Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On the Road to Recovery

Today my dad and I went on a bike ride near the vacation home we’re staying at in Sun Valley, Idaho. We pedaled hard and breathed deep delight as the sun warmed our backs and the wind pushed us toward the stately mountains standing guard on the western horizon.

Slowing our pace to enjoy the murmuring applause of nearby quaking aspen, we were suddenly enveloped in a troop of dancing dandelion seeds, gliding and swirling like little parasols caught up in the gusting wind.

I smiled big and remembered my little girl self sitting at the family’s new fangled computer, writing story #46 about a girl who was turned into a dandelion seed by a benevolent wizard, blown off to fairyland, returned to her human state upon reaching a candy-flavored apply tree (the blue cotton candy flavored apples were totally the best), and thrust into an adventure that began in a fairy lodge made entirely of cherry blossoms.

This story, “The Babbling Blossom Tree,” was the last I fictional story I ever wrote. Adolescence came soon after, sending hormones coursing through my changing body and making me painfully self-aware.

Aware that there were other writers out there who penned much better stories than I.

Aware that any story I wrote for public enjoyment would be criticized and maybe even mocked.

Aware that trying my hand at anything meant experiencing inevitable, embarrassing failure.

I wish an awareness of the awarenesses that made me stop writing stories were enough to coax stories out of my fingers again. But it’s not.

And I realize that the things I did as a child when I was unaware of people’s expectations, untainted by insecurity, and unburdened by failure, those things made me feel fully alive.

Because those were the things God wired me to do.

 Those were the things he knew would pump life through my soul; the things he knew would give him great glory—not because I shouted praise each time I did them, but because he is glorified when we bust out of our self-made cocoons of mediocrity and monotony the way he busted out of the grave.

Because he is the Redeemer God and he made us to really live, the way Adam and Eve lived in Eden before they became self-aware and ashamed.

I’ve been looking back on the things I did as a kid—the pastimes that didn’t make it into adulthood with me—and thinking maybe I should try my hand at them again, see if they seep new life into my soul. Not driven by an awareness of my awarenesses, but by the realization that to live in Christ is to live better, fuller, richer.

As a kid I used to sneak away from the din of the cul-de-sac kids just before sunset and climb to the top of the neighbor’s tree. I’d sit alone on my little stump seat, my hazel eyes wide, my soul hungry, and I’d watch the sun shoot sherbet flames beyond the horizon’s darkening evergreen fringe.

I've forgotten to seek this kind of beauty daily.

This will be my starting place,

in re-learning to really live;

To recover Eden,

like a child.

Bring on the sunset.
© by scj


  1. It sounds like the "Road to Recovery" is a road to rediscovering the courage to live unedited, unfettered, unafraid.

    Your writing is very, very good. Real and courageous and emerging. Thank you for sharing yourself.

  2. That is beautifully put, Annie. I've thought of the road to recovery as the road toward recovering Eden, but I'm beginning to realize that Jesus replaces Eden--he gives something better than we had in Eden: "All of him in all of me."

    Thank you for your kind words. I just love stopping by to read your blog. :)

  3. I'm intrigued by your bio and the words I read here today--and I'm really glad you decided to join The High Calling blog network. I think you'll find many like-minded writers, artists and thinkers there. :) We're glad to have you!

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Dena! It's been great fun to peruse the different blogs at High Calling. I'm discovering so many talented, Jesus-loving people.

  5. Sarah, thanks for stopping by at The High Calling. I enjoyed this reflection of yours and was just saying to a friend how alive I become when I play. It's one place where I feel full and feel no insecurities. In those moments, I'm all kid!

    I hope you follow through with digging up these joys God gave you as a little girl.

  6. Thanks so much for your input, Sam, and for stopping by. Do you play an instrument? I've found that spending time with kids is a helpful remedy for my self-awareness. It looks like you have some of your own—what a blessing!

  7. I pick up the guitar now and then but I simply mean kid play. Board games, tag, made-up competitive games (something I love to do on backpacking trips with students). I was never one to play by all of the rules, so adding new dimensions to old activities makes for a creative adventure. I don't need this outlet every day, but when the time is right, I do.

    A few friends and I once played a full soccer game in a 100-feet tunnel that was only 7 feet tall. Fortunately, my girls (elementary age) enjoy this sort of fun.

  8. Oh your playing sounds like great fun. And how grand to have daughters that are good sports. I'm not sure how I would do in a small dark tunnel, but I'm all for the made-up competitive games:)