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. 🙂

 

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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!”

If you watch that clip through, you’ll notice immediately after Sally spouts these now infamous lines the camera pans out on a number of women in the audience who have tears in their eyes. Even though Sally was mercilessly ridiculed, I think what she said resonated with us, at least those of us who are honest with ourselves.

We all want to be liked. Truly, we want to be loved, as we are, but we’ll settle for being likemeliked. It makes us feel good about ourselves to have other people’s approval. It validates our existence. We think that if people like us, we must be worth something. It starts early. Children, as soon as they can talk, say, “Look at me. Look what I can do.” They want more than just our attention, they want our praise and our encouragement and we give it to them, but when they stop asking for it, probably somewhere around junior high, we seem to stop offering it, at least less frequently. Yet, we don’t outgrow our need for it.

Some people our instantly likable because they’re famous, rich, powerful, physically attractive, stylish, talented, intelligent, or funny, but these folks may wonder whether people truly like them for who they or just want something from them. Those who didn’t hit the genetic jackpot or those who are shy and introverted often have to work at being liked.The socially awkward, those who are always saying and doing the wrong thing, may give up on being liked, discovering it’s much easier to be alone. The rebels in society, those who flaunt their utter disregard for rules, who don’t seem to care if they’re liked, actually do care about being liked, but only by their own kind. People pleasers want so desperately to be liked that they’ll completely expend themselves, their time and resources, on others. They’re so afraid of diminished affirmation that the word “no” is absent from their vocabulary.

Likability is important for politicians, actors, musicians, athletes, artists, and authors who live off the backs of their fans. My dad, who always has a book going, found one in the bargain bin that he thought looked interesting. He was moved by it and so took the time to pen a note to the author offering his appreciation. The author wrote him back, telling my dad he had posted the letter near his desk as a reminder that what he was doing, painstakingly putting his mind and heart down on paper day after day, meant something to someone else. A stranger’s approval was important enough to him that he wanted to keep it in his line of sight.

We do tell people we like them. We applaud soloists, bands, orchestras, and casts of plays. We cheer on our children as they wobble about a field trying to connect with some sort applauseof ball and we root for our favorite sports teams. We recognize peoples distinctive accomplishments at awards banquets. We express our approval by emptying our wallets. We often read books, watch movies, and try new restaurants based on other people’s favorable opinions.

With the advent of social media, we have many more opportunities to tell others we like them. Our loved one’s and friend’s thoughts, feelings, family photos, vacations, latest hairstyles, fancy meals, and pets provide us with ample fair to exercise our “liking” capabilities. We don’t even have to say the words. We just have to click the handy little button. Facebook even provides alternative emotional responses, such as love, laughter, surprise, sadness, and anger. We can like away!likelikelike

I have an acquaintance who is a blogger. Someone on my Facebook feed posted some of his writing and I noticed he was local and decided to take a look. He’s a gifted, intelligent, articulate man who’s been blogging for 10 years and we share a similar worldview. I requested his friendship on Facebook and he accepted without ever having met me, which I thought was kind and just a little reckless. Maybe he should have searched out and talked to my family first. I met him, unexpectedly, in the public library. Walking by the stacks, I glanced down an aisle and recognized him and introduced myself. I was like one of his fans except that I didn’t ask him for an autograph.

I started reading his posts, going through his favorites over the years, and noticed something curious. After 10 years of faithful posting, incisive, thought-provoking, funny, heartwarming posting, he didn’t have a lot of likes. Where I expected there to be hundreds of votes of confidence for him, there may have been only a handful. Now, WordPress only introduced the like button in 2010 and only WordPress bloggers can use it. The public can’t access it which I think is so unhelpful of WordPress. Looking at the number of likes on an article would never give one a true indication of how many people had read it or liked it, for that matter, but it still caused me to wonder.

