Category Archives: disallusionment

Through His creation …

He speaks to me.

Who, you say?

Why Jesus, of course.

How, you ask?

By showing me what He sees through the eyes He sees them with.

And by allowing me to capture on film that which He chooses to show me.

Being a photographer is one of His greatest gifts to me and I don’t take His beauty lightly.

I am, in the space of time that I walk through the beauty of creation, one with that creation.

I am part of that which lives, thrives and survives.

I am His.

He reminds me every day of His love for me by showing me the wonders of the earth He created, of His beauty and, for whatever reason, He allows me to see it through His perfect eyes.  I am often blinded by life, by moments, by disappointments and disillusionment, but He reminds me, every single day, that I am His.

Through the fragrant blooms of springtime that make their way even while winter tries to force his hand.  They are strong and resilient, those blooms.  Strong-willed and fearless as they burst forth with courage and strength.

The Creator's fragrant palette

The Creator’s fragrant palette

Through the fireflies of summer, which frolic beneath a summer moon and compete with the magnificence of the stars.  They blink and fade, wander and mesmerize, bringing magic and comfort and the promise of something wonderful.

Like a moth to a flame, so the fireflies are drawn to the moon of summer.

Like a moth to a flame, so the fireflies are drawn to the moon of summer.

Through the colorful leaves that adorn the trees that catch my eye, the smell of decay on the ground mixed with the subtle scent of of beauty that can only be felt in the heart.  The joyous chatter of the brilliance of fall as it rains down on forgotten paths and leaves the mind reeling with possibilities.

the beauty and mystery of fallen leaves

the beauty and mystery of fallen leaves

Through the winter, the cold air and frigid temperatures that can freeze a waterfall in her tracks, making her song one of unrivaled silence as her beauty emanates praise and thanksgiving.

The magnificent song of Winter silence

The magnificent song of Winter silence

Creation, frozen in time, for a time, for a season

Creation, frozen in time, for a time, for a season

A bubbling creek becomes suspended in something, motionless and full of such magic that only the heart can understand it.  Some things are  so rare, so precious, so full of beauty that nothing is left but to offer praise.

Rocks, suspended in silence, yet singing their winter song

Rocks, suspended in silence, yet singing their winter song

Winter speaks with a strong voice even when it is silent

Winter speaks with a strong voice even when it is silent

Seeing it, immersing myself in it, becoming a part of it reminds me that I, too am, a child of the creator.

A beautiful view of a snowy Clinch Mountain ... one that I call home

A beautiful view of a snowy Clinch Mountain … one that I call home

My cup runneth over.

His beauty unfolds before me in the misty rain of barren landscapes, foggy sunrises behind mountains and beneath a black sky glittering with stars.

without rain, there can be no rainbow

without rain, there can be no rainbow

From my front porch

From my front porch

I am blessed and, when I forget that, He reminds me with His magnificence.

From my driveway, I am reminded that i am worth His magnificence.

From my driveway, I am reminded that i am worth His magnificence.

I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence:  Two road diverged in a wood, and I — I took the ones less traveled by, And that has mad all the difference ~ Robert Frost

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It’s not easy …

to look over decisions that we’ve made, roads we have taken, choices we have labored over only to find that they weren’t the right decisions, were the wrong turns and were bad choices.  But it is a constant in our lives.  Not every crossroad we come to will have an outcome that is favorable.  Sometimes, the results can be downright devastating.

If the only person such things effected was ourselves, it wouldn’t, I suppose, matter, quite so much.  But our decisions, our outbursts, our tantrums, our misdirects … they, like a long, intricate line of dominoes, fall, one against another, starting a chain reaction that can last for years and through multiple lifetimes.  Purity and innocence can be taken away so quickly that it would seem as though they never existed.

I have a wealth of understanding on making mistakes and living with them; learning from them.  Some of my mistakes have hurt no one but myself, others have touched the people I love the most, causing pain that was never intended, hurt that, though time has surely layered with a cushion, can never, ever, be completely erased.

I understand pain and insecurity.  I have known joy and heartache with equal measure.  I have lain, curled in a ball while sobs wracked my body to the point that I feared my bones would break and didn’t care if they did.  I have known despair and felt the icy fingers of death claw at my mind.  I have thought long and hard about how easy it would be to simply drift away into nothingness where life could no longer kick me senseless.

