May 28, 2018

Afraid to Shine

I learned early, to hide my gifts. If one was discovered, I shied away from compliment, that is, until the gifts decided –  with or without me, they would be. I write this now with understanding, but it came long after I’d been bruised, emotions battered, rejection a constant reality I could not reconcile. Why the cruelty? What had I done? Now I know, those who were cruel shared my confusion. They didn’t understand their behavior any more than I did.

I could not suppress my God-design, and no one knew the struggle. My young mind’s limited comprehension garbled words and stuffed them down my throat, into my chest, where self-denial had its genesis. I moved through life inside that haze, I mean maze, until I met Mrs. Gordon, the journalism teacher who stoked those words to life. Gentle encouragement squeezed them up and out onto thinly lined pages and some morphed to become colored pictures in my head, silent movies in which I was the heroine.

Years after, a brash, handsome boy expressed interest as they are wont to do but withdrew it just as quickly. He had no idea that he’d inflicted damage on an already fractured soul. But, I didn’t cry, didn’t complain. I’d found a place which I deemed safe, acquaintances no longer needed. Instead, I wrote and sang. I poured every emotion out on notes and vocal textures. People felt the words I crooned yet didn’t hear a thing I’d said.

It wasn’t until after marriage, at the start of pregnancy, that the crumpled, faded petals of my spirit furiously unfurled. As if supernaturally the life growing inside me was an instrument of transformation. I had an added purpose, to impart without inflicting harm on the child who I’d soon meet. As she grew, I looked at all the pieces I’d become and colored them, then glued precisely. Bit by bit a new, a stronger me, began a slow ascent.  After all, that tiny person would depend on me to keep her whole. I didn’t know that purpose would become my lifeline.

All these years later, fragments of my brokenness thought long gone poked around, looking for their redemption. They were revived by some who judged, rejected, misunderstood – even ostracized.  I crawled back into reflection, another leg of the journey, another lap of the race to be true to me no matter the circumstance.  

Others sought to drown me in their own uncertainty, rejection, insecurities, pain. Their slivers, too, seeking to be redeemed.  I had a choice, help them by responding in a way which served us (yes, us) well.  Or, allow their shards to weaponize. 

No one wants that war.

Now, I stand in my truth. I am who God says and cannot be another. If my being is offensive, let’s agree to part. No sense casting shadows on another’s heart. We all deserve to be. I must tell you, I won’t shrink to pacify. All I am is me, no longer afraid to shine.

April 10, 2018

Wounded in the House of Friends

Zechariah 13:6 exposes an issue which honestly causes me distress when I consider it carefully. A prophet is asked, "What are these wounds in thine hands?" He replies, "Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." Use of the possessive, my, reveals the extent of pain in his pronouncement.

Friends love and are loved. They're trusted. There is an expectation of absolute loyalty. It is difficult to acknowledge, my friend hurt me. We know what to do with physical wounds. Certainly clean, apply ointment, bandage and give them time to heal. Do everything possible to avoid infection. Emotional pain is tough. How do we deal with a heart that is broken by someone we've allowed to touch it?

Think about this for a moment. Judas likely spent every waking moment with Jesus. They ate together. Christ washed his feet, yet, he betrayed Him with a kiss, to people who would kill Him (Luke 22). The betrayal was expected but painful anyway. Tamar never saw hers coming. She was raped by her brother Amnon when he deceived her into a compromising position by pretending to be ill. Afterwards, he put her out and locked the door (2 Samuel 13). Finally, King David's son, Absalom, conspired and took the throne from him. David ran to avoid being killed by his child (2 Samuel 15-19). Each scenario was an emotional minefield, and responses varied. Jesus surrendered and was tortured and killed. Tamar withdrew and became desolate, beyond redemption. David's heart was broken, but he fought to regain his throne. I am not sure how I would have reacted in any of these situations. 

A thirteen-year-old (I will call her Sheila) whose arms were covered in cigarette burns confessed that she put fire on her skin when the hurt in her heart was too much to bear. The physical pain momentarily dulled emotional trauma. I've been thinking of this because I feel an urgency to survive and properly manage painful processes. In my reflections on the matter, one thing is certain. If I focus on the wound, I will never get beyond it. To what then should I give the most energy? I decided, when my eyes are fixed on healing, that's what I'll move towards. 

Friendly fire is horrible and can be fatal if after care is not thoughtful. It requires a commitment to focus on healing although you are in pain. Be honest about what you are going through. You will need a support system (preferably a small but strong one) because there are times when they will have to hold you together until you can stand on your own. You address issues of the heart well when you also deal with your mental and spiritual state. If the mind and spirit are aligned, you are better positioned to handle the emotional roller coaster. 

