things i needed to hear

you try your hardest to leave the past alone.
this crooked posture is all you’ve ever known.
it is the consequence of living in between
the weight of family and the pull of gravity.

you are so much more than your father’s son.
you are so much more than what i’ve become.

long before you were born there was light
hidden deep in these young, unfamiliar eyes.
a million choices, though little on their own,
become the heirloom of the heaviness you’ve known.

you are so much more than your father’s son.
you are so much more than what i’ve become,
what i’ve become

you pressed rewind for the thousandth time
when the tapes wore through.
so you memorized
those unscripted lines, desperate for some kind of clue:

when the scale tipped,
when you inherited a fight that you were born to lose.

it’s not your fault,
no, it’s not your fault,
i put this heavy heart in you.
i put this heavy heart in you.

you remind me of who i could have been,
had i been stronger and braver way back then.
a million choices, though little on their own,
became the heirloom of the heaviness we’ve known.
{heirloom, sleeping at last}

lately i have nothing to say.
nothing new. 

i avoid the stillness, the silence; i avoid looking within. i'm tired of the same old battles, tired of facing the same inherited demons.i think i've gotten away from my father & my past only to be slapped right back into place by a memory or a survivor skill rearing it's ugly head. i'm really ready for surgical procedure that removes ptsd from the brain. i'd be all in.
 i'm numb & i'm ok with it. skating through life on the surface.
//except i'm not. not truly. i miss depth. i miss putting words to pictures, giving voice to the aches & realizations & felt joys. i feel disconnected from my spirit. turns out, it's hard to have anything worthwhile to say when you've duct taped your soul. 

the barriers to freeing her are too many to name. my circumstances are one big catch-22; and so far every attempt to escape as been stymied. 

but seasons change. life moves forward. 
this heaviness is not my fault. i am so much more; and one day i'll be free to access all that "more" carries.  


life doesn't discriminate

"life doesn't discriminate between the sinners & the saints, it takes and it takes and it takes. we keep living anyway--we rise & we fall & we break and we make our mistakes; and if there's a reason I'm still alive when so many have died, than I'm willing to wait for it." 

this song, oddly enough gives me hope. (the whole musical has become something of a personal anthem but that's a bizarre twisting path deep into my heart and mind that i'm unable--unwilling to take others down at the moment).

it's true, life is indiscriminately harsh (with breaks of sunshine and rest). God directly alters at times, yes. but more often He lets the long long leash of natural law & free will play out.  as He works within the laws of natural science He created rather than bending them; just so in all of life--He enters our humanity & He's with us. but He works in and amidst rather than confronting. He redeems more than He rescues. He's not at odds with the patterns of life. He created it, and when the fall altered it He chose a quiet, slow, deep process of restoration.
it can feel unloving. it can look like abandonment from this side of the universe. we don't see much of the way He acts because it's through the mundane. instead of removing us or protecting us or erasing the struggle; He creates within it. the force of living crashes against our ideals and our faith. our mental framework is torn down, rebuilt, altered with every loss. every storm, every sunrise, every victory and defeat etch themselves into our psyche and become our stories. we are made into fighters, artists; our souls hallowed to hold deeper, weightier measures of both light and dark.

life; this living. it's as beautiful as it is achingly devastating. to struggle, to become; these are the essences of humanity. we keep fighting, striving forward to bring order into the messy chaos. creating beauty & joy despite the cracks & the pain. we wrestle with our doubts. we confront the dissonance of eternal promises colliding with earthly realities, find a way to melodize it. we dance with both the facts and the inexplicable, awkward at first until we grow comfortable with not knowing. these are the things that make faith a leap. these are the pieces of mundane that sparkle with meaning. our resilience and our frailty, our grit and our fears, our inability and our ingenuity are valuable. precious, even. because they are products of free will, of room and space to "rise and fall and love and break and make mistakes". to be human is to be "inimitable, an original."

it's worth it. living is absolutely brutal--but oh, is it worth it.


google has a black ribbon on it's homepage today

...and it's for my city.

