Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Violet's Postcards

Violet sat with her soccer coach, Aaron, in the high school cafeteria.  He had asked if she would share her story.  She was scared at first because she thought the Royal Chargers—one of the cliques at school—would overhear and attack her when she opened up.

Aaron stroked his beard.  "If you tell me your story, I can help you," he said.  "I'm here to support you."

Violet trembled as she spoke.  She shared about how the clique members tried to bully their fellow member Jonathan when he told them he was going to take her to the prom.  They didn't think she was suitable because she wasn't one of them.

A few kids pulled their cafeteria chairs closer so they could listen to her story.

She talked about how leaders of the Royal Chargers set up special meetings to inform her and Jonathan it was wrong for them to go to the prom together.  When Jonathan told them he no longer wanted to be a Royal Charger, one of the leaders tore out her heart and stomped on it.

Violet felt safe with Aaron.  She let out all her pain.  Sometimes she threw up into her bowl.  Sometimes she wondered if she was being too open or frank in her honesty.

"You're hating yourself," observed Aaron.

She didn't understand why it was taking so long for her to forgive the bullies.  "I'm mad at myself for being angry at them.  I don't like being angry.  I just want to love them," she said.

The small crowd that had gathered continued to grow as she shared her feelings and stories.

One of the Royal Chargers, wearing a mask of anonymity, protested twice during her outpourings.

Violet continued anyway because she was beginning to recognize her purpose, to understand her worth as a human being, to see that though she was imperfect she had something very good to offer the world.  When she made mistakes, she admitted them and apologized.

The next day, Violet and Aaron sat in the cafeteria again.  She placed a stack of postcards on the table and began to write on them.  At first she wrote all about herself.  It was her way of taking care of herself and Aaron approved of her method.

Eventually she was writing quotes and verses and fun little things so she could hand them out to people in the crowd.  This made her happy.  There were a couple of girls in particular who really loved her postcards and felt they were finally getting the type of encouragement they were looking for.

Sometimes other kids would put their own postcards onto her table.  Sometimes her writings were stupid, but she took comfort in knowing she could throw the stupid ones in the garbage if she wanted.

Then one kid chucked his postcard at her.  Violet thought it looked sort of like her own story so she set it down, but when she did Aaron said, "This one concerns me.  Can you tell me why you're keeping it?"

While she tried to sort out her thoughts, one of the Royal Chargers yelled, "There are three of us getting your postcards and we are totally offended!  The past is in the past, so forget about it.  You are GOSSIPING.  We should not have to stand around and BABYSIT you to make sure you are not doing this bad thing!  I don't care if you're being positive or negative.  You are NOT to hurt us with your dumb postcards anymore!  You are supposed to be loving us!"

"What the heck?" said a guy in the crowd.  "Don't you have anything better to do?"

Another gasped, "That is unreal!"

"Unbelievable!" said another.

Violet blinked and looked at the postcard again, then she stood up so she could observe the kid who gave it to her.  He looked like a clown.  "I think I'll put this one in the garbage," she said to Aaron.

She glanced at the Royal Chargers.  "Well," she said, "I'm still a broken human being.  But there is such a thing as forgiveness.  Everyone needs that."

When she sat down in her chair again, tears were running into Aaron's beard and his fat pink lips curved into a smile.

"The Royal Chargers have no authority over me," said Violet to the crowd.  "Jesus is my authority.  He has given me healing, and I am free."

Friday, December 13, 2013

you're in it

Dear person full of pain:

Your beauty captivates me, these tiny movements you make with such courage.  You're working on opening your boxes.  This journey of letting go is really, really hard... I mean mega hard.  There are so many people who don't understand your pain.

As you continue in this slow process it's imperative to trust your helper.  While you're being helped there will be hits and misses.  It will hurt sometimes, and in certain stretches it might feel like the pain is simply not going to let up.  I don't know why it has to be this way but I think it's intricately related to your sensitivity.

By the way, your sensitivity is one of the things I love the most about you.

Sometimes it will only be your pride that's hurting which will signify some great transformation taking place.

Other times, possibly, it will be as though there were a strong hand firm on your back along with the gentle brush of lips upon your cheek.  Guiding.  At least that's how I experienced it.  Maybe your encounter will differ somewhat.  You can show your helper what you feel along the way, if you like.

There might be times when you have serious doubts about your helper.  That's okay.  I hope you'll stick with your task of opening boxes anyway.  Remember, you're being cared for in a way that's beyond your understanding.

Maybe you won't believe me, but I love you.  And I care about what's in your boxes.

I hope you continue your tiny movements and go on sharing your truths.

Take courage, beloved one.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

the beauty of crazy and slow

Dear person full of pain:

Have you begun opening any of your boxes?  I'm going to guess... probably.

If you haven't found your encouraging helper yet, it could mean there's a specific box in your way that's keeping you from recognizing him or her.  Or maybe you do kinda see, but you're up against a heavy box that's hindering your receptivity.  It will need to be identified and opened.

When dealing with your boxes, your honesty is crucial.  It's important to be truthful with yourself, but it's even more important to be honest with your helper.

The honesty I'm talking about has to do with teeny weeny movements.  I'm guessing that, for you—because you're hurting a lot—communicating your truths feels like a scary idea.  That's okay.  Why don't you start there?  Let your helper know that being honest makes you feel like a crazy person.

I say it's better to be a crazy person telling the truth than a sane one living a lie.  Really, it's the sane people who can be the most destructive.

