school of the heart.

April 29, 2011

this little piece of art has spoken deeply to my heart lately. in the area of life direction/aspiration…i’ve needed some heart-speaking-to.

it’s really difficult and hurtful to feel like a disappointment to people that you love. to feel like where you are or where you’re headed isn’t enough, isn’t beautiful, isn’t worthwhile, isn’t acceptable, even if for no other reason other than that it’s part of YOU and your journey.

my housemate and “soul sister” molly shared with me tonight while holding back tears: “when you’re at larche and when you’re talking about larche…i don’t see the hurt and struggle in the other parts of your life. there’s something about you that comes alive in a really beautiful way. and there’s NOTHING wrong with that.”

she said it. it is what it is. i don’t have a 401k. i don’t have savings. i don’t have a 5-year plan. i don’t have furniture. i don’t have a husband or a family of my own. i’m a $500 plane ticket away from most of the people i know and love. it’s grey and cold and depressing here. i make didly squat in the way of financial compensation. but despite its mystery and potentially illogical nature, there’s something about my life and it’s direction and it’s peace that just makes sense in my soul…even if it makes no sense at all to anyone else.

where i am and what i’m doing and why don’t make me an awesome person. i have plenty of selfish motivation for a lot of what i do in life. i’m not saving the world…and i’m not out to. im no saint in my own doing. i just ended up here and i’m trying to do what feels right in my spirit…even if it hurts and makes no sense. and i think i’m in a good place.

here…we love each other and eat each others cooking and say it was good. some days i get to cut folks hair, go see a movie,  shred paper, have a drink at starbucks, shop for food, make art together, make coffee together, eat meals together, walk around the mall, sing songs together, or lie on a blankets in the grass surrounded by empty wheelchairs. other days we have dance parties, go for walks, watch little house on the prairie and charlie brown and barney, bake bread together, have some great laughs in the bathroom, look ridiculous in public because it doesn’t really matter after all, yell and push and kick and scream cause we don’t get what we want, or we hold each other tightly and cry because our brains and bodies aren’t working like we want them to and it’s frustrating.

those things may not be impressive to the CEO of a major company. they may not land me any kind of great insurance. they may not make me very “marketable.” but they are invaluable to me. and they make sense to me. i’m presently a student at the school of the heart. and that is just fine with me. it is enough for me. i am enough.

“may we be set free from the tyranny of believing that we are what we do.” 



April 29, 2011

that’s how i feel since i’ve moved here. completely inundated with new information, people, ideas, experiences, and challenges. it is good. it is hard. it is a blessing. here’s a tip of the iceburg…

❤  community. it’s hard. you have to work at it. you will get from it what you put into it. openness is so crucial. you can’t ignore conflict or pretend that it doesn’t exist, that makes things miserable for everyone. you have to be very intentional about solitude and silence in community. it can be a very holistic way of living life. i value so much about life in community and hope to take much from this experience into the next season of life.
❤  faith. it looks different for everyone. you can’t put it in a box. there are so many unique and beautiful expressions of it. the power and grace of God are much bigger and more mysterious than i’ve always given him credit for. i think heaven is full of surprises.
❤  anxiety. “anxiety is God’s gift to you to say that what you’re putting your hope/faith in is not powerful…not enough…not working out…it’s not him.”
i’ve been doing a lot of learning and seeking as to what in my life brings me anxiety and why. my conclusion has been that when i feel out of control, i become anxious. (re: relationships, illness, future, situations, experiences, etc.) also, when my hope and confidence are rooted in temporary and worldly things instead of Christ, i will be let down, worry, and not be at peace. how do you find inner peace when everything around you seems to be chaotic and loud and out of control? i don’t have the answer. but i am sure seeking it.
“you keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”  isaiah 26:3
❤  mental illness/challenge. i don’t really know where to begin on this one…other than that i feel like i’ve learned a ton in the past seven months, yet i feel as though i know hardly anything about it. it is heartbreaking and beautiful. it’s a mystery…one that the more we research and learn about, we realize how little we understand it.
❤  presence. being fully present emotionally, mentally, spiritually is so important. it is the only way to truly experience people, moments, life. otherwise, you are cheating those you are with and whatever it is you are experiencing. if my thoughts are consumed by so-and-so in such and such place…or about august and what it holds…then i am virtually in those places/times with those people/things. and i am not HERE, NOW. i am learning that my presence in moments is a way to love and live more fully. I have a desire to be everywhere with everyone at all times. this is not possible. i am one person. i can not do it all. i can not be all things to all people. i am not called to be.
❤  larche. it has taught me so much. and i believe it has so much more to teach me. it is my community of friends. i miss them when i am not with them. they bring me life in beautiful ways.
❤  long-distance relationships. these are very hard to maintain. you have to be really really intentional. i fail a lot. i miss a lot of people. thankfully, i have the opportunity to talk to and see loved ones a lot. (thank you, skype)
❤  grace. “the grace of God means something like: here is your life. you might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. here is the world. beautiful and terrible things will happen. don’t be afraid. i am with you.” – frederick buechner
grace is where freedom lies. in a society where you have to work for everything that you get…earn and measure up and prove…grace is a foreign concept. i am no exception to the difficulty in understanding this beautiful gift. grace has been given to me, and it is mine forever. i didn’t and don’t deserve it, but it’s mine. i don’t have to work for it. i don’t have to work for it. i don’t have to work for it. his mercies are new every morning. i am free from guilt.
“may we be set free from the tyranny of believing that we are what we do…”
❤  identity. this one is huge for me lately. i’ve been learning so much about identity. who/what i identify with and why. what that says about God, allison, and how i think of and love people and this world. identity is so important.
❤  vocation. [call]  [direction]  [force of attraction]
“there are things you do because they feel right and they make no sense and they make no money and it may be the real reason why we are here: to love each other and to eat each others cooking and say it was good.” – brian andreas
the ideas encompassed in this saying have weighed heavy on me this year. i am very far away from all of my family and the friends i have had previous to this season. yet, i believe i am where i’m supposed to be.

about the northwest…
it’s wet here. all the time. you can’t just sit in the grass at a park…even if it hasn’t rained in a couple of days, it will still be wet. moss grows on everything…houses, sidewalks, trees, cars if you leave them for too long…you name it, green, spongy moss probably grows on it.
people here don’t generally assume you are a certain way or believe certain things. and you can’t assume anyone else is…there is quite the array of people in these parts as compared to the good ol’ bible belt.  most people are quite open to the possibilities of you, who you are, what you hold inside, and what you believe.
everyone here recycles. EVERYONE. it’s really great. also there is an opportunity to recycle at most public places. and a lot of disposable materials are made recyclable or compostable.
i go on walks to meet up with friends. lots of people here go on walks.
there are a lot of parks. lots of trees. lots of tall trees…tons of evergreens.
it’s generally grey here. supposedly as of a week ago we had had 6 days of sunshine in the past 150. it’s still regularly in the low 40’s all day. it doesn’t generally rain very hard here…just a often. we don’t have thunder and lightening storms. it’s just grey. grey grey grey.
there’s a really cool sense of the importance of community here.
people here don’t really have accents…and they notice when you have one.
the outdoors are very important to a lot of people here. everyone has outdoor hobbies and whenever there is a nice day…EVERYONE is outside. i love it.
most days i can’t see rainier…even though it’s so close that on a clear day i can see it from my bedroom window. however, most days you can catch a glimpse of the smaller cascades. that’s pretty amazing thing to be a part of my daily routine.
it’s no florida…but it has its charm. 🙂