Where I'm From

My good friend Haley sent me a message explaining one of her online assignments which was to write a poem as a means of introducing yourself: "Where I'm From." She sent me her first draft and I cried at how beautiful it was! She invited me to do the same.

- WHERE I'M FROM -

I am from fields of wheat,

gravel drive ways,

an acre of dust-filled air.

I am from a routine evening prayer,

staring out the second floor window;

sliding down stairs with siblings in slick sleeping bags,

I am curiosity and adventure, beware.

I am from farm animals,

the rooster crows every morning,

the dog barks stranger's warning.

I am from pigs as friends,

llamas as enemies,

chickens as pals;

spending time in the place they nest

was a sacred place, at best.

I am from anxiety, not much rest:

the yellers,

the hurt,

the crying,

the angry,

the beloved hand-me-downs.

A heart shared blankly

and frankly, I am from the dirt.

Dirty faces and fingers,

while the smell of beer lingers,

I am from tactics of manipulation.

I am from a small town with little population

full of people that differ in reputations.

People with money,

many without,

mostly just trying to make it through the drought

of the soul.

I am from swimming pools made of troughs,

old rickety swing sets made of wood,

miles spread out as the "neighborhood,"

a reliable & safe willow tree forever stood.

I am from angry holidays, where peace and joy feel no where near my soul.

I am from forts of tall itchy grass,

bebe guns for helpless Swallows,

sprinklers springing smiles on a hot sunny day.

I am from "school" in a friend's garage,

pulling daddy's long legs off and chasing barefoot boys around the grassy yard,

learning with Spelling Books, always a competition; yearning to win Mrs. Hinkle's positive attention,

pencils tucked behind our ears, desks unknowingly mismatched,

to 16 others I was very attached;

those were the parts of each day that moved by too fast.

Where I'm from, texts are in books and a Cassette Walkman is as technological as I could dream.

I am from rules and guidelines, scrawled lists of chores, do's & donts are black and white, defined by the belt.

I am from red wagons and pink cowgirl boots

a place of unknown destitute,

freedom through adventure was my unending pursuit.

I am from leafy gardens bloooming,

big sky, bursting stars, bright moon,

laughing, sleepless nights spent beneath it all,

us siblings singing a nursery tune.

I am from a small apple orchard,

trapped by a white splintery fence,

pig pens, dog dens, a house for hens,

a place of distinct scents.

I am from bare-foot days,

tough souls, running every which way.

Bike rides down the long narrow farm roads,

stumbling upon empty & abandoned homes,

where games like playing-house begins to flow.

I am from arguments and dark anger,

where hidden brokenness is the anchor;

hammered hardened hearts and pounding loud shouts,

building all sorts of fears and doubts,

confused and frightened,

but Jesus never left me throughout.

However. Truer than all of this, I am from His heart,

where redemption reigns.

I am from His mind of creativity

released from captivity to run into true freedom.

I am from the mighty hand, His palm

sounding my victory gong.

I am from beauty surrounding

His love always abounding.

You will find me resting in the song He has sung,

That,

that is where I am from.

 

The Waves That Crushed My Back; North Beach, Hawaii.

This long memoir was written Saturday with a group of strangers who became friends. I had decided to join a creative writing group to be more intentional in this city. Read about that HERE. It's July. The wind is absent, the sun perfectly placed in the sky. I lay in the sand next to a friend, a team member, conversing about basketball. The warmth of the bright orb in the sky soaks through our skin, the cool-warmth of the ocean beckoning us. Torso sitting up, I place my hands on each side of the pineapple towel, and push myself to standing position. Sweltering sand, sifting between my toes. The blue sky hugs my soul as I slowly stride from the beach's shore into the depths of the clear water. Drenched chest deep, I am able to see straight through to the tips of my toes. Clear as air. Clenching to flotation device, a shadow is cast before me. My eyes curve upward to see a mass of water, a giant threatening the air I breathe. Quickly, my eyes deep blue dart to the man directly below this wave thrusting him a warning to dive beneath its base. The hulking wave must have cracked like an egg on my cranium. Suddenly, slammed into the sea's sand, head first, I feel my body being controlled by the force of the ocean. Tossing me in circles, throwing me about, I was a rag doll twisting and turning, limbs being tugged in opposite directions. The ocean is merely toying with my life. A second blast and I feel torn to pieces, head first once again forced into the crust of the ocean and all goes black.

