Sand in my Shell

I’ve been thinking about what rubs me the wrong way
What is uncomfortable
What makes me feel vulnerable and scared, mad and irritated
And I got to thinking about the pearl in an oyster
It got there for all the above mentioned problems
An irritant that didn’t get fixed or even addressed
But, something valuable is created by that friction
That frustration
The timer on the stove that just keeps beeping
A car alarm early on your day off
The dog barking in the middle of the night
A kid barfing
A divorce
and then a death
Staring at the coffin
Burying the dream that has died
And also grandma
Heat going out in an ice storm
An ice storm
Flight delays
Life delays
Spilled milk
It all aggravates and annoys
It’s more than spinach in your teeth
It’s pearl dust in the making
It’s sand, man, and it’s irritating
Pursues you when you’re down
Piles on you when you’re stressed
It is stress
Sand between your toes feels good
Island breezes
Tropical drinks with umbrellas
Sand in your shell is a rainstorm
And no umbrella
Late for work
And your period
It’s a pastor saying what you want to believe
But, don’t want to hear
Patience makes a pearl
But, so does time
And a whole lot of trouble

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Easy like Sunday morning

It’s odd now when Michael leaves for a business trip
The door closes behind him and the quiet of the house is loud
The dogs sit and seem to sulk
I sort of do too
I spent so many days, yearning to be alone
The loss of privacy is something no one prepares you for in the midst of an illness
They hover
But, never leave you alone
So, the house is mine and I await Courtney’s visit
She is no longer a little girl in pigtails that I carry on my hip
She is almost twenty-five and a young woman I deeply admire
Crazy how life just rolls on
By you
To you
In spite of you
Between the hills and valleys the days keep showing up

Linsey, my sisters oldest, just had her second baby
She is the mother that she never had
Mendy gave birth but didn’t raise her kids
So, Linsey is figuring it out and doing a fantastic job
Another young woman I deeply admire

I am back in physical therapy with Nancy (speaking of someone I admire)
She quit a couple of years ago and I lost her
Tina, my hand therapist, moved to a new location in January and there was Nancy!
So, that part of life feels complete and hopeful
I am still recovering and with those two focused on my hands and feet
I feel good about my future

I guess I feel good in general
I have a profound sense of gratitude everyday
I still believe that all this will mean something some day
I tend to laugh a lot and even though my “fifth gear” my not return
I am not sure I want it to
My life is more mellow now
The music I play is more mellow
The manic desires of prestige and popularity are gone
I am present
every moment
every day
The peace, just that brings, is astounding

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Being Invisible

The first time it happened, I was in my 30’s
I was shocked, no, horrified
I never saw it coming
I was completely unprepared
I was referred to as a “mam”
In my defense I was wearing a power suit and I was in an elevator of one of Atlanta biggest law firms.
He was a bicycle delivery guy
He got on, a little sweaty and winded and looked at me and I inside, smiled
I felt good and I looked good
I’d just completed a large sale
He pushed his floor button where he needed to go and said;
“Good morning, mam”
I felt the bottom fall out
My ears started ringing
I didn’t breathe
The shock that I had aged so much that a cute younger guy saw me like a mom, a mam!
It was pivotal in a way I could have never seen coming
Kinda like ending up in a wheelchair

You sit so much lower so I noticed people not looking at me
Or,they looked just over my head enough they appeared to look but really they weren’t
Eye contact never happened
Men never looked, ever
I was at lunch with my friend, Rene. She was pushing me to our table and it was busy and there were people and chairs in the way.
No one helped
No one got up
No one even scooted their chair in
I became invisible
And I felt the bottom drop, again

My beautiful sister spent the last year of her life, homeless on the streets of Tulsa
She had battled addiction for decades and it finally won
I have to imagine she was invisible too
I have often wonder who drove by her
Walked by her
Stood beside her at a light and never saw her
She was so funny and so kind
Did anyone see her beautiful blue eyes?
I hope but I don’t think so

Next time you are out, see the people around you
See them
I am sure there are kids at your kids school that are a little dirty
Not dressed well
See them
Passing a lady who is bald
Someone who is homeless
See them
Bless her
Bless him
If not out loud then to yourself and to God; say “bless you”
All we want in this life is
To be seen
To be heard
And to matter
No one should be invisible any more

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It happened just the same

We all have something, right?
We all have a part in life and we all have a past
We all have said or done or tried something, right?
We all have done wrong, right?
We all have missions and dreams and goals we want to see happen
We all have aspirations
We all want something and we have all had the opposite happen, right?
You put it on the line
Roll the dice
Say the prayer
And it happened just the same
Intentions are good
Dreams are pure
But, one more time
Is the last time
And you never know why
You gambled and lost
And all that you knew
Gets tossed
Blows away
And it happened just the same
A voice screaming into the wind
Isn’t heard
But, it is screaming all the same
A drunk dies, drunk with yellow eyes
I can’t forget her name
I never wanted to lose her
But, it happened just the same

