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little posy

Finding my way through life, stopping to smell the posies along the way.

Observing Common Threads

Not without hesitation, but refusing to stay silent I present this essay.  I have no intent in engaging a debate or insulting anyone.  My intent is to highlight a common theme and send a message of love and understanding.

Recent national events have stirred up controversy and highlighted deep seeded wounds. Over the past several years, racial and religious, and political tensions seem to have caught a blaze. Unity feels as if it’s at an all time low. Less than a week ago, such tensions came to the forefront once again.

It feels surreal. As if it’s a dejavu, simultaneously uncharted and familiar. Familiar because we’ve been down this road before, uncharted because it’s a new generation at the helm.  Hopefully we will not need to relearn our ancestors’ past lessons.

In scrolling through my feed, I know, I’m trying to quit, but that’s a different topic, I’ve noticed a common thread binding racism, politics, cruel victimization, and religion. The voices in opposition to those who rejected the white supremacists are the same which support the president and the Republican Party. They did not support the supremacists, they simply attacked their opposition. To be clear I am not referring to all who voted for him. I am referring those who did vote for him, are republicans, and have spoken against the left side of the debate instead of denouncing hate. I see this lack of denouncing as a careful seduction of the worst kind. Opposing those who defend equal and human rights and not rejecting the incitement of hate, in fact IS supporting those who are limiting human rights. Perhaps, they disagree with the Left’s’ methods. Perhaps, but this is not purely about methods. This is about what lurks beneath the surface.

Hiding underneath the chaos, confusion, and manipulation is a pervasive, diseased mentality. I’ve noticed that these same individuals who blame the Left, are the same folks who say anti-bullying and diversity campaigns are futile. They cry that kids and parents are too sensitive. According to them, we should teach our children to stand up for themselves using force, NOT that we should be teaching our children kindness in the first place. This is how it begins. The lesson becomes reactive instead of proactive with the victim caught in a persistent cycle of revenge. Just like that, the child has learned to rationalize and use hate.  This matures into each side being unrecognizable and guilty of the same crimes. We must stop blaming the victim.

I find it deplorable. Yes, “deplorable.” I find one human manipulating, oppressing, or victimizing another for any reason as deplorable. I find supporting such acts equally deplorable. I become further disturbed when the same individuals cite religious justification. Regarding the present turmoil, the president’s supporters/Republicans/permitters of hate proclaim themselves to be Christians. Maybe they are. This is not for me to decide. However, I’ve been a Christian all of my life. I have never been taught that harming or even threatening another was ever Jesus’s central mission. Jesus said, ‘What you have done for another, you have done for me.’* Prior to Jesus’s teaching, God gave Moses Ten Commandments* to live by. Every commandment calls for respect and love without exception.  Regardless of what religion you may or may not practice, these themes are relatively similar in ALL world religions. Each religion teaches a core set of values which are focused on loving and respecting oneself and one another. Nowhere does it say that if someone angers or disagrees with you, you are excused to assault, injure, or murder. The guidelines call for love, peace, and patience. In the book of 1 Corinthians, love is placed before hope, and even above faith.*. The layers of hypocrisy and illogic that surround the weekend’s events are terrifyingly bewildering.

The warped idea that the mistreatment of others is permissible, especially if it is self serving, is dangerous. It’s the common thread threatening humanity. It is driving the dehumanization of individuals and groups which leads to further polarizing extremes, racism, and cycles of hate. Even more troubling when it’s passed onto the next generation. Children are not born hating. Think of holding an infant. Innately, they receive and give love. Is there evil out there? Yes. It is wise to teach our children how to handle such hardship and how to problem solve? Yes. I argue that if we are to move past an age of hate, we must teach our children how to treat others with respect and how answer the hate with love instead of perpetuating it.  Our children are watching and learning.

Not until we begin to look beneath the surface, will we begin to value one another. Together we need to put in the work to allow understanding and healing. Unless we take such an approach, this type of behavior and violence is sure to continue. We must teach our children what is means to love. We need to show kindness in disagreements, demonstrate empathy, and NOT be driven purely by own self serving desires. Will it be easy? No. We as adults need to honestly reexamine our motives and behaviors.  It will not be easy.  My belief is that it will bring peace. I believe in peace.

Vote.
Be kind. Love another.
It really is this simple.

