September 6, 2011

Dear Jesus,

If I ask you to take me in, will you? If I ask you what it means to be taken in, will you tell me? If I ask you why I even care so much, what will be your response? With the help of a couple close friends I've decided it's time to communicate with you again. It will look like a discipline at first, I'm sure, but that's how many things begin. Just as it's time to stay in one place and allow myself the opportunity to realize that freedom might come just as fully in the form of solidity and assurance as it does in movement. That being said, last night as I ran into the darkness, past abundant fields and houses warm with light, the dampness of evening turning to night coating my skin, I was aware of how still my soul was. It was similar to the night I finished the sodus house. I walked into E's place and he held me and all was calm, which reminds me of the days I sprawl in the grass as far from people as I can get and stare at the sky or close my eyes and hear only the air as it brushes over my mind, cleanses my heart. There's a sense of calm that my insides notice as something unnecessarily rare, something powerful, something needed. I've found that stillness in different ways since I first met you. I've found it in the almost imperceptible pat of my feet along the ground as the miles tick behind me, I've found it in merging my days, nights, thoughts, ideas and desires with those of another individual, and I've found it in putting all thoughts of life aside and asking you to take me in.
People want proof. And you know God, I want to be able to give it to them. I want to be able to explain who you are, how I know you're the real deal, how it is that I'm certain that the power you hold can't be explained by something as obvious as the power that appears when any group of people join together to do anything at all. There is power in a group of people believing in something whether it's weight loss, environmental conservation, inner-city development, or God. People create movements. But I'm not looking for a movement. Not anymore. I'm looking for something real that I can carry with me into my real life filled with real people who do real things and laugh at real moments and struggle with real issues. I've tried yoga. I love it. But that point it brings me to is the same point I get to on a long solo-run, the same point I hit when I sense myself meshing seamlessly with another individual. I find myself muttering in another language, aware of every natural sound around me, unaware of traffic, unidentifiable people, tomorrows events or the structure I'm inside. The other things that set me free, they bring me back to you.
Yesterday Amy took my hand and dragged me to the top of a set of stairs leading to a church somewhere in South Wedge. She told me to pray. I couldn't do it. Not because I don't know how, but because I know how far too well. I could pray all day without stumbling or stuttering or pausing once. I don't want to know how to do this anymore, I want to be this. I don't want to read the right books, listen to the right music, say amen at the right times. I want to see you in my life in all your TRUTH with all the reality of who you are and what that can look like in THIS world. Maybe I've made so many mistakes I can't be forgiven and won't ever find myself on the same road I once sought. Or maybe I'm about to arrive at something even less understood than what I knew before. Maybe I'm about to be more me, more you, more alive than I ever have been before. That's what I want. But Jesus, I also want to be clean. So whatever that means, you have my permission: wash me, and please, please take me in.

September 1, 2011

When the Mountains Close

I've been sculpting an idea which has slowly turned into a plan since November 2010.
Step 1: go to Rochester, live with Laura
Step 2: get a job
Step 3: live simply and with frugality in order to pay off your student loans asap
Step 4: make a little extra money
Step 5: September 1, 2011: embark on a one month odyssey in the Adirondack Mountains. Alone.

Today is Thursday, September 1, 2011. The air is thick and cool following a morning thunder shower. My foot aches from stepping on a nail yesterday afternoon while running from the noise in my head. I swear I can smell the grass, sweet and bitter, dirt mixed with dew, clorophyl covered in raindrops. If not for the lightness of the sky and the coffee by my side I would believe the crickets that dusk is falling and night is almost come.

I'm more than 250 miles from the Adirondack Park with no plans for departure.

People change, sometimes, without realizing it. One morning you wake up no longer wanting to be a teacher, a student, a mother. Maybe one day you crave spinach at every meal when the day before just the thought of anything green drove you to the candy isle.

A month ago I took a shower, forgetting to bring clean clothes in from my trunk before I got in. Dripping and dazed, I walked across the gravel to my car, feet bare, wrapped in a towel that wasn't mine. I popped the trunk and stared- a mass of colored fabrics lay in a heap, nothing to distinguih the worn from the unworn except memories in the form of snapshots of where I'd been, what I'd done. I took clean underwear from the cardboard box to the right and a new rubber hairband from the box to the left. I grabbed deoderant from the center console, flipflops from the passenger side floor, browning bananas from the back seat. Before getting dressed I lit incense, turned on Paul Cardall, and washed the dishes in the sink. I put away the jars I brought in from my car in a Gevalia box the night before- soynuts, muesli, honey, peanut butter, organic animal crackers, and started a loaf of bread in the bread machine.

I want a home. I want to retrieve my underwear from a drawer. I want to make you cake and hot cocoa, tea and cookies, potroast and venison stew. I want to be missed when I'm not at church on Sunday morning. I want to find six people to help me move a free piano into my own place.

Place. I want a sense of place, my own place, a sense of purpose, a meaning other than watching numbers grow and checking off adventures. The thoughts of signing a lease, taking a job, moving a bed into a building scare me. The fear is real, but it's smothered in excitement, anticipation of what might happen if I dare to create a place for roots to sink...
it's been years; it's been too long.

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