Held Hostage

I for the most part stay out of politics. At this time I do not claim any political party much as I do not claim any religious affiliation. I believe both to be too complicated and of importance to be defined by any one name or belief. To do this would be to turn issues that are complex, varied and not easily defined into the exact opposite. I have a friend who is Palestinian and has family in the Gaza Strip or were in the Gaza Strip and I can no longer remain silent. To do so, makes me as guilty as the people who commit the violence in this conflict. Maybe my saying something will not have any noticeable effect, however, at least I have spoken my heart and left it to those who may read these words if there is some truth in it that is worth responding to and acting on.

This conflict between Israel and Palestine is not new. The Palestinian people have lived with constant assault from Israel. So much so that violence or displacement is as common as us waking up to our morning coffee. This is their life, day in and day out. They are held hostage to a people who will not allow them basic human rights that we as a country constantly espouse to be afforded to everyone. The problem is, do we only say this when it is convenient for us. When it fits in our nice neat little box of whatever agenda we might be pushing.

Do we not as a country, as intelligent and humane people see that we are allowing the bully Israel to get away with the displacement and killing of people that is to never be tolerated and yet we do. Israel is Goliath and Palestine, David without any powerful entity behind them. Do we not see the irony of this? The atrocities that were committed to the Jewish people and yet here are these very same faction of people causing atrocities of their own. They are suffocating the Palestinian people much like what was done to them. Wouldn’t one think that experiencing something like this would cause compassion, understanding and tolerance and embracing of everyone and their different beliefs and cultures? It is fear that causes Israel to be a bully. This is usually what motivates most bullies.

Truces have been made over the years and not abided by. The one that seemed to make the most sense is that Israel and Palestine would be their own states and that they would share Jerusalem which contains religious significance to both. Think of it like a common area in a dorm or some other facility. Neutral, to be shared and experienced by all. Unfortunately, these truces and agreements have not ever been upheld and encroachments are slowly made and before you know it the agreement is no longer being followed. Overtime Israel displaced 700,000 Palestinians in my reading this number has grown to 7 million. If these refugees, displaced Palestinians were allowed back into their homeland they would outnumber Israel. This is something that Israel fears. To be a minority amongst a people that they have bullied. In this conflict so far 645 Palestinians have been killed (mostly civilians) and 29 Israelis. Now I know that Israel says they must respond because Hamas shells them. Let’s look at this from a realistic point of view. This shelling does no real damage. Israel has a system to intercept this shelling. Basically the actions that Hamas takes are those of a gnat to Israel. They are annoying, bothersome, flying around them and nothing more. What would happen if Israel ignored them? What would happen if Israel had compassion and saw the Palestinians for what they are people, people of the same human spirit as the Israelis, and every one else on this planet.

This is senseless killing. And for whatever reason there has been an outpouring of it in recent days, in different regions. My heart aches and I am tearful. I am sad for those who have lost a loved one for a senseless act of killing that will never be correct in their minds. Something that will forever be seared in their memories and their hearts. Could we ever see that when we kill someone who we believe to be our enemy we are actually killing ourselves. I daresay that it is far easier to take someone else’s life than our own. What if when we looked at someone what we saw was not the difference in their skin color, the difference in their speech, dress or even their beliefs and instead what we saw was us. If when you looked into the eyes of the person standing across from you, you saw your own eyes staring back at you, the same facial reactions being mimicked back to you and the same voice asking for mercy. Then would we stop? Then would we see? For this is exactly what is occurring. Every conflict, every war we are killing ourselves whether we are actively involved or not. When we stand by and watch, we are watching ourselves being killed because underneath we are one in spirit, one in being. God made us that way. We are all connected to God, one being, one source and when we kill one of our being, we kill part of our source. They cannot be separated. We are harming ourselves. The sooner we understand that, the sooner we allow this truth to be revealed to us, the sooner we can quit harming and begin healing.

I pray for this universal truth to be revealed to each and every one of us so that we might live in peace. I also am contacting my political representatives to take action and no longer support the bully that is Israel. There is injustice and we must stand against this injustice in order to save ourselves. If any of this resonates with you as well, please contact your political representatives in doing the same. The divine in me, bows to the divine in you. Be blessed.

