled, Rachel Held Evans

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The Bible Tells Me So, Peter Enns

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When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanthi

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Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?, Brian McLaren

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Rising Strong, Brené Brown

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I’ll definitely blog about these in my third installment of my Faith Journey posts. But these  are the books I’ve read in the past few months that have really been helping me process. In many ways these amazing authors have simply put words to feelings or impressions that I have been carrying around with me for a long time. And wow, is that affirming and validating!

My two favorite books by far on this list are Daring Greatly by (my hero) Brené Brown and Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans. I recommend any of Brené’s books to anyone and everyone. (No really, I do. I’m a Brené Brown evangelist.) I recommend Searching for Sunday to anyone who has been a part of Christian fundamentalism or conservative evangelicalism for any length of time and has has found their security in their sense of certainty about their beliefs about God and how he is involved in this world. It’s a great book for those who seem to have more questions than they have answers.

V.

The last month or so it has felt like my heart has been ten times lighter. It hasn’t been weighed down by the questions and concerns I’ve tucked back into the corners of my heart over the course of many years. Those have been shaken free and exposed. And this process and journey has continued to open me up in ways that has allowed me to better live out my life and faith authentically and in more freedom.

The daily challenge is to remind myself that courage really is found in showing up and being seen. There’s all sorts of places to show up and be seen – whether that’s in a phone call with a friend, an application for a job, a post on Facebook or Twitter, playing in the backyard with my kids, a conversation with my wife over dinner, or a public blog post.

All are opportunities for wholehearted living. All are avenues to make connections with people in this crazy world of ours.

I was reminded in a conversation with a friend last night about something Brené Brown talks about in Daring Greatly. We are often afraid to be vulnerable before others, not knowing how they will react, what they will think, if they will mock us or think of us as weak. But we are attracted to the people who are vulnerable. We see them as courageous and inspiring. Brave and bold. Authentic and relatable. It’s amazing how we trick ourselves into not showing up.

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So let’s get out there and be bold. Let’s be courageous.

Show up. Be seen.

It’s risky, and you’ll fail from time to time, but it’s so, so worth it in the end.

 

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