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. 

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