Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings, Uncategorized, washington whimsy

But we are here, together.

I’ve been staring at my blank screen for about an hour.

I’ve written three or four different beginnings and deleted them because I had no clue where they were going.

I’ve pulled out my journal and jotted phrases, I’ve pulled from conversations this week that have shaken me and provided me no answers but just the assurance that I’m still going and I’m still here. I’ve pulled from moments of wanting to punch people from their ability to challenge me to my feet.

I don’t think people read my blog for answers.

I think maybe they read it because I flood their newsfeed with links, others read it because they are kind humans, and other read it because hopefully to see if what I am saying is what they are saying too.

I’ve been taking a lot about (or a lot around) God these days.

God and I are currently in a season of life where our relationship doesn’t work the same as it used too. So, we (me) are trying to figure out what it looks like now. In reality I am choosing to believe it’s because it’s deeper than it ever has been.

When I write I try my best to relate to people where they are. I try to use broad terms and illustrations to remind as best I can that we are all human.

I try to make sure that people who read this, be it people who see me on a daily basis or people that have seen me in months or people that have never met me, know that on a basic level, I am always ok.

The ok may be shaken sometimes but it’s always there.

The season/process/chunk of life I’m in right now is definitely a “shaky ok” kind of season. Mainly in terms of my faith, and my relationship with God and my inability to receive beautiful soul-filling words that are currently being said to me.

All the things in my life that used to work aren’t working anymore.

And so, I write for you from the middle.

I write from the middle so that you know that the middle is ok.

That these stories and processes and lives we are a part of creating are good and beautiful even when they feel ugly and hopeless.

I share my stories and my beliefs or lack thereof to show you that we aren’t that different whether you believe in my God or another God or nothing at all.

I don’t know what the answer is for me right now. I chose not to go to church this morning hoping to find some semblance of a response and was met with silence.

But, I know that silence wasn’t actually silence. It was incredibly loud in actuality.

And I say that for this reason: what may feel like silence isn’t. What may feel like the universe or god or whomever isn’t responding isn’t that. There is something there. I swear.

I don’t think people read my blog for answers because I sure as hell don’t have them.

So, whatever you are going through, whatever seems insurmountable, whatever doesn’t seem right or true or hopeful.

Know that you are the thing that is hope.

You are the thing that can get over the mountain.

And maybe, all you need to know, is that we are here, together.

Honest

In the midst of it all (a PS)

When I started this blog, now a little over four years ago, I made a commitment to myself to write each week. I wanted to put myself in a state of mind that I was going to write regardless of what I was feeling. Regardless of if I had something to write about.

I wanted to practice being a writer.

Most of the time I can.

But not this week.

It’s 10:45 on Sunday night and I had a part lovely/part anxiety filled day and the last thing I wanted to do is write.

But, here I am, cozy in my bed, with my desk lamp on, typing.

When I was little, like tiny human status, I had my tonsils taken out. When I had my tonsils taken out this one in a million type thing occurred where more air escapes out of my nose and throat then should when I speak. So, after this surgery, I had to learn to place my tongue and slow down in order to be understood.

And I got made fun of a lot. So much so, that I didn’t want to talk.

I retreated a lot and I took to writing things down.

Because if I wrote something down there was no question in what I was saying. But, if I spoke and didn’t enunciate correctly or mumbled at all someone would say “what” and I would stop talking.

(So, like obviously I would pick a profession in which no one understands me and I repeat myself all damn day)

I have felt incredibly inarticulate this week. I haven’t wanted to explain all the things (click this for all the things) and all the things have felt bigger then me. Each day this past week was full of lies and looks and situations that caused me to think less of myself and less of what I’m capable of.

This has been a week where I have wanted to be an island.

Now, I don’t write for pity, because good grief the things going on in my life are just not that bad.

I choose to write, even in the midst of it all, because I find myself to be more articulate in my written words. I write in the midst of it, because I am human. And so are you.

