Tag Archives: Emptiness

No Sanctuary

Years ago, I watched a movie called “Logan’s Run.” The message continues to cause a significant amount of introspection and reflection.
I like science fiction and the movie falls into this category.   It has been years since I watched it, but the way I remember the plot, a remnant of civilization exists in a utopian society within a massive dome.  Their enclosed world is experiencing a terrible shortage of food and what is left to them of the planet can no longer sustain life long term.  For this reason, the computer that controls their lives has everyone fitted with a computerized clock to monitor their age.  A police-like military group oversees the city where these people live, enforcing the computer’s rulesand demands.  When a person’s life-clock reaches 30, they are taken to a large chamber where they undergo a ritual called “Carousel.”  During this ritual, they begin to float upward and disappear upon reaching the top of the chamber.  Everyone is told these people are being reincarnated and that they will never have to grow old.  The citizens are told they will all be renewed in this manner when their life-clock runs out. 
What the average citizen doesn’t know is that everyone who reaches 30 is being killed in the rooms above the chamber and their remains are being converted into food.  And this is the food that is being supplied to the remaining people within the dome.  It is keeping them alive.
Logan is one of the soldiers who keeps order in the city and who has terminated those who have tried to escape this fate.  To force him to go on a secret mission, his life-clock is moved forward from age 28 to 30 by the computer.  And he will be required to participate in Carousel with a group of suspected rebels who form a secret society.  They are being monitored and are expected to attempt to escape, as more than 1000 have reportedly successfully done over the years.  This group wears a symbol to identify them and some have been overheard talking about a place called “Sanctuary.”  They are planning to try to find this place of purported safety.  For they do not believe in the ritual of renewal and rebirth.  They are certain they will not be reincarnated, but will instead be destroyed.  So, they are going to run and Logan is to run with them.  Hence the title, Logan’s Run. 
Logan is to go with the group as they attempt to find the mythical Sanctuary. Once found, he is to report back and provide the computer with the location so their rebel fortress can be destroyed.
During his “run,” Logan learns the truth.  He sees what is happening to the people who reach age 30 and who are swept aloft in the massive chamber during the ritual.  Clever propaganda has been used to hide what is being done, but Logan now sees proof that it is nothing but terrible lies.  He realizes everyone is being killed, their remains processed and stored to provide sustenance to the remaining residents.   Disillusioned, frightened, his escape becomes much more than an undercover mission he was forced to accept.  It is now a genuine attempt to flee with the group of rebels upon which he is supposed to spy. 
What he discovers outside the dome is deeply surprising.  In unexpected ways.
Eventually, as he returns to let others know about his startling discoveries, he is recaptured by a fellow “sandman.”  His fellow soldiers, who have become his enemies.  They hook him up to the massive computer that runs all life within the dome and maintains compliance, balance and order.   He is interrogated.  They show him no mercy.  They spare him no pain. 
He is asked if he has completed his mission.  Then the question, “What is Sanctuary?”   Logan responds honestly.  Without deceit.  He has discovered the truth while outside the dome.
“There is no Sanctuary.” 
The answer is unacceptable, so the computer asks again.  Again, Logan responds, “There is no Sanctuary.” 
Again.  “There is no Sanctuary.” 
Yet again, and again, and again, the computer prods.  Logan can only tell the truth.  He can only report what he has come to know…there is life outside the dome, but there is no Sanctuary.  And this response, given while he is tortured, is the computer’s undoing.  It can’t process what it is being told.  Things begin to come unraveled within its circuitry.  Within the dome.  Things stop working.  Vital processes cease.  Things explode.  Seals release.  Cracks eventually develop in thick walls and finally the dome is split apart and crumbles.  Their world is forever altered as life within the confines of that sphere fail and come to a catastrophic end.  Because there is no Sanctuary.
I think I have finally learned this lesson.  And it’s a hard lesson. Not that there is no sanctuary, specifically.  But there is no place of being okay.  No safe haven.  No space where healing is accomplished.  Where all the wounds of the past are finally made well and health is restored.  Where things are put right.  Where the chains that bind are broken and one is set free.  There is no Sanctuary.  No magical spot or time where wrongs are righted and happy endings begin.  Not on earth, anyway.
Life is hard.  It does things to you.  It is harder for some than for others. 
My life has been a hard one.  Abuse…physical, emotional, sexual…riddled my childhood.  I didn’t learn many of the foundational lessons that others learn, so things that come easily to others are very difficult for me.  And the damage that was done to me at an early age goes deep.  It messed me up.  Changed me forever.
No one gets through this journey unscathed.  Or at least most don’t.  We are all walking wounded.  Some of our wounds are ghastly.  Others are relatively minor.  But we all get hurt.  There is no Sanctuary.  No safety.  No place of freedom.  No guarantees.
And once the damage has been done, nothing is going to undo it.
Looking back, it seems so simple.  There is no sanctuary.  There is no healing.  We are left with a cracked, demolished life that will never be what it could have been.  All we can hope to do is go from where we are and learn to live outside the dome.
It’s taken me a lifetime to realize I have spent years seeking something that doesn’t exist.  It’s terrifying to suddenly comprehend that life, the way it is, is what it is and that this is all it will ever be.  It isn’t going to get better.  There will be no sanctuary.  There is no better place, no better day, no moment of freedom, no time of healing. No putting the pieces back together.  No restoration.
I am what my life, what those who raised me, made me and there is to be no unmaking.  The damage resides within my cells.  It’s part of me.  I can only try my best to go on from here as I am.  There is no Sanctuary.  And finding meaning in this wild, terrifying world, a world where we grow old and are not renewed or restored, is no easy journey.

