Her purpose became disposed by the empty container of a pill bottle.
She didn’t plan to withdraw into this life of addiction.
Her mind was too muddled to even recognize who she had become.
A pale face molded with the signs of abuse that outsiders diagnose.
A face that society thrusts aside, mistrusts, and labels as a lost cause.
Her hunger overcomes anyone who cares or anything that matters.
This appetite gnaws at her heart and suffocates the things she once loved.
How did she allow this to overtake her?
She was so beautiful, but felt so ugly.
She robbed herself with misplaced priorities of living it up,
This left her tossed by the wayside.
Slammed iron bars and a cold cell is her home now.
Rapid breaths of air escape her lungs with tears seeping down her cheeks.
God awaits her call to Him with His ear on her chest.
Her purpose became disposed by the empty container of a pill bottle.
“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward towards success.”
― C.S. Lewis
I do not enjoy repetition at all. I’m not a fan of repeats in television shows. Even if I turn on my favorite television show and see that it is a repeat, I’ll switch the channel. I just loathe repetition. If someone tells me the same stories that they have already told me before, my eyes begin glazing over and my mind wanders. I think it may be suppressed rebellion coming forth from my childhood.
My third grade year in elementary school, we started learning multiplication. The teacher presented the lesson and taught us how to multiply, but I couldn’t grasp it at all. I was lost and I didn’t tell the teacher I was lost or my parents. I just daydreamed while she taught multiplication and made lousy grades during it. I can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure that I didn’t share those F papers with my parents. My day of reckoning happened when I got my report card for those six to nine weeks. A big fat D sat neatly alongside the word Math. This was my first D on a report card. I brought C’s home before and they were bad enough, but a D was terrible. I was scared to death about what my Mom was going to say or do. I already felt like the class idiot because I didn’t understand multiplication and I didn’t want to feel even worse when I saw my mother’s disapproval of my letter grade. I couldn’t hide my report card; Mom knew when to expect it. I nervously handed my report card over to her when I walked in the door. I cannot recall exactly, but I wouldn’t doubt that I excused myself quickly to the bathroom as soon as the envelope touched her fingertips.
She was upset and involved Dad in being upset about it as well. They both came to me at bedtime and asked why I made such a grade in math. They asked if I just didn’t understand the lesson, if I was paying attention, and all those other parental questions. I fessed up and said that multiplication was confusing. They were upset that I didn’t let them know, but they were also aggravated that my teacher didn’t inform them earlier of my struggle. Anyway, I was placed in the other math class; you know “the slow class.” My inability to multiply was making me feel like a loser with a capital L. My grandmother reminded my dad of his or his brothers struggles with math and gave him an old set of records she used to help them. It was a sing along of each multiplication table. The collection was a dual sided five record set. The records were copy written in 1956. When I was in third grade, it was mid 1980’s. The sing a longs were honestly catchy, but sounded like most music back in the 50’s. Squeaky clean, super chipper, rhyming ditties sang by a Dean Martin wannabe. My parents decided for me to listen to the records after school each day and then at night when I went to bed, they would play one of the records for me to fall asleep to. This was a special level of repetition hell to me.
My dreams became numbers dancing in my head to these ridiculous lyrics. “You can surprise all the people in all the stores, counting your change, when you know your fours…..4X1 is 4…..and so on.”
Strangely enough, I started to grasp multiplication. The sing songs were being etched into my brain. I sat in math class and the little ditties would pop into my head, whispering the answer to each problem. I learned multiplication by repetition. I still didn’t understand it completely at first, but learning it started with repetition.
As much as I detest repetition, I know that it is a valuable way to learn. Repetition causes things to stick to your mind. It helps you recall the order of what you are repeating or remember the way it looks or sounds. After you repeat something over and over, it begins to sink into the subconscious to where you recall it without overthinking. That’s why practice is important in music, sports, exercise, reading, and anything else we do in life that takes skill.
Spiritually speaking, I’ve had to repeat a lot of life lessons in order to finally get what God was trying to tell me the first time around. Maybe I wasn’t completely paying attention or I just didn’t understand what He was trying to teach me. Those repeat lessons are aggravating, they can be boring, they can be mundane tasks, or they can even make you feel like a complete idiot. But, it’s best to not flip the channel or turn it off, like the way I do television shows. Instead, repeat it until it sinks into your subconscious and you just know it completely without second guessing it.
Labor Day weekend is a great time to enjoy an extended weekend and take a breather from your job or profession. I have been looking forward to this weekend for several weeks now. What have I looked forward to the most? Having one extra day where I do not have to set the alarm clock and wake up later than usual.
My parents instilled a strong work ethic in me. They led by example because they both are hard workers. My mom stayed home with my sisters and me when we were younger. But she didn’t slack at all. She kept a very clean house and made sure that dinner was on the table for us in the evening and the yard was kept up. To me she was a bit OCD with some things. She taught us to clean well. She made me redo my chores a lot when I tried to shortcut them. My dad worked hard too. He worked in his father’s grocery store when I was a kid. He also worked part time for a gas station in town and volunteered at the fire department. He was my hero in many ways. I bragged to my classmates about how hard he worked for his family.
