Thursday, April 16, 2015

Making Peace with a Persistant 4 Year Old

Warning to friends and family that get queasy with my transparency. This is your official warning to turn back now or forfeit your right to complain to me directly. Going forward in reading my post will limit you to the normal incessant gossiping and nasty remarks between yourselves. Enter by clicking the link below at your own risk. 

Making Peace with a Persistant 4 Year Old - The Story

A few years ago, I attended an excellent writing workshop taught by an accomplished gentleman who not only had multiple titles under his belt, but specialized in working with new writers to bring their manuscripts up to a publishing level.

My manuscript was of the Christian Inspirational genre (I say was, because it is shoved at the back of a bookcase – out of sight and out of mind), and though this author had written his own faith books in the area of metaphysics, a theology quite apart from my own, I was very curious about his input on my work. Though I was not very optimistic that he would necessarily value what I had to say because of our differences, I was sure in my soul that he would have something to impart.

I would not be disappointed.

We began class with a few writing exercises that plunged me cannon ball style into the cold waters of a classroom. Writing paragraphs on a time limit and reading them aloud in front of the class of terrified, yet critical classmates was all too familiar of an earlier and unfriendly time of life.

The instructor listened intently as I read off my paragraphs of my earliest memories as a child. The farther I got into my brief story, I could feel my throat begin to close and my eyes beginning to tear up. All at once, in front of a class of my peers, unintended emotion came pouring from my heart without warning. I did my best to stamp down this freshly broken soil that had hardened in place so many years ago. The class was silent.

I was vulnerable – Exposed.

There was a long pause. Then, my teacher spoke simple but profound words, that would go on to speak volumes into my life.

“Until you deal with that abandoned four year old , she will continue to dominate everything you do.”
“Your work is absolutely saturated with gratitude. You strive to see the best in everything. You have a NEED to fix everything and make everyone else comfortable. You pacify. Here is the thing, Mary. That is NOT REAL LIFE. Its not the whole story.”
“How many times in your life have you recreated the abandonment by your father? You keep
recreating situations to finally have the desired outcome of that 4 year old sitting on the swing in your earliest memories. But, to what end?

          • Many times, I'm still rejected... over and over again. -

“This is a doorway that you can not avoid if you want to go forward.” He said.

My answer was short but resolute

        • NO-
That has been a few years ago....

Today, I have decided to make friends with that little girl sitting on the swing set in summer play clothes of my childhood backyard. Calling out to her Dad, who is walking away angrily to leave, she wants him to come back and push her on the swing. With her feet dangling and kicking, she tries to bargain with him that she will wait till he comes home from work, to which he responds, “ Daddy is going away on a long trip.”

I see that child, even at age 4, have the realization settle over her that her father will never come back.

I can honestly say, that for my entire life, I have tried to win my way back into my father's life. I am now 45 and still look to be included, loved, wanted, to be in his heart. To be his daughter. I am, after all … HIS ONLY DAUGHTER!! Which is a position sufficiently filled by anyone else BUT me.

Dad has accumulated new families over the years. Which I only become a part of a few times a year when thrown randomly in a group text message of a holiday greeting. Humorously, if I respond in the group, I get several responses, “Who is this?”

Until today, I have valued the crumbs from my father's table far more than nothing at all. I have waited patiently on that swing for over 40 years in hopes that he would come back for me. Somehow, Daddy would swoop me up and restore me to the place I have always coveted.

Today, it will be me that is revisiting the swing set. It is me that is joyfully taking that little girl by the hand and helping her down.

        • We don't need to wait anymore, but its ok. You are loved and valued by me.-

And with that... I think the two of us shall go out for ice cream! 


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Above All

Above All

Tonight I went for a walk for what seems like the first time in months. A crisp 23*F, I took up my coat and struck out into the night, fearing that if I didn’t begin to walk again now, I may never regain my routine.

Putting off beginning for weeks now, I have let every inconvenience dissuade me, from snow, to rain, to freeing wind, to just plain old too many irons on the fire. There has always been a reasonable reason to not do something that requires discipline, however, I have asked for an extraordinary life.

 With the full moon’s glow reflecting on the glistening snow, the night shone like the shoreline breaking with effervescent waves. The magnificence of creation seeming new once again, small details of all I saw were compelling evidence of the Great Master’s hand.

I slipped and waddled like a toddler over icy patches and thought about random times I have been caught from falling, and even those that have taken the fall on my behalf. With those thoughts, lyrics flooded my heart.

                   “Like a rose, trampled on the ground
                   You took the fall, and thought of me
                   Above all.”

I remembered the day I saw these words demonstrated before me in an acutely heartbreaking fashion.

I was a florist working in a little town in Louisiana, when a nervous young man came to my shop and chose a half dozen “of the prettiest red roses I had”. He was concerned about every detail, yet humble and excited about his gift. Worried that his gift would be appropriate, he could no longer wait to show his special lady his love.

He chose a card, and filled it out, “Thanks for last night, you mean the world to me.” Asking that I deliver them shortly after she was scheduled to arrive at work, he wanted her to enjoy them all day, and left the store to anxiously await her response.

His enthusiasm was contagious and I could hardly wait for the time when she was to arrive at work, as well. I arrived at the river front restaurant where she was a waitress about 15 minutes after her shift was to begin.

With my heart pounding loudly in my chest, I pulled open the heavy wooden door of the restaurant and peeked inside. Seeming to be deserted, I stood in the large open foyer with the bouquet of roses and waited.