It is because of these things that I have more understanding than I wish to, that I stand now, with my head up and my spirit intact.  Life did not break me.  It bent me, at times nearly beyond redemption, but it did not break me.  I look around and see others that have been bruised and bent themselves.  They weren’t broken either, but none of us came out of the fire unscathed.  None of us came away from it all whole, but full of holes that left room for the pain and suffering of others to fill.

Because of my broken road, I have found compassion, I have found empathy and I have found beauty that is so stunning that, at times, it nearly breaks my heart.  And along the path strewn with shards of brokenness, I have found others, stumbling along trying to find their way.  And through discouragement, faith and determination, I was encouraged.  We are all, in one way or another, broken and simply knowing that makes me feel less alone.

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Matthew 12:20 ~ A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench

That cherished moment …

when the cloud that surrounds me, taking me perilously close to a state of chaotic madness, lunacy, insanity; call it what you will, lifts.  It is a bit like going through a thick, consuming fog bank, unable to see in front, behind or on either side, left with only the senses (which are already stretched to the breaking point), to navigate.  Then, at the moment when I have reached what I perceive to be the pinnacle of hurt and disillusionment , the fog dissipates and nothing but clear, wonderful skies, stretch into the distance.  These are the days I live for.

I am thankful for many things, but when the fog lifts and I realize I have cleared another hurdle … well, I am especially thankful for these times.  They aren’t easy, not for myself nor those who suffer along with me by simply being  close to me in one way or another.  It seems that those I trust most carry the greatest burden.  I could apologize, but I have found that apologizing for who I am is a useless and undermining endeavor.  I am who I am and other than trying to live a more Godly life, I wouldn’t change a thing.  If an apology were needed, then I would have, obviously, been confiding in the wrong people; instead, they humble me with their tolerance.

I am thankful that each day brings me closer to that which I strive to be.  I don’t know, exactly, what I will be when I grow up, but I know, whatever it is, it will be wonderful.

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Isaiah 40:31 ~ But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.  Amen.

Friends come and go …

such is one of the intricacies of life.  Sometimes, the best of friends can become separated for one reason or another.   It is difficult to come to terms with such things, but there is no avoiding it.  Not everyone you expect to be there for you will be there for you.  It is best to learn this early in life so that later on, it doesn’t come as a shock when you realize that people fade from your life.

If you give everything you have to a friendship, you should be aware that the possibility of disappointment, betrayal, hurt and denial are viable options.  It happens.  It doesn’t mean that you, or they, have done anything wrong, but have simply drifted apart to the point that there is nothing left in common.  Having a conversation with someone you have nothing in common with is like being skewered by a porcupine.  It hurts everywhere, all at the same time, and the reason often goes unknown.   I would like to say it is not a reflection on ourselves, but sometimes it is.  Sometimes our selfishness and desire to know that our friends understand us gets in the way of understanding that they, too, need validation and understanding.

There are people from my past that I loved dearly, but haven’t spoken to them in years.  It isn’t because I didn’t want to talk to them, but that our lives took different paths and there came a time when there was nothing left to say.  I find that many people distance themselves from me because I am completely different from what they have become accustomed to.  I am about plain speech, brutal honesty and speaking my mind.  I am both weak and strong, both intelligent and ignorant and at times, a seemingly unworkable puzzle.  Often, the filter between my brain and mouth fails.  When someone asks me for an opinion, I give it.  Truthfully.  There are those who don’t want the truth, but an illusion.  I don’t do illusions.

It is enough, for me, to know that there are people who understand that I am not like them, not like their other friends, not like anyone they know.  That doesn’t stop them, though, from being there when I need them.  It doesn’t stop them from loving me when I yell, cry and meltdown right in front of their eyes.  It doesn’t stop them from asking questions that may possibly have an answer they didn’t expect to hear.  It doesn’t change who they are or how they interact.   They take it in stride and see it as no more than what it is.  Me being me.  Those are the people I cling to.  The ones I message in the middle of the night with random thoughts that, quite possibly cross a multitude of boundaries … at times, I get an answer, but, some days feel as though I am no more than a vapor in the wind; conversations deferred until they have the mindset to go one on one with me … They are the ones who hear what I say and accept it, although it may perplex them but they do it without judgement, advise or trying to fix me.  I’m not a broken doll who needs her arms glued back on, but, just someone whose mind sometimes goes faster than what the rest of me can keep up with.  It is a fallacy and unthinkable injustice to think that they, who give of themselves, do  not need the same.

