Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Space Between Where You Are & Where You Wish to Be

It feels like a chasm, this place. 

It feels like you're that crazy man who started on one side of the Grand Canyon and tightrope-walked to the other. Except that you're not him and you don't know how to tightrope-walk so you're just stuck on that one desolate side of the canyon and getting across will take a miracle. Or at the very least a helicopter.

I write about "receiving your own life" and the "unfixable life" and some of you might be thinking by now, Sheesh, Scooper, get a hold of yourself. Either you really do have some crazy in your life or you have a flair for the dramatic. 

And really, both of those things are true. 

There is crazy, both the normal kind of crazy when you're a mom with young-ish kids and you're running a home and balancing the budget and wondering about dinner and fire-hosing sibling squabbles like they're relentless wildfires. 

And then there is the deeper stuff and you just want it to be fixed and resolved already but it's not. Life is not okay. You are not okay. And because all of this brokenness has been wonky for so long and you've been fighting so hard, you are simply tired. So stinkin' tired.

You stare at the other side of that canyon, that elusive finish line that also feels like the starting line because if you can just. get. there then you can finally begin to live the life you really want to live. 

I hear the unmistakable whisper: This is your story, child.

And I do not whisper back. I yell with clenched fists and hot tears: This is NOT the story I wanted. I don't want its storyline or its scars. Also, God? I'm tired. 

I want God to make like a super hero and swoop down to save me, to fly me across that impossibly large canyon and plant me securely on the other side. 

Sometimes those who are close to me, the few brave souls who know me and love me anyway, they tell me that God will use it all. They remind me of redemptive value. 

And I think to myself, No thank you. My truth-telling has its limits. And our stories never stand alone anyway.  

Do you ever get to this point when any redemptive purpose of your story feels irrelevant? A point when well-meaning consolation and redemptive hope fall flat? 

You just want to wish the current struggle away.

You want to erase the past.

You hope for a different future.

So what do you do...when you can't really do anything? What do you do when you know all the right answers but you're encased in a self-imposed armor and those truth-arrows fall to the ground in vain, deflected by your steely shell?

What do you do when you know the truth but you don't feel set free?

I guess you're left with two choices:

The truth isn't actually true.


You don't really know the truth you thought you knew. Or perhaps you {and by "you" I mean "I"} confuse knowing the truth with feeling the truth.  

Sure, I can spout off the truth I say I believe. Even now, I'm tempted to tie up this melancholy, soulful post in a satin bow of comforting Christian speak. But that's not being honest with you or me or God.

I'm wired in such a way that truth sometimes doesn't seem true if I don't feel it. Yes, I'm an over-thinker but I'm also a over-feeler. And so it's tempting to just flush all the truth away because I don't feel it helping and also I'm mad and when I'm mad I sometimes just want to stay all armored-up. 

I know, my maturity amazes even me. 

So what can I tell you today? What can I tell myself? 

This is what I've got: 

It's okay that life is messy and that certain things in life are simply quite broken. It is okay.

I don't have to do anything today to try to fix what I cannot fix. 

God loves me so much, even though I'm melancholy and mad and not wanting to pray or read my Bible.

Because I feel too frustrated to pray, I've asked other people to pray for me. And they are. And this is such love.

Hormones certainly don't help. Just accept this. 

That "better life" on the other side of the canyon? It is not perfect. And because I want it too much, it is probably an idol and I need to do business with that.

There is hope. I don't know what "hope" looks like in my particular life. The hope I'm speaking of isn't the perfect-life-on-the-other-side-of-the-canyon hope. It's a you-are-going-to-be-okay hope. Eventually, you really are going to be okay.

Waiting is hard. Simple pleasures like coffee and mint-chocolate anything and an evening glass of red wine can be sweet graces. I'm not talking about escapism; I'm talking about receiving good gifts for what they are: gifts.

Helping a friend helps me. Yesterday one of my dearest friends asked me to help rearrange all of the art and pictures in her living and dining room. It took us all day and it was such fun and I teetered on top of a piano and kitchen chairs and forgot about my big, sad self.

Just be where you are. Now, if you're in a pit I do not recommend staying there. But if you're mired in some mess and it seems like everyone else is not quite in the land of cuckoo that you are, just accept that this where you are today instead of fighting against it. Make peace with what is {as best you can} and know that you will not always be here. 

{Can you tell that I did not do so well in my college philosophy class? Did that last paragraph even make sense?}

And that is what I can tell you {and tell myself} today, friends. What can I say? You get what you pay for.  

No Bible verses. No scrawled out prayers. No mantras. 

God loves you and He loves me and He has good for us. He does. It just may not look like someone else's good who lives on the other side of the canyon. But He has good. He is good. 

This is truth that I know, even if it is truth I cannot quite feel today.

Hang in there. 


  1. OK . . . so I don't write a blog, but if I did (especially after slurping up your post), it would be something like this: Why does reading your beautiful, creative, master-writer daughter's blog about living in the not-so-good place in life and longing for the better life leave me wondering in what ways I am somehow responsible? I'll title my blog: The Afterbirth, a.k.a. maternal guilt.

    I know, I know. We've talked about this before, haven't we, honey? And don't you dare quit writing just because I get to wondering.

    This "stuck-in-the-middle" place? It's called life. There was "before life" when we knew nothing and felt nothing. There is the "life to come" when we will know everything . . . and be at complete peace with it. Then there's the middle. This is where we are. Knowing in part. Feeling in part. Good. Bad. In-between.

    Just to show you how mindful God is of you, my new drive-to-work has had me thinking of you and all that God has brought you through . . . and out of. I've been thanking Him for that, and asking Him to keep it up. He's promised that He will.

    I love you forever,

    1. Dear Scooper's Mom:

      BOY, do I ever share that maternal guilt!!! I scan my five kids constantly looking for evidence that I did "alright" raising them, and usually find things that I fear they must have learned from living with me!!! God reminds me that NO ONE gets through unbroken and unscarred, and that even if there was such a thing as a "perfect" parent providing a "perfect" childhood, their kids would be suffering trying to deal with their own imperfect humanity while living in a broken world!

      We raise them as best we can while seeking healing ourselves from our wounds, and teach them about seeking and granting forgiveness along the way.



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