What Are Champagne Problems?

As I reflect on the different facets of my relationship with my ex-husband, and the nuances of abuse in our relationship, and as I consider all of the ways I was complicit in keeping the charade of a relationship going with him for 10 years of my life, I have been listening to Taylor Swift and finding a depth in her music that I never could detect before.

Why couldn’t I appreciate her music before?

Because while I was married to him, I did not understand what love really was.

Love is not some superficial thing that is based on glib words and calculated actions and keeping tabs.

Love is not about manipulating and guilting someone so that you can get your way with them.

Love is not based on fear and control.

No, love is the opposite of fear.

The philosopher and poet Khalil Gibran wrote on love in his seminal book, “The Prophet.” The following is an excerpt that I have come back to again and again:

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears …

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at even tide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

When you really love someone your heart is laid bare. You do not withhold any part of yourself, you are willing to walk through the fire for the person you love.

Nothing is too delicate, nothing is too embarrassing, nothing is too scared to withhold.

That is what love is. That is how I loved him, and how I believed he loved me.

But I was very wrong about him.

Which brings me back to this song by Taylor Swift, “Champagne Problems”

I was intrigued by the title, and held in thrall by the melody and the wistful melancholia of the lyrics:

You booked the night train for a reason
So you could sit there in this hurt
Bustling crowds or silent sleepers
You’re not sure which is worse

Because I dropped your hand while dancing
Left you out there standing
Crestfallen on the landing
Champagne problems

Your mom’s ring in your pocket
My picture in your wallet
Your heart was glass, I dropped it
Champagne problems

You told your family for a reason
You couldn’t keep it in
Your sister splashed out on the bottle
Now no one’s celebrating

Dom Pérignon, you brought it
No crowd of friends applauded
Your hometown skeptics called it
Champagne problems

You had a speech, you’re speechless
Love slipped beyond your reaches
And I couldn’t give a reason
Champagne problems

Your Midas touch on the Chevy door
November flush and your flannel cure
“This dorm was once a madhouse”
I made a joke, “Well, it’s made for me”

How evergreen, our group of friends
Don’t think we’ll say that word again
And soon they’ll have the nerve to deck the halls
That we once walked through

One for the money, two for the show
I never was ready, so I watch you go
Sometimes you just don’t know the answer
‘Til someone’s on their knees and asks you

“She would’ve made such a lovely bride
What a shame she’s fucked in her head, ” they said
But you’ll find the real thing instead
She’ll patch up your tapestry that I shred

And hold your hand while dancing
Never leave you standing
Crestfallen on the landing
With champagne problems

Your mom’s ring in your pocket
Her picture in your wallet
You won’t remember all my
Champagne problems
You won’t remember all my
Champagne problems

She paints a poetic and delicate picture of her ex, whom she rejected when he was on the verge of proposing to her with his mother’s ring.

He is crestfallen and gets onto a fast-moving train to “sit in [his] hurt”.

She must have been a very physically attractive girl, because everyone else around him is trying to comfort him telling him that “she would have made such a lovely bride, she’s fucked in the head”

The reason she gave for rejecting him is vague – “sometimes you just just don’t the answer till someone’s on their knees and asks you.”

In the past it would have been impossible for me to understand why a woman would turn away a man who did such wonderful things for her, someone who gave her “everything.”

Now I understand.

It’s not about the nice things they do, but it is about their heart.

How much can your heart hold? She knew his heart was made of glass, fragile, so easily broken – “Your heart was glass, I dropped it, champagne problems”

His pride was tide up with how his family and friends saw him – he was caught up with externalities, he lived for the applause of the world, but she lived for something deeper. She trusted her intuition, and she wanted someone who knew himself better, someone whose ego was not a delicate flower, someone who would be willing to dig deep and go beyond maintaining the facade of a superficial marriage where each person was merely playing a predictable role for the world to see.

She wanted someone who would be willing to walk through the fire, someone who respected himself enough to live from the inside out, not the outside in.

She wanted someone she could really respect.

And love.

He was not the person she sought, she did not know it until he proposed. As terrible as it made him (and her) feel, she had the courage to reject him because she was honest with herself.

If I had known my own heart better when Esteban and I had first started dating him, I would have never gotten into a relationship with him.

I have always had trouble with saying “no” to someone who is charming, funny, and persistent. It was hard to do so because I did really know how to love and cherish myself when I was younger, and I was saddled with a lot of false guilt and feelings of obligation.