I write in the midst of it, because I’ve come to realize that I am a human who knows her vulnerability boundaries and I am choosing to share the 80%.

I write in the midst of it because I know, beyond a shadow of doubt that what I am looking for is already inside of me. I am already the thing whether I am silent or not.

I write in the midst of it, because I’m still here.

So, I am going to stay in the midst of it, and be where my feet are, and find those things inside that are already there.

Being in the middle, with no clue where you are going is difficult. But choosing to keep moving, choosing to speak, to write, to be, is so important.

You aren’t a mess.

You aren’t less than.

You aren’t broken.

You are human.

And you, my friend, are figuring it out.

Honest

in the midst of it all

I will never forget the moment I became a Christian.

Isn’t that a weird statement? I’m sure though, that there are other moments that people will never forget. It could be the moment they fell in love, or the moment they felt at home or the situation that occurred where they physically felt themselves became an adult.

For me, it was July 3rd, 2000 at a youth conference at Purdue University in Indiana.

Since then my whole life has in some way, shape or form, revolved around the church.

Like, fun fact, did you know that I have a not-yet-completed masters in leadership with an emphasis in spirituality? Or that I was a children’s pastor or that I used to regularly write sermon recaps for my church in Orange County? Or that the world race isn’t the only mission trip I’ve done. OR that I went to a Christian leadership academy in the south of Spain.

I’ve gone through ups and downs in my faith, just like any relationship.

There was the season after my friend Joe died that I had no space to pray, talk to God or even be in a church. I was angry, hurt and alone.

Then there was the time after the world race where I for all purpose fell apart and had no clue what I wanted to believe.

And then, there is now.

Yesterday, I wandered around a bookstore, mainly in the religion section. I perused titles and read the first few pages and tried to find something that matched what I was feeling.

I’ve been unsure lately.

So, I’ve been thinking about all the places I have been solely because I’m a Christian.

There is a lot. I have had a lot of experiences and emotions and adventures because of it.

The timeline of the last 18 years of my life would have looked very different had I not walked up to the stage in the midst of hundreds of high schoolers.

And that’s weird.

My faith and my relationship with God is very different then when I was 14. Then, it was based more on feeling. I felt God. More than I think I realized back then. If I would have gone to a church that focused on spiritual gifts and prophecy, I have no doubt that it is something that would have filled my life. There would be moments when I was leading worship that I would feel what I know now as the spirit moving through what I was singing.

But, why I am saying all these things?

Well, I’m at a place with my faith where I feel as if Jesus and I are on a break. Like we are at that friend level where we sit in room and no one says anything and it feels uncomfortable.

Woof.

I ran out of church today because of it.

I ran out and looked at my calendar and contemplated what it would be to take a break from church.

Here’s the thing: I love my church. I love people and the atmosphere and all of it.

I’m just processing what it would be like to take a break for the self-care.

I’ve been a Christian over half my life now. I’ve had seasons of not going to church and seasons where I worked 6 days a week at one. I’ve held babies on five continents and preached in everywhere from a South African township to a maximum security prison in Peru.

I’ve heard dead on from God from people in bars and spoken words to people about themselves that I have no business knowing.

What I want to say is I’m not breaking up with God.

What I want to say is whatever deity you may believe in find no shame in taking a breath and looking at it all.

What I want to say is that you can believe and question all in the same breath.

So, this is just me, writing on a Sunday, on my second mimosa and just figuring out all the things.

Honest

Running from stillness

Other than the Y and random part time jobs that I have had here and there I have always worked at a church or for a Christian organization.

I’ve almost always been on a church property 40+ hrs a week.

From 2007-2012 I worked at a preschool and for some of the time also worked at the church.

(Basically, I lived there.)

But, in that I found myself among families and people that I could talk to and process with and be around.

Around 2010 the Wayman family came to the church.

And it was lovely.

Not only did I get to see their kiddos grow but I got to lean on and reach out and be mentored by Eric and Cathy.

They are two humans that I am so grateful for. I know that I was in the exact place I was supposed to be when they came to Lighthouse. They are two humans who walked me through some of the hardest, ugliest times of my life up to that date.

