Wednesday, October 4, 2017

These Are The Times That Try Men's Souls

In the midst of the commotion of living in the middle of America in it's disintegration period, I find myself frequently shaking my head. When the news blares and the tears fall for strangers who were alive last week and dead now- that would be as strange still were it not for their famous and brutal demise, I wonder what my great grand parents would have thought. The tragedies of their day were all they knew, new to them as a Twin Tower or a Vegas are for me. Their tears fell and their hearts reached out from their chests in a wish to somehow comfort those who fell in their days. They too shook their heads and wondered what the world was coming to. They wondered how the world could get any worse and if there would be a world to wake up to for their children and grandchildren.
    I don't know what the future holds nor would I deign to ask anyone but God. So far, He doesn't seem to think to necessary to fret about, just prepare for. This I do know, that these are the times that try men's souls. So was it designed to be. The challenges of our time are perhaps unlike any other, but so too are the blessings unlike any other. The opportunity to reach out to God and allow His mercy in our lives has never been greater. We have at our fingertips a relationship with Jesus Christ that is unlike any other relationship that we have experienced. His grace is there for us at every moment. In the midst of commotion there is a sweet peace that can fill the heavens and and our hearts- one as easily as the other. There cannot be anyone else responsible for it but ourselves. This experience cannot be given by virtue of another's sincerity, dedication or determination- only our own soul can ask and receive. So please ask, please pray, please insist until the answers come that you seek. Get real and be serious with God- there is no substitute. And when He answers, accept it. There have been times that I asked sincerely and then was tempted to reject the answer because it was not what I expected, was harder than I anticipated and required more commitment than I thought I was capable of giving. There have been times I have been unsure where the answers were going, when I couldn't see the destination and I wondered which train I had boarded and if perhaps I had been standing in the wrong station to begin with. Take heart, God intends to give you more than you asked for. He cannot bless you enough- though at times we might feel stretched beyond what we feel is necessary, He intends to give you greater blessings than your imagination can conjure. There is hope in this world of darkness and pain and it doesn't come from legislation, social reform, news broadcasters or even a hurting people who come together in times of need. Those who come together in times of need are a symptom of the hope that is in us through Christ Jesus. We have brought with us to this Earth a love for our fellow man that Christ showed us is stronger than any force.
If you never have, take some time to quiet your mind and ask for God to speak to you, to give you peace, to fill your soul and answer your heart's questions. If you have before, perhaps many times before, take the time again to invite peace for yourself and in behalf of others. This world will be a better place.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Healed

Wallowing in despair,
  I cried.
My burden and my heart
 So heavy.
"There is only grief
  No rest for me
Oh help me, now,
 Oh Lord" I sighed.

My sister came
  Her lamp in hand
Her tender voice spoke
  Love and friendship.
She offered light,
  It warmed my heart
And filled my eyes with hope.

But she could not stay,
  She must away, to family and home
They called.
  And all too soon,
The light, it dimmed
 And left my rooms so cold.

My brother too, he came
  On errand from The Lord.
To share words,
  Of comfort , faith and love.
But with his parting,
  'Er his shadow left my door
The voice of darkness
  Spoke once more;

"The light, it cannot save you
     It leaves you hopeless, yearning..
I'm always here, you're not enough
Despair is all
 You have in store
Change is hopeless,
 Your efforts,
     Puny
         Worthless
You'll always be alone."

"This Jesus
That they speak of,
  Who is he?
 Where is he now?
Oh? He can? But will he save you? How?"
  The voice drones on,
Together with
  My stomach churning.

I cried out
  "Liar! It can't  be true,
I've felt it in my heart
  The warmth, the light, the burning!"

The laughter from the darkness rang
  Rasping in my ears
The voice reviewed my sins
 And faults,
My weaknesses,
  My fears
And I , ashamed,
  Sat hopeless, lost
And all my thoughts just turning, turning,

Until a tiny voice,
 A thought
Swam upward from the pile.
It pushed gently to the front
 And said,
 Without pretense or guile
"What if, what if you tried?
       What if you asked and He replied?"
What if this bully in your mind
  Is only that? A bully and a cipher?
Disembodied and feeding on your flame, your fire?"

