measuring up

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I half listened to children and husband today as they talked at me, a caged bird wandering around in the dark recesses of her own mind. I wanted to lock myself away. I wanted peace and quiet. I moved furniture around the house as if somehow that external shift would shift the inner workings of self, only to add to the confusion. Nothing felt right. Where did this all begin? 

"She is slow, awkward. She doesn't participate. She doesn't fit in. She can't keep up." I was dumb. Those words, like searing summer sun to the tender, parched sprout of my 4 year old self, spoken by a person most adore - the Kindergarten teacher. Those words, or more so the lack of believing, the limited vision of one who should have been a blessing, turned harshest critic, formed my basic belief, the foundation someone else poured for me, upon which I built my house of straw. They became the tape that would play time and again in my mind. That was my introduction to life outside the home and the beginning of my educational experience. Over the years I would become conversant with soul aches such as this.

Those old wounds fester. They have never fully healed. Those scars are my place of default. They are where my mind retreats. No matter how much good I do, it will never be enough, and so I run faster, I push harder. I am abundant with weakness. And I hate it.

We don't talk about this, my parents and I. Among many other memories on that long list of unmentionables it is not brought up often, and when it is, I shrug it away as if no big deal. I don't go there. It is too painful. I try to preserve my heart as well as my parent's. I know that unrelenting ache when one of my children hurts. So it goes down, for my sake and theirs. Down into that deep cellar, where all pain gets stored, buried under these 30 years of experiences. Hidden away for none to see, especially me. Maybe if I forget it is there, it will be as if it actually never happened. I will heap more and more on top of those dusty boxes. I hide them away. I reject the pain. It sears hot.

My dad asked me not long ago if I chose to homeschool because of........

That is as far as he had to get. I knew where he was headed. I know that path well. I walk it day by day. 

The question.... Do I home school, at least partially, because of my experiences in the public school system? 
The answer.... YES. 

The scab is ripped off, and I am left to feel things I buried long ago. Did I really think one could escape such pain? These words that formed my basic beliefs, did I actually think I could outrun them? The fear lies not in the words alone, but the worry, what if they were right about me?

The tape plays - Thirteen. She walks into the girls bathroom and discovers her name among foul words written for all to see in thick black. She is cast aside by those she called friend, mocked and discarded. She wanders halls amid whispers and cold shoulders. She fears today might just be the day those threats leave her bloody and bruised. Teacher, after teacher, after teacher sees only broken, unusable bits of what is left from what was once girl. She packs more and more boxes and pushes them down and locks the door. But when it all becomes too much, she wishes she could just cease to be.

Like dead fish floating to the top, always floating back to the top, I curse those memories. I will them away. I do not see them for what they are, mere words. It was I who gave them power, each time I buried them, each time I pushed them down, I told myself that they were true, over and over. I can see now that their continuous reappearance is actually a gift. They will not go until I set them free, and I cannot set them free until I acknowledge that they are there, real and raw. I cannot move forward, not really, until those fears have been looked at in the face and that little girl is allowed to weep for what was lost and baggage that was carried for too long by shoulders too small to bear such burdens for so many years.

He, knowing the weight of such things, presents me with this 'gift' over and over. And over and over I push it away. I am not ready. Its repulsive appearance offends. I do not want it. Take it back. Take it right away.

I am learning, very slowly, that He does not offer bad gifts.

A heart that yearns to hold loved ones close and allow them in, cannot, because she is juggling too many boxes, taped up tight. She must not risk discovery. She will not be hurt again. And so she fakes competence. She pretends she is strong. She works hard to disprove that demon which holds her bound to a lonely existence, where no one is really friend, most especially herself. She blogs. And she feels like a fraud. She has so far to go. Do they know that her words are not sermons to the masses, but sacred prayers of self-discovery to that one heart that aches to be healed, her own?

Where do I fit in?

I read this and the flood gates are thrown open wide with realization:

"If the word 'inspiration' is to have any meaning, it must mean that the writer is writing something that he does not wholly understand." T. S. Elliot

I write. I find healing and hope in the words that these fingers type. Like the pearls strung on a silken strand, I string words. I do not always know what I am going to type when I sit here. But the words always come. He is trying to teach me. He is trying to heal me. He is giving me the tools I need. Could it be that we can write words come from Him that we don't even fully understand, yet understanding comes as our fingers type? These words wrap as bandages.

This is the gift I reject. Healing. I must acknowledge, accept. I must, so that I can ask Him to heal those old wounds. Wounds leave scars, like the scars on His hands. They remind us of those fiery furnace moments, the ones too valuable to forget. How could I have not seen it sooner? These are the stepping stones that will bring me father along the path, deeper into understanding, closer to Him. I prefer to imagine my path much prettier that it actually is. I omit those things I will away. Yet, those are the very things that have brought me here, to this place. I cannot forget, or I forget the help, the hope, the healing. I forget His hand in all things. I harden heart where flesh should be made soft.

I have, for so many years been trying to climb these prison walls of self doubt, seeded in a young, tender heart. They took root, and never weeded out, have dug deep in soft flesh. I did not realize that instead of burying memories I was burying myself alive, box by box.

The straw house built upon faulty foundation must be brought down in order for it to be built up again according to the master architect's design. Brick by brick, on firm foundation, laid gently in soft mortar. Time will set that mortar until it becomes a part of me. I must trust. These are the trials He knew I would face, and for a greater purpose in Him I have been asked to endure. I cannot live life in-between exiled memories.

He has felt my pain. He knows my losses. And I ache for that. But there is hope. And I wait for inspiration. It will come, it always does. I need to be willing and honest and listen. I need to open those hidden closets and let Him in, even there, into that dark, ugly place. And I will be made whole, better than whole, I will be made, from those thousand broken pieces, into a window of beautiful stained glass, for He knows what to do with shards. And He will fit me in. I will fit in. I do fit in, into the hands of my wee ones, clinging to me, as I cling to them. I fit into the heart of my husband as he loves without limits. I fit into this house that I keep for the care of my family. I fit into this skin that is wrinkling with wear. And I fit into the hollow of His hands. This suffering, did it bring me even here? I am filled to over-flowing. The mortar of one more brick sets.