Nameless.

Endless cycles of broken and breaking only to scar and tear and scar again. Layer upon layer upon layer upon layer and there’s no escape from the torment. The demons won’t leave. No peace. No safe space… Guarded hidden behind a wall of lies.. Fakery the only language. Life devoid of hope.. Devoid of living water. No refreshment.

Empty business fills the days and the sweat of labor is squalled away in all the inbetween hours. Nights are filled with numbing and distraction that pulls down deeper darker…its blackness intoxicates and consumes.. Contrasted only by bright empty eyes and flashy false smiles that scream as they seduce with empty promises of fulfillment, and satisfaction .To have it all… To hold excess. ..but they steal more then they give robbing life with every round. Draining a soul dry…

Battered and bruised by the work of own hands. Unconscious self-sabotage…drags under again. Like a black hole it consumes all around .. Promising to devour..decite has hold in its ice-cold grasp … And it must be a welcoming space I think .. better than the endless fighting of conscious.To proud to reach out. To ashamed to seek help.No recognition of truth amoung lies .

And here we are.. Life stopped short. Can a trauma be a saving grace?

Can this hell bring healing?

Does destruction herald restoration? Can so many broken hearts be healed?

Can a shattered life, family find grace for the new day?

Cause in this space of blackness. Of the darks cold breath down ones neck it seems that all is lost forever.

Truth is messy. But this mess is said to promise freedom?

And I don’t see how but I’m beginning to understand.. Heaven has loved me and loaned me his eyes to view the unlovely with glorious insight.

The stripping of secrets..Now only serve to dig the other deeper. No way to stop truths explosion.

Undoing is grace?

My eyes now opened. . . No longer held spell bound in a fantasy of falseness.

Heart break is grace?

This madness… Insanity. Absence of logic and kindness is freedom somehow as it makes the letting go easier..the absence sweeter still .

But this I don’t understand. Is there freedom in madness? Is insanity a reprieve? does it hold promise too or is this blackness exposed in all its filth?

And I begin to grasp that the only way to unstick us from the others demise was to shatter it all..to tear it apart exposing the darkness..we couldn’t save ourselves so heaven intervened.

And somehow in the unsticking of this other, we become free. Eyes wide open. Life exposed, false reality shattered and there is freedom here.

Can trauma hold healing? Can this chaos be blessed and produce fruit? Is destruction life-giving?

And all I know is what I see and what I see with eyes of heaven is divine hands holding us. Leading us… Dirty broken hurting us. He walks us through and breathes grace..intertwining us with love working it all for good.

Here hope lies waiting… When the anger wanes. When I loosen my grip on the ache..hope draws breath.

This is a year of restoration,and while in no way does it look like I thought it would ,he is a God of his word.

Mess

For a long time I’ve held my tongue ..then one day not so long ago our world came undone …..

How do I do this… Hold my head up and walk in faith? For the longest time I’ve held disappointments hand… I know the valleys well.

Well trodden paths of heartache and loneliness. I’ve survived on scraps of affection between round after round of tear down . All the while believing a new dawn was coming…I stayed the course. Honoured my vows.

Believed and held firm to the promises given… and now here I am.

Betrayed. Sinking.

Fear creeps closer as the rage that’s not my own echos through the atmosphere unhinged it lingers threatening .Hope and trust is shattered again and again … the weight of this life and all its responsibilities cave in on me. My hands are empty and trembling. Feet stand on borrowed ground. Nothing is certain and stability forgotten.

There are 4 little hearts in tow too and I just don’t know how to navigate this… So many voices. Opinions. Instructions. A to-do list that threatens to destroy any remaining sanity. … No peace to get quite. No space to be still. except in these long night shift hours…

But I’m so tired.

I’ve let my heart harden in self-protection ..put my desires and dreams to bed.

Disgust fills the space that once loved deep… Shame ,in my foolishness of not reading the cues, weaves a cloak that hangs heavy off my shoulders.

I can’t even pray as I used to.. words feel empty and echo in this in-between space… Even tears are better than numb..but here I am.. Allowing numb so I can function. Something I swore I’d never do again.

I don’t like the girl this walk is creating. Faith falls flat as the risk of holding it seems too much to bear.

And I don’t even know what I want.. The dream is now unbelievably tainted. Hope seems poison.

Friends who should have held our hearts and warned us of the impending storm didn’t… Integrity is a lost art it seems .

