Category Archives: vulnerable

Ernest Hemingway said …

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

I believe this to be true. 

I’ve been broken so many times that I’ve lost count.

A couple of times, the brokenness nearly won, but for the most part, I came up with my head above water.

What breaks us doesn’t define us, but  having the desire to put the shattered pieces back together does.

I was many times, in the broken places, at my strongest.

I can’t begin to explain the transformation; but there was one.

I’m still looking for lost pieces, but I have faith that if they are meant to be found, they will be.

I do believe Hemingway was spot on when he, a very broken man, said that string of words.

If one hasn’t been broken, they’ve yet to be born and can’t possibly understand the beautiful array of colors that a skewed, broken and pixillated life has to offer.

Until you break it, you can’t begin to know what is inside.

A bit like a Sand Dollar.

Once you’re broken, you can’t stop looking at all the intricate shapes, shards and pieces.

I’m not much on working puzzles, but the pieces and parts of life fascinate me.

I don’t start at the corners.

Instead, I start in the center and build outward because the corners will always be corners.

Those broken already know where the corners are; it is the center that perplexes us and makes us stronger than we would have been were we not broken.

I, as we all do, struggle sometimes.

It’s part of the journey.

If we don’t struggle, we lack understanding and in doing so, give up.

If we give up, the broken places win and the corners cease to matter.

I’m not a poor loser but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer to win.

Romans chapter Twelve is my favorite place in the bible. Each verse speaks to me directly …

But this one, in particular, (Romans 12:12) speaks louder each time I read it …

It says “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instantly in prayer.”

There are times I’m certain God doesn’t hear me. I know, as any believer does, when these dark, silent times come.

The silence is deafening.

Unnerving.

Unwavering.

But at others, when the silence is broken and I know He hears me, I’m mesmerized.

Goosebumps threaten to overtake me and nearly make me forget what I was praying about to begin with.

Life is hard.

It’s hard for everyone.

None of us have the franchise of a life unriddled with trials and hardships.

But it’s also, if you pay attention, riddled with joy.

To give up or give in is a selfish act that says we weren’t willing to fight; to survive.

A coward’s way.

I was a coward for much of my life.

I refuse to be one through the rest of it.

I’ll look for those missing pieces, lost friends, severed relationships, missed opportunities.

I haven’t always, but I do now; but, if I don’t find them, so be it.

I’ll find them somewhere along the way or understand they weren’t for me to begin with.

I’m OK where, often alone, I find myself.

I always have been.

Whom shall I fear?

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Self destruction …

seems to be at the top of my bucket list.

Who does that?

Who works to sabotage friendships just to keep from being hurt?

I do, apparently.

I don’t trust anyone.

Not even those I once trusted.

I have lost, or mahaps misplaced, a vital part of myself.

I hear everything yet believe nothing.

I find myself in the same place I’ve always been.

I’m manic, yes, but I’ve been manic before.

This is different.

This time, I’m predominantly, unequivocally alone.

I’ve burned the bridges that led me out of a place I’ve been to many times.

There are no more bridges to burn.

All destroyed.

From here, I am solitary.

Alone.

A reflection that has no image.

A premonition fulfilled.

A frightening, sobering thought.

Though I’ve often wished for it, I don’t truly want to be completely isolated.

I only realized that once it was too late.

Be careful what you wish for.

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Picking and culling …

is a real pain in the nether regions.

I’ve been going through things in my house today, what to keep, what to trash and I find that there are really very few things I have any use for.

It seems that the most important things to me are my photo albums, laptop, external hard drive, camera, national geographics, 1000 places to see before I die book, coffee grinder, a portrait I drew of my dad as an Airman, the photos my daughter and nieces have drawn through the years, a blown glass wine cork and my lava lamp.

When it comes down to it, that, out of a houseful of useless things, doesn’t amount to much.

I suppose, if I needed to, I could easily put all my “treasures” in a garbage bag and live happily under a bridge.

I like hot showers, though, so that might pose an oppositional equation.

I have friends and family who have things that they treasure.  I don’t really treasure anything.

Not anything I can hold in my hand.

They are just things.

The objects I treasure aren’t objects one can take off the shelf and admire … they aren’t really objects at all.

God.

Creation.

Friends.

Family.

Loyalty.

Music.

Words.

One can’t own this stuff.  They can simply be a part of the magnificence as it as unfolds, one day into the next.

I didn’t mean to have an epiphany while cleaning house and doing laundry, but it just happened.

I had the chance to drive across the Hoover Dam back when you could drive across it … and drive through the desert to get there.

