The Man She Married

She eyes this man

A bloated and breathless wretch

Thankfully, this wasn’t the man that she married

No, her vows had been made

To someone straight, tall and young

On that better day so long ago

Yet what had she promised

             To that man who was no longer here?

                             “Or worse”

That’s the line repeating in her head

As she watches this man she thinks she doesn’t know

Time can steal those recognizable features

Until all you’re left with is a piece of paper

Saying that this is the man that you married

Dedicated to the women I know and love who keep the “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” part of their wedding vows day in and day out

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Feasting in Life

People feast during death. At least here in the South, we do. Give us a funeral, and we show up with food. Lots and lots of food.

Go ahead, joke about funeral food. The fried chicken, deviled eggs and potato salad. The Bundt cakes and biscuits. Even that mysterious casserole from gray haired Miss Fannie. It may have an element of humor or even seem cliché, unless you are in the midst of it. Then fixing food feels like the most important thing we can do, almost as important as life and death.

We gather over the meals. We congregate and converse. In death, it is a way to bond over our shared grief. There is something about feeding the body when we can’t do much to heal the soul.

This week, my church family was dealt a blow. Our pastor’s wife died on Tuesday night. It was unexpected, which made it more shocking. Less than 24 hours after she died, I delivered chicken fajitas and Doritos (true comfort food) to the preacher. And I’m still cooking for the meal after the funeral. It is just what you do. That’s the easy part.

But why do we wait for death? Why don’t we feast on life instead?

Feasting doesn’t require a smorgasbord of funeral food. All it takes is a little action on our part.

Have a picnic for supper. Call your elderly neighbor and just let them talk. Let your nephews play with the Play-Doh that has been at your house forever but remains unopened because it will get everywhere.

Figuring out how to take that same mentality of feasting in death over to living life fully is the hard part. I don’t want to let my nephews play with Play-Doh because I know they will make a mess. It will be a huge mess. But I won’t always have the opportunity to play with those little boys. They will grow up and no longer want to play. I’m not guaranteed tomorrow.

We have to seize the moments.  We must fully live life now because some day, people will feast at our funeral.

Posted in Family, Friends, Hometown, Observations | 3 Comments

Little Girl Lost

How did she forget who she was made to be

The secret DNA of a person somehow lost in all the clutter of living

Hidden by personas added to appease

Additions that never quite achieve

Only diluting the core of her being

Wiping away each layer leaves her feeling

Stripped

So bare

A little girl lost

Not knowing which way leads home

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Quarter of a Tank

One of my coworkers never lets her car get below a quarter of a tank of gas.

It is a great policy to have. I always intend to stop and fill up, but it just doesn’t seem to work out that way. Little things steal my time until my car is in the red. On empty. And I’m forced to rearrange my schedule to get gas.

Saturday morning at Hutchmoot, everything caught up with me. Weeks of stress. Late nights. The long drive to Nashville. Days of running around tending to details. Answering question after question. Being around people non-stop.

When a request to close the door left me ready to explode, I knew there was a problem. Me. I hadn’t recognized the flashing lights warning me that I was low on gas and needed to refill until it was almost too late. So I escaped to the Bilbo Baggins Birthday tent (as named by Ashley Thomas). In the pre-breakfast hour, it was just what I needed. Peaceful. Beautiful. But most of all, quiet.

For a long time, I just sat staring at the trees. I cried. I thought about Psalm 136 that I read earlier that morning. Every other line is “his love endures forever”, but it is kind of hard to think about enduring love when you are running on fumes. I told God that I appreciated his love, but right then I would prefer that he put some arms with it because I just needed a hug. I waited a few minutes, thinking that the Lord would dramatically send someone out the door to give me a hug. It didn’t happen.

After a while, a friend came out with her breakfast. Soon others joined her. Rather than rush back to work, I stayed with them and enjoyed the conversation. It was enough to give me the energy to work again.

Randy Goodgame stopped me to talk for a couple of minutes at the end of lunch. As we finished, he asked, “Could I give you a hug?” I nodded with tears in my eyes and told him my prayer from the morning. He replied, “Could I give you another hug then?”

That wasn’t the end of my hugs that day. Lindi Roughton. Ashley Barber. Lewis Graham. And so many others. Abundance, that is the best way to describe it. Filled to the point of overflowing.

Some people are just huggable. I’m not. I am very warm and caring, but I have years’ worth of walls built to protect myself from rejection. Invisible, but they are there. I don’t want those walls anymore. I think that it is in being vulnerable that we become real. But the remnants of the walls are still there.  

