Once again A storm is raging Emotions swirling Like a tornado In my head The beginning Indistinguishable From the ending Questions flood My thoughts- Why this? Why now? Why me? But I must push Past the questions And just be- Waiting-holding on Until a tiny Break appears In the clouds A split second Ray of sunshine Piercing the dark Clearing my thoughts Lighting my path Just enough to Observe the dust Beginning to settle Assurance the storm is passing
Lost and Found
Where are you?
I sense you are close
But my eyes can’t see
I reach out my hands
Fumbling in the dark
Wishing the clouds away
Where are you?
I ask out loud this time
A little further-just listen
My feet move slowly
Toward the sound of your voice
It grows louder with each step
Suddenly, my hands touch yours
No longer lost, I stand with you
Under the light of the stars
I left home at the mature age of seventeen and, except for one summer, never came back. My mom often reminds me. 😉
Before college, I had lived in the same house my entire life. I attended the same school, first grade through senior year, and was surrounded by extended family.
And even though I needed to find my own path, the place where I grew up would always be home.
A recent visit with my parents caused me to think about the word home. Especially the idea that home has little to do with the actual place.
As I pulled up in the driveway, my dad was waiting under the carport. Mom came right out as if she’d been listening inside for my car. Soon, we were talking about everything from the kids to work, politics, church. And, of course, the pandemic and quarantine.
As an adult, I enjoy this time alone with my parents. Being there by myself means my only role at that moment is a daughter. Even if this visit brought some adult daughter anxiety.
Due to the current pandemic, I had to be very careful about where I stopped on the four-and-a-half-hour drive from our house to theirs. My parents are over seventy, Mom a breast cancer survivor and Dad with diabetes and kidney disease. Their health is currently good, and I couldn’t bear the thought of exposing them to this virus.
My anxiety quickly faded as Dad asked, “How’s my little girl?” Mom said more than once, “I’m so glad you came.” At face value, simple phrases. Yet, they wrapped me in the love and security I experienced growing up.
When going to visit my parents, I say I am going home. And when it’s time to leave, I use the same phrase. I guess both are true. Home is about the people not the places.
I may have to leave tiny pieces of my heart behind when leaving one, but I know they will be refilled upon arrival at the other. Not the same, but new, and whole.
A sweet paradox, traveling from one home to another. ❤
Green Green Grass of Home by Claude “Curly” Putman, Jr.
Our Sunday evening Chinese take-out was more yummy than usual. Although the day started on the dreary side, the sun came out this afternoon. Only a few clouds and the early evening temperature was perfect.
So, what does that have to do with the take-out? Well, we decided to eat dinner outside on the deck. The fresh air felt so good. And while we ate, my feet were soaking up the sunshine. The combination helped ease the tensions of the day.
Once we were done eating, my family went back inside. I decided to linger awhile. Moving to another chair, I turned directly toward the sun. Head back, eyes closed, sweet warmth covered my face.
Those few moments alone in the sun were just what I needed. Soon, the sunshine was hidden by the clouds, so I went inside. My daughter asked if I’d like to go for a walk. Off we went.
As we walked through the neighborhood, we noticed birds singing. Ducks were swimming in a pond, and there was even a turtle sticking its head out of the water. There was a family playing frisbee. Neighbors waved from their front porches.
We rounded a corner, and guess what I felt on my face once again? That warm sunshine. And now it was beginning to set. Not only providing warmth but also beauty.
Back home, it was time for reflection. These are unsettling days. Keeping our distance, missing my friends, missing my co-workers and students. Wanting answers to questions. Wondering how long this will last. And on and on and on.
Sometimes, the simplest things make the biggest difference. Take-out on the deck. Sunshine on my face. A walk with my daughter. Food, sun, and family-It is amazing the power of a little warmth.
Oh, I almost forgot. And music-music helps, too. 😉
Won’t you look down upon me, Jesus You’ve got to help me make a stand You’ve just got to see me through another day My body’s aching and my time is at hand And I won’t make it any other way—James Taylor
One mask Worn in An attempt to Hide insecurities Creating a Covering over Anxious emotions Though not physical A protective shield When worn Only for A short time Another mask Worn in An attempt to Fight sickness Creating a Material barrier Between one person And the next Necessary Yet, separating Separating Yet, protecting Each mask Tangible or ethereal Serving to preserve A way of life An inward plea Guard your heart An outward plea Protect your health Lifesaving Petitions that Must never Be ignored Both masks Providing an Opportunity to see Others in a new light Both masks Providing a Reminder~ We must take care of each other ❤
I had the strangest dream. The first dream I can remember from the last several weeks.
I was walking alone in our neighborhood. The sun was setting, it was beginning to get dark, but I did not turn around and head home. As I continued walking, I noticed a stranger approaching.
I remember feeling a little uneasy. What should I do? Turn around? Cross the street? But no, I kept walking. And soon, this stranger was right in front of my face.
We were soon having an in-depth conversation. I was sharing details of a personal, emotional story with this person I had never seen. It struck me as odd to be sharing this story with a complete stranger.
One other thing struck me as strange. This person seemed to have no sense of personal space. He was listening intently, but his face was only a few inches away from mine. A little uncomfortable, to say the least. Yet, I continued talking.
