Eternal Continuum (Part Two)

a central point
lurking somewhere
between nothing
and all—
and infinitely far
from understanding
either…tumblr_nlxdr5BkKB1s2z59jo1_1280blind to nothingness
from which
we flashed
at the call
of Fiery Lips
and numb
to the infinite
glories that engulf
and hold us.

this point unchangeable
this chameleon point
containing all contradiction
and inconsistencytumblr_np01taszo51s5neh1o2_1280

(desire to be a friend
the bent to manipulate friends
the being of a neighbor good
the compulsion to walk away
cold hearted without helping)

this point,
this tipping point
has honour enough
to erect the head
of the poorest bum,
and shame enough
to bow the shoulders
of the greatest king.

that Point,
that Mediator
of Merciful Hope

(drying the tears of a broken world
reviving the Image of the Divine within
overcoming the enemies
of our Death and Sin)___6021929_orig

Sure, grounded
obviating and containing
all contradictions
in this point

that point provides
the only grounding
and offers hope
for the contradictions
within, and more
than mere hope
for escape.

That point redeems the tension this point is.tumblr_njx55hxpLn1sypuuko1_400

We have born
the image of
the man of dust.

We also will
bear the Image
of the One
in Heaven

overflowing
with
thankfulness.tumblr_noy7d6hyuJ1s5neh1o1_1280

Privilege and Captivity: One and the Same

This morning I am somewhat morose over an experience that I had this week.tumblr_mws19657NM1t3vrj3o1_540

I am struggling to deal with the ways that people tend to gravitate to ideas and appealing causes, tend to be drawn to words that are spoken with passion and purpose…

…but when the Incarnation time comes, they turtle…back into the shell of comfort, or familiarity, or least resistance, or something that they falsely call peace when it is actually the mere absence of conflict.

You did realise that, didn’t you? Your destiny? To become an Incarnate word? To take that core passion, meaning, burning intention, determination, whatever it is, and actually become a living, breathing, triumphing, failing, enduring persevering example of it!

But oh the cost…and pain…confusion and sorrow (But One has gone before and blazed the trail).tumblr_np0qu3m6mq1qk2poao1_1280

There is a paradigm in our culture (that stems from a greater problem, but that is another post another time) and it holds us ALL captive…except some of us are captive in barbwire bonds, and some are just captive by walls inescapable…and can move about, partake of comforts that make it more bearable being a prisoner.

That latter quality is called privilege. When you have it, words that wound and destroy are seen as not such a bad thing and meant only as jokes or slang.

When you don’t have it and protest words that wound and destroy,  you become the object of the privileged speaker’s ire and irritation at being called out…and finding yourself alone in this sort of battle is sobering and difficult.

When you have privilege a raid on your personhood is like going to the beach and taking a bucketful of sand…when you don’t have it, a raid on your personhood is like a flood that washes away precious topsoil and leaves a devastating wasteland in its place.tumblr_nowtpbDLaj1s4cmmwo1_1280

This week I encountered a man on social media who used diminishing and objectifying vocabulary to describe how he became aroused as a teen-ager regardless of what the women were wearing.  He purported to be a supporter of women, an opponent of Rape Culture and an advocate for women as subjects and not just objects of the lusts of men.  He seemed to value being somewhat flip and “hep”, because he used this term to describe lusting after a woman:  “Bone Out”.

Bone Out.393121_400888443273074_63734520_n-934x

Constance, if you are reading this as a human being who has spent time in male spaces where they believe themselves to be alone with themselves and no female people present, you will recognize this term as slang for masturbation accompanied by fantasizing over whatever poor unfortunate woman has the burden of being his fantasy object, and in this fantasy she will do, be, say, or act out whatever it is he wants (or thinks he does).  You will also know that after you are finished “boning out”, you will have unconsciously internalized (in varying degrees) some of this fantasy as “how women really are” and “what women really want”.

Constance, if you are female…how do you feel inside when someone who purports to be an advocate advocates for you while talking about “Boning Out” and blatantly says that it doesn’t matter what you wear, it is going to happen?

Well, I called him out on it…first with a somewhat rhetorical “Wait, whaaaa?  What did I just read?” (or words to that effect, I cannot quote them because I blocked this person after our next exchanges).

Aaaannnnddd, what do you think this advocate did?  Check himself, and say “Oh wow, sorry ladies, I apologize for my slang, and I really do see how in trying to make a point that dress codes are irrelevant I inadvertently revealed that I was gonna lust after you whenever I wanted to”…hmm?  Seems a gracious response, yes?  Or do you think he got huffy, aggrieved and touchy, blame shifting any objection to what he said over to the objector?

DING DING DING!!!  And you got it!  The latter!tumblr_n6a43xqvY01qfi7p6o1_1280

Now keep in mind that this thread was vitally active with intelligent women who were making informed and insightful thoughtful comments and expressing their hearts over how these dress codes are designed to oppress and other women and keep them in places of exclusion in the paradigm.

So I commented further and sought to point out that his vocabulary was coarse at best and lowered the level of discourse and destructive at worst because of the way it objectified and sexualized women.  I tried to point out that he had obviated his support of abolishing dress codes by flat out stating that he would lust after a woman regardless of what she is wearing!

