…and in the cool
of the quiet evening
it was women walking
silky, as yet unseen
in the garden.
Silver shears caught
slivers of sunlight,
captured them gently
like butterflies netted
with meshed moonlight
and given to a special
catch and release program
to each bush they bowed
in authority and grace
from verdant relieved stems
smiling and murmuring
in the gloam
and moving on
by with eyes
so full of mirrors
they saw nothing
else and everything else
as reflections of reflections,
having used their silver
30 times in their
Source: Wave | Charissa’s Grace Notes
This, another poem from last year, comments on life like a vapor, yet must be captured within you, there in your body…
the fog gathers, nesting
over the deep quiet glen
dialing down sunlight
damping every sound
in this gloam my supple soul
nestles in, gives up control
and ceases struggle to be good,
or important, or subtle…
I admit I am surprised that there has not been more interest in my recent poem “Situla“. Perhaps it was layout?
Situla means “a bucket for Holy Water” by the way…Here is the poem, laid out without any images…
Just after dawn…
but before sunrise
I hear the sound
of music stilled
and waters hushed
frost crystals clasping
I rise and
wait, hushed and
of sorrow and nard
of fragrance and tears
and deep joy too.
I guess the guests
are still around
the table, I think
the gusty crowd
is still sitting in
the dark and staring
at the inside
of the veil…
as I travail
as I writhe
to give way
and this coming
as light and heat
sing gently ’round
as the roses
the alabaster jar
Just after dawn…
but before sunrise
I hear the sound
of music stilled
and waters hushed
frost crystals clasping
I rise and wait,
hushed and clutching
of sorrow and nard
of fragrance and tears
and deep joy too.
I guess the guests
are still around
the table, I think
the gusty crowd
is still sitting in
the dark and staring
at the inside
of the veil…
as I travail
as I writhe
to give way
and this coming
as light and heat
sing gently ’round
as the roses
the alabaster jar
It was a year and 9 months ago, give or take, that I first encountered Kayce Hughlett…she and a friend, Betsey Beckman were to lead a spiritual retreat that I just knew I was supposed to go to. The tale of how that all worked out is a wonderful one to be told some other time.
What I am trying to say is that as a result of encountering Kayce, I gained a friend, a sister, and yes, a mentor of sorts…she is deep waters without being brackish or strangely tinged with divers minerals…She has written a novel that I absolutely adored and endorse…you can read a review at the link, and of course find it on Kayce’s website and Amazon. It definitely had me mindful of a college text called Three Faces of Being which was an existential psychology text that influenced me greatly.
Anyway, Kayce wrote this particular piece a year ago…and she used language that I found myself using yesterday morning on a post I wrote for Facebook…a post that I was writing before I had read or even knew about this post of Kayce’s…it was when I was finishing about the last third of my post that I saw she had posted this on my wall…and I kept typing, eager to see what Kayce had sent me.
After I posted, I clicked thru and started reading, and I was delighted at the synchronicity of Mama’s mind, and the flow of things that spiraled from a year ago ahead…and then back to three years ago…
I highly recommend Kayce’s writings…please consider being a regular at her website.
This lil poem is a year old…
and it is in night…
like a babe in fresh blankets
snuggled and seeing,
quiet and jumping
in jammies with footies
singing of safety,
hot chocolate and nibbles,
then raindrops on rooftops
silver tin foil lightning…
(entire poem at Source: Of Rain On Rooftops | Charissa’s Grace Notes)
The keepers are all that remain, the ones
with both feet anchored to Earth
and their hair being pulled by the stars
to the Milky Way and Beyond
They’ve learned how to swallow it all, it all,
the medicine of ghostly tragedy
they can hear the high keening stories
the stories of tender hearts’ piercings
The keepers, the ones that remain, remain
they keep the connections to meaning
they keep the transitions so sacred
and they bridge life and death with their bodies
they become that bridge, graceful, suspended, suspended
unseen and constructed from blood
and composed in the song of the blood and the sweat
and revealed in the sacred teardrops
and they stretch over oceans with skin, with their skin
they anoint with the oil so sacred
of trauma endure-ed and conquered
by outlasting its flailing last gasps
and they hold in the dark, in the still dark
like an armor that never needs donning
and that never need be taken off
they are Mama’s Heart in skin and bone
The keepers are all that remain, the ones,
The ones too stubborn to leave
the ones too persistent to wipe out
The keepers alive in Her flame
Ahhhh…last year I wrote this to try and express how closely the ecstatic and the erotic dance in me as I connect to poetry and the words enter, flow and exit…
I’m asked sometimes if I write erotic poetry, and I allus laff and ask “Why?”
