I’ve spent big chunk of the morning writing about my life in a sort of verbal music montage. I’ll post that later in the “My Story” section. It’s an interesting exercise, writing your life in highlights and scenes, in moments and flashes. I’ve struggled for a long time to like myself before the age of 22, even remotely. When I look back on the little girl with the brown bowl cut, braces and beaver teeth I often want to deny that we are one in the same. I’ve spent a large part of my twenties trying to build a bridge between us. To come to terms with the fact that so much of my childhood pain stems not from my being born damaged, but from my parent’s reactions to their own wounded-ness. I was born someone beautiful, sinful just like we all are, but beautiful nonetheless. It just took me a long time to believe that truth, even a little.
This is little me… and some fish… and some really questionable shorts action.
Now when I see little bowl-cut me with the bad bad front teeth, instead of hating her for screwing up my current life, I want to go back and hug her, to hold her and to make her feel valuable for as long as possible. I want to tell her she’s not broken or bad, that her boundless energy and endless words will come in handy someday. Hold on baby, I promise it gets better.
So… here we are, I’m her and she is me and this morning when I flipped through my overflowing photo box and found her face I also found overflow, in abundance.
I found pictures of my Mom and Dad, the two people who would remember my birth day more than anyone else. I deeply believe that on this day thirty years ago the original plan included them seeing me to 30 and beyond, to be here to celebrate their Leanne at 30. It really aches when life gets in the way of those kinds of plans, doesn’t it? Sickness and death got to them too soon, before we could celebrate miles of life together. Birthdays, Christmases, graduations and weddings have passed and will continue to pass without their witness or presence. In the photo box I find a physical, tearful overflow of sadness at the un-fillable Mom and Dad shaped holes in my heart and life.
And then of course I found pictures of my deep eyed and huge hearted Kel with all his different hair and beard combinations. Even though his facial hair is ever changing, you can actually see how much he loves me in every picture. In the box we see engagement pictures on the beach, wedding pictures in the orchard, camping trips, anniversaries with champagne toasts and shots of brand new babies in homemade hats. When I see his face on the glossy photos my heart feels an overflow of almost underserved loved.
And then, taking up tons of space in the box, are pictures of my little girl and baby boy. They are the photos of my life these days. They are my wake up call in every possible way and every morning they get me out of bed with very vocal demands for milk and bananas only to spend the entire day waking me up to life. Life with all its simplicity and complicated depth, from the beauty of the moon to the excitement over a chocolate chip cookie their fresh take on this world is waking me on the inside. They cause the box to overflow from every side.
On a practical note, I do need a better photo organization system, or at least another box.
There’s a pretty common song that has played in my head on countless occasions, including this morning. It always brings me to tears because its so beautifully true, so very common and yet super easy to miss.
Better is one day in Your courts
Better is one day in Your house
Better is one day in Your courts
Than thousands elsewhere
I always hear this song when I find myself in his house after an absence of wandering. When it finds me I cry on two fronts because
1) I am so glad to be in the beauty of his will again
2) I am so frustrated that I keep leaving.
It’s better here in his house. There has been real and undeniable pain in my life, sometimes stemming from my wandering but often stemming from the inescapable sin and death that coexists with us in our joyful places. Ann Voskamp said it best for me this week when she wrote:
“There’s only one address anyone lives at and it’s always a duplex: Joy and pain always co-habit every season of life.”
Gods dwelling place on this earth will still see pain, but better BETTER is one day there. I think my aching and overarching prayer for the next 2/3 of my life is to make my home in his courts, to stray less to breathe in the better of his presence. I don’t expect a 100% track record, but I pray that the stats start to change in my favor with more days spent dwelling than wandering.
So today I want to build a monument, an ebenezer, a reminder of overflow with a strong prayer and a thousands of hopes. I pray and hope that my life, my family, my heart sees joy and above all else that it dwells in the home, the two-sided duplex of my Father.
(Yes I am only 2/3 done… I plan to see 90, with my bladder in working order thank you. And I’m going to be feisty like that lady from Titanic… but I’m not going to throw millions of dollars into the ocean, because that’s just silly.)
So Here I am, at thirty, I’ve only just begun…