Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cultivation Of The Heart

In your presence, I felt at home.
I felt awake, alive - whole?
You gave me back something I had thought lost, forgotten - impossible?

You spoke to me in a way no one else did, no one else could,
And I listened to you, storing your words away in my heart with a dangerous hope - 
A hope that was lost, destroyed - misplaced?

Your place in my heart was solely yours.
I trusted you completely without an idea, thought - fear?
That you would hurt me.

But hurt me you did.
I bleed from my heart, from my soul, waiting for this pain to cease - 
The sharpest of pains that leaves me breathless, sick - hopeless?

Trust in no one, I tell myself.  Never again.
The hole you left in my heart is much like your presence in my life once was,
Solely, completely - yours?

I will grieve as long as is necessary, I will not rush to forget,
For my heart is broken and needs tending to,
And I desire it to be healed, free - whole?

Whole it will be again, He says to me in the dark.
I have not forgotten you, He whispers in my hair.
You will love again someday, sometime - soon?

For as surely as the morning comes, so just as surely know,
I am cultivating beautiful things in your heart from this loss.
Things you needed to discover, understand - believe?

Before you could become the woman I created you to be,
A woman I have always been proud to call mine,
A woman with great significance, purpose - heart?

Breathe, my love.
You are understood, accepted - beloved.

Friday, August 26, 2011

For Kate

My dear friend, Kate, lost her older sister very unexpectedly just two weeks ago.  Kate lives in New Orleans and it has been hard to be away from her in this time.  As we cried together tonight over the phone, I couldn't help but think about how short life, in an instant, your life is radically different from what it used to be.  And will never be the same.

Those close to me know that I have always been borderline obsessed with making sure that the people I love know exactly how I feel about them all the time, every day - how much their life and their presence in mine means to me.  It is the possibility of the unexpected that drives me to this.  I am terrified of that phone call that Kate experienced - it takes your breath away.  It makes you crazy.  She said that she screamed a scream that she had never screamed before and wanted to run out into the street with arms flailing because she didn't know what to do with herself.  Now, she just feels alone.  No one understands.  No one knows what to do.  And unfortunately, this usually means that no one does anything at all.

I have no idea what it would feel like to lose a sister.  None at all.  But I have lost.  I have felt and experienced great loss, both through death and circumstance.  And I definitely know what it feels like to be feel so much all the time and to hold that so very close to myself because the truth would be too much to say out loud.  So alone I stand.  Oh, Kate.  My heart aches for you...I love you so much.

In the presence of darkness, stand tall.  Allow yourself to simply be.  Try to let people in a little bit at a time, but be careful about who you choose.  For the treasure of an open heart can be easily abused and mistreated...misunderstood.  Know that you are loved.  So loved - and at the end of the day, if you stand in your own meadow of hope and awareness of who you truly are - it won't matter so much that people don't understand.  For you will know by this who desires to love you for where you are at.  And though this awareness will never replace the one you have lost, it most certainly will plant a seed that will - in time - create a deep peace within your soul that whispers to you in those dark moments - "You are not alone."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Watch Me Soar

When I was just a baby bird, I fell out of the nest.  It was a long and painful fall that should, should, should have killed me.  I wished, wished, wished that it would have; instead, my fall only left me crippled and alone.  I chirped, chirped, chirped "come save me!" "come see me!" "come take me home!" where I would be safe.  No one heard me.

I jumped, jumped, jumped on my one good leg from tree to tree to find someone who would take me in; give me a home; help me feel safe.  I stared, stared, stared up at the beautiful trees.  There were many, many, many that I saw that looked to be perfect for a baby bird like me.  I sang, sang, sang my sad song to the trees with my neck stretched upwards towards their branches.  The trees whispered among themselves in debate.  It was a risk, risk, risk to take me in.  But the song I sang; oh, it was mesmerizing.  They could not, not, not say no.  I made my home in their midst and flitted from one tree to another to make sure, sure, sure I had found the best one.  I rested, rested, rested at long last.

