Honest, it takes a village, tiny human teacher

fall is coming

Here is the thing: Right now, in this moment, I am choosing to have hope for fall.

Not just for myself but on behalf of those around me.

We all need some hope after a summer of drought and I’m going to find it for us.

When we were kids, the physical seasons meant more.

We waited for summer break, fall meant seeing friends again and the thrill or terror of a new school year. Winter meant Christmas and break. Spring brought sports and school plays and the rounding out of the school year.

And then summer came once more.

Life was built around the actual seasons and it worked. We knew when one thing would end and another begin.

But in adulthood, seasons mean something different.

The ever lovely full of wisdom teacher Victoria has one of my favorite illustrations and reminders to me in regards to tiny humans.

Victoria’s tiny humans are 12-24 months. When they experience things like teething or a diaper rash or a sickness they can’t verbally explain, she likes to remind the other teachers in her classroom of this when a tiny human is incapable of being consoled (the following is as direct of a quote as I could remember)

“They don’t know what’s happening and they don’t know if the pain is ever going to end. All they know is it’s happening now and this is how life is now. They’ve only been around for so many months, so like, this must be how it is now.”

New tiny humans don’t know about seasons, they don’t know the pain is going to go away. They probably think this is just how it is.

And that sucks.

I’ve realized that there are things in my life, seasons in my life that have felt so permanent that I feel that same way.

“This must be how it is now”

And that sucks.

Have you ever thought that? Like you don’t know if something in your life is ever going to end. It just showed up, you don’t know where it came from, but that must be how it’s going to be.

It’s very defeating.

And that’s why, to the best of my ability and strength I am going to fight for hope for myself and on behalf of others.

I’m going to decide that the changing of seasons does change something.

That is does mean something.

Just like when we were kids.

The fall can once again mean something new. Something fresh. Another chapter.

I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt we have the ability to turn our own pages. We can choose to say “all done friends” to something, someone, somewhere.

So, to you my sweet friend reading this, whether or not I’ve ever met you, I want to remind you of something.

This is not how it’s going to be forever.

This is not how your life is now.

This is not a new appendage you have to carry.

This will end.

You can turn the page.

Fall is coming.

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, ramblings

Practicing my practice

It’s an interesting place to be in when you sit still for the first time in awhile.

Not on my bed, or in front of Netflix or paperwork or a project. But just sitting, still, with nothing in front of you but space.

I have a new tradition in my life that may sound sad, but really, it’s not.

The new tradition is this: every Friday I have to change into my bathing suit to go swimming with my tiny humans. It’s normal at about 9:30 and I take my coffee into my storage closet and close the door.

But, I don’t turn on the light. I stand, in pitch blackness for at least two minutes. Breathing in and out and drinking my coffee. I did this for the first time on accident. I shut the door without turning the light on and was quickly enveloped in darkness and an intense sigh escaped my body.

The absence of light brought me completely relief.

That sentence sounds like a conundrum really. But in my overly sensory laden environment I’m in every day, being in a pitch black room is heaven.

I’ve been sitting here, at redlight, for over an hour. I’ve started numerous different blogs, I’ve started text conversations, I’ve only had one mimosas and I’ve stared a blank screen.

But now, I came back to this one, these first words I wrote.

Here’s what it is: I’m struggling with depression right now. Depression, coupled with anxiety, with some winter blues to mix it all up.

I don’t like to talk about depression and anxiety because people have opinions.

(Including myself)

There are so many schools of thought on depression and anxiety. So many books and methodologies and experts.

Now, as a human who lived with two people who were in grad programs for clinical psychology (shoutout to A3), I know that there is hope and help and all the things dealing with depression.

But, that doesn’t make me any less prone to talk about it.

There a few types of seasons that come up in my life that cause me to want to shut my mouth.

Because I’ve been through it before, because people have helped me before, because shouldn’t I be able to solve my own problems.

We live in a society that tells us to figure out our own issues.

Fake it til you make it.

There is a time and a place for faking it til you make it.

Because, yes, we just have to get through the day. I have tiny humans who need me to show up for them each day. Routines and a schedule and transitions that have to happen every day.

But, what are you going to do when you stop?

I binged watched a show on Friday. I haven’t done that for awhile. I watched the entirety of the first season of the reboot of Queer Eye. (No but really watch it)

And I cried.

It was the loveliest reminder of what it looks like to care for ourselves. To do things that bring us life. To take time to fill ourselves up. To take time to live.

I am a human, who has for the past 10-12 years, struggled with depression and anxiety.

I’m not defined by it.

It’s not who I am.

It’s just something that rears it’s head in some seasons more than others.

The things that pop up here and there don’t define us. They don’t hold us.

We are still us.

Honest, ramblings

I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes

All I wanted to do today was sit in my favorite bar and write about how I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes. I wanted to write about not liking them and fall and the darkness that it brings.

