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. 🙂

 

 

Seek First

God marks the way home with the bread of his Word.

I don’t know when the realization came that my priorities were off. I’d had inklings before and even after a disastrous number of years, I still didn’t clue in that I needed to wisdomgerdaltmannchange. I wish, as a human race, we could mature faster than we do, that our wisdom and ability to follow through wouldn’t show up just as our bodies are starting to give out. Am I the only one who feels like life has just begun and I’m almost in my 50’s?
Continue reading “Seek First”

The Scent of Unexpected Blessing

showerhead2The other day I was doing a shower for a delicate, little bird of a lady. When I shower people, I usually try to ask questions about their lives to put them at ease, because it’s such an intimate thing I do for them. As they share their stories and the warm water droplets contact and cleanse their bodies, the tension seems to drain away with the dirty water.

As the shower progressed, I began to open and use bathproducts2the bath products she brought with her. I massaged her head with oil of macadamia nuts. I scrubbed her down with raspberry shower gel. After gently patting her dry with the scratchy, white, hospital towels, I massaged a lotion called “Hawaiian Island Flowers” into her arms, legs, and back. I oohed and aahed and she giggled. I felt her happiness in this most unlikely place, enveloped in a cloud of heavenly scents. I’ve never been one to use a lot of bath products, nor have I ever really considered the virtues of aromatherapy, but in that moment, I was grateful for them and the effect they had on a delicate, little bird of a lady in a hospital shower.

Author’s note: This was written when I worked on the geriatric unit of my local hospital.

Complete the experience. Read this article The Right Way to Shower. I had been showering people some time before looking this up and was surprised at what I learned.

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. 🙂

You Oughta be in Pictures…or Not

My first camera, a basic Kodak, was a Christmas gift, a costly gift, when I think about it now, in time and coinage. One had to purchase film, snap the allotted pictures, take the film into a store that would develop it, and pick up the pictures when they were ready. You paid for every photo, the pic of your grandparents with grandpa’s head cut scan00152off, the pic of your grandparents where you almost sliced grandma clean away, and the pic of your foot (Seriously, I loved my grandparents. I just sucked at taking pictures). There was excitement happening when you retrieved those photos and you were pleased if some of them turned out to be semi-worthy of the time that went into their creation. You slapped them into a coil bound, self-adhesive photo album and, if you’re anything like me, hardly ever looked at them again. Sometimes, you left the used film sitting for so long, you didn’t even know what was on it anymore.
Continue reading “You Oughta be in Pictures…or Not”

A Guilty Daydream

Jesus said to Martha, and I paraphrase, “Mary has chosen the better way, hanging out with me while you cook and clean and fuss.” Do I ever like that guy!

 

broomThere are crumbs on my floor to make a meal

Dust obscures the TV screen

My windows have been licked and gobbed on

My walls are glazed with grubby fingerprints

Little strings and bits of lint languish on the rug

The floor is spattered, scuffed and split

My bathtub proudly displays its ringbubbles

I am the only lonely one in the cycle of chores

I bow down to the pail godpailandsponge

I slop with water

I scrub and scour and wipe away

I bend and contort and laborvacuum-41720_960_720

I say this sucks as I push the stick that sucks up the dust

I get tired and everything gleams

And then I have to do it all again

I think gleaming is over-rated

And in my case, it’s just a guilty daydream

book-157851_960_720Nothing gleams

I sit in the naturalness, the mess

And smile and read a book

 

 

Author’s note: I wrote this poem while running a day home when my children were small. My dislike of cleaning has only grown. I’ve tossed the guilt. I get a lot of reading done. 🙂

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. 🙂