Friday, May 30, 2008

old is new again

In recent days I have been searching for a ramble, which I clearly remember writing down, yet cannot now locate.

In my search, I read through the posts of a nearly forgotten, now defunct, experiment with blogging.

I have decided to repost them here, in an effort to begin tidying up all I have found hiding in the recesses of my mind.

Emerging from the Darkness from 3/18/07

I have stood before God and His judgment and have been found to be lacking.

I can clearly see in myself the sins of man and kneel before Him in shame, praying for forgiveness and for deliverance.

I realize now what I suppose I've always known — I am not the Master of my Fate, nor am I the Captain of my Soul.

Question from 9/20/06

At some point or another we all ask what we would do if we were dying.

What a shame.
We are all dying from the moment we are born.
So often we insist on facing death before we accept that fact.
And only then do we ask ourselves how we wished to live.

How often have we been told, by many far wiser, to follow our hearts?
Yet we continue to struggle with the dilemmas our minds offer.

Is it truly the heart to which God speaks?
Can living your life for Him simply be a matter of following your heart?

A Child of God from 7/23/06

“Dear Lord, how can my faith remain steadfast when I see the suffering you allow? Help me to understand,” I have pleaded since finding God.

“Dear Lord, surrendering myself is one thing, but how can I faithfully surrender my son to your will when I see the suffering you allow? Help me to understand,” I have pleaded since I conceived my son nearly eleven years ago.

God has recently seen fit to answer those prayers.

And that answer came in the form of words spoken by a ten-year-old little boy who is certain of two things in life; that his mother loves and protects him and that God and Christ love and protect him even more so.

“Momma,” my son said from the back seat of my car one afternoon. “I know I shouldn’t be worried about it but I’ve been thinking about what it’s going to be like when the world ends.”

So began the conversation that would end the greatest spiritual struggle of my life.
We talked about accepting Christ as your Savior, what that meant and what that would mean when the world came to an end. We talked about Heaven and faith.

Inevitably the conversation turned to the love God had for us all. I reminded my son that not even my love for him began to compare with the love God and Christ had for him.

“Hmph,” was the answer from the back seat.

“I know. It can be hard for us to remember that when bad things are happening huh,” I responded understandingly.

Then my son asked me why God allowed such bad things to happen if He loved us so much.

Not knowing what else to say, having never reached that understanding myself, I told him simply that I didn’t really know, that I knew there was a reason for it but I wasn’t quite sure as to what that reason was.

“Well I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve got a theory,” my son offered. "The way I look at it, God knows that when we get to Heaven, we're going to be just fine. We'll be happier than we've ever been, we'll never need anything and we'll never suffer again. BUT, I think God wants us to experience everything while we're here because otherwise we'll never appreciate Heaven. Besides, if we never have bad things happen, we'll never be able to understand what Jesus had to go through."

I was speechless, my knuckles white on the steering wheel, feeling as awestruck as if Moses himself had appeared in the backseat of my car.

“Momma, do you think I’m right,” he asked after a few minutes of silence.

“Son,” I responded, still processing what he had told me. “I have asked that same question of preachers, Sunday school teachers and Bible-toting little old ladies, but I have never had anyone give me an answer that made that much sense. I believe you are 100% right.”

That’s been over a week ago and still the child’s words that afternoon echo in my heart.

The day after he shared his theory with me, I had to explain to him that he had a seizure disorder. After we had talked about it for a couple of hours, I asked him if he was scared.

“No, I know you’re not going to let anything happen to me,” he answered with an innocent faith I sometimes believe only children can know.

He must have heard my heart fall to my stomach in reaction to his confidence in my ability to protect him because he suddenly turned and flashed me a brilliant smile, saying, “Besides, God’s protecting me.”

I believe him 100%.

That night, I said a prayer of thanks to God for blessing my child with such understanding. No longer any doubt in my mind as to God’s love for us, I gave myself and my son over to God’s care with an unwavering faith He would protect us both.

Ruling out Punishment from 6/15/06

I guess we all struggle to understand how a God that is kind and loving and just can allow such suffering. Some say suffering is the result of, or punishment for, sin. But how often have we seen even the saintly suffer? There must be a purpose for it. Why else would He allow it?

Are we just assuming that God is kind and loving and just? At some point everyone wonders if maybe He's really an asshole. Then we are scared that He’s going to send us straight to hell for even thinking that.

I don’t think God minds you calling Him an asshole.

But I do think it pisses Him off when you stop talking to Him, when you stop believing. Or maybe it just hurts His feelings. That was the impression I was given by my great grandmother.