One night a great windstorm came and I was not, not, not strong enough to stay.  I fell, fell, fell again; this fall more painful, even, than the first.  I could not fly.  I could not flit.  I could not sing.  I was dead, dead dead inside and gave up all hope.  I spent many, many, many days and nights alone without a single chirp.  I waited, waited, waited for the animals to come and carry me away.  I willed, willed, willed them to come.  They did not.

A little boy came one day and found, found, found me.  He took me home to his house and nursed me back to health. He loved, loved, loved me despite the fact that I could not fly and could not walk.  He sang, sang, sang to me in hopes that I would sing back to him.  He did not know that I had decided long ago to never, never, never sing again.  I watched, watched, watched this boy skeptically and waited for him to give up on me.  He never, never, never did.  He cried, cried, cried at night for me and prayed with all his might that I would sing and fly again.  I watched on in sorrow.  For I wanted, wanted, wanted to be what this boy thought I was.

In the afternoons, he would cart me around in a hand-made bird bed made just for me to show, show, show me a world that felt strange.  He took, took, took me one day to a doctor who knew everything about me.  The doctor said not a word.  But his eyes; they held something I wanted for myself.  We spoke, spoke, spoke to each other without words for a very long time.  I felt, felt, felt something I had forgotten.  I timidly let out a small chirp, full of fear.  He smiled, smiled, smiled at me and encouraged me to sing.  I was silent, silent, silent for a long time.  He waited patiently.  I began to sing my sad song very softly for him and he stopped, stopped, stopped me with a look.  I quieted and was confused, confused, confused.  It was the only song I knew.  I wanted, wanted, wanted to please him but did not know how.  He waited.  I waited.  Slowly I began again, again, again my familiar song.  He stopped me once more with his eyes.  They were sad, sad, sad eyes full of love and compassion.

I realized, realized, realized in an instant what he wanted from me.  I inhaled and took, took, took the deepest breath I had ever mustered.  I blindly, blindly, blindly began a new song; beautiful and true married strange and unfamiliar in the minutes that followed as I sang my little heart out; a new song.  He nodded, nodded, nodded with pride and approval.  I beamed, beamed, beamed at him and basked in his love.  He reached, reached, reached down and scooped me up.  He took me to his window and set me down, down, down gingerly.  I cringed, cringed, cringed away from the sunlight.  I tried to tell him with my eyes that I could not fly; that my wings, wings, wings had been permanently damaged beyond repair.  Once, once, once more he waited.  Once more his eyes, eyes, eyes implored me to try.  I hopped, hopped, hopped to the edge and looked out at the world I had convinced myself only brought hurt.  I sang, sang, sang my sad song once more and looked to him for permission to back away.  He did not give me what I wanted.

I sat, sat, sat on this window ledge for days that turned into weeks that turned into months that turned into years.  The doctor came to be with me every, every, every day and watched me look out his window hopefully; fearfully.  I could not, not, not let him down.  I needed, needed, needed to show him that he was wrong about me; that I was not capable of this feat.  Without, without, without thinking one afternoon I reached out my broken wing towards the world and put all my weight into my final fall.  I was ready, ready, ready to die.    I fell, fell, fell.  Suddenly, a breeze caught my good wing and flung me upwards.  I grappled, grappled, grappled with my bad wing, willing it to catch up to the other with all the strength my frail body was capable of.  I was scared, scared, scared and waited to hit the ground.