They’ve always welcomed me back with open arms, even when I wasn’t sure of up and down.

I mention them because I randomly decided to listen to one of Eric’s most recent sermons.

It was about solitude and noise in our lives and essentially how we are surrounded by it. Now, this isn’t new.

We all know this. We know that there is an immense amount of noise in our life. We are engulfed by it. (As I write this I am listening to music and texting two different people).

My mind is full of to do lists and assessments and assignments and 18 different tiny humans (probably more if I’m being honest). I’m thinking about what I can do to show my friends I care. I am trying to be present in people’s lives and present 40 hours a week in my classroom.

I’m trying to make space to be creative and to write and make good choices for my body.

So, today when I decided to sit and listen to Eric speak, I thought of sitting on the couches at Eric and Cathy’s house and I realized I would probably just sit down and burst into tears. It’s one of those few places that I would sit and stop.

Now, I have been stopping here and there. I’ve been learning more and more to saying no and staying in and eating apples.

But…sitting WITH God?

Not as much.

I’m slightly terrified of the quiet right now. Mainly, because quieting all the things would take a lot of work.

Opening my Bible stirs something in me. Praying is a little too close for comfort.

I wrote something for an online magazine a couple years ago. And I know I’ve quoted this exact section before but it resonates once again.

“Everything in me wanted to run.

I couldn’t handle Jesus any more.

He was being silent.

But it was a weird silence.

It was almost like Jesus was playing the part of the man in a horror movie, who just after the power goes out, calls your house phone, so you can hear him breathe and then when the police track the phone call you find that it is coming from inside the house.

Jesus was still in the house, I apparently just needed to go find him.”

Jesus is still in the house. He still lives here. My relationship has morphed and changed even since I wrote this piece. My life is ever evolving. My beliefs and truths are morphing and become more refined.

But, sitting in stillness still terrifies me. It isn’t something I’ve ever done super well.

So, I go back in my thoughts to sitting with Cathy on their couch or walking into Eric’s office on my lunch. My life wasn’t all roses and sunshine then. I was going through depression and sickness in my family. And whenever I stopped with them, I would almost always cry.

And that’s ok. But, I sat. And I stopped.

There are so many things I’m wanting to say right now.

I think what I want you to know that if the silence and the quiet scares you; you aren’t alone.

If sitting with whomever your deity is terrifies you because of the intimacy of it; that’s ok.

If stopping will make you burst into tears-let me pass you the Kleenex.

And if you have something in your mind that is changing, then explore.

Today, I disposed of the shame of feeling far from God. The shame of not being able to hear Him.

Today, I disposed of the shame of running. I didn’t stop running-I just stopped feeling shame.

Today, I disposed of the shame of a changed mind.

Deep breathes to the toes friends. We’ve got this.

Honest

name your shields

Over the last week I’ve had to mark off “single” on forms and applications and surveys.

And each time I’ve cringed.

Today, sitting in church, about to do communion, I was waiting to hear a phrase I’ve grown to loathe “grab one other person”.

(99% of my friends are attached to one other person).

I am pretty great on my own. I’ve written about being single. I can sit at bars and restaurants by myself. I can travel by myself. I can make my own decisions. I got this.

But, if I’m being honest; being single isn’t a flag I wave.

I wear my singleness as a shield.

I wear my singleness as a shield because if I’m being honest- I’m terrified.

(My head is full of disclaimers right now and I’m choosing not to write them)

I wear my singleness as a shield because it’s easier then having to admit that I still have stuff to deal with in regards to the opposite sex.

I wear my singleness as a shield because I know I’m enough for myself.

I wear my singleness as a shield because it’s less heartbreaking than feeling left out.

I wear my singleness as shield because I’d rather a shield than shame.

I wear my singleness as a shield because it’s easier to use it then have it use me.

The thing about it though is this: I am not the only one.

