Category Archives: Sunday Shorties

Sunday Shortie: Learning Communion’s Song

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Sunday Shortie,  written last week and squirreled away. Actually felt a little too naked at that moment to share. Today seems quite appropriate.

 

Thankfulness crops up in the oddest moments.

I spent the last hour trying to dredge up a little dirt. I write best annoyed. I’ve spent most of my adult years annoyed. I’m pretty dadgum funny when I’m annoyed.

Today I am not. Today I have nothing.

Now that is funny.

Never Too Old To Learn

Generally, the writing process goes something like this: I close my eyes and poke around until I find a splinter of a feeling. I probe the area, wince and squeal a little, look to heaven and throw up a few dadgumits at finding I’m not quite so whole as I’d hoped.

The words pour out all on their own, a birthing of sorts, filled with mess and confusion. Some days it feels like swimming  in the septic tank.

I edit and sculpt, then back off a bit. While I may feel completely naked dancing around out here in the light, I’m aware some things need covering just the same. Some stories are best told face to face. Takes time to evaluate just how much light will heal a wound and how much will sear the skin right off. You wouldn’t believe the stuff that hits the trash bin.

A few more moments in prayer, a final adjustment or two, then a confirmed coward hits the publish button.

And We Wait. . .

I agonize, more or less depending on how many layers are lying on the floor. Will anyone understand this mess of my days? Agonizing memories swarm the surface, followed by the litany of former friends passing judgment in the name of God. I hear their words fresh all over.

Night comes and I cry quiet into my pillow so the littles don’t hear, reliving the original pain and wondering if this offering of blood really matters and can I please go back to my box under the bridge now please-and-thank you.

Then the comments come in. I feel the soothing oil pour over these old wounds.  I reread the article once more, just to make sure I truly hear the voice of those gracious enough to share before hitting reply. The pain recedes almost without notice and—

Stops.

Fancy That

I’ve written as long as I can remember.  I do not ever recall this freedom before.  Perhaps the soul grinding work of uncovering the truths my heart wants to hide combines somehow with the corroboration of those who’ve walked this way already and the encouragement of those a few steps behind. I don’t know but I can tell you, something’s different.

So many years of isolation. Such a shame. I’m reminded we need one another. Each one of you, each visitor here brings their gifts to the party

Teachers teach. They head into the wasteland of all the nonsense assaulting our ears and bring meat to the table, words of life that ring with authenticity.

Encouragers encourage. They hit that reply button and type lovely things that make sore hearts sing again and middle age bloggers cry a little.

Storytellers share. A bit of their life, here and there, confirming our shared reality with tales from the frontlines. Our hearts blend together and we recognize truth together.

And those struggling to get through the next day do what we do best. We recognize our weakness. We bring our shattered hearts to the table and seek the Face of God.

Then altogether, we lift our broken bread to heaven and pass it round.

Such a Gift

When I started writing, I thought I’d produce an infinite number of posts. After all, with so many years wallowing, there must be thousands of things to say leading to the production of hundreds of highly annoyed online outbursts. But a strange thing happened on the way to the graveyard.

God is healing me through the process. I think we just may be seeing the Body of Christ functioning as the Good Lord intended. For that, I must thank each one of you. In your comments and emails, I recognize the gifts of God’s Spirit operating.

There’s life in this place.

It’s been a long time coming.

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Sunday Shortie: Single Minded Morning

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Another Sunday Shortie. A few quick thoughts, typed out fast, minimal editing.

Beautiful morning. The sun is shining,  the birdies are all twitter-pated. Coffee on the front porch, stiff and black. Neighbors running leaf blowers way too early.  A dog under my feet wanting a little rubdown.

I like freedom. I enjoy being single. Mornings remind me just how much I like this newest concept of alone time.

Most of my divorced friends and acquaintances  remarried, many within a  year of signing  papers. On the whole, they seem happy with their decision but I’m suspicious enough to wonder sometimes. Occasionally,  I ponder  this foreign concept of life with someone who actually likes you and wonder how the mornings play out.

I’m guessing they get up and smile at each other. Stumble through coffee without getting nervous enough to hit the carafe against the counter and shatter the glass. No one gets angry about grounds spilled in the sink.  They ask each other, ‘What do you want to do today?’  They might work together painting the bedroom or weeding the flowerbeds. They get more accomplished as two rather than one.

