Bike. True Bike.

Theory goes that 5 love languages exist.  According to Gary Chapman there are five primary ways of expressing love and five ways of feeling loved. 

They are as follows:

Gift Giving

Words of Affirmation

Acts of Service

Touch

Quality Time

They forgot one. 

Bikes 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped by bike shops thinking to myself ‘if only Mom, Adored Husband, Sister, Daughter, Son, Teacher, Friend, Patient just had a bike that fit his/her body, their life would forever be changed’.  Bike is my own personal love language.  I know this to be true.  If it were simply a personal obsession, I would have filled my garage with fancy bikes for myself, which I have not.  I still ride my old trusty 20 year old beater that the kids have taken over a jump one too many times.  Yes, it’s my love language.  Rather odd, I know.  Especially if the person I love doesn’t happened to ride a bike. 

Some might say Bike fits into gift giving.  Nope.  BIKE is it’s own category, and all categories in one.  GIFT, TIME, TOUCH (If you don’t believe me, ride awhile and then tell me you’ve not had a physical experience), ACTS OF SERVICE (what could be more service – like than to work them muscles and get those corpuscles jump’n) AND WORDS FOR AFFIRMING THE BIKE AND THE RIDE AND THE GREATNESS OF THEM BOTH. 

Over the years I’ve bought two bikes for Adored Husband.  I could never get him into a bike shop, nor a test-spin around the block… an absolute must for finding a bike that is really an extension of your body and not just a hunk of metal to be ground beneath you. But what can I do?  He’s a farm boy, after all.  To him, bikes are simply parts and pieces.  Any ‘ole bike ‘ll do.  One of these days I”ll get him to the bike shop with me. I know there is a bike that will become his baby one day.  I just know it! 

My kids have experienced my love language.  Redline mostly.  I was visiting our oldest son a few weeks ago.  He informed me he was selling his bike.  I remember the day we bought it…. was a really big deal, even though he paid half, the total cost was amazing.  He’s married now, baby on way.  No space in life for fancy biking… so it’s a goner.  WHAT?!  I wonder to myself.  How in the world did I concoct a reason in my head for my son to need a very expensive bike?  Now, I know bikes these days have come down in price.  That same bike with same functions might be much less, these 5 years later.  Still, what was I thinking!?  Adored Husband helps me out.  Says he’s pretty sure that if I thought Martians were in need of bikes, although Martians have not yet been cited by most of us, I’d send a ships-load over, just in case. 

Yesterday I took our 14 year old son all legs and arms on a bike shopping excursion.  Cycle shop after shop, he’d point one out, try it – and onto the next shop.  We finally found the one.  No need to look further.  An absolute beauty mountain bike with matted paint and bright expression.  All the important pieces, solid and usable.  He has to work another couple weeks to afford the extra, but it’s love, I tell you.  LOVE.

If you happen to ever get a bike from me, think of it as a kiss.  Or in your case, think of it as a handshake.  Think of it as a smile.  As a good floor scrubbing.  As a thoughtful hour of listening.  Because some of us are made more of tires and spokes then roses.  Just Say’n.

I Collect Good Men – Oops… stories of:)

This past couple years disrespect of women has become more public than in the recent past.

The Stanford Rape Case – girl gets left like garbage out on on the ground and swim jock rapist get community service.

Bill Cosby – 60 women destroyed and he calling it “casual sex”, admits to using sedative hypnotic methaqualone with the women – admits knowing that giving it to another person is illegal, but won’t call it rape.

Mark Driscoll the lead pastor of Mars Hill is off’d his mountaintop for a variety of reasons – I’m sure his graphic sexualized prophecies and hyper-fixation on teaching women in the church to provide certain kinds of sex to headship husband lest they neglect their Christian wifely duty have added to the list of reasons why.

Seventh day Adventist Church:  Women’s Ordination.

Donald Trump.  Lets see, strip clubs, objectifying his own daughter.  Filth spoken to his buddies long ago, (‘We all do it’, quip the supporters.  No, many of us have never had thoughts like the words that came out of his mouth, or ever heard such words.  And needed a shower after hearing such words.  No, we don’t all act like that and talk like that.). Reports that he raped a 13 year old girl (read the reports. Yes she dropped charges after her life was threatened.  This was a group effort, the other man accused, Jeffrey Epstein, Trumps buddy, is a registered sex offender and payed the girl off for his part.) 

This is the year it became impossible to talk about the happenings in the news round the dinner table. The year we couldn’t have our kids involved in the election process as it became X-rated and revolting.  The year an old family entertainer we all love and who made us laugh was found to be too violent and grotesque in his secret life to be funny at all anymore. 

Today I ran across a short little video about a single Dad who started classes in his community to teach other Dad’s how to do their daughter’s hair.  This Dad says knowing how to care for his daughter’s hair became one of the challenges for him and as he figured out what to do, he decided to share what he learned with other Dads.  Thirty-four classes later and 800 plus guys through the program, he reminds the guys it’s not a gender thing  “Even a messy braid is still time spent together. It’s not about the braid, it’s about the bond”.