At some point we all feel as though God has abandoned us. In The Inner Loneliness, Sebastian Moore speaks of the homesick feeling that we all harbor deep within, no matter how satisfied we are with our lives, we always long for a little something more, something just a little farther out of reach.

A nagging, longing sense of knowing “I do not belong here, I am not of this world.” For I am of God and that is where I belong, and until I dwell in the house of the Lord, I will forever long for home.

Adam and Eve were banished. As we feel so often in our lives. We are told that it is during these times, when we do not feel the presence of God, when we are lost in despair and suffering, that He is carrying us.

But what is the purpose of having us suffer?

Wait.

Is it wise for us to be assuming that God is kind and loving and just? Do the New or Old Testaments tell us that? Does the suffering that we see everyday in the world tell us that? Why is it we believe Him to be kind and loving and just? Is it because that is how He expects us to be? The New Testament tells us of that expectation.

And why does He expect us to be kind and loving and just? Is it because He expects as to be Godly, because we were made in His image? Or is it because like a father, He expects us to be a little something more?

We are told not to be vengeful and yet is the God of the Old Testament not vengeful? We are told not to be jealous but is ours not a God who refuses to allow us to worship another as well? We are told not to inflict pain and suffering upon one another and yet He allows us to be afflicted.

The innocent are no more protected from earthly suffering than the sinful.

So the purpose of suffering must not be to punish.

And so we begin the process of elimination.

Comments from original post:

At 7/23/2006 10:06:00 PM, Blogger b. said...

Hello....I don't know you......you don't know me. I stumbled across your blog when I clicked on "next blog" at the top of my page. I wanted to thank you for your words, though not written for me, they are an answer to prayer.

So what began my search? from 6/14/06

I was not raised in the church.

I never learned the song “Jesus Loves Me” and despite the fact that my mother had been raised in the Southern Baptist Church, we were not a family to share goodnight prayers or grace before meals. When it came to attending church or worshiping God, my mother always made it clear the choice was mine.

I was not indoctrinated within the confines of one set of beliefs, which left me free to explore and question, a freedom I will forever be grateful for.

I can still remember sitting with the little old ladies in my great grandmother’s Sunday School class and how cynical I was of their unwavering faith in the love of God.

“How,” I asked myself, “could these women, who have experienced first hand the horrors that men inflict on one another, women who have dealt with a lifetime of loss and heartache, how can they be so sure that a God who allows such suffering loves them?”

My great grandmother’s faith was steadfast and she held firmly to the belief that God’s will was above reproach.

My father, on the other hand, was just as cynical as I and tended to view God more as the mischievous prankster who enjoyed watching the ants scurry about in the ant farm He had created.

And so I began my search, armed only with my mother’s precious gift of allowing me to choose my own a path, a great desire to feel the peace of God’s love which my great grandmother took so much comfort in and the unabashed skepticism of my father.

Struggles from 6/11/06

Yes, I have endured heartache and loss in life. I cannot name anyone who has not.

Is this not one of the earliest questions we ask of God?

“Why? Why do you, who is said to love us immeasurably, allow us to suffer so?”

Our faith wavers with the very thought.

They say that there is a reason for everything and that He never gives us more than we can bear.

I am constantly incredulous at the amount of faith He puts in my ability to cope.

Is this a test? Is He asking me to prove my worth, prove my faith, prove my goodness? And what if I should fall short of His expectations? Will He still forgive me? How often can you say, “I’m sorry, I’ll do better” and expect forgiveness?

Is He punishing me? I have often thought the sentence a bit harsh for my sins, yet other times I feel as though He has let me off easy and the weight of my own guilt proves nearly as severe as any punishment He could have dealt.

Is this a lesson? Why do I insist on learning things the hard way? Why do I have to be so obstinate and unyielding that I drive Him to beat me over the head with it?

Now, during another particularly trying time in my life, I am asking myself these questions all over again.

A very dear friend of mine, who knows me all too well, suggested that this time, maybe God is trying to teach me one of the most difficult lessons for me to learn…that I am not in control.

Funny thing is, I actually thought I had that one mastered.

Yet I found myself taking the long way home, windows down, music loud, just driving, in control.

Now that I think about it, now that I look back at some of the decisions I’ve made, remembering all the times I’ve questioned whether the ignorant hands of humans could foil fate, I realize my friend makes a very valid point.

It is so hard for us to relinquish control.

Why?

I have often wondered if it did not have something to do with original sin, which I tend to believe was a thirst for wisdom. Was the original sin a desire, very like our own, to not only understand God, but to reach that level of omnipotence ourselves, to have that control?

Holy men warn you that not all you perceive as miracles and blessings are sent from God, that they are instead deceptions intended to pull you away from God.

