Sitting Upon My Sleeve

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Last week, Corinne, my wife, and I were walking on the beach.  There was little chatter,  both introverts, we are more than comfortable in our silence.

The day was gorgeous.  The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and speckled with creamy puffs of whip-cream, creatively changing shapes above our heads.   The water’s ebb and flow teased our feet, and the air smelt salty, crisp, and clean.

Glancing at my feet, I noticed a perfectly rounded shell, and my first thought was, “Gosh, that would be a perfect home for a hermit crab!”

That one thought took me back some 17 years ago…and not to a happy place, but to a place of anguish within my heart.  Who knew I still carried such intense emotion on my sleeve…and that it could be just as raw as the first day I experienced it.

Seventeen years ago I divorced my husband of eighteen years.  It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my life.  It went against everything I had been raised to believe…it went against the faith that I had clung to all of my life, but  I was gay, and I could live the lie no more.  At the age of 36 I told my husband, a good man, the truth I had known from a child.

We had two beautiful children, that we loved with all of our hearts.  The time came when I had to tell them I was moving out.  That moment is by far, the hardest moment of my entire life.  Their brokenhearted cries haunt me still.  Sometimes it is so strong that I can do nothing but breakdown and weep.

Now, you may be wondering how the perfect hermit crab, habitat…the shell…could awaken such painful memories.  Here’s why…

It had been several months since I had moved.  My husband and I had agreed to joint custody.  The week would be divided between us.  We loved our children so much that we agreed to not “bad-mouth” each other in their presence.  Our common goal was to make this transition as easy as possible.  So, even though there was much anger and hurt between us, we chose to support each other for their sake.  Every three to four days they would stay with me, and the other three to four days with their dad.

On this particular day, they were coming to stay with me after a trip to the beach with their dad.  The door burst open and my son came inside with an expression of excitement and a handful of shells.

“Mama, look!  I found these for my hermit crab,” I heard him say.

Now, if you know anything about hermit crabs, you’d know that as they mature they outgrow their shells, so, it’s very important to have bigger shells close by for such an occasion.

I looked at the beautiful shells he held in his little hands, and I wanted to cry.  His hermit crab had died while he was away.  Once again I had to tell him something that was going to hurt, and as I did I watched his face fall from happiness to helplessness.  Witnessing this transformation my heart ached , and I hated myself because I couldn’t protect and shield him from the pain I saw in his eyes.

Seventeen years later, I stood barefoot on the beach, my heart breaking at the sight of the perfect shell.

It will always be there…sitting upon my sleeve…and I deserve it.

***

 

Daily Prompt:  Sleeve 

 

 

 

 

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Silence, the coward’s stamp of approval upon the wrong they choose to ignore.

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“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

***

Now more than ever, we must open our mouths.

Repeat after me…  I. will. not. keep. my. mouth. shut!

(Daily Prompt-Filthy)

Vomiting All Over Facebook

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Me. Sadness at the Holocaust Memorial in Boston.

I was told, by a family member, in a round about way, through social media, that all respect for me was lost.  Gone…

No, no names were used, but I knew…sometimes…you just know.

Why did they lose respect?

Because I used words like “Fuck,” “God Damn,” “Go to Hell,” in response to, what I believe to be, one of the worst mistakes America, has ever made, by putting Donald Trump in the White House.

Let me stop…right there…

…you may need time to digest the shitty meat taste in your mouth.  (Vegetal…?)

I know I did…

But here’s the thing, I really hate shitty meat, so instead of keeping it inside,  I spewed it out, all over Facebook, late Tuesday.  Yep, you get the picture…I vomited for the whole world to see.

Sometimes you have to vomit.  It’s good for the soul.

In that space, and in that time, I needed to do just what I did…in order to  keep some form my sanity.  I needed to lash out, I was mad as hell, angry and I can’t “just get over it.”

How can I get over a power that has the ability to rip my life to shreds?

You may have lost respect…and that’s okay….I understand.

Does it hurt?  Hell yeah, it cuts deep.