((this tragedy isn't truly mine. everything should be centered around the victims, their families and friends; and the close knit LGBT community reeling today. that's why i'm writing this on my private blog. i need to process, i need a safe place to sort myself out away from public eye. but i know it's incredibly inappropriate to claim this has hurt me personally when others have had the fabric of their hearts torn in shreds.))  

what? it feels surreal. Orlando isn't even a real city. i've often thought whoever taglined it "the city beautiful" apparently never traveled to cities like Washington DC, Savannah GA, Cardiff Wales or Vancouver BC, CA. it's always seemed like the kid brother who can't keep up with the big kids. trying to be cool with his untied shoelaces and popsicle-stained mouth, running after the vans-wearing teenagers on their skateboards. like "we've got the basketball team Shaq played for once!" "we're kinda close to Disney World, and there's a fountain in our lake. with swans!" "Our women's soccer team is brand-baby-new but hey--a World Cup champ calls it home!"
but now my little ugly city is running with the big boys and it's not fun at all. we're on the map for a horrific act of violence that has people in New York City weeping for friends they lost. the largest mass shooting in recent history. i think is what they're calling it. because that's what humans do when they grieve. put things in boxes with labels to keep our sanity inside and chaos outside.

now let's be honest: i've never really claimed this city until today. i spent the first 8 years of my life close enough to downtown that Lake Eola was the playground date of choice. but when we moved to the country, i embraced it whole-heartedly. at first i couldn't sleep: no gunshots, no sirens, no flashing lights or yelling neighbors? what if the bad guys were super sneaky and quiet out here? what if they broke in and nobody heard or came to help? eventually i realized people didn't steal the hose from your lawn or break into your house just for fun out here. i've been privileged to travel all over N America and the world; when people ask where i'm from in florida i usually say a small town you've never heard of. unless i think you'll never come to the states and find me, then i'll name my small town. because i'm proud of it. i love my community. i get annoyed when i'm traveling with people and they say Orlando (what? eww no i don't live there).

but today i woke up, and there on my tv was a swat team exiting a building i instantly knew. there was the next door dunkin donuts i used to swing by at 9:08 pm 2-3 nights a week after ballet class in my teens, surrounded by flashing lights. there were bleeding, hurting people being carried out of first gay club my brother visited. it took a few seconds of panic to remember he's moved out of state, he's safe. otherwise i would have been frantically looking for a text saying "i'm fine, we were at Ibar or Backbooth instead, don't worry." i thought of other names, faces; and hoped they were ok. i wondered if any of his old buddies were part of the carnage, or in the hospital. i worried if he was emotionally ok all those states away.
i imagined the chaos inside that hospital, the very one i'm about to start my own training in. the nurses and techs who were probably still working long after their 12 hellacious hours were over, the surgeons who probably hadn't had a break yet. i could imagine the less sick people in ER for a normal saturday injury seeing things we normally shield from them. because even in a level I center that trains for this, with 53 traumas, who has time to pull a curtain?
i tried not to imagine what the aftermath of 50 dead would be like. but i couldn't stop wondering how difficult it must be to find evidence and document deaths on such a scale. having the necessary detachment interrupted by all those phones ringing over and over and over as a constant reminder of the lives behind the crime scene.

i feel like i should have more words. profound words, words to offer hope or give insight into the wreckage humanity holds within that makes us capable of such things. but i don't. i only know that i owned this city today. it's not Paris or VA tech; it's home. i can give blood, i can be there for friends affected more personally. i can find something to do with these hands and this heart. i can be a voice--let's not use this as a battering ram. muslims need to feel loved, welcomed, safe. the lgbt community needs to feel embraced, needs us weeping next to them. the only sermon anyone needs to hear is the sermon of messy, honest, costly, sticking-around-when-the-media-gets bored and the people forget love. the God who became man and climbed into our messy hurting world love. Jesus chose the weak, the vulnerable, the wounded as his homeboys. His anger surfaced towards the people who through the first stone--don't be that guy.

here are some words from people better gifted than i:

this article

this relatable one

this personal insight  


He delights in showing mercy

You delight in showing mercy


it's not a duty, or a chore; you're not angry or annoyed that i need your mercy more than the earth needs rain.

you are not exacting, frustrated, judgmental. i live under this burden of exact cause and effect. this belief that every action can only add up to it's deserving consequence. that any good or forward motion must be earned and fought for with the absolute best you can give; but even then don't get your hopes up...because your best isn't always enough. there is no entitlement, life owes you nothing and fairness only comes into play when you screw up. punishments and consequences of mistakes always pay out--even though the rewards and fruit for hard work, diligence and effort don't.

but that's not life with you. it's a perspective i've been partly given and partly created. You are   g r a c i o u s.  i'm supposed to be free! not only from sin; but from this burden of fear & failure meaning the end of all things. you know me deeper than even i ever will. you hold my past. i am bound to this earth, to this space and time so that my history presses in and threatens to crush me. i can't escape it, i can't rewrite it. but you--you are outside space & time. you're above and beyond gravity and failure and this messy broken chaos. i can give you my past, my failures & mistakes and bad decisions. let them go safely into your hands. you can bring redemption. ha! all this realization over things with little moral weight, with mistakes bringing no harm to anyone but myself and regrets that only i must stare down.

