As I was walking into the car repair shop I thought to myself:
I am barely holding it together.
Unwashed, with my hair thrown up in an oily, messy bun, I sported mismatched sporty shorts, an old t-shirt, and my trusty Birkenstocks. In short, I felt gross.
When is my life ever going to come back together again?
When will I feel whole again?
When will I feel like I’m thriving and a sense of joy again?
These thoughts float through my brain in about 2 seconds flat.
As a relatively recent widow, my journey from grief always seemed to be a few steps forward, one step back. Although I felt my new life beginning to take shape, I still felt stuck.
I was somewhat aware of why I was feeling this way. My house in which I moved into a few months ago was still a mess. My dogs really needed a bath. I needed to do laundry and get groceries. My life just kept on going, even when I felt like I could not. So, why wouldn’t I feel like a mess? As an Enneagram 3 (wing 4), I am very aware that I feel most worthy when I’m getting things done. In the absence of an abundance of checkmarks on the to-do list, I feel incomplete. I feel like a hot mess.
When I feel most at peace is when I look to nature to comfort my anxiety producing mind. Through nature I feel the Spirit’s presence in the beauty of creation and my mind becomes stilled. So that evening, I sat on my porch, asked God for some wisdom, and wrote.
I see the clouds: wavy and clumped.
They sparsely fill the the sky in uneven rows, illuminated by soft pinks and golds, when we all know the sky should be blue. They aren’t perfectly symmetrical or even seem as if they have any order about them at all. They too, don’t seem to have their stuff together either, yet they are unmistakably, most definitely, beautiful.
I notice the grass on my freshly mowed lawn.
It had just been cut, yet there were subtle patches of brown where it hadn’t received enough water. You could still see the lines where the mower crossed its path yet the green that shown through was still vibrant. This natural carpet is even more dynamic than any marker color or freshly stained fabric.
The trees poke over the fence posts: wild, overgrown, and unruly.
They protrude through the sky, like jazz hands, against the backdrop of the pale blue sky. The trees don’t have an instagram filter, photoshop, or lightroom but instead stand tall and proud in their existence. They shout out:
I am what I am!
Free and unrestrained, they wait for the sky to shower its rain on their thirsty heads.
The sky. The grass. The trees.
They are all undoubtedly raw and jagged examples of unfiltered beauty right in front of my eyes.
Nature and the Spirit teach me an important lesson. A lesson learned in silence but felt like a hammer to my heart.
Nature has flaws. It isn’t always watered perfectly. It is cut down or polluted by others trying to tame it into submission, even possibly by people who are unaware they were damaging them at all. Yet they don’t question their own worth - beauty - or existence.
My instagram filled brain tells me I need to be perfect. I should be always moving forward, working it out, getting it together. Hustle. Grind. Until then, I’m mostly worthy. I’m sort of OK. But maybe I’m ugly. Maybe I will never find love again. Until I am “back on track,” I must be unworthy of it all.
Why does that voice in my head keep telling me lies? I only have one answer: fear. Deep down I know I should never tell myself these things, yet I still listen. I know that my God loves me no matter if I have birkenstocks or diamond flip flops on. (Is there such a thing?) Yet I still keep telling myself: if I just lost a few pounds, if I just organize my house…
If I just…
If I just…
But what if I stopped saying “If I just” and started living like the trees? the grass? the sky?
Just be me: authentically, with all my gorgeous flaws- oily ponytailed and all.
And call it what it is: a wildly beautiful life.
God of this fierce, ravishing creation we call home, never stop calling me to remember who I am. Always remind me in those moments of doubt that you have made me in your image. I am wonderfully and beautifully made. As the trees reach to you, may my soul also stretch to the sky to feel affirmations of your love for me. Let me never forget how deeply your beauty runs in my veins, your divine spark lives in my being. Because of that, I am wholly perfect and grounded in you.
Photo by Anatol Lem