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National Poetry Month – Day 16

I have been more sporadic in my writing this month than I’d hoped to be, and begin writing for a prompt without finishing it – BUT! Today I managed to get one completed.

April 16 – Prompt: “Your favorite childhood memory.”

Fun Fact – my neighbor once saw how much I loved to climb, and how greatly I needed a little bit of space all my own, so he gifted me the ginormous tree standing in his front yard. Dear, sweet man! If I could speak with you just one more time, I’d tell you just how amazing that gift was to a young girl.

“Up I go into the sprawling branches

Notebook held firmly between my teeth,

My bare feet grasping the rough bark

As the ground blurs far beneath.

I reach my favorite resting place

Pull out my pen, begin to write –

The birds calmly flit around me now

As we stay contentedly out of sight.

The tree its self embraces me as well

And I’m rocked within its shade

Familiar friends –

as if this tree..

…just for me…

was made.

– B. Biter 2019

National Poetry Month – Day 4

April 4 – Prompt: “Your favorite body part on yourself”

My Eyes

“Two small pools of the lightest blue,

Show the world a most gentle hue,

And reflect the best of what they see –

To them, your potential isn’t some mystery.

And yet, to some, they are cold as ice

As if I wouldn’t have to think twice

If you should cross me or hurt my kin,

They would never again let you in.

But if you can be gentle with your strength

You’ll find there is no end to the length

Of what they allow you to see inside –

The soul no longer something they wish to hide.

They have watched as things change,

And seen how one can rearrange,

Yet hold on to what remains most true

To the bits and pieces of what makes you – you.

And should I never see through them again,

I’ll carry the lessons learned deep within

As I remember those beautiful blues

And share a sould fulfilled that one cannot lose.

– B. Biter 2019

National Poetry Month – Day 3

April 3 – Prompt: “Write the words you’ve always wanted to say to him/her, but never did.” No sentence limit, etc

For my Boys

“I do it for you, my dear hearts

Open up wounds so they can become scars.

Healing within myself to make a frest start,

And refusing to pass down the curse.

I’ve said all I can think of to say

To the ones who are old enough to hear,

But I’d like to tell you boys one day,

That you can always rewrite a verse.”

For The Love of Trees

Today, I impulsively bought a bonsai tree with Bubby from a delightful Japanese woman. I saw her and her creepy white van parked in a random lot on the way home. It was lined with shelves of tiny, adorable trees. The greenery and her beaming smile made it less intimidating, and we were drawn in. (That’s how people die, ya know. Lured by the promise of innocent, little treasures to windowless vans against their better judgement. And I took my KID!)

Speaking of, the worst thing that happened to us was Bubby lightly hitting his head on one of the shelves and earning the sympathy of our gracious host, who had no idea I briefly thought she just might snatch us up in her creep-mobile. She quickly apologized and comforted him by giving him a tiny ceramic frog – even though he wasn’t crying at all. He’s just a charmer!

Anyway, we adopted a juniper bonsai tree. Junie is two years old, and we can already see lots of new growth! She was well-cared for before coming into our home, and we were supplied with all the nutrients she will need for a year. We learned how to steer her in the right direction, what kind of pot she will do best in as she grows, and how to meet her needs for sunlight. Also – we somehow ended up with a ceramic Japanese fisherman, and he sits in the comfortable shade of Junie’s branches. He still needs a name. (Bubby just calls him Tiny. It *may* stick.)

…Wait a minute. I think we’ve already lost the frog…

Realness

It’s been a life-long struggle. A tug-of-war between what is seen as “acceptable” and that which is my authentic self. A blurring of the lines at the point where the person I am expected to be fights to hold down the person I am truly becoming. What is my identity?

I’ve always wanted to be an open and honest person, free from the weight of hiding things that happened to me and recognized as beautiful without the mask of perfection that was expected. I’ve never wanted to keep others’ secret darkness within myself, but I always felt the need to protect them from the judgement and wrath of the mostly-casual observer, whether or not they deserved it. I’ve often wondered if anyone would accept the realness of my struggles with things that no one should have to experience and know who I was behind all those scars.

Scars – another reality people find hard to face.

