Thursday, May 13, 2010

the scoop, part eight

"Life does not accommodate you, it shatters you...Every seed destroys its container or else there would be no fruition." -Florida Scott-Maxwell

True that.

I stumbled on this quote in a book called The Way of Transition. When I quit my job, my therapist suggested that this book might be important for me. It's about those times in life when changes cut you loose from the dock and you find yourself in the middle of indifferent and unfamiliar waters with no oars. A person experiencing this kind of transition is like a trapeze artist suspended between bars, having let go of one thing and hoping like hell the next thing materializes before gravity gets all demanding on you. I could relate to that.

When I told you that I quit my job, it might have sounded more like a choice than it seemed to me at the time. It really was more like an artist who has gone blind: you can keep splashing paint on the canvas, but it's not going to be pretty. I felt completely incapable of doing what my job required. And it wasn't just this particular job. The truth is that I was so out-of-joint that I couldn't even think about getting another job. I knew I would just end up back at square one: depressed and anxious and sick. I knew I would have to take a leap of faith and hope I didn't end up like Rietta Wallenda.

The loss of my job was scary because my husband and I depended on my income. Our finances were stretched to begin with, and losing my income would necessitate other losses. I won't go into all of that in detail, but let's just say that in another time and place we'd be inmates in a debtor's prison. Bill collectors pretty much have me on speed-dial these days. Our home is for sale, which is a funny concept to me because usually when you sell something you get some money. And when it's all said and done, we have no idea where we'll live.

Actually, we're oddly at peace, and I blame this inappropriate peace on the work I did with simplicity. I've become addicted to giving things away. I'm in a race to see how much I can live without. We made a lot of mistakes in our life, and it's kind of a shame that it's taken us so long to figure out what matters, but Dave and I are no longer interested in having a bunch of stuff at the expense of everything else. This is a terrible lesson to learn and it can be downright humiliating, but we're looking forward to something on the other end of all this loss. I'll tell you more about that next time.


  1. Wow, Terri. W.O.W. I'm struck by how you're living what you learned, what you came to believe. I absoutely can't wait to hear the next part.

  2. I'm thankful that in the midst of hardship and worry, you see a glimmer of beauty and hope.

  3. i love going through storms with you!

  4. sarah: thanks so much for that. you wanna know what i thought when i read your comment? "oh, i LOVE you, sarah!" because this was a hard one to write (none of them have been a picnic) and i was worried that it would come off wrong and people would be out there thinking we were slackers or something. love you.

    heather: i'm thankful for that too. deeply.

    dave: oh honey. i don't know what i'd do without you.

  5. MOMMA!!!

    this is so cool! your baby boy is 25 years old and i'm STILL learning from you & dad.

    thank you for always setting an example worth following. i feel blessed to be learning these lessons at such a young age & i whole heartedly believe that you and dad are to blame for this. my roomies were all just having conversations about how much crap they got or would get from their parents about choosing to not go to college. you and dad supported me and encouraged me to listen to the lord. i never felt any pressure from you about the issue & that really freed me up to chase after god's heart. thank you so much! i love you!

  6. Danny, I just want to say that I love how you love your mother. I hope that my daughter can say such things of (and to!) me when she's 25!

  7. hey danny: you just snuck in there while i was responding. i love you kid. and i admire you. you've always been sensitive to what god is up to in your life, and i'd be a pretty bad parent if i didn't recognize that about you. i'm very proud to be your mom.

  8. hey people keep sneaking in there today. sarah, isn't he great? i hope mirren loves you that way too. i'm sure she will. you're seem like you're a pretty great mom.

  9. I'm amazed by your story. Thank you for trusting us with it, for letting us know you. Your words are always like a breath of fresh air, even when you are writing about things so difficult it's hard to even breathe inside of them ... but inside your words, there is air.

    Love you.

  10. It's good to hear your voice again Christianne. I know how busy you've become. Love to you...

  11. have a good day honey! ;-)

  12. Thank you for writing your story. Thank you for not sparing the gory details like this, the ones that let us know these choices hardly came merrily, but at a cost (albeit one that was worth it). I love how you're in a "race" to see how much you can give away, and I can't wait to see what amazingness comes of all of this.

    I'm so glad you have someone great to ride out these storms with.


  13. thanks kirsten. i appreciate friends who listen with kindness and generosity. sometimes i feel really humiliated by all of this, but that's all a part of growth i suppose. i just wish i could learn a things a little easier.

    and dave is such a good man. truly.

  14. sha sha: mwen renmen ou twò sè'm. m pa ka tann pou yo ale nan ayiti avèk ou.

  15. I love how you & Dave love each other and how everyone loves that about you! And, I love how God speaks and uses storms to bring us back to the basics of life. I'm going through my own version of this right now, feeling both the anticipation and scary uncertainty of being suspended in air. I love how God's peace can reign right in the middle of the storm.

  16. hi cheryl. i'm sorry that you're going through something like this, but i also hope it yields something beautiful for you. i feel like these are those thin places where something of the eternal shines through if you're paying attention. peace...

  17. Thanks Terri, would love to know all that you're reading these days. I am being inwardly urged it seems every day to just let go and rest in God's care and yet I find the pressures of "life" suck me in and before I know it I'm doing anything but resting. I, too sense that something beautiful will emerge and I can't wait to see i! But,alas, I will have to. :) peace to you too.

  18. hey cheryl,

    i think this is a discipline that it's very easy to forget. i know i sort of "wake up" and find myself stressing over something, and i have to say to myself, "oh yeah, i forgot that doesn't really matter."

    as far as what i'm reading:

    lots of stuff on writing such as
    "bird by bird" by anne lamott
    "on writing well" by william zinsser
    "on writing" by stephen king
    "writing down the bones" by natalie goldberg

    then there's the novels:
    "angela's ashes" by frank mccourt
    "all new people" by anne lamott
    and i have "undercurrents" by martha manning waiting in the wings.

    i recently finished "the cloister walk" by kathleen norris

    but if you're wondering what's good on the discipline of simplicity you should check out:
    "freedom of simplicity" by richard foster
    "gift from the sea" by anne morrow lindbergh (not technically on the discipline, but so lovely)
    "simplicity" by mindy caliguire
    "simpler living, compassionate life" which is a compilation edited by michael schut

    probably more than you wanted to know, but that's the kind of giver i am. ;)

    we should get together for that coffee soon. call me. if you don't have my number, call marcell at the church and tell her i said you could have it. peace.

  19. What an amazing list to draw on, thanks so much! Library, here I come. Will call you in a few days. :)