That sounds nice. It’s just not on my agenda.

Marriage is a commitment that takes work under the best of circumstances. I don’t understand those who want to jump back in so soon.  Maybe there’s something missing but I’m just not sure I’ll ever get enough of this blessed stillness.

I Like It Here

Mornings were never my own. I gave away thousands to someone hell-bent on their destruction. Control was his thing. Keeping us all off balance, forever focused on the minutia of his ever changing demands made his day. And I am tired.

During those last few years before escape, I learned to find God in moments stolen between explosions. I’d sit on the deck, quiet my troubled heart and listen. No laundry list of prayer requests, no deliver-me-or-I-perish drama. Just me and my Creator and a few quiet moments to worship for His infinite goodness.

These days,  I wake up slow and ask what’s on the Father’s agenda. I tell Him how wonderful He is. Coffee on the porch, then inside for some time working on His latest project. I tell Him about the kids as if He didn’t already know and ask advice on the latest crisis. Grab a plate of grits and head back out in jammies. He’s never complained, not once. My Lord makes me smile.

Nothing explodes, no one outlines my duties for the day, then tells me exactly how things will be done or else. God has yet to push me against the counter, trap me in a corner or block my way out of the refrigerator. I’m learning I don’t have to look over my shoulder all the time.

I’m free to serve God and serve others. That’s a privilege I don’t take lightly, one I don’t particularly want to give up. I do understand the Father can heal through new relationships. I also fully believe that the One who formed me in my mother’s womb can heal all the hurting places. In fact, I’m counting on it.

Now every morning, I turn to Jesus and see if He wants coffee. So far, He hasn’t taken me up on the offer but who knows?

There’s always tomorrow.

Sunday Shortie: Raggedy Holiness

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Another Sunday Shortie. A few quick thoughts, typed out fast, minimal editing.

Hang with a few abuse survivors and you’ll see—we’re all a little rough around the edges. Living in a dung heap will do that to you.

Once upon a time, I thought I had control. I watched my mouth, trying like crazy to never let a stray word get out that might betray my thoughts. Eventually I realized nothing in my life remotely resembled control  and whatever was in my heart was coming out, one way or the other.

I told the beast he was full of shit.

The sky did not fall, lightening did not descend. This little slip, however, gave him ammunition—he retold the story countless times as proof that I’m a hypocrite and (get this) demon possessed. How do I know? Because for several months, I heard versions of this story from his new recruits. Each telling became progressively wilder and by the last version, he had me dragging him around and snarling in his face with an unearthly glow emanating from my eyeballs.

I went right down to the local bishop and signed up for exorcism classes.

Interesting to note that if we’re counting curse words as proof of demonic control, the man is one pig short of a one-way trip into the Sea of Galilee. He might want to google ‘hypocrisy’ sometime before bible study.

Control is an Illusion

So many things out of control, so few ways to compensate, but brethren, I found them all.

For awhile, I went all Pentecostal and refused to snip my hair, wear makeup or pants of any variety. And since skirts were holy, frumpy skirts were extra  pious as everyone knows God shops at Goodwill. Pictures from this era  are just sad. Everything looks black and white, even in full color.

Another time, I purged my household of all secular items. Children’s book with animals dressed like people went in the trashcan. I can’t remember why. Nursery rhymes and fairy tales also exited the house as they weren’t true.  I listened to only Christian music, then filtered down to only Christian churchy-type music full of organs and stuff.

This is no longer the case. I paint my toenails and—to top that off—I pay someone *else* to paint my toenails sometimes. The fact I can’t reach my feet so well has nothing to do with anything.  It’s a tiny luxury I can afford, something I would never consider back in the day.  I read regular old books from the library without a Christian disclaimer in sight and if they get offensive, I know how to close the book and find another author. My music playlist is rich with all sorts of artists who’d never pass the respectability code of my more uptight days.

Once I broke open on the Truth, I learned that holiness is internal. As the fire of these trials does its work, I’m sanctified—set apart for  fellowship with my Father. I’m changed into the image of His Son because He loves me. And I love Him right back. Spending time in His presence transforms my heart.