I had the chance to stand before the Lincoln Memorial and know that I was living a dream.

I have so many places I want to see, so much of creation that is only a picture in my mind, not one imprinted on my soul for I have not seen it for myself.

I want to.

That is what I want to hold onto.

The dreams of what can be accomplished, what can be sought after, what can be found simply by following the imagination.

I have things that my late husband gave me.  They are good for nothing but reminders.

The memories are in my heart and mind and soul.

I’m not really big on memories as it seems the difficult ones, the hard ones … they are the ones that come to mind.

I have to work to bring up the good ones.

So I’m culling more than picking … and I feel good about that.

Someone I admire a great deal …

likely much more than is good for me …

once told me they occasionally live a John Denver kind of life … I’m going to try to be more John Denver-ish myself.

I will have the courage to submit my book, my poems, my photographs.

I will have the courage to feed my wanderlust and see the place I long to see.

I will simply have courage.

I earn a paycheck as a nurse, it is true, but in my heart, I am more and, at the same time less.

I only have so many years to live.

What is that song?  100 years?

There is no point in deluding myself that I will ever make it to a hundred years old.

Why wait?

Why indeed?

The innumerable stars of the sky

The innumerable stars of the sky

Love is the most powerful of emotions

Love is the most powerful of emotions

Through Abby's eyes ... i miss this sweet girl

Through Abby’s eyes … i miss this sweet girl

This day started out …

on the wrong foot entirely.

I suppose it is partly because I am a bit of a dreamer and mostly because I am especially susceptible and vulnerable to harsh words.

I found, before I’d really had a chance to begin my day, my feelings hurt, my spirit bruised and my pride wounded.

It wasn’t the first time.

It won’t be the last.

But it always hurts.

Always chips away a bit at the self confidence I work so hard to achieve and hold on to.

Always makes me feel less than I thought I was before.

And so it went.

I cried my tears and kept the ones threatening at bay more to prevent curious questions than anything else.

What am I  supposed to say after all?  I had my feelings hurt?

That answer is met with shaking heads and comments like ‘girl, you need to toughen up”.

Yes.  I know.

I wasn’t going to let it rule my day, though, that I had already decided.  Maybe I was on the verge of tears.  Maybe I did slip away and cry a couple of times during the morning.  Maybe I did berate myself for being the way I am and wishing fervently that I could change it.  But …

I decided right off that this would be a day of encouraging others and lifting them up as I wished to be lifted.

The day progressed fairly normally, with fluffed pillows, niceties exchanged between patients and family members, little touches to encourage those who were ailing; the usual day to day stuff I always do.

None of that, however, prepared me for what I would encounter in the late morning hours.

He was my last patient,  and I knew from research that his wife had been gone for many years and his youngest daughter, the last of three children to die,  had passed away two years before.

For all counts and purposes, he was completely and totally alone in the world.

I went into his room and introduced myself to him.  He looked at me for a long time and I wondered if he understood what I was saying.

Then he spoke, his voice barely above a whisper and said “I thought for a moment that I had died and gone to Heaven.  You remind me so much of my sweet Lacy.”

As it turned out, Lacy was his daughter, his favored child and one who worshiped her father.  He asked me to sit, which I did, in the chair beside his bed, and he proceeded to tell me about her.

She cooked him dinner every night and made sure he had snacks in his kitchen. She took him to the park and on long drives into the mountain when the leaves changed in Autumn.  She had, he related, a way with stories and often sat with him, while he ate his dinner, and told him one story or another.

He focused those tired and aged blue eyes on mine and asked me if I would tell him a story.

I didn’t have the heart to say no.  I told him a story about a rogue squirrel which found it’s way into my sister’s swimming pool and the adventure and hilarity that followed.

He laughed out loud until he nearly wheezed and said it was the funniest thing he had heard in a long time.  He smiled a wide smile, crinkling his wrinkled face until his eyes nearly disappeared altogether.

It was a wonderful moment for me … this laughter on an old man’s face.

I rose to bid him goodbye and he once again caught and held my eyes in his gaze.  He, with sincerity and a love that nearly shattered me, said “I love you, Lacy, you know that don’t you?”

I took his frail hand in mine and after pressing a kiss to his papery cheek, said ‘Yes.  I Know.”

In the few moments I spent with him, the beauty of his spirit helped to heal my bruised one and the harsh words of the morning were forgotten, useless and harmless against the joy he brought to me.

I had intended to swing back by to check on him and to tell him how much my visit with him had meant to me, but before the end of my shift, he left this world.

