Belated Monday Morning Blog- Surviving an international worryfest in the middle of nowhere

(WARNING – this blog is filled with pics that may or may not have anything to do with anything…except I WAS THERE. Hope you enjoy.)

It’s been a tough week for blogging. This is mainly because I left my home and native land without my computer and

  • Flew nine hours
  • Drove down harrowing roads while an inner voice screamed “wrong side of the road”

Until we reached Homestead Manor just outside of Cuckfield village, West Sussex.

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I know, tough break.

My son, who lives and works at the manor, took me for a walk the day we arrived. Image

It was kind of like the English countryside’s version of cruising the hood. Serious stuff if you count the walls of stinging nettle we encountered in the forest. The trees formed a dense tunnel. On the other side, fields lay like emerald speed bumps as far as the eye could see.

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To make a long story short, that walk helped me beat jet lag. About 10 pm Brit time I crashed. Maybe it was the spicy chicken I had for supper at the Victory pub or maybe it was just using “jet” and “crash” in the same sentence.

Not sure.

All I know is that something woke me up early in the morning. I began to mull over the idea that I would be meeting my soon-to-be daughter-in-law’s parents for the first time in just a few hours. That led to wondering about the wedding, reception and a life time to follow of sharing our son with another family.

I started to sweat.

What if this family didn’t like us? We were not exactly upper crust Canadians. No way would we impress members of the British common wealth.  I suddenly wished I’d had time and money to buy nicer clothes. I wanted to stop the turning of the clock and lose a few pounds and somehow enhance my reclusive personality.

It was a full blown I’ve-got-to-quickly-become-something-I’m-not-in-order-to-survive panic attack.

Yes, I know it’s the same sad song I’ve sung before.

But, I still struggle. Every day. I struggle to see myself the way God sees me. I struggle to understand how He could love me when it’s hard to love myself. It’s hard to try and change myself to be what I think everyone else want’s me to be instead of what God has created me to be and do. Sometimes it’s near about impossible to believe that God delights to use someone like me to make a difference in this world. It’s hard to believe that His goodness is not held back by my middle-of-the-night worryfests.

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It takes faith to embrace that God is good, that there are endless possibilities and moments of wonder in the midst of the most confusing and imperfect of days.

Even in England.

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Strange little cars, men in green suits and becoming people who matter as opposed to folks who just want to fit in.

The first time I saw him walking down the road, I just about drove into the ditch. The young man wore a three piece suit the color of a green glow stick. After my first encounter, I saw him often. He strolled  down the back roads in the same suit, bright enough to be seen from outer space.

Weird.

After moving to Vancouver B.C., I saw a compact car covered with matchbox cars. A child’s play mat complete with roads and stop signs was glued to the hood. On the mat tiny cars were positioned along the various routes. What can I say? Mr.Rodger’s neighborhood on steroids and a three cylinder engine.

Double weird.

And certainly not for me. To be so different. So odd. You could blame my compliance to normality on 

  1. great fashion sense,
  2. extreme dedication to being uber clean and neat. 

Of course, that would be major tip-off that you have never even seen me or peeked into the vehicle that I used to shuttle around my four darling but somewhat grubby little kids.

Or, you could just come to grips with the truth.

I cared way too much about what people thought of me. It ruled my life. I was always doing some kind of fancy footwork so everyone would keep liking me. 

It’s exhausting to pretend to be something you are not. You slowly begin to tire out spiritually, emotionally and even physically.

That’s not the way I want to be anymore. So, when I get in a situation that triggers my insecurities, I mentally steer myself in the direction of honesty and self-acceptance. 

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not just talking about what to wear or whether or not to glue little trinkets on the hoods of our various modes of transportation. It’s much more scary than that. What concerns me is how we eagerly change the course of our lives just to please other people. We compromise our principles, deny our passions and turn away from our destiny just to be “in” with the people we think matter.

News flash-

People who matter are the people who really care about us and our dreams -not just what everybody else is wearing or doing. People who matter embrace and encourage authenticity in themselves and their fellow human beings. They give honest input even if it hurts. Their love is not an I-found-someone-better-to-hang-out-with-tonight-so-see-you-later kind of letdown.

We are part of a complex and diverse creation where no two snowflakes, water falls or sunsets are alike. God’s creation explodes with endless shades of color, shapes, smells and sounds.

It’s brilliant. Breathtaking. 

Imagine what would happen if we dared to embrace the uniqueness of our physical, mental and emotional being.

People who matter.

Smashing Against the Pavement Like a Clump of Mashed Potatoes–What I learned about the lies in my head after everything fell apart.

 

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I spent the long weekend in Maple Falls at the foothills of Mount. Baker. Just got back today.

It was magical. I rode my bike down a windy asphalt ribbon like I ruled the world -  

  • the wind blowing in my hair,
  • the sun warming my face
  • and my dog Molly racing by my side.

Then, Molly had to ruin everything by dashing in front of my bike. I smashed into the asphalt like a clump of mashed potatoes. 

For a few seconds I couldn’t move, barely breathe.  While I sprawled on the road, Molly sniffed around me. I groaned and tried to figure out how to regain control of my muscles.

It took a while.

Finally, I staggered to my feet, grabbed the dog leash and pushed the bike back the way I came.  On the way, I assessed the damage. My ripped sleeve revealed a bloody elbow. I could feel my throbbing knee swelling against the fabric of my jeans.

It hurt like crazy. No surprise.

But, the gush of self pity washed that over me was unexpected. Up to the time I smashed into the pavement, I was having a great time. Now, I felt stupid.  Clumsy. Ancient.  

And, guilty – guilty for feeling what I was feeling.

I know what some of you are thinking. Hey, sounds like another hormonally weird day in the life of Renee.

Or, was it something more?

While I pushed the bike up to the porch of the family cabin, I began to wonder. What if this emotional confusion was nothing less than a battle for the mind…a spiritual skirmish between hope and futility, peace and despair?  What if it was one small arena of conflict in the ongoing war for the heart and souls of human beings?

Sure it was barely an epiphany, microscopic at best. But, truth is truth no matter how big or small.

Absolute truth is the only weapon that blasts away the lies in our minds. Truth about our value in the sight of God. His love for us. Truth about our purpose in the light of eternity.

What can I say? I’m learning. Slowly. One day at a time.