Dominoes

Time.  It takes so much time.  To lay them out.  The intricate design.  The perfect spacing.  Tedious work, to accomplish the plan.  To achieve the desired outcome.

One tile at a time, placed with purpose.  Adjusted.  Adjusted again.  A slight nudge to the right.  Move them closer together here and there.  There is a goal.  A dream.  A whisper of a hope that it will all be worth it in the end.  And that things will work out.

Placing dominoes.  Measuring carefully.  To make it happen.  My plan.

By the time I am 30, I will have done…  I will have been…

In my next job, I will be…  I will make…

By the time I’m 45, I will have…  I will know…

I placed my dominoes precisely.  I believed.  I believed in carefully laid plans.  Dominoes that would fall the way they should.  All lined up, ready, in perfect rows that formed a precise, exquisite pattern.  I believed the preparation and hard work would bring about desired results.  And the future would be different, very different, from the past.

When I hit 30, I still hadn’t done.  I still hadn’t been.

My next job wasn’t.  I still don’t know.  I never have made.  And I don’t have.

The first domino fell.  The next two dropped as planned.  I survived.  I escaped.

But the fourth one…it didn’t go so well.  Healing from the devastating abuse of my childhood didn’t happen.  Which meant the fifth didn’t work out as planned either.  It fell in the wrong direction altogether.  Finding love?  Not in the dominoes.

By then, all the frantic adjustments in the world couldn’t save me.  Couldn’t turn things around.  Dominoes falling all over the place.  The design forever ruined.  The plan in shambles.

Once the first domino fell, the second, the third, once they missed the next planned target, failing to knock down critical tiles, skipping key turns, it was over.  Before it began.  Everything fell apart.  No order.  Doomed before the first tile tipped and dropped, in spite of how meticulously they had been laid out.

I tried to change the pattern that was set in motion when I was born into a family led by parents who were mentally ill, narcissistic and abusive.  I tried.  But the pattern couldn’t be broken.  It couldn’t be altered.  The dominoes fell and collapsed and crashed in chaotic frenzy.

Dominoes.  Scattered everywhere.  Strewn across the floor.  The pattern ruined.  Wrecked.  Nothing to do but start over.  And it’s too late to start over.

Dreams.  Lost and shattered.  In shambles, laying at my feet.  Destroyed.

Out of options.

The thing about life…you only get one chance.  If you crash and burn, if the dominoes don’t fall the way you expected, the way you need them to fall, there are no do-overs.  What’s done is done.

I stand, defeated, and view the ruins.  There is nothing left to do.  This mess is all that remains of my labor.  Of my hopes.  Random dominoes without meaning.  Life without meaning.  What was set in motion at birth could not be changed.  Chaos prevailed.    As tends to happen when something goes awry the moment the first domino tilts, wobbles and erratically falls.