It is an implausible thought to believe that our friends think of us all the time.  Maybe some of them do and just forget to say so.  Maybe they outgrow us and find that there isn’t any common ground left … sometimes, yes, but not always.  Our minds have a way of distorting things and making judgements that are unjust and just plain false and when we do that, we ostracize ourselves because of our imagined ignorance.

While it is true that there are times when I ask more of my friends than they are able to give; the ones who truly want to be in my life say so.  They tell me that I’ve pushed the envelope over the boundaries and need to take a step back.  I need, as much as I give, honesty when it comes to my dearest friends.  I don’t ask for unconditional devotion.  That is an unrealistic expectation and should be met with opposition, but I do expect honesty.

Our friends are not merely there to stroke our ego or soothe ruffled feathers.  If that is all they do, eventually, they will become disillusioned and separate themselves for our lives.  I have caused that a few times.  Been too much work and not, in the grand scheme of things,  important enough to understand on a level that may never be achieved.

I am thankful for my friends.  My dearest friends know who I am and if they don’t, then it is as much my failure as theirs.  It is, indeed, a bitter pill to swallow when you realize that someone has distanced themselves from me simply because I don’t fit the mold they have cast for a friend.  It took me years to find myself, and even now, I am still learning and as long as I live,  if I have my mind, I will continue to learn.

Yes, friends in our lives will continue to come and go, but the ones who are true will be there when you need them.  That is not a supposition, it is a fact.  So for the handful of friends that I have who are not daunted by my mood swings, months of dis-communication,  missed birthdays, forgotten anniversaries and, at times, bombardment of questions, accusations and needs, know this;  I am thankful for you.  And, when the time comes that I can be there when you need me, know without a doubt, that I am on my way.

Thankful for my real friends and, surprisingly to some, my family, and even more thankful that they know not only who they are and what moves them, but find that they, even if they didn’t realize it earlier, know who I am.  Being understood is one of life’s most cherished blessing and while many of us go our entire life without finding that bond, the rest of us realize that the blessing is astronomical.  I am grateful for my friends.  I am thankful that, though I am different, they accept me.  I find it hard, though I may want more, to ask for more.  I am curios in a way that only a Sagittarian can be.  I have wants and desires, but won’t bash my head against a brick wall to get fulfillment.  There will come a time when I will, because it is in my nature, move on.

I think it is safe to say that the “I want it yesterday” world we live in is a hindrance.  Not everyone follows those same rules, the code of immediacy is not their own. It doesn’t make them a bad friend.  It makes them dependable and loyal.  It is hard to wish for more than loyalty, dependability and honesty in our friends.   Asking more is selfish and self-centered and will, in time, result in the disintegration of the friendship.   When you ask for more than someone can give and then hold it against them, the burden is of our own design.  At times, just knowing, whether they say so or not, that my friends think of me on occasion is enough; sometimes it isn’t.  We all need validation on some level, need to know that what we have isn’t one-sided and wasted on those who don’t really understand us and have no desire to.  But there will be ones like that, in those times, who become water under the bridge.  We learn lessons that will help us be better people in the future.  I have friends that I talk to on occasion, but the connection is one that, irregardless of excuses, stand the test of time.  They know more about me than anyone and they are the ones, being honest here, who hurt me most.  It isn’t their fault, but my own unattainable expectations that play tricks on my mind and make me doubt when there is no valid reason to do so.

I am thankful for my  real, honest to goodness friends.  As long as they are in my life, in some capacity, I can deal with nearly anything.  I know their weaknesses and disappointments even as they know mine.  Such intimacy in a friendship is hard to find and should not be taken for granted.  Be a friend, a loyal, trustworthy friend, and inevitably, you will reciprocate the same.  It is the way the world works.

