Tell Me Something I can hold

When I married I became a more acceptable thing
in the eyes of the religion I ran from.
Having a good man take me as his wife was a hall pass in this constricting world,
a ticket upgrade that gave me access to better hiding places
from the shame I felt dogged by in my youth.
Too young we said our vows and bought a house
and began making a new story that I believed if I lived well enough
would be strong medicine to erase my old pain.
Just fix it all with fresh paint
and rows of pretty flowers.

Someone was willing to have me,
right in front of God,
and I hoped this proof enough that
I might be salvaged,
along with the bits of my heart that shattered years before
when I let go my baby girl
to release her to another mother
because I wasn’t nearly enough
to remain hers.

So when into our fledgling marriage came another baby girl beautiful,
I loved her with the fury of one who has already lost one child
to her own unworthiness.
I loved her wholehearted and also fearful,
dogged by gnawing hunger to do right
because my heart had heard them hard, words like wrong and unfit
and would my fitness pass muster now these seven years since?
Then along came a boy-gift,  beloved and bright,
and then another son of sweetness – all the apples of my eyes.
My young heart spilled wild love;  they were my world.
And like a sea turtle returning to the beach where she was birthed,
I scrambled to the knowing tree,
with these bright beings
in tow.
To keep them safe and shield them
because it was the only way I’d known.

(This is my why I offer compassion instead of distain
for those trapped by fundamentalist thinking;
I know what it is to be a mamabear with bloody paw
caught in the steel teeth of that fearful-rigid trap.)

I hear people say how they have no regrets,
how they’re glad for what happened because it made them the people they are now.
I have no grid for that.
If I could bargain for it now, I’d paint their childhoods all over again
in a wholly different tone.
From a fiercely nourishing tree.
And from that Living tree I’ve poured forgiveness
on all the people, and especially myself,
and released that mom-guilt to the wind,
to the sacred river-running-through who does the restoring
of what my own hands
can’t mend.

This whole messy business of being a mother,
and now of loving grown up someones more than actual air,
but not knowing exactly how or how much or
what-just-now to offer….when or if to say the things.
Much of what I make and share spills from this place.
To leave it here for them to someday find
with a hopeful trust that it will splash them good in the living
when they need,
if they need,
but not swamp their boats when they don’t.

It grows my love for all the someones,
for all the beings learning how to be,
and for the Tree who scoops us all into a taller and more tender grace
than a body can imagine.
I often think my kids taught me to love,
or at least showed me how deep love goes.
And this new book – I made it for them.
It’s a smattering of the fruits I would have plucked from living tree
and grinned as the juice dribbled sweet down their chins
those short golden hours.

My imaginary do-over:)
The things I would go back and say.
The fistfull of flowers I want to leave some days at their doors
with a written note “for you” that means “oh how I’m for you,”
“and God only for you,”
and “ever always for you.”
Along with the words I long to have lived with them
instead of the ones I sometimes settled for
in the foreboding thicket
of the wrong-ass
tree.

I know we don’t get do-overs,
but we sometimes get more time.
This is the book I made with mine.

It’s available for you and yours,  too.
With love.
Pre-orders open over at http://singingriverstudios.com

“I love
you.
Tell me the words
you need to hear.
And I
will say them.
Over and over and over
until the echo sings
like whispered hymns
in the broken rubble
where churches
once stood.”
– Tyler Knott Gregson

Giving away a pre-order to a copy of Volume 2
to be mailed out as soon as it’s fresh off the press.
Just leave a comment and you’re in the drawing.

And,  hey,  I realize navigating religious weirdness doesn’t resonate with many.
It’s a niche of a story,  mine,  but it’s the one I’ve got and so I share
with hope that bits and pieces may be life to another heart
in the throes of healing and change.
Thanks for hearing me.

 

 

Two trees growing up in the garden…..

I’ve heard it told of two trees growing up in a garden,
two filters,  two perspectives,  two ways;
one a driven religion to be right and know,
to category and label living things.
Superiority feels like shelter in this system
and it demands that those who eat it’s fruit conform.

The second tree is freedom from this judgement,
instead it holds both the dark night cold and the clear sky blue
without fearing the colors and range.
Doesn’t demonize or categorize but
a spacious system supple enough to let people be where they are
until they aren’t.
This living-tree pulses powerful with compassion and grief
while the knowing tree draws from roots of punishment and shame.

These trees can be felt everywhere
like a river running through.
You can feel the slap and shove of the knowing tree when you
question,  when you try to listen open,
when you draw back from the fast food it’s selling.
It has no patience for growing and preparing food for thought,
no tolerance for the slowness of God.
There is a quietude to the living tree
because it doesn’t bristle,
controlling and scared.
 The knowing tree rages at this living tree’s generous way
because it fears the living,
doesn’t do the messy,
of living things.

And humans are hard to get to know
without a lot of time and trust and conversation,
especially if your goal is to narrow down the wide
into piles of evil and good.

Perhaps the human heart was never meant for dissecting at all.
Knowing someone can take a lifetime
and the knowing tree has no patience for this mystery.
It wants cliff notes filed through fast
instead of a novel to discover and digest.

Humans are bewildering to the knowing tree,
often simply problems to be solved.
So the way people are wired is a conundrum for the knowing tree
which likes to keep a tidy god,  well-managed and contained.
Left brained or right,
liberal or conservative,
religious or secular,
engineer or artist
– an impossibly ridiculous (and unnecessary) range.
This unholy mosh must be cooked down into a self-same stew
because there is no rest for those in the stranglehold of this system
if it can’t get a vice grip handle
on evil and good.

It has to be one or the other,
which is likely why the fruit from this tree
has such a harsh and bitter bite.

It will say,  with authority,  what it “knows”
as if it’s perfectly and positively true.
It scrambles to this knowing without question
and ascertains the motives of a heart,
what’s gonna happen next,
what someone meant by what they said or did,
and,  especially,
what God thinks and feels about
pretty much everything.

And this tree thrives because we humans have a powerful low tolerance
for looking stupid
so if we’re gonna live from a freer place
we have to make peace
with looking a fool.

Yeah,  the knowing tree has mastered the art of mocking.
Of the side-eye,  the eye roll,  the mic drop and the sneer.
And it offers up what Anne Lamott calls “snappy explanations for suffering.”
The knowing tree has it all figured out.
Oversimplified.
You can check your gut at the door and simply pick up your pre-approved script.
(to be continued…)

“There is nothing you can’t prove if only your outlook
is sufficiently limited.”
– Dorothy Sayers

(this feels like storytime with Jenny and I’m loving the telling,
my heart especially needs it now to hear.
I aim to come back next week with another portion;
I need to write this,
especially as I fall deeper in love with the living tree
and also grieve it out, all the unholy knowing that I’ve done.
~ thanks for your always generous patience
in my working it out.)

To celebrate the living in the tangle of these times,
I want to give away a bundle.
A signed book,  some art,  and some handwritten love
from me to you.
Leave a comment and your name goes into the drawing:)