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September 12, 2014

My two year mark is today
Two years!
Seems like a lifetime ago, I was bald, in the bed, waiting for Dr. Burt, the nurses, my stem cells and a Chaplin
I was nervous
Sleep deprived
Anxious and hopeful that they would actually work
That they would restore my health and my body
That I would heal
That I would come home again

I was alone and I was desperate
I am sure I prayed and promised God- anything, everything
I called Michael
Calls to Mom & Dad came next
It was the day we had all been waiting for
The day of my rebirth
A lot was riding on those little cells

So, happy birthday to me…I now have many more

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Beyond Bliss & Despair

You cannot believe how euphoric you feel
You have never loved like this before
Been loved like this
You tingle everywhere
You smile until it hurts
You lie in bed and stretch out your arms and you cannot believe this is your life
That you are this lucky
This girl
He says ” I love you”
You cannot believe your heart can beat this hard, this fast
You dance and laugh
Kiss and dream
And plan
You meet his very wealthy father, who’s aged perfectly and he is gorgeous
He smiles and throws his coat over a shoulder and boards a private plane
You are going to have this life
The wedding
The cake
The dress
All of it is happening and it’s perfection and happiness to a level you never knew
You are young
And your body shakes with the warm possibilities
Until he pulls you aside
Puts your back against a wall and tells you he is HIV positive
You will hold your breath
Shake your head
You will want to run
What do you do
Go home and pull the covers over your head
Lie there and remember every kiss
Every dream
Every detail will play back with vivid clarity
It’s a cruel trick of the mind
Your heart beats heavy and you feel dizzy
How will you move forward?
How will anyone mean that much again?
How will you ever love again?

Despair is a feeling and a place
Anyone who has been injured knows it
Every alcoholic knows where it is
So does everyone that’s had a bad medical diagnosis
Despair doesn’t creep in
It roars in like a category 5 hurricane
It shatters lives and dreams and futures
It blows your mind
Ask anyone who has made it through boot camp
Suffered in the heat, the water, the dark and humped it with a rucksack
Gone days without sleep or food but the goal was in sight
The stripes
The elite status
The war machine was chopping and charging and you came out on top
A special force
You can’t believe you can feel this alive
This Powerful
Untouchable by man or God
Your muscles pulse
Your whole body throbs
You made it and landed in the dessert
The jungle
Your destiny
The beast of the enemy sniffed you out
Locked it’s sights on your life
Your body is now broken
Sight gone
Legs gone
Hands gone
Your face is a roadmap to hell and back
You’ve been to hell and back
How do you live now?
Will you ever care about anything again?
Will you ever walk again?
Love a woman again?
Feel proud again?
How will you ever move forward?

All you have is today
This moment
You can spend your days looking back
Or you can be present now
Your spirit isn’t damaged
It’s not even touched by this tragedy
It is whole and complete
Your soul is unbroken and
This is where love lives
This is the part of you that has peace
Your dreams may have died
But, you didn’t
Life looks different than it did
You look different
You are different
So that’s the reality
The day ahead is all yours
Every second you can choose to be better
Or bitter
Every second there is a choice
And it’s all yours

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Love Fuel

Do you ever wonder what makes us go
Have energy
I think the gas that fuels our lives
Is love
When we give
We get
Every act of kindness adds to your tank
A gesture
A good tip when someone goes just a little extra
Or just because
A kind word
It all adds up
The love can be given to an animal
A plant
Or a guppy
It just has to be alive to count
When we give our time, talents and money
We get it back
It’s really how we survive
The giving to people or animals that can’t give back
Fills our tank even faster
That’s why going to a homeless shelter and giving out blankets
Anything with our hands and hearts keeps us fueled
And feels so good
Same for helping out with animal shelters
Walk a dog that lives in a cement crate all day
Pet a cat that can’t go play outside
That, feels great and fires your soul
You can buy it with money
Giving a dollar
Sending a check will add to your life
But it doesn’t fuel you the same
It’s like the lesser grade gas and only a few dollars worth
That’s why hate can also work as fuel
But it damages whatever tank it goes into
It’s corrosive
When you take from someone
Hurt them
It may feel like you’re vindicated
But it all goes into the tank like a sludge
It’s what fueled Hitler and Stalin and all the others through time
That take
And hate
So when you feel sad, slow and have no desire to go
Look at your actions and thoughts
Are you loving your neighbor?
Are you giving( yes to your kids )
But to who else?
What else?
I honestly believe that the happiest people are the ones who are always
Doing for someone else
Sending a text, an email, a prayer or
A hallmark card
Throwing leftover bread in the yard for the birds
Helping a charity
Holding the door for a stranger
Letting a mom go ahead of you in line so she can get the kids in the car and home
Rolling down your window and giving a couple of dollars you don’t need and will not miss to the homeless person with a cardboard sign
That fuel, fills you up
Makes you calmer and lights your eyes
The more you pour out, pours right back in
It’s just the way it works
It’s the way to really live this life and
Not just exist

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