Look Out World–I’m Sinning Again

I make a lot of mistakes in life. Like–a lot.
I constantly am finding some new way to get in my own way, or losing my temper, or “letting my mouth write checks that my butt can’t cash” to put it in Hudge’s terms.
I sin. Sometimes a dozen times before I’ve had my morning coffee (more if it’s a Monday).

I judge.
I hate.
I judge again.
I covet.
I lose my patience.
I run from the Word.

And that’s just on a normal day–you should see me during basketball season.

The Ten Commandments are full of some pretty heavy, pretty lofty processes and goals.
Don’t lie. Don’t take stuff that isn’t your’s. For goodness sakes, don’t kill anybody.
Don’t covet. Keep Sunday holy. Be good and respectful to your momma and your papa.

These should be pretty easy standards to match.
(They aren’t.)

But by far my biggest struggle in this life lies in the two (arguably most important) commandments:
1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall not make idols.

Growing up in the Church from a young age, these two commandments always struck me as a bit archaic. Sure they applied back in BC whatever when the Israelites were over there worshipping gold cows and everyone was running around with Baal-Zebub (which I mean, what an awful name for a god–even a fake one).

But how many of us modern evangelics are going around praying to a piece of jewelry?
So as a child I went ahead and gave those two commandments a mental check.
Like, okay. I’m good with those. Never going to struggle with cow worship, so moving on. What’s next?
Failing to understand their importance and true meaning made me particularly vulnerable in failing to follow their calling.

But as I’ve grown and matured in my life, I’ve learned a thing or two. Okay, maybe just a thing, but still. God knew exactly what He was doing when He handed down those Commandments to His people so long ago. He made them uniquely applicable to the BC Christians, to the 17th Century Christians, and to the Starbucks drinking millennial Christians of today.

Because maybe your god or your idol isn’t as tangible as cow jewelry.
Maybe your god or idol is money, success, acceptance, adoration, your job, or shoes (guilty).
Or maybe of all things your god and your idol is a 3-year-old little girl with bright blue eyes and her handsome, bow-tie wearing dad.

PLOT TWIST.
What do we do when we create idols out of the very blessings God has given us?

I’ve never struggled in my belief. I’ve often struggled in my faith and reliance–but never in my belief.
I always said quite confidently that if anyone were to ever persecute me for my faith or to hold a gun to my head and ask me if I believe in God, I would be able to answer “yes”. Genuinely.

But then Rosebud was born. And the question became instead: What if someone were to hold a gun to HER head and ask me if I believed in God? Then what?

Wow. Hold the phone.

Thankfully I live in a time and place where my freedom to chose my faith is without persecution.
But what about Abraham? What about Isaac?
If I’m being completely honest, here, which I always try to be: if God commanded me to sacrifice my Rosebud as He did with Abraham and his beautiful baby boy, Isaac……Well–Boy oh boy would I fail that test.
Abraham believed. And God provided.
But could I take that chance? Do I have that strength? Nope. Nu-uh. No. Not even a little.

The Bible tells us to love one another. But that when compared to the love we have for God, those Earthly bonds should seem like hate.

What if eternal life didn’t include my Doc and sweet Rosebud? What then?
WHY IS THIS STUFF SO HARD?

But it’s love, right? How can the God of Love deem loving a sin? It all seems so bass-awkward.
But the thing of it is–I’m not called to love them less. But to love Him more.

God gave me Doc and Rosebud, and in them I get to experience joy and grace abounding .
But even what I feel for them pales in comparison to what God feels for them.
So I have to give up. Something I’ve never been good at.

I have to realize that all the goals and dreams and desires for good things that I have for Doc and Rosebud are absolute dirt compared to what God wants for them.
So I have to bow to His love and stop competing against it.

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Ever.

What’s your god? Who’s your idol? And how do you deal with it?
In the (over-sung, over-played, super annoying) words of Elsa of Arrendale: LET IT GOOOOOO.