But you know what…it also hurt when my loved ones labeled me an abomination.

This past Christmas, hurt like hell, with sounds of silence.

It hurts when I’m not invited…  It hurts when I’m shunned, by those who claim to love me.

That’s not love…but rather religious hate.  Often it appears in the form of “Love the sinner hate the sin” or even worse, “Come out from among them, that they may be ashamed.”

If you love someone, you share your life with them…you eat with them…you laugh and cry with them, you don’t shut them out of your life because of who they love.  I want to be loved for me…for the me that’s always been…me.  I want to be included.  I want to have family reunions.  I want to sit around and talk about the good ole days.  I want to look at old pictures…I want to share stories about the best mama in the world…

I want…but I can’t.

I do apologize for the way I expressed my anger, but I will never apologize for my anger, for who I am, or for who I love.  It ain’t happening.

Before you judge…stand in my shoes…

What if you were told, as a heterosexual couple…”No…you can not marry who you love?”

That’s what I fear will happen to me, under a Trump presidency.

Freedoms will be taken away…but not for everyone…just a few.

Let it sink in….

…it’s not a good feeling…

…Not on my Deathbed…

Let my sentence come forth from thy presence…  (KJV)

Only you can say
    that I am innocent,
    because only your eyes
    can see the truth. (CEV)

Psalms 17:2

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Death is right around the corner…maybe not the next corner but it’s surely waiting behind one of them.

Last week, I had a “scare.”  You know the ones…those that make you stare death in the face.  Well, I looked at it and chewed on it a bit, and this was one, of the many conclusions, I came to:  If it be true, I would not tell my estranged christian family.

“Why?” you may ask.  “Is it because you don’t want them to worry?”  No.  In a sense they already worry about me.  I wouldn’t tell them because I don’t want them flocking to my bedside to save me from the pits of hell.

You see…my family misunderstands me, my “lifestyle” and most important my relationship with God.

Here’s just a few things they believe to be true…

  • 1.  Satan has blinded my spiritual eyes.
  • 2.  This blindness has caused me choose the wrong path.
  • 3.  All are born sinners, but none can be born gay.
  • 4.  Therefore, I have “chosen” to be gay.
  • 5.  God has given me over to a reprobate mind.
  • 6.  I was never “truly” saved.
  • 7.  I am on my way to hell.
  • 8.  It is their mission to keep me from hell.
  • 9.  They must not associate with me so that I “will feel ashamed and turn back to the truth.”
  • 10.  By believing the preceding nine, they are loving me, the sinner, but hating the sin.

 

In the past, I’ve always felt  the need to “explain” my position.  Countless times I’ve rehearsed my spill; but I’m far…far beyond that, now.  I’ve realized that no amount of reasoning, no amount of “biblical interpretation” and no amount of scientific evidence would ever be enough to change their minds.  For them it’s either black or white, period…  “The bible says it, I believe it and that settles it.”

When facing someone with this mind-set there is no common ground where with to meet, let alone, to plead one’s case.  I’ve already been “righteously judged and righteously sentenced.”  However, after all these years, my knee-jerk reaction is to explain away the preceding ten.  Perhaps I should do just that in another blog, but that’s not the purpose of this one.

From reading Psalms 17, it seems most likely, David found himself in a similar situation. No, he wasn’t gay…(but his relationship with Jonathan did seem quite intimate)…but he too was misunderstood.  Those closest to David, had passed judgement and stood firm in their belief and would not compromise.

So what did David do…did he try to explain or justify his case?  No, not at all; instead he said this to God,  “Let my sentence come forth from Thy presence.”  or as it is interpreted in the Common English Version, “Only you can say that I am innocent, because only your eyes can see the truth.”  He also writes, “You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me…”

David sought rest in his personal relationship with God, and that is what I must do.  No one can really see my truth.  No one truly knows my heart.  I was alone when God visited me in the darkest of all my nights. So, it is He, who will be my vindicator, and my sentence will come from Him.

