Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Giving of Gifts

I've been wondering lately what it is about blogging that is so nourishing and so deeply satisfying. I visit the pages of people I have come to love and admire through their stories and through their writing and I feel myself saying, "yes, I understand." But even more than understanding them, I somehow feel understood myself. I recognize something of myself in their lives. Reading what they have to say helps me to learn who I am and who I am not. Today, when I stopped by Bella's blog, I found that she had given me an award, a gift. She passed on the You Make My Day award, and that's a curious thing to me since receiving it made my day.

As I think about passing this on to others, I'm pausing to reflect on what exactly it is in the writing of these people that excites me. What is it that I'm looking for when I visit? It's not necessarily pleasant feelings although that's always nice. Sometimes when I knock on the door of these pages I am greeted with massive struggles. Sometimes in the process of looking in on the lives of others I bump up against some sadness or anger or even stretches of harsh desert. If they tell it well, in a voice that belongs uniquely to them, I will probably experience some of those same things. I will search my own story for the places that fit what they are describing. It might bring to the surface things that are buried. I might not appreciate this at first. I might not immediately recognize this gift they are giving me. But soon enough this gift will pour out its treasures and I will feel the gratitude.

I want to pass on this award to Christianne and Kirsten. Their stories have done what all good stories do. They have let me know that I am not alone. They have held up a mirror so that I can see myself more clearly. They have shared honestly in a way that gave me permission to speak even when it might cost me something. And by following their line of vision, they have pointed me to God. Thank you.


  1. Way to make me WEEP!! [i feel like i'm looking through a glass of water right now]

    little did i know what blessing could come from laying bare my brokenness. rarely have i felt such kinship or had the privilege of connecting with truer or kinder hearts that also do the same for me: hold up a mirror (even when the reflection isn't pretty), and in this teeming wilderness, letting me know that I do not travel alone.

    i count myself among the ridiculously blessed.

    love you!!

  2. You are amazing. Thanks for stopping by my home in the blogoverse and for expressing exactly what I've been thinking for the past couple weeks in this post. I amen your nominations (even after reading what amounts to a drop in their respective blog buckets) and tip my hat to you for allowing God to bless others through your gift :)

    Much love.

  3. This gracious and eloquent "acceptance speech" reminded me all over again why you regularly make my day.

  4. kirsten: you took the words right out of my mouth, sister.

    clay: hey, i was beginning to think poor nate made you up as some kind of alter ego. welcome! and thanks for seconding my nominations.

    bella: thank you again for the recognition and affirmation. it means a lot to me.

  5. I wanna hand out awards to each one of you. Like some nice warm gloves the award just fits.

  6. Oh, Terri, you bless me beyond belief because YOU are so resplendent with God's glory and grace and humor and love every day of the week. I love the way you described everything in your post; it's the way I feel, too. I, too, can't believe you've only been blogging a month because I feel as though we've stepped into each other's lives as though we've known each other was there forever.

    Love to you, fierce and amazing woman. And thank you.

  7. I kid you not. You all are blessing my wife in such incredible ways I know I don't have the words to descibe!
    You're pulling the talents and gifts God blessed her with to the surface and it's fun watching her come alive.
    Bless all of you

  8. Congrats!

    Isabel (Bella) and I lived in Seattle while we were "going" to Mars Hill Graduate School. (I bailed) We got to know each other through a mutual friend and all hung out once a week on Friday nights. Some of the most meaningful - and challenging - times together ever.

    Made My Day. Glad it's making yours too. :)

  9. This is wonderful Terri! I love what your husband said about you coming alive. It’s hard to imagine that you could be anything but so fully, totally alive.

  10. nathan: i was going to say that you should be careful because i left a comment like that when one of my friends got an award and soon afterwards i really did have an award to pass on, but i see that you've already been awarded. you deserve it.

    christianne: i could just munch you up. (hope that didn't sound too weird.)

    dave: oh man do i ever love you so stinking much it makes my heart explode!

    tom: i'm really jealous that you got to hang out with bella. and you make my day on a regular basis.

    chloe: oh honey, you haven't seen me when i'm in one of my funks. if i'm catching everyone correctly, i think we all go through dark times when we're barely alive. oh, and thanks for noticing what a great guy my husband is. isn't he sweet?

  11. Aw, Dave. Did Terri tell you I still need that truckload of kleenex. After reading your comment, I need it even more!! There is just too much crazy love in this place. And the feeling is mutual - having come into contact with her (& Christianne, too!!) is bringing alive all these places in me I didn't even know were asleep. Ah shoot ... where is the world is my kleenex!!!!???

    Tom - Mars Hill? Seriously?! I live in Bellingham, just an hour & a half north of Seattle & a friend of mine just graduated from Mars Hill with a counseling degree a couple weeks ago. "It's a small word after all ..."
    [sorry for getting this song stuck in your heads. being home sick all week, i have nothing better to do with my waking time than plot & scheme as to how make everyone feel as nutty as I do right now]

    On my way to take a nap ... ;o)

  12. Terri,

    Thanks. By the way, that picture makes you look mystically Mensa. And I've got the feeling it's true to form. :)

  13. kirsten: sorry, but i'm hogging the kleenex. i know you understand.

    nathan: thanks little brother. i like that description, but i don't think i'm as smart as you might think. peace.

  14. Yes, I do. I understand. :o) I may live out west, but I think we have some out here, too.

  15. remember when danny didn't have to learn to play the guitar?

    let the tears remember sweet sorrow joy deeper healing ahead divine gifts all along the way

  16. Hi T-
    Just wanted you to know I have joined your cult and enjoy following your stories ... Tess has filled me in on all the connections and I think I have it all straight. I have enjoyed your installments and the story unfolding.

    thanks for writing-
    another T.

  17. kirsten: oh yes, God gives us all the tissue we need.

    di: thanks. it helps to remember that God gives us gifts like crazy.

    tara: i'm so glad to have you here. i've been reading your blog and thinking how amazing your work and family is. you have my little tess there, and it's good to know that she's with people so real and loving. i read that you're tired and overwhelmed. i don't know how it could be otherwise. tell troy i said he really shouldn't tell any stories. (private joke: tara gets it.) love to you.