I’m sorry I didn’t get to tell him how he touched my life.  It was my intention to encourage him and yet, he brought me a kind of joy that comes about only once in a while.

Harsh words will always hurt me.  It is my nature.  I cannot change who I am at the core, but the encounter with the man who knew me as Lacy gave me something wonderful to bring up when the tears threaten.

I cried for him, but not out of sadness.  No, that would have been wrong.  I cried because I, not as Lacy, but as myself, never got to say goodbye.

Life unfolds as it should and while some of it is painful, for the most part, it is an incredibly wonderful journey.

I was blessed to know Lacy’s dad.

My Dad ... the man I admire most on this earth.

My Dad … the man I admire most on this earth.

Waiting on lightning bugs …

is one of the trials of my patience when it come to summer.  Each night, since the first day of May, I sit, watching out the window across the fields in hopes of seeing one of the blinking lights that screams, boldly and with great emphasis,  SUMMER IS HERE!

I realize it is too early, too cool, too soon, too much still May, and therefore, still springtime,  for them to appear; I watch anyway.

And I wait.

There are few things more glorious than sitting on the front porch under the sweltering heat of a hot summer night with the myriad of stars and planets pulsing and shimmering overhead and watching the flicker and fade of one of nature’s triumphs.

I’m pretty sure that in the rest of the world (by the rest, I am referring to “not the South”), they are called fireflies.  A rose by any other name and all that jazz.  Around here, we call them lightning bugs.

The sky has already changed.  The daylight lasts longer, the clouds in the evening (and with the seemingly constant rain of late, the clouds are abundant) are laced with tinges of red and gold from the setting sun.  The beauty of that light never fails to take my breath away.

I am spellbound by it.

In the mountains, it isn’t always easy, especially living in a valley, to see the sunset.  The remnants of it in the clouds, however, is an awesome and spectacular experience.

The only thing more awesome are the Godlights that, although few and far between, show their stunning beauty as the rays of the sun spear upward, demanding to be noticed, across a not quite, but nearly summer sky.

May has, since the death of my husband a few years ago, been a hard month for me.  Not this year, though.  I made a conscious decision that I wasn’t going to let the memory of his upcoming birthday diminish my joy of late spring.  I decided to, instead of dreading it, dedicate it to him, to my Jim,  in a remembrance, of sorts, of he who cherished me in a way that I still struggle with understanding.

So I did.  I dedicated May to Jim for it is a glorious thing to be cherished.  I miss him sometimes in a way that threatens to destroy my hard-won independence … but life goes on, whether I am up to the task or not.

So far, it has been a thrilling, energizing, encouraging experience.  I should have done it long ago, but I suppose I wasn’t ready before now.  I reckon, on some level, I was hoping to find that one person that I could say anything to and know that I would, even when I was confusing, incoherent, rambling and discombobulating, be understood.

Sometimes, I think I have found them and others, I wonder if I’m only wishing for something that will never be again.  I try, sometimes in vain, not to dwell on it.

I am a dreamer, first and foremost, after all.  To put that burden off on someone who doesn’t really understand me on the most basic level is, at the very least, unfair, and even as I seek it, I understand that it is too much to ask.

There will never be another Jim.  I understand that now, after nearly four years.  I know that.  I accept it, finally.  I don’t expect, anymore, for anyone to understand me so perfectly, so completely.  At day’s end, I look to myself and my Heavenly Father, who understands me even better than Jim, to fulfill my needs.

I do, however, wish fervently, for lightning bugs.   I suppose, it is in part, due to my Sagittarius nature , for I am optimistic to a fault and hope for things that are well beyond the scope of normalcy.

I am not ashamed of this.  I live life with my glass half-full, my eyes wide open and my heart always seeking the best in everyone around me.

Long live the Centaur.

I haven’t been manic in months …

so I suppose I am due.  It has been a peacefully wonderful time in which my mind has been moving at a pace that is within the realm that is called, by the rational world, normal.  Unprecedented would be the word that comes to mind to describe the amount of time that has passed since the last episode.  I knew, however, that it couldn’t last forever.  It never does.  And curiously, I am glad to have my old friend back, at least for a time.

That doesn’t mean that in a few days I won’t be wishing for silence and a functionality that I can live with, but I have (and I can’t believe I am saying this) missed the wild and random thoughts that roll though my brain like an out-of-control revolving door.  Since I started art class, however, I have been in a state of normalcy.  It is foreign to me, this normal thought process, and it took a couple of weeks to realize that I could control what entered into my brain pan.  I am certain, as I have been certain of little else, that my friends haven’t missed the random, rambling, incoherent and often off the wall messages that they usually receive when I am on overdrive.

