Friday, April 8, 2011

Lost in the Now

It was a beautiful morning. The temperature was about 66 degrees and you could smell spring in the mist that wasn't quite burned off yet. Driving into work I passed a car going the opposite direction. And what caught my eye was the back window of their SUV, rolled down and a child's face (not unlike the one above), framed in the opening - with eyes closed and a smile of pure delight on his face. I was captured by that image and I've replayed that scene a dozen times or more since then. And I was surprised at the flood of emotion it evoked in me. I want that kind of unadulterated joy! That enjoyment that comes from being completely present in the moment and caught up in the wonder of life as a full experience. I can't even remember the last time I felt that lost in the Now.

I mean - my brain is so full of things needing done, weren't done, might need done, along with how to do this or that and how will it affect the other - and... it just overwhelms me at times. Factor in a few failed attempts at any of the above, and let's just say I daydream of laying on my back on a beach somewhere, with a box of wine propped up on a stool above my head and the spigot turned full-on. (OK - that last bit might be a slight exaggeration, but the rest isn't, I assure you...!)

I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with Adult ADD and is now taking medication for it. She is absolutely thrilled at how much more productive her life has become and was telling me her symptoms and how she took a preliminary test before consulting a physician. Out of curiosity I looked at the online test and it asked a couple of questions I totally related to (actually, I related to several but I'm fairly convinced I'm just shooting myself in the foot, rather than dealing with a disorder...)(the range of answers can be from "Not at all" to "Very much"): (#17 - There is a lot of "static" or "chatter" in my head, #21 - My thoughts bounce around as if my mind is a pinball machine , and #22 - My brain feels as if it is a television set with all the channels going at once.) That last one really sums it up for me - and yes, to all of those I would check the "Very much" box!

I used to pride myself on being a competent multi-tasker. Then I had chemotherapy, and that changed to a degree. The ol' noggin just doesn't function as fast and efficiently as it used to... and we won't even mention aging... And then throw in:
~ living with and caring for my mother whose health is deteriorating and has multiple physical challenges going on (not to mention a recent awareness that my relationship with her is the source of most of my distrust in Abba as a loving Father - or in my case, Mother! - as well as over-compensating/people-pleasing attributes, and misguided feelings of shame and guilt);
~ a precious wonderful daughter who is rather high-maintenance on assistance with living skills and relationship;
~ my recent remarriage to the love of my life and having to juggle time for ourselves with all the other demands;
~ the construction of a new home that I'm trying to make as personal and comfortable as possible but within a very limited budget (and just discovered I had ordered the wrong kitchen cabinets from Ikea and now have to order additional ones), which will also demand demolition of the home we're currently living in (at which time we will have to temporarily relocate - READ: move once, then move again);
~ my husband's new business which hasn't been as busy and lucrative as we had hoped;
~ and just for good measure, sprinkle a little bit of working full-time on top;

and you've got my brain. The one that has all the channels going at once. Kinda like Cartoon Network bleeding through on Dog: Bounty Hunter, Criminal Minds, and a hint of House Hunters and Divine Design thrown in for creativity.

So yeah, I pondered longingly that sweet young face that was feasting on the feel of the wind through an open car window, totally lost in the present moment.

Maybe I can get someone to take me for a ride...?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Leap of faith

SO I was having a conversation with a friend this morning about security... and what an illusion it is... and what a drug that illusion is. A strong, addictive drug. And I "jones" for it... a lot. Culturally, we are spoiled, and I believe even the most grateful among us take certain things for granted - and count on them being there tomorrow, if not next week and next year. And certainly the recent events in Japan have served to highlight and underscore how fragile and unpredictable life is - even this massive dirt ball we call Earth knows that much. But meanwhile, here in north central Oklahoma, I'm sometimes uncertain... and occasionally worried.

I used to be afraid to say that out loud, for fear of being chastised for having "little faith". You know all the possible responses - "oh ye of little faith" - "faith can move mountains" - "faith is fear that has said its prayers" - "if you worry why pray, and if you pray why worry" - I'm sure you can add your own... (but please don't!). Nowadays I at least don't worry about chastisement. Abba and I have had way too many heated discussions (my part is heated, His is always cool and peaceful... which can occasionally add to my heat...) about why certain things happen the way they do, for me to be afraid to voice my fears out loud. And amazingly, sometimes just the vocalization of those fears allows them to burst like so many bubbles and disappear in droplets of resignation, or even peaceful acceptance of whatever is to come. But sometimes those worries and fears hang around, nibbling on my ankles like mosquitos on a hot August night. And no amount of spiritual Calamine lotion calms the burn and the itch... to know... or at least to suspect that a solution is waiting around the corner.

