Silent Screams (and other odd sounds)

This is what I'm thinking RIGHT NOW. It may not be what I'm thinking tomorrow.


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A Renewed Faith in Youth

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Not too long ago I saw an advertisement for two local boys who wanted to do some landscaping.  I viewed the advertisement skeptically thinking that two boys, juniors in high school, would even know how to weed and mulch flower beds much less be any good at it.  After a long discussion with my husband, he won and we hired the two boys to weed and mulch my flower beds and do some landscaping.

The boys arrived when they said they would and I took them around to the areas I wanted done.  I showed them that the beds along my driveway, both sides of my sidewalk, the beds in front of my porch and on the south side of my  house along to the west side of the house and then the area along my deck.  To me it looked like a daunting task and I was sure they would decline to take the job.  I told them I would not pay by the hour but by they job; they were in agreement much to my surprised.  I told them I’d leave them alone to discuss the price and after they had one in mind they should knock at the door.

It wasn’t long before I heard the timid knock on my door.  They had a price.  “I want to be fair so if you think it is too much please tell us.”  The price was more than fair and I told them they had the job.  Thinking they would be starting the next day, I was surprised when they got the equipment they needed to do the job out of the back of their car trunk.

The boys told me they thought it would take 8 solid hours of work and told me when they would be at my house doing the work.  They said, “we will be here 4 hours today and 4 hours tomorrow.”  I nodded, maybe even grinning to myself a little. that these two 17-year-old kids would be pulling weeds for 4  hours in a row and come back the next day to do it again.  Needless to say I was more than a little skeptical.

They worked steady that first day, stopping only to take a few gulps of water and ask me if I wanted certain dead flowers removed or was I wishing they would spring up again.  At the end of the 4 hours, they cleaned up the debris and assured me they would be back the next day.

Walking around my house I was surprised at how much they accomplished but I was still skeptical that they would be back that next day to do more.  Once again they arrived right on schedule but the job took longer than they expected and the 4 hours passed into 5 and then 6.  They were working with flashlights in the dark when I finally came out to send them home.  “No ma’am, we promised you that it would be done today and a promise is a promise.”  I shook my head, these two boys becoming more and more endearing to my heart.  “No,” I said, “finish up tomorrow or the next day.”

The boys left and I smiled to myself thinking, “now these boys have integrity.”  They did indeed return the next day and worked about 1 hour longer to finish up.  Afterwards they asked me to do a “walk through” with them to see if I had any more suggestions or if I wanted it done differently.  I didn’t.  It was perfect.

Yes, I know all they did was pull up some weeds, move some dirt around and spread some mulch.  That is all they did physically, but the lesson in life they gave me was far greater than the money I gave them.  They renewed my faith in our future and the youth of America.  There is more to our youth than the negative stories we see on the news; there are eager young boys slowly turning into wonderful young men.


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Bumps in the Night

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Vivid images flash; one more intense than the last.  The heart rate increases;  pounding out of the chest and bounding into the ears.  Small droplets of moisture begin to form around the curves of the lips and between the breasts.  Slowly at first and then more rapidly the mind begins to fire electric charges across its synapses allowing the brain to connect the sharp images to emotions.  The final electric shock fires harshly across the gray matter and bolts its victim upright.  Tears mixed with sweat burn the eyes and flow over the soft flesh of the cheeks until they reach the chin, dangling momentarily before falling onto the  heaving chest mixing with the sweat gathered there.  The surrounding air breezes across the deep rising and falling of the chest; a slight chill over the damp flesh as the sufferer begins to take in the surroundings.  Slowly the eyes adjust to the darkness, making out the surrounding images.  The poor wretch shudders as if to shake the images from both body and mind.  Ever so slowly, the night terror dissipates, the heart rate lowers, the skin dries in the morning air. The respirations return to a slow and steady pace.  All is calm.  Or is it?

While nightmares of the Zombie Apocalypse or the Walking Dead may be easy to dismiss from the mind; not so of the nightmares of the “things” that could actually be or come true.  It is the bump in the night of being jilted by a lover or experiencing the death of a child or even the fear of being involved in a devastating accident that linger into the day and disrupt the waking thoughts.  It is those nightmares that can raise the heart and respiratory rate during the day that are not so easy to shake off.  Yes, those are the worst.

 

 

 


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My Mere Presence

My eyes survey the room for a face familiar
That I hope not to find.
How would I greet them?
What would I say?
I’ll take the chair in the corner,
It’s comfortable but stiff.
I can hide there quite nicely
and
just look away.
Read my book in earnest,
Or pop my headphones in my ears.
I can ignore the whole world
As well as all of this.
My mere presence mocks them.
Bald heads fill the room.
Some covered, some scarred.
Empty holocaust eyes piercing
With lacrimal glands restrained,
Wanting to steal the very life from within me.
Sallow flesh covering emaciation
Hanging loosely from brittle bones.
My skin in contrast, is tan and firm;
My eyes clear and bright.
I am out of place in this land
My mere presence mocks them
They are a family of strangers.
Thrown together by similar destinies
All different; yet all the same.
Touched by the malignancy of life.
Each with their own set of hopes and dreams;
Most of which will never be realized
Each wanting to tell their own story
Of who they are; who they hoped to be.
Each talking loudly with soft quiet voices
Saying “Don’t forget me, I was here.”
Still, my mere presence mocks them.


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America the……

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.


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Young and Impressionable

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

 

 


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Listen to the Music of your Emotions

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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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


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Forgotten Gratitude

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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.

Just breathe.