The Gift of a Giggle

Salty patient without a filter, grabbing my flab, as I leaned over her to adjust her pillow: “I see you’ve got your winter tires on.”

Me: “They’re all season.” 😀

 

Author’s Note: This was written when I worked as a health care aide on the geriatric wing of the local hospital.

The other day, my daughter and I made pizza together. I bought some pizza dough in a tube which, as I’m writing this, sounds gross, but what are you going to do, if you’re not a domestic goddess? We started well in advance of when we needed to be done. We read the directions, popped the tube, and Rose went to work rolling out the dough. Only, it didn’t roll out. While I grated cheese, I watched her grapple with it, her frustration increasing with every pound of her delicate fists. I figured it needed a little more muscle. anniversary2I put the big guns to work. I kneaded, pressed, and patted it. I massaged it with all the pizza love I had in me and, if you’ve seen my wedding cake, you know I have some formidable pizza love. It remained on the cutting board, a cold, unyielding lump the color of death. Even the rolling pin hardly put a dent in it. Meanwhile, the time was fast approaching when my big husband would bound through the door, growling like a hungry bear. I began to get desperate and a bit silly with exhaustion. Why not? I thought to myself. Nothing else I’ve tried has worked. I whipped that inflexible blob into the air, tossing it just like I’d seen elderly, Italian gentlemen with moustachios do it. I whooped and hooted and tossed, delirious, insane, no longer caring about the time or that what I was doing was making no difference in the dough at all. The difference it made was in me. It released the tension I was feeling. It melted away the frustration.

A co-worker and I were talking about how important a sense of humor is in the work we do. She told me about how she shared some funny moment from work with a friend and this friend abruptly informed her that such things were NOT funny. We see pain, suffering, and loss on every shift. Yes, it’s serious and heartbreaking, it’s, literally, life and death. We can be long-faced and try to turn off those emotions that don’t fit the gravity of the situations we encounter. We can detach and harden our hearts. We can become depressed and weep over the deep sadness of it all, but none of these things will help our patients heal or help us hold on to our hard-won mental health.

To begin with, the hospital is dark, cold, stark, and sterile. It’s unwelcoming and for some, it’s scary. Though they try to dress it up with plants, framed art, and murals, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s an institution and not the comfort and safety of one’s home. I believe it’s my job and my duty as a human being and follower of Jesus, to spread joy, to lighten up the atmosphere around those who are ailing. The smiles and gentle teasing are part of the rapport that must grow between patient and caregiverpearl-2900136_12802 to enable the patient to trust and relax. Yes, the confused and demented say amusing things. Frankly, I view these instances as little gifts from God, stress-reducers in an emotionally charged, high-pressure environment. When we giggle over something the patient says it’s not to point and laugh at them. There’s a beauty and innocence to many of these people that makes their comments precious and even insightful. I find myself collecting them like pearls on a string. I drop them here and there and their luminosity and sweetness invariably lifts others up. The people I serve make me happy, even if they don’t know it and I won’t apologize. I only hope, in some small way, I can do the same for them.

Complete the experience. Go watch this video. It never fails to make me laugh! Have a happy day, friends! 😀

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

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Burn Away the Dross

Sometimes I wish I could pack up my feelings

Especially the ugly, hurtful ones

That scour my soul and leave me winded, raw, and wounded

I’d thrust them into the deepest trunkchest

And grunt and sweat to force their bulk

Into a forgotten place

I’d bury them under every meaningless piece of trash

I can’t bring myself to get rid of

 

headache-2058476_1280Sometimes I wish I could pinpoint those moments

The person, the voice, the scent that lingers

The triggers that slap my face and send me reeling

Pummeling me with those awful feelings

Those ugly, hurtful, persistent feelings

That scour my soul and leave me winded, raw, and wounded

I’d stay run away, move away, stay away if I had to

 

Sometimes I wish I could close up my being

And throw up a wall around my heart

To block the triggers, those stupid signals

That bring up the pain of those ugly, hurtful, persistent feelingsheart-1463424_1280

That scour my soul and leave me winded, raw, and wounded

But I simply cannot do it

Cannot lay down in the bitter cold

Cannot close up and get hard and old inside

So I writhe

In the flames

Alive and open

Complete the experience. Listen to for King & Country’s It’s not Over Yet.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Here’s to the Great Sorter in the Sky

Take control of me, Jesus. The current management is woefully incompetent.

