Tag Archives: reflection

2013 in maths.

Hi there! I realize I haven’t blogged in approximately a hundred years, so let me apologize for that first.

I’m sorry for not blogging. Really I am.

This post is intended to be partly a way to explain the reason for my silence as well as a wrap-up to 2013.

Yes, another 2013 contemplation post. A good 15 days into 2014.

I NEEDED SOME TIME TO PROCESS, OKAY? Sorry.

Today a friend/coworker of mine came over for a meeting about work/life/whatever, and while we were meeting, I drew a crude graph of what 2013 looked like for me in terms of how crappy it was. Observe:

Image

DISCLAIMER: I failed all of the math classes.  

The beginning of the year started out okay, but then we found out that we were going to have to quit our jobs and move with no foreseeable solution. And, as you can see from my oh-so-accurate graph, having a tiny mouth to feed with no real idea of how to afford that caused a spike on our suckage axis.

But in the spring, we got offered jobs in a fancy town called Naples, Florida, which brought our suckage down a considerable amount. Granted, I was still very sad to leave the support network we’d spent the better part of a decade building but I was hopeful for what was to come. So while there was still some suckage caused by the realities of packing up and moving away, it wasn’t terrible.

The summer happened and, while I didn’t have any real close friends in Naples yet and I was really shy and scared and Dan was always out of town working and it was roughly eight billion degrees outside everyday, it was still relatively good. Even the loneliest person (who I kind of was this past summer) can’t complain when you’ve got Naples sunsets on the Gulf to gawk at every evening.

The summer also included the worst Tuesday which was absolutely a frighteningly high suckage point but I didn’t include it in my graph because it was thankfully just one day (I believe in math they call that an “outlier”) and I didn’t want to throw the summer baby out with the febrile seizure bathwater. Plus, some people came to visit us in the hospital, proving to me that we did actually have friends already and that we weren’t as alone as I may have thought. It was also a good learning experience for us; now we know that even if Dax is running a low-grade fever we have got to be diligent about treating it. But seriously, it was literally the scariest thing I’ve ever gone through and I would rather yank my fingernails out one by one than ever go through that again.

But then…. the fall happened. And Dan got caught in some majorly sucky work-related junk that left us seriously questioning our decision to move to Naples. I won’t (and definitely should not) go into it here, but just know that the months of August, September, and October, and November left us feeling pretty hopeless and sad.

But we got pregnant in September! Which gave us lots of hope!

And then we miscarried in October. And all of the hope that was blossoming in my heart was stomped out by dirty, messy heartbreak and I became so very angry. I harbored the kind of anger you can taste in the back of your throat; a bitter emotion that, rather than dissipating, festers with every minute that passes by and spreads through your whole being in an infectious rage, eating away at every blood cell and oxygen molecule in your body until you feel like you have literally rotted from the inside out.

And it is for this reason that I’ve avoided blogging. The internet, quite frankly, is chock full of negativity and sadness. I didn’t want to contribute to that. I wanted to give myself some space to get into a better place so that I could use my blog to speak some life into this world rather than to suck the life out of it. I think we can all agree that there are already enough things in this world that do that.

*pushes up glasses* So. In light of that… this is the life I’d like to speak to you today.

As you can see from the graph above, the suckage points do start to fall steadily after the terrible autumn. Things at work started stabilizing a bit, and after the miscarriage I was overwhelmed by love and support from so many people — people I’d met, people I hadn’t met, people who I knew but never knew had gone through a miscarriage themselves…

Based on all the bad things that happened in 2013, I could have easily shoved 2013 out the door with a scowl on my face. But to do that would discount all the great things that happened last year; all the friends we have made, all the debt we have paid off despite our barrage of medical crises, all the dates we’ve gone on, all the new words Dax has learned, etc…

The best way I can put it is that 2013 tore my heart wide open with gaping wounds of pain, however these holes made room for real love to be planted within me. And now, I’ve just got to spend 2014 nurturing those love seeds and investing in the relationships we’ve formed and watch them grow.

So, all that said, as we look forward to 2014, take a look at my graph and see that for every sucky peak, there is an impending valley of peace. 

Listen, Reader: nothing is forever. As long as you’re still this side of the soil, no suckage peak will ever plateau. What goes up must go down. (That’s science. Which I also failed.)

So don’t give up. Don’t let what is currently sucky consume your whole life. Rather, let the hope of the future’s peace comfort you.

Happy 2014, all.

1 Comment

Filed under personal

how to be.

It’s been really hard to blog lately for two reasons.

1. My life as a mostly work-from-home mom, while splendid and blest, can be quite mundane. As much as I love it, I don’t know how many posts I can muster up (or you should have to suffer through) about me banging away at my lap top during nap times or the perils of walking lessons. (Oh yes. By the by, I don’t want to admit it, but by definition I am now the mother of a toddler who has the bruises to prove it.)

