Wednesday, March 27, 2013

on conclusions and a city of yellow

From the space in between the blinds, I see a full moon shining boldly on a dark, clear night, piercing my eyes, eyes that should be sleeping.  It’s early in the morning, a time I’d never be stirring, but the anticipation…  rears it’s head and it’s weary of me pulling in the reigns, it no longer wishes to be tamed or managed at suitable levels of calm.  The anticipation sneaks in during the last nights and steals me from silent sleep, and in the stillness of the dark, exactly 1,000,003 thoughts are swirling and spinning in my head. 

On March 28, 2010, we arrived in Minnesota in a yellow truck, with our one and a half year old son.  Matt had been unemployed for thirteen months and we never could explain why Minnesota, because certainly, it’s nothing we would have picked.  But, there was a small still moment in the decision process, where our Minnesota? was met with undeniable peace.  And that was it.  So there we were.

It was never a long term thing, we always knew.  We never felt that magic that whispers home, except maybe during a sunrise on the rocky north shore of Lake Superior or in moments by Lake Minnetonka when the sun dances across the rippled water and the wind captured and contented my soul. 

Yesterday, for our last little Minneapolis adventure, we took the kids to the Guthrie Theatre to the Amber room,  an observation deck on the ninth floor that tints the whole city in a shade of radiant yellow.  Just to the right stands the place where Matt worked and just to the left, the flour mill ruins and the beautiful warehouse lofts overlooking the river, where we never did live.  (Although, not without help from an internet scammer, who was just dying to rent their unit to us and only needed X amount of dollars in exchange for a key that would certainly appear in our mailbox.) 

Suspended in a yellow box, we paused and experienced the wonder with our kids, as their eyes came alive with excitement and matching amounts of fear.  Cars, bridges, roads, construction cranes, buildings, the river, everything that is normally so big was tiny below their feet.  As their delight and squeals and endless chatter  echoed through the empty room,   I imagine we allowed the wonder and excitement and fear to sink in too. 

As this chapter concludes, for all the beautiful and perfect, the lonely and restless, the struggles and the belonging that never came, for the long days and longer winters,  this season will always be remembered.  Beyond that, it will always be with us, because it has been so crucial and formative to the people we are and the ones we are becoming.  

On March 28, 2013, we will leave Minnesota with that same undeniable peace that is leading us exactly where we are meant to be.


It’s still dark and the moon still radiant, I’ll just sit in the quiet with the wonder, excitement, fear, and peace for a while before the day begins.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

on the state of in-between

The sun is out, but it’s bitter cold. I’m sure that Minnesota is torturing everyone because we are leaving and it wishes to give us a proper, frozen, snow-covered send off. I packed three boxes and filled a bag with trash, the same thing I’ve been doing for weeks. 

I empty all the spaces of the things we won’t use this week, but leave enough plates and bowls and toys, because of eating and kids.   The walls are bare, institutional and empty.  The nail holes are patched and I have the urge to redecorate for just a couple more days.  It’s a blank canvas taunting me.  Gathered items to donate, return, mail, keep accessible are collected.   And yet, we still must go on doing the living things in the place filled with transition.

These days are spent in the limbo of half we-live-here and half we-won’t-be-here-long.  The uninspired state of deconstruction, the anti-creative act of returning these walls and cabinets to their dull, uninteresting selves.  The state of in-between, the balance of contentment and anticipation. Doing what must be done before the next part, one box, one day at a time.

And while I’m going crazy, I will admit, this place reminds me to see that I am in good hands,  because the timing is key and the author is telling his story, with major plot points yet to be unveiled.    The details and answers, they will be clear, at just the right time.

So, I resist the urge to pack every essential item and rest in that place.

Empty white walls and all.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The story of a season. part one.

We are moving this month.

Life is unfolding before my eyes, in the most brilliant and exciting way and I am being bombarded with understanding and clarity of what these past three years have been for me and for my family. 

Three years ago, this month, we left the charming state of Tennessee and drove north to Minnesota.  We lived in my brother’s basement for three months, in a less than desirable neighborhood.  We survived long enough to get work and move to what some around here call, “a yuppie lake town.”  We enjoyed that zero people got shot on our street on a daily basis and the lake was 1200 feet from our apartment door.  Matt worked two jobs, we had another baby, who cried for four months, didn’t like anyone for nine months, didn’t sleep through the night for a year and today is a wildfire of joy, love, and charm. 

With two kids, two jobs, one car, and our creative interests, we learned the importance of protecting our family time, preserving hours for quiet, sanity, and inspiration, and generally decided we liked spending our time together more than anything else.   We casually attended a church, but realized we weren’t looking for a church to fill our calendars, so we made our family a priority and strangely enough, as we grew slightly disconnected from the church world, we grew in our own relationships with each other and with God.   This is not a statement laced with negative feelings or opinions, it is simply part of our story.

I’m beginning to see that these three years have been a gift, an intensive study in marriage, motherhood, and artistry.  I have learned who I am and I have let go of who I am not.  It has been amazing.  It has also been lonely and disconnected from everything outside of my home and family.  I have met only a handful of friends and truthfully, only one has become a true kindred spirit, a sweet breath of fresh air and support. We can laugh in our broken frustrations, delight in small joys, and encourage in our exhaustion-laden hope.  It has been abundant and rich in a season of social drought and introspection.

I have discovered that art is not simply something I enjoy, but it is the way I see the world, it’s the way I understand God and the way that God reveals himself to me.  I have learned that it is so essential to me, that I want to encourage others, to help them see that a gift lives within them, a story to be told, an adventure to be lived…. something great that brings meaning to this existence, something that compels us onward, leaving behind a wake of beauty, truth, and hope. 

In these last years, my world has been small, home.  Yet, I have screamed dreams, big world-changing dreams into the pages of journals, blog posts, and through paint.  They have brewed inside of me, growing like an unborn child until there is simply no room, until I felt that I couldn’t manage the weight any longer.  And in the slow gestation of these ideas, I began to doubt that these God-given dreams would ever be possible, and I wondered if it might be easier to let them go.  And they grew and grew and tossed and turned, until one night in my impatient and hopeful soul, I crumbled.  I wondered if we would ever leave this place that never felt like home, if we’d ever find community,  a place to belong, and if we’d ever begin to see the fruition of these tormenting and beautiful dreams.   I felt like I would explode.

And you know, perhaps, that is just the right timing, when you cannot continue as you are, because your dream has become so interwoven with who you are, and together you have outgrown your current fishbowl.

End of part one.