My Angel, My Heart, My Dahlin’

I see you in your cowboy hat and boots

I see your easy smile

against your sunwashed skin

I hear your voice

a thousand times

in a single night

pouring into my heart

a thousand love songs

in a single melody

I hear your words of love

and they strum like viola notes

up and down my strings of pain

I look for you

with eyes that cannot see

I find you everywhere

with eyes that only see

I see you in your cowboy hat and boots

I see your easy smile

and I can’t help but smile back…

 

Written to my precious uncle, my Angel, my Heart, my Dahlin’, Alvin Doucette, Jr. laid to rest on this day.

I will see you again…and we’ll both be smiling…

I Used To Be…

 

I used to be a Catholic. I believed in venial and mortal sins. When I had to do something difficult or something I did not enjoy, I was taught to offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory. I was taught to pray to saints and to do that by using novenas. Other than novenas and praying in church, I never prayed. Well, I said the rosary sometimes, but I never prayed to Jesus. I don’t remember being taught to. Prayer, within and beyond the stained glass church windows, was rote. My prayer life, if you could call it that, was a wasteland without a whit of intimacy or insight. I never learned about relationship, only rules or should I say tradition. I never learned about love, only sin or should I say my need for a Savior.

 

However, I thought I was lucky to be a Catholic. After all, I could eat seafood every Friday during Lent, I got to choose a name I liked when I was confirmed in the 8th grade, and every Sunday I could go to church and savor uninterrupted daydreams about the boy I liked. So, I was born a Catholic and thought I’d never be anything else. But I think I needed to be that.

 

I used to be a born-again Christian. For me, that meant two primary things. I was no longer Catholic and I was assured acceptance into heaven because I believed Jesus died in my stead. I became a Christian at quite a burdensome time in my life. I had made decisions that were clearly wrong, but I felt stuck in them. I needed to be right about something. Nearly all of my focus became directed toward the afterlife. I thought that was where I would finally be safe, that was where I would finally taste happiness. I had hope for the first time. Anyone who disagreed with me or just had a different point of view had to be shut down or ignored. I had to keep my hope safe from question, from further seeking, from even the shadow of doubt. See, it was all I had to hold on to.

 

I made it my business to instruct, I mean share, with others that they were on the wrong path. I needed to let people know that they had to do certain things, believe certain things, and denounce certain things so they could go to heaven. I had to tell them that everything they needed to know and would ever need to know was in the Bible. Every other holy text, every other path of faith or belief would lead them directly to hell. I didn’t say it, the Bible said it. So, I became a legalistic inerrantist. But I think I needed to be that.

 

I used to be a wonderer. Not quite a questioner. Certainly not a seeker. But I began to wonder about things. It was my oldest son who would engage me in conversations that brought me to a place where I could dabble in wondering. But I fought it. Oh, I fought hard. Anytime, he mentioned that he had read parts of the Koran or had learned something about other faiths or cultures just for the sake of learning, I would become defensive and argumentative.

 

But then came the first break in my seemingly impenetrable doctrinal armor. My son had a few homosexual friends that would visit sometimes, both boys and girls. It wrenched and rent at my very heart that these sweet, precious kids on the brink of adulthood were damned unless they changed their lifestyles. Then one day, suddenly, I wondered why… why did they have to suffer for eternity for being who they are? It was the first time I allowed a challenging question to enter my mind, but I only went that far for nearly 2 years. Baby steps for me. Maybe I’m just a slow learner or just slow to give up the doctrine that had first spoken hope into my life.

 

I continued on as a marginally wondering legalist, and then, I met a man. On our first date, he called himself a seeker, said he didn’t have it all figured out. I thought to myself, “Wow! What luck you have because I do!”

