Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gray Running

I woke up to a crisp but sunny autumn day. A runner’s paradise. But I was more in the mood for gray running. Those mornings that one look out the window makes you draw the comforter higher over your head. The thought of going out into the elements draws a growl from your throat. Gray running means chill winds that dig claws deep into bone marrow. Mist throws daggers in a perpetual game of chicken with your eyelids. Each breath is a punishment. But sometimes it fits my mood more appropriately. I tried to put my finger on the feeling, first wondering if it was a feeling of gratitude that the universe was throwing a pity-party in my honor. But that didn’t sit right. A pity-party is an emotional surrender to your circumstances, a self-imposed powerlessness that whimpers impotently as the enemy plunders all joy, all peace, all hope. My reaction to the gray atmospheric depression is more akin to Dexter’s toothy, passionless grin that never bodes well for his latest victim pleading innocence. I woke up to a world screaming triumphantly, This is a sh***y, f***ed up world! I quietly lace my Asics, respond emotionlessly and slightly sociopathically, Yes, yes it is. Then I run straight into it, feet and face first.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Don't get me wrong, I am so grateful to have my two wonderful college-age roommates. They are smart, beautiful, full of laughter, and most importantly: they remind me to be thankful that college is far behind me. But this morning, as I filled the coffee pot, I glanced out the kitchen window to the sky that was promising an incredible debut of the sun. And it hit me. I miss my husband. I miss living in a true home, being part of a partnership that is facing this world and all its challenges together, feeling grounded in a solid 'coupleship'. I miss making coffee for two, and watching a sunrise together.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Be careful what you ask of God. prayer journal 10/25/07: God I'm losing hope and I'm losing my faith in You. Our marriage gets worse...I'm losing my faith. Keep me strong. I don't see any hope in our marriage getting better and we're both so tired. If You're going to do anything, please do it quickly. Within two weeks, I found out just how damaged our marriage was when he confessed to the affair. Up to that point, I thought I was losing my mind with irrational suspicions: longer work hours than normal, being unable to reach him on his cell for long stretches of time, lunch receipts that didn't add up (should it really cost $30 for a single person to eat at Rubio's?), every opportunity to socialize with coworkers just to avoid coming home before midnight. Hours missing, money missing, passion and intimacy missing. Now it all made sense. It was almost a relief. Now I knew the enemy I was facing; win or lose, at least I had a sense of what weapons to pick up. Of course, such a devastating blow leaves your body so rock-numb that you can't lift shield or sword. One of my fallacies of faith I've struggled with: as a devout Christ-follower, I believed that seeking God in the decision of choosing my partner in life protected me from, well, anything less than 50 + years of marital harmony. I knew hard times would come, battles, struggles, dry spells, but at least God would bless me with someone devoted to facing those times together. I never imagined that I would be left standing alone, shin-deep in the smoking nuked rubble of the relationship, my God-given life-partner scrambling for the hills to avoid the fallout.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Zephyr Cove

A good friend who saw me after this weekend's retreat described my countenance as that 'coming down from the mountain' look. Literally, I had come down from the mountains in Tahoe, dropping a few thousand feet in elevation. But instinctively I knew my friend was referring to something else entirely. I had some powerful spiritual experiences this weekend, and the shifts in my soul was manifested on my face. To those new friends from Z.C. who may be reading this, thank you for allowing me to be as exposed and ugly-real as I needed to be this weekend. And thank you for being vulnerable and honest with me, sharing your own ugly-realness (which ironically is some of the most incredible beauty I've seen in women in a long time). I've had on my heart a desire to walk through my journals and look at where I was two years ago, and compare it to where I am now. This is a bit scary; some of my journal entries I'll be sharing verbatim, and they are not always pretty. They are not always spiritually sound. You may question my stability, my sanity, my Christianity, my rationality. But you will see my humanity. If this resonates with even a single person, makes one more person feel a little less 'I thought I was the only one with these thoughts', it'll be more than worth it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tell a Tale Contest

Following is my submission for TaT's first contest. Enjoy the read, and thanks ahead of time for your comments!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Still deciding what I want to be when I grow up

Hello Ruthie.

Hi. Who are you?

I’m Telle. I’m you. Just grown up now.

Telle? Why do you have a different name if you’re me?

Chuckle. Yeah, mom tried to warn me against changing my name. As for why I changed…it was silly. I just decided to go by my middle name, Estelle, instead.

Oh. So…how do we turn out? Are we flying helicopters like we’re supposed to? That’s gonna be so cool.

Sigh. Well, no. We scrape teeth for a living. Dental hygienist. It’s more than just scraping…it can be rewarding most days to work with people and give them a safe, comfortable environment to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Wow. That really sounds boring.