The question is like asking someone if they are eating McDonald’s french fries during the best feast of their life…
So anyway…this poem is about Poetry, about connection with the Divine, and yes, it can be about connection with the person you love to…connect with.
PS: this selection is towards the end of the poem…there is a staircase that gets you there, but you have to decide whether you ascend these steps, or descend them…either one is wow!!
…I am buried living-forward
I’m resurrected dying-backward
I am stained forever always after
with that pungent glory,
with Her Glory running down
my chin and from my lips so wet
and thus I shiver deep within
all the way from my down-low throb
to the very roots of my
ecstatic shining hair…
My dearest heart of hearts. She alone stood steadfast, faithful, amidst her own dealings and sortings and studyings…and she transitioned WITH me!
She NEVER left, shunned, or re-wrote our history to suit her current mood, as a couple have done.
She never othered or divorced as so-called friends of three decades did…
This poem is my attempt to express how I felt/feel about her, and her soul and her love.
She is the truest person I know…even when she is searching for that truth…and I love her with my bones.
PS: It is written in my favorite meter…because I want that rhythm to speak to the central most shining thing about my darling: her steadiness.
It all seems like a dream…like I woke up
into Real life and there you were, grinning,
that crooked lil smile and that small dimple
at your mouth’s corner, honey cupid bow.
It was as if we happy-laughed forever!
And cried for ever too, both all at once.
It was as if my torrid fever broke!
Things clear now to me, I’m in on the joke
regarding the us that we were…we are.
How I must have puzzled you, my dear!
Befuddled you and discouraged you too,
for you saw my real red and pulsing heart,
and underneath, the shade of deep dry rot…
Written long looong ago, when this lil crabbie “Cancer”
was becoming friends with a lil scorpion Scorpio…
a match made in heaven and forged on earth.
It was trying to project into the future,
based on the past and spoken in the (then) present.
I hope you enjoy it. I know
if you met my beloved you would admire her as I do.
There is a tenderness
in your eyes
in your voice
so I can never
tell whose mother
or little girl
you might be
and even I
must believe it
in your eyes
such a tenderness…
Oh Holy Lightning Strike like Griffin Swift
upon this yearning heart in desperate need
of Your Mercy Severe, Your Holy Gift
Give us Grace to Find the Phoenix-Way!
To rise in faith from Ashes and from death
to self and self reliance, come what may!
On resurrection wings and Spirit’s breath
alive again and all is well this night
that breaks and shatters with the rising dawn…
and not a single fire road in sight,
and what will be well it shall simply be
and what will not be well it will be gone!
Come Holy Fire, we answer Your Call!
and All Reborn, and Love is All in All,
“Someday…someday the snow will fall!”
In a foreign land, early.
Not early in the day…or even early in the year…
…but early in the Kairos of Significant Appointed Time!
And with Open Eyes…there waited Wise Men…who watched the skies, looking always upward for the arrival of…SOMETHING…they knew it not, what they sought, but they knew it had to be…because of the ache inside and the absence of something that caused the ache.
And then…there it was! A star appeared in the sky, and in that quadrant that allus presaged SIGNIFICANCE!
And as they watched intently, behold! It began to shift! And as it shifted, so too within them something shifted, something began to be drawn…something…SomeONE…was tugging at them, pulling them.
