Fumes and Fresh Air

What stops me from letting my entire self spill out for the world, for its inhabitants? Why am I so scared to be burned again that I shy away from the burdens that grip and break the earth? Why do I dance around the darkness of the lives of others when I preach that I am not afraid of hard things?

It’s time I make a bloodied effort again, nevermind the bruising. Be intentional in the way I listen to the hidden cries behind the smiles, share the scars among the happening. To see beyond the exterior and not look away when the glare of pain becomes too great. There are people who need someone who will not slow in her pursuit of smoothing salve into their punctured hearts. Make it my ambition to grab the hurt by the gut and go deep into the depths of healing.  //

Be direct in dealing with the hard. Once again, give in to my fears of being broken open for the sake of another. For what do I gain if I simply scratch the surface?

We are meant to breathe in this world together, both the fumes and fresh air.

I am coming for the hurt, for the struggle, for the hope. Wither fervor. With intention. With a fierce determination that puts my fear to shame. I will not take my heart away from those whose hearts are waiting, and will instead entwine our ventricles so that the cuts and dreams they feel will fill my chambers as well.

 

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Continuing my attempt at the Five Minute Friday weekly writing challenge. Five minutes to write on the assigned topic. Raw and unedited. (Yikes!) This week’s topic: Intentional.   // symbolizes where five minutes stopped, and then I continued writing.

 

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New Year Wide Open

Snow shakes from the tuft of clouds like salt falling from its holder. There’s a freshness in the air that’s breathing quiet, steady. Cold is smooth, like satin on my exposed skin. And above in bare branches, birds speak with one another, their whistling coos calm across the trees.

This white-painted world washes this new year wide open.

We believe the burning hope within to start again.

But I, I wonder.

Where am I beginning?

Do I reset and start from scratch? Or simply continue in new cadence, found rhythm? I am still experimenting with the intricacies of this unexpected life.

To embrace the uncertainty and rest in what I cannot see. Stir with hope a resilience that balloons my chest for reasons unexplainable. Revel in wonder and unlatch “What if?”. Step into my destiny and approach it, not with fear, but anticipation. And truly let my belief bloom. Believe God to be bigger than my mess, bolder than what makes me afraid, and working beautifully on my behalf.

I know I don’t need a new year to clear my slate and start fresh—every day is a new beginning; His mercies rise abundant. But there is something to be said about a pause, a stepping back to assess a bridge between years. What is behind me, where I have come. How I’ve been rebuilt from the rubble, and now it’s time to burst forth.

These muted colors of steel and slate blanket the earth in dusty white as daylight slips behind the horizon. All is silent for the time. All is as it is becoming. I break in bleak midwinter to sing a safe admittance of my heart to Him who knows my tender speech.

Open. Surrender. Ride out the mystery. Recognize this wonder. Live as if there is nothing in this world that can stop what He has in store for this year, for my heart. Because if He who stirs this snow globe is for my good, this way to come is worth exploring.

 

 

 

Only The Brave

What motivates me?

If I’m honest, I’m afraid that I am lazy. That I don’t want it enough, whatever it is. That the passions of my heart don’t blaze as hot as the dreams of others, that I lack the will power or work ethic to make my hopes become reality.

I can let the quiet images of my hopes for life linger on the canvas of my mind, but to turn them into spoken determination, I more often give half-hearted effort but do not find a way to finish what I began. Or, I let self-doubt dig its claws into my skin, give in to the hiss of insult slung in my ear. And soon, I let my defenses down and start to believe the lies for distorted truth. Even when I know in the back of my brain that I have so incredibly much to offer this world.

Maybe I’m just a dreamer. Maybe I will always be stuck marveling at the success of others, how they seem to have direct connection to God, who allows them to live out the desires of their hearts and not merely live, but flourish in them. It is a battle to keep myself upright and keep from swerving into a victim and woe-is-me mentality. But, in a way, there is no one to blame but myself.

Freedom should come from nothing less than every ounce of desire come from Him who made the heavens and my heart. // And motivation should be an easy yoke to bear, instead of bringing me down.

Deep down in the hollow of my heart, there’s a belief that I am better than what I tell myself. We are all susceptible to lies, but only the brave call their bluff.

Outside the window of the Starbucks I’m sitting in with my new soul friend, dry, brittle brown grass points through the thin layer of snow. Winter settles itself too long in this place, and the frigid air that slaps a sting of cold across your cheek does its job of discouragement very well. In Wisconsin, it’s a double whammy, where I have to fight against the weather and myself. Lord, give me strength to slay these dragons.

A weak sun casts small shadows over the pines, bare-branched maples stiff and erect along the sky. There are secrets from the sun, the ones that make me search and dream.

We had all better be living for something. For something that makes this life bearable and gives hope to the next. Always, our hearts beat to believe, to fight for what jolts us awake.

I must not lose the exhilaration of the climb, the peak, the descent. The staring straight-faced and unblinking into the eyes of my fear and saying that it won’t have power over me. That I will still fight, I will unlock my passion and have its wild-streak lead me. I am myself, after all, God’s own daughter, beautiful, strong and free.

I can be no one else.

 

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Continuing my attempt at the Five Minute Friday weekly writing challenge. Five minutes to write on the assigned topic. Raw and unedited. (Yikes!) This week’s topic: Motivate.   // symbolizes where five minutes stopped, and then I continued writing.

Clear Night, Starry Sky

Soft, velvet curtains strung above the sky. Lines of linen, sparkling in designs spread across the horizon. Star songs, their melodies moving in me and giving shape to my dreams.

This is my story. Join me for a stroll beneath this shifting, shimmering sky called Life.

