An hour of healing and building…

The thing about mass is that an hour in the House of God heals and builds. In only one hour you can walk in and walk out more fulfilled, more certain and reminded that His love has been there for ages. This morning, God made connections bigger than just an hour of worship, He had a plan.

I went to church with the hope that the message spoke to me, that the message was one I could carry through the rest of the week. I pulled in, in my beat-up Jeep, and was caught off-guard by my ex-husband’s mom, my Mother-in-law from that marriage. I feel like I might as well keep it simple and just go with Mother-in-law.   We sat alongside one another and held hands when we spoke ‘The Our Father’. I thought about a lesson in church school growing up, that we broke apart that prayer, and what it all meant. I sat next to a woman that I have shared so much of my life’s joy, my life’s heartbreak… we could be angry and bitter with one another. We should be separate… but we held hands. Only in God’s House would the profoundness of this enter my heart. He is the ultimate builder, The Creator.

The message today was one of my favorites. I love the story about Jesus having a HUGE gathering of people and having only five loaves of bread and two fish. I can imagine the people who thought He was crazy, to just feed those people with that little amount of food. He told them, ‘No worries- go do your job and there will be extra’. Just as He said there was extra… He fed 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish.

I grew up in a way that we could feed as many that joined the table. The table was a place of annoying and sacred duty- there was no choice but to sit and eat right next to the sibling you hated that day. In fact, it is important to eat next to the ones that you are mad at or hurt by… I have seen many relationships mended in a meal.

The food amount was always the same, but any were welcome. If a family member stopped by or a friend they were welcome. It was like the pot roast could multiply to feed more, but maybe we were all just carefully sharing. Personally, I would just pray for boiled potatoes, not burnt ones.

As I have built my own home and family, I love to feed people. I love having people come and eat together- entering that sacred and annoying ritual. I love that ‘never turn anyone away’ outlook, I see Jesus in those moments. He is glad for that community, that sharing of the annoying and sacred ritual- knowing damn well that if more people come I will totally just open a jar of pickles and bust out the relish tray. Community is important, so important. We build community when we share our space, when we take care of others. What better way to take care of others than feeding them?

Today, as I sat next to my Mother in law and heard those words I felt like we were both invited to today’s mass. We were invited to share bread and hear those words. He does things like that, He mixes up the threads as He is weaving our tapestries, if we stay open. She and I could have said ‘hello’ and sat separately… but I let the feeling I had inside me tell me to sit together. I let the feeling inside me tell me that we were to enjoy that annoying and sacred ritual together.

Are you open to the community that He is building, are you open to the extra ones who might bug you for dinner? Just keep pickles well stocked and you will always be safe…

The thing about mass is that one hour in the House of God heals and builds…

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Stay Afraid, do it anyway

Always be a little afraid, a little scared… a little nervous. Nervous rides right next to excited, that ball in your stomach that tells you that you are a little uncomfortable. Get uncomfortable. Be excited. Jump into something new, something challenging- with that piece of uncertainty of not knowing if you can do it. Prove yourself wrong, that little piece of your ‘self’ that tries to stay safe and simple and home.

I love that feeling, that little ball in my stomach that reminds me I am alive and in charge of my choices. I can easily get rid of that little ball, and just say no or decide not to try something. I know this. I try hard to stand on the edge of whatever I am used to and jump into something new… it could be as simple as going to a group workout class or jumping in a pool without my nose plugged. When we live safely we get used to saying no, or not trying something new. I always have reasons to say ‘no’ to an experience, dish or challenge; we all do. I get in a place where I choose to sit and binge watch Netflix instead of saying yes to an adventure; we all do. We are in charge of our choices…

I love that scary feeling right before I go up to speak, my little ball of fear in my stomach. It is shouting all the things that could go wrong- I could trip walking up, I could forget all that I wanted to say, I might fill all my silences with ‘umm’. The best part of that ball of fear, is standing there and doing it. Walking on that ledge and jumping right in, then when I get back to shore, I can see I did it. I did my job, that ball of fear is now mine forever. I love being a little scared and nervous, it keeps me mindful of life.

