African Rain Samba

The steady rains are here again

The washout wide across my path

Journey’s longer

Me and the downpour

and

tears

The steady rains are here again

The showers sting my feet

Journey’s longer

Me and the downpour and

tears

on

my

face

Rains came when

we

went

our

way

 

Rains came when we parted ways

Went our way

…Away

So far away

lyrics by lisa boyl-davis

 

Lyrics by me,

for a beautiful tune written by Danny Rash who plays one mean trombone,

arranged by Ted Lombard who plays some beautiful jazz piano.

Advertisements

The Abusive Treatment of Body and Narcissism

I am reblogging this. This past year I went through another bout with cancer. The reaction I had to radiation was straight off a freak show. I was unrecognizable – swollen and a real mess. Practicing kindness has allowed me to manage cancer, now, the third time – with kindness I slowly move toward healthy. A mean spirit toward myself does nothing but drive me toward the things that don’t allow me to heal. Kindness opens up space for healing. I’ve tried this approach over and over, and it’s real. Kindness is a diet of its own:)

...because healing spreads

The way we treat our bodies in this culture is the way a Narcissist treats everyone. Like something to use.  Narcissistic people are motivated by one thing.  Will this benefit me?

Let’s say I’m a Narc and I’m deciding whether I should say hello to you or not.  The thought process is simple. 

Will talking to you benefit me? 

Will talking to you make me look better? 

Will talking to you give me more power, or make me look smarter?

Will taking my time with you give me an edge in any way? 

Of course there are spiritualized versions of this. 

Will talking to you be worthy of my time?  My time really belongs to God, and after all, you didn’t listen the last time I told you what to do.

When relationally oriented (non-narc) types makes a decision, ‘Will this benefit me?’ is one of…

View original post 461 more words

Bill Died Yesterday

 

Yesterday Bill died.  Bill, our friend.  The Bill with a smirk, always a wonderful smirk on his face.  The mischievous tinkle.  The face I always looked forward to seeing, I’d search for Bill across the crowded Sunday Morning service.  Worried he’d someday be gone.

What will the world be like without Bill?  Our kind-hearted friend.  The guy always with time to listen.  Who loved to see me.  The smile he’d get when he saw our kids.  The stories he and Ted shared, standing out in the church parking lot, unhurried – they would talk.  A car where they were standing needed to back out, they would move to one side, and keep talking.  They’d have to move again.  And still, so much to say.  Never too busy to share another story, he and Ted could talk about anything at all.  Bill holding onto his stick (“It’s not a cane”, he’d say) – his son had carved it for him.  He’d tell about the trips across the states.  All about the adventures.  About the wind at one of the rest stops so strong someone had to help him to the restroom.  Into his 90’s, he was still on the go.  He’d tell about his flying days.  He was a flight instructor during WWII.  Ted and Bill both loved airplanes, they had that in common.  Ted knows which planes he flew.  I can never remember. 

Bill would come along on church campouts.  He’d join the kids for the campout bike parades.  He’d decorate his bike up fancy too.  And always the twinkle, the smirk. 

Bill, such a thoughtful guy.  I remember telling him one Sunday that Marty, our son, who he was fond of, had graduated from H.S.  I invited him to the graduation party.  I really didn’t expect him to make it.  His wife had passed away and doubted he was getting out much.  He came walking up, a bit unsteady on his feet even then, but came to congratulate Marty. 

Losing his wife I think was so hard on him.  He’d tear up anytime he talked about her.   The wife he’d spent a lifetime with, raising so many children that at her funeral I lost track of the count.  Their children, birth children and foster kids.  A lifetime of giving love to each other, and to their many kids and friends.  Grace had a stroke and for years Bill took care of her, bringing her to church in the wheelchair, his patient easy-going ways.  It was definitely true love.

Bill would steal purses.  You’d be chatting with him, and get distracted.  A few minutes later you’d realize your purse was gone.  After scrambling, you’d notice across the room, your purse and a few others hanging from Bills shoulder.  He did this enough times that the church finally presented him with his own purse, which he faithfully wore with his Sunday best. 

This story, it happens everyday.  Good people are born, live, then they die.  He was 96, after all.  And still, I can’t make it OK in my head that it will work for Bill to be missing.  I suppose that would be due to the significant lack of Bill’s in this world.  The eyes that see you from across the room.  The sideways smile.  The twinkle.  The dry jokes.  The smirk. The trust to share a story.  Taking the time to do so.  The interest in others. The caring questions.  The lifetime of giving and loving.  A man whose choices benefited so many. 

