a couple weeks ago, my kiddos were at awana, ben was working late and i was home alone. no one to talk to and too much rattling around in my head. the clouds from the day had broken apart - the sun was shining unfettered. so, i headed out for a walk. i walked briskly, with determination, and let thoughts work their way through my brain. i prayed. i talked to myself. i pulled my phone out of my pocket and took these pictures.
yes. these. these are the kind of pictures that i take. rainbows in sun-rays. green moss. hints of bokeh. these. these pictures are me. a bit of me. what i see. there is light. and movement. and space. trees and air and magic.
these pictures aren't closed in and dark and lit only with an electric lightbulb.
and i was thinking and am still thinking about who am i, really. and what kind of person i want to be. and when can/should i say the things that i feel, that i need to say for myself and for my family and when should i be silent to keep the peace (with people outside the four of us) and how much to just keep to myself about our life, about our struggles - sometimes i feel like the struggles never end. and i'm tired of thinking about them. tired of writing about them. and i think i shouldn't talk about them, shouldn't write about them. but is keeping the peace, is not putting our sturggles out there worth it if elizabeth is just slowly, quietly fading away, becoming dark and flat.
these past years have been hard. i don't want to dwell in the past, and we are making changes. moving in a new direction. making new choices. working hard and enjoying each other. but, there are things that i need to process - there are ways of being that i have adopted out of necessity, but that aren't really who i am. and i need to really look at myself, look at my thought processes, pray through this, talk this over with ben, read some more scripture, and make some choices about what ways of being i want to practice now.
i want to be the girl who takes these light-filled pictures and loves her family fiercely and is filled with conviction and stands firm on those convictions and speaks truth even if it is hard to hear and is kind and gives random gifts and says i love you and you are wonderful. the girl who stands up for the ones she loves and moves on and away from those who would belittle or hurt the ones she loves. the girl who loves light and air and magic and shape and movement. the girl who listens to music almost too loud and lets herself be carried away, washed over by the emotion. that girl is still inside me somewhere.
i don't want to compress and hold back and be on the verge of tears threatening to spill because something has to spill. i don't want to compress and hold back. but i want to be wise. to be intentional. i want to be calm and content and gentle while being firm and fierce and steadfast.
i have treasure in this jar of clay that is me, in the fragile life that is mine. i don't want to save the good stuff for the right day. today is the only day that i'm sure that i have. i need to do the good stuff, say the good stuff, enjoy the good stuff, share the good stuff, find the good stuff - today. i need to do things my way - i don't do things like everybody else - i am a human sparkler (my mom gave me a birthday card that said you are a human sparkler, you are one year. i love that.) - a bit of fire and glitter, a bit of flint and steel, some gun-powder thrown in for good measure. i don't belong mired down and dulled. none of us do. i belong somewhere light and free. we all do.
and i have to say, the more we pare down, the more ben and i decide what is really important to us, what lets us be ourselves, what will allow us to live, the more things we let go of, the more ideas of what life should look like (says who, anyway) we rearrange and fit to us, the more free i feel. the other day felt heavy and dark. but even through that day, there were glimmers of light. there are people who are kind. i have ben and my kiddos and the dear people in our lives - no one can take these sweet relationships from me. the intangible that is so tangible to me every day.
when i share the hard things, it's for a few reasons. i need to not feel alone. i need to know that my dear ones are praying and caring. i pray for all of you. i also share, because i want, i need to document, to tell that through the hardest, darkest times, i still have hope, i still have such great blessings. and my hope is not unfounded. my hope is affirmed - with sunlight and brownies and the perfect passage of scripture being just where i open to read and kind notes and love and hugs and a cozy home filled with the things we truly love and, and, and . . . more goodness than i can count.
and here i am, sitting by ben, counting my blessings, listening to music - not quite too loud . . . lyrics resonating with me . . . (even if i did change two words in my mind) . . .
i need to know how to live my life as it's meant to be
and i will hold on hope
and you won't let me choke
on the noose around my neck
and i'll find strength in pain
and i will change my ways
i'll know my name as it's called again