Once. Upon a Time There Was You…

By Holly

Confession: My husband and I saw the Broadway musical, “Once,” twice. In the same week. After seeing it once, we were so moved that we bought tickets to see it again 6 days later.

Spoiler Clarification: This piece was inspired by the characters Guy and Girl in “Once.” If you haven’t seen it, you must! But don’t worry: reading this will not spoil the show for you. It is my response to the characters and does not reveal the plot or the ending. Besides, “Once” must be experienced. It cannot be captured in writing because the music – the emotion – is the heart of the experience.

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He

Abandoned. Left behind by his lover who chose her dreams over him. Alone, his only company is his guitar. He is ready to walk away from it.   Just like she walked away from him. Wholly wounded by lost love, he finds walls. The walls built by giving up on his gifts and by choosing safety protect him. Inside his walls, he is filled with songs to sing. But, he thinks we do not want to hear them. In his pain, he shuts down. He grows numb to his emotions. Stuck. He is wedged between what he thought he had and what he has. He buries his talent – his gifts that would change the world if he were brave enough to share them. But he is afraid. The power of his fear dominates him into weakness. His fear and his wounds – they have voices. They convince him that he is not good enough. They tell him not to follow his heart. They tell him to stay. Stay where he is. Stay scared.

Vulnerable?

No.

Brokenhearted.

She

Connected. To others and to herself. She is a light that we cannot ignore. She draws us in and we feel new in her light: in her presence, we are more. Illuminated. Brilliant. Whole. She surrounds herself with mirrors, not walls. We can always see all of her as she stands strong in front of the mirrors, inviting us to see her whole self. She knows her gifts and shares them freely. Seeing her give – feeling her give – makes us wonder if maybe we too have something to give.   Steered by passion –compassion – she moves us to pick up our instruments and play our own songs right along with her. Her energy is full and feisty. She is free. And she is bound. Bound by her devotion to all that is right. She is brave enough to feel deeply. Tending to these feelings, she chooses wisely what to do with them. She seems fearless and unwounded. But, she has fears and wounds just like us. What sets her apart is what she does with them. She does not dismiss them. She does not run from them. And she does not let them stop her. When she is scared and hurt, she chooses opening up instead of shutting down. She chooses connecting instead of protecting.

Vulnerable?

Yes.

Wholehearted.

Me

More like He than I want to be. Yearning – learning – to be like She.

Vulnerable?

Sometimes.

Healinghearted.

You

Vulnerable?

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Jesus, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, 3 therapists and Alanis Morissette

by Kari

As I entered the clinic I was ushered into a small room where 5 professionals sat with pencil and paper and an empty chair for me.  “What brings you here today?” the psychiatrist asked.  “I’m a pastor’s wife with 4 kids, over-stressed, can’t sleep and in a depression,” I said softly and bluntly.  My therapist later told me that in the next 3 weeks one goal for me was to become selfish.  What?!   This totally messed with my take-up-your-cross theology.  Alone in my hotel room I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “you can do this” and then heard the song Receive by Alanis Morissette for this first time.  And in the proceeding days, weeks and months I have learned and continue to learn to receive; receive the love of God and receive the love I have for myself.

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In this way

Why will you not
let me
love you
love you
in
this
way?

Why will you cling
to idols
dependently stay?

Why will you not
let me
equip your frame
sweetly?

Why would you
rather
forgo lands
of weeping?

Why not rather
stumble
in
imperfection
that goes somewhere
mediocrity diminish?

Why not say that
to fail
is
to start
not
to finish?

Why will you not let me
love you through
the gift
of words?

Why would you want
to quench
those depths
when
stirred?

Why will you not let me
love you
love you
in
this
way?

I answer, Lord.

Knee-jerk computations
excuse manifestations
scream
self-limiting beliefation
not abundant salvation

I will let you
love me
love me
in this way.

Almighty Being
Rescuer of my being
equip my frame sweetly
enter into this land with me
weeping

I will stumble
fall
on you call
for up
for gut
for strength
for length
for sighs
for highs
for swords
for roars
for laughs
for baths
for rest
for request

Thank you for
loving me
loving me
in
this
way.

Prisms and Windows: How Does Your Light Shine?

