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The Power Of Thoughts

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Just as with waves crashing on the shores of a tropical beach thoughts never cease. Some are clear and beautiful, some murky and painful. You can feel them, you can sense them, you know they're on the brink of coming ashore.

There's no way of knowing if they will leave you refreshed and looking forward to the next wave or if they will take parts of your heart, your soul, or perhaps your will, with them as they recede to build strength for the next bombardment of clear water, white caps, and bit and pieces of sand mixed with other debris from the depths from which they've been pulled.

There are days the thoughts are calm, the ebb and flow are tolerable, sometimes quite relaxing. Other times they may very well be much more than expected, taking more than they give.  It's during those times nothing can be experienced but the exhaustion of attempting to stay afloat and keep the irritants, and scary creatures that have been wrenched from their hidden places, at a distance that leaves room for breathing.

Examination of the thoughts during those times is nothing that is possible for those are the times survival is key. As with the waves thoughts never cease converging, one after another. It's only the intensity that changes.

The day could be sunny and bright and still bring a force of its own, that if not carefully navigated, will pull you into the dark depths of the ocean to fight even more fiercely for your life. Those are the times to walk away from the shore and into the safety of shady solitude, for if not recovery may not be possible.

I wonder, at times, if that's why I'm so drawn to the ocean. It's depth, mystery, power, and beauty mirror the happenings within my soul. There's nothing more exhilarating than surfing atop a forceful wave using your skill and determination to conquer the mighty force and win a battle with something much more powerful, something that has the capacity to whisk me away in an instant to certain death.

At the same time there's nothing more unnerving than having no fear of the force that, if you allow it,  holds your life, or death, in its grip, allowing it to toss you with its force along with bits of sand, rock, and other unknown dangers.



It Will Once More Be Beautiful

Sunday, November 20, 2016

As she carefully gathered the shattered shards of the once beautiful snow globe she realized the correlation between the fragile, beautiful, world and her life both before and after.

She had once lived what appeared the perfect life to the ones looking in, yet from inside, to her, that perfect life was contained and fragile.

As in her past, the music the snow globe so beautifully played before its fall deflected attention from the fissures beginning to manifest in the delicate world.

The music began to slow causing her to tilt the globe to re-wind the springs in the hopes the gears would continue to turn and the beautiful music would play.

Then came the fall that caught all off guard. The globe shattered and its contents covered the floor. There were sharp edges, broken pieces, devastation, and the contents of the globe were spread wide by the pressure that was released when the impact came.

She studied the pieces, even though broken, they were still stunning. The contents of the globe were shaken and damaged, but their beauty remained. She then noticed the glitter, that had once sparkled as it floated freely in the ornamental world, had spread across all the damage, and its sparkle was just as brilliant as it had been before the break.

It was then she realized that even though her world had disintegrated, and sharp  edges had caused much harm, the glitter, the sparkle remained. She carefully picked up the pieces, and had learned valuable lessons just as she had in life.

She then noticed the foundation of the globe. She gazed at it for a bit and feared, because of the crashing fall, if she re-wound the gears the music would never again be heard.

It took time to gather the courage to wind the base. The courage came and she wound the gears. Several tears fell as the music slowly, haltingly, started and then came to an abrupt stop. She waited for a moment and tried again. Once more the music slowly began and she held her breath wondering if it would continue.

The music began to fill the room, first in bits and pieces, then as it gathered strength its beauty returned. Its sound had changed slightly; it was still beautiful although different.

Her face lit up with a smile as she realized, that even though damaged, her world would once more be filled with beautiful music. Even though the pieces of the globe had spread far apart, the glitter that had been a constant theme was on all of the damaged pieces and would still shine, and that gave her the hope she needed to carry on knowing that all things change but if given time they would come together stronger, and more beautiful than ever before imagined.



There Was A Time

Thursday, November 17, 2016

As I sat in the upholstered chair in my attorney's office I glanced to my right. There sitting beside me, his head down, long, curly, brown hair tied back, and a beard that told the story of a young man with a difficult life, was my son, and my heart shattered.

