Monthly Archives: December 2016

Your Mistake

You were given a treasure,
A jewel of great value
Buried in the dust
Among the graves and ruins of humankind,
But you were young.
You lacked experience.
You were befuddled by the weeping woman-child.
You could have held her,
But you hung your arms bewildered.
She could have been yours,
Whisked away from another man-child.
You could have wooed her all night,
But you botched the job.
You passed her off.
Who knows what was lost that night?

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Waiting Room

Sitting and waiting
On a day we knew would come for months
Exhaustion wrestles anxiety in an epic match
It looks like exhaustion has anxiety in a submission hold
But anxiety kicks out
I know you’re in good hands
But I’m alone
Help asked for always denied
So Jesus sits watching invisibly at my back
If I could dig trust out of the heart closet
Life would be better for us all

A Mizpah Mistake?

I remember years ago there were these paired necklaces. The two pairs together made a whole coin, called a Mizpah coin. On the coin were two hearts with beautiful text from the Bible, along the lines of “The LORD keep watch between me and thee while we are absent one from another.” The coin was then cut in two in a jagged way, and each part hung on a chain. It was either a couples thing or a BFF thing depending on how you looked at it.

I was young and naive. I always thought it was such a beautiful expression of care and concern. So much so, that I whispered it in my husband’s ear as they were wheeling him away for a medical procedure. And even as I was doing it, I had this queasy feeling like I was wrong, like it was the wrong thing to say or the wrong situation.

So, while I was eating lunch, I did the Christian equivalent of Bible google. It was not a pleasant situation that I found. The words we as a culture always thought to be so loving and caring were actually part of a threat from a father-in-law to a son-in-law. Let me explain.

The words come from a story in the life of Jacob, later renamed by God to Israel. Jacob’s life spans many years and many chapters in the book of Genesis. Jacob was a right rascal. He’d deceived his father into giving him the inheritance even though the custom was that the firstborn was to receive it; Jacob was second born, a twin who delivered by grabbing Esau’s ankle and following Esau out.

Esau was naturally disturbed, well more like in a murderous rage. So Jacob went on the run and found his way to working for Laban. Laban had two daughters. Jacob did not like the look of Leah, but loved Rachel. Laban agreed to let Jacob marry Rachel.

Jacob was not getting a good and kind father-in-law; instead he was getting a lesson in the wrongness of deception. By the point in our story that the quote is said, Laban has:

  • Tricked Jacob into working seven years to earn Rachel
  • Tricked Jacob into marrying Leah
  • Tricked Jacob into working another seven years for Rachel
  • Changed how much Jacob could earn while he worked for Laban (10 times no less)

So Jacob lied to Laban and took off with all his wives, kids, and earthly goods. Evidently, deception was a family affair because Rachel stole some idols from her father. Laban caught up with everyone and accused Jacob of the idol theft. Jacob, as a follower of God, would have detested idols, so he said Laban could search his caravan, seize the idols if found, and kill the thief. Obviously, Jacob trusted Rachel too much, but Rachel wasn’t done. She sat on the idols and refused to move, deceptively stating it was “that time of the month.” (All of us modern peeps know not to mess with PMS, right?)

With the idols not found, Laban blesses them all, and he and Jacob build a pile of stones as an altar, closing with the following quote before he literally kisses them all goodbye and leaves:

And Laban said, “This pile is a witness between me and you today.” That is why its name is Gal-ed, or Mizpah, for he said, “Let Adonai keep watch between you and me when we are out of one another’s sight. If you mistreat my daughters, and if you take wives besides my daughters, though no one is with us, look! God is the witness between you and me.”

Laban said further to Jacob, “Behold, this pile, and this pillar which I’ve set up between you and me: this pile serves as a witness, that I won’t pass by this pillar to go to you, and that you won’t pass by this pile and this pillar to go to me—with evil intent. May the God of Abraham and the gods of Nahor, the gods of their father, judge between us.”

Jacob also made an oath by the fear of his father Isaac.

–Genesis 31:48-53, Tree of Life Version

So what is the Mizpah Mistake?

First, when you take a Scripture verse out of context, no matter how beautiful, you miss the point of the lesson to be learned and you settle for less than God’s best that the Scripture is designed to give you in life.

Second, it’s the point missed from the entire passage. Sometimes, relationships are so broken, and the people in the relationships are so broken, that we just have to let go. Not only let go, but let go the right way:

  1. Talk it out
  2. Agree to disagree
  3. Set the boundaries
  4. Go your own way.

For My Husband…

Author’s Note: This is based on the song, “Bless the Broken Road,” performed by both Selah and Rascal Flatts. I’m including a link to the Selah version here.

“Bless the Broken Road” in surround sound–
And I believe every word,
Yet the pain in the journey
Sears my heart and floods my eyes.
It wasn’t the North Star
Leading me to your arms.
It was the man
Your broken road shaped in you,
Blessed by Jesus.
But my road still isn’t straight,
And I can’t find the joy and strength
To bless my broken road.
Hold me close and don’t let me go
Until joy in the journey dries my eyes.
Bless me with your love.
Hold me in your arms and on my feet.

