So it seems I’ve been playing catch up with my summer adventures, but neglecting the one I’m currently in. Namely, what it’s like living in England. What it’s like living in Winchester.
Well, I’ll just cut to the chase… I’m not going to answer those very reasonable questions.
I know… I’m horrible. We’ve lived here now for over 2 months and I haven’t posted a single thing about it. I’m not going to promise I will, because I make enough of those and never end up keeping them… But I will say that I strongly hope to share some reasons why I think our Papa God hid Heaven in this beautiful, bucolic part of the world. In a nutshell it’s been a peaceful paradise for my heart and soul. Far better, far greater than any place I ever knew actually existed. I’ve been trying desperately (and unsuccessfully) to slow time down. Anyone have any tips?
It’s also been 6 months to the day since I said goodbye to Ballet. Not that anyone’s counting…
In the scheme of things I know that that’s not a huge span of time. But in some ways, especially so far removed from my life as I knew it, June 12th feels like an eternity ago.
And yet this separation from the familiar, with literally an ocean between us, has been the biggest blessing as I begin this new chapter. I’ve developed new routines, or, well, lack-thereof… But still. You get the picture. I couldn’t recreate my former status-quo even if I wanted to.
I don’t have a Metropolitan Market around the corner to get my 1/4lb of Herb-Roasted Turkey breast from Ames & the crew behind the deli counter every day at lunch (nor could I afford it…). Uptown Espresso hasn’t expanded beyond Lake Washington let alone the Atlantic Ocean. And as much as I love (and miss) my family, friends, and former co-workers, I don’t have them to busily distract me with coffee dates and the like. I don’t even have a yard or house with its unending “To-Do” list to consume my mind and time.
Had all these things still remained, perhaps the process would still be paused. Perhaps indefinitely.
The process of healing… and I’m not just talking about my toes.
Not to sound dramatic, but it’s incredible the havoc Ballet can have on a heart. On a soul. It’s no wonder films like The Red Shoes or Black Swan exist. Because something about Ballet can be so very all-consuming. The passion. The pursuit. The dedication. The sacrifice. The masochism. The mental and emotional constructs, the twisted logic – like thick stone walls and tangled brier hedges – placed, planted to protect. Never meant to harm… (Think Sleeping Beauty’s castle)
Self-preservation: it’s powerful, stealthy, and highly underestimated.
But at some point Ballet ends. And those thick walls that once protected against assaults on the heart inevitably bar beauty and joy from entering in, from flourishing. And that twisted logic meant to make sense of situations steeped in criticism, comparison, or worse – silence, strangle reality and deform truth. That self-preservation, if left unattended, left unaddre
ssed, leads to self-destruction. A life in bondage. The prison slowly, unknowingly self-imposed.
Disappointment. Brick laid. Casting catastrophe. Add another. “Fat-talks”, passive-aggressive comments, judging glances. Bricks & briers for days! But it wasn’t till I had some distance, some perspective that I saw this fortress for what it truly was…
I don’t mean to be a Debbie-Downer. Truly I don’t.
Ballet is beautiful. It is the thing, a thing for which God created me. But any time we love something, really anything or anyone (save One), with so much, too much of ourselves there is a risk, no, a guarantee of heartbreak. They can never reciprocate or fulfill the heart’s outpour, at least not in a consistent and copious fashion. For the eventuality of all things is that they will one day weaken and fade away. They were never meant to support such a weight. Because Love is no light matter.
So what happens? Instead of seeking the something, the some-One who can perfectly satisfy, abundantly love, without clause or condition, without fading, without ceasing, we just try to make the relationship work. Bolster it with bricks. Protect our heart from the thing we’ve given it to.
Sounds kind of crazy when I think of it like that. But isn’t that exactly what I’ve done? Isn’t that what we all do? Millions of castles, fortresses, prisons built by our own hands.
But at some point Ballet ends. Everything ends. So what now? Now that the object of my love is lost? The wall still firmly in place – a cold bleak palace, the twisted logic still contorting, subtly controlling.
Distance. Perspective. Truth. Seeing myself, my thoughts, my actions, my motives in an honest, sober and unflinching light. No longer hiding behind excuses, behind walls, behind Ballet.
And in this new light something is born: Desire. For more of it. For light. For life. For freedom.
And the bricks begin to crumble. The walls begin to fall.
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand” … “to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison, and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” ~ Isaiah 42:6a,7
The concept of freedom. The feeling of it. Floating. Weightless and light. Able to breathe. To live fully, no longer a slave to the opinions or expectations of others: directors, patrons, choreographers, co-workers. No longer a slave to the expectations of self. Because truly we are our own worst critic.
In some ways the thought seems incredulous…
Really? I could have that? A life where I am enough? Where I am accepted, loved and valued just as I am? No more striving? No more paying my dues? No more mind-games or power-plays? Where nothing is hidden? Where all that I give will be infinitely matched – and THEN SOME?!!!
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~ John 10:10
But this is true. This is Truth. Jesus, the Light of the world came down to rescue me from my dark dungeon. To set my captive heart free from the prison I’ve built around it. He offers me His hand. He takes hold of mine.
And He gives me life. Full life. His life.
By his wounds I am healed. By His life I live. In His hands I place my heart, I pour it out. No bricks or briers required. Because He will never end. He alone is strong enough to bear the full weight of Love. To lavish it over all who choose Him.
And the more I give of my heart the more the desire grows. For a Love that takes me just as I am, and transforms me to my fullest self. For a Love that overflows and fully satisfies. For a Love that knows no bounds, and knows no end.
The process of healing. Of deconstruction. This is what I’m experiencing here in this peaceful place across the ocean.
What prisons have you built? How has your heart been broken a million times over? Do you long for healing? For wholeness? For freedom? There is hope! Jesus offers you His hand. Will you take it? He alone can fully rescue. He alone can truly demolish the walls and briers that strangle and imprison. Find truth, find life, find freedom in Him!
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” ~ John 8:12