Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Grace Effect

It's a gusty, frigid Saturday morning. The view out the window to my right is bright and white. Overnight, the world as I know it has been blanketed, and frozen in time. The deep freeze is was forcasted for another time, but arrived fashionably late to the party. We wait for the rebirth...for the promise of Spring, and growth..and new life.
The access routes of my life will need to be I will need to shovel the driveway and the stairs to my front door. I need to do it for my own safety and, of course, passage out into the world. But also...I need to clear the sidewalk, so others can safely pass by on their daily journey. In essence, what I clear for myself, I also, inadvertently, clear for others as well.
It's not heave heavy endure whipping cold winds, and to clear the path. It's often thankless, and would seem pointless in a it's just going to throw down snow again, anyway. After all... you're going to have to go out there again anyway tomorrow, a few days from now, or next week to do it all over again.
Sometimes...that thankless job is a place to demonstrate a glimpse of good. Taking on the temporary challenge of lifting someone elses load...and clearing the way for them to get safely where they need to go. Because this world can seem so utterly void of connection..and compassion...and basic kindness, the act can be shocking to the recipient.
The challenge is not to get discouraged. With the unending precipitation...or the burden of the lifting...or with a silent response to kindness. The challenge is to DO, because you CAN, not because you're expecting a return, or a response. The weight of your character lies in the willingness to act, not in expecting a response.
And when the burden becomes too shovelling the the negative responses to life...I believe, His Grace is enough for me. He calls me to act...not to worry. He calls me to be a person of action..even when the well seems dry. When I say I am weak, He says, " My child, I've got this"...and I know my cares are in His safekeeping.
He COVERS all. He SEES all. He KNOWS all. He PLANS all. He BEARS all. What have I to fear?
My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Prayer for the Lost Ones

I'm watching the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. The hours between February 12th, and 13th are quickly closing...1 hour, 41 minutes, and an anniversary will be upon me which changed the course of my life forever, 2 years ago.

I am watching with more intent tonight than other years. I am usually quite bored by now, and am deciding to crawl into bed. But tonight, an incredible talent...a trail blazing pioneer for African American women...a superstar, an idol...a mother, and a daughter is being honoured.

Fair enough that a legend be honoured. Not unexpected for her to be recognized for her unmatched contributions to music and film. Celebrities love to honour each other for greatness and unparalleled skill...and even for overcoming unthinkable odds.

Whitney didn't overcome. Whitney, the breathtakingly beautiful, unrivaled voice of a generation...Whitney, the church choir songbird died alone in a hotel room in Hollywood. She brazenly taunted addiction for years, and last night, it devoured her...wholly, completely, and quietly.

I have heard varying commentaries on her death. From tears to indifference...and grief to anger, all emotions from one pole to the other have been expressed. I by no means think that people aren't entitled to their opinions, or their right to share them. But I will venture a guess, anyone with a calloused, hard, flippant comment or opinion hasn't ever loved and lost someone to addiction.

Addiction doesn't start out as such. It is a romancer of sorts. It often courts patiently, quietly and methodically. It fills a void. It whittles off the sharp edges, and it creates a need for habitual intimacy. It alienates and an abusive, controlling lover. It seeks to consume, with consumption. It doesn't care about your position in life...who you're married to, who your father is, or what your bank account is... it's completely out for itself...and it takes no prisoners. It lies and deludes...and it makes tragic memories of incredible, broken and stained people.

The lost ones. Wealthy and famous....nameless and penniless...they are the same. They fall into the same short life club. Addiction is not reserved for junkies or losers, freaks or screw ups. It finds all kinds of people...talented, charismatic, loved, compassionate people...mothers, fathers, daughters, sons...cousins, friends, nieces, nephews...people you know, and people you hear about. They share life with you...and if they don' me, they will, or they do so without your knowledge.

My prayer, for every addict, is for them to find compassion, and to find peace - inside of their life here on earth. I pray that their race from the demons that pursue them will be conquered...just one day at a time. I pray that they will find the answers...the why's to the unanswered questions of their pasts, and that they will live out life with purpose and healing. I pray that they will find support and strength...I pray that they find Hope.

Dum Spero Spiro ~ While I breathe, I Hope.

