Sunday, July 19, 2015

Building Towers

I don't remember Heaven, not really... but it seems that part of me -perhaps a bigger part of me than I can grasp -suffers from severe homesickness. It's an ironic sort of homesickness -the more I feed it, the more it grows.  And I realize that it isn't actually a sickness at all but a HEALER in every way.

When I first sat down and really talked with Danny, it felt as if something deep within me was all at once excited and rested to be... could it be?... reunited.  I didn't know Danny.  I had never met him.  It was simultaneously the weirdest and most natural feeling in the world.

The part of my brain that's forgotten Heaven was confused and scared.  The part of my brain (? soul?) that remembers Heaven sort of exhaled, as if it had been anticipating my meeting Danny for years.  His voice was strange and familiar.  His hands were new and also home.  His hug was the hug of a newly-found friend and also the hug of someone I'd sung, "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again" to.
It felt good.
It felt scary.
It felt natural.
It made no sense and complete sense all at once.

A piece of homesickness was given remedy that day.  It was proof of Home.  I'd felt for some time that there was a Home for me out there.  Meeting and marrying Danny was a piece of my Home Puzzle... but there's SO MUCH MORE.  I can feel it.

There's a part of me that hungers -ever hungers -for something MORE.  I don't mean materially, don't mistake me.  I mean -emotionally?  Is it emotion?  Or is there something out there that is MORE, even, than emotion?
I've always had this hunger.
I've always been a deep-feeling, passionate person, and as such I've always felt a constant dissatisfaction with the world at hand.
That's not to say that I've dismissed joyful moments or failed to live and bask in the present -though at times, many times, I have.  I'm only trying to say that I've got a hole in my heart.
I've heard some in the SA world refer to it as a "God Hole" and while I believe that, I still feel like my hole is more aptly titled, "The Home Hole."
I am not at home, no matter where I go.  I used to pity Christ when He spoke of having no place to lay his head, but pity isn't what Christ sought at all... Christ simply spoke truth of how He felt about Earth.  It wasn't His home, and He wasn't at home in it at all.  Earth was where He went for a mission.

I've sought to fill my Home Hole in so many ways -SO many.  I've sought out intense emotions, trying desperately to reach a level of unearthly emotion, trying to feel ANYTHING strongly, powerfully.
I've sought for years for more and more proof of home, and in so doing I've developed My Vices.
My Vices, unlike my Home Sickness, are ACTUALLY sicknesses who also grow abominably the more they are fed.  They bring no healing.  They are malignant.

The more I shop, the more I eat, the more I tear down others, the more movies I watch, the more I dive into the Earth and try and make it my home... the larger grows my Home Hole.

I think of the descendents of Noah, building a tower toward Heaven.  So often I was taught that the Tower of Babel was a symbol of wickedness.  But yesterday as I looked up in the darkness at the ceiling over my bed, I thought about those inherently GOOD people building what they felt was a needed and necessary building.

They sought to muscle their way back home. This I understand!
They gathered up their friends -they all spoke the same language and they all had the same hole in their heart, and they built a tower to home!  To Heaven!  But they forgot -again, let's hold hands with irony -about God. They formed and fed vices with their tower. Their tower became their house of worship, but they had replaced God with their own selves and in so doing had built up A House of Vices.
But God didn't forget about them, just as He's never forgotten about Alicia.
God took from them their unity of voice which they were using for desecration, and He cursed them with the inability to understand one another, thereby saving them.

My Vices look like theirs, though their story is ancient and mine is circa 2010.  My search for home often (or eventually) lacked a God-center and by default was mortal-centered.

So often I've reached for food, for money, for beauty and validation -so that I might reach Heaven in some way.  I didn't understand Heaven, really, and that's why I did it.  My innate was crying out for home and I sought out home as best I could with where I was and what knowledge I had.
And God, in His familiar mercy, is saving me.  Though my saving doesn't involve a curse, it does involve a lot of pain... and therein I can empathize with the descendents of Noah.

Glennon Melton has said:
"People think of us addicts as insensitive liars but we don’t start out that way. We start out as extremely sensitive truth tellers."

I built my vices from a hungry place -I was starving for Home.  I sought it out in the wrong places, but I sought it out regardless.

I built my Babels and they all failed me.
I love C.S. Lewis's thoughts in The Screwtape Letters.  He speaks at this point as a Devil:
Prosperity knits a man to the World.  He feels that he is "finding his place in it," while really it is finding its place in him.  His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of being really at home in earth which is just what we want. ... The truth is that the Enemy, having oddly destined these mere animals to life in His own eternal world, has guarded them pretty effectively from the danger of feeling at home anywhere else. 

As I am facing my 30th birthday next month, I find that I'd much rather be 30 with the knowledge that has come with 30 than be 21, sitting in the dirt with my building blocks, trying to muscle my way back home.
It is a really yucky and hard place to be.

