Many, Many Questions

In this blog, there are number of categories, or “tags.” And, one that I’ve mentioned a number of times is the tag called “The Stones” – the signposts and reminders I leave myself as I continue this journey into my new life. Those things I need to look back on to see where I’ve come from, where I am going, and the goodness of God who walks with me through it all.

Along the way, especially in the last six months or so, I’ve been acquiring a number of questions – things that aren’t going as I expected, or areas that don’t seem to be falling into line with the rest of this new life. Things that seem to be resisting the new and holding on (with a death grip of steel) to the old. And some things that just seem to be confusing the stuffing out of me.

(Like, for example, why oh WHY did my hair decide to not only start to fall out, but to turn rebelliously curly in the process, thus leaving me with a bad case of Chia Pet? I liked short straight hair – I knew what to do with it. This shaggy mop? Not so much.)

(For the record, the mop got cut. Chia Pet gone, short hair back. Ahhhh….)

So, here I raise a stone of questions, so that when I look back, perhaps I can see that the answer finally came, or the question became meaningless. Perhaps by the act of bringing these questions out into the physical world, they’ll rattle around a little less loudly in the ol’ noodle, and make room for other stuff that might actually be more important.

So, to all 1.927582 of you who regularly read this poopy, here be the questions. If you decide to bail at this point, no one would blame you. If you read these, and the answers jump out at you with the full brilliance of a summer day, let me know. Gently. With great compassion, ‘k?

Here’s the windup… the pitch…

Why do I find it so difficult to work at home? What is lingering there that causes me to want to just sit down, numb up, and lose a day? Is it just me being stubborn or spoiled? Are there habit patterns from my old life that are so imprinted on my life at home that I can’t rewire around them? Is it the clutter and chaos that keeps me from forming new habits?

How can I move from seeing all of the clutter around the house to actually getting rid of it, and to actually selling a whole ton of it? I have books, ebooks, ideas, inspiration – enough to make a band across Kent County, and yet I do nothing with it. I don’t take a step, even a faltering one or a wrong one. Or I try one thing (like listing a bass amp on Craigslist), it fails, so I give up.

Why do I waste so much time? Why am I perfectly content to allow everything to run in slow motion?

How is it that I manage to make a commitment to play a gig, practice, show up early with all my needed gear, do the gig well, tear down in an efficient fashion, and execute the whole thing with total focus, but can’t manage to bring the same focus and determination to a list of things to do in a single day?

Why does an external structure always make me respond, but any internal structure I try to create gets ignored? What part of me thinks so little of myself that I feel free to take my goals, ideas and dreams and flush them down the biffy?

How can I justify taking things that Vicki depends on me to do, and just letting them slide? Or things I’ve committed to do, but that don’t have a firm, in stone, do-or-die deadline? How can I just let those shuffle off and not feel shame at disappointing friends?

What am I supposed to do when I grow up? When am I going to grow up?

How do I narrow down my many, many interests into the few that I actually should do? Who decides what I should be doing and what I should let go? If I’m the one that decides that, how do I decide it?

Why do I almost never have a simple answer to the question “what do you want to do?”

Why, even though I’ve tried to shift this around in my thinking, do I always find myself asking “what am I supposed to do?” Not “what do I want to do?” or “what do I get to do?”, but “what do I have to do?” Why do I not see joy and freedom in those choices, but just numbing indecision when I have to make those decisions instead of having them made for me? Am I afraid of screwing it up?

How can I consistently shift my worldview around to begin and end with God’s abundant grace? How do I frame each day with the same view that I see my journey with? Why don’t I see every day as a gift – as great of a gift as when God brought me into this new life? Why don’t I view everything in this and each day as another outpouring of that same boundless grace?

Why is it so hard for me to make a plan for the day, write down the plan, and then actually DO the plan? Why do I so easily take the plan, use it to wipe crud off of my shoes, and then do whatever I jolly well please with the day, which usually ends up being nothing?

Will I ever be able to work by myself, either at home or in an office or studio? Or will I always need to work somewhere where there are other people around, in “public?”

How are we ever going to survive financially? Will I ever have a job that brings in regular, dependable income, or will my dear wife have to rely on her income alone, not knowing when or if her free spirit muffinhead of a husband will bring home some bacon… or turkey… or beef… or beans for that matter?

How do we dig out of a hole that’s so deep that it swallows any chance of seeing our dreams? Can someone ever recover from that kind of darkness?

How does one go about selling all their crap? Actually selling it, not caring what kind of income it brings in, just wanting the freedom of no longer having it around? And the blessing of no longer paying to store the mountain of crap from my Mom’s house that we simply don’t give a wet slap about?

