Friday, June 14, 2013

Becoming Real

You know, I used to think that it was sad, being in my mid-forties and only just beginning to find out who I really am. Now, I wonder if it can happen any earlier than that.  They say being yourself gets easier as we get older, because we don't care what other people think. I'm not sure that I don't care what other people think. I am just learning to give other people permission to think what ever they want and still be okay. It's the same thing I want people to do for me. Odd, how learning to accept that some people will not like me or approve or my choices has led to my feeling free to make choices that honor my God and myself and my child, regardless of what people think.  I used to believe that the problem was them.  Yet, here I was, fussing and fuming over their choice to not like me, disapproving of their disapproval of me. Would I like people to like me? Well, yes! But I accept that not everyone will. And that's okay. And not a snarky, dismissive okay, either. It really is okay.

 This is totally a God thing for me.  Because "Kelly-without-God" would be hiding under her bed right now, clutching a bottle of gin in one hand and Xanax in the other.  And probably a cat.  Okay, most definitely a cat. Or two.

I am just beginning to really be comfortable with the me that I am discovering.  Thanks to spiritual mentors like Brennan Manning (author of The Ragamuffin Gospel), I am being awash in the truth that, like everyone else, I am utterly, absolutely, passionately, sacrificially, totally and wonderfully loved by God.  God loves me as I am, not as I should be. I believe this, Lord, help me believe it more.  God has created us to be relational creatures, designed specifically for relationship with Him, and with each other. Often, we discover important aspects of ourselves by seeing ourselves through the eyes of another.  I am experiencing this, as I see myself through Brian's eyes.  I am often stunned into silence by the Kelly that he tells me that he sees. Is she even real? Is she my potential? Is it just Skype static?
From Shannyl Munson, Myspace

My Mum told me once that I over-analyse everything. She was, of course, right. So I am trying not to over-analyze this. I am learning to just be.  And if I make mistakes, then I am "she who makes mistakes". If I get confused about who I am for a while, then that is who I am.  If love pours out of me like milk in a child's cup, or whiskey in a shot glass, or water to a parched soul, then that is who I am. God, through those who love me, is inviting me to relax fully into who He has created me to be, in this place, at this time.  I can receive God's love with grace and gratitude when it comes to my spirit from Him. Now, I am learning to receive it when it comes from the hands and heart of my love.  Sometimes I receive it tentatively.  Sometimes, with joyful abandon.

Always, I choose to receive it though, even if it hurts. And the truth is that sometimes, allowing myself to be unconditionally, deeply and truly loved by another, hurts. It hurts because it stirs memories of wounds newly healed. It hurts because it shines a light on my own places of self-centredness, and the awful possibility (probability?) of one day hurting the precious heart that is loving me so freely. It hurts because it is too lovely, too rich, too free, too miraculous for this world. It is rooted in another realm, where a God will die to draw His children to Him, where Love is the fuel that lights the sun and moon, where Hope is eternal, where riches are paving stones and the most precious things are the Lord of the city and the people that He loves.

All I keep thinking is how grateful I am. I read this quote recently, and it reminding me of the wonder of this lovely story from Grace's childhood, The Velveteen Rabbit. How unfathomably wonderful and painful and mysterious  it is, to be in the process of becoming real...

"It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” ― The Velveteen Rabbit

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"It's a dangerous business...going out your front door..."

Oh, dear readers, I am torn. It has been several weeks since I have written here, but Just A Thought is rarely far from my mind.  I have so much that I wish I could share, so many good and special things are happening.

It is a nice dream, that we can move blissfully into the future, while leaving the past securely in the realm of vague and healing memory. Unfortunately, it is not always realistic.  The truth that I have learned from past experience is that not everyone rejoices with those who rejoice. And some don't stop at mere frowning and fussing. Some take action, destructive action, and there are times when the slander and lies and gossip and rejection and scheming go so far as to taint the good, and wound it deeply and even irreparably.  I have seen this, and have grown stronger in my faith and the power of God and will not allow it to happen again.

There are also the horrid rumors and suspicions - oh, who am I kidding, those involved take arrogance and pride to such a dizzying height that they are so bold as to not be merely suspicious, but to claim divine knowledge from their god - that I am a malignant narcissist (or a psychopath, in laymen's terms).  I was recently told that they will do anything that their god tells them to do in  order to "save me".  I am assuming that the number of these people is small, including the one who has been an abuser and bully in my past.  Apparently, their god is okay with physical and verbal violence - even life threatening - but takes a strong stand on Christian women rebelling against men by setting healthy boundaries and protecting their children.

Of course this is a concern to me.  I do think that at some point there may be an effort to "save me", whether I want it or not, and if I think about this too much, it freaks me out. A lot.  I also feel a strong sense of the protection of God over my life.  One thing that reassures me is the results of the nuclear stress test that I had done on my heart and arteries a while ago. After several years of intense stress and even concerted efforts to induce stress-related angina attacks and cardiac events, my arteries are clear and my heart is strong.  Instead, the rage and violence that my abuser hoped would cause damage to me instead compromised his own health.  Years ago, God gave me Psalm 18 as a promise to me, when I was in fear and being attacked. God has protected me in many incredible ways.  His hand is on me. I believe this fully.

One way that He is protecting me is giving me wisdom and discernment over what I talk about in public.  I never post publicly in any social media or here on the blog when I am going to be alone at home for any length of time.  There are certain places that I just won't go alone. I have been warned, by friends and family, even by friends of my abuser, to never be alone with him, and I do my best to keep to this.  And there are some things that cannot be discussed here, or if I do discuss them, must be controlled.

Still, I do want to share my joy with those who love me. I am in a new relationship. His name is Brian.  He is a kind, loving, godly, humble, funny, smart, interesting, beautiful person.  He makes me laugh, just talking to him calms my heart, he makes me think and he respects my faith, my perspective, my gifts and abilities.  He also makes me feel safe.  He is an extension of God's protective, loving care for me. He is truly a gift, and my cup runneth over. Like, seriously.

I can't go into a lot of detail, but that is just for now. Yes, it irks me to no end, that I can't say what I want to say, that I have to protect myself like this, but I have much to protect myself for.  And it is only for a season.

 I do want to say, one of the major reasons I discuss, on this blog and in social media, the accusations and threats that have come my way is because I believe that the more open I am, the more protected I am. There is a reason why abusers and bullies try so hard to silence their victims. There is a reason why the ugly, abusive comments I get on this blog are always anonymous.  Abusers and their supporters find safety in anonymity.  I don't go out of my way to name people, I am not trying to hurt or shame anyone. I think people are shamed by their own actions, by the very need to remain anonymous.  I know who is involved, and who I think the supporters are, and those close to me know these things, too.

There is safety in a crowd. So, if someone threatens to try to "save me"  whether I want it or not (and I think that we can all agree that such a "promise" coming from someone who has physically assaulted me is, actually, a threat), I essentially move into my "crowd" by letting you all know about it. Now, if anything happens to me, it happens in front of you. There is accountability.  There is a record of the threats. For me, there is safety in that. And I appreciate you all for being there.

I have written before about how it takes a dedicated community to shut down bullying. There is power in a community of friends and family who simply show up, who make their presence known, who refuse to allow victims to face their abusers alone.  I cannot express how grateful I am for all of you who have "shown up" every time I have needed you.

I am reminding of this quote, from one of my very favorite Hobbits (Bilbo Baggins), in one of my very favorite books -

 "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ The Fellowship of the Ring

Still, I do believe it is time for another adventure....
My Zimbio