forgiveness written in the dirt

when all i had to offer was my worst
You saw my heavy heart and loved me first
your beauty staring down my brokenness
You chose to throw Your heart into the mess
compassion crashing down upon my debt
You were there 
all this time
like a river running through my failures
you carried me all this time

[splinters & stones // united]


to the first good man i knew

damn i miss you.

it's been 8 years now, and there are many days i don't. there are times i still think "i want to show perpa this!" but it's decreased to a wee blip of missing most days.

not today.     (will the non-linear chaos of grief ever stop surprising me?)

today it's the kind of sting that makes me breathe a little slower, as if it's a true physical ache and shallower inhales will ease it. today, it stabs me with a fierce shock, the way a mountain lake ices warm skin like a seizure. i wish i could jump in my car and speed my way across the st john's... i call it the house that built me, you know from the miranda lambert song? i need it.

i need a forehead kiss. & your hug, smelling like outdoors & sunshine, wood dust & old spice; stability. i need a cup of coffee. the strong black brew with cream to make it "blonde & bitter". (i still can't recreate that perfection). in my favorite mug. mint green with the handle that curves into my hand just right...grandma keeps it on the bottom shelf above the microwave tucked in the back left corner. i need to sit next to you on the back porch. under models the airplanes you worked on swaying in the breeze. it'll be warm, and the swamp will be alive with cicadas, frogs & the occasional splash of gators. i need stories. about life & air force & Nasa, loving grandma since tenth grade, the shenanigans you & richard pulled in that tiny upstate NY town. i see it all in my head knowing my way around the streets like i do. i want to ask about stories you don't share: the gyroscope you designed for bombers in the gulf war, the shuttle engineering, the soccer scholarship you gave up so you could get a job to provide for your younger siblings instead. i need your steadfastness, your unconditional love, your ridiculous sense of humor, the way you get restless and have to take the truck on an errand nobody but us finds necessary. i need to sight down your rifle. feel the weighted balance and my own capability as i come *this close* to matching your target hits. i need to hear you talk about the difference between violence & protecting yourself. the weight of responsibility a weapon brings; the difference between outside force vs. inner character. damn, i need to laugh. i need to make you laugh, watch your eyes crinkle as you throw your head back. i need to look at your hands, and think how i hope mine are the same when i'm old. capable, calloused, tough. but still gentle with kittens & grandma & dogs & grandkids who are throwing fits over dropped blueberries. i need you. how am i supposed to live un-tethered, without you? oh i know i've been doing just fine for a while now. you would say.
but today i'm worn thin, i'm hollow, i'm fragile. i desperately want the safety net of your kindness.

i need to tell you so much. i think you know i loved you fiercely. we had the same language for that. but i had no idea at 21 how much of who i am was from you. you saved me from believing all men are monsters. you were the first good man i really knew, the best kind of man. i can't find words for the powerful influence having you in my life created. you encouraged my intelligence and resiliency; fostered my independence & courage. your life gave me the values i still carry today. you made me believe i was both capable enough to take good care of myself; and valuable enough to be well cared for. your impact is immeasurable.

i'm sorry i wasn't there that day.
i'm sorry i went home after work instead of going straight to the hospital.
i'm sorry i left early the day before, but my heart was bleeding up my throat and i couldn't keep it from seeping out, so i left before you could see me cry.
i'm sorry i was too young to have the right words.
i'm sorry i was so angry at you for leaving for a year. i just couldn't bear the loss of you both so quickly, when my world was already on fire.

"i miss you. they say i'll be ok; but i'm not going to, ever, get over you." 


perspective is a lovely hand to hold

"Celebration when your plan is working? Anyone can do that. But when you realize the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, that you could tell it over and over as a tragedy, but you chose to call it an epic; that's when you start to see what celebration is.  When what you see in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong that's celebration."  __shauna niequist

how i want this courage, this kind of fierce, joyful defiance.
help me let go of my perspective so it may unbend & flex into something that can find celebration. may i find the epic within the ugliness. may i see beautiful here, in the uncertainty of my tomorrows. may i create restful solitude from within the loneliness. may i trade in the hollow for healing; the cynical & bitter for wide-eyed hope. fill me.
here, in the in-between;
let me become a woman who creates space for celebration that invites others in. a place that doesn't compromise honesty but holds hope. let the lost, the hurting, the devastated & shattered find You in me. find shelter, find comfort, find the courage to see the sky.

"where there is hatred, may i bring love
where there is discord, may i bring harmony
where there is error, may i bring truth
where there is doubt, may i bring faith
where there is despair, may i bring hope
where there are shadows, may i bring light
where there is sadness, may i bring joy. 
grant that i may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, 
not to be understood as to understand, 
not to be loved as to love..."