Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hey, You! (Yes, You... The Word is Out)

 A light powder of snow dusts the deck, reflecting white in the darkness, and cars from the six pm rush-hour whirr by on the road outside. Vivaldi violins and strings crescendo suddenly from the internet radio here, and muffled bath noises pinpoint my five year old's position.

Hey you, friend? Yes, YOU. 

(Smiling over here in a snowy dark Minnesota twilight.)

Can we pull back the shutters and the curtains of our lives for a few minutes here tonight? I encounter so many women who are feeling alone, lonely, and on the fringe. Or we are women who wrestle with hard things and don't know where to show them.

Caught up in the rush of children's lives, or caring for the needs of older relatives and parents, there seems to be little time for deep talks and growing friendships some days. Surrounded by people whose lives are full, or whose lives seem polished on the outside, how do you break conversation flows with these empty heart holes?

So, today.... tonight, let's let it start here. None of us have perfect houses, perfect marriages, perfect kids, perfect sinless lives.We are all human, approachable, and messy; and yet the God of the Universe knows our names and loves us lavishly.

Vivaldi plays in flawless formation in front of me, but chaos scatters the floor behind me. Plastic soldiers, rubber bands, Star Wars cards and figures, merge with torn cardboard pieces of a deep fryer box, remnants of a five year old's imagination. Several supper plates with leftover rice and sweet and sour chicken still lay sticky on my table, and a crumpled washcloth balls up next to the sink.

You and I, we probably both have a couple piles of papers that need to be sorted, and our laundry rooms -- well, let's not even go there.

But in the rooms with the piles, the sticky, and the scattered, beauty still resides. It's in the vase of cattails on the table, arching majestically, calling out slices of summer; and in the sweet faced preschooler whispering pretend conversations with stuffed animals from his room.

I open my front door, and pull you in. Up my stairs, into the kitchen with supper's remnants still scattered, and into the dining room. Look past the rice pot to the gleaming world map below it, will you? and let's slide the plates to the side as we plunge into conversations about where you have been and where you dream to go.

"Decaf coffee or tea? I have both. Tea?" I grab my own mug, still warm from my orange zinger and sip, while we wait for yours to heat.

Slipping onto my L-shaped cream couch, beneath the chocolate wall and the stretch of windows, we can push the remote controls to the floor, and you can curl up under the green blanket.

"The hard part of today?" I'll embarrassingly, shyly, and in honoring-vagueness, confess of an angry tirade, crabby phone conversations, and a mad heart that crossed metaphorical arms.

"The good parts of today?" I'll share of God softening my heart, and teaching me over the hours to look for good, to choose joy, gentleness, softness, and humility. I'll tell you of hopeful homecomings, apologetic hugs, and happy make ups. I'll laugh with you over jokes with my ninth grade daughter as we worked on Algebra I issues, and I'll show you the cotton-ball snowmen crafts I made this afternoon with Daniel.

How about you? 

I'd love to get to know you more, friend. When you get a moment this week, will you grab a hot drink, click here, and tell me more about yourself?

What are you drinking? What does the room you are sitting in look like? What is the hard? What is the good in your life right now?

Smiling at you from a snow-dusted Minnesota suburb in deepening twilight. Vivaldi plays, toys remain strewn, and I'm going to make another cup of tea. Join me?


(linking up with the Imperfect Prose community too.)

(Photo credit)

17 comments:

RissaRoo said...

So wonderful to have found you! I was right there with you, in your living room...and I felt so comfortable because it was beautiful and honest, and felt like home. And now? I think maybe I'll go make myself some tea. And thanks for stopping by my blog, you're part of the good part of my day!

Lorretta at Dancing on the Dash said...

I'm glad you stopped by because I might have missed being here otherwise. Good to read your heart and I do feel so safe and welcomed. Bless you!

Amanda MacB said...

I'm stopping by from Emily's today, and this really is a beautiful thought. I know my best days are the days when a friend comes by, our kids play (noisily) and we somehow manage to have a conversation amidst the mess and chaos.
Best thing of today - God giving me an extra dose of Himself in the car. I didn't know how much I needed it. And The Hubs taking the kids for an hour just so I could watch the rare hour of tv.
Hard part of the day - being tired by 3:00 and still having the rest of the day to go. Saying goodbye to our speech therapist.

LOLITA said...

Oh, I'm so sorry, I got this late.

I am seldom online now, Jen. But thanks be to God, the storm did not hit were we live and work, it hit the northernmost tip of our island and many have lost properties and more on the neighbouring eastern islands which shields us from the open seas. Leyte and Samar are so near us. It is horrifying.

We thank the actions and help of your country in clearing and in retrieving bodies to make the place liveable again.

Floyd said...

This is a battle we all face regardless of gender. The world competes for our time and we've been duped into believing things matter that really don't... Taking time to share the life and soul of another is one of the great treasures that we get to keep and take with us when we pass on by. Wonderful post and prose, sister.

Jayne said...

Oh I even you having stickiness and toys everywhere. I love that my house stays cleaner now that my kids are all out, but I would rather have the sticky back if it meant my kids were home once again. Enjoy every minute, every mess, every sticky thing there is. And no, we won't talk about the laundry room. Lol Even with two of us it's still a mess.

Jayne said...

Sorry, that should be I envy you. Auto correct...grrr!

Pamela said...

Such a fun visit. I'm drinking Cranberry Splash...only out at Christmas time and makes me smile when I see it on the shelves again. My hard is physical, but God is always with me, even in the hard. What a friend!

Jennifer Dougan said...

RissaRoo,

I'm so glad you came by and "walked up" into the living room with me. :) It's nice to share these glimpses of life with each other, huh?

Have a great week,
Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Loretta,

Thank you for stopping in here. I'm glad to meet you too. :)

Have a lovely week,
Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Amanda,

Ahh, the days when friends stop by, and you can both talk easily over chattering kids, and life is suddenly more cheerful. Yes, I remember and enjoy those times too. :)

Your neat time with God in the car, and that hour of relaxing with a tv show sound like great things to be thankful for too.

Thanks for stopping in here, Amanda.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

T.J. Ellis said...

This is super encouraging thank you.. Growing in maturity is a gift! Seeing the good is the hard is such a valuable lesson.
In answer to your comment about She Speaks I learned I'm called to write. Simple, but hard too.

Jennifer Dougan said...

Lolita,

I'm so glad you are safe! May the Philippines continue to recuperate and recover from this storm.

Thankful for your safety, Lolita, :)
Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Floyd,

Thank you. Nice to have you here and to get the male perspective on this too.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Jayne,

Thank you for your perspective and reminders to treasure the sticky and the messes. :)

Happy Thanksgiving,
Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Pamela,

Cranberry splash sounds delicious. Is that the pink sprite-y stuff? We drink that for Thanksgiving at my husband's house. he likes that too.

I'm sorry for the physical hardships you have, Pamela. May God give you his strength on hard days, and may he take away the pain.

Have a good week. Happy Thanksgiving,
Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

TJ,

Welcome. Nice to hear from you tonight.

Writing is fun, rewarding, hard work, and worth it, huh? Words are my art and passion too, both the the written and spoken word. Have you found some good books out there that have been helpful in your writing this year? I am enjoying learning too, and have appreciated material by Anne Lamotte, Ann Voskamp, S. King's book on writing (although I'm not normally a S. King fan, but he knows the writing craft), Annie Dillard, the She Speaks team, and more.

May God just guide and use your writing in amazing ways, for his glory, TJ! :)

Have a lovely Thanksgiving.
Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com