And they left their homes, their places of comfort and familiarity…and began the road trip of all road trips, one that some scholars theorize lasted a couple years!
Do you see this?
The incredible events of Advent that happened within the scope of 9 months for the principle actors and happened in one night for the shepherds…
…began as much as two years earlier for the Wise Men!
Talk about Active Waiting! Their waiting involved a journey as well!
They passed thru many lands, and as they were men of means and wealth and influence, their entry into the various kingdoms and lands thru which they passed created a stir, even consternation! But only because it was…odd…strange…unusual.
Until they got close…to the land for which such things held great import…that land governed by an evil and malevolent pile of egocentricity. In “The Fox”, it was as if all of the original assertion of ego which extinguished The Beginning Light was concentrated and distilled…and this small, infected and diseased pus-ridden pimple of a human being who was so full of hate and fear that he even killed children in his attempt to maintain his power was jolted by the arrival of these men and the implications of the Star, and the shockwaves that were about to break.
He was cunning, unctuous, viscous and smooth of speech like a cobra hypnotizing its prey…but the Wise Men were, well, wise to him…and they held him at bay with deference and deflection…and journeyed on after giving him the impression that they would indeed abide by his word when in his land…
and then they at last came to the place over which the Star pulsed and danced…
a baby…in a humble hovel stinking of beasts and despair…and their open eyes beheld Him.
They gave Him Gold…because they saw He was High and Royal, above all beings.
They gave Him Frankincense…because they also saw He was a Priest above all Priests.
They gave Him Myrrh…because they saw something hidden, from all others…until it was manifest…
…they saw that this Baby was simultaneously there, in that manger, and also at the crux of all, and hanging in agony, in Passion, and that His blood was the Spring that watered the very roots of the Universe…
and the Myrrh was burial spice…for by His death our life is.
They knelt…and worshipped…and were changed…by Emmanuel…the Incarnate One.
After awhile, they chose to depart…but did they obey “The Fox”? Did they come under the rule of government?
No…they had been changed forever, and they now were serving the Agenda of heaven and they resisted the intention of the earthly…and they departed in “civil disobedience” in order to preserve the life of God With Us.
And that is the activity of Advent declared to you in the story of the Wise Men.
Part Conclusion: https://charissagrace.com/2016/12/19/advent-reflections-the-activity-of-advent-conclusion/
In the Big Books
of my longing
(fresh bread fragrant,
full, and beckoning)
speak of other
days and other
worlds hung in
where Winter walks
in sleighbell slippers
and flashes snowflake
teeth in starlight,
in teeming flurries
frivolous and fancy
reaching to me
inside my room
in the Big Books
of my longing
and pages rustle
like wrapping papers
and chestnuts pop
tsk tsk tsk…
in furs of hearth
and home, underlaid
with ermine fires
liquid gold, furs and
white hot coals inside
Her Heart so cold…
It’s just outside
my window pane
in the pages too)
in the big books
of my longing…
Look! And see how
even in Her Presence
(Her very Presence!)
In Her Presence
at that name called
and quacky laff and
swing a wiggly waddly tail
and burst in shattering wings
that break the pond-limit water pane
once so still and now awash in
ripple-tizzy ripple run
tum tum tum
my window pane
laff at regal
floaty moon so
swimming thru still night
and singing all Her praise
and shining gracefully
on gliding wings…
in the Silent Singing Snow
my window pane
and the Big Books
of My Longing
away with the gimmicks
we’re done with your crap
the lies that you laid down
the manger a trap
we want a tradition
that’s living and free
and songs of thanksgiving
and fresh liturgy
that’s ancient and yet new
and still relevant
so profound, so simple
the Eucharist true,
sending out, gathering,
preaching Good News
Restore the New Baby
the Time Bomb in time
the Bread come from Heaven
the Living New Wine
away with the gimmicks
the scripts and the lies
So faith, hope and love can
come open our eyes.
