The Blood and the Mud

2019 has started with my voice feeling quiet. something angsty and loud has been stirring inside of me but i haven’t been able to formulate the words to describe it, which has been frustrating for me. but i'm pressing into the process and i think i finally figured out some of it this past weekend.

my lovely mother-in-law treated her three daughter-in-laws to a weekend in glenwood springs, colorado. two counselors and two nurses soaking in the hot springs and drinking wine and listening to loud piano music at the riviera supper club, talking all things enneagram and life. having a tiny reprieve from an 18-month-old pulling on my leg and a 4-year-old wanting to watch pj masks gave me two great nights of sleep and my mind enough of a break to think.

my grandpa del and my grandpa george were both veterans. i never sat and talked to them about their experiences; they died before i had the forethought to realize how valuable it would have been to do that. but somewhere deep inside my bones, i live with the legacy of that level of bravery and sacrifice.

i speak on this subject from the comforts of 2019. i speak from the privilege of never having experienced this myself and with much naivety. however, i feel the weight of it. that when my grandfathers were 18…  they were not thinking about what colleges they would attend. they weren't thinking of buying an energy efficient prius or a truck. they didn't have the privilege of deciding on an apple computer or if they should get windows 10. they were just getting ready to do the most intense and scary thing you can ask of a kid fresh from the nest. their reality was life or death.

i've been reflecting on the privilege of my life. sam’s club and squeeze applesauce packets and patagonia coats for my boys. do we have coffee out for the aeropress or the keurig today?

... two sometimes conflicting realities can exist at the same time

i have felt that 2018 was all about dialectical realities for me. i learned about dialectical behavior therapy (dbt) in a training post graduate school where it was described that two sometimes conflicting realities can exist at the same time. like, i missed my boys fiercely this weekend and was desperate for time without them. i felt guilt for leaving my husband with the responsibility for the weekend and at the same time felt it was my turn to get a break. wanting to be home in my nest and anxious to get to work and away from the noise to a place where my heart feels so alive.

so this thought of war is again dialectical for me. let me be clear, for goodness sakes, i am glad that is not caleb's reality. i know it is very poignantly the reality of those actively serving and for them i have endless respect. i'm thankful our day-to-day does not include words like ‘enlistment” and the question of going to far away places to fight for something with weapons with the unknown of return. but i also feel sad about the lack of tension.

i feel like because our life is so privileged we have so much time to think about our own problems, our own purchases, or own bank accounts, our own safety, our own families. i don't want my boys' life to be small. i want them to SEE the kid with disabilities in their class and take them under their wing, i want them to understand there are wars going on among us. yes, we are fighting a larger war, just different battles. we all belong to each other. so the burden in syria, the burden of kids separated from their mamas at the border… those realities are OURS. they are not THEIRS.

i grew up riding horses… 4-h and the rodeo. my mom is still a cowgirl and talks about how we are in trouble the further we get from the blood and the mud. i used to roll my eyes when she would say that. but i can’t get those words out of my head this year. what is the blood and the mud for us?

i want to live somewhere in the tension.

i want to live somewhere in the tension. many of our lives are easy and privileged. i am not minimizing the traumas and daily struggles we all have. for goodness sakes, i have my own set of diagnoses and daily medication. and i have endless compassion for those struggles, which is why i adore my job. but is a portion, a piece, a slice of the cure to get outside of ourselves? to get down in the mud and the blood of someone else's struggle? to enter into something that actually requires sacrifice?

dearest morgan and dave are our leaders in this way. stretching themselves and their kids to see their greater story. this year, i want to understand that i am not privileged or entitled to just my own problems and anxieties and overwhelm. the cure often for me is getting outside of my own story and into the mud and blood of someone else's reality. to use the energy that i am tempted to turn internal and turn it external and to actually do something about someone else's struggle.

these ideas are not new, they are not special or revealing or some magical secret. but for me right now, they feel this way. as if i am seeing them for the first time.

more to come…

Palisade, CO

Rickelle takes joy in the simple things in life and can often be found pointing out things of beauty–both big and small. As a licensed Therapist, she enjoys helping others find truth and breakthrough. However, Rickelle's main loves are Jesus and her family. She and her husband, Caleb, have three adventuresome boys. Rickelle also delights in conversation and time spent over coffee with treasured friends.