You look for meaning in each day A gently voice For someone to utter, “Everything is going to be alright” But confusion overcomes Somewhere between then and now This mess became your heart You think “Maybe if I try harder” And the tears begin to sting your eyes Your innocent dreams are cast into mud As if their significance was nothing But they are pieces of your soul Pieces that matter enough to fight for Because that is what you have been doing, you thought And now you fear they will vanish A part of you that was once thriving, is dying And no one seems to notice You pick up a piece of your shattered soul Clean it off one by one And this is when you remember what they were Igniting vision and possible vague hope You realize you almost lost them And are reminded of their importance These things worth fighting for Are the things worth living for What your doing is good enough Your dreams are valid and possible Because I gave you those dreams Rest your head on My shoulder Cry as long as you need As many tears fall from your eye So shall be the great things I have planned for you You are not done; I am not done with you Tonight there is no more wishing and hoping There is, what is You broken, and Me willing
If there is one thing I can always count on, it is just when you think the weather is nice and comfortable in Abilene, Texas it will turn hot enough to literally fry an egg on your doorstep. It only requires one to turn the doorknob and stand outside for approximately 4.5 seconds (I’ve timed this) and the sweat will start to come. Forget walking, running, or doing any other athletic movement, just breathing starts the motion. Going to get the mail feels as though I walked 100 miles in the Sahara Desert. On the way back from the mailbox I start to hallucinate and my mouth goes dry. I forget where I am and my only concern is to make it back to the shade. The pavement starts to sway up and down and I swear I see a desert coyote drooling over me thinking I’d make a good snack, or is that Gracey panting? I move one leg in front of the other and concentrate. The mail falls on the ground, but there is no point to retrieve it, my life is on the line. They’re probably just bills anyway, and I laugh in my delusion to think they will burn up in the sun and I wont have to pay them. Reaching my house I fumble in the door and lie on the couch regaining my strength from the heroic mission I completed. It is hot here and I am already looking forward to our two months of cooler weather. Thank God for air-conditioning! I’ll stay inside for the next six to nine months waiting for conditions to change. Either that or I am going to join a nudist colony.
I admit even though I live in Texas I am not much of a country music fan. Formerly I laughed at this category of song particularly because of its simplicity and redundancy. “Where the Green Grass Grows” by Tim McGraw grabbed my attention years ago, but only to ask what has the entertainment world come to? And what is so interesting about grass growing? My friend, Amanda and I made fun of an entire group of out-of-town students who loaded the bus singing this song at the top of their lungs. The truth, nevertheless, is I did not understand country music enough to appreciate it back then. Maybe in some bizarre cosmic way, my life was not as complex as it is now! This is why country music is captivating, it appeals strictly to emotions, both extreme pain and intense joy. Any and every song contains something about deep, personal, and heart wrenching passionate feelings. I never would have dreamed of writing this if it were not for my recent occurrence. I became interested in Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley’s popular song “Whiskey Lullaby.” Flipping through all five of my working TV channels, I stopped when I heard this song. It had won an award (don’t ask me for what) and I recalled I heard it before maybe on the radio. I wanted to listen to it again and looked for the CD on Amazon.com. Then I remember my best friend Kelli’s husband, Scott, is a real Texan and has tons of country CD’s. He probably has this one. During the search of the song title (I did not know the singers names) I came across this website (displayed at bottom of blog) that portrays the story behind the music. It is an intense and passionate narrative giving the song a more influential sentiment. Even though it communicates death; myths, legends, and other historical poetry like “Romeo and Juliet” create beauty in finality. Scott did not have the CD with this song on it, but gave me six other ones, all country, for me to adjust to this new craving I have. I decided to pay more attention to the words. Hidden within these melodic notes is an illustration of reality. Of pain and suffering, of death and destruction. I respect the artists who write their hearts. It’s similar to the excitement I have in expressing my heart and soul. I confess I was truly excited to listen to the CD’s on my way home. I did not know which one to pick, so I randomly chose one and stuck it in the player. Beautiful music began to play and I listened closely. Then I heard the words. It was a song I heard many times. I knew this one and could not believe I chose this unintentionally. Kenny Chesney sang, “There goes my life…” If you heard this song before you’d understand there is no way one can listen to it without an emotional response. So I gave up and listened with all my heart and cried the whole way home. Now this is how to appreciate country music: Be happy when it’s happy, thank God for simplicity, and when things seem to go around and around, write about it.