 

My son, like many other boys his age, loved to play with Lego. His imagination soared as he created all manner of scenes, structures, and creatures. One Mother’s Day, I even received a clever, Lego cake!legocake_Fotor

At one point, he began the daunting task of sorting his Lego. He made this decision, because it took too long to locate the particular piece he needed. Having obtained a load of it at a garage sale, I watched him patiently sorting through it for days.

One afternoon, I was helping him, while his younger sister looked on.

“Why are you helping him sort his Lego, Mummy?” she asked.

Without hesitation, I replied, “Because I love him”.

In the silence that followed, I had a moment of gratitude for the love of God
and His willingness to help me sort out so much more than just my Lego.

 

Complete the experience. Listen to Audrey Assad’s “Good to Me”. 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Nobody Cares

Be bold enough to do more than just leave the house.

I’m remembering a visit to the dermatologist. I had a nasty mole that kept burrowing up through the skin on the tip of my nose, a place, in my estimation, a mole should never be moleallowed to surface. I had it removed previously, but it’s stubborn and wants to be seen. What I didn’t realize until I sat down in the examination room was that the fee for removal had doubled. Unfortunately, at that moment, I had more mole than money and I sat there agonizing over whether or not I should go through with the procedure. When the Doctor came in, I shared my misgivings with him. What he told me has never left me. He basically said, “Nobody cares”. He went on to explain that people are so focused on themselves and their moles that my mole would have to be the size of the Eiffel Tower for anyone to take notice. He graciously allowed me and my mole to leave the office, free of charge, relieved and a little less self-conscious.

It turns out his counsel applies in so many situations, one being the predicament of having to buy and wear, in public, a bathing suit. Yes, bathing suit shopping, that distasteful activity that many women dread and put off until they must trudge sausagesorrowfully to the mall, enduring hours of self-humiliation, squeezing into bits of spandex and instantaneously morphing into plump sausages in scant polka-dot casing. We were going on a family holiday last summer and my bathing suit was beginning to look more like a tired, old dishrag than a festive garment to frolic in. After making numerous, demoralizing trips to the store and bursting out of one too many itsy, bitsy, teeny, weenies, I reminded myself that I’m a creative girl and there simply had to be another alternative, one where I wouldn’t feel exposed; one where I could honor my hard-working body and still enjoy the sun, the sand, and the waves, for they don’t discriminate. I spent countless hours on the internet and settled on a swim shirt and skirt.

Do you think finding the suit solved my problem? Nope. We went on our holiday and I never once went in any of the hotel pools. I found something that covered me up and I was too afraid to wear it, too concerned about what other people might think. Finally, on the last day of our vacation before heading back to Canada, my brother took us to a beach north of San Francisco. The sand was soft and warm, the waves were cresting high and the brightly colored, boogie boards were piled up, beckoning. The whole scene was so deliciously sensational, so incredibly seductive, I was compelled to put on my “swimsuit”.

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With the kids in the lead, I grabbed a board and ventured into the sea. The Doctor’s words sounded giddy in my head, “Nobody cares”. If anyone was looking at me, what they saw was not my imperfect body or my obvious lack of a bikini, but sheer joy on the face of a salty gal riding some spray into the shoreline. Stencil it above your mantle, pin it on Pinterest, use it as a screen saver on your phone, but never forget that “Nobody cares”. Never let your annoying little preoccupation with what other people think keep you from trying the water, because life’s a beach, the surf’s always up, and you don’t want to miss it!

Complete the experience. Listen to Lee Anne Womack’s I Hope You Dance.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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Got Junk?

Does freaking out all the time make one a freak?

Self-awareness can be a scary venture. We all try to bury or look away from those things we don’t like about ourselves. Yet, if we want to grow in goodness and grace, we must take the time to examine who we have become. If it’s something we put off, because wagon-524514_19202we’re busy and reflection takes time and stillness, or because we’re afraid of what we might find, we will pay for it in our relationships. Too often, I’ve taken the train to destination unknown, all the while failing to note the scenery and I’ve ended up in Sorryville. It’s about being in the moment and it’s a matter of self-care. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis.

My husband is a role model for me in this. He has a brilliant mind. It works like a metronome; patient and persistent. He looks at himself, his work, and his relationships with a calm intensity and a practiced compassion. He chooses his words carefully. He thinks about how his decisions will affect others. He acts with purpose. When I ask him a question, I’ve learned I have to wait for his response. It’s worth the wait. I trust his judgment. Over the past 31 years, I’ve watched him become a confident, respected man and leader in the community.

