Monthly Archives: March 2016

good friday eve…

12901007_10153298543991986_1078043199968815948_o.jpg

Of all the times I’ve read the story of Good Friday and Easter, somehow this line has always managed to escape me, “Then all the disciples left him and fled.” Beyond the physical torture story that we all know so well is one of emotional agony. To be abandoned by his friends in his most dire moment. Which of us has not felt the sting of having the ones closest to us turn their back and run when we needed them most. And here it is again in 8 small words… there is no depth of sadness or hurt or hardship that I have or will face where You’ve not already stood. #itsalmostfriday #butsundayiscoming #thankyouforthecross

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

for the early good-bye…

On a warm sunny day in early October, she left for the last time. How could I have known that I would never see her again? That afternoon, she lay on my chest enjoying the warm sun that bathed us both, purring in her sleep.

When she first went missing, I looked for her everywhere I went. White plastic bags along the highway or small mounds of snow would catch my eye, making me think I’d finally spotted her tiny white body.

Posters and signs and search parties later, reality began to set in, and one gray day in late November, I laid my face down on the hardwood floor and watered the ground with my sadness for her early good-bye.

From time to time, nearly eighteen months later, I still catch my breath when I think of her. Tears have wet my face even in recent months. I told myself that she would come back like she always did, but that time, she did not.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 5.42.23 PM

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A new year is a cycle wherein we go through the same rise and fall that we did during the last rotation. That loss and grief is cyclical is nothing new. And as was the year that my little Ella went away, winter continues to be my quiet, reflective turn around the sun.

I still feel the pain of her loss as I do the pains of other winter losses. Even nature seems to join in my sad song, shedding her glory for a bare, stark landscape of grays and browns. The sun hides away and clouds are ever present, seeming to turn an entire season into a place of empathy for a heavy heart.

The hardest thing about losing Ella was that I never saw it coming. I was not prepared. One day, all was well; the next, it was over. For months, I felt sure that if I simply persisted enough in my search, one day, I’d turn that corner in that neighborhood or on that block and I’d finally see her. But that day never came.

The thing about early good-byes is that though they are often final, life offers many stages wherein we relive them. A year after Ella disappeared, I found myself searching for her again and re-awoken to the pain of her absence.

In a world where loss and early good byes are commonplace, to pause for a cat seems trivial. But to not would seem to imply that grief and loss move on a varying scale of weight and gravity making one less or more than the other. And while it is obviously true that losing a child or spouse or friend or family member is indeed harder and greater than losing even a beloved pet – it is also true that grief, whether big or small, demands that we take time to pause and reflect and heal.

A piece of my heart left me with the disappearance of that small white bit of fur, but greater good-byes have gnawed away at my wintered soul. Memories of ill-timed good-byes spin around me like loose floating particles in a shaken snow globe.

The loss of friendships once dear to me.
The loss of a state I had called my home.
The loss of connections and places of belonging.
The loss of loves and loyalties and an entire identity.
My easy smile.
My light heart.
My carefree spirit.

Like the corners of my leaf-littered yard, I conceal withered pieces of happiness whose times have worn out and altogether expired. What once was is no longer and what remains are the handprints and impressions left behind in my now-hardened cement.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Winter has done her work on me once again, and I find myself fighting the cold that has crept in. Fighting the apathy that wants to take over. Fighting the tiredness that comes after a season of long nights and short days, after a season of dark and gray and brown.

Welcoming a new hello after an ill-timed good-bye is trickier than it might seem. Loosening a tight fist and clenched jaw happens only with hard work. And when the long waited-for melt finally comes, it does so with a bittersweet mix of releasing what was in order to, with free and empty hands, take hold of what is to come.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Every gray November brings a shifting landscape, but after she has had her time, she gives way to the thaw.

And when it comes; when the icicles hanging around our deliquesced hearts begin to release their watery captives, the drops fall down to hydrate the very places within us that have been brown and gray. They wash away the dark and rain on us with soft promises of new life.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Moving on, letting go…

Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul
Truth is the only angel that can bid the gates unroll:
And when he comes to call thee, arise and follow fast:
His way may lie through darkness, but it leads to light at last.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“The woe of the world is of its own making. Sorrow purifies and deepens the soul, and the extremity of sorrow is the prelude to Truth.

“Have you suffered much? Have you sorrowed deeply? Have you pondered seriously upon the problem of life? If so, you are prepared to wage war against self, and to become a disciple of Truth.

