Category Archives: Uncategorized

There’s Only One Way to Find Out: Lucy and Aslan and Me

“Look! Look! Look!” cried Lucy.

“Where? What?” asked everyone.

“The Lion,” said Lucy. “Aslan himself. Didn’t you see?” Her face had changed completely and her eyes shone.

Lucy Pevensie is one of the main characters in the Narnia series. Usually a school-aged child from war-torn England in the 1940s, sometimes a grown Narnian Queen, always emotionally driven and in-tune, discerning, loving. Aslan is their God. One who had seemingly been missing from Narnia for quite some time, hence the Pevensie children returning in this book from which these quotes are pulled, Prince Caspian, to help the titular prince in a time of great Narnian need.

A reader unfamiliar with the book would think, then, that Lucy’s discovery would be met with excitement and/or relief, but no. Instead she is met with skepticism. Doubt. She stands her ground on what she saw and even pushes for what it all means:

“And he wanted us to go to where he was – up there.”

“How do you know that was what he wanted?” asked Edmund.

“He–I–I just know,” said Lucy, “by his face.”

The others all looked at each other in puzzled silence.

Lucy is met with more doubt.

“The only question is whether Aslan was really there.”

“But I know he was,” said Lucy, her eyes filling with tears.

“Yes, Lu, but we don’t, you see,” said Peter.

“There’s nothing for it but a vote,” said Edmund.

Practicality overrules her emotions, her intuition, her faith. She does find one ally, who had learned from experience, but consensus and leadership vote against her.

So they set off to their right along the edge, downstream. And Lucy came last of the party, crying bitterly.

Oh how I relate to Lucy. I am emotional to the core. I live and breathe emotions, in myself, and in what I sense and observe of others. I feel the deep betrayal she feels; the very real pain of having others not understand how to trust what you know to be true because they have not experienced it. And to sit in that state a little too deeply, a little too long, to get lost in it, even.

Friday night found me crying bitterly. I won’t get into it all here, it isn’t necessary to the point of this posting, but it was a needed release of a lot of frustrations. Yet it was also tempting to sit in that place. My frustrations are valid. My pain is real. But there is more to the story, and more to Lucy’s:

Lucy woke out of the deepest sleep you can imagine, with the feeling that the voice she liked best in the world had been calling her name…

“Lucy,” came the call again, neither her father’s voice nor Peter’s. She sat up, trembling with excitement but not with fear…

And then–oh joy! For HE was there: the huge Lion, shining white in the moonlight, with his huge black shadow beneath him. But for the movement of his tail he might have been a stone lion, but Lucy never thought of that. She never stopped to think whether he was a friendly lion or not. She rushed to him. She felt her heart would burst if she lost a moment…

“Welcome, child,” he said…

There follows a brief but deep reconnection, where Lucy is reassured of who Aslan is, and how he is. Then,

“You have work in hand, and much time has been lost to-day.”

“Yes, wasn’t it a shame?” said Lucy. “I saw you all right. They wouldn’t believe me. They’re all so–”

From somewhere deep inside Aslan’s body there came the faintest suggestion of a growl.

“I’m sorry,” said Lucy, who understood some of his moods. “I didn’t mean to start slanging the others. But it wasn’t my fault anyway, was it?”
The Lion looked straight into her eyes.

“Oh, Aslan,” said Lucy. “You don’t mean it was? How could I–I couldn’t have left the others and come up to you alone, how could I? Don’t look at me like that…oh well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn’t have been alone, I know, not if I was with you. But what would have been the good?”

Aslan said nothing.

“You mean,” said Lucy rather faintly, “that it would have turned out all right — somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?”

OUCH. Lucy’s sitting in her emotions, crying bitterly, yet going along with everyone else was reasonable. Practical. But not what was best. This hits on another level. I have been learning about myself through various means that while my emotional intelligence is a gift, my emotional tendencies can be self-destructive. That although there is a certain comfort to be found in sitting in any one emotion – even the melancholy ones – there is not always goodness there. That although what I feel in a given moment is real, valid, and even quite often intense – it does not always reflect a whole picture of reality. It is not always what should propel action, and action that needs to be taken is often missed.

I recently practiced a posture of letting go. During church, the pastor created space for us all to sit, eyes closed, hands opened, and time to just let go, listen, reflect, and dream. During this space, these scenes from Narnia came to me very strongly (and so here we are). I couldn’t shake it; I didn’t want to. Is this in mind because of something I have missed or failed to do? Is this in mind because I’m on the precipice of doing so? I don’t know, honestly. But once I started typing the pieces from the passage that were brought to mind during that space, I kept reading further. Aslan responds to Lucy:

“To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan. “No. Nobody is ever told that.”