Pray. Read the Psalms for examples of how David talked to God during his process. Forgive. It doesn't mean staying in relationship with those who have hurt you but forgiving allows you to let go. Letting go helps with healing. No matter the challenge, you can do this. You are not alone, and I am praying for you.

March 19, 2018

Thank God for Creativity

Thank God for creativity, which keeps me sane. I escape into craftily written stories on pages worn by constant turning. They transport me to places where characters are observed without reciprocated scrutiny. Even villains fascinate. Escapism? Maybe, but when I'm through there is enlarged capacity to cope, to execute.

Sometimes I look at pretty things - fashion, vintage cars, beautiful landscapes and fabulous decor. Or, I write. Words tumble from my soul, and cascade down to fingers moving faster than my thoughts. Once captured on paper I shift phrases around, and erase sentences which I'd believed clever, yet needed more work. There is no drudgery in the process though. I love it, as much as I love music, another avenue to harmony.

Worship songs, soothing jazz, salsa, flamenco, blues, easy listening, or reggae (I am an Island girl), all have the same effect. They make my heart happy. It's easier to face the day, the issue, the person, the challenge, when you're filled with joy. Do I handle all things perfectly after these moments of beautiful? The answer is no, but my best efforts are easier and I'm grateful to a creative God who knows exactly what I need.

February 26, 2018

Soaring Without Wings

Once upon a time I dreamed but could not bring the scenes to life. There were castles and princes on horses that pranced. Among verdant grass wildflowers danced. They were already free, while I kept trying to be.

Once upon a time I dreamed of flying over trees and through the clouds. In every frame, a rescue from some threat to happiness. Always on the lookout to avoid distress, I dreamed. Could this be why much stays inside my heart and head? I'm working hard to put them in my blog instead - to share without the dread. It scares me anyway, but I cannot give up.

Dreams, resilient and tenacious, bolster me. They peel back layers to reveal what I now know. I can soar without wings. The gauntlet of my fears may sometimes cause delay, but I've learned to move in spite of them.

My daddy wrote a song sometime ago. The lyrics prod, encourage, and admonish me to go.

"Got to keep on moving
Got to shed this feeling. 
Hey now, 
I've got to make it someday,
Just got to find a way."

So, I move, I shed, I go. It's what I know. It's how I live. 

February 12, 2018

It's All About Them

Sometimes getting up is easier said than done. Life happens. Control what you can, manage what you must, but whatever you do, don't give up.

Recently, my cousin lost a son to gun violence. He now wakes up to a new reality of inexplicable loss, yet unanswered questions and the effort to ensure his son has not died in vain. There are others close to me for whom this is also true, who became beacons of light for many. Being an example was not their goal. Making it one moment at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time is what they reached toward. Yet, they've made a difference for someone else.

This is not a post about death, rather it's an exposition of the power of renewed purpose in the face of adverse circumstances. In spite of difficulty, I see them rise each day and create beauty in the midst of it all. They are strength wrapped in pain, fortified by struggle, unified in shared sorrow, comforted by memories. They are unending resilience who celebrate the life of their loved one yet ache at the loss.

Is it hard to do? I imagine so. Are they sometimes bereft and inconsolable? I imagine that too. Knowing the right things to say or do when it gets tough often isn't easy. What is acceptable support? It differs. The key is not causing further injury.

Sometimes, there is nothing we can do. Accept this truth. I'm sorry. I don't know what to say. A hug. Silence, giving them space to process, accept, breathe, figure out how to move forward. These are all options, but every situation requires something different. Pray before approaching. Remain quiet if you are unsure. Even expressions of love may be rejected. Don't take it personally. After all, it's not about you. It's all about them.

February 08, 2018


Since I started this blog, there is one thing I've endeavored to do, share what I call my heartsounds. At some point I realized, though I shared honestly, I may have held back a bit. No, I held back a lot. It's a frightening thing to lay your heart bare. I've admired those brave enough to do this, envied them even, but when it was my turn courage failed.

By nature, I am private. Couple that with a creative's apprehension at rolling out a new canvas of any kind, whether musically, by written word, a first sketch - well, you get the picture. It's not a pretty picture. I am shaking my head as I type, because fear has gripped. That's hard to admit, but it's the truth.

I, however, made a decision that 2018 is the year where I will finally do many things I've wanted to, things that are part of my destiny. It requires a massive push at the mountain of fear that rises every time I purpose to share without reservation. This entry is the first push, and it is major. I commit to write without holding back. Okay, I've put it out there, now I have to follow through.

What I choose to write about will be thoughtfully selected with you in mind. Expect more firsts from me this year. I look forward to the journey of shifting into greater in 2018. Limiting mindsets have been kicked aside, and I am ready. Are you? Let's do this together.