in-between faith

in the valley of the in-between
after letting go of former things or finishing well something proper
waiting for the next right thing
inhaling the weight of this unpredictable life
exhaling the fear of nothing coming again
inhaling the emptiness
exhaling the ambient loneliness ever present
i find faint comfort in darling phrases
this too shall pass
the lord is my shepherd I lack nothing
what is mine will not pass me by

instead of accepting and feeding the wallow
instead I dare to fan the flame of my pale faith
until it deepens and darkens
roots in my body so the truth
of my enoughness has already arrived even if nothing is to change
of my hope of what is to come is about to change everything

Lent 2022: Underneath the anger

The art of removing my armor and laying down my defenses requires that I first acknowledge and maybe even allow myself to experience the anger of being hurt/attacked. Even if that’s not anyone’s intention, and I want to believe it’s often not, my perception can overpower reality. Perception can become reality.

So then first, allow for the anger. I can’t run from it, I cannot pretend it’s not brewing and written all over my brows. I cannot ignore my anger. And it too shall pass when I’m too spent from living in that. And after the exhaustion and after a peek into another way of seeing the world, then, there’s a chance for something softer.

Then in my breath, I see my fallibility and tendency to push others then. Then I can see my survival tactics. Then I can see my fear that, if I don’t stand for myself, no one else will! That’s the lie: that we are alone and no one has our back. That’s the lie that’s been passed down from the beginning of time: that we must fend for ourselves because no one has a plan for us otherwise. That’s the lie I’m trying to let go.

In seeing how I have wronged when I feel wronged and when I have offended in my defending, then I can forgive myself and if necessary, ask for forgiveness. The latter is hard and I suck at it. The former is harder, and I overcompensate by doing more, working harder.

Maybe I’m best when I’m too exhausted to defend myself while at the same time, wise and compassionate enough to see everyone around me is just simply scared as well. We are all scared; now who acts out of love still, is the bravest of us all.

Advent: Day 5

What if you’re waiting, and unsure of what exactly you’re waiting for? What if you’re waiting and hoping, with one foot in doubt? What if you’re waiting and praying, with a strong fog of insecurity and imposter?

I’m tired of the self-help, personal development and inner work that says its our disbelief and our own self-sabotage that are the biggest obstacles. I’m tired of the talk about how I’m staying small because I’m the one staying and thinking small. I’m tired of the work and worksheets and workshops that seek to strengthen me not because I don’t think there’s truth, but because it puts so much of the burden on me. I don’t want to put the blame or responsibility on someone else, and I also don’t want the heart of the onus to be on me.

I’m so dang fallible and fragile. Do I need to conjure up enough strength in order to get to the next chapter? I have too many years of trauma and generational chains to unlock. Do I have to wait for my healing to hit to get what’s been waiting for me? I’m not one to wait around for manna to fall from the sky. But I’m also tired of trying and prying and crawling and searching and digging and throwing darts and putting out more feelers and doing and doing and doing and doing. Where does my dependence on god and my personal responsibility meet? Where’s the line between trusting the divine is more powerful than any mistakes and messes I can make, and trusting that I have a part to play in my own journey?

I’m tired of job searching on Craigslist every other month, living hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck. I’m tired of being held at the mercy of audition notices and avail asks. I’m tired of re-working and re-writing a project that I’m scared will never see the light of day, that I’m desperate for higher help. I’m tired of being single and “opening and re-opening” my heart & my energy & my vibe in hopes that folks will know I’m truly into partnership. I’m tired of suspension. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of watching the world crumble around me due to covid, bad justice at the Supreme Court, climate change, gun violence, hurt people hurting people. I want to make this life count. I want to make this moment count. I want and need god to show me, even just a glimpse, what’s to come.

Advent: Day 2

I think we should scrap from our repertoire, how old are you?, (unless there is a biological-time-sensitive-related response). After I respond with my age, first I get the the slightest of pauses, then for the most part, though I’m not sure for how much longer, it is then followed up with, oh you still’ve got time or oh you’re young, don’t worry about that! It’s as if my age placed me in this system of time + milestone expectations, and for the time being, I’m still falling within my “window of time.” The worry for me can subside, if for a bit. The anxiety on my behalf, can fade, momentarily. I have once again received a soft stamp of YOU HAVE NOT COMPLETELY FAILED YET! With the silent but ever present, BUT REMEMBER, YOU DON’T HAVE ALL DAY, ALL LIFE, GET ON IT!

