This too shall pass . . . but nobody knows when.

I currently feel like the flame of candle, easily lit, yet the slightest breeze or lack of air can put me out. I don’t want to be out, but often I am.

I thought I was going to be able to write about my big trip to New York, Boston and Montana..About all the friends I got to see and people I met, and about what it was like to travel alone. I will write about those things one day but I can’t get into that head space lately.

Life is hurting a lot recently, my family has experienced so much loss within the last eight months. This is not the space to explore all of that and dish out all of those details but i can tell you this, it has been a season of loss and I’m not a fan of pain and loss. I hate to see those around me defeated, but i love to be with those that are suffering and defeated.

I find that though i have been through much loss and defeat.. I still don’t have words to comfort but i have a heart that aches along with them and a shoulder for them to lean onto. I can go there with them, i can suffer with them, i can be defeated with them because we know that ultimately any defeat we experience will add to God’s story of redemption. For redemption to take place you must be redeemed from something. Such a hard place to be though.

I feel as though i’m going through the motions again. Though I have had the opportunity to travel much lately and experience many things that I am grateful for, those things have also felt extremely sad at times. One of my favorite things in life is sharing an experience with someone. It can be food, music, a church, a group of people.. anything really. I’ve been this way for as long as i can remember, Its how i am wired and experiencing all those things on my own is depressing. I’m not getting used to it. Wish i could say i was, but i’m not. Its extremely difficult for me. And as far as I can tell there is no relief from this in sight. I’m ready for some redemption God. You may say “but Casey look at all the good things in your life right now..Friends, Family, Mari, SF, a Job, a home by the beach”  And i would reply with “yes yes i know.. those things are amazing and i could not ask for more when it comes to all of that”  But not sharing all of that with someone is what’s killing me.

 

I want to show all of this to you, i want to share all of this with you, i just don’t know who you are or if you are even out there. This thought haunts me and scares me to no end.

 

(please refrain from saying anything in the comments about God’s timing being perfect.. I’m fully aware of that and i believe that it is true. But that doesn’t make any of this easier.)

This too shall pass . . . but nobody knows when.

Mostly True Words

“Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again! “

Henry Scott Holland

 

My cousin sent the text above to me the other day and I’ve been thinking on it and reading it over and over. I can’t stop. I won’t stop. While parts of it do not ring completely true, i do like the overall theme. The idea that one has simply stepped into another room. I believe that Hope would want to be thought of in this way. She would want to be talked of in familiar tones, she would want us to laugh at things we once all laughed at, she would want us to not force any solemnity, she would want her name to be the household name that it’s always been. I’m working towards practicing this more, at times it’s still too hard to always mention her name and that’s OK. but more and more its getting comfortable to mention her name and things she enjoyed. And i like it. Something about mentioning her name or mentioning how she would like or dislike something has helped it seem as if she IS just in the other room, in a good way.

Below are my favorite lines.  I get chills every time i read these lines. There is a deep truth hidden in these lines. A truth that one day we will all understand, a truth that i don’t fully understand but that my skin does. Its as if my body itself is reacting to a truth that it once knew, and that it will know again.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.

One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Mostly True Words

Such Kind Words

I have received so much love from my family and community and even people i have never met. Below is an email i received a day before the adoption from my dear friend Aimee. I encourage you all to invest in people. The rewards are endless and it’s what we are built for.

 

“Thinking lots about Mari’s adoption tomorrow. I remember praying with you guys and for your guys, that the perfect child would enter your lives at the perfect timing.

The January day you guys got the call, I was in New York for work, and I remember my eyes tearing up when I got Hope’s text. She sent me a picture of her kissing little baby Mari and she looked so, so proud. In that photo, I saw her become a mother. I told her I was going to call her Marionah Carey, after Mariah (duh).

It’s hard to think of another almost-3-year-old that has been such a vessel of love and God’s faithfulness thus far in her lifetime. I so fondly remember conversations with Hope about how motherhood had changed her. And although it was of course challenging at times, she so badly wanted to become a mother and to have a family. Mari is such a gift, but of course I don’t need to tell you that.

Hope was so proud of you becoming a father. I remember her telling me her sweetest moments would be when you came home from work, and played with Mari in the living room, and you’d both be giggling. No matter how hard the day was, balancing taking care of Mari and herself, she was just so proud of those moments and the family that God had given her. As her friend, it was such an incredible gift to watch her be so happy in that.

I’m celebrating with you guys tomorrow. I know soon enough I’ll be back to watch Mari grow up. I can’t wait for times when she’s old enough, to tell her what an amazing girl she is. How she was such an answer to prayer, how she literally completed a family. I’m committed to always being there for her, in any capacity you need.

I’m so proud of you Casey. You are so strong and so faithful. One of my greatest blessings in life is to be a friend of the Joens family.

*crying my eyes out at this point because how could I not be*
Love you lots.
Have the best day tomorrow.”

