Image

One day I grew old *how your purpose keeps you alive against all odds

I don’t know what happened but suddenly I was old. Something clicked off I imagine and the dark circles came and my hair got thinner and silver and my face wrinkled like a prune….seriously…like a prune.  I got a sad look from the bone density tech and my weight dropped off. I became brittle literally over night. My eyes are red most of the time with an eye disease my mother had when she was old. Only I am not really old in years yet.(or maybe denial is not a river in Eygypt). I just feel like I have been swimming in chlorine for hours. My ears ring and hiss and roar. My joints pop and crackle (sheesh I sound like a symphony) When I was young and healthy my body was quiet. As in no noise.  Now everything sounds either muffled or really loud. What? My Dad turned 90 this summer. He is vibrant and active and healthy. When I was driving and was seeing halo’s and stars around the lights coming at me I asked him if he saw those things too (he said No he just saw the lights)  Great..I’m older than my dad. I was seriously worried about that until I removed my glasses and found that without my glasses I didn’t see the halo’s or the stars either. (Scratched lenses) Hahaha!

I also have hair that grows in the strangest places and hair that is falling into shower drains and on black sweaters and jackets at an alarming rate. My goodness what happened to the long-haired girl with the big hazel eyes and the toned muscles and the smooth skin? Where the heck did she go? I miss her. She was a beauty by some people’s estimation. A face for Hertz, a body for Club Med.  There were travel brochures with her big eyes looking over her tanned shoulder holding a tennis racket. Now I look in the mirror and I see my mother. Some days I see a really old person, who’s sick and hurting with pain. It’s not easy. Truth be told I am NOT liking this. Not at all Not one bit.

I was reminded today by my therapist (yes I have a therapist) that my legacy will be something much greater than my looks. That if I get to live 20 more years (that would be some feat as I was sent home to die at 24) and I continue to do the work of funding the water wells (we are on our 19th) that for every child who lived and went on to have children, my legacy, my divine purpose will be revealed in heaven when thousands of people come to me to tell me they had life because I lived. I realized that as long as I have purpose I have a reason to live. The orphans and their suffering has been my purpose. That purpose has carried me through years where I gasped for breath with the pain of living. That purpose has reminded me when I saw no hope, that those precious people for whom I give my heart and life are in worse conditions than I am, suffering. Knowing that has prompted me to rise from my sick-bed and fight. For them and for me I fought back from a pesticide poisoning that caused my stomach to shred like I had swallowed glass. Bent over for months I pushed myself to get up, go to a chair, say a prayer, dream a dream, try to eat whole foods again (everything I ate was pureed like baby food). Those orphans, with their big eyes and their protruding stomachs and their skin and bones needed me. I could help them. It pushed me to live again. I fought back from cancer (twice) and I continued to write about those orphans. I wanted the world to remember them, even as they seemed to forget me. Those orphans reminded me of their courage and their laughter in the face of extreme poverty and sickness. I took great strength from their stories. I took great courage from their ability to be thankful with so little when I truly had been given so much. Through no fault of their own they were born in Africa, not America. Through no cause of my own I was born in the land of plenty. To NOT help them is unthinkable to me.

So yes, I am older. I am weaker, skinnier, wrinkling and by American standards of youth and beauty declining. But I am reminded that as long as I have breath I have purpose. I have God in me, I have a few dear ones who support me and my cause, I will carry that purpose to my grave and one day perhaps in heaven a man will come and hug me because the water saved him as a baby and he went on to a long life, fulfilling his purpose to help his people live. It’s a beautiful gift purpose. It changes the world It carries you home.

Wish to help?  http://www.drlynnandtheorphans.com/index.html

427547_4399101142400_575530435_n944313_10202924734426081_1371558241_nFeatured Image -- 1665

Liberia June 2006 Day 1 Disk 1After the poisoning

God in the midst of goodbye

Recently, I have lost many people I have loved. Most of them I lost to death, some I lost to life and broken promises and dreams shattered by hurting people.  I lost my precious friend and co-writer of songs DZ. I am still not able to erase our last message to one another. Those words “I love you” just can’t be erased. Not in my lifetime anyway. I lost (a week ago) someone who was part of the fabric of my life. Emily, Em. Strong, distant, sweet, a whirl of constant motion, childhood sister, an impressive person (she actually went and trained the army in Nepal) a black belt, a teacher, a jeweler. She fed homeless people every Saturday, she helped rebuild cities in the aftermath of earthquakes. She would call me and her voice was sing/song “Lynnee how are you?” I’m going to miss that.

