Friday, February 19, 2016

As I Walked Out One Morning

This morning I was curled up with my coffee and cats, sifting through my emails, making a mental list of things I need to do today.  I found this anonymous comment awaiting moderation on a post I wrote nearly three years ago.  It's one of those things that makes me kind of scratch my head and say, "Huh."  It really does puzzle me.  I'm not sure if it's meant to be a personal attack from a nameless person out in the cyberworld, or if it somehow is trying to fall into the category of spiritual discipline/encouragement.  Anyhow, the nameless person clearly gave it some thought, and felt compelled to send it to me, so I will also give it some thought and share with my tiny readership for your consideration.
"I stumbled upon this particular blog post (Letter to a Friend) and must say, it was very self foucused & has a certain pathology that I find disturbing. You said "I" or "me" many times.We are to be crucified with Christ and this was just a poetic excuse to air things that didn't really talk about the redeeming work of God.Your struggle seems to be pride and jealousy. Good news is the Gospel covers these sins.Keep looking to the Lord and ask yourself, is my blogging really glorifying Christ, or is it to fuel my pride?"
I will also share one of my favorite poems, because quite honestly, I love poetry, and never think poetry (or poetic writing for that matter) needs an excuse.

As I Walked Out One Evening

W. H. Auden, 1907 - 1973

As I walked out one evening,
   Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
   Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
   I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
   ‘Love has no ending.

‘I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
   Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
   And the salmon sing in the street,

‘I’ll love you till the ocean
   Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
   Like geese about the sky.

‘The years shall run like rabbits,
   For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
   And the first love of the world.'

But all the clocks in the city
   Began to whirr and chime:
‘O let not Time deceive you,
   You cannot conquer Time.

‘In the burrows of the Nightmare
   Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
   And coughs when you would kiss.

‘In headaches and in worry
   Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
   To-morrow or to-day.

‘Into many a green valley
   Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
   And the diver’s brilliant bow.

‘O plunge your hands in water,
   Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
   And wonder what you’ve missed.

‘The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
   The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
   A lane to the land of the dead.

‘Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
   And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
   And Jill goes down on her back.

‘O look, look in the mirror,
   O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
   Although you cannot bless.

‘O stand, stand at the window
   As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
   With your crooked heart.'

It was late, late in the evening,
   The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
   And the deep river ran on. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Katie Graduates

My dearest Katie, the first time I ever saw you, you were a bright eyed little girl in a photograph.  Your hair was full of baubles and twists, and you sat up very straight and looked directly into the camera.  You were posed with your sisters, and you were not yet nine years old.  I carried that picture with me for months, until I met you in person.  It was the fall of 2006, and you had just turned nine, a little girl with a mouth full of too big teeth and a sweet smile that reached up to your eyes.  I wonder sometimes about that little girl, who you were then, and who you are now.

Several months later you came to live with us, and it was then we discovered that Katie had superpowers.  It's true.  Katie was capable of moving so quickly, she actually became invisible to the naked eye.  One morning as she was doing her usual hygiene and grooming, Katie realized she had forgotten something in the living room.  A hairbrush I think, and she decided she could run fast enough to get it, even though she was only wearing bright orange underwear.  It was like that hairbrush just disappeared into thin air, and if you were watching closely, you might have seen a flash of brown and orange.

Um no.  Not really.  And of course these sorts of things become part of family legend...remember when Katie thought she could run fast enough to be invisible?

When Katie first came to us she hated to read.  She was a smart girl, who had always done well in school, but reading for fun was a new idea, and she did not like it.  Another family memory is of Katie sitting in a living room chair, holding a book, wailing.  I was making her sit and read, and it was torturous...for all of us.  And again, we often will say something like "Remember when Katie hated to read?  Remember when she used to cry if you gave her a book?"...because we all know that Katie loves to read, and can bury herself in a good book for hours on end. 

Katie was always a girl of few words, and yet for a girl of few words, she was always trying out new ones, and not always successfully.  Once, several years ago, Mrs. Frantz required Katie to write a research paper.  She went through steps like gathering notes on cards, and making an outline.  One night she came home and sighed as she dropped her piles of papers and books onto the table.  I asked what she needed to work on, and she fussed about needing to work on her paper, and not understanding exactly what she was supposed to be doing.  I told her to pull out her work and we would chat.

