It has been so fun to connect through Lisa-jo Baker’s linkup, Five Minute Friday. The attempt is to quiet our inner critic and allow ourselves to write for the fun of it. Five minutes, no editing, no censoring, just do it. It’s open to anyone, and you can find other posts and details at Lisa-jo’s blog, http://lisa-jobaker.com Here’s my contribution this week.
Three, two, one, go.
A Visit to My Youth
The snow begins falling as we pull into town. The limestone cliffs along the western edge of the road, the river on our right, these indicate our entrance into a portal back in time, back to my youth.
This is a time before marriage, before children and before the surety of routine and day to day, a time before we thought we knew it all. We didn’t know what we didn’t know…and so we asked stupid questions that, looking back, were the wrong questions but they were all we had at the time. Details about a tree falling in the woods and who would hear it, an appreciation for our hands we couldn’t articulate and it came out tinny and small in our ears.
I visit my youth and I laugh too loudly with little care for disturbing, free abandon leaking all over the room and exuberance splashing onto the people around me. You are the best, you are the funniest, you are the wittiest, most interesting person I’ve ever met and I only have attention for you…until someone else draws me into their conversation and then it begins afresh.
Here children have no trouble in math, they have no bad dreams at night, they don’t ask questions I can’t answer.
Here husbands don’t need their needs accounted for, their relationship attended to, their vibes unpacked.
There is only freedom, warmth, expansive inclusion to the whole restaurant, and this witching hour only lasts until the stroke of midnight. Then my nearly 40-year-old head is on the pillow, my visit over and I return to reality.
There you have it. A hacky five minute post, but it is something rather than nothing. Do you have locations or people that launch you back in time? Situations when you find yourself acting as a younger version of yourself? Tell us about it in the comments below, we’d love to hear about YOU.
Someone close to me brought me a meal.
I hadn’t had a baby, broken a leg or been in a car accident.
But she brought me a meal.
So did another friend, and she was the one who had just delivered. I was supposed to bring her a meal.
Words sent to someone else and passed on to me — kind, affirming, validating.
These things breathed air into my floppy balloon, the one that was in danger of settling on the floor, a puckered, withered, sandy shadow of the party favor it had once been. Their words, their phone calls, their messages, buoyed me up and let me float in a more proper balloon-y place.
Maybe I’m not floating on an airstream across the world with a special note hanging from my string, but
I’m more in that middle air of the hallway, at the level that makes you think there’s a person walking towards you,
the kind that makes you jump and if someone’s watching they laugh to see your surprise. That moment that gives freedom from worry and concern, hope that there will be laughter again.
The encouragement of friends who hold you up when it is hard to get off the floor — this is a precious thing indeed.
Join a great group of people for Five Minute Friday to write without editing for the sheer joy of it. Find out more at http://lisa-jobaker.com.
Are you facing challenges or a hard time? This is a safe place to share about it. I genuinely hope you have people in your life who can help breath air into your life. Maybe in the comments we should name names. Who is an encourager in your life?
Today’s prompt is REFLECT.
I thought you’d be around more often once you moved to the same area, but you arranged things so you’d be gone for months at a time.
You continued on with your own life, your own dreams, and I was left behind.
When you returned I was conflicted: excited to see you but resentful that you’d receive such a reception after choosing to leave in the first place.
I constructed a moat in my mind, a separation between us so I could hold you loosely, not care if you were nearby, not rely on you since I felt you’d become unreliable, despite your ideals or desires. I didn’t understand your need to do it, your need to pursue an independent life of adventure away from the rest of us. You tried to explain it was something you had to do for your own health. I didn’t understand that, probably can’t understand until I’m in the same position and life station.
Then when you wanted a voice, wanted a say in the plans we’d make, I resented it, felt you had abdicated that right by being far away.
I was petty.
I was small.
I was cowardly, holding my thoughts and feelings inside. I lacked the bravery required to have the hard conversations. Leaving things unsaid was my attempt to allow the sediment to settle back into place, let the murky water clear so I could see the relationship for its beauty instead of the small irritants or unintentional, momentary offenses. In the midst of trying to let things roll off my back, I collected some of them along my spine and they became a residue
that tainted my internal attitude.
Those things were petty and unimportant. I was wrong, even if you didn’t know I was being wrong.
(Photo credit: dotpitch)
Today I’m linking up with Lisa-jo Baker and the crew who join her to do Five Minute Friday. She gives a word prompt and people write for five minutes. No second guessing, no censoring, just writing for the fun of writing. Silence your inner critic and write. It is open to anyone who is interested, but there won’t be any more link-ups until January.
When something is bothering you, do you keep it to yourself or talk it out? How do you handle it when you’ve been wrong? In what relationships do you find it most difficult to admit fault…and why?
Today’s post is my typical attempt to participate in Five Minute Friday, a link up through Lisa-jo Baker. It is open to anyone,.She is a beautiful writer, and she’s creating a group of friends through the connections made on her site. Check it out at http://lisa-jobaker.com or search the hashtag #FiveMinuteFridays on Twitter.
There were two arborvitae, one on either side of the wide front steps that led to the front porch.
They barely touched the ceiling of the porch when we moved in.
When we moved away they were framed in the view from the upstairs windows.
The only thing that had grown more were my children.
Some days the minutes go by so slowly you check the clock, convinced it’s been at least a half hour only to discover it’s been two. Two long minutes playing blocks with someone who only wants to knock over your building,
Someone who only wants to undo the work you’ve done, eat one more snack, mess one more diaper.
