Saturday, September 14, 2019

QUESTIONS OF THE SOUL


When your love has been rejected, how do you love?
When your love is never enough, how do you love?
When your love is shattered, how do you love?
When your love is betrayed, how do you love?

When your dreams are but shadows, how do you dream?
When your dreams never come true, how do you dream?
When your dreams are scorned by those you love, how do you dream?
When your dreams turn to nightmares, how do you dream?

When you’re misunderstood, how do you understand?
When your understanding is deficient, how do you understand?
When your understanding is false, how do you understand?
When you understanding is clouded by pain how do you understand?

When no one in your life has ever loved you, dreamed with you, or understood you;
How do you love,
How do you dream,
How do you understand?

You turn to God and pray.
Begging God for love, dreams, and understanding.
And you cry a waterfall of tears.
And sometimes, you wish to die.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Ode to Columbia

Missouri
     Misery
           Mizzou 

Words
      Images
           Feelings

They come flooding over me like a fountain dammed up for a long time.  
      Are they good, are they bad?  
           I don’t know.  
                I know they are strong.

Why, what?  
      Why do I feel this way?  
           What is it about MISSOURI?

Not just Missouri but specifically Columbia.

Visions flash in front of my eyes – 
     Hickman High, 16 years old, new girl in school.  
          A year later, married, pregnant, drop-out, failure – a ne’er do well.

But MIZZOU
     Legitimacy, not a failure, 
           a graduate, a degree 
               but to some, still and always a loser.

So much misery
     so much pain
          so much rejection 
               volumes waiting to be written.  

Is it MISERY or MISSOURI?

Visions of churches, 1st Assembly where I married at 16; Christian Chapel where I tried to be legitimate and accepted.  Trying to be a grown-up, teaching Sunday School and Missionettes – marriage restored only to have all that hope crushed into a thousand pieces and now I’m a single mother with three. 

Christian Fellowship – more of the same.  

All these churches shaped me, all of them wounded me deeply.  Rejection.  Always seen as a problem.  Not spiritual enough.  Not married enough.  Children who were too lively.  “My child would NEVER do that!” the refrain repeated so often.

Then I see it – then I know.  I know why this odd calmness comes over me in Columbia despite the misery.  It’s because little pieces of my heart that broke and shattered in every corner of Columbia – Weymeyer Drive, Bearfield Subdivision, Worley Street Apartments and countless other dwellings, trailers, houses, and apartments; churches, schools, and jobs - 

the places where wounds were made and my heart shattered in hundreds of pieces.  Pieces left behind of my broken heart.

But here I am, I’m ok.  I have survived.  

For a few brief moments, as I drive through Columbia, little pieces of my shattered heart and dreams join to fill the holes in my heart.  For that moment, I’m almost whole.  But alas, it’s temporary.  For the pieces will only remain in Columbia and I will go home.  I can’t seem to take them with me because I’m not that girl anymore. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Beauty of a Leaf


I’ve been anxious to return to the park.  This park, like many parks, has become my morning sanctuary.  The weather wasn’t too hot.  There was rain in the forecast but only occasionally the clouds spit some rain.  I was ready.
It was my first round.  I felt a little out of sync.  Even though I have continued to log many miles in my race for health and wellness, I haven’t been to the park for months.  I saw a familiar face in the distance.  A faithful dog walker who always greeted me.  Then another dog walker who usually doesn't, but today, perhaps because I hadn’t been seen for months, she greeted me.  It was good to be in the park.
Something caught my eye.  I was listening to a podcast to feed my soul.  But there it was, lying on the ground.  It was a leaf.  A heart shaped leaf that had fallen to the ground.  It was badly damaged.  It spoke to me immediately.  I thought of how many times I’ve asked how many times a heart can be broken until it exists no more.
I continued to walk.  I marveled at the bluffs.  I’ve seen them so many times and yet their majesty always awakens me.  I know the river is there.  It is flowing but I can’t see it.  But it is there.  I imagine it is low right now, but I have also seen it flowing so high that I could see it from the walking path.  Someday I will walk a trail and stand on the banks.  But not today.
Soon I was the only one walking.  The town employee who comes every morning was gone.  The dog walkers had gone on with their day.  I was alone with my thoughts and the beauty of the park.
The podcast was perfect for this morning.  I was listening to John O’Donohue speak of beauty.   It was powerful, profound, and gave me much to ponder.  I had now passed that leaf four times.  I had seen it each time.  I had looked at the tree that had born that leaf.  I’m not sure what kind of tree it is but I think it might be the Eastern Redbud.  In the spring, I’ll see if it blooms.  It is the only one like it that I’ve seen in the park.

At one point, I pondered why we draw a heart shape that way.  It really isn’t shaped like a biological heart.  Yet everyone knows a heart when they see it.  As I took my fourth turn I stopped.  I felt compelled to pick up that leaf.  I did.  I held it.  I listened for it to speak to me.  It did.
The leaf was not complete.  It looked as if some thing had taken a bite out of it.  It was brown around the bite and discolored.  There was green peaking through but much of the leaf was yellow or brown.  It had become disconnected from the tree, it’s source of life.  Yet, there it was, in my hand.

I looked at the leaf and it said, this is your heart.  Your heart has been so bruised and damaged.  The pain you’ve endured is real.  Others can’t see it.  Some don’t care.  But the damage is there.  And it’s real. 
I held it and thought, my heart needs care.  My heart needs softness.  My heart needs to be seen.  My heart still has beauty. 

I took the leaf home.  I will save it.  I will cherish it.  It reminds me that even though my heart has damage and may never be whole, God loves me.  He will pick me up and care for me.  It was an important sermon in an early morning sanctuary.