I have come, like Hagar returning home…
back from the dark side of the moon
and I am full of wisdom gleaned
from sun-baked wanderings
across wide bleak and barren lands
and Beautiful Bedouin Deserts
and all the way to that distant shore…
the edge of my soul-wound.
I have faced the edges of myself
I have faced that Gulf of separation
and I have headlong heedless SWAN-DIVED
pure…and I survived
I have crossed over…that gulf
I have TRANS-ED!
And now I run
returned to you, same-sided ones
My CIS-ters dear and precious-rare
marooned and longing for The DARE!
You still stuck on that Lost Coast
of desolation waiting at the long deserted
service station called same old
same old same old old old SIDE
Ohhh Sarahs! I have heard such secrets in
the red-reed voice of Scirroco winds
Oh the things I know, winnowed by that
wind and winnow-stick of courage
from the shifting Sands of self…
I have sifted and been sifted
by the heat and cold and light…and
the dark that knows what sleeps alone
the dark that knows what it knows not
(and nought, ahhh, yes, the dark knows nought)
the dark that knows what it knows nought
and it has taught me Love Notes…
on the dark side of the Moon
OHHHH MY MOON!!!
You see, she is stuck too (just like you, Sarah, just like you)
in his orbit circling and one side shining one side dark
her endless pasted happy smile while growing thin and desperate
and starved, ravenous in the night
Oh Sarah, remember you laughed, back then!
Well, I could teach you a thing or two about Laughing NOW!
Cus from your chuckle sprang a promised child
who grew into a nation dusty rusty red?
But I…me? Hagar??
From the Womb of my laughter
springs forth The Children of Her Promise!
I!! The Outcast ME!!
My Laughing womb brings forth
the very Rose Behind The Sun!!
We are two wombs, two moons, Sarah…you and me
But I’m a moon that got fed up and broke away
and learned to spin and twirl and dance!
I learned how to gladden this close Dark
I have understood how to please the Light
as I spin and twirl and turnturnturnspinstepspinturn
I am your Hagar! Outcast and returned
here in your hour of great need!
I stand before you, with you
with my wand of Cedar freedom waving
and my book of Mama-Conjuring!!
Ohhh Dearest Sarah, can’t you see?
That you are the same as me?
Look past desert veils so long ago assigned
Peer deep beneath this hoary hated hide!
And see the vital fertile oceanic sea…
Ohh Sarah, I see you! I was you…
languishing in bitter wounds of old
I see you in your hurty night
your tear stained grief
and darkened dreams
I see your Chrystal Mountain Rare
now Shattered in Indifferent air
and Chasm shards!
And I have come to mid-wife you
from the womb of your true self
to the mercy of your real True You!
I will help you see with eyes unblinking
thru your tears those canyons riven
by erosion bit by bit from
your most treasured self!
STAND! Leave behind the CIS-ter lands
and join me, we’ll reclaim OURSELVES!
Finally forever truly SIS-TERS
For in truth?
Our destiny is one.
To be exultation light-filled
and spinning wildly,
Joyful in the Night!
Last year a wolverine broke loose, came slashing and gashing, ran up and down
canyons and cliffs and crittering quick up tree-trunks with such fierce red claws…
Snarling and yowling the haunting roar raged, moaned and cursed with such
hunger, such fury, that flurry of wood-thirsty teeth insatiable, free from hiatus and
running heart birthed straight from Their Great Altar There which purifies
all things with Holy Fire so freeing, so cleansing…wafting austere like pure Incense
arising, in billows and plumes and ash, ASH, everywhere and in perpetual
Wednesday, marking the Cross on all things there…within.
the fire had time to make up…
One Hundred and Fifty years to turn…and it was said to be
A Great Mosaic Burn.
At last to feed its need to cleanse a forest fat with care, beneath the watchful eye of
Moses there, beneath his rod extended, as if the sun stood still again, and trees grew
up and great in grit and girth like Children of the sun, see how fat they had
become…See them, their indifferent eyes unblinking, safe, satisfied and
self-centered and all together, such a stand of forest land, secure, untouched…
so sleepy, nodding off with rusty Time’s tock-ticking Heartbeat softly crooning
to ossified great forest stands so very grand that didn’t know they needed
Severe Mercies to come with fire and hot kisses from the Phoenix.