Let that sink in.

He then went on to defend his position that school attire should be like work attire:  “business appropriate”…and that is not a bad idea, by the way (the fact that many people do not want to go into business not withstanding)…and yet still couldn’t see that the problem was not the dress code!

The problem is in the attitude of males who believe it their right OR their inescapable biological destiny to lust after women for the sake of their own satiation sexually.  So we know that this person would “bone out” over a woman in business attire, or snowsuits, or bikinis, or the latest chic shade of grey.

Scattered throughout his man-splainin’ were jabs at me, turning it back on me and basically claiming to be intention-wise such a champion of women…and he doubled down on his slang with scatological vocabulary and a tone of anger in his words that I took as his clear intention to intimidate me into silence…tumblr_nowl3btjDz1sooy9go1_1280

and he also doubled down on his blindness and tone-deafness, by making comments about his propensity to get aroused over whatever women were around.  He did not own this as his own issue!  He said that women give him a chubby!

So Constance, you women out there…be it known that you now have a new role: to be a Giver!  YAAAYYY…um no yay, because you are now a giver of chubbies.

Oh, and “chubbie” is a cute word which is used to cutify the male erection…I suppose calling it a chubbie was supposed to make me coo like it was his mischievous unruly puppy that makes messes here and there but will be oh so loveable if I just pet it and feed it.

I know these things.  I lived amongst them.tumblr_mxqdlbSkej1qft4nwo2_1280

No matter what you are doing, whether you realize it or not, you are a giver of chubbies to men.  And what are these poor fellows to do, being such a downtrodden oppressed group, except to take this gift and…yeah.

Well, I appealed to my sisters who had been speaking so lively and true…was I wrong?  Was I out of line?  Was everyone just so impressed with his wit, his scatological riffs more reminiscent of Richard Pryor than Dice Clay?  Would they let me know?  Or, if I was right, would they come to my side and help me try to educate this man?

I also decided to draw the interaction to a conclusion so far as my end was concerned because in social media an artificial connection exists that does not lend itself well to “Iron sharpening Iron”…you have all been there I am sure…emotions rise up and swamp intellect and good will is washed away and insult and invective become the implements of war in Sarcasm’s hand, until blood and entrails are the media for the pictograms that death carves into the scene.  And all that carnage between two Image Bearers who have never met, never knew each other even existed 10 minutes before, and have no idea who and what the other person is…

…the wrong that is inside us just gushes out like a geyser…

…why does it almost never happen otherwise when there is a sharp difference of opinion or misunderstanding?  No, better to just end it, after all the beginning of a quarrel is soo much like starting to relieve one’s self:  once it is going, it is nearly impossible to stop until you have voided your bladder, and then it’s too late, you have defiled everything in the stream of your waste.

And also, I blocked this person, because I have stepped in it before with men just like this guy who then become relentless in hunting me down and virtually assaulting me online, and rest assured they make sure that I know that I am transgender and what they think of it…as if I had not ever known or heard.  And when you are told that you will be ambushed and killed by people that others think is a great guy, well it messes with your heart.tumblr_mwk6uksqQj1sl15wgo1_1280

And no, this guy did not say that to me…at least not that I know.  Because I blocked him preemptively.

This all happened on someone else’s domain, and I did not feel the freedom to deconstruct his arguments and address them one by one…and I truly believe that he was so angry and defensive it would have made it worse.  I also did not think to copy them all before I blocked him so that I had a record, and I do not want to unblock him in order to do that…

…so these are my recollections…but really…these are the things I felt and experienced…

and they left me feeling bruised and insulted…

…and isolated.tumblr_mqhjbp8dZ61qer2oto1_1280

No one else said anything…what was so obvi to me was either not true, wasn’t visible, or was so scary that no one else would step forward and stand with me.  And that is what was the most deeply discouraging, because then I wonder if I had been a cis female would someone have spoken up for me?  Was everyone silent because I am transgender, and openly so?  Is my courage like trying to put out a volcano by carrying teacups of water to the violence one by one?

If I am silent, it continues.  If I speak, it attacks, and continues.

Well, I am speaking.  Here…on Grace Notes…and I am saying it is not okay for men to hide behind the notion that their arousal from being around women is something they cannot control…I know about this first hand, and it is indeed possible to not do this!  I am saying it is not okay to talk both sides against the middle.

And that way?  At least I can live with myself.

Do JUSTICE
Love MERCY
Walk HUMBLY

In sorrow and tears,
Charissa

tumblr_mtyb55ZBUv1sc24v1o1_500

Eternal Continuum (Part One)

“What does it mean to be human?”

That’s like asking
what does it mean
to mean something!