A miracle, miracle, miracle happened as I felt my wing respond to my efforts.  I teetered, teetered, teetered from left to right as I tried to gain momentum and stay aflight.  And just like that - I was soaring, soaring, soaring in the air.  A joy, joy, joy filled my small heart as I turned to look at the doctors' window; for there he was.  Smiling, smiling, smiling and jumping up and down screaming out with all his might, "I knew you could!  I knew you would!  Oh, how I have been waiting for this day!"  I sang my new song and soared around him while he clapped, clapped, clapped.  I felt free for the first, first, first time in my life and absolutely beautiful.  Watch me soar, soar, soar dear friend.  Watch me soar.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Paradox Prayer...And Jill

My spiritual mentor introduced me to the concept of the paradox prayer early in our sessions together.  This prayer is something designed to bring us back to the Truth vs. our own human inclinations towards self-destructive behavioral patterns, thoughts and feelings about ourselves.  It's something I have struggled with from the beginning - this admittance of your deepest fears spoken out loud; your worst thoughts/feelings about yourself in conjunction with how God sees these fears and how He sees you.  The end result can bring hope and clarity, but the process is painful.

Jill meets with the same spiritual mentor I do and I have always found it liberating and helpful beyond words that we can speak the same language in this way and help point each other towards Truth in our struggles.  Jill loves the paradox prayer and has an easier time wrapping her head around the premise of it than I do.  But it wasn't always this way for her.  I was sitting across the table from her yesterday morning and asked her how she would explain the paradox prayer to someone who knew nothing about it.  She said something like this...

The paradox prayer is just that - a paradox.  It's bringing into the Light things we fear we are or fear we will become.  Directly after stating out loud said fear, we make a statement - a true statement...that God loves and accepts us in spite of this fear and that because of this, we love and accept ourselves as well.  She used an example of one of my fears - "Even though I am unlovable, God loves and accepts me.  Even though I am unlovable, I love and accept myself."

I countered - "But deep down I don't think that I am unlovable.  It seems like you are promoting negative self-talk in the paradox prayer and it makes you feel bad.  Can't you say, even if I am unlovable...?"

She explained that the words someone chooses for their paradox prayer are deep fears, and that even if deep down we don't believe that theses words we choose are true about ourselves, the fact that we think them on some logical level means that it is something we believe or fear to be true.  Therefore, it is important that we speak them in a "worst case scenario" context in order for the paradox prayer to bring true freedom.  The prayer brings you out of human emotion and fear and forces you to focus on the only thing that really matters - how God sees you.  Nothing else matters.  We should all see ourselves and each other in this way.  It brings security, freedom and hope and enables us to view ourselves and those around us in a healthy way.

Thanks, Jill.  So, this one is for God, myself and Jill...

Even though I am unlovable, God loves and accepts me.
Even though I am unlovable, I love and accept myself.

Even though I am insecure, God loves and accepts me.
Even though I am insecure, I love and accept myself.

Even though I am abandoned, God loves and accepts me.
Even though I am abandoned, I love and accept myself.

Even though I am worthless, God loves and accepts me.
Even though I am worthless, I love and accept myself.

Even though I am discarded, God loves and accepts me.
Even though I am discarded, I love and accept myself.

Even though I am brokenhearted, God loves and accepts me.
Even though I am brokenhearted, I love and accept myself.

Even though I am weak and needy, God loves and accepts me.
Even though I am weak and needy, I love and accept myself.

Even though I am pathetic, God loves and accepts me.
Even though I am pathetic, I love and accept myself.

Even though I am broken, God loves and accepts me.
Even though I am broken, I love and accept myself.

Even though I am insignificant, God loves and accepts me.
Even though I am insignificant, I love and accept myself.

Even though my self-worth is centered in all the wrong places and people, God loves and accepts me.
Even though my self-worth is centered in all the wrong places and people, I love and accept myself.

Even though I am alone, God loves and accepts me.
Even though I am alone, I love and accept myself.