I’m going to fail at this today. And probably tomorrow, too.
But I’m really hoping God has a special place is in His heart for mommas that parked their car on Struggle Street.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

 

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This Is As Good As It Gets

I don’t have a very good memory. Things that go into my head get lost a lot.
I like to think that it’s because I’ve got so much knowledge from all my years of living that there just isn’t enough room, and so I have to filter out a lot of things.

But the reality is that it’s mainly just useless Disney trivia, a lot of facts about Abraham Lincoln, and the entire script to Forest Gump.

Either way, I don’t have a lot of moments that stick out in my mind, so the ones that do usually mean something.
I have this distinct memory of a field day in the fourth grade. Mom took off work for the day to volunteer at the parent booth, and the Italian ice truck came to the school just for us. I ran in the sack race and won a medal, and momma was there cheering, and I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I have a distinct memory of a Friday night my senior year of high school. About eight of my closest friends were all crowded onto a single trampoline with a bunch of comforters. We were staring at the stars and waxing poetic about the fear of graduation and the future and how much we loved one another, and I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I have a distinct memory of sitting in the front room of the house on Chestnut Street my junior year of college. I was surrounded by the greatest women in the world and we were all singing along to ‘Forever Young’ and with one another, thinking it could be true. We really could be forever young. I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I remember walking through the Colonnade after a Saturday afternoon tailgate and football game, holding hands and laughing with a cute boy with dimples and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. We ran through the fountains and back to the Castle, and I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I remember walking down the aisle of a church with that same blue-eyed guy waiting at the end. I remember the part of the service that he leaned down and washed my feet to promise he’d always love me and serve me. And I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I have a distinct memory of walking on a park track, 9-months pregnant, holding the dog’s leash while the sun was setting, huffing and puffing attempting to encourage Rosebud to just be born already. We got in the car to drive home, and Doc said: “This might be the last day when it’s just the two of us.” And it was. And I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I remember having contractions and thinking: “This is absolutely as bad as life gets.”
Pause. Shudder.

I have a distinct memory of being in the hospital the night after Rosebud was born and looking over to see Doc holding her and staring at her for hours. And I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I have a distinct memory of a summer afternoon that we all three spent together, working in the garden, swimming, and the smell of Doc’s grill. We spread out a blanket in the back yard and had a picnic, and ended the day on the patio swing. It felt like nothing in the world could touch the three of us. And I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

Now. Please don’t get me wrong. These perfect days–more like snapshots–were surrounded by moments and days where I just didn’t know if I would make it through. But memory often colors those bad days.

In every season of life, I keep thinking I’ve peaked. Nothing could be better. My heart it so nostalgic, and it  aches to see chapters close and these seasons end. I forget to look ahead toward what good could come, and instead I dread the unknown.
I fear the things I can’t see.

So if today you’re sitting on the cusp of the unknown–take heart in knowing that there are good days ahead. Even if you think that today is as good as life can get.
Rest in the peace of the One who knows exactly what tomorrow holds.
Rest in the peace of the One who is preparing you for your best day. When it really will be as good as life could get.

And take heart in the fact that somewhere out there, I’m just as scared sh*tless as you are.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

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One of Grandma’s greatest talents, besides feeding us all full of cheesy, fried, Southern food, and knowing the tricks to every game on The Price is Right, was sewing. All through our growing up years, she would make these beautiful dresses for Christina and Martha and I. Always matching, which, as the youngest, I loved. Them? Not so much—they were way too cool. But Grandma could take these scraps of fabric that looked like nothing to the rest of the world—and she could see their potential. The dresses and quilts and doll clothes that they could be. She was an artist.

Maybe it was that talent that allowed her to see the potential in all of us, too. She believed that we could do anything (except make mistakes—her grandchildren could do anything but make mistakes) and in believing that, she made us believe it, too.