Ironically (yeah, we're still there), the most rested place I've ever been is completely racked with homesickness.

Give me not of this world, God, but offer up pieces of Home on Earth that I might make myself Fat upon my Longing for Home.
Give me a rose, a breeze, a baby's curl.  Give me a song filled with strains of Home, and a evening spent in the company of those who kept company with me at Home.
Give me meat and bread of body and soul.
Shower thy blessings upon me as I reach my hungry, childish arms up toward Thee.
I cry unto Thee for comfort, for love, for peace.

Give me no place on Earth to lay my head for therein lies risk of losing my peace-giving sense of Longing.

This is my Sabbath prayer and my Step 7.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Curious Case of The Inferior Decorator

Last night, our family went looking for a video we'd taken a few years ago of my son singing a tune from, "Calamity Jane" -a musical starring Doris Day who is by all account much too adorable to be Calamity but also much too adorable to be criticized.  It took us awhile to find it because my picture and video files aren't organized -if you know me personally, you aren't shocked over this fact.  We rifled through the years, playing video after video.  I saw my kids grow from diapers to size 8 jeans before my eyes.

It was surreal watching little clips of our life back then.  What stood out -besides the obvious cuteness that is My Children -was the background.  My house.  I watched the decorations shifting and changing, the mess always constant. 
It looks nothing like my house now.  There's still a mess, but it sings a different tune now.
I listened to my voice behind the camera and I felt a gnawing ache in my belly -I ached because I KNEW what The Girl Holding the Camera was going through.  I could see the date each video was taken and I knew, roughly, what was going on around then. 
I remember the month after my rock bottom when God blessed me with three separate highly contagious illnesses that spread through my entire family and kept EVERYONE AWAY and ME AWAY FROM EVERYONE and I sang great and giant praises unto God for it.
I remember the months I spent in bed, trying my best to just GET UP.

And strangely, I remember trying to decorate my house but not really knowing what the heck to do.  I remember trying one thing and then another, never quite content.  I'd spend a day on a wall and walk away at the end of it exhausted and discontented, too tired to bother messing with it for months.  I'd stare at it and just feel... off.
I began to accept myself as an Inferior Decorator.
"It's just who I am," I shrugged myself into apathy.

But you know what?  It isn't who I am.  Am I a professional decorator?  Oh, gosh no.  But guess what I'm not?  I'm not an inferior anything.
I looked at those shifting walls last night and I realized that I was witnessing what happens to a woman when she's completely out of touch with herself. I had neglected myself and been neglected by those who loved me.  I had sustained abuse and wasn't aware of it.
I only knew that my walls were off.  I didn't realize it was because I WAS OFF.
I was out of touch, and I had no idea how to hear myself, how to listen.

Today, I'm typing from the same computer I've typed from for years.  I think of the things these keys have held -the truths, the pains, the tears, the laughter.  I've bonded with this dying, geriatric lap top and I wonder if it sees what's happened.  I wonder if it sees what I see.
The day I opened it up for the first time, I was set on TELLING.  I was set on writing and telling and teaching others.
I love teaching.  It's one part of myself I've never truly lost, though for a time it went completely haywire.  I blogged daily about anything I felt worthwhile, which was truly, truly everything.  Everything, that is, except the truth.
I blogged about mediocre custard filling and posted rushed tutorials on how to make zipper flowers -something I was pretty bunk at, but felt a nagging feeling to shout it from the rooftop anyway.
I poured the sparse amount of life-blood in me into showing others stuff.

I can see why.  I understand my hunger and need to be validated and seen.  I get that.  Given a rewind button, I'd probably do the same thing.  Maybe in a different way?  But knowing what I know about myself, I'm sure I'd run back to that numb, out-of-touch place.

I can't tell you how many times I literally fell asleep on my floor from exhaustion.  Dropped, plopped and woke up at 2 am, flat on my belly, carpet print on my cheek.
It felt absolutely natural to be THAT busy.

Since those videos were taken, things have changed.  They didn't change right away -I didn't even realize HOW MUCH had changed until last night.  What's more: they're still changing.
As I've worked -REALLY worked -recovery, I feel as if I've woken up.  Chancing blasphemy, I'd say that Jesus kissed Sleep Beauty and together, we're building a kingdom.

The glorious proof lies on my walls -I'm not discontented anymore.  I love my walls.  I can HEAR what I want, what I need, and what brings me joy.  I find myself throwing things away and making room for what really thrills me. 
On Saturday, I wore my glasses all day because -I SWARE -my eyes told me they were tired of having contacts forced on them.

As I began working recovery, I was still focused on helping and telling.  I walked into meetings wondering what I had to offer THEM.  I felt a responsibility to use my words to shift the direction of conversation (should it wander into no-no territory) and I would calculate WHAT to say and WHEN and HOW and I made sure I looked nice too.

Somewhere along the lines, Socrates bonked me on the head and I realized that

I'm not the first person he's rattled with this profound, life-breathing mantra.

