A VISITATION FROM LA MUSE INSOMNIAQUE

By Lisa Huddleston

 

As frequently happens when one becomes of a certain age, I awoke at precisely 2:13 a.m. to find my mind at work and my body unable to rest. I tried meditational breathing, prayer, anchoring thoughts, but all to no avail. And then, as so often is the case, my mind began to write. Here are my offerings to La Muse Insomniaque:

 

 

imagesUNDOING ME

 

Is it possible to unweave this tight cocoon I have so protectively wrapped around myself,

To unspin the trap I have spun,

To carefully tease and pull apart each tensile strand of mirage,

To untangle who I am from whom I have pretended to be,

To awkwardly stretch cramped and aching wings,

To finally inhabit the spacious place into which I have been placed;

Is it possible to undo me?

 

 

And thinking she was finished with her assault, I closed my eyes to rest. But I still could not sleep, and soon discovered she had more to say on the subject (with humble apologies to Oliver Wendell Holmes and E.M. Forster):

 

 

images-2A SPACIOUS PLACE

 

From womb to tomb

The raw fear of hope

Wraps me into smaller, tighter spaces

But my soul and I need more stately mansions in which to dwell

Higher ceilings against which to butt our hard heads

Finally to break through

To a room with a view and

The space in which to stretch our wings

 

 

Finally, I slept. And, yes, I will need a nap.

WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT YOURSELF?

By Lisa Huddleston

images-1John the Baptist was asked an interesting question by the priests and Levites who ventured into the wilderness to investigate him, “Who are you? What do you say about yourself?” (John 1:22, emphasis mine).

It struck me as I read this morning that this is a question I frequently face. It is commonly voiced in our culture by the words, “What do you do?” but it is also something I ponder when I am alone.

What do I say about myself to myself?

I have to confess that fairly often my words aren’t so sweet. I can be a very harsh critic, and I frequently don’t hold back on the ugly words. My poor battered mirror can testify that!

But I like how John replied. He didn’t build up his position, but neither did he tear it down. He didn’t try to make it easy for others to peg him, but neither did he hold back the truth. He simply said,

I am the voice of one calling in the desert,

‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’

How do you answer that question today? What do you say about yourself? Do you apologize for not being what you think others hold in high esteem? Do you tear yourself down with denigrating words? Well, all I can say to that is, “STOP!” I know–easy to say, oh so hard to do. But all change begins with the realization that there is a better way, and John has prepared that way for us, as well.

I love that John knew who he was, and that he answered his questioners without apology or even pride. No, he was not Elijah. No, he was not the Prophet. Instead, he was exactly whom God had made him to be—a wild hairy dude wearing camel skins and eating locusts in the desert but also the one who came to prepare the way for the Christ.

Hmmm. I like that.

POTENTIAL AND OTHER UNACHIEVABLE IDEAS THAT CAUSE ME TO WHINE (A LOT)

Welcome to my pity party!

Welcome to my pity party!

By Lisa Huddleston

I’m throwing a little pity party, and lucky you are cordially invited. So what’s the problem? Oh just more of the same: feeling as though I don’t fit in any category I can find and knowing that unrealized potential is worse than no potential at all.

Haven’t I written about this stuff before? Sure I have! And that makes my party even more spectacular. Balloons, banners, confetti–the works!

What’s  today’s cause for celebration? Let’s see: a less than stellar grade on an assignment for my Evaluation and Remediation of Reading class, a growing recognition that I am wasting time and money by taking these classes to renew my teaching license because odds are that I will never really teach, and a general sense of failure and despair. Yeah, that covers and smothers it pretty well. (Why yes, that IS a reference to Waffle House’s menu.)

Oh well, what’s a girl to do? Get over herself, I guess.

I did read a wonderful passage from Galatians this morning, chapter 6, verses 4-5, that contains some pretty good words to consider right about now:

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (The Message)

Who am I? (THE question of the ages.) What is my given work? (Don’t I wish I knew.)  Am I sunk deeply into it? (Probably not–unless that explains that sinking feeling I’ve been experiencing–no.) Am I too impressed with myself? (Sometimes.) Am I too hard on myself by comparing myself with others? (Very likely.) Am I taking responsibility for doing my creative best with my own life? (Ah, God knows I’m trying, but this isn’t a game of horse shoes.)

And as is pretty obvious by my quick and snarky responses to Paul’s deeply probing questions, I still have a lot of work to do. Work that starts on the inside and hopefully works its way out to the world.

Change my heart, Oh God,

Make it ever true.

Change my heart, Oh God,

May I be like You.

Real. Honest. Thinking neither too highly nor too lowly of myself–nor too often. Deep. Hard working. Responsible. Creative.

Okay. The party’s over. Please, turn off the lights on your way out.