As you know, if you’ve been hangin’ with me, I’m not wired this way. My mind is a lab rat’s maze, which is probably why I’m always getting lost (I’m taking the scenic tour). I labyrinth-1559734tend to think and act with my gut. Decisions are made in a sprint or I scurry back and forth between the possibilities until I’m so muddled, I render myself useless. I’m also a blurt-er. Someone once said that I say what other people are thinking. This can be good and bad. I don’t have an inside voice. I’ll tell a stranger on the street that she looks beautiful. Flip the coin and I spout an oops that should’ve been torched in the twisted tunnels of my cortex. If I’m going for shock value, I’m okay with it, but there are times when my bluntness is insensitive.

Where my husband is controlled and methodical, I’m spontaneous and impulsive. I feel things quickly and deeply. When I find something funny, I often laugh until I cry and I cry easily. Worship, music, movies, special moments with family, reading a note from a loved one, all are precursors to tears and my children love to point and smile. I stay away from horror movies and purposely don’t watch the news, as their after effects reverberate for some time and my emotional equilibrium is tenuous at best.composing-2391033_19202

I recall a moment in the past where I made a decision to check out, rather than dig in. I put more pressure on my horse of a husband and he already shoulders a heavy load. Afterward, he made the comment that I allow my feelings to rule me. I don’t want to be a diva. I want to be a home team player, but sometimes my feelings morph into a monster. I have to wrestle it for control, which is probably why, when I feel overwhelmed with anxiety or sadness, I retreat to my bed. Most of the time, I’m just too tired to pin the beast.

eraser2The cauldron of my emotions has produced some woeful decisions that have left a mark of sadness on those involved. I abhor the thought of hurting anyone. I’ve had to deliver more than my share of apologies, some too late. Thankfully, God continues to transform my heart giving me better control over my feelings and my tongue. My son brought an eraser home from school. It was the size of a brownie and imprinted with the words, “an eraser for big mistakes”. If it weren’t for my faith in the mercy and grace of a loving God, I would need a warehouse of those erasers.

A dear friend, someone whose had her own demons to overcome, recommended meditation and I have dabbled, but contemplative inertia is a challenge for me. I know I need to give my goodly mind a say in what my gut is conjuring up. I need to slow down and listen to both my head and my heart.just-be-597091_1920

My writing has certainly helped me to reflect (I believe the term is “self-therapy”). I’ve had some criticism that my pieces are overly negative, because I’m too down on myself. I don’t think I’m being hard on myself. I like myself and I’m not afraid to tell you who I am, mistakes and all. We’re a society of masqueraders so intent on keeping are masks in place and following the choreography that we miss the delight of the dance. We miss out on deep, meaningful connection for the sake of security.

I’ve been told that people have laughed out loud reading my work. (I love to laugh. This makes me happy to know this.) I’ve also been told artistic-986293_1920that my willingness to be vulnerable meant something to someone trudging a lonely road. I suppose, for some people who identify with me, I’m holding up a mirror that’s too painful to peer into.

As a teenager, the word scary was used to describe me by some teenage boys. I trust this title no longer fits, but I can live with it, only because I know I’m loved. I’m going to pick intently through the junk in my trunk in the hopes that, after confessing it to God and turning from it, my thinking about it, writing about it, and sharing it, will make me a more present, gentle, gracious person. I’m flawed, I tell you, flawed. I’m beautiful, I tell you, beautiful. I’m flawed and beautiful. And so are you.

Complete the experience. Listen to Downhere’s Forgive Yourself.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

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Pieces

I’m starting to piece my past together

                And at this point

I’m wondering

If my past should have been left in pieces

                                                   When I open up the wounds of my past

I suffer again

Having gained an understanding of why I suffered

It’s painful

But worth the pain

I think

    Understanding leads to forgiveness and healing

Healing is about wholeness

                                                                                      It’s about picking up the pieces

And putting them back together

One shard at a time

Fashioning something new

                     That glitters

When the light hits the jagged edges

 

Complete the experience. Listen to Gungor’s You Make Beautiful Things.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

What Does a Gal have to do to get a “Like” Around Here?

For those of you who enjoy watching movies and are around my age, you may remember the moment Sally Field received an Oscar for Best Actress in the 1985 film Places in the Heart. She was glowing and gushing as she delivered her acceptance speech, her bouncy curls combed high atop her head as was the style. (Watch the clip here.) She mentioned her cast and crew and her family and then went on to say something that has been mimicked and mocked ever since and I quote, “But I want to say thank you to you. I haven’t had an orthodox career and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it. And I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now! You like me!”
Continue reading “What Does a Gal have to do to get a “Like” Around Here?”

