Tag Archives: growth

when learning hurts.

I remember when Dax first learned how to sit up on his own — around 6 months old — I was so elated. “He will crawl soon!” I exclaimed proudly as I watched him poised upright and wobbling on my floor, a teetering heap of baby rolls. I fantasized about how fun it would be to observe him scurrying about the house, exploring new and foreign things — dust bunnies and misplaced laundry! — for the first time.

Dax learned to crawl about two months ago and I wish I could go back in time and slap me for not enjoying every second of stationary baby life. For every dust bunny and misplaced piece of laundry in my house, there are two electrical outlets and sharp edges of furniture. In recent weeks, Dax’s exploring has not so much yielded excitement as it has drama and pain in the way of his first bloody lip and, a couple days ago, his first black eye.

dax_bloody_lipI tell you what — as a parent, nothing makes you feel worse than seeing your kid get hurt. Really and truly. Even things so minor as this really rip at the heartstrings. (Particularly if your kid getting hurt means pouring blood all over you in the middle of a crowded store. Let me just say that’s not the most fun you’ll have in a Naples Wal-Mart.)

After both the lip and the eye, I went through a really restrictive period with Dax in which I wouldn’t put him down unless he was in his crib or Pack n’ Play, our two prisons of safety. This made Dax mad, shrieking mad, because all he wants to do now is crawl from here to eternity. But I couldn’t bear to let him do that because that might mean he’d get hurt again.

Might.

The thing that sucks about this is that in order for him to learn and grow, he’s got to get hurt. I really hate that. I wish he could learn things and navigate life completely pain free. I wish I could protect him from ever hurting but to do that would be to hurt him in a different way.

I was really afraid to move to Naples because I knew it was going to hurt. I knew that leaving my friends and family behind was going to be torturous on my spirit. So, for the weeks leading up to the move I avoided talking about it or thinking about it, lest it bring about the sting of loneliness and reminiscence. I put myself in a mental Pack n’ Play, safely encased in a mesh box of avoidance.

This past Sunday, as I parked and wrangled Dax out of the car and started walking toward our new church, the feelings caught up with me. My heart started beating violently and my Pack n’ Play collapsed on itself, letting a wave of sadness and loneliness swallow me whole. I couldn’t hear the nursery workers greet me over the sound of my own heartbreak beating against my eardrums. They smiled at us ever so sweetly and chatted about how happy they were to see Dax and I grinned right back an empty grin and floated mindlessly into the sanctuary.

Sitting in a long, rigid pew, by myself, in a room built to hold over a thousand people whose names I don’t know, I felt so small. I felt so insignificant. I still could barely hear anything — just the woosh woosh woosh of blood in my ears — and a lump in my throat grew to choking proportions.

Without the safety of the Pack n’ Play, I was suddenly crawling across an expansive, slippery tile floor and had just lost my balance and face-planted. Just like Dax.

At the end of the service, the contemporary worship leader came up to Dan and me and asked if he and his wife could take us out to lunch.

“Oh, thanks, but Dax hasn’t napped all day so Lindsay really needs to get home–”

“YES! PLEASE! Take us!”

I interrupted Dan so quickly and desperately that he shot me a look of surprise.

“Please,” I begged, “I’ve been hit hard by a sack of lonelys today and going out to lunch with new friends is the perfect way to make them go away.”

And so, we went.

With chopsticks in my hand, asian noodles in my mouth, and a kind, loving, generous family surrounding me, I picked myself up off the floor, put some metaphorical ice on my throbbing face, and put my Pack n’ Play away. Today, I continue to roam around and learn and feel and hurt, but also heal.

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active listening: “crossroads” by sarah mac band.

smb_staticsignals

I’ve mentioned this before, but there’s something voyeuristic about consuming art created by your friends. I never know how to really navigate it. It’s like you go over to their house while they’re on vacation and rummage through their memory boxes and try to fill in the blanks on your own. It’s beautiful, and raw, but also super sketchy. (Hey, many of you may feel the same when you read my blog! Like, isn’t it weird that you guys get insight into my life without actually hearing it come out of my mouth? Come on, admit it — how many of you stalkers have never actually met me but know my kid’s name? No judgement here, y’all! Just keepin’ it real.)

Anyway. Today’s active listening comes from a band which is comprised of three (sometimes four, when the need for violin or SLEIGH BELLS arises) of my friends. Because I’m creepy like that. This song, “Crossroads” on the album Static and Signals by Sarah Mac Band, has wrecked me since I first laid ears on it. (Don’t be a chump — drop some cash for the album here because OH JUST DO IT, IT’S WORTH IT, I SWEAR.)

Most of the lyrics speak to a younger me, a me that was, for lack of a better term, a hot f-ing mess. And while I’m not there anymore, there are elements of my hot f-ing mess of a past that have weaseled their way into my otherwise completely well-adjusted present and have reminded me of the “crossroads” from whence I came.

I was too young to consider such things as a healthy dose of caution and fear /

I was set on an adventure and how my life would change by things bound to happen there

Five years ago I was standing at a crossroads. I could go one way, a way of the familiar hot mess, or go somewhere completely different and just kind of see what would happen.

So I chose the adventure. I randomly moved to a foreign country.

Sadly, it was not, like the song later suggests, to “save souls for Jesus”. It was to, ultimately, enhance my academic career and, um, oh yeah, mendmyverybrokenheartBUTWHATEVERwedontgottatalkaboutthat.

I knew it wasn’t a financially sound decision; I had my college education paid for (for the most part) by scholarships and grants and would need to take out a butt-ton of loans in order to do it. But something deep within my soul screamed out, You have to do this! You have to go! Don’t ask why now — just go! You’ll know why later. 

I didn’t know it then, but packing “my shit” (a lyrical mention, both in the literal and figurative sense) and hauling my butt across an ocean for a time would end up being the best thing to ever happen to me. The girl I was before I left — heartbroken, reliant on others for validation, battling an eating disorder — died a quiet death on the stoop of 99 Great Russell Street in the heart of London. Her scent is still heavy in the dark tunnels of the tube, but she is but a distant and, thankfully, faded memory.

Fast forward to today: I have a perfectly full heart, a beautiful family, a steady job, a strong community… and all of these things are pretty solid. Pretty stagnant. I’m not really at a crossroads anymore. Rather, I’m on the freeway using cruise control. But others around me, others very close to me, are standing at their own respective crossroads.

New relationships.

New opportunities.

New jobs.

New locations. 

So much newness. So much uncertainty.

But if there is one thing I know, it’s that the refrain of the song is so true.

It’s funny how we don’t know then the weight of what we’re choosing at the crossroads.

Five years ago I intentionally chose to embark on a journey wrought with isolation and uncertainty. That, in and of itself, is beautiful. But it’s what I unintentionally chose that is even better.

Health.

Rebirth.

A fresh perspective.

Self-love.

And so, dear friends. I urge you to not be afraid of the crossroads at which you find yourself. I’m certain that, even if you don’t know it yet, the direction in which your heart tugs you will be the one that offers up the best possible scenario for you. Even if you don’t realize it until years later.

It’s funny how we don’t know then the weight of what we’re choosing at the crossroads.

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