the unburdening

as the shadows grow long
I drag my bag now filled once again
down through the pasture
beside the still waters
and up to the tree
whose roots stretch out far and wide
above and below
the ground that sustains it

I slowly empty my load
carefully fingering every
worry, woe, and wondering
before placing each one in the hollow between
the two biggest roots
where nothingness is all that can be seen

upon emptying it,
turning and
facing the darkness,
I carefully lay the bag
over my shoulder
and head back to the house on the hill
where the only light for miles around
blinks in the void,
back by the waters and the pasture
that by morning will be covered in frost

the sigh I breathe, relieved to let it all go,
to leave it there for You to carry to who knows where
and dispose of in whatever way you are able,
lets out a puff of air that is barely
visible in the night–
I grow colder
as the light grows brighter

unencumbered for the moment
I climb beneath the afghan
made my hands not known to me,
gifted hands that moved in tune
to the songs of praise and thanksgiving
she hummed along to,
I too hum until the sleep quickly comes
and I dream only of light and hope and geese
that fly to parts far and near

they too are unburdened and light

until the dawn comes and I begin to fill my bag
again

Tree_with_exposed_roots_-_geograph.org.uk_-_668825

Richard Dorrell [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Drive Thru Open

This evening on the way home from swim practice, we passed the Taco Bell not too far from our house.  I noticed it was closed the other day–for remodeling, I finally figured out.  The work truck parked outside was a pretty good clue.

Tonight their marquee said, “Drive Thru Open.”

Really?

What amazes me is that this is the second sign like this that I have seen in the past couple of weeks.  The Arby’s across town was being renovated and rejuvenated in a big way, and their sign also indicated you could pull through and get your supper fix.

Even with the wires hanging from the removed ceiling tiles and ladders propped up inside and the doors wide open for easy access for the workers.

But still, they were cooking back there.

I suppose I should comment on their tenacious, go get ’em spirit.  That they are carrying on as usual despite all the “bumps” and ladders in the road.

I might should, but I’m not.

Sometimes, folks, we just need to shut down for a day or three.  If things get to the point where we need renovation, rejuvenation, and healing, the time has come to shut things down so all of that can happen and happen well.

Not some rush, half-way job while trying to keep things going anyway.  There are no good shortcuts when it comes to healing.

The folks that love us will be patient and will be there when we open the doors again.

May we all have the strength to be weak and allow our souls the time they need to replenish.

Love to all.

2015-04-17_21_17_00_Taco_Bell_restaurant_at_night_along_Mountain_City_Highway_(Nevada_State_Route_225)_in_Elko,_Nevada

It’s not our Taco Bell, because I was driving and couldn’t get a shot, but well, you see one, you’ve pretty much seen them all….. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3A2015-04-17_21_17_00_Taco_Bell_restaurant_at_night_along_Mountain_City_Highway_(Nevada_State_Route_225)_in_Elko%2C_Nevada.jpg

Making Room for What Is Coming

So it’s Lent.

A season which is confusing at best.

For me, anyway.

My first exposure to Lent and the longest lasting impression of the season for me is one of giving something up.

That was in college when I had a friend who was Catholic.  So we all gave up something. (Ummm, in most cases, I think it was chocolate.)  It was interesting too, because there was the debate of whether or not Sundays counted as part of Lent.

After college, I found my way back to the Episcopal church, where Lenten traditions were observed, and yes, we gave up something, and Sundays did not count.  I gave up sweet tea (clutch my pearls and gasp), which was VERY significant and a challenge for me.  Rather than keeping the tea in the house, on Saturday afternoons, I would ride to town and pick up an extra-large (read half-gallon or some ridiculous amount like that) of sweet tea from Dairy Queen (closed on Sundays) and tote it back home and keep it in the frigidaire until Sunday.  It lasted me all day.  Oh my land,, with all that sugar it should have lasted me a week.

Then there were years I gave up chewing gum.  Another nail biter.  But I made it.  Then there were years that I gave up eating meat during the daylight hours.  That was interesting, especially when I’d go to Mama’s and she made her “green pizza”–spinach quiche with bacon on top.  She would either make me one without the bacon or she’d pick the pieces off my slice.  Mama was like that.  Supporting whatever I had going on.

It was important that I did something each day to focus on the season.  In more recent years, I’ve struggled with healthy eating.  I found out during a book study where we limited what we ate that, while I do not have an eating disorder, it’s best not to mess too much with my eating habits.  It’s a rocky slope.

And so I don’t.  I enjoyed reading the thoughts of a friend about Lent (it’s a must read–you’re welcome), as in we need to create space for what is coming, much like a bird does with a nest.  That I can get on board with.  That is exactly what I need this year.  Creating space.  Quieting my spirit.  My mind and my heart open.  Yes.