you can show me mercy. you know that my best doesn't look like what i think it should. but you're ok with that. you love me anyway, and you delight in bringing things i didn't ask for, didn't earn. you can change my endings. mercy. there is grace. there is no fate, no set in stone consequences. i can change the endings. i can rewrite this chapter. i have room and time for movement forwards.

thank  you.


saturn // sleeping at last

the courage of stars...
how light carries on 

how rare & beautiful it truly is 
that we exist 

i'd give anything to hear, you say it one more time

the universe was made
just to be seen by my eyes 
-saturn from space II, Atlas project by sleeping at last 

(( if only i could couch my thoughts & ideas & emotions in such a vehicle as this. grateful for right-brained artists whose hearts beat out into words. so the left-brainers like me can say "yes! that's my heart, thank you for giving it wings." ))
all the things i want to say, but can't.

the stories i've drifted into for a few sentences, the moments another soul hovers between life and death.

the people i could have helped more, the ones i reached deep down and found a level beyond "all" to give from; and the majority in the middle whom i strove to do my best for.

family dynamics. loneliness. sometimes the deepest loneliness includes family surrounding you and sometimes it's a singular pronoun for days. the brokenness of wounds that aren't physical but often seem to damage deeper than the physiologic ones i'm treating. the peace that real love and true family brings to chaos and pain and suffering.

so much i've witnessed...but i have no words. or rather, i have no way to free them. the hawk of my high school days that used to beat around in my chest cavity longing for freedom seems to have returned. i don't know where to begin. i don't know how to put stories that aren't mine to pen.
well i guess in part they're mine. i enter for a sentance, or a paragraph; and then the rest of the story sails on without me. to the ending of the epic or just that chapter. the book is uncharted waters to me. all the build and swells of previous climaxes are storms i didn't weather. waves i never stilled.

what i'm trying to say is this practice is creating a tension of story inside me. the science and the art of practicing medicine collide within and leave me here. here being a place with a full heart and mind creating a desperate need to write. but trapped with an inability to arrange letters in ways that do justice to the hallowed space i'm allowed into. maybe it's something i'll grow into. maybe one day the stories will find their way out.

for now, i have to figure out a way to exist in this no man's land. a little tangled.


bottle it up

Kyev, 2013
if i could bottle it up 

found a video tonight from 2012 of driving through Kyev in the middle of the night on a 10 hour trip to camp. lizzy & i were the only Americans at the time...background of mingled Russian & Ukrainian, the city lights blurring past, stupid american pop songs on the radio ("call me maybe"--we looked at each other & died laughing at what they would say if they understood it). lily & lizzy were talking about some deep philosophy: how people's souls have depths-- some are lakes, others oceans; i zoned away to absorb the moment. i have so many precious moments stored up in my heart. swimming in the river with abi & lily in the early morning, lizzy & lily & i singing on the dock by the old house, kolya & his guitar on a blanket with julia under the stars on the soccer field, watching the faces of children explode as they're praised. i wish i could share those moments with others. share the polaroids and videos stored in my mind, so they could understand.

if i could bottle it up, 
i'd have a stash in the truck, splash in my cup
it'd never get old

Honestly, i need Ukraine. i need orphan camp, family dinners, the selfless HFO team. i need to be pushed out of my comfort zone to do dance parties & sing on a stage & share a little of the darkest, ugliest parts of my story so others know they're not the only ones with shadows living in their scars. "i go to Ukraine to give back some of what I've been given" is what i used to say. & i meant it. But then my bucket was depleted and never seemed to fill again; i found you can be filled as you empty. 

one little sip, just a taste on my lip
i'd be taken a trip wherever i go 

i wish i could explain that Ukraine keeps my spiritual heart beating, keeps the gospel real & gives me enough oxygen to survive another year. it's the only thing that squeezes my heart fully enough for real circulation. i come alive, i awake, i am, i experience. fully perfused and oxygenated. bright, rich crimson blood of community & grace & Christ flows throughout all of me. the dead extremities wake up, tingling back to life. sure, my scars are still there. i have dark nights, bad days. i wonder what the hell i'm doing and see my insecurities in bright crayon everywhere. i fight the things i know i should do. _but_. i become so much closer to who God made me to be. i laugh. i have more freedom. i wrestle again, i'm authentic.

the thing which makes my heart ache so intensely is also the thing keeping me alive.

(bottle it up by sam hunt)