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There are flowers growing in your heart
and soul. Tiny blossoms running through
your veins. Potential lives inside you.

And they burst out of you. Through
your lips, hands, eyes or skin, like cracks in the

The flowers grow.

by Mackenzie Erickson

This was written by my daughter. I thought it was beautiful and I wanted to share it.

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I love

I went for a walk/run on Easter in the town I grew up in. On this particular day I decided to go to the college campus where I spent a lot of time as a teenager. One of the things that struck me was how beautiful it still is and how familiar everything was and all the memories that came back as I ran the paths of the campus.

There is a pond there that used to have swans living in it. On this particular day, no swans in sight. I found that they were doing renovations and the pond had been emptied. What came to mind was how much I had loved seeing those swans every time I was at the campus. When my girls were little and I came to visit my family we would make a trip to the campus because of the swans. We brought bread that we would feed to the swans. One time, my brother Dave came with us. He is mentally handicapped and my daughter Mackenzie was probably about two years old. She is blonde, blue-eyed and on that particular day her sun drenched hair was pulled up in a ponytail and she was wearing a little blue jean dress with white sandals. My brother and my daughter were walking together, her hand in his. I snapped a picture as they walked in front of me so only their backs are visible. It is one of my favorite pictures. There is something poignant and innocent about it. It is a moment frozen in time. One that is forever etched in my memories.

As I continue, I happen to glance at one of the buildings and I see someone has spray painted on the side of the building toward the roof, I love. This strikes a chord with me to the point that I stop and just stand there looking. I think that this is an amazing sentiment. I love. Then as I stand there looking at it some more I realize that it is not simply I love. They have a person’s name lower down which is not entirely visible to me. The moment is not lost on me and I wonder how many other people have glanced up at this message to simply read I love and wondered what they took away from it.

It is truly moving and life changing to ponder and embrace this sentiment. Not I love him, or I love her. Not I love this pair of jeans, or I love the setting sun, or the rising of the moon. Simply I love. How limitless this becomes if you really think about it and if we can somehow manage to achieve this, then we are able to expand and be connected to everything and everyone around us. Life seems more vibrant and lighter at the same time.

The funny thing is I kind of had forgotten about this encounter until I went for a walk/run this evening. The first person I encountered was a woman pushing a stroller and in the stroller was a toddler. A dark-haired cute as a button boy who waved at me before I was even in close proximity to them. I waved back and as I got closer he waved again. I smiled at him and joyfully said “Hi, there! How are you?” By now we were passed each other and he craned his neck to be able to still see me and I continued to smile and in that instant the words I love came to mind and I said to myself, “This is how one simply loves and is connected to all.”

Each encounter I had became a process in seeing, recognizing and simply loving. Just before I was going to turn around to make my way back I smelled the sweetest scent come drifting toward me. I walked over to find delicate white blossoms which smelled to me of honeysuckle and I said to myself, “This is love.” The smell of rain and lightning in the distance. This is love. The horizon filled with dusty pinks and oranges and indigo blue of the rain filled skies. This is love. Being greeted when I got home from my walk by my dogs almost smiling at me and asking me where I have been and what adventures I went on. This is love. When my girls spill over with stories of their day not being able to contain them within themselves anymore. This is love. I am moved by this transformation and some how whatever lies in front of me doesn’t seem so formidable. When one loves and sees and can open up to connect to the love that exists all around, this is life-giving. It is life-giving to me. It is life-giving to you and it is life-giving to the Universe. I can almost hear the breath of love that is taken in by all that lives because of it. Truly amazing!

