Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Metaphors, the Rat Race, and Slow Showers

It was another morning on the beach. Another day of nearly 12 successive walks on the beach. Sand, shore, shells. Run, chase, walk, breathe. We stomped through shallow pools while the high tide pulled the ocean away from below our feet, and I considered every beautiful analogy the ocean offered.

Everything, great and small, points to Him, to beauty, to imagination. Stories are in every element of creation and nature, and if I'm tuning in, I feel like I see and hear them all.

And instead of feeling the usual overwhelming sense of gratitude toward the great analogy played out around us, I was irritated.

I was annoyed that the ocean was so big, and I was so small. I was annoyed that I looked at shells and saw my heart. I was angry that watching my daughter chase birds made me think more about a blog entry instead of her.

I am prone to always dig below the surface in my own life. Sometimes this is beauty. Sometimes it's distraction. I admit, there are times I end up extracting another meaning out of a situation simply because I am unable, unwilling or too bored to experience what is actually happening.

I wonder how different my words and relationships would be if I stopped viewing all things through the spin of my wild mind.

On that beach, while my daughter chased birds, I told myself to forget about the extra meanings and possible metaphors. I actually shook my head and closed my eyes and told myself to listen, and breathe, and then watch and experience.

Extracting is good. Mining for the deep things is a hard and necessary work. Sometimes I need to look at the world around me and realize that God is still speaking through the work of His hands. I want to notice how interwoven and connected everything is.

And sometimes I want to just get dirty feet, feel the heat of the sun and notice how my daughter's curls form perfectly on her shoulders on a humid April afternoon. I need days full of her crinkled nose and storytelling. I need to pay more attention to the words I say to her instead of the words I'm writing inside. It's all happening so fast, I think. While I'm mentally adding and erasing metaphors, I'm accidentally erasing myself from my own story. Those little things? The things that are happening in front of me? These are the joys I am tucking into my pocket and remembering these days.


This morning, I woke up racing. For no good reason. I jumped out of bed, started the routine like an internal alarm was constantly ringing, constantly telling me I was behind schedule. Which I wasn't, but I felt it.

And in the shower, I furiously scrubbed my head and felt my heart pumping in my throat. A list began in my head, and prayers spilled out of my lips until I sensed one thing.


I whispered it to myself and let the hot water run. I breathed. I slowed.


I'm exhausted from exhausting myself. Yesterday Emily Maynard tweeted this:

I wanted to shout yes! And then wrote it down in about three places. And retweeted it. And then told myself to chill out.

Because internally, I'm a mess. I'm racing. Running. Writing. Noting. Observing. Calculating. Adding. Praying. Begging. Shouting. Crying. Dying. Listing. Working.

And I'm exhausted of it all. That is not the person I want to be. That's not how I want my daughter to remember me: a mother who was never at peace until she was laid to rest.


So today, I'm recalling the beach. I'm looking at a long list and just taking another breath. I'm doing the next thing, and then doodling in the margins. Internal conversations sound a whole lot more Gospel & Jesus-centered, and less me-centered. Not because I'm a good Christian, because that's hardly the truth. Rather because I need to center my life around something unmoveable, unshakeable and un-Andrea-metaphorical.  I need the center spoke of my life to be made of wood and grace, not my sweat and fears.

Yes, I need to pay the bills, continue writing, be a mother, finish work, wash the dishes, and so on. But the condition of my heart does not need to reflection the chaos of my hands. 

Let the checkered flags be wrapped up and stowed away. I was not tapped to run in this rat race.


  1. And then you wrap up my heart in a few lines. I've been so convicted lately of living more in the moment. Of letting go of control. Of being with my boys...they are only 2 and 7 months for one month. One little month.

    1. Right there with you friend. I'm just genuinely concerned that in 20 years, I will view all the time I spent online or in my head, or worrying and being fearful of what is or isn't happening, as a lot of wasted time. I want to correct this now while I still can, you know? I think the first step is just intentionally putting my heart at rest in Christ....like, reminding myself that this world is not home, the hardest battle of my life is finished in Christ, all of my joys, hopes and expectations are complete in Him and through Him and without resting in the Spirit, I am left to rely on my messy self...If I can get my eyes there and off of myself, I know my heart will start to follow suit.

  2. I want to tape those last few paragraphs to my wall, alongside all of your artwork, because oh how my much too busy life needs this. Rest isn't even in my vocabulary anymore.

  3. Yes, yes, yes. I love every word of this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I don't know why I never realized before this year that stopping to breathe - and not just to deal with negative states - is one of the most healing things we can do for ourselves.