I received my new vehicle registration sticker in the mail a week ago and decided it was the day the big switch would happen. I needed something to do, time to kill, and this “small” task definitely became a moment filler. I went out to the garage and began peeling off the old sticker. It was a lot harder to remove than I anticipated. Sure I could have gone to the service station, but subconsciously I wanted to prove to myself I could be my own mechanic. I did not need anyone to help me! How hard could it be: peel off and stick new one on? It wasn’t until I held the little shredded clumps in my hand that I second-guessed my accomplishment. I looked at the remaining sticker on the windshield. Reluctantly I began examining it better. I got closer to it, and blinked my eyes in disbelief. Then I leaned as far as I could on “Silver Speedo’s” hood and read “Texas Vehicle Registration.” The tiny shriveled remains of what was once my Inspection Sticker yelled from my hand, “Why did you do this to me?” and faded into a deadened surrender. Feeling incredibly foolish, I blamed the new appearance of the registration sticker (why don’t they instruct you to let you know which one is which?) and headed to the nearest service station that could remedy my problem. I couldn’t believe I removed the wrong one and had to buy another one. A half an hour and thirteen dollars later I left more wise and humbled. I don’t particularly enjoy these types of life surprises. I’d rather win a trip to Hawaii or realize I have more money than I thought and I am really rich. But moments like these teach me profound valuable lessons: though it cost you all you have, get somebody else to be a mechanic for you.
One of the worst feelings in this world is when you are misunderstood. Not only this, but the extreme of this characteristic is judgment. It is something we all do whether we admit it or not. People who care and love know who they are, and for this purity to be dismissed and rejected by insensitivity is wounding. One could have the best intention, but someone else can destroy that spirit with misguided opinions. It feels horrible. Because one may walk in confidence, labels are placed and selfish, arrogant, and prideful names are hastily consigned. People want to feel essential as if their existence awards them permission to stamp someone else. Yes, there are people like this. Life is fragile and I wish everyone understood the gravity of this saying. But as time moves on, and sin continues to corrode, suspicion and skepticism take the place of what was once trust and concern for others. We are to busy protecting ourselves rather than sharing our stories and using them to bring honor to God. Protecting to the point that disrespect and cruelty are validated. The ones who persist under immense pressure of being misunderstood and judged live with unknown pain. This grief does one of two things: cause one to keep loving or makes them build a shell around the heart to protect it from others. Pondering this matter causes me to hit the brake pedal. Slow down and remember what is below such daily complications. There may not be any reward for desiring to understand others, at least none visibly seen. Not these days, even in Abilene, Texas. Most people are out there living for themselves. Drooling over their payments at the expense of others. It is what they are being taught at an early age: no one can be trusted. There are many ways to explain this issue. Other matters branch from this topic. It makes me think and wonder who I am, who I have been, and who I will choose to be.
I touched evil And lived to tell of it It looked normal, friendly Good It called my name And promised me all Life, love, and happiness I ignored it, but it never disregarded me It became a shadow A weight, a torture One that lurked not only in real life But in my dreams, in my mind So much that slowly Slowly I began to break You’d think it resides in dark places But to ignore reality Is to bestow evil further authority Honesty thwarts the plan That’s why I was targeted “Wanted” I knew this was coming I discerned the magnitude years before A moment’s choice destroyed all hells strategy I touched evil Looked it in its eye Cast it to the pits of suffering Where it once took me It’s not a game, it is a battle A war A selection of truth even with pain An embrace of hope even with tears A hold of power even with helplessness A grasp of perseverance even with doubt I touched evil I am moving ahead, behind enemy lines Claiming what is mine Enduring And I will live to tell of it
My heart is heavy and I am plain sad. I wish I could go under my covers and fall into a deep undisturbed sleep. I don’t want dreams, I just want to forget I am alive and drift into nothingness. Tomorrow is “Mother’s Day.” Two years ago I was pregnant with Natalie. I celebrated it because I was pregnant. Life was growing inside me. I felt her and loved the anticipation of meeting this beautiful wonder. I talked and laughed about how next mother’s day Natalie would be here. She would have on a pink frilly dress, with shinny white shoes, in my eyes she was already spoiled and not even born yet! Except that Natalie wasn’t here last mother’s day. I woke up last year and cried, but at least people around me were there that remembered my daughter. Now my third mother’s day has arrived and I feel like I have lost everything. Those who have felt Natalie’s hands forget the pain we shared. My heart, however, seeks a true sensitive comfort. I guess one can’t hold on to something that is gone forever. If it is not time that carries away the emotion it is definitely time that steals the memories. I feel all alone and tired. I cried all the way home from Kelli’s house today. She knew something was wrong when I was about to leave. One comment from someone who understands my heart, and it’s over trying to keep it all in. Everything I thought I had is gone. Vanished. As though it never existed to begin with. The genie has come and taken away my three wishes. I don’t feel strong, but somehow I know I am even in this sorrow. I am being brave. These comments are real. My pain feels so real, I am sure it is seen on my face, through my eyes, and in the lack of expression.