Maybe this is why the picture of my brother and little girl holding hands is etched in my memory. They connected to that life-giving source. Love swirled all around them and was carried on the breath of wind that day to feed another. How powerful and delicate this process is. When you open your eyes this morning what do you see? Do you truly see all that surrounds you? Do you see the sun as just the sun? Do you see the person standing in line at the post office as just another person and wondering how you’re going to get back to work before your lunch break is over? What about something as insignificant as your mail or the song on the radio? We can go through the day and not see them as anything but hindrances’ or nuisances but what happens if we see them for what they really are, if we truly peel away the blinders and see them for the love that is? For love that breathes around us and through us, never becoming stagnant. Always moving, always gathering and binding us together. Now that’s truly life changing! I love and I am transformed and in the process the world is transformed. See the love my friend. Be the love and notice what happens. I know it will make you smile! I love.

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If your goin’ through hell

It’s sometimes funny the things that catch our attention on certain days and at certain times. I heard this song a few weeks ago. I know that it is an old song and I have heard it before, however, on this particular day this song spoke to me of exactly what I was feeling, what I was thinking. I listened to it over and over again and I loved it. I listened to it again and all I can say is that it speaks of truth to me and I am reminded of what a friend told me once about hanging out in the pit and it’s somewhere you really don’t want to be. Sometimes we end up in the pit and there really isn’t anything that we can do about it. We can, however, choose how long we stay in the pit. So I guess all I’m sayin’ is if your goin’ through hell, keep on goin’, you might even get out before the devil knows your there.

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red hair angel
This road of grieving is not an easy one. I find myself here almost on a daily basis. Sometimes it is fleeting and other times something just takes hold of me and won’t let go and I cry throughout the entire day. I cry for what our children have lost, I cry for what I have lost and I even cry for what you have lost. The damage is great and the healing is ever slow in coming. I grieve what I will never have. I cry because I loved and I lost. I was foolish maybe. I don’t know. You could give me everything financially. The one thing I wanted, the one thing I craved was your heart. Somedays, some moments I still do and I tell myself how easy it should have been. I guess from your perspective though it was far from easy.

I was looking through pictures for fifth grade graduation and I wonder what happened? Our family looked happy. I feel torn and cheated that my kids do not have this anymore. That it is lost to them. That I couldn’t give to them what my own heart longs for. When does it ever feel right? When does this brokenness go away or dissipate? When does anything feel right again? When does my heart not ache anymore for what I had, what we had? When do I quit questioning and just accept that this is what is? When do I quit rewriting history and telling myself I could have done more or should have done this? On one level my subconscious knows the reality of what was and sometimes still is and on another I reason, bargain and justify covering up the reality, not really wanting to accept it as is. And I grieve some more.

I sob. Sometimes I think that I have everything under control and then something happens. It’s not a big thing. Usually quite the opposite. Something small. Something seemingly insignificant. My mom and I shared a swing on the front porch over Easter and all she asked me was “How are you doing with everything?” One simple question and tears erupt. Prior to that I was conversing as if I didn’t have a care in the world and all my mom had to do was ask how I was doing with everything. The tears came first and I managed to choke out, “ok”. I don’t really have a choice. And in many ways I feel this way. I feel like people really don’t understand. They don’t see what the big deal is, after all people get divorced all the time. For me, it’s not that simple and it’s really quite the opposite. It’s messy and I find that most people don’t do messy. They don’t know what to say or do and really seeing a grown woman breakdown with a simple question is a little unnerving and uncomfortable. I know my mom asked me because she loves me. I also know that she feared bringing it up and causing me further pain. The thing is I don’t control any of it. These emotions just happen.

I have not experienced the death of someone close to me. I dare say this is worse. And when I actually do experience death I will say, it is worse. In death you still love. You still care. The person is physically gone. You cannot hold them, see them, feel them, look in their eyes and there is loss of what to do with this love. You cannot experience it like you used to. There is a hole, an ache, an emptiness, a crater that is created and how will it ever be filled again? I feel all of this now, the difference is the person is living and breathing. They continue to be tied to me. I see and cannot touch. They are standing 10 feet away from me and yet it is as if we are strangers and our past never existed. How can that be? How can I not be hurt by that? How do I untangle myself from this connection?

