Bright & Shiny

I’ve been watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy lately…the earlier seasons, when Meredith was still deep in her mommy and daddy issues.  A big, recurring theme was “bright and shiny” versus “dark and twisty.”  Sometimes…I can totally relate.

Sometimes being optimistic is exhausting.

Sometimes my expensive morning latte habit is the only thing that makes me bright and shiny enough to be a teacher.

Sometimes it really bothers me when people try to get me to cheer up.  Sometimes I just want to feel bad for awhile.

Sometimes it’s irritating to see how easily other people develop intimacy in their relationships.

Sometimes it’s surprising to find out that someone actually cares whether I show up or not.

I know it’s fiction.  And trust me, I know I get much too “sucked into” fictional stories!  But Meredith gives me hope.  I refuse to be unfixable.  Meredith refused to be unfixable.

Please understand this.  It is simply all the bad things that have happened, all the imperfect people that have hurt me and broken me, all the wounds that refuse to become scars.  Or that heal so slowly that most of the time I think they never will.  Or that start to heal and then get ripped painfully open again.  I learn to be pessimistic, to keep my distance, to assume people don’t care…because then it’s not that painful if I’m right.

I feel no need to articulate the specifics here — not because I want to be cryptic and mysterious, but because my story is a lot more difficult than some, but not nearly the saddest story.  But it’s MY story; it’s all I have.  I can’t experience someone else’s story for comparison.  And because I’m refusing to be unfixable, I’m starting to be able to see the gifts.  I wouldn’t wish my story on anyone, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Back to the fiction…  There are parts of Meredith’s story where I just think Derek’s love should fix her.  It seems like Derek wants that, too.  But as it turns out, Derek’s love doesn’t work — Meredith can’t even really experience it and love Derek back — until she is already fixed.  (“Fixed” is not exactly the right word here, but you understand the sentiment, right?)  But one person can’t fix you.  Or, more accurately, another person can’t fix you.   You have to want to be fixed, and you have to do the work yourself.  For as long as it takes.

In my experience, God doesn’t even magically fix you, although I know He could if He wanted to.  He gives you tools and a project.  Think of the story we all know of Noah building an arc.  God didn’t deliver an arc; He gave instructions and a flood.  Noah built his own story, one cubit of arc at a time.  Whatever a cubit is.  I build my own story, by responding to the floods and the instructions, one day at a time.  Author Christa Black writes it all the time:  “Fight for joy.  Go to war to find your peace.”  It’s a fight, not something that just magically happens to you.

“Bright and shiny” is not my wish, if I’m being honest.  My wish is to spend more time feeling everything, the good and the bad, deeply and passionately.  My wish is to know that I am enough; that if the worst should happen in any given situation I will still be enough.  My wish is to live with confidence, passion, and authenticity.  I am not bright and shiny, and I may never be, but I am NOT unfixable.


For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (imperfect people in our lives), but against … the powers of this dark world (pain…the “dark and twisty” and the feeling that I am better off to put up walls and keep my distance) and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (the evil that wants to steal my joy and make me feel like I don’t deserve joy at all) Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil (the moments when I just want to give up, to remain “dark and twisty” and alone) comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything (to fight for joy), to stand.

(from Ephesians 6:12-13 with my own reflections in parentheses)


“Tame the ghosts in my head / That run wild and wish me dead”  –Mumford & Sons, “Lover’s Eyes”


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. CW
    Nov 25, 2012 @ 07:33:19

    So true! This last year my pastor has encouraged me to “fight” and it took me awhile to understand. But it is so true!


  2. Nancy
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 16:59:13

    Dawn, this really hit home with me. As we “celebrate” 12 years of Jason being gone this month, I wouldn’t wish that grief on anyone. However, I also recognize the blessings that he brought to our life and the blessings that have occurred since his death. Taking one step at a time in faith, we will be enough only with God walking with us and sometimes holding us up so that we can go forward. Everyone has a story and I am amazed when I am privileged enough to have someone share with me. It makes me realize that my story – as bad as it might be, can be a blessing to someone else and that there is always someone’s story that is so much worse than mine. I am grieving all the things that I will not have with Jason’s death and am reminded that I should be thanking God for all the blessings He has given me since Jason’s death. He will give me my heart’s desire if I believe and ask. It just might not happen soon or even in this lifetime.
    I love your writings. You are so inspiring and often hit just what I am thinking or pondering. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with all of us.
    YOU are a BLESSING to many and I hope and pray that you realize that you ARE enough in any situation because of your strong faith. Live passionately and feel every feeling you have. Life is fleeting. Love, Love and Laugh as often as you can. And keep on keeping on.


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