Guest Post~”It’s Okay”

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I asked Dan a couple of weeks ago if he would be willing to write a guest blog for me. He had plenty of humorous titles and he suggested that he might share a great new recipe or his latest art done with the girls. He’s always ready to help me not take myself too seriously. I don’t think I will be able to have him do this too often…he didn’t come to bed until 2 am last night. I am honored to share his words here and welcome him in his blogging debut;).

Well.  Here goes.  I am Dan.  I am the guest blogger.  Really I am an alien to this whole blogging world.  The only blog I read is my dear wife’s…just to get a varied glimpse into the heart of the one I love.  But last week she told you all that I was going to be her next guest victim, and I am not one to disappoint, so…here goes.

I started by trying to come up with a few title ideas:

  1. God, Girls, and Gluten-Free…The 3 G’s That Changed My Life
  2. My Life as a Second-Hand Celiac
  3. Oil and Water…Trying to Reconcile My Mennonite Heritage with My Gluten Free Lifestyle.

As funny as any of those might have been, I’ve decided to try to get past the humorous surface to something more.

The title I decided to go with is this.  “It’s Okay.”

Here’s a random fact for you.  I have spent approximately 10 years partially congested.  Really,  no joke, breathing through a perfectly good nose (my own evaluation) with less than my created capacity.  And though I don’t remember much, I may never forget one of the rare moments when my nose and sinuses were completely clear and I experienced the unobstructed fresh clean feeling of breathing in through my nasal passages.  I was walking up a hill on Quadra Island in BC, just after a summer rain.  It was beautiful.  So you ask yourself…why am I reading a blog about congestion?  Don’t give up on me yet.

I have been discovering that I am functioning at less than my potential capacity in every aspect of my life.  I experience disabling congestion in my desire to love my wife and children, in my desire to express myself as a creative person, in my desire to significantly connect with God.  Something is holding me back from letting loose and living like I want to live.

But maybe this is how it is supposed to be.  How do I know that this isn’t quite right?  Because I have been given glimpses.  Here are a few.

Glimpse #1

Most of the time, I must confess, I can be a pretty thoughtless selfish guy in my marriage.  And when I reflect on it I can be really discouraged about the small amount of love I have for my wife.  Recently, a cousin of mine who is close to my age died suddenly of an unusual case of meningitis.  His wife and 3 children carry on only by the grace of God.  As I drove home from work one day soon after, I wondered to myself what it would be like to suddenly lose Marissa.  As my eyes filled with tears, the clarity of love that I felt in my heart for her at that moment was intense and real, far beyond my daily experience.  It was a glimpse of love’s potential.

Glimpse #2

I am a creative person.  Or at least that is the game I play most days when I go to work as a photographer and graphic designer.  But honestly, I often sit in front of my computer or hold my camera, just stumped, and unsatisfied with my ability to get “IT” out.  I can’t even tell you what “IT” is.  But “IT” is in me trying to get out.  I am also a violinist.  I occasionally take the time to pull out my violin at home, when no one is really listening, and improvise.  Sometimes as I play (in a bedroom, a bathroom, wherever) I have moments when my entire body and mind just feel crazy, and all off my energy and “IT” is freely flowing into and out of my instrument.  Afterward I am seriously exhausted.  My mind and my limbs just ache.  I get a glimpse of creative potential.

Glimpse #3

I am also a spiritual person (by the way, so are you, whether you believe it or not).  I believe that there is something/Someone (God) beyond and involved in all the stuff of life.  Often, I feel pretty oblivious to anything outside of my immediate sight.  I even wonder if all this “God” stuff is a figment of my imagination.  Before we came to Nova Scotia, we lived in small town Alberta for a year and I was at a strained, inadequate, confused intersection when it came to my responsibility as leader of my family.  We were thinking about coming to the east coast, but I lacked peace and confidence to move ahead because it was drastically different from really great things I had thought we were supposed to be doing.  I decided that I needed to do some unusual listening and started walking the streets of our small town in the middle of the night.  One of those nights (there weren’t many…getting out of bed at 2 is incredibly hard for an undisciplined person), I was walking along, asking the same old questions, “What should we do?  Am I giving up the best things or embracing them by taking my young family to Nova Scotia?”  Suddenly, and softly, I sensed, “It’s okay”.  I felt a new sense of peace about the situation and walked home, ready to watch as the details fell into place.  I am still watching the details of an unexpected plan fall into place.  You may think I am crazy, but I believe I got a little glimpse.  I believe we are all getting little glimpses every day.  Deep in our souls, even unconsciously, we can’t forget them, and we want more.

So what is this all saying?  Well I could choose to live my life dissatisfied with my congested way of loving, creating, and knowing God.  I could spend my days just longing to constantly be at the peak of human potential, to sit in the glimpses, or sit in someone else’s shadow.  Sometimes I do, and it is incredibly frustrating and disabling.    It could be so easy to never act loving to my wife, never create, or never seek God because I am unable to do it at my known created capacity.

But the truth I am trying to take to heart, is that though it is alright to want more, I am more likely to get more if I accept my place on the path, and if I keep moving forward knowing that it’s okay when it doesn’t look just like I expected.  It’s okay to have not reached my created capacity yet.  It’s okay that my life is an all around messy situation.  The point of living isn’t being complete.  The developing is a beautiful messy process.  The One who made us is happy to join us in it.  He’s not standing at the finish line saying “Come on you slacker. It’s been 31 years.  Why aren’t you complete all ready?”  He’s actually walking with us saying, “I’ve been to the finish line, you’ve seen glimpses that you can’t forget, let’s keep going together,  don’t stress, it’s okay.”

Sorry.  This post had no pictures. (Actually there is one as that is the benefit to being the wife of the guest!)