I was, I must say, somewhat surprised that a complete meltdown did not occur last weekend after taking my nieces to Chuck E. Cheese.  There are few things that have everything conducive to a manic attack as the flashing lights, loud, repetitive sounds and cacophony of smells and voices to induce a full blown manic attack.  I was rather perplexed that it did not trigger an episode;  perplexed, and yet grateful as there was much to do during the limited hours of that particular weekend.

In my experience, which unfortunately, is vast, sudden, unexpected change seems to be the biggest catalyst.  While I have gone through many changes in the past few months, I say again that an art class that I began in February has had an amazing impact on the ability to focus and thwart manic swings.  My art teacher, an enigma unto himself and a genius in his own right, has had more of an impact than he could ever know, on my officiousness to harness my thoughts into interpretive ideas.  Art has, without doubt, changed the way my mind works.

But as anything else in life, it has it’s limits and eventually, the substance that makes me who I am will become evident.  I have spent many months thriving on the racing thoughts and have learned to cope with what most people would find overwhelming and unbearable.  The things that seem intrusive to others, I thrive on.

There is nothing wrong with being different from everyone else.  As time passes, I realize that being the “odd person out” is more of an attribute than a handicap.  Imagine, for a moment, a world where everyone was exactly the same.  It would be a slow and arduous form of torture.  I can’t even fathom a world with people just like me.  I am certain that, were that true, we would brain ourselves with a hammer within a week’s time.

I knew yesterday, when I caved and began listen to Billy Joel’s “Always A Woman” that times, according to Bob,  they were a changin’.  I had refrained for a long time from the over and over and over, et al, replaying of that particular song and the moment that I made a conscious decision to play it was like admitting that I was warped.  It has been on repeat now for the past 36 hours.  It isn’t that it is my favorite song of all time, but that seems to have little relevance.

I suppose, more than anything else, I am talking to the millions of others who face themselves on a regular basis and run, screaming, in the other direction.  We are who we are.  We live as we live.  We think as we think.  We cope as we cope.  There is nothing, inherently, wrong with us.  We are who we are and if the world cannot handle us as we are, then the insecurity lies within the world, not within ourselves.  I am me.  The music I dance  to is mine.  Regrets are useless as nothing that has passed can be changed.  I am comfortable in my own skin, even when my skin seems odd.

Love me or hate me, I am who I am and irregardless of others’ opinions of me, will continue to march to the drum that my God plays for me.  I am not ashamed of who I was for without my past, my future would be irrelevant.

creationkingdom-101

Romans 12:2 ~ And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Twelve hours …

i slept twelve hours.  Straight.  I find it hard to remember the last time I had that much sleep, although I do believe I remember a posting at one point about sleeping seven hours.  It was an accomplishment worth regaling, as I recall.  The last memory I have prior to passing out last night was thinking about the past week.  I recall thinking that, after the last week of energy; constant adrenaline punches even when nothing was going on, that I was going to have to recharge in order to live through it if it continued.  The constant stimulation of fight or flight that comes with the territory had me exhausted; mentally and physically.  That was what I was thinking about when I finally laid down for the night.  It was what was going through my mind as my head hit the pillow and I hoped that I could fall asleep.

Considering that I recall nothing else is a pretty sure bet that I dropped like a rock.  That’s how it happens.  Funnily enough, our bodies understand what our mind is saying to it and, whether we do or not, listens.  It compounds that we are beautifully and wonderfully made.

My Christmas tree is still up and the sink is full of dishes.  There are clothes to wash and floors to mop.  Yes.  I have been away a long time if the chaos in my house is any indication.

It is unfair to say that everyone who reads this will be able to relate to it.  That is not true so there is no point in saying it.  Some will, though.  The writers, photographers, painters, musicians, artists, dreamers; they will understand the crash.  Crash is such a violent word.  I choose to use collapse.  One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions is to break down in vital energy, stamina, or self-control through exhaustion or disease.  That pretty much sums it up.  During those lost hours, I am vulnerable.  That bothers me but I live with it.

I’m well on my way, now though, to somewhere another, and I won’t know where it is until I get there.  Until then, I will try to enjoy the ride and share the experiences so that someone else; someone who may be struggling, can enjoy the ride, as well.  These words, I write for myself, but it is always with the hope someone will find encouragement where, just before, there wasn’t any.

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Psalms 139:14 ~I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.