Free As I Want To Be {An Abstraction on Dirt}

Saturday I put my dukes up to this tough cold that's attacked my body to bravely step out of the house into the sunshine. I stepped out and let air, and sky and trees and warm coffee and the arms of a faithful friend wrap 'round me. I wore my tee that says "Wild and Free" and soaring birds dangled from my ears. It made me wonder, if saying it out loud like that makes me free? As free as I want to be. I bounced out of the house in tennis shoes, my hair lopping along on top of my head. For some reason, that made me feel lighter.

We walked around the lake, and man did it ever feel good, like shaking cob-webs off that you've let set up for too long, peering out at you from the corner. Our sneakers crunched on the black pavement, and she showed me where her toes were trying to poke out the sides. It's time for new shoes, she said. When I got upset, she intuitively knew it, and reached across the table and held my hand. And when it was time to say goodbye, she pulled me to her tight, chest to chest, only the way sisters can, and she said she prays over me, grace. I felt it. Tears formed, and I exhaled.

The kids run all over the expansive yard we have here, and it makes me think I'm glad we moved here, although there are reasons I wished we lived in a nicer place. A place where the foundation wasn't in danger. But these kids, they don't care if it's snow, mud, or black dirt, they run and explore the entirety of this place, and scoop up the black soil that grows everything around here with their flip flops as they swing back and forth.

Sunday I pushed them and as they shot up into the air, and squealed, and I caught a glimpse of a smile from the edge of their profiles, I thought about that. How so many who lived here before us, they pushed down the grass with tennis shoes, and threw leaves into the air, made tracks in the snow, planted flowers in spring. I can almost hear the squeals of all the children.

I'm only here for a little while. It's not for me to decide. I don't want to deal with eternity--but I must--it's there whether I like it or not--this great, looming question.

This, here, it's all temporary. This dirt I trod, the rain washes it away, refreshes it for tomorrow. The ones that come after, they won't really remember me, eventually. And there is nothing to be done about it, but surrender.

Surrender to the fact I'm dust. Surrender to Him in trust.

I talk to a friend about listening to your life. She says she doesn't have any answers. She says You know I was going to say that, right? I tell her I think I forgot how to listen, because life became too much, and I turned my face away from it, didn't want to hear.

But there can be beauty in hearing, even in the pain, yes, beauty in accepting the pain, and receiving grace when we listen. I told her I was going to practice this.

Let me know how your listening goes, she tells me, and gives me a wink.

I came wailing into this world, red-faced baby, a rare birthmark on my arm all the doctors wanted to see. But really, nothing special to define my life. Thirty four years have flown by. Thirty four more will do the same. In the larger scheme of this great big spinning orb, who am I and what do I leave behind? And who will know I've been here when I'm gone?

The thing is, my life is very small. I am just a speck here, amongst billions of others, and billions of others have lived and will live. And really, all I can do is just ask Him to make my speck in this huge universe a blessing in some way, for Him to have honor.

Yes, if we truly understand ourselves, and God, even a little, then we understand the mystery of our infinite smallness and His infinite greatness.

She starts to sit down in the seat of the swing for me to push her, and then she says, Oh Mama, it's dirty! How I gonna sit on that? So I grab a large, soft, hollow stick lying on the ground and scratch at the cakey brown spot until it's sanded and smoothed away, and she happily plops down.

I swing her, and watch her hair fly. I see their heart-shaped bums in the seat, how they are so tiny, their world so big, their bodies small and limited, but their spirits limitless. They are unafraid. I see them smile into the sky. I surrender, then, too. I look to the sky, to Father, who helps me with my unbelief.

I'm free. Just as free as I want to be.

What this link-up is about: We "write out spirit" by practicing writing about the invisible using concrete words. In case you are going "what in the world is a concrete word?!"--this just means (using the prompt to inspire) write out what's around us--concrete words make the senses come alive, gives place. In every story, there is always an above and beneath, a beside, something tucked away, aromas in the air, something calling in the trees or from the street, notes in our pocket, rocks in our shoes, sand between our toes. Go here to see Amber's take on this. It was very helpful to me--I think it will be beneficial for you, too.

A few simple guidelines:       1. Be sure you link up the URL to your Concrete Words
                                             post and not just your blog home page URL.
                                         2. Put a link to this post on your blog so that others
                                             can find their way back here.
                                         3. Try to visit one or two others and encourage their efforts
                                         4. Please write along with us, using concrete words--
                                             and the prompt--Please no entries with how-to's, advertising,
                                             or sponsored posts
                                         5. We connect on twitter with the hashtag #concretewords--
                                               please share so others can join!

Today's prompt is Dirt. GO!

**{This link up will run until Sunday, the 9th, 11:59 am., giving you plenty of time to write and link-up before the next concrete words is posted the following day. Sometime between now & then, I will read your stories and highlight one of them from this link-up on social media. On the 9th, the prompt will be announced .}


  1. Ashley Tolins LarkinFebruary 3, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Glorious, Nacole. This might be my favorite piece of yours, and that is saying something. God is doing some beautiful things in you...it's dripping out all over your words. I hope to be able to link up this time around.

  2. Did you say you thought this was DEPRESSING?? WHAAAAT? I didn't get that feel from it at all! It was deep and thoughtful and joyful and contemplative.

    I loved it.

    (But you knew I was going to say that, right? ;) )

  3. I like this a lot :)

  4. What a wonderful piece of writing! Deep, reflective, yet with a lightness of touch. Nacole, you exude His grace and your sweet life and writing are already leaving a mark for eternity. This is beautiful and inspiring.
    I am trying hard to listen to my life (aided by Frederick Beuchner and Holy Spirit) and right now it's reminding me what a soil dweller I seem to be. So I have linked up with my shame story and hope it will still bring glory back to the One who covers it all with His mantle of grace.
    Blessings :) x

  5. I really love this post, so beautiful! I tried to link up, but my internet is misbehaving, so just going to put the link here in the comments xx http://ruthpovey.me/2014/02/05/an-abstraction-on-dirt-concrete-words/

  6. Ashley, I really do love you. That is all.

  7. Kelli, you. make. me. soar. Yes, I knew you were going to say that ;)

  8. Thank you Brandee--this IS Brandee, right? I can't tell, from the pic. Thank you for your constant support--it means a lot.

  9. Joy, you are a little ray of sunshine, well, a really big one. *Thank you* for always spreading it all around me, friend.

  10. WOOT! Ruth! I am SO stoked to see your link here! You got your brave back! So proud of you. And when do you want to guest post? ;)

  11. It is, and I have my dirt post about 3/4 written in my head. We've just returned from a trip to TN to take care of our mamas, and I haven't had much time to write, but I'll get there.

  12. Ohh let's do it :-) Shall message you!

  13. This is going to sound weird, but I vote we write about crap. Because I could barely keep myself from going in that direction.

  14. Laughing out loud, Brandee! Do it! Remember this?: http://sixinthehickorysticks.blogspot.com/2013/03/cowgirl-manure-princesses-get-seat-next.html

  15. Brandee, I know you aren't on facebook. Your post "won" from this week's link-up. LOVED it, girl. So much imagery, so much beauty and love. I'm highlighting on social media.

  16. Thank you for this kindness. My departure from facebook has hurt my readership, but *shrugs* it had to be done. Still reading along: last few weeks have been crazy, and the noun prompts are easier for me to write out than the verb ones.



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