Telling The Story In The Middle: A Study in Wait & Pause – Living In The Waiting

If there is a protocol for blogging or a template for writing blog posts or a committee of oversight for writing, they may tell me this one is coloring outside the lines too much. Well at least the long and winding title. In which I tried to say too much and didn’t opt for the pithy. The brief. The succinct.

And who has time to read through a long title? Today things should be brief and catchy and short and simple is always better, right?

How incredibly ironic and frustrating and so very timely is the spinning chrome ball forcing me to wait as I write a post impatiently on waiting. Pausing.

There would be no reason to write on waiting and patience and finding myself in the middle of much if I didn’t know in my deep down places that it is  a core human struggle.

And in the writing, in the sharing, there is  a collective group sigh or exhale or head nod— I know this place too. Or there could be. If you can make it through this long post. If you feel up to waiting for the end.

And yet in the middle of it all  are such deeply personal and individual lessons from God for me that it feels like a sacred tutorial. He is  sanctifying my heart and soul in a season marked for me. A something I need to really get and embrace and be challenged by. And grown by.

So who tells stories in the messy middle before there is closure and a neat and tidy ending? Who leaves the reader hanging, saying why did you tell me this if you couldn’t also tell me that?

I know only that I write from the heart what I feel lead to share.

And there are things upon which I wait. And it feels like a first world problem, and yet I know He cares to speak to me in all of my living. And He cares deeply about all the details of all of our lives.

As I wait for a return to a call and an email and a text from a woman, I wonder why the delay. The Patient One says I have made her mad. I can’t think how or when or what caused the quiet from her end.

So I will tell you how it ends when I get the return from my call in which I said I need to apologize to you. I don’t know what I have done but please tell me so I can say I am sorry.

I don’t know the ending but I know the peace in the middle. I told her I needed to hear her voice. I hope she calls. I have a measure of peace. I want complete peace. Don’t we all.

I have a child with a desire to be accepted to a specific college. We wait. I pray. We feel like there is a pregnant pause in the air. And God and I are tethered to One another in a way we would not be if a child’s future didn’t hang in the balance. He knows me well. He keeps me hanging. He keeps me waiting. And I know these periods of waiting well.

Of waiting for long cycles of infertlity to end. And being lead to adoption and receiving the gift of  another biological child, a daughter after the blessed adoption of a son. He meets me in my waiting. I should long for periods of waiting with Him. They have marked my life with the beautiful. Building my family through waiting, just the way He intended it to be built.

One of the most precious people in my world, my inner inner world, is going through a painful divorce. And I want it to end. I want the pain to stop for her. I want closure and finality and decision. I long for her suffering to end.

She is in the messy middle and she texts me and calls me and I hurt for her. But God will sustain her through the dark period. I reminded her yesterday to hold on to her Joy and not to lose sight of her “what is good”. She has four beautiful children. She texted me thank you for reminding her not to lose sight of the Joy. I wasn’t sure she heard me through her pain. I should listen to my own advise.

We wait for healing in our church family and  in my small community. For a new day and a rebuilding of our body after division.

I long to receive a letter from my Compassion Sponsored child in Peru. There are, I believe, long delays in correspondences between Peru and me, typically normally. This will be the new normal through the years of corresponding with her. But much more importantly, she must be waiting on me. I am overdue a letter to her. It saddens me to think I have left her waiting. I have caused her to wonder where the letter is from me.

And I wonder if God is waiting on me too. I want to be obedient in my living and in my writing. I wonder if I haven’t heard Him clearly. What does He intend for me to do and when with this writing. I am working with a friend on a poetry project, Adagio. And we wait to discuss the next season for this our fledgling poetry project. We wait a little.

My daughter wants her room redecorated. Its in process, unfinished. A stark reminder of the physicality of waiting. I walk in to make the bed and its a work in progress. And that is it. That is really a large part of it.

We are in process, we are a study in waiting, we are unfinished business and unfinished creatures and souls daily. God is refining us. And working things out through us and in us.

I lean into the understanding of this and seek to know it all better. We are unfinished until we are perfected by Him. And the right here is full of things to embrace, to learn, to hold to, to study, to enjoy, to celebrate.

On my porch sits a Christmas tree, our second tree. I received a gift which I want to unwrap and use, a box of ornaments from my parents. But there were so many they needed their own tree. And a wide eyed teenage daughter said I really want to decorate the porch.

The tree is lopsided and propped up. I can’t figure out how to “install” the tree in the newfangled tree stand. It is a mess of beautiful. A mess of white lights waiting to go up on the horizontal tree. Maybe the tree could lay on the ground and I could color outside the lines. Hang the ornaments from a laying in wait tree. Maybe that would symbolize the waiting.

We wait for Christmas Day.

But  isn’t so much of the joy in the days leading up to the day.

Fining joy in the right here right in the messy middle.

The tree on the porch and I have a lot in common. We wait.

I want to be beautiful in the waiting. And learn from the pauses.

Wait with me, pray with me, learn with me.

It would make the waiting even richer. To wait with one another, in community. As we work through and work out the days of our waiting.

The chrome colored ball has gone for the moment. But I know it will pop back up and make me pause. I hope I rest and pray and find peace in the pauses.

And the disposal is broken and the sink is clogged up and I am waiting on the electrician. Maybe I can spread some Christmas cheer while he is here.  While I am waiting for him to fix my brokeness.

Amen? Amen.

Joining Ann, Emily,Emily at Chatting At The Sky, and Jennifer

imperfectprose

walkwithhimwednesdays2-1GBGI-Button-01d-1

Advertisements

Chains – Shake, Rattle and Roll

Today I am joining Amber and a few others for a series on an abstraction on concrete words. Today is Day 23 in the Series. Cut yourself loose and go here to read the collective.. Today’s word is Chains.