The love that this flower arrangement carried seemed to be tangible, and I was well aware of the importance of my mission. Soon I was greeted by a young waitress and when I asked for the young lady the flowers were for, she sneered at me and walked away.

I waited, and waited, and waited some more.

Soon, another young woman came out and asked me if I was being helped.
Once again, I asked for the waitress that was to receive the flowers and she excitedly ran to the kitchen and brought out the first young woman. I sat the flowers on the counter and said, “These are for you.”

“I don’t want them.” She said through clenched teeth.

Not sure what to do, I stood there in shock, as did the other waitress.
“There is a card,” I explained, “would you like to read his note to you, or know who they are from?”

“I said, NO!” she shouted, as she took up the vase and smashed it on the floor, grinding the roses into the bricks with her shoe, before storming out of the room.

Horrified, I covered my mouth as I gasped in regret for all the pain and disappointment the young man would soon be made aware of.

The other young waitress ran around the counter and immediately began to clean up the mess of rejected love left by one who didn’t appreciate it.

“I will take them,” she said, and she tried to salvage the arrangement. She shook the card from the puddle of water that was once in the vase, and thanked me for the delivery.

When I got back to my car, I sat for a moment, still stunned by what had happened. I closed my eyes, and thanked God that I had been the one to deliver the flowers. I hoped the young man wouldn’t call to ask how his sweetheart had liked them, and I whispered a prayer for him.

I thought about him and his love so full of willingness to give, and the one he loved so bitter and resentful, the one without love who was willing to take the rejected love and make it her own… and then there was me… a messenger, watching it all, unsure of why I was here at this point and time, but acutely aware that it was for a reason.

How many times, and how many ways have I played the part of each of these three.

It is my prayer for each of you this Valentine’s Day, that all the love you give be received, that all the love you get be a tangible and welcome, that the love you find be the kind that brings restoration and appreciation to your soul, and of course, above all you meet the real Messenger of Love and fully embrace his gift.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Run, I Leap..

I run, I leap , I soar in the weightlessness of freedom. Wind rips through my hair  with the force of realized liberty to my soul. 

Reckless, yet fully in command , I plunge headlong and single minded into the mission. There is no turning back, no reconsideration. With fearless determination, my eyes are fixed. My talons wait expectantly for their target, and with sure, solid aim, I extend my full reach to lay hold of the prize that was set before me.

Praying I bring honor to the One who sent me forth, and pride to those whose servant I am, with readiness from the stiring of my nest, my leap is both ordered and voluntary. I accept my fate knowing that many have lept and met their end on the brutal rocks below, while others, having the strength of maturity, taste the victory of soaring into that for which they were created. 

Believing in the call, my goal is not to remain intact, but to finish well having given my all. Without reservation, and great anticipation, I run, I leap.....

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Waving Goodbye to the Good Ship "Normalcy"

Special appreciation to Jeff Goins for the inspiration of his post, and also for Cherie Strickland who spends much time sitting with me on the rocks of life sharing a cup of tea.

    She watched as the first big gust of wind filled the illuminated canvases of the good ship “Normalcy”.  Its brilliant white sails, propelling it far from the banks of Eclectic, cut the bow through the waves of sea of where she had expected to find herself a passenger. A hot tear rolled down her cheek with the sting of goodbye. She lifted her arm reluctantly and waved, realizing her place had never been on board.

    The sail boat stayed within sight of the lonely island. Its shores, difficult to navigate, were often painful for her to walk upon. Her eyes drifted to the ship frequently, and she doubted in her heart her place in the world. At times she longed to compromise her decision, don a uniform, and commit to life on the majestic vessel. Perhaps, even one day, she imagined, she could learn to be its captain. 

    She looked down at her hands and knew that being confined to “Normalcy” would, for her, be a sentence that she could not perform. She may indeed be able to sail with them for a while, but soon, the sea and the island’s mysteries would call to her with a wail that must be answered.

    “I must learn to love this island,” she thought as she began to explore its gardens, pools, and cliffs. Perhaps this island is not a place of lonely desertion, but one of a peaceful paradise. Its variety is indeed as diverse as the sands of the shore, but it is my heart that yearns for the comradery of the ship. “I need a friend to join me here,” she thought. One that can share the beauty I see and appreciate this glorious creation.

     At times visitors came, but one by one, they either returned for the comforts of the ship, or struck out in search of their own island. She understood their quest, however, it was just so hard to let go.

    Sitting on the black rocks of the shore, she sat alone watching the gentle rocking of the vessel. Its rhythmic dance and joyful music that rose off the boat seem to taunt her. She wondered why her place was not with the others, and contemplated if she had imposed this exile upon herself.

    “Hey, how are you,” a kind and gentle voice broke the silence of the shore. Surprised by the company of another, the lure of gazing at the ship was broken. With smiles and conversation, love and laughter came to the island and solitude in the company of another was no longer a prison, but a paradise. Exploring was exhilarating, instead of endurance. The color of beauty now held the vibrancy of expectation, and the coolness of walking together beside the water restored her soul.

    When evening had come, they sat together on the shore and watched the ship as its lights danced off the water. No longer longing to be something she wasn’t, she could enjoy the beauty of the ship for what it was, and be grateful for the gift of her island.
    She looked at her companion and smiled, realizing that friendship was what had made all the difference, and that she was truly blessed.

A special thank you to each of you who have so graciously sat with me on the rocky shoals and walked with me on the shore. I love you and thank you for being there for me in what has been such a difficult time. I can’t express what you have meant to me. Thank you. Happy Valentine’s Day.