Plumbing depths of humanity
and falling past microscopic random flaws,
thru macroscopic cosmic starbursts,
thru eternity’s barrier of sound and senses,
to find yourself again placed heretumblr_norohiwnQL1sppftyo1_1280in perfect setting

like golden apples in rings of silver pure
between micro and macro verses…
placed intentionally and sure,

well, the implications are far-reaching and intricate,
and I wonder at the cure for

a mind untamed
a soul intellectual
inhabiting together
a body become
an appetitive beast
a divided creature furtive
and creeping corpulent
and crepitating with
crepuscular compassion
and cruelty
all at once.380712_400888633273055_1393352173_n-620x

Is the dividing line
of mind and body
the line dividing
good and evil
that cuts through
the heart of every
human being?

and what is that?
Being human?tumblr_np0l2kYa261qkb10mo1_1280

Ode to Canning

After several hours, canning is done!

On the menu:
Low Sugar Strawberry Jam
Low Sugar Blue-Strawberry Jam
Strawberry w/Black Pepper and Balsamic
Lavender Infused Strawberry Caramel
Once I figured out
the frothee bubble thing
from the first batch

it was smooth sailing!

Thanks Helen and Erik
for your advice and help.

This poem is a FB post by my friend Terri Aldridge…if you click on her name, it goes to a poem I wrote about/for her.

I glanced at her FB post here, and it just sang to me of the steam and the heat and the delights that must be waited for…the odds are you may not be able to see the FB post…but it is this pic, with those words that I just formatted a bit…as a lil one with my Grandma, we canned a bit…(and by a bit I mean a LOT).

Remember, my dear People Mover:

to become delicious delectable jam
that tastes amazing and delights many,
you must be picked and plucked,
diced and disected,
mashed and mixed,
whirled and HEATED,

and then placed
in a place with no air…

Grace will be your air,
and faith your lungs.
I will breathe for you,
I will believe for you

You will open,
in times of want and famine
and Mama will unscrew that cap
that seals you now,
frustrates you now,
defeats you now…

She will dig into you
with Her Refined Silver Glistening Spoon
and spread you out from the seas to the moon
and your gravity of flavor will move the moon
(instead of the other way around)

Until then
let your heart
be sweet and gentle
let your fires bank so low
and nurture hope inside your spirit
and wells of love pure in your soul
and peace will be the war you know

much love and continued prayers
you matter, and are fiercely unique
and vitally important in the Shine…

Charissatumblr_nn11mkeKi21thfeewo1_500

Why Everything Does Not Happen For A Reason

Constance, John P says it!! Sez it well, and so much better than I try to…thanks Brother!!

john pavlovitz

SadGirlwindow

That phrase.

We’ve all received it personally gift wrapped, by well-meaning friends, caring loved ones, and kind strangers. It usually comes delivered with the most beautiful of intentions; a buffer of hope raised in the face of the unimaginably painful things we sometimes experience in this life.

It’s a close, desperate lifeline thrown out to us when all other words fail:

Everything happens for a reason.

I’ve never had a tremendous amount of peace with the sentiment. I think it gives the terrible stuff too much power, too much poetry; as if there must be nobility and purpose within the brutal devastation we may find ourselves sitting in. In our profound distress, this idea forces us to run down dark, twisted rabbit trails, looking for the specific part of The Greater Plan that this suffering all fits into.

It serves as an emotional distraction, one that cheats us out of the full measure of our real-time grief and outrage. We stutter…

View original post 608 more words

The Pools of Illusion

Your bellies drag the ground,
crouched and coiled and waiting,
unsprung and deadly potent,
filled with waters, poison
imbibed, ingested, indulged,
you lurk and lay in waiting
to pounce on me defenseless,
beside dark pools malignant
 with memories, dreams and reflections
that sit off kilter, cracked,
those springs of tales seductive
retold and twisted…clockwise

(remember that we used to live
anti-clock-wise?  You recall?
Remember how that was?
Can you even do it now…
re-member?Your tails lashing hazy air
your tales lashing me in here,
deep inside, they probe and seek
to replicate themselves,
like viruses, contagious
half-truths bitter, poisonous
in decade-long half-lives
hanging like a blade
of time left to be served
in a sentence undeserved.tumblr_nlo1ogBFSk1s2z59jo1_1280But I swim rivers
pure and vital,
waters crashed on
clean stone, shattered
into liquid smithereens,
a million broken rainbow prismstumblr_nb949v0kp41s1vn29o5_1280clinging to the air together
to speak of wholeness
in the broken
gathering of them
all together andtumblr_nmzdul5Y8W1qbe766o3_1280I breathe air and drink
the water of life immune
to your off-kilter philter.

So if you see me
(if you even bother
to look) and I am sick?
It is your own infected myth
I drain so you could simply stop,
quit worshipping the twisted past,
old box of pain, and you can join me,
once again beneath the stars,

beneath the moon in the spring rain
in the spring rain beneath the moon
the moon and rain so clean and pure
and free from stagnant pools.tumblr_m67b1gzLlg1qzn4kzo1_1280

Breathtaking Quote!

tumblr_nnvtyxBU6W1qat5pio1_500This.  My goal when I create poetry.

We want
to decipher skies
and paintings,
go behind these starry backgrounds
or these painted canvases and,
like kids
trying to find a gap
in a fence,
try to look through the cracks
in the world.
Georges Bataille

tumblr_nn59p7qKmr1rnchxso1_1280

Link Posted In The Spirit of Grace Notes

Constance, as you know, I am so grateful for you, all of you who regularly read here.  Your continued support indicates that at some level you share my desire to transition from death and things of death to Life, and from works to grace.

