Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm For You



I recently spent the day at the zoo with a pack of wild pre-schoolers and a few hundred opportunities to remember why zoos never live up to the hype. (In the words of a very wise lady, "The zoo always disappoints me.") Basically, the lions were lounging, the tigers were tired, and the lumpy camel was raggedy and aloof.

But the kids.

They were resilient, joyful, racing up to grab a different hand for a while, hanging back to monkey around with whomever happened to be standing next to them.

They weren't disappointed. They were at the zoo, man. With all their people.

There were no lines or boundaries. The person to their left was their automatic BFF and it changed in three-minute increments.

I watched my five-year old worry for his friend who scraped her knees. He talked potty to the little ladies just to hear them giggle. He admired Bentley's mohawk. They all did the same. It didn't matter if their Venn diagrams only overlap by a sliver.  They are for each other, automatically and without reservation or careful consideration. 

This is how I want to live.

While we moseyed around, I thought of all of you.
I thought of you, my reader-friends.
I thought of everyone else.

The truth is, I am for you. 
I have nothing but love for you. I'm rooting for you.


You might be a mom like me. You might watch your friend holding her weeks-old baby and push back the pain of never knowing those early days with your adopted loves. You might think bringing a child from different blood into your heart is risky business. You might give birth to a baby every year for ten years straight. You could be a hippie who labored outside in a stream. Or you scheduled all your C-sections or asked for piggy-backed epidurals. It doesn't matter. I am for you.

Maybe you're a Jesus girl, and sometimes you want to hop the couch like Tom Cruise because you feel the buoyancy of my words bobbing through your veins. But maybe not. Maybe you were told to love Jesus but the older you grew, the more impossible it became to make the dots form a line. You were hurt or shamed or punished or abused by the church, so now your church is a candle burning at ten pm or morning coffee on the deck. Maybe you skip my God posts altogether; you roll your eyes and swear you can't keep coming back here...and then you do anyway, because what can it hurt?  Maybe you left eons ago and never looked back. Truth is, I want you to feel God's rescue and the wild love of Jesus. That's what I pray when I pray for you. But it's not up to me to make it happen. I couldn't if I tried. You and I are sisters and friends, no agendas. I am for you.

You host election-night parties like we used to. You order chicken with garlic sauce and hot-&-sour soup, leaning in to Charles Krauthammer at midnight like he's talking straight to you. Maybe you laughed when I joked all those years ago about having a crush on Rush Limbaugh.*  Or maybe that was the final straw and you unsubscribed. Maybe you live where I do now, somewhere smack dab in the middle of all the mess and the party isn't fun anymore, so you skip it all and watch Scandal instead. I'm for you.

You've made huge mistakes that won't stop tailing you? Me, too.
I don't even see your regrets in the back-light of your radness.

You wear a prayer covering? A hijab? A rosary? A weave? Tell me everything.

You're the head honcho, a feminist, a french-fryer, an artist, a skeptic, a pescatarian, the teacher's pet, a hater? I am for you. (Also, when can we have tea?)

I might not understand the way life looks from your seat on the sofa. If it were twenty years ago, or maybe even five, I would decide things about you without even knowing your first name. But I've grown. I've learned the list of Things I Know is extremely short and partially plagiarized, so talk to me. Listen with me. Let's agree up front that we'll never change our minds. (It takes the pressure off.) Just know I'm for you.

I see your kindness in the smallest ways and the ways that make me cry (often, they overlap by roughly 80%). I see silver in the back of your mouth when you split apart with that riot laugh and it makes me think I might love you forever. I like you in your business suit and you in your pajama-pants-in-public. I eat the cake you bake, read the words you write, watch you from afar, wish I knew you more, and know for sure I have things to learn from you.

I hear the hatred in your voice. I watch your sharp tongue and razor wit shred the differences around you but what I see is a wall or maybe a scar. I see flashes of myself.  I don't care if the feeling isn't mutual - I'm for you. (Sorry about your luck.)

You're up to your bosom in debt? A coupon-clipper? A rabid garage-saler? I'm for you.

