Sunday, December 30, 2018

Salt and Shadow

Sometime recently, I was sitting in the shop kitchen with a couple of compadres1 when one of them said, 

"Sugar:  I eat too much, I'm good for a minute, but the downer that follows is way down."

And joking, I said, 

"When I go to the doctor, they call that manic depressive."

"Joking," I said.

I don't think they call it that anymore, even in good fun,
And you don't need to know my medical history, anyway.

But as long as we're on the subject, 
let's talk about extremes for just a minute.

Pattern recognition is a peculiar hobby of mine ~ I've recently realized ~ and one of the patterns that's recently caught my attention is my own system of a down.

I'm UP
and then

I'm way down.

The cogs that turn this wheel are many and weird,
And also, not what this is about.

more (on that) later.

It seems that I am either going to talk way, way too much,
Or I'm not going to talk at all.

My system of extremes.
My tic and toc.

In that light, be it known that this season has been one of the downest that I've had in a very, very long time.
So much that even if I'd wanted to talk, I've known better than to put some of this out there into the ether.

But the Ether already knows.

I've been living(ish) for Jesus
don't freak.  he told me to be true.
for most of my life.

As I now also work for Jesus, 
every single thing that I say 
may be, 
should be, 
will be 
by the everlasting light.
by the Everlasting Light.

And that holds me up to a high standard, which is
Good and bad.
Encouraging and exhausting.

So, as I've spent this season trying to say zero 
stupid, or 
embarrassing words, 
I've turned completely in on myself.

I've talked (only) to myself until I'm blue in the face!

My deeply intentional words to people in grief are that 
you must not 
under any circumstances 
or for any real or perceived reason
go radio silent.

So thank Jesus for the radio!

When I cannot or will not say words, the radio (often) says them for me ~ and I'm not sure I'd even know where I've been this season were it not for my playlist, which I've maintained in (mostly) silence.  

So as I emerge now from the desert 
~ (Lord, I pray) ~ 
here is the path I've taken:

some of these have bad or difficult or triggering words.
as with everything else I say, listen at your own risk.

"I am early in my story, but I believe 
I will stretch out into eternity, 
and in heaven I will reflect upon these early days, 
these days when it seemed God was down a dirt road, 
walking toward me. Years ago, 
He was a swinging speck in the distance; 
now He is close enough I can hear His singing. 
Soon I will see the lines on His face." 
Donald Miller

Swimmin Time
Coping Mechanism
Robert Creeley

dam’s broke,
head’s a

"I've been told there is a power in the blood
Is it enough to carry me back 
from where I am to where I was?"
Everything Now
No Hard Feelings
I Will Survive
Not Waving but Drowning
Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

As I drafted all of this out this morning
~ not realizing that's what I was doing ~
I had a vision of the woman washing Jesus's feet with her tears.2
And then I saw my own face, my own tears.
And I felt his hand on top of my head
And I felt in my hurting heart
How much he loves me
In spite of all my extremes.
My salt and my shadow.

And that's all I have to say about that.

1 this happens a lot, and I just had one of my really great ideas!
1a and also, why do I keep saying, "compadres"?
Forgiven Much

Monday, December 24, 2018

Untitled Twenty-Four

Fair warning:  I've put this where it's least likely to be seen.  
I need to say it, but you don't need to read it.

Sometime in the last few weeks, two of my favorite friends and I wound up sitting together in the shop kitchen, each of us Decked Out in total festive absurdity.

FF1:  I hate Christmas.  I don't know why, but every single year, I'm just more depressed than the one before.

FF2:  I know exactly what you mean.  It's like you put your chin down and just pray your way through it.

ME:  I know exactly.

Remember that very-nearly-the-end Matrix scene where Smith finally catches Neo unprepared, and inflicts not only the mortal wound, but just keeps firing and firing, and Trinity can only watch as Neo finally relinquishes?  

That's what this last year has felt like.  
Or the last couple of years.  
Or the last whatever.

I've heard more than one person say that they just don't understand how anybody could feel this way or cope that way.  I've encountered people who either can't or won't believe that it's possible for somebody to look normal ~ festive, even ~ and still be ...  not.

So if you do happen to be reading this, 

and if you do happen to know exactly, then,
chin down, 

prayers up, 
and remember:  
Neo does make a comeback.