Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Nearness of You.

(Written Oct. 2015)

Recently, I started going to counseling. It's so nice. My therapist is like a much older version of me, but with over-exaggerated facial expressions and, you know, all that therapist wisdom.

On Tuesday, she was teaching me about how distorted beliefs can lead us to have emotional reactions that don't match the magnitude of the trigger event. She was going to use an example of someone you love getting in a car accident to contrast.

"Who are you closest to in the world?" she asked.

I knew it was a simple exercise, but it felt like a test. I sat blankly for a moment, paralyzed. A few names crossed my mind, but I second guessed myself. Am I really closer to her than anyone else?

I couldn't pick someone. The truth is, there's nobody in this world that I'm as close to as I'd like to be.

It's only a place to start.

"You seem embarrassed by loneliness,
by being alone.
It's only a place to start."

-From the 1995 Sabrina

Much as I didn't care for this movie when I saw it last night, 
I did care for this line.

Everything starts with being alone,
like the school bus ride
on the first day to kindergarten.

It's not embarrassing,
and, beautifully,
it always turns into something else.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

How I Felt at Church Today: Warm Water

This morning, I read an article that said, When you go to church, try. That's so obvious, but it's usually the obvious things that hit you as being the most true.

So I sat there and tried really hard to think and ponder and it worked wonderfully. 

It felt like my chest was filled with warm water. My heart and my stomach were right there next to each other, sloshing around. Each new beautiful thought I had made the water ripple delicately in my chest, like the quiet noise of lowering yourself into a bath. Like the way the water laps at your ears when you lay back into the pool to float.

The back of my neck felt hot, and I put my hand over my heart. 

How I Felt at Church Today:

Sunday, November 15, 2015


In June, I went to Kansas City for a training for work. Just me. I was terrified to go, but now, as is so often the case, I look back and pine for it.

I rented a car so I wouldn't just have to spend my long evenings in my hotel room thinking about how lonely I was--a green Toyota Corolla, to remind me of home. 

The first day, I jumped in the car and drove an hour and a half to the middle of nowhere to a field called Adam-ondi-Ahman. It's got historical and religious significance for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I listened to choral music all the way there, as the green fields melted past my windows. The sky was as big and brilliant as any I'd ever seen.

When I got there, a big sign pointed me in. The roads turned to gravel, and I worried about the car's tires. I found a woman gardening and asked her where to go, since there wasn't much direction. I mean, there was the most lovely view of a green field that I'd ever seen, but I didn't know if there was something more to be looking for.

She pointed me to the other end of the property, the other lookout point. I got in my car and drove slowly, slowly over that gravel. It felt like it took forever to go a mile and a half.

It must have been 7:30 or 8 at night--the sun was glittery, just starting to promise that it'd soon go down. As I was driving and the choir was swelling, a deer came prancing out into the road in front of me, crossed it gracefully, jumped a low wooden fence, and continued through the tall grass on the other side. I was going so slow that I knew there was no way I would hit it, so I just watched in awe. This gorgeous, godly field was its home, and it hopped fences and went wherever it wanted.

The view was nice. I felt totally invisible in the world, so invisible that only God could find me. I felt like this is where I would go if I were the only woman on earth. But that deer was the most unexpected joy of the story.

Friday, November 6, 2015

No one is to blame.

I sometimes think about how many songs there are in this world. I wonder how it's possible that all notes that exist haven't been put together in all possible combinations already.

And even though there are millions of lyrics out there, I still can't believe it when I find one that perfectly describes how I feel. It's a thrill.

But really, there are probably songs that describe everything I've ever felt. There are already songs out there that that describe how I'll feel in 30 years, but I just don't know it yet.

I found a song that someone wrote 30 years ago about what my life has been like ever since I started dating.

I've dipped my foot in the pool but I couldn't have a swim.
I've been the fastest runner, but I wasn't allowed to win.
I've felt the punishment, even though I couldn't commit the sin.

And no one ever is to blame.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The First Day of Winter.

When daylight savings time ends, you're so taken with that extra hour of sleep that you don't even notice it getting dark early.

The next day, though, is the first day of winter. By the time you leave work, there's very little light to hold onto.

Today, as I drove home from the grocery store, the early dark made me feel so tiny. In one day, the night grew so big that staring into it seemed endless. But there was something comforting about that. Like the darkness and the cold and the artificial heat on my toes and the Christmas music and the whole world were wrapping me up in a long, cozy hug.

I think the humility of winter is the counterpoint to the brazen pride of summer.