The Dumpster

We share a driveway with our neighbor. Our front doors face each other and we see each other a lot. Our neighbor is wonderful – driven, strong, creative, positive. Since she moved in several years ago, she has worked non-stop to make the home her own.  It’s an inspiration!

dumpsterShe’s currently in the middle of a major demolition project. For the past two months, a large dumpster has taken up residence in our shared driveway. Some days, it’s acquires more stuff, but most days it just sits there and doesn’t “do” anything.

Yesterday was a rough day for me. Sadness, it’s-not-fair-ness, jealousy, feeling diminished, unwanted. I usually fight the sadness because in the past it’s led me to a pretty deep pit of depression. But, yesterday I decided to just give in and trust that God was leading me to just *feel* it. It felt so freeing to give myself permission to mulligrub and sulk for a day. It felt right.

Today, I woke up feeling more energy and hope. I drank my coffee in my chair, as I do each morning, looking out the window. At the dumpster. I felt a burst of impatience and anger. Why can’t that beast of a dumpster just GO AWAY? It’s so unsightly and it feels like a big bully – crowding, unyielding, refusing to be ignored.

Aaaaand… here’s another case of “the thing isn’t really The Thing”. I wasn’t really angry at the dumpster. That dumpster was talking to me about my grief. I’m so impatient for my grief to go GO AWAY.  It’s messy and won’t be ignored. There it sits – front and center in my life. Some days, I feel like there’s progress, but most days it just sits there.

So, here I am. Living with my dumpster of grief. I don’t feel despair, rather I feel some acceptance of this piece of my life. Like it’s okay to give in to the sadness from time to time.

Maybe I’ll put sparkly Christmas lights on it since it’ll be here for a while. Then, maybe whenever I encounter it, I can remember that deeper work is happening even when I can’t see it.

Vulnerability

I’ve realized lately is that one of the hardest things for me about being vulnerable is the great likelihood that I’ll be misunderstood. That’s the truly icky part about the art of communication of any form – verbal, text, tweet, blog, video.

I’ve received a few messages from well-meaning people who have told me to “stop living in the past” and “just trust God”. Others have reprimanded me for my lack of faith. Sadly, I believe that these folks have missed the point of my blogs and may have misunderstood me.

In regards to my blog series, “Inside ‘The End’“, I want to say a few things for the sake of clarity…

  1. I hold no ill will toward Moody Radio. I’ve grown and learned so much at Moody. I’ve been given lots of opportunities and I’m so grateful. Toward the end of my employment, I had several good meetings with the VP of Moody Radio. I feel that I was treated well by him and by Moody Bible Institute. Moody Radio is a good, focused ministry. There are some really talented professionals who work there and I will miss them so, so much. I have no doubt that God will continue to use the radio ministry. I’m very sad to no longer work there and I left on good terms, blessing Moody Radio.
  2. The blogs that I write are my own personal observations and feelings during this transition. My hope is that others can relate to the observations – whether the reader is going through a job transition or another kind of grief/change.
  3. I’m not looking for sympathy or advice, nor do I want to drag this on forever. Grief is a process, though. It ebbs and flows. It’s a long process and it’s messy. I’m in a good place, presently, where I can calmly believe that God is working in my life – teaching me, comforting me, sustaining me. Ask me next week, and my answer might be different. This is what it is to be human – the ups and downs and mistakes and triumphs. I intend to be honest about that.
  4. For the past 5 years or so, even though I’ve felt great purpose, challenge, and satisfaction in my work, I’ve been restless and have told God, “If you want me to leave Moody Radio, You will need to remove me – I’m too afraid to go on my own.” So, when I was told that my job was ending, my first response was, “Well, God… that’s Your answer.” And I felt relief. My very next response was fear and sadness – but, I remember that first sense of knowing that God was directing me.
  5. I’m writing these blogs because, frankly, if I was a listener of Midday Connection I would be reading these, too. There’s not a secret motive or agenda for what I’m writing. Honestly? It’s just helpful for me to articulate my thoughts here and find that many of you resonate with those thoughts. Reading your notes that say, “Yes. Me, too” are so meaningful! I want to be honest here in hopes that others will also have the courage to be honest with the messiness of their own lives, too. I mean, come on – we’re all a mess. Let’s be messy together, it’s a lot more fun than faking that our lives are all tidy!

The Chair

chairThe chair. The *chair*! I couldn’t believe it when I saw the chair at my neighbor’s yard sale. Inviting, comfy, roomy. I knew that this would be *my* chair – an easy decision to spend $30. We quickly did some rearranging in our living room and carted in my chair.

I’d just found out the day before that my job was being eliminated. I was stunned. This chair was a little manna for the day – and coming days.

The summer of 2015 was rather rainy and hot in my area. I used that as an excuse to stay inside. Summers for me are usually full of walks, yard work, and outdoor projects. But this year, I had no heart for any of it. I sat in my chair. Just sat. I didn’t read, I didn’t pray, I didn’t really do anything. I sat. Stunned. Anxious. Sad. Depressed. Angry. I spent 80% of my days in that chair. Our cats would visit me, my guy would come and go, the sun would come and go. I sat. I watched a patch of sky above my neighbor’s house.

I met with my spiritual director and told her about my chair. I was surprised at how I just sat there. So unlike me. That’s all I could do. I was hunkering down, healing. My life was suddenly unpredictable and uncertain, but the world in my chair was known and safe. She asked, “While you’re sitting in your chair, do you have a sense of God with you?” I thought for a moment. I hadn’t felt an absence of God – I knew God was with me, even though I hadn’t prayed much more than, “Help” from time to time. Then, a word came to me: nest. My chair felt like a nest. And I clearly had a sense of God over me, like a protective Mother Hen. I felt safe, loved, accepted by God. No judgement, no shoulds. Just love.

I’m not sitting in my chair as much these days. A few weeks ago, I dragged a small wooden desk into our house that another neighbor was getting rid of… cleaned it up, put it in front of a sunny window, filled the drawers with papers and ideas, pens and folders. Deep breath. I’m ready to get to work. Ready to try to fly again.