For some reason I looked your website up tonight. It’s been a long time since I have seen you. I remember when your mouth was much more delicate. I know that same essence of beauty still remains inside of you. It would be humbling if you could raise your talent to the higher regard for beauty that you were called for. You see, something that I have learned through my experience is that the calling for decency is viewed as weak and vulnerable, and is often valued but grossly misunderstood. However true that may be at my level, it has been long since written as highly observed at the eternal: “And he will bring justice to the nations. He will not quarrel, nor scream at people. You will not be able to hear his voice above the chatter of the street. In bringing discernment of what is good and right to the point that it actually governs human existence, he will not even use the violence it takes to finish breaking a stick that is already cracked or smother a smoking wick.” -Isa 42 1:4 That passage has captured my heart since I first read it. Think of it…The Lord’s countenance, in his utmost power and sovereign position, chooses to remain meek and gentle in demeanor concerning his affairs with us. Why? Because it is beautiful. I have learned that it takes an incredible amount of discipline to simply be decent; more discipline than Navy SEAL training, and that it is a calling above mediocrity. I’m not sure if you would agree with me if I said that your beautiful heart is not as profane as the character on your blog, Erin. But you don’t have to agree with me in order for it to be true; there has always been an eternal sweetness and about you. I’m sure that the key is not far out of reach. I wish for you to keep in mind that the rose in a very special way- and more generally the flower, even in its most humble form- is a fragile but irrepressible witness on earth to a “larger” world where good is somehow safe.
I keep this email in a folder on my laptop. It was the very first piece of evidence I had received that told me I was “breaking the rules” by writing. I remember feeling nauseas and burning shame as I slowly digested the words. I had disappointed someone out there. I didn’t know who to apologize to, or to tell they were right and I would change my disgusting, filthy ways so I could make them feel better. There was no name. I didn’t realize at the time, their deliberate anonymity meant they were afraid to own their truth.
I have tried to shut down my blog or my Facebook page hundreds of times because I have angered or hurt someone with my words. I hate this even more than cilantro and I am crippled with anxiety, embarrassment and overwhelming guilt when I discover I have inadvertently triggered emotion. “Bitch.” “Go to Hell.” “I feel sorry for your kids.” “You are a dumb whore.” “I am unfollowing you.” “Idiots are everywhere.” Dick Pic. Dick Pic. Lewd Proposition. Dick Pic. Well, you wrote it Erin, so obviously you deserve it. I don’t typically give credence to those who say “thank you” or “I thought I was the only one” or “your blog makes me less alone.”
I understand that writing a blog is not a “necessary” job. I don’t run into burning buildings, deliver babies, teach children, negotiate peace treaties, install cable, or heal the sick. It is just a weird, inexplicable calling I have. A calling so strong it wakes me up early each day when the energy of the world is still sleeping so I can receive the gift of quiet. Just me, my coffee, my trusty laptop and my thoughts.
My life is not always neat and pretty, sometimes it is dark and messy. Discussing my uglies are not what some people want to read. I get it. Sometimes my marriage is shitty, sometimes I feel like I am ruining my children, sometimes I look at my body with utter disgust, sometimes I say unkind things, sometimes I am worried about not having enough money or what people think of me, sometimes my past bubbles up and I am filled with rage at the injustices and abuse I have endured. Sometimes I am mad at God.
And other times I am so filled with love that I feel like my heart will explode. I deeply and wholly love Mike and he loves me, warts (not genital) and all. I am reminded that my children picked me, repeat ME, to be their mother (occasionally making me seriously question their decision making skills.) I have friends and a sister who would come to me if I called in need, because they find me worthy of love.
In these moments, I realize the excruciating, knee buckling pain that accompanies life is not meant to punish me. To the contrary, things happen to teach me forgiveness, self-worth, grace, humility and compassion. I see God in everything and everyone. And I never, ever, ever want life to end because it is just so breathtakingly beautiful. And then I take more drugs. JUST KIDDING. *Don’t do drugs.
I like to read this email from time to time. It reminds me to tell the truth. My truth. The God this person writes of sounds scary and makes me want to run away from him. It doesn’t bring me comfort, it brings condemnation and judgement and this is definitely not my truth. I am preeeetty sure the author was the chick at slumber parties who held a flashlight under her face in the dark telling spooky stories before I would say “f this” and call my mom to come pick me up. Obviously, she upped her game at some point and started sending spooky religious emails in the middle of the night but whatever. This is her truth.
My spirituality is sacred to me. It is the one thing in my life I refuse to feel guilty about. It is the personal space I go to find forgiveness and grace in a world that frequently overwhelms me. It is a place that both recognizes the human in me and the eternal spirit. My truth that says the f word. My truth that makes countless mistakes. My truth that dusts herself off when she gets knocked down and slowly stands back up.
My truth that inexplicably finds something to love in nearly everyone who crosses my path (like I can straight up fall in love with drywall if I stare at it hard enough.) My truth that recognizes the pain and champions the triumphs in others. My truth that loves to laugh. And my truth that springs into action when called upon by the Universe.
And my truth that knows it is God who gently wakes me each day to write because this is what I am supposed to do. XO