Another one of those cheery platitudes that applies in these circumstances (and which I have even been guilty of offering to someone else struggling - (why IS it so much easier to believe and reassure someone else than it is yourself??? Ahhh, another discussion for another time... but I digress...) - "Trust an unknown future to a known God." That may very well be the crux of the matter for me. That "known God" part. What a journey THAT has been! And continues to be...! There really is no pigeon-holing Him. Just about the time I think I've got some beliefs nailed down the boards pop loose. So maybe it is that our beliefs IN Him are directly proportional to our knowledge ABOUT Him? And I'm sure not saying that it's a negative measurement, one that we need to feel shame and guilt over if the two are unequal (and they will ALWAYS be unequal, just because He is Who He is! And we are the way we are...). It's not a matter of "faith" as in there's something we can resolve to do differently so we can "have more faith in Him". Number one, our faith is a gift from Him, not from ourselves. And two, our best resolutions are based on our efforts and power, and we ain't got none (deliberate incorrect grammar added). But maybe it's more a time of mile-markers - here marks the spot of all you know and believe (two separate measurements) about Him... it's time to take the fork in the road and learn more.

I wish there was a map somewhere, like what I get from AAA or Mapquest or something... wait... maybe there is. Maybe my security on this journey comes from renewing my mind to those nails of Truth (double-entendre His, not mine!) I already have: ... NEVER will He forsake me... He hems me in from ahead and behind... He knows the plans (and they're supposedly good plans...)... or as my friend reminded in song to me this morning, He "loves me, this I know"... And maybe that will be enough to see me into the next unseen step. Kind of like Indiana Jones where he steps into nothing only to have the path appear under his foot. AFTER he takes the step, NOT before.

blehhhhhhhhh.......... so why do I feel more like Wiley Coyote?

I think I will ponder the following, along with the other truths I mentioned above, as I duel with my fears today:

"When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on, or we will be taught to fly." -- Patrick Overton.

There's that flying thing again... here we GO!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The beginnings...

So, I've had a few people (all of them unpaid!) ask me about doing a blog. I'm kind of amazed that they'd do that - I tend to be kind of opinionated about things that touch my passion, but I guess I do have my own way of seeing things. And besides, I figure if nothing else this will be a creative outlet for myself. Sometimes I don't see the forest in my life because of all the trees in my mind blocking my view. So maybe my words will build a road through that mental jungle deeper into this mystery we call life.

It's my hope that I'll be able to provide a pleasant mix of pictures - verbal, symbolic, photographic or artist-created - to portray my own journey of relationships (spiritual and earthly). Sometimes I have hard questions to ask with no easy answers. But sometimes I'm blown away by the breathtaking beauty of life and people and have to spill over the fullness of those experiences.

Why the name "Free Flight"? Oh, for a variety of reasons... One of the first scriptures that ever got inside me and healed a spot I didn't even know was wounded, was from Psalm 63:7 (and I don't remember what version, maybe NIV?) - "Because You are my help, I can sing in the shadow of Your wings." At the time I had such a vision of being a terrified bird, cowering under the protectiveness of my Daddy's wing. Have you ever heard the story about the wild brush fire that roared over acres of grassland, destroying everything in its path (not unlike what has been happening in Oklahoma lately, as well as other places... so sad...). A firefighter, walking across the scorched land, came across the charred remains of a bird (maybe a hen? or a quail? I don't remember...). When he nudged it with his toe he was startled by a flurry of activity - and several baby birds came rushing out from under their mother's burned wing. She had given her life for her beloved babies - not unlike our story, if you get my drift... ANYWAY - that's the image I had from that scripture.

Shortly after that, Abba started leaving me personal love notes, just little messages to let me know He was thinking of me... and loving me... and they were in the form of feathers. I've found feathers in the most unlikely places at the most significant times, when a hug from God was the only remedy possible for the fleeting moments of pain or confusion. And I've found feathers that blew me away with their incredible artistry and detail, which have left me gasping in wonder at His incredible creative eye. And I have also been gifted with amazing feathers from people who out of their love for me and knowledge of the power that form of communication has for me, wanted to be a part of this Divine exchange - and I'm forever grateful.

So yeah, that's a big part of the name choice for this blog. But there's so much more than that. Maybe it's because I came to my relationship with Him so late in my life - at the age of 49, after a life crammed full of choices and experiences, some good, some not so much - that I strained and balked at some of the rituals and beliefs and observations that institutional church seemed to promote. Or maybe it's because I had spent most of my life twisting and gyrating to become whatever the significant person in my life needed me to be (beginning with parents and morphing into whatever male happened to be in my life at the time), that I had no sense of who I was or where I wanted to go or what I was to become? At any rate, flying became a verb that held great symbolism and fascination for me. Not literal flying - I have an inordinate fear of heights, and even commercial flights have become more harrowing for me as my own sense of mortality has increased. More the "free to be" kind of flying is what I'm talking about... It seems that Jesus spent quite a bit of time throwing aside convention and conformity, and embraced the miracle of mystery - and I respond pretty emphatically to that whole approach.

But there is also a tiny element of my dad in the choice of title. From his early beginnings as a boy, until the very time of his death, he had a love affair with model airplanes. Control line, radio control, and yes... even free flight. And since God used my dad's last days to teach me the most important lesson of love and forgiveness, it seems only fitting that he be an ingredient in this latest adventure.

So, I guess if you're still reading then you're willing to fly along on this journey with me. I make no promises - I don't know how regular I'll post, or how relevant it'll be for you, and I won't try to offend anyone. But I will promise to be as transparent as I'm able, and to give you the authentic Mo, unimproved, un-compromised, and maybe a wee bit unconventional.

And who knows? Maybe we'll discover the view is worth the risk...