Shallow Lives

‘Tis a shallow life we live without connection.  Without purpose.  Without someone to grieve the loss of us when we are gone.

Shallow.  Without someone to tell us we matter.  At least to them.  Someone who actually believes we do matter in some little way.

Without someone to carry us in their heart.  Without someone for us to carry in our heart.

Bumping along.  Alone.  Reaching out and finding nothing much to grasp a hold of.  And so, we bump.  Along.  Aimlessly.

Isolation is a harsh task master.  A cruel dictator.  Isolation breaks the invisible bones of the soul.  It torments us, tortures us, keeps us bound tightly in a soundless cage designed to imprison us as we serve our life sentence, without relief, without interruption.  No visitors allowed.

I find that I derive meaning only from being a “mother” to my two Schnauzers.  They tether me to this earth because I don’t want to leave them behind, helpless and alone.  It’s a fragile tether, this lifeline they provide.  The moment it is gone, I am sure to drift far into outer space where I am doomed to perish.

Though I have learned to survive without air.  Without a great deal, in fact.

I was led to believe life was rich and deep and wide.  Worth living.  Worth gripping with all of my might, never letting go.  I have found pain to be so.  I have also found disappointment and loneliness to display these characteristics.  But life?  No, not life.  Life has been hard,  It has become a constant struggle that leaves me weary, without hopes or dreams.  Life has left me empty.  Trapped in a shallow grave.  Having shallow conversations.  Shallow encounters.  Unfulfilled.

Mouth moving.  Ears searching for something worth hearing.  Mind seeking something worth listening to.  Tongue hoping to have something worth saying that someone will want to hear.  Heart desiring a connection worth fighting for.  Worth protecting.  Worth living for.

But no one wants to see beyond the mask.  No one wants to view the imperfect face and soul that lies beneath the perfect plastic.  ‘Tis best to keep it light.  Keep it shallow.  Don’t dig too deep.  Don’t dig deep at all.  Smile.  Say the right words.  Move along.

Barely tethered.  Ready to let go of the balloon.  Float from this empty existence to the emptiness beyond.

‘Tis a shallow life we live without connection.  Hard to believe the glass contains more than a few droplets of water.  No question about whether or not it’s 1/2 full or 1/2 empty.   A drop or two rolls around on the bottom as I turn it side to side.  I cannot bear it a moment longer.   I dash it to the floor.  Watching it shatter.  Staring at all the tiny pieces no longer connected.  Fragments.  Isolated.  Capturing a tiny piece of me in each broken shard.

Somebody

I thought I would be somebody.  Eventually.

Perhaps not in a big, fabulous and famous way.  But from some perspective.  In someone’s estimation.  In someone’s eyes.

I thought I would have an impact.  I felt I could make a difference.  I believed I had something to say.  Something worth saying.  I thought speaking out would, if only in a trivial way, leave a permanent mark within a few hearts.  I supposed I would come to matter, even if only slightly and insignificantly.

I started writing when I was six.  As soon as I learned about words and how to put them together; to arrange them on a page, I fell in love with them.  They saved me.

My first poem?

My pencil went over the ocean.
My pencil went over the sea.
My pencil went everywhere I wanted to go,
But it always went without me.

It was written on the kind of lined paper that also provided a dotted guide so a child learning to write could gauge the height of upper and lower-case letters.  The printing was crude.  But I used some big words (relatively speaking) for a six-year-old child.  And even then, my struggle with aloneness was evident.  My pencil left me behind.

I was already being abused.  Had a couple of years under my belt by that point.

By the time I turned eleven, I was writing songs.  Pouring my wounded heart out in poetry set to music.  This was around the time I started to think I had something to say.  All those years ago, I saw beyond my childhood.  I focused on the day I could leave.  When I could begin to recover.  Then, finally, I would be able to tell my story.  And surely, telling my story was going to have an impact.  On someone.  Some shadowy unknown person out there in the big new world that awaited me.