And then from the emptiness of my broken soul and spirit He said to me,

Nothing else matters but My love for you and how I view you.  People have a choice.  How they view you will not always be accurate.  Their choices to love you or reject you are their own and about them; not you.  I love you endlessly.  You are perfect and blameless.  I want your whole heart.  I want you to trust Me and put your hope in Me and Me alone.  I will heal you.  I am enough.  It doesn't matter to Me that you are not unlike one of My calves learning to walk for the millionth time on wobbly, unstable legs.  I am so very proud of you.  I will show you My heart if you chase after Me as I continue to chase after you.  I am not afraid of baby steps.  We will get there together if you let Me in.  Trust Me, Jamie.  Trust Me.  I will not fail you and desire to show you unspeakably beautiful things about My heart and your own.  I know you are terrified but I promise I will always love you and will never leave you.  Move forward with confidence.  You are mine.

And I whispered "thank you" through my tears.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Beloved

Believe me when I tell you that My heart broke each time I watched you experience pain...I didn't want that for you.  You thought for so long that I left you out on a cliff by yourself to scream and yell and cry - arms beating the air with clenched fists balled so tight no human could pry them apart.  You went to that cliff because you wanted to be where no one could reach you...the strong, stubborn heart I gave you listened to lies, giving you a false sense of control and comfort in the pain you feel at home in.  I stood just behind you there on the edge every time, waiting for you to grab My hand so I could pull you to a less precarious place.  You wanted to do it yourself and I gave you the freedom to try.

I remember the last day you went there alone with great pride.  It was a particularly stormy night with winds that threatened to knock you over the edge and a rain that stung your upturned face.  You acknowledged Me in that moment.  You were honest.  And as you screamed and cried I sent My ocean - waves large and beautiful to crash at the bottom of your cliff; so loud they drowned out your voice.  You stopped, turned around and looked at Me with broken, beautiful eyes.  We stared at each other wordlessly for hours as the wind whipped around us mercilessly and the ocean roared below.  With tears streaming down your face you reached our your hand towards Me.  I took it and pulled you in close.  You only let Me hold you for a second, but I am not afraid of baby steps.

You still go to the cliff, but it's different now.  It is no longer your cliff, but our cliff and you allow Me to hold you for longer and longer moments each time.  I love you completely.  And though you can never comprehend the depths of My love, you have finally understood that in Me, every ending is a new beginning.  I have always had a bright future planned for you, my darling, and I'm excited to unveil it.  Watch and see.  I cannot be anything but good.

All My Love For All Eternity,

Your Father


What does being in the desert look like for you?  How does your heart feel when you wake in the morning?  When you pray, do you hear Him?  Do you feel loved for who you are deep down inside or who you pretend to be?  Are you scared?  Do you cry tears of brokenness?  And who do you let in?  Who can you trust and how do you know you are safe?  Who do you speak to about these things if anyone at all...

Early morning sun wakes me and I roll over and murmer "no."  First tears of the day bring sadness instead of relief.  I lay in bed for several minutes speaking to You aloud in phrases; phrases that only You can understand.  I do not hear You.  The silence is palpable.  I am struck by a deep fear that this desert I am in will be forever...that I will never leave; that You want me to learn something I am incapable of retaining.  This brokenness; this brokenness - this is not Your plan for me.  It cannot be.  Yet my fear of letting go of my heart holds me in chains to this state of being.  I am strong and stubborn; fiery and passionate; strong-willed and prideful.  These attributes in me beckon me to the dark place...I want to embrace them and hate You.  I want to blame You.  I want to run from You.  But I cannot do any of these things because the Truth is more powerful.  You tell me that I am wonderfully made, but I cannot see it.  I refuse to see it because my assuredness in who I believe myself to be tells me otherwise.  I am begging You to take me from here; take me to a safe place where I can be with You and curl up in a ball on your lap and cry in safety.  I cannot learn here - in my desert.  I am frozen in pain and cannot address what I need to within myself because of it.  You say that You love me and I foolishly believe You.  Please...take me away.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Premature Heartbreak

I heard your cries from my room where I wasn't sleeping.

It was 2 o'clock in the morning and I flipped over to my other side, adjusted my pillow and exhaled loudly. I closed my eyes and began to think about the next day; we would find out what we got on our Math test - I hope I got an "A", I'm pretty sure I only missed one...

