Musings of My Mind

"To a great mind, nothing is little." Sherlock Holmes

Month: August, 2014

Tangled Threads

Driving away from church this afternoon, I reached for my phone to call my mother. It’s an urge that hasn’t happened in a good while, so it caught me by surprise. You see, I wanted my mother because I was crying I was crying because my dear friend Dixon, who has been essential in getting me through Mom’s death, is moving to North Carolina. Tomorrow. In my sadness over losing him, I was reminded of the sadness of losing my mother. But if I had never lost my mother; I wouldn’t have the depth of friendship with Dixon that I do, so…

Tangled. Life is tangled. And I absolutely hate it. I like my fiction to be tangled. Stories with plot twists and unexpected connections; stories that aren’t easily unraveled; these are the best stories. Real life, however, should be linear. Organized. A equals B and B equals C and A equals C and everything makes sense. It’s organized and color-coded. Simple. Neat. Completely unrealistic.

We tend to think of life like a giant line of dominoes. Each one standing precariously, knocked over by the one before it. Life event A causes the first domino to fall, and in succession, the others fall. In order and one at a time. Instead, life is more like time. The Doctor (bastion of wisdom that he is) describes time as “a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.” It’s not linear, it’s not subjective, and it makes absolutely no sense.

The threads of life are tangled. The good comes from the bad comes from the good ad infinitum. Some days, we can’t tell the difference. Most days, I’m not sure there is a difference. The world is a knotted place. But it’s the ropes with knots that help us hang on. It’s the ropes with knots that keep boats from drifting. It’s the ropes with knots that keeps a team of climbers connected.

So, when I get a glimpse of the knots and tangles as I did today, may I not be frustrated. May I not get lost in trying to unravel it. May I welcome the glorious mess that is life in a fallen world and hang on to the knots for dear life.

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Darkness

I once sat in my college dorm room, staring at the marks on my arms. They had stopped bleeding but were still red. That was my favorite part. The blood was messy, but the pain was welcome. Self-harm was my way of coping with things that felt overwhelming or out of control. The temptation is there still. When things got really bad, I thought of taking that next step. Of finishing the job.

Many times in my life have I lamented that I wasn’t strong enough to do it. To take that last step. Because at the time, I thought that it took strength to give in to the darkness.

I know now that every single day my arms stay clean; that every single day I remain breathing is the strongest thing I can do. Some days are harder than others. That’s okay. I’m allowed to teeter on the edge of the abyss. I’m even allowed to fall in. But I know now how to ask for help. I know who to call when my mind gets ugly. I fight my way back to the light.

Some days the darkness calls and it feels so tempting. My skin burns with remembered pain and all I want is to give in. It would be so much easier that way. Then I think about the way my cat purrs when he’s really happy. Or how much I want to see the new series of Sherlock.

I think about the woman my Mom believed I was and I want to be that woman.

Even when I feel alone, I know that somewhere, there is a person who loves me. It might be just one person, but they are out there. For them, I cling to the light.

Know this: if you are here and seeing these words; I am that one person. I love you and I would notice your absence.

Darkness hides often behind the brightest smiles. The people around you may be quietly suffering. Let them know you are listening.

And if you know what the weight of darkness feels like, please reach out. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to a friend or family member, you can come to me. You can also find help and resources in your community through the National Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-8255.

Bread Crumbs

We’ve been telling the story of Hansel and Gretel in one form or another for hundreds of years. When the Brothers Grimm first published the story in 1812, there’s no way they could have understood how pervasive one tiny point of their story would be.

Bread crumbs.

Everyone knows about bread crumbs. Tech support uses the virtual bread crumbs a virus leaves to trace the source and fix the problem. Kids use bread crumbs to find their way back to the things they hide in the back of the closet or under the bed. Bread crumbs in whatever form are used to lead us back to the place we started or the things we lost.

Bread crumbs.

Literal bread crumbs get everywhere. Every. Where. The better the bread (crusty and delicious), the more the crumbs. They get on the table, on the plate, on your lap, on the floor. Seriously. I have a special talent for getting bread crumbs everywhere.

Today at work, my department all ate lunch together. It was unplanned and completely hodgepodge. I had picked up a baguette at the store to go with my salad and everyone was really excited to see those delicious carbs. Before long, everyone had taken a piece of bread for themselves. We laughed and talked and shared bread. In its purest form, we had communion. The bread crumbs all over the office lead to my desk, where people knew they could tell stories or help themselves to seconds.

Every Sunday, I kneel at the altar and open my hands to accept the gift of the Body. At St. B’s, we don’t use loaves of bread. We use wafers. Wafers don’t leave physical crumbs. What they do leave, however, is a reminder. A mark. The crumbs that lead me back to the table week after week. A mark that reminds me I have been accepted as a member of the body. A memorial of my redemption.

In short, the crumbs of the Eucharist lead me to Christ.

But what about the crumbs the Eucharist leaves on me? Do others see those? Am I surrounding myself with crumbs that lead back to me or to the table?

Where do your crumbs lead?