Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Rejoice and Be Sad


This one goes out to all of you with bruised hearts and weary souls. You have a neighbor in me.

I shouldn't be so naive to think Summer might fix everything. It does help, in pockets. It eases us up, throws us a few welcomed curve-balls. The neighborhood rises up from its winter tomb and if I let myself, all I can hear is laughter at the park, squealing at the splash pad. If I try hard enough, my eyes sweep past the undercurrents of wanting.

But I have looked into your eyes, leaned closer to catch your words, strained with worry and doubt.
And you have done the same for me.

We are sad.
We are battered.
Our sails are shredded.

We see the world around us and it gives us the blues. It makes us forget things we know, or teaches us lessons we'd rather ignore. This world, it doesn't just wound us. It is a wound. It's gaping, and we spill out, part of the pain.

This all sounds very dramatic. I'm sorry for that.
I'm staring out my dining room window right now at trees that will never be more vibrant, grass that would not be kept dull - survivors of bitter cold, months of gray, and now, sun-shock and a parade of flip-flopped feet.

I want to notice the green, and I do.

But I can't not-see the last abandoned house that remains on my block, its siding chipped and faded. I wish it away and beg it to stay, a metaphor for most facets of my life. It's a spot of darkness when I'd rather see beauty. It shines a light on reality when I'd rather escape. It reminds me of what's broken, reflects my own poverty. What would it be like if we all got our wish and they bulldozed it, started fresh? Do I really prefer a life spent squinting against the glare of new and better and cleaner and brighter?

The honest truth is, I do not.
The honest truth is, some days I prefer a crumbling foundation. Some days, that is my comfiest home.

Listen - we were made to feel pain. It rends us from ourselves. It tears at our brightness. It smudges our view, hides us away. Pretending to be untouchable is the bitter end of brotherhood.

If I know anything at all on this bright morning, it's that sadness is important, and no one wants to be wrestled from it before it has passed. Maybe we could just stop patting each other's heads and offering emotional lollipops as a reward for smiling when we'd rather worship in a different way. We'd much rather lament, some days, without the salve of gladness. We get to experience the distinct solace of being stowed away in the palm of God's hand.

I see your weariness. I can trace the shape of the weight you're under. I've been there. I'll be there again and, when I am, I know you'll sit across from me, leaning in, reminding me I'm allowed the dignity of actually feeling my life. All of it.

Nothing is forsaken.
Tomorrow is a different day.
All of those things are probably true.

But now and then, for you today and eventually, again, for me, we sit quieter, speak more slowly, allow ourselves the the truth of the moment.

This is the day that the Lord has made.
And rejoicing doesn't always follow the rules.


20 comments:

  1. Wow..... this. THIS. THIS is what I needed to read this morning... I'm with you and praying for and alongside you.

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  2. Sister, your words just mirror my heart most days. Thank you!

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  3. Shannan, thanks for being a neighbor. And thanks for sharing your heart openly. This one hit mine square in the center. Life is so broken and cumbersome at times, and trying to put on a happy face and pretend it's not just adds to the burden. And YES: "We get to experience the distinct solace of being stowed away in the palm of God's hand." If we can't own and be in our brokenness, how can we go to God, and wait on Him to bring true healing and hope? I have spent too much time pretending that I have already found what I seek so that I do not appear lacking or unspiritual to others, when in reality I am very much more in the seeking phase than the finding. So grateful for you and your words.

    On another note, this is the first time I've clicked over from my email to the blog since the new header - and it's simply gorgeous. Great job.

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    1. Thanks, Tori! I love it when people click over. :)
      And I'm so glad God met you right where you are through my little words.
      xo

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  4. "If I know anything at all on this bright morning, it's that sadness is important. Pretending to be untouchable is the bitter end to brotherhood." The lesson I keep relearning as I want to be "fine" and "handle it." But seeing over and over again that my heart can't both fully love and also not be broken. As I try to be fine, I feel myself stepping back instead of toward the ones I love. It's been a week of stepping toward, feeling the pain and then needing to sit in the quiet, truth of the moment. Thanks for your words.

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  6. I know that I am not alone. Some days are just harder. So thank you for sharing!!

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    1. It helps so much to remember we aren't alone!
      Right here with you. xo

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  7. Soaking in Psalm 119 this week! Verse 66-68
    Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good,, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.
    Difficult things bring us to or keep us on our knees.

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    1. "You are good. What you do is good."
      YES. Thanks for this.

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  8. Thank you, Shannan. Two years of hard rejection--another one yesterday--and it makes me want to quit. Today I'll just be sad.

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    1. Shelly girl, go ahead and be sad. But don't quit.
      God already won everything. (<That sometimes helps me when I'm having a hard day. If it doesn't help you or annoys you, just disregard!) ;)

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  9. This really spoke to me thank you!!!

    www.sophobsessed.com

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  11. THIS. This has been my message. My message from God and the message I've been sharing. 2016's gift was breast cancer. I've been through the big surgery and now chemo. I have all the emotions, the beautiful ones and the shards of glass veriety. Though everyone so wants to pass me those "emotional lollipops", I am open and honest. This is not a bump in my road. This is my road, and I don't think God would have me shut my eyes and lick those lollipops, just because tidying it up would be easier for everyone. There is much to feel, a true paradox of joy and sadness, pain and peace. Good word, Shannan. Thank you. I give you permission right back to be real and always just a bit broken.

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    1. I have thought of your comment 10 times since reading it yesterday. Thank you so much for sharing part of you sadness here with us. That feels like a tremendous privilege. And thank you for offering back to me the permission to just be bummed out by the world around me, now and then. Cheering you on, crying with you, all of that. Just thanks. xo

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  12. You just spoke my heart! Thank you. Shannan you are a treasure - we are all blessed by your heart

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  13. "This is the day that the Lord has made. And rejoicing doesn't always follow the rules." That's one to tattoo on my wrist. I love these words of yours today.

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  14. Thank you Shannan for your words. I really, really needed this tonight. "It's been one of those days for like three years now" and I'm sad about that some times. Thanks again for your words.

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