I suppose he stole things other than purses.  Like hearts.  It’s a habit.  Whenever I find my seat in church, I hunt for the site of Bill.  Bill died yesterday.  Finally with Grace again.  The twinkle.  The smirk.  Though he’s gone from us, he’s where he’s been headed all along.  A little support through the windy patch, and he’s arrived.  

 

All I Ask

by Gordon Jenkins

Beautiful girls, walk a little slower when you walk by me

Lingering sunsets, stay a little longer with the lonely sea

Children everywhere, when you shoot at bad men, shoot at me

Take me to that strange, enchanted land grown-ups seldom understand

Wandering rainbows, leave a bit of color for my heart to own

Stars in the sky, make my wish come true before the night has flown
And let the music play
as long as there’s a song to sing
And we will stay younger
than Spring

Premature Forgiveness — When It’s Not Time To Forgive.

 

A quote from Google:

Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.

Exploring forgiveness might take many moons to cover. Most of us have heard the way the body benefits from forgiveness. How dangerous cortisol is. Though there is much to explore on these points, I will be taking another direction.

When I think about forgiveness, I think of why we are afraid to forgive. This might seem like a rabbit trail, but what I’m about to say relates. In my work with clients, often I will get a question about whether trauma treatment warps memory or not. I am an EMDR therapist, and the client asking is trying to understand what will happen to their thinking by receiving the treatment. What I’m being asked is ‘will this process change the way I feel about what happened to me?’ This question is not saying ‘I hope I don’t feel better when the treatment is all over’ It is really asking ‘Will I become nonchalant about things so horrible that currently I hardly have words to? I don’t want to be OK with the molestation, with the beatings, with lies. I don’t want to agree with all those who wouldn’t take seriously what happened.’

This desire to honor what has happened is related to the struggle with forgiveness, and is misunderstood by those who either distance themselves from people in pain (as a way of distancing themselves from their own pain), or misunderstood by those who have never been harmed (since there are very few of these types, I’m guessing it’s usually the first.)

Comments will be made –

you love to live in the past
just a wallowing in your pain, aren’t you
get over it

And so we work hard to get over it.

Many of us who have been hurt have not realized it, but we have agreed with the one who harmed us by working hard to “get over it”. We also agreed with the perpetrator by taking on the blame ourselves. If I had just acted differently, if I had said something, if I had been quieter, I should have known he was in a bad mood. I should have left the house. When I make excuses for the abuser, I am living dishonestly.

A person who is living dishonestly about what has happened becomes what we call symptomatic. When I lie to myself about what I’m feeling and experiencing, my body decides it has to get my attention. The body turns up the dial to my feelings — trying to get my attention, hoping I’ll notice I’m off track, kind of like the way I feel when I start to veer over the line on the freeway — my anxiety may go up, my depression may increase, my sleep becomes troubled, I overeat, I drink, I use drugs, I become angry, I become resentful and hurt — and still, with all these symptoms, don’t allow myself to identify clearly what I’ve been experiencing. It’s at this point that someone sees my misery and suggests that I forgive my abuser.

Some would say its never wrong to forgive. It seems to me, however that forgiveness can be premature. In other words, for me to say I forgive you, I need to first tell myself the truth about what you did to me. My body is trying to remind me of the harm by the triggers I’m experiencing, the anger I feel, by the anxiety, by the sleepless nights, my body tells the truth, however, I haven’t told myself the truth. Encouraging a jump to forgiveness is often used to avoid the messy steps of dealing with what has happened. The power of forgiveness is knowing the full ugliness of what actually happened, and from that place forgiveness is strong. I become strong when I forgive the fullness of what you have done.

Forgiveness is not forgetting.

It is, in fact, quite the opposite.

Forgiving is admitting that a wrong has been done.

To forgive you is for me to admit that what you did was not ok.

Like so many things in life, the idea of forgiveness has been misused as a way of diminishing the harm done. A quick, get over it, forgive kind of gesture we give to each other. When really, forgiveness honors the harm done by its very nature.

An important reminder. Forgiveness is not reconciliation. Forgiveness does not mean I will ever see you again. Reconciliation is possible after forgiveness, however, it takes both parties to reconcile. We won’t go into reconciliation at this time, still, just remember forgiveness is not necessarily contacting the person who has harmed you. In many cases, it is not recommended that you contact that person. Forgiveness is a choice you make in your own spirit about the harm done.

A few additional details about forgiveness:

When I forgive, I remind myself I also need to be forgiven (I admit to myself that I have caused harm to others at times, even if I hadn’t meant to.)
When I forgive, I am sending the message to myself that I don’t have to be perfect. I give myself permission to make mistakes. Because I forgive, I can be forgiven.

