An Unquiet Beauty

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┬áthis right here is where the beauty speaks for itself: it’s found when we bring who we really are– and it just can’t┬ástay silent.


New Year, an Invitation to Beauty

It’s about a week into 2015, and I wonder where the time goes. Much of my life is spent going-going-going, but I believe the words I need this year are: listen, quiet and wait.
I recently read author Ann Voskamp’s beautiful blog and it struck a chord with me, as she often does in her word paintings. I want to invite you to read her words, and to take to heart this invitation: stop and be where you are, feel the time, breathe it in.
Today, I have the opportunity to sub at my High School alma mater. It’s a strange experience- even 14 years later, many teachers are the same, the building looks the same, the bell sounds the same, the schedule is the same. And another strange familiarity: the awkwardness of teenage/preteen life. I see these students, whom I mostly assume are fully unaware of their own beauty and worth, and I remember. I remember the struggle to find my place, to be myself, to believe that I am enough. I remember this from my teenage years and I remember it from myself this morning.
My call to you is this: start believing you were created to bring an irreplaceable non-replicable beauty to our world.
You are loved and you are enough.