How is it that two people could spend over 20 years of their lives together and this is what it comes to? Common courtesies are gone. You can’t address me in your mail communication with me. You can’t come to my front door, you see me and can’t say hi to me, something we say to complete strangers that we pass on the street. Our daughter invites you over to dinner for her birthday, you decline. I am dumbfounded. I know that you are hurt. I am hurt too. I don’t think one hurt is greater than the other. We are experiencing them differently and processing them differently, still hurt is hurt. Amazingly, I find that you still have this way of hurting me. A friend of mine told me that her husband lost the power to hurt her years ago. I wish I were that strong. That I somehow had some magic shield. I don’t. So even though I should expect it, that I know the things you are capable of, every time the gauntlet is swung I still am surprised and I cry and then I tell myself, see this is why. This is why you are no longer married. The capacity for compassion, care, empathy are not there.

So I sob, I cry like the distant sound of the flute in the wind. It is both forlorn and beautiful in its sound. There is an aloneness about it, an ache and yet there is some comfort in it, some love and despair and forgiveness all wrapped together that floats on the wind. And maybe that’s really what this grieving is. To take what comes, whatever it is in that moment. Experience it as it comes through the wind and to release it back to the wind where it is transformed and sings a different song, a different melody as it is intermixed with what was brought with it. If you look at each individual note you see and feel anger, pain, love, agony, forgiveness, joy, despair, happiness. Mix them altogether and there is the nuance of mystical beauty that catches the soul and you cannot help and close your eyes and listen. This is grief. This is my grief.

I don’t know for how long I will carry this. I may be at the store today and some thought, some words, some person may remind me of something that triggers my tears and my cheeks will become chapped once again from the immense crying and saltiness of my tears. All I really know is that if I allow myself to experience it and then release it back to the wind my soul is being stirred up and there is beauty in that. This realization somehow lightens this grieving of mine and makes it a shade more bearable.

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mother earth 2
The road seen, then not seen, the hillside
hiding then revealing the way you should take,
the road dropping away from you as if leaving you
to walk on thin air, then catching you, holding you up,
when you thought you would fall,
and the way forward always in the end
the way that you followed, the way that carried you
into your future, that brought you to this place,
no matter that it had to break your heart along the way:
the sense of having walked from far inside yourself
out into the revelation, to have risked yourself
for something that seemed to stand both inside you
and far beyond you, that called you back
to the only road in the end you could follow, walking
as you did, in your rags of love and speaking in the voice
that by night became a prayer for safe arrival,
so that one day you realized that what you wanted
had already happened long ago and in the dwelling place
you had lived in before you began,
and that every step along the way, you had carried
the heart and the mind and the promise
that first set you off and drew you on and that you were
more marvelous in your simple wish to find a way
than the gilded roofs of any destination you could reach:
as if, all along, you had thought the end point might be a city
with golden towers, and cheering crowds,
and turning the corner at what you thought was the end
the road, you found just a simple reflection,
and a clear revelation beneath the face looking back
and beneath it another invitation, all in one glimpse:
like a person and a place you had sought forever,
like a broad field of freedom that beckoned you beyond;
like another life, and the road still stretching on.

This was a reading that was shared in a class that I took part in. I thank my teacher for sharing this. I cannot read it without being moved to tears. I cannot explain the depth of emotion and meaning that I feel when I read it and I have gone back to it many times since we had class. These words are my life. They are my journey. These words express exactly what I feel in my being, to the depths of my soul. It stirs me and comforts me to the point that I have no words and only silence can convey the powerfulness of its meaning. I hope this reading will move you, stir you as well so that you have no choice but to feel, to sit in silence and be awed by the life that these words express.

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I’m standing on the ledge looking down. Puzzled. Wondering how I got here. As if I have been sleep walking and awakened and now find myself in the most precarious of situations. This moment is exhilarating and at the same time petrifying. I take in the vastness of everything that surrounds me. The cloudy blue sky. The sun and gentle breeze on my face. The trees and mountains that wind themselves intricately upon the terrain in front of me and below me. My feet shift and a pebble is lodged loose and falls off the edge into the blackness below reminding me once again that I am lost standing on this ledge, puzzled, afraid and alone. Not knowing, suffering from self-induced amnesia. Once again wondering what brought me to this place.

