A series of questions I’m in the process of asking, wrestling with, and never actually coming to conclusions on. (I think that’s how it should be.)
// How do I be here & be there?
I’m in the process of learning how to be here, in Edmonton, with all of me. Tonight, as I drove through the city, the sun set and lit up into a bright, fiery salmon colour and I yelled, “Oh man, give me golden hour in Edmonton or give me NOTHING!!” Which may have been dramatic. (It was dramatic.) I walk over crunchy leaves, or to my local YMCA, or drive into downtown, and I think, “How did I end up here and how is it that I don’t want to be anywhere else?” I think back to all the times I bad mouthed Edmonton, as a way of protecting myself instead of coming right out and saying I love this city, this new home.
I’m in the process of learning how to be there, back home, with all of me. I have messages I have not responded to, plans I keep putting off making, and a piece of me wonders if this is because I do not know how to be both places with all my heart. Yet, my heart certainly seems to know it is in both places. It is easier to be where my feet are, easier to push away those I won’t bump into it - even though my heart is craving time. It’s easier to put the blame on time zones and opposite schedule, instead of sitting down to make the time. (I’m not proud of this.)
And how do you balance two homes? I am not an acrobat - I never have been and never will be. My sense of balance is the kind that always leads more to one side than the other. It is easier for me to live life with a protective sort of love, instead of a whole hearted love.
I’m in the process of trying to figure this out. I am not there yet.
// How do I love one activity and also love another?
A few weeks ago, I was visiting some of our partner countries and my mind wandered back to my first international experiences; how I came back not wanting to just write about what was happening, but I wanted to take people alongside and show them what the need was, so they’d be able to do something about it. I was struck that now, six years later, I’m doing that exact job - a literal dream come true, in a far different way than I ever expected.
And then I start thinking about how I feel when I am sipping coffee, typing words here. Moving thoughts around so they carry meaning, but also reflect my thoughts & feelings. I am still learning, I am still in the process of figuring out how to love two things at once. I am still learning how to make time, to create instead of consume.
Mainly, I’m learning that declaring a love for one activity doesn’t mean forsaking all other activities.
I’m in the process of getting better at learning this. I am not there yet.
// How do I balance being alone and being with others?
I need libraries, coffee, and either a pen or something I can type on. I need time meandering in bookstores, tidy up time, time to cook, time to listen, time to work out, time to jam out, time to think, time to read my Bible, time to be still, and time to write. That’s what refreshes me, rejuvenates me, re-engerizes me. (How many more ‘re’ words can I use?) I’m pretty high maintenance.
This summer, I took the Enneagram test and it both wrecked my life, but also caused me to think. A lot. (I'm a 3, a performer, which made my mom say, “Oh that’s appropriate.”) One thing that struck me in my reading of the 3 profile was that threes like to keep people from different areas of their life separate, because they perform in a different space.
I always thought it was smart to have different friends for different things, different people I talk to about different areas. Maybe it is. But not when you’re trying to protect yourself by keeping everyone and all activities separate.
And now I’m in the process of realizing how exhausting this is. How tiring it is to compartmentalize everything. How nice it would be to invite others into different parts of my life, different activities in my life, and see them friends becoming friends, over and over. How fun it would be to include others, to adventure together, to meet up together and do things together.
I’m in the process of getting better at this. I am not there yet.
// How do I forgive and also not get hurt again?
Last week, SoulPancake posted an Instagram photo that said, “Someone doesn’t need to say sorry for you to forgive them.” I ran through a mental list of grudges, my list of outstanding apologies I’m still waiting on, and that quote hit me right in the gut. I have the power and freedom to forgive.
But why does forgiveness end up feeling like an all access pass to hurting me again?
Even if I was brave enough to write out the words and let go of the bitterness I’ve been keeping caged up, there’s a voice in the back of my head that - wrongly - says, “If you hold onto it, they won’t hurt you again. If you stay mad, you don’t have to feel dumb if something happens and you have to forgive them again.”
I am in the process of wrestling with this. I am not there yet.
// How do I speak up but not out of turn?
In case you missed it, the world is feeling a little more dark and a whole lot more broken these days. And I have stayed quiet. I know this is my privilege - I don’t have to speak up about anything, but there’s this tugging in my heart that maybe I should be speaking up and sharing more.
It is easier to stay silent and not speak at all. This feels very wrong.
So now, I’m wrestling with - when is it my place to speak up and when am I speaking out of turn?
A lot of this year, I’ve challenged myself to shut up and listen. (I have not done great at this, just as an fyi.) Listening is one thing - but listening that moves into action feels like a better thing. Maybe speaking up doesn’t look like being a keyboard warrior anymore. Maybe it looks like conversations and starting to put my actions where my words are. Getting outside of my circles of comfort, and more into areas of service. Maybe that would be better for all of us.
Maybe this will be a regularly happening series. Maybe it won’t be. Either way - share with me - what are you in the process of learning?