“The intellectuals, who do not see the necessity for giving up self, frame endless theories about the universe and call them Truth; but do thou pursue that direct line of conduct which is the practice of righteousness, and thou wilt realize the Truth which has no place in theory, and which never changes. Cultivate your heart. Water it continually with unselfish love and deep-felt pity, and strive to shut out from it all thoughts and feelings which are not in accordance with Love. Return good for evil, love for hatred, gentleness for ill treatment, and remain silent when attacked. So shall you transmute all your selfish desires into the pure gold of Love, and self will disappear in Truth. So will you walk blamelessly amongst men, yoked with the easy yoke of lowliness and clothed with the divine garment of beauty.

“O come, weary brother! Thy struggling and striving
End thou in the heart of the Master of Truth.
Across self’s drear desert why wilt thou be driving,
Athirst for the quickening waters of Truth.

“When here, by the path of thy searching and sinning,
Flows Life’s gladsome stream, lies Love’s oasis green?
Come, turn thou and rest; know the end and beginning,
The sought and the searcher, the seer and seen.

“Thy Master sits not in the unapproached mountains,
Nor dwells in the mirage which floats on the air,
Not shalt though discover his magical fountains
In pathways of sand that encircle despair.

“In selfhood’s dark desert cease wearily seeking
The odorous tracks of the feet of thy King;
And if thou wouldst hear the sweet sound of His speaking,
Be deaf to all voices that emptily sing.

“Flee the vanishing places; renounce all thou hast;
Leave all that thou lovest, and naked and bare,
Thyself at the shrine of the Innermost cast;
The Highest, the Holiest, the Changeless is there.

“Within, in the heart of the Silence He dwelleth;
Leave sorrow and sin, leave thy wanderings sore;
Come bathe in His Joy, whilst He, whispering, telleth
Thy soul what it seeketh, and wander no more.

“Then cease, weary brother, thy struggling and striving;
Find peace in the heart of the Master of Truth;
Across self’s dark desert cease wearily driving;
Come; drink at the beautiful Waters of Truth.”

— James Allen in The Two Masters: Self and Truth

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My soul is weary of this war. Carrying the torch of what is my right. Working ceaselessly to vindicate myself. Working tirelessly to create an existence wherein, what I feel I deserve is cared for by others with as much intention as I care myself.

The wounds of yesterday surround me.

The times you left me when I needed you.
The times you could not see.
The times you betrayed me.
The times you left and chose never to return.
The time you refused to try to understand.
The wars we fought over boundary lines.
The games you played.
The love you simply could not give.
The words spoken against me that have caused damage unspeakable.

Within me rages a war to set these things straight.
To finally see my offenders receive their own.

My thoughts continually consumed in a replay of incidents that have left deep knife marks on my heart.

Lost in the pain of yesterday, I have abandoned today. With the scenes of then ever before me, the love of now is lost and hidden. All I can see is what I’ve chosen to fixate on.

Hurt.
Anger.
Rage.
Disgust.
Fear.
Offenses never set right.
Offenders never brought to justice.

I try and try to forgive, but it always returns. My throat is tight from its stranglehold.

The past decade of my life has brought with it massive pendulum swings. Swings that are and were necessary in order to get from there to here, but they are not very congruous of each other nor can you participate in both at the same time. And so I find myself here today, trying to retain the lessons gained from the time my pendulum swung greatly that direction while allowing this direction to take place as well.

Earlier lessons of boundaries and learning to say “no” to ill treatment are all muddled up in this new truth that is desperately trying to push through.

The death of self.
The release of anger.

Forgiveness.
Freedom.

Letting. It. Go.

I want so badly to be free now, but these wounds sit on me like chains. I cast them off from time to time and live momentarily in health of mind and heart. But just so quickly, I slap the fetters back on and return to my unrest.

The truths of pop psychology do not line up with the truths of the Shepherd King.

One tells me not to cry over people who won’t cry over me, and the other says to lay my life down unreservedly… even for those who cannot and will not see, even for those who will use and lie and betray, even for those who hate me.

One tells me to remember with vigilance; the other tells me to forget… seventy times seven.

— h.c.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If men only understood
All the emptiness and aching
Of the sleeping and the waking
Of the souls they judge so blindly,
Of the hearts they pierce so unkindly,
They, with gentler words and feeling,
Would apply the balm of healing —
If they only understood.

Kindness, nobler ever than revenge.

— Shakespeare

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“The remembering of injuries is spiritual darkness; the fostering of resentment is spiritual suicide. To resort to the spirit and practice of forgiveness is the beginning of peace and happiness. There is no rest for him who feels that he has been unjustly treated, and who schemes how best to act for the discomfiture of his enemy.