Something catches my eye. I draw my attention upward and a bald eagle is soaring overhead. He is majestic and powerful. I can’t take my eyes off of him. He circles over head. He glides ever so effortlessly. And I ponder some more how I came to be here and how this creature, this regal bird came to be here at this exact moment as well. I am mesmerized by his flight and I let myself be taken by this creation, not knowing what any of it means. Just knowing in my heart that it means something. It is a message for me. I don’t know what the message is at the moment. It is enough to know that this bird of flight has come to me to lift me up, to take me out of myself for just a moment and be transported by his spirit. He circles above me three times and is gone. I stand transfixed continuing to watch him as he departs wondering where he will go and if I will ever be graced by his presence again and it is than that my memory is lodged.

My hand is drawn to my chest where it grasps a necklace I found. This necklace is simple and yet I believe powerful in many ways. It consists of a chain with three small infinite circles laced on it. The circles are a different color each. One is gold, the other silver and the last bronze. I found it when I was purging things from my home. I stumbled upon it in a drawer. I had forgotten about it. I know that I probably bought it as a gift to give someone and yet as I looked at it I couldn’t remember for whom. It seemed to fit my life at the moment so I reasoned that maybe the gift had been intended for me. I just didn’t know it at the time. I removed it from its packaging and have been wearing it ever since. It speaks volumes to me of my life presently and then my memory is jogged once again and the word divorce seeps into my psyche. Three circles on a chain. Each circle initially represented me and one for each of my girls and maybe the chain represents life or somehow that inexplicable thing that holds us together. It is not binding, for each circle moves freely upon the chain. Some mornings I wake up and only one circle is visible and I am reminded of being alone and at some point the other circles move to join the first. Each circle with its own individual color, its own life to lead, its own unique characteristics that will take it through life and still somehow as each one moves they still manage to find their way back to one another. In the precariousness of my situation there is comfort in this. Me and my two girls. This is my life.

The warmth of the breeze brushes my face and I’m brought back to the ledge. I don’t know how long I have been here. The sun has moved in the time I have been standing here. I feel lost and that word divorce seeps in once again and tears begin to fall. I don’t know where they come from. They just spring forward uninvited and I unabashedly let them fall as I stand at the ledge, the breeze drying the tears upon my face before some of them fall to the ground. This is not how I pictured my life. Three circles on a chain. I feel cheated, angry, inept, discarded, maybe even stupid because I don’t really recall how I got here. This wasn’t suppose to be my life. I kick and resist against that. I want to close the door that led me to here. Too late, for I’ve already walked through it. I can open it and maybe walk back through. What does that get me? Where would I be then? So I stand at the ledge feeling ever more lost, ever more confused.

I like the feeling of being married. Of having this entity that somehow says that you are okay. That you have a partner to rely on, to live your life with, that somehow this foundation invariably supports your children without really realizing that it’s there and the work that it does unseen, unnoticed. Remove the foundation and I am left in this aloneness of rebuilding the foundation. Somedays I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do it. Building foundations by yourself is hard, back laboring and yet what other choice do I have. The person who was part of the original foundation left. Maybe I wanted him to leave. Maybe I pushed him to leave. Maybe’s race through my mind, jostling their way among my thoughts and I shake my head somewhat coming to my senses. No, you didn’t want him to leave. You wanted him to build a stronger foundation with you. You wanted him to invest in this foundation that was started and was beginning to crumble from lack of care. You wanted him to see the greatness of the three circles on the chain. He couldn’t. He wouldn’t. He was afraid. He was afraid of what this new foundation would be like. He knew what existed before and that’s what he liked. That’s what he wanted. What he had before. I can’t blame him. For what we had before is known and there is always comfort in the known. It is what we gravitate towards because the unknown is hard. Broken foundations need to be mended and that takes time. That is where the unwillingness comes in at.

