Years ago, a dear friend nicknamed me ‘Jaybird’. I LOVED that nickname! Every TIME she called me ‘Jaybird’ I felt loved. I felt cared for. I felt special. I looked forward, to her calls, knowing I would hear her laughter, would hear her say ‘O, Jaybird’ over something ridiculous, or stupid, or funny, or serious thing I had come up with.

I began signing off emails using my nickname, Jaybird. Each and every time I saw the nickname…..*hugs self*….just felt like a warm hug, given and received from myself.

I don’t know why I stopped using my nickname. Okay, keeping it 100, as my accountability partner makes me, I ALLOWED Life, to….okay, stop, Cassandra and keep it 100! I ALLOWED, myself, to fall behind pride and not let her, and folks who cared, care about me when some things began to grow too heavy to carry alone. I began to pull away. From her. I pulled my pain, even from God. ESPECIALLY, from God. I was raised, you see, to be STRONG. The church raised me to be STRONG, to not say I was hurting. I was told to ‘lean upon the Lord’. To ‘Cast My Cares upon Him’. Being told to lean upon God’s Word was true. It was needed. Yet, there is much more to a relationship with Him, then this.

He also desires that we lean on and RELY upon His Deep and Abiding Love for us. To lean upon His Shoulders. To fling ourselves into His Strong and Resilient Embrace. He beckoned to me, many a day, and entreated me to lean upon HIS Strength, and not my silent striving/trying. He encouraged me to lean upon those He had entrusted to love and care for me. Instead, I ran. From Him. From them. I had to be an example, you see. I endeavored not to be a burden. I did not wish to waste folks precious time. I wanted to reach out, to Him, to them, at times that were CONVENIENT for them. Folks had their lives to live, you see.

Pain tends, though, to come at inconvenient times: in the middle of the night, on long/lonely weekends, in the middle of a crowded shopping day. I could not find a time that was convenient enough where I was not seemingly intruding. I told myself I would save things, for later. I crammed that hurt, that loss, that grief, in a box to be opened and grieved, lost and faced ‘later’. More and more boxes began to pile up.

Reminds me of my bedroom which has now become my storage closet. When I first moved in, I piled boxes and boxes, in my bedroom. I had every intention of going through them, getting them organized, unpacking them and moving into my apartment. I desired to make my apartment into my home. At the time, I had no time. I had to work. Had to work overtime to make money. So, the boxes stayed piled up. Those boxes grew into many more. As there were a million in there, already, well, it just became easy to put new ones in there. The more boxes I put in there, the less I wanted to be in there, organizing, sorting, making my apartment my home.

I have a wonderful recliner that was given to me. I looked at that recliner, sitting so invitingly, amidst the clutter. Amidst all those boxes! I longed to just kick back in my recliner. Kick back and enjoy a quiet moment or two or ten. Looking at all those boxes just made me tired. I no longer saw the recliner. Just saw those damned boxes. I grew angry, with me, for allowing the boxes to pile up the way that I had. Now it was my own damned fault I could not enjoy my recliner.

One evening, after having spent a wonderful hour, sitting in my car, yakking with my mom and telling her of the awesomeness of my day, I decided to sit in my recliner. I decided to just go ahead and enjoy a moment or two or ten. I plopped down, amidst a million boxes, and enjoyed some quiet moments with myself, with Life, with mom, and with God. I cared not one whit about the boxes. The time would come when I would open each one. I would organize them, I would unpack them. I would rediscover what was in them. I would use their contents to continue to make my apartment my home.

Now that I had stood and had ALLOWED God, Life, and Love to lead me home. Well, I was content to…..ah, yall I found that I was content. Content to take those moments to refresh myself and to enjoy my home. So often we work to get to this place and that. We will get to this place and that and forget why we fought so hard to get there. Or, we continue to work ourselves, to death, and not enjoy this place or that. The goal had long since switched from getting to this place or that to enjoy it. The point, now, it appears, is to just keep working to get to this place or that.

God and Life does not want us continually striving to get there. Yes, there are many places They desire for us to be. Mainly, though, they desire we take time. Time to sit there, in the middle of seeming chaos, in the middle of our pain, our anxt, our loneliness, our this or that and to share our heart, our thoughts, our hurt and our pain with Them, with loved ones, with friends.

Thinking of chilling, in my recliner, amongst those boxes, I thought of Jaybird. I missed her. Seeing her again has warmed my soul…..*hugs self*. I missed her. I am sure she missed me. She is glad that I have come home. She likes what all that God and Life has done with the place, has done with and in my heart. She is comfy here. As am I.

Tonight, I pray that you allow yourself to sit, amidst the clutter, and enjoy a moment or two or ten. Then, pick up a phone, open a text or email and let folks in. Let your people love you. Get new people to love you. Dust off the old ones and let them love you. Let YOU love you.

reclining and enjoying my name,

Jaybird….. 🙂

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