go where it’s warm

Grace is found under the surface, under the muck. It’s digging deeper, moving beyond and letting go. It is softness, kindness. And I think we should use it more.

We can lean on grace when we’re hurt. When it’s time to defend we can hold it up as a shield. We extend grace to those who need it, to say I see you and I’ll help. With grace we can say ‘no more’ or salvage something that has begun to unravel.

My early teen years were mostly mired in insecurity with moments of reprieve. You would be insecure too if you had the loser trifecta going on. Braces, too-big glasses and bad perm. I’m 37 and I know how to dress myself and I’ve lost the trifecta, but insecurity still flares up now and then. At thirteen I was lost in its shadow and when it shows up now it surprises me. I’m surprised that I can still want to duck and hide. Surprised that I still care that much.

I’ve learned to shrug my shoulders and say whatever. I’ve learned to say no and I can breezily say yes. I’ve learned how to spread my feelings out, explore them, and come away whole. I know when to lighten up.

But, insecurity happens. It doesn’t grab me by the throat – that would be too obvious. It’s sneaky, it creeps. It is a series of small things – a risk taken and worried it’s the wrong risk, a snarky word, an untrue friend. I’ve developed a tougher shell over the years and there are many things that hit and slide, and fewer things that land and stick. I spent a lot of time burying that painfully shy thirteen year old girl, the sensitive girl who broke easily. I’m not her today, but she’s underneath, and this is the time to use grace and say enough, be at peace.

Lately, I’ve come across situations where many of us could benefit from a little grace. I wrote this post in response to a few tweets, conversations, blogs like Kvetch Mom’s post (a great post on when bitchiness is taken too far) and my own life stuff. After pouring out my heart or rambling (easily both) to my friend Karen the other day, she said, “Go where it’s warm.” All my freaking out and oh-so-many-feelings stopped. They screeched to a halt, actually. I whispered in awe, “I love it.” Because it is simple and good and right. Go where it’s warm.

Swept up

I have to give a huge thank you to Sheryl and North by Northwest for being so good to me! The interview that aired Sunday isn’t available – the neat and tidy 15 minute one, but the longer version is up. If you’re new here and wondering what I’m talking about this is the post that sums it up. Check out my interview with Sheryl where we talk story, writing, and that Mennonite energy!

11 thoughts on “go where it’s warm

  1. Loraleigh

    One of things that I like most about you and your writing is that You Get It. You know what I mean? You take words and phrases and make us notice them. They are not just words on a page. Some how, as you craft, you manage to take words out of all the stuff that’s swirling around and make us look at them, examine them, let them sink in; and then you write them and I think most of us finally feel at home cause we finally meet someone who Gets It, or it’s like the light finally goes on…”ohhhh I finally get it.” For me anyway, you are like coming home. I love that about you.

    1. heidi

      I love it too. When she said it to me it was just this perfect thing at an imperfect time. And lately when I’m unsure of a situation or person I think, go where it’s warm. It totally works and steers me in the right direction.

  2. Dolly

    I know all too well those insecure, teen years… and I’m also so glad to have a different perspective now than I did then. Part of growing up, right? But still too, that insecurity creeps back in at moments. Thanks for this post and the reminder that it brings. I’m grateful now for how far God has brought me. I hope that my own experiences will help me to encourage my own daughter when she goes through those “insecure” years (or pray she doesn’t have to go through them at all!). Blessings to you, Heidi!

    1. heidi

      Absolutely! To the ‘growing up’! I’m so grateful to growing up and the perspective it brings.
      I worry too about raising my daughter, especially with all that she’ll encounter as she gets older. But, you’re right, the experiences we’ve had can only help. Because we’ve learned from them and it makes us better people – that’s what I tell myself anyway.:)
      Thank you for visiting me here!!

  3. Emily

    i love that “go where it’s warm”. so great.

    and i love how you so beautifully put into words… “there are many things that hit and slide, and fewer things that land and stick.” I can totally relate to this post! thank you.

  4. IntenseGuy

    🙂 …as they say, the “ugly duckling” becomes the “beautiful swan” – and that you did (assuming you were truly “ugly” to begin with – which I doubt!)

    When author Hans Christian Andersen wrote that story way back in 1843, i wonder if he was really thinking about human beings in a metaphoric way…

    Isn’t it amazing how 4 words (go where it’s warm) can hold such “enlightenment” and “power”?

  5. heidi Post author

    Alexandra!! Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner!
    I don’t have this book. What’s it about? You’re awesome…you know that, right?

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