2. I follow a lot of blogs and — sigh — I know how many other great blogs there are out there. So whenever I sit down to finally spew out a post, I can only think to myself, “But why? When there are so many other great blogs for these people to read?”

In short, it’s like I don’t know “how to be” a blogger.

The church I work at/serve at/do life at is one that, um, isn’t exactly in my comfort zone. It is a gigantic (!!!) traditional mainline Christian church, whose congregation consists MOSTLY of older, very wealthy “church” people. A natural button-pushing, liberal, messy-past-holding, twenty something loudmouth, I’ve never been quite welcomed at mainline denomination churches before now (ask me about the one time I, the “lost girl”, was “ambush-saved” under a tree by a well-meaning counselor at a church camp) and so it’s a bit of a struggle sometimes to reconcile the idea that I’m now on the payroll at one of these places that has wounded me so deeply in the past. And not only that; I have made friends here. Real friends. People who are getting to know me and aren’t running away. I’m finding my footing in an unfamiliar place that, remarkably, has accepted me. I still cannot understand this.

But that, my friends, is the power of grace, no?

I said it already, but it bears repeating. This place is freaking huge. People get around via golf carts and I can’t wait to make a billion dollars so I can also buy a golf cart. (That’s how much golf carts go for these days, right?) There are hallways and offices and narthexes and sacristies and choir rooms and class rooms and chapels and sanctuaries and gyms and lions and tigers and bears oh my and

six pianos. 

While I can’t afford ONE acoustic piano, there are six pianos scattered about the campus. (One of which used to belong to Sir Elton John but that’s another blog post.)

Today I sat in on a meeting which left me feeling both unproductive and severely misunderstood — the latter of which is not uncommon right now because I’m still getting used to this place. After the meeting, I had precisely twenty minutes before my next meeting which, as you working folk know, is just enough time to not do anything productive or meaningful.

One of the better-than-me bloggers I follow (who, I guess at this point, isn’t really a blogger anymore) is Jon Acuff. The other day he posted a picture on Instagram of a diagram of how to be an artist.

photo

Looking at the clock and seeing the empty minutes before me, I recalled this picture and felt a sense of urgency to create. To make some sort of art, even if it was bad art, just to remind myself that, while I may be a misunderstood screw-up in a seemingly perfect congregation, I’m not totally worthless.

So I excitedly gathered my things and dashed to the chapel where I knew there sat an unoccupied, recently tuned grand piano.

As I was racing toward the steepled building, not wanting to waste a single minute, I got so giddy thinking about sitting in that empty space, at the bench, pressing down on the keys, softly squeezing the pedal, and birthing beautiful noise out of staunch silence. After feeling like I couldn’t control anything, I wanted to remember that, if nothing else, I can at least manipulate a piano.

I pulled the heavy double doors open with a superhuman exuberance expecting to find an empty chapel just for me. But when my eyes fell on the church organist at the organ, directly across from the piano practicing, my heart sank.

Our organist is a musical genius. He’s been playing organ/piano longer than I’ve been alive so he can obviously play circles around me. But he’s also probably the nicest person I’ve ever met in my lifetime. He’s someone that, when I’m around him, I suddenly don’t feel so misunderstood.

He always compliments my piano playing also, even when I know he both a) doesn’t have to and b) is probably just trying to make me feel good. (I told you he is really nice.)

He was sight-reading a couple hymns for our staff chapel. And for a few moments I sat and just listened. But then that stupid diagram got the best of me and I jumped off my butt and ran up to the piano.

“Which hymns are you playing?” I asked him, picking up a nearby hymnal.

He responded with a couple of numbers and then quickly added, “I’ve never seen these hymns before in my life!” (Mind you, this was not in a “look how great I sight-read!” way, but in an astonished “how have I played organ for all these years and never once laid eyes on these two hymns?!” way.)

I opened up the hymnal to the numbers he specified and sat down on the bench. I certainly hadn’t heard them, either, but my fingers were itching. I looked at the staffs and, while I can’t sight-read to save my life, I could at least tell which keys the songs were in based on the sharps and flats next to the clefs.

“Do you mind if I play along with you?” I nervously asked.

“Not at all! Please do!”

And so I did.

And it wasn’t horrible. (Though I think that has way more to do with the power and beauty of the instrument in question than it does my own skill level; a tuned piano is much more forgiving to any musician than, say, a violin.)

Over the past few weeks I’ve been caught up in my own head about “how to be” things — how to be a blogger; how to be a mother; how to be both an employee and a parishioner at a mainline denomination church; how to be a wife; how to be a cook; how to be a pianist; how to be Lindsay — so much so that I end up not BEING anything except lethargic, cynical, and unmotivated.

But that diagram ruins it all for me. It takes this paradigm that suggests I have to meet some unwritten standard before I’ve made it and crushes it into a thousand little pieces, never to be put back together again.

How do I be a blogger? I blog.

How do I be a wife? I cherish my husband.

How do I be a mother? I care for my child.

How do I be a pianist? I play the damn piano.

