Falling backwards

Once an English teacher, always an English teacher…I guess. I live my life in metaphors. I’ve reached the point in which I can’t think in simple terms. Lessons learned come to me in imagery, painted on my heart, my mind, my soul.

What lesson have I learned lately? Life is hard.

And on those days when I just feel as though Igive way to the stress weighing me down, I imagine myself falling backwards, hoping that there will be somebody there to catch me because I can’t catch myself anymore.

I love my two sons with a tenacity that no other mother’s love could match. Son Number One is off at college learning how to live life “on his own.” In just one week of apartment living, his building has caught fire,
and his car has a flat tire. Ah, college life.

Son Number Two has grown another inch in the last week, or so it seems. He almost looked me eye to eye tonight. Our noses almost touched. He’s my baby, and the thought of my little imp growing up leaves me heart broken. I can’t compete for his attention anymore. He has discovered girls and cell phones. Life will never be the same.

I was looking through some old pictures and found my younger son’s snow angel picture from last year’s “blizzard.” It made me think. Wouldn’t it be great during our times of trouble if we could just fall backwards and know one of God’s angels was there to catch us?

Today I had a check up at the doctor. He was a little concerned about the stressors in my life, and his advice was for me to let people take care of me for a while. I couldn’t help but think of my snow angel. Maybe God has his own “snow angels” on earth to catch people when they’re about to fall.

The truth is I have had many, many people taking care of me—my walking friends at the park and at school; my students, both former and present, who surprise me with cards and gifts and balloons; my closest friends who let me share a little bit of the “imperfect” real me; and my family, who literally keep me going day to day. I can’t sufficiently express my gratitude.

I miss writing. But it’s difficult for a wounded heart to let go and fall backwards into a pool of imagination and dreams. A couple of Sundays ago I awoke with the idea for a novel from start to finish. I believe the idea was a gift from God, just a little incentive to remind me there’s something there waiting on me when I feel like writing again. He’s waiting to catch me too.

Sometimes we just need to rest to heal. And sometimes the best prescription for a wounded heart is the presence of a trusted friend.

Advertisements

Where I am now

When I lost my mother on March 25, I fell into a state of numbness. As much as I tried to function in this fast-paced world, I couldn’t keep up. I fell further and further behind. I managed to do my job, to my job well, but I feel as though I failed at everything else. By the time I returned home each evening, I had nothing left. I was an empty shell.

When my father passed away unexpectedly on June 27, my strong emotional pillars collapsed, and I realized for the first time in my life what it feels like to be lost.

If it weren’t for the grace and mercy offered by members of my family and select friends, I think I would be stuck in neutral, totally unable to move. I’m an only child, and I always feared the day I would lose my parents. But that day comes to all of us.

I’ve learned the great toil grief takes on writing. Last year at this time I was on the fast track to learning how to get published. The future was bright. But I’ve been stopped in my tracks in a dark tunnel. I can’t see the light at end. Maybe it’s after the bend. Despite my love of and appreciation for my writing groups, I can’t participate. I have nothing to offer.

I’ve signed up for the writing conferences. Maybe I’ll serendipitously stumble on what I need.

So instead of writing fiction, I have picked up my guitar and have found a different type of outlet for creative expression—writing lyrics. I consider myself one of the privileged few who is on a first-name basis with a a couple of the very best, award-winning songwriters in Nashville. They have what it takes to pen a hit. I don’t. But That’s not my goal. Sure I know you need a catchy riff, a hook, plenty of imagery, a few metaphors thrown in, and God’s grace shining down on you to make a song-writing dream come true.

But all I really want is to tell the truth—to write what I’m feeling even if I don’t understand it. Even if it’s the worst song in the world. Even if my syllables are a bit off and it only has three chords.

Lately, I’ve been on a blues kick as you can probably tell from my earlier posts, so a lot of what I have written lately uses a blues-type progression. But what I write is inspired by life itself.  Life is unfair. Our dreams are unfaithful. Our plans often fail. But there’s always the chance hope will prevail.

If I could write the ultimate song, I would write it for the people who have taken time to listen to me. I guess that’s what all writers want—a good listener. I guess that’s what all friends need, a good listener who really cares, who never lies, and who always understands.

If could share any tidbit of advice with a reader going through a difficult period, I would strongly suggest finding some outlet of expression. You can’t keep feelings bundled up forever.

What you write, what you paint, what you play doesn’t have to make sense to anybody else as long as what you express is the truth and you give yourself a chance to purge itself of whatever you’ve been holding back.