Nowadays, as I learned to be honest with myself and to love and hold myself unconditionally through this season of deep sadness but also unexpected joy, I look for something deeper and real – something that charm does not lend itself to easily.

I search for honesty, courage, vulnerability and patience. Four things that I’m learning more about everyday as I rub up against reality over and over again.

Today I took my elderly mother with Stage 4 colon cancer out for Sunday brunch. We went to our usual spot at Wheelock place. It’s hard to be with her sometimes because she has early onset dementia and lacks self-awareness. I often have to over-function to be able to take care of her. In addition to this, many of the things she says and does still trigger some deep wounds inside of me that have yet to heal.

Today as I was preparing to get her into the wheelchair, I tried to move something out of it so she could sit comfortably in it. She did not wait for me to clear it and went and sat down even though the wheelchair was not close enough to her.

She fell over backwards and yelled so loudly I was mortified and terrified at the same time. A crowd of people rushed in to help. She lay there for a while, stunned, her 8 inch stomach wound from her colon operation exposed for all the world to see.

It took 3 people to haul her up and into the wheelchair. We thanked everyone for their help and I tried my best to stay calm even though everything in my brain was telling me to freak out. I talked to her and asked if she was okay. She said she was okay, that she was just shocked.

Later on I brought her to the bathroom and realized that she’d wet her wheelchair because she had peed her pants.

I waited for 20 mins for her while she changed into a new pair of diapers and pants. She did no want me to help her with it even though she regularly gets the helper to serve her hand and foot. I suppose it is a relief for me too.

In the end I left the bathroom to take a mental break from the drama of it all. I’m still feeling shaken up by her fall and feel quite guilty about it, even though it wasn’t my fault.

It’s just a lot of work when you really just want to be able to relax and enjoy your Sunday. I feel bad even for saying this and I will always treasure the times I have with my mother, but these times with her are often fraught with all kinds of embarrassment and frustration.

Later on when we left the building to get a cab, it was also a trial. My mother balked at climbing the stairs even though usually she has no problems climbing up two flights of stairs at home when she wants my attention.

In the end two guys came over to help and I felt super embarrassed when one of them said, “it’s not very handicap friendly around here” I saw him glance at the wet spot on the wheelchair out of the corner of his eye and something just shriveled up inside of me.

Anyways, it was all I could do to contain myself on the way back as I called a Grab, struggled to get my mom in the cab and load the wheelchair in the trunk. The elderly cab driver insisted on helping and I felt even more ashamed.

I know there is no objective reason for me to have felt shame in those moments: I needed help and my elderly mom can’t be blamed for her neediness, or even peeing herself – however, my shame about my mother and her indiscretions have plagued me my whole life, and I was churning through a cycle of shame in that moment.

It was hard enough to not lose my cool, but when I was spacing out in the cab, trying to get a grip on my feelings of overwhelm (tears were pricking my eyes and I was desperately trying to hold them back) when my mother turned tentatively towards me, like she was seeking my validation and approval and said, “you can just drop me off downstairs I’ll go up on my own.”

I just snapped and said, “I’ll take you up, don’t be ridiculous.”

I felt angry because I felt she should know that I could not in good conscience leave her at the lobby with her wheelchair. I also felt that taking her up to her apartment would be nothing compared to what I had already been dealing with.

I just needed space to work through my angry and sad feelings, but she wouldn’t give me space and it seemed like she just wanted more emotional energy from me – more than I could give in that moment.

It was hard.

I don’t even know how my feelings towards my mom can be so extreme at times – overcome with feelings of love and affection, and the fear of losing her and then at odd moments riddled with anger and rage, bordering on hatred.

Is this what it means to love someone from your heart?

Is this what it means to see someone you love grow old and lose their capacities?

Is this what it means to cope with grief and loss?

Is this what letting go looks like?

Mark Manson talks candidly about losses:

“Life is a long series of losses. It’s pretty much the only thing guaranteed in our existence. From moment to moment, year to year, we give up and leave behind former selves that we will never recover. We lose family, friends, relationships, jobs, and communities. We lose beliefs, experiences, perspectives, and passions. And ultimately, we will one day lose our existence entirely….

You can never bring a dead person back to life. You can never hit ‘reset’ on a broken relationship. You can never fix a wasted youth or redo a past mistake or un-say the words that destroyed a friendship.

When it’s gone, it’s gone. And it will never be the same, no matter what you do. And this, in a real psychological sense, destroys a small piece of you. A piece that must eventually be rebuilt.”

