Pax

I usually have a title before I start blogging, but I cannot come up with anything tonight. All I can think of is “pax,” and somehow, that seems lame.

Life has been full of melons of late (and now you see why dyslexia is so much fun: You can write a sentence thinking it makes perfect sense, only to read it a few moments later and realize that nobody else {except maybe your dyslexic elder sister} understood that you meant lemons, not melons). Oh, it is not bad–certainly not! I love my life. I love my job (yes, even when I am frustrated). I love my friends (and I love that God has surrounded me with friends new and old). I love my family (y’all are insane, and I’m so glad I belong with you). I love my cats (even as I lay here in bed, trying to contort my body around them because they refuse to move). I love my lips (USTA!). I love my piano (and I swear if I hear once more how out of tune my Shelton is, I’m gonna go ape on someone). I love my guitar (my secret confidant these past ten years).

But folks…life is hard. I am exhausted. And I would be lying to you if I said I am okay. I’m not. I will be, but I’m not. June is always a struggle of a month for me, and this year, it seems, my sorrows spilled right on over the edge into July. So between struggles and grief, tensions and misunderstandings, stress and overextension at work…suddenly I am dealing with awful dreams.

Again.

It’s been ages since I’ve had these terrible, graphic, violent dreams, and I have to tell you, I did not miss them. Not one bit. Two nights ago, a girl in my dream was beheaded. It was absolutely horrific. It was absolutely vivid. I won’t say more, except that it left a heavy impression on my mind and my senses.

The real horror of it is not even that I would have such a dream; rather, it is the gentle word of God’s Spirit speaking to me when I wake, reminding me that what I saw in my dream, other people around the world have seen with their waking eyes. If we are ignorant of the violence that still exists in this life, we are fools to be sure.

Still, I cannot deny that these dreams unnerve me. They leave me feeling spiritually and emotionally vulnerable somehow. And do they effect my sleep habits? My work? My relationships? Absolutely.

And to all of this, an Auntie’s heart was broken into a thousand thousand pieces this week, as my brother and his wife miscarried my newest niece (they weren’t far enough along to confirm that it was a girl, but in my dream–it was a girl, so in my heart, she will always be my niece). Many of you have heard me say it before: There is nothing in this life I love more than being an Auntie. And to know that my brother and his family are grieving so far away from me…that I can’t hug them and cry with them and cuddle JB until she is all cuddled out…it is heartbreak upon heartbreak.

Maybe it was an adequate title after all.

Pax.

Goodnight, friends.

Connecting the Darkness

After a long day of a long week, following a long month of this long journey I’ve been on in 2014, I found myself stumbling in the door way past my bedtime tonight. It feels almost sinful to lay here in bed, typing a blog post on my cell phone, knowing I don’t have to crawl out of bed at 4:45 tomorrow (as is my typical Friday routine). But I will tell you–this late night could not have come at a more appropriate moment.

I forget that I love the silence and darkness of the late–or early–hours. I forget how blessed that rest of spirit is when the world around me settles and I can let down my guard long enough to think and speak and pray.

So that’s what I did tonight. I came home, put the groceries away as quietly as I could (it’s amazing to me that Arianna and Gabey-Baby didn’t wake up), stepped into my warm slippers, and settled myself on one of the deck chairs for a few moments.

The sky is perfect tonight. The stars are crisp and clear, like a first snowfall that is too mesmerizing to bother the world with its chill. The Milky Way is spilling over the edges of the sky, inviting mystery and wonder. And I, an insignificant little speck on the Creation radar, find myself as captivated with the night sky as ever.

In June, I went to a show at the Shiras Planetarium. Worth the mention: if you haven’t gone out to support your local planetarium recently, please do it. As I gazed upon my favorite constellation (Cassiopeia), I remembered something that I heard at the show that astounded me–that some cultures don’t tell stories by connecting the stars; rather, they connect the dark spaces in between the stars.

So there I sat, contemplating the dark spaces in between the Cassiopeian stars, and it suddenly made sense in terms of my faith.

How often do we hide our struggles, our past, the “dark” parts of our lives? We believe, of course, that God works “all things” together for our good, but we don’t ever mean to imply that God works our addictions, our insecurities, our bad habits, our sin together for our good. And yet…He does. We look for bright points of light that seem to go together; We forget that He connects the darknesses, too.

So let me encourage you (and myself). If you know someone who is struggling with sorrow or depression or discouragement or any kind of “darkness,” spread the word: God connects the darkness.

Laughter

Being with people who make me laugh, who laugh at me, who laugh with me…

It is such good therapy, folks.

