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Monday, June 25, 2012

Lighten Up!

Looking back on the last several weeks, I’m finding it nearly impossible to return to my routine. Perhaps five weeks was too long to be gone, although it seems to have flown by. I miss reading by the swimming pool, or sitting on Linda’s porch at the end of the day, sharing the evening meal while solving all the problems in the world.

I loved strolling through Savannah’s narrow streets with her artsy shops and spooky parks—dripping in Spanish moss and tainted history.

And then there was Hilton Head with her highfalutin beaches tousled with mermaid-hair seaweed, looking all mystical and wild—the exact opposite of what I had expected from this high-class lady.

Being back after a five-week working vacation is like being at a rock concert and mid-way through your favorite song, the place loses its power, creating a head buzzing, ear blocking silence!

Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. I think I’m just in a funk, plus Tropical Storm Debby is getting to me. She’s been lingering off of our coast for days, with her gray bloated self, blowing and boohooing all over everything—going no where because she can’t decide which path to choose, and giving us coastal dwellers a bad case of the nerves. (I know there’s a metaphor in there somewhere;)

All these clouds are putting me in a deeply reflective place. I’ve become way too serious this week and I’m trying to distract myself from it. This morning I did a four-page blog on the origin of thoughts. Four pages!! Yeah, be lucky I didn’t hit you with that one. You’d be running to the Dr. for some Prozac.

I know that I can’t help who I am. I have a tendency to go deep. Even as a kid I was reflective, opting to sit under a tree and listen to the birds, or play wordy records in my room, rather than run the neighborhood with the rest of the kids. I like being reflective and observant; it’s who I am.

I’ve never been much for the surface stuff. I don’t give a flying flip about how high your income is, or how good your children’s grades are. I’m more interested in hearing about you—the real you. And finding out what it is that you yearn for as you watch the sun quietly slip below the summer horizon, with a band of strumming crickets robbing you of your cares—leaving you alone and disarmed before all of creation. That’s the stuff I want to hear about.

So I run deep—and I’m a huge mush. And right now I’m missing the many faces that hold such special places in my heart.

My girls.

Soul sister Beth & family.

Mallory at the beach.

Laine & Mathius

Sweet Melissa

The Hammoudeh gang

I hate never having enough time to completely catch up with them. I’m certain that that’s why I’m feeling a little out of sorts. There’s just too much quiet around me, and then there’s Debby’s wallowing.

So, I guess I’m stuck with my deep-blue self, on this rainy day, although I’m not so far gone that I can’t seek some comedic relief…

Like sporting a pair of wax lips with my goofball friend!

Me & Lano

Or watching reruns of Just For Laughs.

Sometimes you just gotta lighten up!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Romantic Rumor

I grew up with a diaphanous father who floated above me like a caption bubble saying, “?”.

He was a romantic rumor, a previous chapter in my mother’s book of life, leaving behind no photos for his three little girls to frame and fawn over. There would be no frame hugging in this family. No searching his dark eyes for our own, or comparing the curve of our noses to his; no joy of discovering a trace of ourselves in his image, thus… answering our desperate curiosity. The only evidence of his existence was our existence.

My dad was an old movie reel flickering in my mind, with imaginary memories, conjured by a credulous child, intoxicated with prime time fathers, and aching for paternal adoration.

I was always comparing my invisible father to the other girls’ dads, which never worked out well for me. I suffered like an amputee with an inflamed phantom limb… finding no possible way to soothe it.

I felt that I had been gypped by life; everybody that I knew had two parents, but I only had one. I assumed that I was somehow to blame for my father’s absence, after all I was little girl number three, and in my little girl mind I thought that he was tired of daughters. I envisioned him throwing his arms up in defeat when I was born, and tromping off to find another family where he could have his very own little boy. Of course all of this was nonsense, but the actual reasons for him leaving were incredibly complicated; certainly nothing a mere child could possibly comprehend.

Father’s Day continues to be a holiday that I view from afar, like witnessing the customs of a foreign country. There is still an empty seat at the head of my childhood table, and a little girl waiting wistfully by the darkened window. She knows that he isn’t returning, but she’s found nothing else that could take his place.

