I saw this hanging sign at Mount Rainier National Park at Paradise in the visitor’s center that says “An Unquiet Beauty.” It struck me and brought me pause. I resonated with it and liked it a lot, because I know there are Bible verses that talk about a woman being gentle and quiet, but those have never been my strengths. An unquiet beauty to me, doesn’t seem that it needs to be brash or abrasive. Instead, the unquiet beauty is the one that listens well and speaks clearly and passionately about important things.
This is my desire: to be here, in the mess of life, reminding us all of the unquiet beauty, that is often hidden in ordinary days. The world has seemed to almost fall apart this year, and many of us have faced our own personal nightmares with losses of love, hopes, loved ones, jobs, God only knows all of it. And my heart aches for the precious lives of Aleppo. What in the world can we DO? Well, for one, pray, and then also SPEAK UP against injustice in our world, and take action locally and globally-find causes to get behind and ways to surprise our neighbors with love.
So I, for one, feel like maybe more of a mess than ever this year. After my marriage fell apart last year, I threw myself into the fulfilling and meaningful work of a Chaplaincy Residency, then after that, jumped immediately into grad school this fall for Counseling Psychology, and took a high intensity job doing per diem Chaplaincy at Harborview. It’s somehow taken me a year and a half to realize, I haven’t dealt very well with my own grief, and you can’t outrun your pain. I read this yesterday from Rumi, “The cure for the pain is in the pain.”
So, here I am, instead of trying to fix everybody else, I’m trying to learn maybe for the first time what I need, how to apply self-care, how to mourn my life’s losses . . . and I feel a bit like a helpless infant or a wobbling toddler. But, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that sometimes being “unquiet” can help someone else feel less alone- at least I know that’s how I’ve been encouraged so many times when I was struggling, aching, lonely. Someone telling me some of the “ugly parts” of their story unlocked a freedom, a permission to feel the sadness, and actually became so deeply beautiful. But first, I have to go quietly into this unfamiliar rumbling and bleak territory of my own pain and be willing to sit there, somehow to learn to be with myself when I feel all squirmy and would rather get up and run off.
Will you join me on a new journey? I’m learning to speak up and share, and to sit and listen, and inviting you to come along with your brave and scared self. Maybe this right here is where the beauty speaks for itself: it’s found when we bring who we really are– and it just can’t stay silent.