Dan is a jack of all trades, master of none, and starting to be okay with that. He is proud to include busking on his resume. He enjoys being totally out-numbered by the ladies in his life. Things that Dan enjoys in his spare time (?) are wandering and clearing our forest and frantically trying to build shelters for his wife’s growing menagerie of animals.

Are You Inspired?


We cleaned out our front hall closet today and wondered what we were going to do with it. Because why use a closet as a closet when you only have two in the entire house? At first, I thought of a book nook for the girls as they are all the rage and frankly, I think it is a great idea. However, as Dan pointed out, we have plans for more reading spots than we have closets.

Then I thought of a play kitchen. Perfect. The girls have been setting up random kitchens lately and having so much fun. So after thinking about it for a few minutes, I did what any self-respecting, creative woman would do; I googled it because surely there have been others out there who have done it beautifully. I’d have used Pinterest because that seems to be where all the best ideas lurk but my computer is broken and it doesn’t work well on my phone. Anyways. I hadn’t looked long when the absurdity hit me. Who am I kidding? No matter how many lovely ideas I find, I am likely going to stick some crates, baskets, and a little side table on the tacky 70’s linoleum, hang a couple of pictures on the un-cool old wall paper, and let the girls raid my kitchen for supplies. And they will love it.  If I could come up with the idea then surely I can figure out how to create it on my own.

So where am I going with this? Well, I have been chewing on a word for a couple of weeks now. Inspire. It seems to get used a lot in the online social media world. There is Pinterest to inspire creativity (in so many ways); there are blogs to inspire better parenting, eating, living, learning, and so on. If you really love the word there are some brilliant DIY wall décor ideas. And sometimes I spend so much time seeking inspiration that I forget what I was looking for in the first place. I discount my own ability to act (or choose not to act) based on my own thoughts, beliefs, and creativity.

Inspire, by its definition, means to influence, move or guide. It means to spur on, to bring out, or to infuse life (Thank you, Merriam-Webster dictionary). Inspiration brings action. It doesn’t/shouldn’t bring guilt, discouragement or inaction.

Through all the forms of social media* I have found so many great ideas for my home, family, and life from others. I have been encouraged and challenged as a mother, as a wife, and as a woman. In many ways, I would say that I have come to realize more of who I was created to be. I’ve been inspired.

On the other side of the coin, I have collected  “inspiration” and become dissatisfied. I have read about parenting and second-guessed what I know to be best. I have read about balance and felt less for the time that I spend with my children. I’ve turned from the computer to my life feeling that I need to be “more” and frustrated with my lack of ability to be that. I’ve taken some one else’s words, ideas, beliefs, and beauty on as my necessity. And that is stifling. It’s uninspiring. But the thing is I don’t think most have intended to share their stuff that way; it’s me taking it in with my own insecurities and hang-ups.

And so I want to say this plainly. Don’t allow my words in this place to do that to you. If you read my thoughts and feel pressured, looked down upon, guilty or hurt, turn away from them. Throw them out. Perhaps my struggles and insecurities are not what yours are but perhaps the things that I write about bring out yours. I am tempted insert all kinds of disclaimers here of how I don’t think I am all that or that I have any thing more than another and I suppose this is a disclaimer in itself. But the truth is that I know I am not alone in feeling that I need to measure up…to what I’m not sure any of us know exactly.

I had someone recently make a kind comment on my charming life and at first I chuckled and then I sighed. Is that really what is seen? Yes, my life is lovely. I am incredibly blessed. I have been given much and I have much to offer. And my life has just as much, or more, of the disorderly, the messy, the hard, the mundane as I can handle. Yes, there are some things that transfer to screen well and look very charming. But that is not all of what life is.

I think that perhaps I am writing this mostly for the mamas who are also in my particular place in life. We are raising our children and there is so much that we can be and do. We think that we can and should be everything. And life laid out on a screen is so much neater than life in motion. Including mine. As I already said, I have received so much from the lives of others and I very much want to offer what I have to others both on and off screen. I want to inspire. I want to be inspired. But, I don’t want to spend my days thinking that I should do or be something that I am not. I don’t want you to either. I don’t want either of us to spend time and space on lies when our lives can be and are filled with so much good. I want you to be inspired. Truly. If anything I share can do that for you, take them and use them. I will be blessed by that. But please, please don’t be brought down by mine or anyone else life on the screen. There is so much more than that.

Oddly enough, I saw this blog post, http://powerofmoms.com/2012/04/your-children-want-you/, circulating as I was writing this one. I had feelings of, “she said what I was trying to say, and she said it better” and “ why even bother finishing this” welling up. But then I realized that was exactly the point she was making. I don’t need to be someone that I am not. She was specifically talking about being a mom but the thing is that each of us would do well to focus on living well as ourselves. Not compared to someone else. 

* I am talking about social media but I think that this can often also apply in face to face friendships as well…I know that it does for me.

Good Friday

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It is a day commemorating that darkest day. He who is Good giving himself completely. Because of Love.

A holiday to many, a holy day to many. A day of remembering the darkness while rejoicing in the light given.

Today His name was often on our lips as we gently, gratefully spoke the story. Jesus. It is difficult to tell and difficult to explain. Especially to small children.

We walked a hill today. But we didn’t carry the weight of a cross. Instead, we listened to birds, we saw new life budding, and we soaked in the warm sun.

As we found that tree covered in thorns, we spoke the story again.

Those thorns form a crown that remind us. Of Love.

It’s a story that is unreasonable. Unfair. Illogical. Incredible.

Tonight, as a family, we gathered around our table and we remembered. We knew. Love.

Friday’s on my blog are usually guest posts of late. Last week was missed due to Kathleen’s illness and this week I chose to miss because of Good Friday. Guest posts will resume next week with words from one who is very special to me.