My confidence,
 It drew deep breath
And taking heart, I spoke.
I told Him all, as with a friend,
 My hardest, deepest
    Pain.
I told of childhood fears and monsters, haunting still,
  Of words I spoke and actions done ,
 in shame
   I emptied out deep wells of darkness
Confusing,
      unexplained.

Looking on with kindness,
 His face so calm and still,
  He asked if I would give it all
I quickly said
    "I will....but how?"

"I cannot, will not steal from you,
     These things you've suffered through,
  You've learned and felt, through
 This darkness, chosen
    But freedom is my gift to you."

"There is no other way to learn,
         And yet,
     To choose to live
 You'll give me the burden and the guilt,
         I'll take them,
  Turn them light
               With this Gift I freely
           Give!"

I looked inside
   And in my heart
I saw the life, the lessons
        I had gained
The precious truths
   so hardly won,
 the pain and purpose now explained.

The laughter from the jeering
  dark had turned to gnashing teeth
       and anger stark
and yet,
        with my gratitude it calmed,
the storm no longer lingered on
   the gift erased my hatred,
all of my fears
  now gone.

There reigned in space and time
  amazement, love and joy-
 replacing darkness with the light
healing my soul with grace divine.
 


     *I feel humbled and very inadequate to try and describe the depth of love and gratitude I feel to Jesus Christ, my Savior. My efforts feel somewhat like a cross between Dr. Suess and a large Victorian lady who imagines herself a great poet and will prove it over tea and her relatives better judgement but express it I must, despite my shortcomings. I hope the feeling triumphs over the spelling and punctuation errors. Glory to God and the credit for the mistakes to me.

I've Got This Beautiful Friend

This wonderful friend of mine is sad, with haunted eyes. She lost a child and life will never be the same. Would she want it any different?
Let me explain. Of course I assume she wants it all back, the companionship of her family and the joy of his presence. She wants the sweetness of every good memory and she would maybe even take back the bad times, the hard times and the sadness just to have him, just to have the chance for things to get better, to allow time to swing the pendulum back to the good. If life were to be happy would that mean she didn't care, didn't miss him? Would that mean that he was really gone....if she weren't sad?
   Does her heart cry out to God, "Why do you hate me?! How could you do this to me."
"Why couldn't I love him enough? Enough to keep him safe?" Or maybe "Enough to give me peace, knowing that no matter what, he knew I loved him."
  Perhaps she walks alone in a world full of people who have no idea of the heartache and sorrow that she drags behind her like a Grand Canyon suitcase. She smiles at those she meets but it's always there, a chasm big enough to see from space. It's full of memories of the tiny boy who first held her heart and then her finger and then her every waking moment. Of the boy that held her breath as he rode his bike like he would never crash when she knew better. It's full of his crazy smile and great love of the outdoors and all the heartache when he struggled with math and choices and friends and girls and more choices. It's full of every time she wished she could take away the pain and agony and every time she wished you could still spank him even when he's taller than you.
  And maybe sometimes, for just a moment, when she opens her eyes in the morning after a beautiful dream she can still feel him there and she forgets that he's gone and the world feels right again.

I see you, my friend. I see that Canyon behind you. Some days it's hovering in the distance and some days it's under your feet. Some days you fear a misstep will allow it to swallow you. And I don't know what to say- it's a private canyon and sacred. I don't share it, I don't know it like you do. I don't really understand and I don't know how to tell you I can feel it and see it around you. And sometimes I'm afraid that if I say it aloud you'll think I'm crazy. But please know that you aren't really alone, the walls of pain and darkness that divide us from each other cloud our minds and we believe the lies that no one cares, no one understands. I may not fully understand but by dang, I sure want to try.

