do you understand

Do you understand what a favor he did you by choosing one of us. I know it sucks, but you have to realize this for the gem that it is. He made a choice, and yes I would feel exactly this way if the decision had gone the other way. I would be broken and pissed just as you were/are. I think he made himself out to be a strong man in that instant though, for we have faced many hardships and he’s always there. I really appreciate the fact that everyone says how much happier he is with me than was with you, but at the same time I’m sure the same type of things are said about my and my ex-husband.

When you get upset about it, I hope you consider how much strength of character it took for him to stand up and say what he said. I hope you don’t like unkindly at me, for it wasn’t my fault. I hope you learn to forgive him for being a man caught in the moment.

Also I hope you learn to forgive yourself for not being what he needed. It’s okay that it took the turn it took because you have your perfect man out there somewhere. Please know I understand where you are coming from and I feel that you have every right to dislike me. I appreciate all you did to help him along the way, and I hope this won’t find you still harboring vengeful thoughts.

 

untitled 101

When life gets tough what do you do? When impossible things are asked where do you turn? What do you do when the simplistic existence you’ve built starts to crumble right before your eyes. What do you do when someone sees the darker sides of you and acknowledges their existence.

Surely you fight? But perhaps that’s not the answer this time. Perhaps instead you should resign yourself to playing the open book type and answer any questions asked, no matter how awk, or how painful they might be. Fighting yields good result at first, but it wears you down over time. No one was made to fight forever. Say that again. No one was made to fight forever. Even MMA fighters retire. Even fire fighters retire. No one was built to endure the smoke and haze of a fire for all their given days. I’m yet to find a 73 year old to take a swift kick to the ribs, or be able to block a fast maneuver. People retire so that new, fresh people can step up.

Now I’m in no way saying everyone should go retire tomorrow. I’m rather stating that laying down your sword sometimes isn’t the biggest evil out there. There are others to continue your fight, perhaps new battles to be won in your life. Give yourself the grace to “retire” from the pointless babble of your personal life.

Habanero style living

The key to getting good at anything is truly repetition. Giving yourself time to fail is pivotal in the learning experience. Granted it’s much easier to fail from the comfort of a two story farm house that is fully heated than from the bed of a Ford Escapade. One thing that helps me in times of failure is the knowledge that no matter what happens, music will be there to see me through my ordeal. If it’s simply too cold to move or think straight, turn on your head phones and be assured that Carrie Underwood understands. Granted when you are literally being kicked into the cold by the one person you thought was plugging for you, then things get a little dicey. But Dicey makes the flavor, right? You can’t have really hot Habaneros that are in their whole form, you gotta dice those suckers up into a beautiful array of super hotness. There will always be someone madder than you, someone in a worse position. Acknowledge that as you embrace the suck of your situation. Know yourself and how much you simply have all the necessary tools to get through this, and you’ll be just fine.

Write the truest sentence you know…

 

He loved her and she knew it was all she’d need to get through anything life could throw at them. They hadn’t been together long,and they had many fights. But they were together when it mattered. They weathered life’s storms together. They knew their love was real and would stand the test of time. Her fear. His Illness. Her doubt. Were nothing compared to the mutual adoration shared between those two.

Theirs was the type of love that pulled others into its web. It made you want to live bigger. To forget your doubts, debts, and fears. Theirs was a new, yet old love. The love written of in the story books. Where the prince rescues the princess; though in this case he insisted she had rescued him. Imagine that, a prince locked in a castle as the princess comes to save him. A gender roles switch to be sure. But that is how he sees their relationship as she has saved him from a life of misery.

This is the type of love we all seek. It is what the world needs to continue its venture around the sun.

For love is necessary

 

This is for You

This is for you…

Read this and remember the stars: It’s not my story but that doesn’t affect the message.

Pedro the Lion is loud in the speakers, and the city waits just outside our open windows. She sits and sings, legs crossed in the passenger seat, her pretty voice hiding in the volume. Music is a safe place and Pedro is her favorite. It hits me that she won’t see this skyline for several weeks, and we will be without her. I lean forward, knowing this will be written, and I ask what she’d say if her story had an audience. She smiles. “Tell them to look up. Tell them to remember the stars.”

I would rather write her a song, because songs don’t wait to resolve, and because songs mean so much to her. Stories wait for endings, but songs are brave things bold enough to sing when all they know is darkness. These words, like most words, will be written next to midnight, between hurricane and harbor, as both claim to save her.

Renee is 19. When I meet her, cocaine is fresh in her system. She hasn’t slept in 36 hours and she won’t for another 24. It is a familiar blur of coke, pot, pills and alcohol. She has agreed to meet us, to listen and to let us pray. We ask Renee to come with us, to leave this broken night. She says she’ll go to rehab tomorrow, but she isn’t ready now. It is too great a change. We pray and say goodbye and it is hard to leave without her.

She has known such great pain; haunted dreams as a child, the near-constant presence of evil ever since. She has felt the touch of awful naked men, battled depression and addiction, and attempted suicide. Her arms remember razor blades, fifty scars that speak of self-inflicted wounds. Six hours after I meet her, she is feeling trapped, two groups of “friends” offering opposite ideas. Everyone is asleep. The sun is rising. She drinks long from a bottle of liquor, takes a razor blade from the table and locks herself in the bathroom. She cuts herself, using the blade to write “FUCK UP” large across her left forearm.

