About Me

 

 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott

 

I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

Motherhood is not a biological designation
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« A letter to my baby about why I will never put a "My child is an honor student" bumper sticker on my car. | Main | Capping the man hole »
Tuesday
Jan142014

It's how you respond that matters

I'm still learning to love, just starting to crawl.

-a great big world

 

On the day I wrote "Capping the manhole," my boys saw me crying.  They asked me what was wrong. I told them that some people had said some things that hurt me, but then lots of people said some things that were kind and helped me feel better.  I said, "you know how boys in your class say mean things to you sometimes?"

They nodded.

"Well, that doesn't change. You would think people grow up and get smarter, and then stop being mean. But there will always be some meanness in the world."

"I know why," said Malachi.  "It's like if people get hurt, or people get bullied, then sometimes they just turn around and hurt other people."

"You're right, Malachi.  It reminds me of Darth Vader," I said.

The boys' eyes got wide.

"He got hurt, and he experienced darkness. And he could have said, the darkness hurt so much; I will work my whole life to be someone who shines the light.  But instead, he decided he would stay in the darkness.  He decided to hurt people because he was hurt.  

"I never knew I could learn so much from Star Wars," said Gabriel, in a state of awe. "I thought it was just a really good movie."

"Gabriel, it's even more than a really good movie.  It's like the best metaphor I know.  A metaphor is like a story that helps us understand a bigger story.  And Star Wars is a metaphor for the biggest story of all. The story of good and evil, light and darkness.  There are other good stories like The Lord of the Rings, the one with the hobbits that we started reading to you but you thought was kinda boring.  It's why we bought you the Harry Potter books for Christmas; cause someday we will read those to you, and they are good metaphors too. So are the Narnia books, the ones with Aslan the Lion and the White Witch.  But Star Wars is the best.

Our whole lives, Malachi and Gabriel, we have the choice to bring the light or bring the darkness. Us Wilbourns, we choose to bring the light.  No matter what.

I think everyone-almost everyone- is working their way towards bringing the light,  but we are all doing that in different ways, so we need to have grace for wherever people are at in their journey."

They nodded, and ate beans and rice, and we decided to watch The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe this weekend for family movie night.

 

This morning, I went to hot yoga- feeling the need to justify this "me time" so I am not perceived as a selfish person, but resisting.  God is my judge, and I think the proving ground for whether I am selfish happens on my home turf, with the accountability of my husband, not in my blog.

I quit hot yoga in January of 2013 cause it didn't fit our family's rhythm or budget anymore; I tried to take up running, and I managed two life-changing weeks of CrossFit, but I've felt the lack of my sweaty 5:30 am classes, so after talking with Michael about it, and after a sweet friend suggested we do it together to make the early morning less painful, I signed up again. So far, I manage going two to three times a week, and it always makes me a better mom for the rest of that day. 

I walked into the dark room already thick with dry heat, rolled out my mat, and laid down on my back, my arms oustretched, and my palms open to receive.  The first song came on, and the lyric, "I want to love like you love," flooded into the space.

My whole body literally rose off the mat with a gasp of longing, and the verse, Bless those who curse you and pray for those who persecute you, blazed across the tablet of my mind.

I ache to love the way that Jesus loves.  

To meet anger with compassion.  To meet criticism with blessing.  

To meet pain with impassioned prayer.

 

How did he do it?

How could he withstand such terrible persecution, such vast misunderstanding, such blatant outrage?  And just let. it. go.

How could he say, Father, forgive them. They don't know what they are doing?

It seems to me that they very well did know what they were doing. They were trying to kill him. They were trying to silence the voice of love.

But Jesus knew- underneath that will to hurt, we are always learning to love, just starting to crawl. He saw the hurt behind the will to hurt.

He knew. And in his knowing wisdom, he asks me to try and learn to love this way.  He goes so far as to say, Whomever claims to love God but hates his brother or his sister, that man is a liar.

I can talk a big game on my blog, in my life, but my words, without the proof of love behind them, would be lies.

They would be as uselessly noisy as an endlessly ringing gong, as annoyingly pointless as cymbals clanging into infinity.