*i woke this morning with one particular friend on my mind and could not go back to sleep but as I contemplated on what I wished I could say to her I realized that the list of friends, family, loved ones and acquaintances who also carry this same burden of sorrow and worry for the living and the dead is too long to even comprehend. My love goes out to you in your own sorrow that the eye can't see.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

To Live

Preface
This was written after I read an article by a former abortion clinic nurse whose life was changed and healed. I share cautiously as my understanding of abortion procedure is limited and I don't have the heart to learn more details, nor the stomach for it. Certain assumptions are made and hopefully the message is clear if the knowledge of the writer is faulty.

   There was a pulling. First a slight tugging. Sort of a gentle, tentative, testing pulling. Then more firm pulling. 
She really didn't like it.
   The warm comfort, so familiar, was disrupted as the cold  hardness on her feet pulled...demanding and insistent. It became painful.
   She thrashed around looking for comfort, to escape. Then the cold and a bright light above her shone down as she reached frantically for the warm protection of her mother. Her tiny hands and arms moving without strength.
"This one looks great."
A tremendous pressure and slicing pain consumed her. Her heart cried out in fear and pain. She longed for Gloria.


Gloria
   The little girl danced impatiently. Her mommy and daddy had gone to the hospital and she couldn't wait until they came home.
The sun shone brightly outside but she couldn't even play, there was too much to think about. She knew from her little friend, Kelly, that there were blankets and clothes and bows and even some not so fun things like crying and waiting for stinky diapers to get fixed but she was willing to put up with anything just to finally have her baby sister. 
No one had told her directly but she knew. Everyone knows that when Mommies get big round tummies and feel yucky and tired that there's a baby in there. Kelly's mom had acted just the same as her mommy and she was always putting her hand on her tummy. Gloria hadn't quite worked out how you got the baby out of there and Kelly didn't seem to know either, but it didn't really matter.
  She had prayed and prayed ever since she was little and had asked her mom and dad for one for her birthday but she never thought  she would really get one! They must be planning to surprise her, she thought. Daddy was always talking about how much things cost and he said babies were too expensive. She had heard them talking about how much her Academy would cost next year and Kelly had told her that they were always buying something for her baby so Gloria was surprised they had changed their mind.
   But Melanie had come to babysit her and she heard them give a number for a hospital stuck between "macaroni for dinner" and "Remember to brush her teeth, okay?"
Kelly said her mom went to the hospital to get her baby out but Gloria never expected it to be so soon, she thought it would take much longer to grow her baby and Kelly's mom had been much fatter.
She settled down by the window to wait and would not be coaxed away.