Hope will rise tomorrow...for the lost ones will find their way. And I'm going to be a part of it however I can.

Keeping my promises to you MB, always. xo

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fate Deal

Dear Michael~

It's happening. I know you know. I know you're in the middle of it...giggling...smirking, and winking at fate as it comes into focus for those of us here.

It's lifting. That hazy, thick, stifling blanket I've been using for shelter. It's protected me from the storm, in it's own way...from the drenching down pour...the flood I've lost myself in for 2 years. It's felt good to be under it's safe's felt right to be shadowed by the sadness...and the comfort of unparallelled grief.

I see it fraying...I look through the threadbare thinness of the fibres that once used to block the light...and I see the sunlight. The warmth feels old and new all at once...and the familiarity is starting to awaken what's been left stimulates me, to bloom again.

I peek through the unravelling edge...I inhale a breath of the newness, and of the opportunity waiting out there where the world is bright. I grab both edges, and in one swift motion, throw off that weary blanket that was eclipsing the future, for a brief, but necessary interval.

I stand momentarily blinded by the embrace of the daylight. I realize I've been half alive in a way...dealing with the disbelief and apprehension of your abscence. I accept daylight's embrace... and listen closely to the whisper of hope urging me to believe in the bigger picture.

And as I talk to fate again like an old friend, and a patient teacher...I am caught distracted. A man in flipflops, a white American Eagle t-shirt and an old pair of blue jeans is standing in the distance...his unforgettable laugh rings out, and he slowly nods. Fate turns to look at him, and then looks at me and confidently exclaims,

"All is well. All is going according to plan. Trust in the bigger picture."

I can finally tell you friend...I'm smiling again. I know you and fate have struck a deal for the future, and I am proud that it includes things so near and dear to your heart. I'm making you a mountain of promises, and I know you're good on arranging the rest.

Thanks for the 244. Thanks for TBW. Thanks for MH.

Thanks for being my Michael.

J. xo

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dear Michael

February 1st, 2012

Dear Michael~

It's coming again. You know, that time of year when the storm looms in the distance...and I throw back the curtains of my life...and watch it approach. There's no way to stop it, or avoid will find me wherever I am, because it's not something I can outrun, escape, or turn my back on. It's that day...and I will live it, and remember that there have been 2 years with you not here. The briskness of winter winds whip around me..and my memories. They feel hollowing, and comforting all at once. I embrace the sleeping, frozen world at this time of year...because it reminds me of when you left, and somehow, that feels like the right correlation between the living, and winters suspended consciousness of life.

My sister met someone who knew you yesterday. She told me the story of this elderly lady who was your Sunday School teacher a million years ago...and how you were the most charming child she has recollection of. She said how proud she was to know you, and to witness all of the good work you did in those few short years, reaching out to the worlds forgotten ones. She spoke of how she felt when she said goodbye to you on that unthinkable February her heart the rest of us.

I think of you often when I am left to care for my nieces and nephew...and how your world too, revolved around the little ones in your life. I love them more, in your abscence...because I know you would advise me to do so. I picked up 5 bags of clothes yesterday to pass onto an out of the cold program. I will speak of you with gentle fondness, and fierce fearless, dear friend who left a countless number of hints behind...for how to live...who to be, what to believe, and where to go.

There's so much I want to tell much I hope you now know. I loved you unendingly, my friend...and that doesn't stop. Life has moved on in ways...but that magic spell, that Michael impression is forever appearing my drawing a heart into a frost laden winter window. You've left me with a, "do it now" attitude...whether it be to reach out...reach up, say something, or to create something that didn't exist's you who has shaped me into the Jenn with 2 n's I am today.

Keep finding me, in your way. You know I am still looking for you...and trust my gut when I feel you around. I know you're still present...I know you're okay. Thank you for what it was that we had...for what we were. Thank you for the honesty...I have yet to go there again with were special Michael...very special, my kindred friend.

You've become my go to answer for so many of life's questions. Why do I: Care about the homeless? Walk through grief with people? Choose to do what's right, and not easy? Tell people I love them? Give second chances?....Pick up pennies?

It's because of you, Michael...and always will be.

Miss you much kiddo..every moment, every day.

J. xo