So the hunched over crawl space walk is in the past. In fact, a lot more of this “leaving memory lane” is behind us than at my last blogging.
We have sorted, donated, stopped to laugh, kept going, organized, bagged, hauled, labeled and sometimes stalled to wipe away a tear. It’s all stirred into the same pot. Emotions come in a rich and varied supply in this process of celebrating the past and looking toward the future.
The beauty of the home itself is beginning to emerge. The updates are gleaming. The “fixes” leave parts of the home purring in a new way. The shine and shimmer is starting to be more evident. This is the result of lots of coffee, sweat and tears on the part of many.
One aspect of leaving memory lane has struck me most acutely over the last two weekends. Both sisters have visited and really entered into the “leaving memory lane” process with their sleeves rolled up and their tanks full.
With the entrance of each sister has come her precious heart towards the situation. This has a value beyond any measurable standard. Jeremiah 17:9 tells me (even though I resist its perspective) that “the heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle no one can figure out.” And that is certainly true of mine.
I blaze into Kenyon Court with my mind on the task, my big girl pants pulled up and snapped, and my resolve strong. And yet, when the sisters bounce into town, I feel so blown away by the freshness of their hearts. They have an overflowing load of patience slung over their shoulders and generosity flowing out of their pocketbooks and calendars. They always take 7 more steps to help or file or lug or manage – no matter the triviality.
How to come about such a thing? This is my steady pursuit. Wrapped within this journey is a lot of fatigue and entitlement is peeking its gnarly head around the corner, as well. I long for a heart that’s unconditional, lovely, supple (eww?) and prepared for any request. But sadly, this is not something I can manufacture.
With each visit, at least once, my sisters have sensed the sarcasm in a statement I have made (how about we keep this vest? It’ll be the 40th one in your collection!), and tenderly but firmly mouthed the words, “GO HOME!” at me. Somehow they could pick up on the fact that something had soured in my heart that could only be helped by some distance, a glass of wine or 4, and a plain and simple….break.
I don’t know if soured is the opposite of fresh but with regard to the heart, I think it fits. Sourness connotes a foul smell, an expiration date, something past its prime – like much of what’s in my fridge right now.
How did I get here? I’m sort of smart. I have a bible. I talk to Jesus. I have great “sounding board” friends. But my momma taught me this ain’t the right way to be. So….what…is….the….deal?
Trust me, I have laid in bed at night going over all of the reasons for my sour heart. I am busy in all ways. I work, I cook, I clean, I carpool, I volunteer, I speak, I blog (very infrequently). But so do you. So do my sisters.
In Brennan Manning’s book The Furious Longing of God I see that he’s like me (and maybe you are, too); “The men and women who are truly filled with light are those who have gazed deeply into the darkness of their own imperfect existence…I believe in God with all my heart. And I wonder if God exists…I address Him and I get discouraged. I love and I hate. I feel better about feeling good. I feel guilty if I don’t feel guilty. I’m wide open. I’m locked in. I’m trusting and suspicious. I’m honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I’m a rational animal. But I’m not.”
It’s not enough to quantify my to-do list into a justifiable way of behaving poorly. I refuse to settle into this over-ripe, life-taking pattern.
I rebuke the soured heart.
I say no and turn away from that perspective even though I’ve gotten pretty cozy in this little den of dread.
Oh! That I may I seek to understand my heart in a truer way because of the freshness of my sisters’ hearts. I love them so much. I am in awe of their investment in me and in our family especially from afar.
So I’ll leave with you that promise. I’ll work on submitting my heart to the One who is the Renewer – no matter my hearts’ smell or expiration date.(note to self on next blog post: explore the comparison of refrigerators and hearts – a situation for which no amount of baking soda can compensate.)