Love me
Until I can love you
The way you deserve.

 

Zippy Takeover, #13

The Game

I know I told you before about the game I like to play with my humans. They have these big black bags of all the fun things they don’t think are that important. Most of the time, they take them away before I ever get to play. Worse, when I try to play, they really move and take those bags away.

So now I wait until they’re sleeping or until they leave me all alone. I used to like being alone, but now I miss them when they leave. So when they forget, I run straight toward the black bag and slide into it. This makes the bag open and the opening falls to where I can reach it.

Oh, then I’m just… well… happy beside myself. I dig into the bag until all the toys are all over the floor. Then I roll and roll and bat things and wiggle my tail. Sometimes, I pick up things with my teeth and run into furniture to feel how the thing gets when it hits something. Sometimes, I hide things all over for my humans to find (but lately, they close doors so I don’t have too many hiding places).

But when they come home, they don’t look too happy. They’re not excited like I am. They look almost mad. Then they pick up all the toys, put them into the bag, and the bag goes out to be stolen after a few nights.

The Other Game

These humans so like and forget they like their weird bones. The bones do such wonderful things: pictures on the box change, air blows from the wall, warm places come from the floor. I’m starting to try to protect the weird bones so my humans don’t lose them. They always seem to forget where the bones are and act like they can’t get them. Don’t they know how important it is to always know where your bones are?!? So I’ll help them. But again they don’t seem to like it too much when I help. I don’t understand.

I’m Confused

I used to have a second bed in my Mom and ‘On’s room. Sometimes, I even got to sneak up on their bed.

But lately, my bed moves. I have been with each of the whelps for a few nights. Every few nights, the whelps move me to another whelp room.

Is this a special reward? Did I do something right? Or am I doing something so wrong I can’t be with Mom and ‘On? I don’t understand.

Ending the Cycle… This Time…

I know the last few pieces have been more dark and somber. I do thank you for sticking with me through it. Yet I think it was time to lance that roiling mess in my heart. I’m hoping not to write on it again… ever… But it’s like most things in life… it’s cyclical, and the next time will be better.

I would like to share some final related thoughts as Christmas nears and I prepare to celebrate the birth of the Light of the World. Even as I write these, Zippy is scratching at his doggy bed waiting to take over my keyboard, and I have a new poem for my hubby just in time for Christmas.

First, you would think after my experience I would support gun control. I do not. No law will ever stop those hellbent on destruction and chaos from creating it. Rather I support teaching all of us–gun owners and the gun-shy alike– what responsible gun ownership and responsible gun handling look like. When you know what should be, it’s easier to recognize what isn’t. Also, I support having game plans for those in the presence of irresponsible gun owners and handlers, as well as means for reporting those irresponsible with gun ownership and handling.

Second, I encourage you to do some research on Della Reese. Ignore her days on Touched by an Angel; ignore her years as a minister of God’s grace. Find information on her abuse and survival. I found a good summary on YouTube. While my abuse was a little different (I was blessed to leave before I had marks on my body), her openness to discuss her situation and how much experience she had before picking her abuser as her partner helped me to recognize that nothing was my fault and gave me the courage to face the darker parts of my abuse history.

Third, some abusers can change. It takes Christ and a lot of hard work. If they change, they do deserve a second chance…with appropriate supports and supervision. However, the victims and survivors will have feelings that should be considered as well.

Finally, this is a hard time of year for some. I’m including some related hotline numbers and web sites. Please don’t become a statistic if you’re in a bad situation; choose life and hope and get help.

Telephone Numbers

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • National Runaway Safeline: 1-800-RUNAWAY

Web Sites

Letting Go

Author’s Note: Hoping against all hope this is the last on this topic for this year. Late fall was never my time of year; I always seemed to face tough decisions with the wrong outcome or received bad news. (Yes, I am publishing way after authoring. 🙂 )

Always different, never fitting in,
Meandering, orbiting, never connecting,
Yet somehow I found brothers and friends.

But the shackle on my finger
Locked the blinders on my eyes.
A weapon invisible in the distant mists
Barred me from taking the shackle and blinders off.

My heart was frozen…
My mind was a rock…
My tongue was a sword…

I wanted to push you away,
To protect you,
I couldn’t, wouldn’t cradle bloody, cold corpses.

I just wanted to hide in the open for a while
So your lives could shine.

I called “Olly-Olly-Oxen-Free,”
But you were all gone,
Like sand flowing over my fingers
Digging at the shore.

Some are lost, some are found,
And nothing’s coming back,
Nothing’s back for me now.

And though I’ve seen light and life and joy,
The prison door’s still open.
I crawl in,
Covered in my briny tears,
Wallowing in guilt and loss, shame and remorse.
Then push out,
Becoming a joy filled robot again.

Someday…
I want to tear the prison down;
I want to let it all go;
I want to really live free with joy.

For now…
It’s only words–
Too few at the time,
Too many too late.