When she pulled out her paper, I stared at it for a long time, and then I began to laugh.  In spite of Katie's injured look and inquiries as to why I was holding my sides, I laughed and laughed.  On the top of her paper were two words.  Ruff.  R-U-F-F.  Giraffe.  G-I-R-A-F-F-E.  In my mind I pictured a giraffe with a ruffled collar, and I understood Katie's confusion.  Mrs. Frantz of course wanted her to write a rough draft, but Katie had no experience with the phrase.  And so Katie was our girl of few words that was brave enough to try on new words and get them wrong...brave enough to deal with the ribbing of a large family and many older sibling, who still remind her of run ins with words like metabolism and pork loin.

Katie, I will stop here, teasing and telling tales.  Instead I will tell you what came to mind as I sorted pictures for the yearbook, and sorted memories for this speech.  Recently we were talking about your plans for the future, and what different people thought of them.  You sighed and said to me, "I guess I'm just a late bloomer."  It was such an old fashioned thing to say, and it made me think.

You were nine years old when first we met, eleven when you were adopted.  In a short while you will turn eighteen, and so nearly half your life you have been running around with the Vietri clan.  I think about who you were then, and who you are now, and it makes me reflect on the fact that none of us are ever quite finished, not in this world.  When you were nine, you ran faster than the speed of light, but now that you are nearly eighteen, you tell me you are a late bloomer.  The girl who wanted to move fast finds that she has learned the value of going slow too.  You were a girl of few words, yet you mastered so many new ones, and now you might just find that you have something to say.  You were quiet little girl, but some of you may have discovered that Katie likes to make a little noise now and then.

We talked about how it's easy to feel pressured to take a certain course of action.  Now you are all grown up and graduated.  What are your plans?  What are you going to do?  It feels like you have to know, and nail it all down.  But you don't.  I was thinking about the old "choose your own adventure" books that Katie and all of my children read.  I read them too.  I always approached each choice with anxiety.  Do I search for hidden treasure or climb the mountain?  Do I run from the bear or stand and fight?  But the thing is this, it wasn't like a video game where if I chose wrong I would die and the game would be over.  You got to a choosing place, and you picked.  Then you turned to page 63 to find out what came next.  And so you wound your way through the story, having adventures and setbacks and victories.  The funniest thing of all was that sometimes even after making a whole series of different choices, you still ended up with the exact same ending.  I think life is like that.  We come to the end of one chapter and we get to choose.  It isn't the end of the story if you choose wrongly.  It's just a different page number to turn to.  And if you decided not to search for buried treasure this chapter, you could probably do it some other time.

None of us are who we are, The End.  The story twists and turns, and we get to be faster than the speed of light and late blooming too.  We get to be quiet people who are full of words and noise.  We get to be scared and brave all at the same time.  We get to say "no", and then "I changed my mind", and then "yes". 

One of my favorite hymns says "Great is thy faithfulness oh God my Father, there is no shadow of turning with Thee.  Thou changest not, They compassions they fail not.  As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be."

God is faithful and compassionate without fail.  There isn't even a hint or shadow of change in that.  That's the only part of the story that stays constant really.  We are not God.  We are not eternally perfect, and so we change.  We are all light and shadow, and turning.  We move fast, and we sit very still.  Often we do both things at the same time.  It's a hard complicated thing to be happy and sad at the same time.  To want to strike out, but to also want to stay safe at home.  We are tempted to look here and there, for someone who will tell us what to do.  But you are the one that must answer for yourself, and live with the choices you make, and live inside your own skin.  So look here and there for the people who prove they love you, and listen to what they say.  Take the help they offer and be thankful for it.  But choose your own adventure.

This speech was delivered this past June, at Katie's graduation from Faith Mountain Christian Academy.  We celebrated in typical fashion, with a big mess and a whole lot of noise, in September, after a busy season of camp concluded

Sunday, October 18, 2015


I delivered this speech nearly a year ago, at the celebration of marriage, home, and family given for our Bella and her new husband.  Baby bear was only about ten days away from making his entrance into the world.  It's hard to believe he will celebrate a birthday soon, and welcome a new sister or brother in the spring. (Photo credit to our dear friend Allyson Willson.)
In recent years, people would sometimes say to me, "I give you so much credit for adopting Shani."  I always laugh and assure them that Shani is my easiest child, and to make my case I point out that she's always just where I left her, she never gets into my stuff, she never gives me any back talk, and she is ALWAYS happy to see me, no matter what time of the day or night.  Somewhere deep inside my head, this thought always comes to me.  "If you want to give me any credit, give me credit for Bella."

