I guess every one you know has lost someone. That journey started for me when I was a teenager and my Pa-Pa died. By the time you get to be my age, you tend to lose count. The worst was losing my mom. Not long after followed my dad. Never had any kids, and I was divorced nineteen years sgo. Just found out that he died too, this April. In between all of this, more than a few animals I loved did leave me. It’s a stark, scary feeling, this being so alone. People want to give me drugs, all kinds of advice on what I should do. It’s all good, only this is my journey now. My time to remember. One technique I use when I hit that wall, when you can’t breathe, and the knot in your throat feels like a baseball. I imagine a beautiful white Craftsman Bungalow, with red pillars on the front porch, nandenas large and bushy on every side, same old porch swing my Pa-Pa swung me in right after I was born. Of course, now, it’s hardly the same. My dad painted over all of it with some God-awful brown paint, and my pathetic alcoholic brother keeps the doors locked and hardly seems to care. All the beautiful plants and flowers my grandmother planted and loved are gone. Sycamores gone, no sign of the Mimosa tree we all climbed in as kids. Even my grandmother’s red spider lillies disappeared. But in my mind, there is another place. As much Heaven to me as it gets. The amazing white frame house my Pa-Pa built sits high on top of the hill, and the two old rock driveways that go up beside the house are still there. I see my mama’s ferns all green and bushy all over the front porch. I can even smell the frothy bubbles of Palmolive dish soap in the kitchen sink. But no longer do my grandparents live there alone. It’s a busy place again, just like when they were young. Only new people are welcome and happy there, like my friend Brenda, who died in a car crash years sgo, and little Lori, who had scoliosis, and ended her life before surgery one bright morning. All the old folks, family and friends they loved are hanging around again. My mom is there, with one of her pretty dresses on, and her curly hair all soft and nice. My Daddy likes to sit out on the big concrete steps up front, and play his guitar. And even my husband Charlie is there now. He fixes everything. And works on cars again. He rebuilt my Pa-Pa’s old garage out back, under the huge black walnut tree, and never loses his tools anymore. But the best part are the animals that live here. From the littliest kitten I had to say goodbye to at such an early age, the beautiful pair of Siamese cats I loved so much, Pepe the skunk, Lucy, the dachshund, Barney, the border collie, Mew-Mew, Elmo, Beau, Mirabelle, so many other kitties i loved, all there, on the front porch, playing in the yard. The Mimosa tree is there again, all green with magenta blooms, and the tall sycamores grace the side yard once again like giant soldiers. When I am tired or sad, I can go sit in Pa-Pa’s sleeping porch, and play with Petey, the parakeet, and smell my grandfather’s cherry tobacco. Even my old dog Lizzie is there, and she hangs out with Mama now. Paleface, Tigger One and Tigger Two, Cleo too, all play in the soft green grass. And my Guardian protector, old Bruno, lays beside my grandma’s spider lillies. Everyone’s there, and the front door, even the back door, they are always open. And I don’t have to be so sad, or miss them all so much. I can invite anyone I want to come over, and they do. What helps me most, is to think that one day, however it comes, I will have angel escort right back to this blessed house, on the hill, where everyone waits for me. And at Christmas, the lights go up, and they make pecan pies, and hang the stockings again for Santa. My life was full once, and one day it will be again. And nobody will ever tell me different. However hard or challenging life seems now, whenever it just gets to be too much, I have a place I can go. I don’t need drugs, or counseling, or a room in some cement building. I just need trees, and squirrels, red birds and chickens. And I have all that. Abigale, my little rat terrier, raised as a pup since 2000, is still right here beside me. And I tell her about this place all the time. We have a good place to go, no matter what happens here. Anyone can do this, have a happy place to go. The sun shines there, every day. The old truck starts right up, and nobody has to drink or act ugly. Only goodness and mercy live here. In my heart. And nobody can take that away from me. 💜💚💛💚💜💙💜💙
Archive for August, 2017
Most times, the thing you think you really want, is elusive. Sometimes, what you have, doesn’t seem enough, or even exactly right. Life is a succession of opportunities, challenges, and choices. It is also hardship, and struggle. Just when you feel a little comfortable, something, or someone, can come along and blow all that right out of the water. All the hope, even all of the planning in the world, will only take you so far. Seems like people always want guarantees. And as I have viewed this world, there are no guarantees.