“Oh dear,” said Lucy.

“But anyone can find out what will happen,” said Aslan. “If you go back to the others now, and wake them up; and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me–what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.”

Pause – what would we do at this point? Surely having learned such a deep sorrow of missing out, we would jump at the chance, right? Or would we continue to question, continue to have some measure of doubt and fear, as Lucy herself proves to?

“Do you mean that is what you want me to do?” gasped Lucy.

“Yes, little one,” said Aslan.

“Will the others see you too?” asked Lucy.

“Certainly not at first,” said Aslan. “Later on, it depends.”

“But they won’t believe me!” said Lucy.

“It doesn’t matter,” said Aslan.

OOPH, right? I can tell you right now that my inner self disagrees with that not mattering. I am glad I kept reading. That simple phrase: “It doesn’t matter” seems to me an important part of why this story is in my mind as I work on letting go. You see, part of the context of that Sunday morning space is the church’s 2018 goal of Freedom. And my personal need to let go of control is no secret; I have blogged about it before. I have worked through it in counseling and on my own over the years. And the phrase “it doesn’t matter” and even the phrase “there is only one way of finding out” are very hard truths for emotional and controlling people to hear. “It doesn’t matter” feels false because I feel certain that it will matter. If others don’t believe me or join me, I will feel hurt. And I feel feeling as utmost reality. Which is where “there is only one way of finding out” comes in; what would practicing belief that some emotional experiences are not indicators of a greater whole be like? Well, there’s only one way, as they say. Lucy seems to process these words very similarly to myself:

“Oh dear, oh dear,” said Lucy. “And I was so pleased at finding you again. And I thought you’d let me stay. And I thought you’d come roaring in and frighten all the enemies away–like last time. And now everything is going to be horrid.”

“It is hard for you, little one,” said Aslan. “But things never happen the same way twice. It has been hard for us all in Narnia before now.

And in Aslan’s response is hope. He is not patronizing towards her feelings; he validates them. Then he lovingly offers perspective. As I open my hands to seeing things differently, here is bolstering proof that there is understanding awaiting ahead and others’ experiences behind.

As you look and let go, what freedom do you see?

 

Allegations of Misconduct

I can tell you that every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted (RAINN).

I can tell you that in my personal social sphere, more women than not have been sexually assaulted.

I can tell you that I have been, more than once, the first time when I was 3.

And I think that you would believe me.

The word choice “think” is intentional there, though.

Because here we are in the midst of Weinstein, Spacey, Franken, Louis CK, and now Matt Lauer. I know that I have fellow warriors everywhere saying “me, too” and “YEP” and so on as we stand in solidarity beside these victims speaking up. I see you – I appreciate you. But I am also baffled by those who are baffled. Skeptical. Questioning the victims’ intentions.

And I will go so far as to admit I know of a person who has falsely accused another of assault. But that is one false accusation among dozens of confirmed cases from those with whom I have close, personal relationships. So even with that concession, my personal sphere of statistical probability is in favor of the victims being the ones telling the truth.

Today I had 7th grade students sorting out this particular news of Lauer. I heard mixtures of parroting their parents and asking innocent questions that still go so deep to the heart of the issue. “Why now?” “Why so many?” and I point them to statistics, and I tell them we listen to victims, always – that doing so does not undermine “innocent until proven guilty,” it in fact supports the purpose of the judicial system because it starts the justice process rolling. I want to simultaneously protect my kids from the scary truth, but at the same time I want to SCREAM at them to stop objectifying one another – to stop rating one another – to stop perpetuating rape culture because they already are because that is what we all live in and condone every day. But instead I find teachable moments and speak the truth firmly yet gently and often and hope it gets through.

I believe we are in a linchpin moment in history. I shake with anticipation that maybe this momentum means that finally new standards will be set. That I won’t be viewed as overreacting when I walk into a high school football meeting and lecture those boys (and their coach) for objectifying the women that I work with – and women at all. That perpetrators will know they will be held accountable. That employers will know they need to shut things down, all of the time, every time. That if we start holding perpetrators accountable every time, those times will actually become less frequent. And that MAYBE objectification that leads to assault (or objectification at all) can cease to be so rampant. That no one will be immune of being held accountable, instead of no one feeling safe. But I also shake with fear that this is a spike that will decrescendo. That toxic gender norms will prove to be too entrenched. That people won’t be able to take it.

