Stillness

It’s late and the thunder is grumbling at me outside, little cracks of heat lightning here and there, and the proverbial crickets are still chirping.

The world moves when I am still. Life doesn’t stop when we wait.

How does that even work? I’ve been attempting to co-exist with God over the past few weeks, waiting in his silence, and life as I know it hasn’t disintegrated. I’m shocked. Part of me actually believed that if I stopped moving, if I stopped actively propelling myself forward, the time-space continuum would collapse and I would spontaneously combust.

Nope. Didn’t happen. Bummer.

Because now that I know that, I’m obligated to learn from that lesson and I just haven’t come to terms with that yet. Am I really old enough to be patient now? Yeah, I guess I am.

I haven’t been writing. I turned down a job offer. I stopped spending my time dreaming up amazing, fantastic alternate futures in which I save the world. I’ve just lived one day at a time. And you know what? I was happy today.

Whoa.

And not only was I happy, I was at peace.

I was in my car this morning, parked and preparing to meet a buyer, when a woman parked next to me and started getting her two young kids out of the car. The youngest (a ridiculously adorable little boy about 2) somehow slammed the car shut on his finger. I had ice packs to keep my wine samples cool so I grabbed one and jumped out of my car with it to give to him. The mom was so sweet and her son soon calmed once he had the ice. We chatted for a bit. She was interested in the wine business, her oldest–a little girl–is the same age as my daughter and had hair just like hers; we had things in common. I ended up giving her my business card.

Maybe nothing comes of it. Maybe she’ll call me to say she got a job in the business in 3 months. I don’t know. But I left that situation feeling like something real had happened. I held that feeling nestled in my heart all day.

Last Sunday, our church met at a new location–a dedicated church building–because we’ve been invited to share it with the current congregation. It would be a huge change from meeting in an elementary school, but I think it would be a positive step. So we had a trial service. Everything about it was lovely, especially communion which my friend, Bonnie, got to serve.

If you’ve read any of the comments on my blog, you know Bonnie. She’s one of my favorite people in the whole world. Her joy, her passion, and her love for others is awe-inspiring.

I hugged Bonnie before I took the Bread and I felt at home worshipping there. It was special to receive communion from someone so dear. But I found out after the service, it was much more special than that. It was Bonnie’s first time serving communion. She told me she’d always wanted to be asked but over the past 2 years or so just hadn’t been. Not being asked was a disappointment to her; she’s been a part of that family since day one. But when she arrived at the church last Sunday, they chose her. On a very special day. She said it was infinitely sweeter and more meaningful that her first opportunity wasn’t until then.

God did that for her. Bonnie waited. She didn’t ask, she didn’t assert her wishes, she just waited. And it was so much better this way, His way.

He loved her enough to not only give her what she wanted, but to make it better than she imagined it could be.

Bonnie’s experience helped me reconcile myself to this season of waiting. Do I believe that God has something big in store for me? Yes, yes I do. I really felt like it was happening soon. That tomorrow or the next day there would be some big POOF of Holy Spirit glitter and my life would be more meaningful and important. That I could figure out where I’m supposed to go and what I’m supposed to do because I’m actually trying to be committed to my faith and seeking God.

Yeah, it’s not that complicated.

It’s actually quite simple. I typically reject the notion that anything worthwhile could be simple but this concept I like.

Here it is: God loves me. I don’t have to decide. I make decisions in stress and anxiety, that’s not what God wants for me. I don’t have to figure it out; God ALREADY has it figured out. (Although, Big Man, I am cool with you sharing the plan sooner rather than later!) I kept telling myself that I could wait on God and still search for the right way to go. That was in fact code for “still retain some control and mentally jackhammer myself into a rubbled mess.” That’s not resting in Him, that’s not waiting, and it’s definitely not being still. I mean, have you seen a jackhammer in action? That is the opposite of stillness.

So it’s not some big magical overhaul. It’s little moments. Like being there to give a little boy ice for his finger. Like getting to serve communion on a special day. Like being the kind of person that lives one day at time. It’s less stressful and more meaningful. I’ll take that today. And probably tomorrow, too.