Such Kind Words

Marionah Hope Joens

Around 850 days of waiting. But today.. Today she is officially Marionah Hope Joens!  I can not even begin to explain all of my emotions today. But i think my strongest feeling is that of thankfulness. Mari has been a gift since the day she came into our home, and I am forever thankful that God allowed us to take care of Her. Today is the day when I can finally feel at peace calling her my daughter. She is first and foremost God’s and that lesson is drilled into my being, but now God has allowed me to take care of her in this place. Thank you all for the prayers and care during this whole process. Now I want to write to Mari 🙂
Mari,
You are simply a gift from God. You have been Hope when I had none, light in my darkness, and the only Joy I was able to cling to. Being with you has given me life and purpose. God has already done mighty things through you and will continue to do so. One day you will understand the significance of your middle name and the person that poured Her life into you, you will carry Hope with you forever and you will honor that namesake. You will make mistakes and so will I, but we will carry each other through those mistakes and we will not let each other go. You love without bounds and you teach me how to love in that same way. Hope taught you all of these things, she set that tone in your life. I could not be more proud of you, nothing you can do can make me love you more and nothing you can do can make me love you less. My love for you has no bounds Mari. I’m so excited to be apart of your story and your life, God has knit us together and we will honor him all of our days. Let’s make the most of this adventure! I LOVE YOU.
-Dad

    We give thanks that you created the world,

Though it turned from your ways.

We give thanks that you began a people

to bless this world,

though it did not always bless.

We give thanks, with greatest reverence,

for eh gift of your Son, Jesus Christ,

who indeed blessed the world.

Thanks be to you for the signs and glory of the Lamb of God.

In him, we are all adopted children of God.

We are brought into the divine redemption,

which now subsists in each embrace,

each extensions of love.

Each sacrament, each kiss and act of service.

May the adoption of this beloved child Marionah Hope Joens be blessed.

Almighty God, you adopted your people in Egypt,

and they came out into the wilderness to pitch a tent.

May we the family of this beloved child enjoy the presence of God

in the tent of life together as they look toward the pillar of fire by day –

a sign of your coming glorious redemption; and the pillar of cloud by night –

a sign of your presence amid our trials and darkness.

In Christ, the Son of God, There is neither adoptive nor natural parents and children.

We are all born again in the Spirit of God.

This Spirit redeems us with the substance of faith, hope, and love.

May this child be blessed by the mysterious presence, mercy, and grace of the Trinity.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Amen.

This first picture below is from the day when we picked Mari up from the hospital here in SF.

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MARI-JOENS-WEB-1 MARI-JOENS-WEB-9 MARI-JOENS-WEB-12
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Marionah Hope Joens

Everything all the time.

This transparency thing is not easy..  The quotes are all from Scary Close again. Thanks M.

 

“how else will we connect with people unless we let them know us”

I’ve been meeting people lately.. People of the opposite gender. Anytime it starts to happen I immediately want to go through and delete my Instagram and start a fresh one. I want to hide this blog, i want to cover up my past and just be a fresh slate. But i can’t, this is who i am. Realistically i could only keep that stuff from someone for a very short period of time. It would come up.. “hey what’s up with that child yelling in the background of our phone calls all the time?” / “What does that tattoo on your chest mean?” / “Why do you hang out with sooo many married people?”

 

“Characters only change when they live through a story”   

I figure i might as well keep it all out there and if someone can’t handle that stuff then i guess they shouldn’t be in my life. But it’s still tempting to hide all of it. My generation loves to only showcase our perfectly curated lives for the world to see, I can be fully guilty of this as well. Again though.. that would all be an act. I am so so thankful for my story and what i have experienced thus far in my life.

 

“It meant diving into the unknown, where there were very real dangers, but mostly rewards

It’s true.. I’m adopting a child, i was married for almost a decade, I married my high school / junior high sweetheart, I have her name across my wrist and another tattoo on my chest for her and will probably get another one in her memory. Who I am now is very much of who WE were. All that being said.. I’m also remodeling in a sense. Some things will stay the same and some things will change, I’m OK with that but I also don’t know that those things are at this point.  When you start a remodel you are usually aware of a few things you want to change and then once those walls come down you notice some other things that can use adjustments or improvements. I’m slowly doing this work.. and all of you are watching. That’s OK as well, there are some repairs we cant make on our own. No man is an Island.

 

Everything all the time.

Self Portrait

ME

 

 

This is a picture of myself. But it’s more than that. The look on my face is how I feel inside the majority of the time, yet the majority of the time you see me I will have some sort of smile or laugh across my face.

I just finished reading this book called Scary Close. You should read it, it will most likely wreck your world a bit. But in the best possible way. The author addresses our desire and attempt to always put on a show for people.. To act for people so that we receive love and acceptance. I do this all the time. I’ve done it my whole life. It’s not always a bad thing, but it’s not always genuine. And if I can drop this act and still be loved, that will be genuine.

All of my closest friends and family tell me it’s ok to be myself around them and that I can be like this and make this face even when I’m with them.. AND I believe it. But it’s an internal struggle for me. I know there will be times of joy and laughter and it can be genuine. But the fake stuff sucks. Next time you see me faking it call me on it, but in a gentle way. Letting this wall down can be hard, and tiring, I’ve been building it for most of my life. But it must come down a bit.

We will all love a bit better when we learn to accept our flaws, our messes and our pains. And when drop the act.

 

Below are some nuggets from Scary Close.

“those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either”

“How can we be loved if we are always in hiding”

“what if part of God’s message to the world was you? The true and real you?”

“honesty is the soil intimacy grows in.”

Self Portrait