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A Hopeful Thing (In the midst of pain) Life & God and everything mysterious in our day. What to do when I am not all I want to be?

It’s coming on a birthday. A blessed, birthday for one who was “not expected to live past the age of 24.” A birthday that reminds me of grace in my face. Lines. So many lines I cringe in the morning light as I am viewing the face up close and personal. It’s in glaringly clear glass, without steam or a dimmer switch. Where did the time go and why am I not all that I want to be?

I am trying to bend, to lean into the hope of another day in this amazing place called  planet earth, with the life that I have been given, this gift of a life (when so many died young.) I am trying to ignore the signs and symptoms that have nested in my marrow for over 40 years. Can it truly be that I have survived myself?

I see the messages given to women that they must be without wrinkle and all that “plumped juicy skin” is their value. The mysterious womb, their uterus, by which they bear the fruit of life and family being their purpose. As of today I have none of those gifts or qualities. I am lined and I am childless.  I am breathing in the hope waiting for the one thing that has left me unfulfilled and full of sorrow. To know my purpose and meaning beyond my looks, my marriage, my day-to-day existence of growing older. Can this really be all that is left? Is there anything I can do?

I am too long in the tooth to ever hope for a child. We tried (my husband and I) to adopt. We tried to foster, we tried to accept and we tried to forget and today all hope for that is gone. Unyielding  truth that it is, I tried.  Now I am watching my friends cuddle and read to their grand babies and be cared for sometimes by their children. I have none of that. There was never that, and that has brought me to my knees. A body that has lived but  has betrayed me with my desires for a family of my own.

I am obviously in the crushing month of February. Where multiple people passed away, dancing around my birthday with their eternal goodbye. A mother, a best friend, a Grandmother, followed in quick succession in March by a brother, another dear friend and record producer and too many others. You see I have known over 20 people who have passed away. It sobers you, makes you clear-eyed and depending on the day either grateful or despondent. I have also lost 8 dogs (which seriously feels worse much of the time.) I have survived many of the same illnesses that killed some of these loved ones. Cancer being the common enemy.  I see the marks of those battles on my body and my face. Once a beauty, I am a now a weary survivor. I am setting all of this up to tell you that I suffer, but life (if you are fortunate enough to live it) is to be used. God gave me every day so that I can pour out my energies for his purpose. His purpose is love and love wins. Some days it is his purpose for me to see his beauty. To draw nearer to him, for us to see him in the forest light (or the stars, or the ocean at dawn)27908257_10215809598859639_4709597582954416400_o

Some days Gods purpose is for us to be his hands and feet

Kindness[1]

Some days Gods purpose for us is to learn to love ourselves.  With our lines and our sags and our scars. To be able to see ourselves through Gods eyes and not the worlds magnifying glass.

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God has a purpose for you and for me. It’s the day…today…to celebrate whatever has come. No matter the losses, the scars, the battle wounds and the shattered dreams. A new day is here. A new beginning. A hopeful thing. It’s life on life’s terms. God and his magnificent love and all the mysteries of God that take our breath away, that’s our hope.

So hope in the midst of birthdays and old age and lost dreams and painful reminders of what can never come….is GOD.  What to do on this day of reckoning? When pain is heavy and years are few? To celebrate our breath and our lines and our scars. The lost dreams and the reality. THIS IS YOUR LIFE and GOD is GOOD.  Take a singular step into your day with new eyes. Gratitude, thankfulness, hope. Clear eyed hope in love. Oh and go celebrate your life, now, today before another day slips away!

 

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And I am blessed

I turned 61 today. For someone who was sent home to die at the age of 24 that is quite the celebration. Every year that I am on this earth is a gift and I am thankful. My birthdays always start out with a phone call from my beloved Dad, who shares how it was a blizzard that year and he was freezing and hungry in the waiting room while my Mom was warm and toasty delivering me. Then there was a card or two and breakfast. My first gift came in the mail from my Uncle who gave me a beautiful love gift for my orphans in Africa and so the first blessing was I funded a water well this morning. My heart lifted and I felt so light with the beauty of that.

Happy Birthday to me!

As my sister (who is also a present every year for my birthday, my Joey, the pups and I) headed off to run errands. Looking for lamps for the bedroom. The sun was pushing against the clouds and I am humming in the front seat, when I see two people sitting on a curb, sign reading “I need a hand up.” They are long without a bath, dust of a thousand storms upon their faces and clothing. “Stop,” I cry out to Joey “We need to get them some food!” So we do…and I walk bags of chicken and fruit and vegetables and green drinks and crackers to them sitting there, eyes so haunted and sad that I can’t help but to say “It’s not always going to be like this.” she looks at me, her nose running, her face as grey as the sidewalk “Can I pray for you?” she cringes as if I am about to hit her and then she nods. I touch her and I touch him and when I do GOD and his mysterious ways comes through my hands into them and they burst into tears and I am thankful to open the heart of GOD to them…We sit like that, bathing in his mercy to us all. I am whispering “You are cared for” into her upturned face, she nods. God is so good.  They eat, tearing into chicken and I hear her say quietly “It’s going to get better.”They are clinging to one another weeping as I walk away.  We wave little waves of thanks to one another and God has given me another beautiful gift.

Happy Birthday to me.

I am then taken to lunch with two of my favorite people  in the whole world and we munch on chicken salad and grin at one another.  Just thankful to be alive and sitting together, hungry and full at the same time. After lunch my sister and I go into the world of Barnes and Nobles where books and Mozart and a movie Fried Green Tomatoes (one of my favorites) go into a bag of goodies for me. I love bookstores.

Happy Birthday to me.

After coming home to dinner in the oven, I do yoga and stretch and notice how different my skin is and my legs are looking…well older. I am thankful they still work and I am still here on this planet to experience this memorable day.   Then dinner in my little cottage that Joey built with his own hands last summer, and a birthday bag of love love love from the kindest person I know and then a massage from hands that should be bronzed they are so beautiful. My final blessing is a pear pie eaten in a claw foot tub with hot water and two little puppy faces peeking over the sides of the tub begging for pie. I share crust and a piece of pear with the both of them before they curl up on the bathroom rug and sleep.  How merciful and kind is God to me today. Giving me so much love..so much purpose and so much grace. I am one blessed woman. Thankful to all for the well wishes and love. Thank you.. To another year of his mercy and grace and for the two tattered angels upon the sidewalk I pray you find your peace tonight.You are thought of and loved.

 

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You left

Today is a reminder. A place of cold in winter.

You, my brother

Have left.

I looked for you for years before it happened.

You left me before you left us.

It was a wandering roadmap of pain. The bottle, the cigarettes, the drugs, the pain. I saw you on the cutting board of life’s shame and blame.

I remember you as my best friend, before the damage done

I remember you as a boy, your suffering had just begun.

I danced for you in hospital rooms of saving grace and sang silly songs to light up your face.

You and I in a desert place under the hot noon sun

We lay beside hope and we struggled to swim in currents of pain that took us under and threw us in,

I was a hand for you and you carried me too and we tried

Oh we tried so hard to live.

Today is your birthday once again

I am marked with it, you are timeless and weightless and gone.

Some place beautiful, some place free.

You are gone

except in my heart

I see you

my brother

Miss your laughter, miss your voice.

You left me

No choice but to say a prayer and ask God to tell you

You were loved