I had to laugh as I gave this dream some thought. The idea of reunions has been on my mind. I picture a day when I will go back to school, meet a friend for coffee, visit family. In each scenario, those involved physically knock one another over as we reconnect with hugs, laughter, and tears.
If I spend too much time on that picture, sadness creeps in. Right now, we don’t know when that will happen. But our plans remain aimed at that day somewhere in the future. And as we plan, we hope.
Until then, my quarantine dream reminds me of the importance of connections. Get ready friends, I am looking forward to some “knockdown” hugs. And though I also hope for new connections in the future, I’d prefer ones that are a little less creepy. 😉
Our current circumstances are filled with many unknowns.
There is a new virus spreading quickly. How long will it spread? I don’t know.
As a teacher, I will be planning for distance learning. What exactly will that look like? I don’t know.
I must stay at home. When will I be able to hug my extended family and friends again? I don’t know.
Upcoming travel plans have been canceled. When will they be rescheduled? I don’t know.
I don’t know about you, but I am getting tired of that phrase. 😉
I may be oversimplifying, but somehow admitting that I don’t know helps a little. It forces me to take a step back and breathe. To realize these circumstances are new to all of us.
Earlier today, I found myself feeling frustrated over some of these unknowns. The voice inside my head kept saying, “Just breathe.” Then I remembered an exercise I often have students do when it is time to regroup and focus.
Breathe in through your nose. 1, 2, 3, 4.
Breathe out through your mouth. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
Repeat as often as needed.
I just did the exercise twice. Yes, I know it is simple. But right now, simplicity is what we need. At least, it is what I need.
So, what else is on my simple list? Coffee, music, texts, and phone calls are near the top. Zoom and FaceTime are also on the list. But grace and love are at the very top.
As I breathe out my frustrations, I breathe in the need to show grace. And showing grace is an expression of love. And I don’t know about you-sorry, there it is again-I need all the love and grace I can get right now. Especially during this time of unknowns.
“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Proverbs 12:25
“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 59:16
These are interesting times. So many questions. News stories concerning illness reported all over the world and right here at home. Despite the great distances, the stories connect us all, as if we all lived next door to one another.
I try to limit my news intake, choosing often to read instead of watching the news. However, I found myself watching more the past few days. And last night, I believe this choice had a negative impact.
I woke up several times during the night. None of the dreams I had made any sense. I could not even describe them. All I could think was, “Why are my thoughts so jumbled?”
And that’s when I realized-too much news. Even though I remain calm on the outside, I feel restless. Changes are coming. And that underlying knowledge, infused with so much information, caused my brain to overload.
I did watch the morning newscast today. But then I chose to turn everything off and do something productive. My bedroom is now clean. Laundry is folded and put away. I even vacuumed the floor, cleaned the bathroom, and took a nap.
No, my activity did not take away the stress of the unknown, but it did help me take care of myself. It provided a distraction as well as positive results. Results that gave me a feeling of accomplishment.
The evening news could not be avoided. School closings until April 6 were announced. As a teacher, that brings a whole new set of concerns. But we are all in this together and that brings comfort.
Hoping for a better night’s sleep tonight. Clean sheets should help. 🙂
And just maybe, my thoughts will be less jumbled and my dreams memorable.
Struggled to get Out of bed I would rather Not admit But if I’m Being honest Some days I feel low I move slow And the simple Becomes difficult Tears gather Behind my eyes Waiting for their Chance to escape To expose my Inward state The voice inside My head says One foot in front Of the other Keep moving Don’t stop Get in your car Take a drive Feel the sunshine On your face Tomorrow is a New day You Are Not Alone
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3: 22-23
“When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.”
Words from a hymn I’ve known since childhood. Words I’ve heard twice this week in a newer version of the song. The rhythms and melodies were new, but the words remained the same. A combination that evoked a much-needed sense of peace and rest.
The first hearing brought back memories. The second hearing brought the realization of just how much I needed to remember.
Yesterday, I received my second steroid spinal injection. I’m happy to report no fainting this time. Whew! However, it left me feeling anxious and restless. And though extremely tired, unable to sleep.
My evening became a cycle of panic, no sleep, and tears. The thought of my 5:30 A.M. alarm loomed. Followed closely by the thought of teaching school after only three-four hours of sleep. All I could think was, extra coffee!
My morning classes were surprisingly successful! Time with students and teacher friends seemed to help my energy increase. Even my fifth-grade class after lunch was acceptable. 😉
But then, my energy began to fade. I could feel myself hitting a wall. How in the world would I make it through physical therapy after school? For a few seconds, I considered canceling. After all, I just had that injection yesterday. Surely they would understand.
But when I got in my car, there was that hymn again. I smiled and began to sing along. On this second hearing, a new phrase stood out; “Weak made strong, in the Savior’s love.”
So I headed to physical therapy, my energy starting to return. A bottle of water and a protein snack pack may have helped a little. It helped my body anyway. But it was the music that lifted my spirit.
Therapy left me with a feeling of restored purpose. And though I walked away tired, it was a good tired. A tired that reminded me of the importance of taking care of my physical body.
All of this from the simple words of a new/old hymn. A hymn I heard twice in one week. Reminders of love, strength, and grace. Old words combined with new music to provide just what I needed.