By Holly

During this birth week of our blog, I have learned that sharing my writing is sharing my heart. It is not my natural tendency. As Kari and I have shared Dreadlocks and Goldilocks with the world this week, I have felt exposed and vulnerable. As I have talked to people from various parts of my life – work, home, family near and far – a few have expressed surprise about learning about this writing side of me. These conversations have made me reflect on my tendency toward a prismatic life. But, I think that maybe I was made to be a window…

Prism: Mysterious, solid mass, distorts light, changes depending on the viewpoint

She is a prism, rock solid with many different facets. Faces. The side she shows depends on the role she plays. As she rotates through each role in life, from mother to leader to wife to sister to daughter to friend to volunteer, her light changes. Revealing one side at a time, this rotation of roles is her protection. While her light is always there, it shines differently depending on her angle. Others see it only from their viewpoint. And they cannot see her heart. It is protected by her sharp edges that distort the light, covering her heart, every which way she is turned.  

Even so, they are drawn to her and they say her light is beautiful. They may wonder what her light would look like from another angle, but they receive the light of the face she shows.

Window: Transparent, fragile, allows others to see out

She is a window. The Light shines through her, never distorted, always pure. She has a way of helping others see out – see more – when they look at her. Her transparency and fragility make her vulnerable. But it is her vulnerability that allows the Light to shine through her. If she were unbreakable, she would block the Light.

Through her, others are drawn to the Light. She awakens their desire to experience the beautiful. She inspires them to see the world. She stirs them to wonder about being more. She beckons them to bask in the Light. She calls them to go out and walk in It. And she leads them to new places. All because she lets the Light shine through.

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Goldilocks: Just Right.

by Holly

Strong and independent. At least she thinks she is.

Adventure calls. Wandering into the unknown, her innocent curiosity gets lost in her criticism.

Fear, The Not Enough, wins. There is only one way, right in the middle. Extremes=dangerous, inside the margins=known.

Alone, she befriends the neutral inside. Accepted and expected is what comes out. Intimacy with just right grows. She knows what others want to see. She shows them what they want to know. But she senses something else within her.

The voice inside, it rumbles low. It fuels default, demands order. It tells her she has it all together. It brings her comfort. Praise. The voice carries her while her something else simmers deeply, never boiling but never freezing.

This porridge that simmers, could it be her true self? Her peace?   A porridge made of dreams, passion, desire: the triplets that make her her. They wait for her rising. They long to meet her strength and independence, her confidence. They hope that someday her curiosity will trump her criticism. They wonder when her sense of adventure will take her past the edges. They fight to free her. Fill her.

Because being filled with the porridge is the only way to make room for the joy, the completeness, and the saving of souls: triplets that can never be found in just right.

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A Year Ago, Today

by Kari

I take a deep breath.  I pause in gratefulness to my Maker for this fullness in life that Paul talks about in Ephesians 3.  For this is the day that Holly and I launch this blog.  Our hearts are overflowing to share our stories with you in poetry and prose.  And we invite you to dialogue with us in this journey.

 

A Year Ago, Today

Year ago today
Saturday morn couch lay
frozen physically
numb dizzily:
this is happening.

“I don’t know what to do”
meant I did too:
leave him
four kids
get help.

Texted counselor friend
ensure no dangerous end
texted faithful neighbor/friend
she arrived.

A community tea party
I was to lead hardy
“I can’t do this today
I must go away
can you be me?”

Shaky words
no tears
lost in skin’s atmosphere.

Kissed kids, nestled in covers
brush by husband, no hover
“I can’t process with you.”

Faithful friends, family
dropped all to salvage me
cringe with me
hurt with me
and
my husband.
We are eternally grateful.

New life, language surfaced
through pain, tears
purposed.

Goldilocks living
longed to strangle
to get my attention, angle;
chronic depression confusing
age-old self-hatred losing
leathery cords fusing
over-commitment amusing
cerebral institution musing.

Life on hold
catch my breath
month of June
therapy depth
resuscitating Goldilocks
to see the real deal.

Real deal wrestling
shame digesting
vulnerability pressing
angst manifesting.

New-birth tears rising
finding self thriving
calling out the conniving
to the depths diving.

Goldilocks not hated
not ridiculed, mutilated
breakdown to brave
true-self crave
dreadlocks fated
embracing me
amazingly elated.

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