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Even through I agree that moving forward from a loss involves accepting the past and rebuilding your psyche in the area that where you have suffered loss, I have something that will never be lost – a relationship with Jesus that is eternal and constant.

There is so much comfort in knowing I’m am held in His hands, and I can accept whatever happens knowing that He’s protecting and restoring me each day as I turn to Him as a child to her Heavenly Father.

So even if I have “champagne problems” or perhaps in this season something more akin to “hard liquor problems” I can rest assured that He is with me and will never let me go.

Psalm 27

Of David.

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour[a] me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

Letting Go To Create

I wrote this song in a cab on the way back home from town:

Life is a song

That is to be sung

You don’t go back

You don’t go back

There’s nothing wrong

With being weak

Take it slowly

When things look bleak

No need to be afraid

About what people think

Darling don’t be afraid

Just be kind to yourself

You’ll never be perfect

And that’s okay

Can you feel

How much you’re

Loved anyway

You can be yourself

There’s no need to rush

Life doesn’t hinge

On any one thing

Live day by day

Embrace each moment

No matter what happens

You are loved

Your soul is held

By eternal hands

The maker of time

Will bring you home

I’ve been in a very creative mode of late and my creative work ranges from poetry, to music and songs to illustrations and other pet projects like my mushroom patch in a Bell-jar. I think it has to do with a sense of freedom and space that I found myself in after emerging from an abusive marriage.

I have intentionally decided to take time out to let myself go and explore what it is like to go with the flow instead of defaulting to prioritizing and approaching tasks in a sequential and logic-oriented manner. Instead, I start something, say, a piano session, take a break, and move on to writing a blog piece. I don’t finish that blog piece but move on to take a shower, afterwhich I might wash a few dishes in the sink while setting the laundry machine.

Normally, this might appear to be symptomatic of ADHD, but I have found that my brain feels clearer and more ordered and there’s a flow in the way I work. As I go with the flow, I somehow find myself back at the piano and pick up from where I left off. There’s a real sense of freedom in living this way, it’s is almost as if I am intentionally letting go and walking away from a spirit of fear and control, so as to allow my inner wisdom to guide me.

Living like this has informed my creative work. It has freed up my inner voice and quickened me to moments of inspiration which I seize, instead of waiting for the perfect set-up to create. This could look like capturing ideas on a napkin, or googling a random word that pops into your mind to see which rabbit hole that takes you down, or getting up to write poetry in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep.

I wrote the song above while in a cab on the way back home from town. It took me 3 minutes to write the words out – a kind of encouragement to myself while I weather the loss of a 10 year relationship and process the trauma from the abuse and hurt that was locked up inside of me for so long.

I didn’t think that these lyrics would work itself into a song easily. There was no clear verse, chorus, bridge format as you would expect. However, it sat in my pile of lyrics for songs for a while. Approximately two months later from when I wrote those lyrics, I’d find myself feeling my creative juices flowing one night – I was almost in a trance when I opened up my Ipad and located the lyrics to ”Life Is a Song” and put music to it. It took me all of 10 minutes to put down chords to the lyrics which I left 98% intact.

I changed only one line.

The line ”You don’t go back” in the first verse was originally “You can’t go back,” but I wanted to make it sound more empowering, so instead of using the word ”can’t” I used the word “don’t.”

Life is a song

that is to be sung,

You don’t go back

You don’t go back

This line has a special significance for me as a singer-songwriter because in the past when I performed I would get really hung up about flubbing or playing a wrong note or chord, to the point that when I made a mistake, I would freeze up and stop playing the song in the middle of a performance.

Like a deer caught in headlights, I would lose my momentum and this would result in my having to go right back to the beginning of the song so that I could play it “perfectly.” I have since heard from a few music veterans that this is not the way to go – you do not stop playing the song in the middle of a performance and start from the beginning, you don’t go back.

Music has been an integral part of the healing journey I am currently on, so the issues and themes I am dealing with come out in my lyrics. And as I was reflecting on my life and what brought me into an abusive 10 year relationship and as well as what brought me out of it, I realize that many painful moments in my childhood were re-enacted in my own marriage.

It is almost as if I had subconsciously tried to “fix the past.”

Now, I realize that we can only learn to face up to and accept the past, but we cannot change it. We can learn to acknowledge the truth about the people that abused us and deal with the trauma that we went through, once this happens, everything is overlaid with a softer lens and history is revisioned in a way that helps you to put the past where it belongs – in the past. As you do this, you learn to live in the here and now, fully embracing all the joy and opportunity each moment brings.

