Free As A Bird

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I did a brave thing.  I let vulnerability happen and shared my feelings.  In the end, I felt empowered, heard, and loved.  Bravery has not been kind to me in past relationships, unfortunately.  This time, this experience, gave me hope beyond all expectations.  This is freedom.  This is love.

The next day, I unlocked my front door, looked down next to the porch behind the bush, as I have done each day for almost 6 years, and I saw a bird.  Not a real live bird, but a figurine of some sort.  I reached down to get a closer look and picked it up.  It was pressed into the dirt and leaves a bit.  I took it inside to wash off the dirt.  Its beak was broken and the base looked as though it had been attached to something else somewhere along its journey.

Where did it come from?  Why was it there?  How long had it been there?  Why had I not seen it before?  What the fuck does it mean?  Is it a sign?  A sign for what?

So, I’ve been thinking about what birds mean to me.  When I interview someone for work, I always ask the question:  If you could be an animal for a day, what animal would it be and why?  I have found that the answer to this questions solidifies my character assessment of the person.  This is not scientific or Human Resources approved, but it is important to me to hear the answer.  When I answer this question for myself, the answer is:  bird.  For me, the bird is free to fly and sing, rest when needed and can observe all that is going on below.  I have spent a few days spent on thinking way too much about concrete bird statues and recall that several months ago I had shared this interview tool story with the man I love.  He didn’t laugh, he didn’t mock me as others have, but he said, “What kind of bird?”  I paused and thought about his question.  I replied, “No one has ever asked me that question.  I honestly don’t know.”  What kind of bird am I?  No one on this planet has wanted to know what kind of bird I am, but he does.

Birds symbolize hope, freedom, liberation.  Did I only see the bird when I was feeling hopeful and free?  Did the last layer of dirt and leaves finally blow away to liberate this bird that had been under cover for so long?  Am I this bird?  Am I this bird, who is a little broken, but found its way out of the muck and darkness to glorious freedom, love, and a prime spot on my mantle?

I don’t know if the bird is a sign or just a bird.  I do know I have felt at peace while marinating about birds and the meaning of life these past several days.  I am worn and a little broken.  Also, I am free and I am loved.

a bird in hand

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Love Limps & Hope Floats

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She sat on the veranda with her glass of wine, staring at the leaves on the trees, content to listen to the noises of the neighborhood until her mind took back over with thoughts of doubt and fear.

Does she love him?  If she tells him, will it matter?  What if he doesn’t love her back?

She has loved before.  When she loves, she loves deeply.  She means it.

She has heard the words from men before.  Did they know what they were doing when they said the words but did not back them up with their actions?  One man used “But, I love you,” as an apology of sorts for his bad behavior.  Another eventually said the words only as a rope thrown for her to catch after he distanced himself, in hopes that she still believed.  She also loved a man who would only say the words as a reciprocation, she hoped that he would somehow find his way through it, but it was not meant to be.

Now she questions her feelings, her motivations.  Some days the process of thinking through all the possible scenarios and outcomes is likely more painful and exhausting than what could happen in real life if she was brave enough to speak her mind.

The good news is that she understands now, after all this time, that she is lovable.  She can be loved.  She is worthy of love.  She deserves love.  Perhaps she finally loves herself.  Perhaps she is now fiercely protecting that which she loves.  Recovery is a slower process each time her heart is broken.  What if she reveals her heart and finds herself in a daze from the letdown, feeling like she’s falling out of the plane without a parachute knowing she will be broken when she hits the ground, but still be expected to get up and keep going?  What if she exposes her heart and receives love back?  What if she invests in a relationship, having high hopes for success, but is always wondering when she’ll be pushed out of the plane?

The leaves gently dance in the breeze.  The birds flutter about and chatter.  Perhaps they sing about the lady on the veranda.  Do they know she limps from the crashes, but still thinks and hopes about love?  Maybe that is why she looks up at the sky, the tall trees with dancing leaves, and the ballet of birds to and fro…because hope floats, as they say.  Hope is unsinkable, even when we are so weighed down with fear it feels like we can never come up for air.  Just keep breathing.  Just keep swimming.  Please keep hoping.

Letter to my babies

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Hello my babies,

Recently, we heard a sermon series at church about Beloved Community… connecting with people, understanding that we are beloved by God, showing care and love for others, and other thought-provoking, touchy-feely, cool churchy stuff.  Each person who came to church received a rock with a word written on it, “beloved.”  It was a physical symbol to put in your pocket, purse, on a desk, shelf, nightstand, or somewhere to see and find as a reminder that we are not only loved, but beloved.  Beloved is like love only deeper—cherished, dear to the heart, unconditional. 

I wrote the word “beloved” on 150 rocks.  At first, I looked for the rocks that were just the right size, the proper smoothness, and a rock worthy of giving away to people at church.  There weren’t very many “perfect” rocks.  But, there were lots of other rocks:   interesting, imperfect, misshapen, broken rocks.  It was a learning experience for me.  We are not perfect.  We are interesting, broken, scarred, healed, smooth, colorful, and absolutely beloved. 

So, I am giving you each a rock.  A small, physical symbol and reminder that you are God’s beloved.  You are my beloved.  I am so blessed to be your mom and see you both grow up with your unique personalities and individual awesomeness.  I am very proud of you.  My heart overflows with joy at all the new adventures headed our way as a family, even if our roofs are in different places.  🙂

Love, Love, Love,

Mom