The Price of a Pronoun

The cost of a pronoun

Is the letter S.

Is those you thought you knew

And comfort

It’s the privilege of an assumed credibility

It’s safe passage in and out of churches

And conservative circles.

The worth of a pronoun

Is the shape of a heart.

Is a smile as wide across as this red state

And “I see you, I believe you.”

It’s the privilege of fierce protection and unrelenting love.

It’s safe passage from this broken earth to God’s presence

And the circles of those who have been hurt by “his people.”

What a beautiful bargain.

 

 

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On Boxes and Ice Skating.

My first instinct was to retreat.

This is the only space I’m truly granted the choice: we don’t get to retreat from any part of our lives where others count on us; need us. Especially not as moms, as wives. Especially not as women. The keepers.

So when writing got weird and hard and I couldn’t make out my own voice any longer, I wanted to run away for a bit. Take a break. But it turns out that’s not the answer because, old news: I can’t shut up.

Two blogs I’ve started now, so sure of each big vision. So sure I knew where they were going. It was all packaged, complete with a bow. I was so excited, y’all. Wide eyed and grinning, arms stretched out. “Here! I made this.”

The package, though….eventually it just became a box. And it just couldn’t hold all of my stuff any longer, and trying to force it became awkward.

My first blog was going to be about military life…except military life became just life once we were living it. Who knew?

My second, this fella here…well, I thought it was going to be all wonder, all the time. I left my humor and my snark and my frustration behind, and then life got a little more complicated, and those were items I had to add back to the box. The humor to cope, the snark because because, and the frustration…well, the frustration to take the wheel when I’m tired sometimes. There’s plenty of wonder left, too, but it lives with all the rest. They get along just fine, I promise.

Only problem is, the box is getting cramped. I find myself hesitant to write unless I’m just bursting. “Sorry, just this one more thing. We’ll make it fit, but it HAS TO GO IN HERE.”

It’s pushed to its limits. You may or may not see it, but I know. Something’s gotta give.

I suppose like anything else, you learn and you grow and you move forward. Or you quit because ICE SKATING LESSONS ARE COLD AND THE ICE IS HARD AND STOPPING IS HARD AND THE MIGHTY DUCKS LIED TO YOU ABOUT HOW FUN THIS ALL WAS GOING TO BE.

But I don’t want to quit writing. I can do it from soft, warm places. And with coffee. Or tea. Or wine. Try to ice skate with THOSE, see how it turns out for you. Writing for the win.

It’s just that I really want to get it right this time…or right enough for a bit longer, at least.

So. Some changes are coming. I’m trying to make room enough for everything…even the stuff I don’t know about yet, and I’m trying to figure out the best way to go about it.

If you’re still here after all the unexpected turns this blog has taken, thanks. It means a lot. Don’t give up on me yet…maybe one day I’ll write about how I should have stayed in those ice skating lessons and avoided a stretcher ride through Market Square.

You really, really wouldn’t want to miss that.

Clean.

The drought was the very worst….

I had heard some things that alarmed me, but I guess I counted them as flukes. Privilege lets you do that, I’ve learned. When I found them more frequent, impossible to ignore, I traveled to Oz and I asked for the Wizard. I received a pat on the head, a gentle slap on the wrist. I was told to run along, leave the big thinking to the big people. Nothing sat right after that.

It was months and months of back and forth…

I knew we needed to leave, but it was so hard. So many good people, so much love. Sometimes good fruit can still happen around questionable cores- such is one of the mysteries of the body of Christ, I suppose.

You’re still all over me like a wine-stained dress I can’t wear anymore. 

We were told in earnest that we wouldn’t be able to move forward; who would love us any better? Turns out plenty of people would, but their love hurt in the way that salve applied to wide open wounds can still hurt. The sting of former words spoken “in truth and in love” made me flinch with each attempt to help us heal. They created a ball of heat and sickness in my stomach every time someone was kind to us or anyone else- was this real, and freely given? If that’s possible, then why was it ever withheld? HOW could it be withheld?