 

Our relationship was the beginning of a beautiful growth lesson for me. I had no idea how much that lesson would be needed or how soon. He planted the seed that maybe people had to find their own way. He planted the seed that maybe shoveling my dirt onto the seedlings of others only served to smother the sprouting they would experience without my interference in their life cycle. He planted the seed that maybe, just maybe, rigidity was not what would best serve me in my life or in the lives of those I love. I thought I was going to show him the way with all my so-called answers when in actuality he showed me that sometimes seeking can be answer enough. So, until that point, I had been bent toward egotism, elitism, and legalism with just buds of wondering. But I think I needed to be that.

 

I became a questioner. My second son began to share his doubts with me. I did a lot of blaming myself and wringing my hands because my baby was going straight to hell and I couldn’t let that happen. I resurrected my old Catholic guilt and bullied him with my Christian fear. And I pushed him farther and farther away every time.

 

He said things that made sense, though. Things like wanting to be good to others because he felt that was the best way to live, not because he thought he had to appease God or to avoid eternal damnation. Somewhere along the way, he had begun to think for himself. Where in the world did he get that from? I couldn’t tolerate his doubts or even his feelings and ideas openly, but in my heart I started to question just a little.

 

Eventually, I happened upon Dr. Wayne Dyer who led me to Eckhart Tolle who led me to Thich Nhat Hahn who led me to Marcus Borg who led me to Progressive Christianity. I investigated the Lost Gospels, early Christian mysticism, near death experiences, even pre-birth planning (a little too out there for me), but the point was that I began to be open to other ways, other faiths, other ideas. I found so much common ground where before I could only recognize differences. I found many things that sparked fires within my spirit like nothing ever had. I felt frightened and liberated, confused and oh so clear. But, I need to be all of that. Yes, I need to be all of that.

 

I am now a seeker who, of course, still has questions. I will never have it all figured out, and now that I have left black and white thinking behind, I know I don’t have to. My ideas are exceedingly different than anything I ever would have thought possible. But my life, the life I want to live has become an evolving one, an open one, an accepting one. I do not miss the locked door mentality that I so staunchly held for so very long. Although I still battle with the letting go of things I once believed, I have never had such moments of peace as I’ve had once I laid down my blind beliefs and realized that Jesus is radically different from the image I accepted and passed on all these years. And so is God.

 

I am grateful for all my “used to be’s” because who would I be without them? I am grateful for this most recent journey that has led me closer to Jesus, closer to God. I am grateful I have found friends and a place within the Progressive Christian community. I guess I am not completely free of the need for a label. Perhaps, one day I will be. But today, I will enjoy who I need to be now.

 

 

***Disclaimer (of sorts): This is only about my experience as a Catholic and born-again Christian. It is not meant to be a condemnation of any system of belief as it relates to the paths of others.

 

 

 

 

Circle Me Sad

Originally posted on Wild Heart Scribe:

Pop another quarter in
Go on and ride my back
Saddle up
and
settle in
It’s gonna be a long one
Depraved dimness
explosively exaggerated
in blue up and down
brown mall circles…
Syrup calliope cadence sticks
you discolor what makes me tick
and how it makes me sick
But you’ve
lashed me now
masked me now
trashed me now
The sad circle slows…
you try to get off
but I won’t let you.
Ride’s not over…
I have succumbed.

View original

Maybe I…

Originally posted on Wild Heart Scribe:

Maybe I should have let life
harden me till nothing gets
out or in
Maybe I should set a table
for the notion that
the kind of love I serve
will never pull up a chair
and sit beside me
Maybe I should give up on
my fairy tale dreams
and read my real story
Maybe I should stop expecting
happy endings and just
expect endings
Maybe there are those who
are meant to be alone…
maybe I’m one of them…
Go on, Life, have your way.
My battle against you
has
been
proven
bottomless.
Make me hard where I am soft
Make me cold where I am warm
Make me dead where I dream
Change who I am…
just protect me from hope.