It had not chosen cleansing
It did not know it’s need
for resurrection, for refining
For fire comes to cleanse and make new everything it can consume and challenge all
it cannot touch to understand that TRANSFORMATION’s the destiny
of every-thing with the courage to crawl out from underneath the letter and run
from the rod and leave behind the tyranny of the typical to the flames…
and walk away from Moses, into freedom in liquid-gold fireworks,
free from the cares of the world that cling so fierce and so easily entangle us,
choke our lives in hoary growth and lullabies lulling us fast to sleep,
a Sleeping Beauty Bride on her bower of soft and easy privilege.
She like an eye unblinking
safe in her cloister so fair
deaf to Her loud Divine Dare.
And (just like that forest or Sleeping Bride), there amidst that red hot bloody conflagration set another eye, a forest eye, unblinking sightless eye and
woke up wide awake in terror tribulation, hushed in dread anticipation and fear and with helpless petitions arising, not like incense but like signals…smoke signals…
to Moses? To God? To the Universe Fire come down to feed? Protected by roads
cut with care and foresight, that Eye Unblinking sat there in fright…
and Holden its breath and leaning against a wolverine dread come at last to
consume the dead, to rip that forest wide open and slash the woods to crimson rags
dripping bloody with flame and red flurries…
wrapped in silver sheets reflective, shiny
(or were they merely space age burial shrouds?)
It never blinked, that Eye, and all was shrouded safe, cocooned within
and underneath the rod and the Letter, striding secure thru the Red Sea Fire
escaping the sharp teeth of wolverine the Eye remained preserved amidst
a work that renovates the face and gives a skin-deep makeover, but leaves
the sleepy years untouched and undisturbed on laurels long gone brown
with age and loss of life though all appearances would say that Holden is
alive and well and safe from that destructive hell of fire and fear…yet
none could name that something still so desperately needed a root canal of flame!
for all the Who’s in Holden sigh
for yesteryear, forgetting that it’s
the thief that steals tomorrow.
And this year, one year later in the same Unblinking Eye I rolled in on the waves
and wind (Charissa, meaning “Grace” but named “Char”-issa, “Ashy-one”) seeking
to drink of the life that flows through a village untouched by anything that fell
outside the Mosaic burn and no longer shrouded outside but just maybe mummy
rags still wrapped so tightly around a heart perhaps long grown so slack, so sleek
and oh so fat just like that forest was last year before God gave a wolverine to rage and feed, and cleanse, renew…I saw History on display and windfall fruit rife
on the ground and satisfaction ruled the day, and familiarity won the race
and wore her shiny tangy plumy purple tinsel crown…
Golden Apples, everywhere and casual and everyone was on the in,
societal, and fire roads cut secure and ohh soo straight.
So I said Hi and reached with blinking eyes that squint into the light,
oft times in fright of storms and lightning flashing forth…and found
my blinking words rebuffed by cool and hooded eyes that had seen it all,
eyes satisfied and cynical cus been there done that, ho-hum…done much worse
I ran aground on fire roads and that Moses curse of long ago still Holden Court
over long hearts that found consuming fire fearful, dreadful and to be avoided
at all costs by any means…and thus She stands this very day…Holden Village
on cusp of…petrification?…or on that hot edge of the Phoenix Way!
Holden, Eye Unblinking, ensconsed
in the forest, last year just as this one,
in a forest cleansed to living bone, and Holden?
I heard the Spirit resounding The Word that Fire must fall upon a village that mirrors the forest that kneels all around…She said that She has a fiery crown and Holden is that forest fat and ready for the Refiner’s Fire, the Cleansing Burn that
resurrects those vital dry bones waiting…but She must choose that fate and blink…
Yes, we must welcome Fire Fate from God and let the dead wood burn,
and blaze, and feed Mosaic Ways to the flame and trust the Good God of the Fire
to keep her safe underneath Their Name and resurrected, cleansed, renewed
and ever delivered from stain and shame!
