Monday, December 22, 2014

The ache, the struggle and the hope.

It comes out of nowhere
That thought that you're missing something...someone. 
There's an ache that exists in the 
knowledge that sometimes there's no one to appreciate the small and large things in life with you. 
There is a struggle that exists in making certain the things you think you want stay put in their proper place. We know too well how misplaced expectations hurt us in so many ways. 
There is a hope that exists in my heart that one day there will be someone with me to turn toward and enjoy the moment with. A friend for life. A challenger...a sharpener. 
There is an ache, a struggle and a hope within me. Sometimes quiet and sometimes loud. Sometimes they all compete for my attention while other times one speaks louder than the others. 
Above all there is a voice that comes through more loudly that says, "Do you trust me? Do you believe I love you? Do you know I'm enough? Do you love me more than your dreams?" Sometimes I don't know what my answer is. 
There is a Love that exists inside me that teaches me the hard things. That has a greater plan for us all than I ever could. Love tells me of a love story I couldn't imagine on my own that is happening in my life right now. It tells me to wait and to trust and to know Him. Love tells me that when the ache, the struggle and the hope are given to him there exists something else...peace, joy and life. 

The ache and struggle still exist. I believe that they allow me to worship him more. They are something for me to offer. In this way they are redeemable...they serve a purpose. The bitterness allows me to appreciate the sweetness in my life. The bitter reminds me that things are not whole and that I'm looking for that which completes me. The ache and the struggle point me back toward the Hope.

The final pots of 2014

Pie Plate
Pop-up Maker's Market

My favorite mugs of the year

I think that maybe...just enjoyment of ceramics is resurfacing. It only took a year and a half after graduating, but I think that I'm slowly remembering that I love designing, throwing, and finishing pots. There is very little that gets me quite so excited as opening a kiln to see what I ended up with...little more gets me quite so angry when things don't turn out the way I wanted them to as ceramics does. I still feel like ceramics and I are an old married couple. We drive each other crazy, but I'd rather have it than not. (Those last two sentences show that A) I'm crazy and B) maybe have a somewhat dysfunctional view of marriage?! lol) Also a pleasant surprise is that these may just be some of my favorite pots ever. While I prefer high fired, wood fired surfaces, these last pieces just felt like they were finished and that they were good enough. Nothing was really wrong with them...they were fine. That was a great feeling. And people bought my pots this year! I am so flattered and thrilled.

I'm taking the rest of 2014 off of pottery, but I'm actually excited to get back into it next year. That feels like a gift to me. :)

Waking up

Confession: I run from pain. For many reasons. Sometimes I feel like it's selfish to process pain. It makes me a burden on others, it makes me less productive, it means I'm ungrateful, etc. I want to be perfect (perfectionist tendencies...blah) and I want to feel whole so I run away from painful situations and try to push down feelings of sadness or grief.

But it's not serving me well. I have a friend who is going through a very sad time in her life right now and we've done a lot of processing together. I would never tell her not to work her way through her grief and to just get over it. In fact, I feel honored that she trusts me enough to let me grieve with her. It redeems my own times of sincere sadness and loneliness. At least now it can be used to assure someone that they can survive the sadness! I can tell people that it will take a long time to come through won't be the same again because you will be softer and stronger. I can tell them that maybe they will always have some grief that they carry with them. That years from now they will still be learning lessons from this experience. It is a big deal and it's okay to treat it like a big deal.

Through all of that I'm learning that those same truths apply to me. And I'm surprised to find myself feeling grieved over past experiences. I have to acknowledge that those dreams existed and maybe somewhere deep inside still do and the lack of their realization hurts. I remember the loneliness and confusion I felt when it seemed like most of my life was being turned upside down and wondering if it would make sense and if I would feel happy again. And sometimes it still hurts. In fact, sometimes I'm surprised at how raw the pain of it all can be even now almost half a decade later. I feel a lot older...a lot more cynical and a lot less willing to be vulnerable.