I have a reader who sent me a link to a video that is very important to them, and while I am not endorsing or decrying this video presentation, I am genuinely touched by the offering…and I think of the words of Precious Jesus:  “They who are not against me are for me” (Mark 9:40).

Rather than post the link here, because I would like that content to be more driven by the author rather than the reader, I am going to instead post the link to the blog…and the video presentation that is shared.  It is an interesting blog, and in far more ways than not, it is an ally blog.

Blessings, Anu…and in the way of Surrender may you find ever greater yielding.

Do Justly.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.
Charissa

https://anutri.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/management-free-love/1911825_1522771117961478_6686624851103174073_n

 

On Outing Another Person

Constance…

You have read here of my evolution and growth, and the reduction as well over the last year and a half since I began writing Grace Notes.

Odds are you have also seen articles and notes that I have posted that are designed to educate you regarding how mindsets influence action…but actions affect heart-sets…and heart-sets inform mindsets.

As you think in your heart, this is how you are…maybe not manifested right away, but it is just a matter of time before that comes out.

Transitioning gender is such a difficult passage.  I am crossing over gulfs that are deemed uncrossable by the patriarchal paradigm of our day, breaking the binary rules that rule minds…and thus offending hearts that have as their central focus and idol what feeds them, sustains them.

Some people simply are repulsed by my transition and write me off in some form or fashion…crazed, demon possessed, or some other judgment of similar ilk, and some people are intrigued enough to draw near with open hearts and minds, and end up at the very least knowing me in a fuller and richer way (and some would say that is a bad thing, those who have judged me as the worst human being on the planet and hold me accountable for every wrong thing in their lives).

But some people would be destroyed by the knowledge of my gender struggles and subsequent journey.  They would hold themselves responsible for my being the way I am, or simply close their minds so completely as to just be caught up in a whirl of panic, fear, and conviction that I am hellbound.  For the rest of their days, there would be a blight cast and a shadow of failure on them (in their minds not mine).

This is the matrix that I consider when I choose who and how I am going to be out.  Now please don’t misunderstand:  I am publicly out, but not ostentatiously so.  I have not yet chosen to come out to my 2 closest immediate family members, or my one closest in-law.  In the case of my in-law, the odds are very heavy that there are only a few more years left here at most, and this person has lived a happy, productive and kind life and is proud of who I am/was in their history and experience.  In the case of my own family members I see each of them so rarely that the news of my transition seems to me to be an unnecessary burden upon them.

I could be wrong…in each case there might be a pleasant surprise of acceptance…but I am not sure about it, and the potential for damage is far greater than the potential for blessing…

…and so silent I remain.

Well…it has become clear that someone intends to out me to these individuals, and all in the name of their own supposed pain and violation, all in the name of “helping others” who grapple with the transition of a loved one.

And it is impossible for me to describe the internal state that this prospect puts me in.

First of all, one of the quickest ways to induce suicide in a transgender person is to rob them of agency regarding who and what they are by outing them.  This is a historical fact and I have posted a lot about that.  Think of the woman who killed herself after Grantland Magazine outed her, just as one very public example.

But second of all, it feels at the core like such a vindictive thing, and full of spite…and worse yet, if I were to protest, well then I would be accused of doing the very thing that this outing will do to me.  I will be accused of being a hypocrite, wearing a mask, living a lie, curtailing the rights and freedom of someone to share their story…etc. etc.

Your right to tell your story ends at the beginning of violating someone else.

Well…Constance, if you go to the beginning post, and make your way thru Grace Notes, you can decide whether or not I am living a lie…

…what I am living is a tragedy.
What I am determined is to be an agent of Redemption, Grace, and Mercy.

Carefully consider how you live…and in all things, be kind.

In sorrow, in hope,
Charissa

Judith Butler on gender and the trans experience

Judith Butler on gender and the trans experience

Constance, Judith Butler is a very important voice in the rethinking of gender and gender roles, and as such is worth spending some time exploring.

This article is a good introduction, so I am posting it for your opportunity.

Terribly Hard

I am terribly hard on myself.
Not just too hard.
Terrible.
Hard.tumblr_niy9cbPyuK1sbjyoko1_400I took
a bunch of selfies.
I deleted them.
It was easy.
Too bad I can’t
just delete
myself,
right?
Processed with VSCOcamOr…if
not myself
then those
things, each
of them, that
leer in me
lurk in me
rage in me
roar in me
hurt in me
haunt in me
fear in me
fall in me
scream in me
sigh in metumblr_niwvwsMNhV1r20af2o1_1280I could just
point, click, delete
and they would
be gone
o-ANXIETY-1-900But then again,
so would I.
Be Gone.

I told you
I am terribly
hard on myself.

Not just too hard.
Terrible.
Hard.tumblr_mws19657NM1t3vrj3o1_540

Octavio Paz: Listen

Octavio Paz

listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the years go by, the moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the next room?
not here, not there: you hear them
in another time that is now,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight, nowhere,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the grove,
lightning has nestled among the leaves,
a restless garden adrift-go in,
your shadow covers this page.tumblr_nmn59haEjP1qa7gx5o1_1280

Octavio Pas Breaks It DOWN!