Kelli’s mother-in-law, Kathi, has a remarkable ability to crochet. A little while back she made one with Natalie Grace’s name on it. I framed in it front of a pink background. Her two small footprints are centered below it as well as a quote that says, “Those we have held in our arms for a little while, we hold in our hearts forever.”
Tonight I’m not going to say everything is ok. I wont say I am getting through this or being strong. Tonight I will not smile if I am not happy, or laugh when I want to cry. Tonight I don’t need to put on a “mask” or a brave face. Tonight I am going to be sad. Tonight I am going to lay on the floor in the dark and sing the songs I sang to Natalie when she was alive. I’ll remember good times, and pray the prayer I ritually say, “Please God don't let things always be this way.” Tonight I am going to miss my daughter.
Over two years ago I worked as a teacher at a day care. My class included about twelve, two to three-year-olds. You know, the age where everything is questioned, potty training is a hit or go situation (literally), and naptime is the only sacred moment during the day. There was one little girl I will always remember, Megan. Besides the fact she looked like a porcelain doll, she also talked with perfect vocabulary and enunciated every word she spoke. This stood out because it is quite uncommon for two or three-year-olds to talk with perfect “r’s” and “w’s.” Weally, it is! She never spoke slang or had any accent of any region. She was sensitive and level tempered, a real sweet girl a teacher in any school would love to brag about. I had no choice but to speak serious with most of the kids…many times…numerously...throughout the day. They needed boundaries and I had no problem explaining and enforcing the rules. With her, however, I never raised my voice and if ever I needed to, I’d look her in her big blue eyes and explain that we “can’t do this,” or that “we have to listen.” Megan remembered everything we spoke about. She wanted to be nice and learned fast enough so that at least one out of twelve kids I did not have to repeat myself two or three times each hour. Most days I felt like a broken record repeating every rule for everything we did from eating, playing, and learning. One rainy day, I had to explain to Megan we could not go outside and play. She thought for a moment and looked at me. We were all on the floor and had just finished our story time and she came over to me and put her head about one inch from mine. I had no clue what she was doing, but I was not alarmed. I had already been slapped, pinched, and kicked that day; I had no energy to move. She held both hands up, put them on either side on my face, tilted her head of blonde curls and whispered with every word thought out, “Maybe tomorrow?” I took her hands, smiled, and said, “Yeah, maybe tomorrow.” That phrase became one of her favorite things to say. If we had to stop a craft, come in from the play ground, not have movie day, Megan would do the same thing: grab my face with her sweet little hands, smile and ask, “Maybe tomorrow?” I was proud of her parents for raising this child with marvelous etiquette and charm. It would be hard not to spoil her! After a look of disappointment from her, I’d have a dilemma not giving her what she wanted. I am not sure why her phrase continues to affect me after all this time. Maybe it is the innocence of a child’s hope that maybe tomorrow will be better. Or perhaps, it is the assurance there actually is a tomorrow. The explanations can go on, but there is meaning in Megan’s motto, there is hope and it may not be here today, this minute or in an hour, but maybe the next day. It also reminds me of “little orphan Annie’s” song, “tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya’ tomorrow, you’re only a day away!” Tomorrow says that nothing is final. That somewhere in all of this, time may provide comfort rather than disappointment. Things will not stay the same. It is impossible. I will reflect on these blogs years from now, or months and comprehend the advantages this stage provided me with. Life transforms fast, and if I don’t see the light today, than maybe I will tomorrow.
There is purpose in struggle and it is defined by the voice of angels who live in the midst of me. Family, friends, and people I don’t even know have unknowingly fueled my spirit. There are moments I proceed with assurance, but inside I am burdened beyond what can be fathomed. I try to be real. I realize I am not expected to do any more or less than what I am doing. Honesty is a weapon possessed I will use for defeating any attacks both worldly and spiritual. This is not a story anymore, but life, my life. I have 2 choices: to give up and die, or to struggle, persevere, and live. There is no in between. It is one or the other and I have already chosen the later.
Even if there is no sign of things being happy at the moment, I hold on to the thought of one day having joy and sharing my life with another. It is a huge risk that I care for this. It is a distant dream, but one worth imagining. I can’t believe all the maturing I been put through and have embraced. Friends remind me; those I know and don’t know, people whom I trust and rely on, and those who God sends as angels on a sunny day, have shared the truth in the present circumstances. The reality of it is, that all the consequences surrounding these times are happening to me, and not because of me. They are an effect of selfishness, deceit, and lies. Traits possessed as secret weapons against love and vulnerability wounded me. I do not claim them, nor do I make a pardon for those who know what they do and take no responsibility for it.This is the world I am saved from. I am no better for it, just more accountable. I am damaged to have resided in this way of living. But I choose the hard way out, the one that shows me who I am and what I need to do to grow.