A Happy Medium (Finally)

I find that when you convert to Christianity after a lifetime of “other”, it takes awhile to settle into your new identity as “me, only Christian”. That’s how it happened for me. In the beginning I over-corrected my lifestyle by rebelling in the opposite direction. I covered my head. I wore skirts only. I did not cut my hair. I stopped most of my endless crafting that I used to fill the aching void which longs for God and actually searched for, you know…God. These little things lasted for a while as I tried to discover the authentic, Christian version of me. It was like a pendulum pulled far to the left and let go. First it swings far right and then ultimately settle in a resting spot right in the middle.

I think that’s where I am now. Really.

I’m in the process of figuring out which pursuits brought me true joy and which pursuits I used as a diversion to fill up time. Will I suddenly start spinning wool again? Doubtful. Banjo? Perhaps reserved as a party trick.

My basics seem to be reading and writing, mostly. Plus the occasional sewing project, crochet, painting and photography.

postcrossingI’ve always, always had an interest in international correspondence.

I have re-activated my Postcrossing account. I last received a postcard on October 17, 2011. I was in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and in the process of buying a house. I had bigger fish to fry. But now I’m after the international minnows. Uh, postcards.

Last weekend Oliver and I used a gift card to purchase a color printer/copier/scanner and I now have the capability to scan postcards and watercolor drawings!

Yesterday I put three into the mailbox now headed for Russia (Dumbledore), the Netherlands (mariachis) and the UK (butterfly)!

Anyway, I think Postcrossing fits in with my Hello goal for the year.

postcard collage

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A Matter of Expectations

clothespins

Self portrait. I’m the one on the left.

Last week I found myself walking the track in the opposite direction of traffic. This was not entirely my fault as I put myself completely at the mercy of toddler wiles. As we walked the wrong way, we passed some of my mom-quaintances as they exercised together in the correct direction. The interaction made me feel strangely ostracized, and it was somewhat emblematic of my social life over the last several years. The ladies did not mean to exclude me. Toddler chasing is naturally exclusive, especially when it happens unconventionally. The interaction left me unsettled for the rest of our time at the playground.

After thinking about my discomfort I realized that I seem to operate in the expectation that I will be excluded, an attitude which needs a little (a lot of?!) mental adjustment. Especially since I’m living in the year of Hello! Approaching situations with those kinds of expectations in a way ensures that they are met.

So here’s to playgrounds! And self discovery! And new expectations!

Hello

2015-01-17 06.51.00‘It’s not my business,’ Scrooge returned. ‘It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!” – A Christmas Carol

The words on the page struck me like a slap in the face. Who, when reading A Christmas Carol identifies with Scrooge? Suddenly I found that I did. I have read these words before, and heard them in every iteration of the story on screen, but now I heard them and found myself guilty of approaching the world with the same sentiment.

I am private to a fault. Some of it stems from selfishness and some of it stems from fear, but the result is the same regardless of motive. My arms and hands have been given to me to provide comfort and often I’ve kept them drawn hard to my sides.

When thinking about choosing a word for the year, the one that came to mind over anything else was, “hello.” I couldn’t shake it, and so it stuck. My word for the year speaks of introductions made and questions asked in all sincerity, encountering the people that come into my path with interest and gratitude.

I came across this paragraph in the library book I’m reading and murdered my librarian sensibilities with a little stroke from my mechanical pencil:

It is easy to compartmentalize life. To say: ‘This is when I feed the hungry, and then I am done.’ But at the heart of the Corporal Works of Mercy is making yourself available to those in need, even when it isn’t convenient, even when you don’t expect it. – Mercy In the City

I am a stay at home mom in rural Texas with two little babies to look after. I don’t encounter homeless people on a regular basis, but I encounter needy people every day. People who need to be loved and known and loved anyway, or welcomed into my home in hospitality. So that’s where I’m gonna start.

And lest, dear extrovert, you think this will be an easy resolution for me, here is a glimpse at the source of my introversion. We are dealing with an uphill battle here, perhaps.

dad

I have been all over Etsy the last two days searching for a “hello” necklace among the heaping piles of shiny Hello Kitties that I wish I could weed out with a perfectly timed Boolean “not”. Then I second-guessed myself and thought that grasping after jewelry is truly beside the point. Then I third guessed myself when I remembered that I chose a word last year and forgot about it two-whole-seconds later. Anyway. There might be something gold and letterful caressing my neck in the near future. Here’s hoping.