This song is basically a quick little manual about how to do that: it starts with being kind to yourself and embracing your inner child – listening to her and giving her what she needs through your creative work. It starts with letting your inner voice speak without self-censoring, but by embracing all the different shades of who you are as a person. It starts with forgetting about what other people say or think about you, and letting go of trying to project any image of yourself into the minds of others. It is also telling your internal critic as well as your internal cheerleader that you want them both to leave, because your inner voice of wisdom is enough, and it will emerge when those loud voices of blame, shame and forced cheerfulness leave.

It is also about letting go of fix modes of thinking and internal boundaries and allowing the muse from your internal universe to create from the space that you give to it. It is a lot like dipping into a universal consciousness and riding the wave of inspiration that comes when you tap into that space.

How will you let go to create this very moment? 🙂

The Cathedral of Your Mind

What do you build in the Cathedral
Of your mind?

Garbage in, garbage out
What are you watching
These days?

What images play in your mind?
How do you like them?

Does your spirit sense
Something’s amiss
Or is it like sleeping beauty

Waiting for true love’s kiss

Do you feel like you were
Made for something more
Than just another day
Of going through the motions

Which parts of yourself
Do you sell
So you can runaway

Have you considered
That you don’t need
Anyone else

To own your own reality?

Have you realized
That it’s okay to love

Yourself well enough

To let go and ask Jesus for what you want?

Not what you think you should?

Now,

What will you build in the Cathedral of Your Mind?

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Jesus said “Unless you turn to God from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore anyone who humbles himself as this little child, is the greatest in the Kindom of Heaven. And any of you who welcomes a little child like this because you are mine, is welcoming me and caring for me.” Matthew 18:3-5

For years as a Christian I couldn’t pray truly honest prayers.

I thought I was being honest, but so many emotions were buried deep within me that I couldn’t access them and articulate them in my prayers to Jesus. A deep sense of shame and unworthiness kept me from accessing my true feelings like fear, happiness, sadness, anger, surprise and disgust that were hidden under a general sense of ‘stress and defectiveness.’

As a result, my prayers to Jesus felt wooden, empty and rote. I felt like I was going through the motions and it felt like a wall was growing between us.

As I have learned to draw near and depend fully on Jesus through this time of testing, I have learned to let go and live as a child, to get in touch with my true emotions and to accept myself unconditionally as a beloved child of my my Heavenly Father.

This means trusting that He is working all things out for me even if I don’t understand how. This means having the peace that passes all understanding even if there is a long-list of things to get done, trusting that I’ll come to each of those items as the Holy Spirit enables and empowers me. I get those things done from a spirit of rest rather than that of worry and anxiety.

This also means not depending on the approval, opinion or validation of others for a sense of internal peace and security, because all I need is God’s approval, and I already have it.

This also means listening to Him and writing down the things He’s saying to me, and also taking steps of faith to do the things He’s asking me to do day by day, even though some of these things may seem difficult and daunting to do.

I do not have a lot of courage or confidence in myself.

I never have, but with the assurance that I can come to Christ as I am, with all of my foibles and peccadillos and be completely accepted and loved, fully as I am, not as I think I OUGHT TO BE, I can find the courage to keep moving forward with honesty and integrity in spite of all the challenges and opposition I face.

In addition to this, I am encouraged to pray boldly for myself, as well as those God has put in my life.

Praise be to God for allowing me to pray freely and live in the fullness of faith!

I do not pray because God is going to necessarily do everything I pray for, but I pray because I know God’s heart is good and He has put it on my heart to pray for myself and others and, as a result I can live in simple obedience to His call on my life. There is so much joy that comes from being able to pray honestly and boldly while releasing the outcome to God’s sovereign will.

In the book of Hebrews, it is boldly stated, “Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22”

We can approach God in our prayers like little children asking honestly for the things we want. We can also tell him how we really feel about things, like if we feel hatred for someone or wish someone were dead – all these are things that David the Psalmist earnestly and openly shared with God without any shame.

Jesus meets us where we are at and wants the real us, not the ‘good’ (read ‘contrived’) us. Trust God to be big enough to handle you in all your shades and trust Him to bring you to repentance and right-mindedness even as you pour our your heart to Him. So come boldly and ASK.

Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask and it will be given to you; 

Seek and you will find;

Knock and the door will be opened to you. 

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 

Matthew 7:7-11

I love the Lord because he hears my prayers and answers them. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I breathe.

Psalm 116: 1-2

Rambutans

Why can’t I let go
Of this memory
The one that I never had
With you?

