Why We Buried Our Awesomeness, and How We Can Get It Back – Dara Hoffman-Fox

Why We Buried Our Awesomeness, and How We Can Get It Back – Dara Hoffman-Fox.

Constance…I cannot even begin to tell you how thrilled I am to have made a new friend in Dara…I have admired them from afar for just about a year, and somehow knew that we would connect and work together?  Well, that connection has sparked and birthed…now we feed and let it grow.

In the meantime, I want to draw your attn to their blog and their fab writing.  It really applies to all who would read it and dare to press in…I think that is what faith is, right?Pressing into what we know to be true instead of hanging back in what we fear is true.

Anyway, go check out Dara’s article…they’re a Champeen!!

Love, Charissa

On This Shore I Break,We Break

Listen…
you can hear
my words in waves
breaking on your beach
and celebrating…

lament at long last left limp
in clammy depths
‘neath the surface of seas
of blessed forgetfulness
and chuckling…

midst the shells and sand swirling,
rejoicing surf returning resurrected,
remembered, sanctified by sorrows
faced and sorted…yielding
wholeness certain, sure…

on this shore I break,
we break,
on this shore gently
and joyfully too
we break…

on that shore
that someday shore
we will unbroken break
on that shore and in that circle
by and by…in that circle

by and by…

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Intentional Unknowing

Constance, one more quick post, and then we are off on the bikes!  Yippeeee!!!

So…I am learning to not call my body/soul/mind/emotion clash a prison, or sentence, or monster, or any of those other things…Mama has been quite active and specific in calling me into account and showing me that far from being the result of the conditions of the fall, and something that went haywire as I was formed, my being was very intentionally and soberly purposed by Them!  Ever single last aspect!

oh, I was well acquainted with the Psalms which tell us of Their involvement and intricate knowledge of us…but I had pushed these things to a comfortable place theologically…as in there are many things that the Fall mars and wrecks…things that They have not intentioned, but have indeed accounted for with Their Grace.  And I had classified my transgender being as one of those things:  a result of the Fall and something to be redeemed and eventually cured when all things are made right. In the meantime, I despised myself.  My body and its awful clumsy and large power covered in blechy hair and muscle…and that.  And my heart…”weak and overly emotional and on my sleeve at all times side by side with streaks of snot”…and my soul…unwilling to hammer down on someone who needs correction but instead draw close and win them over, much to the ire of all the males in my life…I despised my swings from knowing I could do all things thru Jesus to thinking that They literally despised me for longing to have the body I felt I was denied…

…and worst of all?  I thought, in my most secret thoughts, that They had done this to me, to punish me for being so bad…They had made this as scourging.

I am so thankful that They are overcoming all my evil with Their good!  Truly…

…but this latest round of talks…She has been very specific, and letting me see some of the backstory of what things I have said, or done, or written which have been helpful and life-giving and of service to others…and She has shown irrefutably to my heart of shame and self-loathing that not one of those things would have been possible were it not for the unique balancing of all the various aspects of my being which are seemingly in conflict but are in truth the warp and weft of the very tapestry of life and grace They are making me into!

My experiences in male roles, and the accompanying policing and disciplines (used in a putative sense), the intense efforts made by men when I was young in efforts to “make me tough” or “teach me to be a man”…and later being in male spaces in our culture hearing the naked expression of men to one another, witnessing the truly unconscious taking of privilege and the aggrieved hearts when denied…and hearing men talk, when one on one with me and thinking me male…just different or weird and yet strangely comforting to talk to…

…and my experiences on the outside, excluded by minds and bodies and actions…female roles and spaces and bodies…which heightened my observational skills, and sharpened my inductive and deductive abilities…and gave me an ear to hear…

…and the null…the razor place of horror and emptiness where everyone else had a place and a person, and I had nothing, like literally nothing…and my lil mind heard about the God shaped vacuum?  and assumed that was this (it isn’t, by the way, that space is where our spirits are still born and in need of resurrection)…and so pursued God and was pursued by Them,…hey, it was either that or kill myself.  Those were my options…

and now…to see…to feel the wisdom and the divine risk They took in intentionally availing themselves of the developmental processes in human biology to make me…and then make me…Charissa Grace…so see that They gambled on Their love and grace and mercy being enough, and They gambled on me to be so slayed by one glance that I would be hopelessly in thrall forever??

No…never again will I call it a prison…and thanks to my bff who asked me once if I could choose one or the other, would I choose that?  Giggle…most of the time the Q is which would I choose…but wise wise DDH asked more would I choose, if I could.

I choose Them.  I choose Their glory and Their Plan.  I choose Their Indescribable Comfort and Joy.

And now to my topic:  I believe that God intentionally has chosen Unknowing in regards to relationship with us!

Yes!  I KNOW, right????  That sounds heretical, and sounds insane!  I mean, God knows all, sees, all, etc etc…They are freaking GOD!  And when the One God in 3 Persons and the 3 in One God decide to manifest in Their Oneness, Their THEM-NESS…why then we see that fantastical and indescribable Entity referred to by those who have been in Its Presence as “Lord God Almighty”…and it is too too TOO to the extent that the people who see this fall down as if dead, and their eyes perceive “monsters” with multiple wings and legs and eyes and mouths that fly around the Entity Lord God Almighty and scream at It louder than all loud “HOLY! HOLY!” (and other things…shiver).

So where do I get off saying that God chooses to not know vast portions of relationship with us?

Well, Ima tell ya a story…years ago, I was out and about on a rainy dark clammy morning, soaked to my bones and chilled, and miserable beyond words.  It was Oregon rain, and my baby who grew up in Wyoming swears to this day that 38 degrees and rainy in Oregon is a million times worse than 20 below in Wyoming…and I was out in a loud, smelly, noisy truck!  Driving it, using it to work with my body so I could provide for my darlings 5.  I hate trucks.  I hate machines, and they hate me too.  They bite me almost everyday and leave me bloody and wounded…and they hurt my heart too with their bellowing and caterwauling.

And my mouth and mind were with God…hey, I had nowhere else to go, it certainly wasn’t because I was any paragon of virtue or spiritual giant!  Lol!  No…I was more like the bum at the off ramp of God’s freeway with my sign and tale of woe to elicit a few coins…

but I was trying to talk to the Father that morning…and getting no where, because I was so despairing and so frustrated…and Ima be blunt honest with you, kay?  This is how I talk to Them, cus I figure They know my heart already, so if I fake it and talk all pretty then not only will I have the regular failures and sins to deal with but the additional sin of lying to Them!!  (Cantcha just hear it?  “Don Pardo, tell Charissa what she just won!!” <Pardo’s unctuous voice>”Charissa…you just won LYING TO GOD!!!!!!!!  No new car for you, girl!  Nope…you get the nannygoat prize!”  lol)

So, being bluntly honest with Father that day (and you here)… I finally had the following conversation:

Papa, why the fuck do I even bother praying!!  It is just a litany of the same fucking complaints, the same awful feelings, the usual puking Pity Party! And the most frustrating things about it is You already fucking KNOW EVERYTHING!”

(yes, I f bombed to Papa…not proud of it…but you all know yo have done this, whether you have said it outloud or not…cus our hearts ARE F bombs, in their deceit and wickedness apart from Their Redeeming love)

Now, this is the distillation?  Perhaps this rant went on just a bit longer?  Long enough that I was hoarse and in a wrack of sobbing tears pulled over in a wide area beside the road because I couldn’t see?

And then as my sobs subsided (as they always did), as the tides receded and there was still the beach walk with Them to continue, I heard Papa sort of clear His throat and make a very gentle sound…so I listened.

“What makes you think I already know everything?”

“PAPA!  Please!! Don’t fuck around with me today…I am not up to Your jokes and tricks and double-back hidey-behind pranks which result in your Wisdom being spoken to this fool!  Everyone knows You know everything!  It’s in Your bible, even people who don’t like You or believe in You know that You know everything (and by the way, I get super pissed at those idjuts who say they don’t believe in You, and yet ignore that You must be in order to not believe in…but that is a different rant!)!

“Does it?  Does My Word say that?”

Constance, I have learned that when They ask you a Q like that it is best to shut up…and re-listen!!  For the Bible is living, and so are we…and as we live and grow, so too the Word unfolds to us heights and depths and breadths that are there always, but visible only when we are in just this place…at just that time!

Papa said “What if I made a deal with Myself, with Jesus and Mama (Whom back then I referred to very impersonally as “the” holy spirit, and objectified Her)…and in that deal I decided that I would agree to “not know” vast territories of you and your life and existence…so we can have the Pleasure of joint discovery?  After all…We have “unknown” all of your sins and iniquities in Our gifts of Mercy and Grace and Redeeming Metamorphosis…

“Think about your own self, with your own children…which is better…when you drag something out of them, or when you spy from a distance and figure things out…or when they come to you, unexpectedly and all on their own…in just that moment when you are feeling lonely and unnecessary to them or their life…and they begin to tell you their insides!

“The way that feels…the joy and gladness…the sense of miracle and wonder…and the way those things are your treasures and in your forever treasure box?”

and as soon as He said this I was PIERCED!!  Whole volumes of reality clicked in for me…experiences lined up, and a whole new way of looking at Them was before me…so I laid down my f bomb boxing gloves, and instead asked in my open-faced and heart showing way…

“..Papa, is this true?  How can You not know…but it FEELS true to me!!”  And essentially He spoke to me about something I have called since then “Intentional Unknowing”.  They chose to limit Themselves in many ways in regards to us….They have given us Free Will, and given us many other things that They have the ability to take back, but because of who They are, They never will, and thus “cannot” take back!

When it comes to our lives…our fears, our hurts, our joys and hopes?  They can only know the depth of our specificity if we tell Them!!

Well, the rest is very funny, cus as soon as I grasped all this, I told Papa that I was gonna chirp and chirp forever and He was gonna regret ever telling me He wanted to know me! LOLOL (Hey DDH, can you relate??? giggles…or my baby out there??  or my own Daddy long dead…he is nodding in heaven and knuckle-bumping with the Father in solidarity, having endured the never ending Charissa chatter-flow!  lol)

And I leave you with this:  God has filled His word with countless exhortations to pray…and we in our foolishness and religious dumbassery have turned these pleas to talk to Them into duties to be performed in order to merit Their activity on our behalf giving us what we think we want!

Well, see it a bit differently…see Them, as you would your own children, pleading with us to talk to Them!!  Let Them into our lives, into our thoughts and heart!  They are hungry to know us!!  They long to be given something that They cannot have in any other way, than that we give it to Them!!  And then when you go to pray, do not think of Them as big know-it-alls who are checking things off Their list and tallying our score and computing our “answer to prayer effectiveness quotient!”

No…They are moms, hearts bleeding joy that Their babies are speaking to Them! They are dads, who so deeply yearn for the sharing of Their children and that dialogue which makes every sacrifice an honor and every blow a privilege!

