Wednesday, October 22, 2008

When it was over and they could talk about it
She said there's just one thing I have got to know
What in that moment when you were running so hard and fast
Made you stop and turn for home
He said I always knew you loved me even though I'd broken your heart
I always knew there'd be a place for me to make a brand new start

Oh love wash over a multitude of things
Love wash over a multitude of things
Love wash over a multitude of things
Make us whole

When it was over and they could talk about it
They were sitting on the couch
She said what on earth made you stay here
When you finally figured out what I was all about
He said I always knew you'd do the right thing
Even though it might take some time
She said, Yeah, I felt that and that's probably what saved my life

Oh love wash over a multitude of things
Love wash over a multitude of things
Love wash over a multitude of things
Make us whole

There is a love that never fails
There is a healing that always prevails
There is a hope that whispers a vow
A promise to stay while we're working it out
So come with your love and wash over us

thanks, Sara Groves

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Murphy, we're not in Brooklyn anymore (part 3)

pressing questions that come up in daily life in Brooklyn:
did I remember to bring baggies to pick up Murphy's doo doo? (thus avoiding the threatened $1,000 fine)

Is it sad to drink alone, even if it's happy hour? (What time was happy hour again?)

what's the difference between "waterproof" and "water-resistant" boots?

is it Halloween or just any Tuesday night in Manhattan?

pressing questions that come up in daily life in Kansas:
ohmygoodness... what's crawling on my neck? ohmygoodness... what do I do with it?
is it drinking my coffee?!what is it?!
how long ago was I outside?
please, please let it be from outside and not inside.
has it been living in my hair?
is it a girl monsterbug?
did it lay a colony in my hair?
how long will I have to stand under scalding water to eliminate said colony?
what did the insert in my water bill say about the water being "not exactly drinkable"?
doesn't skin drink water?
is that crawly feeling all over just the "heebie-jeebies" or is the colony hatching?!
oh Lord... I miss the peace and safety of Brooklyn.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

so, so aware

I found out yesterday that this is National Mental Illness Awareness Week. I love anything that brings attention to the very tangible reality of mental illness, as our society leaves behind the destructive stigmas and prejudices of mental illness and those who are subjected to it.

I am often baffled at how it is more acceptable to take a pill or seek professional treatment for a headache, but crippling shame and fear keep people from seeking relief from conditions that cause symptoms just as real and even as deadly as cancer. How so often the only way to get the treatment you need is to let your life spiral so out of control that it becomes "suicide prevention" or "chemical dependency recovery". What if diabetes was ignored until limbs started falling off?

Mental illness has woven itself throughout my life, effecting me personally and ravaging some of the people who are closest to me. I truly believe that it has become a plague on our generation, and that its methods of "divide and conquer" have the fingerprints of the dark enemy that is out to destroy us.

I've been reading a fabulous book called Touched With Fire, which points out the connection between mental illness and the arts, and discusses fascinating moral and ethical questions connected to treating these people who have added color and dimension to our world through the expression of their suffering. It is an interesting question, whether an artist would be so driven to produce art, would he reach so deeply into his soul if he did not NEED to? Would the world be as interesting if those minds were whole?

I have a lot to say about this, being an artist and being married to an artist, both of us using our talents to create a visual expression of the turmoil we experience as a means of survival. It reminds me of the whole story of our broken, fallen world, versus a world restored to the design of our great Creator. What causes us to create is our need to be who we truly are... a creation reflective of God. I feel closest to him, most like him when I am immersed in his creation and when I am creating, because I am wired to experience a connection to him in that way. In the same way, some people feel closest to God when they are immersed in intellect or service. We are fallen and separated from full communion with our God, so anything that reminds us of what we should be, what we will be, makes us feel more whole.

Through my husband's artwork I have seen depression articulated in a way that is very unique. It shows the stillness, the lure and the beauty that calls out to you and draws you into the abyss. Yes, there is an ugly side, but that is only revealed once you are trapped in its grips. It's the slow, methodical whisper of the darkness that promises comfort.

His work reveals the trap and the torture. My belief is that it will also show the escape, once he finds it. It is my job as his wife to hold on to the knowledge I have of how the story ends, and to trust in the Creator who our souls ache to emulate while this testimony is formed. And rather than standing still, or even laying down and giving up, it is also my job as an artist to narrate the journey to the best of my ability. Because my soul aches to heal like the great Healer, and to tell a story like the great Author. What true comfort that we are allowed to do so much more than merely survive the trials of this world...

Monday, October 6, 2008

the love of a mother

There are times in life that a message is given to you, that something that may have been written thousands of years ago (or a few days ago on a blog) feels as if it was the opening line of a love letter written to you by someone who knows you deeply.
Just before the first big move of my life (the first of many, as it turned out), a stranger came up to me on my last Sunday at that church and said, sheepishly, that she believed that she had been told that a verse she read when she woke up that morning needed to be told to someone she would meet that day. And when she saw me, she heard that intangible whisper... "it's for her". Poor girl, she obviously had never experienced such a thing before as having to choose between looking crazy and going crazy holding something in...

SO, this was for me that day, and it rings true in my life constantly:

"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life..." Mark 10:29-30

This is most present when it comes to being maternally nurtured... as I have given up the "right" to hold on to the bitterness for the lack of mothering I had from the one who holds the title, I have been flooded by care, protection, love and wisdom by the women in my life who mother my heart on a deeply spiritual level.

Many of them have no idea that their words do that for me, like this wish for her children that put to words the lesson I have been on a path to learning recently:

"I hope they learn that when times are good, your circumstances don't have to enslave you or define you. And that when times are bad, your circumstances don't have to enslave you or define you. "

The world is filled with love and hope and all of the nurturing we need to survive, thrive and grow. It's an eternal love that pours over us and truly fills that thirst, but the pitchers are so much a part of the beauty.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Love is believing in what you know a person's character to be even when the evidence stacked against it seems to prove something altogether different. That belief doesn't always come naturally... it is usually a choice, a mastering of the will.

It is how I am able to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, knowing that my God is for me, that he is kind and good and faithful.

It is how he is able to not give up on us or the world he made for us to live in, even when we reject him and mess up his beautiful creation.

It's how I am able to look through actions and heartbreak and see family in lost and empty eyes.

And a mother's love... it is the most powerful a mortal can possess. It is able to believe that this note from her daughter's kindergarten teacher is a description of her girl:

"I just need to tell you what a sweet helper Gracie has been this week. Earlier in the week I was kneeling on the floor and couldn't push myself upright because of my broken wrist. She saw me struggling and came immediately over and offered to help me up. Then, today, a friend was upset and refused to come into the classroom. Gracie asked if she could go out to comfort her.
What a great job you've done fostering empathy in Gracie! Thanks!"

Even when that same day Gracie used her wet underwear as a weapon to hurl at mom's face as she works out her issues in the safest relationship in her life.