Is there a dearth of encouragement in our world? Are we stingy? Is that why social media was born to feed our emaciated, love-starved souls? We’ve all heard the sad truth that it takes five positive comments to make up for one negative one. Criticism can be so damaging, especially if it’s not constructive. It breaks my heart to think that there are people who grow up abused in all it’s heinous forms rather than loved. Affirmation, likecellphoneencouragement, support, that’s what love does. I know there are those who worry that we have become a society of narcissists, internet zombies virtually loitering on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, with likes in our eyes. These people would withhold praise to keep from swelling their spouses, their children’s, their friend’s heads. Yet, I hear so much insecure talk around me and fully admit to being insecure myself, I wrote a post about it, that I believe there’s little to worry about in this regard. Social media aside, I don’t think we’re getting the job done.

So, we do tell people we like them collectively, but we don’t tell them individually and why is that? Here’s what I think and feel free to contribute to this list in the comments section:

  • We’re preoccupied with ourselves, our thoughts, feelings, dreams, desires, plans, and agendas.
  • We’re too proud to praise another. Our ego is so clunky, it gets in the way of our ability to give. We fear we’ll lose something if we acknowledge the abilities or success of another, viewing that person as a competitor rather than a compatriot.
  • We’re too busy. It takes thought plus time to tell someone what they mean to us. A note, email, or unhurried coffee may not fit into our already overcrowded calendars.
  • We’re distracted by our hobbies, phones, the internet, our pressing entertainment schedules and so the moment passes and we figure we’ll get to it another time, but we never do.
  • We think it has to be formal, that we have to go to a card shop and spend an hour looking for the right words written by a stranger in lilting prose or flowery rhyming couplets paired with some pastoral nature scene or sweet, plump bird perched on a branch .
  • We fear the possibility of being rejected, that our admiration won’t be accepted or appreciated.

Scripture never fails to give us a good word for every situation. Jesus, up on the hillside in his famous sermon on the mount, delivered what has been coined the golden rule recorded in Matthew 7:12, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”  He’s not saying to treat others as they treat us, which is how most of the world lives and which makes for a very tumultuous existence. No, he’s saying to think about how we want to be treated and act accordingly. We want encouragement. We need it. So, according to Jesus we should be giving it to others, without guarantee that it will be returned.

A couple verses before this, Jesus talks about how no one would give their hungry child a stone, if she asked for a fish. Are we lobbing rocks rather than showering compliments? Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Jesus is described in John 1:14 as being full of grace and truth and as his followers we should aspire to speak with the same gentleness, kindness, and sincerity. Our words should strengthen others, helping them to stand taller, enhancing their lives.

When we build each other up with honest praise, we’re doing more than propping up egos, we’re growing and reinforcing community, a benefit for all. Can you imagine a world where everyone felt loved, encouraged, and supported, valued for who they are klimkinand the contribution they make? It’s not going to happen if we don’t get our lips flapping. We have endless likes in us. Really, it costs us nothing, other than intention, attention, action, and time. We just have to start doling it out, generously and with cheer! Tell people you like them; their eyes, hair, fashion sense, smile, laugh, goofiness (I adore goofy people), jokes, personality, thoughtfulness, ideas, art, music, writing, work ethic, their gardens, their meals, their smooth dance steps, the way they carry themselves. You’ll never not have something good to say! If I see something I like about someone I’m walking by, I tell them. You might be afraid to do this and that’s okay. Start by telling the people you love, your family and friends. Start where you are with the people you interact with everyday. Let’s start dropping love bombs instead of F-bombs. We might just change the world one like at a time.

Complete the experience. Listen to Toby Mac’s Speak Life.

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. 🙂

 

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. 🙂

Substance Abuse

We were house hunting a couple of years ago and there was one house in particular that stood out and not because I liked it. On every wall available, there were two to three pigs2pictures. There was no blank space to rest your eyes, only intense stimulation. In another home, every room was littered with piles of knicknacks. I don’t like knickknacks. I know some of you are coo-coo for Cocoa-puffs, I mean, nutty for knickknacks. I challenge you to think about whether or not you even look at them, or if their visual cacophony is something you now ignore. For me, something on every surface is just so much clutter. Your house might as well be messy. Besides, how much of your life do you want to spend moving, dusting, and resetting stuff?
Continue reading “Substance Abuse”