Barbeque grace and the words I couldn’t say……..

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 Shame.
It wants to shut you up,  close you in,
set your peace on fire.
And it won’t be hushed until it burns your courage down.

I lean into the turn of the year with a hungry hope and my walking-forward shoes laced up brave,
I’m going looking for some shelter in this storm
but it becomes a hurricane
as I pull out into traffic in some group work and wreck my heart instead,
my past and present colliding with such an explosion of pain
that I’m propelled through the window injured,
but land soft in a healing place.

Edith calls to tell me she’s retiring and we speak warmly –
will she please mail the birthday package I’ve sent;
she’s not sure where Allison is right now; I tell her bold where
and she doesn’t flinch or freak and I hear smile in her voice.
We part well and I feel a chapter end.
This will be the the last gift sent where they will comb through my words to approve.
The training wheels off,  I’ll be able to look up her address and send love on my own
and this freedom is bliss to me.

I plan a heart trek to her hometown but pull up the day before
because I seefrom the cloud,  that she‘s there visiting right now
and feel it sure that this would somehow cross a line.
I couldn’t be that close and not run to her,  I know,  oh God
I want to go, but I watch instead from just hours away
as she togethers with the ones she loves and welcomes,
and I feel the thud of my un-belonging
and ache an ache that I can’t wrap words around.

Weeks later,  March 2016,  I’ve got a wilding to drive east tomorrow
to put flowers on her mother’s grave.
I’m headed uptown to a favorite barbeque place to make a foodie Friday gift
to our hardworking peeps and as I sit waiting for my bag of lemon pepper wings,
so near the street where she used to live,  I grin at the walls covered
with years of signatures and happy graffiti.
My eyes swim over to a map of our state and I feel my feet moving slow
from where I’m googling her hometown for tomorrow’s travels.
My eyes lock onto her name printed bold and pink,  right over where my google map points.
It feels like a sign and I take a picture,  kiss the wall,  pick up my takeout
and wonder at the bigness of this grace that’s holding us.

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Her mother is two years gone this day and we travel there together,  my husband and I,
to at last be in this space and it feels a sacred journey as we pull into her town
and I roll the window down because I need to breathe the air and I cry somewhere inside
because it’s happening at last to feel the where that welcomed my baby home.
It’s a really good house,  the sixteen year old of me can see,
and we eat lunch down the street at the local barbeque place
that has served the community for decades and I taste friendly food
and the neighborly way and everywhere I feel the whispers of her face.

The woods hum stories as I stand beside her mother’s grave
and see how my fistfull of daffodils look a small drop in this space so wide
that I wonder can Allison ever hold space enough for the both of us.
Her mama loved her,  I can feel it.  I honor her that and as my fingers trace
her name I tremble  thanks for the home she made and the legacy that is hers.
If I could hold this woman’s  hand I’d squeeze it now and breathe peace,  nothing left unsaid.
I get up and wish we could stop at their house, climb out of the car,  knock on the door
and be invited inside.

But there is gift in the parting and I feel it at last
in a wrenching place where I stand with my arm draped around the girl of me
in front of the spacious yard where my daughter played football
with her people just weeks ago this day
and finally I know it right down to my atoms and cells
that I did not abandon my child.
There’s a roaring that climbs from my spirit inside to a courtroom false where I’ve often been dragged
and I see it as clear as the sun that sets in her hometown now
that abandonment was not in my heart,
but beauty and bests and safe pasture and love,
and yes,  shame,  that I wasn’t the one who deserved.
But I’m done buying into this sense that I’m less because I’m outside and not welcome in.

And as we drive back in the after of a powerful day
there builds up some brave to get ferocious with shame
and I feel a holy fury rumble up inside my soul
– where the winter wounds had closed me I feel my breath becoming whole.

(In the weeks to come there’ll be roller coaster waves
but I’ll crawl no longer beneath the dull weight
of all the words I couldn’t say.)

goodnight raleigh

“It is unearned love – the love that goes before,
that greets us on the way.
It is the help you receive when you have no bright ideas left,
when you are empty and desperate and have discovered that your best thinking
and most charming charm have failed you.
Grace is the light or electricity or juice or breeze
that takes you from that isolated place and puts you with others
who are as startled and embarrassed and eventually grateful as you are to be there.”
– Anne Lamott

So you see I’m telling our story – that part of us that aches to belong,
to be welcome,  to be seen and invited in.
In the only way I know, I’m dragging our shame into the light
and offering “I know” and “you’re okay” and “I’m with you and we’re alright”
Just a few more twists and turns through this, our season of the night.

