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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Woman In An Empty Room Part Two

"We can not accept an expensive gift when our hands are full of cheap baubles. We must empty our hands so as to accept the rich gift that is offered." Steve Kellmeyer

Don't worry friends, don't worry. I may be waxing poetic on all of this "imagine no possessions" business but by no means am I about to turn my back on all things material and run off naked into the forest a la St. Francis of Assisi. If you will kindly recall other posts I've written, it has been clearly established that I don't have the makings of a saint. This has been a bit of a blow to me because being Catholic, I naturally would like to be a saint very much indeed. Yes, honestly. But alas, I have a two year old son who tried to eat a rosary yesterday and aside from that, I am digressing from the topic at hand which is quite unusual for me.

So...cheap baubles. We live our lives with our hands full of these and grasping for more, never satisfied, never sated because these things do not satisfy. They do not sate. More creates a hunger for more. We become insatiable. Living a wild-eyed quest to "get". Filling ourselves up until the very last thing we can do is give. There is no abundance, no freedom, in having only in letting go.

And now you are no doubt muttering "Well how very cliche you are today, Comrade Colleen." But bear with me...

We all perhaps have our own interpretation of "cheap baubles" that hold us back from growth and grace. Mine includes possessions, the idea of ownership, all the distractions of the world we live in, labels and definitions, opinions and expectations - both our own and those of others about and for us.

These little trinkets fill our hands and rooms. When I think about "the empty room", I not only think material goods. I think what if we were to also let go of everything else as well...and then simply, quietly and graciously accept the richest of gifts on offer.

The God-given gift of who we are.

Who we are. It has nothing to do with what we have or don't have. It has nothing to do with how other people view us. Who we are is not what we do. What we know. What we have accomplished.

We are who we are even when everything else is stripped away. When we don't have a penny to our name. When we don't have a job that makes it easy for others to label us. When we don't write or paint or draw or have any skill in any area what so ever. We are who we are when we are ill. When people leave and abandon us. When our names are dragged through the mud. We are who we are when every one is against us. When there is not one friendly face to be seen anywhere.

When wealth, beauty, health, and ability have been taken away from us, we still have intrinsic worth. The very fact we are alive. That we were created with purpose by a loving God.

We have worth. It is intrinsic. It can not be added to or taken from. This is why human life in every form is so precious. There is nothing we can do or that can be done to us that can alter our worth in God's eyes.

In my quest to live as a woman in an empty room, I am constantly seeking to remind myself of who I am. Not in the world's eyes. But in God's. Not to seek feelings of affirment and worth from those around me or cultural and societal norms; but to seek them in a deeper place, from a deeper source.

I don't know how I'm doing with this. Better some days than others certainly.

Ah well, if I need to take drastic measure...there is always running naked into the forest to prove my point. ;)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

"They Call Us Sick As Though They're All So Sane"

Couldn't speak. Couldn't ask.
And so came silence.
Stealthily.
Stretching eternal, ice-tinged cold.
It's death. It's death.
I swear it's death. This thing you hold.

Fighting. Screaming. Let me go.

Silence smiles:
I am precise and patient.
Deadly. Cruel.
I'll shred your peace.
Take away your gentle days.
I'll rip the words
Right from your mouth
Make you beg
If I have to.

Silence nods with grim determination.
All power, abuse and deadly control.
Silence smiles and whispers deathly cold:
I'm going to break you.
In the end.

And then
Where
Will you go?
Where
Will you be able to show your face?
Where
Will you know me again?

I swear after this
You'll never know me again.

You'll never find me.
Among shadows and lost souls.
All white fog laying low over ice covered fields.
Trees stretching out their bare
Skeleton
Arms.

Among pain.
Dull faces marked with empty life and empty gain.
This is the result
Of my destructive reign.

The mystery of it is this:
After I am through with you;
Have ripped and forced and torn your words from your soul
You will never know me again.

It's pain.
A sort of death, a sort of life,
Silence shrugs, apathetic, continues blandly:
...this thing that you now know.


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Woman In An Empty Room

Painting By Albert Reuss

We are made anonymous by too many possessions. Rather than being defined by them, we are overwhelmed by them. Lost among them; uncertain of who we are without them and so, dependent on them for identity and security.

We are socially engineered into believing we are nothing without our possessions. That the clothing we wear or the music we listen to or books we read or even the colors we paint the walls in our homes define us. In all of this sweeping mad consumerism, we ignore that we were made for so much more than to own things. This other side, the more important side...our spiritual, philosophical, searching side is underdeveloped, left un-nurtured in the pursuit of "things".

But our hearts are not made light by owning. We are wearied and worn down and joyless. Burdened by all of our things that we buy to enable us to ignore the deeper, pressing questions of who are we really. Why are we here. Enable us to ignore that we all are born with nothing and we all die with nothing eventually.

My grandmother Leona died with nothing. I don't mean she was a poor woman though; neither was she a materially wealthy woman but she was rich in love and generosity. Her spirit was beautiful and rich. Ridiculously rich in all she gave to others. She lived on very little and all her concern was for other people. All her heart went into loving others. She didn't give from her "extra" store, she gave what she often couldn't manage to give. When she died, there wasn't anything to divide up. It had mostly been given away. Nothing to leave but the memory of the richness of her gentle spirit...what a beautiful legacy.

So, what if we let it all go? What if we allowed ourselves to live as free beings unbound by possessions, money, cultural and societal expectations? Would we know who we are if we found ourselves living in an "empty room"? Would we know how to describe and define ourselves?

I know for myself I don't want to be remembered as "Wow, she sure had a lot of clothing!" or "Colleen sure had a huge collection of books, remember?". I don't want people to smile ruefully and sum me up in these tidy little sentences. I want so much more and so much less. I want to be able to stand in an empty room and know who I am. Quietly, confidently, gently, richly know.

I guess I want to live my life as the woman in the empty room. But also as a woman whose heart and mind and spirit are unbearably, unfathomably, disgustingly rich. :)

How about you?

Much love, C.