This is perhaps
the most noble aim of poetry,
to attach ourselves to the world around us,
to turn desire into love,
to embrace,
finally what always evades us,
what is beyond,
but what is always there

– the unspoken, the spirit, the soul.”

Octavio Paz

The Other Voice:
Essays on Modern Poetry

tumblr_mwzedhZloE1rev0suo1_1280

You, Me, We

There is no “us” and “them.”
Whatever your religion, philosophy, color, ethnicity, language,
or socio-economic class, we are all fundamentally the same.
We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety, and love.
We all desire happiness and avoid suffering.
Each of us has hopes, worries, dreams, and fears.
Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones.
We all experience pain when we suffer loss,
and joy when we achieve what we seek.
Each of us share the same image, likeness, and being of God.
Remember this as you walk the everyday paths of life.
Don’t be fooled by the differences you notice on the surface.
Look deeper, and see yourself in the other, and the other as yourself.
Jim Palmer

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

tumblr_not0vbvzPR1s5neh1o1_1280tumblr_no7l5kn51r1qat5pio1_500

Victor Frankl on Meaning

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.

They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

image

Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.
Love, Charissa

Dear Reader, I Just Heard You Wondering

How did I get where I got?  How you got left behind?

You could have come along, if you would have.  You could have called.  You know where I live, you could have come over.

You still can…if you have the courage to.

Or the desire to leave behind useless old ways.

Either way, there is dead weight that must be let go of to come where I am.

I can’t really say it feels like a loss…it more astonishes me than anything else, that relationships I thought were fairly deep and strong had the roots of dandelion fuzz but lacked the ability to travel on the wind.tumblr_noth7qlFGk1r2zs3eo1_400

In Confetti Fields, Scattered

Related imageOver these beauty-strewn flower fields
my heart overwhelmed at last, it yields
to the clamour and the clash of shields
and bombs bursting in air.

And I imagine how the ghouls
of war and battle grab handfuls
of humans gathered here, like fools
to fight for something there

in those fields,

their hearts snatched cruelly from their chest
thrown up, confetti, and the rest
a bloody mass, the reeling guest
of Death astride its Pale Horse…

But now, the field is strewn with flowers,
confetti fell and by Love’s powers
became Her blossoms and Her bowers
of healing evermore

and never again, please,
never again war
In Confetti Fields,
Scatteredtumblr_n9flnk9Gz31r1vfbso1_1280

In Waters Under The Living Red Sky

I have noticed a thing
when I am at the edge of creation
(that border between me
and all that is not me)

and my self-knowing
(prison and homeland)
shows me things, creatures
and measureless vistas within.

I have noticed that
a solitary swan never looks alone
while a person can be isolated
in a crowd of a thousand sun-bathers.

That’s when I dive into those colored waves
and look for those swan legs
paddling fast with purpose and poise
beneath what is seen,

under this living red sky.
Related image

Moi Aussi, dearest ones of my heart…moi aussi

10 things your mother never told you

1. You made her cry.. a lot
2. She wanted that last piece of cake
3. It hurt
4. She was always afraid
5. She knows she’s not perfect
6. She watched you as you slept
7. She carried you for longer than 9 months
8. It broke her heart every time you cried
9. She always put you first
10. She would do it all again

tumblr_norhsiec731rcf4reo1_1280

This War On Us

Sitting in the morning mist today
(it’s 2 AM.  The battle started
early in whistle-shrieks of
incoming artillery shot
from fear’s cannons
and terror’s trenches.
They tore me out of dreams
into this nightmare waking and real).o-ANXIETY-3-900It’s the day of memory, the day of the dead
(and the living who wish they were)
and the day of me, survivor 
of this war on us, 
waged from mile 
3001.

The sound of sad owls
(like haunts) and elderberry blossoms
(fragrant in the dark) and me inside
a Dresden of memory and fire and sound
and the machine gun prattle of stories
twisting back on themselves in your hands
like snakes striking those wrists
so clumsily tattooed in crude ink and fantasy.slide_426448_5503378_compressedI heard the house creak and groan
(maybe it was just my heart’s hurt moan)
and I swore for a moment I thought
you were there, laying in bed and peace
while your chest rose and fell faithfully
and your face, wreathed in blond curls
that smell like Heaven’s very bakeries
still in sacred rest and repose…

I fought my way back 
and across the years 
to where you lay, then, there
to have but one whiff yet again
of those locks of gold and God
to sustain me in the midst
of this uncanny clumsy conflict,
this war of atrocious inattentiontumblr_nn07a4gD911s0got1o1_1280but your room was empty
(my mailbox is empty)
and it turned out the house
was just grieving for its loss,
the house is empty
and my heart is lonely
and the spray of sorrow begins
to anoint the roof from the skies

and soothes the ache of loss,
the lovelorn lack of presence
and the absence of any laughter.