Beautiful, beautiful Bella.  This girl is the whole package with a bow.  Smart, driven, and beautiful.  And impulsive, fiery, and sassy as the day is long.  And so you can see the contrast here, between my oldest and youngest brown girls.  Bella was never where I left her and rarely where she was supposed to be.  She was always into everybody's stuff and business.  She gave me back talk as often as she disagreed with me, and that was a LOT.  And she was often not very happy to see me anywhere in her line of vision.

But these days things have changed a bit, and so I will finally take a shot at throwing Bella a party of celebration, and sending her off into the big wide world with a word of blessing from her father and me...something she would not allowed us to do even one year ago.  Of course it helps that she's learned a lot from Shani regarding being a good child.  These days she is pretty much always where I left her...and that's beached in a comfortable chair, trying to coax baby Grey into making an appearance.  She doesn't move all that fast, so I can chase her down pretty easily.  And she almost never gives me any back talk, and seems happy to see me coming, though I wonder if there might be food involved in that equation.  Regardless, Bella and Shani have become fixtures in my days, always close at hand, sometimes a little fretful when they are uncomfortable, but usually cheerful and smiling.

A week or two ago, Bella asked me this question.  "Mom?  Do you think I can be a good mother?"  It was a sweet time of just talking openly about parenting children.  How the bitter is mixed with the sweet.  How very hard it is.  How perfection is an impossible goal.  I said some things then, and I hope they were an encouragement to Bella, both in our ongoing relationship, and in her relationship with her children in the future.  Given time to gather my thoughts, this is what I would say today:  The most valuable lessons about parenting and perhaps life, I have learned from Shani. 

Shani does not speak, so she cannot lie to me or back talk, it's true.  But she cannot say sweet words like "I love you mama."  Shani cannot use her feet, so she cannot go where I tell her not to, but she cannot run and fetch for me, or dance on a stage and delight my mother's heart.  Shani cannot use her hands, so she cannot get into my things or make messes for me to clean up, but she cannot write, or draw, or hug me.  If you measure worth and love by what a person can do for you, then Shani is pretty worthless.  She is messy and smelly, and a huge drain on our time and resources.

And yet we know this could not be further from the truth.  Shani teaches me every day, how to be a better mother and a better person.  Her needs are simple, and her complaints are few.  If she is awake, she is watching the world around her, always looking for something or someone she loves, and registering delight when she finds that.  Her life is fragile, and it reminds me that all life is fragile, and the time we have with all of our loved ones is fleeting.  And if I get it wrong...if I am snappish and impatient, or demanding and unkind, Shani always forgives and forgets.  Shani always gives me a do over.

Remember these things as you move into adulthood, marriage, motherhood.  Keep it simple.  Look for love, and be delighted whenever you find it.  Love fiercely, the time is short. And say you are sorry and keep showing up.  Ask for do overs.

And by the way, just so you know, today you are my favorite.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Love Me a List

I am a task oriented person.  I wake up in the morning with an internal "To Do" list printed on my brain.  Few things make me as happy as scratching tasks off of a real paper list.  In a crisis I am action oriented.  I am the person that says, "Slow down.  Give me the facts."  In my mind I am organizing them, and formulating a plan of attack, and making a list of what needs to be done.  I am scrambling for paper and a sharp pencil.
I am not a tender person.  I want you to tell me what you need me to do, not what you need me to be.  Even when it comes to tenderness, I want the list.  These are the things a tenderhearted person would do in this situation.  Oh, okay.  Got it.  I can do that.
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing."  1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Would you look at that?  It looks like a "To Do" list. 
  • Speak
  • Prophesy
  • Understand
  • Have faith
  • Feed the poor
  • Give my body
Oh yeah, do all those things with a side of love.  Wait no.  This isn't a "To Do" list, it's a "To Be" list, and the list goes like this:
  • Love
  • Love
  • Love
  • Love
My younger, action oriented self greets this list with disdain and disgust.  She argues loudly that love has actions.  Look, they're all there in the list.  Things to do, and we need to be doing them, and scratching them off our lists.  But my older wearier self wonders, because I have tried to muscle my way into love again and again, by making the lists of things that must get done. In the face of pain, and hopelessness, and death what must get done?  In the face of those things, is there ever a thing we can do, that can be scratched off a list?
There comes a time when everything we do feels futile.  There comes a time when I have no wisdom to speak, no sustenance to offer, no work of my hand to save you, or me, or the world around us.  All is lost and we are being swept away.  I sit with paper and pencil in hand, and I write nothing because there is nothing to write, because I am still stubbornly sitting with the "To Do" list.
It does not seem enough to love.  When love is all that we have to offer, why do we feel empty handed?  When all we can do is weep and hope, why do we feel as though we have given up? 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Baby Boy Graduates