I wanted to write about the changing of seasons.

But, all I can think about right now is the bridge I have in my written words.

I’ve learned a lot in my life from mentors and fatherly figures. I have nuggets and advice and wisdom that cycle through my brain.

I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I am incredibly fortunate to have people who choose to make space in their lives to speak into mine.

One of those I reference often is Andrew.

Before I met Andrew I was slightly terrified of him. For multiple reasons, but one main being I didn’t used to/still don’t sometimes, feel comfortable around men in authority.

The first time I met him, a story I’ve told many times in writing, was in a pub in Mijas, watching a World Cup game. I was alive with nerves to start my first day of class and the last thing I wanted to do was meet this man.

But my friend Tiffany made me.

And the first words Andrew ever uttered to me were “Welcome home”.

I say this because I had chosen to trust Andrew because Tiffany did. I borrowed some trust from her just to get to Spain.

Andrew has since then given me a lot of wisdom and even more so he’s given me love.

He taught me a lesson in trust that has stuck with me for a long while. Trust is a bridge. Some hold more weight. Some hold less. But they still hold something.
I had to build a lot of trust in Spain. I had to learn how to trust men in authority. I had to learn how to trust my voice and myself. I chose to trust people that I didn’t think I would and those humans have made my life more full than I could have imagined.

But, the thing about bridges is that they need maintenance.

I was having a conversation with my friend Krys in a loud, karaoke-filled, restaurant about my ability to trust people.

And I have come to realize that I’ve let my bridges get pretty threadbare.

Vulnerability and trust take more practice and maintenance than I have been giving them

I’m not saying I don’t trust people.

What I am saying is that I struggling lately to extend my ability to trust.

I am great at borrowing trust. I am capable of trusting humans because someone I trust, trusts them. Hell, the sole reason I am in Bellingham is because people I trust, trust the people here.

I think the problem is I’ve been living on borrowed trust.

I’ve been building bridges on top of other people’s already built bridges because that, my friends, is the easiest way to not get hurt. I am pretty discerning about who NOT to trust. I know when not to share.

But, that moment where I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I need to share a little more, be a little more, give a little more, I know that I am not walking on the bridge that is built.

When you are in a season of building something, be it muscle, or skills for one thing or another, you can’t just keep doing the same thing. You can’t do the same exercise for weeks on end and expect a different result.

You have to find ways to stretch yourself.

You have to push your comfort zone and create new ones along the way.

And believe me, I know it’s hard.

I’ve been in more anxiety filled conversations than I’d like to admit these days, I’ve been in situations where I push past the curl up in a ball feeling to be present.

I WANT to trust.

I want to build bridges and practice vulnerability.

I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes. That’s surprising to some. It’s surprising that I, Meg, one of the most basic white girls some people know, doesn’t like the most basic beverage of all.

And it’s surprising to some that I walk in anxiety, and a lack of vulnerability.

But, I’m working on it. Again, still, probably always.

I am not working on liking pumpkin spice lattes though.

It’s not going to happen.

Honest, I choose champagne

You were only waiting for this moment to arrive

I’ve been in Bellingham for two years this weekend.

That’s insane. I kind of can’t even fathom it. That I’ve been here for two years with all the ups and downs and tantrums (by myself and by toddlers). I’ve learned more here then I can articulate. 

The main thing being, I am very, very glad I have decided to the best of my ability to not just “get through” this season.

It was something I noticed being the two year old room. The two year olds were rough. I would find myself counting down the moments til nap and then the moments til three pm.

Trying to force yourself through moments, trying to just get through days is not a way to live.

There was a time in my life that I didn’t want to sleep at night because I didn’t want the sun to come up. I was working in a pretty hostile classroom and I was in an incredibly deep dark well of depression. I would stay up ‘til one or two in the morning just to have more hours in the day to myself.

If I slept then I would have to do all the things again. 

I remember hitting my breaking point, knowing that for myself and for those around me I could no longer just “fake it ‘til I make it”. Something had to give. I couldn’t just put my head down and try to get through.

It wasn’t working.

So, I made changes, I moved out the classroom, I started therapy, I went on antidepressants.

I tried to find joy again and I worked really hard to do so.

There are times, chunks of the last two years, when I know in my knower that I was sitting in a pit of depression. That I didn’t want to go to sleep at night because then the day would come again. 

And I would have to do all the things.

I’m thankful for the people around me who remind me to be present and for the tiny humans who demand it.

I don’t know what this third year in Bellingham holds and I don’t know how many years will follow it; but I’m going to choose, still, to the best of my ability to be present. I’m going to choose to try not to live of faking it ‘til I make it. 

I have parts of my life that I can say without out a doubt that I’m trying to get through. I’m pretty sure most of us would be lying if we said we weren’t trying to get through something.

A season in a city, a season of singleness, a season before marriage, a season of a job.

