Empty

The plan was to paste some Jackson Brown lyrics here.  Something from “Running on Empty.”  My search engine was too slow.  The little curving arrow kept spinning, turning in upon itself with nothing to show for all the activity.  So I decided to wing it.  After all, this post is about feeling empty.  Staring at a blank screen that is filled with a void of white seems like a perfect place to start.

I queue up “Running on Empty” on Spotify.  The beat of the bass fills my ears.  This was always a great driving song.  Skimming over country roads a little too fast and taking the dips that would leave me feeling airborne on the down side is as close to the sensation of flying that I’ll ever get.    I still remember the fluttering in my stomach that lingered after this taste of flight.  In the emptiness there was a flutter.  There is a flutter in the simple memory.  Maybe I’m not really empty after all.  Maybe, I just feel empty.

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Want

“You can’t always get what you want.” 

— from a song by The Rolling Stones released on their 1969 album Let It Bleed. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards,

I’m learning about what I want.

I’m learning that I have expectations and that it’s ok to want something.

I’m learning it’s okay to ask for what you need.

I’m learning that crying doesn’t mean I’m weak or broken any more than the next person.

I’m learning that failure hurts but it doesn’t define me.

I’m learning that anger hides many things no matter who carries it.

I’m learning that blame is easier than working on a solution.

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A Devil of a Thing

Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Rumors that I am an ogre may be greatly exaggerated.  Then again, maybe not.  I wrote my last entry and shared how I felt about dirty laundry that involved people who would have preferred to keep the laundry out of sight.   There has been some fallout.

I was hurt and angry and wrote honestly about how I feel.  I do feel disappointed and no, I don’t think my expectations are unrealistic.  Did I want to slap a few people upside the head verbally?  Yes, I did.  That stuff about the pen being mightier than the sword. . .I didn’t have a sword so I took up words and started slashing.

There are two sides to every story.  Most of the time there are a whole lot more than two.

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The Wall

“All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.”  –Pink Floyd

In my life, I have come to believe that being open and honest about our lives is essential for developing the ability to emotionally connect with each other.  My words are not meant as an indictment.  My family is what it is.   We’re all limited, imperfect.   This is simply my experience, the way I feel.  I validate those feelings here in writing about them.  I have a right to them.  I hold them within the walls of myself but by this admission, I hope to open a door.  I want my heart to remain open.  I need to give it voice especially when pieces of it are breaking.  In this brokenness, I hope that others can find parts of themselves. 

This last week a wise woman suggested that I focus on what is directly in front of me.  She referenced Nehemiah, a book in the Old Testament.    Their city, Jerusalem, was in ruins.  The Israelites were discouraged and hopelessly flawed and yet somehow despite all their complaining, all the set backs, all the attacks by enemies and all the fighting among themselves eventually, they build the wall and reclaim something central to themselves.  They needed a prophet to redirect them back to what was most important, to focus on the wall directly in front of them.

Walls are necessary.  The provide a layer of protection.  They keep things out and other things in…  I know a lot about walls.

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The Beauty of a Frail Song

Note:  I’ve been taking a class on Thursdays.  Every week there is time for group discussion.  The contents and details of those discussions are private.  I left yesterday’s group wanting to write about the impact the group had on me.  I do so in figurative terms.     It’s taken me a long time to really appreciate how important it is to really hear and honor the truths of other people’s stories, of other people’s lives.  When others’ share honestly about their feelings, their fears, their hopes and dreams and when we allow ourselves to see the great value in such communication, all of those involved may benefit.  The world becomes a gentler and kinder place.  The world desperately needs our kindness.

Day ends.  Atop a high plateau, I look down on the world below, on all that came into this day.   I woke up closed, tired.  The struggle to wake a sleepy child feels like a great labor.  It’s like rolling an angry boulder uphill.   Beginnings shouldn’t be this hard.  It is the ending that should be or at least that’s what I tell myself.

Then, the day rolls out like a new spring carpet.  Remembering the morning, I open my eyes to see what flowers may appear on this new carpet of a day.  Looking for them, I discover gardens I had never seen before.    Gently, I walk through the day and inhale.  With this deep breath, the day cracks me open.

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Give Me a Gift

This morning, I catch a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror as I’m brushing my teeth.  I am a rabid dog with an eerie blank stare and foam oozing from my mouth.   Deep inside I’m amused.  I start channeling the sound of Scooby-Doo.  “Rrrff rrrroooww.”  My face doesn’t change expression.

“Hey,” I yell at the mirror.  (All inside my own head, of course.)

“I’m still in here.   Helllllooooo!  Is anybody out there?”