Let the rod be cast into the fire hot and be consumed!
For Moses died on Southside, short of Zion is his tomb!
And find us Lovely on the Northside, once again the Spirit’s womb!
Letter cannot take us there, nor blaze of past great glory fair
We must eradicate those roads of preservation that we wear!
They trap and capture us and cut us off from Grace unhindered
so we, like the forest, turn dull and dry, reduced to deadwood’s kindred!
I see Holden cleansed by Fire, and crying Holy tears when Holy
Spirit has free reign again to fall in fires that restore
and interrupt Sleeping Beauty’s snore and dead trees gone,
that speck removed and blinking eyes await the Dawn!
And animals can come again now welcomed
and bathe released in Grace and Precious Holden,
His Eye now blinking free and shining fair in Jesus’ Face.
Oh Holy Lightning Strike like Griffin Swift
upon this yearning heart in desperate need
of Your Mercy Severe, Your Holy Gift
Give us Grace to Find the Phoenix-Way!
To rise in faith from Ashes and from death
to self and self reliance, come what may!
On resurrection wings and Spirit’s breath
alive again and all is well this night
that breaks and shatters with the rising dawn…
and not a single fire road in sight,
and what will be well it shall simply be
and what will not be well it will be gone!
Come Holy Fire, we answer Your Call!
and All Reborn, and Love is All in All,
“Someday…someday the snow will fall!”
to your truest self
clearer than new water
and your wisest voice
humming ‘neath the surface
Medicine Woman Trust
yourself with tenderness
softer than snowfall
and give yourself
the gift of grace
like tender moonglow
the darkest clouds
Medicine Woman Heal
in the shining
by walking thru
look into the heart
of this becoming
in yourself enduring
like wind, your inner strength
like rain, your divine Know
awareness like the stars
the Promise of Beyond
Medicine Woman Imagine
your glittering goals, resources
diamonds, move toward them
in waves, sails raised
in those winds
creativity your calling
and your deepest well
Medicine Woman Celebrate
your Holy Years believing
your inner self, remember
your outer self as well
is beautiful like trees
that dance in glory time
with hands raised to the sky
in greens touching the Blue
Medicine Woman Love
yourself like mountains
love the clouds, the sun
and value vital friendships
of other truest women
all of your Bright Days
Sometimes frost grips limbs
once lean and limber in the wind
now long grown stiff and creaky
and I hear them crack and groan
in those sticky clutching fingers
cold and frosty, fingers
cold and frosty.
Sometimes ennui (cold)
grips my soul (grown old)
and in its grip I groan
(groan old) and my soul
(my waiting soul) runs
around my heart and
around my heart
as the clock’s tail
ticks and twitches, chases
its tail like a cat relentless,
(useless) and that (waiting)
that frosty cold difficulty of waiting
remains there clinging tightly
in the fading day.
Advent comes again
and gives her gift.
In the cold and dead of winter,
trauma seems to sting much deeper,
and healing for the broken parts
of my life…and the people that I love?
Seems so much harder to obtain…
When it comes to these things
things so staggering and important,
healing, peace and goodness
on the earth, freedom from suffering,
well…waiting is hard, so hard and painful.
But in these moments I’m remembering
I’m troubled in soul and looking
for something transcendent, greater
than the hurt and pain and suffering,
something, someOne warm enough
persistent, faithful, warm enough
to breathe on us
to break the ice
and give us life
Long familiar sweet hymns play
wherever I go, I remember
I am poor, imperfect, waiting for
the God Who comes down,
Comes Down, God With Us
In the Highest Holy Fire!
and I feel again
the gentle nudge
of a knock deep
at the door
of my small
and icy lonely
Advent is the time of waiting
waiting for the One (the One)
Who embraced body, embraced sorrow
Came to show us all the fullness
of just being home, present, and real.
