so, i think i may have found grace again today.
i woke up nervous this morning that i had said anything here about grace and not grace and truth and not truth. but i left it out there. i appreciate that i’m not alone, and that others of you are making your way, too. (and that i didn’t not make sense, at least to some of you.)
i watched brene brown this morning while i was getting ready for work.
i don’t watch or listen to inspirational speakers because i think there’s something (too terribly) wrong with me (anymore). i watch them because…well, they inspire. they draw out my true self – not the self-improved self, or the me on the way to who i am becoming. but the me i have always been and was always meant to be, and the me that will ever be. my cousin, who is himself very inspiring, suggested last summer i start doing this. always, always, always i leave my house in a better mood in the morning than when i first woke up, bleary-eyed and groggy, when i do this.
i love sleep, y’all.
and because i was so caught up with brene brown, i decided i could go without drying my hair.
i got bangs last week. i still can’t figure out how to work them or if i even like them. like, for real bangs. i don’t think i’ve had bangs in a thousand years. but, bangs? i got ‘em. i keep thinking my hair is in my face because, well. my hair is in my face.
so i threw my hair up in a damp pony tail with an “oh well” and basically decided i didn’t care.
disclaimer: you need to know when i say “i don’t care” – i’m not giving the middle finger to the universe. when i say, “i don’t care”, i just mean “this is something i’m not going to worry about right now. there are more important things.” my wet ponytail was just not going to be one of those things today.
and neither were my bangs.
i don’t think i like them.
i don’t know.
when i got to work, my student worker had gotten there before me and left her things outside the door while she ran downstairs to grab breakfast. so i did what any good boss would do. i hid her bags under my desk and tried to pretend like i didn’t know what she was talking about when she asked about them.
but i’ve got no game, y’all. i’m a terrible liar…which makes sense because of the whole being a truth-teller and all…but i’m also convinced it is god’s mercy on my soul because that is one less thing i need to be able to get away with.
my mentor had texted me and called my phone already by the time i sat down. she’s been terribly sick, so she asked me to bring things from her office out to her car.
and i did that.
i went down to the basement, the dregs of our building, through the tunnels and out into the world where my friend was waiting.
because i could.
because i wanted to.
i had another errand to run across campus, so i made a whole adventure out of it.
and i smiled. and i was glad to see her and happy to help her.
in my damp ponytail and ugly bangs in a dress that i think is the one that requires an extra slip, which i forgot about until i was walking from my car this morning, i made my delivery to her and walked on to make my next one.
and do you know what she did? she sent me a text telling me i looked good today, which i didn’t even notice until i had made my other delivery and climbed the walls back to my office.
and i smiled all the way down to HR and at the secretary when i saw her, too. and i dropped off the thing and apologized and apologized for a mistake and asked for extra time and she was lovely.
and i smiled all the way back to my office and spoke to each student i saw on my way back.
in other words, i decided to show up today. to be present.
i think for the most part i do this – kind of like the grace thing. i think, for the most part, i am both grace and truth and, in general, i think most would say i am fully present.
except on the days that i’m not.
and these are the days that trip me up.
because i want to be present on all of those days, too.
and if i have one off day in regard to any of these, then i feel like the worst person on the planet and god and i both have to start over completely from scratch and the potter has to smash his clay to the wheel because she became unruly and tried to jump off the wheel again and i want to crawl back into the hole that surely i must have crawled out of all because i didn’t have enough grace for someone or should have spoken truth with more kindness.
and those things may be true, but not all of the rest of it. because grace is an every day kindness of god. and his doesn’t run out, even when mine does – especially for myself.
i told my bff’s at lunch today that i feel like i’m coming alive again.
i didn’t really even realize i was ever not alive.
and maybe it has something to do with the weather.
maybe it has everything to do with the weather, actually.
i’ve been here a year now, and before that i had about 3 months to get ready to get here. and before that was the most traumatic experience of my whole life, second only to my dad dying. what i’m saying is, there hasn’t been a whole lot of time over the last 2 years that i haven’t been in some kind of pretty major transition. (karen calls me her over-achiever.)
when i first got here, i was a full-time student for the first time in…many…years (again, the whole math thing. just. no.) god opened up the door for me and zella to live with a precious couple for the first few months i was here – more transition – and then last summer i went home for a few weeks just to come back to a full-time job again and resume my education as a part-time student. zella and i also moved into our own little house/apartment. apartment. it’s an apartment. but it feels like a little tiny house to me.