An Incredibly Good Friday

Author’s note: This piece was written a number of years ago on the Saturday of Easter Weekend.

Today is Good Friday. Like many of you, I spent my morning remembering, in solemn fashion, just how big a sacrifice our great God made for us, his innumerable, minuscule creatures. I have the privilege of singing in the choir and we were many, well-prepared, and fit to praise Him. During rehearsal, we filed in to our respective places, mine forever and always being the front row. Shortly thereafter, I was promoted, the little twerp that I am, to the second row. We were all wearing black and apparently my extreme “whiteness” was breaking up the homogeneity of the front line. I rather liked the feeling of being less exposed, surrounded and hugged by my fellow songbirds and I nestled in for the half an hour we would be standing there. What I didn’t know was how important this closeness would be for me. Many of you know that beautiful, Jesus music makes me cry. Often, during worship, God wrings out my heart through my eyes. Today was no exception. I began singing Brahms’s “How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place” strong, but the absolute gloriousness of it, the gracious way the voices of the people of God passed by and folded back in on each other, pierced my heart. My lips began to quiver and I could no longer even form the words much less sing them. The face and hands of the conductor blurred and the tears spilled out over my cheeks like tiny, iridescent pearls. Trying to stifle the sobs and hide my streaked face, I slowly raised my choir music, dropping more pearls on the pages I was no longer turning. Through “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” to “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord”, the truth of the Gospel was being proclaimed to me by my brothers and sisters in Christ. The good news of Jesus death on a cruel cross, clothed in agonizing torture, heart wrenching weariness, untold anguish, and overwhelming loneliness, was hammering my heart. As I quietly cried in my cocoon, I was ministered to in a profound way. My prayer for you this Easter season is that you will experience anew, to the depth of your being, the love of God in the sacrifice of Christ. Grace and peace.

Complete the experience. Listen to David Phelps and Lana Ranahan sing I’ve just seen Jesus.

Author’s Note: Feature photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@aaronburden

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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Don’t just Live a Little

I can’t help but wonder. I keep it turned on.

marjorie-bertrand-147634The little girl I looked after today wasn’t two yet. I’d forgotten how utterly spontaneous they are at that age. On our way to the park, like a clumsy butterfly she landed here and there. She had to peek through the neighbor’s fence in search of doggies. She had to lie flat on her back in the grass, in the gravel, in the middle of the road. She tried, anyway. She caressed rocks and inspected pine cones and, at one point, sat down in the dark dirt and proceeded to cover herself with it. The idea that we were on our way to the park, the place designated for child’s play, meant nothing whatsoever to her. The world is her park.

It got me to thinking about how often we get so hung up on the destination that we miss slowdown2the nuances of the journey. If the kingdom of God is within us, then heaven is not an afterlife, but an extension of all the best earth has to offer. Yes, I can hardly wait for the “no more tears and pain” thing, but I don’t want to miss what God wants to dazzle me with or teach me in the here and now. Some of it is so small, if we don’t intentionally stop, look, ponder, and wonder we’ll surely miss much of it. Jesus said in John 10:10b, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” He meant for us to experience all the beauty, creativity, intrigue, rapture, delight, and joy we can and he made this marvelous planet for us to discover it in. I guess it’s okay to want it all after all.

Author’s note: This was written when I worked as a nanny.

Complete the experience. Listen to Chris Tomlin’s The Way I was Made.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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Keep on Dancing

I see you there

Your glossy, pale hair swaying to the music

You pose and leap and glide

With every movement comes the sweetest smile

Such visible enjoyment

You are graceful for your four young years

So new and innocent and free

Oh, little ballerina

Let me offer you a small piece of advice

Keep on dancing

As the years beat on in time

Be flexible, be fluid

When the spotlight shines

Take joy

Stretch out

Reach up from where you are

Become the shooting star that you were meant to be

But never soar so far that you will not be ready

For when the floodlights shut their eyes

And sure as death they will

And suffering strikes an errant chord

You must not fall

Do not give up, do not lay low

By all means, wrestle with your grief and take your rest

Then go

For life is in the movement

A waltz with pain produces beauty

Only if you

Keep

On

Dancing

Complete the experience. Listen to Mandisa’s Overcomer.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