I’m not usually one for Christmas lists, I seldom ask for specific gifts. Come Christmas morning I will feel quite uncomfortable with all eyes on me. I feel some pressure for an appropriate joyful, grateful response, and wanting my family to know how much they mean to me apart from what they give, but also how much I appreciate their efforts and love to me in their gifts. I’m not gifty. Perhaps I’m
My grandmother used to say, “just a hanky,” when we asked her what she would like for her birthday or for Christmas. It seemed such a little thing, a hanky, yet I know how you reach a point (or maybe you were always there) where material things don’t mean much.
So, as I was thinking about what I’d really like for Christmas, it’s about the intangibles of relationships and social constructs that are most meaningful to me… the HOW we LIVE with one another. It comes down to the acceptance of who YOU are and who I am, and finding a way of doing life together that brings meaning and joy to both of us. I want for us to KNOW each other, to love each other all the more for knowing how imperfect yet wonderful we are.
So I am going to disclose some personal things to you with the real hope of acceptance and continued relationship. Forgive me if I’ve been less than forthcoming previously.
1. I believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible. I am a simple woman, simply trying to follow Jesus and infuse all areas of my life with God’s love. I celebrate Christmas because of what I believe. If you want to hear my story, I have one to share.
2. I live in a constant tension of faith mixed with doubt. I do not have many answers, and I’m becoming more comfortable with saying, “I don’t know.” It’s not about convincing, arguing, debating, although there are those who are very good at apologetics, I am not. I believe my life is becoming what it is because of God and me doing life together. It just is, and most days I believe it to be true.
3. I’m uncomfortable with organized Church. I regularly push myself to participate, serve, contribute to my local church, and for a time I feel real belonging, but I often also feel like a square peg in a round hole. I have been, and perhaps always will be, a dweller of margins.
4. I am imperfect. I say stupid things, forget birthdays, don’t return your calls or texts. I talk negative and overly-serious and deep when you want light and fun. I hide from people. I spend too much time on Facebook. I fight with my husband and my try to control my kids. I hate cleaning my house. I’d rather write or read. I’m unfriendly to some of my neighbours, and don’t speak to one. I’ve ignored you. I’ve broken promises. I am horrible at baking, but love getting praise for my cooking. I love getting praise for anything I do, but feel guilty for loving it too much. I want to do things for God, but feel I’m probably doing things for me a lot of the time. I run from conflict. I have strong opinions. I talk too much. There’s more.
5. I struggle with anxiety and depression. I have not been diagnosed with clinical depression, and I am sensitive to those who have been and how much worse they must feel compared to me. However I wonder sometimes if it would be best for everyone (my family especially) for me to spend a little time in a hospital and get myself somewhat re-tooled. If this is even possible. Often my depression lines up with SADD (several months of cloud and no sunshine in the Okanagan), menopause (sleeplessness, hot flashes, irritability etc.), and a predisposition towards introspection and time alone. I wonder how #1, #2, and #3 line up with this point. I have noticed that being more involved with projects around creative expression and things outside the world of being a stay-at-home manager of my family, helps my mental balance. I have noticed that happiness and joy are two different things.
6. I love to create, and I love to see others find their creative spirit and create. I believe passionately in how much better we all are when we find what we are meant to do, what we were created to do, and then go do it. I love to connect with others and encourage them to be their best. I love to see the ripple effects of love, joy, and healing go out from the heart of each creative spirit into the hearts of others.
7. I want to be part of a bigger picture of creative expression. I am keeping my eyes, ears and heart open to what is next for me as part of the greater creative collective. I am considering how I may pour myself into realizing a new dream around words, writing, giving and growing.
8. I intend to continue to sign “SDG ~ Soli Deo Gloria,” to my work, and attribute thanks to God for what he allows, facilitates and carries out through my one life. I continue to desire and ask for integrity in this.
Thank you for reading this. Thank you for your open heart. This has truly been a gift to me to be able to write to you, share things at Buddy Breathing for a long time now.
I look forward to what life holds for us in 2014 and hope you write and tell me what you are up to, what you are learning.
May you be blessed with a renewed spirit of deep joy and gratitude for who you are, and the gifts you have been so rightly given.
With my love, SDG,
How refreshing! What a great post Lesley-Anne.
It inspires me to return the bravery of stepping out there with personal keys to what makes us unique. I do this in the hopes of complimenting your thoughts and to showcase how wonderful it really is the be ‘the square peg’:
1. I believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible – this faith rests in every breath I take and I beg God for a humble heart in his presence every day.
2. I am career driven – sounds fantastic but I am plagued with having to succeed at everything I do which of course is at the expense to having a balance in my life. Thank you Yoga – I could not do it without you. It keeps me centred. I crave the adrenaline of taking on more, taking action, and seeing it succeed. Wrong on so many levels I am sure.
3. I am uncomfortable with organized Church – which, of course, I suffer interminable guilt. However, I do come by the guilt honestly as a Catholic.
4. I too am imperfect – I’ve discovered I have an intolerance for social gatherings, friends with loud voices, people with no conversation, and my neighbours call on my husband as they either don’t know me or I don’t stop for the idle chit chat. Thank you for sharing this one with me Lesley-Anne.
5. I love to write but refer to point 2 – my high profile career puts my internal artist on hold. She screams at me every day to be let out of this cage of denial. I ask myself every day what the artist in me is! How do I figure that out? I ask God to help me find her, but perhaps I am should be asking myself that question.
So, if Santa could kindly wrap all the solutions to the above in a nice blue box (yes, Tiffany reference here was on purpose), that would complete my Christmas. But alas, I know the man in the red suit won’t do that because they are my solutions to find. A quest that gives me meaning in life as I continue to grow and learn about who I am.
How altogether lovely for you to share these things with me. Thank you, Ingrid. May we continue on being refined and finding our place is often right where we are. Merry Christmas.