i will tell you this whole story another time. it’s awesome.
and last fall was ALL transition, as every single thing i was doing for my job was work i had not done before…with more support than anyone could ever hope for, but no real training. (that’s not a dig on anyone AT ALL. it’s just a thing, which everyone knows is a thing.) i was also on a(nother) emotional roller coaster that i have since stepped off of…which still kind of sucks, but it was and is the best thing for my heart.
i don’t really feel like i’m in transition anymore. i feel alive again. when i wasn’t looking, i have become present in my life again.
maybe it’s all the running.
it’s definitely the relationships god’s given me, both here and at home and other friends across the country.
i was looking at all the pictures on my fridge tonight before i sat down to write this and that’s when i knew. that’s when i saw.
grace. this…these…these precious people…are all grace. all of these…awesome, soulful, incredible spirits…that god has seen fit to share with me…
THAT is all grace. there was a time i would have said “THAT is all grace” and i would have meant “because i don’t deserve it at all” in an “i am lower than the earth” kind of way.
but when i felt it earlier, and stopped in front of all these faces, and thought, “THAT is all grace”, i was just grateful. of course we don’t deserve it. we all know that. but we get it, anyway. we get to have the gift of these people in our lives and it’s our job to enjoy them and take care of each other and just be alive for one another. to just show up to life with and for and on behalf of one another. it doesn’t have anything at all to do with whether or not we deserve it.
don’t you think we get that part wrong about god sometimes?
like somewhere we kind of believe that maybe he’s keeping score, or a list of what we do or do not deserve. like the claw in toy story? he’ll pick out a gift for us to have according to our goodness. the way we talk about god sometimes, i think we think that about him.
and that is just crap.
because, no. of course we don’t deserve anything. but i really don’t think it has anything to do with us at all. and yet…it has everything to do with us at all.
i think he just gives because he’s good and because he loves and because he’s god, he can and so he does. and because he created us for the sole purpose of his enjoyment, that we would turn right back around and laugh and cry and worship and enjoy his presence for his own enjoyment…and yet we’re the ones who get the gifts.
sometimes i think, or act like i believe, that god is “just trying to teach me a lesson”. and, sure. lessons come. but don’t you think if we just looked at his love, just chose to experience it, the lessons would either just sort of fall off or happen naturally?
there’s nothing too theological about any of that. just my thoughts.
there is a little girl who is learning how to spell and read and, really, i think she borders genius because, well. you would, too, if you knew her. and daily i get at least a dozen texts from my girl-wonder who is half a world away. she writes, “you can do anything, kk! you’re the best, kk!” (i kind of want to tell her not to learn any more new words. just stick with these, kid. they’re good ones.)
not simply that i would be loved like that, that’s too cliche.
but that i get to have a relationship with this beautiful spirit-child that god has given me to love, along with her two cousins (who are too young yet to know how to spell :)), and we can share in love with one another and watch and help each other grow. i can allow her to love me and i get to love her even more…so much more. (she will never know just how much i adore her.) she is a teacher on how to love and be loved and on the gift of being present.
and that is grace.
when i got back to my office this morning, my other mentor stopped in the foyer outside my window like he does frequently. i jumped up and ran out to hug him, and he asked me to walk with him so he could tell me a story i asked him about the other day. and i did and he did and we stood out in the foyer and i cried for being so moved by what is happening for him, by what god is doing. it is just so beautiful. i could hear my heart sing on his behalf.
i cried when i was praying for my friend during chapel today. just got a little bit weepy. nothing dramatic.
in general, i started crying again this week. i feel like…for the first time in a long time…they are just real, genuine tears. i’m not crying because of hysterics or hormones or because i’m exhausted or thinking, “what the bleep am i doing here? god, GET ME OUT.” it feels a little bit like the first time i cried real tears when i first got sober.
i was alone, in my car in my driveway at my house.
and it was such a pure and holy and sacred moment.
and in the times i have just shown up to life without any guard or filter, holy moments like these just happen.
and not because i had anything to do with making any of these moments happen. i didn’t – at all. …actually, that’s kind of the whole point. i didn’t make them happen. but because at least one of us was present – and in each of these cases this week, all of us have been – and we just show up to the moment…holy happens.
you know what else i noticed today?
i was smiling more. like, at everything and everyone. at one point, i smiled and then -consciously, deliberately- smiled even bigger. just because i loved the moment i was in, and the conversation i was having. like a cheshire cat. but i didn’t care. because we all need to smile more.
