everyday story: thursday night basketball.

4e7c935a668411e28abf22000a1f9bf5_7Thursday nights are for basketball.

Our girl pulls on cotton socks with pandas at the toes and everyone tumbles into nylon shorts and oversized t shirts. We fall out the door trying to beat the stop and start of rush hour traffic.

In my bag I have a ziploc full of popped popcorn-salty and earthy and still a little warm, some jagged-cut time flash cards, coloring supplies jammed in tight, my book and a neon pencil with a waxy yellow tip.

We shuffle through cold mid-winter air into the gymnasium with it’s spit-shined floors and humming lights. I begin two hours of sitting on ramrod wooden bleachers with my back against a cold cement wall.

I correspond. Spend twenty minutes speed catching up with a college friend. Go over the time flashcards with our girl in pink. Read my book.

All the while there is a thrum running underneath. A search for good story. Within the cacophony of basketballs bouncing and shoes squeaking across waxy floors,  over and over again my heart is grasping for something more.

Bounce.

Bounce.

Bounce.

I look up and across the gym our five year old boy is sprawled out on his belly, legs kicked up at a perfect angle. He’s chosen oversized basketball shorts, a bright and true red shirt and his black cowboy boots. Only a few inches of his knees, still round with childhood, show between the hem of his shorts and the curve of his boots. He is laughing, his nubbin fingers the perfect resting place for his round and full and rose-red cheeks.

This is the story my heart needs to be told. How in just that quick moment there is peace and freedom and joy. I flutter-float across that gym floor and scoop up that shiny and smooth rock, stuff it in my pocket.

It’s an everyday kind of story.

stillness leaves room.

round two. happy Thanksgiving, friends.
When the future looms hazy and distant and wide open without the clearest sign of what next step to take-well-I don’t have answers for that.

It’s a bit like standing on one side of Lake Michigan and knowing that the other side is there but all the squinting in the world won’t bring up a tree line. The first time I stood on a storied pier and took all of that water in, it felt like my eyes were just falling into the familiar. Oceans don’t have visible boundaries. In my little world, lakes always did.

It’s hard to know how to process that. To know that there is a boundary and that every glint and ripple is contained within it.  We do the same with life, squinting to fill in the lines of when we might reach the other side.

Being? Resting? Waiting for the boundary line to creep up over the horizon? That feels unnatural.

But God has said, “Be still and know.” Yes. We know Him in the stillness. We hear Him. We see His hand when we rest from our striving.

There’s this, too. Sometimes? In the stillness? Something rises up. A different kind of knowing grows in the space of quiet, rest, being. It’s the kind of knowing that fills in the lines of the other side a bit. It writes stories on our hearts and uncovers dusty corners full of things that need to be told.

Sometimes next isn’t drawn out in the hustling and reaching and hurry upping. It comes in the waiting and stillness and quiet.

 

on finding what’s in the middle

findingyourstory

In January I excised a fairly large portion of who I have been for the past four years.

At times it has felt like I would never be finished with the cutting away, sure that it would go on and on.

I’m still under the knife.

Lately, I’ve found something unwelcome in the space where there used to be success in measurables.

Insecurity.

I knew that I would lean in to writing. But it’s sort of like a specialized tumor removing surgery. You have to keep going back until you get all of it and I have struggled with feeling very small.

Like I don’t have much of importance to say.

This is change. Change cuts away all of the self dependance and all of your standing firm on what you can do until you rest in what is really true. Until you know exactly what your story is. And it doesn’t start with you.

Sometimes the only way out of the insecurity is to walk right through it. To let it be the laser edge to your change blade, making you question why you’re in this thing in the first place.

Here’s the thing. You feel insecure? You’re not alone. Use it. Use it to discover exactly what your story is and why you need to tell it and when you need to tell it and how you need to tell it.

And then do it. Don’t avoid. Don’t pretend that you don’t care because you are afraid. Don’t rush your turn. Be patient. Maybe you have to let things dwindle first, be cut away. When you get to the good and real and honest stuff, then you tell your story.

I have been doing my fair share of walking through and watching the dwindle and surrendering to the knife. I’ve had to let go of plans. I’ve had to say no. But, I think that I am beginning to see the bright light at the middle of my own story.

The unfurling is beginning and I’m so happy to share it with you.

But what about you? What does insecurity do to you? Change? Maybe you have some encouragement for others. Share if you’d like!