Coming Home

I didn’t even realize I missed it until I got out of the car. It wasn’t an overwhelming of emotion due to remembrance…we were at a random rest stop. I stepped out of the car and just stood there and took in the humidity, smells, and songs of the cicadas that filled the air.  My senses where overwhelmed by the very essence of the Midwest, and I felt at home.

There was a sense of comfort and familiarity that filled me. You never forget where you were raised. It’s not just the physical structures that represent our “homes”… it’s the feeling, the smells, and the sounds. To me, summer sounds like the cicadas. It used to seem like the humidity that pressed around us was directly tied to the cicada’s song. I didn’t realize until I heard it that you don’t really hear the cicadas sing in Colorado, at least not where I live.

I can’t really say that I was even missing this, not cognitively.  I miss the people of home, yes. I miss the feeling of security that comes from living in a town and place that you know and are used to.  I even have been recognizing that much of my feelings of insecurity and anxiety are really based on the fact that I am living outside of my comfort zone, relationally. So I wasn’t prepared for the rush of emotions that welled-up inside me at just the smells, feel, and sounds of “home.”

I’ve needed to come home. I’ve been struggling a bit at my current place. I always get so weird whenever I’m in that “getting to know you” stage with other people. I’m realizing more and more how socially sheltered my family was growing up. You add to that all the bullying and social isolation that was the norm for me from 4th-10th grade… and I guess it’s pretty understandable. But it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.  The more I live in this intentional community, the more that I am seeing things about myself that are hard to deal with. I’m realizing how self-centered I am, and how much I talk about myself. I am realizing how bad I am at really listening to and empathizing with others. All the things that I hated about myself in high school, and swore I’d change in college… still there, still a part of me. I’m seeing in myself all this unnecessary and annoying neediness and all these things about myself that I can’t stand. I’m missing being around people who already know this about me.

I also feel as though I’m coming across as one of “those” girls… the ones that take reality and twist it to make themselves get more attention; the ones that take on the identities of others and claim them as their own. I hesitate to share and regret sharing some of my own story for this reason. Who’s going to believe it? Who is going to take it as anything even resembling the truth? From what I’ve heard of the others, it’d be easy to see my story as simply nothing more than the conglomeration of the stories of others, just combined in a way that is more dramatic and possibly sympathy inducing.  It’s not. But with my ever-present awkwardness and inability to be comfortable around someone until I have known them for quite awhile, it’d be easy to read me this way. I’m annoying myself, so I can just imagine what my housemates must think.   This absolutely terrifies me.

All of this just makes me feel anxious, afraid, and so insecure. I want to hide, to stay away from others. Maybe this week, this homecoming will be good for me.  I need to spend some time in the woods, sitting on the Bridge centering myself. I need to feel the security and peace that home brings to me.  I want to spend some quality time with Dad and Grandma, loving on them. As selfish as it is, I need to have them speak confidence and love into my life. Mostly? I need to feel as though I make sense, and that I’m not crazy and awkward always.  I need to fill myself up with all the love, support, and definition that make up that sense of “home” within us all.

Home is such an essential part of who we are and how we define ourselves.  Where we come from and what we’ve gone through… how we come to grips with these hugely defines who we choose to become. I need to settle this within myself, as I am coming up to a year that is going to be tough and challenging. I don’t want to be crushed under all my insecurities… I want to be able to minister effectively. 

The truth is…maybe I rely more than I realize on certain people to bring the feeling of home into my life. My true sense of home shouldn’t be wrapped in places, peoples, and denominations. God should be my home. I want Him to be. I don’t want to have to go through this every time I move to a new place in life. I want to be able to transition quickly, so that I don’t miss opportunities to be used to help others. How many relationships with some pretty incredible people have I missed as I’ve silently gone crazy, dealing with my inability to ground myself?

Coming home.  Oh Lord, how I need to come Home. I’m praying that coming back to the physical and relational places that represent home to me… that through this week, God will be able to speak home into me. That I will return ready for what this year has in store. Who knows? Maybe God will use my feelings of insecurity and just wanting to be loved and known to help me be able to see that in the people I come in contact with… to help direct me as to how I can really help them.  I’m so hoping that all this crazy inside of me won’t keep me from being able to truly connect with the crazy awesome people God’s shoved me into a house with.