 

It’s What Was Whispered About

A letter in the mailbox. Block handwriting, all caps and slight slant. A postage stamp with the face of Eleanor Roosevelt. An envelope swelling with pages and drops of rain.

You slip it in your jacket pocket to keep the drizzle from further dampening the words but take your time walking the steps, matching each footfall to the thump of your heart. Dusk has fallen, free from the burden of the day and growing shadows on your walls. Joni Mitchell is singing through your stereo, her pipe organ voice preaching of life’s cycle around a carnival ride, the train of age that roams without brakes. You keep the lights off, lighting candles and placing them in clusters through the living room, categorized by scent- citrus freshly squeezed atop the coffee table, floral rose and lavender floating across the cherry wood bookshelf, sans books since you moved volumes to a chest in your bedroom.

Letter Desk

Old Letter

Your jacket hangs across the couch, exhausted from keeping your manila treasure safe. You brush it as you move into the cushions and unfold yourself into the leather, sliding out the envelope that’s been waiting patiently. Joni is now launching into “Court and Spark,” spurring your fingers to slide open the mystery in your hand.

Lined white pages stained with black ink focus before your face, and with a twitch of your lips, triggered by the name you know is etched at the bottom of the last page, you wade into the salutation, each line covering more of your skin, until you are immersed in its waters.

Falling Asleep To The Snow Blower

In deep winter nights when snow danced down the sky, I’d lay in bed, swaddled in flannel sheets. A holy quiet fell about the street, slight light from the city’s reflection in the sky and mirror of snow slipping through a crack in my curtain. I listened to my breaths, small and polite, while my brothers and sister slept in their own beds scattered throughout our second floor. In those sweet snows, the flakes would fall in droves helped by the wind and staggering themselves across and upwards on the driveway. It became my house’s blanket, nestling its inhabitants warm and snug underneath the roof and insulation.

Faint from the other side of the house, the door would wrinkle open, few seconds later, sing shut. Movement in the garage, pull of low and chest-cough engine. Whir of motor, and in my bed I smiled. Dad trudging down the driveway, snow blower cutting down the river of white to clear a path for the cars in the morning. Down he’d brace himself against the dip of the hill, reigning in the blower though its chained tires clung to the icy bottom like Velcro. His red sweatshirt, hood pulled tight across his head, brown and orange striped hat across the hood. Black Coors jacket layered and thick to beat out the cold. Navy sweatpants, big, brown stomping boots I hoped kept his toes dry. Cut a path across the bottom, begin ascent. Continue in slow strides, snow mounding up on the side of the lawn. We would have banks to jump in come morning.

I fell asleep to the sweet sound of engine purring out powder, blades propelling a clearing in in an empty street. The silence of the night, save the snow blower, make the snow seem that much cozier, wrapping its own blankets across the shoulders of our yellow house. My family, already deep into dreams, the comfort in the knowledge they were safe and warm. And me in my queen bed, socks holding the warmth of my feet, soothed asleep by my dad outside piling up the powdered snow.

Merry and Bright

We’re chest deep in the Christmas season, yet I don’t feel merry and bright.

My head is filled with frantic, stuffed to overload.

My brother and sister-in-law are preparing for their last holiday before they head to an Air Force base in the middle of the country for four years. Changes are coming for our family.

Days roll into one another, so caught in the snare of streamlining my hours, hit the ground running and spin of my spirit just to try and smooth a rhythm in this new off-balance stretch of season.

And, how can I forget—I mustn’t forget—the world’s on fire and the flames edge wilder each week.

Changes are coming for us all.

 

 

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Read the rest over at ALTARWORK.

Only The Wonder

It feels like I’m the only in a lot of areas.

Only one around who isn’t ecstatic to be where I am.

The only one who isn’t in a serious relationship, married, or having kids.

The only one who has the position I have because I am single and can afford to work crazy hours.

The only one whose loneliness cuts deep, but is too busy and afraid to dive in and examine these heart aches.

Only can be terrible, can be isolating, can be everything I’ve feared with plopping in this new life. This season is one of only, attempting to excuse my disappointment and cover up with what I am assumed to be expected gratefulness. And I am, but I have to think of the thoughts that pulse behind my mind, lingering, letting me know not all is quite well.

If only I could have followed my heart and had my life work out the way I desperately wanted to.

If only I would never had opened my heart in the first place.

If only I knew what was coming, I would have appreciated where I was all the more. //

What if my heartache always lingers? What if it stays burrowed in the base of my bones? If only I never made hopes and expectations of my life, I wouldn’t have been prone to plummet in disappointment.

Only, what if all my disassembled dreams have been unraveled so God could create something beyond my greatest imagining?

There’s only so much time I can spend weighing myself with what is in the past.

Now, there is today.

Here. One breath and then another.

There is only where I stand today, a slow, sweet current brushing the bare soles of my feet.

Only the wonder of what is yet to be.

 

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Continuing my attempt at the Five Minute Friday weekly writing challenge. Five minutes to write on the assigned topic. Raw and unedited. (Yikes!) This week’s topic: Only.   // symbolizes where five minutes stopped, and then I continued writing.

The Place Where Wings Unfurl

Your words begin wrapped in letters.
They are tight, compact upon the page.
I read a line, sweep it against the smooth taste of pen and poetry. These images that bloom from my lips as I dance them to the air release from your fingers to my breath.
White waves of underlying currents roll between each line, their hidden silence rising in the swell of your secrets.
I release each discovered dove deep within my heart. They nestle like children against their mother’s breast.
You have unraveled me; your words lift in grace to the place where wings unfurl.