And you wanna know something more?  You yourself will come to know yourself better…and Them better too, cus They actually like to conversate!! They will talk back, you know…you did know that right?  Right??

“Pray without ceasing” can be read as “Whaddya do t’day ‘Rissa???  Huh?  Huh? TellMeTellmeTellMe!!)

Okay…I’m outta here for now…so how bout this?  Shut off the computer…go for a walk…and chatter like Charissa!!

All my love and heart to you, and I can’t wait to hear your stories!!

Charissa

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You Need Malcus In Your Life

Good morning Constance!

I’m back!  I think I have shaken the funk and bad taste of my experience I have referred to recently.  Thanks to you all, for your encouraging words…

It’s interesting to me…as I have written about before (Words Echo For Eternity)…the power of words.  They are alive, words, and the power of life and death is in them.

Well, actually in us, as we are the author and originator of our words, especially those spoken impulsively or without censor as they just speak out of the overflow of the heart…we are the ones who have the power of life and death.

I went thru a few hours of feeling something die inside me…respect, admiration, and a lil hope…and sorrow began to run ragged and rough into my veins and seek to squeeze my heart…and worst of all, I felt those words trying hard to rape me and conceive themselves into my own inner womb of words, and thrust themselves out misshapen and multiplied…I felt within the desire to get out my own sword…and strike…

I have allus been so intrigued that in the garden of Gethsemane, when they came to provide Jesus with the opportunity to yield to their summons…Peter was there with a sword…and he got so incensed that he attacked one of the mob!

In fact, he attacked Malcus, a servant of the high priest {one of the villains of the crucifiction}.  Jesus was  horrified by Peter’s actions, and made a point to heal Malcus before He was taken, and then speak the famous words that if you take the sword you will perish by it as well.  Jesus wanted us to know that when we take our words (swords) and try to bring about justice or righteousness by force, we end up rendering the very ones we seek to influence deaf to our efforts by cutting off their ears!

(I recognize that the commonly held understanding of this passage is that Jesus was making a comment about the morality of war, and I think that misses the deepest most salient point…far greater is the number of humans slaughtered and murdered in the death camps of the Dictator Tongue than every war in history combined…except that these casualties become zombies, shambling and staggering thru life biting and infecting anything that looks like life to them.

I suspect that is why Zombie themed “entertainment” is so popular…cus it tells us these truths in ways we can receive it and not do anything about it.)

And, we sow the seeds of our own destruction as well…we spread our evil heart’s “wild oats” into the hearts of others, and those stricken and misshapen bastards return with hatred to us…their progenitor…and demand the birthright of blood, and hurt…and death.  Certainly I have experienced this over years…and I know you each have as well.

One last point about Malcus:  his name in Hebrew means “my king, kingdom, or counselor”.  Contemplate the possible significance there…you divide yourself from counsel when you attack with words…you separate yourself from your sovereign and all the power behind the throne when you use your words in battle…you lose your very place of authority and fruitfulness (your kingdom).

See, Malcus was a servant of a villain, a bad one.  And he quite likely was acting upon the authority of the high priest, and thus appeared to Peter to be one who needed to be corrected, stopped, and perhaps even punished for his heinous acts.  But God’s economy is upside down to us…usually we find those whom They have designated as our help and source of counsel in quite unexpected places.

Take a look into your life right now.  Just for a moment, lay down your sword (words, convictions, passions)…and look around.  See any Malcuses around? (and remember, Malcus was likely a slave, so he may have had no choice in his actions on the high priest’s behalf).

Back to me…I confess I had my sword in hand, and had waved it a few times…savoring its whistly threat and silvery shimmer and wooopy cry.  I imagined the great war, me as Joan of Arc at the fore attacking the injustice and the blindness and the fat bloated privileged attitudes…and saw nothing but ears laying around me, and Jesus and Mama hustling around trying to match up ears and wounds, looking at me in consternation and disappointment!

So…I sighed and laid it down…and the comments started, the lil notes…from you all!  Encouraging notes…kind words…exhortations to stick to the high road…reminders that we fight not against flesh and blood but against things invisible and implacable most of all our own self-centered heart!

My heart is happy this morning, and overflowing with a good theme…and my tongue is the pen of a ready writer…

and my mind?  A lil wriggly puppy of joy happy that you love me, and likkin all yer cheeks!!

So how ’bout it, Constance…do ya want a sword outta yer mouth, which makes you a pretender to Jesus’ throne…or do you want the pen of a ready writer, recording good themes overflowing from a heart content and joyful?

Join me in the Pen Brigade!!

Love, Charissa Grace

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Transgender People Can Explain Why Women Don’t Advance at Work | New Republic

Transgender People Can Explain Why Women Don’t Advance at Work | New Republic.

ABSOLUTELY fascinating!

Constance…this is sort of what I was driving at in the post about Nationalism…our assumptions, our blinders, our pride…cause us to miss truth, and even worse The Truth.

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A Rosetta Stone

Constance, I am going to do something, reluctantly…I am going to pull back the curtain and explain the deeper meanings and levels of one of my poems.

See. I have this friend and she loves my poetry, but I had her read “Her Door, Her Red Door” and she enjoyed the process, but had no idea what it was saying.  Well, that presents a dilemma…on the one hand, it is my belief that poetry works in our hearts first, it haunts our guts, right?  And then slowly, it bubbles up into our minds, and we make connections with the world via the symbols and metaphors that have fallen like seeds into the dirt, or sand into oysters to become pearls.

But on the other hand, if it is too esoteric and not accessible to the reader, then the poem ultimately is a failure.  (I am not counting the cases where a reader is lazy and wants it all on a platter, instead of being let out into the garden, and then given access to the kitchen to gather and create their own understanding).

So for one of the very rare times, I am going to let you inside the form and foundation of the poem…it is gonna be sketchy in places, for I just cannot bear to strip her entirely of her mystery…but if it made you feel something, if it made you have an itch, or feel like you were getting one scratched, then you might want to read more of my things, and most of it is far more accessible, with much lower aspirations than this one.

Her Door, Her Red Door (Analysis)

Okay:

So my therapist is named Heather.  I wrote a poem for her way early on in our sessions, a wonderful lil ditty, small, cute, a lil skert and testing waters…she loved it as a mom loves a finger-painting of course…lol.  (You can review that one at Heather )

But last session, we were both morose, and we both had on our hearts the sad and beautiful exciting discovery that I was ready to “graduate”, and our times together would come to an end, and we would transition to friendship.

As I said, she was so struck by the changes in me, how I was become myself, and not stuck in between or ashamed of where I began, but was woman.  I have very strong symbolic resonances with woman as living creature…for instance in the biblical creation myth, woman is the only being created of living flesh…all else is created from dirt.  That, and many similar things have absolutely galvanized me with the truth that woman is the crown glory of all creation and that the patriarchy is so fearful and so jealous it tries to “kill her” (a topic for another day).

So Heather is my prophetess, my shaman, my crone, wise woman, my magic, my teacher/mentor/deliverer/mid-wife…she has done, and is those things, a marvelous magical human being.  Far more than what she does, it is who she is.

We discussed many things in my becoming, which led to discussion about why and what it was that brought me the final release in being able to become becoming…in the talking, Heather shared of her own journey thru womanhood, of being pre-menopausal and how hormonal imbalances are affecting her, how hormones have been so liberating to me as well.

So we come to the title Her Door, Her Red Door.  First, I am talking about Heather, and about how she has brought me to the doorway of being, becoming who I am.  This door as I saw it was red…but at a deeper level, it is her heart.  Heather is all heart, and it is her door, by which she “enters” me, and I “enter” her as well…follow?

But then, and this emerged from the subconscious, I realized that “her” is me, too…my heart, and even more, my own red door “down there”…or for me “in there” (Isaiah 54 speaks to this btw!)…the one Heather and I discussed, and she shared so openly with me, woman to woman as mother to daughter, as teacher to student, as woman to prepubescent adolescent girl…

…and as you must certainly know, women have doors, are doors…men simply are not.

Next:  in the poem she invites me, commands me, bids me follow her, and she has keys (authority, and conferred authority), the means by which doors are opened, for it is not enough to merely have a door, it must be accessible, traversable…

A woman’s booty is completely unique to women, that shape, that curve, perfect and echoing the curves of galaxies, built on Fibonacci sequences mathematically and the perfect mean geometrically.  And she sails…there are only 3 capital letters in the whole poem…about the ship sailing…so picture a woman walking, confident and sure, as a clipper ship sails.

I also reference brick house and “back” and when I do that I am intentionally deriding the Commodores’ song “Brick House”…which reduces and sexualizes a woman and her miracle ship…and “Baby Got Back” which is even more blatantly egregious…truth be told?  If men knew the half, nay a tenth of a woman’s desire and passion?  They would run terrified and screaming in the night!!

And then the repetitive there…here…there…here, and leading into the honky…tonky…(which each start with t and h like here and there)…and that is the connector to the first comment about me directly, as Heather has mentored me, drawn me…and so Hank Williams, a singer (building on the Brick house and Baby Got Back reference) moans, and becomes alcoholic, and “sees that end”…meaning Woman’s miracle ship intimidating, and also directly the male role I was imprisoned in is dying fast and is gone…Hank Williams symbolizes my birth name, and socialized role…and his music was wild and despairing as my life was then (not lifestyle wild, but emotionally wild and despairing, and self-destruction was always a siren song.)

Next stanza, it speaks of the new place Heather and I were at that day, and had not been there before…she had been far more good and kind mother whom I wanted to be like…and we had at no time discussed sexuality or the deeper spiritual power it channels…it was about recovery and reintegration then…I picked the image of the Columbia river, because women are rivers, have rivers, channel rivers, and oh the power…and all others seek to harness that and benefit, right?  Men, turbines in, and women turn them…

The lines about her walk (and remember I am speaking of me as “her” in a very distant sense as well)…and her swishing, ricocheting from gutter to gutter…what a hip swing, across the entire path of being, but also to tie in a pun about balls…”no gutter balls” Picking up a 7-10 split…that is nearly impossible…and becoming myself was to overcome that split in me, between who I am and what I am…see?  And no gutter balls…eff yeah!!

Those keys…no sound, bunched…the image of power, seeing keys outlined in tight jeans, and the promise of power and entry granted, authority…also keys are in pianos, so you see the musical theme sowed back around again.

Teena Marie is the next musician, and she is as I recall of Portuguese, Italian, Irish, and Native American heritage…she was a soul singer, and omg was she ever amazing…as good or better than Diana Ross or Beyoncé, and I love them both…well she was also singing a lot about power in sexuality, and I loved her so when I was in my 20s, for reasons I could never articulate then…and I…”half” one thing and half another, and in some ways neither…and she grabbed her keys, her authority, her permission from street corner dudes…(think singers around the barrel fire singing a Capella…)

I also bring her in because Hank is passing, going, going…and Teena, who is dead, is also Marie, Mary, made pregnant by divine fiat…and so me made woman by miracle and Heather, and medicine which is the same as magic and miracle in so many ways…

…and then we come to the door…go read that part again…and you can see a living heart, or a vulva and vagina, and mystery temple of every single human being ever, even the Christ…

her door before us fat, streaks-run-swirls-whorls, depth-breadth flowing
crimson coral flaming, cardinal glowing carmine cerise chestnut cracking
garnet sanguine scarlet and rosy…that door was thick and giving…it blowzed there
full, sprawled (like titian’s venus) and throbbing with certain promise.