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The Kind Daughter

Kindness doesn’t always come naturally to me and so my daughter has taken on the task of training me.

Genuine kindness starts within.  This is where my daughter enters the picture.  I am blessed with a  daughter who catches me in many of my unkind moments and elevates kindness to a higher level through the use of the following words:

“Mom, that’s mean.”

“Mom, that’s really critical.”

“MOM!”

Fortunately, her admonitions typically come after one of my classically sarcastic and snide remarks about perfect strangers  (Note: the word perfect).   Since teen-age daughters love to hear that they are right and that mom is wrong, I grant my honest teenager that admission.  (At least in this case.  We’re on a case-by-case basis here.)

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Anniversary

Marriage.  I had given up on the idea when I met the man that is now my husband.  The few men I had dated before were not marriage material.    Men who lived with their mothers in a complicated love/hate relationship were attracted to me like iron to a magnet.  I dated them for a little while because it seemed the “normal” thing to do.  It wasn’t long and I ended up really disliking them and myself for perpetuating the illusion that we were or could ever be a couple.

The first time I talked with my husband, I had just gotten home from a date with a clown.  Not a jokester but a genuine clown.   Clowns have always frightened me.  This clown was no exception.  He made me balloon animals and talked about his two clown persona’s: Buffy and Biff.  He preferred Buffy and spoke of her at length.  He lost himself completely when he talked about the clothes Buffy wears and the makeup and high heels.   Continue reading

Faith in the Written Word

I’ve often thought that to write one has to have faith that you actually have something to say.  Lately, my faith has been shaken.    A bad case of writer’s block was making me question writing at all.  That was a cop out.

Fortunately, part of me is smarter than my brain.  My heart was still in it.  In fact, my heart was so much in it, that I didn’t have the words to describe all that I was trying to process.  Writer’s block was not a waste land empty of words and meaning.  It was a fertile field on which many seeds had been sown.  I just need to wait long enough for them to take root and start pushing their little plant parts through the topsoil.

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Waiting for Easter

It’s the time of year when we celebrate all things new.  Sadly, my soul feels mired in the old.  I want to give it wings.

Easter and the 40 days leading up to it, meant much more to me as a child.  Lent was about deprivation and denial.  It was usually about the giving up and not the giving for.   I still hear the occasion person state what they gave up while the next person tries to top that with the particular thing, person or activity they choose to do without as if it were some masochistic contest.  I’d rather not play.  I hated the giving up, the guilt when I failed, the idea that doing without could somehow contribute to creating something more.  It defied logic.  A neat and orderly world is a predictable one.

And, so when Easter finally arrived after 40 days of want and three days of intense liturgical observation in which the Catholic Church reenacts the drama of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Easter was release.  It was healing.  It was rebirth.  It was love, the reward for faith and hope.  It was divine justice, a reconciliation for all the suffering, all the want, all the waiting.  If only life were that simple.

The Easter story means so much to so many because it promises a reward for suffering.  It promises redemption.  It makes God, a suffering, persecuted human, one to which we can all relate.  Divine justice prevails.  Suffering becomes part of the process and makes the subsequent resurrection more meaningful.   We want that for ourselves.  We want our suffering to have meaning.  We want to rise again.

Often, that isn’t how it ends, at least not in the earthly realm.  So much of human suffering is meaningless.  The happy ending, the just ending, may never come and still, we wait.

In the end, the story we tell ourselves to make sense out of the stuff of our lives is all that matters.  If we align our lives, our dreams our hopes with a Christian story that is where meaning will lie for us.  If we believe that the Koran defines our reality, then it will.  If we chose to attach our dreams, hopes and ambitions to the wisdom of the Buddha, then those things will become real for us.

These are all stories or tales with beginning, middles and endings.  The ending is a product of all that came before.  We mortals, victims of time, are still stories in progress.  We can only guess what our ending will be.  We are trapped in the daily living of our unfinished stories.  There is so much that doesn’t make sense.  We attach ourselves to stories, stories that have endings.  It is there we pin our hopes and dreams and often our sanity.    Stories comfort us and few stories comfort us more than that of a Christ, rising again, overcoming death, suffering and evil.

How I want the comfort of this story to fill me.  I want to feel born again.  I want to rise again, above all the loss and pain that haunts the edges of my life.  I close my eyes and wait for the feeling of resurrection to flow through me.  I need an Easter in my life.  It doesn’t come.

But then again, my story isn’t over.

 

I am the person behind the words printed here. I write because my heart will not allow me the option of NOT writing. It has taken me half a life time to discover this basic truth, but now that I have, writing is as natural as breathing. This is where my breath takes the form of words.

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The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
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