“How can happiness dwell in a heart that is so disturbed by ill-will? Do birds resort to a burning bush wherein to build and sing? Neither can happiness inhabit a breast that is aflame with burning thoughts of resentment. Nor can wisdom come and dwell where such folly resides.

“Revenge seems only sweet to the mind that is unacquainted with the spirit of forgiveness; but when the sweetness of forgiveness is tasted then the extreme bitterness of revenge is known. Revenge seems to lead to happiness to those who are involved in the darkness of passion; but when the violence of passion is abandoned, and the mildness of forgiveness is resorted to, then it is seen that revenge leads to suffering.”

— James Allen in Forgiveness

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My hands are open.
My heart is ready.
Show me the way.

~*

For the harsh words you spoke, I forgive you.
For the time you stood against me, I forgive you.
For the love you could not give my children, I forgive you.
For the times you took from me without permission, I forgive you.
For the lies you spread, I forgive you.
For the unrealistic expectations pressed upon me, I forgive you.
For the perfection demanded me of me, I forgive you.
For your lack of support, I forgive you.
For leaving me to need to survive on my own, I forgive you.
For not even trying to find the truth, I forgive you.
For those you’ve turned against me, I forgive you.
For your utter abandonment, I forgive you.
For not loving me as much as my brothers, I forgive you.
For letting me go and never coming after me, I forgive you.
For using me, I forgive you.
For taking my husband, I forgive you.
For breaking our vows, I forgive you.
For believing lies spoken against me, I forgive you.

For all the wounds buried deep down in my burning heart, you are forgiven.

Help me hold onto this peace. Oh tender forgiveness, do not slip again from my fingers. Give me the courage to remain here. To make this place my home. Soften my clenched fists and release my tight jaw. Breathe on me with warm, soft air and bring stillness and peace where a terribly bloody war has been fought. Wash away my anger and help me heart beat kindly again.

— h.c.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“’The Kingdom of Heaven cometh not by observation’, and the silent sacrifice of self for the good of others, the daily giving up of one’s egotistic tendencies, is not seen and rewarded of men, and brings no loud blazon of popularity and praise. It is hidden away from the eyes of all the world, nay, even from the gaze of those who are nearest to you, for no eyes of flesh can perceive its spiritual beauty. But think not that because it is unperceived it is therefore futile. Its blissful radiance is enjoyed by you, and its power for good over others is great and far-reaching, for though they cannot see it, nor, perhaps, understand it, yet they are unconsciously influenced by it. They will not know what silent battles you are fighting, what eternal victories over self you are achieving, but they will feel your altered attitude, your new mind wrought of the fabric of love and loving thoughts, and will share somewhat in its happiness and bliss. They will know nothing of the frequent fierceness of the fight you are waging, of the wounds you receive and the healing balm you apply, of the anguish and the after-peace; but they will know that you have grown sweeter and gentler, stronger and more silently self-reliant, more patient and pure, and that they are rested and helped by your presence. What rewards can compare with this? Beside the fragrant offices of love, the praises of men are gross and fulsome, and in the pure flame of a selfless heart the flatteries of the world are turned to ashes. Love is its own reward, its own joy, its own satisfaction; it is the final refuge and resting place of passion-tortured souls.

“The sacrifice of self, and the acquisition of the supreme knowledge and bliss which it confers, is not accomplished by one great and glorious act but by a series of lesser and successive sacrifices in the ordinary life of the world, by a succession of steps in the daily conquest of Truth over selfishness. He who each day accomplishes some victory over himself, who subdues and puts behind him some unkind thought, some impure desire, some tendency to sin, is every day growing stronger, purer, and wiser, and every dawn finds him nearer to that final glory of Truth which each self-sacrificing act reveals in part.

“Look not outside thee nor beyond thee for the light and blessedness of Truth, but look within; thou wilt find it within the narrow sphere of thy duty, even in the humble and hidden sacrifices of thine own heart.”

— James Allen in Hidden Sacrifices

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We were young, we were brave
With our eyes wide shut in the choices we made
Well you lit the match and I got caught with the flames
And your voice still rings out through my mind
And the thorn still twists down in my side
All the promises said that we left for dead in the night

Because I’m moving on, letting go,
Forget the past and giving up the ghost

All we are is fading stars; life’s too short to stay where we are.

Forgive and let live and move on, tell me that you’re gonna make me stronger, forgive and let live and move on…
Forgive and let live and move on, tell me that you’re gonna make me stronger, forgive and let live and move on…

— Mat Kearny in Moving On

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized