Because that’s how he held me

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holding-hands

His grip was strong,

but tender,

and that’s how he held me,

firm in his grasp, but tender in his emotion.

But it wasn’t just how he held me,

it’s how he saw me.

His look was beyond flesh,

it looked past imperfections.

He just saw me,

for who I was,

under the shroud of my physical form.

He looked into me and,

as his hand held mine,

in that frozen moment,

I became lost in him.

His grip was strong, but tender,

and in that grasp,

now lies my heart.

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The red pen

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My writing has become the focal point in my life.   So much so that I have been consciously willing to share a few of the chapters of the novel I have so carefully crafted with a select few who will unabashedly share their opinion of my writing.  It is a big leap of faith and one I needed to make to get over my fear of rejection.  Turns out, it was (thankfully) much less painful than I anticipated.

A very endearing couple recently checked into the lodge for their third visit.  We were making small talk about how they would spend their week and she gushed about the trilogy she had brought with her to read.  We talked books and authors and I blurted out that I was writing a book.  After giving her a brief outline of the plot, she seemed intrigued.  I took the first step off my cliff of fears when I asked her if she wanted to read some of it.  My second foot followed off the cliff when I actually printed a few pages and timidly handed them to her.

Her excitement completely contrasted my feeling of nausea.  She left with my soul on a few pieces of paper as I sat in my office, slowing curling into the fetal position, wondering what I had just done.

Hours later she came back to the office with a smile on her face that I have yet to define with words.  But what really grabbed and held my attention was the red pen in her hand.  For those who embarked on their scholastic careers before technology took over, the red pen was a symbol of doom and I began a staring contest with the inanimate object.

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Her voice circled around my head as I tried to pull my gaze from that red pen.  A few of her words burrowed into my brain, slowly connecting with the tissue, and my heart almost stopped when I heard “Mel is a retired English teacher”.  It was over.

But then it wasn’t.

After going over a few corrections which made complete sense to me, the red pen no longer felt like a threat and became something else entirely.  They were entertained by the plot.  They enjoyed the phrasing of my sentences and they were captivated enough to want to keep reading.  That red pen was the prophet that delivered the word “love” beside two of the lines that they enjoyed the most.

Somewhere during our conversation, that red pen became the pump that reinflated my confidence.  It didn’t say ‘you failed’.   It screamed ‘keep going’.  Thank you Jean and Mel for the kick in the pants I needed to climb back up the cliff and get ready to take that leap over and over again.

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Embracing the sum of my parts

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I’ve learned a few invaluable truths over the last four (plus) decades of my life.  Each stage our lives requires a different version of ourselves.   We grow, we adapt and we transform.  Slowly and steadily we become the person we need to be for the next phase of our lives and, perhaps without knowing it, we evolve into the person we need to be to acquaint ourselves with the person we shall finally become.

I can look back at my life and recognize the divisible parts of myself, the bits that have led to the present sum of who I am today.  I may still resemble a modicum of those versions of myself but the me now compared to the me then are vastly different people.

Through each chapter of the syllabus of me, I have gained a confidence that I only once professed to have.  I have finally gotten to the point in my life where my opinion matters, if to nobody else than, to myself.  I have reaped the rewards of struggle and adversity.  I have calmly assumed a new sense of who I really am and I am very selective with the friends allowed behind my strategically built walls.

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At this stage in my life, I have truly become the sum of my parts.   I have taken the best bits of myself, learned from and discarded my errors in judgment and created the person I am now.

Would I change anything from my past?  Perhaps.  But if all of those equations – the fractions of time, the roots of my problems, the addition or subtraction of friends and family – meant that I would not be who I am today, I would probably answer all of the test questions the same way so I could calculate the same remainder.

 

 

When words just don’t feel like enough

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I love words.  I devour them like plants absorb the sun for nourishment.  I feed on their ability to convey so many emotions, to give us countless ways to describe the essence of who we are and to capture all the wonderful nuances in life.  Words are simple in their nature but intricate in their distinction.

But sometimes words fail.  There are so many things we want to say, so many emotions we want to share and words just don’t do justice to the feelings we are trying to express.  There have been moments that I have had so many words hovering on the precipice of being spoken aloud but those words seem to pale in comparison to the message I really want to send.

It is not often that words are not my ally.  It is an uncomfortable moment when the things I love seem to leave me when I most need them.  Where once was a plethora of idioms, a bottomless chasm of silence resides.  My inability to use words to their potential precludes me from saying the precise thing I want to say.

But those words are sometimes delivered even though they are unspoken.  Those muted messages find their way through the silence and are easily understood as they soundlessly fall on the ears intended to hear them.

As as writer, I rely on words to accurately convey how I am feeling.  I use those words to express myself.  But sometimes I forget that the words I don’t say, the words that are felt and not heard, are just as loud as the ones I speak.

 

 

 

A part of life

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Death is selfish.  It lurks in the shadows.  It hides in a realm of certainty,  somewhere between acceptance and denial, and it feeds on our inability to process its inevitability.  It waits for nobody.  It heeds its own agenda and it gives no signs of compassion.  It simply reaps.

~~

Last week we had a senior’s bus tour at the lodge.  Unlike the previous tours, we had neither mildly concussed nor toppled our guests on top of one other.  The tour had been relatively trauma-free with the exception of a phone call a mere fifteen minutes after the bus arrived and our guests had been shown to their rooms.

Death had been hovering at the precipice and chose to include us in its folly with one phone call for the sister of its intended victim shortly after she arrived at the lodge.  What should have been a glorious adventure for Kathleen suddenly turned into a feeling of helplessness and isolation as she mourned the loss of her sister surrounded by a group of strangers.

But even in the face of sadness, there was no surprise in discovering that the group of strangers had chosen to embrace Kathleen and take on a part of her burden as their own.  As much as death wanted to be the headliner in this performance, the supporting cast was truly the star of the show.

Fellow travelers and staff made every effort to ease Kathleen’s suffering and reunited her with her family before the bus was due to leave the lodge.   It takes a village – and this village had a great deal of empathy and ingenuity.  Kathleen was able to reconnect with her family and attend her sister’s funeral.  And although she was missed on that last day of the bus tour, we knew she was where she needed to be and she knew we all held her in our thoughts and prayers.

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Death is selfish.  And although it may be a part of life, so is love and compassion.

 

Nothing compares to u, v, w, x……

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It’s been seven hours and fifteen days……okay, that may be a slight exaggeration (and a very cheesy song reference) but it feels pretty close to the truth that I have just faced.  I looked at my blog posts for the last 27 days and I have posted 6, a measly 6, blog posts during this 27 day period.  I have never been this bereft of creativity since I began my blogging journey.

And once those two words settled into my brain, I felt the familiar pull I feel when I write.  Calling it a blogging journey doesn’t really do it justice.  It doesn’t truly encompass the creative path that I have carved for myself since I became a member of the WordPress writing community.  In this world, I have discovered many who share my passion and I have uncovered a deep part of myself that was grossly underutilized.

We all find things that give us a sense of freedom, moments that we can savor the state of true abandon from reality.  Writing gives me that indulgence.  It permits me to leave the rest of the world behind and go where the words take me.  Nothing does compare to the pleasure I get when I tune out my inner critic and just let the words say what they want to say.  Writing is the one thing in my life that I not only give complete freedom to but also allow it honesty without the constraints of censorship.

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And although I know considerable chunks of time have seeped into the cracks and pushed the chasms of my imaginative spurts further apart, I continually stand on the precipice of inspiration, ready to seize any opportunity that the writing Gods see fit to send my way.