A work  in progress, but I’m embracing it.

Some folks are taking the forty days of Lent to get rid of 40 bags of stuff.  That’s ambitious, and I’m impressed.  It terrifies my pack rat, semi-hoarding sentimental self, but for those of you attempting it, you go!  I’m proud for you.  A couple of weeks ago, I finished emptying out a storage unit of things from Mama’s, and then we cleaned up a LOT of stuff (read “we only had a path from the door of the garage to the door of the house” *ack!*) from our garage.  So Imma have to rest on my laurels from that one for a little while, realize I’m okay without all of that stuff, and then I’ll be ready to tackle another pile or closet.  But it  probably won’t happen during Lent.

And I’m okay with that.

The thing about cleaning out our homes and our souls is that a lot of it is trash, isn’t it?  So often it’s not really anything anyone else can use, even though we surely want to recycle it and pass it on.  Sometimes deliberately (with a sad, tired pair of shoes or that Chia pet we never opened) and sometimes not so much (passing on the ugliness and hurt we’ve been feeling).  But it’s still trash.

Nobody wants that Chia pet.

I’m just saying.

Or that hurt and pain either.

Let it go, folks.

Hugh Hollowell shared about some things that had been “donated” to Love Wins, “a ministry of presence and pastoral care for the homeless and at-risk population of Raleigh, NC.”  (Chia pet included.  I can’t even.)  His friends and folks who cared commented, sharing things that well-intentioned people had donated to their missions–expired food items, used bars of soap, used underwear, torn up furniture.

Y’all.  For the love.

So as we clean out our hearts and minds and spirits and closets, let’s remember to let the trash go.  All the brokenness and broken things we’ve tucked away and can do without, so can everyone else.  I’m all about sharing the joy and hugs and encouragement and items in gently-used condition (I love me some thrift shops, y’all know), but sometimes folks are better off if we just toss it in a bag and take it to the dump.  Literally and figuratively.

Others, especially those hurting from their own stories, shouldn’t have to deal with our rubbish.

May we all find something wonderful–joy, a smile, kind words, a pair of gloves, or a much-loved, still lovely blanket–to share with another today.  It’s all about building that nest.  To have room for what’s coming.

Love to all.

Letting go of the rubbish, to make room for something better.

Letting go of the rubbish, to make room for something better.

 

behind the lock and key

photo taken by Jason Hobbs

photo taken by Jason Hobbs

the old door

pulled to and held there

by a rusty old lock

 

those who happen upon it,

set back off the main road,

wonder what is behind the door

they peer with cupped hands through the dusty windows

hoping to catch a glimpse of what is inside,

of what is so treasured

and held dear

that it must be kept safe

and away from prying eyes

behind the lock and key

 

not many know

but I do

that there are stories and ghosts

hiding in the shadows

some full of laughter and joy

but far more are dark and sad

and filled with mourning

and best left as undisturbed

as the dust on the shelves and floors inside

 

left just as if someone got up in the middle

of their day

and would be back directly

only now they are almost all gone

and only those of us left who know the stories

and the dreams that no longer breathe

have the key

and none of us have the heart to go back inside

and get what is best left forgotten

 

some stories are best left untold

leave the dead to bury the dead

and the door to the past closed

 

 

 

stone mattress

in the quiet and the dark

I climb into my bed,

tugging up alongside me my worries and woes

about days gone by

and the things that they carry with them–

the regrets, the sadness, the doubts, and things not let go,

words left unsaid, things left undone

 

I tuck them in around me

and weary, I try to rest and fall asleep

on the stone mattress

I have made for myself

 

 

 

The Cost of Towing

So there’s this stuff that needs to get from here to there. The logical solution, at least one of them, is to have a hitch put on the vehicle and rent a trailer.
The first thing to do is price having a hitch put on the back of the vehicle headed in that direction.
Y’all.
Sticker shock.
Really?
Just to put that little ball thing that I inevitably run in to every time I walk around behind the vehicle?
In a nutshell–yes.
Wow.
It’s expensive to haul stuff.
And not just tangible stuff. It costs us a lot to haul around all the extra baggage filled with emotions and hurts and hard memories. It slows us down and keeps us from getting as far as we can go. When we are hauling around so much, we are limited as to where we can go as well. And not many people will put up with us for very long if we are always dragging this trailer stuffed full of stuff we just can’t or won’t let go of.
Tonight I am thankful for family and friends who help me when my trailer of emotional “stuff” gets overfull. They help me unburden myself by listening and by reminding who I am. I give thanks for our times together sharing stories of memories past and making new ones to reflect upon one day.
Wishing you someone to help you unpack your trailer of stuff and lighten your load.
Love to all.