*John 13
34
I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
35
This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

*Ten Commandments

1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

*1 Corinthians 13:13
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Responding With Love

The headlines breed fear, disgust, and anger. When disagreements arise, it’s easy to choose a side and stand firm, armed with stubborn blindness. Daily, the American politics stir the pot of domestic and foreign affairs. With a dash of narcissism, pinch of hypocrisy, one part control, and a smidge of doom, the power-hungry chefs prepare the feast of hate. And so the guests arrive, each adorned in their fitting attire. With signs in hand and emblems on their sleeves, they dine and plot.

What is the counter strike? It is love. Love is calling to be delivered. Mercy and Grace are ready and waiting in the wings.
Friends, now is not the time for silence. Instead speak and live in kindness. Give failure to hate. When met with the positive, the negative neutralizes. Be the light that does not cast shadows, but reaches into the darkness to offer support. Give love that nourishes your brothers and sisters.

We are not called to agree. We are called to love one another. Where there is hate, love is the comfort. Where there is fear, love begs to be the focus. Greed, fear, hate, and pain have only one antidote. Using one to answer the other is foolish. Only love’s trifecta of kindness, patience, compassion cures the troubled. We must teach kindness and practice patience in order to thrive, especially during such turbulent and divisive times.

Friends, be the light. Be the love. Love one another. Share the message of kindness in your works.  Peace be with you.

Ides of July

I am fortunate to have my summers “off.” Early June typically formulates a long, naively ambitious to do list. This year,was no different as I set out with my goals in hand, and now it’s July.

My writing has consisted of primarily incomplete drafts and ramblings. I have not yet established healthier routines. There are no meals prepped, cooked, and stored for busy school nights. Instead, I’ve rested. I’ve taken in sunsets with wine in hand. Trips to the ER for stitches and freshly painted bedrooms have taken up their fair share.  Mornings have been spent dozing and waking in and out sleep, one of my favorite things ever.  Coffee on the back porch and family dinners on the front porch bookend most days.  And let’s not forget the mountains of clothes and bedding that were eventually  laundered and put away a few evenings ago to the beats of current and past dance hits.

Now in the ides of July, I’m accutely aware of how much I have not accomplished. Thoughts of “could’ve,” and “should’ve” are relentless.  I try to remind myself that this is my season of pleasure and rest, and productivity will resume in due time. But as I wrote the last sentence, I realized that I have been productive. I’ve been productively living. The idea that success is only measured by a product, is dangerously unhealthy and inaccurate. Healing takes time. Loving takes times. Learning and growth take time. Creating takes time. The laws of time mirror the laws of matter. One moment can not occupy the same space as another moment.

I’d like to think that this composition will be a catalyst for me to correct my lackadaisical efforts, but realistically I know that this is not the case.  Instead, I’d rather find a balance between the chores, rest, and products.  I long for simplicity and connection, not necessarily checked off to-do’s, regardless of what they are.  I crave spontaneous moments that will age into fond memories.  The products can wait while I soak in whatever the summer brings me.  Keep bringing it Summer!

 

PS-This entry was inspired by Bekah Jane Pogue’s latest entry.  It touched my heart and prompted me to share, as I related so much to her words.  You may find her blog post here:

http://www.upcycledjane.com/living-3-years-in-3-months.html

 

Tunnel Vision

What happens when you’re traveling through a tunnel? The beginning is dark and cold. Fear may set in as you anticipate what may unexpectedly come to you. You can’t see around you, or where you are going. You simply trust the forward momentum and keep traveling. Slowly the light at the end begins to shine through and illuminates your path.

Each of us in some degree, from time to time travel through our own tunnel. When we do, we are separate from the outside world. As dark as it maybe, the tunnel provides safety and secure shelter. We are in our own world, unaware to the happenings outside. Sometimes, this is exactly where we need to be. Other times, the shelter creates division and ignorance. We are then lost and trapped by our fears. In the tunnel we are blinded by our own selfishness. We are preoccupied by our own troubles, unaware of others’ trials and tribulations. We only know the walls that surround and hold us captive.

What happens we take those first steps out of our tunnels, into the light, to be with one another? Judgment fades, empathy grows, and connections deepen. We become present for one another, without shadows to hide in. We are fearlessly whole in the open light. We start to pick up our burdens, sharing the weight together. We shed the divisive boundaries that once held us apart in order to reunite.