When I forgive, I don’t need the other person to apologize and ask for forgiveness. I forgive even when the one who has done the harm won’t admit guilt.

When I forgive, I am not forgetting, I am not condoning and I am not excusing offenses.

When I forgive, I’m able to live in the present. That provides me with a chance to grow. When I don’t forgive, I’m stuck. Holding onto pain, resentment, anger, hurt does not harm the offender. It harms me.

When I forgive, it’s not a gift to another, it’s a gift to myself.

When I forgive, I am allowing myself the opportunity for future healthy relationships. It’s easy to see why I don’t want to forgive a monster, however, when I don’t make a habit of forgiveness, all my relationships suffer, even the ones I care about the most.

When I forgive, I don’t have to feel like forgiving. I simply have to choose to forgive. I might still have rage, loathing, even hate, and can choose to forgive.

Each time the feelings present themselves I can choose to forgive again. That’s about the time joy peeks itself around the corner of my life.

When I don’t forgive, I have a narrow view of life. When I forgive, my view becomes broader. Both for others and myself.

In conclusion, the very thing that prevents us from forgiveness, an attempt at honoring the truth of our experience, is the thing that will dishonor ourselves the most. Because not forgiving causes me to re-experience the harm again and again. I shouldn’t have had to experience the harm once, let alone over and over. Rather than forgiveness causing me to dishonor the harm that has been done, forgiveness gives be a wide and high view, allowing me to honor more deeply the meaning of what has happened, and allows me to have a better understanding of the perpetrator and myself.

 

Thanks to Luke Porter for the image.

The Inheritance of Emotional Isolation

Aunt Margaret died today. Experiencing the full implications of her losses and what a strong beautiful woman she was in spite of the abandonment. So sad she has passed, and also thankful today she is with her loved ones who have already passed.

...because healing spreads

1001567_10152081939414307_1511944406_n

What does it mean to crouch behind
A name that isn’t yours
Done changed the first one just enough for hiding
A date of birth, mostly the same, except for 10 years short
The lies –
like pebbles
in our shoes
we’re finding.

A Grandpa we thought ours alone
Still married to another
Abandoned darling wife and son,
And then there were the others
A daughter 8, and 6 and 4
This wife he’d never harm
Dark night they slept
Is when he left,
For some new set of arms.

As years they passed,
Wife looked for him –
Her girls – they had to eat
He’d hurry just a step ahead
Now working down the street
Then ‘cross the town
And round the bend
The changes helped him hide
He’d not be found, nor made to pay
“Won’t push ME to provide.”

Looking out for number one
His wife…

View original post 126 more words

Our Kids Are In Trouble

Our kids are in trouble

They killing each other

In an organized – thought out sorta way

And it’s all over

Cold hallway bloodbath

Dropn like flies

While we so smug

Hold onto our rights

I hold my ground

You hold yours

And now they’re gone

My right to choose any gun I like without a question

My right to watch what I wanna watch, without exception

Our kids at risk since a positive test

Their protection way down on the list

Both left and right

Responsible for this

And now they’re gone

Our kids are in trouble

We’re killing each other

In an organized – thought out sorta way

And it’s all over

Cold hallway bloodbath

Dropn like flies

While we so smug

Hold onto our rights

I hold my ground

You hold yours

And now they’re gone

by Lisa Boyl-Davis

Written Feb 22, 2018

 

 

 

 

When I Can’t Pray. What God Does With Muted Souls.

The dance with God is a dance with the invisible.  It’s like I’m up in my room, house empty but for the dog, and I’m folding towels. The giant trees out below my window along greenbelt are heavy under the weight of rain that won’t slow.  I hear it strong on the roof above me, and against the windowpane.  The giant mound of laundry.  The relentless rain.  The bowing trees.  And I sting to the bone with the goodness of God.  There between the bed and the bookcase, me and the white towel, we dance.  We dance with God.  It’s a celebration of all that is.  And I know He is.  I’m alive with God, celebrating the gift of the laundry, the rain, the bowing trees – the song playing in my veins. 

God and I could be different.  I could be mad I’m stuck with all these chores.  I could be mad about the carving across my neck, twice.  Or my missing breast.  I could be giving him a list of what isn’t right with my life and what I want from him.  But I have.  I have been mad and angry and said four letter words – and yes, said them to God.  But last time I couldn’t pray – for days – … I had no strength and couldn’t think a clear thought, He prayed for me, and let me lean without words, didn’t offer up a thing.  And so this is how our relationship has become much more.  I’ve learned to receive. 