I ran across a story about a woman who went to her husband’s work because he had been working late.  She found him sound asleep in his chair, feet up on desk, holding a little two year old on his chest.  This man works for Child and Family Services, the baby had been taken, and was between placements.  A big kind-hearted guy sound asleep on duty, helping the little one during this terribly painful time of transition. 

There are the abusers.  The selfish.  The toxic and manipulative.  Liars and users.  There are monsters.  The types who say words with a smile, but words that cut holes in the souls of those around them.  There are people all about power over.  There are small types who have to talk filth to feel big.  Small ones who drive giant trucks, suck up gas and burn tires to prove how important they are.  The people who do not care the scars they carve into those who trust them.

And then there are the others.  Not perfect, and still day after day he goes to work, brings home all that he has been earned, rarely uses money just for himself.  The guy who grocery shops.  He cooks.  The one who still tell bedtime stories, he doesn’t do it all just right, but cares deeply for the people in  his life.  The guy who doesn’t spend his life angry because he is hamstrung by the old lady and a couple-a snot nosed dependents.  No, a guy who loves and adores his wife, still finds her hot despite the way they’ve both aged… the marks grooved deep into her being, stretched lines telling a story about their love and their love babies.  A guy who doesn’t want the plastic of porn.  It’s his wife he desires.  Not just her body, but her friendship.  

This year I hope to collect stories of respect given by men to women and women to men.  Men and women to children.  Not tales about why it’s so important for women to respect men and why women don’t need respect but love.  The church has contributed to the abuse by ideas that we have propagated.  The Bible is crammed packed with why respect and love are important for all.  Male headship, leading and following.  Balderdash.  He who is greatest must be servant of all.  Jesus, God himself, says he calls us FRIENDS.  Men and women are all in this together, we either all contribute to love or to destruction.  We all need each other.  I am collecting stories of mutual care and love given between equals.  Help me collect the stories. I look forward to each one. 

P.S.  Happy Birthday Adored Husband.  Thank you for the little ways you remind me every day that not all guys are like the horrific males who make the news.  The kids and I are blessed.   

Love Unreturned

 

 

Wrote this song somewhere between Phoenix and Seattle on Southwest jet headed for home after being gone a week.  It’s a rather somber song.  But somber is OK sometimes, too.

 

Love Unreturned

I See You there

I stir inside

I reach

And cold you turn away

I must be wrong

I try again

It’s true

My love is unreturned

Now kind your face

When my heart’s stone

You try so hard

To win me back

All safe with you.

It’s trust again

I reach

And cold you turn your gaze.

I must be wrong

I try again

It’s true

My love is unreturned

Cello (This is you, Annalee:) Think soulful baltic sad and tears sounds with piano

We must be wrong

We try again

To stop

This dance of no return

 

Here’s to today, taking love gestures from the others around us:)

 

 

 

Early Betrayal and Marriage Prayer

Stepping into crust of snow, I walk into the stinging white beside a man keeping pace, together faces pink with low temperatures.  He is alone this day.  His Marriage, like the crunch under our feet, is on especially rough surfaces.  We walk and talk.  A long time I listen.  And then respond.  I tell him about the early stages of betrayal.  The small shifts in attitude before a heart of stone has taken shape.  The betrayal of another – the pull away.  The secret thoughts that say to self “I can do better”, “I shouldn’t have to put up with this crap”.  “She says that to me all the time” he says to me.   “And so do you,” I reply.  The past 35 minutes have been descriptions of all the ways she is no good, and impossible.   He hears me.  The story is the same for all the couples I work with, and for my own life.  Unique scenarios, with the same denigration of love.  The toxic seed of heart that abandons the other while still sitting beside her.  While still holding his hand.  Which is why she says she can’t trust him, says he feels unsafe around her, the loneliness, being invisible, being hated.  The heart feels abandoned, even when words and actions of the other follows the rules.  The heart that betrays the loved one in exchange for love of ‘my rights’.  We talk about how much easier it is to see another’s rot than our own.  That even in marriages looking quite put together, we indulge in betrayal thoughts dozens of times a day. 

I ask “Do you pray together?” This couple attends a Bible study and support group, attends church.  They are believers.  The type who walk the walk.  Christians who want God’s will, who weep at the kindness of the Lord.  And I ask if they pray together.  “No, we don’t,” he says.  “How would we do that?”  And I pause.  No one has ever asked me what marriage prayer looks like.  And as we move ahead a step and then another, I hope my words match the stirring at the core of me.

Then I laugh.  I catch the puzzled look out the corner of my eye.  “I know a lot about what not to do.”  Prayers can’t be used to blast the other person.  “Dear Lord, I pray that you help my husband to not be such an absolute selfish narcissistic jerk”.  The sad eyes wrinkle into a smile.  “A prayer like that will ruin prayer for the two of you.”  I know, from experience.  Doing the opposite works better.  “Lord, I am selfish.  I’m blind to the garbage in me.  I can only mostly see (my spouse’s name) faults clearly, and not my own very well.  I pray that you show me how to love _______ ( put your spouses name here).  Help me see how I hurt (him/her).  Give me clues for making (his/her) life a joyful one.  Life here is short.  Let me be a blessing for the days (he/she) has left.  Let me be a warm place for (him/her) to come to.  Please forgive me for harming this person I love so much.   I’m not good at love, we are so different.  I pray this all in Jesus name, amen.” 