Knowing this, does temper the pain of rejection, but it doesn’t take it away.  It’s a burden I struggle with daily, it is the cross I’m called to bear.  Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me…” he didn’t say it would be easy.

This passage and other bible verses, serve to bring comfort but they do “fix” the problem. Scripture, taken from here or taken from there, is not meant to be used as a switch to turn off our suffering.  God never gave us his Word to “make it all better.”  He gave us his Word so we wouldn’t have to walk alone.  He gave us his word to walk with us through  the pain and suffering.  He gave us his word for comfort, but not as a “quick fix.” He gave us his word to be Jesus, until the day we are physically in his presence.

In closing, I’d like to add that my “scare” seems to be just that, a scare. I’m not totally out of the woods, but let’s just say, there are very bright glimmers of hope, that all will be well.

When I do face my death, I want no “christian” at the bedside telling me what I need. I’m going to be holding God’s hand and the hand of the woman I love.  I will have no hand for them…not at my death bed.  (If they can’t hold my hand in life…why would I want them to hold it in death?)

Ultimately all will be known…until then we should all keep our judgments to our-self.

My Prayer:

My God, even… though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever…because of Jesus, amen.

(Part of the “Walk Through Psalms” series)

God Has Something to Say to the Hurting

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Art by Alina Sliwinska

(Psalms 9/Paraphrased as if from God’s point of view) 

This morning, as I read Psalms chapter 9, a message began to form in my mind.  A message, I believe, to be from God.  A message, He wants all the hurting to hear. And so as I pondered over the verses I began to read it as if God, Himself, were talking and this is what He said to me…

“My dear one, you are my child.  Come to me and I will be your place of safety, and I’ll give you strength in this time trouble.  When you come to me, I will never abandon you.  I hear your cries of affliction and abuse.  I have seen how they despise and oppress you.  Far too many times you are overlooked and forgotten. I’ll never forget you and I’ll always surround you with mercy and grace.  Most of all, my dear child, have hope because one day all will be made right.  Soon I will arise from this throne, I will come; and I will deliver you.  Until that day, have hope and know you are loved.”

I hear the voice of God interwoven between the verses of Psalms 9.  He has so much to say to those of us who are hurting.  I take hope in knowing, he see’s every tear that falls from my eyes. He feels every pain from abandonment and every pain from loneliness.

Sometimes that pain leads me to such despair that I think death would be better.  It’s scary how often the pain can lead me there.  All  who have taken their life because those they love, despise who they are, I feel their pain.

 This is not an easy place to be, and when I am there I truly need the place of safety that God offers.  I need His strength.  I need to know;  He doesn’t abandon me.  I need to know I’m not someone He tries to “fit in” during special occasions and holidays.  I need to know I am not overlooked and forgotten. I need His mercy and grace; for without it I can’t go on.  I need to know, one day all will be right.  I need hope.

I must have hope for without it I die.

For everyone who finds themselves in this space, hear, again, what God wants to say to you…

“My dear one, you are my child. Come to me and I will be your place of safety, and I’ll give you strength in this time trouble. When you come to me, I will never abandon you. I hear your cries of affliction and abuse.  I have seen how they despise and oppress you. Far too many times you are overlooked and forgotten. I’ll never forget you and I’ll always surround you with mercy and grace. Most of all, my dear child, have hope because one day, all will be made right. Soon I will arise from this throne.  I will arise;  I will come;  I will deliver you.  Until that day, have hope and know you are loved.”

My Prayer:  Lord, thank you for knowing the hidden of places of my heart.  The places that hide the pain no one else sees.  Thank you for coming  into those places and abiding with me there.  Thank you,  when I’m lonely, I’m not alone;  when I’m overlooked, I’m not forgotten;  when I am despised, I am loved.  Lord, Let these words find place in the heart of someone who is hurting. Let them know they are not alone, and they are loved.  Give them hope, please Lord, I pray.  Amen.

(A publication in the “Walking Through Psalms” series”)

Personal note:  My apologies the for sharing such personal and raw emotions…however, I felt led to do so…