My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as those who simply love to read. You will find eclectic snippets here—news of projects I’m working on, comments regarding books I enjoy, favorite authors, quotes, and reflections regarding my own experiences. I especially like to write about my dreams—those parables in the night seasons. Symbols and metaphors delight and intrigue me. You will find them here.
Modern life can feel dangerous and unstable.~Julia Cameron (From Transitions)
I peered out my window, the sky like gray cashmere. My mind raced with all I needed to do in the week ahead, the patients on my caseload that I had no answers for--my own future that felt shaky and obscure. Inhospitable, if I factored in all the unknowns. I reached for a teabag, Sweet Clementine Stress Support. Maybe the citrus tang would help reduce my anxiety. I recognized where I was once again--anchored in murky, fear-drenched waters. I needed to pull up anchor and head for more lambent shores.
Over the last months, several Psalms emerged that have supported me in replacing layers of fear with layers of peace. I would practice a coping tool I've used in the past--have used here in my posts. Write a "crafted prayer" taken from Scripture that contains personal promises. The idea is taken from Graham Cooke, a teacher I consistently listen to online.
I took out my notebook and opened my Bible to the Psalms. It was as if I'd begun to row toward the light and away from a melancholy territory...
I hadn't realized my unforgiveness toward him--my heart like barbed wire where fragments of resentment still clung.
I'd taken his eight-week writing class more than ten years ago. He was renowned. Published. Skilled. I hung on his words and learned tools from him that I use to this day. Near the end of the course, I hesitantly approached the professor to give him some of my work. I hoped my wet palms wouldn't smudge the print on the pages. My shaking hands made the paper rattle. "Thank you for taking time to teach the course," I said. "It was meaningful to me." He barely glanced at me, then looked down, opened his briefcase and threw the pages inside. He pressed the locks on the satchel, and the double snap sounded the end of our conversation. "Later," he said.
That night I made a vow. "Never would I dismiss another writer artist in this manner. I would find a way to validate their courage to create."
I'm intrigued by soundtracks. A carefully written score can be like velvet ribbon entwined throughout a movie.
I believe our lives contain soundracks, too, composed by the great Creator. I believe He writes exquisite melodies that are interlaced through our history. He loves our sound. Loves to go back again and again to listen to the LP's of our lives.
Today I walked to the tidal creek near my house. Even though I go there frequently, the environment never disappoints me. This morning, the waters lay still with no ripple of disturbance. A seagull roosted on a dock post. A boat nestled nearby, quiet, lolling in the green-gray waters. The marsh grasses reflected the shift toward autumn, their leaves golden. No wind.
...this, perhaps, is how lives are measured, a series of abandonments that we hope beyond reason will eventually be reconciled.~Anthony Doerr (From About Grace)
I listened to the top 40 radio station, and I heard the DJ in her lilting, perfect announcer voice say, "Have you ever worked a jigsaw puzzle, with say 1,000 pieces? You spend all that time and patience on completing the puzzle, and then find you're missing one piece. Well now there's a company who will create that missing piece for you, and you'll get it within two weeks. Hows that for service?"
This week, it was as if I'd called that company and they sent a puzzle piece that I fitted into place--that made that one section of the sky in the landscape entirely blue.
In the seventies, I walked the campus of the university I attended just outside of Dallas, Texas, looking the part of most any 19-year-old woman of the time--bell bottom hip huggers, tie-dyed shirt, a backpack loaded with heavy textbooks. I belonged to a sorority. I made good grades. I actually liked writing term papers and sequestering myself in the library--books silent, tangible companions. Internally, though, I felt "less than," as if I'd never measure up. Critical of my hair that waved down my back. Oh, how I wanted that straight, sleek hair like Marcia Brady's. Giovanni and I had separated by that point, too, and my unkempt heart felt too wrecked to expose. During this time, another journalism student, a couple of years my senior, befriended me. I felt safe with him, because he was genuinely kind. I found him to be exceptionally smart and funny. Yet I couldn't imagine that he would see anything attractive in me. Every time I was around him, I worried that I'd say something stupid. I doubted that I had anything valuable to offer, so I detached. Avoided him. "If he only knew how defective I was," I thought. I did not let him into the parched, cracked places in my thinking. I let no one in.
Out a few hours early from work, I drove to a beach near my home. As I walked the length of the pier, the ocean seemed to cradle me with its sunlight-dappled waves--its hushed tones. But as I sat on the wooden bench overlooking all that spangling blue, I did not feel peaceful. The emotions that surfaced were snarled with barbed wire--took me aback--anger, anxiety, fear, burnout and hopelessness. I said to myself, "Where is this coming from? I work hard to stay positive; to stay focused on the good." The idea of going to the ocean was supposed to help me feel better. I almost left after being at the pier for only a few minutes, but I'd paid for parking. I thought I'd at least better stay an hour to get my money's worth. I walked to another bench. No matter how I felt, the view seemed strong enough to hold the weight of my emotions.
As I sat there, I imagined that I was in that ocean treading water, my nose just above the surface. Struggling. I thought, "What if I just leaned back? What if I allowed myself to float and let the ocean hold me? What if I allowed the currents to take me to a different place?