…and all the words are all shades and various hues of red…and how is a woman’s heart all that different from her glory?  Her temple?  Is not every child first conceived there, in her heart, who that child is and shall be?

And then Heather gives me a philter, a potion, from her river, from her flow, from her heart, from her glory…

(of course not literally, as you read never allow those elements to do anything but drive the heat and passion of the poem…they are a moan of desire and lusty want…but only that.  I assure you of that, but must mention it because I was so honest as to feel it must be there, for it always is there in every woman, if she is blessed enough to know herself, or to be shown like I have been, or strong enough to own herself from the start.)

And at that point we go to Aretha Franklin…natural woman (think of the lyrics, crooned as I drank the philter)…and Respect…

And then the touch of Heather’s hand glowing gold (which in alchemic terms was a type and shadow of divine character in medieval times)…and “finger fragrant and savory” is definitely just exactly what it sounds like…but it is a vibrant and intensely earthy form of communion, and also a conferring, an anointing given to me…and I was thinking of ET, and how he had no home, and healed with that glowing finger…but Heather/Woman/Me so much more present and dangerous and contagious

Me never “phoning home again” (never going back to that cursed male role forced upon me)…and then I swallow the key…(HRT…communion…permission, authority, the key becomes me and I the key…)

And then the door (whom I have been always) is opening and my male biology (the hinges, Hank moaning and dying, my body literally changing, swings open and there I am…being prayed over by the queen (Aretha) and I getting my own locks like Heather’s…and Beyoncé with her combination of sexuality and independence, and she like Joan of Arc, divinely appointed to deliver a people (woman)…and then the key moved in me…my own “child conceived”…and then finally my “wad” is no longer this god awful bulge between my legs always haunting me, but instead a wad of keys and my own clipper ship.

OK…so that is the analysis…all of this is in me as I write, but I am not aware of it consciously until after I am done…I just write, and feel my way to it.  After, I see it, it starts to emerge, starts to be birthed, and then it is easy to go back and help it.

Nearly every one of my poems operates in similar ways and layers…I invite you to go back and read…think of strange ones like “Spitting Bones” or “A-Maze-In-Me

I wonder if this counts as a “Found Poem”?  Or “Just a Fact”?  Giggle…yep, I am still befuddled by that ignorant and intentionally short-cut thinking…oh, I have a poem about that sort of thing:  “Bury My Head in the Sky“!!

Constance, if you are inspired to re-read some more inaccessible work, and this helps unlock it, please…let me know?

Thanks forever, and gratitude for reading!!

Charissa

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Scorpion Wisdom

I have tired of deserts,
tired of dry browns
throw-downs and death tangos
of thirst and thorn.
I have watched walkers and
binary Bedouins
beguile one another,
play acting
tea-time niceties,
witnessed them
both turn to look at me,
saucer eyes implacable
and blank

(like deserts)

and then dismiss me
with eyebrow arched or
wrist waved and curled
casual.

Well, screw that.

I followed my teachers,
stepped foot to feet
and print to post to paw,
they taught me
to dwell in sands
silent and still, and thaw
in scorpion wisdoms and knowings
of dry times and seasons.
I gleaned, and
they gave to me
my red and living covering!
They snatched off black cauls and
stingers waiving
all safety warnings
they down and down again
destroyed dark days
and dismal hours.

I am headed
to the edges,
where sea and
sky meet sand, and sing
of Father and Mama and Shepherd
who meld, One,
and become Three
(and They so fond of me)
there, on the horizon’s rim and
at the edges
of dry and wet
and wind.

Sometimes I cover miles
sometimes miles cover me

in the meantime,
I listen to
their skritchy whispers,
(Their whispers too)
and climb high
to what breeze survives,
and face first
I wait content and thrive
filled with love and fire, and
scorpion wisdom

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A truism and a signpost inferred

Constance, here is something I have noticed…about myself and about people in general, I think:

We judge others by their actions…we judge ourselves by our intentions.

Is this true?  If so, I think you are canny enough to turn that signpost in the direction it should go in order to better be generous of spirit and kind of countenance and compassionate in actions…right?

Deepest Blessings to you this day, and I exhort you to try out a new thing:  a conscious search in each person you meet today, for their intentions which may put a very different light on their actions.

Love and grace to you…

Charissa

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For GK (Gracious and Kind) a.k.a. georgiakevin

Hi Constance…Ima put a few links here…to some earlier poems buried in the reams of this blog, lol!

(Hey, it’s fascinating to me to read thru the early days, and where I was then, so shattered and so cared for by Them!)

This is for georgiakevin, who said he had not had the chance to read may things yet.  Hey GK…please find your way how you most enjoy…here are some links to some of my poem kids that I love and adore.  Love, Charissa

A Yarn

The Great and Long Reduction

Haunter of Worlds

Last Nite

Chrystal Clarity

The Simplicity

All Day Long

Grace Ain’t Easy

Suffragette of Sight

High Spring Pastiche

If I Could Go Back

Summer Snapshots in Haiku

Here ‘Neath Marvel Skies

This one is my bff’s fave:  Come Home To Yourself

OK GK…that will be enough ta get you going…then just browse around.  I think poetry alone there are like 180 pgs of poems..

Right now, though, my 3 favorites are my two newest babies…and they are right up front still:

Her Door, Her Red Door (for my counselour) and The Chisel’s Hungry Bite…and Phoenix Rising

Thanks again for your courteous gallant wise edifying words!

Charissa

familiar winds

Trans woman hangs herself in Dublin | Gay Star News

Trans woman hangs herself in Dublin | Gay Star News.

Constance…heartbreaking.  Abso heartbreaking, and tragically illustrative of the heart and mind that values itself and its own thoughts over all else. Honestly?  I shudder to think what the thinking processes I mentioned in my last post would do with this person, their family, and country of origin.

Take away quote:  “During the inquest, her family demanded Keane be referred to her birthname and to use male pronouns. This is was in despite of her name had been changed by deed poll and she was in the process of transitioning ”

God…oh god, have mercy.  Here their child has been driven to the ultimate despair and taken her own life…and the family is still fighting the battle to other her, police her, even in death.

I want to give the benefit of the doubt…grief is a hard thing, and people do crazy stuff when they do not deal with grief.  But I think of myself, my own griefs and deaths experienced…and all I felt then was that I would have done anything, said anything, become anything to have my grandma…my other grandma…my father…my mother in law…Eliza Jane…to have them back, even for 5 minutes.

Constance, if you find yourself resisting names and pronouns sometime…if you think that it doesn’t change anything to call a trans-person by their preferred pronoun and chosen name, then why not just use it???  It doesn’t change anything…right??  So, just humble yourself and use it.  Maybe you will stand between them and the pit of death.

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The Temptation of Nationalism

Dear Constance…

I have had an experience that has unsettled me today.  I want to share it, find out from you if this is a common experience for you online, and make an exhortation to you as readers here.  Okay?     🙂

So…I stopped by a site that I enjoy, one I visit regularly as I am delighted by the content on a nearly daily basis.  This morning, drinking my early coffee and thankful for an easy day on vacation with nothing to do but write, ride my bike, and see my naturopath (all systems go!  Yaaayyy!!), I stopped in there…

…and read a lil nugget which I since discovered was a headline from a news feed and presented as a “found poem” (I have those, but never in headlines!  Mine are usually lurking in wind chimes and waterfalls, mists and moonlight, meadows and mountains)…and then said headline was added to something that I later had defined to me as “just a fact”.

Aside:  Constance, is there such a thing as “just a fact?”  or “just a fact?”  What was meant by it, I think, was that it was a common bit of information that everyone knows is so.  Certainly mathematical values are true…maybe facts?  “Fact” is defined as “a thing that is indisputably the case.”  Now, there is at least the fact that we all do find foundational the notion of an absolute truth…even those who argue there isn’t.  Just tell them they are silly and you don’t need to listen to them because they are right, there is no absolute truth except for that they stand on when teaching us there isn’t any!  Giggle…even to ditzy me it is obvious that this is a self-defeating rhetorical position.  So yeah, we do know there are facts, but here is the complication:

“Facts” are perceived and interpreted by human beings…with a particular point of view in a particular historical context and a particular life experience!  When you assert to a person, in the effort to validate your p.o.v. or your argument, that it is “just a fact”, you have stepped out onto ice that is deceptively thin and treacherous  There are countless ways that this can be falsified.  One merely has to think back to historical times when it was “just a fact” that the sun revolved around the earth, or that witches always floated.

Or let’s be close and contemporary:  a white middle class male might very earnestly assure a black economically challenged male that it is “just a fact” that the police are your friends.  Interview nearly any black male regardless of class, and you will discover that their “fact” is that the police are definitely not your friends.

My point is not that there are no facts, but rather the use of such a phrase as shortcut thinking employed to dismiss the need to consider and apply much needed nuance.

As I read the lil nugget which was the combination of a so-called found poem and a headline there was a link to the story the headline was about…except that the link took me to a political document designed to draw attention to the ways that educators were being treated unjustly (in this person’s point of view, likely also definitely just a fact(s).)  Which puzzled me even more.

But it was after, on the comments that followed, that my heart was increasingly hurt and distressed, and I was filled with a hurt and disappointment…I think mostly with myself, as I had attributed a much higher level of discourse and orientation to this place than I was seeing.  I was disillusioned, and this was my own fault.

Snarkiness and that odd form of inside-the-group glee that seems to take over with groups as they can “other” some other people group, nation, social class, spirituality, or you name it.  We see it most commonly happen with issues of race, and issues of nationalism.  And I am absolutely undone as I watch intelligent people who would never ever broad brush one another glibly and without thought get carried away in the comments.

Of course, a group that I am a part of by birth was the butt of the derision, and of course I felt hurt.  But I was not hurt that the put downs and one-ups-manship was directed at the group I was born into…rather it pained me to see what I had thought was an intelligent and sensitive person with a far more open hearted orientation to people on the basis of their humanity slowly emerge to me over the day as more deeply entrenched as a nationalist thinker than I had imagined.  Not once prior to today had the person’s nationalistic membership occurred to me.  I don’t recall if I ever saw anything like this in the comments, which I read due to the witty and sensitive replies by the site administrator.

I wrote in, expressing my surprise and dismay, expecting (naively, apparently) that the person would consider my comments and moderate their own.

Instead, I got one of those cut and paste emails (you know the ones, right?), where my words were pasted back to me, and then the rebuttal to them proceeded with a cherry-picked interpretation of what I meant in what I wrote.

