one of my favorite people in all the world is someone i’ve only seen face-to-face on three occasions. yes, only three. ms. haley came into my life rather unexpectedly 2.5 years ago and what a blessing she has been ever since. our quirky little friendship has it’s foundation securely in written words. i even have a folder in Gmail with her name on it where tucked inside our novel-length e-mails from the last two years remain safe and sound. once in a while i pick out an old pen-pal “e-mail” at random and without fail i am always inspired once again by her words.
since the day we met i knew my hales had a gift for words that couldn’t go unshared — and after much hounding on my part she finally gave in and decided to write a guest post…what i hope to be the first of many. when the following words arrived in my inbox i knew before reading them that they would be precious — raw, honest, open — and straight from haley’s heart. i guarantee you’ll be blessed, refreshed and comforted by them just as much as i was…it’s what she does.
Maddie has a funny way of inspiring a person to be inspired. She has encouraged me through various mediums to speak about the things in my life that inspire me. When asked to guest blog about those things, I drew a blank. Sure, I’m inspired daily. The sweet little old man waving at me on the street inspires me. So does a box of Crayola crayons. And an empty pie crust. And quotes. And lyrics. And pain. And heartache. And death. And life…
I suppose when it comes down to it, I’m inspired by the things in life that wake me up. That make me feel something. Whether pain or joy, I am a lover of feeling things. And feeling them deeply. I don’t revel in pain. But I can appreciate its significance. And as I get older, I’ve begun to wrap my heart around even the most difficult of times and attempt (let me repeat, I ATTEMPT) to accept them with as much grace as I can muster. Which isn’t much, I’ll be honest. But I have to remember what a good friend of mine once told me while in the throes of a personal crisis… that this story is about something and someone greater. Someone higher. Someone holier. And that my steps are orchestrated. Or choreographed, if you will. Much like a dance. Which means more often than not, I’m getting the steps wrong, tripping over my own feet and having to start all over again. Over. And over. And over again.
But such is life I suppose. And I don’t say that in self-defeat, but with praise. C.S. Lewis (talk about inspiration, this guy definitely does it for me) once said, “Tribulations cannot cease until God either sees us remade or sees that our remaking is now hopeless.” Which I like to pair with another brilliant word from Clive, “I think we all sin needlessly by disobeying the apostolic injunction to “Rejoice.”
See here’s the thing. I get scared. About everything. And I am constantly in a state of panic about something. Money. Relationships. Family. Self-diagnosis of diseases I don’t actually have (that causes me to pass out and severely injure myself because I’ve managed to freak myself out about symptoms I “might” be experiencing while sitting in a chair that stands three feet off the ground. True story). Yep, I’m that girl.
And if I lacked perspective, I would proceed to tell you about all of the reasons why my life is a mess. But, when all is said and done, my life is pretty great. Sure, I deal with family issues that most people probably wouldn’t understand. And if people had my financial situation, some may squirm like me but a majority of the world would feel blessed. And I have scars from my past that I’ll always carry with me. But just as others have their own story, this is mine. And while I fight it 95% of the time, I know (as Imogen Heap said) there is “beauty in the breakdown.”And if my life was a dance, I know it would be painful to watch at parts. I know that I’d be dragging myself across the ground some days. And let’s be honest, NOBODY wants to watch that. But I don’t think that we were ever expected to pretend as though life isn’t hard. I think we’re simply asked to keep moving. To continue praising. No matter how cold and broken the hallelujah may be (another song reference, did you catch it?).
So back to my Lewis quotes. You see, while I am afraid of many, many things, my biggest fear is ceasing to experience the hard stuff. I want to know that I’m being continuously refined. Sanctified. Glorified. I want to be remade. And I fear the day when I no longer feel God shaping me into the person I was created to be. How absolutely dreadful would it be to be seen as hopeless by the very Creator who gave me life. So, if I have to dance through the minefields for the rest of my life, I will do it. And I will do it all the while, rejoicing.
Oh how I wish I had come up with the phrase, “dancing in the minefields.” However, that is not the case. Those words would be the ingenuity of artist, Andrew Peterson. And it was he that started me on this whole idea of dancing midst the mines. And let’s be honest, sometimes life just plain bites. But, like Andrew says, that’s what the Promise is for.
And how sweet is our Father, that He gives us friends and lovers who take turns dancing with us when the mines explode. And I am incredibly grateful for a certain friend, Ms. Maddie, who has helped through a period of my life that would have been much more difficult had she not been a part of it. She danced me through the passing of my sweet Dixie (the best grandmother in the world) and I have a feeling she didn’t even know. Unintentional healing. Now that’s inspiring.