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Proverbs 27:17 ~  Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Officially now, into the New Year …

my heart is full of dreams, hopes and fantastical wishes.  My imaginings are more vivid than they have ever been and I feel that surely, I am closer than I was before to reaching that which stirs me.  Even as these pleasing thoughts fill my head and pump through the blood in my veins, filling every cell in my body, I realize, rather disillusioned, that they didn’t reach every cell.

In the background, a chill passes across the recall in my mind and I am, momentarily taken  back to last year.  It was a hard year.  A year full of sickness, injury, tragedy, death and loss.  Not just mine, but the people I know personally; my family and friends as well as those I simply ran across on any given day. I found myself in unusual circumstances and, much of it, even with my annoying (I’m often told) optimism which goes a long way in making me who I am, was hard.

It was harder on others I know, the brokenness they had to face, the loss  –  a dad who lost a brother, an aunt who lost a husband, a daughter who lost a daddy a granddaughter who lost a grandfather; all the same man.  And a friend who lost someone beloved to them, someone inspirational.  Friends, good ones, are irreplaceable.

Multiple people, my mother included, seriously injured themselves in a fall and I, myself injured myself moderately from two separate falls.  Patients come into the office I work and they are hobbling in on canes, crutches; with black eyes and busted ribs.  I fell on the curb.  I fell down the steps.  I tripped on a rug.  I slipped in water.  I got my feet caught in a cord on the floor.  I tripped over a Basset hound.  I find it a bit incredulous that I know so many people who had falls last year.

I’m not going to dwell, though.  I just thought it worth remembering, one last time, how many things God helped me through last  year and to remind myself that He’s the same as He was.

Now, back to more pleasing imaginings.

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When I am manic …

everything becomes a challenge.  Thinking straight, keeping a single thought in my head, knowing reality from fantasy; all challenges.  I would be lying if I said that the feeling I get when in a manic state is anything but exhilarating, it is also exhausting.  The thoughts run through my mind at a speed that I cannot keep up with and the important things are often lost in the fray.  It is difficult to explain the whirlwind of thoughts and ideas to someone who has never experienced mania.  It is like being in a hurricane, protected from the wind and rain, but not the chaos.  How odd is that.  There are those who will read this post and say to themselves, “I know that feeling … I get it”.  At the same time, there will be ones who read it who say “that gal is as nutty as a fruitcake”.  But the reality of it is that I’m not nutty, or crazy or over the edge.  I am simply, at the moment, in a state of hypomania.

Manic stages are a part of my existence.  It took me a long time to realize that these episodes were, for me, part of normal life.  It is so abnormal to most people and they find it absurd on so many levels and simply, even if they try, cannot comprehend that the mind can warp at such a speed.  It is both fascinating and confusing, enlightening and disturbing.  I wish that there were words in my head to explain what I feel when I am in a manic state.  Though I have never tried cocaine, from the descriptions of those I know who have, it is similar to the feeling that comes when the hyperactivity takes over my mind and body and reality becomes blurred with fantasy; dreams become real and thoughts are not to be trusted.

I find it addictive, the feeling that nothing is impossible and all things are within my reach.  It is nearly a letdown when this feeling begins to ebb, which it must, if I am to survive; a disappointment to know that the chaos of my mind will, once again, become somewhat normal.  Being in this state does not change who I am at the core, but it changes what I am to the observer.  Try as I might, I have not found a way to harness the charge of energy that overtakes me and throws me into an atmosphere that is full of everything.  Again, to one who has never experienced such a moment, it is hard to explain.

Imagine being in a forest, a beautiful forest with the leaves alive and every growing thing beautiful with springtime in the mountains.  Now imagine that all the growing things have a personality and can interact, on a personal level, with actions and words. Being in a manic state is similar to that.  So much information.  So much stimulation.  It is like having goosebumps all the time.  Who doesn’t like goosebumps, right?  But constantly?  Not such a great thing.  But I am not alone in my experiences.   There are so many others who are in or soon will be, in the state I am in.   I count myself among the lucky ones that the manic cycles last only a few days as opposed to a few months, for I fear that I would really try to fly if it lasted more than a day or so.  Yes, I am one of the lucky ones.  But to those who live with this feeling day after day, month after month, I can understand how it would be so easy to try to find a way to put an end to everything.  To make it go away.  I spent one entire year of my life in such a state and am still wondering how I lived through it.   If it were not for the support of my family and friends along with the faith in my God that He would, eventually end this state of chaos, I could not have survived it.