I only say that to show you that all my Saturday hugs were not a result of anything I did. They were a physical manifestation of Psalm 136. “His love endures forever.” I thought my prayer wasn’t answered because I didn’t get a hug within a minute. It took a whole 12 hours for my answer to fully come. Oh me of little faith.

The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.” Numbers 11:23

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A Little Misunderstanding

It was a simple misunderstanding.

I went to Big Lots because you never know what you are going to find. And after my day spent dealing with bankers, I needed an adventure. Even if it were just of the discount, close-out retail variety.

The end cap held all sorts of interesting potato chips. The Chesapeake Bay & Beef ones caught my attention. Meat flavored potato chips? I was willing to invest $0.75 in the experiment.

Anticipation got the best of me, so I ripped open the bag as soon as I got in the car. Well, I tried to. Take it from me, those Terra Chip bags are really hard to get into!

The Chesapeake Bay seasoning was clear, but I had a hard time finding the beef flavor.  I couldn’t find it at all. Until I looked at the bag again and discovered my little misunderstanding.

They were actually Chesapeake Bay & Beer chips. One little letter. That is all I had changed, yet it made a huge difference. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to get us off track.

They weren’t what I was expecting, but I enjoyed my chips. There’s just one other thing. If anyone ever finds beef flavored chips, buy some for me. Now that my curiosity is up, I just have to try some.

Posted in Food, Me | 2 Comments

Memorial Day

Black. I wore black today. It might not seem quite as festive as your red, white and blue color coordinated outfit, but it seemed more appropriate.

It was a small thing. The choice of which shirt to wear. A 15 second decision. But I somehow wanted to outwardly reflect what I felt inside. To remember those we have loved and lost.

So I wore black on this Memorial Day. May we never forget.

Happy Memorial Day.

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Snickers

Grant, what kind of ice cream do you want? Plain or Snickers? I asked my 2 year old nephew.

‘Nickers, ‘nickers, I want ‘nickers!

Uhhmm, do you know what Snickers is, Grant?

No.

Yeah, he ended up with vanilla. Sometimes plain is best.

 

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The Voice of Pain

I woke up on Saturday and couldn’t move. The pain in my left shoulder increased with every little move. It was bad. Hours later, I had done everything I could think of to ease the hurt and nothing from my to-do list for the day. Somehow the voice of pain managed to drown out all other voices in my head. Even the basic ones telling me to get dressed, brush my teeth or put in my contacts.

I finally made it to my friend’s house to help with her yard sale. Don’t worry, I brushed my teeth, got dressed and put in my contacts before I allowed myself out of the house. Can’t say that I was much help, but we enjoyed the time together.

While I was there, I met someone. No matter what we talked about, the conversation always seemed to come back to his soon-to-be ex-wife. That was his voice of pain talking.

When you are injured, it consumes you and so fills up the moments that you can’t imagine anything else. It makes you forget the things that you want to do. It screams to be dealt with. And it doesn’t matter if it is physical or mental anguish, the voice is the same.

My shoulder still aches. Not screaming like on Saturday, but it pinches and twinges enough during the day to remind me that it is there. Little whispers to say, “Don’t forget about me.”

I wish there were some magic answer to fix my shoulder or my new friend’s marriage. Maybe all those coaches are right. That you really do have to work through the pain. To keep on moving and striving until you realize that you accomplished what you set out to do, even though it hurt so much to get there.

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Living Out the Mundane

Some days, it feels like all you can do to just get to the end of the day. I’ve had some of those lately, but that wasn’t today.

Some days feel just about perfect. I haven’t had any of those lately.

Today was one of those days that makes up the majority of my allotted time on earth. Mundane. Little bit of good. Little bit of bad. Nothing happened that I will remember in a year. Or maybe even in a month.

I can’t help but think that it is how I live out the mundane that matters. This is what shows my true character. This is how people will remember me. Yeah, they might think of some big accomplishment or failure when I come to mind. But more likely, they are going to recall how quickly I laughed or the piles of paper on my desk.

The little things. 

I wish I would stop wasting my time longing for those elusive perfect days and start living out the mundane days as if they matter. Because they do.

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Ode to My Aching Bones

 Oh, how I wish I could tell you how tired I am

But you might feel the same way too

Then there would be no need to explain it to you

This aching in my bones says I have to slow down

I can’t keep up this pace

Can’t keep living the so-called rat race

There is a weariness in my soul

From going and doing every minute of the day

But can life be lived a different way?

 

So push on past the yawning and the droopy eyes

And send me off to dreamland

For the sleep my body requires

Bring on the shut eye!

Bring on the naps!

Bring on the 8 hours or 10, perhaps.

Just let me drift away

To find the rest I’m longing for

Sleep, sweet sleep

I want more, more, more.

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