Imagine Dragons

My dragons are bigger than yours!I am the Khaleesi of excuses. I rely on them. I clutch them close to my bosom like the baby dragons they are.

Because they are, in fact, dragons. And if there’s one thing we know about dragons, regardless of whether they’re from George R.R. Martin or J.R.R. Tolkien, it’s that they’re flying fiends of fiery…uh…fiery crap, really. Excuses are like a deluge of nonsense, and like dragons, they aren’t even real.

I’ve had a bunch of excuses for not writing lately. They’re probably the same most writers have. I was trying to call them “explanations,” in a further attempt to justify what I knew was really just sort of a scared-to-write-anything-because-I-want-it-to-be-good-but-I’ll-probably-mess-it-up laziness. Part lazy, bigger part scared.

Natalie Goldberg says, in her book Writing Down the Bones

This is the practice school of writing. … You practice whether you want to or not. You don’t wait for inspiration and a deep desire to run. It’ll never happen, especially if you are out of shape and have been avoiding it.

I had been avoiding it, though I was couching that in more psychological jargon than an early Woody Allen movie. I thought, if I waited long enough, that this nonsense would drift apart like a fog dissipating at sunrise. That didn’t happen. (It never does that. I already knew that. Two scoops of derp with sprinkles of stupid and a generous dollop of denial flavored whipped topping!) Instead, it just got worse. The dragons, like they tend to do, just got bigger. And hungrier. As these dragons matured into ever more gargantuan proportions, they were no longer satisfied with the lambs my mind typically offered (Facebook posts, emails). Nah. They wanted sacrificial virgins dressed in flowing garments.

Like dragons, they were completely fictitious, and yet, on the big screen of my imagination, they were ginormous soul-sucking behemoths that frightened me into submission. Really, it was almost like Smaug was living in my skull. Without the gold. Sigh…

There was only one solution. (And no, it wasn’t to hire a worthy knight. Or even a thieving Hobbit!) Kill them. Which really just meant write something. Anything. It didn’t even have to be good. And, like the bullies they are, they were gone. They didn’t even fly away as much as vaporize.

The pen is mightier than the sword after all!

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You might be a bad person, if…

At the ready!No matter what you think this post is about, based on its title, I bet you’re wrong. But by all means, prove me wrong instead.

On the one hand, I’m not a fool. I am fully aware that once you think you’ve arrived, spiritually speaking, it’s absolutely true that you haven’t. Humility is tricky like that.

On the other hand, it seems impossible not to do a little mental happy dance that I can be thankful and recognize the blessings God is giving me in this feeling of nausea. Yes. Nausea. I’m not only feeling a lot of nausea, I have been actively throwing up today. And several other days this week.

And I’m SO HAPPY!

First of all, let me explain. Starting last Sunday morning, I have increased my dose of Lithium. That’s a good thing. If that’s what I need to do to keep on an even emotional keel, then I’m happy to do it. However, part of increasing the dosage is a corresponding week of nausea and, sometimes, vomiting. (This happens with a lot of psychiatric medications. And not just to me. Be kind to those going through it.)

Here’s why I’m thankful. Emotionally, I’m on the upswing anyway. This has been a really good week for me, so it was a really good week for me to experience this nausea. If there’s ever a good time to experience feeling like you’re going to toss your cookies at any moment, this was the week. The weather’s improving. It’s been pretty sunny all this week. Not a single moment of crisis.

At some point a couple hours ago, I was reminded of this verse:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. (2 Cor 1:3-4)

And this made me feel really good. I feel good about knowing that in some sense, I can take this experience and use it to grow in compassion. I feel good in knowing that there is a purpose and that maybe I can help someone else.

So, if being able to recognize that I am being encouraged by God makes me a bad person because I’m not very humble, then I guess I’m a bad person.

I hope you are, too.

Five Minute Friday: Joy

five-minute-fridayJoy is a secret you just can’t keep. It burbles up, bubbles up like a spring. Slow, it starts small like the flame on the candle you just lit. Then it catches and it flares up and it draws you in closer and it makes your smile brighter and it sends you spiraling off in another direction. Giddy, you spin, reveling in it.

You can’t keep it to yourself. You just want to share it, and there’s a stranger in the line with you at the grocers and you smile and she smiles and pretty soon you’re just grinning like a holy fool.

And she is too.

It’s the best kind of sickness. A creeping contagion that can’t be eradicated. I don’t want a vaccine. I don’t want a cure. There’s no ribbon for this because the ribbon is the smile on your face and you’re passing it on to everyone you see.

Let’s all be sick together.

*****

I’m joining the flash mob of writers over at LisaJo Baker’s place, which you can find here (for today’s offering), or by clicking on the picture up top for the general gist. The basic idea is that you spend five minutes of writing, generally unedited (I correct typos), on a prompt that she provides on Thursday just after ten p.m. via a tweet, link up, and show some love to another participant. Interested? Write something. Link up. Love on.