You're wildly upper-middle and you like it that way? You buy your make-up at department stores instead of the dingy check-out basket at the Salvation Army? Well, I think you're beautiful and sincere and I want to be your friend for life, especially if you hand down the moisturizer that didn't end up rocking your world like the guy at the counter said.

You wish I'd stop talking about crime and poverty and all that depressing crap? You'd rather think happy thoughts? Me, too, some days.

You wish I'd just focus on Jesus and shut up about dumb fish tacos and pictures of my outfits with my head cropped off? Me, too, some days.

It's okay that we value different things and our philosophies vary. We can still be homies.

You're everything I am.
You're everything I'm not.
I love it this way.

I think you're wonderful.

I am for you.



*We broke up.

70 comments:

  1. Thank you. We're all in this together.

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  2. The feeling is mutual! Rock it and own it. Hugs and love right back at ya, my friend I've never met. :)

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  3. You're lovely, this is lovely. I want to live like this.

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  4. This is my favorite spot everyday in internet-land. And when there's nothing new - there's disappointment - even if it's just a new pic of a fish taco : ) it's something!
    You say and do things that I'm still working up the courage to.
    P.S. Rush and I have never been friends - but me and Charles Krauthammer?? LOVE!

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  5. Hey buddy. Thanks! I think you're pretty rad, even if you quit talking poverty and pain, even if you crop a head out of every single picture you ever take from now on, EVEN if you stopped liking salsa (and yes, I know "like" is way too gentle of a word for how you feel). I'd still pick you for my team.

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  6. I rarely comment, but I visit this site often. Your words inspire me. All of the words, whether they're about Jesus or about fish tacos. Thank you for sharing them with us.

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  7. In other words...I love you anyway. :) That's what I've always told my son. No matter what...I love you anyways. Until my last breath and beyond. I may not like you every little minute but i'll always love you. Seems fair to me.

    Shannon. I absolutely love your blog!

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    1. I'll take it one step further... "I love you BECAUSE." :)

      Thanks for the sweetness, lady!!

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    2. Exactly. Because is perfect.
      And you are most welcome.

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  8. These are the posts that keep me coming back here.
    Our lives couldn't be more different. I'm in my early 30's living in a house in the suburbs in Winnipeg, Canada with my boyfriend and our dog - no kids. I work in theatre and I live a very middle class life and I'm not particularly religious. In theory, one might think I'd have no interest in a woman's blog about her life and her kids, but lady, you inspire the crap out of me. Your blog is quickly becoming a must-read on my list. It's revealing and humbling and reminds me why we're on this crazy world. To learn and to love.

    So thank you. You just made my Wednesday a little brighter with your gorgeous words.
    Lisa.

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    1. Hi Lisa (sorry for creeping on your comment) but I loved it so much!

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    2. This comment. I mean, I'm already overly emotional after having cried my face off at Fault in our Stars. Gah. Thank you.

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    3. So, I'm from Winnipeg. Or roughly an hour south. I'm 22. Let's be friends anyway :)

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  9. You're good, you. Thanks for the pep talk- just what I needed today:)

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  10. Hugs. Smiling right at you...see me? :)

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  11. Thank you for the tears and goosebumps this morning. We're all so different, we all have our stories, our scars, our beauty, and we all serve each other differently. Being open to that is an amazing thing indeed. I'm in the midst of a divorce and a move to our rental house with our two boys. The house is in a much more urban area of our community. I have to say that I thought of you, thought of how you embraced that and I was able to see so many positive and beautiful things about the space we're going to be calling home. It all became a little less scary and a lot more exciting. This area of our community has so much to offer and I'm thrilled to be a part of it! Thrilled to share that with my boys. It's going to be wonderful. Thank you!

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  12. After reading this I searched for a like button. Just to like something is my easy way out to let someone know I appreciate them, without having to do any extra work, but on your blog.....I guess I have to come out of my shell to tell you how much you are appreciated

    You inspire me to be better, to love more, to judge less, and I love you so much for it. Thanks Shannon, please never stop.

    Also, I thought I was the only one who used to have a crush on Rush...maybe it's just his voice, I dunno.

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  13. "...Venn diagrams only overlap by a sliver" equals one of my all time favorite quotes. Bookmarking it.