Love is the truth of our lives. Not what we say. But how we live.

There will always be people who may not get us, who will hurt us. May we bless instead of curse.  No matter how much darkness we experience, may we choose to shine the light.

 

And then, near the end of class, the song, "Say Something" by A Great Big World came on.

Done.

I can't even handle it. First, I am envisioning the gorgeous dance choreographed by Stacey Tookey for last season's SYTYCD. Next, those lyrics: I'm still learning to love, just starting to crawl....and I, will swallow my pride. You're the one that I love...

I'm holding horse pose- not the most romantic of poses- and tears are rolling down my cheeks.  I look like a sumo wrestler about to clap my hands and begin a match; I'm trying not to fart because I had lentils for dinner the night before; and I am weeping in my 5:30 am yoga class.

 

And then-this just seems like too much to bear-I lie in Shavasana at the very end of class, and a piano arrangement of The Swell Season's "Falling Slowly" comes on.  Really?  

Take this sinking boat and point it home, we've still got time. Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice, you've made it now.

Glen Hansard (the songwriter) says the song is about the idea of redemption. About trying to fix something that is broken. 

I lie on my back, my heart open to heaven, and I beg God to flood my whole self with love. Work out in my life the story of redemption, I pray. I want to love like you love. I want to swallow my pride.  

I want to raise a HOPEFUL voice. I want to be a voice that calls people homeward, into the arms of love.

 

My cousin wrote me an email in response to my last blog. I want to share part of it with you because her words are so wise and beautiful:

"If anything, maybe the negative blog comments can just be a reminder that we are all so different and coming from different places with different experiences, and we can't fully see each other because sin mucks up the view from our glasses. And we need to pray hard to see and pray hard to love, even (and maybe especially) for the people that attack us. I was having such a hard time at work earlier this year that I reset my work computer password to the first letter in each word of Romans 12:14 so that I literally had to say the verse out in my mind every time I sat down at my desk to remind myself of the letter sequence that would unlock my computer. I would recite, "Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse" as I typed "BtwpyBadnc" because I literally needed that reminder 10-20 times a day. So, maybe that can be part of the capping of your manhole...praying blessing on those who persecute you with their cyber-words. They need it; we all do. And in that praying, pray also that God would pull out any stray phrase that lingers in you, any hurt that has sunken in deep from one of those comments, any self-doubts in you that surfaced, so that your manhole covering doesn't harbor infection beneath the surface."

 

In the dance to "Say Something," she realizes too late that she loves this man in return; she turns toward him, and he is already walking away from her.  It reminds me of the heartbreaking scene in the movie Into the Wild when, already dying, Chris McCandless underlines a passage, happiness only real when shared.

It means to me that in the end, he realizes it's only love that matters.

(Darth Vader realizes this too...I reminded my boys of this.  With his dying breath, he chooses to love, and to bring the light) 

"But may we learn this lesson now.  No more precious time to waste," I say.

Every experience we have, good or bad, is an opportunity to learn how to love.

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Reader Comments (2)

Sorry, but you have a long way to go if negative comments or people rolling their eyes at your kids make you this upset. You are perfectly justified in going to yoga or a therapist and wanting your husband to have is vasectomy. (Is he resisting? Why?) In these modern times family size is absolutely a choice we make. Women and science have come a long way since 1950. You are likely right in the perception that people don't sympathize as much. No bullying here. Just some reality. Gone is the forlorn 1950s housewife whose diaphragm does not work so well and might be a secretary or school teacher only. I have a feeling you will improve overall when your kids are all in school all day, youngest one about 8 years old. Your struggles nearly mirror a close friend of mine. Comparing someone who is rolling their eyes at noisy children to Darth Vader is self victimization. Nice and mean people alike roll their eyes at things.

Poor me is what I get from a lot of these blog posts. As someone who works in publishing, women today don't want a bible lesson wrapped in a preschool teacher story. The world of literature is one with the world of art and progressive thought. Nothing of which I see here. Do you have any gay friends? Or black ones? Muslim? Buddhist? Do you pray for their 'lifestyle choices'?

February 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterthanks & agree

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