I never dreamed that you were
the kind of person who just sashays in
and then waltzes right out
of my life while I am
making music in 4/4 timetumblr_nott18g9941rr74i9o1_400but if I really think about it, 
I remember the time you were 
last here and as you left you 
flashed your eyes dark at me,
filled with orange fire that smelled 
like burnt chocolate and you spoke
silently with that glance

straight into my heart, a look that
was a blade slicing thru the music,
(that dissonant dance)
and you said in one glancetumblr_novh5kX5Zr1s5neh1o1_500that you wished my mother had 
had an abortion 
instead of me…

In that moment, the tide turned
in this war on us, and I had
a flash of insight that would 
make Lorenz so jealous:
I knew who the 
Unknown Soldier was
and always would be.304475_10151253739365067_139629285_n

For Elli

I have become aware that there is some good traffic for older poems/posts.

I also have had the genuine blessing to cross paths with a true friend at distance, but close at heart, my friend Elli.

I have decided that I am going to be re-posting some of my personal favorite old poems, to make accessing them easier for the traffic…but the real reason?

Jus mostly for my friend, Elli…may you find blessing and peace in some of these, and may you always have the faith to await the sunrise, and the courage to lift up your eyes to the mountains…

Love, Charissa Grace

With that…here are two…

Spitting Bones

Many Paths and Peacetumblr_nnlb3pIwX51qaazd8o1_1280

“…Everyone’s Got One”

An opinion…sometimes I am just walking along, living my life, and somebody just has to give it to me…about who I am, or what I am…about whether I am legitimate, or have a right to be.

I think you have all heard what opinions are like, right?  Something that everyone has that generally stinks.

Our Wedding Song

Okay, the last of blasts from the past today…Pam Mark Hall, sort of a Jesus People Joni Mitchell…she is another person that I bonded on when I was new in the life of Mama and walking towards healing.  Her song “Flying” was my favorite, and I listened to it incessantly, weeping and longing…for what I didn’t know at the time…seems pretty obvious now, eh?  Giggles…

Well, her song “Holy Union” was sung at our wedding, and just now as I was posting this I was listening and just bawling my eyes out, with memories and joy!

And my baby?  More beautiful than ever…more courageous and faithful…stronger and brilliant.  I love her to bits.

And there are people who seriously plead with her to leave me!  The last time this happened?  She rolled her eyes and said “Mmmm…F**K THEM!”.

Jane means “God’s Gracious Gift”…and that she is…gracious, a gift, and God’s.  Me?  I am just the blessed recipient of a person who gets commitment, sacrifice, love and devotion, and who for God only knows what reasons, actually loves me.

Anyway…please enjoy Pam Mark Hall, and the beautiful simplicity of early Jesus People music.

 

 

The First “Contemporary Christian Music” I Ever Heard

I didn’t even know there was this genre of music, and shortly after Mama did some miraculous things in my life, I heard about this concert of these dudes called “Lamb”…and I was like “what the heck, let’s go”.

Well, I started to cry about 2 minutes in and wept the entire time, just so moved by their down to earth love of God and love of humans.

If you put this on and let it play, I think you will be glad you did…

 

Bird In A Golden Sky

Constance…in spite of the betrayal, in spite of the abandonment, the lies and distortions…this.

Just.  This.

This is how I feel, like I just learned how to fly.

I am Charissa Grace, and I finally got here.  I really did.

 

Twilight In Lavender

Your love was inside me
rising, falling, sweeping in over
my dry beaches, rushing out into
my far reaches…

and your arms were all about me
like spring clouds soft and grey
and fat with rain milked from
fountains of the morning dew.

I woke, and there was nothing,
nothing but you…you in my heart,
in my thoughts, you like tides
in my veins.Image result for you like tides in my veins
Here’s what clashes inside me,
like tides and beaches under skies,

clanging loud and clear against crags
midst thunder and silky lightening:

I used to have everything anyone said
was required to be happy and content and yet
I was in despair
for there was nothing of me inside and yet
somehow I was there,
a mute witness to the horror of myself and full
of one long interminable silent scream…
tumblr_nlw1naPDJh1sd2kbko1_1280And now?  Now I have lost it all
(except you, dearest one)
and yet gained myself within
and thus find joy unspeakable
midst this storm of tears,

clash of times and loss
of all (even my fears)
and utter failure…

Now I sit in deserts dry
(no oasis in this barren land,
that oasis is become me),
I sit still midst salt and sand

and snakes and smile, because I am
become a meadow here inside,

and poppies dance beneath the breeze
and sway in purple twilight ways,
in this velvet twilight, mmmmm
this twilight in lavenderImage 006

Everything we see hides another thing,
we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.
There is an interest in that which is hidden
and which the visible does not show us.
This interest can take the form
of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say,
between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.
René Magritte, speaking about his piece, “The Son of Man”

tumblr_nidq45pbdB1r59mkyo1_1280

Blind Bartimaeus and You

“We have met the enemy…and it is us”.  I think that is a quote from an old comic strip called Pogo, and who knows if it predates that strip?  Almost certainly it does, as Solomon said so long ago there is nothing new under the sun.

