Sunday, January 13, 2013

harlem by langston hughes

This morning, I'm sharing a photographic interpretation of Langston Hughes' poem, Harlem.  All photos were taken by me, michellyann.blogspot.com, in our neighborhood here in East Baltimore. The project was inspired by my amazing husband, who turned these photos into a video for a school project. (Statistics may be out of date since we did this a while back, but you'll get the gist.) Special thanks to our neighbor J for helping with the project. 















With love from East Baltimore, 

Shelly

Thursday, January 10, 2013

why I can't write.


I can find a million-and-one things to do here on my laptop besides write. 

Emails to catch up on, messages to reply to, things to google and search, people to watch outside of my third story city window.  

It all seems that much more important when I know I should be writing. 

When I know I should be thinking.  And feeling.  And praying. 

I've been pretty silent here on my blog these days.  

I wish I could blame it on the hustle and bustle of the holidays or an overly chaotic and busy season.  And while these things have certainly affected the amount of time I have had to sit and write {and sit and be}, the truth is, I don't always want to write.  I don't always want to feel and to process and to try to figure out all of the answers to that whole what's next question.    

Sometimes, I want to be busy, just so I don't have to write.

And the excuses are endless.  Dishes to wash.  New recipes to try.  Kids knocking on the door.  I'm tired.  I'm sick.  I'm sick and tired.  I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.  

This past Saturday, I set my alarm for 7:30 am, not to write, but to see my husband off before he left to go mountain biking with some friends. 

I kissed him on the cheek in my sweatpants and with my crazy-pixie-bed-head-hair and grumbled, I'm going back to bed.  

His response?  

I made Zeke's coffee.  You should write!

In that moment, I thought about my bed.  How cozy it feels.  How little I wanted to think about anything worth writing about.  How little I wanted to feel the weight of the things that stir around inside me. 

I love my husband dearly, but he is such a morning person.  I'm not talking 6am morning person, I'm talking 4am, it's still dark out and no one in their right mind should be up this early morning person.  

And me?  I'm more of a snoozer.  And some days, an excuse maker.  I like to think that I'm just free spirited, not meant to be caged.  Let's face it, plans cramp my style.  And yet I know there's a lot that I can learn from my husband's enthusiasm that anxiously greets me when I roll out of bed in the morning after hitting the snooze button three {or four or five} times.  But on a Saturday?

I stubbornly filled a mug with Zeke's coffee, grabbed my laptop and hiked to the third floor.  

I really hate this sometimes.  I hate this because the truth is, I've been trying to write these days.  Most of the time, nothing but silence or nonsense fills my laptop screen.  I type a few words, hit the 'delete' button, and in frustration type something else {that's even more stupid}.  This scenario usually ends with me closing my laptop because I simply cannot deal with the feeling that the well has dried up and all I have to share with the world is silence

After a season of great loss, maybe that's just how it is.  

We're slammed by loss' impact and are expected shortly after to re-enter the world's patterns of work, responsibility, plans and routines.  

But what no one ever tells us is that we're never quite the same as we were before our loss.  

We're different kinds of wives, and friends, and writers, and workers, and followers of Jesus.  

We're different because we've suffered deeply.  And chances are, we're still suffering.  

And in the quiet places -- those places we don't always want to go because the suffering is too much for us -- those places where we press pause on the chaos and stop for a brief moment to think about our hearts and our lives and how we're ever managed to make it this far -- it is there where we feel it most.  

It is there where I feel it most.  

It is here, in front of my laptop, at the desk in front of the window on the third floor of our city row-house.  It is here, where I can find a million-and-one things to do besides write, that I feel the chill of silence that exposes and stirs the aching things inside me.  

It is here, where I know I need to be, that I will ultimately be healed. 

So here's to a new year, where I hope to learn to hit the snooze button a little bit less and make the hike to the third floor a little bit more.