………..

I don’t know what will happen this week, and what God will show me. He’s starting something in me, and a feel as though it’s something that He’ll be continuing to work out inside me throughout the coming year. Maybe I’ll find healing. Maybe I’ll finally figure out how to really connect and be in relationship with other people. Maybe I’ll be drawn deeper into God. Hopefully, I’ll learn how to find and keep a sense of Home that stays with me no matter where I go… a sense of security that wraps itself around my heart and keeps me grounded, always. A true Home.

“I saw your face across the street, and my heart was home again.” JG

“Home is wherever I’m with you.” ESatMZ

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Better Late Than Never or A New Way to See Society

Derek Webb said it right when he admitted that “I am a mockingbird, I have no new song to sing.” How easy it is to simply take in the beliefs and passions of others as ours, transforming ourselves into something that was actually dreamed up by someone else.  This needed to be said, to give context to what I am about to process through.

I am coming to this late in the game, for sure. There are others within my own family that have already had these thoughts. I simply am the one that got the chance to experience it first… and sort of by accident. I never have been original. So often,it takes me seeing others passionately care about something in order for I myself to be stirred.

My family is a living contrast. My parents have always lived at a higher standard of living then most of the families we worked and served with. Money is the thing tearing my parents apart. My father wishes to be freed from the enslavery to the dollar, and wishes that life could be more organic and meaningful. The poor man is stressed out and worn down from trying to maek “enough” money… and he left always coming up short. My mother, on the other hand, is enslaved to consumerism. Her way fo showing love is through actionds and gifts, as it is too hard for her to put into words how she feels, and she hates emotionalism. These are not bad things, at all. But this internal make-up has left her susceptible to being consumed by consumerism. She spends so much money with good but misguided intentions. She has a the gift of giving and hospitality, truly. What she does not have is a strong belief in simplicity or frugality. She used to, but I strongly suspect that consumerism and loneliness have left those particular values a bit unused and ignored.  I don’t blame her, or view her as a bad person for this. Please don’t read it as that. I love my Mama, dearly, and have often benefited from her propensity to spontaneously gift others.  But the fact of the matter is that my parents aren’t happy… and that money has definitely played a part in that. They are being pulled apart by money, and money is stealing their joy. They have a good amount of money, and their lives aren’t any better.

In contrast, you have my brother and his wife. Life has given them passions and goals that do not really guarantee them a fortune. In fact, it is quite true that they will probably always live in a way that each paycheck is rejoiced over and creatively stretched each month in order to just barely cover the cost of their lower-income home and groceries. They are frugal by necessity. They simply do not have the money to be consumers. They are both content in this, because they learned in college the hard lesson of what happens when you spend without thought, racking up debt on their credit cards. They are comingto the place where they will soon be freed from the enslavement to the monthly payments to credit companies, but the lesson is still strong in their minds. They dream and envision a life in their future that remains free from consumerism and independence. They have a garden that they expand each year, and they try to shop only in local and ethically maintained grocers, and they dream of living in a community where interdependence and conservation is highly valued.

Similarly, I have a brother-in-law and sister who also dream of interdependent living that is freed from the pursuit of things and objects and independence. While they are not in need financially by any means, they live as simply and frugally as possible. I remember one time asking my Ma if they were okay financially, because I was worried about them and they were expecting another child. My Ma laughed and assured me that they were actually fine financially… they just highly valued living as frugally as possible. They also have a garden, and try to cook and eat as organically as possible.  Simplicity. Sadly, they are not content, either. They both have jobs that pay the bills… but neither are necessarily passionate about. My bil has confided that he would love to quit his job, find land to live on where they could grow all their own food. He dreams of also building multiple living areas on this land, and inviting people who are struggling to make it in this consumer-driven world to come live on his land. Together, he wants to build a community that lives off this land, supports each other, and actively lives in a way that counters our current society.