Yes, I know if I love God I will do x, y and z.  However, I’m not sure that matters as much to God as my receiving his love.  And so this round of cancer has been just goofy.  Neck all swollen from ear and down across the front like a crime scene, I’ve been singing every chance I get.  Compiling every good jazz standard I can find, fighting the dead numb slab of left face-crazy feeling of wanting to crawl out of skin, I am learning lyrics.  Reading stories of the writers, most of them immigrants.  Old movies.  Talks with friends.  Gluing wooden flowers with one.  Coloring with another.  Dutch Blitz with the kids.  Holding my adored husband close.  Up much too late talking.  Exploring who might be hanging from my family tree and his.  Laughing about my latest cooking attempts.  Just being together.  And taking in these kindnesses of God. 

If I have to do some horrid repeat three times, it means I’m suppose to be learning something.  The thing I’m learning third time round is that my love for God, really loving anyone is so much more about receiving … take in the beauty, the presence, the treasure of another more than anything else.  And no, receiving is not being a selfish taker.  That’s different, and for another blog.  

C.S. Lewis once said:

“…you must have a capacity to receive,

or even omnipotence can’t give.”

The rain, it comes.  The heaviness – bending the life beneath it.  And in the bowing there is a receiving.  God gifts, they come sometimes in a rugged downpour.  It’s just right that I give nothing much and lean.  Just right to just lean.  And so I do.

Slice My Throat Silent

slice my throat silent

knife on neck

you block my tones

a ‘wanna be’

the song

i’ve always wanted to sing

stifled with

the cut

the drains

and

staples

they tear away my hope

that one day

i’d

sing

for

you

a stupid wish

with no place to fit

body would have never needed

to create the cancer

a reason for the preventative rip

 

slice my throat silent

knife on neck

your brow

and shaming

it blocks my truth

my story

the thing that happened

with no words

and no place to put them

the slice

it

shuts

me

up

and becomes

all the story I need to tell

slice my throat silent

knife on neck

you win.

NOT

you didn’t know

when plans you made

that my song

find

its

ways

through

SCAR

TISSUE.

never thought it through, did you,

that my story

is still as real

when

buried

by

a

fresh

wound

as it ever was before.

slice my throat

yes you may

and I sing

just the same.

my song

has

never

been

housed

in

vocal

cords

alone

cut me down silent

And

still

I

sing.

Ann, My Blind Roommate

Ann was my blind roommate.  Not blind.  Just set-up.  You know, like a blind date. I think I might have met her once, for about a minute in some cafeteria in Upper State New York a summer before, but that story is for another time.  Other than that, I’m sure we were complete strangers.  Her sister Barbara was a friend of mine (still is!).  I’d been to Barb’s apartment before and remember thinking ‘wow, how amazing to live in such a nice place’.  It was a second story flat set back off the street, above a shaded grassy patch and home to a large tree or two (ok, I’m not a details person).  The apartment was just across the street from the Walla Walla College campus where I attended.  If you could have seen the apartment I was “wow-ing’, you’d chuckle, but for a college kid who had lived in some motley places, you’d understand.  One spring day while I was visiting Barb at her apartment she asked me if I’d like to live there, and room with her sister Ann the following year.  Barb was leaving/graduating, and Ann needed a roommate.  Barbara was one of those people super easy to be around – and I imagined her sister to be the same, so took the chance and said I’d do it.  With no small amount of anxiety, I agreed, knowing sisters can be as different as night and day.

What I don’t think I told Barbara was that I was holding my breath – hoping everything would work out.  Not just regarding Ann, but due to my own situation.  Although I wanted to live in a normal apartment with a pre-arranged roommate, and make plans for the year ahead, my actual life never looked like that.  Every quarter I’d find myself sitting in the financial aid office an hour or two waiting my turn, hoping and praying that Cassie or Doug  – the two persons managing the financial aid office – would pull out of a hat some random grant or loan, making it possible for me to attend college yet one more Quarter.  Every nickel I made working on grounds, vacuuming the halls of the girls dorm, and all other income went to paying for college.  I didn’t make enough to afford it, so every Quarter they let me in felt like a giant miracle from God.  Housing and roommates came last.  

Over the summer, I remember looking at my things, a few ratty Norman Rockwell pictures torn out of a calendar for the walls, some black-bottomed pans, a thinned cotton bedspread but white and cheerful enough, no dresser but a mattress for the floor, … I wondered how Barbara’s sister would feel about moving in with Miss Nobody. 