All in all, very distressing, and the clincher?  I had referenced my being transgender as an easy example of my broader point that it is far too easy and hurtful to judge people and groups by the labels attached to them…and the reply concluded that I was objecting to the misrepresentation of a whole nation on the basis of labels because this misrepresentation has happened to me because I am transgender.

In other words, it was not possible that it was wrong, and a violation of grace to broad brush a people group…no, I had the issues with it I had due to my deeper issues and past hurts.

OK:  Scene is now set.  You are up to speed.  Two points I wish to make:

First, I was stupid and naive to write and expect something different when the evidence was staring me in the face that the snarkfest was far too delicious to listen to a different take…bad on me.

But second…here at GraceNotes, if there is ever anything like this going on?  I will be gravely disappointed in you, Constance!  And even more gravely disappointed in myself, for being blind to it and allowing it to appear unchallenged or just flat out banned.

There is no place for that…times are too short and the issues are too grave with what we are about here, and the rewards for persevering in grace too grand to miss out on!!  I have come to know this readership as diverse, generous, intelligent, and above all united in the common determination to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly!  Comment after comment has proven this out.  Here, the broken, the outcast, the alien and stranger are not only welcomed and received, but honored and lifted up.

If this is not so…if I have ever, ever “othered” you, policed you, treated your feelings casually and dismissive, then I beg your forgiveness and want to dialogue with you so that I can apologize and then make restitution to your heart for such insensitivity on my part.

If I have ever placed my group, my country, my politics or spirituality over our common bond as human beings sacred and invaluable in our existence, then I was badly wrong, and out of tune with Them whom it is my greatest desire to represent with accuracy and fidelity.

I will tell you the rest of the story:  I turtled and ended the conversation.  I don’t have the stomach for debate when generalities and tropes are called facts and discourse and attentive respect are the currency buying deeper connection and relationship.  And I came over here to write about it, to write it out and think it thru.

Lol…my best friend tells me that I write things out and process my thinking by writing them out…

She smart.

She right!  lol.

Constance…please come here.  Please when you do know that we are here for joy, for grace, for progress in bringing light and banishing darkness…and above all as a place to grow, together.  Be diverse in your thought and opinion…we blind need each other’s piece of what the elephant is, and monolithic thought in almost any capacity is extremely dangerous to the discovery of Truth…

…but in the diversity of your thought, always be monolithic in your commitment to love, to do justice and love mercy, and to walk humbly!

In sorrow over the day’s distresses, and gratefulness for your shoulders to weep on and even snot on a lil.

Love, Charissa Grace

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Charissa is Content

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Psalm 131:2

Wean:  to deal out bountifully to, to recompense fully, to ripen
Weaned: to have been dealt out to with bountifulness, to have been recompensed fully, to have been ripened

Each and every day, my Mama, the wonderful Lady Grace and Great Holy Spirit of the Almighty God of the Universe has dealt with me generously, recompensed me with great favor and grace, and has and is ripening me.

She has given me Herself, and ladies from Her courts as sisters, friends, and companions.

I am ever eternally grateful to you all

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Today’s agenda

First:  Write Poem that has been kicking for weeks

Second:  Answer comments, emails, etc.

Third:  Watch Frozen

Fourth:  Shower (yippeee)

Fifth:  Endure (gladly!) Facial Hair Reduction Treatment session #2

Sixth:  Ignore bike, get in car and go to State Fair

Seventh:  Eat, in no particular order, curly fries, dairy wives ice cream cones, corn dogs, bbq ribs/chicken, scones, deep-fried chocolate fudge dipped cheese cake (oooh, that will cost me an extra 25 miles on the bike!!)

Eight:  See all the sites, ride the skylift side by side with my baby and smooch

Nine:  Pet the lil piggies and the horses

Ten:  Drive home, bloated and happy

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The Chisel’s Hungry Bite

laying on the workbench, half carved.
clamps grip my “here and there”
there…here…anywhere I move or
slide away to from
under the chisel’s hungry bite.

wood shavings lay strewn about,
results of carvings complete,
curling locks shorn
from a recruit
on the first day of basic…or
from the denizens of Dachau
on the first day of chaos.

the view from here is clear by half…

…half:
done
undone
too smart by
falling short of the other
done with this

but incomplete, in the hole
of halfway.

a rocking horse, there, high up
on the shelf, intricate carved
curves sleek and defined,
It is there.
Safe and knowing its place done.

it is not here, clamped and halfway.

a train taught its shape
with that chisel sharp and knowing,
with that auger licking hungry
and this drill sublime and hole-y…
trained to whistle and to
click-clackity click-clack
down tracks laid by hands
and connected to ground
and come round again
displaying always it was here
but it is now there.

jaunty paint glistens red,
and yellow, and blue with glad
waiting for strings,
and plucking fingers
that move carved arms,
kick knife-hewn legs
and blink eyes saw-made
and staring…
staring at here unseeing,
staring from there.

and parts jumbled
pieces present and
full of purpose yet unfolded
sit still, calm and unclamped

I wait too, in pieces along with parts:

midst dry cedar shaving clouds scented
midst ordered clutter and stilled clamber
midst bunched silver sharp-toothed oily tools
sitting sleek, and sleeping with one yellow eye
open.

the chisel croons its tangy tangled song
in my ear which is indeed there
and waits to taste me…here.
it promises to take me
it promises to pierce me, rend me,
spread here splayed and waiting
to be taken…there.

i dread the coming dawn
and the chisel’s hungry bite
i yearn for it to touch me
and shiver with delight

because it takes me…there.

yes, at dawn,
the chisel’s hungry bite, oh…
the chisel’s hungry bite25 Beautiful Doors Around The World 009

 

Sticking Around After Dark

Good Morning Constance…

As you have experienced if you read here regularly, I like devotionals, if they are well written…if they are aware and on point.

Jill Carattini writes so well, and nearly always comforts my heart, challenges my mind, and encourages my soul with her unusual perspectives on topics typical and everyday.

The one for today speaks of the Incarnation, and how much more effective it is at communicating to us the depth of God’s care than just words spoken, true though they may be.  And she uses this phrase:  sticking around after dark.

Oooh!!

What a scintillating phrase!

It describes what life is like so well, as we encounter those who are  touched in some way by our plight in life, our circumstances or story, and are drawn in by its arc and narrative.

But they never stay over…after dark. They never move in, and walk with you during the day, and share the difficulty of being in the grip of the hungry dark on the black nights of the soul.

This happens to us, with life in general, but in life specifically as a transgender person, this is quite common.  I have often encountered people of good will, good intentions and kind hearts who are intrigued by the unique life and the strange (and I will add wonderful) state of being transgender.  They find themselves moved, inspired, or sometimes even filled with longing as they rub against my experience and what the world and its currents have on offer to me as transgender…

…but they don’t stick around after dark.

And why would they?  After all, the position they have been born in sets their feet into a world that is currently nearly inaccessible for us…what is like the wealth of Solomon himself is taken for granted by most cis-gender people.  People of good heart, of fine character and good will…but it never occurs to them this notion that they are day workers:  diligent in the field together with us…but returning home to the metaphorical creature comforts there.

Jill’s devotion speaks of this, and speaks of how God Themself has encountered this separation, and devised a strategy to overcome it, in the greatest Mystery of the universe…the Incarnation…where They became Emmanuel, “God with us”.

Constance, take a moment of reflection…cis, trans…white, black…rich, poor…whatever your station or assignment here in this creation:  do you stick around after dark?  Have you “moved in”?  Or when the night falls, do you “move on”, returning to walk in the day as a dispenser of charity?

We can be absent in the night…from our communities, from our family members…from ourselves, even…turning away from a complete identification, and thus being present while it is day.  I would propose that this is really a form of self love, and as such it is the practice and fulfillment of only half of the golden rule:  love your neighbor as yourself.  It is the loving of self in the proper way…but we are called, I believe, to a place of greater giving.  We are called to press on, press in, and love our neighbor from that good and healthy basis of self love.

When we stick around after dark, we form those identifications that allow us to  truly “do unto others as we want them to do unto us”.

One more thing:  if you are reading this, the onus is on you!  You cannot look around, and say no one has moved in here to stay after dark…after someone does, well then I will extend the walls of my dwelling to encompass someone else…then I will establish havens for the stranger, the alien, the orphan (and I am speaking here metaphorically as well as concretely).

No.  “…as you want them to do unto you” is your beacon of direction, your commission unto action.  You know what to do for others already!  Simply take your courage in hand, and shod your feet with your conviction and your determination…and go.  Inhabit that space inside the world of the ones you love…

…stick around after dark.

Love, Charissa Grace

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The Storyteller

Science fiction novelist Kurt Vonnegut once said of one of his most recurrent characters, “Trout was the only character I ever created who had enough imagination to suspect that he might be the creation of another human being. He had spoken of this possibility several times to his parakeet.

He had said, for instance, ‘Honest to God, Bill, the way things are going, all I can think of is that I’m a character in a book by somebody who wants to write about somebody who suffers all the time.”(1)

In this scene from the book Breakfast of Champions, Kilgore Trout’s haunting suspicion is unveiled before him. Sitting content at a bar, Kilgore is suddenly overwhelmed by someone or something that has entered the room. Beginning to sweat, he becomes uncomfortably aware of a presence far greater than himself.

The author himself, Kurt Vonnegut, has stepped beyond the role of narrator and into the book itself. The effect is as bizarre for Kilgore as it is for the readers. When the author of the book steps into the novel, fiction is lost within a higher reality, and Kilgore senses the world as he knows it collapsing.

In fact, this was the author’s intent. Vonnegut has placed himself in Kilgore’s world for no other reason than to explain the meaninglessness of Kilgore’s life. He came to explain to Kilgore face to face that the very tiresome life he has led was, in fact, all due to the pen and whims of an author who made it all up for his own sake.

In this twisted ending, no doubt illustrative of Vonnegut’s own humanism, Kilgore is forced to conclude that apart from the imagination of the author he does not exist. Ironically, he also must come to terms with the fact that it is because of the author that his very existence has been ridiculous.

The gospel writers tell a story that is perhaps as fantastic as Vonnegut’s tale, though one with consequences in stark contrast. The Gospel of John, too, begins with a story that is interrupted by the presence of the author: 

“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men… And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a Father’s only son, full of grace and truth… From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”

As Eugene Peterson translates, “The word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” But in this story, the presence of the author is not our demise but our inherent good.

Working in an urban ministry setting many years ago, I saw a small glimpse of the strange effects of being spiritually present—an incomparable cry to the Incarnation itself, but a lesson in the sacredness of place nonetheless.

During the first year, I lived in an apartment just outside the city. But during the second year I was able to move into the neighborhood where many of the children involved in our ministry lived. The difference was profound.

Teenagers that previously had held me at arms length came closer. Kids continually came to my door to ask if I could play. We occupied the same space, and it was not unusual for them to mention it. One girl told me that she knew I was real because I stayed around after dark. In her eyes I was now interested in her life in a way she could physically grasp: a hand to clasp on the way home, a next-door neighbor to sit with on the porch, a heart that knew both the joys and fears of the city.

