Cafe’

Can you imagine how it feels to be sitting alone in a cafe’? 

All the couples. All the families sitting together chatting. I sit alone with my breakfast and my coffee with… my iPhone.

I watch young men and women carrying two mugs to thier tables. I carried one. 

I don’t want to carry one anymore. 

Recently I got a small taste of what it would be like to share my life with someone. He turned out to be a liar, but still there were aspects of my time with him that I miss. I knew I was single before. I felt single before, but now I feel… Like an island in a sea of happy couples. I feel alone. 

I know I have many people who love me, and I am not really alone. Still I sit here in this cafe’ alone. I will walk into church here in a few minutes alone. I will eat dinner tonight alone. I will go on my walk this evening alone. I am sad.

I know that, that relationship was not the best for me. I know that everyone believes that there is something better out there for me. I want to believe it too. I want it to be true. 

I am going to choose to trust my loved ones more than I trust myself and believe that it is true even though right now it feels so impossible. 

I am going to finish my mocha and go to church and sing praises to my maker with everything I have in me. I won’t sing because life is perfect, but because even though I have a broken heart God is still so very good. Even though I am alone (so to speak) God is still good. Even though I am sad God is still good. Even though I am single God is good. 

It is well with my soul. 

-R. 

 ©Rachel Anne Redfiel 2015

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Waves 

I am not sure if I can explain. I am not sure if any of it will make sense, but I feel compelled to release the words anyway.

I have a chemical imbalance in my brain, and that makes life tricky sometimes. Depression is the clinical term for it but I think of it more like an ocean of despair. I am the shore. I cannot escape this ocean no matter how I may wish to. My entire life I have been plagued by its waves. Sometimes they are gentle, and other times they are a tsunami.

How does one explain to a person with normal brain chemistry what this is really like? I cannot. For many, many years now I have chosen silence. As the years went on the silence was unbearable so I began a road of self medicating. Fried food and sugar were my drug of choice. French fries, ice cream, chocolate bars, cheese burgers, chips, Mac and cheese, cookies, oh and did I mention ice cream? So much ice cream. If it had sugar, cheese, grease, or cream I was all about it. I once ate and entire cake all by myself in one day. A whole cake. *face palm*

Eventually that wasn’t enough so, then there was television, movies and video games. When that was no longer enough I tried pot. Pot is great. It is fun. No matter what you read, or hear pot rules. However it is not for me. I do enjoy its effects, I mean who wouldn’t enjoy traveling to another galaxy and tasting colors? Although it was loads of fun and all, I need to be present on this planet and in my right mind to actually experience life, so I put the joint down and moved on with my life. I admit when things get dicey I sometimes temporary forget that I learned that lesson and descend into madness for a short time, but eventually I remember and return to earth. I wish I were not so weak. I wish I were not a dog that returns to my vomit, but alas much to my dismay; I am human. I muck things up royally form time to time.

This past year the ocean threw at me a tsunami and unfortunately I revisited all of my old habits and tried a new one: Drunkenness. Also fun. Also vanity, or vomit. Both are accurate descriptions of what it was. I have decided I do not wish to become an alcoholic any more than I wish to become a stoner, a food addict, or return to being a nearly five hundred pound couch potato.

Life is unpredictable. Some say life is a bitch and then you die. I find this to be an unsatisfactory description of what life is. I think that the type of person who embraces this outlook likely chooses to themselves become a bitch who will eventually die, and therefore views all things this way. I personally do not want to go through life being angry, rude and unhappy, all the while blaming life, the world, and/or the universe for my misery as I wait for, and embrace the inevitable oblivion of death.

I think life is many things. Life is messy, chaos, fun, glory, despair, bliss, loss, discovery, adventure, risky, rewarding, wonder, terror, ecstasy, disappointment, joy, new, familiar, disgusting, delightful, dark, radiant, beauty. Life is life. Life cannot be summed up in one cynical sentence, nor can it be defined by a single failure, or victory.