I genuinely wanted to touch hearts.  Deeply.  I longed to connect in meaningful and poignant ways on a level that went beyond the ordinary.  Until then, I created poems.  I wrote songs.  I used words in an attempt to expose the indelible damage and crippling pain within my soul.

But the abuse and agony weren’t to be my whole message.  I fully expected I would overcome the destruction.  Find healing.  My journey would be worth listening to because of the positive outcome.  That’s when I would become someone.  Somebody who was whole.

I did survive.  I endured the sick sexual abuse of my father.  I accepted their slaps and strikes and punches.  They knocked me down, but I got back up.  I endured being dragged across the room by my hair.  Being thrown into walls.  They were artists…hitting me hard enough to leave big red welts, but not hard enough to leave suspicious bruises or broken bones.  I internalized their angry, cutting, degrading words.  Words that they used as weapons and fists.  Telling me I was nothing.  That I was a disappointment.  That I had let them down.  I was supposed to fulfill their dreams and rectify the wrongs in their world.  I failed them time and time again.  They repeated their disdain and the message of their displeasure to me with grating consistency.  My anti-vitamin.  Infused in my brain year after year.  I sucked it up, enduring their rejection.  The isolation.  The neglect.  Their unreasonable demands and ridiculous expectations.  I believed every word they said.

But I also survived.  And then, I escaped.  Two weeks after graduating from high school, diploma finally in hand, I fled.

Now came my opportunity to pick up the pieces; put myself back together.  My time to become somebody.

It didn’t take long to find out no one cared about a battered and abused child fighting to win despite starting far behind the pack.  No one wanted to hear my story.

My heart was too disfigured and horridly crushed.  Even though I patched the pieces of my soul together as best I could, instead of a butterfly, I created a Frankenstein.  A monster.

Dreams die hard.  They die slowly and painfully with time.

Trying to be somebody who was loved, trying to build deep connections, led me down dark paths.  Lonely paths.  Desiring meaningful relationships with people who could see the good and bad in me without turning away took me to ugly places.  Because there was no acceptance.  No matter how hard I worked or how much I gave, I wasn’t adequate.  I was intrinsically defective.

I thought I could be a “real” person.  A person who had something to say and give that mattered.  But my message was unpalatable.  I was undesirable.  Deplorable.  Disgusting.  An aberration.

I shut myself up within high walls. Wrote my words and filed them away in folders and drawers.  I pretended to be normal and whole, wearing the mask to spare others from having to look at me.  I denied my brokenness and emptiness, even during the dead of sleepless nights when the truth was hard to ignore.  Being lonely was far better than being utterly alone.

I wanted to be somebody.  I thought I could.  Be someone who had a worthy story to tell.  A story of abuse survived.  Of a life being born from the ashes.  Ultimate victory.  I believed I could provide inspiration and light to others; to those coming along after me.  I wanted to help them find the way.  Point them to a path of healing and love.

But I never made it out of the darkness.  My story is but another sordid tale of failure and anguish.  I never found healing.  Never found love.  I am nothing more than a cautionary narrative that lacks a satisfactory ending.  There is no inspiration in my saga.

I am not somebody.  Even the little I was able to attain is fading away into nothingness.  Drowning in the emptiness of my hollow, fragmented life.  Dust returning to dust.

Still, I arrange words on pages.  Casting them into the cosmos, though they are void of meaning.  Though I am nothing more than a nobody with nothing left to say.

 

Lonely

Passing long lonely hours in a silent room, seconds marching in place, marking time.  Wanting to slow down their passage.  Wanting to get this parade on the road.  Over with; the empty hours, the meaningless moments.  I’m passing long lonely hours in a silent room with only my dogs to keep me company.  Only my dogs to give me a reason to remain alive.

Only my dogs to make me want to impede the parade’s progress.

But time…time marches on.  And on.

My acquaintances are busy.  Beyond busy.  So many things to accomplish. They have intertwined with many, many people.  Deep roots.  Strong connections in rich soil.  They have a plethora of reasons to keep living, to keep going.  Their hours are full.  Their rooms are not silent.  They laugh and cry with others.  They hug.  Attach.  Walk by each other’s sides.  They are not lonely.  Their world may be messy and hectic and crazy, but not lonely.  Because they are not alone.  They are linked.   They have meaningful relationships that contribute to meaningful lives.