And these 4 little hearts are shattered.

Childhood done with at lightening speed. And I’m to broken to hold them in the way they need most.

I can’t stop the onslaught. I can’t stem the incoming tide. Each encounter breaking the ties that connect them a little more. The bonds that are precious so willfully frayed and he does not see or is it care enough for them and I can’t stop it.

My words are hollow. Shallow comfort to their aching bones. . .

Betrayed, lied too, let down, again and again, and again.

This mess less glorious than ever before… At the end of myself.

I crave dream free sleep. To switch off and not exist for as long as it takes for this season to pass. This is the valley of death. Its dark here..no air.

Where is my rescuer?.my breakthrough?

Always on time? Ever faithful? Always good?

No, my faith isn’t missing. Not lost in this storm… Just my capacity to rise..the buoyancy that’s carried me through so much thus far is ebbing… My fight is empty..halfhearted and vague… Bitterness sneaks around the corners of my mind and I am jaded.

This is not who I want to be. This all-consuming ache will not be the definer of my story.

I tell myself it’s only a chapter..the page will turn soon. There’s more to this life then this valley… I long for mountaintop views. Stability. Freedom…to live life not balanced on the rare good grace of tyrannical other but to be free to write my own ending.

To lift these 4 little hearts high and show them the world. I crave adventure…freedom and light. Its been dark for so long.. Surely the turnaround is overdue?

Surely enough of the trauma. I’ve kept my end still. Still stand, still honour, Still trust. But I need to breathe and oxygen is missing … When will this end ?How much more can a broken heart take before it withers entirely? Feels like a final blow to end a long season of being hammered.

The highs and lows are never seen coming and change so very quickly I can’t keep up… Being thrown around like a rag doll is taking its toll.

I’m told I’m strong. But strength isn’t knowing how to roll with the punches. I see stupidity maybe as I keep getting up and placing heart in the ring…..

And then somehow truths explosive appearance comes unsought and unexpected again and I am undone.

But once the rage explodes through me making victims of memories then settles again I find new freedom in this in-between…

Maybe each increment of ground walked is a slow and steady path to freedom?

As groans of ache give way to a lionesses growl and the intimidation and shame I wrongly carried slips off my shoulders , I even now already seem to stand a little taller. A little more steady…

Feet more sure, Heart ready to push back the bully out of our way… Not willing to be shut down, silenced or intimidated any longer.No Im done with fear.

Taking back the right to live free starts with owning the truth.

No more shame… No more hidden ache. It’s out for all the world to see.

And here I find the strength to see through eyes of faith that in whatever we lost holds nothing in comparison to what’s to come.

Broken

I’m in the Emergency Department in a 4-bedded room partitioned with long grey curtains … I followed the ambulance here that came to collect my dad.

Dad is in a lot of pain… and despite the buzz in here, everything is moving frustratingly slowly.

The bed beside us has a lady. She is my mother’s age. Short brown-grey hair with magenta streaks and slippers with holes in the toe. She has come in because she blacked out and fell splitting her head open. She blacked out because she has a drug addiction … Endone… Oxycontin and whatever else she can manage to swing a script for. There was a valid reason she started down this road. A fall left her damaged..but now she’s hooked. The meds have swallowed her up. She’s crying because her partner has left in a huff. Probably over it. She fell just now trying to get out of bed and is so high she can’t stand properly or speak in full sentences … She’s got this high pitched breathy cry…Like a soft wail from someone who’s totally given up the fight.No light in those eyes… Bloodshot red-ringed melancholy. Sunken behind heavy lids. The social worker notices a slit across her wrist. The lady doesn’t know how it got there.

In the bed across from her is a diabetic lady. My age or maybe a little older.Pretty rounded face. Dark skin. She’s hooked up to something pumping life back into her arm and is silently resting in the bed. Her feet are visible between the gap in the curtains… One shoe on, one off. Her toes on the barefoot are swollen and there are sores visible around the nails. The nurses ask her when she last checked her sugar levels? Her feet? How is her diet? She can’t remember. She doesn’t bother with that stuff. She’s vacant and distracted. I wonder if she realizes what she’s risking by not paying attention? Or maybe she doesn’t care? Shes a frequent flyer here it seems.