It seems my entire family dreams of community and simplicity. To think I grew up in this, and am only now catching on is a testiment to my own self-absorbtion and thickness. As I feel my mind changing, and passions within me start to build, I see so clearly how unoriginal I am.

It’d be easy to miscontrue my own life and way of living as though I’ve had these same convictions and standards all along.  The truth is, this is not the case. I have been embarassed and jealous of others, and the things they own. I am guilty of following after and covetting things because of a trendiness or percieved societal value, and not because I had any strong convictions in concordance with them. I am entering this train of thought humbiliy, knowing that I have missed it for too many years and wary of my propensity to follow others and take on other’s passions instead of cultivating those same passions myself. I am doomed to always be a  follower first, then a true believer.

My true feelings? I am discontent. I have seen the effect chasing money has had on my parents, and the have experienced myself a small amount of the stress having no money can create. I’ve seen friends struggle with not being able to pay bills or find housing that they could afford that would also be a safe environment for their children. I see and feel for the brother in law who has the job that pays the bills, but leaves him empty. Currently, I’m living in a home with people who see a new way to live, and are trying to figure out how to create a new society. It feels almost like I’ve found the answer to a question that I hadn’t even formulated or asked yet. It’s almost as if God has led me here… stripped me of my ability to consume as much as I have wanted in order for me to be able to see that it is in fact better this way. So I can’t say that I have chosen to live simply, and have now found my place in a community blah blah blah. God has ordained that I live simply. Why? What will this lead to? I don’t know. Maybe He is to use me in order to help free my family from the constraints of money. Maybe I’m just the vessel. A blind, selfish, and unaware vessel. I deserve no accolade if that’s the case. I’m just glad that my eyes are finally opening to it. I’m willing…though it seems God may have used me regardless.

I don’t know. It’s as though the light is coming on in my mind… but slowly. it’s only dimly shining right now and impatience may actually snuff it out. I just needed to write out the truth, lest I fall and try to misconstrue the facts to make myself look like some cool new revolutionary or something.  God is doing something, and it could be big… and it’s all Him. All Him.

What if He wants to redeem and free this family, this community, this world from a society and way fo thinking that leaves so many empty, broken, and disenfranchised?

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The Farr House

So starting tomorrow night and ending on saturday, I am moving.  For the first time ever, I will be living with people who aren’t related to me. This is both exciting and terrifying to me.  I really think this is what’s been throwing off this week.

I have done a sort of “communal living” experience through Youthworks! the summer of my sophmore year in college. The four of us who were sent to orchestrate the Social Justice/ Compassion camp in West Virginia had our own little living area where we lived together all summer. Over all, it wasn’t a bad summer, until I did something that made one of the other girls absolutely hate me. To this day, I still do not know what I did, which of course just makes/made it all worst. In my defense, I confronted her more than once, and asked her to please explain ot me what was going on so that I can try to fix/avoid doing whatever it was again. She never told me.  This followed a year in college that was awful. I had roomed with a girl that joined our group of friends at the end of the year the previous year. We had not known each other well enough, and so we really should not have been roommates. About mid October, things got weird. Three of the girls from our group of six confronted the other three and basically said we were horrible friends and people…and then they stopped hanging out with us. Further more, they began to spread rumors about us, play hateful tricks on us, take our stuff, etc. One of us shunned three left our college and went elsewhere in a month. The other had to leave after January due to moeny issues. So then there was me… I had the joy of spending the rest of the year as the focus of all of the three girls’ hate. Wonderful. It felt like junior high all ovevr again. Try as I might, I couldn’t fix/alleviate any of it… nor could I just ignore it. These people had been my close friends the year before. I can’t just give up on friends… it kills me. After that year, though… I had to choose between the pain of them and the pain of walking away from them. (They wouldn’t just let me go and ignore me. They had to keep me there to be their little scapegoat. It was awful. Girls are hateful and cruel.) So, to say that I was hyper aware of how I effected others would be an understatement. I went into my junior year feeling extremely insecure and untrusting of myself. How do I cause the people I care about the most so much pain? What do I do? I still don’t know. What I do know is that my roommate for junior year was incredible. Our friendship became such a source of healing in my life. She never complained to/about me. not even once. She was sweet, and super intelligent… and yet she treated me like I was on the same level as her. She graduated halfway through the year, and I had to find new roommates. My new roomies were just as awesome. Greatest girls ever. It was weird, because they had come to college together, and had always lived together… so it felt like I was intruding into a little family. But that was what made them so awesome. They didn’t compete for who’s better, they didn’t guilt each other or tease each other into doing things/hanging out with them. They just loved and truly cared for each other. It was awesome. A cool little family to be a part of, for sure.