View original

Forever Watching

Originally posted on Wild Heart Scribe:

The tip of my nose
clears a spot on the
cool, frosted window
watching you leave.
Always watching,
a forever spectator of someone’s departure.
When do I get to leave?
Where is my dramatic exit?
Who will watch me walk away?
No one.
I like to stay.
The clock keeps cruel count.
My pain pathetic
tick tocks to poetic.
You round the corner.
I fire the engine.
I drive away
and wish someone was watching.

View original

The Pull

She crossed four lanes

with folded cardboard

in her left hand

fanning herself against the

early evening Georgia heat

blonde wisps

following the

forced breeze

she comes to a stop on

the neutral ground…

flipping the cardboard open,

she held it for all to see.

Red light persistent,

I struggled in my seat

to read her words.

Green light beckoning,

I passed her

unable to

focus on her

scrawled message…

unable to look away

from her face

until I had no choice…

unable to look away

from her vacant eyes

until I had no choice

and I felt her pull…

such a power-ridden pull…

Two stoplights later

digging into my wallet

to see what I could

lay a finger on…

all the while my

spirit drowning out

Elephants and Flowers

shrieking go back…

you have to go back…

sliding on a U

with bills tight

in my fist

I made my way back to her,

the pull like the end

of a Yo-ball spin…

letting the horn sing

she noticed me

and ran to me

black flip flops

striking asphalt

as red gave way to green…

it was then that

I read her sign

and it revealed the pull.

I knew the vacancy

that drove her eyes

into a dead-end…

In her,

I saw me

I remembered me

she could be me

she wears my name

in the cadence

of a struggling chest

I bear hers in the iris

of a blackened eye

I know tonight

she only hopes

for a warm safe bed

away from her

zoetic horror

and I hope she finds one,

but after tonight,

I pray she finds life again…

the life that has been

subdued in her by

fists that pledged

to exalt her.

No, I pray she finds an

even better life

so she can write

a new sign

on her heart

that shines

through her eyes…

No Vacancy

The Midnight Wall

Originally posted on The Fever Dream:

He who imagines

She who sleeps,

Across the midnight wall,

He sinks.

Down through her roof

And past the ceiling

Into her head

Where she’s busy dreaming

Up a world of fantastic fiction

The mind’s own eye, her sole restriction.

She lives a life of pain each day.

A shattered doll, wasting away.

In a drape of flesh so fitting and fine

With hair in curls, and eyes so kind…

There she sees him all in black

With wings like velvet

And skin like sand,

Before she speaks, she’s in his hands.

And they’re spreading out like creeping vines

Back out across the midnight line

And as the stars are beginning to fade

Like Icarus, his wings are made

Of only wax and feathers glued

So though flying as one,

They fall as two.

The angel now crashes back down through her roof.

The goblin of course, is now drowning…

View original 19 more words

Magic

Originally posted on Wild Heart Scribe:

Take me on a magic ride…

crush my unbreakables

in your Genie hand.

Don’t make me leave

this land of color

but

let me wander

till I come upon the gate to the city

where I shall sit from rise to set

and watch for beggars…

I will turn them all away.

There is room but for one.

I lean my back against the leg of your table

pillow my majesty beneath me

and watch the dreams escape

the white puffs above your head…

float me on the vapor

rock me in the mist…

Let me wander your land of color

till my eyes are overcome

till we meld into one

till this beggar has won.

Majestic in nature

beggar by design…

From the ruined ground

I will reach

I will touch

the tip of the castle.

On this magic wave

I will die…

And is it true I shall

View original 35 more words

So LONG…So Long

Once upon a forever ago

in a far, faraway land,

I loved you with a

pure and innocent love.

You didn’t want it,

but you kept it

for a score and one…

far, so far past

the point of my wanting to give it.

Now I give my love…

still pure,

still innocent….

to the truly chosen one.

He wants it

and I will never be past

the point of wanting to give it.

Today is our last goodbye…

these words

are my last to you…

my last about you.

The last puzzling piece

has made its way to the whole,

filled the hole…

your crime has been declared

and your time begins in a land

far and far away.

Farewell.