Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Vulnerability

Lost in an internal maze

Brilliant winter sun-rays
Filter through frigid air
Endangering darkroom eyes
Unaccustomed to light

Blinking he looks away
Unwilling to sacrifice
Hazy unclear sight for clarity
Or the fine details of truth

Better the sweet comfort
Of blurred lines mixing
Facts with fiction or
Reducing them to nothing

Stumbling blindly
From pillar to post
He makes his lonely way
Lost in an internal maze

I didn’t set out to write about Mr. Trump, yet it seems I have. So now I’m sitting here wondering what’s going on in me. Have I given up on his presidency? Disengaged myself from caring anymore?

That might happen if I believed that whatever he does, I will likely weather the storm. Yet I don’t believe that. His actions put us and others at risk every day.

More likely, I wrote this because I lack visible power over what’s happening in Washington. I voted. Now it seems there’s no more I can do to make a visible difference.

Nor can I say I hope for something better from Mr. Trump. I don’t. I’m an aging citizen, with limited time and energy. I want to know how to make my voice and my concerns heard.

Though I could perhaps feel sorry for Mr. Trump, that isn’t an option. He has openly chosen his way of doing business, and is following it regardless of intended or unintended outcomes for our nation or our allies.

What now? If I remember right, Jesus rebuked those who paraded their supposed righteousness before everyone’s eyes. Instead, he recognized with gratitude and admiration the widow who, almost unnoticed, gave from her heart the bit she had.

I want to find my bit, and offer it from my heart. Not to Mr. Trump, but to this world God already loves — the same world I’m learning to love in spite of our differences and blurred visions of reality.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 January 2019
Photo found at freepik.com

The weather goes awry

So much
For forecasts
Or low odds
On life
Turning its tail
And running
Away
Without us

Howling wind
Sucks drafts
Of spinning leaves
And drunk robins
Heavenward
Tree branches
Lash out
In vain

All
We ever wanted
Gone
Up the chimney
In smoke
Churning with
Hopes and dreams
Unrealized

How quickly things fall apart–or fail to materialize. A death here. A death there. Unplanned events and unanticipated outcomes send us spiraling. Looking for something to soothe weary minds and hearts, and point us forward. Together, rather than scattered to the four corners of the earth.

Despair? Not yet. A sense of loss or betrayal? Sometimes. But more often aching loneliness for what might have been and may yet become. With or without us.

While I was writing this, the outside temperature plummeted toward single degrees, and wind from the north picked up speed. A good time for indoor Sabbath rest.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 20 January 2019

For all the saints

weary spirits
laid to rest lie soft
on winter’s snow
breathless we linger
beneath the heavens

Written in light of

  • Motionless trees coated with snow outside my kitchen window
  • Frigid temperatures and a gray sky
  • Recent and long-ago deaths of family, friends, strangers, poets and irreplaceable bright stars in our lives
  • Escalating upheavals of the last few years, locally and globally
  • This season of reflection and resolution

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 January 2019
Photo of Sycamores in Central Park found at 123RF.com

Possibilities

Sun streams
Through windows
Of my heart
Warm and open
Welcoming and
Tentative

What will today bring
Of joy and beauty
And will my heart
Welcome it
With open arms
Chilled to the bone

My desk is cluttered
With possibilities
Waiting patiently
To take root and grow
Peripheral flowers
Of the field
Bits and pieces of heart
Given away
Despite the anguish
Of saying goodbye

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 15 January 2019
Photo found at fromthegrapevine.com, taken at Spring 2014 Flower Show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

My mother’s body

Time
and again
This is my body
broken

My mother’s body
haunts me
A living reminder

I stare through windows
wondering
how we traveled
so lonely
for so long

Misplaced
inadvertent flowers
bloom
without rhyme or reason
out of season
now out of time

Looking
into a mirror
I catch her
watching me
wondering

Lost birds
flutter on the ground
unable to spread
their wings and soar
together

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 12 January 2019
Painting by Natalya Zaytseva; found at ssatchairt.com

On giving ourselves away

What is a good death, Teacher?
And where might I look to find one?