Have I made mistakes? Yes. Have I succeeded? Yes. Have I made bad choices? Yes. Have I made right choices? Yes. Should I have had pretzels and a Heresy’s chocolate bar for breakfast? No probably not. Was is delightful? Yes. Yes it was.

Sometimes I can rail against the waves. Sometimes it is easier to surrender to them. Living with depression is never ever going to be easy. Also pretending that I don’t live with it will not make it so. I have a chemical imbalance in my brain called clinical depression. I have a mental illness. However I am not defined by this. I walk this life wounded, slightly broken, but I like life I am many things. I am not depressed. I am not depression. Sometimes I am not okay. Sometimes I am just okay, and sometimes I am fabulous. I hope that the fabulous far outweighs its opposite, but only time will tell.

Waves will come, and waves will go. Life will be life. I will be me and through it all God will love me.
-R.
© Rachel Anne Redfield 2015

Me and the Ocean

Are You Okay?

*WARNING THIS POST CONTAINS MILD LANGUAGE. IF THAT SORT OF THING OFFENDS YOU READ ON AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION.*
Bells

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hey!”

“Hi! Good to see you! How are you?”

“I’m doing good. How are you?”

“Good thanks.”

**********************

“Hey. I was thinking about you. Are you okay?”

“Yeah. I’m okay. Thanks for asking.”

***********************

Have you ever had conversations like these? If you are breathing and don’t live in a cave chances are that you have. This is the thing though, sometimes when I have exchanges like these and I am the respondent, I am lying through my teeth. I bet chances are that you have too.

Let’s be really honest for a second what if things went like this:

“Hey!”

“Hi! Good to see you! How are you?”

“It’s good to see you too. I have missed you. Really I am not that great. My relationship with my girlfriend/boyfriend just went down in flames and I am barley holding it together most days. I feel really lost and hopeless most of the time.”

What would you do? What would you say? Would you feel like a deer in the headlights? Would you feel like that kid? You know the one, last inning, bases are loaded, two outs, two strikes, the team is down by one, and he is starring down the barrel of a curve ball coming right at him. Sweating bullets. BULLETS!! AHHHH!!

Why is it that honesty can be so flipping terrifying? Not only is it terrifying to hear stuff like that but to actually be that honest… that takes serious huevos. For reals. Sometimes I think I would rather lick my floors clean than be honest about my feelings. Am I alone in this? I reckon that I am not. What I am learning though is that to be that honest is necessary. If I am ever going to have relationships that go beyond the superficial and have any real fruit I have to be willing to be the purest version of myself, warts and all.

I don’t currently have literal warts, but I have had them. They are painful. Also let me just say they are not pretty. Warts go deep, and when they die and fall off your skin has a hole where the wart used to be. If you have struggled through any emotional difficulty of any kind it will change you. As you go through the healing process you might have some “craters” left from the “warts.”

The other thing is this: Is it okay not to be okay sometimes? 

Recently I went through some serious sh** so to speak. All kinds of hell was breaking loose in my life. Most days I would get into my car after my shift at work and burst into tears and cry all the way home. My commute is typically 35-50 minutes depending on traffic. Sometimes I’d continue to cry for an hour or so on my pillow. I was a mess. I tend to retreat from the world when I feel like I am coming apart at the seams, and I was.

During this time my dear friend Tasha called me and left my a voicemail while I was at work. She was checking to see how I was doing. I called her back thanking her for calling. Because we have been friends for over twenty years I am a bit more comfortable telling her the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. I told her “You know I am trying really hard to be okay, but I am having a hard time succeeding.”
Her reply was simple and amazing.

“Rachel it is okay not to be okay.” I burst into tears. I so needed to hear that. She went on, “Rachel you have been through a lot of really hard stuff. Any one of them alone would have been hard, but you just got hit with a bunch of crap all at once. It is okay not to be okay right now. Give yourself some time. Take time to process all that has happened. No one expects you to just get over it, and if they do they can come and talk to me and I’ll be happy to explain to them to leave you the hell alone, and kick their ass if need be. Remember that God is here for you and so am I. You aren’t alone.”