But yeah…we are the enemy, our own enemy.  Here is what I want to get at in this post:

I have been so discouraged lately at the voice that is emerging inside circles of advocacy that I have been frequenting…maybe it was always there (likely), and I just had not heard it.  But it is a voice that sounds just like the voice that I used to hear in other circles that I grew up in and advocated for during earlier years before I grew and became more understanding of myself and others.

It is a voice of hate.wpid-img_448333691249833.jpeg

It is clumsy and has arthritic hands when it speaks and cannot hold small fine brushes or move with nuance, and so it paints with a broad brush in generalizations and caricatures…it is cartoonish, buffoonish…it is guffawing and backslapping…

…and the absolute worst is that it advocates the very hatred and othering and policing against others that has wounded and killed so many in LGTBQ circles.  Somehow, hatred and othering is okay because “they have it coming”.

I would say that I am embarrassed for the individuals to whom I refer, except that I am so deeply dismayed embarrassment is too embarrassed to show her face.  I think it is clear that hatred is a human heart problem…and will never ever be conquered by more hatred…ever.  Hatred can only be driven out by love, and when love is met with more hatred, the only secret weapon it has in its employ is grace, as displayed by forgiveness and then more love.wpid-fb_img_1425865715455.jpg

Constance:  if you fail to grasp this essential truth, then you will be doomed to circle the constellations in this galaxy of ideas and ideologies that provide us with cosmic meaning and orientation, and you will dwell in one thinking it is finally the one with no idiots or haters present inside it…until you hear the voice of hate and bigotry emanating from within the very halls you hallow and inhabit!

I am going to pick two things for examples:

The first was a simply post about a man who had taken his 2 children in a custody dispute…all we really knew was that this had happened, and there was some evidence of drug use and/or mental illness and distress…and there were pictures.

A picture of the man…and a picture of the lil guy he took, and one of the lil daughter he took…and all I saw was eyes.

Haunted eyes, each one.  Sad eyes, desperate eyes…eyes that cried out like Bartimaeus “Son of  David have MERCY on me and LET ME SEE!”  The oldest of these children (the dad) had a whole history in his eyes, no, a legacy…of pain, of confusion and sorrow, of despair served in daily doses as the only draught to drink in horrible deserts bereft of love…and the youngest of the eyes (the kids) were in pain as well, but still innocent enough to hope and believe that it would pass, the horror, like a rain storm, and momma and daddy would love each other and love them.

I burst into tears and began to beg…literally beg Mama to fly to them and rescue them all three…

…and then I began to read the comments about the article, with gleeful jibes thrown, and schadenfreude running rampant as the demise of this dad was held up as “getting what he deserved”.

Oh Mama…may I never EVER get what I deserve…Son of David, deliver me from what I deserve and let me see!!!

The second example is from a long post, written by an obviously intelligent, sensitive and aware caring young person…earnest and passionate, and on fire to move against injustice…and so absolutely certain that all it takes is her voice and the voices of her compatriots who just say “No more” and call out the offenders and the haters and the (fill in the blanks)…and I think this post dismayed me more than the first example, because she was so blind to her own broad-brush strokes, generalizations, and culpability in being an exact mirror to the sort of behavior she decried.
tumblr_nlo1ogBFSk1s2z59jo1_1280
She led with the typical sort of introduction that I encounter when I am defiled by the comments from my haters:

“…I am compelled, for several reasons, to respond to you. Please know that I do so out of a desire not to attack you, but for you to hear something that needs to be heard…”

Of course it goes without saying that she was not addressing LGTBQ people or individuals, or members of a group that experiences discrimination…she was addressing the people of power and privilege…people who should know better (or should they?  Are they not mere imperfect people?  Do they not have the same issues and struggles we all have in their beings, in their ontological journeys?).

{"key":"a6"}

She is compelled.  Constance, none of us is merely compelled…there is also the issue of will and choice…we feel that something is absolutely essential for us to comment on…and then we cross the Rubicon and say “compelled”…or “have no peace until I tell you this”…oh I have run the gamut of what excuse people devise in order to unload.  And there is also the assurance that there is not a desire to attack.

Did you see what she did there?  What is always done when we are going to go on a hunt for specks in our sister/brother’s eye?  It is the way we attempt to look around the beam sticking out of our own, and it is always the same:  I do not want to attack you or hurt you, oh NO!  But I am “compelled” to…I have no choice, and Ima bout ta unload both barrels on your ass, so it is your own fault for being such a (fill in the blank)…

…and then we warm to the task.

“…What is sobering and disturbing to me is that you’re so wholeheartedly standing with these men who say that so many people out there, who just want to be loved and cared for equally, without fear of persecution, like everyone else, are less than you, less than me, less than anyone else who is…”

Generalization…broad brush.  “These men who say” … “…like everyone else” … “less than anyone else who is” (and another place to fill in the blank with whatever issue is pressing on the compelled one’s heart.