They matter to others.  Others matter to them.

They have the kind of life I envisioned for myself.  Back when I envisioned a happy ending.  And an in between that was significant, profound, consequential.

I find it interesting that emptiness weighs so much more than fullness.  That nothingness is so much heavier than richness.  That hopelessness is denser than optimism.  That silence screams with a voice that is deafening.

I sit in my soundless room in my noiseless house in my vacant, unfilled world.  I hold my dogs close to my heart.  They sleep on my lap.  I am thankful for each one of their trusting little breaths. Thankful for them, for their content sighs that quietly break the silence.  Momentarily.  Grateful for the minor amount of relief they provide.

I sit.  Lonely.  Seconds marching in place, marking time.  Counting empty hours.  Racking up meaningless moments.

And time…time marches on.

Wishing on Dying Stars

“I wish I may

I wish I might…”

Do you remember?  The days of possibilities.  As a child, standing in the darkness beneath a star-strewn sky.  Wishing wishes, believing with all of your heart those wishes would come true.  No doubts.  No anxiety.  Just an unshakable knowing that the impossible is possible; inevitable.  Dancing beneath the moon.  Believing in dreams.  Believing in tomorrow.  Feeling the magic.  Touched by the mysterious force of innocence.

Gazing upward, making wishes on dying stars.

The sky seems limitless.  Surely anything can happen.  Everything will happen.  The beauty of those sparkling, twinkling dots of light, visible from so far away, captivates the imagination and fuels the fire.  The air is alive, filled with the sweet perfume of hope.

No need to worry.  Cup the moment in your hands and drink deeply.  The night is enchanted.  Hold it tight.  Do not let it go.

We wish upon those twinkling stars as they shoot across the deep velvet dark of night.  Never stopping to think that we have handed our dreams to a star that is dying.  Falling from the sky.  Its light, in one last spectacular explosion, forever extinguished.

We hold our breath, guided by foolish sentiment and release our most sacred desires into the opaque darkness.  We see through our imagination.  And trust what is vanishing right before our eyes.

We watch the star as it streaks across the sky, believing it has heard, that it carries our wish and hurries to fulfill the desires we have whispered as it falls.

“When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true…”

And so the story goes.  And so our silly heart believes. We wish upon a shooting star and close our eyes in anticipation of the mystical powers that will make all our wishes come true.

Believing a dying star will somehow fill us with light and life.  And guide us to contentment.

But dying stars do not grant wishes.  Nor do they cast enchanting magic spells or foretell the fulfillment of our deepest dreams.  We wish and wait for the impossible, only to find even our most fervent faith can’t forge fantasy into reality.  Though we wish upon a million twinkling stars, be they the first bright star of the night, the biggest and most beautiful diamond in the sky or the one with the longest tail streaking behind it as it falls, no manner of wishing, praying, hoping or believing will miraculously make our dreams come true.

I don’t know when it happens.  Not exactly.  We may still occasionally yet glance upward if the sky is exceptionally clear. If the millions of dancing stars are sparkling especially beautifully that night.  But over the years, we learn to keep our head down.  Our eyes to the ground.  Weighted with the heaviness of disappointment, we no longer search the endless black sky seeking infinite possibilities.  Shooting stars fall without fanfare. Without our acknowledgment.  Our dreams have long ago burned up in the atmosphere as they fell to earth where they crashed and perished.

We spent our youth wishing on dying stars.  We wished passionately until the passion was utterly drained from our body, drip by drip.  Until we were emptied of our blood and life, droplet by droplet.  We lost our hope under that vast black firmament.  Beneath the heavens so gloriously filled with sparkling diamonds.  They tempted us to believe and believe we did.  But time…ah, how thoroughly time has ravaged our soul, consuming our eager expectations.  Time causes all things to fall.  To fall until there is no getting back up again.  We thought we would be the exception.  But time brought us down, down to our knees, just as it brings everything down that is contained within the universe in which we live.  Us and the shooting stars.  Falling.

Time reminds us all things come to an end.  That it runs out far too quickly.  And it runs out long before our fervent dreams come true.

Star light, star bright, I can no longer see your light.