How much faith are we showing in God by trying to outwit Him, trying to deny the destiny He has designed for us? I have always believed that when it was my time to die, God would take me, regardless. I can’t shake the belief that we humans have little control over such things.

I have always viewed suicide as one of the ultimate sins. I cannot help but wonder if our incessant desire to extend the natural length of our lives is not just as sinful.

There are those who say that God has provided us with the wisdom and knowledge to lead longer, healthier lives, but I am not so sure that is not one of the biggest deceptions of all.

And why do we seek to prolong our earthly lives? Fear. Fear of what awaits us on the other side, a complete lack of faith in our God to put an end to our suffering and a lack of faith in our own worthiness of such a prize.

Control? Do I have enough faith in God to relinquish myself completely? Do I have faith He will care for and protect those I love from suffering? Do I believe myself worthy of God’s grace?

Doesn’t seem as though He’s left me with much choice.

But when I think of the God, as depicted by men, who would ask us to prove our faith by sacrificing those we love, I fear I will indeed be found to be severely lacking.

Blessings from above? from 5/18/06

I've heard it said that not all we believe to be miracles and blessings necessarily come from God.

That they are indeed often tricks, deceptions meant to lead us down a false path of belief.

Well now therein lies a pretty big problem when you apply that theory to everyday life.

How are you supposed to know whether something is a gift from God or merely a temptation to stray from the path of the righteous?

Comments from original post:


At 5/21/2006 06:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look deep into your heart and work toward that answer. God only wants what is right for you. You have the rest of your life to live and God again wants you to live. You are a good person and that you know. Others who are now close to you see that person as well.

Faith from 5/17/06

There is perhaps no greater insult to one who loves us than to doubt that love.
No greater nor unfair test than to ask that love to be proven.
Yet before we are willing to profess our own love,
We push Him to convince us of His.

Comments from original post:


At 5/20/2006 09:27:00 PM, Anonymous aca joe said...

My son asked me today, "Where did God come from?" I responded, "I don't know." I told him that was a question everyone wanted to know. So I asked him, "Do you think God loves you?" and he said "yes". I then asked him, "What do you think God looks like?" He responded, "I think he has a wrinkled face, grey hair and a long green robe." Sometimes I wish I could think like a child does when it comes to God. Maybe we just learn how to distance ourselves from God's love by all the distractions that we face daily.

Reflections from 5/16/08

We change so much over the course of our lives, yet somehow we manage to stay the same.

I remember the person I was six years ago, who I was sixteen years ago, when we first met. (My God, has it been that long?) How vivid remain the emotions that kept me awake throughout the nights then, the course of my thoughts at that time still remarkably clear.

I would like to think I have become wiser and somehow, a better person, yet by most measures, I have remained the same and I find that somewhat comforting.

Would he recognize me if he were to see me now? Yes, undoubtedly. But would he like who I've become?

If he were to meet me today, with no memory of who I used to be, would he love me just the same?

Yes, I believe he would. So I must not have changed that much.

Focus from 5/14/06

It really is all about focus. Think about it.

Think about how much we divert our focus to other things, things external to ourselves - the television, the radio, people at work, our husbands, our children and other people.

One common theme in most religious beliefs is that you must focus on yourself before you can become closer to God. Christianity tells us to look into our own hearts and know ourselves. Hinduism, Buddhism and just about every other Eastern religion tells us that it is through meditation that we come to know ourselves, a state I have heard referred to as self-actualization. Quite a catchy little phrase actually. Say it out loud, it just kind of rolls off the tongue.

Anyway, supposedly (or at least as a lot of theologians, psychologists and other folks who should know have said), it is by knowing one's self that one comes to know others and to know God.

But how many of us sit around focused on ourselves?

Yes, we spend a lot of thought on the things (and people) we want, we think would make us happy, that concern us, that anger us, that hurt us, things that other people do to us.

However, most of us do not spend a whole lot of time thinking about ourselves, going deep within ourselves trying to figure out why we did something, or why we have this feeling or that feeling, why we have certain thoughts or why we do what we do to other people.

That's how psychologists tell you to come to know yourself. They recommend you analyze yourself to learn yourself and that only by learning yourself can you know yourself.

The theologians have a slightly different approach though. The Godly men, regardless of denomination, all seem pretty sure that prayer and mediation are the true way to know yourself and know your God, an introspection as opposed to a self-inspection.

You can't hear God if you're not listening. "Shhh, hush now, don't make a move, don't make a sound, listen carefully and you will hear."

Problem is, most of us have a real hard time making ourselves hush and be still.

People hate to be alone. They hate to be left with their selves, no distractions, nothing else to focus on.

