I get the distinct feeling these days that I am just clear of a particular dense and complex forest in my life – as if I have bolted out into a clearing at an increased pace, but being so accustomed to the intensity and focus required for clambering, crashing, maneuvering and crawling over and under undergrowth and the thick roots of trees as I am, I have only just recognized the blue sky above me and that I am free.

Yes, this is how I feel. And so, as I come to a standstill in this clearing and about-turn to face ‘from whence I have come’, I feel relieved and grateful and proud. I made it! There is real sweat on my brow. Real grit on my face.

But I am also distressed and frustrated, so hunker down to ponder momentarily… Why did it take me so ruddy long?!

Why was I trapped in that shadowy, perplexing, distressing, body/heart-grazing place for so ruddy long?

In this forest I have lost and held (in that order) two sweet boys- nephews – and have ached along with two who tried to muster enough to go on, amidst the confusion, anger, emptiness and greyness that ensued.

We have lost our way and found it, lost our way and found it.

In this forest, I have been a fool with my heart. I have given it over to be crushed and bruised. I have not been careful with it. My own doing. My own desires, misunderstandings and misinterpretations and applications of love and life.

I have let it (my heart) drag behind me for many a mile and gotten twigs lodged in it. There are some things missing, some things added. It is back in my chest now. It just feels different – sits different – wary and street smart.

In this forest I have hated me, misunderstood me, clawed around for life’s meaning, tasted the ashyness of dulling disillusionment…

I have seen people rise and people fall. In this forest I have also heard God’s call the loudest – from off in a direction I did not expect, and then more intimately and tender than someone, stuck and hating in a forest, really feels they deserve. It has bought with it rushing relief, healing, rest, redemption…

As I sit in this ‘now’-clearing I feel stronger. I feel decided. I feel grounded. I realize now that the brush had been thinning around me for some time, I had been gradually catching the soft stroke of sunlight across my face.

I’m only just in the clearing, so its time to savour it. How long will it last? But why did it take so ruddy long? Maybe there is no way to reach the clearing without the forest? No such thing as clear-cut pathways. Maybe life is about what we lose as much as it is about what we gain. And we learn to be better built for it. Maybe twigs-in-hearts is par for the course? Maybe loss and turmoil should be embraced? Maybe all of it is our making, so we hang in regardless? So the length of time is inconsequential, as long as we learn what we need to learn along the way.

I have hunkered down long enough. Time to stand, turn, walk. Enjoy a new space.


3 thoughts on “Forest

  1. I’m reminded of the Dixy Chicks song: “She needs wide open spaces, room to make her own mistakes…” and so on and so on… and Psalm 18:19 is still one of my favourites: “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.”

    Jey for the open spacey place! enjoy!

  2. Yet again, another heart-tightening read, my lovely.
    You never fail to make me think. To make me STOP. To make me ask things of myself again and again.
    I do believe that the forest is the place that makes us stronger. Without time in the undergrowth and the dark and the sharp things – we would not appreciate or really SEE the blue sky and the open spaces when we DO find ourselves basking in the sun.

    I had a conversation with Martin the other day in which he expressed disappointment at something I had done. And it dawned on me that he has an expectation of me and our marriage that means that he always wants us to be standing in the sunlight. That is his idea of a good marriage – eternal sunlight.
    Whereas I equate our rough patches to the dense undergrowth, our extreme highs as being out in the warmth and well, our everyday life together as the two of us standing somewhere on the edge of the two – never quite sure which way the earth shall tilt and where we will find ourselves again (the dark or the light?).
    I tried to explain it to him using a different analogy (oh, us Morrissey’s are so good at such things normally!) and failed dismally. Shall use your forest instead.

    Love you

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