Bad deaths abound
Alongside seemingly valiant deaths
And deaths of great sacrifice

But are they good deaths?

My new calendar hangs above me
Three young renaissance women
Observe life within and without
Through eyes that betray nothing
Wisps of pure virgin hair peek
From demur and ornate headpieces

Will they die good deaths, Teacher?
If so, why? When? And how?
And will they have led good lives?

Or will they muddle through
Whatever life requires of them?
Clean slates upon which dreams
Begin and end without a whimper
Good girls and good women
Who cared not for themselves
But for the needs of others
Now gone without a trace

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 January 2019
Hans Holbein sketch found at pinterest.com

color me fragile

color me fragile
transparent windows open
to waves of music
floating through winter’s cold nights
from stars and planets waiting
to welcome me home

I think often of death these days. Not as something to fear, but as a reminder that today’s music won’t wait for tomorrow. It’s here. Now. Waiting to be experienced, honored, held close. A reminder of the good that has come my way and the good people who still sing to me when I feel lonely, scared or overwhelmed. Many now wait to welcome me home.

Morose? No. It’s food for my soul. A warm fuzzy blanket to wrap around me when I begin to falter. It’s the reason I greet each day with expectancy and hope mixed with sadness. Life sometimes feels heavy to bear. Then those reminders come floating in. A gift, if not proof, that I’ve had and have a life beyond the life I see and remember.

Praying your day is filled with graceful music from unexpected sources.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 5 January 2019
Image found at wallpaperup.com

Sand of life’s fine wine

One day follows another
Slips between my fingers —
Sand of life’s fine wine
Served in tiny portions

I want it all right now
To have and to hold —
Shaping every room into
The castle of my choosing

Weariness descends
Seagulls circle beckoning
My eyes close dreaming —
Waves lapping at my toes

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 January 2019
Photo found at pbs.org

Year’s end approaches

This morning I woke
Floating again within
A calmer space
Less fraught with angst
Or anguish of life

Cars splash to and fro
Outside my office window
Hurrying somewhere
Or reluctantly ambivalent
All roads aren’t chosen

Year’s end approaches
Almost without notice
Holding layer upon layer
Of unsavored moments
And gaping disasters

Yet my heart is calm
The flow of life and death
Invites steadiness
In the space between now
And coming joys and sorrows

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 December 2018
Photo found at 123RF.com

My Mother’s Depression

My mother’s depression
Is not my depression

It doesn’t belong to me
Nor did I invite it in to stay
Yet it lives in me now and again
A link to this woman who bore me

Deftly intertwined it moves
As though it were mine
A weight I bear unbidden
My lot in this half-life

What would it be like
To let it go as an alien?
To visit without falling into the pit?
To understand it from her point of view?

I’ve been turning things like this over in my mind and heart for the last week. The insight isn’t mine. It’s a gift from a friend who has walked with me for several decades.

‘My’ depression isn’t mine. Yes, it’s real and present. Yet it was and still is my mother’s deep depression, fed by my father’s behavior toward her and toward me.  The sad price of being a gifted white woman in post-depression (ironic) and post-World War II life in the USA.

Held back, kept in check, insanely busy with housework and babies, submissive preacher’s wife, versatile church musician without a pay check, resourceful volunteer ever ready to help others in return for nothing, cheery and even-tempered, industrious and persistent, she held it all together in her bent and broken body.

Uncomplaining, weary, in pain 24/7 and depressed. Sometimes crying herself to sleep. Other times waking with horrifying cramps.

My heart goes out to her today in ways it couldn’t years ago.

Yet I can’t accept her depression as my depression. It isn’t mine. This one insight invites me to stay connected to her reality without making it my reality. I can only breathe my air, not hers.

These days it seems ever more acceptable to trash women of all colors and make them into problems they are not. In response, I want to do justice to the woman my mother was while showing mercy to her as the woman she could not be or become.

She was not the problem then, just as I am not the problem now.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 16 November 2018
Book cover photo found at bookdepository.com

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