Category Archives: Freedom

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.

Irritated Flesh

…a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  — Saul of Tarsus, Second letter to Christians in Corinth

There are thorns in my life–
Tangled complexities of sin and pain–
That tie me down, trip me up, and bind my hands.

I’ve wrestled and tangled.
I’ve chopped and torn and shredded.
Yet I’m crumpled in a tangled mess just the same.

I’ve begged the Master
To vaporize the thorns and burrs
And set me on my feet.

He just smiled and sighed,
And with a slight tear in His eyes, replied,
No, little one, I will not.

“Become as a child.
See the wonder in the knots
So you can be in my kingdom.

“Become as a silent stone.
See that the thorns silence you
So you always hear My voice.

“Become as a chick.
Be soft and gentle to others
So that they feel the warmth of My wings.

“Become still in My presence.
Let the vines bind you
So you only move if I lead.”

Let Your grace be sufficient in this moment.
Let Your strength support me in my weakness.
Be God because I am not.

Apples and Family Trees

It’s one of those mornings. I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee. I wasn’t even out of bed. My husband dumped linoleum samples on my pillow for my review as he was leaving for work. As I was reviewing the samples while I was still groggy under my covers, my youngest pops in without knocking.

“Here you go. Sign these forms. I need them for band.”

Dealing with her and her Aspergers syndrome has always been a challenge. The connections she makes in her brain between ideas are crystal clear to her but the rest of us sometimes feel like we’re wallowing in quicksand while gazing at the world through molasses prisms.

But sometimes, if we think fast, we can get her to give us a rope to get out or spray those prisms with glass cleaner; the questions we ask and the answers she gives make it easier to look through her eyes. And the social connections she doesn’t get are just as challenging.

“Good morning, daughter of mine. Did you sleep well?”

“Yes, mom. Could you just sign the forms?”

“You do understand I’m telling you you have to be a little more human before demanding something from me, right? And knocking would be good too.”

She sighs and looks away, her equivalent of rolling her eyes. Then, as I review the forms, she started talking about her blog.

As a writer, I was pleased and irritated. I love that she has this body of work out there that’s hers. Yet I hate that she’s never trusted me to share it with me.

Secretly, I think she’s afraid I’ll get out the modern equivalent of the red pen to bleed profusely over her work. Or maybe she’s afraid she’ll be grounded for life for something she’s written, whether it’s the storyline or mode of expression. And yet, I need as her momma to see it.

After all, words and stories and poems are a kind of child, and I want to know my grandbabies. And I want those babies liked, loved, and wowed as much as possible; I don’t want them sitting there ignored, neglected, and unappreciated. 🙂

“Yeah, think you could share it with me? I don’t even know how to find it.”

“I’m not sure. It’s just stories, fiction stories. It’s kind of dark and deals with abuse. I don’t think you need to see it.”

My heart stopped. My brain panics. I’m not doing anything wrong, but I know what happened to writers in the past — burned at the stake, stoned with real stones, jailed for years in danky and musty rat traps, locked in mental institutions. And I’m thinking they get much the same today–stoned on psych drugs, limited financial mobility, visits from Children and Youth.

“You know you have to be careful, right? You write the wrong thing, and they could take the house and you and everything.”

I’m crossing my fingers that she gets the facetious hyperbole, knowing full well she’s quite literal and I could be triggering a massive meltdown.

“Okay, I will let you read it. But not yet. And I’ll delete anything that’s bad.”

My heart stopped. We love freedom in our house, especially freedom of speech and freedom of the press; nothing, nothing, nothing in heaven or on earth should ever touch that freedom. Being a responsible adult means knowing how and when to apply that freedom, but it’s still freedom.

“Oh, I know you. Nothing you’ve written could be that dark. But we won’t delete anything, we’ll just revise it. Okay.”

The signed forms disappeared, and she dematerialized from my presence with the unique rhythm of foot fall that can only come from a rapidly growing teen still not comfortable in her own skin.

