Headlines stripped from pages tattered and torn,
Not a damn thing have we learned.
Echoing a time past that man swore would never come again has reared its ugly head taking a stronghold in a country on fragile ground.
His rancid words like golden bile fill my throat; burning the tender flesh from within. If my eyes are closed I might even feel that fine gray ash drift from the furnace and touch my eyelashes; sticking to my cheeks as I cry for what was and what I thought would never come again.
But some of America smiled and embraced all that this self-proclaimed wise man had to say. They breathed in every vile word spoken from his pursed lips. Did he not have wealth and splendor far greater than most of us could gain? Didn’t his silver pen give him the right to make all he spoke true? And some of America bowed to his wealth and his words while others dropped to their knees in honest prayer.
A country, born on the ideal that all men are created equal, is on the verge of making all that our forefathers paved, seem lame. Who would have ever thought that the poem of greater than 200 years inscribed on our icon of freedom “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door,” is slowly being morphed into “two legs good, four legs better”
But some of America smiled as those “yearning to breathe free” were suffocated by a man whose mantra belied his words, “Make America Great Again.” Once again, the white Anglo-Saxon people will rise as it is meant to be and those with alternate skin colors, religions, and beliefs are herded into encampments which we are told will make us feel safe but really is intended to keep their spirits from soaring. My soul screams out, “save from the native Americans, aren’t we all immigrants born to mothers and fathers who left a homeland to make our lives better?”
I am not looking for a revolution. I am seeking a resolution. My mind can only imagine a country moving towards an evolution of all that is diverse, living harmoniously in what used to be a great country. But a trump card has been played and many have laid down before it, eating all that has been spewed before them. Perhaps this belief that the King of Spades has laid at their feet is merely a reflection of what many people have held in their hearts. I shudder at the thought.
I used to proudly light my sparkler
On the 4th of July
And wave it back and forth to celebrate
The freedoms all of us shared
But I was young and impressionable
Then I met Rosa Parks
Who was riding on a bus
And all she really wanted
Was to rest her tired feet
I used to wake in the dawn’s early light
So proud to be a part
Of this great country we call Americia
That spread from sea to shining sea
But I was young and impressionable
Then I met Michael Shepard
Who was sitting on a fence
And all he really wanted
Was to live his own life
I used to believe what our leaders said
When they proclaimed these wonderful words
God has made all men
With equality and love
Please, please let us rejoice
Rejoice for we are truly blessed
Because it is in God we trust
He will take care of this mess
But I was young and impressionable
Then I met a Muslim woman
Who wore a hijab upon her head
And all she really wanted
Was in her own way, to practice her faith
I used to believe that the Promised Land
Was in my own back yard
And all were welcome to enjoy
The milk and honey that flowed from within
But I was young and impressionable
Then I met the Reverend King
Who had insight and grace
And all he really wanted to do
Was to mend a fractured country peacefully
Now you tell me things are different
And I tell you things are the same
You say we are more compassionate
But our actions remain unchanged
You wave your colors and shout out loud
“Don’t you dare stomp on my flag.”
But in the same breath it’s still okay
To kick a nigger or a fag
My hair has turned from black to gray
And I am less inclined
To follow blindly behind your parade
As you wave your precious flag
So please don’t wave your flag in my face
And tell me I am free
I’m only free if I live my life
The way YOU think it should be
Recently, I’ve heard more than once, “I’m feeling some kind of way.” In my experience when people say to me they are feeling “some kind of way,” they elude to the fact that what they are feeling is less than comfortable. While I have never used the saying, “I’m feeling some kind of way,” I certainly have experienced the inablilty to label an emotion causing me discomfort. How can I expect the discomfort to leave if I am unable to put a name to the emotion? I have to name it to be able to tame it.
How do I name an uncomfortable emotion of which I am uncertain? How do I put a label on an emotion when I don’t even know what I am feeling? For me, I have to listen to the music of my emotion. I have to allow myself to explore it, research it, investigate it and then own my discovery. I have to settle into the discomfort of what I am feeling and experience it. Yes, this is uncomfortable, but for me a necessary part of my healing process. I have to really listen to my mind’s eye and get in touch with what my mind is telling me. Only after self reflection can I label the emotion of which I was so uncertain. Then and only then can I give it a name…anger, fear, saddness, self pity, jealousy….or whatever the case may be.
Why do I need to name it? It is only when I know what “it” is can I do something about “it.” It is only when I know what emotion I am feeling can I take it apart and separate what is my perceived truth from what is the real truth. When I don’t examine what I am feeling, it is easy for me to lie to myself about what is “the real truth” in any situation. If I lie to myself, I can not hope to ever heal from an uncomfortable situation with any type of permanency. Once I see the emotion for what it is, then, and only then can I do something about it.
Okay, so I’ve felt “some kind of way,” I’ve settled into the discomfort, I’ve examined it, and now I’ve named it. Now what? What can I do with this emotion?
- I can keep the emotion. Keeping the emotion for an extended period of time is my choice. I can choose to waller around in my dis-ease.
- I can blame others for my emotion. It is easy to blame someone else for “making me feel” hurt, angry, sad, lonely or….. The unfortunate thing about blaming another is that it doesn’t really help me. I can’t change what others have done to me or what I perceive others have done to me. This choice only serves to drop me lower into the depths of an uncomfortable emotion because it presumes I don’t have a choice.
- I can ignore my emotions. I can pretend this uncomfortable feeling doesn’t exist or doesn’t “really bother me” but this only serves to push it down into my subconscious only to surface at a later date with vengence.
