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?
It’s Five Minute Friday and the word prompt is “together” but what came out spun off in it’s own directions. I don’t know how to explain this except to say when I saw the prompt I immediately thought about how lately I’ve been thinking about starting a “small group” through my church. The only thing is, the more I think about it, the more confined I feel by that definition — that a small group needs be organized under the umbrella of a church. I didn’t used to function that way. Maybe that was because I had the luxury of overlap between the people who were in the small group, people who were my friends, and people with whom I attended church.
Things now don’t have the same overlap.
Enough with the preamble. I’ll be interested in your reactions, so please feel free to chime in in the comments. As always, I am very grateful that you’ve taken time out from your day to read my scattered thoughts.
I don’t know when I became so rigid.
Maybe it was bit by bit,
as frost settling onto the top of water
into a crust of ice
into a brittle sheet
into a thickness you drive a car across and need an auger to drill through.
Definitions matter, but not if you use the wrong ones.
A place that preaches a doctrine of small groups in the midst of being a swarm,
very little is intimate about the great multiple-gather,
multiple satellite venue,
People punch tickets, hand out gold stars for attendance but gloss over how hard it is
to force foot in front of foot as that doorway approaches.
Inside you see the round table (why a round table – you can’t hear the person across from you, you’re stuck with two options of conversation and one of them is inevitably busy talking to the person on the far side of them), purses already stake out territorial plastic claims
And no one stops their sentence to greet you.
No one looks up,
No one seems to realize you’re even there.