As that truth sunk in (it took a long time), a new world began to unfold.  Suddenly, it wasn't about Alicia and what She had to offer the meetings, people, internet and nature... it was ABOUT the meetings, the people, and nature.
The Sleeping Beauty that awoke wasn't ME at all... not really in the sense I thought -it was my innate, my secret, silenced innate.
And as she awoke, she was STARVING.  She'd been starved for years, and she bloomed as she ate.  I nourished her when I could, and she became louder with every bite of Soul Food.
She is strong today.
She is a strong student.

She walks into nature and wonders what it might teach her.  She looks into the eyes of passing strangers and wonders what parts of God they carry inside of them.  She walks into meetings and wonders what there is to learn that day -because she knows there is SO VERY MUCH, more more than will ever fit in one speck of a lifetime.

She is curious, and the older I get, the more child-like she becomes.  She is my Benjamin Button which is uncanny because WE BOTH have had a school-girl crush on F. Scott Fitzgerald since the 10th grade.
It's all very Barbra Mandrell singing, "I was [flapper] when [flapper] wasn't cool."

What I'm trying to get out here, pal, is that

Which is really, truly something because I didn't know I couldn't until I saw those videos and saw from a third-person perspective what Soul Blockage looks like.

From where I sit now, I can smell the fragrant lilies that I knew I needed from the grocery store last night.  I can see the old cookbooks stacked in a wire basket where a gigantic pile of papers and fabric used to be.  I can feel the familiar tick of the keys I love so much, the kind that feed my soul but (unfortunately) not my belly.

My innate is my teacher.  She is Christ within, teaching me as I listen that though I don't believe it yet, I AM WORTHY.  She prompts me to do crazy things like clean the window over my sink, and I obey... five minutes later as I watch the sun set through a clean, clear window, a message is sent, "You are worth clarity.  You are worth this peace."

She prompts me to rest on the couch, to rest my soul, to meditate, to rest in God.
She prompts me to find the present.  She prompts me to let go of the past, the future, and others.

Her power is beyond comprehension.
And today I can let go of the days behind me when I tied her up and shoved a sock in her mouth. Today I can reach inside of myself.
And I can listen.

This is a miracle, and it bringeth about miracles... like walls that remind me of her:

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Arizona Monsoons are brilliant.

Arizona Deserts are moody and impatient.  They turn from parched to drenched in seconds and right back again. 
Last night, we saw a storm in the distance.  We gathered up mowers and toys, moved the dogs inside, filled our little oil lamp up, and unplugged big, expensive electronics.  The storm moved quickly in, lighting up the sky.
Rain pelted everything.
Danny stopped up leaks in our leaky house (leaky houses are more healthy than unleaky houses, just so ya know) and I played the piano.
Our kids tried to relax, but with each big BOOM their eyes got wider.  They looked to us for our reaction... if Mom is okay, then I'll be okay.

"Aren't you glad we live in this little cozy house?" I came up to my kids from behind and wrapped my arms around them, tickling them as I added, "Instead of a GIANT HAUNTED MANSION?!?!"
They squealed and screamed and ironically relaxed a little.

I went into my room to get more yarn for the scrap blanket I'm crocheting (gotta do something with all this sick time.  Hey!  Why not make an ugly blanket for the kids to fight over when I'm gone?) and realized as I switched the light in my room on that I was

The fear dark thunderstorms bring is familiar.  It's the same now as it was when I was 8.
The darkness is what does it.  I've literally slept through a Monsoon Flood during the middle of the afternoon.  But a darkened storm?  My timbers shiver.

I realize the storm, the rumblings and the grumblings, brought on the same stress that my marriage used to (and sometimes still).  You never know when there's going to be a BOOM big enough to rattle you, and the only clarity you're given is bright, instantaneous flashes of light so electric they can almost be blinding.
In the darkest place of my marriage, those electric lights were just as scary as the thunder that followed.  In fact, the closer the light came -the more and more I saw what I could do and started DOING IT -the louder the thunder got, the more the storm raged around me.

With each brilliant flash, I was scared.
Could I stand up for myself?
Could I say I was unhappy?
Would I?

I eventually would when it seemed that any other option (meaning NOT speaking up) seemed more hellish than I could fathom.  The ending result was MORE light.  And, unfortunately, more storm.

I was scared to change, scared to detach from the dark storm, scared of confrontation, scared that I wouldn't be enough on my own.

Lightening is confident.  It makes everything around it brighter -lights up the darkest skies.  It brings fire and gives us some of the GREATEST photo ops.

There is lightening inside of every soul.
It can be scary in the middle of a storm, but you know what?  I think it needs to be.  Because the STORM is scary... the storm needs somebody it's own size.
And lightening is equal to the storm.

Do rainbows come after storms?  Is there peace and tranquility?
People say so, but I generally find there's simply more storms.  I also find there's more beauty in the rainy season than any other.