Wow.. I haven't blogged since January.. here's a post I started to write two nights ago.
I think blogging became scary and I had to retreat to my private journal where I didn't have to worry about others reading my thoughts. Plus, when you write something and hit "publish" it makes it feel final.. like you've got it figured out.. and there's a lot that I don't have figured out.
Tonight, the tide is out.. way out.. and the moon is full (probably why I'm still awake and typing). Eva and I just had a wonderful "romp" on the beach with our dog Koda. When they saw the huge expanse of sand before them, both the dog and the child had to run free. And I walked steadily behind them, stopping to stare at the moon a few times.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. I decided to read a little something to the kids after dinner tonight. It brought about some honest conversation and some honest prayers. Honesty is always a great place to start. It can be messy. They ask questions I don't know how to answer, but I feel like I am doing my job when I teach them that it is ok.. and the most important really.. to be honest with God, and others, and ourselves.
I still have a hard time with that. The truth gets blurred by my intense desire to make people happy. I can start to think that doing what someone else wants is actually what I want.. but really I just forgot what I wanted because what they wanted became so much more important. You know? I am (slowly, but surely) getting better at listening to myself though, and that seems to be making me a much healthier person.
I've had three disturbing dreams in the last week, and that's not normal for me.
Some precious friends of mine got some really bad news today and we are grieving. It was something specific that I talked to God about. I said, "You know her.. hasn't she had enough pain in her story? Please, have mercy..". And yet, we did not get the answer we asked for. That door is closed. And somehow these darling people still have to get up and do life.
Last week, I sat with a group of what I would call powerful people (those who have been down difficult paths, and have managed to stay soft, honest, and loving). We had a beautiful discussion on faith and emotions. The leader of the discussion brought up the story of when the disciples were in the boat with Jesus and he was sleeping while the boat was being rocked by a storm. He was sleeping! They said, "Don't you care?" As he told the story, I had a fresh wave of emotion hit me for situations in my life that have felt like God is sleeping and doesn't care to calm the storm.
And yet, there's still something comforting about knowing He's with me in the boat. I tell my kids that there's a lot that I don't understand about God or His ways, but I can't deny that I have felt His love carrying me and comforting me through so many different seasons of life. And, a lot of times, when I can't feel that love directly from Him, it comes through the people around me.
I have a lot of unresolved issues. There's quite a bit of stuff that I still feel angry or confused about. I'm living in the tension between the "it is not yet," and "it will be". I might have to write another blog about dissonance (in music, dissonance happens when a chord is unresolved) and why that will be the theme of the album I am working on.
And, speaking of my album, when I was venting to my producer/friend about some of the hard things going on.. he said "You have a colorful life, Ashley. It is a good one. Mine is too, and I wouldn't trade it for anything." So, here's to colorful lives?!! I'm really not a fan of darkness, but here's an interesting quote to end with that seems appropriate (and lo, and behold, it's from one of my childhood heroes- which suits this blog because its all about my life journey):
"Without black, no color has any depth. But if you mix black with everything, suddenly there's shadow- no, not just shadow, but fullness. You've got to be willing to mix black into your palette if you want to create something real." Amy Grant
Makes me think of what Jesus said in John 10:10- "I came to give you life, and life in its fullness." He didn't say life in all its happiness or perfection.
Thanks for reading, my friend.