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  14. shannan with an a - i get you. i used to think the world was beautiful when i cropped all the ugly out in photographs, when i sheltered myself in a quaint country town, and in those who could keep it together with their style and grace. in my definition of beauty there was no room for mess.
    somehow, and i give your thoughtful writing some of the credit here, its all beauty to me now. people are stunning, every single one. my eyes were opened to this was when i fully embraced my own humanity. i am vulnerable, i am flawed and weak and prone to mistakes but when i pour out compassion on myself instead of judgement i see the beauty. its like the amount of compassion you can pour out on yourself is the same amount of compassion you have for everyone else.
    anyway, i love the way you used so many details to describe how we might be divided but in the end pushed past it. it reminds me of the quote by rumi "out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field, i'll meet you there"

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  15. Why did this post make me smile so much? Not sure, but it did!!!!!!!!

    Thanks, FPFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  16. Oh my stars - this may be my favorite of everything you've ever written (and that's sayin somethin')! Love ALL the people, YES! And I heart you! xo

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  17. This sentiment permeates every post I read from you. Pretty sure that's why so many of us keep coming back.

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  18. i just love you
    you inspire and convict me to be willing/and to BE FOR OTHERS.

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  19. Goosebumps! Now I'm going to have to re-shave, heck who am I kidding, I 'm not doing that until its absolutely necessary!! I really don't know how you do it, well I know God is how you do it and it's always utterly amazing!! I am so FOR YOU girlfriend!! I'm for your bangs and bruises, your failures and successes, your quirks and your talents! I am for the Jesus that you are for and the way you obey Him rocks my world!! Can't get enough of Him in you!! Wish we could be real life homies :) it'd be totally rad!!!

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  20. And I'm FOR YOU, Shiny!!

    I have realized over the past three years that I know almost..nothing. HOW is that possible at 42? Or 4.2 (<---new, improved version!)- I do not know. It's honest. That's why I love you- your honesty.

    THIS made me SNORT: Maybe you laughed when I joked all those years ago about having a crush on Rush Limbaugh.* Or maybe that was the final straw and you unsubscribed.

    Oh NO! I'm squirming! I'm so liberal that had I read that years back..I wouldn't have unsubscribed (NEVER!) but would have maybe put you in "crazy mode" (NOD to Calvin with the mode!)

    We live a block from Como Zoo. It makes me sad. The only animals that look remotely happy there are the gray wolves. They have a huge area to roam and I take Curtis for walks near them at night. They seem like excited puppies when they see him. He pees on the fence near them and excitedly cries, then is ready to leave.

    Giraffes in Minnesota?! NO!

    The butterfly exhibit rocks and the grounds are LOVELY.

    I've clearly gone off course..anyway..glad you blog. You help me to see things differently and as Arby's used to say "Different is Good!"

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  21. And I am for you. But really you love RUSH or was that the earlier version of you? Cause I love him too (please don't tell my daughter). I love how he uses humor to make a point, although I know some don't get his humor.

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    1. Sadly, I know longer love Rush "in that way". But I'm still for him. ;) And you!

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    2. Nothing to be sad about, although I find your writing very thoughtful and thought provoking I am guessing from comments we have shared that I see the world very differently. That said, I am still for you. What makes life so interesting is that two people can "know" the same "stuff" and have very different understandings of that "stuff". Thanks for challenging me and not making me wrong because I differ with your understanding.

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  22. And this is why I love you...and fish tacos. : )

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  23. So good. My nine month old daughter does this thing where she kicks her legs and rocks her torso every time she sees someone coming - random man down the street while we're outside, her Nanna coming up to get her, mail lady, my sister on Skype...I have often thought of how much I hope this unbridled excitement and joy for EVERY person stays with her as she grows to be an adult.

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  24. I'm for you too. :) Thanks for your love and letting it pour through your writing.

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  25. This is good. I think this is God's heart right here. :)

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  26. Thanks, thanks, thanks! I am for you and your blog - wishing we were IRL friends. Never stop, please. This is one of my favorite posts ever. I think I have said that to you a few times :)

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  27. I can't even tell you exactly why, but this post tugged at my heart something fierce and made me cry! And if we were in the same room, I'd straight up hug you for it. Just sayin'. And for the record, I'm for YOU, too!