One of the most widely used forms of punishment is isolation. You're grounded, you're sent to jail, you're sent to solitary confinement.

So many of us spend our days trying to shift our focus.

And therein lies the problem.

So what do we do about it? Everything I've read suggests emptying your mind completely (and yes, using drugs to do so is considered cheating).

But how on earth do we achieve such a state?

They say by memorizing a prayer or piece of scripture or even a poem and repeating it to yourself over and over while sitting in a quiet room.

I admit I've tried it but usually end up having a panic attack because I freak out when suddenly I feel like I've forgotten to breathe.

They say that with practice you can truly clear your mind and regain your focus and that by doing so, you achieve a higher level of enlightenment.

Of course I'm still wondering if that's just because you're suffering brain damage because you kept forgetting to breathe!

Comments from original post:


At 5/15/2006 11:00:00 AM, Blogger Brandi said...

A friend sent me your blog and I agree. I have "worked" on clearning my mind using my yoga breathing. After a mintue or so of "clearing" I almost passed out from all the oxygen in my body. LOL! It's good to know that ladies from all over have the same problems and even though they will never go away we can in some way feel comfort in knowing we are not alone.
Have a great day and remember to breathe! :)

At 5/15/2006 08:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I try to clear my mind, and think of absolutely nothing it is impossible. It's like when I'm told to relax or calm down. I wish I could, but that don't make it happen. I think it would be easier if someone would just knock me out. On the other hand, sometimes it is impossible to focus. There are times when there is nothing at all on my mind. I can almost hear the hum in my own head. The most I have learned about myself, God,and everything that exist has been while I was asleep. My dream life has given me all I need to know about the little speck of dust that is me.

"The reckless raging fury that they call the love of God." from 5/14/06

Inspired by line written by Rich Mullins, "The reckless raging fury that they call the love of God."


That reckless

raging

fury I know so well...

your own discontent

as you struggle to find a balance

among that which you long for

and that which you have been given.



Reasonable doubt

hazy,

clouding every judgment...

your own hesitation

as you turn to your God,

"Is this truly all which I am meant to have

or am I merely not living up to your plan?"



"Cause surely one who loves as You

could not bear me such pain."




The gripping guilt

felt

when you turn away for only a moment...

your own humility

as you question your faith

for simply daring to long for more

and being impertinent enough to ask,

why you could not have it now

and is it really worth the wait?

The Point from 5/14/06

We all have those nagging questions

Which haunt us throughout our lives

And plunge us into a great search

That so often only leads us to more questions

Amidst these questions pacing my mind

Came a distinct voice from deep within

"Write."

But what could I have important enough to write that

it should ever be read? Write what?

"Write what you know."

Everyone has a story

Everyone has a God

"Write about God."

But who am I to write about God?

I who am no scholar or theologian or even member of a church

By what measure am I worthy to write of God?

A parent's wisdom, a Father's phrase

"Because I said so."

And so I write, breaking the most often given advice to write what you know. Instead, I write what I struggle to understand. And I share it with you in the hope that by doing so it will, in some small way, help you in your own search.

Comments on original post:
At 5/15/2006 02:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you never stop writing. As it helps you, I know it will help others. You have a gift, a very unique gift. Many of us might take that for granted, but you have made good use of your gift. I look forward to your next posting.

At 5/16/2006 09:50:00 AM, Anonymous Gene Alston said...

So you're a philosopher! Looks great. Congrats and keep it up.
G/A

At 5/18/2006 09:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it seems to look grey or facing the unknown, you count your points. Then a smile comes across your face. The start of another day begins and passes, but the smile stays within. Only you will understand.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

how much sleep is adequate?

I managed to avoid the temptation of crawling back into bed today. It was hard. The weather was dreary, the wind rather chilly and it lightly rained most of the day. It was a good day for napping.

Instead, I got dressed, went to the bank and drove into the city to secure a regular freelance gig with the daily paper there. While I was out, I stopped in to catch up with some folks.

This evening, I cooked dinner, if you can call it that when you primarily use the microwave and only use the stove to boil to cups of water. I suppose I should really call it nuking dinner. I read for a bit.

And now, when I really want to be writing, I'm friggin' tired and ready to go to bed. Screw it, tomorrow I'm sleeping in. I'm more productive when I sleep half the damn day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

you can't make me

I struggled to wake up early this morning, thinking logic would have it that the earlier I awoke, the more I would manage to accomplish during my day.

That was two hours ago and so far I have managed to have one cup of coffee and chatted with a friend on the phone. Of course I have also made my rounds of cyberspace, checking out my favorite blogs, news sites and checking my various email accounts. Now I think it's time for a nap.