Left to my own tendencies, I take life much too seriously. I look for hidden things–always searching, always questioning, always reasoning and sifting. And listen, if you could see the deep crevices of my heart, where memories and questions of Earl and Hannah and Rodger still grip me, you would spend a lot of time trying to make sense of it, too.

Life isn’t easy. In fact, it can be downright excruciating.

But it can also be warm and full of joy. If it wasn’t, I suppose the other stuff wouldn’t haunt us as it does.

So this is a reminder…to myself as much as anyone else: live, laugh, love.

Live each day to its very fullest, even if that means a mistake now and then.

Laugh from your belly (and if you pee a little, that’s okay–just laugh about it).

Love…because the greatest of these is, after all, love.

Pax,
Sar

Daisies

I don’t remember when we met–
I’ve known Him forever, it seems.
I don’t remember what I said
to capture His gaze on me.
I don’t remember why I needed Him in my life,
but I remember His kiss.

And He
brings me daisies
from the field
where we fell in love.
And I fall in love.

It’s been a million years, it seems
Since I’ve longed for Him this way.
The memories feel sometimes like dreams
That fade with the light of day.
And it’s been so long, still this yearning is strong,
cause I remember His kiss.

And He
brings me daisies
from the field
where we fell in love.
And I fall in love.

And I thought that I had somehow lost His heart, lost His love.
His word an obligation now to me, wrestled free from His vow.

He reached for me with open arms–
That safe and familiar touch.
He whispered softly to my heart
the words that I’ve missed so much.
His delight is in me, and always will be.
So I welcome His kiss.

And He
brings me daisies
from the field
where we fell in love.
And I fall in love.

Daisies

Songwriting & Daisies

What can I tell you?

I have fallen. Hard.

In an awkward conversation about jealousy (I won’t bore you with the details), a friend recently said to me, “I think you should keep writing songs.” How frustrating. How simple. How frustratingly simple.

How comforting!

I’m not sure what changed in my spirit when I read those words, but I felt as if a pile of dynamite was ignited in my soul. Suddenly, everything is alive.

And it is finding its place in my life again, the daily desire to simply pick up my guitar, to sing something–anything, to work on a new picking method, to clean my guitar, to write a song. All of these things are drawing me, day after day.

There is so much unfinished business. I have a binder of unfinished business on my bookshelf. It is disheveled and not worth much, I’m sure–but I find myself determined to go back and piece them together. There are songs there, on the random papers of my past.

And there are songs in the present. There are songs about new friends, old friends, changes in life, hugs…there are songs written, and songs to be written. I can’t get enough of it.

It’s a songwriting feast. I haven’t written like this in years. I thought…I thought it was gone. I thought I had lost “it.” I thought after my enormous life (and faith) blunders that God had taken my love, my passion, my calling (if that’s what you want to call it) and given it to someone more worthy.

The truth is, none of us are worthy. God doesn’t bless us because we are good, or because we deserve it. He blesses us because it is in His nature to do so–because He cherishes us, and He knows how to delight us. His delight is in us, and when we are delighted, I believe it delights Him. Just like a lover, who brings a daisy to his beloved, simply because he knows it will make her smile and exclaim at its beauty. Music is the daisy God gives me.

God is not slow with us. Sometimes we think that we’ve forfeited His blessings, His gifts. I’m not sure if that’s even possible, folks. I don’t know. Perhaps all this time, God has been bringing me daisies, and I’ve been simply too preoccupied to notice (or care). Or maybe He allows me a time without daisies so that I will remember the delight of them, and not simply fall into a routine of saying, “Oh, how lovely.”

What I do know is that He gives us our passions and talents for a reason. And He brings them to life if we will stop avoiding them.

How about you? What are you avoiding?

Pax,
Sar

Therapy

Sometimes the greatest therapy is the simplest thing.

To say that I’ve been emotional lately would be about as understated as the National Deficit. The reasons why are mostly unimportant, but I must confess that music has been a large part of it. I have been missing music, and recent events have pushed me to my breaking point, to my “must play, must sing” point. This is a good thing.

So yesterday, after another difficult and long day at work, I went home, changed out of my work scrubs, kicked off my socks, and the guitar and I strolled out on the grass in my back yard.

I landed, eventually, with my blue jeans rolled up to my knees and the sun warming my skin, on top of the picnic table, singing at the top of my lungs. For two hours, I played all of the “old” songs in my brain, the old Caedmon’s tunes that I haven’t sung in years, some songs of my own that I had forgotten, and a few new songs.

There is no greater therapy, friends. And to those of you in Marquette…I am choosing to believe that I summoned this great thunderstorm this morning by singing “April Showers” in the sunshine yesterday.

Be blessed, folks.