Monday, November 16, 2015

Snow Day!!

It's the kind of day I have been waiting for. For 2 years in the "White Mountains" I have wanted a white Christmas-y snow day and today it has arrived. It seems to me good foreshadowing that we are going to get the crazy blizzard winter I was promised when I arrived here two almost-snow-less winters ago. Right now I am sitting in my cabin-condo surrounded by huge pine trees, and combined with the Christmas lights around my window and my pellet stove fire roaring it looks like the perfect winter wonderland outside.
I know most people hate snowy, dark, cold days but they are, along with rain, my favorite kind of days. Call me naive, tell me I didn't grow up in the north (trust me I've heard it all) but I find joy in layering up with mittens and scarves and scrapping the ice off my car as I go to leave for work. I am like a child as I stomp the crunchy snow beneath my feet with glee. It's winter and I love it.
One thing I love about winter is that it makes everything seem so peaceful (unless you are driving in a snow storm- that is anything but peaceful!). Even if the snow is blowing down in torrents, winter covers up everything. It perfectly blankets the world around me. The falling snow seems to whisper new beginnings. The white, the perfect white, covers up all the dirt and memories and makes me feel like everything will be ok. Snow means time with family is coming. It means that happiness is around the corner. It makes it ok for me to pretend, even if just for a morning hour, that the world and its pain does not exist. It makes me believe that Aslan is coming to breathe new life back into the brokenness. It makes me lean into the ones I love as we drink a cup of tea, glad just to be together. Winter is my favorite because it is beautiful, restorative, and leads me to spend cozy times with those I love.
It's fitting then, I suppose, that I am ending up having a winter wedding. New beginnings, the past covered with the pure snow, the trees whispering that joy conquers all. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Stepping Back

It's been a while since I have posted a "real" post. There has been so much going on in my head, my heart, my soul and what are the boundaries of sharing? What needs to stay close to my heart and what needs to be poured onto virtual paper? In a way this blog is as much for me as it is for you. As I write I heal. As I write, I discover. As I write, I realize.

Throughout my three years of being involved with Apache Youth Ministries my heart has so many times teetered between soft and hard. At times I have been so overwhelmed by the sorrows that I cannot fix and in other instances I have become callous and feelingless. It is the frustration of extremes- either my tears are relentless or my gaze is empty and feelingless. My heart cannot figure out how to handle all that I've seen, witnessed, heard over the last few years. I push it away and at the same time I refuse to let it out of my grasp. The experience is such a part of me. It has shaped who I am for better or for worse.

The impact of it all hit me like a brick one night, like a bad break-up. I've been so attached, so devoured by my ministry that taking a step back is like ripping away my child. There was one night where I sobbed and sobbed for hours. So much sorrow poured out of me and I couldn't figure out why. In part I think that my identity was so wrapped up in my work that when I step back for boundary-sake I don't know who I am anymore. What is my purpose if not to be praised for my hard and heart-breaking work?

Though I am stepping away from AYM, I am not stepping completely away from the rez. I have four girls and two "sons" who are still near and dear to my life. I still find myself buying baby clothes, talking to girls about cutting and life and Christ, answering tearful phone calls and helping my senior girl apply for college. My life and tie with the reservation has in no way been severed, but in a new season, a season of boundaries, I am forced to admit that my life-breath was to serve those kids and now my priority has to shift. My priority must be to serve God by serving my own family and future with my husband.

I cannot even explain how my heart feels as I write this. My love will always be the reservation. My heart-beat will always be for what God is doing on reservations all over America. But for this new season I must build a life of healing. That's what the past month has been about really- healing from 2 years consumed by the impact of suffering, remembering who I am in Christ, and learning how to breathe normally again.

I am in no way fully back to who I was and I doubt that I ever will be. But I thank God for good people who are walking alongside me as I seek to make peace with the sufferings of others and as I figure out my place in God's calling. Transitions are hard and change is tough, but thank goodness the glory of the Lord endures forever!