“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” ~e.e. cummings
I waited many years for someone to reveal that what was inside me was valuable—and I’m sure there were those along the way that tried, but there were always so many other negative voices, both within and without, that drown them out. And so I could not receive the message, even if it was there.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve gone through several periods of so much change in my self-identity that I feel like I don’t even recognize myself anymore. It’s as if there’s a stranger staring back at me in the mirror, and that’s a really disconcerting feeling.
Just recently I have been going through another one of these growth spurts, but this time around has been very different from what I’ve experienced before. Rather than feeling tossed about by the winds of constant change, this has felt more like an unfurling of new shoots of life coming forth from the core of who I am. Instead of being disconcerting and disorienting, this feels more like an ongoing celebration!
I am not a big fan of spiders, and I am even less a fan of their webs—especially if those webs touch my skin. The feel of them with their stickiness creeps me out. And yet, I do marvel at the beauty of the those webs, particularly when covered in early morning dew that makes them glisten in the sunlight.
The dogged persistence of these creatures in creating such beautifully fragile structures is something that I can appreciate. It amazes how quickly they are able to rebuild their webs after one is destroyed using only these small threads that come from their own body—threads that are strong enough to catch their prey and yet remain so vulnerable to larger creatures and objects that pass right through them.
It reminds me of how easily the circumstances of my own life can be shredded by things much larger than I. When those times come, I have acted as the spider and rebuilt using the resources that I find within my self when I am forced to dig deep within. I am very fortunate to face such destruction and rebuilding much less often than the spider and to have much more outside support in the rebuilding process when it is necessary, but I am still inspired by the powerful image of her patiently rebuilding her life/web over and over again every time she needs to using the resources she finds within herself.
“but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NRSV)
In the class that I am currently taking, we recently completed a paper where we compared various translations of a passage of our choice in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). I chose Isaiah 40: 27-31 as my passage, and I compared the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), the New American Bible (NAB), the Jewish Publication Society 1985 version (JPS), and the New International Version (NIV). This covered the most popular mainline, Roman Catholic, Jewish, and Evangelical translations.
“Man must be arched and buttressed from within, else the temple wavers to the dust.” ~Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
The Washington National Cathedral is a dear place to my heart, so the pictures of the damage caused by Tuesday’s earthquake saddened me. The sight of the missing spire, the other spires that are off-center, the fallen stone works, the cracks left behind—all of these grieve me and concern me. The reports of cracks in the flying buttresses worry me further, especially given the approach of hurricane Irene in a few days.
However, as I look at the pictures of damage from towns that are near where my family lives (a short drive from the epicenter), I am grateful that such a large building constructed of stacked stone fared as well as it did. Architecturally, the credit for this stability comes from the arches and buttresses built into it.
It’s once again time for Synchronicity Friday where I review the moments of synchronicity that I encountered during the last week.
I already talked in A wondrous gift about the two books I read this last week that were so meaningful to me, but the synchronicity in this for me is that these two appeared in my life at the same time. Continue reading →
The absolute best part of having time off work is having time to read to my heart’s content. I’ve finished six books since Thursday afternoon and am finally starting to feel like myself again after too little reading time for way too long. But two of the books I’ve just finished worked together to give me a most wondrous gift this Christmas. In fact, my entire being is still singing with joy at what I’ve glimpsed. Continue reading →
“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” ~Aradia Orcutt
I recently had a trial coaching session with a professional life coach, and one of my assignments that came out of that session was to email her daily for a week with one thing about which I was proud of myself (and no repeats allowed). The idea of coming up with things of which I am proud is never easy for me, but it is particularly hard right now. I have dealt with so much in the last year and have so often felt like I was just barely holding it all together, and at the same time have been hit with more criticism than I’ve had to deal with in a very long time. The combination of the criticism with the feeling that I’m just barely keeping my head above water while dealing with so much overwhelming change has left me with a really bad case of self-loathing. Trying to find things about myself to be proud of was a real challenge!