Monday, March 31, 2014

Finding My True Name

Have you ever considered that the name you were given at birth isn't your true name? What if there is a 
name, hidden deep inside you,that comes from your core, from who you really are. No one can know what is 
deep within you more than you yourself can.  A wise and ever-knowing friend counseled me to consider these thoughts, and by doing so, she helped me to give myself permission to find my true name.

As soon as I opened that door, a name came bursting in like the wind, and settled itself into my mind. I 
don't think it's supposed to happen that fast, I told the name. The name ignored my protest and stayed put. 
Fine, I will consider you, I said to the name. Working hard to keep an open mind, I started off on a walk a 
few days later. This was also at the suggestion of my friend, from something she had recently read.
I was supposed to take a contemplative walk, and consider whether God was giving me a new name, or 
rather, revealing my true name.Instructions were also to look for a stone, and write the name on it.

Well I walked. I tried hard to empty my mind of the tangled thoughts and intrusive name that had already 
settled there. I prayed, then I gave up and just decided to slow my determined steps and enjoy the beauty 
all around me. As I was on the last stretch of the walk, I started thinking about my miscarriage, and my 
beloved daughter that was lost to me. Tears threatened to spill, but I rapidly blinked them back as a couple
 of people walked by. I had planned on naming my daughter Evangeline River, if she had been born. 
Instead, I only gave her the name River, because she flowed away from me.

But Evangeline was the name that had burst through my mind's door when I opened it. What if...

swallowed and tried to grasp
this mind-blowing concept. What if when her body died, her soul became bound to mine, in this life. What if she never really left 
me, but together we are...I am...Evangeline.

As these intense thoughts were swirling around, I had been kicking a large pebble along without realizing it. I suddenly stopped,
quickly drawing in a gasp. I picked up the stone. It was just big enough to write the name on it. There were no other stones in sight.

In fact, I hadn't seen any others the entire walk. Suddenly I felt lighter. Free-er. I continued on and headed home. My steps 
were light and full of joy. So from now on I am:

Evangeline grace Nathan

I plan on legally changing my name before too long, and yes, I have read up on the process. I may write more later on this subject, and include some other deep reasons for changing my name....or I might not. I might choose to keep those to myself.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

prompted by poetry

It is the dirt beneath my feet
where the rocks and soil meet

Staring down, wanting peace
sound and pain and fear increase

rhythms STRONG, patterns Bold
breaking thoughts I tried to hold

Shifting heart, balance strands,
words the map to peaceful lands.

This is because of  Story Sessions, more specifically, the 40 days of art journaling that I am taking part of within story sessions. I drew the word Poetry today out of a bunch of words that we were given as prompts for each day. We were also encouraged to take a walk and see where the word we had drawn would take us. #ssartjournal

Friday, March 7, 2014

She Belongs

         She sat on her bed, arranging each stuffed animal in its place. They each had their special place to sit, and they each belonged. She stared deep into their eyes. "I know you can talk", she told them. "I just don't know why you don't trust me enough to talk in front of me. Maybe God will make them talk to me." She thought. So she prayed: "dear God, if my toys can really talk, please make them talk to me now, so I know it's true." She opened her eyes and stared at her stuffed animals. Nothing. They remained motionless and quiet. "fine, but I still know you can talk. You can't fool me." She knew it deep down, and things that she knew deep down could not be swayed by a single, failed attempt at communication. Nothing could touch her inside. Deep inside, she was safe and accepted, because God lived there. At breakfast she informed her older sisters that she knew the meaning of a certain word. It was a big word, and complicated for one so young. They did not believe her, so they insisted she describe the meaning to them. She refused. She knew the meaning of the word, and by holding it safe in her heart, and not proving herself to her sisters, she knew that she had power...that she was power, and that their unbelief could not touch that.