The really ironic thing is that we are each having to build new foundations anyway. So work still has to be done. When it’s just you though, I guess it might be considered better. You get to pick the materials of the foundation and how you will build it and where and how you will construct it. Maybe the thought process is that this easier. Really is it? All that back laboring agonizing work to be done by yourself instead of with a partner. You get to be in control though and maybe that’s where one thinks its easier. Really are we though? Are we just fooling ourselves thinking that somehow we get to decide and no one else gets a say. There is some part of me that believes God is looking over the beginning building blocks and shaking His head saying nope that won’t work and before you know it something happens to it and one is altering it again. Changing it from what you originally thought was good. Is that what life is? The willingness to let go and change the foundation as needed?

A friend of mine said to me you are still a family, just in a different way from what we traditionally view family. The sad thing is, we aren’t. At least not from my perspective. He won’t allow it. He wants to punish and lash out and hurt. I understand those feelings. I also understand that they are not productive and that all they do is cause more hurt and harm. No one has the market cornered on hurt. Everyone has hurt. Everyone thinks or believes that their hurts are greater or grander. In truth, each hurt is what it is, no less, no more than another’s for it is our own. What we seem to forget is that this hurt that we carry with us can continue to grow in us and consume us to where we do more harm or we can feel it, feel every bit of it from the depths of our soul where it brings us to our knees and we are sobbing with it on the floor. Our soul bared, wide open and vulnerable and in this process we begin the steps of learning and growing from it and bit by bit, pebble by pebble we let it go and it’s no longer this noose around our neck, or this huge sack of rocks tied to our ankle.

No, I know the reality of what is and we are not a family in the traditional or non-traditional sense. I wish we were. I had hoped for better. I had hoped for better for my children and myself. It is strange how you have built a foundation, a life with someone for 20 years and they can just turn their back on that. That they actually treat you like their worst enemy and then it hits me that, that’s what I am to him. This makes me sad. I would have hoped that we could have maneuvered through this with grace and integrity if not for each other for our children. Fear and hurt create ugly if we allow it. That is something that we do have control over. We choose if we will face it and deal with it or if we allow it to consume us. To let it eat away at us like some uncontrollable disease. How is it that someone you loved, someone you thought once loved you can turn their back, can do such harm, creates such venom? This is what I cannot comprehend. It baffles me and gnaws at me. And I let it.

It is becoming clearer how I got here. At least for today, in this moment. Tomorrow may be different again. The fog may roll in again and I will become lost and the self-induced amnesia will return. What I know is that I am allowing myself to feel every bit of this grief. I accept it. One minute I will cry for no apparent reason. Another minute I may laugh the greatest loudest belly laugh one might hear. Somedays I may have more laughter then tears and other days I may only have tears. I may find myself uncomfortable and feeling as if I stick out like a sore thumb. I never know what comes my way anymore. What I am learning it to expect the unexpected. To know that right now this is the plan. In all likely hood the plan will change and I will change with it. More easily and gracefully each time it happens. I am learning the process of letting go. And as the fog lifts I know I am at this ledge because my foundation had crumbled and I wanted, needed to find who I was. Everyday I am still faced with a decision. Will I turn around and come back the way I came or will I take a leap off this ledge and fly? I hope, I pray that I will fly for it is way more adventurous than walking back the way I came. For now, I’m content peering over the edge because I haven’t yet fully grown the wings that I need. I am working on it though. And that is the greatest thing I can do right now.

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A Cushion for Your Head

Just sit there right now
Don’t do a thing
Just rest.

For your separation from God,
From love,

Is the hardest work
In this

Let me bring you trays of food
And something
That you like to

You can use my soft words
As a cushion
For your
Head. — Hafiz

I have been absent. I have been absent because I didnt feel there was anything else for me to do. I divorced. Somehow in my divorcing there was this natural progression of retreating into myself. I’m not sure I even knew I was doing it. It just happened. Maybe I didn’t want to be hurt anymore. Maybe I felt it was the safest place for me to be. Maybe I just felt that no one truly could understand or relate to all of the emotions and feelings that were created within me and outside of me. At any rate, I couldn’t bring myself to write. Somehow things were different. I no longer felt moved to write or maybe I have just been rejecting everything that brought me some peace and comfort. Maybe I don’t want to be moved, to feel God’s touch. I am only writing this at the request of a dear friend who said to me last night, “Please start writing again. Even if it is full of pain, it still speaks to the people who follow you.” So here I am today heeding her request. I have no better description then to say that she ministered to me at a time that I needed it. I simply say thank you to her. I’m not sure anyone ever really knows the enormity of their actions to someone else. I want her to know. Her simple kindness, moved me, renewed my belief in the goodness of people.

