Tuesday, July 16, 2013

a flailing puppy and a steady nipple

"Do you know what a ruthless warrior you are to be living the lifestyle of following your heart?"

There was a day in the not-so distant past that I didn't feel like a ruthless warrior. 

I felt like a crying mess in a hot shower during a colossal meltdown over malfunctioning technology. What started out as, "Dang it, this link won't open in a new tab," escalated to, "Screw whoever's idea it was to give me an effed-up childhood and then 29 years later cause every electronic device in my house to be robbed, crash with a terrible virus, or malfunction. I want a new life."

And while I cried actual hot, angry tears, I knew it wasn't about the stupid computer, or the stupid Internet connection, or the stupid links that wouldn't open. 

I learned this lesson when I was a kid. I don't remember the situation entirely, but I know it involved a picture that a sibling drew of a cow and it made me cry. And while I was crying actual tears in a trailer travel in God's-country-Idaho over an obviously stupid picture of a stupid cow, I knew I was crying about so much more. The cow was just the catalyst. 

The failing technology and the lack of an IT department IN MY HOUSE was just the tipping point, the straw that broke the camel's back.

"Take some deep breaths, breath deep, surround yourself with calm. Maybe have some chocolate? Once you've regained some of your equilibrium, the solutions will come to you. Also...maybe take a nap. Sleep helps. A lot," a friend texted me in reply to my "hands-in-thrown-in-the-air-I-QUIT!" rant.

I took a shower. I pinpointed my extreme frustration.
I felt dumped
I felt alone
I felt like I'm doing it all...alone
I felt inadequate (and not just with technology)
I felt like I wanted life to be easy FOR ONCE

My better-self started talking:
It's not true.
You haven't been dumped (well, kinda, but you're in therapy for that)
You're not alone. At the very least, you have two huge-ass dogs waiting for you outside the bathroom door as we speak. 
You're not doing it all alone. You have him, and you have her, and all those other hers, and a few more hims. 
You're not inadequate. I mean, stay away from drawing maps, and don't do math in your head. But the truth is this: you are enough. 
I've got nothin' on life being easy, but what if you loosened your grip on some of these things?  
Maybe you're hanging on too tight.  

I got out of the shower. Tuck met me in the bedroom. He jumped on the bed and brought me his cherished shoe, then laid down as close to me as he could get.

I remembered when Skye's puppies were born.

There was the Littlest One and I had to revive her when she was born. After she started breathing, I cleared her siblings out of the way, opened her mouth and shoved a nipple in. Nothing. She spit it out. I squeezed a little milk out to give her a taste. Nothing. I tried another nipple. A small one, round one, long one, narrow one...nothing. She spit them all out and her little body flailed all over the place in my hand kinda like a worm does right before you skewer it onto a hook.

I was exasperated. Her chances of surviving dwindled the longer she put off latching on, so I waited a few seconds and then we tried again. And again and again. Nipple steady, puppy flailing until finally! Suction. 

You are totally that puppy.

I don't want to damage anyone's religious ideology by metaphorically comparing God to a dog's nipple, so I won't do that, but I will say that I am often in this position - flailing, exasperated, frustrated, at my wit's end, out of solutions, and tired. And the whole time, the answer is usually steadily in front of me in the form of truth, facts, friends, nature, clarity, a nap, God.

Maybe you're hanging on too tight.

Yeah, that too.

So loosen your grip.

Monday, July 15, 2013

VoiceBox Media is a nominee!

When I look at the list of this year's nominees for the Epoch Awards, I see stories. I see people's names and their organizations, and I see that each one represents, a passion, a calling and a journey to bring the dream to life. Living a mission isn't for the faint of heart - it takes courage, humility, optimism, faith. I'm curious to know these people and their hearts. What birthed the calling? What events set them up for this moment? What made them hit 'play' on their dreams? How are they changing their corners of the world? How can we help them do it? 
I keep scrolling through the list and I see my name: Holly Wise, VoiceBox Media - nominated for an Epoch Award and a generous donation toward the organization I founded. Our mission is to tell the stories of the organizations and people that surround my name on the list. My name is sandwiched between Valerie Kumra (LoveManifest) and Linda Cozadd (The Eden Clinic). Above me is Floriant Gerwin (ACSF) and below me is Kris Asleson (Truth x Vision). We are five of hundreds, and everyone has a story.
It's humbling to be nominated for an Epoch Award and to be included in a remarkable group of individuals who are putting action into their mission. Being a recipient of one of the awards would mean that VoieBox Media could continue to tell the stories of the people working tirelessly to make a difference in their neghborhoods, communities, cities, states and country.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

She is clothed with strength and dignity....

I sat in a chair parked by her bed.
She asked me about the dogs, what my plans were for the weekend, what I did that day.
I didn't ask about hers.
There are certain things you shouldn't say in a hospital room.
{ex. "How was your day?" Really great. That's actually why I'm here.}
She tells me when she's ready.
She recounts the events of the last three days.

Some of it I already know.
I knew there was a seizure and a brain tumor.
The details were few at first. I was speechless - my coping mechanism kicking in. I didn't cry. I can't effectively freak out until I have all the details. I was quiet, dazed. I texted a few close friends. I went to sleep. My soul was crying out to God.

I hiked the next day and my thoughts were swirling around my beautiful friend, and I was thinking: it's not fair. It's not fair that it's her. Her! I can think of many people better suited for a seizure and a brain tumor. Not her.

But then that damn whisper on the wind that I hear exactly when I need to.
This time it said:

Why not her?
You see, wherever she is, she brings Jesus. So why not a hospital room? A surgical unit? A hospital chapel?  A rehabilitation center? Her circle of influence expands daily as news of her diagnosis has spread from person to person, church to church, community to community, country to country. People who don't even know her are having their lives radicalized by her spirit.

And I thought she was a rock star before this shitstorm.

I told her that when I was told the news, the first thing on my heart was the song "From the inside out" by Hillsong.
"Let's play it," I said, and she found it on her phone. (she's the queen of worship music)
She laid back in her bed, flowers everywhere, a stuffed animal next to her, her own pillows tucked around her and a black and white zebra blanket spread over her. Her phone rested on her stomach and the music played while she closed her eyes. I folded my hands, but then reached for hers. Our voices whispered the words of the song.

There are places in time when the spirituality of a moment transcends location, facts, words....when the presence of Jesus is so palpable it could be interpreted as a fragrance, a peace, a sense of wonder, calm, stillness.

She brought him, I welcomed him, and while the music played and the room was filled with just her, me and God, we gripped each other's hands.
And we cried.