Dearest Justice, today is your graduation day, and honestly, at times, I wondered if we were ever going to get here.  I wondered when you were nearly three years old, and you had not yet said one word.  I wondered when you were nearly eight years old, and you had not yet learned to read.  You came to me one day, and you said, "Mommy, don't worry about this learning to read stuff.  I'm pretty sure I will never use it anyhow."  I asked you what you were good at, and what you planned to do then.  You informed me cheerfully that you were really good at catching frogs and things.  Well, in spite of this solid career plan, eventually you learned, not only to talk and to read, but much more than that, to love the words in stories and songs.

About ten years ago, during our early years at Rock Mountain Bible Camp, Justice could be seen prowling the wet places on camp, in search of all sorts of critters he would then beg to make his pets.  I remember one day, he was wearing his traditional uniform of brightly colored swim trunks, a grimy tee shirt, and oversized rubber boots.  I watched as he perched quietly on the edge of the frog pond, making the occasional lightning quick snatch toward the water.

Eventually I wandered over to see how frog hunting was going that day, and as I approached, I saw that Justice was holding something in both hands.  I asked him, "Whatcha got buddy?" and he answered, "Frogs."

In each hand he was holding several slippery frogs, of varying sizes.  And I realized, that in some mysterious way, Justice was not only catching the elusive little creatures, but that he was also managing to hold onto each one as he then caught another, all without damaging any of them.  To this day, it seems a nearly magical thing to me.

At about that same time, Justice decided he wanted to become a dancer.  Each week he would trade his rubber boots for tap shoes, and head out to the Windwood Hill Dance Studio.  When Justice was ten years old, Miss Bobbie placed him in an intermediate tap class.  Which was fantastic for a boy that had only been dancing for about a year and a half.  Except that his older brother had been placed in an advanced class, and so he was driven to escape that intermediate class, and become an advanced dancer. 

That year he worked so very hard, never losing sight of his goal, and the following fall he was promoted to the advanced class.  I will never forget preparing for the recital that year.  How hard he struggled to learn that advanced dance.  I would sit on the floor in the empty dining hall, resetting the music again and again.  He would be lost inside his own head, trying to hear the music, and transmit that message to his body.  But something was wrong, always it was wrong.  At one point I saw it.  His hands.  He was pushing off the air with his hands, and it was wrong.  I remember jumping up to stand next to him, counting out the notes, and pushing off with our arms in the right places.  I returned to the floor, and reset the music, and he danced perfectly.  It was like a door opened, and he stepped through it, and I could never help him again.  Because like the fists full of frogs, it was almost magical.


When Justice was a teen, his older brother Aaron was working through the process of deciding what to pursue after graduation.  He knew he loved comic books and art, and he was researching the possibility of learning the craft of becoming a comic book artist.  He bought books and supplies, and began working at it in earnest.  Alongside of him, Justice would grab a piece of paper and pencil, and sketch, using the suggested guidelines and techniques.  Within a month or two Aaron came to us and told us he had made his choice.  He said, "Mom and Dad, I love comic book art, and I know I am an okay artist.  But I am not good enough.  I want to sell comics, not make them."  We asked him how he had arrived at this conclusion, and he went on to say, "I would sit down to draw, and Justice would sit down too, and in no time at all, I realized he was the artist, not me."  And again, it was the fist full of frogs, an almost magical thing quietly happening while no one was watching. 

