It Speaks to Me

Exactly one month ago I was spending a week with some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met in Antigua, Guatemala.  We spent the time working with Common Hope (LOVE this organization!!!) and also spent the week all up in each others’ business.  Because, when you are bunking with, eating with, and living with a dozen other people in everything you do all day long, you just can’t help but hit a new level of relationship with them.  And what I saw in these beautiful faces of my friends was such an extraordinary outpouring of love.  For each other, for me, and for people they had never met.  And on this trip to Guatemala, I not only fell in love with a country that is a five hour plane ride away.  I also felt closer to heaven than I have in a long, long, LONG time.  It’s like the moment we stepped off the plane, we were all in a simpler time, a time when the things that mattered were TRULY the things that mattered.  Love.  Friendship.  Food on the table.  A roof over your head.  And the things that sometimes feel like they matter here in my suburb – the things like outfits, pinterest, the cars we drive, the brand of coffee we drink… Well, it turns out, they faded away from my heart pretty quickly in this beautiful, broken place called Guatemala.   Spending a week in this place broke my heart in ways I had no idea I could still, at 35 years old, be broken.  Sometimes in my ignorance I begin to think that I understand that the world has lovely moments and horrific moments, and… Well, it all just keeps on ticking.  But standing on cobble stone roads, surrounded by children playing, moms making their daily tortillas, dogs huddled up in corners trying to save what little energy they have for the moment that they need to go find another meal… It all felt so raw.  I remember feeling confused as I sat down on about day 3 of the trip.  How, oh my Lord Jesus, HOW do I make this all fit together in my life?  Where do I put the pieces of this puzzle that hurt so much?  What about the beautiful pieces back home in Western Springs?  The pieces that are my precious children, my rock-solid husband, my family with undying love for each other?  And now these new pieces – these families that I love that are living day to day in a place where there are NO guarantees?  A lost job, a life threatening injury, a volcano eruption…  Where would that leave them?  I have no doubt that, if for some reason, Brian’s job disappeared before our eyes and the house was taken from under our feet and we were left with nothing, we would have OPTIONS, people.  We would crash 201 BIG TIME.  (Mom, Dad?  You sweating yet?)  🙂  And if something happened to THEM, we would figure something ELSE out.  I just know that in this lovely land of plenty, the fear of losing it ALL is pretty much nonexistent to me.   We will 99.99% most likely be just fine forever here.  If we couldn’t make ends meet and I confided in a few of my dearest friends, I KNOW they would have meals on our table every night for months.  And we could scramble to make sure our kids had clothes, and somehow, it would all work out.  Because for whatever reason, here in Western Springs, it absolutely almost always DOES work out.  But this new place… Guatemala… Seeing the things I saw there – the love and beauty, mixed DEEPLY with the needs and pain… How does this all FIT?  I like easy, and I REALLY like safe.  But Guatemala was none of those to me.  It was hard – crying my eyes out hard.  Uncontrollable sobs that eventually left me drifting into the deepest of sleeps.  And safe?  Ha!  Brian and I could only agree, once I was home, that it was better that we had NOT read the US Safety Precautions for anyone traveling to Guatemala as a tourist.  Ignorance was bliss, I can guarantee you that.   But now I’m home.  And it still doesn’t all fit.  Frustrating.  I like it to fit.  There’s a fantastic puzzle set up on the dining room table right now, and last night I stayed up long into the night until I couldn’t see straight to work through the pieces.  3 a.m. and I was still  going strong.  Just a few. more. pieces…

And in the midst of all the emotions from my trip, a lovely new friend shared a poem.  I can’t imagine that she knew she would be speaking right to my heart as she shared this, but I’m telling you, this poem sits with my soul perfectly…  I love it, but I can’t explain it… It just speaks to me.

 DG-Fred-Barr-and-Wrangler

Love Does That

-Meister Eckhart-

All day long a little burro labors,

Sometimes with heavy loads on her back and sometimes just with worries

About things that bother only burros.

And worries, as we know, can be more exhausting than physical labor.

Once in a while a kind monk comes to her stable and brings

A pear, but more than that,

He looks into the burro’s eyes and touches her ears

And for a few seconds the burro is free and even seems to laugh,

Because love does that.

Love frees.

 

 

The Beginning

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Is it weird that I am nervous even typing these first few words?  Totally at war in my head.  On one shoulder there is a little cherub, dressed in white, shifting around and saying in a less-than-convincing voice, “You go girl!” while on the other shoulder sits a hunched over gremlin trying to grab the cherub and cover her mouth much like I did about 30 years ago when my sister was about to tattle on me for doing something stupid.  “Um, SHUT UP!  Your words are going to get us ALL in trouble!”  Clearly we can see which voice is louder and hence gets more listening time from me.  So, in even starting a blog I am listening to the whisper.  Which scares me.

Not that, by any stretch of the imagination, the world is reading or caring about my thoughts. 🙂  Probably my mom and my sisters.  My brother in law promised to subscribe but I won’t hold you to it, JT.  Anyway, all of them are already aware of just how ‘free spirited’ I am, so I can’t imagine that much I type here will shock them.  🙂  It’s just super scary to think about having a place to really be me, to take off all of the funny little hats that I put on each and every day, the things that I pretend to be so that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be ‘reasonable’ and ‘likeable’ and will blend in to my cute little suburb just a tiny bit more.  So that I won’t be the sore thumb sticking out of the hand known as Western Springs.  I care about these things more than I would like to admit.  I fear for my children.  What will it be like in a few years when they realize that some moms – alright, in my suburb MOST moms – wear cute jeans and cute shirts and ADORABLE shoes and even make up to school when they drop the kids off?  Moi?  Not so much.  If we’re lucky we make it out in something besides jammy pants.

So, at much coaxing from my sister, here I am on a blog.  I’m not sure even Amy knows how hard this is.  I feel like I have to come to grips with being me.  Honestly, that is just hard for me.  A few times in the last few months I’ve tried to go beyond the surface level conversation with some friends and pretty much, at the end of each experience, I felt like I had the word LOSER written across my forehead.  I was even asked by one friend, “Seriously, why do you have to think about such deep things?”  Which to a first born, perfectionistic girl who wants nothing more than to please just about EVERYBODY in my life, a simple comment like that will shut me up for a while.  Like, 3 months.  Only in the last week have I felt brave enough to start having real – and I mean REAL – conversations with people in my life.  And only the ones truly closest to me.  I have a hard time putting myself in unsafe situations.  Any chance of someone laughing at me or shooting me down and I deem it unsafe until further notice.  Which truthfully has left me in a bit of a bubble.  I realize that it is an unfair expectation to think I won’t ever be laughed at or questioned.  I deserve these things sometimes.  But when they actually happen it is just so hard.  Amy (my sister, as you know) has been reading a blog that seems to have quite a following.  Ever heard of Momastery?  Anyway, apparently Momastery has this saying, “We do hard things.”  So maybe somehow this teeny tiny blog will simply help me do this hard thing called “Accepting Criticism and Moving On.”

Wow, how very Debbie Downer of me for a first blog post.  Yikes.  Ironic that the name of the blog is “Sundrop Girl.”  Maybe this gray, rainy cloud will roll past soon enough to reveal that there is, in fact, a brilliant sky behind it with every hue of orange and pink and yellow, shining like a gift from Heaven.  Can’t wait. 🙂