I do not have to pretend everything is hunky dory when it most certainly is not. God accepts me just like I am, He simply has no intention I’ll stay this way. Working on all those outward signs of godliness did nothing but turn me into the hypocrite the beast accused me of being. And furthermore, it took up way more energy than I had available when I should’ve been doing things like figuring out why I lived in hell.

You can argue if you want, but the night I told the anti-husband he was filled to overflowing with bodily excrement, I was closer to the Father’s heart than all my mascara-free days put together—because I told the truth.

The truth sets us free. I don’t regret it one bit.

But I sure would like to burn some of those pictures from 1983.

Sunday Shortie: Healing: Finding Ida

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Another Sunday Morning Shortie. A few quick thoughts, typed out fast, minimal editing.

I had no idea the kind of shape I was in until I found myself hiding behind the kitchen barstools. Honest to goodness, I didn’t understand the extent of damage my soul had taken. No wonder I stopped that feeling business.

Well, phewy on that. I don’t want to stay damaged. I want to be whole and healthy in this lifetime. My children need their mom. My grandchildren need to see a strong, mature woman who’s life is a testimony to the saving grace of God. I’m not leaving this place without a fight, dadgumit.

I believe healing is active, a partnership. God provides, we walk forward. So if someone recommends anything as good medicine for the soul, I give it to prayer. Here’s some stuff I’ve found helpful.

Ranting

I’ve got a good friend who understands if I get a little carried away. She tut-tuts appropriately in all the right places. This is not stuff for the kiddies, it’s not stuff I want to share with my ever-so-patient counselor. This is me– Ida Mae– squealing like a piggie at all the injustices of the world in general and my life in particular.

I try not to abuse her patience. I’m convinced she’ll get a special jewel in her crown for suffering long with her hyperbolic friend. *She* is a  jewel and someday, maybe I’ll be healthy enough to reciprocate.

Counseling

Perhaps this should go without saying. I was highly opposed to counselors for years, mostly because I still thought the thinking of thoughts in my head belonged to me and not to the one planting his thoughts while yanking up mine. Some days, I still have to stop and say, Ida? Do you *really* believe the world is flat or are you spouting off the anti-husband’s talking points. Again.

The counselor is my weeder. He challenges my thinking. He says back the things I say so I can hear the Crazy. Counseling is helping in ways I’m not able to articulate just yet. I am a fan.

Music

Somewhere during the first seven years, I quit listening to music. Music is all about eliciting an emotional response and I was short on those.

Before I left, someone mentioned Pandora, a free internet radio. I started by going all the way back and finding music from my childhood. I clicked on YouTube links posted by friends on Facebook. I listened to songs of love and loss and heartbreak and cried along. Felt pretty good.

Now I have an extensive library of music in all sorts of genre’s I never thought I’d like. The other day, I heard this fantastic mariachi singer and while I didn’t understand a word, I resonated with the emotion in his deep voice. I’m going to make up some words and sing along next time.

Art

I’m a writer, not an artist. I lost my words for a long, long time.

When all my words were gone, I found a box of Prang watercolors at Walmart and a spiral bound journal of watercolor paper. I listened to The Eagles  sing Already Gone and swished some pretty colors on blank paper. The colors make me happy.

Later, the counselor suggested going further. I bought a professional set of watercolors, thicker paper and a squirrel-hair brush that makes me giggle every time I think of the little furry rats combing their tails for the sake of art.

I found I can lose myself  working through the intricacies of painting the same way I once did with words. My pictures are just copies of stuff I find on the internet. There’s all sorts of free instructional stuff online and the results are pretty good, especially viewed from a distance with squinty eyeballs. I send unsolicited phone pix to the kids and let them tell me how good they look. They are quite accommodating.

Just as an FYI, I credit all squirrel-kind with helping find my lost voice. If squirrels don’t get crowns in heaven, I’ll make my own and pass them out.

Angry Walks

These on-purpose, mad walks feature plenty of ranting, only to the Father this time.  I pull out my arsenal of Psalms-type fussing and let the ‘smite my enemies’ fly with an occasional ‘how long, Oh Lord?’ thrown in for good measure. I may not feel better when I’m done, but I am tired. Tired means sleep. Sleep is a good thing. Seriously, as long as I’m fussing anyway, why not take it to Someone with the authority to change things?