Most recently, Justice and I have been having a tussle.  We have had many a tussle throughout the years, about schoolwork and chores undone.  About dirty laundry on the floor, and dirty dishes under the bed.  We have tussled about friendships and girls, gently, and usually in the car as we drove back and forth to rehearsals at the dance studio.  As Justice learned to drive, he began driving himself to those rehearsals, and then we tussled about cars, and insurance, and gas.  These are the tussles you remember as one long struggle, but also as the normal blur of teenaged life.  One tussle stands out as different.
Before the boys were born, Joe bought me a beautiful guitar.  It's beautiful to look at, and beautiful to hear, and Justice wants that guitar.  I told him he could play it whenever he wanted to, but that it was still my guitar.  We would talk about music, and what sorts of things I would play on that guitar, back in the years before Justice was born.  One day, shortly after he took out my guitar for the first time, he came into my bedroom and told me he wanted to play something for me.  He began to haltingly strum out the chords and sing "Leavin' On a Jet Plane"...for his momma, because he remembered that was "my" music.  He didn't quite know it though, and he struggled with a few parts that are a little bit irregular.  I stopped him and sang through the sections, and then we started again, together.  We sang together, our music now, and it was a little bit magical.  And it always is, because if Justice ever wants anything at all, he knows that mom can be swayed with a little boy smile and a few bars of "Leavin' On a Jet Plane".
This has been a year of hard things for Justice.  He has been forced into corners he did not much enjoy.  He has drawn up close to adulthood, with all its choices and responsibilities.  He has suffered great loss.  A few days ago, he danced in his final recital at Windwood Hill.  He entered the stage in stark black, and placed a rose in remembrance of a good friend lost.  As the music quietly began, he crossed the stage in a series of spins and leaps.  Although his body was massive in comparison to the little boy who had danced in his first recital ten years before, he propelled himself into the air with grace and landed silently on the ball of one bare foot.  And once again, it was magical.  The kind that was happy and sad, and filled with memories of little boys with frogs and rubber boots, and tap shoes and guitars.
Justice, my dear baby boy, graduation speeches are often about going out and making your way in the world.  About working hard and reaching your full potential.  I could also choose to preach you a sermon on any number of worthy topics.  It is my hope that the other speakers today, have those things covered, because I am choosing to take a different route. All I really want to say to you, is that you are our son and we love you.  You are the brother of many.  The student of few.  A good and true friend. 
You may yet do many wonderful things.  You may work hard and achieve success.  You may learn and grow and improve yourself.  You may love someone deeply, and raise up a family of your own.  We will be proud of you for those things, as every parent would be.  But no matter what you do, or what you do not do, we will always love you for being yourself.  You didn't make magic because you were the fastest frog catcher, or the most skilled artist or dancer, or because you make music with your fingers and your voice.  You make life good because of who you are.  A lover of nature and of all creatures, even small slimy ones.  A boy, and now a man, filled with creative energy that is a gift from God to you, and through you, a gift to us all.  A strong man with a tender heart.  Justice, don't worry about impressing us, because we are already impressed.    
This is the speech I was privileged to deliver at Justice's graduation ceremony today.  I cried a little.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Letter to a Friend

Dear One,

I confess, I am a poor friend.  I have not been honest with you.  I am not who you think you see.  I have worked very hard through the years, to create an impressive facade.  For this I am sorry.  By creating this facade, I have unintentionally placed undue pressure on you to focus on performance and measurable results.  For this I am also sorry.  But more than anything else, I am sorry for looking down on you, because my facade was better than yours.

I have spent years building up the image of a woman who can do anything, and who does all things well.  I sewed and crafted, cooked and baked.  I read books, and gardened, and renovated, and decorated.  I homeschooled my children and raised small livestock.  I volunteered my time and efforts in the church and in my community.  I was well spoken, and I always tried to look the part.

And then one day my house of cards came crashing down, and I realized that none of the things I could do with my hands mattered, if I was not able to hold love in my heart.  And my heart was a sieve.  I was so full of holes, that I was bleeding out.  

This realization immobilized me.  Even if I had wanted to somehow reconstruct the shattered facade, I could not have done so.  I laid in the rubble, and thought I would never sew another quilt, or frost another cupcake, or lead another Bible study for as long as I lived.  I did not care if I did.  