Or maybe all that preamble rambling exists because I am very self-conscious of my age. Because I do have ambient fear that my time is running out — to have a partner and travel before having a baby, to even have a biological baby, to play a teenager on TV, to drink merrily and wake up without a killer migraine. Because there are many things I want to accomplish and achieve before my parents are too old to celebrate with me. Because every time I turn on the TV or read the news, all the gold medalists, literally and figuratively, are younger than me.

Waiting with full awareness of a ticking clock can be full of anxiety. Each passing minute can feel like another minute that didn’t fulfill a desire. Each coming minute can be full of pressure and expectation. Each present minute is just the cream in the middle that we don’t even enjoy. I can’t tell you to simply, enjoy the present moment, even though that is literally what must do otherwise you’ll waste your life obsessing and worrying. Thing is enjoying the present moment is pretty damn scary & brave. It’s allowing yourself to take in the space and people around you at every moment. It’s giving yourself permission not to stress about what’s about to come, which requires a trust in timing. It’s embracing all that comes up in each moment, because when you pause and revel like this, a lot comes up. Smells. Sensations. Surprises. And when this happens, you are reminded how damn human you are, how porous and how fragile and how powerful.

So every time you are tempted to stress and compare, and figure out your placement in this timeline of should’s, I encourage you to feel your feet on the floor or your butt on the chair, take a deep breath and take it all in.

What are you surrounded by?

What are you full of?

What just surprised you? And now! And now!

Advent: Day 1

Advent is anticipation, it’s waiting, it’s knowing that good is coming…and we gotta be patient.

When I’m hangry, the time before my feeding is brutal. I feel like I have lost control of my emotions. I feel like I could bite someone’s head off if they say the wrong thing. I feel pissed and then more pissed because I don’t know why I’m so pissed. When I finally realize it’s because I’m hungry, I get a spurt of light and hope. Ah, a solution!! I forgive myself for the thoughts and feelings and potentially behaviors before my need realization. Sometimes I brave the wait by trying to convince myself the hunger will pass. Actually if you press long enough, the hunger does pass. Other times I immediately go venturing for the food. Now if I’m in search for food, this time is also brutal. Because the solution is clear and feels close, yet too far away. I get focused. I get quiet. I am determined. This is also vulnerable territory because any obstacle can be a land mine. But then when I get that first bite, I am blown away, like heaven has come to meet me in my mouth. I love everyone. I love this food. I am grateful. I forget that I was once upon a time, a minute ago, about to slay and rage. I am simply overcome by this food that I knew would cure me, yet also didn’t fully know would bring me so much life.

Why this story? Because advent can feel like this slew of this and that and pissy attitude, even when you know what’s about to come. Because advent, anticipation, waiting and future promises can bring up a lot of feelings and doubts and land mines? Because you might not even know what this advent uncovers! I know the coming of hope and Justice is damn good and is about to, has come.

But the in between, the moments when your body and the world seem to take over, need to be acknowledged and embraced. It’s okay to be pissy and hungry and longing and disappointed and dissatisfied and excited and impatient and patient and … all of it. Take a breath. Allow for it.

What are you waiting for?

What do you know without a doubt, is going to happen, but just requires some trust in timing?

Can you anticipate good instead of glum? Can you anticipate all your dreams and promises coming true? Can you anticipate god’s YES for you?

Coming Home

Does it feel like everyone is one stare, one shove, one slight away from a breakdown and/or a lashing out? I feel it on the train. I feel it on the streets. I feel that I’m one of the said folks. We’re in the middle of a pandemic that feels like a false tail end of living our best lives and feels like the shoe will drop any minute now which is why we’re living our best lives. Also best lives? Right alongside all this: Climate change. Afghanistan. Banning reproductive rights. Evictions.

So it feels like champagne problems to say I feel lost and gray and restless. I have so much. I’m alive. I have folks who love me. I have a laptop that allows me to blog this post. But can I just have this moment, like the private good cry I had while watching 30 Rock yesterday during the middle of the day?