And we are long reminded in
our cold dolorous longing
what we’re longing for actually
a Who, Who, Who we long for,
God…always coming nearer to us.
I have found a place
inside (in Advent, inside you)
that place where once
you die, you…
you come Alive…
A place where pain
and pleasure weigh out
just the same
and all that’s left
is only Love,
And every sorrow touched
by the wild gold Promise
that in this very place
Jesus has been born
and will be born
again and again,
that icy grip
our longing hearts,
our sin and deaths
so we can
JD, look up, arise
my Peculiar Love!
You tumble still
with nails broken
and bloodied in the plunge.
No…I have not left
your side, your side
(it’s only bruised, Love)
so vulnerable to that lance
and the stinky rough
warhands of that coward
masquerading as a shepherd
covering for a rapist
And on that note remember
He who lays by your side
He who took the lance
He who went all the way
coming to common terms
blind as wind…
But I float now…see?
You will too soon…
And this is waiting…
there…and so I lay these words of care
upon your lips like mountain blood
white and clear and clean and cold
to slake your thirst with sop
of beauty, healing, Promise…
Oh my Love…my Love Peculiar
the day will come to
and join me in the Liberty
you prophesied when you spied
your baby’s heart eternal.
I always thought vultures
slept at night, devil-red heads
bulbous on scrawny leather necks
tucked under fetid wing and pinion.
I was wrong.
They never sleep
gliding around the dying
the rotten and discarded
waiting for that last quick breath
and then they land nearby
and hop like feather frogs
to their last supper never ending
How I wish that you could know…know…the Love of God…the Presence of Them in your core essence.
God has been so polluted and trashed by the low things that oppose Them. God has been so misrepresented by complete morons who spin out of their corrupted souls a god made in their own image, and it is ugly, it is gross, it is cruel and it is crude…and most of all it is blind, dumb, and deaf, just like them.
God is Humble. They pounce thru every single crack in human perception that shows the least openness to Them, and They shine…oh how They shine.
They have loved me.
And that is a wonder that breaks me open again and again and again and again and…
Holy Spirit of God…Holy Spirit is Their Presence here in this creation. Jesus has ascended and is in heaven in this time and making all things ready. So Their presence is Holy Spirit…and oh the honor of Her drawing me near Her, opening the Word to me to see Her…
She is like one of my poems…layers, hints, indirection, inference, and sometimes subtle in its baldfaced straightforwardness…this is Her.
And She is altogether good, and I love Her.
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Reader: I will never not love Her.
Your statements and judgments of Her are dust and lower than irrelevance.
Why do you fulminate and foam at the mouth because I love Her? If indeed She was just a myth, why would you even care? I love Her, and it is to Her that I have surrendered, and willingly laid down control.
Constance…in spite of the betrayal, in spite of the abandonment, the lies and distortions…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.
I laugh like summer breezes light and airy
at those cloudy fulminators who, like Old Faithful
blow off sulfurous steam every 75 minutes, or every 75 years,
even every 75 decades (yeah, this tired rant is that old)
and froth and belch all bothered about how Faith
is merely an emotional crutch…(can I LOL in a poem?)They are clouds who promise rain and then
just blow right on by bone dry, unable to accept
life’s difficulties, they, not I, are needing an escape
to another world, an other-world…it almost breaks my heart
in its sad naivety, foolishly blind and blinking hope in nothing.
Almost.They call me blind, my faith blind? When I am someone marked
by an inability to accept (no, an unwillingness to accept)
the cruelties of this world as status quo…
I have taken my raw courage in hand to declare this life marred
is not the way it is supposed to be! We must live alert, aware we were
created for something so much more, so glad and so beyond!It is the ones who call nothing something, who insist that life
without God is “freeing” and imbibe the fantasy that life
is of no significance and death is even less, who are blind and will
not see…and so they seek to dwell…where…reassured? With no one
there to hear, to answer, to see injustice done and judge accordingly?
