Thursday, July 7, 2016

On Giving Welcome and Learning Names



I went into Target last week. I walked through the sliding doors, was kissed by the cold air of their building, felt thrilled to throw my purse in the red cart of promise. I had a list with three things: dog food, a case of bottled water, and flour tortillas. I went, not only for the three things, but with the dream of drowning disappointment in clothes, nail polish, and office accessories.

It was between the decorative pillows and picture frames that my heart started feeling heavier than the money in my wallet. It was there, just past the baby department of Target, that the real stuff settled in at the bottom of my heart. The real emotional stuff finally made its way to the floor and begged to be addressed.

Usually, I dive near this place where the feelings rest and pick up the words that are easier to massage and comfort. Words like contentment and disappointment. Words that convict me and tire me while serving as familiar systems of control. I know things can't fix problems or make babies, so I shouldn't buy empty promises. I should go home and read my bible and stop looking at what material bandages Target can offer me. I leave my cart, find the exit and all is well.

But it's not contentment or disappointment this time. I leave my empty cart, go home, read my bible, feed the dog. I sit restless, waiting for Jason to pull into the garage. But, my heart remains unsettled.

It's unsettled because this isn't about contentment.
Or things.
This isn't about disappointment.
Or empty promises.
This isn't about heartache.
Or wishful dreams.

This is about names. This is about learning the names of those hard, uncomfortable emotions and giving them space. This is about seeing their face, saying hello, and letting them in. Letting them in so they can run their course, challenge your heart, trouble your soul. It's about naming them so you can know them, so you can use them to heal and change and do more good.

Sad. Anxious. Nervous. Overwhelmed. Names for the currents sweeping through my soul.
Thrilled, exhilarated, brave. The emotions I'm learning to welcome in the proper, honest way.
Wonder-filled, angry, tired. The baggage my drifting soul carries is evident, but rest is offered.

Leave the door open today. I tell myself.
Leave it open. Let's see who shows up.

I'm working on being hospitable to myself this month. Grief makes us strange, fresh beings -like a phoenix rising from the ashes of your previous life's dream- who are learning what it means to walk in this world. July is my month of working on welcoming in what comes without trying to over-program it. My soul is a stranger, a new friend with wild ways, who is equal parts charming and confusing. My soul wants to settle into a new, different bed that I've dedicated July to making.

Throw open your doors friends.
Let the stuffy parts air out. Let the unfamiliar parts come in.
Leave your doors open and welcome who shows up.

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