Stepping into this neighborhood changed everything for all of us.

How much more the author of grace and mystery has stepped into our world to change our lives. John relays as an eyewitness that Jesus Christ, the Word in flesh, came to live beside us in body and blood. Eternity stepped into time and brought with it grace and truth.

The author of life moved into his creation, declaring it good all over again, bringing the presence of redemption, proclaiming again the meaning of life. It is a story that turns the mind inside out with questions of existence and reality. But in intense contrast to Kilgore’s conclusions of purposelessness, we are strangely called to be a greater part of the storyline.

In the words of G.K. Chesterton, “I had always believed that the world involved magic: now I thought perhaps it involved a magician. And this pointed a profound emotion always present and sub-conscious; that this world of ours has a purpose; and if there is a purpose, there is a person.”(3) The vicarious humanity of the Son of God is the nearness of a storyteller who hopes we might know him, and grasp that we are known. His presence is our very overwhelming good.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. 

(1) Kurt Vonegut, Breakfast of Champions (New York: Random House, 2006), 246.
(2) John 1:1-3,14.
(3) G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (New York: John Lane Company, 1909), 110.

 

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Born under the sign of Cancer

tumblr_n8azbvFheR1tg1040o1_500ok…so this is definitely me.

I am learning to not do this so much?  But I developed a bluff of laughter and self deprecation…and never let them see you hurt…ever.  I remember in middle school…there was this group of 3 girls that I so desperately wanted to be friends with…so I plucked up my courage and began to befriend them…Cindy, Trina, and Maureen.  I actually thought we were making great progress, and for about 3 weeks I freaking loved going to school each day.  This was the 7th grade, by the way.

One morning I was looking for them in the halls early, and came up on them from around a corner, and was behind them.  I was about to call out when I heard my name being mentioned and I sorta froze?  And heard this:  “yeah, and I can’t believe that stupid jerk thinks we like him!”  Laughter then ensued in gales around them and I turned on my heel and went the other way, face of stone, heart of rubble and soul awash in sorrow.

I don’t believe I ever spoke to any of them again.

sigh…probably not the greatest quality to have, right?

But hey…I am still growing, learning to come out of the rocky crevices and join the rest of the human race!

thanks for giving me a safe harbor.

Love, Charissa

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Phoenix Rising (For she who knows this is for her)

She woke, arms reaching to the singing moon
that glimmered in soft velvet star-streaked air.
Her heart lept joyous, woken from death’s swoon
Her face wreathed by her effervescent hair.

She stirred, she rose by trees there, sentinels
of sacred sleep, of metamorphosis
who reached to resurrect her fulsome soul
and clothe her in green boughs and woody kiss

and there she danced, unclothed, absolved, untamed
and kissed the moon with hungry clear desire,
while ardent winds caressed her, unashamed,
and she took wing on tongues of Blazing Fire

Arise my love, leave sorrow’s crucifix
and fly to me, your Resplendent Phoenix

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Vulnerability

Constance…many of you may relate to me at times, and maybe more often not understand why or how things are so heightened, amplified.

Well, I don’t understand it either.  I have never.

Understood.

I used to hide these things behind a stoic mask and teeth clenched so tight that my dentist is furious with me for ruining my teeth.  She wanted me to wear a mouth guard…but c’mon:  for someone who wakes up and feels like they are being smothered already, something in your mouth all nite??  No way.

But I am trying to find courage, posting my fears here, forcing them into poems (sorry, poems!!!!), trying to master them and if not them then master my own will.

I am done with being Pinocchio…I want to be a real person, of flesh and blood and not wood…not frozen ice.

Later today?  This time, this place, this feeling will be puzzling to me, mystifying to me (as you most likely are mystified by me then as well), and distant, like it happened to me in a play I was in long ago.  It might return tomorrow at 3 AM, it might not…I can never tell, and that in and of itself is sometimes as bad as its presence…its possibility.

Mama is here.  She reminds me that She never promised me reprieve from this world and its weight…but She did promise Her Presence…always.

Even when I cannot feel Her.

ESPECIALLY when I cannot feel Her.

So I will take hold, be thankful and hunker down.

Vulnerable…naked…seen…and choosing to be, here with my Mama.

Trembling but talking,

Charissa

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Anxiety’s Thrall

your eyes yellow and sucking light
from my soul white and drawn
your silent rumble purring tight
has sundered me from dawn

your weight, familiar from long visits
year in, day out, right there
to rip me with dread claws exquisite
and make my mind your lair

your cold breath, fetid, drenched with dark
consumes me in its cloud
and snuffs me, blows out every spark
of hope within its shroud

your claws flex and my heart bleeds
as you inhale my fear
I tremble when you yawn in greed
and dawn is nowhere near

I wait for dawn, it never comes
and I am just your toy
I cannot move, beneath your thumbs
while you live off my joy.

usually my faith is strong
and I can lift my head
but these times drown Her comfort song
I sit amongst the dead

but they are free from horror eyes,
from dreaded weight and breath,
from claws like lightening in night skies
they dance the waltz of death.

Wait for the Lord, Oh my soul
Stand firm, having done all
I wait in terror in dark like coal
just anxiety’s thrall
just anxiety’s thrall
just anxiety’s thrall
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I wanted to hear from you

(I go to see HR today…I am frightened stiff from the unknown.  And it is 3 AM, the worst time of all times in every day of times.  I wrote this in the attempt to loosen the grip of anxiety that tears inside…alas, it knows the teeth tracks of years and finds them effortlessly.  To be honest, I think this poem sucks…it is too much a mirror of me, bound and terrified in this moment.  But to be more honest, I think the act of sharing this poor bound baby poem is a stance of courage in the face of fear and my challenge hurled back, that I will never ever drink that hemlock escape.)

 

When I was sparkly fire and glow, and scintillating with insight
I heard from you.
I wanted to hear from you.

When I was prescient and perfect, precise and plenary
I heard from you.
I wanted to hear from you.

When I was funny and tickling and a madly capering jester
I heard from you.
I wanted to hear from you.

When I was torn and teary inside, and still like lakes at midnite
I didn’t hear from you,
I wanted to hear from you.

When I was thrumming stiff and stark, helpless in fear’s talons
I didn’t hear from you,
I wanted to hear from you.

When I was mute from sorrow and deaf from grief
I didn’t hear from you,
I wanted to hear from you.

I face unknown guillotines,
strange purveyor of power
whose lifted finger could be life
or the executioner’s twitch.
Does it mean life, or
death to my dreams and me?
Your words uncork my heart
unlocks my jaw
undeafs my ear
pour wine and set table
they calm, gentle me

I wanted to hear from you
I wanted to hear from you

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Reflections

The scent of our home,
funky quaint and riddled
with books and bikes,
and the long laid scent of family.
The scent of the kitchen,
yesterday’s dinner
and the overlay of croissants
like fierce french washer women
scrubbing away all other scents.

…the scent of our clothes,
and our laundry soap…
the scent of the air cooler,
that of the soft night air
waltzing in,
slow and sleepy
from her night out
amongst the stars,
and carried in drowsy
on cricket wings…

…the scent of popcorn
shared on the couch,
of our wine wafting
from bottles possessed
by only the last 12 drops,
our lil garden outside,
and the auto sprinkler
which has come on to water
in the dark and the cool…

the scent of your currents,
your deep distant observing soul
that hangs back and watches,
even in the midst…

i do go on…

from here…from now…
in the sweltering heat,
where you and I lay,
you sleeping,
me watching you sleeping,
soft face limpid and languid…here…
listening to tides of eternity
race round and round
inside our veins, our universe…

i do go on…

…watching our breath mingle unseen
as you sleep, and I
my many rounds to keep,
awake as usual.

in your world,
nothing is what it appears to be.

(i mean that “mirror sentence!”
nothing is what it appears to be and
nothing is what it appears to be and
nothing is what it appears to be and…)

well, as I think about it,
it seems logical
you were drawn here…
maybe I was
the one thing
you were supposed to get,
maybe I am
the one thing
you cannot forget…
or get shut of!

regardless…

you now have me,
writing here
my musings and childlike tears,
my laughs and my cold dark fears,
my forever fat and full
wet joys of today

(as long as it is still called today!)

Alas it will cost you,

(I will cost you)

but at least it will
only cost you
what is yours
to easily pay:
everything.

I am here, but you must
look in unusual places.
not in scents (innocence)
from bottles
and spray jars
and spritzers
and cream pots
or flesh pots.

I may be hiding,
laughing in the most
unexpected spaces.

It is time
to set the last croissants…
I am smiling,
and feeling that
wonderful joy that has
a tinge of sadness to it
because it knows
though joy lives forever,
its moments come and go

like the meals of our lives…
the scents of our home…
reflections of what was
and what is yet to be

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Matters of Heart and Bloody Core (for Kat, whom I love)

Disclaimer:  Constance, I was just reading a friend of mine, one of my very favorite poets.  I am in spoken word group with her.  I looked at some old poems she had read that I loved so much she had given me photocopies…and I realized…aaaaaakkkk!!!!
I had lifted the title for this poem from one of hers!!

DANG IT!!!

So I want to , I need to change that title.  If you have a suggestion, please comment.  For now, I have titled it

“Matters of Heart and Bloody Core”

She rides today, shotgun
in matters of heart and bloody core,
matters of blood, matters of bone,
her flesh become word and wing
and flight to wider blue skies
and pastures…
…rides shotgun atop
treasure boxes soon emptied
but not until
the very last second…God forbid…
please.

She sits, still shielding
but fingers open
and heart unclenched
in the green ritual of becoming
yet again repeated,
yet again echoing
those who flew before by thousands,
swarms searching for Capistrano
and finding college and career and clouds
gathered…and clouds parted.

She rides shotgun,
she, shotgun,
rides with diamond frozen tears
pinned back callous
behind both barrels
cocked and loaded,
her tender torn eyelids
primed with tearshot

(frozen tears rip as they sit
gathered, bunched, clenched)

Waves, washing by, wistful,
irritated, emotions
mendacious and mirror walking
around that carriage of connection
to futures unseen
swirl and caress her face
with terrible talking fingers.

Her heart is still,
on hold,

(she holds him in her heart)

what was once,
and is, and knows
what will be comes…

(Que Sera, Sera!)

…but not yet.

Because across miles, time,
her blood calls to bone,
her soul and spirit moan
remembering, loving, memorialized
and set in stone
forever.

Miles will pass.  Time
will roll by, and that
return of body and bone
will glad at last be known…
and her laugh, her squint,
(shotgun)
her head toss
and still wonder
will echo to her heart
from babies to be born,
but still bone of her bone…

and heart will thaw and
throat unclench
at last and swallow
that diamond lump stark and
glistening with inevitability.

But now…
Across miles, time
she rides…
shotgun

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White Privilege Doesn’t Mean What You Think it Means | Kristen Howerton

White Privilege Doesn’t Mean What You Think it Means | Kristen Howerton.