This is one of the many reasons why I adore Tasha. She tells me the truth and adds her own little ginger spice in there for good measure. I can’t even describe the relief those words brought to me. I felt free to actually just be a mess for a while. It was okay not to be okay. It was okay to give myself some time to process all my grief. It was okay to take lots of long walks alone and yell and cry to my heavenly Father about all the things that had broken my heart.

It’s been six months or so since all that stuff hit the fan. The dust is finally staring to settle a bit, however it is still pretty hazey. I can’t really see things very clearly and most of the time I still don’t know which way is up, but I am getting through it. Sometimes I am not okay, and that is okay. Give yourself  some time to breath and find the ground beneath your feet again. Don’t for the love of God try and force yourself to just get over it already. Now of course there are some instances where someone needs a little kick in the butt, however that is sometimes. I think in our society we try way to hard to be productive and have it all together and all of the time. I think that this attitude is toxic and counterproductive to emotional health. That is nuts! Think about it. We are not in control. The universe is filled with chaos. Nothing, NOTHING is guaranteed. Anything at anytime could happen, and sometimes it does. Life is precious, and it is fragile. Sometimes life will throw you a curve ball and sometimes it will throw a hurricane. When that happens for goodness sake allow yourself the respect and decency to not be okay. The only way to find your way back to okay is to admit that you aren’t. If you don’t admit you are lost then how will you find your way back home?

I am lost. I am searching for the shore. I am not okay,  but I am on my way.

The last really crazy amazing thing, is God is okay with that. He is with me. He hasn’t left me. He is in the mess with me. I have been in some dark shocking places and He has been there the entire time. Being in the midst of a mess sucks, but in this mess I am discovering context for this:

“I am with you and will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you.” -Genesis 28:15

“It is the Lord who goes before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

“…for he has said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.” -Hebrews 13:5b

I am learning that God is really, really, REALLY good. If I had run from this mess or denied its existence I would not be learning that to the deepest places of my heart. God did not cause this mess, but He is bringing beauty to me from the ashes of it. He is so very good. -R.

© 2015 Rachel Anne Redfield

Today I wonder…

I wonder what it is about gossip and scandal that causes people to get so fired up? From how someone sees a dress to how a wealthy man surgically altered his body, people just love to spew their opinions all over the internet. It seems we all relish picking a side and making our case. Like vultures circling round road kill, we all look at controversy from our perspective and start pecking away at one another.  I once watched, and sadly participated in a rather heated discussion over a rooster’s “right” to live after nearly taking off the finger of a child. (Don’t even get me started) It’s all so empty in the end.

I suppose I may be being a bit cynical… still aren’t there things more deserving of our attention than a dress being this color or that, or how a person in the public eye chooses to live? Where is all the encouragement towards helping our neighbors and ending world hunger? I think if we really wanted to, we as a planet of people could do that. Where is the outrage over the fact that slavery still exists still exists?! Why isn’t that plastered everywhere?

I wonder…

-R.

© Rachel Anne Redfield 2015

Today I wonder…

Someone once told me that they could see me in a way that seemed totally insane to me. I just didn’t see it… like at all.

What I wonder is this:

When someone who loves you tells you something they see in you, and it seems nuts, does it seem that way because it is nuts, or does it seem that way because you can not see yourself clearly?

Do you have eyes that see?

-R.

© Rachel Anne Redfield 2015

Psalm 23 (pt 1)

Psalm 23 is and has always been a very powerful poem. It is also part of the Holy Bible. It was penned over three thousand years ago by King David the shepherd who became the most notable King (besides Yeshua) in the history of Israel. He birthed the golden age of Israel (in antiquity), which his son Solomon carried on. He was a man after God’s own heart. He was a warrior, a worshiper, a brilliant strategist, loyal, compassionate, yet ruthless, wise, yet foolish, crafty, diligent, determined, ambitious, emotional, passionate, a lover of love, and faithful. He was a very complex man.