There is nothing wrong with feeling this way, but it is difficult to function in a normally functioning world while in this place.  It takes extreme concentration and is, on every level, exhausting.  Knowing that there are others who face the same experiences is a help, but it doesn’t make living through an ordinary day any less stressful.  It is like fighting fire with gasoline.  The more I try to contain it, the more out of control it seems to be.  As much as the hypo-manic state makes me feel invincible, I am always glad to see it come to and end, for once again, I can feel normal in the sense of what the world deems normal.  I am different.  I don’t mind that. As a matter of fact, I embrace it, but being different has its limits and I am, almost always, happy when my thoughts slow down and I feel like I am, whether I am or not, in some modicum of control. I would not change my experiences for anything, for they make me who I am, but if it were in my power, I would change the perception of myself when I am not myself.  But life is life and I live with it.  And I’m not the only one.  That brings me comfort; knowing that I am not alone in my struggles.  I am encouraged.  And so a former blog post about encouragement comes full circle.  Nothing is as powerful as the sharing of life experiences.  It connects us all; I am not alone and for that, I am grateful.

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Encouragement …

is the word of the day.  It is no secret to anyone who knows me or anyone who follows my blog that I am a follower of Jesus.  I am thankful beyond words that He saw fit to redeem me, but not everyone I come into contact with on a daily basis can claim the same truth.  That does not make them less worthy of an encouraging word.  Everyone deserves to be encouraged by the people they hold dear and if they have no one who holds them dear, then where can they possibly find the encouragement they need to face another day.  Just because someone does not believe as I do or think as I do or do as I do does not make them any less worthy in the eyes of the Lord.  If I choose, willingly, to withhold my encouragement simply because someone does not follow the path I follow, then I am no better than the worst of humanity.  In fact, because I have been given a heart of encouragement, if I withhold it, I am worse than the worst of humanity.

I have been through some very dark times in my life.  Times when death seemed like the best option for everyone.  I know what it feels like to lie, broken and defeated, at the very bottom of the pool.  If I keep that knowledge to myself, what have I gained but bad memories and haunting imaginings?  It is important to share the things that have hurt me deeply with others who are hurting.  It gives them another rung when they are on the last one on the ladder … another knot at the end of their rope.  To keep that which hurts me inside and not share it with people who are experiencing the same hurts and disappointments that I have faced is selfish and self-serving.  If what I have gone through can help even one person to find their way, then it was worth it.  Maybe, at the time, it didn’t seem like it, but like gold, I have been refined through the trials and fires of my life.  And through the refining, I have gained knowledge and clarity.  If I keep that to myself, then the dark valleys I have passed through will remain only that.  Dark valleys.  But if I share what I have learned, then the darkness I faced becomes a light of hope for someone else who is, even now, in that dark valley.

My cup, even when it seems to be empty, is always half full, and more often than not, overflowing.  I am an optimist.  I always have been.  A dreamer, some would say, who always had my head in the clouds.  I won’t deny that.  I am a dreamer.  I have big dreams, but those dreams have cost me, at times, dearly.  There is nothing wrong with having dreams and hopes, but if those dreams and hopes end within myself, then I have learned  nothing.  I would hate to think that all the tears I have cried and all the prayers I’ve prayed and all the hurt I have harbored have been for nothing.  I have something, as so many others, to offer.  It takes courage to open my heart and hurts to others.  A courage that, at one time in my life, I wasn’t certain I possessed.  But I know it now, just as I know that, as time goes on, there will be more valleys, more fires and more refining.  I’m okay with that, as I know that what I learn, someone else, if I am willing to share it, can find hope in their own darkness by knowing that I have faced that same darkness and came out in the light.  I encourage everyone to encourage someone.  There is  no limit to what we can accomplish if we but offer ourselves as an example to those who are suffering.  I can only hope that I am an encouragement.  If I am not, then I have failed at the most important task I have ever been given.  Encourage one another.  Love another.  Find the good in one another.  Our lives will be richer for it; of that, I am certain.  I know mine is, and for that, I am thankful.

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