So… I’m going into the Farr House with these four experiences playing on repeat in my head. It’s not that I don’t think that the people I’m going to live with are gonig to be hateful. It’s just that I still don’t know what I did to have made people react to me like they did my sophmore year/summer. What if I do whatever that was again? What if my very personality starts to drive people absolutely nuts?

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“…You’re neither friend nor foe…”

Hey friends.

I don’t know what’s going on inside, or why it’s happening… But  this week has been rough. My old friends Anxiety, Depression, and Guilt have showed up and seem like they are fixing to stay. I know that it’s just temporary, and I just need to stay positive until I feel better. I just hate how I treat other people when this happens. Especially since this is my last week with Chad and Jess, and they are downstairs watching Star Wars and I am up here.

Prayer would be appreciated. I’ve been watching this video on repeat because it somehow makes me feel better.

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Sneak Attacks

I really hate it when anxiety and guilt over past wrongs comes sneaking up and tackle you, leaving you breathless and hurting.

I can’t really pin-point a trigger for this latest “episode”, which is odd. I am so very good at knowing myself and my mind. I’m really not too good at stopping myself, but it’s been a long time since the last time my anxiety crashed into me without me expecting it. I usually see it coming. I usually have this sense of tension as the inner storm builds.

It could be a culmination of things, honestly. I’m moving into my new house this coming weekend, and I just started my new job last week. Regardless, I have a feeling that there is going to be a night this week where I will be unable to sleep and/or crying into the late hours of the night.

It’s amazing the hold guilt can have on you if you just let. One small foothold, and guilt takes over. It’s incredible. so just imagine the hold it would have on you if you thought that guilt was a *good* thing, as a sort of support for your conscience. What if you had grown up believing that to not feel crippled by guilt meant that you were not at all sorry for whatever it is you had done. What if your mother had told you that? Can you just imagine the force of destruction guilt would be in your life? How crippling? When that is coupled with an anxiety disorder and a history of depression… it’s a little taste of what hell must be like.

I’ve come for far emotionally and mentally. I have experienced so much healing and growth. So it frustrates me greatly that I can still be caught off-guard like this. I know God, and I’ve read all the books about restoration and healing. I’ve prayed the prayers for deliverance, I’ve claimed outloud God’s forgiveness for my faults. I’ve told the devil multiple times that I claim the power if Jesus’ blood, which has set me free from all condemnation and released me from the control of all us except for Him. I know that God has forgiven me, and the He can still use me inspite of myself. God has even helped me to forgive the people who have hurt me. So, why am I still being attacked? Why do I still have to divert my mind from certain things in order to keep from being taken over by guilt and anxiety?

I just don’t get it. And I really don’t like myself doing these times. I hate how I start over-analyzing everything. I hate driving the people around me crazy with all my crazy. Mostly? I’m tired of it. I’m tired of feeling emotionally exhausted, yet being unable to sleep. I hate that feeling I get in my stomach of being hollow, yet all twisted up at the same time. I just hate this, and am tired of it.

I know that it will be okay. This will pass, and I’ll feel fine again. I also know that God promises “never more than we can bear”. I just wish that in all my schooling, I would have learned how to finally be free from this, for good.

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Mud and Funerals

So I started my summer job this week.