The Psalms that King David wrote are beautiful and reflect his complexity and the glory of God in such a resplendent way. I have been in a season of life lately that has been… different than any before it, and Psalm 23 seems to be the theme of this season.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.

This is such a lovey pair of phrases. They are so complete in how resolutely they express the emotion of the message they convey and are so wonderfully married. One of these two ideas can sort of exist separately. You can (if you are filthy rich) be in a state of lacking nothing in the physical sense. However I don’t think either of these phrases can really work at all if they are opposed within the heart of a person.

Lets explore the first phrase: The Lord is my shepherd. A shepherd is the most important being in the life of a sheep. The shepherd leads the sheep to food, water and shelter. The shepherd watches out for and defends against predators, thieves, and calamity of any sort. The shepherd cares for the wounded. The shepherd stays. The shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, because to the shepherd the sheep are life. In the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho there is a lovely section about how a shepherd feels about his sheep. The story is lovely but that has always stuck out to me. I would quote it here but I cannot as I loaned my copy of the book out and never got it back which is fine (really!). Anyway you get the drift. The Shepherd is the man.

In order for a sheep to know where to got it must trust that the shepherd knows what he or she is doing. The sheep must also trust that the shepherd is not out to get them, and go where the shepherd leads. If the sheep don’t follow the shepherd than he is not a shepherd but instead he is just a dude hanging out with a bunch of sheep. Which is kinda sad… and weird.

So the point: in order for the Lord to be my shepherd I have to trust Him, and follow otherwise He is not a shepherd.

Lastly lets take stock of the second phrase: there is nothing I lack. In America where materialism and capitalism thrive this is a hard phrase to mentally grasp sometimes. I can almost always think of something I want or need. However in reality, my bills are paid, I have a fulfilling job, a running car, more shoes than make sense, a roof over my head and good food to eat everyday. I have family that loves and supports me, friends that love me, and my health. Really I lack nothing, yet I am always fighting the feeling discontent over the few things in my life that aren’t exactly how I want them to be. Why on earth is that? Okay so I still live at home, have a bigger waist than I’d like, have excess skin due to extreme weight loss, and am single. I realize those are not petty shallow things to not be thrilled over, but still. It’s a matter of perspective. Why focus on what I don’t like? Instead I need to see all that is right and good so I can more easily trust that God will guide me to a good place with those things that aren’t quite right still, just as He has with the things that are good in my life. Really the good FAR exceeds the bad.

I think this last phrase makes the first one possible and is the key to unlocking a new level of relationship with God. “There is nothing I lack” is a declaration of truth and it is also a statement of faith to the things that still are in the process of coming to a good place. If I can’t say that then I don’t trust my Shepherd. If I don’t trust my Shepherd than I will lack all sorts of things.

Sheep can go rouge and they can survive but…Rouge SheepYou can read about this guy here: http://www.neatorama.com/2013/07/28/This-Sheep-Wasnt-Shorn-for-Six-Years/

I don’t know about you but I don’t think that guy looks very happy. I bet he could barely move. He definitely was not living in a state of lacking nothing. What a mess! If I can’t trust my Shepherd then I can’t say I lack nothing, and if I can’t say in faith that I lack nothing than I can’t move my heart to a deeper place of trust in my Shepherd. This sheep named Shrek is a great picture of not trusting the shepherd. He didn’t like being shorn so he hid in a cave for six years. Being shorn may indeed be unpleasant but it is actually good and helpful to the sheep. Sometimes God asks me to do things that don’t make sense (like stepping out of ministry) or are unpleasant (like being emotionally transparent, honestly I would rather lick my floors clean), but these things are for my good. I must learn to trust Him, all of the way even when I am afraid, or uncomfortable.

The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I lack.

 

-R.

 

© Rachel Anne Redfield 2015