The next bed held an old homeless man. Somewhat deaf. Incontinent, no shoes… Cellulitis, gangrene and coming off a high…His legs were thinner than my 7-year-olds. No shoes. No shirt. It is cool out tonight. I wonder if anyone is missing him? He hurts a lot…I know this cause he moaned a lot… He’s gone now moved to another bed.

A man my father’s age has slid into his spot. Well dressed but unkept. He is chatty but slurring heavily. Hes had a night of binge drinking. He is an epileptic and has had several seizures since being brought in …..when he is conscious he tries hard to sweet talk the nurses…They all know him it seems. Perhaps this is a regular Midweek evening for him? The nurses are kind and respectful. But when they leave his expression shifts to one of blank emptiness…More dark eyes.

Another hour passes and this beds resident changes again. This time a man a little older than me. Bone cancer. He is here because he has server pain…He’s also an epileptic..a drug addict and homeless. His “friends” stole his pain meds and seizure meds so he’s been a few days without them… and judging by the look of it its been even longer between a bed and a meal. He asks the nurses to please leave the lights on and not pull the curtains, he is afraid of the dark. He needs tranquilizers to sleep and fights the heavy eyes until the medications kick in and he’s out cold, unconscious but it doesn’t last long. These are the darkest eyes in this place. He holds my gaze once or twice before looking away. I see the darkness that he fears isn’t caused by the night outside but the haunting that’s happening inside his mind. He cuts a ghoulish figure. All angles, and no color. It is hard to believe there is life there at all. Just a boney frame draped in the white hospital blanket.

Then there’s Dad. We came in at just the right time. He went down quickly. They have taken blood and the usual barrage of testing that leukemia patients are given when they have a crisis. The tests have been sent to the lab and now we wait. It took 2 hrs for the pain relief to take the edge off enough so he could lay still and he has finally stopped vomiting unless he has to move and then it starts again. The last two bags were stained brown and red. He saw and tried to tell me it was the lamb he ate yesterday so I wouldn’t worry… But it’s blood and stomach lining. His temps up a bit but the fluids are running now and while its buzzing in here with machines and nurses exhaustion wins and he has finally fallen into a light sleep. Only to be woken by screaming in the next cubicle along.

A young girl screams and then two men’s voices and running footsteps fill the air as the cavalry arrives. It seems her boyfriend has flipped. The drugs override his humanity and he lashed out a stabbed a security guard. He’s screaming now as they struggle to restrain him. He screams that he is a victim. He needs water. He’s having a stroke- according to him, he can’t breathe. But yet can still scream for what feels like close to an hour ..promises not to spit on them again.. Just “please let me go” he begs over and over. Oh God, please don’t let them untie him!

She, the girl, is sobbing onto the shoulder of a nurse who consoles her. She is very young and looks pregnant but I could be mistaken. I want to tell her to run. Leave and don’t look back. She’s scared of her man that’s easy to see. A lot of us are tonight as he rages and rants. For someone who is breathless, he’s sure got some lungs.

They decide to keep dad in and call upstairs for a bed. More tests and scans. He will stay in this place until a bed opens up on the ward. That might not be until tomorrow.

I stay a little longer.

It’s pushing 3 am now and my car is a billion miles away in the carpark. Dad insists I go and get some sleep. I’m told I’ll need an escort to my car but I’ll have to wait a while as security is “busy” out front. “Best stay inside a bit longer,” they say.

Security stays busy and two wardsmen are asked to take me out the back way. I ask these men if this is the norm. “It is” they reply. They are eager to share the frustrations with me. The guard who was stabbed tonight was attacked last week too. This hospital, a Cancer Center, is also the home for Mental health and toxicology. The demand on the ED vast outways its resources and the staff bear the brunt of the issues.

I drive home in the early morning hours. The streets are empty save a few rough sleepers and I’m weighed down by the helplessness I feel for my father and the dark eyes that held mine tonight. This is my definition of hell… A place without hope, a total absence of light….and I wonder how this story ends? How do you inject hope into hopelessness… What’s the solution?

More money? Will more awareness and a better funding packet be enough to rescue this humanity? Has it ever been enough before?

What drives us to chase escape? What lie do we believe so wholeheartedly that it consumes us until there is nothing left? What is it that blinds our eyes and seals our hearts closed to each other’s plight. Each to their own..no hand to hold to pull us through and up and out again.

What has to be broken in us for us to accept this as all there is? Dark eyes hold no hope of freedom, no escape.

