Monthly Archives: June 2011

today: confession

“…and that’s when I get to wondering, what would happen if I told her she something good, ever day?”
The Help, Kathryn Stockett (so, so good)

Hi, my name is Erin, and I over-commit famously. The intention to love people and love them well gets muddied up by one too many projects and ideas and poems and books and photographs and you get the idea. I believe life can be lived simply and fully but find myself ending most days exhausted. I know I should drink less coffee and spend more time with God. I’m easily distracted. And I don’t read enough. I miss playing music.

My name is Erin, and I hunger to look people people in the eye and love them just like Jesus did, but a lot of times I stumble into judgment first. “I’m sorry” often doesn’t come out as quickly as it ought. I’m stubborn.

I love conversations that light up the face of the person across from me. I believe community matters. And yet I’m busy and procrastinating, often unable to make time for anyone unwilling to bend my way. I cannot figure out how to fit travel and working with people outside of my comfort zone back into my schedule. I’m struggling to write words and stories of significance these days, even as my camera lens time and again captures beauty. I get the work done but find it difficult to be creative outside of work’s constraints. It’s not that I feel like a failure; it’s just that I am aware of shortcomings. And sometimes I do fail.

Was it just a week or so ago that I stood on the beach with being with people I love the sole task on the to-list for the day? Is that possible?

Please don’t read these words as despairing; I needed to get this stuff off my chest, to put these feelings to words so that they won’t hang over my head anymore tonight. I need to sleep, and sleep alludes when I hang onto this stuff. I need to be ready for tomorrow, because tomorrow is a new day. And tomorrow I will play with kids and be outside and run some miles. Those things are grace to me, and I suspect they’ll be used to help me regroup.

Something I know to be true: none of these things define me; God does.

And he says I’m his.
And that he loves me.
And that his love is enough, his grace sufficient, his power made perfect in weakness.
And I believe him.

Hi my name is Erin, and oh to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be. Thankfully.


tonight: evening prayer

What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.
-C.S. Lewis

Oh how I want to live simply, to love well, to say thank you.

put me in places to use words, draft pages
to see love and know graces
to watch beauty on faces
put me with you, and I’ll do up my laces
I’ll try to leave traces
of you, only you

put me right here to live out this story
oh great hope and glory
oh show me some more
if I must hide let it be in your shadow
so all that’s reflected is
you, only you

tonight: years on graph paper

“When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.”
-Anne Lamott

words permanent on graph paper page
because short memory without that practice of coaxing dreams to permanence
so they might germinate free
and thankfully this practice exposes both truth and lies
and lies pile by the wayside revealed, powerless
but i ache, don’t we all?
for the day to come when arms spread wide, childlike
knowing, knowing, knowing truth
the work of these words permanent on graph paper page
is discovery, a treasure hunt for the realest real
and oh, the mesmerizing wonder of believing better
this world, made beautiful and we are in it
though this world, rent with fragments and scars, we are not of it
these words keep working out what that means
even on the worst of days and in the most fallen of moments
those words remain, steadying feeble steps, straightening bent paths
and these words they usher redemption
the contemplation of that thought quiets a soul
salve to the broken bits on many a rough day
those words permanent on graph paper page

today: friends

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. -C.S. Lewis

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know this story already. A few years ago I started a nannying job for a family. And then they moved to Massachusetts. And we stayed in touch. I visited. Then I visited again. Then I visited again. I kept visiting and over visits, our friendship grew.

We’ve taken trips and shared stories. I’ve watched the kids grow up in front of my camera lens some, but they’ve grown up in front of me too. That distinction is important for a photographer to make. We’ve read books and built towers and raced cars and snuggled before bed. They were newborns when I met them, and they’re about to be four.

I cannot imagine my life without them. If there’s a lesson I’ve learned about friendship in general in reviewing this friendship time and again (this time as I wrap up yet another trip), it’s this: the best of friendships build over time and often when you’re not paying attention. That makes them seem divinely gifted, and of that gift the only response is a thankful heart. God’s kindness to me shows up most clearly in the people in my life. And He has been very kind.

More to come about the trip. Typically, I blog more on these trips, but this time I brought the boy along, which busied things up a bit. I worked a lot too. But the stories to tell are germinating in my head. They’ll come. I’m getting ready to leave tomorrow morning, though, after ten days here and wanted to get some thoughts down tonight.

In the meantime, a plane ride home tomorrow, with thanks.

today: and then (a follow-up birthday blog)

“Who, being loved, is poor?”
-Oscar Wilde

He had to work on my birthday. He apologized; I knew it was just one of those things. He promised to plan a date, “next week”. Next week happened to be Tuesday.

He showed up with groceries and made me breakfast. And then he shopped with me; he wanted to buy me a dress. And then we went to lunch at one of our favorite places.

I was feeling very loved.

And then he took me to the Anatole and held my hand as we walked to the spa. He’d booked me a massage. And a manicure. And a pedicure. And he hadn’t told me. And then I was feeling even more loved.

The months have blurred this year. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, building a business and sometimes feeling like it is taking over my whole life. That’s not to say there’s not great joy in it; there is. It’s just a lot sometimes. “I just wanted you to be able to relax on your birthday,” he said, “to really relax.”

And then I really relaxed. I felt my eyes tear up on the massage table. “This man really loves me,” I thought. And somehow that thought wrapped my mind around another, “and God that much more than him.” So often a tangible picture of human love, in whatever context, sheds light on the height and width and depth of the love of God. I love that.

After all that, we went to see his sister, and then he took me to dinner at another one of our favorite places. And we talked and ate and challenged each other. And then we drove home, working out what it means to be us. And then we prayed. And then the Mavs won. And then he went home.

And my heart is still full. I am so grateful. I am so content. Such a simple gift of so much time paired with such extravagance overwhelms me. And now the only word I’m left with seems not nearly enough, thanks.

(He took this one of me at the Garden Cafe. I love it.)

tonight: and this is how you hope

“My proposal is not that we understand what the word ‘god’ means and manage somehow to fit Jesus into that. Instead, I suggest that we think historically about a young Jew, possessed of a desperately risky, indeed apparently crazy, vocation, riding into Jerusalem in tears, denouncing the Temple, and dying on a Roman cross–and that we take our courage in both hands and allow our meaning for the word ‘god’ to be recentered around that point.”
-N.T. Wright

it’s all so redefining this
that the light shines in the darkness
that the light cannot be overcome
and this is how you hope
because it is bigger and clearer and gone is the dim glass
when held up, reflecting, refracting
that the light shines in the darkness
is love searing straight to the core
is love healing hearts til they spill
to the point that tears fall
thinking, praying, dreaming, believing
and this is how you hope
and this is how we hope
and yes, yes, yes, we hope
that the light shines in the darkness
and we stand amazed as life restores