Scary people.

I have a theory about people who try to look scary. It is the same with animals who have a lot of armor. Perhaps they aren’t really scary at all. Perhaps they are simply hiding how they really are.

Animals put up a pretty good show to be left alone. Hedgehogs have sharp spines to protect their soft bellies. It keeps them from being eaten. Skunks release a terrible smell for the same reason.

How many people put up a show of being scary because deep down they feel that is who they are? Perhaps they feel they are unworthy of love, so they put up barriers to make sure their theory isn’t proven wrong. Or perhaps secretly they are very shy.

They will go out of their way to make themselves ugly to keep people away. Deep down they are quite beautiful but they can’t see it yet. The eyes may be the window to the soul, but the hairstyle is a pretty good tipoff too, along with the clothing.

I think that some people see themselves as dangerous, so they make themselves look dangerous. In reality they aren’t dangerous at all, but they just want to keep you away. It is all a show.

But then there are alligators and sharks. They aren’t putting on a show. They really are dangerous. So maybe my theory means nothing. But, it is probably a good idea to give scary looking people a second (and third) chance. Otherwise you may miss out on a diamond in the rough.

List – on grocery lists and dating my husband.

I just sent an email to my husband. Please pick up bananas, organic instant oatmeal, Amy’s frozen dinners, and some “Naked” fruit juice. I send him a lot of emails like this. Publix is on his way home, and today he will get out of work three hours before I do. By the time I get off there is just enough time to drive home, eat, and then it is time to get ready for bed.

Then I thought this is not healthy. If all I send him are grocery lists, I’m not going to see him as anything other than a grocery list getter. I didn’t send him grocery lists when we were dating. What about being married for almost ten years has made me change my message to him from sweet little love notes to shopping lists?

I think it is important to remember to date my husband. All the things I did to get him should be all the things I do to keep him.

Recently I’ve decided to have a special dinner with him once a week. Usually he cooks. Usually I get home so late that it isn’t feasible for me to cook. I also wasn’t taught how to cook when I was growing up so a lot about cooking frustrates me. It always feels like I’m hurtling down the hill on my bike and the brakes don’t work. I always feel like things are cooking at different rates and nothing is going to come out on time at the right temperature. Who cares if the salmon is hot if the mashed potatoes are cold?

But I’ve decided it is time to learn. I’m not going to get better at cooking unless I try. So I’m starting with things I know. So once a week, on Fridays, (my day off) I go to the grocery store and pick fresh vegetables and some seafood. Nothing frozen, nothing packaged. I cook it, and we use the nice plates. We light candles. We turn off the lights. More importantly we turn off the TV. Just my husband and me, at the dinner table, enjoying a meal and each other’s company.

It is great. I don’t know why we haven’t done this before now. I know I’ve thought about it. I’ve always managed to come up with an excuse. I’m tired. It is raining. My back hurts. I’m overwhelmed. They are just different ways of saying I don’t want to, not really. You’ll either find a way or you’ll find an excuse, they say.

It all started on Thanksgiving. There was too much drama going on with the in-laws so it made more sense to stay home. We used the dinner table for the first time in years for something other than a desk.

I decided now was the time to keep this going. No backing out now. Any tradition has to start somewhere, and now was as good a time as any. So something good is going to come out of something not so great. But there are always snags on the way to happiness.

Last Friday it was raining. It was cold. Going to the grocery store was the last thing I wanted to do. But I did. I did because I love him. I did it to show that I love him. I can say it all the time but it doesn’t mean anything unless I make it real.

Maybe something as easy as taking the time to take the time is the secret. Maybe slogging out in the cold rain to make a hot meal is really the secret to everything.

Aware

Everything is a reminder. Everything is a tool.

I once read about a lady who has the word “aware” tattooed on her hand to remind her to be awake and conscious.

There is more to being awake than having your eyes open. Just like there is a difference between hearing and listening.

What do you do to remind yourself that time is fleeting, life is short, and it is time to get cracking? I’ve heard of Thai Buddhists who will meditate for days beside a corpse. Alone.

Sometimes you have to go inside yourself to find yourself.