It’s really kind of funny that the job I have taken for the summer is one that requires me to wake up *earlier* than my regular job. I have to get up at 5:00 am, and then drive 30 minutes out to a farm house in the middle of nowhere. It’s a miracle I have gone there 3 times now and have yet to crash simply because I *can not* function in the morning. Typically.  Strangely enough, I’ve come to really enjoy my early morning drive on mostly hard-packed dirt roads. It’s peaceful.  I love it.  (And I’ve yet to pass out and crash! Yay me!)

It realy hasn’t been too bad. I’m working as a nanny for a family who lives in this really awesome 100+ year old farmhouse. They also have an amazing amount of land, most of which is not currently being farmed so is just filled with wild flowers/plants/weeds. Beautiful. They also have two horses that greet and follow me down the drive to the house. I love it!! Then there are the kids. They are some of the easiest kids I’ve ever worked with. Oh my goodness, I love these children.

Anyways. So I get one day off a week.  It’s going ot officially become my Adventure Day, as I fully intend to enjoy my first summer in CO even though I’m working. Well, it just so happens that my oldest sister and her family were going to be attending a funeral three hours from us, and that the funeral was going to take place on my day off.

Yep, we crashed the funeral. Kind of. We didn’t go to the actual service, but we were there for the rest of the day. Which included a drive out to where the family land/ farm/ cemetery is, and a drive through the land surrounding. Oh! And we also drove out to the place where the corners of three states met. We didn’t stop and stand on three states as we planned to, because we didn’t want to get stuck. In mud.

Apparently? It’s really cool to have maybe 1 paved road in an entire town. Okay, so I know that they probably couldn’t afford to pave *all* the roads in that county because we were in the middle of the plains and that is a *lot* of farm land to cover. But, we would have appreciated some concrete. Though our little drive would have been less exciting. And that’s what us Fawcett’s do, we keep things exciting.

So, my sister’s father-in-law was in charge of the little sight-seeing adventure. When we were finished trying to decifer hundred year old head stones, he decided to take us out to “the breaks”. Literally? There are random mini-canyons and breaks in the earth in the middle of Kansas’ sprawling farm plains. They are completely random and really awesome. The roads out to the breaks were dirt (of course) and it had just been raining/storming. We should have thought about that more. Chad, Jess, and I were the last car in the little caravan, and as typical, we were way behind the others. We came down this little hill and stumbled upon a beautiful shot of a series of breaks. My brother, being the photographer he is, slowed down to stop and take a shot. Well… we slowed down alright. Actually, we sunk down. Into the mud. On one side of the car. My brother did his best to try to get us out… but it wasn’t happening. We were stuck.

bummer.

We decided we needed some way for the wheels to get traction. As we were in the middle of farmland, the best opton we had was to pull out fence posts from the never-ending woodpost-and-barbed-wire fence that run the entire length of the western half of the state. Hopefully, the posts we pulled up weren’t needed. Regardless, they didn’t work. By this time, my brother-in-law noticed we were no longer in the caravan, and he, his dad, and his brother came looking for us. They found us taking off our socks and shoes and rolling up our pant legs. They were troopers and joined in. Not going to lie, I really loved walking aroung in the mud. But I also helped. Actually, I was told that it was my helping (the angle I was pushing from) that finally got the car unstuck. YAY! It was a beautiful little bonding moment. And so funny! We were all laughing the whole time. Chad got pictures of our feet instead of the breaks. Good stuff.

The rest of the day was a little awkward, as we mingled at the post-funeral meal and talked with people we didn’t know… but it was all worth it to see my sister and her family. And to get stuck in some mud on some dirt road in the middle of nowhere Kansas. 

So adventure #1 for my summer, I guess?

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The BS Group

I do not like people who have an “us and them” mentality. I *really* hate it when people who claim to follow Jesus have this viewpoint.  “We need to go save them. We need to share the gospel with them. We need to pray for them.” I also have a hard time being around people who sit in a place  where they feel as though they are such good people, so it’s okay if they examine and judge the lives of people around them. I hate bigots, pious douchebags, and the people who mistaken popularity for spirituality.

Meet the BS Group.  It stands for Bible Study, but most of the time BS fits better.