I wish I could do the thing I love most.
I wish I felt like all the moments till now are just prepping me for something big that’s about to happen.
I wish I didn’t doubt this calling I keep reassuring myself with.
I wish I would just be grateful and happy that I can crash at my parents’ house instead of feeling like I’m trapped.
I wish I had a place I could call home and buy my own plant.
I wish I knew things will work out, whatever that means. I think it feels like a big OH and WOAH and I SEE, NOW!
I wish I felt more seen.
I wish I didn’t think Christians who throw around — “I have the joy of the Lord,” “I will pray for you,” “The Spirit is carrying me through,” and the rest of those phrases that only seem “real” when you’re at the center of that kind of faith-led blessing — were just faking it and unable to meet me in my emotional gray cave.
I wish I really did trust in being present in the moment.
I wish I knew what my next step needs to be.
Because of all deep well of wishes and desires I feel sad and angry and scared.

Yet somehow in my gray and in my self-pity, I happen to still feel God’s presence. When I allow for the anxiety and control to pause, I feel God’s kind love for me. I get a surge of hope that miracles happen. I remember again that the gospel is it, and if I can show God’s love, then today, this moment is a victory.

Faith and God are my most vulnerable spaces because here is where I hold my most doubts and my biggest hope. With God is where I feel most alive and drives me to live my life bravely. With God I feel the most angry and upset that I am not getting my way! (I’m sure it’s for the best….right?) I write this because I need to remind myself it is okay that I still love God even if I don’t look it on the outside or post scripture in my social media. I need God. I am a desperate skeptical human being, and only by the grace of God am I still here. I may not have a physical home I can safely and proudly call mine. I may not have a career that I can proudly and excitedly exclaim. But I have a home in God that I keep coming back to, and for that I am grateful.

Lent Day 29: I give up Being Okay

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Isaiah 58:6-9

I give up being okay. I am not okay with injustice. I am not okay with hate. I am not okay with the lack of awareness. I am not okay with people who are going hungry. I am not okay with those who are suffering. I am not okay with justifying suffering. I am not okay with minimizing suffering. I am not okay with hate. I am not okay with hate. I am not okay that there are people suffering and feeling alone in their suffering. I am not okay with having to take care of your feelings while I’m navigating my feelings. I will never be okay with the things that were not meant to be and I pray that God will give me the patience, strength, kindness, mostly kindness and curiosity, to do something about all the things I find are not okay.

Lent Day 28: I give up Worst Case Scenarios

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Isaiah 58:11

I give up living in the worst case scenario. Well, what do worst case scenarios reveal to me? That even if that did happen, I would still be fine? That I’ve put my identity and worth in the most trivial of things? I give up preemptively preparing for a crisis. I can trust that I am capable, that I am adaptive, that I will not be alone in handling anything that goes wrong. We have gone through a pandemic haven’t we? Breathe. Be in this moment. Who is leading? Can I feel spring?

Lent Day 4: I give up Scarcity

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Isaiah 58:6-7

I give up scarcity. I give up hoarding for fear of running out. I give up withholding when I can give. I give up thinking that if another gets, it takes from me. I give up these ideas rooted in white supremacy, that there are only so many seats at the table. I give up seeing flesh and blood, my neighbor, the person in front of me, as separate from me. I lean into faith by giving just a little. I lean into faith by giving a little more than I feel comfortable doing, aware that even if I give too much, it will come back. God always provides. I lean into giving knowing that there is enough to share. I lean into Jesus’ miracle of the 5 loaves and 2 fish. I lean into Jesus’ witness of the women who gave all her 2 coins. I lean into giving it my all. I lean into knowing the reward comes back in the moment and in the future. Generosity is seeing flesh and blood as my lucky responsibility and that I do have the means to make another feel seen, loved and important. Abundance is knowing without a doubt that generosity is integral not only for others who are hurting and lacking, but also for my well-being.

Lent Day 3: I give up The Need to Keep it Together

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Isaiah 58:8-9

There is dark so light can break through. There is hurt so healing can appear. There are moments of lapse in judgment and poor behavior so righteousness can once again shine through. There is fear so the glory of God can push me to take my next step. There is my need for help that leads to my call to God. I let go of only holding onto what’s to come without acknowledging how I feel right now. I do not need to be okay right now. I do not need to look okay. I do not need to collect myself. I get to accept, embrace, be angry, be sad, be needing right now in this moment. Because my breakthrough comes when I realize this part of myself — the part that is messy, scared, lonely, angry — is just as beautiful. I give up needing to present only the side of me that works for the people around me. I give up spending energy trying to make those around me comfortable when I am shriveling up inside. I allow myself to be all in, in the pain with hope for the joy, in the sadness with expectation of the renewal, in the fear knowing if I dare to take just one step in faith, I will fly.