I may as well face the cold, hard truth of the matter...my brain simply does not function before noon. Until the sun is high in the sky, I cannot expect my brain to process vast amounts of information and I certainly cannot expect it to produce much of anything, other than a hangover-type fog which manages to be induced with or without the presence of alcohol.

Others have told me this is merely a lack of discipline on my part. I'm tempted to agree.

Friday, May 23, 2008

a damn good week

So um yea, this has been a pretty shitty week. Of course, in many ways it's been a pretty damn good week too and since it was pointed out to me this morning that so many of the recent posts have been gloomy, I am going to refocus our attention and recap some of the really cool things that happened this week.

1) My son had to make a choice between disobeying my rules and doing exactly what he wanted or calling me to ask for permission. He chose to ask for permission, which of course I granted out of appreciation for his respect of me and my rules.

2) My husband was a stable, calming influence during a potentially volatile situation.

3) I got to spend one entire afternoon hanging out with my best friend, who has been by my side longer than anybody.

4) The strength of two other friendships was tested this week. Granted, one crumbled, but the other sprang up and flourished.

5) I discovered that I am no longer willing to allow people to take gross advantage of my giving nature.

6) Today presented an excellent opportunity for me to devote all my time to the labor I love most — writing, telling stories. This time around I get to tell really good ones.

7) I rediscovered the energy of music during a bout of insomnia when I finally pulled out my iPod and turned off my computer, in desperate need of escape.

Yes, all in all, I'd have to say it's been a pretty damn good week.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

a quick prayer

I was talking to a very good friend of mine tonight about all manner of things, including the tremendous number of children who are victims of sexual battery.

It just hurts my heart when I think of what's being done to those children. I know all too well the heartache, confusion, self-doubt, guilt and anger that comes with being taken against your will. Or being forced to submit.

Heaven help them and God love the ones who help them through it.

new rules

As a child, growing up, I placed rules on myself. Strict rules, intended to keep me from getting hurt. After all, isn't that why most rules are in place to begin with?

Rule #1...Don't care. Just don't give a shit. If you don't care, they can't hurt you. I later realized this rule was impossible to follow and left you feeling pretty hollow and meaningless.

Rule #2...Don't trust anyone. If you never trust them, they can never betray you. I later realized they can still betray you without your trust and that not trusting someone greatly hinders your ability to care.

As an adult, I now find myself setting rules for others instead. Strict rules, intended to keep me from getting hurt.

Rule #1...Do not EVER touch me without permission.

Rule #2...Do not lie to me. Ever.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

pissed off rant

I know a man, who at this very moment, is most likely drinking a beer and thinking that I am one hormonal bitch.

Okay, in all actuality there are probably several men out there drinking beer having the same thought, my husband included, although I doubt he's bothering with the beer.

But guess what? I don't give a shit what they think. Believe it or not, not all female bitchiness is caused by hormones. Quite often, it is simply caused by assholes.

If you can't tell, my feathers are a bit ruffled. Well, actually, I'm pissed.

Granted, I'm probably a bit hormonal too. The hot flashes are a dead give away. According to the calendar, I am entirely too young to be entering menopause, but the hot flashes and witch's hairs that have started to sprout under my chin tell me otherwise. I think my ovaries have finally figured out that since I've had a hysterectomy they are no longer needed. I can buy a fan and pluck the chin hairs, but I can't do a whole lot with assholes who provoke me.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I've grown accustomed to guys talking shit, often crossing the line into downright lewd, crude remarks that should only be reserved for those paid for their services. It's a shame one friend of mine didn't read that post.

If he had, he probably would have at least thought twice before pawing at me today.

Over the years, I've learned to shrug off the ass-grabs without turning around and decking anyone, but damn! A girl has to have her limits and apparently grabbing the front of my shirt open and trying to pull my bra back, after I've told you there's no way in hell you're going to see the girls, pushes way past those limits.

"What the fuck is the matter with you?!! Don't do that kind of fucking shit!!"


Of course he feigned dumb, trying to laugh it off, making lame-ass jokes.

No, fuck you dude, that shit ain't cool!

What is it that makes some men believe it's okay to simply cop a feel whenever they want? I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that I was put on this earth purely for your entertainment and if you're going to assume the right to paw at me like I'm a piece of fucking meat, then I should at least walk out the door with some cash.

I didn't storm out immediately, no I was hoping he'd man up and apologize for taking liberties he had not been given, but of course that never happened.

"Where are you going? Don't leave."


Fuck this, I'm going home.

He's either a complete fucking asshole or a complete fucking dumbass. Either way, I haven't quite figured out how I'm supposed to be okay with it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

a change in the pattern

I've always been a music lover.