All my daughters are my daughters. They are becoming what our Heavenly Father designed them to be–unique, special, different. One loves animals, one loves babies, and this one loves words. They’ve all fallen off the family tree in the same old patterns. But this one, she’s gonna rock her little corner of the world. And I have only one response, based loosely on Psalm 17:8 (NIV, The Voice, Amplified):

Jesus, keep my little baby girl as the apple of your eye. Guard her, watch her, protect her. Hide her in the shadow of your wings. Give her tender heart a shelter in the cool breeze of your Holy Spirit.

Freedom’s National Debt

It’s time for hard home truths to hit home. Freedom is never free, and it’s only one head-turn from elimination.

Soldiers and sailors fight to protect and defend this freedom. They know the cost even before their boots hit the floor in the morning. A cup of coffee today becomes a body bag tomorrow.

Do you know the cost of your freedom?

I can visit a church, write a blog, sing a song. I do this freely. No one stops me if I follow reasonable rules. They paid the high price for this freedom I have.

Yet in an instant, it could be gone. The church I freely attend today could lead to a heavy fine tomorrow. The words I type today could lead to my imprisonment tomorrow. The song I casually sing in a supermarket today could instantly snuff out the shine of my life tomorrow.

Do you know the cost of your freedom?

You choose today.
Tomorrow will be too late.

Death of a Blogger (AKA Disturbed and Distressed)

I was in the middle of an office day this week, working on my second cup of coffee for the morning, when the news feed popped up a short little story about a blogger killed in Bangladesh. It put a pall on the rest of my day, and I did more research.

The blogger’s name was Niloy Chakrabarti. Since I don’t have much time to read any of the WordPress bloggers I follow (sorry, gang), I’m certainly not following his blog. Evidently, he’s an atheist, and the fourth to lose his life in Bangladesh in about six months. Other reports claim that six more bloggers (some poets, some bloggers, and a journalist) are being targeted, and the police are doing little to nothing to help.

I am filled with dark feelings.

First, as a writer, I deal with words and ideas. The thought that someone else who deals in words and ideas, even if they’re not ones I share, was silenced with the ultimate silencing of death fills me with a feeling of dread at the thought that the tables could turn and someday I and others could be targeted here in our relatively safer corner of the world. I’m also filled with a bit of guilt that sometimes I throw out ideas and words without any thought for the price that was paid to win and maintain that freedom for me and without any concern for those who don’t have that freedom but chose to push the boundaries at great and costly risk.

Second, while I don’t agree with his rejection of a supreme deity, I don’t agree with the idea that you kill someone who doesn’t believe in your supreme deity. As a Christian, that would put me at direct odds with the heart of my Abba who doesn’t want anyone to lose the opportunity to choose His Son; if I killed you because you don’t believe, I’ve cut off every chance you have to change your heart. I fail to understand a religion of any kind that chooses to kill those who don’t accept your supreme deity; that certainly isn’t a religion of peace.

Finally, as a mother, I’ve dreaded even trying to discuss this story. I blog, and I don’t want to have to deal with the heavy questions of what ifs and whys that I know will come. I don’t want to try to explain why people kill over words and ideas and whether I could face the same cost. And my youngest is somewhere on this deity abandoned network of wires and electrons semi-following in my footsteps with some fan fiction (if you showed me where it was, I might drive readers to it… except it is Frozen related); I don’t want her own fear or anxiety to take away the voice of my princess, and I don’t want to be afraid that someday she could write something so profound and edgy that someone could try to silence her voice.

Where do we as a community of poets and photographers and writers and thinkers go from here?

Don’t cut and run. Don’t give up. Keep writing and sharing and thus show solidarity even if we don’t face mortal danger. If we somehow have the opportunity to protect or to succor, by all means, use it wisely.

Writing and thinking and sharing are the signs of health and life. Choose life, and choose it to the full!