Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Years Long Broken Goodbye

I remember goodbye...

Over and over again. But I especially remember the fracture that took a whole and made it half. Sundays. Mom said we could visit Dad on Sundays (or was it every other Sunday?). Where did Daddy go anyway? No one told me he was leaving. Why doesn't Daddy live here anymore? 

And so my little brother and I would climb into the backseat of our father's sedan once a week (or every other), and drive away from our mom's house - the home we previously shared with both of our parents. I remember driving away from our mother with a kiss and a hug. And a vague memory of our home slipping from view as we pulled away. 

Broken goodbyes, leaving Mommy. And then leaving Daddy.

And then came the violent shattering...

Two halves no longer, but lives broken into a million pieces. Slivers scattered invisible, like traces of glass left after an unexpected spill. Unnoticeable, until a tiny fragment embeds deep into the sole mid-stride. Acute, shocking, unexpected pain. 

I don't remember anyone telling me we were leaving. Not until that evening. Mom took us to say goodbye to our aunt and uncle. My mom and Aunt Pat were particularly close sisters-in-law. I don't remember much about the visit, but I remember leaving. Dad arrived to drive my brother and me home from there... So he could say goodbye to us too. 

I remember hot tears...

sliding down my face. I'd only seen my dad cry one time before - when he told me my grandma had gone to Heaven. He comforted me then with words of hope. She's with Jesus. You'll see her again one day. But this time, his tears fell hopeless.

My stomach reeled with each sway and bump of the car. I'm going to be sick. He pulled the car to the side of the road. He got out, opened my door, and helped me out. In the night, my dad picked me up and held me until waves of nausea abated. I clung tight to my dad's neck. I don't want to go! Will I ever see you again? But he eventually put me back in the car and took me home.

Palm trees loomed large...

above my grandparents' car as they drove us to their house, a new school, a new room with two twin beds  (my brother and I shared). A room void of toys, makeshift enough for two young children to sleep, but little else. Our mom slept in a room next to us, and we all shared the hallway bathroom. My grandparents occupied the master bed and bath in the front of the house. 

What happened in this home, stayed in this home for many years. In the darkest recesses of my little girl heart. I tried to speak in my truest voice. Once, and never again. Until many years later. 

And now I'm writing publicly for the first time...

and writing with my truest voice. I'll end here for today. But you need to know, I would not be here, telling my story if it weren't for God's intervention. And it is for that reason alone I share here, in this very humble place - a blog I deserted years ago. 

I thought I was finished writing. 

I did. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Storm of Another Kind

Following a late night storm...

we awoke to a new tomorrow. My memory of the next day only comes in small mindful glances. But I remember the debris and a gaping hole in a roof down the road. I heard whispered conversations of a twister. And though I was too young to understand what a tornado was, I knew it was scary thing. 

I knew it came with thunderstorms...

and we lived in The Midwest in Belleville, Illinois. Raucous thunderstorms rattled windows spring, summer and fall, and lit the skies with lightening displays that brightened the darkest nights. I remember hallways full of children, each one of us with one forearm over our eyes as we leaned into the walls. The other arm over the back of our heads as much as we were able, shielding ourselves from debris if a funnel decided drop its tail from the sky and crash through the school roof. And when the sirens screamed all clear, we lined up (each of us trembling) and walked obediently back to our classrooms, thankful the ceilings were still in tact. 

2:00 in the morning!

My eyes startled wide open, adjusting to the dark room. And I heard it again, "Do you know what time it is?" The yelling, screaming from the kitchen. "Where were you?" I crept from my bed into the hallway near to where my parents yelled loud and frightful. My heart beat faster at every word hurled furious between them. I peered around the doorjamb, the very moment hands met faces hard and jarring. I turned and ran back to my room, leaped into my bed, and pulled the covers over my head. Yelling, slamming doors, more yelling... Please stop...

When I was barely eight...

Mom moved my brother and me to Southern California, land of orange groves, strawberries, Disney, and long stretches of sandy beaches. And if thunder ever rumbled, it was vague and unobtrusive. My heart learned to rest at the sound of rain in this place.