Beauty for More than Beholding

Coffee For Your HeartThere is little more encouraging to a woman “of a certain age” than to be told, time and again, “Wow! You’re very beautiful.”

Because, let’s face it, as women, we desire that. We desire to be found beautiful. To be admired.

If we’re fortunate, we grow up having our dads say something like that. And our moms. I can remember having my dad come home after a business trip, pick me up, and swing me around, asking, “How’s my little princess?”

I don’t get tired of it. I don’t.

But then again, I do get tired of it. Because there is so much more. And beauty, as they say, is only skin deep. I want someone to get under my skin. To find out, like Jacques Cousteau, what lies beneath the surface. Because, like the ocean, it is in the deep where the real beauty lies. Where all the interesting and fascinating things are.

I love beautiful things. Because I like to look at beautiful things. It’s something about us. We like beauty.

But really, it doesn’t matter how attractive you are. I’ve met some astonishingly beautiful women. Some were anything but beautiful under the surface. They had a beauty that may not fade with age, but it sure faded away once they opened their mouths. Yuck. Nice to look at, but that was about it. I don’t want to know anymore.

I don’t want to get to know you because you’re beautiful. You’re far more beautiful because I know you.

There is a beauty that is pleasing to the eye. But there is a far greater beauty that is pleasing to the soul. That’s the beauty I want. I want to have it. I want to see it. I want to know it. In myself, and in my friends.

I don’t want to just admire you. I want to know you.

*****

I’m joining up with the delightful Holley Gerth for her series, “Coffee for Your Heart.” You can read about it by clicking on the illustration at the top, and read more entries (or link up yourself) here.

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Just Write: Ten Minute Tuesday

This has really been a day. I thought I was going to do something completely different with it, but then nothing turned out as planned.

I’m not really a big one for planning, and that’s probably one of my biggest shortcomings. I just tend to take the days as they come. I’m sure there are people that think that’s a pretty Zen-like existence, but I assure you, it’s almost totally lazy. Welcome to my life of unproductivity.

I’m sitting here at the dining room table, listening to the cars go by on Washington. It’s getting late for there to be that much traffic. I wonder if there’s something going on?

I haven’t been out all day, and that’s not so hot either. I have a deal made with myself. I’m not allowed to say it’s a bad day until I’ve gotten dressed and gone for a walk. That was really hard this winter when it was so cold. I haven’t gotten to the point yet today of saying it’s a bad day, but I can hardly say it’s one of my better ones.

I was going to go out this evening, and I was really looking forward to it, because I was actually hoping that the novelty would make me forget about my nausea for a few hours. (It could be worse, trust me. I haven’t thrown up yet today. Tiny yay…) Unfortunately, everything was cancelled and so I’m stuck here.

On the bright side, I get to do this blog article. I’m not sure I like this free writing technique, because I just feel like I’m rambling. This link-up doesn’t have a topic; just write about what’s going on around me while I’m writing. I think that seems more interesting when you have several little ones crawling around on the carpet at your feet, playing with blocks and dolls. Here, it’s just me and the cat–who is sleeping. Real excitement, no?

I want things to be different in my life. I guess that’s why the doctor is giving me more Lithium. No one’s life can be this tedious. At least I’m not watching television.

Yet.

*****
I’m linking up with Heather over at the Extraordinary Ordinary for her Free Write Tuesdays. I decided to write for ten minutes, but there’s no real parameters. (Read about it here.) Today’s group is here.

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Lithium… ugh

Just a little quickie here to say I’m okay, and the nausea is tolerable, and that I’ll be back tomorrow.

TIGO!

Lithium: sanity in a bottle!After another week that proved to me, yet again, that I have a hard time making sensible life choices, I am happy to say, “Thank God It’s Over.” Cry me a river? Um… yeah, and then some. Hankies in the laundry today. Starting tomorrow, my doctor has decided that I am upping my dose of Lithium, yet again. Bring on the nausea! But it’ll be better soon. It’s worth it. So very worth it.

*****

In choir, we’re singing a beautiful hymn called, “Hope of the World” by Georgia Elma Harkness (links to lyrics and sound files here, I can’t find a video of anything that even remotely resembles the version we are doing, which is not the same song made popular by Hillsong, just so you know). I can’t get the opening verse out of my mind.

Hope of the world, O Christ of great compassion:
speak to our fearful hearts by conflict rent.
Save us, your people, from consuming passion,
who by our own false hopes and aims are spent.

Some days, I don’t think I have anything but consuming passions… Let’s not get into the false hopes and aims. [Heavy sigh.]

UPDATE: Our choir director Bob Hobby reminds me via email (which is nice, because I was working from memory), that while the lyrics of “Hope of the World” are indeed by Georgia Harkness, the composer of our version is Taylor Davis. There is a link to the piece here, and if you click on the tab called “Audio Samples” you can hear a portion of it. It’s very beautiful. Really worth it, even if you’re not into the Christian thing.