Grandma’s hands that could take a scrap of fabric and turn it into the perfect Scarlett O’Hara barbecue dress could take this unruly, loud, bumbling little tomboy and smooth out the edges and help form something that could be somewhat mistaken for a lady. (If you squint your eyes and tilt your head a little to the left.)

The day before she passed, I wrote a blog about her, and even now I can think of no better way to describe her.

Death is a strange thing. The strangest thing that we can try to understand as humans, I think. Our bodies are wired to survive at all costs, so when they eventually fail us, our minds struggle to wrap around that. We say we lost someone, but to be perfectly honest, Grandma isn’t lost. I know exactly where Grandma is. On Tuesday morning she walked with Jesus like she always wanted, and she held her baby boy for the first time in 21 years. And she kissed her sweetheart.
If anything, now I’m the one that’s lost.
Without my cell phone constantly ringing for her to “tell me just one thing” or just to hear my voice. Without my trips to the nursing home, and her cravings for Taco Bell.

When she lost her only child, my dad, I sat in Grandma’s lap during the funeral and slept through it all. She said holding me is what helped her get through the day, so the Lord must have planned it. That may have been where this special whatever we had began. What she doesn’t know is that her holding me is what got me through the last 26 years.

I just want to finish with a poem I wrote when Grandma was staying with me a couple of months ago.

It Is Time
She is pancake mix and chocolate chip cookies and pink lemonade.
She is buttercups flowers and knockout roses and yard sales on Saturday mornings.
She is evening walks and holding hands.
She is the nighttime reader who always said yes to “just one more.”
She’s seen the worst the world can offer, and remained good.

She’s the gift to my childhood–flesh of her flesh.

I knew this was coming.
I thought I was ready.
But I am the little girl again, not wanting to go home.
Please, please let me stay!
Please, please let her stay.

She has gone.
“It is time.”
And I am so very different.
How very much I loved her.
How blessed to have her in my world.
How blessed to have lived in her’s.

This is what I wrote for Grandma’s funeral–which was a lifetime ago and also only a second.
I cried today.
My first real ‘my heart hurts’  cry since she died.
Between all the funeral preparations and the estate probating and thousands of calls to life insurance, health insurance, social security, blah blah blah, I think I stayed just busy enough.
But I cried today.
Because I think I could search the whole world over, back through all of history, and never find someone who understood me like she did.

Thank you all for your kind words since last Tuesday. Thank you for your hugs and your thoughts and especially your prayers. And thank you for calling up your grandparents just to say hello.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

My Scandalous Confession

Lately I’ve been finding myself fantasizing about living someone else’s life.
Pretty scandalous, huh?
Dreaming of being another woman, with a different husband, and a different child, living in a different house.

So okay. It’s still me. Still Doc. Still Rosebud.
…Just another life, further down the road. Our life, but different.
Our future life.

A life where Doc is in his residency–moving up from slavery to indentured servitude.
A life where I am graduated and working, instead of studying and working and trying to finish finals and a thesis.
A life where Rosebud knows how to sit still–okay, so that one’s a wash, but still.
A life where we have more than one bathroom.

In this season, I keep focusing on one day instead of today.

One day, we’ll be settled.
One day, we’ll have more in savings and be comfortable.
One day, we’ll have a bigger house.
One day, I won’t be terrified when I wake up and hear Rose laughing maniacally and wonder what destruction she created.
“Life will be so much easier, when….It will be so much better, when.”

I’ve been thinking about this whole “the grass is always greener on the other side” deal. I used to think it only applied in situations where we were jealously coveting the life someone else is living.
But now I think maybe the “other side” is over the hill from the struggle we’re wading through.
What happens when the life you’re jealously coveting is your own?
And in the end, what is more dangerous to our hearts?

‘I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in every situation.’ -Philippians 4: 11-12

You should’ve learned by now that I’m a little bit a lotta bit high strung.
I don’t relax easily. I don’t “Just Keep Calm And….Whatever.” I don’t do still and I don’t do content.

