Three things happened today.
One, I scrubbed the yurt floor…as one needs to do after having lots of company;
Two, I heard from what is I think the ninth casting director to invite me to audition for a reality TV show (which, if the audition was successful, would be created around my fascinating life);
Three, I read some comments on YouTube.
Just to be clear, the haters are not on my own channel. Not mostly, anyway. My channel is sweet and small and downright family-like. The comments that I shouldn’t have read are on the Seeker videos, those mini doc videos about my life that were filmed back in December and released in March. I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near them…except for the first two things that also happened today.
I’m trying to normalize after a thrilling but intensely exhausting weekend. I’m trying to remember what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I might have accidentally researched in the wrong library.
Do you remember that my word of this year is Beauty? If you read here, or have been reading here long, you know that Beauty is pretty much the organizing principle of my life — not beauty that sets one thing above another, and is competitive, or cruel, or beauty that is like a television ad — but capital “B” Beauty, which is really mostly about how you see.
Beauty to me is the same as finding meaning because when you see something well enough to see the beauty, then you know how to love. And it works the other way, too. When you love well enough, everything is beautiful.
I find it stunning — shocking, really — that my life, organized as it is around beauty, can appear to someone who doesn’t know me as so many pieces of ugly. But then, it isn’t really my life they’re talking about, is it?
Of course I’m human so I want to respond to the allegations one at a time. Being off grid doesn’t mean I’m a Republican, for starters, let alone theologically conservative. (Why do people assume things like that? Why? Why? It makes this really awkward thing on all my social networking where people follow me because I’m off grid and then unfollow me when I say something about police brutality, white supremacy or homophobia. It makes me crazy, it makes me want to wear signs to warn everybody about everything…)
But you see how this goes. Responding to allegations of any kind is the worst. Defining yourself by what you’re not is never fulfilling, and it often starts fights. These kind of clarifications can make a lot of things, but none of them are Beauty.
I am a complicated human person. I have lots of stuff I’m still figuring out. And I’m old enough to know that this road doesn’t come to a finish before it ends. But I have organizing principles by which I move through. One of these principles is beauty, which is also compassion, which is also kindness, which is also truth…because these are the things that unfailingly move me towards God.
And, in the end, God is kind of all I really care about.
Turns out on days like this that’s good thing. It’s a good thing, because if I cared most what people say in YouTube comments, I’d be incapacitated right now. I would be literally unable to move. And if I organized my life by when and for what reasons I get emails from reality TV casting directors, I’d be in a good mood, but I would also be a flake.
The thing I did today that matters the most is scrubbing the yurt floor. Scrubbing floors, and also scrubbing little fingers. Also making bread, also breaking that bread with my family and friends, also living a life made up of moments, in which I experience the value all around me, including my children and the creatures and my husband’s project that is a ferociously sturdy 3D expression of his heart, and also the trees.
I am not clickbait titles on YouTube. I am not a representative of “off grid” or “prepper” or “permaculture.” I am not my seemingly contradictory position on guns (which actually I could clarify pretty well if you gave me more than one sentence to do so…but that’s another issue). I am not what I look like on camera, or how well I compose a sentence when I’m on the spot. I am not a category, nor a team, nor anybody’s position paper. I am a human, living a life, made up of moments.
That’s what God made me to be.
I do occasionally think about hanging it up as far as the public expression goes. Sometimes I feel timid, or unclear about what it is that I should say. I’ll never be just one wheelhouse, or have a singular demographic audience. And, being all the human things, also sometimes I’m just hurt and grumpy, and I wonder why I even bother.
But I also remember that our stories are the best things that we have. They’re as good as jewels as gifts to one another, sometimes, to motivate and encourage and enlighten. I could be made dead inside, if I let my story be what it is after 200,000 views or whatever it is on YouTube. But that’s just letting the preciousness of my life and my heart be defined by utter nonsense…all the things that don’t actually matter to me.
Pearls before swine.
My story is still happening right now. And it just is what it is, if you were right here to see it. It’s just normal, mostly. It’s also beautiful. But it’s beautiful for the moments of holy, holy, holy, which are also seeking God. It’s beautiful for all the reasons I can’t capture and can’t control and often can’t even define.
So if you want to know what to label me by? Don’t bother with “off grid.” That’s a point of argument anyway. Don’t even bother with “alternative.” Just remember how I washed my kitchen floor.