My soul exhales. My soul writes.
My inner critic says in a snarky tone of voice, “what’s so special about what you have to say?” Yet, secretly, I still write perhaps when my grouchy inner critic takes a nap. Just as I breathe. Just as I pray. Everyday, I write.
I recently have had the privilege and honor of taking a class(again) with Ginger Rothhaas, a remarkably inspiring woman, overflowing with hope and love. She kindly spills herself onto all of us as she coaches our souls. You should check her out @ compassionfix.com or ManyOpenGates.com Ginger gently leads, turning my head in a direction that I often avoid. Walking before me, loosely holding the reins, she escorts me down the gravel road of self-compassion. I look ahead and I see the beautiful mountains of God’s overflowing love, grace and patience. For me. I have not travelled this road often enough in my past. This road has not been paved. Yet.
I trust in Ginger’s guidance. She believes in me, probably more than I believe in myself. She has spoken truth to me at such hard times in my life. Times when my inner lies were playing a seemingly endless game of tag in my head. “You’re it. No, you’re it. No tag backs!” She gracefully teaches me how to delicately tend to myself like I would care for a dear loved one.
Today, in class, she asked us to describe what images come to mind when we think of God. I have many loving images and deep feelings that accompany my understanding of God. Feeling safe. Protected. Hugging my children when they’re excitedly running up the hill after school. I watch the hummingbirds and feel God’s love through their beauty and the complexity in their mere existence. I marvel at a creation so tiny yet so breathtakingly mesmerizing. God’s presence seems to accompany me when I’m stuck in the bathroom for the nine millionth time in my life. God has never gone to get me another roll of toilet paper. That would be weird. And hard to believe probably. Thank goodness for my husband. He certainly helps me feel God’s love.
I raised my hand in class today and said that God feels like warm blankets to me. One of the small joys I had when I worked in the pediatric emergency department was bringing warm blankets to kids and sometimes parents too. I loved tucking the warm blanket around their anxious, shivering bodies.
I have also had so many surgeries for Crohn’s disease. I’ve sat in my hospital gown waiting for hours before surgery. I have felt cold, shaky, worried and afraid. But yet, when a kind nurse covers me with warm blankets, their warmth has helped calm me and allowed me to feel less affected by the sterile walls, the bright lights and the hospital smells. Sometimes the nurses have piled multiple warm blankets on top of me to help me. It’s a seemingly small act that I remember vividly despite the memory erasing medicines.
My sons have always loved when I preheat their pajamas or towels in the dryer. I love watching the joy on their faces when they hold their warm clothes. “They’re sooooooo warm!” I rarely get to wrap them up in their warm towels anymore, but it’s a beloved bath time ritual that has brought me such joy over the bathtub years.
It’s the beautiful love-fueled and love-filled protected moments like these that help me understand God’s love. For me. And I feel special. And I want to share that feeling. It’s funny how writing works. God’s influence on my snarky thoughts can be pretty overwhelming too.
Thank you, dear Ginger, for the tender construction work that you do on our souls.