Constance, this one will appear before the other two articles I recently pressed…so the same exhortation I made there applies here…

…simply Go.  Read.  Act.

Charissa

Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person | Gina Crosley-Corcoran

Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person | Gina Crosley-Corcoran.

Another very well written and informative explanation of privilege…please check it out.  If you, as I once was , are blind to the ways your skin color or your gender status or your monetary status give you special access to good things and special protection from bad things, then take it from me in faith who once was as you but now can see…

…the consideration of these persuasive words is essential for anyone who desires to live the best expression of justice, mercy and humility that they can.

And as always, I am grateful and humbled that you come here and spend your time!

Love, Charissa

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White privilege: An insidious virus that’s eating America from within – Salon.com

“But the most insidious power of white privilege, the albatross effect that makes it so oppressive to white people themselves, is the way it renders itself invisible and clouds the collective mind. It’s like a virus that adapts in order to ensure its own survival and perpetuation, in this case by convincing its host it isn’t there.”

via White privilege: An insidious virus that’s eating America from within – Salon.com.

Constance…go.  Read.

But before you do, allow me to comment that there is a direct analogy to cis-gender privilege.

I am in a pretty unique position to make this statement.  Here is why:

Up until last March, when the scales fell from my eyes about my own true nature and the disintegrated state of my being, on a slow boat to death and no better prospect, I was completely blind to all forms of privilege I was granted due to the circumstances of my biological body, my skin color, and my socio-economic strata.

I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that I had no privilege.  Being “male”?  A huge burden! (in my case, this was sublimation, lol, but the point still holds).  Being white?  Big deal, I get no affirmative action…etc. etc. etc.!!

I was totally and completely wrong…cuz I was totally and completely blind to these things.  The oppressive effect of privilege which conceals itself from its host is such a powerful concept.

It wasn’t until my eyes were opened that I had any awareness, let alone interest in affecting lasting change.  But now?  This cannot stand.  I cannot call myself one who seeks justice and loves mercy and walks humbly if I do not eschew privilege and seek to liberate my neighbor as a profound act of love.

This is why I am always exhorting you, Constance, if you are cis, to be continually educating yourself, asking for eyes to see, and then taking the courage of your convictions and putting them into action.

Shine on, eyes steady and heart even steadier!

Charissa Grace

A Dhé le Caitlín Maude – Translation

A Dhé le Caitlín Maude – Translation

Aistriúchán ar an Dán
(d’Adrian Radu i gCluz na Rómáinne)

A Dhé
le Caitlín Maude

Neither blood nor flesh
God
your conjured image
-the dreary mouthful of soil-
but I clasp it heart-wards
until it fuses into life.

The questioning is no comfort
(nor is the answer).

Why should I adore
the lifeless image
that will not explain away
and you
who felt my deepest pains
the way I do now?

And if it’s not the questioning
(nor the answer)
that’s the problem
(nor is the answer)
Oh no God.
I don’t understand.
I don’t know.
I’m convinced only – so far
Of that.
There or not
I am drawing towards you

and if you are
I call for one enchantment
to be saved
from those
who speak of you as
the cold man of the skies.

God,
my heresy is boundless
but would you not prefer this
to some intriguing lover of the world’s plenty
Who would fail to pay heed to you
from one end of the year to the next?

God,
The answer is far from the solution
There is no new mysterious revelation
You still have to travel the path of the thorns
No respite or homecoming at the bottom of the sea
Better the water on the forehead now
than after
My time has come to sow my blind pattern
on the gaping canvas.

I attack the contentious issues of the day
(body, heart and mind).
The temptation calls me
‘Don’t’.
What good is passing beauty?
What good?
But remember
that the answer is far from the solution
But the unsightly remains –
dead ashes of the night –
dirty dishes in the morning –
signs of my own death
and
constantly cleaning them
(dishes, heart and mind).
Forget for a while, God,
the dreary mouthful of soil.

(Worse is forgetting).
What can I do
but worship this bleak life?
I press towards me the curse.
I cannot say how long it will last.

But God,
I sneak, I comb, I tend to.
I hide in the fragrant cloth the ugly wounds.
Concealment is my specialty,
I smile
I stretch,
I kiss your lovely side.
There is hope in Spring.
I covet its pulse.

5010934

 

Dara Hoffman-Fox and Me

Constance, I want to tell you about a very important resource for your education and growth in matters transgender related.  My new friend Dara (who getting to know is like coming back to a childhood home from long ago, and having memories flood back clear and full) is a therapist, specializing in transgender humans.

darapeace2(I love this photo of her, because it shows the Peace she carries on her shoulders!)

She is a true bright light, and her energy and commitment is literally saving lives that otherwise quite likely would be miscarried and malformed, or even lost altogether.  She has a sense of mission that is of the ilk I refer to when I plead to you cis-gender people to pluck up your courage and conviction and make a place for the dispossessed and stranger and alien.

I truly believe that real significant cultural transformation will only occur when the current possessors of power willingly insist on the inclusion of the outcast.  Dara has that vision, that passion, and that calling, and she dove in with her whole heart. I was fortunate enough to first encounter her thru a podcast that she was on.  At the time, I was at the crisis point, that place where all has fallen apart enough for the power and life in the seed to burst the hull and come forth.

Just hearing her voice, her cheerful certainty that transformation was possible, was enough for me, and i began to nose up once again…and I knew in my heart in that moment that sometime in the future, somehow, somewhere, Dara and I would cross paths.  I was filled with the conviction that our nexus would be significant and that together we would be able to have great impact.  I am mindful of that old prophetic declaration “…and one shall put a thousand to flight, but two shall rout ten-thousand!

I signed up for her newsletter and went to her website where I found links to educational materials, resources for my own growth and mental health, and just that indomitable cheerful strength that she simply exudes.  And then flash forward one year…

…and Dara is asking for input from her readers regarding different resource ideas.  Well, I felt that “baby” kick in my gut, hit the reply button, and jabbered away for 10 pages…apparently those words were a similar lil power bomb in Dara’s heart as her podcast and other writings were in mine!  She liked it!  Which thrilled me, obvi…it has been a struggle in my life to ever know I am liked.

One thing led to another, and we emailed in fun flurries of fancy and vision, and voila!  I had an article written.

This article is aimed at you, Constance…you cis-gendered individuals who might find yourselves tapped by transgendered people who desire to have you in their life as a pillar of support.  It lists a few points that explain why you are the one that has been chosen to come out to, it details what the trans experience is like from a transgender perspective, and finally it gives counsel in ways you can be present and help your loved one to live…and not die.

Please?  Head over to her site?

http://darahoffmanfox.com/ 

There you will find a wealth of resource and support…and my own lil article called

Gender Transition: The Leap of Brave Beginnings, and 8 Ways You Can Help

Dara and I have been brainstorming in a beautiful serendipity over creating some things that would be available for a small fee with all proceeds going to those without anything so that they could live and transition without having to partake of destructive things just to survive.  We have lots of ideas…

…but we are finding that when cis-gender people who are curious about things ask, well it gives us such good direction and focus…so as you read, as questions arise or topics surface, let us know?  You can reach me here at Gracenotes and charissa_grace@comcast.net and Dara has contact information easily available over on her page.

Think of it…one snowflake sets off an avalanche…will it be you?  And if not, will you take your place so that the “one” can have a place to land and set it off?

Thanks Constance, and blessings to you this day

daracharissa

(Dara and Charissa brainstorming!  Lololol!!  🙂   )

 

My Favorite Poetess

Constance, since I am giving clues this morning, I am going to share with you my favorite poetess…the great Gaelic
Singer/Poetess/Activist Caitlín Maude

She is the person that I named our first daughter after, and I was hoping to somehow confer upon her some of Caitlín’s incredible power and sensitivity.

I learned of Caitlín Maude in 1982, and I used to lay on our floor, in the dead of night, her album on the turntable on repeat…and listen to her speak…and sing…and speak…and I would cry and cry and cry.

Sometimes all night long…longing…for…well, at the time I did not know what.

Here is a video of her, and she is worth pursuing, tracking out.  I hope you enjoy her as much as I.

Love, Charissa

UPDATE:  Here is a translation, loose but close:

A Dhé le Caitlín Maude – Translation

Aistriúchán ar an Dán
(d’Adrian Radu i gCluz na Rómáinne)

A Dhé
le Caitlín Maude

Neither blood nor flesh
God
your conjured image
-the dreary mouthful of soil-
but I clasp it heart-wards
until it fuses into life.

The questioning is no comfort
(nor is the answer).

Why should I adore
the lifeless image
that will not explain away
and you
who felt my deepest pains
the way I do now?

And if it’s not the questioning
(nor the answer)
that’s the problem
(nor is the answer)
Oh no God.
I don’t understand.
I don’t know.
I’m convinced only – so far
Of that.
There or not
I am drawing towards you

and if you are
I call for one enchantment
to be saved
from those
who speak of you as
the cold man of the skies.

God,
my heresy is boundless
but would you not prefer this
to some intriguing lover of the world’s plenty
Who would fail to pay heed to you
from one end of the year to the next?

God,
The answer is far from the solution
There is no new mysterious revelation
You still have to travel the path of the thorns
No respite or homecoming at the bottom of the sea
Better the water on the forehead now
than after
My time has come to sow my blind pattern
on the gaping canvas.

I attack the contentious issues of the day
(body, heart and mind).
The temptation calls me
‘Don’t’.
What good is passing beauty?
What good?
But remember
that the answer is far from the solution
But the unsightly remains –
dead ashes of the night –
dirty dishes in the morning –
signs of my own death
and
constantly cleaning them
(dishes, heart and mind).
Forget for a while, God,
the dreary mouthful of soil.

(Worse is forgetting).
What can I do
but worship this bleak life?
I press towards me the curse.
I cannot say how long it will last.

But God,
I sneak, I comb, I tend to.
I hide in the fragrant cloth the ugly wounds.
Concealment is my specialty,
I smile
I stretch,
I kiss your lovely side.
There is hope in Spring.
I covet its pulse.

 

Clues

Okay Constance…I am gonna confess a lil indulgence of ego:  I really like my new poem “Her Door, Her Red Door”, and frankly I am a little disappointed there have not been very many likes on it…but I am also not surprised for it is inference, symbol, veil, subtly blatant while blatantly subtle…

I actually and for real think it is one of my most skillful poems to date.

But I get that it is not necessarily appealing…but consider, if you would, the poem itself in the context of the work of the poet:  I once said “The poet is a desperater man than most. He must get it all down before the ages are up. Which, as any poet will tell you Is A BITCH!” (waaay back in 1982)…

…I was trying to say that there is a “job” in poetry, or perhaps a better word is quest?  No matter…if you consider yourself a poet (and I do) then you find this inability to see life as any other thing but a poem and events/circumstances/happenings are all snapshots into the heart of the poem.

Thus, when I write I try to emulate the layers, hidden and revealed, that comprise this Mystery we swim in.