Days, weeks, months that we are so desperately trying to get past, to get to the next season.

But why?

Why do we deem these moments less important than the ones we are trying to get through? Who are we to decide what moments we can learn from?

If I allow myself, I can learn from everyday. I can learn from the tantrums and the laughter and moments when I feel less than myself. 

But the instance I put my mind in forward, the instance I decide that minute I want ahead of me is less important than the minute I am in, is the instant I decide that my present doesn’t matter

During one of my object lessons I did at camp a couple weeks ago I talked about how there is a plan and a purpose for our lives. There are big, awesome things ahead.

That’s hard to stomach sometimes.

More, is hard to stomach.

But, this minute you are in right now? The one in which you’ve decided to read this collection of words?  

This is a part of your more.

And so is the next and the next.

Let’s start with tomorrow. Let’s start with not getting through tomorrow, but for living every moment of it.

Let’s create joy and growth and hope and light.

So, when we get to the next day and the day after that, we won’t have moments lost in the abyss, but days we can build upon.

Let’s do the damn thing each and every day.

And when we need to- take a deep breath to our toes, and dive back in.

 

Honest, washington whimsy

Fact: it’s not 2009 

I think part of the reason it’s been so hard for me to write the past few weeks is because my words feel incredibly familiar.If I am being completely and utterly honest–these words feel like 2009.

And I don’t know what to do with that
I’ve tried to make some strides. I’ve emailed mentors and (maybe) started looking for a therapist.

I have tried to remember.

I’ve tried to remember that I am different. 

This season is different. 

That I am not the same human as I was in 2009.

I have lived since then.

But that’s the thing about familiar grounds isn’t it?

When we return to a familiar place it can suck all the new life out of us and place us right back where started from.

Situations that reoccur are the same. 

Whenever my mom goes into the hospital–it’s 2009 all over again and I am sitting on my bed in my old apartment. I’ve done that feeling more times then I want too. Or when July 7th hits. It doesn’t sting as bad anymore. It’s a dull, faint ache. But it’s there.

And then there is when the emptiness hits. The empty before caused me to need drugs and therapy and to cry on the floor. The emptiness that caused me to not show up.
Here’s the thing:

This year has been a struggle and there are moments where it feels an awful lot like 2009.

I have wanted to run. I have wanted to stay in bed and not show up.

I have erased more words then I care to admit because they sounded ugly and devoid of hope and whiny. I have erased words out of fear that they will speak that I am back to that.

When you’ve done what I have done, and gone through what I have it’s hard sometimes to admit that you need help. It’s hard to admit you’ve reached something rocky.

Because it was already rocky and you already asked for help.

I have cried a lot the past three weeks (read: I have cried a lot in 2016) I have felt crazy, unstable, inconsistent and a host of other things.

But here’s a fact I know to be true: it’s not 2009. I have been through things. I have faced down giants that I stared at most of my life. I’ve gone around the world and I’ve felt things I didn’t even know were things.

So, right now, I feel empty. I haven’t really known what to do. I have begun to hate the word fine. 
But goodness, at the bottom of it all, the bottom of the tears and the confusion, at the bottom of the bevy of all of things I would like to do (run away, not be present), at the bottom is a beautifully tiled foundation that wasn’t there before.

There is a moment from my second term in Spain that feels like a hug; a moment that is apart of that foundation. I was standing in the Mijouse living room amidst so many people and Andrew came up and put his arm around me and asked me how I was. 

I said I was good.

And I wasn’t lying. I was good. I was stressed and felt a lot of heavy feelings. 

But I knew I was finally in a place where I could figure out how to live through the situation I was in.

And then he looked me in the eye and repeated the question (which meant he was asking as a father). And I said I was ok, I was figuring it out, I would get through it and come out the other side.

To which he replied, “Of course you are good babe, you have Christ inside of you”.

I didn’t hear that as belittling. Because it wasn’t. 

It wasn’t brushing my feelings or emotions under the rug. It’s wasn’t “faking it til I make it”. It was choosing to know that I would come out the other side. It was choosing to know that I had the tools and the people and the heart to move through it. It was choosing to know that doing dirty, messy soul work wouldn’t stop me from living.

I have trouble sometimes ( a lot of the time) asking for help. I have trouble verbalizing in the midst of something. I have gotten better. I have learned and grown and expanded my emotional vocabulary.

So when it feels like 2009. When it feels like a mishmash of emotions.

When I feel like a burden for opening my mouth-I am still able to show up.

 I know that something doesn’t need to feel true to be true.

 I know (so much more of) who I am.

I’m choosing to keep showing up for my life. I’m choosing to ask questions.

I’m trying hard to have grace for myself and to rest. 

I’m choosing to allow myself to cry.

Because it’s not the same mountain. 

There is a different horizon I’m looking upon.

It’s not 2009.

And there is so much more.