Writer’s Block, Family Time, and A Big Happy

So I promised via social media that my next post would be about tricking you into loving White Trash. I have literally drafted 7 different posts and can’t find it in my heart to like any of them. Mostly because when I try to be funny, I sound like a bitch instead, but also because I have had the cold/sinus infection from Hades and am still not 100% better. And we’ve been busy. And also, I’ve had a mental block on writing anything else since “Never Alone.” I may have drained my emotional reserves on that one.

So to power through this hiatus of soul-diving, I’m dedicating this post to my sister in honor of her college graduation.

As a four year old, I prayed at dinner every night that God would give me a sister. I intended for her to be an older sister, but God saw fit to start Emily with us as an infant despite my request. Although, to her credit, she often (read: nearly always) acts older than I do.

She is my greatest friend, my dearest supporter, and my favorite everything. She is the best Auntie in the world to my Eva. And as of tomorrow, she will also be the coolest, smartest, soon-to-be most successful B.S.N (Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing) recipient to ever walk the Earth.

We are here to celebrate her graduation, ceremonies and things to attend galore. And she deserves it all. She has overcome so many obstacles to reach this goal and I couldn’t be prouder or fuller of heart. She can find the fetal heartbeat in twins, stick an IV in a high risk “the charge nurse can’t even find a vein” patient, and stomach cleaning the nastiest and smelliest of bacterial infections. She can make me laugh when I’m crying and throws my good advice to her back in my face with zeal. And she held my hand as Eva was born.

I could tell you lots of cutsey stories from her childhood, or funny stories about her clutzy-ness. I could even tell you sad stories of all things she has survived–cancer, major car wreck injuries, broken bones, etc. But all you need to know is that she always makes it out on top. Because she is strong like that. (And no, I cannot take credit for setting that good example.) She has the sweetest spirit and the most compassionate heart. She has been–and will always be–the better sister.

She has such a wonderful clarity of purpose; I envy her deeply. She knows it is her place in life to care for those who are hurting and heal those who are sick. And she will not only perform her job well; she will be a light to those around her and a hope to those who need her.

So here’s to you, Emily. You are one in 7 billion. There is no one else in the world like you.

 

P.S. I am probably going to bawl my eyes out tomorrow.

Blue Eyes Burn

It probably wasn’t the best idea ever to use @blueeyesburn–a creative non sequitur–rather than simple and explicit Twitter handle. I didn’t even check to see if “abbyandeva” was available. Ya know, my blog title… That would have made sense, right? I’m sure this is the first broken rule of many when it comes to social media, marketing, and self-promotion.

But I like what I chose and it feels meaningful so… please don’t judge me. At least to my face…

It’s a little alliteration, a little physicality (I have blue eyes), and a little “huh, wtf does that mean, Abby??”

I like to keep people guessing.

Having spent my college career devoted to literature and language, I care about symbolism. Symbols are significantly more concise than explaining everything all the effing time. (which is what I do on my blog…but that’s beside the point…) And blue eyes are symbolic of that awful, inflexible beauty paradigm women constantly battle: looking like models and–in the bigger, historical picture–simply being white.

Yes, I like my eyes and they are generally my most complimented feature, but other than being white, I am not representative of that model at all. Nor is Eva.

I have blue eyes, but my gorgeous biracial daughter does not. Her eyes are a glittering mix of green and brown and they are set into a face that could steal your heart. She is stunning. People literally stop in their tracks when they see her. All the time. Especially at the mall.

She doesn’t fully comprehend the significance of that yet. What she does know is that she doesn’t look like me in some ways and it bothers her.

I am covered in freckles. She has one, solitary freckle on the little toe of her left foot. We talk about that freckle. That her one is just as good as mommy’s many.

She knows my hair is nearly black and straight, we say hers is made of golden curls (light brown with beautiful, natural flaxen blonde highlights). Gold is special. I want Eva to know she is special.

I know I can teach her that by being comfortable and proud of who I am but I fear our society isn’t as open-minded and culturally aware as we want to believe it is. Yes, now there are so many more accepted interracial families than there were ten years ago. There are many beautiful, successful celebrities that are of mixed backgrounds.