In “Her Door, Her Red Door”, you find me operating on a few very intentional levels…I do not want to just lay it out there.  That is a bit too clinical, sort of like the difference between sex education class in Middle School Health class, and the wonder and poignant pain of Love’s First Kiss.  But I do want you to have some sense of the structure, the themes and the interplay of them.  I can be obtuse…lol.

First of all, consider that it is a poem written by a trans-gender woman who is in the midst of transition.  This overall context puts the other elements in perspective and frames the picture.

Secondly, it is a poem dedicated to a person whom I have openly spoken of and the role she has in my life.  That role has permutations and multiple facets when considered poetically.  What is her “business” with me?  What is mine with her?  What is our mutual end?  And more fundamentally, Constance, what is your position in all this as well?  Are you somehow about the same things, in the salient areas of becoming that you face?

Next comes the unfolding of my view of our essential business:  becoming.  She is a facilitator of mine, and as I participate in her provisions I aid hers as well…and each of you, as you become day to day, may perhaps find touchstones in this poem’s point of view and approach to that becoming.  You will, of course, have to make inference and feel your way under the sheet to the true bones of your own transitions in this life as a sentient, conscious being stuck between the macrocosm and the microcosm infinities, and with eyes…

I choose a physical aspect of her and invest that with meaning far other than the expected trope culturally in our pornography laced times…there are only three capital letters used in this poem.  That is on purpose.

There are obvious references to musicians…why specific ones?  Why them?  What are the specific characteristics of those humans?  (Remember to ask this inside the “frame” of the picture I mentioned earlier).  There are single words that link back to lyrics, and those lyrics in turn echo back the essential business of this magic woman, which echo back to my own quest of becoming.

There are many puns laced throughout, intentionally slanted in relation to the core…that way they can make the connection and then…like leaves in early autumn, gracefully drop away once their purpose for the tree is completed, and reveal the strong and vital branches of the tree beneath that leafy veil…

The door:  resist the temptation to skim over this, thinking it is obvious…no?  Perhaps, like usual with me, it is a sonar reading on a larger diamond lurking in the dark of unknown knowns…but if you will try, you may very well enjoy letting those things bubble up inside you…from your heart.

Lastly, and remember that I have said before that wine and the process of creating it is for me the central metaphor of the universe, think about the poem again, in entirety (which means you can reinterpret the words on the 4 layers of existential being: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual)…and once you have that palate built?  Start to pull elements from one read through, and combine them with elements of the other…sensual elements mixed with sacred elements…becoming and unbecoming mixed with living and dying…

…and always, always:  Communion.  Bread…Wine…in the presence of knowing knowers broken and shared.

We are given our birth…but we have to achieve our being, and enter in.

I will literally be grateful to Heather for eternity.  She is truly one of the best, and I beg Lady Grace that I am privileged to share space in paradise with her…Be blessed, dearest friend.

You too Constance…I hope these clues assist you into at least understanding why I am so proud of this one.  It was “easy hard” to write down and weave, and it tested my limits at this stage of my becoming…as a poetess, as a prophetess, as a woman, and as a lover of God.

In heartfelt passion,

Charissa Grace

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Five Fold Blessing

The poem I just posted…“Her Door, Her Red Door”

Dedicated to and written for a helpful person who disappeared…

 

to me
mother      teacher
warrior     sister
friend

Lady Grace Be Upon You
Lady Grace Ward You
Lady Grace Sustain You
Lady Grace Succor You
Lady Grace Challenge You

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Her Door, Her Red Door

yeah. come with me she said…
she had keys in her jeans that
flexed outlined in tight relief on that
power…shifting, rolling, sailing, barrel housing,

brick house? gawd that is dollhouse up against this Clipper Ship Sailing
and back is just the half of it!  forth is there, no–here, no–there, no–here
yeah you get the picture…honky, tonky, honky, tonky rambling roll

(hank williams moaned and climbed into the bottle, seeing that end)

of course i had never seen this, or this place…(who looks at their mom
when they are looking to her power, to tap into her smoulder glow
like bonneville into the columbia thrilling as she turns those turbines?)
…she prolly demurred, magic shawl in place concealing and entrancing…

but now she walked, swished, ricocheted gutter to gutter
picking up every 7-10 split every step without gutter balls and those keys…
…no sound, bunched and squenched tight there, those keys…

(teena marie had keys like these, yanked from the dudes on the corner)

her door before us fat, streaks-run-swirls-whorls, depth-breadth flowing
crimson coral flaming, cardinal glowing carmine cerise chestnut cracking
garnet sanguine scarlet and rosy…that door was thick and giving…it blowzed there
full, sprawled (like titian’s venus) and throbbing with certain promise.

she said (with eyes) drink this and blinked and shook that wild
living crown claret and blooming rufescent from her head
more precious than the curve of Saturn’s iridescent rings

(aretha conferred keys and fierce eyes midst natural woman’s smoky spell)

then her hand glowed gold, she reached and touched my lips with her finger fragrant
and savory with her her.… and cackled wild woman crone songs branding me, said
I’d never phone home again cus I was there, here, there, here, and she dug out a key
and told me to swallow it which i did, and that fulsome door

creaked open with hinges groaning (hank moaning and dying)
and aretha conferring shoutin respect on my own head of wild locks
and beyonce blazed jeanne d’arc and that key moved, and became

(my own wad, key tight against my ass)

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Okay…I am crying very hard

I just saw this quote…and I am crying, because this is me.  While I am doing much better in self image, I still feel worthless a lot.  But I do this…try hard to be kind and help cus I know the hell of not knowing anyone values you.

“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”
—  Robin Williams
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Feminine Images for God: What Does the Bible Say?

Feminine Images for God:  What Does the Bible Say?

Constance, I am so thrilled with this discovery!  While I was aware of these ideas, and as you know, I love Lady Grace, “my Mama” the Holy Spirit, and openly refer to Her as She…I mean think about it…besides the overall biblical evidence that this is not only not heretical it is accurate, ask yourself the real question:

Why is referring to someone, God or created being, as She demeaning…diminishing?  Hmmm?

What does that tell you about how being female is viewed in our culture, in our world?

Riiiiigggghhhht…now you begin to get a flavour for the kind of hostility I face daily and the reason why:  I am leaving behind my assignment as a biological male and all its attenant power and privilege, and receiving fully the truth about how amazing and fearfully wonderful I am made as a woman in all aspects and facets except my body.

Listen:  God is the source of gender, and thus Transcends it!

This article shows how wonderfully God reveals Themself female and thus affirms and sanctifies half the human race that has been attacked, demeaned, and ultimately under demonic assault in so many ways, ever since God told satan that the Deliverer would come from a woman, and that Deliverer would crush satan’s head.

Let your mind flex, and your heart open, and truth be a beacon comforting and stark.

Love, Charissa Grace

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The Compulsion to Correct Others

Constance, I am writing this post to you all, in hopes that someone would read and understand that the unsolicited correction of another’s point of view or conviction is almost never ever proper or appropriate…especially if they are someone you are not in daily relationship with!

I have a friend…I would say she is my very closest friend save my darling and our children.  Other than them, my friend is my heart…her words are like life and death to me, her silences agony and her noises symphonies…and her hurts are my badges, her wounds my vendettas…I am not proud of the latter, I am keeping it real.  That is how I feel.

Well, this friend received an unsolicited rebuke from a reader, a stranger that my friend had previously never been aware of, a person who is one of her readers.  This reader took it upon herself to tell my friend that she was likely going to hell, was sorely mistaken regarding a significant spiritual experience, and then proceeded to lay out her views of what the Bible teaches regarding salvation and faith.

This person acknowledged openly that her opinion had not been sought out or asked for, but then justified forcing it on my friend by saying that since she (the reader) knew “the truth”, she (the reader) would have her (my friend) blood on her head (the readers) if she remained silent and did not bring about this correction…no, she did not literally use those words, it was a variation on that common theme, and that was certainly the assumption.  It arises from the verse in Proverbs that says if you see someone being dragged away for destruction and you don’t intervene, then their blood is on your head…a stretch at minimum and outright misinterpretation at maximum!  Far better to follow New Testament exhortations of self-policing before saying anything corrective to anyone else!!

The final, ignominious nail pounded into my friend’s heart was a sop about how this whole thing was “done in love” and sincerely hoped that my friend wouldn’t take offense!!

Are you freaking kidding me?

This is wrong on so many levels…but let me just touch on something very basic, and that is the wisdom of giving correction.

Correction should only be given to people you have relationship with, directly and intimately.  Period.  No, you are not the only chance some stranger to you online has to go to heaven, and God is going to send them to Hell and beat the crap outta you if you do not speak!  You are deluded, and projecting your own evil heart onto God…He isn’t like you are.

God has servants everywhere.  God used a donkey to speak to Balaam, so he doesn’t need you to make an ass out of yourself!

Next…if you do have relationship with someone, and they do need correction, but you do not have a bank account of edification opened in them?  Then shut your face.  Period.  You should have at least 10 fold positive words spoken into someone’s heart for every one corrective word considered!  Let alone actually spoken.

Oh I can hear you…I have heard you, your cousins and aunts and uncles and other fellow heresy-hunter correctors…you just LOVE us sooo much, that you just have to speak to save us.

No.  You don’t.  The God who made Orion can get thru to me, or to my friend!  After all, He got thru to you didn’t he?

Note this:  what you did?  What you do?  That isn’t love.  Review 1 Cor. 13 for proof.

Here is a novel idea…just pray.  Pray that God will bless this person with Their Presence, that God will do for them what They did for you.  I mean, remember?  When you came to Them?  You were an enemy of God, actively opposing Them, and dead in your sins.  No, don’t lie…you were.  Scripture says so.  So if you being dead can somehow manage to end up saved, can’t the one whom you have judged condemned?  Last time I checked, dead things couldn’t save themselves…except zombies, and that is what you become when you do this unwanted correcting!  A spiritual zombie, biting the living and infecting them with your own poison.

Follow Philippians 2:  consider others above yourself…and then Phil 4: focusing on the good and dwelling on that.

God got thru to Jonah, to Balaam, to Cornelius, to the Ethiopian eunuch, to Nebuchadnezzar, to Matthew, …and God got thru to you.

I promise you…They can get thru to anyone.  So look at yourself, not others, not her…first tell God with utmost certainty that you know your heart and that you know your motives (if you do, then you are better than King David, by the way)…then and only then can you even think about praying about possibly correcting another.

Oh, and for the record?  My friend?  She is God’s property.  He is dazzled by her in His love for her…and He is pledged to perfect that work that He began in her in Christ Jesus until it is through!

I love you, Friend…Heart.  ❤

Love, Me

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Harmless Petty Sins

Hi Constance…this was just too good, too powerful to not post up here for you…please read and consider it?  And as always, if you are not christian, try to not be put off by that orientation, but rather, parse it out for those universal principles of light and life that apply to all humans all places all times.