Courtney
  She had said she would. She had to stick with it. There really was no other choice. When she thought of Gloria she wished there were some other way and dashed away a tear from her cheek with an impatient hand. This had to be.
   There was no use thinking about it anymore. Don't think about how tiny Gloria's hands and feet had been or of her pleading for a baby sister.
   They didn't even know if was a girl. The ultrasound tech had asked, hesitantly, for he knew their plans but still was so used to parents hugging and exchanging joyous looks over such news that he couldn't help but try. She had wavered and almost looked but Jack had been firm and decisive. 
"No. just check the organs and gestational age" and the appointment had moved on. Courtney wondered if she had spoken it might changed his mind somehow and again cursed herself for not saying something....the right thing.
   She steeled herself and pulled the conversation back, reliving his words. "we really can't afford another one. We're maxed, Courtney! Who gets pregnant on the pill? You almost died with Gloria and I'm not going through that again. It's not worth it ...and besides,the fetus will be used for research , just think of how many people will be benefitted. To us it would be just a burden but it could bless so many people." 
 So many thoughts had played through her mind as he spoke.
  That they had decided on one child was true, but she hadn't realized at the time how much joy she would feel with Gloria. The doctors had been very worried about her but her OB assured her that a second pregnancy had a low risk for the same complications. Placental abruption in labor is rare and unlikely to happen twice. Cesarean delivery would not likely be needed in subsequent pregnancies. At the time she had brushed his assurances off, for they were only having one, anyway . She had waited too long to have her tubes tied, her dislike of hospitals and doctors after her scare in the delivery room was marked and she still had nightmares. 
All of Jack's reason's were not insurrmountable  but the one thing she couldn't, wouldn't risk kept her in her chair in the waiting room. 
   His recovery had to be considered. He was finally stable and functioning. He had promised to be faithful to her, his meds seemed balanced and he was much more patient with Gloria . His PTSD seemed under control but she knew how little it took to set him off. He hadn't gotten out of control with his anger for months and was finally acting like the husband she knew he could be and she wasn't willing to sacrifice that stability for anything. If this baby was his idea or he were excited that would be different....
   If there was one thing childhood had taught her it was that parents should scrifice to stay together . Gloria needed a mom and a dad. She knew how it felt to be abandoned and she wouldn't let that happen to Gloria. 
 Her hand rested unconsciously on her stomach. She had struggled, even with Jack's ressurance that his friend would perform the procedure. He knew him from his time in the military and the man had offered to help him when he heard about their situation. Still, she felt far from comfortable with this man she had only met once. The memory came unbidden of Gloria , a look of peace and wonder chasing quickly through her eyes- quickly hidden so that Mommy wouldn't know she knew and her chubby little hand reaching tentatively for her stomach and then drawing back as she caught her mother's eye. It had broken Courtney's heart. The reason, the real reason she had waited so long was still there at home, waiting. The reason she had prayed to ..someone...for another way. 
   And she remembered her prayers as a little girl that God would bring her Daddy back. She had prayed for years and then she had finally decided that God must hate her because he never did. 
But Gloria had whispered so softly, so quietly, next to her Mommy asleep on the couch. She had put out her hand so carefully next to her rounded belly and the words, "Thank you, God" had crept from her mouth. 
Courtney coud hardly breathe, surely God couldn't deny her little girl. Surely a way would open for her to have a husband who loved her and Gloria could have a father and Jack would change his mind .... But she knew inside that he wouldn't change for she remembered what her hesitation had caused already. When he sensed her reluctance he had frightened her with the intensity of his anger. It had been a long time since she saw that look in his eye and she knew she didn't have the courage. It was Gloria's baby dream or her life of happiness, security and opportunity. Gloria ws just too young to understand  what was at stake here. She would understand better when she grew up, Courtney told herself. She was so young, only four, and she would forget. She had to. A deep breath and Jack's hand on her elbow renewed her resolve to keep her safety and security as she made it from the chair to the door that led beyond the waiting room. 
"You're 28 weeks?"
The nurse eyed her.
"That's right." A dark weight settled into her chest and she walked forward into the inevitable.



   Gloria listened to Melanie on the phone with her boyfriend. 
"Yeah, I'll be home in a few more hours. No, she's having a medical procedure done but she'll home tonight. Okay, see you then. Bye."
She wondered at the strange ways of adults. Why don't they just say what they mean?  Maybe they were just trying to keep the secret of her surprise. 


Quietly, with no notice from the busy world outside and a crowd of busy professionals just doing their job and hiding any sorrow they might have felt , Gloria's hope died on the table.  She never had any name spoken, though what name she was given by a little girl may still live inside her heart if not forgotten in the clouds of experience and emotion that comes with living. Her perfect beautiful light left her pain-filled tiny body. 
   It was divided, separated by professionals plying the tools of their trade in providing a perfect brain her, a liver there.. 
"Don't damage the wares, slice carefully  for with your soul you pay your way."




Don't hate me
  The doctor executioner
   The nurse holding tiny dead hope in pieces
   The deliveryman carefully, quickly juggling the expensive wares of death
  The mother, trapped in dark patterns, trading hope for endless regret, with deep eyes full of longing that find only visions of tiny feet and perfect hands she'll never hold.
The father running from his demons and responsibility ,inability and pain.
Don't hate me. Help me.

Forgive me for judging- 
the outsider looking in who thinks you don't care because only a monster would kill their child, not understanding that no one will judge more harshly than one's self.
Forgive me for thinking that if I walked your road I would have done better.