I love most any kind of music that stirs the soul — anything that resonates with something deep inside of me.

It seems as though most of my life has been played out with a soundtrack in the background. When I was a child, it was Elton John, Bad Company and Jimi Hendrix. As a teenager, my world was filled with Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Soul Asylum, Smashing Pumpkins and Pink Floyd. During my first marriage and around the birth of my son, there were a few more added — Counting Crows, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Sarah McLachlan, Mad Season, Tracy Chapman and Dr. Hook. Once my husband died I added some Godsmack, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Korn and Limp Bizkit. In recent years I've branched out to include various country songs along with a hodge podge of folks including Zakk Wylde, Ray LaMontagne, Morphine, Jack Johnson, etc. etc. etc.

Yet these days I seem to prefer silence. It's all a distraction now, so many memories entwined with each song. The notes open the floodgates so I pause the iTunes, turn off the radio and sit in silence...the echo of those songs and the memories they envoke, insisting on cluttering my mind.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

told ya so!

I always knew it was unhealthy to suck it up and smile in the face of assholes...now it's been scientifically proven. Read the story here.

But how does that fit into the whole "turn the other cheek" line of thought?

so close...

So it occurred to me last night, as I was tossing and turning in bed trying to sleep that there is nothing but my own laziness, bitchiness and lack of motivation that keeps me from being the kind of wife I'd like to be.

Then I remembered that I WAS that wife in the beginning. Right up until I realized that, at least in my current situation, it wasn't very rewarding. Shit.

Friday, May 16, 2008

in mourning of what never was

I spent a long time in the churchyard this afternoon, waiting for a sense of peace that refused to come.

I'm not a member of a church and never go with the exception of weddings, funerals and the occasional holiday service at the invitation of the mother-in-law. Over the past few months, when I'm in need of comfort, I've taken to visiting a particular churchyard and sitting on a marble bench, my arms propped on a cast iron fence, staring off into the woods.

A friend of mine, a boy I loved, is buried there, but I don't think that's really why I go. I've never been one to feel the need to visit the graves of those I love, although I've visited his quite often since his death in September.

I realized today as I sat there, the wind whipping up, warning of an approaching storm, that it was as though I was waiting for him to appear out of the words, with some important message that I needed to hear. Of course he never did.

One of my fondest memories is of venturing into those woods one cold morning in search of him. A mutual friend had told me I could find him there hunting and had assured me he wouldn't mind the intrusion. As I was doing it, it occurred to me that it was probably not the brightest of things to do...tramping off into the woods in search of a deer hunter who was supposed to be hanging out in a tree somewhere in the area, waiting for something to shoot.

I walked softly, praying I wouldn't chase away the biggest buck of the season and wondering if I'd lost my mind for being there at all. I stopped for a moment, stripping off my bulky, brown corduroy coat with the thought that I was probably less likely to get shot if he could see the red shirt I had on and I'd rather be a bit cold than take a round of buck shot.

Somehow, I lucked up and managed to walk straight back through the woods to his location, whistling every few moments to alert him someone was coming. The sight of his surprised smile from high above the ground when he saw me is forever embedded in my mind. He just shook his head, laughing as he carefully shimmied down the tree. We walked out of the woods together, with him chuckling. Turns out I was the first girl to ever pull him out of a deer stand and I did so simply because I couldn't quit thinking about him and wanted some company for breakfast.

He obliged me, gentleman that he was, and we enjoyed a comfortable breakfast at a cozy little diner that has long since closed its doors. I guess you could call it our first date.

We had known each other for years. He was my best friend's cousin and as a little girl, I had a huge crush on him. My best friend and I spent hours giggling as we thought about how life would be when we were all grown up and he and I got married.

There were ten elementary schools in the county at the time and he didn't go to the same one she and I attended, so I had to settle for seeing him on occasion at various family functions and Sunday lunches at their grandmother's.

All that changed in 8th grade though, as there was only one middle school in the county. He was in most of my classes and since my last name started with "Sm" and his with "St", he sat behind me in them all, pulling my hair and passing me funny notes.

He was always the good one — went to church every Sunday and sang in the choir, played in the school band, and never got into trouble. I, on the other hand, smoked and cussed and was always looking for trouble.

He never judged me for any of it, expressing only his concern over my poor choice of boyfriends. I've always wondered if he knew that the whole time, the only reason I didn't have my sights set on him was because I didn't think I was good enough for him.

