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When loss is gain

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Dinner is before us, and we sit down to eat with old acquaintances who are becoming new friends.  We listen to chapters of their unknown story, and we share paragraphs of ours.  The bread is broken, and I see how pieces of us are too.  But we enjoy the meal because in this moment, we are in the mess of it together.

We talk about the home we sold before moving to Nicaragua, and the memories we left behind.  My thoughts catch me by surprise, and I feel the emotion of that goodbye all over again.  I blink several times to keep my unexpected tears from falling in the stroganoff.  I know that the truth is, I don't miss that house anymore.  If I had the opportunity to move back today, I wouldn't.  But remembering the release of it touches some tender place in me.

It was a sunny day in August when we turned away for the last time.  My little girls and I walked the empty hallways, and past the marks on the walls that measured their growth for years.  We sat on the floor of their emp…

Love's standing ovation

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I was grumpy the day he was born.

He didn't come when I wanted, or in the way I wanted him to.

He hadn't done what babies are suppose to do when they head out into the world.  Instead, he flipped himself around and lodged himself underneath my ribs, a literal pain in my side.

He paid for his choice with an abnormally shaped head for the first few months of his life.  Although, he didn't seem to mind not fitting in with all of the other babies.  I put a hat on him to cover up the differences.

They had held his red, wrinkly body up for me to see, but my brain was already drifting from the pain medication.  And while the room was still spinning, they placed him in my arms and wheeled me into recovery.  All of my mental protests couldn't convince the nurses that I wasn't ready to hold him.  This is, after all, what mothers do.

He was just shy of eight pounds, but I felt the true weight of that moment.  I was sure he was going to fall right out of my arms and onto the …

The long path to solid ground

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I stood at the gap between earth and heaven, and dreamed of the other side.  I was never in the place of wanting to end my life, but I longed for the pain and the loss and the loneliness to end.  I was thankful for the days when tears would come, because that meant I could still feel something.  I had experienced the loss of so many things I loved, that my heart began to protect itself.

It was a slow realization that a numb heart is not a heart that can love or care for anything but itself.

There were many days I lived on autopilot.  I would wake up far too early, drink the coffee, eat the breakfast, wake the kids, and send them off to school.  The next day I would do it again.  And again.  The hours in between would find me in bed or mindlessly engaged in activities that allowed me to escape from the reality of my new life.

I was me, and I was not.  I lived in the shadow of my life before Nicaragua, where the people, and the places, and the things looked the same.  But they were not.…

In these sacred spaces

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I didn't know there was a word for the space between an ending and beginning, but I have felt the realness of it.  I first heard the term "liminal space" in church this past Sunday, and today it showed up on a blog that is delivered to my inbox.  It describes perfectly, the revolving transitions that my family has experienced for nearly the past three years.

The theologian, Rohr describes it as this, "where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown.  There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence.

That's a good space where genuine newness can begin.  Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible...

This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed.  If we don't encounter liminal space in our lives, we start idealizing normalcy.  The threshold is God's waiting room.  Here we are taught openness and patience as we come t…

The Clothes I Wear

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Several years ago my sister gave me a hoodie for Christmas.  Every fall as the weather turned colder, it would be my first choice top to wear.  It fit me just right, and had all of the coziness that the season required.  It became an outward symbol of an inward comfort.  It belonged to me, and I belonged in it.

When we packed our things to move to Nicaragua, that black sweatshirt was left hanging in the closet.  I didn't know if I'd ever wear it again, but I wasn't ready to give it up completely.

Some weeks ago, the cold air settled in and the trees began to give up their leaves.  I looked through the few warm clothes that I had saved, and found that treasured, faded, worn-out shirt.  The memories of many seasons passed came to mind as I pulled it over my head.  I straightened out the arms, and settled it over my waist as I looked at myself in the mirror.  It fit me exactly the same.

As the day moved on, I realized that it wasn't as cozy as I remember.  The cold air bl…

I once was lost

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I stepped off the plane and into the waiting arms of Familiarity.  She pulled me closer, and held me tight like an old friend.  I relaxed in her embrace as I heard her whisper, "I know who you are, and I've missed you."  It had been a long time since I felt known and accepted by my surroundings, and it felt good.  I wondered though if she could see the parts of me that went missing; broken off and left behind.  I've not had the clarity of mind to take inventory, but I feel the loss.

It has been six weeks since our return to the United States.  I was warned of reverse culture shock, but after the first few days of delightful air conditioning and easy access to my favorite foods, I believed a year away wasn't long enough to affect me.  But days passed, along with the initial surge of busyness, and I watched how the whole world could grow quiet enough for my heart to cry, "I'm completely lost."

The kindest of faces ask like they already know the reply,…

This is my Isaac

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I've been dreading the day when the knowledge would be common.  When everyone knows of our return, that means it is real, and I can no longer ignore the pain of it.

I've been feeling my own loss of understanding, my own questions marching through my mind after the lights have gone quiet, and the only sound is the whir of a fan.  My eyes adjust to the purple shadows, but my heart has no vision for the unseen.  I can't touch the other side of this.  In some ways, perhaps many, I am afraid to.

We didn't know how long we would stay, and that's the truest thing I can remember before our move, except for knowing without a doubt that we were to go.  I've never been so sure, and that made the decision to sell our life a simple one.  I refuse to say it was easy, because the reality of those moments left me with a dull ache.  I see how things are just things, but I had wrapped my dreams around them and they had become a part of who I was.  Who I am?  Perhaps that's w…