And then I get angry. And then I get sad; I find pity seeping in. Because people can’t take it. People don’t want to hear about assault. Maybe they are actually blessed enough to never have experienced it directly, and it is all coming out of willful ignorance. Or maybe it’s because they have, and they are entrenched so deeply in denial that they will do anything to shut it down. The thing is…none of these things can be an excuse.

Even if you aren’t bringing the darkness of assault yourself, when you squelch things coming in to the light – you are bringing darkness. You are letting it reign.

So I’m going to tell you again – every 98 seconds an American IS assaulted. And that comes from what has been reported – to say nothing of what lay dormant or dismissed for so long. Because my assault at 3 was not reported. And even my assault at 23 was not reported. Will you believe me?

Instead of asking “why now?” it’s time to ask “what now?” and create a culture of asking, telling, and holding accountable – so that we can ultimately create a culture of healing and consent.

A Village, A Year

We’re watching Doctor Strange on our TV tonight, because that’s what we were watching a year ago. It was at Flix Brewhouse, with my dad, for his birthday. The water broke then, but I didn’t know it yet. I heard/felt a pop. Later that night, right around midnight, it began. All day I have been aware of a movie reel playing as if in the back of my mind of this day last year, present-me aware of the countdown that was in place, full of anticipation of November 13th – Augustine’s birthday.

In the car on the way to Target this afternoon, I decided to see how easy it would be to make something in iMovie for his first birthday, a tradition borrowed from a good friend. Just as I was clicking the button to choose photos, I remembered that I had allowed Google Photos to “free up space” after my last back up. (I have taken approximately 6,000 photos and videos since Augustine was born. Fact.) Yet somehow there were a lot of photos to choose from – somewhere between 100-150, going back just over a year. There is probably some iCloud explanation for this (although my phone loves to remind me that it hasn’t been able to update in 4,860,227-ish days). Regardless, I was in action. I basically selected all, saved the project, and we Target-ed. Then after bedtime, Mike and I played around with it a little more and I realized just how much I needed to do that + this. The song “Boys” by Jars of Clay was a no-brainer for this video. The first time I heard it, I knew it was one I will listen to regularly for the next 60-some years. John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy” was another easy choice. That is what I have called my boy since day one. I wanted a 3rd, an instrumental version of Lavender Blue as this has always been one of our few real “our songs,” but my patience with making something on my phone ran out. #reality

The photos told a story beyond a growing boy, too. Grandparents are ever-present, and it reminds me again of how INCREDIBLY blessed we are to have 5 grandparents in town, devoted to helping us raise this boy, any time, day or night. How Grandma Julie and Grandpa Ray-Ray watch him 5 days a week. How Grandda Phil has never, ever said no to babysitting and often covers school days when needed. Grandma Jo has also taken on her fair share of weekdays and babysitting jobs, and brought me lunch + allowed me the time to shower and feel human during maternity leave weekly. Grandpa Dave has a way of making Augustine melt that I haven’t seen with any other.

Aunt Erin and Uncle Tim make an appearance, and it warms my heart for their love for him and their mindfulness of our other baby Edgar pup is something I am so grateful for. Uncle Jordan makes a few appearances, and it makes me so happy that this man who was my best friend for most of my life gets to have a role in how my boy grows up. Aunt Jen wasn’t pictured, though – the mystery available photos didn’t include one of her – and Jen, that’s why you’re getting multiple sentences. You have watched Augustine for entire days more days than I can count, even though you have your hands full with sweet Eva bear. You have ALWAYS been there to listen to my verbal-processing, extremely emotional mom moments. You offer advice when I need it. Your prayers are some of the most powerful I’ve encountered, and I am grateful and jealous for them! I loved you before our closely-timed motherhood journeys, but now I truly think of you as my sister. For real. Forever.

Great grandparents are present in the pictures, too. Nana and PopPop, who took me on as a teenager who thought she was an adult at 18 for that golden summer. I’m so glad Auggie gets to love and laugh with you two, too. Grandma Marcia, Augustine LOVES you. We are grateful for you. And Grandpa Jim, gone for just over a week. I pray that Auggie grows up to be as gently influential and as steadfastly loving as you always were. Abby, Amber, Meredith, and Lindsie – you guys weren’t pictured (and some haven’t met Auggie yet!) but I also am grateful for my cousins who have been there over text or otherwise to answer questions or just send love. You guys were some of my best friends growing up, and I hope our kids know and love each other well.