The one where
We’re sitting at the canal
Looking at the water
Together

Peeling rambutans

Biting into the soft white flesh
Me masterfully pulling
flesh from
woody skin

You gazing off into the distance
Musing about
Jesse and the
Ants
He’s writing his PhD
On

And I silently wonder
How many more rambutans
We have left

The poem above captures an imagined scenario of hanging out with my sister. She talked about it one time, when I wistfully mused about how I wish I could just chill and eat rambutans by the Sunset Way Canal. (See picture above)

She said “Sure, we can go do that, why not?” I felt heartened by her easy carefree way of talking about hanging out. A big part of me wanted to spend time chilling by the canal with her, but in the end, it never happened.

Why not?

Because I rarely had anything meaningful to say to her; most of the time she would dominate the conversation and talk endlessly at me about some guy or another that she was dating. It would get really boring after a while.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have problems listening to my girlfriends tell me about guys they are dating or interested in, however, I draw the line at 1 hour sessions hearing an endless litany of musings about her current crush, about what he does and this and that.

It’s really boring.

I wonder if it’s because I just wish she would tell me instead what she’s doing. What was she doing apart from hanging out with these guys that she gets so fascinated by and who are just stringing her along and wasting her precious time? Is she doing anything with her own life to attend to her own emotional, spiritual and mental growth?

Also I wished she would actually be interested in me for once. And listen to me without judging me and talking down to me about the things I was doing, saying or thinking. I always came away from our conversations together feeling shit and completely misunderstood.

I never said anything explicit about our relationship in the past because I did not want to cause her offense. But upon writing the poem and having had some time to think about it and what it means, I realize that I wrote it to capture the dynamic in our relationship which was always marked by an abject lack of psychological, emotional and mental connection.

All of this stymied our relationship and led to dead-ends in our conversations. When I tried to tell her honestly how I felt, she would inevitably turn on me and criticize me, saying that I was too harsh or that I did not listen well, or that I had some serious anger problem.

I used to feel really bad about it. There were times things she said would make me feel like ending my life.

I used to think if only I tried harder to be kinder, nicer and more patient, or that if I were more self-aware and tried to sift out the truth of what she said, that we would have a good relationship, but now I realize that somethings just aren’t your fault.

There are some things you are never meant to carry – it’s not your responsibility. Good relationships require mutual respect, understanding and reciprocity; emotional intimacy involves holding space for each other.

She never once held space for me.

I have finally learnt to let go of a relationship that was never good for me.

I have developed what you might call ‘self-respect’.

Below is another poem I wrote about my sister which captures some of the nuances in our relationship.

MY SISTER LOVED ME

My sister loved me
But she broke me
In so many ways
So many splinters in my soul
So many fractures
That never healed whole

Did she know?

And what if she did?

Was the pain she held
Too much to contain?

Did it have to spill over
Messing everything up
Like that?

The seeping spread
The septic wound
The sopping rag
Couldn’t stanch the flow

Of life
She drew out from me
With her harpooned words

I was beached
Like a whale on sand

Gasping for air
Each ragged breath
Drawing sharp
Stabs of pain

The pain that
Tore through
Her soul
A cancer that
Threatened to consume
mine

But I have released her

And

Today,

I’ve found my way back
Into the water

I’ve found my way back
Home

Lone Tree

A solitary silhouette
You stand,
Against the stark backdrop
Of azure blue
And feathery white clouds

What makes you prevail
In this sun-scorched earth
Inhabited by thorn
And thistle?

All by yourself, you grow

What desires have you housed
In your tent
Other than the thirst for life?

Each rare instance that rain falls,
You receive as a kiss of grace
Quenching your thirst
With a vision of heaven

Every branch and woody sinew
Turned towards the light

Watered by a quiet stream
We cannot see
All through the year

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Epitaph

As if life wasn’t hard enough
You and I danced a beautiful
Dance of dysfunction

As I look back
There were all these signs
But why did I ignore them?

Was it because I was
Drawn to the fire
As a moth is drawn to
The flame?

You told me life was precious
But you didn’t know
Just how precious it was
Until you walked out on me

You sang a song of freedom
But there is no
Freedom without surrender

I’m tired of running from the pain
My love
So I’m letting you go

The story you wanted to
Write of a nuclear family
Tight and close knit
Constricts my soul,
Like a vice around my neck

Because that’s not what I was designed
For
I fought so hard for us
But now it’s ashes in the dust

Hot coals in the fire
The forgers fire
Is calling out to me

I must surrender to His call
And you must reckon with
Your creator

Broken eyes
Broken heart
Broken soul

I’ll see you again on the
Other side

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
17     no weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

Isaiah 54: 16-17

Facets

How many lives can you lead
How many languages can you speak
How many worlds can you live in
How many stories can you tell

If you live in a shell

How many times can you
Keep learning the same lesson?

