Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Know Thyself


     Lately, I've stopped writing with the intent of being read. Rather, I’ve begun to write for the purpose of understanding life more fully. 
I've realized that I write to know myself. I've found that I don't truly know my own heart, my own mind, my own fully developed perspective on any certain situation until I've put pen to paper, so to speak. I think when my hands are moving. I suppose this makes sense, too, in light of the fact that I am a kinesthetic learner, and a constant clapper during worship. 
Also, so much of the poetry I've written has begun as some cryptic, ambiguous gob of phrases with nothing more than a mysterious feeling behind it. But after writing and rewriting and pulling threads together and manipulating phrases, I find that the impression that was always there is finally visible even to myself. And so I know myself a little better than before. 
....

In other news, I discovered yesterday that a friend I’ve been visiting with during tutoring every week for two semesters now is a book editor. I’m not one to harp on about networking and connections, but I found this rather coincidental. -Oh, but nothing is coincidental, is it? Providential, perhaps? We shall see. 

     Also, she wears truly chic nautical-themed outfits, with the anchor designs and blue and white stripes and all. There is a vicious rumor that I have a tendency to gush on about her outfits every single week. Oh, and I started it. 
God bless,
Natasha W.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ocean's Rhythm


This morning, I have been walking in that certain heaviness that comes with inspiration and revelation (a good heaviness, I might add). So many thoughts have come as heavy, overwhelming ideas that seem to change everything for me. 
For instance, I was reminded of the ocean. How I love to sit on the beach (Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, to be exact) and feel the sugar-white sand beneath me and watch and listen to the rhythm of the waves crashing and rushing up the shore. I love the rhythm. And today I was struck with the idea that perhaps what I have always felt drawn to in the ocean's rhythm is the same thing I am drawn to in writing and fiction and art and humanity. I'm drawn to the magnitude and complexity of life on earth and its rhythm. Pain, desolation, confusion, darkness. Waiting, searching, seeking. Then grace, light, understanding, clarity, joy, inspiration and blessing. Dryness, emptiness, space, pausing, time. Then the rush, the crash, the music, the revelation, the water and fulfillment. Seasons, cycles, change, growth... but always a rhythm, always a plan and a pattern and a Someone orchestrating comfort and grace and fulfillment in our lives. 
So much has happened in the last week during this bizarre and beautiful time of healing. I've been finding new depth in my love for children- not a vague idea of my future children, but the children of friends and family, and even handsome little strangers who smile at me from across a room at random, for no reason at all except that we happened to meet eyes and felt like smiling.  
I was enveloped and welcomed back into my church family (as I haven't been there in so many weeks) with the scents of coffee and bulletins and books and newborns and that evasive, mysterious something that seems to come with the general congregation of Oklahoma City hipsters. And it was so good to sing to God, and to sing over one another and with one another and to one another. This concept of worship is so new to me, for I've always thought worship was ONLY between me and God. But now it is so much more when I am with the church family. It is encouraging and being encouraged to sing to God, to sing about Him, to deepen our fulfillment in our love for Him and acceptance of His grace. It's complex, for we are all coming to God from different places, different moods and weaknesses and perspectives. Some are in mourning, others are struggling with addictions and recurrent sins in our lives, and still others are experiencing a new joy and seasons of blessing. Some of us are singing louder, lifting up our hands higher. Others are listening more, and being encouraged by those who worshiping with so little restraint and so much freedom. We are lifting up and being lifted. And we are all apart of the chorus, the complex movement of a people toward their Creator. 
Today I'm reminded to sing my part, to gradually lift up the song as my own heart is being lifted by others, and my eyes are being redirected to God's goodness. 
Natasha W.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Now Then...

Well, friends, here we have sorrow. That is to say, I have begun to feel that everywhere I turn, I have stumbled upon it. And I find myself asking who it is that I am hurting for. Is my pain entirely my own, or even most of my own? It all seems blurred together- mine, his, hers, and theirs.