We walk in silence.  He understands.  I encourage him to not use this prayer script, but to pray from his heart with her near him, and plead for God to give him what it takes to love his wife.  Its hard to do when the other person feels like an enemy, but it works. 

The only reason my adored husband and I are still together is because we pray.  We would have strangled each other if we hadn’t continued to pray.  We are just naturally too dysfunctional, selfish and warped to follow simple directions for making changes.  God has had to change us one prayer at a time.  We don’t pray just right all the time, either.  Sometimes we break all the rules for praying, and harm each other in our petitions to God.. .especially me.  But we move back towards each other and God.  It’s our only consistent healing habit that has saved us from ourselves. 

It’s easy to betray.  The heart finds ways to reject the one who knows too much about me. The reason the subject of betrayal belongs with marriage prayer is because betrayal, even at its earliest stage, is the invisible aggressor that destroys love, and prayer is what stitches love back together.  God is the one who kindly reminds us of all the ways we harm the other, and shows us again how to love, even when the other person is unlovable.  Especially when the other person is unlovable.  White underfoot, we move beyond despair toward God love.  To the only thing that stops betrayal and brings us together again.   

Bedsheets of Beelzebub

dsc_0222

The bedsheets of Beelzebub

That scratch and itch

And wrongly rub

Little balls of itchy wrinkles

Like a dog poop salad

With little sprinkles

Like the sleep of a guilty conscience

Like an itchy canine

Scraping his haunches

But cross the river to Target’s door

With one months pay and a little more

Fresh like Heaven’s rescue netting

We float away on brand new bedding

By Ted Boyl-Davis

September 16, 2016

Sleep Apnea

dsc_1288

“The hose of solitude,”

he says

The tube that carries air to lungs

For tired body fast asleep

a-dreaming dreams forgets to breathe

“The hose of solitude”

he says

And so he leaves it lying there

And lays beside me

gasping hard

The man is breathing shallow snores

And now no breath

Long stretch of still

If I can wait

he’s got to breath

I can not take this sleepless night!

The moments pass

Before I dig

With elbow into silent side

The gasp

and now he starts again

He starts right up as my heart jumps

The hose of air

Might it be true

Could mean more left of me and you

Lisa Boyl-Davis

September 7, 2016

Faded PJ’s

DSC_0222

This morning, through dawn light, sitting in the stillness of my early hour house, eyes yet to focus, I glance along the edging of my soft blue pajamas and I feel a smile creeping now.  Sleepy smile, I feel it spread about my heart and down into my bones.  The fade of pajamas blue hover about me all the day, and I whisper good things under my breath.  Hope that this newest pair of already faded pajamas will become faded, no, just straight ratty.  That they will grow very old until they are ribbons of happy nothing. 

Crisp new pajamas.  I’ve grown to not like them much.  They come to me to be placed in suitcase packed for a hospital every time.  Some of the hospital visits are beautiful.  Baby boy brought home, precious and perfect.  Pajamas that didn’t fit me before, and body too much a mess to wear after.  That pair stayed nice for years. To the hospital for another baby, this time, a perfect tiny daughter.  I’d not remembered to think of pajamas for me. She had arrived before I’d expected, a month early.  Hadn’t packed a thing.  Other than things for her.  Her cotton pink footie-pajamas were washed, folded, held close against my cheek, folded again.  Ready months before.  My friend had thought of me when I had forgotten.  She brought to the hospital a lovely nightgown of soft pink and white, smocked and pleated, buttons down front.  I loved that nightgown.  I wore it year after year.  Don’t remember whatever became of it.  I’m guessing it was loved into shreds and threads as I rocked and fed, made a lap for two babies, a lap for reading and holding and spit up and …. Another baby years later.  And another. Pajamas packed and used until they were no more. 

As of late, pajamas for the suitcase bound for harder hospital stays.  Visits of cuts and drains, blood draws, parts removed, another cancer, another procedure, another and another. 

New pajamas. 

No thank you. 

I want to see how long the fade will keep on fading. 

Will the blue of light seem more white than blue?  I’m hoping so.  I could buy new ones for no particular reason.  And then I wouldn’t be needing another special book for my son on how to build something from nothing.  I wouldn’t be needing running shoes for me, or another hydrangea for my gardener girl, wouldn’t need to save for a night out with my best friend. I’d be too cut off from life to be buying sheet of music to practice with my girls.  I’d be winding down to dead, and I don’t want that. 

I really love how faded these pajamas have gotten.  Their worn down look speaks to how long it’s been since I’ve made a visit to the chopping block.  Long enough to make new fabric old.  Long enough to grow some strength on the legs that wear these pajama pants.  Fabric fades faster than it use to, I think.  Or my machine has more gusto than it use to.  In any case, time has passed without another reason for new pajamas, and I’m hoping my healthy full life thins them down to nothing at all.  I’m hoping.