And I think that’s exactly why Paul’s words touch me so deeply.
I physically yearn for the peace that contentedness brings.
I desperately desire to calm my spirit. I yearn to “be still and know.”
But it feels impossible.
Contentedness seems to go against my very nature and every basic instinct that I have.
If life is running smoothly, and I have nothing to worry about–I will literally invent things to worry about.
I will use my over-reactive, way-too-imaginitive, constantly whirring brain to think up new ways that something, ANYTHING can go wrong.
Because I’m crazy.

Because when life is happening, and the unexpected can pop its head in at any time and ruin the perfectly timed, perfectly choreographed ORGANIZED PLAN THAT I HAVE SPENT DAYS CREATING!!!!!…..
Well. Then peace seems simply out of my reach.

But that Paul guy. That Paul.
He has “learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” In need. In plenty.
He’s learned the secret. COME ON PAUL. TELL ME THE SECRET, PAUL.
Oh wait. There’s more?

‘I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.’ Philippians 4:13

One of the most familiar verses in all the Bible. But also: the most understated.
The secret to being content is to quit trying so damn hard to get somewhere.
Because you can’t.
You can’t find peace when you don’t tap the Source. Instead you’re going off on a blind hunt.

To find my peace. To achieve my contentedness, quit seeking contentedness, and instead seek the One from which the strength to be at peace is derived.

Mind. Blown.

I used to think that “content” was the easy way out. I actually felt sorry for those people.
I thought that waking up every morning and pushing for more and getting more was the way it is supposed to work.
Because that’s what the world told me.

But then I realized: peace is hard, people. And it doesn’t come gift wrapped on your front stoop.
It’s a journey and a process, and it takes lots of hard lessons–in need and in plenty.

But it’s worth it.

Because living life dreaming of the other side makes me blind to the opportunities and the riches I have in front of me.
Even if that treasure sometimes smells funny and has applesauce in her hair. Or he forgets to put the seat down.

So go enjoy your own treasure, people. And quit worrying about how you can increase them or shine them up.
Be still, and I’ll try, too.

Love and Other Drugs,
E. Hunter W.

Are You There God, It’s Me Hunter

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with life that I could scream. The vein popping out in the middle of my forehead, really red-faced and sweaty type of scream.
Not that it would do any good. Like, at all.
It’s not exactly a healthy way of dealing with emotions, and it would scare the bejeebies out of Doc and Rosebud.

Lately, I’ve been tried. And I fear that I’ve been found wanting.
I keep waiting to find my footing, only to slip again as soon as I’ve found it.

The setting up of our first home and all the mishaps and curves that go with that, all of the everyday up and downs of raising a kid and all of the fear and uncertainty that accompanies it, AND trying to keep up with Grey’s Anatomy. That seems like enough, but then throw in medical school and crazy hours, me going back to grad school, trying to complete my internship placement to graduate, the job search, a locked up jaw, and an 88-year-old woman completely dependent on me and well, let me just tell you, there are days I want to hide under the covers and never emerge.

Because I’m 25 years old and I never thought I’d be responsible for so many things so soon. Life is in fast-forward at 8x speed, and I’m almost positive that I hit pause the spring semester of my senior year in college.

If this blog reads like one really long list of complaints to you, well, that’s because that’s exactly what it is.
A self-pitying, stomp my foot, temper tantrum of words.
This is me, standing outside, screaming to the Heavens: “CAN THIS GET ANY WORSE?!?” And then rain, a tornado, and a house fall on my head.

This is my “why me?” post.
Are you there, God, it’s me, Hunter, and I could really use a break. And if you’re feeling particularly generous, also could you do something about those student loans? Med school, though.

ANYWHO.

On top of it all, I have this tendency to internalize everything. Why is it my business to have constant anxiety about the public deficit? Or about the drought in sub-saharan Africa? Or how does the Internet really even work?
The pressure keeps building and it feels like it’s coming from everywhere at once. I have nursing homes calling me, Medicare representatives coming out my ears, life insurance policies to switch around, a toddler that I have to feed, a husband that would wear plaid with stripes if I didn’t keep an eye on him, and my dog constantly has a really weird smell wafting off of him.