people have asked me before, “what’s wrong?” when they see me and i’m not smiling. not because i’m not smiling, but because when i’m not smiling, i guess i look mad? or like i’m frowning?
we all need to smile more. i’d rather look like a doofus for smiling too much than come off as mad or mean because i’m not smiling at all.
and i laughed a lot today, too. at lunch, ben said he wanted to create a meme of one of my faces (because, apparently, I MAKE A LOT OF THEM) and, for some reason, that just struck me as so funny. i laughed so hard…harder than i have laughed in a really. long. time. at one point, i heard chandee point out that i had broken out into silent laughter. it felt so good to laugh that hard.
and i saw my hebrew teacher and had to tell him why i skipped class yesterday and he had SO MUCH FUNNY GRACE about it, but that is to be expected. he is just so precious.
and we got a delivery and it was like christmas unloading all those office supplies! one of my student workers laughed at me and my other student worker…i need to come up with fake-names for them, they are each so special…she was laughing at us picking on each other. and that is its very own story of grace, too.
and then a student came onto the hallway and said, “hey, mk. i have a message for you. your best friend wants you to know everyone loves you.” – and i laughed and we walked out to where she was and it was like a party was out there! people everywhere that i love – they just happened to be there in between classes – no one was actually there to see me, but there were several students just hanging out in different places that i have had the awesome privilege of getting to know in the last year. and this student said, “yeh, i told her everyone loves you and she told me to come tell you,” and i hugged him hard and really meant it when i said, “well, who doesn’t need to hear that more?!” BECAUSE WE ALL NEED TO HEAR THAT MORE.
WE ALL NEED TO SAY THAT MORE.
AND MEAN IT.
“everyone loves you.” say it to someone and see what it does. try it and see what happens.
and then i got to show him the r2-d2 action figure that is hiding in the tabernacle like dr. lamp showed me one day just because it’s awesome.
and, y’all. ALL OF THAT IS GRACE. because did you read my post yesterday? i mean, today? wait, what day is this? i haven’t been feeling full of grace lately. and then i showed up and this day happened and it seems as though no one really noticed that i forgot grace. or maybe i was just being too hard on myself, because THAT HAPPENS A LOT.
all day long felt like a big party just because it was a regular, ordinary, normal day and i got to be a part of it, fully.
and at lunch, a student who comes into our office every-so-often saw me and came over to hug me, saying, “i’m a hugger, and i know i can’t hug you in your office” and i said, “what the what? you better hug me in my office! i’m a hugger, too!”
and then one of my favorites came in and we usually have moments when we are together. he looked around my office and said, “who would have thought that when you were sitting in my class last year…?” and we had a moment. god has gifted him to me like a father. and then i was able to be honest with him about a situation in one of my classes, and he agreed and was already on top of it. i said a hard, true thing that i would have second-guessed myself about afterward or talked myself out of saying before or “just get over it”, but i said it respectfully and it was a done deal and that was that.
and by the time 4:30 rolled around, i was exhausted…which i’m sure had nothing to do with being up until midnight writing a blog-post…so i came home and took a nap and cuddled my dog in the quiet until i had to go to my p.e. class tonight.
and tonight my heart is full.
but you need to know something.
if i were to tell you all of that without what i’m going to say next, it would sound like i am so full of myself.
and sometimes i am, admittedly. ego-maniac with a self-esteem problem. good grief.
but you can bet that, if i’m talking about myself in any self-indulgent sort of way, there’s usually a greater point.
so here it is:
today, i decided to show up. and i was alive.
when i say my heart is full, i do not mean it is full of hyperactive emotion.
it is just very simply full. and that is grace. i showed up to life today, horrible bangs and all. and not because i did that, but when i did that, i noticed that other people had shown up to their lives today, too. and they probably have been all along, maybe they were just waiting for me to join the party. and a lot of really sweet and special and funny and tender moments happened. others needed me to be present today, and i was. and i needed them to be present today, too, and they were. nothing was manufactured or created. i kind of went through the day without thinking too much about anything – which is always a good place for me to be – and the day just happened.
like it was waiting for me to get there.
and i did.
and it was beautiful.
and THAT is ALL grace.
because ALL really is grace.*
*special thanks to my friend shanda for the reminder of our friend’s words in her bio, which i read today.
i’m going to go on and post this now.
it’s almost tomorrow.
and there’s another day we get to show up for.