The words line up like hungry children at Baskin Robbins taking a number and waiting their turn to indulge themselves. They hear there is a series here on words and they are ravenous mongrels eager to have their day.

They cry out in the night and creep in the dreams and state their case of why they are worthy for the time to shine, their day in the sun, their fifteen minutes.

I tell them there is no glory that’s not His and there is no fifteen minutes of fame and if anything its fifteen seconds.

But they shake rattle and roll around in my head and bring their resumes, these words all seem worthy. How do you pick. What’s a mother to do. We don’t play favorites or at least we always try to be even-steven around here.

But I am drawn like a bee on honey over here to this abstraction on chains and I drag my words with me. They aren’t heavy they are just full. They are ripe and ready to burst with their telling.

So I link them up like construction cut-outs glued with Elmer’s on the Christmas Tree in 1969. They are a chain but fragile. Made to lay on the branch, this tree, of life. And not weigh down.

There was a mighty trifecta brewing around like a meteorological nightmare on a Southern summer, hot, humid, and muggy. So they link-up, make a chain. Mercy, Forbearance and Long-suffering, with an extra link of patience.

They rumble around in the brain for days beating to get out and speak their mind. So I release them and let them breathe a bit on the white pages, release them out to have their day in court.

They are game-changers and mood-changers and life-changers. And they are worthy of being lifted up and they need more than a day they need a life-time.

The chains of picking up every single solitary offense is enough to wear a girl down. Learning to let them lie is freedom. The kind that you set off fire-works over. The kind that you stand outside the prison door and greet the captive set free from all those years in a dark cell. In when she could have been free. Languishing in the dark, when she could have been living in the light.

Mercifully released, finally, things are set right. The sunlight is bright, blindingly so.

She breathes deep the fresh air of freedom.

Mercifully mercy finds a place to settle in and settle down, patience works hard at being herself and brings peace and calm with her. And letting things roll off the back when things rolls off a tongue is delightfully different from picking up the offense and picking a fight.

Choosing to release the offense, not taking it up, letting it die on the vine. Letting it go.

Looking the other way, turning the other cheek, breaks chains that bind. And cuts the heavy metal links with the soft shears of His ways.

Chains get rusty when they get old, and clanking sounds grate on a life. Sometimes it doesn’t take a metal cutter to break them, but the soft and gentle trio of Trinity to bust it open and break it loose.

And isn’t it the truth that the more links you add to the chain, the stronger it becomes. You add Mercy linked with Forbearance and Long-suffering and your spirit and your soul gain strength in the beautiful chain of Patience.

Grace is the grease that oils the links and keeps them nimbly ebbing and flowing, bobbing and weaving. You can make a chain of the Good and the Gracious. And the chains keep the wheels rolling on the bike as you peddle down the Grace trail.

Dropping your chains of clover rather than wobbly chains of wrongs done, offenses picked up, hurts accumulated, accumulating dust and rust.

We’re just too busy being bound up in the chains that bind and bruise, hold us back and wrap us up in self and selfish.

They were right, this trio, to demand their day, to link hands and come play on the pages of this series. To bring their light and cheerful spirit with them.

Too long their counterparts have tried to rule greedy, hold emotions and circumstances up, hold us hostage, rule with the iron hand and lay claim to each transgression, offense, small and large. To feel the wound of every word and deed that delt the blow, broke the heart, intentional or not.

Pride and self-righteous indignation, the rule of the day. Elbowing their way into their place of power and authority. Staking a claim while staking the chain to the ground. Burying the life on a short chain of void and empty.

I click the leash and walk the dog, tethered briefly for a moment outside in the air. I can breathe. Ocean rumbles mighty in the dark morning air. I can breathe. I hear the roar and know the power of salt, the strength of water. It reminds me the soul can be refreshed, the chains can be broken, and the life does feel less heavy when we breathe deep the freedom.

I can pick up the promises of His, a chain of linked words and chapters, verses, the beautiful bound Book. Chain it to my heart. Chain it to my soul.

And I hear Aretha singing to my spirit, Chain of Fools, a tribute, an anthem to the old way of living.

And Amazing Grace drops down in the jukebox of my heart and I sing along to a new anthem of my life, a song of Unchained Melody. The sound of freedom.

The words do a victory march across the page, linking hands, making a chain of friendship.

Mercy, Forbearance and Patience.

A new chain, tying  me soft and loose to Freedom.

And angels of Mercy and her friends guard my heart, stand at the door to my soul, keeping watch, breaking the chains before they bind again.

Amens and amens and amens.

Grateful to be joining these wonderful writers today too at their place: Jen, Heather,and Eileen. And to Jennifer,Joy,  Ann and Emily

The Old and the Worn

Banged up, worn down, worn out, broken, tarnished, ripped, faded, and graying.

Those things which bear the beauty marks of time. They grow better with age. They tell beautiful stories of their days. Speak to weathered storms, dust ups of life and bumps in the rocky road.

We are an impetuous people, seeking the shiny and new. Chopping down the old.

That amazing gardner in Luke 13:6-9. “The Gardner said, ‘Let’s give it another year. I’ll dig around it and fertilize….'” referring to the fig tree which wasn’t bearing fruit.

What amazing grace we are given.

What amazing love and care and patience are poured out on us.

“Hallelujah! Thank GOD! And why? Because he’s good, because his love lasts.” –Psalm 106

Am I offering that same forgiveness given me. Or am I chopping others down?

LOVE NEVER GIVES UP – 1 Corinthians 13:4