Why do I have all these amazing ideas – things to get done today, ideas to develop in music, things I could do as a magician or storyteller, stuff I could make and sell on Etsy, things that might actually help justify my existence on this planet, stuff that would make Vicki smile because she’s been waiting so long for me to get my crap in gear and get it done – and when it comes time to actually get started on them, I go blank? Numb? Shut down and do nothing? Where’s the disconnect that happens between walking in the door with all these great ideas and intentions, and having them all collapse into oblivion by the time I hang up my coat? How do I heal that fracture, make the connection whole?

Why do I feel like the light gets sucked out of me daily?

How is it that I listen to the Bible every day, but most days it seems to have so little impact my life, or how I walk? Yes, it keeps me mindful of how I must start my day with God, how I should walk with Him all through the day, and end the day in Him, but I’m so quick to drop that and just go off into numbville that I get lost in the shuffle.

Why do I spend so much time asking questions, and so little time actually doing things?

Why am I just sitting here now asking questions, instead of doing something to find the answers?

(Ok – I know that one. Writing / working through stuff is an important part of my journey. Without the journaling, I wouldn’t be anywhere near as far along the path as I am today. The time I spend writing is time well spent, and essential to my future.)

Again, and again, and again, I ask “what am I supposed to DO?” This is such a huge issue, such a major lynchpin, that I’ll be wading through it in another post. Soon. Like, very soon.

Is it time to ask my doctor if Cimbalta is right for me?

(I know the answer to that one too… besides, I’m already on enough happy pills as it is.)

How is it that we’ve had a new garage door, paid for and waiting at the store, sitting there since April, and here it is, November, snowing, and the thing still isn’t even at our house, much less put up? And yes, we’ve had friends offer to help us haul the puppy home, and others offer to give us guidance on putting the thing up. We (and I mostly mean me) just haven’t done anything about it.

*** You really need to take a moment to pray for Vicki. And give her a hug if you see her today. This is the kind of stuff she lives with on a daily basis, patiently waiting as her husband is being rebuilt before her eyes. She rides through the triumph and the confusion, the delights and the disappointments, the joys and the hardships, and yet remains so delighted at the progress so far. And remains patient as I then write down all the stuff that I probably should keep away from the light of day, trotting the ups and downs of our lives out there for all to look upon.

I can’t say enough about her that adequately expresses how much she means to me. As I said, give a hug if you see her. ***

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(the following imagery brought to you by the “Cal really wants to learn how to weave and is getting a little obsessed by it” foundation…)

The Master Weaver makes the tapestry. Sometimes, He has to unravel many, many threads to correct the weaving and produce the design He has in mind. Most often, he takes the dark places, the threads that we consider repulsive or ugly, and uses them to strengthen the design in ways we couldn’t possibly expect or imagine.

It’s been said before that we only see the underside, where the threads cross and get knotted, where there is no design, only chaos. And someday, only someday will we see the design that He was producing all along.

I don’t buy it.

If we only saw the chaos, without a glimpse of the beautiful, the order, the wonder, the final magnificent design, we’d never have the heart to carry on.

Yes, we trust the Weaver, sometimes in blind faith, trusting that He who holds the shuttle and the threads in His hands knows exactly where each thread goes. But I think that He also knows that if we never have a glimpse of the design, the purpose, that we’d never learn to endure the chaos. So every once in a while, He lets us peek at the other side. He shows us the beautiful, the order, the plan, the wonder of His weaving. He gives us a glimpse of His hand at work.

He gives us hope.

So, Father, Master, Weaver, Keeper, Sustainer, I lay my questions at Your feet. They are a burden I can’t carry alone. I see the knots, I see the twisted fibers, I see the dark places where the threads bring me shame. I see the places where You’ve cut away and remade the tapestry. And I see those glimpses of hope when the skill of Your hands reveals wonder and beauty I could never dream of. Thank You that my questions never offend You, they never make You cross or impatient, and that the answers to these and many others are all in Your keeping and in Your time.

Thank You for hope. Thank You for grace. Thank You for mercy and patience. Thank You for abundant love. Thanks for knowing all the answers, and sharing some of them at the exact right time. Remind me that the weight of them is something I don’t have to bear, but instead to ask them and then hand them over to Your keeping, just as I am in Your keeping, woven into something beautiful in Your time.

Amen.

3 comments

  1. Karen Cook says:

    I share a LOT of your questions, married to a patient person myself. I did get some “perspective” help from THE FLYLADY.Com aka, Marla Cilly. She addresses the paralysis of perfectionism in some very practical ways.
    I too, struggle with the stuff and the dreams that never seem to materialize. I think a lot is gained by focusing on the gratitude for the things that ARE accomplished no matter how small.
    Keep on keeping on–there’s more good things to come.

  2. Cal, I was talking to our youngest daughter (after she completed her YWAM DTS this summer, which included reading the entire Bible in 3 months), and I mentioned how difficult it is to help our students find their calling in life. She said, “Mom, I don’t see that most people in the Bible knew their calling either…they were just faithful.” I’ve thought of that many times since…am I willing to be faithful moment by moment, day by day, and trust that God has a master plan, even if he never shows it to me this side of Heaven?

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