I won’t accept this fate. This lie that says this is all life holds. That we can’t change our fate or even change our very stars.

There is more. I know this. I’ve walked these halls before and even amongst the darkness tasted and seen the beauty that calls us to come out of the shadows. The whisper that calls us by name to hunt down that light that will chase out our dark.

The only way to beat this hopelessness is with hope itself. To overrun darkness with light.

To walk as light bearers arms stretched out wide. All-embracing, outrageously loving…to offer hands of grace to the falling and speak life over the graves.

I’ve realized that courage to brave foolishness is what’s required..its not steely resolve but surrended vulnerability that breeds connection…births hope .

Hope is a life raft that promises a better tomorrow.Love is the only ransom that buys back the stolen.

Collectables

 

 

I am a sentimental with an artistic bent. That is to say, I have a habit of collecting stuff. Treasures/ junk, call it what you will. I can’t help but fall in love with rusty sweet tins and vintage linens. I become emotionally attached to old canvas duffle bags and retro kitchen wears that perhaps evoke the thought,’ My nanna had one like that.’

This habit of collecting however isn’t limited to just things .It applies keenly to memories, moments, people . This is a blessing but can also be to my detriment. Some of these collectibles are more than just a little dusty and dinted.

The same desire that sees me dreaming of repurposing old tins and restoring vintage sewing machines has me pining away after other old and broken, damaged things.

I hoard regrets like antiques I’m duty bound to keep. ‘If only ‘ has played as a soundtrack to this life on more then one occasion reverberating shame into the atmosphere…. If only I didn’t. if Only I did. If only it was different. I should have, could have .If only I could take it back, undo it, rewrite it……you get the idea.This theme song drenches the air with frustration raining on my solid ground turning it to mud and I become stuck.

What about those relationships that have become in need of a refurb? Shared history is a formidable tether. After all there’s beauty in the worn and weathered, and doesn’t everything in life deserve a second chance? Everybody always is an aspiration I’ve long held dear. But is this wisdom I wonder.

I guess its wisdom that separates a collector from a hoarder. To know when to let go. There is most certainly a knack to fixing up. Learning when the restoration is beyond my capability when the job is meant not for my hands is something I’m slowly beginning to understand. Its a lesson in honesty really, knowing my limits.A master class in letting go.

Some treasure weighs us down. I’ve learned that there is freedom in goodbye.Holding onto some hearts and some memories only serve to pull us under. Holding on can equal staying stuck. I’ve realized that it takes more then my best intentions to see rebirth. While there are times my capabilities are sufficient for the task at hand there are others when they simply won’t do. When keeping my hands off and handing it over is the only way. Sometimes holding on is not helpful but even detrimental to the piece, damaging to my own heart and the heart Id try to salvage

In the effort to avoid the hoarder’s mistake I seek wisdom to know what is for me and the grace to let go of the rest.

Sometimes those second chances were never mine to give. Those regrets whilst perhaps valid were never meant to be kept and carried but rather a lesson learned in season and then let go. Forgiveness is hard. Forgiving yourself the hardest of all.

I seek the courage to let go of the yesterdays and embrace the new beginning.To be content with bittersweet. To forgive me, move on and through and always look ahead.

I preach this to myself on days when nostalgias grip threatens to undo my progress. Eyes up! Don’t look back for long after all you’re not going that way. I’ve noticed the lighter load makes forward motion easier.

Whilst I’ll always be a sentimental… The collected is slowly but surely being refined until only the treasure and none of the junk remains.

 

This little light …

It’s pitch black out tonight and we are late getting home. There are no street lights out here to light the way. The darkness cloaks the landscape like a blanket.We come up over the rise and the light beam from the headlights cuts through the night. The shadows rush away as light fills the space they once stood.

This is how I want to live my life. I long to live in the light,absorbing that glow and carry it with me everywhere. Even into the dark places especially the dark places. After all, dark cannot remain when light shines bright. The inky blackness is forced to surrender to the illumination.

But what if the darkness exists within taking up space where light should reside?What about fear? Unbeckoned it fills the empty places smothering the hope for tomorrow.

The ache of not being enough, not belonging.Of failing them. The haunting terror of medical prognosis. The dread of not having enough to make ends meet. These fears play like reruns ..a lingering side effect of days gone by when provision was thin and hope just as sparse. These were days weighed down by the dark.