My eyes have grown weary.  I have run out of wishes, here at the end of my time.  I have nothing to show for my youthful excitement and anticipation.  I am but a shooting star whose light has been extinguished.  I carry my wishes to the grave, unrealized and empty.  Another dark and lonely place, my grave.  And if there are stars here, either glorious or dimming, my eyes can no longer see them.

 

Finger Snap

I am a 16 year old girl.  I sit in my room, doors closed, watching the dust slowly dance through the sunbeam coming in my window.  I sit in my room because my parents are in the living room.  I don’t want them to see me.  To have to interact.  Interaction never turns out well.

I am pliable in body, mind and soul.  Open to what is to come.  That endless field of seconds spread out before me.  Though wounded, I am determined to survive.  Though damaged, I have hope.

And I think I have gotten through the worst of it.  The worst of the abuse.  The sexual part – the incest part – ended sometime during my 14th year.  Now, my eyes are on graduation…freedom.  I will fly from the “nest” the minute my high school diploma is in my hand.  That is all that has kept me tethered to this place of nightmares, pain and destruction.  Another year and I will be gone.  After so many years, one more seems both endless and as if it is nothing.  Merely the time it takes to blink my eyes.  An eternity rolled into a nanosecond.

Like life.  Endless.  Yet gone in a flash.  A lifetime spent in the time it takes to snap my fingers.

I remember that room so well.  My bedroom.  I can touch it.  Feel it.  As if I only just left a moment ago.  But I haven’t lived there for decades.  That place where I listened to albums and cried to the words of songs.  Where I hugged my pillow at night and cowered beneath the covers, even in the sweltering heat.  Where I trembled in fear and with dread in the darkness, waiting for footsteps that paused briefly outside my door before quietly finding their way to my bed.  I remember closing my door against the agony and chaos.  But there were no locks on my bedroom door.   No places to hide.  No safety.  No way to keep the monster out.

I stepped from that moment, that long ago moment in time, into today.  From 16 to oh-my-god-how-did-I-get-to-be-this-old!  In the snap of my fingers.  Just.  Like.  That.  Little memory of the worm hole through which I traveled to get from then to now.  I blinked.  And when my eyes opened, my face was wrinkled and my heart was weary beyond repair.  The hourglass that was nearly full only a second before was almost empty of sand.

This hourglass can’t be turned over.  No second chances.  No do-over.  What is done is done.  When the final grain has fallen through the narrow neck, there is no way to go backward.  No option to turn back the hands of time.

It was only yesterday.  That moment I so clearly recall when I was 16.  Watching the dust floating through the air.  Watching the sand trickle through the hourglass.  Snap.  But it was endless years ago.

To be fair, I have brief flashes of memories created between then and now.  So many rainy days.  Too many lonely and dark nights.  Struggling to breathe some life into my soul.  To restart my heart.  Working so hard to justify my right to be alive.  To take up space. To have a good experience or two or three.

But the memories are not worth the effort it takes to recall them.  There are no gold nuggets among the stones.  Nothing worth holding on to.  Nothing wonderful or notable.  And so, I’ve tossed them all back into the murky water of the past.  Left them there.  They – those years, those memories – are nothing but a blur.  A pain-filled explosion quickly done, that flashes momentarily, leaving an imprint on my retinas, fading to nothingness.

Finished before I ever got started.

A lifetime.  Gone in the time it took to snap my fingers.

Silent Prayer

My life has been one long, endless silent prayer.

I haven’t always known to whom I should pray.  Although I sort of believed in God when I was a child, I didn’t actually meet Him until I was 23 years old.  Before we officially met, my prayers lacked focus.  But even then, before my encounter with Him, I prayed.  Without making a sound.

“Please help me…”

“I don’t know how to get through this.  Can anyone hear?  Can anyone see?  Is there anyone there?  Does anyone care?”

Once I came to know God as more than an abstract, distant, invisible spirit, my prayers became more pointed.

“Please heal me.  Help me pick up all the pieces and put myself back together.”

“Show me what I should do.  Help me to recognize the best path…to make the right decision.”

“Please lead me to a person who can love me; someone I can share my heart and life with.”