I feel like I’ll collapse under the weight. Maybe I’m not as strong as I thought I was and so I second-guess myself. Then I look around and everybody’s hurting and I don’t know why and there’s nothing I can do, and…..See. See what happens when I pick up steam.

Do you do that? Do you ever feel so lost in all the mayhem that you just want a remote control to push STOP so you can finally catch your breath?
Don’t. Don’t do that, Hunter.
Don’t ever press STOP. Don’t ever wish your struggles away.
The truth is, no. We can’t control our circumstances or the things life throws our way. We never will be able to, and the sooner we recognize that, the better off we will be.
But it is always, ALWAYS our choice on how we cope, on how we rise.

When you find yourself wondering where all the good in the world has gone, remember this: Goodness still exists even though life is hard and cruel, and even though people suffer.
Cling to this truth: God’s goodness was never meant to take away the world’s suffering, but to provide a refuge in the midst of it.
The ONLY thing that God’s goodness erases, then, is hopelessness.
Because if God is good, then there will always be Hope: even in the presence of so much struggle and injustice that we want to scream.

My tiny, human brain looks around and says “Ew. This isn’t fair. I don’t like this anymore, God. No thanks.”
We see the hurting and say God must not exist. Not in a world this bad. Or even if He does exist, He must not care. Or maybe He’s just cruel.
We can’t perceive the ways in which the suffering we’re railing against contributes to the eternal benefit of the only real Kingdom that matters.
It matters. The struggle matters.

Hope.
Hope is the basis of our faith. Not a happy life. Not everything going right. Not the absence of struggle.

And remember. A diamond is a hunk of coal that did well under pressure.
So shine on, dear people. Shine on.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

Expect the Unexpected: Parenting a Toddler

Parenting a toddler is a funny place to be. Not funny like ha-ha, but funny like sometimes you find yourself weeping in dark places and saying things like “QUIT HIDING THINGS DOWN YOUR PANTIES.”

Parenting a toddler isn’t an easy job for anyone, but for a Type-A, planner, it’s particularly daunting. Because they never do what you want or expect them to. Even when you beg. Especially if you beg. No matter how much time/thought/effort you put into planning days/events/outfits they will step in and step up and shoot those plans to H. E. double hockey sticks.

A few examples:

Your plan: beginning your week by hitting the ground running. There’s a lot of work and studying that needs to be done and not a minute to lose.
Toddler’s plan: waking up and finger painting on the wall using the poop in their pull up.

Your plan: dress your toddler like an angel for church, and they’ll smile sweetly, fold their hands to pray, and sit silently listening to the sermon.
Toddler’s plan: play in the pile of dirt beside the car and ruin their dress, drag their feet to scuff their shoes, give every sweet old lady who calls her precious the stank eye, yell “I NEED TO GO POOP” at the top of their lungs during silent confession, and every 35 seconds say: “Look, my Barbie is naked,” while being shushed.

Your plan: an uneventful drive to drop Rosebud off at school and then head to work.
Toddler’s plan: nonchalantly drop her first curse word, momentarily stopping your heart and causing you to jerk the wheel and swerve the car off the side of the road.

Your plan: arrive everywhere 15-30 minutes early.
Toddler’s plan: arrive everywhere unfashionably late so that everyone in the room turns and looks when mom and dad stumble in with everything but the kitchen sink packed in a baby bag.

On Saturday, Doc got a lesson in toddler plan destruction. As I mentioned in a previous post, our anniversary was this past week. To celebrate, Rosebud is going to spend this coming weekend with her grandparents and Doc and I are going to dress up in something besides scrubs and jeans and go to dinner.

Unbeknownst to me, Doc and Rosebud snuck away to the mall and purchased a beautiful Pandora bracelet and charms. He planned to surprise me with the bracelet at dinner.
In doing so, he made one vital mistake: letting Rosebud in on the plan.

