Tonight was my son's penultimate baseball game of the season. Side note: I have been waiting for a chance to use the word "penultimate" in a fitting circumstance since Ann Furlong taught it to me years ago in her first grade classroom. No, I was not a first grader at the time. I was a colleague. Never underestimate the power of a primary grade teacher. And for those of you who, like me, did not learn that word in high school, it means, "second-to-last." You're welcome.
Anyhoo, I digress. At my son's games there is a concession stand. It sells the stuff that kids' dreams are made of. Ring pops. Airheads. Walking tacos, and nachos with delectable unnatural cheese sauce. Something like the pixie sticks of my youth, but like ten times bigger and in a plastic straw. (Forget the internet and cell phones- what this generation should celebrate is never having your flavored sugar get stuck in a gooey mess on your disintegrating paper pixie stick straw!) And my three year old loves the Icee Pops, and often asks if he can get one at the "confession stand" as he pronounces it. It may be my favorite of his mispronunciations. I purposely steer conversations around to get him to talk about the "confession stand" and its Icee Pops. So cute.
As I chuckled about his confession stand faux pas, I got to thinking. I need a confession stand. Not in quite the same way as the confessionals of my Catholic upbringing (although, maybe that too. That's a topic for another time.) More like- a safe place to gently let fly some of the vulnerable thoughts and feelings I've been having. I mean I technically have those places- my marriage, my weekly mom "support group". My friends, my parents. But I am in a new place. We moved a couple months ago, to a new town. New church, new schools, new grocery store, new neighbors, new, new, new. And I have not been quite brave enough to say out loud to new or old friends:
Can I confess that I am afraid of repeating patterns from my past, that sabotaged my friendships?
Can I confess that I only got part way done organizing and unpacking, and I really don't want to do the rest of it?
Can I confess that some days this moving transition is embarrassingly easy, and others days it is really hard and lonely?
Can I confess that I have overdue library books already?
Can I confess that I fear that people are just being nice to me because I am new and they feel like they should?
Can I confess that I don't want to shop at Aldi even though everyone says it is cheaper and amazing, etc., because I am a creature of habit and ease, and I love Hy Vee?
Can I confess that in this season I keep getting mixed up feelings that God is more pleased with my clean kitchen than he is with my broken prayers? So I keep the buzz of life turned up so loud that I forget how much I miss him, until when I do remember, it makes me cry? All this, even though I know that in my past I have gone through at least three Bible studies that cover the story of Mary and Martha in detail?
And lastly, can I confess that it's hard to be on the trapeze between places, between friends even, so that I have so many people who care about me and are nice to me, but no one I can talk to long enough to get to these deep places in conversation. Where I can process out loud until I say my vulnerable thoughts, and hear theirs, and laugh and cry in the same conversation. I. miss. that.
I could end this blog post with a neat little statement about how in the meantime, Jesus is my best friend anyway, and He will listen and He never fails. Or I could say that it is growing my faith to go through lonely times. Or that he will answer my prayers for deeper friendships in His time (or he will, once I get around to praying them.) All these things are true, but those are not my take-aways tonight. Tonight I am just going to breath, and feel these yucky feelings. It has been a long stretch of being "fine" because I think I'm supposed to be. And I don't think it makes God happy when we pretend to be fine, and find ways to numb our uncomfortable feelings. (Hello, facebook, sugar, and caffeine!) So here I am, owning these "confessions." If faith is moving forward (and I believe it is) then I don't think I can move forward until I say aloud where I am. I am hanging onto the bar of a trapeze- with one toe on the new platform.
Okay, one last confession. I confess that I cannot imagine actually posting this on my blog. But I'm going to! Take that, fear of vulnerability!