The child I watched come into this world, the one that was a puzzle to raise, had grown physically into a bewildered young man. He's a young man that was dealt a hand most people would fold. Yet my son, homeless, mentally ill, and confused, carries on in the hardened face of adversity.

My mind went to the moment the pastor removed the tiny baby from his fifteen year old birth mother's arms and placed him into mine. We had no way of knowing at the time that child would face the difficulties he's had to face.

It took seven years for him to be diagnosed with autism, a very long, very challenging, seven years. I remember when the team told me the diagnosis I felt as if I had been kicked in the gut. I remember one of my other four sons asking, "Mom why isn't he like us?" I remember dreading the moment he woke up. I remember crying the entire night, and into the morning, when he decided to move to the streets.

He was only eighteen when he left home for the concrete jungle, the maze of shelters, soup kitchens, and drug addicts. He's now twenty three and more mental illnesses have emerged. There was a time, when he was still at home, that I gave up. I couldn't handle him. His rages were too intense, his brothers and sisters too tired of the constant turmoil, but he was still my son, my baby, my child.

Today, as I watched him, I thought of those difficult times. Tears began to fall from my eyes, down my cheeks, and onto my shirt. We began a process that hopefully will help him in his journey through life. I'm all he has, and I will fight for him until the end. His seven brothers and sisters have erased him from their lives. He and I are a team, most of the time, when he's not in an unmanageable state. Even when he is he's never out of my thoughts, my heart. I sit and I wait as each day passes for a call.

When he's home for a few days it's nice. He's his sweet, amiable, funny self. I always start to think he will be ok, the illnesses will be gone. Then the day comes when they surface in ugly ways and he retreats to the cold, wet, streets.

During those times I drive through downtown searching for him just to get a glimpse, to make sure he is alive. I lie awake at night wondering if he's cold, if he's hungry, if he's safe.

I love the twinkle in his eyes when he laughs, he has a beautiful smile, and a heart larger than the State of Texas. He also faces the ugliness of mental illness, the stigma, the delusions, and he feels shame and embarrassment. He feels abandoned by his brothers and sisters as well as by his father.

He and I had a wonderful day today. We made some decisions about his future and set the plan in motion. I took him to dinner, just the two of us, and we were free for a time, enjoying being together, our bond strengthening with each passing tick of the clock. We ate, we laughed, we smiled, and we were free from the judgements of others. 

As tiring as it was, I wish I could whisk him back to the days when he had to be tightly wrapped, and placed in a backpack for me to carry throughout the day. Those days he didn't feel unwanted and scared. It was more difficult for us as a family, but for him, for him he was free from stigma, dangerous situations, and abandonment. He was my baby with the soft, brown, curls that kept me moving and frustrated, but for him he had no challenges to face, no worries of where to sleep, or where his next meal would come from. He was safe. He was home.

I will continue to do for him as I did for all of my children, I will fight. I will fight even when I am tired. I know I will make mistakes, but I will try. I will stand by him in his darkest of hours. I will make sure he never feels alone and unwanted. He's my son, the beautiful baby I brought home so many years ago, and he always will be.



You Only Want The Tail?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

You realize people know the truth when they outright refuse to read official documents, third party witness statements, etc. only because they grasp the fact that the myth they stubbornly cling to will be confirmed to be nothing more than a vaporous mist of vitriol, and they themselves will be proven to the outside world to be carriers, and enablers, of such.

They did witness a downfall that no one understood at the time, To an extent I was, in the past, able to sympathize with their stance because not even I understood, no one understood, the the downward spiral that all witnessed. Time has ticked away and pieces have fallen into place. How do I know I'm now seeing clearly what triggered the chaotic times of years of tremendous confusion? It's been thoroughly explored, discussed, analyzed, and there is peace beyond comprehension in finally knowing, and dealing with,  the truth.