Some people go a bit crazy when they realize they are going to die. Some get bossy. Some get grumpy. If only they could have realized that death is the great equalizer. Nobody escapes it. Rich, poor, ugly, beautiful, kind, mean. We are all worm food. Our last home will be the smallest efficiency apartment ever, and that is just the way it is.

There is practice in this. Nothing really matters.

There is chaos in this. Every moment counts.

Aware. Aware. Aware.

The alarm clock is going off. Do you hit the snooze button and turn over?

Scale message

If you have a membership at a gym, please print this message out and tape it to the scale. I’d seen this message somewhere else (online), and I’ve taken it and added a little to it. We all need a little encouragement. Feel free to tweak the font and play with the underlining and bold options. You can also tape it to your own scale.

(Post just this part below)

This scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity.

That’s it.

It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, possibility, strength, character, or love.

You are an awesome person, and that has nothing to do with what you weigh.

Jesus as a BFF.

Last week I went to my spiritual director and she asked me to choose one of the times that we had been discussing. I talk with her about all sorts of events that have occurred in the past month. I talk about troubles with family as well as good times when I took time to take care of myself. She asked me to pick one time and “see” Jesus there with me.

This is still a foreign concept to me. I wasn’t raised with the idea of Jesus being right here with me, or being “crazy” about me, as my spiritual director insists that he is. But I’m playing along, and it seems to be helping. I often feel like I’m doing it wrong, but she seems to think differently.

I chose a time when I was sitting up in my “star stones” area, where I go to talk to God at the top of the back of my yard. It was one of the times where I did it not because I was mad but because I wanted to just visit. I’m trying to get in the habit of inviting God into each moment, not just the hard ones. I’m trying to be mindful of God’s presence all the time.

I visualized Jesus sitting right next to me on my right. She asked me what direction he was looking. I said he was looking forward, in the same direction I was looking. She asked me if he was saying anything to me. I said he wasn’t saying anything, but it was as if I could feel colors from him. She had me describe the colors.

This is the best picture I can provide to illustrate. I’d taken it the week before, on an especially “God” kind of walk.
winter4

It isn’t about the color, or what is in the picture, it is about what it makes me feel. These colors make me feel safe. They are calm and earthy and soothing.

She asked me to stay with that feeling and to think about it.

I started to cry. Nobody has ever made me feel like that. Nobody has ever made me feel that safe or loved or wanted. Nobody has ever just wanted to be with me and not wanted something from me. I feel like I’m constantly on my guard with people. I keep waiting for them to let me down or beat me up. With guys I’m always something to try to have sex with. I’m an object, not a person.

It was refreshing to feel that oasis of calm, where I’m not wanted for what I can give, but who I am. Everything that I am, my beauty and my bruises, my wisdom and my weakness, is loved and cherished and celebrated. Everything.

Later I started thinking that this isn’t fair, this feeling. This perfect feeling of peace just can’t be matched. Nobody else will ever live up to it. I’m going to get hurt. My feelings are going to be ignored and overlooked. I’m going to be treated like a thing, an object. Nobody is going to measure up to this feeling I get from Jesus. Why go to the effort of knowing Jesus more closely, when it is so beautiful? It is so fragile and strong at the same time. It is so heartbreakingly kind. Nothing compares. Nothing.

It reminds me of when I stopped smoking pot. Everything started to seem vanilla in comparison. Life was dull. Movies were boring and predicable. Food was tasteless. Friends were annoying. Family was impossible. I remembered why I started smoking in the first place. It added seasoning to my life and smoothed off the rough bits. Pot was the rainbow, real life was the black and white. Who wants three channels on the TV when you can have 187? Real life doesn’t compare well to altered life.

Jesus is always present and real and holy and pure and safe. He’s never thoughtless. Never pushy. Never aggressive, needy, groping. He always knows what I need. Nobody is ever going to measure up to that. So why even go there. It hurts.

And then I got a feeling back. I knew the answer in that moment.

Because He heals the brokenness.
He fills in the cracks.
Jesus makes up the difference in their lack.

Jesus is like this –
He pays the bar tab. He orders the cab. He holds your hair when you have had too much to drink and you have to barf. He wipes your face afterwards with a warm wet washcloth.

Jesus is in the face of all kindness
and is in all kinds of people
you’d never expect.

Focus on the light, not the cracks.

trinity tree