And it’s not just being single. It’s whatever box you have to tick, identifier that others place on you, comfort blanket you throw on your lap to protect you from what’s happening around you.

While those statements were hard to write, I know, without a shadow of a doubt that I’m not the only one.

I am not the only one who uses something that isn’t a bad thing as a protection.

Hell, there are times in my life that I use my Christianity as a shield.

And I can hear you out there.

Shield does NOT = excuse.

That’s not what this is about.

This is me choosing to tell you that there are things in my life that I am well aware I am doing. There are places that I haven’t gone and walls I haven’t scaled and journeys I haven’t chosen to walk into because I will have to set down that shield (whatever it may be) and be willing to take the arrows.

This is me choosing to tell you for as much as I am “man up or shut up” or “do the damn thing”, that you are not alone in needing to feel defended.

If this was Meghan circa 2012 I’d probably tie this up with a statement about Jesus. I’ve reached the point in my life, to know that Jesus is not the answer to the question.

Meghan of 2018 knows that I’ve been given the tools, the mind, the heart and the spirit to get through and work through the things

I am going to say to you- encourage you, to name your shields.

Name those things you use. Those words, those jobs, those people, those places in your life you need protection,

That’s all I’m encouraging you to do.

Name your shields.

Honest

how darkness brought me light

I know this seems silly.It seems silly that I am sitting in church thinking about how a show about vampires is over.

I get it.

But as I am sitting here in church I am thinking about another church I used to sit in a lot. I sat in it mostly on Sunday nights, sometimes the mornings, for about five years. And there was a time in that period of about 2-3 years that I cried every single time.

I wouldn’t really break down during the week. I wouldn’t get emotional during therapy. I sometimes cried myself to sleep. Or on my walks to and from work.

But without fail, every Sunday I would kneel at the cross in the back left corner of the sanctuary to take communion and I would sob. I would cry and I would leave all the tears and all the anguish at the foot of the cross.

Hope for me was something for others. It was something that was tangible to a whole hell of a lot of people. It was something I felt capable of giving but not receiving.

So on Sundays I cried.

Let me delve a little before fall of 2009:

In June of 2009 I wanted to kill myself.

I wanted to be done. It all hurt too much. It didn’t make sense. I couldn’t see how I could go on.

I saw a flickering light in the midst of a dark room. I knew it was God. I knew it was hope.

But after that I was numb.

I couldn’t always find the words to say to people. I powered through a summer of day camp. I went to therapy once a week. I tried to wear a smile.

And come the fall, with the school year beginning again and so many other things that felt big and heavy I decided to start watching a new show that was so debuting on the CW.

So on Fridays after work, I watched the Vampire Diaries.

As I wrote in a letter to the creators, this show gave me light in the darkness. 

It brought me back to myself when it felt like all the things around me that were supposed to be helping weren’t working. (They were by the way, I just couldn’t see it).

The show brought me back to story.

And that is beautiful.

It gave me a voice in the midst of a depression that wanted to and sometimes succeeded at silencing me.

It made me laugh.

And mostly, most importantly, it reminded me I wasn’t alone.

It gave me that hope I so desperately wanted to have.

And I found this community of people who didn’t know me or my problems or my depression. They didn’t know I was a kid person or a “failing” Christian.
They just knew I had zippy comebacks. That I was Team Elijah. 

And slowly, slowly, they started to put me back together when I didn’t think anything was working. 

It gave me place to laugh and to cry. Real emotions when none of mine felt real anymore.

So I know it seems silly that I was so emotionally invested in a show about vampires. That I broke down into tears when it finally settled in me that it was over.

But, in the darkest parts of my life, the healing of someone else’s dark parts, in the form of a story about vampire brothers in love with a girl, allowed me to look away from my tragedy and find emotion again without even realizing it.

It helped me feel again.

So, one day, when I have a teenager who is going through teen angst and probably thinks I’m not cool, or when she’s in college and homesick and heartsick, we will make some cookies and throw on our sweats and I’ll click play…
“For over a century I have lived in secret,

Hiding in the shadows, alone in the world.