Letting go is proving to be harder, more painful, and frightening than I ever previously assumed. I was lost in my own tunnel. Now, the light trickling in leads me to believe I’m nearing the end, but I still can’t see what lies ahead. My steps are still uncomfortable, but I continue. Taking the time and lessons I need and letting go of what I don’t, I move closer to the light.

Daddy

When I think of my dad, I often think of those small moments we shared. I remember holding his hand as we crossed a parking lot; my little hand only being able to grip around his thumb or a couple fingers. I remember dancing on his feet, barefoot in the living room. I remember being his “punkin.” I remember him standing, by himself, in the hall of my high school after my senior promenade. I remember him giving me away and dancing with me at my wedding, making sure that I was happy. He just wanted me to be happy. Yes, I remember the discipline and the disagreements, but it’s more gentle now.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and pray for him. Today and everyday, I say, “I love you, Daddy. Thank you.”

Secret Pathway

This past Friday I had the privilege of speaking at my local Story Exchange in support of PASSAGES, Inc., a sexual violence advocacy organization. The theme for the evening was Secret Passages. I wrote and presented this poem with the intention of giving voice to thriving beyond survival. The stories shared were both tragic and inspirational.  I thank each speaker for their courage in sharing their personal story. For more information, including of how you can help, check out:
PASSAGES, Inc.

Secret Pathway

A secret pathway we travel
A mystery yet to be told
Proceed as our stories unravel
Hanging onto our souls, hoping not to be sold.

With divine permission we choose our way
Until overpowered by forces outside our own
Assigned the scars with no direction or clue
Now requires to escape the perpetual torment

Step by step, one strike at a time
Flexing muscles, healing heart
Necessary to navigate the upward climb
Innate survival directs the compass set to depart

Fighting fear, ignoring judgment
Learning to honor ourselves in renewal
From our strength we create a fresh settlement
On a secret pathway we travel

Wise Attraction

Why now? Why now am I being bombarded by learning of new authors? Why now have I met a new acquaintance who is a writer? That universe….I’m starting to believe that all the new age hype is true. Once you open yourself up to the possibilities, the universe answers. I had always been a doubter. What about those who are suffering abuse, trauma, and illness? Wouldn’t they get better if they only asked? Nonsense.

However, I am beginning to believe that when it comes to self growth and becoming your true self, ask and you will receive. Open your heart, ask, and become.  Repeat as necessary.

God teaches in pain, during recovery, and in joy. He is ever present, asking us to receive Him, his teachings, and blessings. Over the last month, the law of attraction has been in full effect.  This began only after I took a leap out of my comfort zone.  I was terrified, but knew I had to, and even more, I wanted to. Since my public reading, I’ve been exposed to 3 authors that I hadn’t been previously aware of, my writing friend enters into my life, and I’m exploring local freelance opportunities. Coincidence? Perhaps. Guidance? More than likely. Either way, I welcome it all! Bring it on!

In the Quiet

In the quiet. Here I sit alone in the house. Alone. No one here to tend to. There’s no fighting amongst the children. No dinner to throw together. The chores are on hold. I am alone. Just me, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

It’s been a very busy, exhausting schedule for some time. Daily life has been grinding me down. Although the pressures have worn me down, the discomforts make me question and push me to look deeper. It’s now in the quiet that I hear whispers of God kindly reminding that all is well.

Sitting, resting without any demands I can see what I’ve lost sight of. I can see that I got lost in the busyness. Snuggles, giggles, and smiles went ignored in lieu of deadlines and obligations. Homework, grades, and extracurricular activities ranked over meaningful conversations.

Yes, our lives are overbooked, and we crave more frequent, deeper connections. But it’s here in the quiet that I find my appreciation despite the hustle. When we rest, we are able to regain our strength and vision. Here in these few moments, my awareness has awakened. My heart has rested. I am reassured that I’m not failing miserably at life. I am open to truth and rejuvenated by my blessings.

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still”
(Exodus 14:14, NIV)

The Awakening Has Arrived

The awakening has arrived
Open my eyes
Strengthen my heart
Remind my soul
Rejoin the living
Out of darkness; into the light
Step boldly onto the path ahead
Overdue and right on time, the awakening has arrived
Rays of light
A gentle push
A deep breath in before the step
The awakening has arrived

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