An ice cold wave cut through me in less than a second as I remembered you, and I jumped to my feet and ran for the door so fast that I ran into it.  I was propelled backwards from the impact and staggered to regain my footing.  Grasping around in the dark for the doorknob, I found it and flung the door open so hard that it came right back at me and nearly got me again.

Your room was only a few doors down from mine.  I ran inside and saw the shadow of your body sitting up in bed.  My heart stopped beating as you reached your hand out towards me and choked out my name through your tears.  I sat down on the bed across from you, grabbed your little 7 yr. old body and hugged you hard.  You hugged me back and re-positioned yourself so you were on my lap, arms wrapped around my neck.  I felt your tears on my neck and your body heaving with sobs.

"Shhhhhh, shhhhhh, shhhhhhh,"  I said over and over again as I rocked you back and forth, lips pressed to the side of your face.  "It's OK, it's OK.  I'm here.  You're OK."

"I, I, I, miss, miss, miss...DADDY," you wailed.  You were so upset that I could only make out bits and pieces of what you said for the next few minutes as you cried the kind of cry that only comes from a broken heart.

"Shhhhhhh, shhhhhh, I know.  I know, baby girl.  I know," my own voice broke in a muffled sob that stopped somewhere in my throat.  We continued to rock back and forth together and soon your cries subsided to whimpers and catching of breath sounds.

"Is he going to come back?" you asked me quietly, still grasping me tightly with both arms around my neck.

"I don't know," I whispered in your hair.

"Why did he leave?"

"I don't know."

"Did I do something wrong?"

I disentangled myself from your grasp and pulled back just far enough so you could see my face.  I needed you to hear me; needed you to see me; needed you to believe me.

"No.  No.  No, you did not.  It doesn't have anything to do with you.  He loves you very much," I said.

"But if he loves me, then why did he go?" you asked with genuine confusion in your voice.

I hesitated and grabbed you close again because I needed time to think.  I needed to say the right thing.  I couldn't let you down.  But I couldn't break your heart again by lying and giving you false hope.  I didn't answer for quite some time and you allowed the silence.

"He's confused and needs time to think," I answered finally.  "It's like when we get in trouble and mom sends us to our room to think about what we did.  It helps to be alone to think sometimes."

"Did he get in trouble for something?" you asked.

I realized in that moment how unprepared I was for this; how short I fell from where I wanted to be for you.  And I felt a surge of anger that started in my stomach and slowly made its way up my throat and then out my eyes as silent tears fell unnoticed on the top of your head.

"No, it was an example.  Hmmm, let me think of another know how when I get home from school I go up to my room to write in my journal and I shut the door and I get mad at you guys when you come and bother me?"  My throat ached with the tears I needed to cry and it made my voice sound funny but you didn't notice.

"Yeah," you said sheepishly.

"It's like that.  When you get older, you will need to be alone sometimes to think and just be by yourself. It helps sometimes, you know," I said with as much resolution as I could muster.

"I don't like to be alone.  I always want you to be with me," you said firmly.

"Then I will be," I answered quietly.

"That's what daddy said, too, and he left still," you said and looked up at me for answers.

"Yes, he did.  He did.  Now, I'm going to read you one little story and then you have to go back to sleep, OK?" I said brightly.

"Oh, yay!  Can I pick out which one?" you asked as you leaped for your bookshelf.

"Yes, but I have to approve it," I answered.  "We have to get some sleep before school tomorrow.  So no long ones!  I know how you work."

"Okayyyyyyy," you said, looking at me sideways because you had a long one in your hand and were hoping I didn't notice.  I didn't have the heart to disappoint you and was sure you would fall asleep soon anyway so I didn't say anything.  Smiling to myself, I gathered you in my lap and began to read.  Soon enough, you fell asleep and I turned off the light, covered you up and went back to my room.

