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

 

 

 

From Just a Day to a Date–the Transition of Time

Isn’t it funny how we can go all of our lives living each day and month as the calendar pages are torn off or flipped back, and some dates just never really have any significance, and then one day…..

They do.

A child is born.  On the same day you went to assembly in high school or gave a book report in second grade.

A wedding.  On the day that you never had anything planned because it fell just after a birthday.

A new job.  On the day you and your sister got each other’s sandwiches in your lunch boxes and you had to eat pimento cheese.

How for so many years, you just bumped by the day, working your way toward the special one circled in red on your calendar…..

and then, someone leaves this world, your life–the last breath is taken,

and suddenly–BAM– it’s November 13th,  and the date will never be the same again.

Then there are the dates that start off as significant but eventually their importance seems to fade.  Because they are no longer a part of your story or because, oh Heaven forbid, a year goes by and you forget to remember.

And then the tears come anyway.  Just on another day.  And for another reason.

Grieving the loss of the grief.

The flow of the tide back toward the ocean.  Away from you where it’s been for so long, drowning you in the pain and memories.

That is hard.

And when you figure out you’ll be okay and you will survive even though you still miss her so much, that’s even harder.

It’s the stories of the “every days” that make life precious and meaningful, but it’s what we do with the dates in our stories that make us strong.

Strong because we celebrate.

Because we remember and honor.

Because we let go.

Because we continue to move through them, continuing to live right through our own final one, never knowing when that might be.

If there’s anything the calendar has taught me, it’s that it is a paradox.  Despite the fact that it’s all quite predictable and that we know from a very early age January rolls around the same time every year, and “all the rest have thirty-one,”  the fact is the time that fills those calendar squares and pages is anything but predictable.

We just never know what each day will bring.  This year or next year or ten years from now.  There are dates that pass us by now that one day will mean the world to us because our first grandchild will be born that day or we will get news that changes our life in a wonderful way….on. that. very. date.

Tonight I am thankful for the important dates in my life.  The wonderful ones like birthdays and wedding anniversaries, and the hard ones like the dates folks I love went on up to the House.  They are all a part of my story, and the tears and the joy and the sorrow and the quiet moments and the full-blown hootenannies all blend together to make the turning of the calendar pages a little easier to accept.  Time passes.  And sometimes it’s going to hurt.  There’s no stopping it.  But other times it’s going to be fabulous.  Hang on to that.

 

Love to all.

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 Number That I’m Most Afraid Of

Yes.  There is a number I’m afraid of.  You read that right.

Sometimes it just seems like too much.

Sometimes it just seems like too much.

It’s 70 x 7.

490 literally.

But I’m afraid it was symbolic, so it could be any number, infinity, or #asmanytimesasittakes.

None of them an easy pill to swallow.  Or anything I can or really want to wrap my brain around.  For sure, not my heart.

In the book of Matthew in the Good Book, that number is given.  In response to the question, “How many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me?  Seven?”

“Seven? Hardly.  Try seventy times seven.”

Oh my.

Y’all.  Imagine if someone hurt you.  Bad.  Knowingly.  Willingly.  Showing no remorse.  And hurt others too.  Ones you love.  What do you do with that?  How do you forgive that seventy times seven times?

I’ll tell you where I am at in this.  I’m still working on number one.

I have put it behind me.  Yes.  Moved on.  Yes.  Days go by I don’t think about it anymore.  But when my memory confronts my heart, my heart still folds its hypothetical arms and shakes its little head and walks off with a frown and a heavy weight bearing down.  Just.  No.

How am I supposed to do that?  How can I forgive someone who has never asked for my forgiveness?  Who has, with a great degree of arrogance and to any one who would listen, indicated that I was/am/always will be the problem.

I don’t even know.

It makes me very sad.

I know the words of the Lord’s prayer.  And how some folks say they can’t pray the words “Forgive me…..AS I forgive them” because they haven’t been able to forgive yet.

And I know the rest of that story from the Good Book about how often we are called to forgive.  How the King forgave his servant who owed him a great deal when the servant asked him to.  How the huge debt was erased.  And how almost immediately the forgiven one came across a fellow servant who owed him a relatively small amount, and even though his debtor begged for forgiveness, he did not grant it and had his fellow servant thrown in jail.

The end of the story is that the folks who saw all of this happen were appalled.  They went and told the King, who was furious.  He confronted the servant and asked why he couldn’t forgive someone when he had been forgiven such a great debt.  Then he made the servant pay back the great amount he owed.

I get it.

I am given grace beyond measure.  I am forgiven multiple times every day.  Always.  I am thankful.  Humbled.  Blown away even.  And appreciative–did I mention I was thankful? I know I didn’t earn it and don’t deserve it.  At all.

But 490? Or as many times as it takes?  Do You really know what that person did to me?  Have You been following this storyline closely?  Are You aware?  Because if You have, surely You wouldn’t be asking this of me.  You’d know it’s beyond forgiveness, right?  Right?  Rig–

*sigh*

I don’t have any answers tonight.  No ideas for how to get over this hurdle.  I’ve been hurt by folks before and was able to move right along, eventually forgiving, forgetting, even becoming good friends after all was said and done.  Thankful for them in my life.

But this one.  This One. Is. Very.  Difficult.

So if you struggle with a pain or hurt that you can’t get past, know you’re not alone.  I’m not saying we’re right in being where we are, just that we are in this boat together, floating around in the darkness looking for a  way out of the murkiness of hurt and frustration.

And if that number seems way too big for you like it does for me, maybe we should just break it down and work on forgiving in this moment right here.  Just this very one, not looking beyond it.  Not for them–the ones who hurt us–but for us.  So we can leave the darkness.

Love and Light to all.