When my sisters and I got a little older, mom got a job outside the house. She worked retail for a little while and also went back to college to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. She made straight A’s in college and did her job proficiently. She got her degree about a few years before I got my college degree and she went on to teach high school English. She retired from it this year.
During my summer and winter breaks in college, I worked for my dad at the grocery store that he was manager of. He enjoyed his job and took it very seriously. I appreciated working alongside him, but learned quickly that he’d let me know if something wasn’t done right and correct me on what to do or not do. My parents weren’t rich by any means, but they provided for us and kept the bills paid, food on the table, and clothes on our backs.
My husband is diligent in his work as well. Throughout our marriage, he has worked hard to build his businesses. I’m proud of all that he has accomplished in his work. He is brilliant in his field, he is kind hearted and is ethical in all that he does. Being a business owner isn’t an easy job. People, who aren’t business owners, do not usually understand the pressure and stress that comes along with it. I help my husband by managing the embroidery shop that he bought almost ten years ago. Because of the way I was taught, I have many pet peeves that revolve around laziness, tardiness and poor work ethic.
Anyway, I say all of that to conclude that I am thankful for times of rest and replenishing. We were created to work, but also created to take time to rest. God created the earth in six days and on the seventh day, he rested. In Exodus 20:8-11, it says “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.”
Her heart was hollow and she stood unyielding to anyone that tried to reach out to her.
She was used to the insults flung at her by those who were supposed to love her.
She didn’t trust what people called love.
She heard their artificial claims and witnessed their cold shoulders.
Yet, she crossed my path.
I want to show her the love that My Father showed me.
So, I take the time to
Smile at her with an honest grin
And with eyes that hope,
With eyes that felt like she does….once upon a time.
Until, God shook me and showered me with love that wasn’t deserved,
A pure love, a real love.
I’m waiting for that cloudburst to drizzle upon her face
And fill that heart to capacity.
A thought cradled for awhile may dissipate into a thrown away opportunity. I’m sure there have been many ideas that I’ve discarded due to fear of failure or rejection. Some reoccur out of the blue, reminding me there is a reason for them resurfacing in my brain matter. But still, I shove them away or forget them once again.
Other thoughts are harder to push away like those of what ifs, why’s or if only. Don’t you hate those types? They haunt you at the oddest times. They remind you or your mistakes. They pinpoint weaknesses within. They jab you with guilt that was erased forever ago.
Then, there are those thoughts that take you away from your circumstances, the daydreaming thoughts. Most of my daydreams as a child were thoughts that ran amuck slinging colors and ideas on the canvas of my impressionable mind. These thoughts carried me to places I wanted to visit and I imagined living at these places and doing things that I’ve never done. The imagination of a child is a room filled with bright colors, uncontrollable laughter, and surreal happiness.
There are those thoughts that you allow to escape your mouth that are laced with anger, hate, jealousy and bitterness. Those thoughts are arrows often shot at those closest to you and then some ricochet wounding innocent bystanders. Sometimes these thoughts are shared with others with a whisper in a corner. The whispers are poison filled darts.
Thoughts, whether kept to yourself or shared can be an igniting spark in both a positive or negative way, depending on the source of the thought. When we allow God’s thoughts to become our thoughts, only good can happen. God is truth, our own fleshy thoughts confuse us and impair what God wants us to see and know. Examining the source of these thoughts come from dissecting the fruit of the thoughts. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23. If the fruit is opposite of this, it is rotten, spit it out and throw it away. Discard the thoughts that destroy. “Do not act like the sinful people of the world. Let God change your life. First of all, let Him give you a new mind. Then you will know what God wants you to do. And the things you do will be good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLV).
This evening being alone at the house, I decided to fix me a “MawMaw Sandwich.” I call it that because it’s what my grandmother would fix on Sunday evenings. If you stopped in for a visit, she would insist on assembling you a sandwich too, even if you weren’t that hungry. It consisted of toast, fried bologna, cheese, and tomato. Tonight, I added scrambled egg on mine to give it some extra oomph. I lived with my grandparents for a few years when I was in college and having this simple meal with them was a highlight of my Sundays.
My grandparents are gone now, but those memories linger. They were so hospitable and kind, if we had friends with us, they’d extend a sandwich to them as well. We’d sit together, talk, watch tv and enjoy the pleasure of a simple sandwich. It’s those small things that you remember when time passes. I miss those times. I miss them.
My grandparents taught me many things. They taught me to look out for others. They taught me to keep God first. They taught me that God’s love never fails. They taught me the importance of prayer. They taught me that church is important because we need each other….we need community. Nowadays, we have so many ways to communicate. But, my heart longs for old fashioned communication. My heart longs for breaking bread with others. My heart longs for knowing people more, hearing what they struggle with and really listening to them. I’m guilty of being selfish though. I get tired, come home, connect to the internet, and disconnect from those closest to me. I don’t want to keep doing that. It’s time for me to reconnect to the simple things instead.