I remember crying myself to sleep that night and praying that mom or dad or both would come home soon because I felt like I was either going to die of heartbreak or drive myself crazy if I had to do this alone for much longer.  The alarm woke me after sleeping for not much more than an hour and I shuffled down to the kitchen to make three lunches.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Birth Of Innocence

I am many things to you, I imagine...

I am your firstborn.  I know that you must have anticipated my entry into the world with bated breath, scared to death as every parent must be, that you would ruin me in some way.  As imperfect beings, this is inevitable.  We carry what we have become and who we are at the core into our interactions with others.  These things take shape and form to become something horrible or beautiful.  In photographs, you beam with pride as you hold me in your arms...innocence in the arms of a monster.  Daddy's little girl.

I am the reminder of who you once were.  Headstrong and capable, independent and prideful, intelligent and passionate - charming as hell.  You could walk into a room and bring light when you chose to...I know that trick.  You could have a conversation with someone and make them feel like they are worth a million dollars...I know that one, too.  You could make someone fall in love with you and dismiss them in the same moment...also guilty.  When my mother used to tell me in anger that I was just like you, it turned my stomache.  I wonder how you would feel if you knew that...

I am the one who turned my back on you all those years ago...the one you resent the most because you never thought I would do it.  You thought you could live for yourself and fulfill your selfish desires; you thought you were entitled to whatever made you happy in the moment and everyone else could deal with it.  You thought you were that important and I proved you wrong.  I took away your power and control for a heartbeat in time and you hated me for it.

The truth is, daddy, that you taught me a lot.  You taught me to protect myself at all costs.  You taught me not to trust.  You taught me to have the upper hand so you can't get hurt.  You taught me that controlling and manipulating people was the only way to get what you want.  You taught me that men only care about the aesthetic.  You taught me that marriage was a sham.  You taught me that God doesn't care about the heart.  You taught me that leaders in the church are not to be trusted.  You taught me that my self-worth is dependent on what other people think about me.  You taught me all that.  But here's the thing...

I will be a mom one day.  I will mess up.  I will fail.  I will disappoint.  But the qualities you lacked the most in parenting have turned into some of my biggest assets.  Because of what you have taught me, I desire to be the opposite.  I am self-aware.  I know what my tendencies are and I work hard almost daily to check myself...check my heart, check my motivations.  I search for truth.  I strive to be honest and transparent with the people I love.  I want to be held accountable for my actions and choices.  I have had to learn the hard way that I am only responsible for myself and I need to let everything else go.  I try very hard to speak truth into others' lives.  I desire to love and be loved from a humble, God-centered place I call my imago dei.

No one has ever hurt me the way you have, and I hope I will be able to forgive you for that someday.  But rest assured that everything you taught me was not in vain.  Just like He promised, God is working out something beautiful and pure and innocent through the pain.  I would imagine that would be every parents' hope...that even though they do indeed "ruin" the innocent, that there is a God that their beloved would grow to know and love that will save them from the monster they have most assuredly embodied.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Country Strong Spoiler

I saw Country Strong with my mom this afternoon.  I am not a movie snob in the least, but I thought it was a great movie...and as with anything in my life that impacts me on a deep level, I have been lost in thought for hours.

The main female character (Gwyneth Paltrow) had just gotten out of rehab for alcohol abuse.  She was a country music superstar and had gotten wasted before a show while she was on tour.  She fell off stage while she was performing and lost her baby 5 months into her pregnancy.  Obviously, this was a huge scandal and it was a very big deal for her to go on tour again a year later.

This character, Kelly, grabbed me.  She was beautiful and talented with millions of adoring fans.  There was a frailty to her that was devastating.  She needed constant affirmation from the people who loved her and was constantly asking them how talented she was, how sexy she was, how she "still had it" in light of younger, more beautiful singers that had come on the scene in her elongated absence.  She was desperately trying to hang onto her marriage, but going about it the completely wrong way.  She continued to drink when she got out of rehab, despite the efforts by her husband and her friends to monitor her actions.  She choked onstage multiple times, slept around and was ultimately so messed up, confused and unhappy by the end that she killed herself.  It was awful. 