 

River she keeps rolling….

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Sometimes it cuts through sudden,   the blade of old ache,
so sharp it slices into the tender parts of who we are;
funny how a season soaked in merry-making
can shake loose the pain,
send it fumbling  from where it lay buried alive
and this,  too,  is gift

because sometimes in the wreckage we settle too soon
and the nails we drive to prop us up
can become the cages we can’t shake

But river Love,  she keeps rolling
a healing,  cleansing tide,
a swell of  saving connection
showing the worth and weight of our life

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And river she holds the strength and supply,  the secrets,  the stories,  the songs,
pulsing and swirling and telling
you are cherished and seen….you belong.

What if we don’t numb it back down,  braveheart,
when low thunder of grief starts to roll
remember what our true selves long for,
feel again what our hearts used to know
we were born for those wild living waters
so whatever the season may bring

just lean,  really lean,
simply lean your way in,
wade out from the shoreline or leap into the deep,
Love is the river and keeper and giver
the flying,
the thriving,
the wings.

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You are very much embraced
even when all is not merry or bright.
Lean into it.

“Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving
that transcends time and space.”

-from Interstellar

I want to give away a copy of my December issue of Ripplesongs,
the holiday issue.
Leave a comment and you’re in for the drawing:)
With a whole lot of love.

Prickles, pain and portals….

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Sometimes into life’s overwhelm come soft days
so thick with grace it seems the volume gets turned up loud
on your joy
and it drowns out some pain
shaking dance back into your feet,
and your heart starts taking on hope
like a ship sinking fast in a sea of beauty
as heaven storms down light so fierce
it swallows up the dark.

When you’re not there right now,
when all you can feel is the cave you crawled in
bone tired and seeking shelter,
and the gloom has worked it’s way on your soul
and you’re hungry for good air and tall sky
but you feel as weak and small as the yelp
that gets stuck in the dry of your voice,
(I know this place)

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 Can I remind you,  friend,   it’s still there,   waiting 
and you can go along the backroads of your mind
to that place where darkness once got sliced open and peeled back
and the warm buttery peace of something realer than you can see
wrapped you soft linen in love
and you saw some living light
as it smiled courage into your frightened places.

You felt it then,  remember?
You were maybe still a child but you stood beneath a portal
and in that sweet someplace you felt gentle,  undriven purpose
and profoundly okay.

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You are brave enough to let your heart remember.

Open wide and go again….it’s unlocked to you still,
that door that is gift to uniquely you.
You’re welcome and known and waited for with great affection.
Go stand in that place
and let love sing her songs over you again.

You belong,
the starry heavens whisper,
you belong.

“There’s a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
-Leonard Cohen

bird in a skyfull of love….

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My heart is full of river and sky
and apple blossom and newborn green,
of leaves uncurling buttery soft
and smelling still not of this world
and it’s a fresh breeze I’m breathing
as the sun shines soft on the field of dreams I carry inside.

My business is busy and my foot is mending
but i’m protecting a chunk of time each day
to throw my love into a project that has my heart
sliding off my sleeve into handmade books I’m making for each of my kids
to give when birthdays blossom in June
and I’m feeling the passion of packing a care package
I want their hearts to carry for the rest of their days

with so much love I’m a bird in flight with a mighty soar
and coming awake and alive all the more
and it’s tilling up some fields of change
making art and cobbling together words for these.

It’s funny how high you can fly when you’re full up wildly in love.
It’s in the love,  isn’t it
…..love is the flying.

I’m scooping up the edges of my ragamuffin prayers
and wrapping them around you,  too,
that you’ll hear your name in the whispering light
and feel it inside that you matter so big,
you,  all beautiful with belonging,
a twinkle in the eyes of God,
a sight worth seeing,
a song worth singing,
a bird in a skyfull of love.

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“The only true currency in this bankrupt world
is what we share with someone else
when we’re uncool.”
-from Almost Famous