Peeling Layers

Layers
Upon layers
Upon layers
Potatoes
Carrots
Onions
Each must lose
One of its layers
To fulfill
Its purpose
The sweetness inside
Filling the space
Between our actions
And our senses-
Layers
Upon layers
Upon layers
Grow over
Our hearts
A little harder
To peel away
Help is required
From a trusted hand
Precious insides
Revealed
Filling the space
Between our actions
And our senses
Healing the heart
Making us whole again

Standing Watch

One single feather
All on its own
Light and airy
Soft, comforting
I picture it lining
The nest of tiny
Hatchlings
Providing a pillow
For their unsteady
Little heads
Where was the feather before?
It has not always served alone.
Maybe it belonged to
The mother bird
Attached to her wings
One of many, together
Creating the power of flight
Strength to carry all things
Needed to provide for
And protect her young
Or maybe it fell from
The wings of an angel
Though unseen
Standing watch
Over the birds
Providing shelter
For my heart

Breathe Again

It feels like I’ve been
Holding my breath
For days and days
Waiting for results
Over which I had
Absolutely no control-
Control-I’m beginning
To think that word
Should be erased-
Is there any such thing anyway?
In an attempt, my brain
Played out both scenarios-
Good news and
Bad news-trying to
Foresee my reactions
Would I be brave?
Would I cry?
Would I crumble
Into a million tiny
Pieces on the floor?
Today was the day
The news was good
No sign of cancer!
My response?
A deep breath
Followed by tears-
Tears of relief and joy-
I can breathe again

Today, I am thankful for positive results. But I am also mindful of the many whose news was not positive. Many have fought the battle against cancer-friends and family. It seems to strike with little rhyme or reason. And whether their physical battle was won or lost, their bravery is lasting. I cannot celebrate today without also remembering…💗

Simply Powerful

Power is often
Found in the simple
Expressions of love
In very few words
Because those are
The only words
Necessary-
Praying for peace
Held in love
Thinking this morning
Filled with courage-
Words from the
Hearts of others
Allowing themselves
To be givers
Of the calm
Their kindness
Pulling away
Anxiousness
Lifting me up
Carrying me
Reminding me how much
I am loved and cared for
Leaving a smile
On my face
A melody
In my heart

These past few weeks have been challenging. An MRI led to a biopsy which led to surgery. Yesterday, I had an excisional biopsy. The surgery went well. I am having very little pain and will spend a few days resting. Once again, we are waiting for the results.

I was very anxious the few days leading up to surgery, until the day before and the morning-of when messages began to pop up on my phone. Each one lifted another piece of the struggle. Each one reminded me that someone else cared.

Yesterday morning, I was overwhelmed with feelings of peace and calm. As I thought about it this morning, I realized many contributed to those feelings. They are still present today. And I know they will carry me through the waiting. ❤

Calling My Name

Water was rising
Along with it-fear
Threatening to take
Control of the day
As it covered first
Feet, then ankles,
And knees before
Briefly pausing
At the waist-
Desperate to find
A way out of the deep
Before suffocation
Reached the chest,
I closed my eyes-
Letting go of fear
Hope began to flow
Along with it-trust
Pushing and pulling
Through the currents
Inch by inch until
My feet stood
Once again
On the shore
Greeted by the love
That never stopped
Calling my name

Continue reading “Calling My Name”

Lessons in the Fire

It has been many years since
I sat around a campfire,
Or any fire created by
Putting a flame to a branch
Once belonging to a tree

Recent fires were made from
Glass, manufactured logs, and gas
Although these provide heat
As well as beauty
Something was missing

Perhaps it was the smell
Rising from the meeting
Of flame and wood
Changing based on
The origin of the tree

Perhaps it was the sight
Of the ashes left behind
Once the fire has gone out
Reminding us of our origins
And where our bodies will return

An unquestioned reliance
Assures us one spark will
Transform the cold night air
Maybe that was the difference-
The cold night air

Actually, I think there are
Too many differences to count-
Each one offering lessons
Frailty and faithfulness in
The physical and spiritual

Point of Reference

I grew up with a large extended family. My parents have been married for over fifty years. In my circle of family and friends, we have experienced life and death, cancer, anxiety and depression, and, of course, art, and music. I could discuss any of those things all day long.

There are other things I would rather not discuss. This week I was reminded more than once of life experiences for which I have no point of reference.

The first one involved a younger student. Before class, the teacher mentioned that the father of this child was going to prison. This friend was restless, struggling to engage and fit in. Quickly moving between over-excitement and complete stillness. I think it had been a rough day.

I had my young friend sitting right beside me during music class. When I sensed a little restlessness, I slowly patted on the back-a steady, gentle, sixty-beats-per-minute pat. It seemed to help.

After class, I found myself thinking, “How could my actions possibly help this situation for the long-term?” Yes, they might have helped at that moment. However, in the grand scheme, offered little.

The second involved an older student. This student was able to put their feelings and experiences clearly into words. Nothing could prepare me for hearing, “I was taken away from mom. I talk to her sometimes, but she really doesn’t want to see me.”

I managed a short response, “I’m sorry. You are special. I love you.”

I cannot possibly understand how this student feels. I could offer a listening ear, a kind word, and a smile. Was that enough? It certainly did not feel like it at the moment.

Thankfully, I am not the only one listening. I work in a school building, a district, and a profession with many other caring adults. Many of them listen to heart-breaking stories every day. And the collective listening and responding do have the power to make a positive impact.

No, I may not have a personal point of reference for these two students. And I know there are many other stories I have not heard. But there is strength in numbers. And tonight, I will rest in that point of reference.

Two Poem Tuesday

Passing Storm

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

This Road

The road
Once clear
Now obstructed
By unexpected
Roadblocks
Detours
Up ahead
Which way to go?

A new road
Comes into view
Along with
A new role
Not the one
Expected
Or desired-yet,
Gracefully accepted

Potholes trigger
Full stops…
But, gentle truths
Faithfully
Push forward
Erasing any
Thought of
Turning back

Moving ahead
A quiet whisper
Provides assurance-
Trust and follow
Nothing can take you
Out of my hand
Don’t turn back
This road is best

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Isaiah 49:16

Take me Home, Country Roads by John Denver

Storms

I am currently re-reading an old favorite, “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard. I love this allegory, especially the main character, Much-Afraid. This book was first introduced to me by my precious friend, Shannon.

Read her story here. ❤  Instant Friends

A specific passage caught my eye as I read this morning.

“…while the storm still furiously raged outside, there they were, sitting around a crackling fire, warming themselves and drying their sopping garments while they drank comforting hot cocoa and satisfied their hunger. Though the uproar of the tempest without was almost deafening and the hut shuddered and shook in every blast, yet inside was nothing but peace and thanksgiving and cheerful contentment.”

What a goal. To experience that kind of inner peace, no matter the storm outside.

I once heard someone say the following regarding life and storms. At any given time…

  • A storm is approaching
  • A storm is raging
  • A storm has passed

For me, it seems finding peace is most difficult when the storm is approaching. The clouds are far off in the distance, but it’s only a matter of time before it arrives. The “calm” can be thick with tension. Questions are constant. What if, what if, what if…

The time before the storm is when my anxiety builds. And then when the storm finally arrives, it fades. I just have to push through. That is when I realize I never really had any control anyway.

Although storms cause us to question, they seldom provide answers. They are sometimes accompanied by sorrow and suffering. But I must believe that the possibility of peace exists. Even when it is hard to find.

Each of us has to find our way through the storms. But we do not have to face them alone.

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” Psalm 57:1