But to face yourself, to open those wounds so that they might heal into the scars no one wants to acknowledge, THAT is truly terrifying. There are moments of self-reflection that I don’t think I can make it through, times when memories are overwhelming and so suddenly present themselves as a current reality. The smallest thing can trigger a reaction that doesn’t seem appropriate. That little pat on the head, the sound I’ve heard or scent I’ve smelled before, a tone of voice and words spoken exactly so…

…or doing something I haven’t done in seven years.

A phrase I’ve often thought about these past few months is, “Just as the greatest wounds come through relationship with others, so does the greatest healing.” I have no idea where the words came from, if I read them in a book or heard someone say them, or put them together in my own mind somehow. But I know that when we are at our worst and someone loves and accepts us at that moment, just as when they celebrate with you in your most beautiful times, there is healing.

I have actual scars on my body, marring the smoothness of my skin and adding a depth of character to it that wouldn’t otherwise be there. The color is somewhat different, and a few are raised up where others cave in. But with each of them, there is a clear healing that took place. And under the healing, there’s a story of struggle and becoming. A tale of great battles fought and won!

They share about a young girl, wide-eyed and taking on the world in seemingly small ways, who learned that if she just kept getting back up she could live beyond the bad things that happen in life. They tell of a new mother, learning to cherish her young child and take in the sweetness of each moment as she looked into his eyes and found strength to heal. They bear witness to the greatness of God, and show how He is always in control when we don’t even realize something is wrong.

But there is an even deeper story to be told. A greater struggle as the emotional and mental wounds scab over. They won’t be visible, unless you look very carefully.
As the angry, red lines come together under stitches and staples, there is a growing peace under the rarely-missing smile. While they become softer shades of pink and the bandages are no longer needed, the anger slowly fades as well. When the itching begins to become less frequent, you may find that the busy schedule that hid the pain from others (and yourself) becomes more manageable.

Scars are forever present. Sometimes, with weather changes or fatigue, there is an ache that doesn’t make much sense. Occasionally, the annoying itch comes back or too much sun reddens the lines for a while. But with those in my life who are loving me no matter what state of mind I’m in, the moments can be seen for what they really are – Temporary. I recognize them as being only a tiny portion of who I am. I am not my pain. I am not my struggle. I am worth it, and I am wanted in every moment.

My authentic self? Way more than I can even begin to explain in a blog post!
Want to go for tea?

 

Human Beings

Recently, a woman thanked me for allowing Lil Man to play with all the children in the play area of a fast food restaurant in town. I responded with surprise, and she informed me that the conversation was prompted by a man pulling his kids out of the room in an angry manner, simply because they were interacting with children who were of a different skin tone.

The elderly woman grew up in this city, and shared briefly about being mistreated often as a child because she was born the “wrong” color. She wanted me to know that she was proud, and hopeful, when she saw my young son unassumingly invite all the kids to join his game afterward, without noticing their differences.

But, he does. He sees the differences in people.
He says things like, “The girl with brown skin and red shirt? She helped me!” He drew an autistic child to himself, saying, “That kid isn’t so good with people, so I just sat and waited for him to be ready to play.”
He recognizes when their first language isn’t English, and works around it… “He doesn’t speak what we do, so we talked with our hands!”
He tells me he played with girl toys because that random stranger-child at the mall play area really liked them, so that way the other boy wouldn’t worry about it too much when everyone else thought it was weird. “Because toys are just toys, right? And people are important.”

He knows not everyone is like him. He isn’t immune to the fact that some people aren’t kind about what is different. But Lil Man very rarely lets these differences influence his choices nor does he allow them to define another’s value. He accepts them as fellow human beings. He meets people where they are and invites them into his world with very little hesitation.

As Christians, this is how we are called to be – this is how we are to love.

This has been on my mind for a little while now. All too often, I hesitate to move forward because of reasons involving safety. All too often, I worry about how others will react to me loving in the manner which Christ leads me to. All too often…I lose sight of Him and fail at the mission to connect in true relationship with Him and others because I get caught up within myself.

But we do not follow a God who is full of fear and cowardice. We do not bow down to One who is small or weak. He says, “Follow Me.” And He wants us to trust Him with the unknown. If I go forward when He tells me to, He will guard me. If I seek only His approval, He will grant my soul peace. If I keep my eyes on Him, my struggles will fade.

He is trustworthy. He is our fortress in battle. He alone is able.

Be still.
Know that He is God.
And find the freedom to love as He calls you to.