Saturday afternoon, one week before the big reveal, Rosebud walked into the living room and said: “Daddy. Where’s mommy’s surprise?”
Doc panicked, and stammering and stuttering, attempted to throw Rosebud off the trail.
“You mean the candy bar we were going to get Mommy? We ended up not getting one. REMEMBER, ROSEBUD??”

“No, Daddy. We got it at the mall. We got Mommy bracelet at the mall. I think it still in the car, Mommy. Want me to get it for you?”

I’ve never seen Doc’s face turn so red so fast, and he and I both burst out laughing.
And even though she had no idea what was going on, Rosebud laughed, too.

He brought the bracelet in and I unwrapped it in a dirty kitchen with a sink full of dishes instead of in a romantic restaurant, and wearing sweats instead of a dress and heels.

Doc apologized. “I’d planned on a little more pomp and circumstance, but I hope you love it just the same.”
Planned.
But the plans fell through. And I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

In ten years, Rosebud is going to be entering her teenage years, and she probably won’t even want to go to the mall with her kooky dad, let alone to pick out a bracelet for the mom that may or may not be ruining her life. And when I look down at my wrist, I’m going to remember the eagerness and excitement shining in her eyes when she ripped out the tissue paper to show me what Daddy got for me. And the pride that was in her smile when I told her how much I loved it. And that memory will sustain me on the lonely days when she’s gone off to college and I’m dreaming of the days when I’d wake up in the middle of the night to her jumping in bed with us, covered in marker, and screaming “LOOK AT MY TATTOOS.”

I love plans and lists and step-by-step instructions. I don’t really get much of that during this season of life.
And the funny thing is, I’m finding out how beautiful the unexpected can be. And that sometimes the best laid plans really suck compared to what God and your 2-year-old have planned for you.
So when things don’t go the way you expected, chin up–closed doors and opened windows and all that jazz.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

When Peace Like a River

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

He’s the reason I’m stubborn and impatient and an obnoxious Wildcat fan and an even more obnoxious Republican. And he’s the reason that every report card I ever had said that I was a good student, but “Hunter talks too much, and tries to be in charge of everything, and she has a tendency to boss.” He’s where I get my too big, too loud laugh, and my too big, too loud opinions. But he’s also the reason that I cling to the cross, keep my promises, take people casseroles, put in an honest day’s work, live by my word, and know that friendship is more about what you give than what you take.

There are a few moments in life that only an old hymn can touch. Today when I heard my Peepaw’s voice–peace like a river.

Grace manifests itself anew each day, and Hudge is coming home to call me ‘shit ass’ once more.
It must be because I promised to meet him with a bottle of Early Times–either that or he’s holding out for the primary.

Thank you all for remembering him today.
It is well.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

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Hello From the Other Side [I Must Have Lived a Thousand Lives]

{Hello, it’s me.
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over everything.}

Yesterday I was driving down Richmond Road, heading to pick Rosebud up from her sweet, little Catholic school. The radio was providing background static while my mind ran around everything that needs to be done. These days, the short car rides to and from school seem to be the only downtime I can afford, and so I treat them like the vacations they are–minus the wine.

But I heard the husky “Hello” crooning from the radio, and I did what every good, red-blooded American does when Adele starts singing, I turned that ish up. Unless you’ve been living under a rock from the past month, you’re familiar with the nostalgia-inducing emotional roller coaster that the song makes you ride. Adele’s got me missing people that never existed

And so here I am, driving my mom-mobile with the little stick-figure family in the back window, trying to figure out why these words make me feel so…something.

{They say that times supposed to heal ya
But I ain’t done much healing}

Who’s forgiveness do I need to be seeking? Who’s running out of time?FOR THE LOVE OF IT ALL, ADELE, WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME?!

I finally figured it out last night, laying in bed wide awake, suffocating under the weight of the things that I have to do. This was a letter to myself. It was me that I needed to forgive–to heal. For not being who I always thought I would be. For the mismatching alignment between reality and expectation. For failing. For living.

