the need to be held, is to be brave of heart

^ this is my husband and i on our wedding day

the day before yesterday started out with the promise of being just another wonderful date day with my man, which was extra special, because we haven't had one together in a few weeks. the day started out with a sunny drive to our state's capital in search of yummy eats and much walking and various bookstores. i spotted a bread truck on the highway that had these words scrawled on the side of it: "baguette-about-it." i laughed my bum off at that. and i was fine for a while on the drive up, but i couldn't shake the feeling that something was off with me. i hate those kind of days, really i do. those days when i know something on the emotional-heart-horizon front is about to come and swallow me up, but i cannot for the life of me see what is about to feast on me.

anyway, moving on.

my husband surprised me by taking me to a really cool cook-in-front-of-you Japanese place for lunch in the state capital. we had a blast watching our lunch being cooked in front of our very eyes, while the chef put on a humorous show. we laughed. we ate. we paid the check. we got ready to leave, and then i felt like i was going to die. (for those of you who don't know, i am relatively new to this whole gluten-free lifestyle, and sometimes i come to find new foods that need to go on the don't-ever-eat-that-crap-again list.) my stomach immediately started to convulse and became achey all over. three words: durn soy sauce. now don't get me wrong, i still really enjoyed my lunch date with my sweet, extremely thoughtful and generous husband, despite all the stomach stuff. like i said, we had fun, but gosh did i get sick!

Jared and I managed to make it out of the restaurant without any "episodes," so we decided to walk around the mall some more. the walking and meandering about was fun, the pain however was not. eventually we made it to Barnes & Noble. J looked for a book he had been wanting for a while now, and I casually browsed the shelves for pretty covers and interesting new releases in every section. and then the pains hit me again, harder, and i knew i had a limited time to make it to the place-of-which-we-don't-speak-of. i gave my husband "the look" and told him that i'd be back to find him soon. then i puked my guts out in the B&N bathroom stall. my body felt so insanely tired and sick, and then my heart started to feel a bit more sick too.

by the time i made it back to my husband, J had found his book. we looked around at some old dvds and what-nots in the media department, then decided it was time to leave and made our way to check out at the register. afterwards we quickly made our way back to our car. we got the GPS and my scribbled-down-addresses out, and then drove for a good ten minutes more in search of the next bookstore. because this is what we do on most of our dates: we are book-hunters. my stomach had calmed itself down at this point, and the mint gum in my purse had become my social-saving-grace. i still wanted to find the used bookstore in town, despite having just had that rather unpleasant episode in B&N. needless to say, that bookstore now has not-so-nice memories attached to it. sad really, as the B&N did nothing wrong to me to deserve that ill fated memory attachment. (sigh, sigh, sigh :: cue deep breath) my husband just kept on cheering me up, relentlessly, as we drove on, like the mister brightside that he is. i so needed him, and he so delivered as a husband. i love him, and the way he genuinely loves me.

so, we found the used bookstore, finally, after two aw-crap-we-missed-it turn arounds. we parked in a too-tiny-for-my-car-in-all-actuality spot, and then i carried my bag of books inside while chewing on my mint gum like a maniac. i then realized rather quickly, while standing in line to trade my bag-o-books in, that this was not going to be a very quiet and enjoyable visit to a book store like i had hoped it would be for us. the music was waaay too loud. there were far too many bodies crowding the poorly set up book aisles. truthfully? i just wanted to find a neil gaiman book and get the heck out of dodge, but i had $15 trade credit to use up from the bag of books i had traded in, and we couldn't just abandon the bright pink book trade credit slip and give up on our date day mission. i browsed and asked for help in finding the section the gaiman books would reside in . . . but sadly, they were nowhere to be found . . . and then i promptly gave up on finding any books or media of note out of frustration, so my husband ended up getting two graphic novels for free. all in all, the bookstore visit turned itself around in the end and my husband left the store in geeky-bliss.

we jumped back into the cold car together, my husband and i completely drained . . . ready to go home and recharge our introverted selves with some peace and quiet time together. so we drove and drove and drove until our exit came along on the highway. we exited and made it back to our city. (i say our city loosely here, you should know, because it still doesn't feel like home yet for me - this is something i am working on with my heart right now. but more on that at another time.)

