Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Coming back to Patty

It's been awhile since Patty and I have been okay. I hate that things have transpired this way. Our friendship has a history, you see. This soul sister was my solid ground five years ago, as I made my way in the uncharted waters of Birmingham. Her music, the backdrop to many of my days here, both bad and good.

When she came through in concert last fall, I delighted at the chance to hear her songs in person once again. And so, together with my boyfriend at the time, I joined others for a magical evening of song and storytelling. And then hours later, tragedy hit when that relationship of nearly two years came to a somewhat-sudden end. 

I've never been so damn sad. For months, Patty was tied to this memory, to this cemetery. As much as I love Ms. Griffin's music, it was too painful to revisit. 

This week, however, when "Forgiveness" came across my speakers, I let it play. 
And I sang at full volume the words I'd not been able to sing. 

Don't need to tell me a thing baby, we already confessed/ And I raise my voice to the air/ It's hard to give/ It's hard to get/ But I think it's the best bet/ Hard to give/ Never gonna forget/ But everybody needs a little forgiveness. 

I've wanted to get better for way longer than I have been capable of doing it. Sadness was inescapable,  raw and real, deep and soul-marring. And in living it and through it, I feel like I've joined the human race.

But, I'm ready to forgive. I'm ready to walk on. And I'm ready to reunite with my Dear Old Friend. It's been too long.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dental Hygiene, Patience, and My Twenty-Seventh Year

I’ve been at this 27 years-old thing just shy of a month, and so far, the ripe age has bestowed some sage lessons. It all started when I decided to use my birthday money to purchase an electric toothbrush. For years, I’ve been told that I have stellar dental hygiene (even though I’m one of those irregular flossers your mama warned you about). I loved getting star reports from the hygienist, rather prided myself on them, actually.

Until! About a year ago, I got a less than shiny report. And some cavities. And some coffee-looking stains on my out-of-sight molars. It was high time to step up my regime. And, no better excuse to commit to better oneself than on a birthday. So, Sonicare it was. Happy birthday to me.

Have I lost you on my “Is this toothbrush approved by the Amercian Dental Associaton” Kevin McAlister sound-a-like diatribe? Stick with me. I promise I have some insight to share here.

So, the toothbrush came, and its instructions suggested brushing for a solid two minutes. In fact, an automatic internal timer even conveniently terminates the pulsating motion when it has run its course. Two minutes? Easy peasy, I thought.

But, heavens. Two minutes can be agonizingly long when you’re holding a gum-tickly, teeth-knocking, wiggle stick in your mouth. And, quite frankly, the first time I used it, I wanted to quit after about 20 seconds.

I need to practice patience.

In teeth-brushing, yes, but also in the everyday. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve recently been disappointed by some more foiled life plans. I’m now left with the here, the now. And while it’s my inclination to want to prepare for and create a new plan, it has become very clear to me that stillness is what I need. And though I’d love to expedite time and get myself out into the tomorrow I imagine, time can’t be reasoned with.  As I often remember, “it responds like a snail to our impatience.”

So, I conclude, brushing my teeth just two super-slow-moving minutes, twice a day—this is teaching me the value of enduring, of waiting, of knowing that long-suffering has great purpose. And, yes, I truly believe, it will be worth it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Train Trestle in Northport, Ala.

Me and Paul Simon, we're escape artists. We're always looking for a way out of discomfort. I've sat on my couch a handful of times in the last few weeks as this song spun on my record player. I've sung along, and laughed at the inventive ways ole Paul conceives to flee a scene. And only recently did it occur to me that I adopt the same wiley ways when it comes to figuring ways to make changes in my life.

Back last year, I read this article. It struck a chord. I adopted the author's suggestion to not get stuck in the now. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming.

Taking that to heart meant not being afraid to do something drastic. I decided that I was willing to take chances. Settledness has a way of creeping in. I was keeping vigil to make sure it wouldn't find it's way through my back door. Hurt, frustrated, lonely, bored. One thing after the other just drove my desire to want to get the H out of the place that I felt was leaving me longing.

I justified it all in the name of fighting complacency.

So, I carried on with my infamous scheming. I wanted to pen a great plan for my life, and I wanted the Lord to cooperate. Waiting on the Lord, I see now, maybe isn't quite so active as I thought. 

I don't know what the He has in store for my life, but I do know that I need to cool it. I'm going to practice being still for a while. No scheming, no list-making. When I'm chopping a carrot, I need to just be chopping a carrot.  Because, quite frankly, I don't think I've ever really tried that.