{Hello, can you hear me
I’m in California dreaming about who [I] used to be
When we were younger and free
I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet}

I thought I would be so many things by this point. I made so many promises for the things I would do and the things that I wouldn’t. I promised myself perfection.

{There’s such a difference between us
And a million miles}

Instead I’m left with the startling reality of who stares back at me from the mirror. Some days she’s a stranger. One who doesn’t look at all like the girl that I once was or like the woman that I thought I would be. And I have the job of merging them–reconciling who I once was, with who I thought I would be, and who I actually am.

Some days, I feel like I’ve lived a thousand lives on the journey to find myself, and the fact that I’m still not there has me feeling exhausted.
Some days, I feel like I’ll never be who I want to be.

{It’s no secret that the both of us
Are running out of time}

But maybe this perfectionism that haunts me is what makes me want to be great and is what holds me back from ever reaching it.
It can feel a lot like treading water. Never really going under, but constantly on the verge.

As mothers and wives–as women–we put so much pressure on ourselves to be so many things. To be so many people. And so maybe you need to hear this, too.

You’re enough.
Who you are today is enough.

{Hello from the other side
I must have called a thousand times
To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never seem to be home}

It’s okay to forgive yourself.
For being less.
For the days that we can’t get around to vacuuming and we may drown in the pet hair.
For sending Rosebud to school without her gloves.
For not losing the last 10 pounds.
For going without showering on the days life won’t sit still.
For letting Rose watch Minnie Mouse on YouTube so I could cook dinner.
For losing my temper with my husband.
For crying in the car listening to Adele.
For having to put your grandmother in a nursing center.
For not being the person that you thought you would be.
For doing the best you can with what you have.

Rest in the peace of the One who knows your journey better than you.
“For if anyone is in Christ, she is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ, reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” -2 Corinthians 5:17-18.

And remember the ultimate goal.
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:13-14

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

When It’s Your Turn: A Tribute to Aging

We all think growing old is this exercise in grandiosity. But the reality is that one day you aren’t “old”, and the next day you are.
One day, you’re 10-years old, running on strong legs through a field, holding your sister’s hands, and the next you’re 83, with arthritis, burying her.
One day, you’re 16-years old, falling in love for the first time, and the next you’re a widow at 80.
One day, you’re laying your head in your mother’s lap, and the next your great-grandchild is being born.

I know what I see what I look at her. I see a life that’s already been lived. I see age spots and wrinkles and streaks of grey. I see the sunset of life. I see the age but the not the years that brought it.
But who does she see looking out of the mirror? The 88-year old great-grandmother; or the 17-year old on her way out the door to greet life? Does she see the sun rising?

She was born in 1927. Two years before Black Friday. She’s lived through a Great Depression, a World War (II), Vietnam, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Korea, and 14 presidents. She’s lost a son and a husband and she’s found a lot of things in between. She has lived through trials and rejoiced in triumphs.

At 88 she’s no longer painting houses or sewing past midnight. She shuffles instead of running. Her medicine prevents her from driving, and her independence is waning. She needs help. And I feel woefully inadequate and unprepared.

Her hands seemed to always move so swiftly. Knowing innately what to do and how to care for me. Anticipating my needs and wants before I knew them.
My hands seem clumsy as I help her move the button through the hole.

The way she used to pull the cover up around me when she thought I was asleep.
I did that today, and my hands lingered. Realizing the way the roles had reversed.

I heard her rustling around in the kitchen and yelled “Don’t forget your blood pressure medicine,” the same way she used to remind me “Wash your hands before you come to the table,” or “Brush your teeth after that ice cream.”

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven. A season to be young and a season to age. A season to be cared for, and a season to do the caring.
I have come to understand that the wrinkles and age we fight against so fiercely are gifts. And they fill my heart.