What made it more horrific was that when she had gotten to Dallas, the city where the scandal went down, she was petrified to perform but really wanted to show everyone that she could face her demons and kill the Kelly she wanted to be.  And she put on an amazing performance there...she sparkled and came to life and just OWNED the stage.  It was just after this that she went into her dressing room and took a bottle of pills.

Thing is, she had people around her that spoke truth to her.  People that tried to "get in" and lend her support.  She wanted to be better and tried multiple times to tell herself positive things she could hang onto, but in the end it just wasn't enough.  Her entire self worth was wrapped into an image, put on her by the general population, but ultimately by herself.

Image is a dangerous thing to hold closely to one's self.  Internal expectations are tricky.  If you can't be yourself at the end of the day and really love who you are, what happens to you?  People thought Kelly was crazy...SHE thought she was crazy.  Was she?  All I know is that I wonder if I am crazy all the time and haven't come up with an answer.  What if MOST people feel crazy but never talk about it, and as a result the people who actually DO talk about it end up feeling so isolated and alone and weird in their thoughts all the time they can never be brought up from the dark place?  That is profoundly sad to me...that there could be support and comfort for people in bad places if everyone could just stop being afraid, be honest and know how to talk to each other.

At the end of the day, don't we all just want to be OK?  To be ourselves and to have that be enough?  To be allowed to feel and respond to life in a way that can be shared with those we love?  What would it be like to feel safe?  I imagine it would feel like you're on a stage with thousands of people cheering you on, celebrating your successes with you while you do the thing you love most in the world.  But instead of going into your room by yourself at the end of the night to cry alone in the darkness, someone will come to beat down the door 'til you let them in.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baby Girl

In the summer, we woke with the sun.  Our time together had given way to systematic behavior and routine.  We loved each other well – deeply and unconditionally.  Runs in the neighborhood and my undivided attentions were things you loved best about your life.  I planned my days and nights around you and your needs, never desiring any other way of life.

You were there to love me through relocations and the loneliness that came with that.  Foreign people and places were dealt with together.  Our close friends used to tell me that you were a direct manifestation of who I am at the core – strong and stubborn, proud and private, loving and cynical all at the same time.  We were complicated and multidimensional and liked to dare people to understand and love us in spite of these things.

You were there to love me through broken hearts and relationships, of which there were many.  I cried on you in the privacy of our room as you looked on with sad eyes, not understanding but accepting of where I was at.  You gave me purpose in these times each morning we woke, even on the days I wished I had slept forever and never seen our sun again.  Your happy face and eagerness to attack the day was contagious and impossible to ignore.  I wanted you to be happy.

We hated the rain.  California girls at heart, we battled the Portland elements together with countdowns to a different season.  You never wanted to run in anything but the sun and I made you anyway – I told you we couldn’t stop doing the things we loved just because it was hard.  I wouldn’t allow it.

It has been a year since you died.  A hard, unbearable year of pain I have not believed could ever be different.  When you left, you took a piece of my fragmented heart with you.  People who knew you told me in love that I would never be the same, and I now know this to be true.  I want to believe that our sun will come out again, but it has yet to show itself.  And what of my broken heart and the shell of a person I look at in the mirror?  I have lost myself in pain and fear and no longer remember who I used to be – no longer remember who I wanted to be.  I only know that I want to be in a different place but come up short when I try.  I want to wake again with our sun and smile, but no longer have you to hide behind.  I am exposed and vulnerable; completely without control.

I carry your memory with me daily and hear you telling me I can’t stop doing the things I love just because it’s hard.  You won’t allow it.  And I laugh in your face and say “watch me” through my tears.