Yeah. I thought we wanted to fly helicopters for a medivac company, or the Coast Guard, or something really exciting.

Well…it turns out we get airsick pretty easily. I did try…applied for the Army, which refused to take us because of our eyesight. Years later, I went after my private pilot’s license. On one training flight, my instructor had me force the small Cessna into a stall, then cram the stick forward, plunging the nose of the plane towards the ground to build up enough lift to break out of the stall. We didn’t have barf bags on board, and I was too proud to let it out, so…I swallowed it back down. Twice.


Really gross. I did get to fly solo, which is one of the most defining moments in our life. That was amazing. But I finally had to admit that flying choppers wasn’t a wise career choice.

Oh. Well. I don’t get it, though. I want to do something totally cool; I want to see the awe in a person’s eyes when they ask me what kind of job I have.

Why is that so important to you? That people are fascinated by what you do?

I don’t know…I just don’t want to be boring. Being different is all I know. I don’t fit in – I know, I know, a lot of people say that. But you know how literal that is for me. Us. Whatever. I’m growing up here in Africa, my blonde hair, pale skin, blue eyes guarantee I stick out next to the ebony-skinned natives. I’m from a different universe to them.

Yeah, I remember feeling that. And believe me, that feeling stays with us for the rest of our life. Spending the majority of our formative years being that different from our surroundings will set us apart in our adult years. We see the world through different glasses than most of our friends and acquaintances here in America. Believe it or not, I’ve met some people that have never even left the state that they were born in. Now that’s weird.

Hm. So…why do we become a dental hygienist? Why not something cooler?

Well, most of the reasons that led to that decision won’t make much sense to you until you’re older. It has been a very rewarding job. But don’t worry…you won’t be bored.

What do you mean?

The beauty of life is that you never stop dreaming. I remember that yearning for excitement and adventure in life. Trust me, those feelings never abate. Last month, I went canyoning in Puerto Rico; later this year I’m going to Jordan to run the first marathon in Petra. So don’t worry, we never stop seeking those amazing experiences in life; it’s just not career-driven right now.

So why don’t we become a guide for an adventure company, or a scuba dive master, or something cool like that? Why did you become such a sell-out? I don’t ever want to settle for something so…so…. BORING!!

You don’t have to have a heart-pounding adventure every day to make life exciting and worthwhile. Besides…it’s not your lifelong career. We’re getting ready to move on to something else soon. You don’t realize it yet, but you – we – have a gift that we ignore for decades before we accept it as a talent worth honing.

Really? What is it? Please tell me it’s something cool.

You’ll have to be patient, find it in your own time. Meanwhile, enjoy the ride. You’ll meet some amazing people, travel to places that blow your mind, experience heartbreaks and healings that make for a life even more exciting than any helicopter-flying career could have ever given us.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Ok, God. Why am I here? How am I here? Line up a thousand men, and my husband would have been the last one I would have ever expected to cheat. So how did this marriage, almost 9 years old, end up in sharply shattered pieces around my feet? I knew something hadn't been right for quite some time. There were even the classic signs of infidelity, and I would spend days spiralling into a frenzy, finally working up the courage to ask him directly if there was another woman. He would vehemently deny it, accusing me of destroying our fragile relationship with my mistrust and suspicions. Other times, I would tell him that I could feel in my very soul that something was wrong, there was something that he wasn't telling me. Silence. He'd look away, pain shivering the muscles in his face. He'd eventually deny that he was hiding anything from me.

Now the truth is out, he has confessed to the affair. He moved out before telling me, robbing me of the opportunity to behave as a woman betrayed - screaming, striking, throwing tools and clothing out on the front lawn demanding he leave my sight and never return. He told me over the phone, and this time I was the one who was silent as he sobbed and told me how sorry he was. He said he loved her, and that he was completely undecided as to which future he would pursue.

For the following year, we danced through conversations strife with questions: how could you, didn't you love me, what did I do that was so horribly wrong, why don't you want to stay married to me, is she better than me, so forth. To his credit, he did his best to answer my questions. He would sit uncomfortably on the couch as I allowed the tears to flow, the questions to flow. Of course, these questions had no answers adequate enough to bring any sense of resolution to the corner of my life that had been decimated.

So I turned my questions to God. Why did You allow this? Was this part of Your plan for my life from the beginning? Am I so valueless in Your eyes that You permitted this pain? What did I do to deserve this? Silence. Very few answers even a year later. But in that silence, Abba held me close and felt my tears soak His neck. In that silence, He felt every shattering wave of grief that crashed over my head. In that silence, He simply Was, carrying me through the night.