Reentry

Photo: Kevin Dooley on Flickr via Creative Commons

Photo: Kevin Dooley on Flickr via Creative Commons

So hi there. Welcome back.

While I am reticent to contribute to the apologetic blogger trope making excuses (ahem, justifying) a long absence, knowing what lies ahead does cause me to feel like I should explain what’s led to this point. The past seven or so months have been loaded with intense introspection. Several pivotal relationships, some physical challenges, andΒ  sudden increase in self-awareness have served as lights shining into pretty dark corners of my soul. Somehow I’ve found the courage to peer into those corners, and what I’ve found has been fairly revelatory. Three major skeletons have emerged, and over the next three months I hope to sit down with each of them to discuss how I might help them move on.

One of these skeletons is in charge of my relational cycles and struggles. Like the conductor of an incredibly chaotic symphony, these bony fingers have been drawing from all my dysfunctions and broken relationships to keep an almost constant crescendo of emotion and analysis blaring in my mind. I’m learning things about myself that are…disheartening. However through the wisdom of a counselor, the faithfulness of a few (even unwitting) friends, and an incredibly supportive circle, I am finding a pathway to quiet, to peace.

Another skeleton has had a choke hold on my physical body most of my life. I never learned to make friends with my frame, never learned to tap into my rhythms, never learned to use my body in productive ways. My body has always been the necessary evil that housed my brain, which is really the only useful part of me. Until a weird and completely preventable injury took me out last May. That month I began my very first true journey into the dark underbelly of the world that is the gym. I became stronger, learned to do things I’d never done before, discovered abilities and muscles that were new to me. I’ve also learned that I have some serious hangups when it comes to living in a body, and they are drastically impairing other parts of my life.

The third in this skeletal trio has been poking holes in my spiritual fabric for years. A friend recently sent me an email to encourage me that he sees all the ways I serve in our church and that it’s appreciated. He also asked me where I’m receiving input these days. The question alone deflated me. I’ve been wrestling for years with the deconstruction of the faith of my youth, but have been at a loss for how to pursue reconstruction. My output has exceeded my input for so long that I didn’t notice the reserve dropping lower and lower. Suddenly I’ve had to face the truth: right now there’s nothing left. I’m as dry as I could possibly be, and every attempt to fill myself seems futile.

So I made a decision that kind of terrifies me. For the next three months I have stepped away from literally every commitment other than work. Every group I lead, every class I teach, is on hold until July. My calendar is eerily empty. During this time, I am going to dance with these skeletons in an attempt to give them flesh and allow them to walk into the light. First, I’m going to be pursuing counseling and all the gritty, annoying, painstaking processes that requires of me. Second, I’ve committed to a three-month fitness program. Third, I’ve found some possible paths to what might look like spiritual oases in this desert I’ve been wandering I will be pursuing.

That’s it. Working out. Facing my inner demons. Searching for some living water. That’s the extent of my intention over the next twelve weeks. Part of me is already fearing I’ll become an isolated weirdo, committing allergy suicide and buying cats. Part of me assumes I’ll have failed in all of these things by May. Yet. Since September I’ve remained in scary relationships I wanted to run and hide from. I’ve run longer and faster than ever before. I’ve remained certain that a spiritual path is worth pursuing. I know new things are on the horizon. I want to make space for them, and take the time to notice.

Which is where you, my long-suffering readers, come in. For those of you who are still around, this space will be where I chronicle this little experiment of mine. Mostly in an attempt to remain intentional, purposeful in processing all of it rather than defaulting to some mindless routine of work-gym-Netflix-repeat. It may seem self-indulgent, even trite. If so, feel free to check back in around July and see what new thing might be cooking.

They say travel companions can dictate the quality of a journey. From what I know of you, I certainly hope that’s true.

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8 Comments

  1. John Gill said,

    April 6, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    We will be watching out πŸ™‚ And know you always have friends… Sometimes the leaving of commitments can leave a hole that feels like it shouldn’t be there, like something is wrong, like you might of done something wrong… these things are incorrect! You are right, and I hope you find peace in the stillness. And if you can’t find peace, don’t be afraid to call!!! ❀

  2. April 6, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Glad to see you back here! Mostly because I know what that means to you. Dance away, girl. I ain’t going nowhere πŸ™‚

  3. Adiel said,

    April 6, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    I think of you often, Mandy, and I’ve been wondering how you are so this was a very welcome update. πŸ™‚ I wish you all success on your 12-week journey. You are one brave girl and that, my friend, is a lovely thing to witness. I hope you find peace and refreshment as you draw nearer to our God during this time. Keep running, keep fighting, keep breathing. Surely the One who conquered Death can bring life to these skeletons. And thanks for letting us tag along with you. ❀

  4. krucks said,

    April 16, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Without even realizing it, you have been and will continue to be “the wind beneath our wings” for so many. Your continuing journey inspires others and I pray it will inspire you and let you fly!


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