i'm camped out on the concept that we are our own historians. if we don't record & remember our history, who will? with this acknowledgement of history responsibility, comes the practice & discipline of pausing to reflect on place-markers in our past. i often pause & ponder things like "where was i (geographically, emotionally, spiritually) last february? what new ideas was God teaching me? how did those bring me to the place i'm at now & do i need to be re-reminded?".
us humans...we are outrageously intelligent & yet outrageously forgetful. in dark seasons, we forget the simpler months that carved us anew. in light seasons, we forget the dark we traveled through before the full moon dimmed.
the more we recall the cyclical nature of life,
the more we learn to embrace the cycles, the process.
in america specifically, we elevate forward, ever-moving, future-oriented thinking, which in & of itself is not negative. in fact, it just may be why america holds such a high place in innovation, education & so many other arenas. however i can't help but think this always-onward mentality overshadows the art of slowing, sitting, & feeling peace in the present as well as thankfulness for the past—for the places we came from.
our forward motion can only be as valuable & impactful as our present peace, because our forward motion is fueled by our present passions which are usually uncovered through understanding our past wounds, trials, and discoveries.
this is why taking inventory of our lives & our emotions is imperative & revelatory. you feel angry—why? you feel excited—why? you love to travel—why? you hate to sit still—why? our emotions are revealing priceless things to us about our past, present & future selves...if we dare to pay attention to them. it's a discipline (one i haven't mastered nor ever will) & it's also one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves & others. both of these concepts have been cemented in my value systems by a dear friend whose always asking "why?" & a wise family member who told me "one of the most loving things we can do for the people in our lives is pursue our own healing".
scars are inevitable.
life is beautiful & brutal.
the days will wound you.
strangers & loved ones will accidentally (or sometimes intentionally) bruise us.
to ignore our bruises is choosing to live out of our bruises.
to ignore our scars is to passively encourage inflicting scars on others .
to ignore our wounds insinuates we believe we are above those who wounded us. because we are acting as though we ourselves aren't human enough to inflict as we were inflicted.
i have a warehouse of scars. probably a storehouse more of them i don't even know about yet. since being married, i've uncovered baskets full. (why is money so hard for me to talk about? isn't "sex after marriage" supposed to happen flawlessly & freely? when did i start believing that my voice was less valuable than other's?) when motherhood comes, i am sure that more will surface. i have issues with codependency, manipulation, perfectionism, & the list goes on. some are too freshly discovered to elaborate on, to the digital world right now. the thought of re-inflicting some of these wounds to my husband, friends, or future children is so scary that i'm about to begin counseling to deconstruct them and heal from them before the repetition starts.
i'm not scared anymore to admit that i'm kind of really messed up. i really don't think any of us should be scared to admit that. relationships are learned. what we perceive as "healthy" or "normal" or "good" is learned. unless your parents/guardians did it perfectly (which i'd argue is impossible), you have inklings of unhealthy tendencies pervading your perspective of almost every area of your life, including friendship, intimacy, money, work, home, gender roles, so on. you're a little messed up because your parents were a little messed up and it's okay to be a little messed up but you don't want anyone to know you're a little messed up because...what? the reasons differ for each of us. the reality is it's scary to show our shadows, but the truth is you are no less of a human by admitting you have wounds that need to heal. in fact—i think its one of the most humanizing things we can do.
Henri Nouwen writes,
“when we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who,
instead of giving advice,
have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
the friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate
and face with us the reality of our powerlessness...that is a friend who cares.”
as we admit we have cracks & gaps & unmet longings, we create a space for others to do the same. & thus, we become safe places for people to freely be their hurting selves.
as we become our own wound hunters,
we will love better because of it,
& we will allow people to love us better,
because we cultivate a hospitable heart.
"hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.
...the paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness,
not a fearful emptiness,
but a friendly emptiness
where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free;
free to sing their own songs,
speak their own languages,
dance their own dances;
free also to leave and follow their own vocations. Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to adopt the life of the host, but the gift of a chance for the guest to find his own." - Henri Nouwen
so let's begin to take emotional inventory.
let's remember who we were & who we desire to become & grow hospitable hearts in the process.
in the spirit of remembrance, yesterday marked two years ago since kyle proposed to me. below are film images of the day, by jody lynn jackson. our engagament season was a roller coaster. it bandaged many wounds i had, but also birthed many wounds that i'm still walking through.
the proposal itself was a day i'll never forget. the emotions of it all still feel tangible, 730 days later. the excitement i felt when i realized what was happening. the following fear i felt when i thought of telling my mom & dad. the joy of my closest friends there to witness it all. the awaited feeling of being promised for life to the man i love. & now that i'm a year & a half in, i can add to the list the naïve thought that marriage would just be a better version of dating (it's way more complicated, mysterious, wonderful & in general, just not equatable).
the engagement ring he custom designed was placed in a tree branch ring box he built & i saw the possibility of a thousand dreams i'd dreamt in the twinkle of his eyes. the treehouse it all happened in belonged to a random tallahassee family. he knocked on their door one day & asked "can i propose to my girlfriend on your property? i'm looking for a lake to float 'marry me?' in lit candles & yours is just right".
after the "yes", the tears, & the laughter,
we climbed into a canoe,
pushed off the bank
& set sail towards the loveliest, wound-discovering, heart-healing journey i've known yet.