I really love this little place out in internet space that belongs to me – my creation, my small piece of something big that I made.
I admit that writing is a bit of a love/hate relationship for me. I love the clearing that it makes in my mind when I dump out what swims around in there for days. I feel like I can let it go because I found a place to put it. I love the feeling, similar to putting pen to paper, of making a story that other people can experience. I love that you can go to these places with me if I write them well enough. I like what words can do when you put them all together.
But writing requires something difficult for me, at times. It forces me to crawl inside my own head and sit there for a while. Sometimes, when you go there, it’s tough to get back to bouncing a baby or talking with my son about what interests him. There are places inside that I have to hit that I do a nice job at hiding away most of the time. I’d like to say that I have nothing like that – no places that are sacred just to me – no dark corners. I can’t say that. They’re there and there’s no one in real life that I share them with. Not really. These are places that I sometimes don’t like much. I mean, I made them, didn’t I? I made them with my choices and my thoughts and my ponderings.
So, I come here to have these conversations with myself, and I make them public and invite anyone who happens along to participate as well. Sometimes I avoid the conversations. I leave for a while and go on with things in a very sunny way. And don’t get me wrong, there are lots of sunny things in my world. Lots of good to focus on. But, when I need to have tough conversations – the ones that I can’t look someone in the eyes to have, the ones that I’d feel the need to apologize for unloading on someone else when they’re done – I can always come here. And I like that.
Not only do I really love reading people’s stories through their blogs, but I love listening to stories. As children, if we were lucky enough, we got read to while sitting in our mother’s lap and lost ourselves in beautiful tales of imagination and fantasy. As adults, we lose some of that. We become the readers and our imaginations begin to lose their spark. Where they once felt the freedom to travel on limitless journeys, now they tend to stick a little closer to home.
The way I get read to these days is through podcasts. I’ve subscribed to several, given them a chance or two and then unsubscribed if they didn’t grab my attention. I have two that have grabbed on and haven’t let go.
The first is the podcast from North Point Community Church. Andy Stanley (son of Charles) is the pastor at this large church with 3 campuses in the Atlanta area. Andy is a phenomenal storyteller. Though I continue to try, I’m not getting a lot from reading the Bible “in my mind”…what I call reading to yourself, when you can hear your own voice telling the story in sort of an echo fashion inside your mind. But, Andy tells the stories of the Bible in a way that paints a beautiful and very real picture for me. Typically, he takes one story and sticks to it through an entire series of messages, going deeper each week and taking you to places you might not have seen in reading it on your own. As I listen to these podcasts, I really just feel like I’m listening to a great story instead of being taught. Though, he always does manage to sneak in valuable lessons on me.
Then, a few weeks ago my brother was visiting from NYC and played an episode of This American Life from his iPod on a short road trip we were taking. They choose a different topic each week and the person(s) who actually experienced it tells their story. Today, as I was driving Carter around to get him to fall asleep (yes, still doing that), I listened to part of the episode titled “The Middle of the Night”. In the hour long podcast, I listened to vivid stories about teenagers who performed a middle of the night initiation ceremony, the experience of produce buyers/sellers in NYC, people who stayed up all night to get free Chick-fil-A coupons for a year at a grand opening, the experience of traveling in an Iraqi night convoy and a mother who stayed up in a hospital all night with her sick daughter. Sometimes I get so caught up in the smallness and complexities of my own life that I forget about the lives going on all around me. This podcast takes me to those places and keeps me from being so closed in on myself only.
Plus, I love a good story and I love to be read to.
Today Carter and I ate lunch at home. I fixed chicken noodle soup, cheese toast and some fruit cocktail. He had a glass of milk to drink. As we were sitting down to eat, he looked at the plate, 2 bowls and a glass in front of him and said
“Mommy, I have everything?”
When he said that I looked around at the house I love, the food on our plates and the clothes we were wearing. I thought of how FULLY I love him and how I’ll always do the very best for him within my knowledge and ability. Then I told him, “Yes, baby, you have everything!” I know that we have everything we could ever need.