Yet another storm was fast approaching. This one, far worse than I could have ever dreamed. 


Monday, February 16, 2015

A Breath and a Prayer

Before the telling...

Here's the thing. This is hard. Truest voice telling is daunting. Yet, I believe truth-speaking (and hearing) reaches into the furthest depths of souls who yearn to give of and live without hesitation their authentic selves.  I'm reticent to say I've always lived with full disclosure. Yet I would say I've longed unceasingly to do so. But what would others think? And for all intents and purposes, I wonder the same now. In this place. Here. With you. 

But this is a part of my journey. And I am not afraid. 

But once upon a time, I was...

Afraid. My first memory of being afraid crashed into my life with sudden ferocity. I was four (or five). And I was sleeping sweet until he rushed in, swept me up, and bound down the attic stairway. I clung to his neck as he swept through the main floor, and dashed down another set of stairs into the basement. He tucked me underneath a table in the corner of that damp room on top of a makeshift pallet, and beckoned me to sing with him. 

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong

Yes, Jesus loves me...

My mom must have been there too, but I can't remember seeing her. The only memory I "feel" is fear. The only sight I carry in my mind of that night is that of my dad's face. The fear written there. Songs and prayers filled with panic and doubt. 

Fear broke through...

And held fast for years to come. If I could only comfort the little one I was then. If I could hold her and sing to her, mother her. If I could open the door to her the night I woke to my first nightmare. "Go back to bed, Sharen. You're not coming in here." Tears fell silent outside my parents' door for what I remember to be hours (but who knows how long). Exhausted, no longer able to stand, I walked, quiet and reluctant, back to my own bed. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Truest Voice

Only now am I more consistently recognizing my real voice...

because I'm finally learning to speak with it again. So many years I've "tried on" the voices of others, seeing if they may possibly be a better fit than my own... and because I learned not trust mine. 

I tried to speak my truest voice...

in the most important of times, when it mattered. All of it matters always. I spoke my voice, but it was ignored or torn by other voices around me. Voices I should have been able to trust. Voices of those who could have and should have protected, nurtured. Voices that instead flippantly cast my words aside without regard. Voices that said, "don't talk and never ever tell."

A layer grew thick until it enveloped my heart... 

and the journey beyond the loss of my voice only served to wrap the layer tighter. Suffocating. Self-protecting. Until my truest voice hid in the deep, shackled by fear. The great intruder. 

My truest voice attempted to speak on occasion...

and a few stopped to hear. Truly, some listened. And some understood. Yet still others did not. And they tore. Again. And the shroud pulled tight over my heart, soul-shredded once again. 

Yet an holy intended fissure unnoticed among the chaotic shredding waited...

as a seed grows purposeful, emerging through the bramble, forging a path to the sun. 

My truest voice...

broke through the fissure at His Calling. 

My beloved spoke and said to me,
    “Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me.
11 See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.”

Proverbs 2:10-13 (NIV)

Monday, February 9, 2015


after a two year sleep (longer if you count my time away from here)...

or so it seems. I'm a bit groggy and stretching as far as my body and mind will allow. Putting one foot in front of another, slow and a bit unsteady. Yet surprisingly, I move forward. 

This blog entry is a step. A tenuous one. One that creates a bit of anxiety in me. This was so easy to do before. Words flowing from deep within, spilling into this place. Sharing so vulnerably, no hesitation. But that was before. 

I lost my voice. The truest sense of my voice...

and I think I may be finding it again. As I speak (write), something is different. My voice has changed. The tone, clarity, volume. The sounds are peculiar, yet they beckon.

I think I'll linger in this place awhile...

and explore the newness of this. I think I like the distinct sound of this truer self, this new melody I'm just beginning to learn. 

I don't know if anyone else is listening...

but it's okay if I'm lingering alone. In the still quiet, my heart and my soul gently awaken. And I'm listening.

God is here. He is speaking. And I am leaning in to hear every Word.