- - -

I barely wake to feel the pulling of the master, the ocean, to feel the dark threatening my conscience. Fearfully, I muster up any and all strength to shriek for assistance, as my body tingles into numbness. Paralyzed by sheer terror, a vision of myself in a wheel chair courses through my 16 year old mind. As the blackness of unconsciousness takes hold again, I make a plea to my Jesus.

- - -

I become aware of agonizing pain down my neck, thoroughly coursing the right half of my body. I am outside of myself and I am in myself. Writhing in misery, I cry out pleading for relief. A body-board is beneath me, building steadiness for my body. Faces peer at me, prodding my body looking for areas of feeling. My left limbs lie numb. I beg and I beseech for an ambulance. "They're on their way - about an hour." Discouragement settles as I wait, terrified I may never walk normally again, afraid I cannot play sports.

- - -

The sirens soar through the still air. Hastily four men lift me from the body-board to the gurney. Without smoothness, the men rush through the clumpy sand towards the white, flashing box; I am irritated with the movement. I want to scream, but I cry.

- - -

Strapped into the vehicle, fear rushes over me again. Their words strike a deeper level of angst than I am prepared for: "Hand me the scissors. We have to cut her clothes off." My heart speeds rapidly, a million stallions stampede across it. I whimper, for my sacred body is about to be fully exposed to many eyes. Attempting to brace myself, tears stream from the sockets of my eyelids. Clear tears slowly streak my sand-covered cheeks as they strip me bare. The chilled air of the ambulance torments me with goose bumps, as their icy hands inspect every inch of my body for visible damage. Trying to keep from yelping with pain, they explain we are another long, bumpy hour away.

Angry at this, I feel as though the road is filled with huge boulders and we are driving over them with haste. Each deep pothole endangering me with a jolt that threatens to pierce my body with pain.

The worry decreases, as I begin to ache all over. For the first time, I am grateful for pain - it is fighting for my limb's lives. I am in Hawaii, far from my mother who is in Georgia where it is 3 am. After their third attempted phone call, I am informed she gave consent to relieve me of my searing, stabbing spasms with whatever medication they deep appropriate. The IV brings hope as they fill my precious veins with morphine, distracting me with the soothing relief of the slightest of sleep.

Sand caked into my skill, my ears, and ever crease and crevice. Sand looms and attempts to make a home in me. Half conscious, I feel cold icy hands rolling my bare body from side to side, wiping out as much sand as possible. Layers deep, the nurse says it could be months before it is all cleared.

A brace is placed firmly around my neck. An x-ray reveals I have lost an entire inch in the lumbar vertebrae, and my sacrum is slanting, stuck, right-forward. It will take physical therapy and chiropractic appointments to partially bring back what has been damaged.

My friends and basketball team, in Hawaii with our trophy

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 - - -

It has been 6 years. I can walk, I can run, I can play sports. I lived in a wheel chair for the short time of one month, and went to physical therapy 3 times a week for 3 years. Through those years of constant doctor's appointments without much pain-relief, I struggled with discouragement. Angry about perpetual pain, frustrated that sitting and standing both produced pain, I was tired of battling selfishness in the continuous thought process of "I hurt."

For about one year, I have been more pain free than I was told possible. I was able to run a half marathon and drive for up to 10 hours! My physical body is being restored, but more than that my spirit is also. The spirit of negative disappointment has been replaced with hope and joy. The selfishness of "I hurt" has been replaced with compassion for those who are in pain - my eyes look outward. It is now a rare moment (maybe 1x a month at most) to recognize aching in my lower back. I am so grateful for Healer Jesus.

The verse below is what I drew HOPE from:

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4

This verse kept me going when I felt I could no longer stand. Let it inspire you and bring you hope.