Until now.

I am a vampire,

And this my story”
Thank you TVD for all the things.

Honest, washington whimsy

Lessons from a two year olds emotional vocabulary

The week after I came home from camp was an emotional week, work was tough, personal life was tough and lonely and I really had no clue what to do or what I needed. Which, was of course, what everyone was asking me.
But I didn’t know how to ask for help, or what I was feeling or how I could feel better. 

Last week, oddly enough, was also my one year of working at the Y. One year of working with the wacky group of humans I work with, and with the tiny humans  I adore. And with all of my lack of emotional vocabulary last week, I thought of them and the fact that when they are frustrated, excited, impatient, or really, any emotion they can’t really do much about it but scream, yell, hit someone, bite someone or throw themselves on the ground and shut out the world. 
Wouldn’t that be nice?

I spend most of my day saying, “I’m sorry you are feeling frustrated” or “do you see when you bite your friend it makes them sad? Can we try saying ‘more space please?'” Or of course watching a two year old throw a tantrum and saying “I see that you are angry, let’s move to the cozy corner so your body stays safe!”

I am trying to give these kids something to grab onto. My pet peeve quickly became hearing someone tell a child that they were “ok”. Because how would you like it if you were crying and sad and upset and someone came over an told you that you were ok? If you don’t have words to verbalize how you are feeling, then how in the world when someone know if they are ok.

And I also get it’s a fine line.

I am probably going to be one of the first to sit across from you and listen to what’s going on in your head and heart. And text you the next day. And help wheedle out the lies. But I am also probably going to be the first one to tell you to put on your big girl panties and dive head first into what’s going on. I can clearly see where you are and where you ACTUALLY are and I want to do everything in my power to get you there

And then of course, there is myself.  

There was a moment, the Sunday after I got home from camp, that I sat in my room and silently sobbed. It wasn’t violent or painful–just exhausted and weary. And I didn’t know why. And that seemed to be my reprieve the rest of the week. Silent tears over many places of the week. Dealing with the anniversary of a death of a loved one, feeling gut wrenchingly lonely. Feeling completely and utterly unsuccessful at work. It all continued to pile on.

I wanted to run.

I had been too much before. Too sensitive. More trouble then good. Memories of losing friends over depression ran rampant in my head.

At some point between 2 years old and now,we’ve been told to limit ourselves because we might be too much. 
And while, yes, we need to not thrust our emotions upon someone, we also need to learn how to land and identify them so they are no longer scary. There is a scene in the beginning of my favorite (not) guilty pleasure show where the main human character realizes that the new guy in town is actually a 140 year old vampire.  And like most shows that deal with the supernatural; after the initial shock wears off, she (albeit probably stupidly) decides it doesn’t matter.  Because once it is labeled it isn’t unknown anymore.

And that’s why I try to label things for my sweet kids. Because one day, they will be adults, sitting on the edge of their bed, crying and I want instilled in them from the beginning that they aren’t too much, that they can label how they feel and they can use it to better what’s in front of them.

I tell them so often to “give themselves space.” (And sometimes teacher Meg also gives herself some space) I want my kids to know that taking a breath is ok. That being sad, or mad, or frustrated is ok–we just need to be able to say that we are those things. Because if you don’t eventually being happy, excited or joyful, also won’t register. We have to take the bad with the good and the good with the bad. We can’t just label the joy and the happy and pretend that everything  else is no man’s land.

I’d like to say that I waited to write this because I had an ephinany or I suddenly feel 100% better. But the reality is, I am still learning and grabbing onto things and putting my hair up in a bun and grabbing some lacroix and doing the damn thing daily. 

Because I also want my kids to know that life doesn’t stop. There are still people you have to show up for in the midst of showing up for yourself.

Let’s do this folks. Let’s have a little more grace, space and verbage then we did last week. Let’s practice telling the two year olds in our lives that they aren’t too much.

Let’s remind ourselves we aren’t too much, even when all we want to do is bite a friend.