I know the despair of being separated from God, from love. The thing is, I know in my heart, my being that it is not God that has separated Himself from me, but me from Him. I’m not sure I can even adequately explain why. I’m not even sure I know myself. I know if I go to Him, just even open the door slightly I will be awash in love and yet I resist going there. The reason I know this is true is that I have had glimpses of it. I caught the sunrise in all it’s morning glory. The dusty hues of pink and orange breaking the horizon took my breath away. I stood for a moment drinking it in, letting it provide a momentary comfort to me. On any other given morning I would have sat down and immersed myself in it and instead I shrugged it off. Another morning I was tidying my kitchen and as I glanced out the window I saw the moon, still out, not having retreated yet from it’s nights gallivanting. It reminded me of a morning when I went for a jog and the sun was coming out and the moon had not yet gone to bed. I loved that jog. It was perfect and moving! I thought of it for a moment, took one last look at the moon and chose to shut it out. I wonder sometimes if I’m punishing myself. If I don’t believe that I deserve this goodness, this love that exists. I don’t think I’m blaming God but maybe I am.

I do sometimes find myself asking what really happened here? This wasn’t suppose to be my life. This is not how I envisioned it. In all my conceitedness and arrogance there still are moments when I say to myself you of all people were not supposed to be divorced. Maybe someone else who’s marriage was a mess, or who didn’t try or take the proper steps to keep it together but not you! I know this resistance. At the same time, I know it is a part where I must grow. I am no better than someone else. I have faults, frailties and imperfections just like anyone. Who am I to think that I should have been immune from this? Somehow my ego thinks that I’m too good for this and that there is shame in being divorced, in not having kept my marriage together. I have tried to look at this and examine it, dissect it and somehow change my beliefs about it. Maybe all I really did is stuff it deeper inside of me, retreated from it and retreated from myself and everything that could give me solace.

In all of this I know the pain and agony of being my separated from God, from love and because of it I know what it feels like to be drowning. It is exhausting treading this water of life and sometimes it feels like I can’t tread anymore. Sometimes my head goes under and just out of sheer instinct I think I fight back to the surface for a breath. Some days it feels like nothing really matters and on those dark days I don’t want to see the sunrise. And yet I still find myself treading. Other days I feel like I am making progress and the lightness of my being permeates outward and everything doesn’t seem quite so daunting and heavy.

I am used to doing for other people, for giving when they have been in pain or trouble. I don’t know how or why, it is just part of who I am. I see myself as fiercely independent as well and therefore don’t ask for help maybe when I should as I believe I will figure out a way and I will get it accomplished myself. What I didn’t anticipate, what I didn’t realize was that I wouldn’t be able to minister to myself or that I would become so broken that I couldn’t find a way, or have the will to want to. It’s possibly like being in the desert and thirsting for water and knowing that you will die without it but you are just unable to take one more step to any life giving source. This has been my state of being and it wasn’t until I stumbled upon this poem and a friend reached out to me that I realized what I really needed was a cushion for my head, some food and drink and a place to rest. My divide of separation from God doesn’t seem that great at the moment. When the sunrises tomorrow maybe I will be able to fully embrace it instead of brushing it off. And maybe, I will say a little prayer of thanksgiving to my God for sending a friend to minister to me. In fact, I already have. I’m not sure how long this will last. Maybe I will find myself drowning again and in need of more ministering. I don’t know. What I know is in this moment someone else took up the task of treading for me for just a little while so I could rest. Thank you my friend.

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Roots before Branches

This beautifully moving song says it all, roots before branches and faith to make them grow. It’s all we need. Very simple and yet extremely powerful. Strong roots keep us grounded and in this grounding then we are free to branch out, to dream and to be. This takes courage. There is pain and heartache that may come but because of strong roots we cannot be broken.