It's distressing to see there are people that are willing to sacrifice their character, dignity, and relationships, rather than to glimpse eye witness accounts, and objective views, of parties with no interest in the matter at hand other than truthfully stating what they witnessed.
They know what's recorded in those reports will reveal their haunted, fragile, hateful, self righteous, glass houses are nothing more than a willful veil of bitterness and fabricated tales that will be shattered leaving them exposed to the outside world to be seen as nothing more than spreaders of the malicious falsehoods they perpetrated, truths they twisted, and misunderstandings they don't want clarified or revealed.

It's unfortunate to many that these people would rather hang one of their own out to be eviscerated instead of having the courage to admit they knew the truth yet decided to spin spectacular webs of deceit for their satisfaction and in the attempts to hide their own skeletons.

There are some that are caught in the middle, some that are confused but afraid, some that simply salivate at the thought of slander, and some whose arrogance, pride, and ego, are more important than taking the high road, by being open to examining official papers themselves without outside interference. What's even more distressing is the collateral damage they are causing and don't seem to mind in the least. I know all about that, I lived it, and now have to live with my conscience.

One, especially, should take caution with spewing her sugar coated words spoken with a baby's voice and eyes appearing innocent, with the sole intent to sow discord and division because of her deep seated insecurities, and her excellent ability to deflect itching ears from the demons within her soul. She has been a topic of conversation between the others for years for her all too transparent manipulation, her gossiping ways, and her spoiled, entitled attitude. She has no way of knowing it at this time but in a few short years her life will change forever because her house of cards, that is already known, will be toppled.

The situation I'm referring to reminds me of an interaction with my Dad. I wanted him to watch some videos regarding something and he refused with this question put to me, "Why would I want to watch something that I know will change what I choose to believe?" I think we can all learn from my father's words.

The foolishness of their actions can be seen in contrast to the actions of those most intimately involved. They have made peace, forgiven and asked forgiveness, and have a relationship that will forever remain strong.

Prophetic words, silently heard in the heart of one, have manifested. "He is the Master of restoration and reconciliation." Even though the phrase that was continually heard has come to pass, there is a measure of fear to admit it to those that would choose to mock and destroy. I understand the hesitancy all too well for I was once in those shoes.

"There are none so blind as those that will not see. "According to the ‘Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings’ this proverb has been traced back to 1546 (John Heywood), and resembles the Biblical verse Jeremiah 5:21 (‘Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not’). In 1738 it was used by Jonathan Swift in his ‘Polite Conversation’ and is first attested in the United States in the 1713 ‘Works of Thomas Chalkley’.The full saying is: ‘There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know."

Rumi has a great explanation of all of the differing views, all correct, but none have the full picture:

Some Hindus have an elephant to show.
No one here has ever seen an elephant.
They bring it at night to a dark room.

One by one, we go in the dark and come out
saying how we experience the animal.
One of us happens to touch the trunk.
A water-pipe kind of creature.

Another, the ear. A very strong, always moving
back and forth, fan-animal. Another, the leg.
I find it still, like a column on a temple.

Another touches the curved back.
A leathery throne. Another the cleverest,
feels the tusk. A rounded sword made of porcelain.
He is proud of his description.

Each of us touches one place
and understands the whole that way.
The palm and the fingers feeling in the dark
are how the senses explore the reality of the elephant.

If each of us held a candle there,
and if we went in together, we could see it.

 Remember you may have a piece of reality you cling to but it's incomplete without the rest. Don't settle for the tail of the elephant, strive to see the complete animal.



Introduction By Death

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Striking, stunning, charismatic, adventurous, friendly, and classy, are a handful of the adjectives I heard every time I was around her. We would be stopped by both men and women, young and old. People seemed compelled to tell her, wherever we were, of her beauty and radiance.

I was in awe of her. I watched her every move. I listened to her every word. I watched as others did the same. I was thrilled when people assumed she was my mother. I loved my Mom with all of my heart, but this woman had something, a spark, not many have.

She was the last of 7 surviving children, a surprise, an answer to prayer, born to farmers in a tiny, dusty, west Texas town. She was my grandmother, my safe place, my adventure, my heart.

