A Little Remembering

I’ve purposefully forgotten what it’s like to stare at the map and miss another.

What it’s like to fall asleep in bed by yourself.

Most days we pretend it didn’t happen.

But then the other day I found myself sorting through the pictures and letters as I rearranged boxes in the spare room.

The pictures bring back the anticipations of being together again. The letters…how little we knew each other and how completely in love! Some screenshots of messages that he sent me after parcels were delivered…a few birthday cards and a whole book of wish-dreams written in black ink.

There was an anxious and awkward sweetness to that year and a half, but on the other side I find I’m not mourning the beauty left there.

Instead, the beauty is in coming through. Through the first kiss and missing-you blues, the wedding planning and honeymoon squabbles. And that time you came to your parent’s, just so we could spend Christmas Eve together.

It’s in coming through it all and every day learning the other person a little bit better.

When I think on not so long ago – those long-distance-days…I’m filled with nostalgia. and then with gratitude that they even were. They are what they should be and where they belong.

And count the blessings of these days you’re in now. They’ll be the good old days sometime soon.

Be My Friend

I wrote something the other day about being a stranger and by extension, the Christian practice of community belonging. It’s heavy on my heart I guess, because here I go again…

To the persevering, tenacious people who will invite, re-invite and soldier through awkward silences.

To the ones who will look for the least familiar face, smile and walk straight towards them.

To the quiet ones who tolerate and love the funky, loud and wild.

To the act of baking bread for others and the sharing of food in polite silence that melts into laughter by dessert.

To the ones who are willing and the ones who are shy. To the difficult, wonderful world of sharing your life. To bathing babies, walking, coffee, swimming, books, beer and the desperation that bring us together.

The whole world wants a friend, so thank you to those who are all of this.

And the whole world wants a friend, so be this person too.

A Place of Your Own

New neighbours moved in several months ago, hailing from the other side of town, previously from Florida, before that in Pennsylvania and originally from Cuba. They have an American flag hanging out their back window and scoff at people who think they don’t know the laws.

“We’ve been here for fourteen years,” the wife says, “It’s people who grow up here who don’t know!”

For myself, I hardly ever let where I’m living sink in, besides the fact that it is humid, flat and far away from where I grew up. The language and rules of the road are the same, even with my New Brunswick licence. But I was carded at a restaurant one evening, and after asking to see my passport they told me that they technically couldn’t serve anyone who didn’t have current paperwork.

Because the fiance visa is issued for 90 days, it doesn’t matter if I’ve fulfilled the terms of the entry and married an American citizen within that time. My passport still has an ‘expired’ visa and without a study of immigration types and rules, I can’t expect anyone to understand.

I felt jarred and vulnerable, even when they made an exception, handed me my drink and kept thanking me for not being annoyed. The FYI was too much to swallow right then. That scrutiny and a panicked feeling the leaped up as quickly as the need to explain why I even exist here.

In a moment of clarity I understood a little more of the other side of immigration. I’m not immediately pegged as someone from ‘away’ but in that moment in a restaurant I could only imagine how it feels when your appearance, clothing or accent is a flying flag to the fact that you did not begin your life journey in this place.

I do not venture opinions about immigration policy or the wisdom of open doors, but beyond that issue is another. Once the wanderers are here, how do I treat them? Deserving or undeserving, do I think twice before I assume their story? This is not a watery porridge of tolerance – but simply the kindness to strangers, the prodigal, the Samaritan, the woman at the well that God calls us to.

A new land and heart. A redemption and changing and pathway for us to follow is at the very heart of who we’re remade to be. So this will flow to the homeless and confused and shy in the back corner of church.

Belonging isn’t something I take for granted and these days…it is most certainly something I want to share.

Boredom’s Eulogy

I’m pretty well sure that boredom is the devil’s work. Spinning out from a semi-productive day and when you sit down to relax, it raises its ugly head. Not enough, it whispers. Nobody to talk to. Nowhere to go. Empty, empty life. 

