16 November 2009

This next season.

A new season is beginning.  A season not characterized by the state of leaves and limb but of questions of courage and faith.  As the final batches of leaves flutter down onto my now-dormant flower beds, I'm being stripped naked, too.  I have come to expect this seasonal stripping of self, and I am not fearful - I know it's what needs to happen.

You see, it's been so easy lately to hide in the shadow of others' stories rather than live my own.  About a month ago, my talented husband was given the opportunity to live his dream of becoming an organic personal chef to a family here in Dallas.  Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons are now filled with menu planning, cooking, and delivering gourmet meals.  I could not have been more excited for him - he has always loved working with food and cooking for people, and now a way to make it part of his job?  Perfect.  I jumped in right away, taking on new tasks like making desserts, cleaning dishes, and typing up the menus, and in the process worked myself into a nice little hole of not having a single day off to rest and breathe.

And then, a few weeks later, I hit a wall.   I started snapping at people.  I was exhausted.  And I started to feel like I was in prison.  One night as I was returning home from running errands on a rare evening by myself, I parked the car in the driveway and sat there for a few moments quietly, gazing at the full moon through my open moon roof.  The song "Dream" by Priscilla Ahn was playing, and a deep longing rose in my soul as I listened to these lyrics: "I had a dream that I could fly from the highest swing..."  All I could dream at that moment was freedom and escape.  How had my life become this busy and demanding?

Then, I had a realization.  I could still support and encourage my husband without adopting his dream as my own.  Besides, I was doing it all out of obligation and guilt rather than joy.  Yuck. I am not living truthfully at all by adopting someone else's dream.  I have a unique calling on my life to be a writer, artist, creative soul, a courageous and tender woman.  "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." {Proverbs 31:25}

So, something had to change.  I talked to my husband and took a huge step back.  And peace followed.

I've always thought it's such an interesting thing about marriage - we are on the same road walking in the same direction, but we each have our own individual stories.  We each retain our precious identities.  One of the greatest challenges is learning how to live out those unique stories while being one flesh together.

Have you ever read Abba's Child by Brennan Manning?  People have been telling me to read that book for a decade.   I am just now discovering its beauty and relevance in my life as I realize that of my almost 30 years as a believer in Christ, I still do not really know what it feels like to know I am God's beloved.

And that's what is really at the heart of this whole thing.

Yes, I know He loves me.   I know He is intimate with the details of my life and orchestrates all of my days.  But I want to know that He is not only intimate with the details of my life but with me.  I honestly don't know what that even means. How do I feel the sweetness of that love?  I know it starts with spending more time just being quiet with God.  His Beloved is already my identity.  If I don't feel it, then perhaps something is getting in the way.

I've spent a lot of time lately sitting in the quiet of my bedroom, eyes closed, book clutched to my chest, asking for God to tell me how He feels about me.  The words I receive back are all beautiful and encouraging.   He tells me to keep going, keep moving forward.  In my time of waiting, do not stall.  I have gifts to share, words to keep writing, truths to speak.  He tells me, "See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."  {Isaiah 43:19}

So, step one was breaking ties with obligations that were not part of my unique calling.  Step two is living out who I am meant to be.  I don't know what is coming next, but I know it will be good, as are all things that come from Him.

09 November 2009

A night at the symphony.

Before our very eyes, Dallas is sprouting into an entirely new city.  Construction cranes stand like skinny skyscrapers along the skyline.  There are rumors that we'll soon have a public park that is built like a bridge over the freeway, and downtown Dallas is actually alive after work hours now, bustling with activity as people return home to their urban loft dwellings.

I've traveled so many places, but I thought it was high time I wrote about the city where I live.  I'm more of a "quaint town" person at heart, but there are so many things to appreciate about Dallas during this time in my life, even though it took me awhile to see them.  One of those things is our amazing Arts District and the Dallas Symphony.

I've always wanted to get dolled up in the perfect black dress and my leopard print heels and go to the symphony. It sounds so sophisticated, so cultured.  "Ah yes, we're going to the symphony tonight, just in case you're wondering."  For folks like us who live most of our days in tank tops and workout pants, it's definitely a rare treat.

Thanks to our friend Tommy and his student discount, we got second row tickets at the Meyerson Center to hear Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.  Now, before you think I really know what I'm talking about or that I've become a classical music aficionado, I have to admit that this is perhaps the only piece of classical music I can actually identify.  It was in one of my favorite early 80s films - Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

Here are a few photos to document our evening soaking up the Dallas cultural scene...

the baileys

the symphony warming up - look at that pipe organ!

the gorgeous inside of the meyerson

At the beginning of the performance I found myself a bit nervous and antsy.  We were roughly five feet from the string section, and the printed program had an extensive list of things you are not permitted to do - like cough, for example.  Uh oh.  Apparently, silence is prized at the symphony, and a silent pause can actually be a part of the musical piece.  So, everyone saves their coughs, shuffling of candy wrappers, and yes, even the clanging of their bangle bracelets {it actually said that in the program}, until after a movement is completed.  Then, the entire room erupts into bizarre noises, sounding like an infirmary as everyone lets out their stifled coughs and sneezes.

The performance itself was breathtaking - the violins were so precise that at times they sounded like a swarm of bumble bees.  And the symphony ended on the clearest chord I have ever heard - all of the horns in unison with a purity that forced me to close my eyes.  What is it about music that speaks to the human heart so?

Afterwards, the four of us walked to the car with smiles on our faces, agreeing that part of what made the evening so special was that it was so different than our normal daily lives.  We then headed to another Dallas hot-spot I've always wanted to visit - Reunion Tower.  It's the big sparkling ball that you see on the Dallas skyline.  At the very top is Wolfgang Puck's new restaurant, Five Sixty {because it's 560 feet above the ground}.

There, instead of dinner, we opted for the less expensive desserts: mouth-watering Fuji Apple Crumble Pie a la mode and a chocolate soufflé.  I don't have any photos of the desserts because we devoured them that quickly.  

tommy and linda at five sixty

It was such a fun evening!  If I have to fall in love with Dallas, a classy night out on the town is just the thing to reel me in.