For no particular reason Cassy or Doug, I don’t remember which, decided they had the money for me to attend, and that I’d be fine in that nice apartment, and so there I was unpacking my few well worn things when Ann arrived.  I don’t remember our first words, or even remember when she arrived, but one of the first sweet things she said to me was exclaiming how much she loved the (thumbtacked) Norman Rockwell pictures on the wall.  I couldn’t believe it.  She could enjoy simple unconventional ways of decorating, of being, and could find beauty all over the place in things that didn’t cost a dime.  The relief nearly suffocated me.  To be accepted is one thing, but to be enjoyed as is, now that’s another.

The blind roommate turned out to be a very good one.  Not only did she not care one bit about my worn out things, she enjoyed my ability to make something out of nothing in the kitchen.  I enjoyed her ability to read a recipe and bake.  She was adventurous, was willing to do crazy things like camp out last minute on some country church grounds (because it sat beside a river).  I think the sprinklers came on, and she was a good sport about that too.   

Ann loved having friends over, and was quite the host.  Because of her, our apartment was filled to overflowing with friends and friends of friends and a few others.  Engineering guys from across the street would smell the chili in the crock pot and meander across the road, up the stairs to see what’s cooking.  Students whose parents had been missionaries – Ann had grown up in Bangladesh.  Her former classmates from a college in England she’d attended.  Ole friends from Blue Mountain Academy in Pennsylvania.  I added my collection of grounds worker pals, class mates, a few friends from Mount Ellis (Bozeman, Montana)….  Between the two of us, our apartment was a preverbal zoo!

Ann was an unusual mix of fun and studious.  I struggled with college, good grades did not come easy for me.  I had to read and re-read anything I took in.  I had already decided that I couldn’t have fun and do well in college at the same time.  This was due to that fact that the students I’d known up to this point were either fun or or did well in school, but never both.  Not Ann.  She knew how to shift gears from fun times to getting things done, and back to fun again – as needed.  I was inspired.  Ann did need less sleep then I, but she was always respectful about her sleepyhead roommate and studied late into the night without disturbing my rest.  Ann was also more tidy than I, and was just gracious as I struggled to keep things up, as we had to – we had company morning to night. 

The year I met my husband and fell in love, I was rooming with Ann.  She listen to all my star eye’d feelings months on end.  We listened to each other.  She was gracious when the guy I was in love with reciprocated.  Didn’t matter what the challenge in life was, when things were going well for me, and not for her, she was gracious.  That’s a great word for Ann.  Gracious.  Just a gracious and dear friend. 

Thirty some years have passed.  Ann is more dear to me then before.  She has been the best auntie to our kids, though not a blood aunt.  She’s been in our lives a couple times a year their entire lives.  Although she eventually moved to Cambodia, she flies in to see her folks, sisters and brother and comes to see us – and often.  Which means the kids have years of memories with Auntie Ann. 

I would have never picked Ann out myself.  We are as optimist as two persons can be.  She has traveled all over the world her entire life.  I’ve been nowhere other than the US, Canada, Hawaii and Tijuana, but mostly stay home.  Book learning comes easy to her.  She flies through books and tests well.  I struggle to get through part of a book.  I test poorly.  She likes numbers.  I like words.  Not true.  She likes words too… and reads more books in a year than I will in a lifetime.  She bakes.  I dump cook.  She is single.  I’m married with four kid.  She is a saver.  I’m a squanderer.  She reads music.  I play by ear.  She’s Adventist.  I’m not. 

How does one choose a roommate?  Although Ann and I are as as different as wind and sea, the things that matter most we have in common.  Ann gets how much I love God, how much I hate pretension, how much I value simple hospitality, how much I love vulnerability and authenticity.  We both love to grow our spirits and shrink the ever-toxic “self”.  We both love family and friends, love something from nothing, both love learning and exploring new ideas, love color, love to laugh, love a spontaneous adventure.  I have a memory of one of my very grown up kids being talked into a shopping cart by Auntie Ann, her pushing said child speed of light through a parking lot, both howling with laughter.  

My blind roommate.  I think I was the blind one.  Would never have thought she’d consider a friendship with me as she was traveled, smart and capable.  You know, I’ve never seen my face, and you haven’t seen yours.  Only a reflection.  If the reflectant is warped, all that is seen is a twisted view of ourselves.  That makes each-other that very important mirror.  Ann has been one of the kindest mirrors I’ve ever looked into.  A mirror that smiles at my burnt attempts at soup.  Listens when I’m miserable and self-centered.  Is able to separate her own opinions from her heart – a heart that cares for me more than cares to be right or have the last word.  

Ann

The wind and sea.

Which one are you?

Which one is me?

My blind roommate.

A kindly mirror.

Thank you gracious friend

I see.