my husband and i stopped at wendy's for frosty's -- his vanilla and mine chocolate -- before heading back home together. as we were pulling in to park in front of our apartment complex, of course i spilled some of the sweet thick chocolatey stuff on my blue jeans. just another straw that finally broke this camel's back. as we stopped and parked the car i quickly snatched up my things and raced to our apartment door. J followed on my heels, then unlocked the door swiftly. i walked in, took a few more bites of the sweet frigid concoction and then promptly placed it in the freezer for a later date. "i am going to bed . . . not to sleep, just to read," i announced to my husband. i walked into our bedroom, shut the door, flung myself onto our bed, pulled the covers up to my neck and reached for my copy of stardust by neil gaiman. the words 'Yvaine' and 'star' and 'unicorn' and "Tristran" crept past my not-so-attuned eyes, as I nonchalantly flipped through the next few pages of the novel. and then the dam broke. tears started to quietly fill my eyes, and i began to at long last let loose my miffed-at-God feelings. i was (still am?) so frustrated, yet blessed with everything, mad and yet happy even. i had been greatly sick of heart and mind and stomach on this day in particular, and honestly - well, i had just about had enough of everything!

i wanted to be held, but i didn't know how to let God hold me, mostly because i am still coming to terms with so many things that i am just not so sure i am ready to deal with yet. like living in this flat-land-city away from my family, slowly trying to fit in (everywhere) and figuring out how to do this whole writer and artist thing, etc. just then my husband opened our bedroom door . . . he took one look at my face . . . i was about to break down, and he silently slipped into bed beside me and wrapped his arms around me. he held me, and then i knew. you don't have to know how or why or what is going on or even how to fix things to hold onto someone. you just have to hold onto them where they are at in the moment. my husband showed me a small glimpse of how to be held within that one swift movement of grace . . . to be loved, to let go and just be. J is holding me and my heart and my questions and my pains, even if i don't understand myself or know how to deal right now - and my God is holding me too, despite everything i am struggling with feeling, both good and bad and otherwise. 

i think bravery - true bravery - can be found within us through the truly broken and wandering moments, the rock-bottom times, the unsure and blubbering and the questioning-of-everything filled days. the need to be held, is to be brave of heart. 

a wild wood named self-discovery

image via Pinterest
// brave-heart //

it's this two-syllable, challenging choke-hold-of-a-word that found me wandering aimlessly in the wood. it was then that i knew that it was safe, and so "i took off my shoes and walked into the woods. i felt lost and found with every step i took."

isn't it exciting to just let go and walk onward? there are untold open-ended possibilities with this one word, despite the obvious fear-struck part that accompanies such a bold declaration. it's the kind of word which causes you to pause and question all of your motives in doing so mid-roar; mid-step; mid-path; mid-breath.

you see, this one word is so unbelievably scary to me. like, i cannot breathe right now scary. and there are no takesie-backsies. this word is my own. i declared it out loud, and now i have to own it. it is, after all, my own heart's roar that has found me; my Lion of Judah which has bewitched me.

my wanting path: i want to live life with a brave-heart intact. to echo the hearts of my ink-heart-sisters. to find and use my own unique voice, because i owe it to myself. i don't want to just embrace and accept what comes towards me throughout the years anymore, i want to have the chutzpah to face the fear, wildly roar in it's face, declare my ground holy and run free in the other direction like mad. 

i want to see me be brave. to be unafraid to speak about the restlessness and jesus and freedom and feminist and dust and identity and truth and love and grace and questioning and real marriage and moving and wanderlust. i want to write and live them all . . . for these are the words that have me held as their captive. they've sent me on a soul-stirring adventure, tossing my dry weary bones out into the wild wood. a wild wood named self-discovery. and this place of self-discovery, question asking, and risk-taking . . . it frightens me, yet excites me all the same. maybe i am crazy - asking for it even? - what with this big-little-two-part word that is defiant; rebellious; counter-cultural. brave.

i guess all i really needed was to give myself the permission to enter into the darker places, the hidden places of myself, the ones that need to come to the light, the 'Questions Asked and Dreams Pursued and Freedom Sought' places. the ones that are not so popular for women to choose and chase after.

i'm off to do some walking in the wood; off to do some thirst-quenching and question asking. and surely i will see you here again soon.

all is love.