I would rest easy if
I knew you were mine to keep

But you’re a child
Of the universe
Free and unfettered

By rules and stifling conventions
You scale walls, stomach bulging
in tacky plastic armour
You write notes with uneven scrawl

You flex in the mirror
Congratulate yourself
Looking sideways to see if I approve

Your noisy aggression
Was a foil to your soft underbelly
It was unsettling, intriguing
I had to find out more

So you are the one
I chose to burn
The river I drowned in

I awoke, found myself sitting safe
Drinking peppermint tea
While thinking about you –
A distant memory
In my soul

Everything

Everything I am
You see it all
There’s nothing
I can hide

Nowhere I can go
Which you
Do not already know

Everything I think
You see it all
Even at my worst
You love me still

How great is your love
So deep I cannot fathom

Even when I fail
Even when I feel far from you
You are here with me
You draw near to me

You never stop knocking
You never stop seeking
You never stop asking

Your love for me
Knows no bounds
You love for me
Is deeper than I
Can ever know or understand

Your love for me
Exceeds all expectations
Your love for me
Is deep, real and
True

How I long for you
How I love you
How I need you
And adore you

This is actually a piece I wrote planning to turn into a song.

I have not put any music to it yet, but I wrote this when it struck me how there is absolutely nothing I can hide from Jesus.

He sees all of my thoughts, feelings and actions and loves me, absolutely, completely. He embraces me and sings over me.

He knows things about me that I do not even know myself. That is the deep mystery of His love for me, He knows me better than I know even myself.

I am His beloved, His creation and I am created for Him, and Him alone.

25 To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
I trust you, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame.
Do not let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who waits for you will ever be put to shame,
but all who are unfaithful will be put to shame.
Make your ways known to me, O Lord,
and teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me
because you are God, my savior.
I wait all day long for you.
Remember, O Lord, your compassionate and merciful deeds.
They have existed from eternity.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my rebellious ways.
Remember me, O Lord, in keeping with your mercy and your goodness.

The Lord is good and decent.
That is why he teaches sinners the way they should live.
He leads humble people to do what is right,
and he teaches them his way.
10 Every path of the Lord is ⌞one of⌟ mercy and truth
for those who cling to his promise [a] and written instructions.

11 For the sake of your name, O Lord,
remove my guilt, because it is great.
12 Who, then, is this person that fears the Lord?
He is the one whom the Lord will teach which path to choose.
13 He will enjoy good things in life,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord advises those who fear him.
He reveals to them the intent of his promise.

15 My eyes are always on the Lord.
He removes my feet from traps.
16 Turn to me, and have pity on me.
I am lonely and oppressed.
17 Relieve my troubled heart,
and bring me out of my distress.
18 Look at my misery and suffering,
and forgive all my sins.
19 See how my enemies have increased in number,
how they have hated me with vicious hatred!
20 Protect my life, and rescue me!
Do not let me be put to shame.
I have taken refuge in you.
21 Integrity and honesty will protect me because I wait for you.
22 Rescue Israel, O God, from all its troubles!

How Do I Let Go?

How do I let go
Of someone that was never there
A person that was not real
A concept
I fell in love with

And did 10 years
Of my life with?

Flesh and blood
Dust specks all around
He sat in front
Of the computer screen

He was mine
Mine to hold
Mine to love
Mine to touch

I was his
His to use
His to plunder
His to control

I learned from him
And grew stronger

I broke free
One day,

When he broke me

But letting go …

How do you
Let go
Of
Someone
Who

Was
Never
There

Listen

I rediscovered recently on an older blog of mine that I had forgotten about.

My entries in that blog really spoke to me and reminded me of the person I am deep inside, someone that went into hiding for a long time.

I wonder if in the process of being married and building a life with my ex-husband, where I felt compelled to focus so much on externalities, I forgot who I really was.

I wrote this poem in 2012. It’s called “Listen.”

Listen,
To the internal clicks and sighs
The silent telling of whys

Follow,
Those signs
The little longings
That beckon you to quiet

Watch,
The moments transform
As you allow those
Voices to die

Laugh,
From the belly
As you awaken
From sleep to rest

And Thank,
Your lucky stars above
As you quicken
to who you are