Hung my head as I lost the war…

I sat at a table in a cold room across from a cold person. I was told my baby was broken, but fixable of course (praise be!) and that the message was being sent on behalf of all of Oz. I heard the kind man who had cried with me in the next room over, rustling some papers. He had no idea what was being said, I remembered in that moment that she didn’t speak for everyone, and yet…there I sat. My hurt was met with disbelief and an insistence that there was no good reason for me to leave. I needed to stay put in the mud, created by other humans as flawed as myself, and call it Holy ground. Except Jesus was in the business of shaking the dust off your heels. He was in the business of washing feet.

The rain came pouring down…

We left a place and people we loved. We left our home, well-stocked with good friends and sweet kiddos, held up by a good pastor and good people who had no choice but to answer to those who didn’t know us but wouldn’t accept us.  They would have risked everything for us; we knew that. We didn’t want them to have to…it was a time bomb. So we walked away; once wild eyed and sobbing, and the next time quietly with smiles plastered on.

When I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe.

It’s often called The Wilderness out here, so far from Oz. I don’t really know what to call it. I know it was one of the most painful, eye-opening, liberating things I’ve ever gone through. It was death and it was birth. It changed the way I see the body, the way I see myself and the way I see all others; turns out we are all broken but fixable. Of course. Praise be.

It changed the way I saw Christ, too, in that he was all the more available, all the more present. The Wilderness, the woods, whatever you call it… it can feel lonely, but you’re never really alone.

Ten months sober, I must admit…just because you’re clean don’t mean you don’t miss it.

I do. I lost an enormous part of my identity when we left. I worried over friendships, I was abandoned in the realest sense by mentors. Life would have been simpler if we’d stayed. Simple and right are not one in the same.

Ten months older, I won’t give in. Now that I’m clean I’m never gonna risk it. 

Nope, never.

I think I’m finally clean.

On the day you came out

When we told the world how our family had been wrong,

We held hands, held our breaths, tried to be strong.

We expected some things, but I never knew

On the day we came out, you’d be coming out, too.

You came out as cowards, so passive-agressive,

You came out as loving and surprisingly progressive.

You came out as pensive, you came out as delighted,

You came out as here for us, though torn and divided.

You came out as needing to speak and be heard,

You came out and walked away without another word.

You came out with one feeling, then turned to another,

You came out and stood beside your baby brother.

You came out and left some things in your wake,

You came out and reminded us, God makes no mistakes.

A wise woman once said, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them,” and it’s true;

On the day we came out,

You all came out, too.

The Last Mayday.

This time six years ago, we found ourselves in a bit of a situation. Long story short, Branden’s post boot camp timeline for school and a first station were indefinite. The only thing we knew for sure is that Baylor would be in three schools in one year, and that felt like too much. We mentioned homeschooling, and all that tension our 7 year old was feeling melted away.

So we homeschooled. And we kept homeschooling. And then it was Jolee’s turn and she homeschooled, too. Every May we look back on the year, and then forward to the next, and the kids and I decide: we doing this again?

For five years, the answer to that question was a yes. This year, for both bigs, that answer is a no. Both Bay and Jo have chosen to attend their local public schools in the fall. They took me up on the offer that was always on the table.

It was hard for a moment, because it felt a lot like letting go, and I suck at that. I guess in some ways, that’s what it is. I’m also wrestling with the feelings you inevitably feel when a chapter is over. I’m trying not to buy into the guilt trap of time past and whether I was enough. I’m also already nostalgic about the whole experience- it wasn’t perfect, but it was wonderful. It was ours. I feel like I got to hang on just a little longer than I would gave guessed, and I’m thankful for that.

This fall, it’ll just be me and E- an experience the other two had, and one I’m excited to share with him. He has big plans for his kindergarten debut, and so far the communication I’ve had with the school leads me to believe he’ll have a happy one.

We are heading into a new and exciting chapter; a different season for our family. Until then, I’m going to soak up the one before us: summer. I hope to make it a great one, I hope to finish well as I step back from mom/teacher to just mom again. I hope they know it’s with love that I held on, and with love that I watch them go.

That, and math. I hope they know some math.

To those of you who joined us on this journey, thank you so much. I remember the hesitation from some when we began, most of whom are sad to hear it’s over now…funny how that works. If you’re reading this and we’ve talked homeschool, I hope this in no way discourages you on your own journey- keep on, it’s all so worth it! I have no regrets. It’s been an incredible ride.