But, I'm trying not to be that way. I don't want to experience less of life even though it hurts us. Several years ago one of my aunts was in a serious car accident. She almost died it was so bad. She shattered one of her hip sockets and had to have it reconstructed and she had rods placed in her leg so she could walk again. She experienced some nerve damage as a result and didn't know if she would regain full feeling in her leg again. Some of the nerves healed and it was a painful process. As the nerves came back to life she experienced a lot of pain and discomfort, but she bore it so well. I think this helps me understand my emotional experiences. Experiencing the sadness and loneliness again isn't a bad's letting things I buried resurface; letting experiences I tried to kill wake back up to life. It's admitting something is wrong and that I want it to get better. But it's also understanding that just like when we're injured physically and our bodies repair themselves we sometimes have scars that never go away. It's part of us now and part of our story. And sometimes it makes me feel that I have this ugly scar that others have to look at and help me deal with and that's maybe a lot to ask of some people. But maybe it can have redemptive qualities too. Perhaps it will help me learn humility and vulnerability in a new way. Perhaps it will make me more compassionate towards those who need understanding and love. Perhaps it will help me be there for someone who needs comfort and hope. Maybe it's part of that painful refining process that yields a more useful version of myself.

I'm hoping 2015 will be a year of redemption. A year to heal from hurts in the work through problems left be open to new hopes and opportunities. I want to go back over some things this year and see them as meaningful and beautiful, not as destructive and ruining. I want this new year to be a Jubilee year.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Something sick

Maybe it's hormones... I think that's the default for blame when you feel emotional. Lately I have felt what I can only describe as homesickness only I'm not sure for what. I feel as though I miss something or someone but can't quite identity who or what. Maybe it's just an idea that I'm pining over.  It's almost maddening sometimes when you try to be content and find that you just aren't. It's hard to tell if it's a good longing or just ingratitude...or maybe the surprise of feelings you thought were put to rest waking back up suddenly. Whatever it is it's very difficult to try to cure something when you don't know what is wrong.

If we find ourselves with the desire nothing in this world can satisfy the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. 
--CS Lewis

On another note I'm pretty sure Lewis has a thought for every occasion. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Not content

Sometimes I have days that leave me feeling so full. It doesn't always take much. I can have a great conversation with someone or have a busy day that includes just enough sweetness in the form of sights, interactions or words that I needed to hear. On those days I'm left feeling so content. I'm thankful. I know how rich I am in this life.

And then sometimes I have days that leave me feeling drained. Empty. I feel like I have nothing... I am nothing...and that will always be my reality. Whatever I was put on earth to do...I'm doing it wrong and that makes me a screwup. I feel poor spiritually and in every other way too. 

Additionally I (like pretty much everyone) struggle with self esteem. I try to like myself and be confident. On those good days I feel loved and lovable. On bad days I see so many of my flaws and start hating myself. I'm selfish. I'm prideful. I don't trust enough. I don't love people well. I'm not thankful. All those things make me feel so defeated and worthless. Like I'm just contributing to everyone's problems, not bringing anyone joy. 

At times like these I know that I have such a poor understanding of who God is. I don't understand how he can look at me and love me anyway. I don't understand how he is working and planning and teaching me things.
The bible talks about God being light. I know light gives safety, warmth, and lets us grow. I also know it hurts to look into light. When you turn on a light creepy things run and hide. Everything can be seen...the good, bad and ugly. 

I want to be in the light. But maybe today is the kind of day where the Light hurts my eyes a little bit. Maybe the Light is exposing the things in me that I don't like. 

I'm not sure I know entirely what has me in such a funk but today I am struggling with these things and it leaves me discontented. I'm sort of okay with that if I need that to prompt me to change. But I don't want it to cause me to not be grateful for the blessings in my life and make me less hopeful of my future. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hibernation time

 I just want to be here. It's cold outside and I'm still doing my crazy work schedule so I'm tired a lot. Hibernating sounds really nice right about now. :) Thus far I'm enjoying the holidays, but I'm looking forward to those quieter, sleepy winter days. The kind where you don't have to be someplace every night and you don't have to work on special projects every day. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy those times too. But those quiet days and nights that allow you to stay in with your loved ones and force you to slow down...those are special too.