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  28. Gah! I am for you too, of course! Of course that is what I mean! (and also Gah - why don't I live closer so I could finally try fish tacos with you and sit on a couch or a front step or anywhere face to face and be for each other in person? Yeah... I mean that too!)

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  29. You know about head-covering-wearers? I wear one. Some. Mostly. On the fence. So glad to be loved! I'm 43, middle class, city living, inner-city church attending, surprised by where I live, encouraged by what you say, interested in poverty, sad about the prostitutes I drive by, feel helpless to do more than offer up a prayer on their behalf. Compassion. I'm reaching for it. You encourage me.

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    1. I grew up surrounded by head-covering-wearers. They are my blood and roots.
      City love to you, Sister!

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  30. I love this! I'm thankful for you!

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  31. I am mess of tears these days - and this just added to it for some reason.

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  32. I really like your fish taco and kid stories. I like your revelations and observations. I'm for you too.

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  33. Dissolved in tears in the bathtub, listening to Free Bird on my shuffle (I clip it on my head). "If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?" Shannan, this is beautiful beyond words. Your heart bursts wide open for us and flings it's love on these pages and on the lives woven into yours. Blessings------

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  34. Love this. I am for you too.
    xo~Jill

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  35. Its, not it's---- I'm an English teacher---- can't let it go! :)

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  36. Love this! And thanks :). I am a sahm right now with 1 precious girl. Every post you write causes me to think and grow. You tweeted me a while back and you have NO IDEA how God used you. Greatful.

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  37. Beautifully written and expressed. Each of your posts is unique and different like all of your readers. That's why so many of us keep coming back here to gather, hang out, linger and hang out some more. Can you imagine if all of your posts were about salsa and only salsa? I mean, I LOVE your salsa and all, but can you imagine?? Stop it. Stop imagining it. You can't only write about salsa all the time. I know you're tempted...

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  38. I am probably your only die hard fan that is absolutely an atheist and has no plans to change......and I love you. Thank you for being you, so strong and so YOU.

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    1. I love your heart, Kari!

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    2. Oh, I'll bet you're not the only one.
      Love you back.

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  39. Just yesterday I met with my four homies, and we confessed to each other we want our tight-fisted hearts to crack open and love like Jesus. THIS, THIS!!! You could come hang with us? We love you, Shannan.

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  40. Now I'll be singing that Toby Mac song "I'm for You" all day long :) Thank you for this post. Its such an encouragement to remember this is how God feels about each and every one. We're all so different, but somehow the same...its the image of God we're made in that connects us. Blessings...and, I'm for you too!

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  41. Hilarious and touching. I just started blogging. The feeling that I was supposed to just wouldn't go away. It is kinda scary, though! Would love for you to come visit me at riggstownroad.blogspot.com and give me some honest feedback. I love the way you "keep it real!" :)))

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  42. Love this and needed it today! Thank you for the honesty, thank you for the love. I am sending it right back your way with some virtual salsa and chips :)

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  43. Thank you for being an encourager and cheerleader! We need more of this for each other.

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  44. I love your heart and your words. :)

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  45. things became infinitely more thought provoking when your words came into my life.

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  46. And I for you. Just..plain..wonderful!

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  47. I love this. Thank you for writing these words.

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  48. I keep coming back to read you. A lot. It's been years now since I stumbled across your blog. I liked the name, then I liked your kids....I have a little adopted Korean sweetheart ornery boy in my life too. And I'm one of those morning coffee on the deck is my church people you speak of. No organized religion for me in many years. I worship in my own way. And I really enjoy reading your perspective on things. Keep writing the good stuff. Thank you.

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  49. This really spoke to my heart today. This is something that the Lord has really been showing me lately. Thanks for speaking to right where I am at!

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  50. I am so glad I found you and your blog and your Jesus talk. You're fantabulous!!

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  51. I am so for you, FPFG. I'll take it all--fish tacos, your littles, Jesus, poverty. You share such an interesting perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly I could never leave.

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