Monday, August 5, 2013

looking back to look ahead

 Hello dear blog!  It's been too long.  Let's write something.

I'm a new season (thank God).  However, I do not want to forget a morsel of what I learned from the previous season--mostly because I never ever want history to repeat itself!  I also want to officially remember in thanksgiving so that I can cleanly move into a new place of the spirit.

Below are some snatches of almost-posts/journal musings from the last year...

October 15, '12

    Some years your heart is wrung out, mistaken for a tattered dishcloth.

    I don't say who does the wringing, but I know who mops up the mess afterward.  And such a mess!  What a stink it is, too—the deep, heavy sticky juice melting into all it touches, all it feels.
Stains everywhere, on the most ordinary objects.  
    It’s like this—you wake up and rush to a physical because your health insurance is almost expired and that’s what responsible adults do—they get physicals.  The mundane tick tocks along until you are asked your family medical history.
    A bored middle aged nurse says, “Let’s starts with your Mom.”
And Mt. Fuji erupts!  The UK sinks! 
    Heart stains everywhere, doubling you over as you stumble out, “She dies in June.  Cancer.” 
The previously stoic-bordering gremlin nurse transforms into Florence Nightingale, gives you a hug, and apologizes.  You muster up all the strength of a two year old and tell, with your toddler’s timbre, the specific cause of death and the age of the deceased.  The heart stains fade back into the carpet and you’re able to discuss more pleasant, normal fare—like why you don’t want a pap smear today (Ladies, if anyone asks you if you’ve had your “Well Woman” lately, be warned.  They speak not of vitamins).

September 18, '12
Humility Buoys/Little Things

The little things I am not above. 
Making my bed and peeling carrots, taking vitamins and braiding my hair. 

I’ve sunk underwater; I look up at life from twenty feet under like a stingray.  The sunlight patterns gentle waves, flexing and flowing in simple loveliness. 
From below, from below. 

If I just make muffins, play a Sonata, laugh until my gut aches…if I just go to bed on time.  Then I will begin to float in the shallows.   Just gulp humble air and remember I'm alive--and let the mechanics of my body spark and ignite my soul.  

I am a simple creature.  For all my pawings at greatness, I drown in my own depth. Forsake the exquisite sculpture that sorrow carves into the heart—just enjoy the coffee, baby. 

Let toes finger the deep, but don’t dive for long.  Let my greatness come from flying not falling.

I am done with dazzling depths that collapse my heart.
Let the ordinary keep me afloat.  Let it save my life.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February Nineteenth

It is February nineteenth today.  This makes sense, as yesterday it was the eighteenth and presumably the twentieth will follow.  It seems so inconsequential.

But it's always funny that dates mean something, isn't it?  Society decided that January 1st begins a new year, so millions of people dress up and kiss each other the second it comes and begin diets the next.  There is power in observing dates.  Creating rituals.

Eight months ago my mother died.  This time eight months ago people were slowly trickling out of our house and I finally got somewhat dressed and sat in heavy sunshine for a while.

A year ago, however, my mother was cheerfully clacking away at the computer, updating her CaringBridge site.  She had exactly four months left on this earth--how inconceivable!  But, as she mentions in her post, she knew she was 'mainstream in His Ways.'  

Going Deeper Written Feb 19, 2012 12:51pm by LeMei Littlefield

Hi there, dear friends -  Rejoicing in Him with you this day! 
This past week has been a very good one of rest and recovery. There  were two painful bouts of reaction to meds and injections but they have since resolved and I now have increased energy and appetite-:-) !  Looking forward to this next week of strengthening before round 3 of hospitalization begins February 28.  

As we move deeper through this progression of weeks, the Lord continues to pour out His amazing presence and comfort, His Life and Love without limit. We are completely undone by the joy of knowing Him!   And there is the sense of being in the mainstream of His Ways, so much higher, wiser, more loving than our own. How infinitely worthy of our worship and trust is our Creator and Redeemer, LORD of all history, all peoples, places and times! 

The gift of your fellowship and prayers is one we can never adequately express our thanks for. It's like a current of life flowing through our days.  We bless you in His Name!  