I moved out of state our sophomore year of high school and didn't see him again until nearly ten years later when I came back to my hometown. He had married, and divorced and had indeed grown up to be exactly the kind of man I always knew he would be — the kind of man that every woman wants to settle down with. He was still active in his church, loved his mama, was a volunteer fireman and worked constantly. If he wasn't at work he was doing side jobs to make some extra money, freebie favors for those who couldn't really afford to pay him, hunting or running fire calls. On the night of our second real date, he kept apologizing because we had to stop at the home of a little old man and woman whose air conditioning had gone out. It was gearing up to be one of those stifling hot southern summers and he couldn't stand to think of that elderly couple having to go without their AC so he wanted to fix it before we went into town for dinner.

I chatted with the lady as he and the elderly man worked on the unit. After it was fixed and we climbed into his truck, I couldn't help but think that THIS was how life was supposed to be. That night, for the first time since my husband had died, I honestly felt that I might just get to have my happily ever after yet.

I kept thinking of the line from the movie, As Good As It Gets when the main character told his female love interest that she made him want to be a better man.

There was no better way to describe it. He made me want to be a better woman and he made me want the white picket fence, minivan and house full of kids. He made me want to be the sort of woman who has dinner cooked for her husband every evening when he came home from work. But instead I was a widow with a son, incapable of having any more children. That fact continued to eat at me.

One night, when my son was spending the night away from home, I invited him to dinner, enjoying being able to provide him with a good home cooked meal, even packing up leftovers for his lunch the next day. We watched a movie and talked for hours. As he left, he kissed me for the first time, softly at first, growing in intensity as my mind forgot all its fears.

I laid awake for a long time after he left, still feeling the tenderness and urgency of his kiss, knowing that we had somehow turned a corner. It was sheer agony! I wanted nothing more than to be that man's wife, for us to enjoy the American dream together, yet I knew that he wanted nothing more than children of his own. It didn't seem at all fair to allow things to continue to progress without him knowing the truth so I began writing a letter of full disclosure.

The next day, while he was at work, I sat in his driveway trying to work up the nerve to leave the letter in his door. I cried as I did so, knowing that it would mean the end of a beautiful dream, yet hoping against hope that somehow none of it would matter to him and he would somehow love me anyway.

No such luck of course. It was enough to scare him off and leave me kicking myself for allowing myself to believe in the impossible.

That was four years ago. I've seen him a few times since, exchanging pleasantries in passing. We never really discussed what was in the letter or what could have been. I ended up getting married a little over a year later. He was set to get married last October but died on September 10, my wedding anniversary, crashing into a tree as he returned from a fire call. His birthday was this week, so as I flew back in time, mourning the loss of my first husband as the eight year anniversary of his death rolled around, I was also mourning the death of a man who would never become my husband.

The day of his funeral, the heavens opened up and poured down rain. I stood there, sobbing, as they performed the graveside rites and the firemen's pagers began sounding the final page in his honor. A mutual friend, who I didn't even know had known about our short-lived romance, suddenly appeared at my side, hugging me tightly, saying "I know what you must be thinking."

Everyone seemed to think I was thinking of how, if it had worked out, I would've been burying a second husband that day. But no, instead I was thinking that if it was going to hurt so bad either way when he died, if he was never going to be able to have his house full of babies anyway, then why, what was the point?

What if I hadn't moved away in school? What if I had never written him that letter? What if I had waited to tell him those things? What if, what if, what if...it's the what ifs that haunt me.

And I keep wishing I could march right into heaven and bring him down for breakfast.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

the man said freedom is slavery...OR...sheeple

Orwell that is.

In Elsie Venner Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, "Liberty is often a heavy burden on a man. It involves that necessity for perpetual choice which is the kind of labor men have always dreaded."

The people give away their freedoms to the government, in exchange for reducing their responsibility. They give it to the churches in exchange for their salvation. The churches give it to the government in exchange for power. The various levels of government then shuffles their liberties and responsibilities to other branches of the government or incredibly, even to outside, foreign governments.

Yes, the government knows best. You need the government to tell you who you can marry and where and how you will educate your children. You need the government telling your doctor exactly what treatments are suitable for your condition. You need the government to tell you how many acres of tobacco you can grow. You need the government telling you how you should and must spend your money.

That sounds ludicrous! Yet, so many people believe these things! They have been conditioned to believe they are incapable of making those choices. And it all began when folks decided they really didn't want to have to make those decisions and allowed someone else to make those choices for them.

Sheeple. A great big thundering herd of sheeple. It's a damn shame when liberty becomes a burden too heavy for a man to carry.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In search of...

As we struggle on this earth, we seek to rationalize how our pain fits in to God's plan and it often leaves us searching for comfort.

I have been searching for a while now.

There is a Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi taped to my bathroom mirror. It catches my eye several times a day and brings me encouragement with these words:

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.