But does anyone remember the 2008 elections? (I promise this is not about politics! Don’t navigate away yet!) It didn’t matter that Barack Obama was raised by his white mother and grandparents. 50% African genes meant more than his 50% Caucasian genes. He is the first “black” president in the eyes of the public.

Now, please don’t take that the wrong way. I would NEVER want to detract from how meaningful and uplifting his success is and SHOULD be to the African American community. Believe me, I held my 10 month old baby girl and bawled my eyes out the whole way through his inauguration. It’s a huge step in the right direction.

But for all intents and purposes, his mixed race status was set aside because it was easier to check the “black” box than actually be progressive enough to discuss race as more than a black and white issue.

But how do we as parents make it a non-issue? Aren’t humans programmed to sort and define and categorize? We wouldn’t have scientists if there wasn’t something driving us to understand.

I’m just saying. And wondering. I’m a white momma to a mixed daughter and sometimes I wonder if I am giving her everything she needs to succeed and have a healthy self-esteem.

The good news is if you look past the freckles and the hair color, we DO look alike!

Left: Me at 5 holding my baby sister Right: Eva at 4

Holy genetics, y’all! That’s my face! And anyone can tell you that Eva and I share facial expressions down to the tiniest muscle contraction. Total mini-me.

I would love, love, love to hear from other interracial families (especially with older, more cognizant kids). How do you approach the “why do we look different?” question? What makes it easier? What makes it more difficult? I’d love to hear from anyone about this, actually.

And while I have your attention: thank you for reading. It means a lot to me.

Open

In classic Wilson decision-making style, we decided to visit the beach over the weekend Saturday morning. We packed haphazardly, hopped in the car, and headed straight for the ocean.

Side Note: My little corner of heaven will be filled with the sounds of crashing waves, rolling winds, Bach’s Suite for Cello in D, and Eva’s baby laughter. I love the ocean.

This morning we got up at 7:00 AM, had breakfast at our favorite spot with our favorite waitress, and got back on the beach by 9:00 AM.

First, we built an epic sand castle.

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The only thing that could have made building this better would be my sister’s help. She should have totally been here instead of plowing through her last month of college.

And then, Eva made a friend.

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This sweet little girl is about a year younger than Eva, had the cutest little Charlotte drawl, and was a doll. They took a couple minutes to warm up to each other but, without even saying hi, they were best friends.

They ran and screamed and dug holes and fetched water back and forth in pails.

They laughed and shared and talked and splashed and played in the mud.

Looked like they had a marvelous time.

It was beautiful watching them. They’d never met before. They kept forgetting each others’ name. But they didn’t disagree, they shared their toys, they compromised. They played well.

Halfway into their playtime, I started to wonder why adults can’t always do that. I hadn’t talked to the little girl’s mom and she hadn’t spoken to me; her mom was sitting in her chair reading while the girls played near our chairs. Eventually, we talked and got to know each other a bit. Their beach house is just around the corner from ours so I hope we run into them again over the summer.

But if it hadn’t been for Eva and her daughter playing together, it would not have even occurred to me to introduce myself or speak to her.

Now, to be fair to myself, I introduce myself to strangers constantly for work (sales) so it’s not like I’m some crazy snob or anything.

Ok, maybe I have some innate snobbery but I am trying to work on it, thanks.

But what I am curious about is how many meaningful interactions we miss out on as adults. Our little girls were so open to each other, so uncomplicated, so ready to be great friends. Granted, their interests are much simpler: play and play and…yeah, that’s it. Just play. Where as adults have a huge range of interests and belief systems. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look at people (at least initially) with the hope that there could be a friendship waiting.

I want to be more open. We’ve been back in North Carolina for over two years now and I am just starting to feel some roots taking hold. I blame myself for not getting us out there and finding/making more meaningful connections. But a new church home and some really solid friendships that have grown beautifully in the past year give me a basket of hope that more roots will settle soon.

What kinds of friendship and love can we add to our lives by just being a little bit more open? I am eager I find out.