P.S. And, Very thankful for answers to prayer -- we have arranged for an excellent place for my Mom to move to once she is out of rehab, within the next couple of weeks!  A HUGE thank you to JoLene who helped us scout out the possibilities!  
I was going to share some more of my story of 2012, but it is more macabre.  I don't want to dishonor Mom by distorting her five and a half months of victory into a petty story of oh look how hard my life is, woe is me!  Or even a, feel sorry for my mother's suffering, it's hell!  

Mom was given the strength to suffer and still rejoice.   

Our suffering is slower than the 600 hours of maximum strength chemotherapy.  It hasn't, so far, made my eyelashes fall out.  Hair's as thick as ever.  But we live on this earth and miss her like our hearts were cut out, and so we suffer.  

We too have a chance to rejoice in our sufferings.  

God help me, that still seems like blasphemy written by the insane (well, it was Paul).  But after witnessing Mom with that same insanity, I believe that we're the crazy ones.  There really IS grace for this.  

And it ends in hope.

"...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."  ~Romans 5:3b-5

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hairy tales

I interrupt your normal blog-casting of deep, heady morose fare for....

                                             HAIR TALK WITH STACIA!

I have thick hair.  In fact, I may have the thickest hair of any girl I've met.  It bursts hair ties and shatters claw clips as a matter of course.

Typically I give some warning to my hairdressers, the students at Paul Mitchell school.  And typically the lucky student nods naively, greedy to get another haircut closer to graduating.  She gushes over how beautiful it is and how lucky I am.  All is happy-smiley.  But then she starts washing it and wonders what happened to the shampoo.  My hair swallows shampoo by the bottle.

The girl, still perky, giggles nervously and guides my dripping locks back to the cutting chair.  She pins it up.  It instantly falls with impressive weight, cascading down like the Niagara Falls with mighty aplomb.  The poor girl then tries several other clips, each one bigger than the last with stronger, sharper teeth.  As the long task ahead becomes apparent, her frustration begins to jab at my skull with copious hairpins.  I close my eyes to avoid wincing.

She cuts one layer and unwinds another.  I breathe out, calculating that at this rate, the ten tidy twists on my head will be shorn in good time.  She sniffs, grimaces, and pins back half of the hair twist.  Too much.  We share a suppressed sigh.

There is then: a long time.

In which not much happens on my end, but my valiant little haircutter chips--er, snips--away at Mt. Vesuvius.   My girl keeps casting dark glaring glances to other, happier, students with thin-haired clients.   She mouths, Look how thick!  I KNOW!  Can you BELIEVE it?  The other students quickly look away as from a bloody corpse, their minds reeling in horror.

I fleetingly consider charging money to my own freak show or perhaps supplying goods to yarn stores.    There's got to be a better use of my abounding tresses than $10-a-pop public humiliation.

An old Asian hairdresser with feverish eyes randomly flits to and fro between the shearers.  She stops abruptly at me, doubles over and starts hurriedly collecting shorn scraps of my hair.  I forget all manners and roundly stare at her.  Shouldn't I sign some waiver or consent form?  What could she possibly want with my hair?  Is this voodoo or something?
She explains in broken English that she is doing a hair color project and needs samples of red virgin hair.  Well, I do have both the red and the virgin going for me.  Take it away, strange hair lady.  Just don't take my soul.

At long last the deed is done.  Never mind the blow-drying that took the better part of an hour.  Never mind that my girl's arms are about to fall off from heavy lifting.  My hair is shining, laden with product that I will never slather on it again, and I am about just about to leave  my chair when...

The girl's supervisor sweeps by and does a final check-up on the cut.  I smile wanly and nod, Yes, yes, it's great, fabulous, I like the back, yes...  I say nothing of hairpin stabs or smarting remarks.  That kid owes me big.  All I'm thinking about is my snappy exit.
The supervisor then leans in gallantly, delicately lifting layer upon layer of pampered hair.  He is a tall, regal and strangely bald African American with a flashing wide smile.  Motioning to the mass of butchered hair lying sadly on the floor, he comments sweetly, "I'm going to take your hair and glue it on my head, and then I'll be as pretty as you."

