Reprieve

I’m writing tonight’s un-edited “pure thoughts” post from the floor of my bedroom. I composed it while laying/praying on the floor staring at the ceiling, which is where I’d still be if it was possible for me to write that way. But it isn’t. Tonight I am thankful for reprieve. For not feeling. And just like last week I posted about the importance of feelings I think it’s sometimes important to direct your feelings and focus on something different for a while. To give your soul a reprieve from all of the big feelings. (Some people might call these emotions, I prefer the more sophisticated term “big feelings”). 

So tonight I was laying on the floor thanking God for the peace and solitude I found in the form of empty TV and a lot of Taylor Swift music videos. All week as I’ve said my prayers they’ve revolved around unrest and war. There is war in Iraq and Syria, there is war in Ferguson, there is war in my heart and war in my head. And those are just the wars that I can see and feel.

But of all of these wars, one has weighed far more heavily on my mind than the res. I’m not from Ferguson, I’m not black. I’ve never been the victim of racial profiling or institutionalized prejudice. I’ve mostly experienced white privilege and incredible blessings. But what’s going on in Ferguson has overwhelmed me this week. Not in an unhealthy obsessive, checking the news (read: my twitter feed) every 5 minutes to get an update kind of way. But in an aching heart, heavy burden, general melancholy kind of way. This is a thing that God has laid on my heart and just won’t let fade away. All week I’ve been praying for cops and praying for protesters. Praying for Michael Brown’s family and the family of the officer who shot him. Praying for the leaders of Ferguson and those who are crying out for their stories to be heard. Praying for knowledge and also a willingness to surrender the need for knowledge. Praying for clergy and praying for journalists. Praying that this broken-ness my lead to some kind of whole-ness. Praying for justice and praying for mercy. 

And then tonight I laid down to pray and said “Thank you Lord for a day free from Ferguson”. At first I felt shame and sadness at my willingness to forget even for a moment the suffering that is happening there. And then I got the best of my shame and decided that I’m okay with that prayer. I’m okay with the fact that tonight the cry of my heart said “Thank you Jesus for letting my heart rest today, thank you for the reprieve”. I’m okay with this because I can forget, for just a moment, the suffering that is happening there, because this is more than a moment in time. God’s not asleep. He’s doing something and it’s bigger than all of us. I know that Thursday night Annie sees the world through different eyes than Monday morning Annie saw the world. I know that tomorrow morning I will wake up with renewed vigor and passion and desire for God’s work to be done in Ferguson. I know that tomorrow my heart will cry out for justice and mercy. I know that again tomorrow my heart will long for there to be constructive dialogue and the idealist in me will once more wonder what it is that I can do from my comfortable little living room in Virginia. And I know that when I begin to wonder, I will know the answer: I will pray*. And my prayers will be stronger, and more deliberate and impassioned because tonight I got a break. And just because tonight I got to laugh and “waste” my time on “frivolous” things (I love you T-Swizzle) doesn’t mean I forgot about anyone’s hurt or pain, it just means I took a break. And taking breaks is ok (and in fact probably necessary in order to maintain sanity). So tonight Lord, I thank you for the reprieve, because my heart needed it. 

*Disclaimer: On the off-chance that any social-justice driven people are reading my blog tonight I want to acknowledge the importance of taking action and standing up for what you believe in. I know that many people have felt drawn to stand literally in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and I admire them for doing that. I also know that my role, in this situation, is to pray. I know that my heart aches in a way that it never has before and that the part I am to play is that of a devoted pray-er. And so pray I will. If your role is to march, or to raise funds or awareness, or to pass out sandwiches or protection, or to be a peacemaker then go and do it. I’ll be here praying for you. 

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Feelings

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Sometimes I make the error of trying to fix things. I recognize this in myself because I see it in my mother. When I come to her with a problem or a piece of pain she wants to fix it, because I’m her baby and she hates to see me in pain. And so sometimes I gently remind her that I’ll fix it when I’m ready or we can fix it together but right here, in this moment when I’m sharing my hurt or frustration I just want to be heard. I just want to feel what I’m feeling and not be alone. I don’t want it fixed.
I think that so often we as a society try not to feel. We numb ourselves with drugs, alcohol, television, video games, etc. and we suffer because of it. It’s really important to just feel sometimes. Let the sadness take over for a minute, cry, sob, scream, and know that it’s okay to not always be okay. Thanks for a great reminder Em. Happy Friday everyone!

Roller Coasters

I couldn’t figure what to title tonight’s post, but roller coasters keep coming up in my life. My parents are currently, as I’m writing this, riding one on a beach in Maine. Luke Bryan’s song “Rollercoaster” is making me teary eyed every time it comes on the radio. Also, in case that last revelation was not a clear enough indicator, I have been an emotional roller coaster this week. Notice that I did not say I’d been on one, but rather that I have been one. Being on a roller coaster implies that there is some outside stimulus that is at fault for your tumult. Such is not the case with me this week. Obviously I’ve been influenced by my experiences of life but there was no traumatic inciting incident, rather just the perfect storm of circumstances to result in well…..a roller coaster.

Sunday – feelings get hurt

Monday + Tuesday – try to hold it together (i.e. in)

Wednesday – emotional eruption on massive scale

Thursday – host community group, try to keep it together

Friday – Ear infection!!

Saturday – NOTHING

Self-care has been crucial in surviving this week. And as you might have noticed (due to my massive meltdown) it wasn’t exactly a raging success, but it’s Saturday night, which means I’ve survived.

Today’s self-care involved resting, a lot, which is exactly what my body needed. But it left me feeling lonely and down. I planned on watching a funny movie (or two) and then crashing. But I realized that would leave me feeling just as empty as I started. So I tried to come up with ways I could rest my body but also pour into my heart and soul. I called one of my best friends from college and we chatted about life, my week, her week, and all of a sudden I felt less alone.

In the middle of Wednesday night’s madness I spoke to a wise woman. She said something that’s stuck with me. She said “Annie, we can live on very little, we really can.” She was referring to stuff, and she’s right. So tonight’s self care looks like listening to my favorite country summer songs and blogging. Because what my soul needs tonight is a little inspiration and to create, to make something exist that didn’t exist before. Even though it’s just this blog post it has made my heart happy to create something. Something that I can share with you. And in this case, something that enables me to share my life with you. Because that’s really what all of my weeks redeeming moments were about. They were about someone stepping onto my roller coaster and riding it with me, even though they didn’t have to. Here’s to not having to ride roller coasters alone!

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