“Please love me.”

“Please forgive me…I am such a failure…so imperfect…”

I prayed, yet only spoke the words internally.  Played them in my brain.  Spun them around and around in my head.  Never released them to the air.  I figured God could still hear me, even if I didn’t say the prayers out loud.  And there wasn’t anyone else around to listen, so why waste my breath?

As you know by now, thinking and writing come fairly naturally to me.  But talking…especially talking to a person face-to-face, has never worked well.   I shut down because I fear being vulnerable.  I hide because I am ashamed.  As a result, the outcome has not been one that is desirable.  It has been painful and embarrassing.  And discouraging.

The silent dialogue continues throughout the day.  Every day.   Begging, pleading for a break.  To be heard.  For understanding.  For guidance.  For strength.  To be led to a road that leads to fulfillment and love.  To find purpose.  To be given hope.  To be forgiven.  To become wise enough sidestep trouble and to remain undeterred when the right thing to do is the hard thing to do.  And always, I pray for healing.  Because I know I’m a mess.  Far more imperfect than most.  And I know there is little hope for me if I remain fatally flawed and unacceptably messy.

Like Voyager, hurling through outer space year upon year, broadcasting a message our ears cannot hear, nor could we understand if we did, so am I.  Constantly transmitting without disrupting the quiet, nor disturbing the vast void through which I travel.  I move swiftly through the darkness.  My path has already been determined.  The trajectory has already been set.  In fact, it was determined decades ago.   I can but stay the course and pray, silently pray there is a reason for this journey.  And that, at some point, the good that is to be found in life, whatever good there might be for someone like me, will stumble upon me.

I seek, but I do not find.  I make my requests known, but I find no comfort, guidance or relief.  And yet, I pray.  As I drive.  As I walk the hall at work.  When I go to the restroom.  When I wake in the middle of the night, terrified of the terrain that lays before me.  Still wondering how I am going to survive the day that is soon to dawn.

There was a time when I was full of hope and I believed that dawn would reveal new and wonderful horizons.  I believed the day of my healing was near.  That life would be joyful and full.  There was a time, oh, so long ago now.  Even then, I prayed.  Even then, my heart had things to say that were never spoken aloud.  Even then, I conversed in the language of silence.  With the voice only my own soul could hear.

The language of silence.  My native tongue.  It is the only language I speak well.   And so, I pray my silent prayers.  I pray for a day when my voice is no longer muted, when my feelings are not suppressed or watered down.  Numbed.  I beg for an end to the terror that paralyzes me; an end to the airlessness and vacant stillness of my world.  For an end to the darkness of the universe through which I travel and for an answer to the unspoken prayers of my ruined, weary heart.

Silent Ties

It is so quiet, every small settling of the house causes the aging wood to cry out with a sharp, loud “pop” that echoes through the dark room where it sit.  I can hear the wind chimes as they are harshly caressed by the brisk north wind; a wind that howls loudly as it licks the roof, as if trying to lift it off and sweep it away.  Clouds are low and gray.  They run swiftly across the sky ahead of the wind.  It is a gloomy sky and the house is in dark shadow as a result.  I should turn on a lamp.  But I am bound by the silence that surrounds me.  Unable to force myself to move beneath the heavy weight of those dark clouds.

A train whistle sounds in the distance.  Several yards away, a dog barks and my two Schnauzers perk their ears in interest.  Then, they lay their head back down on my lap.  I listen to the ambient sounds.  The raging voice of silence.  The language of isolation.  The substance of nothingness.

I have spent most of my life alone, cloaked in and smothered by heavy silence.  Aloneness has been my one faithful companion.  Such as it is. 

Life is nothing like what I pictured it would be. It has not turned out the way I thought it would turn out and has not become what I expected.  I am not where I believed I would be at this point.  I do not like where I have ended up.

I didn’t expect this ever present and oppressive silence.  I didn’t believe the pain and isolation would continue for so long.  For my entire life.  I didn’t believe the emptiness would remain a constant, nagging dagger in my heart.  I didn’t expect the brokenness to persist for a lifetime.  I fully believed I would be whole by now.  Happy.  Healed.

I believed I would know and be part of the noise of a real, full, rewarding life.  I believed I would overcome.

