onbruisedknees

"Tell your story. Tell it on your bruised knees if you must, tell it at the risk of madness, scream it at the top of your lungs." –Andrew Lam

Month: November, 2012

a warm twenty-sixth

This week I’ve been cold. Cold like an ache. Colder than normal.  That shiver-shake panicked cold I get when I’m still not warm and I’ve already tried toasting myself in a tanning bed and scalding myself in the bathtub and piling three blankets (one like a shawl, one wrapped around my legs like a cocoon, one draped around the other two). Cold. A cold that’s more than psychological but more than physical. A heart-chill. Soul-frost. Hell is fire? I think it’s a spirit, iced.

I almost didn’t meet my favorite sisterhood friends tonight because of my particularly uncomfortable cold scared sad day. Because goodbyes are hard. Goodbyes make me colder.

But.

They kindled me, warmed me up, and thawed me back to life.  

I’m warm-content and happy now. I slipped on the gift of the softest sweater that wraps me in the comfort of friendship-grace. Warm like a birthday candle glow. My belly full of decadent cupcakes and coffee sipped from big white mugs. My quota of hug-like-you-mean-it hugs met, finally.    

We took a grand tour of a sisterfriend’s house—a home her family’s labored and mostly built themselves. A long process. Like this frustrating, gratifying life. They’re still building the fireplace in this home. The place where family will sit and warm toes and watch flames flicker-glow. So they’re fitting giant stones together to hold up other stones. And bonding them all tightly, securely. Like a group hug. Where I just lean. Because I think I might fall down.

ButI don’t. Because even with strained arms, we’re a sturdy bunch. Like rustic wooden beams. Like the pillars of the porch. Like the rocks making up the hearth that gives the warmth. The warmth.  

I’m twenty-six now. They’ve built me. They build me.

thankful over yonder

via: cindyeckhart.com
continued thanks:
sister texts, wine and movie nights, jovie belly rubs, mom shopping trips, fettuccini alfredo, raspberry peach bellini tea from olive garden, banana republic sweaters, mulled apple cider, southern breakfasts, the flags on the square on veteran’s day, taco tierra…twice so far (fairfield’s my favorite), grippos, pink Browning huntin’ socks, smell of coffee, persimmon picking, book reading, frailing the pecan tree, watching my niece sleep (and smile and kick and simply look around), the thanksgiving usuals, my mom’s cooking is my favorite, nice messages from people i work for and with, simply being able to come home for a bit, soft blankets, old quilts, the movie The Blindside (I want to be thatkind of mama), seeing Milo and Kathy, how country feels, some long awaited good good news (it’s about time, you two!), peanut-butter ritz almond bark cookies, the sweet nonverbal connection i’ve always had with josh, the verbal connection I’m learning to have with others, the special connections (God given, certainly) i have with favorite friends, students still, my grandpa earnie, my sweetest nephews. the big sky morning, the trees, the pond, stopping in the middle of the road because josh sees someone he knows and needs to catch up on the stories, the men in the coffee shop who know who i am.
i didn’t care before. turned my nose up at the folks, the swamp, the bottoms ground. but it’s beautiful…i know now. and my throat tightens because i miss it. the wild undone. the far and thick and deepest holy place that taught me exactly where yonder is.

all the way back where i belong

Oh, home. I’m here for awhile.

I will

Drink in the blue sky, the big sky. Take long walks. Four-wheeler rides and pickup truck drives. And sip hot soothing drinks. Write. Reconnect with family and friends who are family and my husband and God and my church. To feel worship again. Worship not measured by rules and what’s proper. No judgment, no competition of holiness. To think and not think. And sleep soundly again. Food. Take in all the nourishment that is food and not food– suck the marrow of This South.   

And holy is here. Unforced. The real and raw. I’ve almost, almost found it again. In conversations. In the mess. In water-eyes.  In the way nothing changes between soul-sister-friends. In a children’s book that taught me more than any other book I’ve read recently. A new song that made my heart sing a new song. In inspiration. Knowing I’m not numb. I still can feel.

Yes, I’ve returned to all my gritty-authentic-holy places.

In college, I would sit on Neu Chapel’s steps. When the questions came. Sometimes I’d even go inside in middle of day or middle of night because the chapel had no closing time. Hear echoes of Wesleyan hymns. Something ancient. Wood beams strong. Take naps on wooden pews.  And pray and write. And I would find. Solitude. Presence. And peace.

And Little Prairie’s parking lot…God is there too. Where I’ve always went when I didn’t know where to go. And where Josh always knew where to find me. After he’d given me space and time with just God. Prayers and fights. Stars. And gravel under the tires. Gravel that held my earth together. Touches and talks and tongue kisses that undid me.  But they were holy too somehow. Like coming home. Like the Lord proclaimed, “Here are your blessings, child. I’m right here. I never left.”  

I’ve missed, I love, I’m thankful for:

Country lullabies. The way my husband talks to his niece. My nephews. Getting to know my now all-grown-up little cousin and her dreams and tastes and favorite things. Sunshine and seventy degrees. The melody of little southernisms. My sister. The feeling I get in my gut when I know I must speak and have no choice. The way the sky looks huge because the land’s so flat. Our other two dogs, Duke and Dolly–they still know us, still love us. Manis and pedis and marker tattoos. Exploring Barnes and Noble. The weight of overflowing crates of books. Three hours at Coffee Cottage. Latin and Italian phrases. Porches and my Jovie.

Feels like I’m all the way back where I belong.