The nurse at the treatment center finds the wound several hours later. The center has no detox, names her too great a risk, and does not accept her. For the next five days, she is ours to love. We become her hospital and the possibility of healing fills our living room with life. It is unspoken and there are only a few of us, but we will be her church, the body of Christ coming alive to meet her needs, to write love on her arms.

She is full of contrast, more alive and closer to death than anyone I’ve known, like a Johnny Cash song or some theatre star. She owns attitude and humor beyond her 19 years, and when she tells me her story, she is humble and quiet and kind, shaped by the pain of a hundred lifetimes. I sit privileged but breaking as she shares. Her life has been so dark yet there is some soft hope in her words, and on consecutive evenings, I watch the prettiest girls in the room tell her that she’s beautiful. I think it’s God reminding her.

I’ve never walked this road, but I decide that if we’re going to run a five-day rehab, it is going to be the coolest in the country. It is going to be rock and roll. We start with the basics; lots of fun, too much Starbucks and way too many cigarettes

Thursday night she is in the balcony for Band Marino, Orlando’s finest. They are indie-folk-fabulous, a movement disguised as a circus. She loves them and she smiles when I point out the A&R man from Atlantic Europe, in town from London just to catch this show.

She is in good seats when the Magic beat the Sonics the next night, screaming like a lifelong fan with every Dwight Howard dunk. On the way home, we stop for more coffee and books, Blue Like Jazz and (Anne Lamott’s) Travelling Mercies.

On Saturday, the Taste of Chaos tour is in town and I’m not even sure we can get in, but doors do open and minutes after parking, we are on stage for Thrice, one of her favorite bands. She stands ten feet from the drummer, smiling constantly. It is a bright moment there in the music, as light and rain collide above the stage. It feels like healing. It is certainly hope.

Sunday night is church and many gather after the service to pray for Renee, this her last night before entering rehab. Some are strangers but all are friends tonight. The prayers move from broken to bold, all encouraging. We’re talking to God but I think as much, we’re talking to her, telling her she’s loved, saying she does not go alone. One among us knows her best. Ryan sits in the corner strumming an acoustic guitar, singing songs she’s inspired.

After church our house fills with friends, there for a few more moments before goodbye. Everyone has some gift for her, some note or hug or piece of encouragement. She pulls me aside and tells me she would like to give me something. I smile surprised, wondering what it could be. We walk through the crowded living room, to the garage and her stuff.

She hands me her last razor blade, tells me it is the one she used to cut her arm and her last lines of cocaine five nights before. She’s had it with her ever since, shares that tonight will be the hardest night and she shouldn’t have it. I hold it carefully, thank her and know instantly that this moment, this gift, will stay with me. It hits me to wonder if this great feeling is what Christ knows when we surrender our broken hearts, when we trade death for life.

As we arrive at the treatment center, she finishes: “The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope.”

I have watched life come back to her, and it has been a privilege. When our time with her began, someone suggested shifts but that is the language of business. Love is something better. I have been challenged and changed, reminded that love is that simple answer to so many of our hardest questions. Don Miller says we’re called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding. I agree so greatly.

We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be simple but more and more, I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love. I have seen that this week and honestly, it has been simple: Take a broken girl, treat her like a famous princess, give her the best seats in the house. Buy her coffee and cigarettes for the coming down, books and bathroom things for the days ahead. Tell her something true when all she’s known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true.

We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don’t get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won’t solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we’re called home.

I have learned so much in one week with one brave girl. She is alive now, in the patience and safety of rehab, covered in marks of madness but choosing to believe that God makes things new, that He meant hope and healing in the stars. She would ask you to remember.

——————————————————————————————————————-

The vision is better endings. The vision is the restoration of broken families and broken relationships. The vision is people finding life, finding freedom, finding love. The vision is graduation, a Super Bowl, a wedding, a child, a sunrise. The vision is people becoming incredible parents, people breaking cycles, making change.

The vision is the possibility that your best days are ahead.

The vision is the possibility that we’re more loved than we’ll ever know.

The vision is hope, and hope is real.

You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story

Sticking to your guns

You say you are done all the time. You’ve pulled this before. You say that im on my own and swear you wont talk to me anymore. Statistically speaking that has never proven out. Your words are hollow vague threats spread toward an innocent person who has only sought your love. Lying is something you claim to abhor and yet you are the queen of it and your husband is no better. You used to be people who followed a more of social edicts cast by a “loving god”. What happened to sticking ot your guns? This back n forth stuff is not giving anyone observing the situation a great opinion of your sanity.

I’ll survive on my own through all this. I always have gotten my shit together in the nick of time. My ingenuity is boundless and I am a stronger person for not always having a good support system. I have come through worse than this alone and I will do it again. One day you will watch me rise from the ashes and be so surprised at the majesty that came from being broken beyond repair.

I am strong without you. I can adapt to each situation with ease because of the life skills gained from your abandonment. I can understand how some kids are easier to love than others, but if you weren’t willing to give your all to me, you should just have let nature take its course.

breathe and watch my comeback

who do you think you are, to determine my dreams and dictate my future. You have no power here anymore. What i did as a kid should remain back there, in the past. It’s no issue to bring shit up but stop harping on it. i’m mother fucking hell in high heels for the love of christ. i’m a walking disaster zone and it’s largely your fault. the facade i have built is fragile at best and when you accuse me of lying it furthers the rift between us.

He knows everything. Just breathe and watch my comeback.