          She was hungry. She was always hungry it seemed, and always wanting a snack. Her stomach stuck out when she walked, mostly because she slouched. Her hair was short because she had asked her mother to cut it like a boy's hair. She wished she was a boy. Her sister joined her in their room and plopped down on the bed next to her. "I heard something that I probably shouldn't tell you." Her sister informed her.
"You have to tell me!" She demanded. "now."
"Well..." Her sister began. "I overheard dad talking to mom, and he said you were getting kind of chubby. He's wrong, though! You aren't fat at all."
Her insides felt like they were plummeting, and suddenly she knew. She knew she was ugly. She knew she was chubby. She knew she wasn't good enough anymore. She wasn't a lovely little girl anymore. She was just...ugly.

The Lie: You Don't Matter. You don't matter to the world, to those around you. You know you are loved by God, but you don't know that anyone else could love you. Like, only a Mother could love you. Only your Mother God.

"The adults walk above me. Children look up and see me."

          She sat on the carpet floor in her bedroom, head bowed, clutching her diary to her chest, and listening to the voices talking and laughing downstairs. The family had company over. Tears silently ran down her cheeks and dripped off her nose. She was hiding, hoping beyond hope that someone would miss her and come ask her to join them, because she was important too, and her words mattered. No one came. No one ever did. She knew the truth. She knew her voice couldn't carry the weight anymore. Maybe it's time to end it. To end her. Why was she here, if no one needed her anymore. If no one cared enough to find her. Something was wrong. She was fading away. Her words of "I love you" and the way she tried to catch their eyes...failed. Somehow her voice was never heard. Somehow she was too often overlooked. Caught in the cracks of not being old enough and also being too old. She wanted to leave. To end this life that didn't seem to matter. She opened her diary and wrote: Hold, me God. I'm fading away, and you're the only one who cares. Why should I stay?


Hello, little grace. I whisper to the little girl sitting on her bed with her stuffed animals. She looks up and smiles at me. I'm lost. I came to you because you are not lost. Do you know why I am lost?
"Yes." She says confidently. "it's because you forgot you are an artist. A genius artist! You make things prettier." Yes. You know this. You don't doubt, and you are right. I told her. She look thoughtful for a moment. "Does my dream come true?"
Which dream is that?
"Do I get my own baby, and it calls me mommy?"  My heart warmed, and I felt my whole self glowing from within.
You get three. 
She beamed at me, and picked up a teddy bear and gently started rocking and singing.

Linked up with The Girls We Once Were

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Love in Art

           Lately it feels like everything is pressing in on me from all sides, and soon I may just implode from the pressure. I fight, and take deep breaths to keep myself whole and in control. There are moments when I feel completely free and light. Those moments come when I am creating. I recently finished painting and re-upholstering our dining room chairs. I also painted the table. I have a sewing project I pick up and put down when I feel like it. My art journal is always there waiting for me. Last night I started making a mosaic on a round kitchen table. It's going to be gorgeous.

I think sometimes that if I can create enough beauty, then maybe some of the ugliness in the world will be cast out. It just won't have a place anymore and will have to leave. Each beautiful thing I create is like turning on a light in a pitch black sky scraper. It seems daunting to fill the entire building with light, but room by room, I have to believe it can be done. Although, maybe some rooms are meant to be left dark. Darkness can be warmth and rest. Renewal. It isn't all oppressive.

When I create art, I feel Love right there with me. Inspiring me, and sometimes guiding me. It's like each thing I create is a mission I've been given, and when I'm done, it's complete and whole, and I feel more complete and whole. It's healing.

I think that everyone has hurt and pain in their past and in their present, and in their future. For me, when I've been hurt, it feels like a small piece of me has been taken away, as if I'm a puzzle. So I'm not whole anymore. When I desire to create something, and I fulfill that desire, it feels like I get one puzzle piece back. I'm one step closer to being whole, or at least you can tell what picture I'm trying to show you, even if some pieces are still missing.

When I paint, each stroke of the brush is like an empty riverbed, opening up a channel for the negative emotions to flow out. When I sew, each stitch that pulls a seam together is also connecting the rational thoughts with the irrational feelings, bringing them together to form sense and clarity. Each piece I glue down, every line or swirl that I draw, each strip of tape, smattering of color, and each word I write. They all flow together to continue in the creation of me. Love formed my soul, the canvas, and then handed me the paint and the brush.