Sometimes expressing yourself honestly involves fumbling around.  It's hard to know, at first, what a teeny weeny movement is supposed to look like.  Here's one suggestion: share with your helper what emotions you're experiencing at the moment and why you think you're feeling them.

When you fumble around or get confused, I think that means you're facing the resistance.  It's important that you don't keep your confusion to yourself.  Let your helper know when you're experiencing it, so he or she can work with you to cut away some of that resistance.

I think if you're reading this it means you're brave enough to participate in the slow process of letting go.  That's amazing and beautiful.

Never give up, beloved one.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

a case of the squawks

Angela put the red notebook down beside her and got back to work on her chalk drawings.

Caroline approached.

"Hi," said Angela.  She switched colors and Caroline watched her in silence for a few minutes.

"You know what?  A few days ago I threw a piece of chalk at Mrs. Whitehead," Angela said.

"How'd that go over?"

"I couldn't tell because she was behind her greenhouse door.  At the time it seemed like a good idea.  Later I thought it could've been a mistake."

"Why'd you think it was good idea in the first place?"

"Well, it had to do with throwing it in reverse, you see.  But, well, you know my thoughts on revenge and retaliation."


"Later when I thought it might've been a mistake, I drank a coffee and then I felt better."

"That reminds me.  Wes asked me if I could fix him a cup of coffee before I came out, but I forgot.  I'm going to run home and do that.  Be right back."

Peter, the Canada Post guy, paused as he walked by to wave at Angela.  He often strolled by to admire her art.

"Hi, Peter!"

"Hey!  Caroline said not to use that red notebook!  Screw her!"

Strangely, Angela felt warm as if someone had draped a down comforter over her shoulders.  She glanced down at the notebook.  Then, while he walked away, she picked up a piece of black chalk and began to make cloud-like shapes.

But when Caroline returned she started squawking like a savage chicken.  "Please get rid of that black part!"


"If Peter sees it he's going to think it's about him!" she squawked.

At that, Angela's mind seized and try as she might she couldn't will herself to think.  Caroline said something else that she could only register as a series of squawks.


"I don't understand," said Angela.

More squawks.  "He's going to interpret it that it's about him!"

"Well, he can interpret it the way he wants but I think he already associated himself with black even before I drew it," said Angela.

More squawks.

"I'll think about it."

When Caroline left her alone again, Angela gagged and dry-heaved over the grass.  She got up and galloped in frantic circles, eyes wide and nostrils flared. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

inside the tree

Angela's fingers were getting sore from working on her chalk drawings on the sidewalk so she got up and skipped through the grass over to the douglas fir wherein Stanley continued his hiding.

She crouched and knocked on the wooden door.  It opened a crack.  "Hi, Stanley," she said.


"If you come look at my art it's possible for me to show you how triumphalism in a patriarchal system encumbered by fake-feathered birds who have the destructive tendency to keep robots in their clutches is the antithesis of riding on a hinny."

There was a faint rustling behind the door.

"Are you there?" said Angela.

"Yeah," he said.


"You're sitting in the grass."

"Yes.  Yes, I am."

"You're talking with me."

"Correct," she said.

Faint rustling again.

"What are you doing in there?"

"Looking at my dort book."

Angela smiled.  She was positive it was the first time he'd opened it of his own accord in eight years.  "What part are you looking at?"

"The map in the back."   

Wes called from the distance.  "Hey!  I'm looking for my old noodenbaker.  I can't find it anywhere and I'm thinking I gave it to you."

"I don't think so," Angela called back, "But I'll check with Stanley.  He would remember something like that."

"Hey, Stanley.  Wes is looking for his noodenbaker.  He thinks he might—"

"No!  I don't have his noodenbaker!  Tell him to take a hike!"

"He just couldn't remember what he did with it, that's all."  She tried to spot Wes but couldn't see where he went.  "Stanley?  Can you give me a piece of paper?"

He slipped it through the crack and tossed out a pen.

Angela wrote in block letters.  DEAR WES, WE DON'T HAVE YOUR NOODENBAKER.  MAYBE YOU GAVE IT TO THE JENNINGS.  Then she folded it into a paper airplane, stood up, and threw it in his general direction.



"Christmas is coming."

"Yeah," he said.

Angela crouched and inched closer to the door.  "I have plans to decorate your tree.  The one you're in, that is.  I'll use the red garland and twist some green around it and I'll get some little sparkly bobbles that look sort of like stars and then if you'll stick out your telescope I can—"

The paper airplane landed a couple of feet away so she got up off her haunches to fetch it.  Upon unfolding it she read ANGELA, I CHECKED WITH THE JENNINGS ALREADY.  THEY DON'T HAVE IT.  I'M GOING TO ASK JAMES.

She spoke into the crack again.  "Wes says he's going to check with James about the noodenbaker."

At that, there began an awful thrashing and thumping inside the tree.

"Stanley?" Angela said.  "Stanley?"

One of the tree branches looked like it was going to break from all the ruckus.

"Stanley, I don't understand why you're angry."

"Because!" he yelled.  "Why go on and on about it?  Just back off already!  I don't have his f_cking noodenbaker!"

Then the door shut.

Angela lied down and closed her eyes.  When she opened them she wondered if she had fallen asleep because there in front of her was a notebook, a red cover with white lined paper.  When she opened it, there on the first page was a drawing of a black sheep.  When she turned the page there was another.  "Oh!" she said.  "There's more than one."