Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Toddler in Me.

Anne Lamott says, "Sometimes I act just as juvenile as I ever did, but as I get older, I do it for shorter periods of time. I find my way back to the path sooner."

Last night I felt very intensely inside of me the presence of my toddler self. Four-year-old Lisa, upset for no good reason, crossed her arms, glowered and threatened to throw a full-fledged tantrum. I felt the will of that stubborn child pressing on me, wanting so badly to make scene. A truly toddler-worthy scene in which I arch my back and make ugly screaming sounds before bursting into tears. I could feel it welling up inside of me. Emphasis on the feel. Oh goodness.

I used to say, "That bothers me!" in a voice that makes parents cringe. I remember feeling so uncomfortable in my own skin. And not in that metaphorical, insecure way, but in a very physical, trapped sort of way. That sensation still jumps on me out of the blue on troublesome days. And I have to swallow a few times and remember to breathe.

So, last night. :) Toddler Lisa woke up and she was angry. I sat in the blue armchair in my front room, forcing down that rising tantrum feeling. Thankfully, as I wavered on the edge of scene-making, grown-up Lisa appeared and said that it was time for bed. Let me tell you, the toddler was not happy about it. But I think I've grown stronger as I've grown older, or at least learned how to better manage my stubborn strength. Grown-up Lisa's quiet logic that things would look better in the morning won out over Toddler Lisa's fussing and so to bed I went.

And in the morning? Things looked better.

Friday, January 15, 2010

When Winter threatens to drown me I look to The Lion King to throw me a life ring.

"I know that the night will end and that the sun will rise.
I know that the clouds will clear and that the sun will shine."

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Oh Women. Who doesn't love them? Men love women, women love women, children love women. I wrote that as if children are neither men nor women, but I didn't mean it that way.

Who can explain the bond that women have? We seem to have a collective understanding of our bodies, our hearts and our minds. Notwithstanding personal differences, there is a womanly sameness that we can all reach out and touch in another female.

I'm filled more and more every day with the realization and the weight of how important women are in my life. And, as always, not just any women, but my specific women. My women and I have been growing so much lately. And hurting so much. And drinking so much. And laughing so much. When I say that "we are there for each other," I mean that we are consistently and concretely in one another's lives; we are fully present in the places where we sit together, listening, speaking, understanding.

I have been so divinely blessed by the women in my life. One brings me chocolate and cheese and cries as she says that she too understands heartbreak. One remembers London. Another understands my search for poetry in life. One reminds me to "own it." Some drink coffee. Some drink beer. Others love the wine. We are all quiet. We are all loud. We are all settling into our genuine selves for better or worse. We all ache and struggle and find joy. Each one needs me. Isn't that lovely? To need each other in the middle of all this crazy, this gray, this rain, this time of transition and anxiety and love.

To each of my women: I love you. I need you. I can't begin to express how lucky I feel to have you close to my heart.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dear Lisa,

That is how my letter to my 33-year-old self will begin. Part of me feels that it is super cheesy to write to your future self, but it's not. There are some things that I really want that Lisa to remember. Things like how scary my life is right now. Everything is being held together with bits of string and spit. I feel like I'm waiting for it all to dissolve in my hands and escape through the net of my fingers.

There are other things I'm going to write about too. Things like how firmly I'm fixing my eyes on Jesus and trying to trust that He wants to take care of me. Life is changing, He is not. I may feel that there is nothing to hold onto, but His Spirit within me has been working to teach me that there is Truth and Goodness and Hope and that I too can be a part of these things.

There is Joy in All.

Dear Lisa, (I might say) I am having a hard time right now. But God is Good and Faithful. And sometimes you need to capitalize the important things. Dear Lisa, I hope that you are more financially stable and are with someone who loves you. I hope that you are engaged in work that delights and fulfills you. But if you are not, and if your spirit is heavy and your heart is aching, know that there is still Hope and still Purpose and still Life to live. "For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He also shows compassion because of the greatness of His unfailing love."

There is Joy in All.

Love, Lisa