I’ve wallowed this winter, I think, and let boredom get the upper hand. So these days, when I rise to shake it off I feel my knees shake. They’re out of practice.

Time for a walk. Podcasts, music, I don’t care, just take those steps and feel the miracle that is strong, sure legs.

Maybe to clean an old drawer or closet. Stacking and sorting and throwing out a grocery bag full of years old geography quizzes.

Time for music, the best kind – I’ll be bossy and say it – the Classical kind. Just sit for a minute and let yourself slow, slow down and be happy for where you are.

Sit and read. Of the very book you like best, and don’t try too hard to impress anyone else.

Do something that is a little bit scary-new, like visiting an art museum by yourself. Talk to a stranger there. Don’t run away.

Buy fruit or vegetables from little old men under umbrellas, by the road, on the back of a truck. They surely will be grumpy but…that’s the point.

Or pray. Without ceasing. About the craziest things that lurk in your mind. About your health, sins and the vaguest of fears for the future; and your husband and that person you don’t know very well but can’t get out of your head.

The world is too big and God is too good, to be bored.

I’ve been told it’s a bad word.

As they say here, “Can I get an amen?”

 

 

Speechless

I’ve had a whole lot of nothing floating around in my head these days.

Or at least, there are things…but they won’t hold together into a whole blog post.

It’s been a jumble of pool floating, book quotes, eating more lettuce, watching Marvel movies and not judging someone with a selfie stick.

Sometimes change is a jump in the deep end, and sometimes you just look at yourself clubbing a cockroach or cooking squirrel and think – who am I?

I promise I’ll get back to writing more, friends. Until then, I’ll be over here with my head in the freezer eating watermelon.

xo

Where Did You Come From?

When I miss you most, I’m driving down a strange split road, where people drive 65 mph and stop at lights on a dime.

I miss you when I’m paralyzed with indecision about whether this store, an unfamiliar sign and front, will have what I actually want.

When I get in the car and just circle aimlessly, wishing I knew where to find the green space that I’m craving.

Where to find the friendliest librarians, the freshest produce, the cheapest thrift items.

All the things I took for granted when I knew every route like the back of my hand, when I could expect the rhythm of every restaurant and hiking trail.

I miss strangers knowing exactly who my parents are and the trust that extends from familiar face to familiar face.

A warm sweetness of blossom and asphalt hang around my door now, interrupting the crisp apple of a memory. Fresh bread greets my mind when I walk through the doors of my hometown and I’m hungry for it.

Hungry for the comfort of knowing and being known. Wherever we are, this is the human search in our food, our hobbies, the places we go. Doesn’t a baby know exactly where it belongs because that is where it finds comfort?

You can love something new, while still missing the old and that is my constant balancing act, my privilege, challenge and bitter sweet joy in this season.

And I have to ask. What do you miss the most about where you came from?

 

Newt Impressed

The other day I stepped outside for a breath of fresh air and found myself face to face with a brownish and extremely long newt. It peeked out of the woodpile at me, red face furrowing whatever eyebrow substitute that newts possess.

I expected him to scuttle away immediately, but he held his ground with alarming tenacity. We locked eyes until he flickered his tongue at me, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and retreated back into the kitchen.

For the rest of the week I’ve given the woodpile a wide berth, and have seen the creature only once more. I pray I’ll never witness newt babies, but it did look like a friend was visiting the other day,..I never thought I’d be googling the reproductive habits of newts and geckos.

I keep on thinking about all this, because I feel like there might be some sort of spiritual lesson hidden in this episode. Is it the newt’s willingness to make do with whatever home, circumstances provide? Is it his respectful observance of my personal space on the patio? I can’t help thinking, what if his scowl was only misunderstood social anxiety and what if he actually wants to be friends?

In all honesty, I can only give him his space and tiptoe around him every time I go to the laundromat or to get the mail. Who can plumb the depths of a newt’s mind after all?

I’m no Gussy Fink-Nottle.