Some friends snuck in those mystery photos, too! Stephanie – I am SO thankful that we shared our maternity leave school year. Just having someone to figure it all out alongside has meant more than you know. I can’t wait to actually eat lunch together again! 😉

Nicole. You are my sister forever, too. I still smile at the fact that we can’t remember when we transitioned from boss-employee to best friends almost 10 years ago, but now more than ever that detail doesn’t matter. What matters is how through our honest, analytical conversations I have learned how to live better, love better, and certainly mom (not even better – at all!). I firmly believe God brought me to that TV station so that we could become friends. I am so glad that we have held on to that friendship, because it means more to me with each milestone, big or small.

Mandy. You are my person. I am so grateful to have someone I can work with and church with and do life with like you. Someone I don’t always have to agree with, because it is usually in those moments when I get the chance to grow. Someone who let me borrow a pair of flip flops to ride a bike in and glared a hole into my skull, only to have seen a spark that turned into my career calling. Someone who moms so hard and so honestly and authentically, and most importantly, who invited me into that journey with you even though I was just a lady with no kids of my own. You valued my ideas about G, trusted me with her, and ultimately it was that Disney on Ice trip that we took last year that sparked my eyes to my next calling – I *WANTED* to be a mom, too.

Linda Luo – your picture didn’t show up, which doesn’t even make sense since I’m pretty sure you and Auggie have more pictures together than any of my friends! Your constant support and generosity are like the glue that keeps my life together. You feed me, clothe me, keep my hair looking amazing, and you even help keep us healthy and learning with oils!! You make me laugh harder than anyone else, and have taught me that giving to others is one of the most powerful ways to love. Your influence in Auggie’s life is and will continue to be vital. I hope he knows how to give like you do.

Allison. From the first time we hung out (you know, on your honeymoon), I knew we were kindred spirits. I thought we would start motherhood journeys together, but you got a bit of a head start. I’m selfishly grateful for that, too, as your boys have shown me so much about how to be wild and free and loving and sweet all at the same time. Your mothering has shown me how to both provide expectations but allow exploration and curiosity to flourish. Your care for me (like literal nurse stuff) during those first few months was life-giving. Your continued presence, even if it’s not as often as we would ever hope, is a constant that I cherish.

Emily Lunt (when I mention another Emily, I must say her last name). We were acquaintances when you lived here, and when we announced our pregnancies about a week apart, I still didn’t know how close we would come. Though we don’t talk as often now, the solidarity of having our sweet boys so close in time was so sweet. You listened and shared in turn. That is powerful, and I will always treasure it.

Alicia, though you were far away at the time of Auggie’s birth, I knew from your authentic motherhood experience that you would always be there if I needed you – and you were. Thank you for answering my questions, praying fiercely, and loving us long-distance.

Miranda, I am selfishly grateful that Sullivan was born a year earlier so that I could benefit from your experience. Thank you for being available, real, and for knowing the fun things to do with babies. Next summer I’m pretty sure Auggie will enjoy the zoo a lot more 🙂

Shandra! Another mama with a baby boy a year ahead of my own. I can never thank you enough for all of the clothes that you have given us from Mr. Night Boy! Thank you for helping me know what to do to get started on this journey by registering with me, and most of all, thank you for the hours of running and talking. More of that please – I feel like it’s some of the best therapy around!

Sarah, thank you for understanding me so well during pregnancy and motherhood. The clothes and heart-rate monitor you leant me saved my life. Registering with me saved my sanity. Making me laugh and sharing stories about motherhood and just about everything is one of my favorite things to do.

Rachael and Lindsay – thank you for the clothes, gifts, and wisdom you offered at the start and the encouragement and perspective you offer every time I need it. I seriously can’t believe how lucky we are to raise Auggie with such amazing people as DLC around us.

Becca – your gift of a bag of allergy-friendly foods dropped on my porch with a text notification is my favorite evidence that you don’t have to have a kid to know EXACTLY what new moms need. You get me, on a level that makes me want to apologize hahahaha.

Kat, Stacey, Stacey, Jenna, Chelsea, Joelle – my other DLC ladies – again, I’ll say it every day – it is a DREAM to raise a kid in this pack. You are strong women. Smart women. Caring women. Informed and intelligent and world-changing.

Jenna, you are in Thailand now, but thank you for holding my boy even when it scared you. 😉 Thank you for always inviting me to hang out, and coming to me or baby-friendly restaurants when that wouldn’t work. Thank you for keeping me “me” but also embracing “mama me.” Thank you for your patience, positivity, and light – even and especially from around the world.