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New Dress

Tonight is Christmas Eve and I have a new dress. I love it. The dress is black with interspersed vibrant colors with white. The dress is a Desigual. I bought it at Karma, a boutique downtown in the city I live in. The purchase was a Christmas present for myself. A symbol of a new beginning. In red on the back are the words we love. Words I choose to live by. I feel beautiful in the dress.

What I didn’t anticipate that as the evening drew nearer is that I would become very emotional to the point of sobbing. My children will be going to what used to be my mother-in-laws for Christmas Eve with their dad. I am not sad about this. In fact, I very much want my children to go. I want them to go and to have a good time. To laugh and commune with their grandparents, dad, aunt and uncle. I want them to have this connection and to make new memories with them. No, I am crying for an entirely different reason. I am crying because in the process of getting presents ready, writing out cards, packaging up some baked goods for them to share, it hits me that I will not be a part of this evenings festivities and I realize how accustom I have become to this and how this hurts me.

I don’t feel lonely. I have plenty of places to go. I have been invited to share meals with wonderful people in my life. No, I am crying because it is sinking in that in divorcing my husband, I also somehow became divorced from his family. I feel very much like a castaway. I have spent more time with his family in our lives together than I did my own. Almost every holiday was spent with them in some way and my girls and I spent immeasurable time with his mother who at one point I looked at as my friend. We talked to each other everyday and that has ended. For that I grieve and have a space that at the moment is empty and cannot be filled. I know that allegiance is to blood. I cannot change this, however, it does not keep me from wishing that we could have maneuvered through this with grace and somehow remained friends.

So in the twilight of this Christmas Eve I cannot say that I am not saddened. I feel this in every part of my being. When I write out their Christmas cards all that keeps going through my head over and over is that I never thought I would be divorced. I never saw this as part of my future. In some pretentious way I guess I thought I was immune to such a thing, that I would do anything to not be divorced. And yet, that is where I find myself. And I weep. I weep as I go through the gift that my now ex-husband has brought for me.

Prior to this, tonight would have been a happy occasion. My favorite part of the evening would have been the candlelight service that I made my family go to long after they wanted to go to bed. That is the only thing I ever insisted on. I would have went whether they did or not. I always needed to go to this service in order to feel the peace of Christmas. I love the candlelight as it dances against the darkness of the night, the music that pierces the silence brings me to that moment of Christ’s birth and I am filled with awe and wonder.

However, with the change in my marital status, I am finding things that I used to do are not providing the same feeling of fulfillment that they once did. So when faced with going to the same service this Christmas Eve, I did not welcome it. The church that I attended with my husband and family no longer holds a place of comfort for me. This saddens me as well. As I sit in the quiet created by my children leaving, I will embrace a new beginning. I will go to a candlelight service at a new church who has welcomed me as part of their family. It is a small church filled with people who have enormously big hearts. I am ever grateful to them for their unconditional love and embrace. I do not know if it will be my new home for my spiritual journeying, all I know right at this moment in time is that it is what I need and for that I am blessed.

As I sit here, I am faced with a decision. Do I go to any of the places I have been invited or do I quietly spend some time by myself contemplating where I am and where I want to be going? I do have a new dress that makes me feel very chic but I think my new dress and I will spend some quiet time at home before going to candlelight service at 11:00. I do not feel up to socializing and putting on a happy face. I need to be alone, to feel this emptiness, to feel this separation from his family, to feel my sorrow, to grieve this ending. I know that there will be many more endings to grieve as I walk this new path, choosing how to be with it in those moments.

My new dress and I wish you a magical Christmas. One that you will find filled with wonder, awe and yes, maybe even new beginnings. Find that quiet moment that takes your breath away, unearth it and immerse yourself in being with it. This is your time of truly living, of being alive. Do not be afraid of what you uncover, everything is a treasure, sometimes you just have to change your perspective of what treasure is. May your blessings be as vast as the stars. From me and my new dress. God Bless.

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