I nervously chuckle, picturing little patches of auburn hair pasted on his dark bald head.  Was that a compliment?

As I pay up and leave, I am reminded of a roommate's comment; she and the other roommates love my hair.  She laughingly warned me that one day I might just wake up and find it shaved off, and the girls dancing around with little Stacia hair wigs.
Talk about a disturbing visual!  Although...I suppose there's more than enough to go around.

~All of these things really have happened over multiple visits to the illustrious Paul Mitchell School.  There's actually more that I've witnessed there, including random dance parties and a marriage proposal.  I am so serious.  Men: do NOT, I repeat, do NOT propose to your girlfriend in a salon.  I don't CARE if she cuts hair.  It is beyond tacky.
~I actually love getting my hair cut because I get a head massage.
~Oh, and virgin hair really is a thing--it just means that you've never colored it.  It's rather rare these days, and every single time people are shocked that I'm still a virgin.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Grief is glass

Happy New Year!  2013, what an awkward little assortment of numbers.  I'm still putting off writing, so here are a few poems.

The day Mom came home for hospice I went out for errands, after waiting hours at the hospital for details and the right oxygen tank.

I knew I had to get colored pencils and journals, and Mom wanted plain yogurt.  I bought a set of three slim journals, my pencils, and two enormous tubs of yogurt.

I always bought her copious amounts of food; I think it was in hope that she'd live long enough to finish it.  Anyhow, one of the journals I turned into a poetry/prose journal.  

There are not as many poems as there are deranged scribbles, but a few stanzas survived.  I don't want to always be sad, but do want to be honest.  That's why I'm posting all the sad ones (they're not all sad) now so I don't have to prolong the process. 

Grief is glass

Grief is glass
shattering shattering
pieces get hid
glimmering glimmering
stuck into toes into fingertips searching
into nostrils inhaled clogging up lungs

some of it’s noble, knighted, sainted—
colored and carved and placed in
most of it’s dusty dirty sneaky grenades
private heartthrobs and breath catching sighs

for something to shift, to resolve out of
            augmented diminished tritone agony
my hope is in another world
            my heart
my treasure
            has lifted off
and flown away

what is here for me except dusty glass and empty decades?  Life lived just so 
all can be at last at last at long last
finished…          and real life can start.


7.11.12  three days before Mom’s 54th birthday

There is a soft sadness

There is a soft sadness
that sinks in-between
the everyday notches and watches of life

It curls up precisely
where it's hard to reach
and doesn't envelope until all is ripe

But when conversation's
the most ordinary
and when I would certainly rather not weep

The silky soft sadness
seeps up to my stomach
and creeps, how it leaps and it heaps.


And, to not end on a thoroughly heavy note, a little poem from God to me:
open your eyes

open your eyes, my love, my love

lift the lashy veils and colored muscled
     pools of soul
              to me, to me

the agony within will not cannot
            destroy me
for I am deeper still within
     the cloying hurt


Friday, December 28, 2012

Thank God for coagulation

Wouldn't you know it; the week that I was being held accountable for writing in this thing was the week that I stopped blogging.  Oh my poor accountability partner!

For the sake of forward motion, I will cheat and post a poem that I wrote a few months ago.  At least it's something, right?
(Note to readers: My favorite part of poetry is rhythm; yes, even with irregular meter.  I just picture irregular meter as unusual time signatures, like 7/8 or 5/4.  The best ones.  All that to say, please read it out LOUD.)

Thank God for coagulation

When the skin tears from its sleeve, when the rip is long and deep
The body whitens, puckers in horror,
And the Blood takes its own sweet time seeping out
Darker than a red red rose

By rights it bleeds and bleeds and bleeds
Shocks, laments in crimson tears.
And now it runs its race with zeal
Bursts bandages trying to cotton the shrieks

Don’t smother the sorrow that must be heard
Don’t beat back the Blood that must run down
Don’t say it is not when it clearly is The—
Is it not The End?

But now the red flow thickens
Slows, loses heart, is whisked into peaks.
The Blood brittles.  The wound littles,
And gradually closes its mouth.

The fire is buried in ash, in scab
The scab is vetted and fretted away
And only a long strike of lightning stays
That memory may always remain.