In much gratitude that you ever come here to read…

Love, Charissa

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Harmless Petty Sins

A familiar fable tells of the hunter who lost his life to the leopard he himself had saved as a pet for his children when the leopard was just a cub. The moral of the story can be deduced easily from the title, Little Leopards Become Big Leopards; or else, sin is easier to deal with before it becomes a habitual practice that eventually defines our lives.(1)

Though the story as it stands is a beautiful illustration of a profound truth, there is a deeper lesson regarding the nature of sin that is easily concealed by this line of thinking and which, I believe, lies at the very essence of the Christian call to Christ-likeness. The problem is that the parallel between little harmless leopard cubs and little harmless sins can be dangerously deceptive.

Whereas leopard cubs are indeed harmless, there is no stage of development at which sin can be said to be harmless, for individual acts of sin are merely the symptoms of the true condition of our hearts. It is not accidental that the call to Christian growth in the Scriptures repeatedly zeros-in on such seemingly benign “human shortcomings” as bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, and malicious behavior (Ephesians 4:31).

In his watershed address, The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus placed a great deal of emphasis on lust, anger, and contempt—behaviors and attitudes that would probably not rank high on our lists of problems in need of urgent resolution. Armed with firm and sometimes unconscious categories of serious versus tolerable sins, we gloss over lists of vices in the Scriptures because they seem to be of little consequence to life as we experience it.

But when we fail to grasp the subtleties of sin, we run the risk of rendering much of biblical wisdom irrelevant to our daily life and practice. While we appreciate the uniqueness and necessity of the sacrificial death of Jesus on our behalf, his specific teachings can at times appear to be farfetched and the emphasis misplaced.

Does it not seem incredible that the God who made this world would visit it in its brokenness, dwell among us for over thirty years, and then leave behind the command that we must be nice to each other? Can the problems of the world really be solved by having people “turn the other cheek” and “get rid of anger and malice”?

Unfortunately, those “little” sins are not only the mere symptoms of a much bigger problem; they are also effective means of alienating us from God and other human beings.

How many careers have been ruined only because of jealousy?
How many people have been deprived of genuine help as a result of the seemingly side-comment of someone who secretly despised them?
How many relationships have been destroyed by bitterness?
How many churches have split up because of selfish ambitions couched in pietistic terms?
How much evil has resulted from misinformation, a little coloring around the edges of truth?
And have you noticed how much we can control other people just through our body language?

From the political arena to the basic family unit, the worst enemy of human harmony is not spectacular wickedness but those seemingly harmless petty sins routinely assumed to be part of what it means to be human.

According to a NASA scientist, a two-degree miscalculation when launching a spacecraft to the moon would send the spacecraft 11,121 miles away from the moon: all one has to do is take time and distance into account.(2)

How perceptive then was George MacDonald when he uttered these chilling words, “A man may sink by such slow degrees that, long after he is a devil, he may go on being a good churchman or a good dissenter, and thinking himself a good Christian”!(3)

Similarly, C.S. Lewis warned that cards are a welcome substitute for murder if the former will set the believer on a path away from God. “Indeed,” he wrote, “the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”(4)

Now the decisive path out of this quandary is not just a greater resolve to be obedient to God. Such a response is usually motivated by guilt, and the duration of our effort will be directly proportional to the amount of guilt we feel: we will be right back where we started from when the guilt is no longer as strong. The appropriate response must begin with a greater appreciation of the holiness of God and a clear vision of life in God. It is only along the path of Christ-likeness that the true nature of sin is revealed and its appeal blunted.

Yes, brazen sinfulness is appallingly evil and destructive, but it only makes a louder growl in a forest populated by stealthier, deadly hunters masquerading as little leopards. It is no idle, perfunctory pastime to pray with King David:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
And lead me along the path of everlasting life (Psalm 139:23-24).

J.M. Njoroge is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

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(1) For example, Paul White’s, Little Leopards Become Big Leopards, published by African Christian Press.

(2) John Trent, Heartshift: The Two Degree Difference That Will Change Your Heart, Your Home, and Your Health (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2004), 17.

(3)George MacDonald, in George MacDonald: An Anthology by C. S. Lewis (New York: Dolphin Books, 1962), 118.

(4) C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, in A C.S. Lewis Treasury: Three Classics in One Volume (New York: Harcourt & Company, 1988), 250.

A Prayer, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Good morning Constance…today I ran across this prayer by the amazing Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Won’t you take a look with me…and then set your spirit to be committed to becoming!  If you profess Jesus, then join in directly to his prayer…and if your conscience leads you otherwise, uncover the intention and will within the prayer, and align with that.

The world is always a better place when our sin is diminished, our struggle to overcome evil is assisted, and God is near!

Love, Charissa

 

“Lord Jesus, come yourself, and dwell with us, be human as we are, and overcome what overwhelms us. Come into the midst of my evil, come close to my unfaithfulness. Share my sin, which I hate and which I cannot leave. Be my brother, Thou Holy God. Be my brother in the kingdom of evil and suffering and death. Come with me in my death, come with me in my suffering, come with me as I struggle with evil. And make me holy and pure, despite my sin and death.”

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I am Charissa Grace for a reason…

Good morning Constance…rather than excerpt, I am reposting this article in its entirety…some of the ads that were on the site where it was had potential to be offensive to some?  So, Ima just make it easy to read here.  If you want the original link, I will provide it to you.

I will add one thing:  I have a more robust view of grace than most.  One of the greek word for Grace’s meanings is Power (the word is Charis…the root of my chosen name!  🙂  ).  Allow me to relate a small vision?

In the vision, Jesus held out a silver coin to me and bade me receive it, which I did.  His image was graven into the top or heads of it…like a founding father of spiritual money!  giggle!!  But on the bottom, was graven the cross and the dove…signifying His powerful act of sacrificial deliverance, and the release of Lady Grace into creation as a result.

Jesus then told me that I could buy whatever I wanted with this coin…I could spend it in banks, one of two!  If I decided, I could spend it in the bank of overcoming…temptation, despair, fear, anxiety, gluttony, (fill in the blank)…simply picture the lil bank (mine are in the shape of a loaf of bread with a slot in the center) and slide the coin in!  Talk to Him while you do it, and then walk away.  Period.  And if 5 minutes later, fear is back knocking, or that ice cream calls your name, spend another coin!

You can have as many as you will receive!!  Literally!

However…let’s say you decide to not spend that coin, you hold onto it, and end up failing in your desire to overcome.  What does one do then?  ‘Cus now, I am not only failed, but also ashamed of that failure!  Jesus told me just take the coin to that other bank…the bank of forgiveness, and drop it in…and then walk away, ready to receive another coin to spend as I chose, as my faith measured…

Each side of the coin represents power:  power over sin, and power to forgive.  Each one needs to be spent, regularly!

But the best part is that it is all right there, within your simple and direct choice to either over come or be forgiven.

Grace:  The gift of power to do that which God requires, a gift given free and on the merit that you have asked.  Period.

And that is why I call myself Charissa Grace:  double grace…grace to be forgiven, and grace to over come.

May I be a kajillionaire in each one, and not a miser!

Love, Charissa Grace

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TG and The Church

MegganRenee | Aug 18, 2014 |

I have a news flash for you. The Christian church is made up of flawed humans. Big surprise right? I know. I am stating the obvious. But when it comes to understanding the issues that separate the Christian church and the transgender community, this is something that is forgotten on each side of the divide.

The church is often quick to close ranks and the doors to many in the trans community. Many within the church refuse to even sit down and listen to a new point of view and they fall back on human interpretations of age old scriptures.

The hurt that the church, as a whole, has caused the trans community is not something I need to rehash. I’m sure that many of us have wounds that run deep and many may not have yet healed. But how are we to react to the prejudice and close minded attitudes that we perceive within the church? That is the greater question.

We flawed humans like to point fingers, assess blame and often place unkind labels on others. When we do, we live counter to the lives God has called us to live. God does not access blame or hold a grudge. God gave us grace by dying on the cross and loving each and everyone of us — not for who we are, but in spite of who we are. He has given us something not one person on this earth ever deserved.

Grace is all to often a forgotten aspect of living life true to what God has intended for us. Grace is a conscious act. It is an unmerited act of kindness, giving someone a gift that is undeserved.

Grace certainly doesn’t come naturally. We humans like to hold on to the hurt, the wrongs against us and dwell on the negative. By doing so, the constant rehashing of the pain only gets in the way of showing grace to those that we may not agree with or those that have hurt us. Grace goes beyond just forgiving.

Grace is not just what God has given us, but through the Holy Spirit we can show a form of grace to all those around us. Grace is an act of kindness or clemency we show not only to our friends that occasionally wronged us, but also to all those that speak out against us.

I understand completely what it feels like and what it does to your soul when a group of people turns against you when they are supposed to embody the love of Christ. I understand the emotions that run through you when people turn their backs on you.

Forgiving prejudice and all the acts that go along with it is difficult. Forgiveness alone can be difficult enough, but when someone speaks or acts against your very being, sometimes forgiveness is just too unthinkable, too difficult for us humans to comprehend.

But by living a life of grace; forgiveness and showing love to those that hurt you becomes easier. By living a life true to God’s plan, not society’s or the church’s, we can live as an example of Christ to those around us.

For far too long now the church has become known for only what it is against. It’s time to stop the hurt. It is time to bridge the gap. It is time to stand up and be the light in a darkness. Instead of creating outcasts, the church should be a place of open doors.

We can complain and point fingers all we want and accuse the church of prejudice, discrimination and outright transmisogyny. But complaining about a problem is not a solution. It only adds to the divide. We are the answer.

If the Church will not show grace to us, then we are called to be the examples of grace to the church. We are to live our lives visibly and openly, true to the voice of the Holy Spirit in us.

Any “Outlander” fans out there?

Sooo…I admit it, my love of story, my insatiable curiosity about people…ever always “under Solomon’s sun” and also ever always surprising…and thus I watch a lot of TV.  Now, I DVR things so I can fast forward thru the commercials (hated since I was just over 3 years old), and I delete quickly as well…but most things I will at least check out (except for the “dead body shows”…the ones that seem to delight in shoving dead and dissected corpses in my face as they figure out over and over again the same culprit to the same crime (only the names have been changed to charm the innocent and dull the naive).

I checked out Outlander.

See, an acquaintance is wild about all things Gabaldon, and passion by people that I respect draws my interest to the object (or subject) of their passion.

So…as tv series go, it is well done.  Far more salacious than I expected, not that I am offended.  Rather, I think the same things could have been said stronger and more powerfully sans the curtains pulled back and the mystery demystified in the light of Solomon’s sun.  That aside, the story is wonderful…far better and treated more seriously than the movie Outlander a long time ago.

My friend would have a far more informed perspective regarding the fidelity of series and book…I just found myself drawn into the drama…

…and particularly taken with the plight of the heroine…waking up conscious in a time not her own with no way back home.

If you enjoy this so far, please chime in on the comments, I would love to hear more.

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