Why is life so bleak and meaningless for me…yet so rich, cherished, full and beloved by most others?  Why does my world resemble a dry desert without oasis or shelter from the scorching, unrelenting sun?

The silence of life binds me.  It ties me up.  It insulates me from all that is good, wondrous and worthy.  There is no life-giving water in my desert, yet I am drowning.  I am drowning in the noise of silence.  Drowning in the endless quiet.  Silence screams at me, holding my head underwater as it shouts.

I can’t help but wonder if this is all there will ever be for me?

I struggle in this muffled, empty world, fighting my way through, trying to survive.  The life I yearn for was ripped from me when I was but a child.  It was torn from my grasp before I could take even a single sip of unfettered joy.  I have chased that joy all my life, but what was taken from me has not been restored.   

I can’t help but wonder if this, this empty, soundless existence, is what my life was meant to be?

I wanted so much more.  But the silent ties that bind me have not loosed with time.  In fact, they have tightened like a boa constrictor until they are now unbearable.  They strangle all that is good.  Pain is amplified as it echoes across the sand of this desolate wasteland.  I am overcome by the vast barrenness of my life.  Overwhelmed by the unrelenting noise of silence.

I am saddened to think this is all I will likely ever know.  All I will ever experience. 

I know we are promised more in the next world; the eternal world that lies just beyond our own.  But you see, I had high hopes for this life…at least in the beginning.  And so, I’m disappointed.  I’m disappointed that silence still imprisons me in this hollow, isolated wasteland I am forced to call home. 

I long to be set free from the silent ties that bind me in this noiseless, desolate world.  I long to move on.  I am ready for random sound and laughter.  I want to live noisily.  And joyously.  Unfettered.  For once, flying free.

If only silence would release its hold on me…

Don’t Blink

The days are long.  Endless.  They drag on forever.  Well, unless they are days of the weekend.  Weekend days seem to go a little faster.  But work days?  Normal days?  They drag on so long, sometimes I think I will never get through them.  I long to close my eyes and let the time wash over me without my awareness.    I am weary of counting the seconds and minutes.  Weary of doing so many things I have to, but don’t want to do.

The years, however, oh my!  The years are short.  They whiz by, time spinning like a ceiling fan on high speed.  They march along, month by month, ripping pages from the calendar and leaving them scattered about in my memory.  A year is quickly spent.  Suddenly evaporated.  Then ten.  Twenty.  Where did the time go?  How did so many years escape so rapidly and without notice…until I looked back abruptly to find they were gone without a trace?!?

The days are long.  The clock ticks unhurriedly, second after second after second, painstakingly meandering around the dial.  The minutes accumulate at a snail’s pace.  I feel their weight.  They are a heavy burden, one building upon another.  When I finally lay my head down on my pillow at night, it is with a sigh of relief and a prayer for a better, lighter, less tortured tomorrow.

How is it that seconds seem to pass more slowly than minutes?  That minutes pass more slowly than hours?  That hours pass more slowly than days?  That days pass more slowly than months?  That months pass more slowly than years?  That years pass more slowly than decades?  And that it all flies by in less than the blink of an eye or the beat of a heart.

I am frightened by how sluggish the minutes pass and how dawdling are  the days.  I am terrified by how hastily the years have raced by me leaving me so little time ahead.  At how the decades have passed at super-sonic speed.  I have accumulated far too many decades without ever living a moment of them.

How can a day be so full of things that must be accomplished, but the years so void of progress?

Life is built by minutes that are boulders and decades that are sand.  Boulders that are heavy and hard.  Sand that washes from my hand, instantly wiped away without a trace.  I was a girl of 16 who turned her head but once, only to then find myself suddenly transformed into a woman of 50.  Sand.  All that sand.   I lived the boulders; they were harsh and painful, but nothing came of them.  Or everything came from them; perhaps that is the problem.  I only know, I didn’t get to live the sand.  It was gone before I even knew it had arrived.   Washed back out to sea.

Existing through the tedious minutes. One by one by one.   Trying in vain to hold back the rapidly fleeing years.

The days are long.  The years are short.

Life is but a second long. 

Don’t blink.