I used to rate “sins”. There were those that weren’t so bad, those that were bad, and those that were just awful. I’m embarassed to admit that mine were always viewed by myself as “not so bad”, where others’ were typically “bad, and terrible”. I’d judge. I’d condemn. I’d feel better about myself.  Then I entered the real world, and reality shattered the holy lottle fantasy I’d been living in. Judgementalism stems from immaturity, and a disconnection from the real, messy, fucked up world we live in.

There is a segment of the BS group who all work in the Community Life department of the college. They participate in community building projects, and work together with other campus community groups to form opportunities from the students to plug into and feel a part of the campus as a community. Every week, these couples came to BS and complain about their jobs. They talk about how ” it’s hard to be around people like those buddhist” and how “they just can’t work with the GLBT group” because the GLBT group shot down the idea that one of the projects should be going around to various community churchs and working/ cleaning in them. (Seriously, the BS couple suggested this. As if that’d be a safe environment to take GLBT students into. dumbasses.) It was really bad when their idea of sending boxes of Christmas gifts over to schools and orphanages in other countries was shot down because they insisted on putting tracks in the boxes. TRACKS. I’m a Christian, and I hate those damn wastes of paper. These people talk on and on, complaining about how they are being persecuted and bullied. Then we find out that they won’t allow GLBT students to come to their apartment as a “safe place” where they can be counseled if they are being bullied. Why?  Because this couple believes that homosexuality is an ABOMINATION. They believe it’s a choice depraved people make and if they were really repentative and came to Christ, they’d be “healed”. Can you all feel my anger? Because nothing pisses me off more than this. Who are we to sit in our gold-encrusted chairs of “holiness” and look down and condemn others? Who are we to distance ourselves from people because we decide they are “unworthy”? And don’t even get me started in the “it’s a choice” issue. When you’ve seen a dear friend struggle with hating himself then hating God then hating himself, trying so hard to be “good enough” to be “healed” from his attraction to other guys, you come and talk to me about his “choice” to be gay. When you have broken into a friend’s bathroom just to find him almost unconscious on the floor with blood pouring out of his wrist because he couldn’t take being “an abomination” anymore, and had to help him bandage himself and get to a hospital… and then kept him from trying again, then you can come at me with the bullshit of “he chose to be that way.” BS! Bullshit!

We may never understand the struggles that others have, we may never have the same struggles as others, but we should never EVER use religion as an excuse for our own bigotry and ignorance. Who are we to say someone’s struggles are more disgraceful then our own? Because we all have struggles. We all are messed up and scarred thanks to life and the many colorful ways it fucks us up. Not a single one of us is perfect. Trying to separate yourselves from reality will not keep you “safe” from this.

You claim to love God and follow Jesus… have you read the gospels? Did you notice who Jesus hung out with? Not the popular, pious church leaders who tried to kepp themselves completely separated from all that’s “unclean” in the world… he hung out with fishermen, criminals, prostitutes, and th poor. His group of friends were composed of you’re typical everyday kind of men. He IMMERSED himself into their lives, eating with them, loving them, staying out their houses with them and staying up all night partying with them. He got to know them, and all their brokenness, and oddities, and uniquities, and He loved them.

The Jesus you follow sees everyone for exactly who they are and loves them still. Always. He loves, He understands, He comforts, He empowers.

God does not hate fags. In fact, the only people Jesus got pissed at were the pious, religious douchbags who cast judgement on everyone else. I don’t get it, the rules of conduct that the Bible talk about. I don’t get why we are the way we all. But I know God loves us. He feels for us and our struggles and our joys. He rejoices in our happiness, and grieves in our pain.

I also know that my anger at these BS couples is just as bad as their distain for anyone different from them. I know that my own issues with “Christianity” are at play, too. My judgement of them is just as bad as their judgement on others. I need to work on trying to understand them better… getting to know them and where they come from.

I guess all I can hope is that God reminds me of His love, and that He keeps a tight hand over my mouth tomorrow night. I’m still not looking forward to tomorrow… but maybe if I treat them with love and respect, something will happen. Maybe tomorrow night won’t be so bad, and BS with be filled with a little less…bs.

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