Divorce helped me understand the importance of all of this. In those first weeks after understanding it was over, I made an agreement inside of my ‘self’- to say yes. I made an agreement to try new things and not say no- to not get comfortable and safe. I wondered how many amazing things I said ‘no’ to, how many experiences or moments I missed choosing to put that ball of fear away. It was easier than arguing or doing the scary thing and having it picked apart for ‘umms’ or mess ups. I reminded my ‘self’ that I get to choose and I get to be excited and nervous and own my fear. I challenged my ‘self’ to travel alone, try foods I always hated, say yes to impulses and jump right into my fear. I started to love that little ball of fear, that nervousness that rides right next to excitement. Divorce was the perfect place to begin building Me better…

I tell my girls to get scared- never stop getting a little scared. Listen to your little ball of fear and try it. I remind them that everything has a cost, not a money cost but a life ‘cost’. It doesn’t ‘cost’ much to stay inside your home and binge watch Netflix, you are pretty safe and secure. The ‘cost’ of going somewhere in a car is more than the ‘cost’ of staying home- but think of all the places you can go. The ‘cost’ of riding a motorcycle is more than the ‘cost’ of riding in a car- but that feeling of open road and wind is addictive. The ‘cost’ of flying in a helicopter is higher than sitting on our couch- but the world is so lovely from that vantage point. We all must chose what we are willing to experience and how much we are willing to ‘spend’. Life isn’t about staying on your couch binge watching Netflix… you need to step on a plane to see the Eiffel Tower, you need to hike to the top of the waterfalls to feel them. Think of all that could go wrong with the plane, the cars, a motorcycle… an accident, a fall, a poisonous snake… all the things to be scared of. Think of what could go right… a beautiful experience AND owning your fear, a speaking engagement AND owning my fear.

I love how nerves ride right next to excitement, and often you don’t have one without the other. I love how embracing that little ball of fear helps build us to be more brave and stronger- more in charge of our choices. I want to be in charge of my life- my choices. I want to be a little scared and excited- to be spontaneous and uncertain. I want to embrace that ball of fear and love it for all it gives me- courage, bravery, experiences, failure, love, adventure and maybe sometimes a new tattoo…

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Fixable Hot Mess…

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I have no excuses, I only have a million of them. I am too busy. I am too tired. I don’t want to go get my laptop. I can just watch one more show. I need to check things off my never-ending to-do list. Once I get the lawn mowed and the back yard done I will write. I might as well get the house clean too… and the garage. I will set aside time this weekend, after travelling.

Like I said I have no real excuses, no real reasons to not write, I just keep putting if off. I know I have avoidance syndrome, I jokingly call it fear of commitment. I usually laugh and follow it up with marriage jokes and BAM! I avoided the task and paved my escape route with humor. It’s a gift, or maybe a bad habit. I have had plenty of serious and funny things to write and think out… but here I am making myself do the job I love to do most… making my ‘self’ stop avoiding.

Who knows why I am avoiding, I am sure it would all come to the surface in a couple hours with my counsellor. I figured I should just get writing and stop avoiding. Today I tackled a task I have avoided like the plague- I am resurfacing my claw foot tub. I followed all the directions and even set up proper ventilation. It feels really good to have it done and ready for my dad to hook up plumbing. I didn’t even pass out from fumes. It feels pretty good to do a task that I have long put off, that I have avoided and kind of dreaded. It is done. Maybe it is one of those things hanging above my head that makes me not write lately. Who knows…

I miss the clarity that writing brings my brain and soul. I need to start sifting and creating times to seek that clarity and order. I have so many things to say… so man candid moments and lessons… pieces of this crazy life to jot down and share and organize. I look back at this year and I realize I didn’t do the work… the work to reach what I dream about. I just avoided and pushed it away… I filled my time with work and stress and Netflix. I need to redirect. I know what I want in this life, well as much as I can control. I want to share, speak- faith and lessons, laughs and tears. I want to meet a million people and take pieces of their energy and feel that forever. I want to write a book, a dream I have had since 3rd grade. I want to stand in women’s groups, grief groups, church groups and audiences and share the hot mess that God created to be my story- how much I love this blessed hot mess. I want to share the funny pieces of this life along the painful- we can’t feel one without the other. Joy rides next to pain…

That is my dream… I need to refocus and catch that Erin, my ‘self’ again. I need to fill my time with builders and laughers, workers and creators. I need more of that in my life… I need to stop avoiding and start building me again. I am sure it will feel even better than refinishing a claw foot tub that has waited 6 years… a fixable hot mess that is now shiny and porcelain again (well epoxy porcelain)…

I better start working on my ‘self’… this fixable hot mess.