I haven’t gotten over any of the losses in the past 4 years. Not completely. I don’t think you ever do. You just learn to grieve and live at the same time.  I am trying to help some of our friends in their grief and most of them don’t have a very strong faith. I don’t know how you make it in this world without that. That’s what gets me back up. That’s what reminds me of something so lovely and true. His love, his perfect comfort carries me. He knows our future and he holds it. He changes me, moment by moment through the valley of death. The brushing up against our happily ever after, our understanding that life is fragile and precious  and that we all have to be prepared at any moment to pass. I know my sweet Emily was not aware how close her end was on this earth. I only pray that her new beginning is as beautiful as I believe it to be and that God is right in the midst of her transition, where he promises he will be.

 

Image

Angels in trees

Angels lite in trees, a variant of light, some well worn verse of amen on their lips, I hear them like a radio tuned in just a shade to the left of the source. The manna dropped from heavenly skies are dew drops of sugar on my tongue. I am small and with a face lifted, mouth open and desirous of this holy sustenance, courting, skirting, mangling the truth before it even passes my lips. I am the woman under the table of Holy, accepting crumbs because enough crumbs will fill the hunger. I will wear my faith, bleeding red with desire, bearing the signs of quiet grief because Holy has brought me to myself and I am found wanting and incomplete. It is the “loneliness of soul” that lays me at the feet of Jesus. It blesses me because I am not enough without him. It reminds me that I was taken from his side and breathed into by his breath and washed in his remembering of my need. I am small and I am great in his sight as he hung by his hands, nailed, beaten and looking me in the eye.

Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing….a well worn verse…AMEN

 

Image

Touchstone

I bow my head

I look up

I cry out

I shout

I sigh

I question

I release & search for peace.

The sky is forever blue

Full of the sounds of longing, winging their way to you

How many cries do you hear upon your wind

How many alleluia’s are swirling by

We are running across sand and desert and sea

Calling out to you

This touchstone upon a cliff

Tucked under a rock

In a lovers kiss

Snow falls gently & mist rises

babies cry & the lost lift fists & fire guns

and wail & wail

Calm or restless your created beings, you see them all

this night

this day

nothing & no one is greater than you are

You are the rock

the touchstone for all of humanity

for all time & never changing

scarred perfection at the infliction of your own design that you might become like us

You died to be our shelter

The touchstone for life

Infinity

Forever

Amen

 

From the book The Keeper of Me 2015

Image

The Cross, love & me

I’m watching, this word, this test of all tests, this reason that being a Christian is one of the hardest things I can imagine.Forgiveness. It’s the thorn in the flesh, it’s the burr in your pocket, it’s the boil, begging to be lanced. It hurts and it isn’t fair and nothing prepares you for the release of the DUE punishment that someone should have. It can’t be so simple can it? That murderer, that adulterer, that liar, that cheat. They hurt me, were indifferent to suffering, raped another. Someone was tortured, someone believes in another way, someone judged us, someone gutted us with their hatred. The reasons to NOT forgive are endless. We want justice don’t we? We want another to pay for their crimes, their sins against us.The politician, the neighbor, the parent, the teacher, the cop, the corporation, the banks, the cheating mate, the indifferent friend, our boss, our doctor, the bus driver, the bill collector. We can’t just let them go free when they deserve to be punished can we?

It’s coming on Easter….the leading of the cross up a hill, bloody and beaten and forsaken. His friends left him, the people for whom he came traded his life for a murderer. He is naked and he is broken and they laughed and mocked him.He is nailed, nailed by his hands and his feet on a cross.  There is nothing fair or right or just about this. He is innocent. He is perfect, and they nailed him and beat him and whipped him.” Crucify him” they screamed. Such thirst, such bewildering sadness. He hangs.

His dying words, through bloodied lips

“Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.”

So much to think about this week, leading up to Easter. I stand before the bloodied truth of the gospel that cries out Forgive.  While I see a reflection of myself in the light of his words. I falter and I break. I lay low. I am the one who cried out to crucify. I am the one who judges that which I fear. I am the one who hates another. I know the stench of the truth. If I think I am without sin…I am a liar. If I curse my brother on the Interstate when he cuts me off in traffic, I am the murderer. If I stretch the truth to another, I am the liar, If I lust in my heart for another, I am the adulterer. These are the words. These are the teachings of one who truly has forgiven, every one of us… Forgive, that you might be forgiven.

It’s coming on Easter…the message is clear. I am searching my heart to clear the veil between this magnificent gift of love and me. If I don’t forgive, if I won’t forgive, there will be no truth or love or acceptance of the gift.” Forgive me Father I do know what I must do…..help me to do it…”

Sweet love to you friends…

 

 

Dear God

“He won’t let us approach suffering with our own agenda.” Joni Erikson Tada

Dear GOD:

Because you are the maker of the universe and everything in it, I know that what I am about to share with you, well you probably already know what I am going to say. Even before I say it, right? You know that I don’t always understand your ways, like the amazing, mind boggling gazillion miles of stars and light around this little planet called Earth. I think prior to understanding the staggering magnitude of your creation, I thought earth was pretty much it for created beings that could capture your attention.  I heard about UFO’S, heck my family swears we all saw one on a dirt road in New Mexico, but part of me just shook it off and continued to hold my elitist attitude of believing that there aren’t any other life forms. But now that I am older in years, I recognize truly how small we are and how, I don’t know, replaceable. I have been thinking so much about how fragile life is, really fragile, yet so resilient and tenacious in it’s ability to “carry on.” Heck Lord, I am that way, fragile in body and tenacious in spirit. Rowdy like a bull when provoked and tender as a new love for those less able. I think you made me that way, I think you had a plan for me that needed me to be different. I simply desired to be “normal” for so long. Normal as in taller with long thick hair and big eyes, who would be a mom with two kids and go on vacations with her family and eat sea food and drink something fruity with an umbrella in it, painted fingernails and toes and a big wide smile.  “Normal” as in one cold a year would be the worst thing I would have to suffer in my body, or maybe have a few sleepless nights. I know that sounds crazy God, that being normal could hold such an allure for me, after all the incredible moments of time and space with you, the GOD of the universe. I guess the suffering that I have been entrusted to endure is the reason I could never be normal, not ever. To be normal is not really what I want, I guess what I want is to not suffer every single day of my adult life, with pain so humbling at times, I beg to draw my last breath and see you unveiled. The truth is I don’t really want to die, nor do I want to second guess the reasons why I am not normal.  I just want to recognize that even though I suffer, even though I am skinny and growing older, and can’t go anywhere without being made sick by the chemicals that other’s wear to smell and look “pretty”and the smoke and the herbicides and the cleaning fumes, that the world has gone mad with chemicals and I am not normal. I live with numbness and pins and needles and tingling body parts, and a stomach that burns and churns and eyes that burn and are red all the time and a body that hurts to move and to sit and yes even to lay down. There is not a moment without the awareness that I am not normal. Yet I can stand in my room and feel your presence as strongly as the wind and I can weep for joy at your touch and know your voice and ask you every morning for Manna to get through another day. I don’t take anything for granted, not really, I am not normal enough to do that. When you watch your loved ones take their last breath, over and over again, you know how fragile life’s chord can be.  So God, I want this suffering to matter you know? I need for it to matter, to underscore what a good God you really are and not some mean ol God who let’s his people suffer without cause. I don’t really believe that about you, well maybe still I wonder how all this suffering can be love, but that thought doesn’t last very long and I always come back to the truth of me and you. You have ruined me for anything or anyone else. Ruined me with your presence that is unlike anything on this earth, ruined me for normal. I don’t want normal, I want you. I want to feel you in my room and your breath on my cheek and your voice in my ear. I want to continue to be that person who people come to when they want to know you better, or they want someone to hear their cries and their pain.  I want to have you be my first thought and my last thought and to be in every thought in between. I’m not there yet of course, I am still too selfish in my pain to be with you in every thought, but I want it to be wild with your presence and caressed with your grace. I thank you God that the suffering has brought me to see those who suffer too and try to do something about it. That’s a gift, to care about others most of the time above yourself. The more I think about myself the more miserable I am. The more I see someone else’s pain and work to help lift it, the better I feel. Suffering did that for me.

Okay, I guess I will end this letter by saying “I wouldn’t change a thing if it meant I wouldn’t be this close to you. I can’t suffer on my terms. I must lean in and lean on you to get through my days and nights and that’s okay. Heck God it’s better than that, tonight the suffering is for you. Because I am yours and you are the creator of the universe and I am small and here for a blink and you are forever. Like your universe, gazillion stars and who knows what else.”

Your girl

Lynn

 

 

 

Image

Modern day poet & writer/ a love story

Sometimes love stories are images in our heads, rumpled sheets, half empty wine glasses, rose petals on water, clothing shed.

It’s ice and snow here, in our hearts and in our dreams. We are paradise searching, footprints in the sand wandering, while the waves take the road map and we can’t follow one another home.

I want walls in our beautiful house to sing-to be privy to the sounds of laughter and not tears. To hold our secrets in it’s creaking floors and not loud voices flung to the moon afraid that this time it’s really too late. Lonely in my bed, but settled as the moon watches me struggle.

I want to hold hands walking mountains of goodwill and changing seasons, as soft brown hair and an old mans face dances on lines of wisdom, laughing.

I want the broken pieces of change upon our lives, to come together and create a soft, rounded mosaic of our time together, instead of splinters in our feet so painful we wear shoes and socks and put blinders on and won’t look anymore at the pain-

There is still heart and stubbornness and some tentative steps towards talking and we bow our heads and pray for change, as we linger, hoping for renewal and sometimes our eyes still meet in the middle and they are kind. We are not done reaching, and we are too afraid to touch any wounds left bleeding. So we stay, praying for the balm to come and the laughter to return and to know that deep place of peace-

                              &

we will kiss, naked in warm water and tasting of summer and peaches and start over writing our love story.