O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen"


In need of more comfort, I blankly stared at my computer screen until I found this, shared by Jared Slack. I hesitate to republish it here without his permission, but I urge you to read it by clicking here.

sex appeal dashed

Most days I see myself as downright mousy, but apparently I do possess some amount of sex appeal.

I got used to guys hitting on me and talking trash a long time ago. The fact that most of them see me as "one of the guys" allows them to be especially lewd in their comments.

Most of the time it doesn't bother me. I do have my moments when I feel like a piece of meat, usually when I feel as though someone is taking advantage of me.

Most of the guys have no idea about my past — they don't know about the times I was taken against my will. They don't know about the times that I have given it away when I really didn't want to, just so I didn't feel so incredibly lonely.

I guess I'd lose whatever sex appeal I have if they did know all that.

infinity

The years suddenly converge, crashing upon you.

All of time merges together. There is no longer a past or a present, there simply is. The love and joy and pain of yesterday is just as real today — an entire life relived every time I awake.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

if you think us to be unreasonable...

...simply remember the following...

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." — George Bernard Shaw

Friday, May 9, 2008

I can still hear the silence

There was such a deafening silence over the world that night — at least in my world.

There have been many nights since then the same — the air suddenly sucked from the room, the earth below your feet fallen away, as you stand outside your "self."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

the power of stupid people

"There is no greater impotence in all the world like knowing you are right and that the wave of the world is wrong, yet the wave crashes upon you." - Norman Mailer

Or, never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

scattered

I have been working and scribbling, and I cannot really say I've been doing either very well.

There's just so much going on in my mind! It's impossible to catch it all, and so often it comes pouring through, too swift for a mere glimpse, leaving only the ripple of its wake behind.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

shared label cloud

Many thanks to this lady over here for my fancy new label cloud.

Friday, May 2, 2008

wanna smoke?

I sit here, motionless at my desk, a thousand thoughts passing through my mind.

I debate on having a smoke, and the more I debate, the more I want a smoke — said, of course, as I light a cigarette, having lost that battle.

In the time it has taken me to consider all the myriad of reasons as to why I continue to smoke, I have smoked 2/3 of the nasty damn thing and put it out.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I'm trying to quit smoking. That would require a lot more effort and commitment than I'm willing to give right now — which is why it would be awesome if I could just not want to smoke. Hmmmm....Mama Ruth has been praying for that exact thing for quite a while now.

responding to insistant anxiety

**Distracted by a commercial for one of those rip-you-off places...greedy ass fucks trying to sell the American Dream. It's a damn shame so much of it has already been bought.**

ANYWAY, before I became distracted, I was thinking about how anxious I am most every minute of most every day.

And then I thought of how most psych theories considered perpetual anxiety, or a frequent anxiety over impending doom and destruction, as a form or symptom of mental illness, depending upon its severity.

I am certainly no expert, but it seems to me a perfectly natural, and even logical reaction for man to be anxious.

I mean damn! I think most of us figured out a long time ago that we can be snuffed out at any time, and let's face it, as the world around us continues to deteriorate, the likelihood of that happening increases dramatically.

My Lord, have you paid much attention to the current state of affairs on this continent and around the world? No wonder we're all so damn anxious!

Case in point...earlier today there was a whole host of problems with various cell phone carriers and Internet providers in the area. Yes, I admit, I had a rapid succession of thoughts: falling satellites, nuclear shock waves, plagues from God, massive explosions, horrific crashes. It was a succession of fleeting moments, but I was able to keep my wits about me enough to dismiss such drastic fears until I could confirm my family was immediately safe from imminent doom.

Truly, how many of us have those terrifying thoughts during our lives? Certainly some of us have more such thoughts than others, and many are even cripples by them, yet anxiety seems such a normal response for man.

Increased levels of anxiety are certainly to be expected when we feel threatened. It's one of those natural instincts, an automatic response, triggering the fight or flight response. If you believe in God, you most likely believe God equipped us with those instincts and probably allow that we were blessed with those instincts for a purpose.

The difficult thing is to determine whether those panic alarms you hear are a figment of some mental imbalance or a cry for help from the Heavens.

when you are shielded

"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."
— Herbert Spencer

I wish more people would understand that.

an observation

This world is certainly full of some greedy, back-biting people!

This comes as no great surprise to me, but I am always saddened at its prevalence.

I have enough adrenaline thank you

While I do occasionally enjoy a harmless thrill, I am by no means an adrenaline junkie.

I don't derive any joy from death-defying feats. Although my first thought following a major "oh shit" moment is never "oh my God I could have died."

Instead, the first thing that goes through my mind is "damn, that would've really hurt."

It is not the death I fear, but the pain that may precede death's arrival.