I suppose these things are generally kept quiet, but I hate to go around acting cryptic, so I should mention that I had a miscarriage recently. It's a strange thing, to be honest- if "strange" is the word I want, and I think it is. You find yourself going along your merry way, getting up in the (WEE) wee hours of the morning, worshipping, cleaning, studying, cooking, and finding joy at every turn; you write because you believe you're a writer; you study violin because you believe God gave you a violin with your name already engraved on it; you tutor kids, you open up with people in church, you hug a lot and pray and sing and dance. In short, you believe you know who you are and what you're doing.
  Next thing you know, you're pregnant. You rejoice, you tell the world, and try (oh so hard) to begin to grasp what this word means, what parenting means, what the future holds. And I admit, it was scary and heavy and a little unbelievable. 
And in the very next breath, the doctor's telling you something's wrong, there will be no baby, you've had "crappy bad luck" (thanks a lot, doc- that explains everything), and a lot of other nightmarish things, and you're just trying really hard not to pass out or puke all over everyone (very real possibilities, I might add). It was something like that. 
And then... what? I'll tell you what. You put your clothes back on and take the elevator downstairs and try to hold it together as you pass all the women with swollen bellies and toddlers and excited spouses. And of course, it’s impossible to get out of the building without at least one poor soul asking you when you’re due date is. But all you can think is, “Lady, I don’t have one.” 
You think about your grandparents a lot. Like I said, "strange" is the word I want. But you go on thinking about them, and how sorry they must be for you, and somehow, this hurts the most. You think of how sorry everyone is for you, and (I'm not even kidding) you feel extremely sorry for making them sorry. You think about your husband, who really wants kids. You think about your mother-in-law, who really wants your husband to have kids. And then you think, "Who am I? What am I doing? What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to feel?" And everyone asks you how you feel, how you're doing, and there is no good answer. They're all bogus answers, no matter how honest you try to be. The only realistic description of how it feels is, "crushed".  So, you say "fine" instead, because if we're being honest, "fine" doesn't mean anything. All I could think of was my pestle and mortar, and how you throw in some lifeless ingredients and set to work grinding it all up together with that marble pestle, round and round, making that knocking noise as you grind. But it isn't delightful when you are the stuff being ground up, crushed into a million pieces. Crushed. Obliterated. Like taking the heel of your boots and digging something down into the earth, or scraping it across the sidewalk until its no longer recognizable. 
And that's exactly it. Unrecognizable. I've spent the last few weeks feeling like a guinea pig, getting poked and prodded, measured and sized and evaluated because of complications and outrageously high hormone levels that aren't supposed to exist, getting personal calls from my doctor, leaving messages with nurses whose answer to my questions is offering to google it for me, etc. And nothing has been sane- nothing has been like it was before. I keep asking myself, "How do I get back to before? Or, am I supposed to get back at all? How do I go forward? Who am I now?" 
After weeks of praying things like, "Oh God, I don't want to be bitter!" and "What now, God? What do I do now?" I feel like I'm finally landing on my face where I belong. Because I don't know. I don't know what God is thinking, or why so many people around me seem to be facing darker sorrows than myself. And I don't know what I'm supposed be or how I'm supposed to feel. But I spent a long time in His Word and listening to people singing His praises this morning. And I read the following snippet from Joshua, which, in the strangeness that is my heart right now, God used to get something through to me. Maybe it won't make sense to anyone else, but it says everything I need to hear right now.
"My servant Moses is dead. Now then..." (Joshua 1:2)
And so I realize that today is my, "Now then..." Today I use every ounce of strength to get back up again. Whoever I am, whatever this all means, I can't stay here. And even though I don't know what God is thinking or doing, and I have zero vision for my future, I know I'm made to sing His praises, to bring Him glory. And for this little glimmer of hope, no matter how hard it is to see or grasp, I'm supremely thankful.
Natasha W.
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me."
Psalms 51:10, 12