How do I be Lindsay?

I be Lindsay.

4 Comments

Filed under on the job, personal

running is tiring. running from yourself is exhausting.

Happy holidays, y’all! I had quite the lovely vacation, though most of it was spent sick in bed. All I can say is that I’m so grateful that our little boy didn’t get what we had. It was a doozy of a cold. (Not the flu, thankfully, but a cold that definitely tried its damnedest to mimic the flu.)

After the Christmas Eve gatherings at church, the three of us piled into two cars and took the four-hour drive to my hometown to celebrate Dax’s first Christmas with my family. As was expected, Dax stole the show — my mom decorated her Christmas tree with only one “real” ornament (“grandbaby’s first Christmas”, of course) along with a sleighful (see what I did there?) of makeshift ornaments of teethers, rattles, and other such toys for him. There was also a truckload of toys under the tree for him, naturally. He was spoiled rotten on his first Christmas and I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Though Mom has, unfortunately, set a pretty lofty precedent for future grandchildren.)

dax_xmas_1

dax_xmas_2

dax_xmas_3

The day after Christmas, Dan drove back to Tallahassee for work, leaving Dax and me to navigate a few days of single parenthood in the familiar, yet unsettling arena that is my hometown.

DeLand, Florida — Daytona Beach’s dorkier, less popular, yet slightly prettier little sister.

Because I was sick, I didn’t do much venturing out in DeLand. But even when I did, I found myself rolling my eyes — as I tend to do — at the lack of culture, life, and overall substance of this town. As I always do, I lamented to myself over the ways DeLand will never change, as well as the ways it continues to evolve.

I am a brat, you see. Nothing pleases me in this place.

It’s not like DeLand is a bad city. It really isn’t. It’s a pretty decent place to raise a family, it’s extremely close to everything good the Sunshine State has to offer — beaches and theme parks, really — and it boasts a pretty adorable and historic downtown area. But I’ve never been able shake the reality that walking those streets gives me the heebie jeebies.

When it came time to apply for colleges, I had only one rule: anywhere but here. DeLand, for those of you who aren’t aware, is actually home to the very prestigious Stetson University. It’s also a hop, skip, and a jump from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. When I got my acceptance letter to UCF, I reluctantly resolved to allow myself to attend in the off chance I didn’t get accepted anywhere else.

When my acceptance letter from Florida State University, a campus happily nestled in the northern-most part of the state, came in the mail, that was it. My ticket outta there. After high school graduation, it was all I could do to wait until move in day at FSU to pack my 1993 Toyota Corolla with the essentials and spin out of DeLand like a bat out of hell.

Whenever I come back to Tallahassee after being in DeLand, my spirit settles back down. It’s as if I am returning “home” after being in exile. But that doesn’t make sense. I shouldn’t feel like I’m in a foreign land when I’m sleeping in the same house I grew up in. But I do.

The reasoning was unclear to me until I read this blog post by my friend Beth. At the end of it, I found myself slack-jawed. Did I write this post in my sleep? The way Beth feels about Ohio is how I feel about Tallahassee. But why? Tallahassee isn’t my “real” home. DeLand is.

The real reason I left DeLand in a cloud of dust isn’t because the city itself is bad. It’s because of what I experienced when I lived there and things about myself that seemed to only be avoided if I would just run away from them. Literally, in this case.

Broken relationships.

Abuse.

Heartache.

Rejection.

Pain.

Loss.

I experienced so many of these things — from an abusive boyfriend to an absentee father — in this otherwise quaint little town. And, at the naive age of 18, I thought that all of those things would be buried beneath the sands of time as long as I could just GTFO of there as quickly as possible. (Sorry, Mom, for the gratuitously profane acronym.)

But every time I go back, I realize those hurts are still very real. And, evidently, not completely scabbed over. And it is only by immersing myself within these familiar city limits that I can remember how badly I wanted to run away from it all. From myself.

If only it were that easy.

Tallahassee has become home to me, not because it’s more “cultured” (hold back your LOLs, Eric) or has more “life” in it. Truth be told, Tallahassee isn’t all that great. Sure, it has hills and canopy roads but it also has terrible traffic and sometimes it smells like farts.

Rather, Tallahassee has become home because it was here — in this modest state capital — where I learned that I have no reason to run anymore. I have nothing to hide anymore. I am broken, yes, and I am bruised. But those closest to me — the family I have gained here — know it. They know it all. Regardless, they also remind me on a daily basis that I am not the garbage I — and those who I surrounded myself with at the time — thought I was when I lived in DeLand.

As my ten year high school reunion swiftly approaches, I can only hope that I can confidently return with the realization that there is nothing to run from anymore. But until that day comes, I will wrestle with this idea of home and safety and hopefully learn a valuable lesson:

The faster and harder you run from yourself doesn’t get you any farther away. It only makes you that much more tired.

5 Comments

Filed under baby love, commentaries, life, psychology, transformation