As the story was told to me her mother had prayed, with each of her pregnancies, for a little girl with black hair, black eyes, and olive skin. It was a prayer that was seemingly going to be unanswered. My great grandmother was in her forties when my grandmother came along, more than a decade after her last child. Her father named her Roxie. Her mother, on the other hand, wanted something different. Her legal name was Roxie but she went by the name of Denia, pronounced “Dena.”

Fast forward through a nasty divorce, raising three girls, and working toward leaving the farmhouse in search of city lights, to her eldest daughter giving birth to the first grandchild, a girl, me. I was the sun and the moon to Denia. My great grandmother insisted her baby girl was too young to be a grandmother. She was forty one when I was born and “granny,” “grandma,” “grandmother,” were not names to be used, we, her grandchildren, would call her Denia.

I have many stories to write regarding Denia, this is just an introduction to the incredible woman that helped shape me into the woman I am today. I was young, fifteen, when she died of smoking related lung cancer. She was 56, only two years older than I am today, when she took her last breath.

Even while dying she kept her style, her dignity, her class. The doctors always looked forward to visiting her in the hospital. One never knew what exotic gown, and matching turban, she would be wearing. Would it have sequins, feathers, a combination, or something entirely different? Of all the times she was hospitalized I never once remember her wearing the traditional hospital patient attire, no, that would never fly with her. She was a celebrity of sorts at Baylor University Hospital in Dallas.

Many may not believe the words I’m about to write, and that’s ok. I know what happened, I was there. My mother had taken me shopping for a dress for the school Christmas dance one afternoon. The wind was terrible, there was a sandstorm like we used to experience in west Texas. The tiny bits of sand stung when they hit my bare skin. Mom and I spoke of how unusual it was for the area of Texas we were in to have a sandstorm. I couldn’t wait to tell Denia about it when she was coherent. Her time on Earth was coming to an end and much of the time during those last few weeks she was just not there.

That night I hung the beautiful dress carefully in my closet. I knew Denia would love it. I fell asleep with the excitement of being able to show her how beautiful it was. While I was sleeping I heard her call my name and immediately I was there beside her. Her eyes were open, sparkling with love. We spoke of the sandstorm, I told her all about my dress. She was so excited. I’m not sure how long we chatted, but I enjoyed every second. She was so lucid, so amazing, so her. I was ecstatic. She ended the conversation with, “Teri, I love you so much. I’m so proud of you. It’s time for you to leave. Sandy will be coming in here in a minute. Wherever you go, wherever you are, remember to shine. I love you.” Sandy was her second daughter. Denia was staying at her home during the process of dying.

Suddenly I heard my mother sobbing. I felt her hand rub my arm, I was in my bed still covered. I turned and opened my eyes. I could faintly make out the shape of my mother in the darkened room. 

“Teri, Denia just died.”
“I know Mom.”

My mother collapsed on me and wailed, cried, sobbed, and grieved the death of her mother. I did my best to comfort her. It was one of the only times of my childhood my mother had held me,  and allowed me to touch her. I had never seen my Mom cry before that night. 

She pulled herself together, after what seemed like an eternity, gasping for air she asked if I wanted to go with her to her sister’s to see Denia.

“No Mom, I was just there. She called me to her and we talked. I told her about my dress and the sandstorm. She told me to always shine.”  Mom must have thought I had been dreaming. She arranged the pillows for me, pulled the blankets up around my neck, and kissed my forehead before leaving for her sister’s to see her mother before they came to take away the lifeless body that had just minutes earlier held such a beautiful spirit.

It was a strange sensation for me, probably for many as well when a loved one that has suffered through a horrible illness dies. I mourned, I cried, but with that came comfort. Comfort in knowing she was free, free from the drugs, free from the cancer, free to soar the Heavens and dazzle the angels.

Denia will never leave me. She’s interwoven into my soul, my personality, my inner most being. The memories we made will carry me through until i am able to be with her again, and they make me smile. Within me she lives.

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