I cried at the strangest times.  I withheld myself from my loved ones for months, even years at a time.  Yet I would find huge tracts of sadness and bitterness flowing out of me unchecked, brought forth by the glance or word of a person that did not mean to unloose the deluge.  It was a horrible feeling to not be able to trust myself to open or close at appropriate times.

And thank God, by the grace of God, I have not come through.  Instead I have learned to live in this shattered place.  The house of cards still lays scattered about me, and that is where is belongs.  

The work of my hands, is just the work of my hands.  I love to work, and I love to love on people by working for them.  But my work is not the measure of my worth.  Neither is the reputation I gain by the quality and quantity of my work.  And that reputation was very important to me, if I was to be totally honest with myself.

In truth, I recognize that my reputation isn't worth much of anything at all, unless I am known for loving people.  Me, the broken down house-of-cards girl, loving other broken down house-of-cards people.  The only kind of people there are.

But I realized this horrible thing about myself today...this little section of stacked cards still standing.  I realized that I am looking down my nose at you, because once upon a time my card house was bigger than yours.  I still take pride that my cooking was tastier and my baking prettier.  That my quilts were more intricate and my stitches tinier.  That my home was tidier, and my children could all write an excellent persuasive essay.  That at my most proud and my most broken, I still did it better than you do.

I admit to you dear one, that I am astounded and ashamed of myself, to discover this mean little tower of cards still standing.  So that when you approach me with your cards slipping through your fingers, your heart like a sieve, feeling like you're bleeding out...we are separated.  Kept apart by that delicate little structure that makes me feel more and you feel less.

I can knock it down, and I can tell you so.  But I am so sorry I let it be there in the first place.  Please do not mistake me for anything but what I am.  A broken down house-of-cards girl, living in a shattered place.  Feel free to join me.  Don't mind the mess.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It's Complicated but I'm Easy

I was thinking today, about that great phenomenon called F*ceb**k, in which we employ all sorts of little devices to sort out the intricacies of our lives.  Like how we describe the relationships we are "in".  My most favorite descriptor is "complicated".  Not in real life of course.  I don't really enjoy complicated, because the implication is often that things are hard in a complex way.  That we fight a lot.  That we often miss the mark in this relationship, though we are not yet willing to give it up and declare ourselves single.  Not yet alone.

I was thinking of the opposite descriptor, which interestingly enough, FB does not offer as an option.  That option would be "easy".  No, stay with me here.  Really it would.

If I am sitting at the piano with a new piece before me, the teacher may warn me that it is complicated.  Tricky.  Or they may reassure me.  Don't worry, it's easy.

If I am looking at a knitting pattern, a cursory glance reveals if the pattern is complicated or easy.

Dance steps can be complicated and intricate...or basic and easy. No worries, I can't do either.

As I age, I realize that I aspire to being easy.  For so many years I have fallen into the trap of believing that easy was worthless, and complicated was more to be desired.  The harder a thing was to attain, the more worthwhile it was to fight for it.  And there are times when this is true.

But sometimes it's just selfish and stupid.  Why in the world would I ever try and make it hard for people to love me?  Why would I set up a series of obstacles, and expect them to fight their way through in order to prove something to me?  Why do I refuse help until I am bleeding out, and can't fight it any longer?

And on the flip side...why don't I just offer myself and my love freely?  Lavishly?  Expecting nothing in return?  Do I secretly fear it will be rejected as worthless, simply because it is freely given?  Why would I not fear that?  Is it not the model I have made for myself?

So many of the horribly unhealthy patterns and habits I have cultivated and clung to for a lifetime, are rooted in this lie; that the simple truth is not quite truth enough for my complicated situations.  And so I construct intricate addictions and the complex justifications they require.

But now I want to be done.  I want to be an easy old lady when I grow up, and I want to advertise it in places more public than F*ceb**k.  Because I want to be "in a relationship" with folks who are easy, and folks who are complicated.  I don't want to make them fight for anything or prove anything, but I will fight and prove for them every single day, if they need that.  And I will believe the simple truth enough for myself, and for the people who cannot believe it for themselves.  In myself, left to myself, I will never ever become that, but the God who created me to not ever be "single", alone, an island unto myself...maybe that God will help me become an easy woman.  I can only hope and pray it's possible.