I wonder what happened to them.
Droopy, abandoned barns speckled the foggy Missouri countryside like dirty stains on a patchwork quilt. Except these were stains that told a story, that reminded you of raw blood and sweat, drawn from heartbreaking emotions and backbreaking work. My dad and I drove through a sliver of Missouri just as the sun was coming up, and I absorbed the gutted barns in my mind as we flew past them. I watched as they groaned and creaked in the morning sunshine. While looking at their distorted and grotesque woody figures, I realized that my heart is just like a sleepy, messy barn. I’m a splattery stain sometimes. I’m sick of myself, but I love my life because of the experiences and people in it. Every day my barn heart aches for untold stories.
Two-ish weeks ago, I had the incredible opportunity to be a confirmation sponsor. My beautiful cousin Carolee was confirmed on March 13, and I (messy me) got to be a part of it. (That was our main destination for the roadtrip. Daddy and I stopped at colleges along the way too, which is how we ended up driving in Missouri to get to Lincoln.) A group of very smart fifth graders (oh, and *surprise* I’m definitely not smarter than a fifth grader! Especially when it comes to Catholicism. That’s complicated stuff) were confirmed, but I think God decided to set fire to my barn heart that night too. That dark corner of my past that still haunts me had been throbbing in my mind that day, telling me I wasn’t good enough to be a sponsor or someone to look up to. I’m way too messed up. Far too sinful to be inspiring. But there I was that night, on my knees and not caring, and I gave it all away. Take it all. I’m so fragile and broken and I need to be rescued. I can’t do it by myself. I’m learning to surrender. Some days are better than others, but I know that Jesus is snipping the paper chains I’ve constructed for myself one day at a time.
Lent is almost over, and (shockingly?) I’ve survived without Pinterest the whole time. I had in my mind that this Lent would be life-changing, that this year it would finally mean something monumental. And it did, but not in the way I had planned. I feel like I’ve taken backwards steps, casually ripping myself away from God’s cushiony presence. My barn heart collapses without warning, and I drudge through some days with vanity and stress eating away my insides. I need to stop trying so hard to be perfect. I need to love my body for where it’s at right now, and I especially need to love my wild and crazy spirit that lingers in the broken wooden beams that make up my heart. I need to remember that all of us are frail, but none so frail as myself.
I have much to be thankful for right now. Yes, life is stressful, but I’m trusting. I’m going to take each day one at a time and trust that Christ has a handle on it all. I have joy right now. I have love. I’m searching for peace, and although I don’t feel a bit peaceful by the world’s standards, I’m experiencing that infinite and bizarre peace that only comes through Christ.
Cheers to new beginnings. As Easter comes this year, let’s learn to let every day after it be a mini-Easter. After all, every time we defeat those yucky emotions and heartbreaks, we’ve experienced a mini-Resurrection. I’m ready to dunk myself in a fresh start and continue being brave. Little by little, I want to deconstruct my barn heart frame so I can allow myself to fall in love and trust that it will be okay. Life is overwhelming, but oh so beautiful.