  Love me 
I am a person 
Protect me 
Give me a name
Give me a voice
For though someday I may move mountains, sing the songs of the heart, save a life or be the greatest love of someone's life, today all I can do is love you. 
Please love me.

Congratulations!!!!...........The Post that Got Lost Til Now

For those of you who read my blog- I should have thrown you a bone and announced that we're expecting. But being my reticent self ( that's the one that you never hear about as she's only in charge when it comes to how much I may have spent on the Rue21 sale or the details of my  inner workings or any personal information that you tell me that you don't want shared. ) I was trying to wait until I had to tell anyone.... If someone asks me point blank though I am prone to truth telling so the word had leaked out a bit.
Ahem. That was the good news!! You should always start there. The rest of the news is that I am currently on bed rest and time will tell if I get to keep this one. Having been pregnant a few times before ( seven to be exact)  you might think that this is just part of the experience but I have had no prior experience with bed rest and its a good thing. For if I had the baby train might have stopped at an earlier station.
Whining is unattractive (hence matching my hair and the state of my bed currently) but I've little else to do for the moment so you're welcome to close the tab or scroll down if it really bothers you.  My family doesn't get to hear it because I'm dependant on them for food, movies, music books and other favors so I've reserved that for the internet.
THIS BITES ROCKS AND STICKS!!!!      
I haven't got the skills for this. I know how to cook, clean, garden, paint and sew. I don't know how to just sit. Maybe if I had an entire season of something (UPDATE: I actually have about three of them now, thanks to my helpful FB friends - these fun show do not fall into the following described catagory!) I want to watch really bad I could manage it for a day or two but frankly most tv is just garbage anyway.

I am so well rested that I can't believe it. I take a nap every day and wake up at six and seven.......and squeeze my eyes closed til eight just to make the day shorter. I listen to kids yelling at each other or giggling hysterically while I can hear stuff crashing or water running........Restful.
I think "Confined to Bed" would be more appropos.


**Though I ended up losing the pregnancy, the following is still true.......

So if you are lonely or need someone to say something nice to you because everyone you're interacting with today hates your guts and you don't want to go eat worms? I'm your gal. You're awesome and doing better than you think. If you don't believe me, just call me and I'll talk you into it.

To God, Sincerely.

Dear God,
   When I left Your presence I was looking for beauty. I wanted a beauty like you had, inside of me.
Why did I think I would find it here?
    I've found heartache, pain, suffering. I've found bitterness, hatred, loneliness. I've found sorrow, tears, betrayal and hopelessness.
  I've found myself watching others suffer without any means to comfort them. I've found ignorance and it's victims slowly swirling like silt as the pond of life empties slowly and inevitably away.
And I've shouted again and again to a seemingly empty sky "WHAT IS THE POINT?!?!?!"
I've done the right thing.
I've done the wrong thing.
I've confused the two of them too many times.
  And still, something drives me forward. This feeling that there has to be something, something better.
And at times I feel the warm glow of  You, burning brightly and sometimes my lips part at the right time and that warmth comes out of my mouth.
And one day, I realized that to see the beauty in the world around me, I had to see it inside me first.
And that changed everything.

                          Love Always as Best I Can,
                                                                     Me

Excuses

I would give everything to know you.
Except my time.

I would stand up for you no matter what was being said because I love you.
Unless they called me names and shamed me for being "too good".

I would give food and clothes to starving, cold and homeless people.
Unless they deserved being homeless and cold and starving because they drank alcohol or used drugs over better choices.

I would serve my neighbor who is lonely and misunderstood- except that her house smells funny and she has too many cats and a poor command of language and I'm too uncomfortable.

I would turn the other cheek but those people on the internet are just idiots who don't understand how wrong and stupid they are.....unless I point it out.

I would be forgiving of others if they would just be sorry.

I would be friendly and kind to strangers if I just knew for sure they were trustworthy and wouldn't turn around and stalk me.

I would seek until I found if I knew what I was looking for.

I'd be a true Christian if I ever ran out of excuses.