And when you don’t notice it, when you’re not looking, the trees grow tall and strong. Your children develop friends, hobbies and interests, and calendars are needed to keep track of assignments and schedules.
Is it possible to note the growth of the trees without getting lost in the incremental close up?
It is good to take a wide shot every once in a while and note the way the child’s pants are too short or how far up their heads come when you hug them.
Then get back to cleaning up messes and driving kids here and there. While you’re at it, make more sandwiches, ’cause Lord knows they’re going to eat ’em.
Are you in a slow-growth period or is time zooming by for you? How do you make sure you’re paying attention in the every day so that years don’t go speeding by unrecognized?
(If you have a second and would consider liking my Facebook page, that would be above and beyond lovely. http://www.facebook.com/TCLarsonWrites or just click the Facebook doohickey on the sidebar. )
Today’s post is a lazy (or pragmatic) woman’s attempt to kill two birds with one stone. Lisa-jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday has become part of the rhythm around here, and I’ve enjoyed the community involved there. This month I’m also participating in an online book club organized by Abi Bechtel. We’re reading Telling God’s Story by Peter Enns. Therefore, today’s post is based on the word prompt “Truth” and the first thing that came to mind was informed by book club, so I’m hybridizing the two.
Set the timer to five minutes.
Two nights ago my son asked me about heaven.
He asked if it was really gold.
He said he used to feel scared of it, but now he feels better because he read in a kids booklet that there’s no crying or sickness there. This was a relief.
Then he did it. He asked what happens to the people who don’t have Jesus in their heart when they die. Do they go to heaven?
I want to be truthful, but I want to give him security. How can I do both when I feel like there is such a broad cannon of interpretation within Christendom? How can I tell him the questions in my own heart about the strict interpretation I was trained to accept? How do I tell him what is true?
The words of a former professor, Greg Boyd, popped into my head. I studied with him while at Bethel for more than one class, but his World Religions class was the scene of this truth bomb. I have come back to it again and again.
He said something similar to this, but this is not an exact quote…
Imagine you are a beggar with a loaf of bread. Another beggar comes to you holding a loaf of bread. It is moldy and dry. The beggar is breaking off bits and eating them. You say to him, “That bread may make you sick. It may not. But I can tell you for sure that the bread I have is good. It is life giving and you will not get sick from it.” And you share your bread with the man.
It goes along with the concept of there being a wideness in God’s mercy, which I love.
So what did I tell my son?
I told him that many many people who love the Lord have studied the Bible for years and years. These people have come up with different ideas about what it says. I gave him a couple short examples of what I meant.
I told him it is up to God to decide about who hangs out in heaven with Him, and He wants everyone, but that the simplest, most straightforward, reading exactly what the Bible says, is by asking Jesus into your heart…which he’s already done.
It’s not a fantastic answer.
Is it true?
Yes, sort of.
See what I mean?
Sorry if this was hard to follow today. It was hard to corral my thoughts into a linear, succinct form.
May I ask how you interpret some of the hard, fast rules of entrance into the pearly gates? If you are a person of faith, how has your understanding changed from when you were a child? How do you handle the Big Questions of faith with your kids?
How could I NOT do Five Minute Friday with a word prompt of “laundry”? I have deep and abiding opinions about laundry, about the amount of laundry, the merits of wrinkle-free materials and the smelly allergy-triggers of strongly scented detergent.
When I saw the prompt, I knew I’d be doing Five Minute Friday this week. In case you’re not familiar with it, Five Minute Friday is a fun linkup with Lisa-jo Baker. She puts up a word prompt each week and the instructions are to just go for it. Don’t edit. Don’t get locked up. Don’t over-think it, just have fun and write whatever comes to mind in five minutes. Then linkup your post with others on her site: http://lisajobaker.com It is open to anyone who wants to participate. Maybe you want to try it out?
“A little lifting up of the heart suffices; a little remembrance of God, an interior act of adoration, even though made on the march and with sword in hand, are prayers which, short though they may be, are nevertheless very pleasing to God, and far from making a soldier lose his courage on the most dangerous occasions, bolster it. Let him then think of God as much as possible so that he will gradually become accustomed to this little but holy exercise; no one will notice it and nothing is easier than to repeat often during the day these little acts of interior adoration.”
For many years now, laundry has been a frequent chore, a nearly every day occurance.
I don’t love laundry.
But I now longer hate it.
Many years ago I tried to shift my attitude about laundry.
My husband needed clean socks, and had none because I hadn’t done the laundry.
“Wash your own darn socks,” I thought.
We had already established a sharing of household chores and laundry fell to me. It wasn’t that he was incapable or unwilling to wash his own socks. We had agreed that I would do it.
In that period, I came to realize how nice it was for him to go to his drawer as he prepared for his day, and find clean socks.
A little thing, really.
But the reason behind the socks changed,
because I changed.
I started viewing the laundry as an unspoken act of love.
I washed the socks, dried, folded and put away the socks because I love my husband.
Socks are my little love note left in his drawer every day.
The change came when I started to think of every little thing I did as being significant and tried “doing it all as unto the Lord” like the Bible suggests. Brother Lawrence also helped. Maybe worshipping God isn’t as hard as we try to make it.
“He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.”
― Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome — I think that by sharing, we can help each other along in our journeys. How can you be aware of God’s presence as you go about the seemingly mundane things on your to-do list today? Is being aware of God’s presence something that comes naturally to you or does it take work? I hope you have an extra awareness of Him walking alongside you as you go about your day.