And then the rest of the letter unfolds…paragraphs written passionately, eloquently, and for the sake of the forum just washing over the individuals who comprise any group on any side of an issue.  I found myself stopping during each paragraph and chewing on the nuances lost, the ways that history was condensed down to make some tired old point, and worst of all, the ways that the very audience to which she wrote was treated with the same disdain and othering that she decried was happening from them.tumblr_nob12yGJx91t5dsq4o1_500

And I cast my own mind back…to not so long ago…when I was unconscious of myself and still ripped in twain by dissociation and societal policing from childhood on up…when I myself held to the things I had been taught and thought I never had reason to question much…when I had a Christian ideology that said homosexuality was a sin…even though I interacted with many people in churches who had confided in me their struggles with their orientations and desires and their love of God.

While I never believed that God was going to send them to hell, I did cast a jaundiced, privileged eye on mentions of this issue of homosexuality that are in the New Testament and gave a casual shrug and not much else, no study really, no research into cultural context or hermeneutics…

…during this time of my life the trope “hate the sin but love the sinner” was my attempt to somehow reach out and love my fellow humans struggling in this life.

I see now how deeply othering this attitude was, how privileged and unwittingly high and mighty this was of me in what it actually communicated…

…but my motive for doing so was not…NOT what is so often accused:  an excuse to hate…it was a weak, half-hearted attempt to love and reach out to them in spite of our differences.

I knew thousands of people just like me in this regard…truly interacted with thousands…conversations, shared meals, shared prayers and tears, even shared sweat and blood…and they are people who love God, and love people too…and are whether they know it or not just like old Blind Bartimaeus crying out to Jesus as He passes by.So when I read things like this, and there are many…I remember these people (some of them even read here though they are not among Constance…they are Reader, because they still think that sexuality and gender orientation are synonymous) and my heart recoils when I feel the rage and intensity of articles written about them, to them that are written to an individual but aimed at a whole group.

I invite you over to read this article for yourself, and what scares me the most is that I might in my inadequacy and my own clumsiness misrepresent the writer or conjecture what is in her heart…and if I do, dear sister, PLEASE forgive me in advance.

It is not her writing it that I am disturbed by…but rather the way that the very tools that are used against me daily I see being used against people like so many that I know…and I imagine that those words will do no more to change their hearts than the words of the haters here at Grace Notes change mine.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/freedhearts/2015/05/20/a-straight-christian-mom-responds-to-dobsons-attack-on-gays/

What is tragic is that this article has appeared in other forums authored by a voice that is unusually balanced and deft at writing about these things without generalizations and broad brush ad hominum attack…without resorting to trope and cliche…it has appeared because there are a lot of really good topics that this writer touches on and I am sure that he wants those things to be noticed and contemplated.

But the comments…oh Mama, save us.  Gleeful…piling on…and centering each and everyone of us back in the skin of…

Blind Bartimaeus.

We have met the enemy…and she is me…the enemy is us.

Oh Constance…how about this?  Simplify it, and do justice.  Love mercy.  And walk humbly.

It’s okay to love people…even the ones who despitefully use you…yes, even “brunette” who writes here to hate on me.  I bet my bottom dollar that “brunette” truly believes that the words sent to me will somehow “jolt me awake” and draw me “back to the Lord”.  And I know that the letter I was sent by a friend for over 3 decades was written with a truly heavy heart and accompanied by the firm conviction that they were wounds from a friend, better than a thousand kisses from an enemy.  And the man who said that I was demonized literally believes in his heart that he spoke to me “the Word of the Lord”, and rests secure and yet sad for me.  I know he feels like God gave him an unfair task that he took on in love.

He is wrong of course…and yet that has NOTHING to do with his intention and motive…and so that is what I look for, search for…in justice and mercy and humility.

Imagine the shock and surprise of Blind Bartimaeus when Jesus gave him sight, but instead of seeing what normal people saw…he saw thru the eyes of God.

In deepest love, and true sorrow if I have hurt or wounded anyone in this writing…please…let us truly be of a different ilk than those who we feel are wrong.

It’s time to shatter mirrors, and behold Him and be transformed.

 

I Talk Seriously About God…

“And when the event, the big change in your life, is simply an insight—isn’t that a strange thing?  That absolutely nothing changes except that you see things differently and you’re less fearful and less anxious and generally stronger as a result: isn’t it amazing that a completely invisible thing in your head can feel realer than anything you’ve experienced before?

“You see things more clearly and you know that you’re seeing them more clearly.

“And it comes to you that this is what it means to love life, this is all anybody who talks seriously about God is ever talking about. Moments like this.”

Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections

wpid-tumblr_mv1z67mg2q1qllucco1_1280.jpg

In Charissa’s Kitchen May 21st 2015

image

For my friend Stephanie… Glad our Lord gave death a bad case of indigestion… And then so lovingly served AGAIN!

So too, you serve, you broken for our kids here, like Him…

And the day will come when Rose 🌹 will be the verb past tense when all the past, tense is behind us, beneath us, as He waltzes us home for good.

In friendship, in identification, in love, Charissa

Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.
Love, Charissa

What’s So Offensive About Grace?

What’s So Offensive About Grace?

Yes…if the same thing that is offensive about grace is what is offensive about me, then I think I am okay with that.

God knows that there are so many, who seem offended when I breathe, and moreso when I hold my breath.

In the meantime, please check out one of my lil meditations on grace…found right here:  “Grace Ain’t Easy”tumblr_nokwqwcQ8B1sooy9go1_1280