nonsensical text

Monday, December 03, 2007

breaking the fast

sleeping with bread

airing the laundry

It is hard to start a post when you know you are going to fight yourself over hitting the ‘publish’ button.

I have been lauded in the past for being open and honest about trials and tribulations in my life. I have taken those praises like a guilt-slap. For you see, it is very hard for me to write or speak anything emotionally searing, open, or honest until sufficient time has passed to allow me some distance. I can be brutally real as long as I am talking about something that has, largely, already been neatly categorized, dealt with, and filed under “loss” or “depression” or “mistakes to learn from”.

In April of this year, I wrote a poem. It wasn’t a particularly good poem, but it was an honest expression of how I was feeling at the time. In a fit of bravado, I posted it to my blog. It stayed there for all of 1 ½ minutes before I took it down – too raw to risk.

I have posted many things about the loss of my son Caleb – deep and personal things, but I didn’t manage to work up the courage to write online (even among a group of women experiencing the same loss) until almost a year after his birth.

I think I had hoped that with a blog, I would have a canvas for those raw emotions. As a teen, I carried pen and paper with me everywhere I went in case the need to write encompassed me. Much of what made it to paper in those days was, quite honestly, horrendous, but the very act of releasing it onto the paper was a salve.

I don’t feel free to write like that anymore. There are too many people that could be impacted by it. The newest emotions are often jagged-edged. Their barbs stick into vulnerable bits of exposed flesh. They are the gut-reaction, pre-school tantrum, “Woe is me” cries of uncensored id. Yet, this very aversion to writing it out may be affecting that same vulnerable flesh in everything I say and do. Without release, those emotions tend to leech into the unrelated actions of day to day life.

the should principle

Some of them are little things which slowly build into seemingly enormous piles. Some of them are birthed from self-doubt and insecurity. Some of them are selfish desires unmet. Still others are legitimate reasons for irritation. All of them act as catalyst to churning emotion. I know for a fact that I should feel freedom simply by releasing these things to God in prayer. And largely, I do, but there is ingrained in my pores the need to physically release them too.

When I write of consolation and desolation, the desolation is always drawn from the deep well of emotional necessity. The consolation? Most frequently the high notes are tacked upon the end because my mind recognizes them as truth. Often, I have yet to develop the ability to “feel” that truth. It is an act of will to place them in front of my eyes as the goal, the joy, the ideal. It is true that this very act does help to refocus my vision, but I wonder. Am I holding onto a small seed of resentment when I choose to hold up the silver lining? Am I wishing that, somehow, someway, someone would simply notice the little desolations and scare them away so that consoling would not be necessary? Am I holding back a portion of each desolation in order to pull it out later for use as a weapon, a brooding point, or an excuse?

I have often said that I am trapped in Romans 7: 14-25.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

I repeat verse 25- drilling it into my brain. I do thank…I do. But, I have so much trouble moving on to the first verse of Romans 8.

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

I believe it. I do. But I don’t usually feel it.

And today, as I continue reading Romans 8, I notice that it talks of being spiritually-minded, not spiritually-feelinged. It sparks a small hope in me. I guess, sometimes, I just wish acknowledging that would make the battle go away without me having to actually put any effort into it. How’s that for honesty? Like the grasshopper, I want all of the benefit and none of the work. I am sick of the work. I want to curl up and be cared for and coddled. I want to be without responsibility. I grow tired of being the one in charge – especially when viewing my shortcomings.

And perhaps the need to write it all out stems simply from my repeated attempts to fill a place in my heart (that will only tolerate perfection) with fallible humans - myself, my husband, my children, my family and friends. When will I rest in the knowledge that the spot is already filled with a perfection found only in God?

I set my mind to the goal.

I pray my feelings learn to follow.

that poem from april:


trapped by the ankle
pulled forcefully into fissure
camouflaged by underbrush
as silent scream rings out and pierces

passing frames
seek only
what is directly in their line of sight,
or the limitless tasks
waiting to be prioritized
by their mind’s eye.

inaudible pleas,
beseeching eyes,
mere inches away -
for anything
to slow the slide.

solitude of thought.

-tle 4/14/07



  • "I can be brutally real as long as I am talking about something that has, largely, already been neatly categorized, dealt with, and filed.."

    This reading has bothered me for better than two weeks.
    And I know why.

    Bit like you, I am. In the middle of the storm I slip into 'survivor mode' and the rest of the world gets x-ed out.
    Wisepersoninmylife has me practicing 'letting things look like they really are' and it's a whole lot tougher for me than it sounds.
    Id or Ego, like you I wait until there I've gained a sense of control over the storm around/in me.

    Small wonder the reading is still following me around, eh?

    I'm glad for the poem to have showed up.
    And I'm even gladder that you broke bread with us, period.

    By Blogger Mel, at 4:33 PM  

  • The poem is lovely. I'm glad you trusted us with it.

    I find that often I process things as I write them, and whether or not I hit publish (and I don't as often as I do) it releases it and helps me, anyway. Which is the point of the exercise, right?

    Traditional prayer is not the only path to God.

    He accepts any means.

    So you are right IMHO to feel a spark of hope about spiritual-mindedness.

    Using My Words

    By Blogger Julie Pippert, at 5:03 PM  

  • Miss T, (well, Mrs. T, really)...

    I'm sad that I've missed the last couple of posts. This one is so powerful. The part of Romans that you quote is such an insight into the workings of us humans, isn't it?

    I can identify with your ability to talk about things... after the fact. I am the same way. In fact, I have a reputation for being open and honest and willing to talk about hard things, but I don't think that people often see that in the midst of the crisis I am paralyzed with... whatever it is... and unable to even know for myself what I am feeling much less share it.

    But there is something in the sharing, however it is done--through writing or talking with a friend--which helps and heals and clarifies.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    By Blogger Mary-LUE, at 10:31 AM  

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