My safe little prayers of yesterday just don’t cut it these days. I’ve got a whole passel of damaged kid-lings on my hands and an anti-husband who continues to provide kerosene for the fire. I don’t see the angry walks letting up anytime soon.

Journaling

My journals are password protected and for my eyes only. Only me and Jesus will ever see the secrets written on those pages. I read the prayers I wrote, the anguish of a heart in bondage. I recall the beast’s words and actions, free of all the fog, written out, dated along with my at-that-moment  gut response. They resonate with first-hand experience. My memories do not.

My memories are clouded and I doubt them. Too many years of confusion. Too many words spoken into my soul. Too much poison ingested on a daily basis.

Journals are history. I look back and confirm dates. I see patterns. They confirm the truth of my story.

I see how far I’ve come and I’m thankful for the blood on the pages.

Today my journals are about hope. I write about you– the others I meet here and how your kindness sustains my heart. How the stories we share mend places in my soul I didn’t realize needed the attention. About plans for a future and the gentle art of living in peace.

My journal is my prized possession and quite literally, I ran back into a house about to blow sky-high to save it.

But that’s another story. . .

Sunday Shortie: Liar’s Dance

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This post is the first Sunday Morning Shortie. I’m slightly long-winded, something I did not know about myself which, surprise!  is this Sunday’s theme. So just some quick thoughts, typed out fast, minimal editing.

The anti-husband said I was the stupidest smart person he ever met. About that, he was correct. When I walked out, I was ignorant in a whole bunch of ways.

I didn’t know I could get along with others.

The anti-husband said the conflict in the home was my fault. He said I provoked him and the children and this explained why my friendships didn’t last. Today I live in peace. The only break in that peace comes when something triggers a memory of his wicked ways and then the conflict is internal. Oddly enough, I play well with others after all.

He was wrong.

I didn’t know I could live under the same roof with a bunch of people in peace.

One full year without a raised voice, without an argument, without a single conflict. We talk about things and shrug our shoulders over differences. We respect each other’s boundaries. If someone has a rough day, we make cups of tea and sit on the porch. If someone needs privacy, the roommate sits on the sofa and plays Bejeweled. I did not know this was possible.The major difference? The beast no longer rages through my home.

He said the tension in our home was all my fault.

He was wrong.

I didn’t know I could sing.

For years, when I tried to sing along with the radio, the anti-husband said the sound made his ears bleed. He mocked my efforts, rolled his eyes, howled like a dog until I shut up. Not metaphorical howling, literal howling to drown out the sound of my voice. Once I left, I remembered singing solos in the church choir thirty years before.

I may not be trained, but I do not cause small children to cry.

He was wrong.

I didn’t know I liked poetry.

The anti-husband mocked poets.  I stayed away out of self preservation. To a predator, hysterical sobbing indicates weakness inviting an attack. Good poetry reaches through the intellect and speaks directly to the soul through emotional connection. Feelings are a luxury you don’t indulge when it takes all your energy to keep your soul in one piece.

The beast hated poetry. He said I didn’t like it either.

He was wrong.

I sure didn’t know I could write poetry.

Once those feelings roared back, I needed an outlet. God spoke to me through a lovely older woman in a poetry class so I tried a few lines. In five months, I wrote eighty-three poems. The next time I saw this saint, I showed her a few and we cried together. Today, they are my secret, an act of worship I share with my Creator.

The beast never discouraged me from writing poetry because never in a million years would I let him close enough to find out. More than likely, it never crossed his mind I would attempt such a thing.

He was wrong.

I didn’t know I had things to say.

For years, I didn’t know the truth, so how could I say anything? Once the confusion began to lift, I wanted to throttle him. How could I talk when everything came out in a torrent of word vomit?

Today is a better day than yesterday. I’m learning the power in sharing our stories to see the captives set free. I am loud. I remember how to laugh.

The beast badgered me into silence. He stole my voice. He thought I’d cover for him to save myself, keep silent to cover the shameful things.

But boy. . . was he ever wrong.