Lord, grant me patience for the privilege of doing the caring. Because life is a cycle and everyone’s season will come.
Help me be patient.
Help me be willing.
Help me be present.
Help me be thankful.

It Is Time
She is pancake mix and chocolate chip cookies and pink lemonade.
She is butter cups and knockout roses and yard sales on Saturday mornings.
She is evening walks and holding hands.
She is the nighttime reader who always said yes to “just one more.”
She’s seen the worst the world can offer, and remained good.

She’s the gift to my childhood–flesh of her flesh.

I knew this was coming.
I thought I was ready.
But I am the little girl again, not wanting to go home.
Please, please let me stay!
Please, please let her stay.

She will go one day.
“It is time.”
And I will be different.
How very much I love her.
How blessed to have her in my world.
How blessed to have lived in her’s.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

When Will We Strangle on Our Own Silence?

Up ’til now you have followed the typical musings of a “mom blog”. Unfortunately for you, I’ve never been very good at typical. My virtual tree house has become the refuge for my thoughts and for my opinions of which, again–unfortunately for you–there are many.

It’s political.

Please don’t let that run you away.
Please don’t hide your face.
We can’t afford to anymore.

ISIS seized another city.
Not our city. Not our neighborhood. No machine guns ripping through our homes and the bodies of our people.
No swath of enemy army will sweep down my street today and demand my precious daughter.
Not my family.

And so we sit. And we wait. We’ve gotten so good at that. As a nation–as a Church. We’ve gotten so very good at waiting. But not so very good at acting.

It looks so different. Those dust and sand-filled streets with their small, hut homes. Women hidden beneath cloaks of cloth and indifference.
So far hidden from the reality of our lives that we can erase them with the click of a button or the turn of a page. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

We read headlines and reports and we lament their barbarism as they behead Americans and Christians and children. But we wait.
We close our eyes against the images of headless bodies and young girls stolen and sold to face a life of rape and sexual slavery. Their mothers are powerless to stop it. They are a powerless people. But we wait.

When is enough too much? When will the weight of the good in the world collapse under our indifference?
When will we strangle on our own silence?

We hide behind sanctions and threats and diplomatic rhetoric that says “we will take no more” as we continue to take and take. As we are pushed. As we watch them push.
And we allow our politics and our economic self-interests blind us from doing what we know to be morally and fundamentally right.
And we wait.

Because we are safe behind these walls of American exceptionalism. Today.
But evil–real evil like what lives in the hearts of ISIS–of the people that can kill children indiscriminately  and rape little girls as they call out for their mothers–they don’t frighten easily.

We must act.
And it must be now. It should have been yesterday.
“America remains the indispensable nation…and there are times when America, and only America, can make the last great difference between war and peace, between freedom and repression.”
Our President and our Congress are cautious. And I understand.
I understand the hesitancy to put the lives of America’s men and women on the line.
It is not a decision that should be taken lightly. But unfortunately, it has been made for us.

Because, Mr. President, while we debate over what to call them, ISIS/ISIL marches on.
Our failure to appreciate ISIL as a strategic entity makes its strategy more effective. 

There is a difference between isolationism and sadism.
There is a difference between saying “it’s not our fight” and saying “we don’t care.”

America. Please.
Please.
Out of a duty born of privilege, this is our’s to right.
We must act. We must fight. And we must win.
We have the technology to fight them–but will we have the guts to bridge the gap between the comforts of peace and the realities of war?
Because the truth is this: as long as the United States of America still stands to raise its hand against atrocity and terror, then there is hope for those who are brutalized and beaten.

I don’t expect you to take my advice, President Obama. But whether it is now or a year from now, this ‘conflict’ will escalate, and our nation will reach a point of reckoning. We will not be able to turn the page or click the button anymore.

We cannot ignore the injustice any longer, and the more precious time and energy that we consume attempting to will cost us lives.

Have courage. Take heart. Be the shining city on the hill that I know you are. And shatter our hearts, Father God for the injustice that shatters your’s.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.