And what of the doubts? Faith is hard to stand on when a contrasting reality stares unblinkingly back at you. Endless ‘What ifs’ ring loudly through this mind because what I see is in conflict with what I want to believe. I want the light .. but all I see are Shadowlands.

What about the hurts? I wonder how much of a beating can one heart take? Can my heart take, before it gives up ..falls casualty to this flawed reality?

I’ve carried a shattered heart before. Juggling all its jagged edges, hands bleeding from the shards while trying to patch it back together and work out how to avoid the same again. I became warden to my own failing heart. Keeping it close, under guard, tethered and restrained.How else is one to avoid the pain. I’ve taken the time to construct the walls even dug the moats needed to keep my heart from harms reach.

I became an expert at camouflage…a mask can hide a million scars ..nothing fits so well as an engineered smile and like a pro I excelled at the dance.Gave my everything except this heart. Never to be vulnerable but always untouchable. Never to be burnt again.

But high walls, masks, and what-ifs serve only to dim the light further.Allowing the darkness to gain ground and in the blackness, I become more afraid of what I can’t see. Im claustrophobic here… breathless and suffocated. Alone despite the crowd. My own fortress is now my gilded cage.

I want to love outrageously. Live uninhibited. Dream big and run fearlessly headlong into tomorrow. This is difficult to achieve when one is walled in and distracted with playing pretend.I’ve learned that safe comes at a price.The cost, a life half lived.

No this isn’t for me… the cost, this one life, is to great a price to pay for preservation.

Light, I’ve found, holds its own promise. Light is life to the fullest.

In pursuit of this, I’ve learned to tear down the walls, take off the mask. Silence the inner chatter. I trade the pretense for honesty in all its flawed beauty. Vulnerability once a foe is now my friend. I become a builder of bridges. I risk this heart to feel alive again and let this little light shine out bright.

And I’ve found that just like my drive home when this light shines true the clearer my road ahead becomes and further the darkness recedes. Clarity and truth are gifts of the light. Direction is easier to find when I can see the road that lays ahead.No more do I stumble blinded by the dark.

Light leaves nothing hidden. It ushers in truth. Light is unquenchable in its desire to shine.If allowed it floods in pushing the darkness out.Leaving freedom in its wake.

I’m left vulnerable, maskless, honest and alive …not afraid of what I can’t see as my focus remains only on where the light leads. Distractions like shadows melt away. The light brings purpose.

My world has come alight, my life follows suit. Far from perfect but complete in its imperfections. The dark doesn’t scare me now. Light has come melting my defenses and chasing that consuming blackness away. On those days where the mask is appealing and the what-ifs beckon, I’m learning to focus this light, silence that noise and not take the bait.

Green thumb

First days of spring were finally here after a long winter both literally and metaphorically speaking…and this particular morning was brutal.

Depression can trigger unbeckoned. Like a tsunami, it rips through the sunlight without warning turning the tide on the hope that the day had started with.

Sometimes amidst the onslaught, I fall. I forget who I am. Daughter of so many I often confuse the facts with the truth.

Adoption, divorce, remarriage. The facts are a glorious mess that I lose myself in.

The truth – I’ve got to look higher.

Its a bad habit of mine to people please and find my worth in the opinion of those I share my life with. It’s never consistent.

I took my angst out on the springtime garden. First carefully and hesitantly, I am not a green thumb. Then once I got going it was all in. No kidding, the chainsaw even made an appearance!

As I trimmed, lopped back, weeded and shaped, a whisper spoke softly …

This is where you are …this is a season of pruning back the overgrowth, the excess, the unnecessary, all that doesn’t fit with the plan. It looks and feels brutal but it is necessary for the light to reach the secret places. It’s hard now but springs here and summers coming.Seasons always change.

And just like that, I realized, if I want the bounty of a productive garden I need to do the work and cut back hard. As I pruned and trimmed, the light got in revealing weeds that had been hidden away strangling the potential growth out of this space. I realized that it needed dealing with if I wanted this garden bed to breathe life again.

I have found that it’s almost always in the season of hard work that I find my fit, my strength. It’s in the clearing out of the old that what’s of value becomes known. That I remember my worth. Fresh light shines on new possibilities and new dreams are conceived. This is the reward for braving the overgrowth and doing the work.

I am slowly getting better at this. Practise makes perfect or so they say. My thumbs are a little greener these days too and seasons change, thank God they do.