Appreciate every moment that you have with your dad. Hug him, tell him you love him, and do nice things for him, for there are many children, both old and young, who have never experienced a fathers’ love and the joy and security that it offers.

For those of you who have known the void of a fatherless childhood, my message to you is this: Accept the vacancy in your heart as part of yourself; offer it honor and appreciation. You are the incredible person that you are, because of that vacuum. You have had to find your identity independent of a father’s influence. You have had to be brave and resilient during hard times, when a strong hand wasn’t there to guide you…or hold you.

Be proud of whom you are, and of the family that you have…that coalition of love that worked doubly hard in order to fill in the gap left by your father. And remember, there is only one true Father, and He is of the Spirit, and not of the flesh. He will never leave you; for He lives in you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hungry Little Gods

What we believe—we become. How powerful we humans are; made in the image of God—little creators of calm and chaos, unaware of our inheritance, believing that we have God’s eyes instead of His ways. For a small god is still a god, and all gods hold the key. Hold tight to yours lest you forget your heritage, and wander aimlessly—forever afraid of being yourself—of walking alone.

You are connected to the invisible, that wide-open place of white-hot potential, where love whispers answers to your soul—if you will but hear them—great and transforming truths about your origin and destiny.

You are vast; yet you remain small, believing the gravitational pull of death and want, stale bread and dirty water—a prisoner of the grand illusion.

You tolerate your hunger, when you carry within yourself an invitation to a royal feast, prompting you to come and eat—gain strength, equipping you for the journey ahead.

I wonder at all things. All things! And sometimes I see a power within myself that takes my breath away. Circumstances teach me, challenge and wound me, yet there it is—a greatness that remains. It speaks from the smallest of places, drawing my attention from the shadows and ghosts—inspiring me to stand up in the middle of my frailties and believe the impossible.

How great thou art my friend the worm. How great thou art.

Sometimes, I experience stunning conviction, believing that my heart’s desires are my natural course—that my destination is programmed into my soul like a migratory bird—and that the important things hold a strength of their own; they can never fail me because they are laced, like shimmering threads of truth, throughout my being.

The things that I believe, I become—it seems like so much power for such a simple soul. But when I look to nature and see her generous metaphors all around me, I am thoroughly persuaded that the seeds of greatness are sown in ordinary soil.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summertime Toss Back


When the days pour forth like a pitcher of cherry Kool-Aid, and playful shouts float into opened windows, alerting mother’s of their litter’s location, and disturbing old man Sullivan from his afternoon nap—then you know that it’s summertime.

Mr. Sullivan shuffles out to the back yard, stewing over his lost sleep, and finds his throne: an old metal chair placed beneath an ancient oak, where he will simmer as he waits to exact revenge.

Gary, a shy kid with high hopes, is up to bat. Eyes roll as he mimics a pro’s stance. Undaunted, he knocks one out of the yard, which gains him some momentary praise, until the ball thuds down in forbidden territory. Mr. Sullivan smiles as he imagines another ball on his mantle, his collection of home runs hit over his privacy fence, rewarding Rocko, his stealthy Rottweiler, with a “good boy” and a pat, for another drooly fetch, leaving a mob of scabby-kneed kids annoyed with Gary—now waiting in vain for a toss back.


When the days drag on, one looking much the same as the last 364, from within vaulted homes closed tight against the heat, air conditioners hum, simulating cooler seasons, and electronic devices turned domestic, e-sit chubby children unaccustomed to sunshine and exercise—then you know that it’s summertime.

Gary spends his summer days alone while his single mother works. He has never hung out with the kids in his neighborhood. Sometimes he sees them at school but it usually takes the entire school year for him to warm up to them. During the summer he loses touch with his new friends, as most of them either stay inside or get farmed out to summer programs, resurrecting Gary’s shy nature, and forcing him to start the awkward experience of making new friends all over again come fall.

Mr. Sullivan stands alone by his open window looking out onto his silent neighborhood. He hears the birds singing, and the traffic passing by, but none of this stirs him. His mantle is bare of sandlot trophies, his lawn immaculate, and his dog slumbering. Turning away from his window, he pauses and mumbles, “Where the hell are all the kids?”

Sing it Stevie