One time when my little car was limping along on three used tires, and one losing air real fast, I drove it 10 miles on a wing and a prayer, to the only junkyard in the county, in hopes they might have a tire for me, better than I had. One I might afford.
I pulled in, over to the yard area, where piles of metal junk covered the landscape. And in between all this rusty twisted metal, were cars, all abandoned, being parted out, in different stages of deconstruction, just like any junkyard. But something happened in that moment, as I looked out over the strange image before me, like the sun suddenly shined brighter, and everything else was obscured. Somehow diminished.
A young man came running toward my car. As he approached, I could see the sweat pouring off his arms. Summer in Texas is brutal, and this day was no exception. He came up to my side and and looked in my window, and said, “Hi! What can I do for you?” And I said, “Uh…. uh…. Oh! I just need a tire. I have a front tire on the other side going flat.”
In life, there are certain defining moments. And sometimes, there are just moments in time, that happen randomly. Unexpectedly. Moments that you will always remember. That change your life. Beautiful moments, that years later, you never forget. This moment, was the moment I saw Charlie.
In the midst of all that nasty junk, out in the hottest of suns, with sweat in pools all over his forehead, on his neck, and in his eyes, I was struck. Like a lightning bolt from above, I was surely struck. I will never forget his eyes, as long as I live, and probably beyond. He was grinning from ear to ear, just like he won the lottery, and the water from his eyebrows was dripping all down into his eyes, eyes as green as irisdescent emeralds, so green and sparkling, it caught my breath. And his eyelashes were thick and long, and all completely spiked around those beautiful green eyes, like nothing I had ever seen before, or likely ever will again. Those spiked lashes, formed from the sweat of his own brow, captured the beauty and intensity of these eyes, and frankly, I have a hard time remembering what happened next, or how I even got back home.
Life is funny like that. Absolutely no guarantees will you find. And if you do, they are false. But it seems that when you least expect it, beauty, simplicity and grace, will show itself, if only you have the eyes to see. Life is difficult for most of us, if not all. It can throw you down, and stomp on your heart. You can feel lost, forgotten, even broken. But in those unexpected moments, a light from above comes down and strikes your old heart. Like a jumpstart. And suddenly you see that flower in the junkyard. You don’t have to have any one set of beliefs, or adhere to a strict guideline of behavior for this to happen. It is a direct and unshakeable knowing. A place without fear or doubts. And like all things, it may be fleeting. You might wake up one morning with green eyes sleeping beside you, and the next, reading a stark and unembellished obituary. The beautiful light from those green eyes has been removed, taken away, lost from the view of earthly concerns. And it will tear you up inside. It will rock your very being. And you will walk alone through a world that does not care. No guarantees.
Maybe we all look for a ray of hope in this crazy world. We all come from nothing, and that is surely where we return. But once, maybe even twice, in a lifetime, you see a flower growing in a junkyard. Amidst all the sharp edges and harsh realities of life, you find an exquisite and perfect blossom, growing each minute, each second, just for the sheer opportunity to reach for the sun. In this world we find ourselves in today, it’s important to look for flowers, and when we find them, admire and remember all that they give us. It’s important when we feel broken and so sad, to remember these flowers, and how they had no regrets, not for their struggle, and not for their eventual death. Their life was made for the one tiny instant they brought beauty and joy into this world, and nothing more. Life is simple like that.
And if you can’t find such a flower, be the flower. If everything around you seems in ruins, and your health is failing you, and you have more loss than love, you be the flower. You be the gorgeous delicate blossom, unique and forever innocent. You be that flower in the junkyard. And if God does shine down on you, maybe the right person will happen along and notice you, and be forever changed in that moment.
Be a flower in the junkyard. Just be that!