January

The thunder and the breeze mix with the smell of someone barbecuing a couple of houses over and my eyes begin to sting a little. The sky is groaning, turning an angrier and angrier gray, with a little patch of blue peeking out in the distance. It looks like a summer thunderstorm. My favorite. At least I think it is my favorite, but who knows – ask me again in the summer when travel plans are ruined because of sudden rains and I might have changed my mind. Still, the point is that it isn’t summer. It is winter. And it has been the longest one yet (again, ask me this time next year, who knows). But today, right now the air is warm and thick with balmy summer rain. Warm and thick with cook-out meats.

But the point is, the point is it is still January and I feel like it will be January forever, and this brief moment of summer is serving as a painful reminder of all the idyllic pleasures that we’re missing thanks to this winter’s seeming endlessness.

Right now, the thunder sounds like hours and hours of solitude and rest. It brings back memories of lying in bed with my head resting on the windowsill, my cheek pressed against the cool glass, and the hours and hours that could pass with nothing much to do but read a book or watch the rain. The air smells like freedom and childhood and sadness that you know will eventually fade, like sadness that fits like a blanket and not like a straightjacket.

Because there’s a difference, right? There is a sadness you can bear because it will eventually fade. And then there’s the kind of sadness that sticks around a little too long and you start to wonder if it’s been January for 52 days instead of 27. You begin to wonder whether you’ll ever get to wear shorts and tank tops and feel the sun against your calves and see a sprinkling of freckles on your shoulders again, or if your wardrobe will now and forever be comprised of layers upon layers of stiffness and warmth and calculating every task by how cold you’ll have to be to complete it.

Today right now it feels like summer but I know it isn’t but just please, please, please – don’t let January last forever.

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dec. 2, ’17

the day is cool and clear, mostly all sun with a little bit of rain as you drive through some spots of town. the breeze blows kind and eager, pushing the tattered flag back and forth back and forth. it’s a strange side of town to see the striped flag flying old and beat in a private backyard. then again, maybe its location explains while it’s still flying in such a beat-up shape instead of having been retired long ago according to the proper protocol.

dragonflies whiz by, adding a bit of enchantment to the scene as my eyes wander down the alleyway behind the coffee shop i frequent on saturday mornings – but so do flies.

balance.

there are things to do today, tedious tasks that i do not want to face. tedious tasks feel daunting on a day like this. on a day like this, i want to wander down that alleyway and see where it takes me.

like a child, i want to walk down unknown roads, forgotten by this world, and discover new ones.

there are things to do today, daunting tedious tasks that do not fit in such a cool-and-clear, mostly-all-sun-with-a-little-bit-of-rain kind of day.

but that’s not true, is it?

any kind of task can fit in any kind of day if i can make it so.

i can still see the dragonflies going deeper and deeper into the alleyway, but with a silly little ache in my chest, i turn away.

i have some daunting tedious tasks to face.

hazy shade of winter – thoughts from september

and so the weather has cooled down a bit. whether it will last or not, no one can say. this is texas after all.

speaking of the weather… these last few couple of weeks have made me wonder about my move-to-portland dream… i think we’ve had maybe four gloomy days in two weeks down here, and while the gray weather can inspire my imagination, it can also make my heart so tired and achey.

ever a conundrum, this girl.

still.

even through the haze that has hung over my eyes of late, there are glimmers of light every day. sunlight breaks through the clouds and i breathe deep again for a moment. a lungful big enough to get me ’til the next one.

the thing is – i’ve been here before. in the hazy shadows of discomfort and disconnection.

and it’s not forever. mourning has always turned to joy, the night always to morning.

to be honest, in the past, it’s felt like the end. but i know better now.

grace has never let me down. the god of beauty and wonder and rewritten stories… has never let me down.

he has brought me out of the shadows and he will do it again.

he has wooed me out of lonely mountaintops and he will do it again.

selah

when you forget who you are, tell your story.

there is nothing like the centering power of telling your story.

are you feeling hazy? disoriented? uncomfortable and disconnected?

it’s not the end-all-be-all… but it helps:

tell your story.

and i don’t mean just writing it out. that helps, too, of course. writing always helps.

but there’s power inย staring another human in the face (or at their name in the ‘recipient’ box), and laying it all out – where you’ve come from, where you are now, and where you hope to be going.

my name is ana. i have walked barefoot through classrooms at the university, with goofy grins on my face, and real and imagined wind in my hair. i have come through hazy winters, and down from lonely mountaintops. i am walking now through something richer, but hazy still, and sometimes lonely, too. i want to walk through forests. i want to dive deep into dark and dangerous oceans of the kind of grace and love that kills religion and kills pretense. i want to be who i am and nothing more, nothing less. i want to walk with jesus, his name always on my lips, and his love closer than my breath.

that is the story of who i am. or a part of it at least.

and let me tell you – sharing that with you felt good.

now it’s your turn.

find a human to look in the eyes and share your story with them. feel the awe and gratitude seep softly into you as you remember how uniquely wonderful and hard and beautiful the road has been. be in awe of grace and kindness. be in awe of the absolutely magical being you are.

and, if you like, you can share with me too at ana@awilderwhim.co. i’d love to hear your story.

new year resolutions

i turn 25 in 2 days. a quarter of a century.

ever the sensitive little spirit, i felt a change in the air last saturday, as if my body knew that another year was coming to an end for me, another one about to begin, as if 24 felt threatened and was trying to hold on and stay.

even though i live in south texas and the heat’s been holding strong here at a steady 95 degrees, the air smelled like fall to me – the death of old, and the birth of new. the warm breeze that blew in last weekend brought with it a strange meditative air that filled my bones with something sorrowful and hopeful all at once. part of it may have been the chaos and tragedy that was unfolding just a few hours away, but i have to admit that i know a lot of it was my own turmoil. it was a messy and frightening couple of days. but grace is kind and good and will not leave me alone.

many thoughts have filled my mind in the days that have followed, and i hope to share them here in the weeks to come. but there is one thing in particular that i want to do today.

i think (ever testing… dipping my toes)ย i want to set some resolutions of a sort for my new year. a quarter of a century is a long time, you know. i think i take that for granted. a year is a full gift. 25 is a wonder to me.

and so, in gratitude, i want this year to be my kindest yet.

i want to be kinder to my mind this year.

kinder to my body.

kinder to my spirit.

i want to be kinder to my jesus.

kinder to his earth.

i want to be kinder to the spaces i inhabit.

kinder to those i love who are far.

kinder to those i love who are near.

thank you, friends, for the big and small ways that you have softened life for me and made it richer. thank you, life, for being ravishing and mysterious and such a beautiful adventure of learning grace, grace, grace. i am so so grateful. may this year make me softer, yet, and more grateful.

becoming.

there is room for everyone here

and when there isn’t – I am making room

this is a wilderness,

but it is taking shape

this body-spirit-home is taking shape

this body-spirit-soul is becoming home

there is a long way to go,

but even now – every breath,

every beat –

we are

becoming.

Taking shape.

Making space.