- I can own my emotions. I can look at what the effects of these emotions are having on me and those around me. I can look to a Power greater than myself to teach me what I am to learn from this experience and to heal me from any discomfort I may be experiencing.
I don’t always like the music I hear but I do know that I have to listen to the music of my emotions before I can begin to understand, heal, and feel good again.
Sometimes life can feel so oppressive that even taking a breath can feel difficult. Sorrow and pain consumes us on all sides so rapidly that it seems that it is all we have ever known and there is no end in sight. It is at those times when even a small problem becomes too heavy for us to bear; a small problem becomes the exact thing that “breaks” us. Our burden, we think, is too heavy.
During those times, since I can not make sense of what is going on at the moment, I have to look at something other than my problem to find serenity. I can get lost in my problems; consumed by them as sure as a fire consumes the oxygen that we breathe. I can get so lost in my difficulties that I can’t see anything except “poor me” or “why is this happening to the people I love?” It is in those times of desperation that I have to look at the things that I am grateful I have; however difficult it may be to find them at that moment. Today, I need to look for those things I have forgotten to be grateful for.
First, I am eternally grateful that I have a God who loves me despite of myself. My Higher Power does not fit into a box but is universally encompassing. When I turn to Him for comfort, He is there. When I tell Him that I hate him, He understands that too because He knows my heart is screaming out from pain. When I turn to Him and apologize for my words, He takes me in His arms and comforts me without resentment.
There are so many other things that I sometimes forget to be grateful for. I am grateful that my eyes can see. I am able to look at my children and see them in all their glory. I am able to look out my window and see the change in the seasons. I am able to see the colors of the rainbow when it appears high in the sky. I am so grateful that I have the vision to experience all these things and so much more.
I am grateful that my skin has felt the soft kiss of a loved one, the wind as it whirls around me, the cold of a snowflake as it lands on my nose, the water of the shower as it sprays down on me, the slippery sensation as soap glides across my skin. I am grateful that I have the proprioceptors to experience all these things and so much more.
I am grateful for the scar on my chest that tells the story that I have had two heart attacks and open heart surgery and have lived to tell the tale. I am grateful that others have seen that scar and have told me it is my “beauty mark” that God has given me. I am so grateful that I have had this experience because it reminds me that life is fleeting and I need to live each day fully.
I am grateful that I have hands that have held my newborn children. I am grateful that my fingers have felt the warm tears of those I love as I wiped them from their eyes. I am grateful that I still get a chill when my husband takes my hand in his and walks down the street with me. I am grateful that these hands have performed CPR on people who have survived and I am also grateful that these hands have held the hands of others while they took their last breath. I am grateful for these hands have experienced all these things and so much more.
I am grateful for my sense of smell that has experienced the scent of a rose, the smell of a newborn, the clean smell of the air just before a summer rain. I am grateful for my sense of smell because it has warned me of potential danger from smoke and fire. I am grateful for my sense of smell because it has allowed me to experience all these things and so much more.
I am grateful of my sense of hearing because it has more than one time made my heart leap with joy as I listened to my children laugh. I am grateful for my sense of hearing because it allows me to listen to barking dogs, birds singing, the ocean waves, the soft sound of rain as it falls as well as the thunder. I am grateful for my sense of hearing for these experiences and so much more.
I am grateful for all the people who have helped shape my life: my husband who has taught me about forgiveness, kindness, mercy and love; my children who have taught me unconditional love, patience, as well as to give without wanting anything in return; my family who accepts me despite myself and my few friends who keep me in check and tell me the truth no matter how painful that truth may be. I am grateful for those who have hurt me and hurt those I love because they have given me life lessons which makes me try my best not to hurt others. I am grateful for all these people and so many more.
I am grateful that life is dynamic; neither the good nor the bad last forever.
I am grateful that I can breathe.
Take me where YOU want me to go. Tell me what YOU want me to say. Let me meet the people YOU want me to meet. But most important of all, Keep me out of the way.
“Hate one another as I have hated you” has become the new “Love one another as I have loved you.” Somewhere along the line, the doctrine of Christianity had become muddied with what is and is not biblical. If memory serves me correctly, the Old Testament showed us what the letter of the law was and the New Testament shows us what the heart of the law is today. The Messiah came to fulfill the law; a law that humans could never keep perfectly, but Jesus, being perfect, was able to perfect and fulfill the whole law for us. He was beaten for that law, was crucified for that law, hung on a cross for that law, had nails driven into His hands and feet for that law so that we, as mere mortal humans, could be set free from the heavy burden of the law. He took that law to the cross with him giving us the perfect heart of the law which is, in fact, Jesus Himself.
In the Old Testament, God laid down 10 commandments in stone that His people were to follow. In the New Testament, God took those 10 commandments and consolidated them into what he said encompassed all the commandments – love. Today, there must be words between the lines that I can not read. Somewhere in the Bible it must say, “We should love everyone except those who have different belief from ours, except those who have a different sexual orientation than ours, except those who have a different socio-economic status than ours, except those who are fat, skinny, addicts, old, young, mentally ill, or to put it more simply, we should love everyone except those who are just plain different from us.” It must say that in the Bible because that is what so many “Christians” are spewing. Long forgotten is the loving kindness Jesus spoke of when he went to the cross to die for all of us who were then sinners and yet he loved us and sent a prayer up to His Father asking Him to forgive us because we know not what we do.
Why do I write these things? I write them because I am saddened by the hatred that spews from the mouth of many who profess to be Christians. A true Christian is a follower of Christ, I don’t remember Christ spitting hatred on those who were already in sin. If I am not mistaken, he sat and ate dinner with those very people who are appalling to those who profess their Christianity.