Alisa, though we mostly communicate through “likes” on social media now, I will always remember and appreciate your solidarity when nursing felt like the least natural way to feed a child that could be. Honesty like we could share was life-giving.

Afton, you have put up with some CRAZY questions from me since this boy was born, and I am SO grateful. Without your support and advice, I probably would still be waking up every 2 hours. Not joking. I feel like I owe you a kidney or something!

Angie, Mary, Amy, Elaine, Renee – you were all so supportive at work in knowing the roller coaster of emotions I was experiencing when I first left and returned, and even now. Mary and Amy especially – there have been moments when I start rambling and your ability to provide perspective is like a breath of much-needed air.

Chris – you get a thank you even though you aren’t a lady because of a message you sent me about 2 months before I realized I had postpartum depression. Thank you for recognizing signs because of your family’s experience and for being a true enough friend (and good enough person) to say something. I might have denied it at first (to myself above all) but that message was one of the main things that gave me courage to admit I was in over my head when the time came.

Mary – another social media mama friend, but it has been so fun watching miss Z grow up online. Becoming moms around the same time creates a bond I didn’t expect 🙂

So here we are, less than 3 hours until midnight, until my baby boy is ONE. And while I could write (and likely will, soon) about every moment with him – while I have written and will write more about the journeys of nursing and working and dealing with physical and mental health hurdles during this past year – it only feels right to reach out and recognize our village today. This year was was as intense, beautiful, magical, real, raw, hilarious, and powerful as it was because baby – but also because you all were there to help along the way. It’s time for me to watch this one-year iMovie we made and also Doctor Strange and laugh and cry and remember some more now, but first, and always – Thank you.

Look for the oft-mentioned video on Facebook for now ;)

Look for the oft-mentioned video on Facebook for now 😉

 

 

Worlds Apart

I have been in a place lately. A dark one. A place that’s cold like a cave, echoing my fears back to me, occasionally lashing out in anger at our healthcare system, at myself for being angry at a healthcare system given how lucky I am to be double-insured, back into the depths of the cave where I’m sitting on cold, wet stones, rocking back and forth wondering how much more strain my heart can take, this third time through hyperthyroidism, plus having endured too long of a time of anorexia. It’s never really anger, anyway. There’s always something underneath it, for all of us.

At times I feel manic. I am literally so excited. Quivering from head to toe, chemicals shooting through me like magic lightning, strung tightly, like usual, but it feels so positive. But beneath this, I’m still cowering in the cave, because I know that this, too, is part of my thyroid speeding, speeding, speeding everything up.

At time I feel like I will literally break. Thoughts swimming, heart racing, worry transcending its normal rhythms and boundaries of my generalized anxiety so that it diagnostically presents as obsessive. And it is. Because that inner girl is rocking back and forth in her cave of fear, a familiar diagnosis with unfamiliar elements thrown into formula this time, making the end of the experiment unknowable.

My muscles will not relax. I don’t know how much of this is thyroid-related.

I can’t run right now. Too risky.

And this song, this song keeps coming back to me. Especially these lines: “Can I be the one to sacrifice? Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow?”

IMG_6703

I’ve been close-reading this song, and I think I’ve landed on the meaning of these two lines. Or maybe it’s my projection from this place that I’m in. Because that girl in that cave doesn’t know how to accept His sacrifice, not now in this place, and often not in other areas requiring mercy and grace. But I have worked through that part of faith, still am, but I get that second part, too, because maybe if I will accept His sacrifice, at least let me pay penance in that way, by being that close, that guilty, and that able to see proof, too, because faith is hard.

And I pray this song whole-heartedly, I have throughout my life, at these times when so much is unknown. Because when I recognize that I’m retreating to that girl-in-hiding place, when it seems I’d want stability and security the most, I recognize that this is absolutely when I need to accept my world being dismantled. Because “what I need and what I believe are worlds apart.”

This morning, I pushed through fear and found the faith to beeline it to the after-service prayer corner. And I felt Him, through the hands and words of those praying with me. In the way the Spirit whispered hidden prayers of my heart into the mouths of my friends, fears I hadn’t mentioned or asked for, but part of what healing will mean for me. And while the endocrinology appointment still sits waiting so distantly in November for now, I’ve felt peace. I’ve felt the tightening in my chest and mind relax. And I’ve remembered the last two times my thyroid went into over-drive, the precursors to it, and I see connections that bring hope for healing and prevention and maybe not-so-drastic measures.

And I think what I need and what I believe are coming closer.