filling in – branching out

Growing up and growing into our skin. Finding places where boundaries should be and building fences that no longer carry the same flexibility of the fences built in the past – recognizing the past as something to grow from and grow out of and learn and love – out of which we can become more.

A friend said that her 30’s felt like a blossoming – like a feeling comfortable in her own skin. And maybe that’s what it is. 31 now, I can feel comfortable in my skin – stop feeling guilty about my skin or nervous that I’ll make a wrong move. I no longer worry (as much) about how my actions will be judged. I understand my own need for boundaries and recognize that those boundaries are sufficient for me but not always understood or shared with others. Being in community and building culture within the boundaries of our individual needs and expectations is hard.  However, being aware that the expectations and boundaries of those around us exist and differ helps each of us understand how to best serve those people and our selves.

I finished a book today. The first non-assigned book I’ve read since graduating – and it was lovely. I started it yesterday while waiting to pick up the kids, and this afternoon was able to pick it up and finish in one sitting. It really was lovely; both the experience and the book. Within the fictional story line, multiple stories are interwoven and explained in a looking back at situations from different perspectives of the people who simultaneously but unknowingly experienced those situations together.  I underlined many things, but one line I think can easily be translated outside of the book’s context and into the lives of each of us:

“No story sits by itself.  Sometimes stories meet at corners and sometimes they cover one another completely, like stones beneath a river.”  from Mitch Albom’s The five people you meet in heaven

Understanding that each of our own lives intersect with so many others, and each of theirs likewise with others, and the idea that all of these interactions somehow affect one another, is beautiful.  It resonates deeply with our mantra of “Everything Matters”.

This summer I’ve been attempting to have a time set apart with my kids to talk and write and learn in ways that I hoped would be productive and helpful and informative to their growing stories – my plan was to find a time daily, but being that they’d like to have me not schedule their summer, it has become a time that I’ve snuck in when they aren’t paying attention, and I think I’ve somewhat painted these moments as art and fun times….that’s how learning is always better achieved anyway.

The plan:

  1. Make and Art/Writing Journal – this we accomplished in a 2 hour sitting which decimated re-purposed a great deal of old knitting magazines and made 4 black and white composition journals beautifully personalized to each of us.
  2. Write on the First page of said Journal the Bible Verse I’m hoping they’ll ingest and memorize throughout the summer – Colossians 3:12-14 – Katie and I completed this step – Anna cut out a typed version and pasted it – her 6 year old writing would have taken too long – and Allen continued making a collage, oblivious to the happenings around him – It’s alright.
  3.  Extract from the Verse the words: Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness, Patience, Forgiveness, Love – making a page for each individual work on which I had hoped we would first write a definition and then throughout the summer write down or draw things in which we observe these traits…..we’re still working on that.

How is this relevant to boundaries and to interwoven stories?  Well, I’m hoping to build an awareness of our interwoven stories – how our actions – compassion,kindness, etc. all play into understanding our fellow people – how practicing these things – putting them on and playing with them will inform our own understanding and at the same time directly effect how our stories weave into the bigger story of the communities in which we live.

In any case, I thought if I wrote it all down tonight – thoughts and plans, maybe I could begin this journey with a little accountability and understanding – and maybe I’m over thinking all the things.  Either way, thanks for reading and Happy Saturday Friends.

and for good measure:

Colossians 3:12-14

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindess, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with eachother and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on Love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

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