(“Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
we attempt to dress such naked poor philosophy
in beautiful robes, but in the end we always find
it was all an act upon a barren storefront-stage.Well, this Christian(neé) does not make her pilgrimage to new abundant life
by way of ambulance, sounding sirens on its merry way to some lost fantasy!
Quite the contrary! Golden glimpses of new life can be seen even now…
glorious gifts worth searching for as if for treasure prized and buried
or silver wink of coins lost in a house long needing a great sweeping…
We can live as people gloriously transformed by the Humility of Christ
Who, Grizzled Bison on the banks of those stinky threatening geysers,
rolls in those flats sulphurous, then gallops off unstoppable
Across the rolling plains of time, across the Rolling plains of time,
across the rolling Plains of time, across the rolling plains of Time.
You’ve shown up…well, your true colors have
in wild-thrash-hurled, paint-vile-ent words,
sword-tongue-rash-cut strokes pretend to be brushes,
on this present canvas fouled in yesterday’s deathstyle…
fevers, phantoms, ghosts (the spectacles on your nose)
distorting memory, warping past-tents days
with present-tense poison wounds.
And you! Pretender!
you sit on that shipwreck with hemlock twig narratives illusory
and call them olive branches, story-straighteners, record-revealers!
You almost had me,
until I noticed those web feet and knew
you were just a garbage scow gull and not
the promised dove of rest, release, redemption.
Your raucous cries rapacious echo wildly,
and you wheel and spin so hungry and flap so furious
over those bones there, that ship run aground at last
and you eager to get at that dead garbage and feed,
you so careful to sing when doves cry (you imagine)
but just managing a greedy gull’s squawk (or parrot).
I am over here…floating…under this graceful sail
full of fresh wind, faint, feathery, but substantial
(at last, transubstantiated and become living flesh),
and I see them…those webbed feet, those clay feet
dirty with aggression, aggrandizement, anguish…
and I wish I could fall at them,
those webbed feet, sobbing, and wash them
with my tears and dry them with my hair.
As you are writing, pouring out heart
onto the pages in fits and in starts
I am right there, so quiet and soft
and Heart is the flag that we unfurl aloft.
I know to be still and just rest there in peace
while furious storms you capture and release
transformed by your spinning skills, straw into gold,
while I look on in wonder and glory behold.
You shift in your seat and blow that wisp of hair
that falls crost your brow towards your face ever fair.
But I keep my balance with liquidy frame
and wait til you’re done and you call out my name.
I am so happy to sit there and pour
out my glad joy to a friend I adore
and warm up the cold places in your deep core
and follow our Mama Who goes on Before.
All my love…your Sis
on my way in, fresh from the country,
to Great Jerusalem, the Holy City
to celebrate Passover, thinking of freedom
and feasts and those deep songs,
ah those deep songs, the deep songs of Zion…
singing of our God’s core act in our history
when our sins were placed on that innocent lamb
and we huddled safe ‘neath that thick crusty blood
drying over our heads on the lintel…
and dripping down over us…
But I didn’t know what this day held for me!
A burden offensive I did not deserve,
A shame I did not seek to bear for myself!
I was suddenly thrust in the middle of angry men
and wailing women rushing to Golgotha,
the place of the Skull and such sinister lack!
I was seized from the crowd! What the fuck!
Take your hands from me!
Who are these crowds and who is this crushed Man?!?
Lynch mob? A Riot? What! A crucifixion!?
Take that crossbeam off my back and unhand me!
Why do you hurt and defile me with this offense?
Oh…cus my skin is black. That’s it…again
Black and dishonored, blatant offensive
and reeking with less than, no station in your sight
you burden me with this beam meant for that broken king
staggering there right in front of my eyes
so bloody, so beaten, such shame and affront!
I reject your hate burden and wash my hands clean!
But the soldiers and swords at my neck said otherwise,
and I walked behind the condemned shameful shamble
who clearly was cursed and would hang from this tree,
dishonored by Rome, so repugnant to me…
and then back we went, outside the city walls
climbing that desolate hillside so distant!
Wrong place, wrong time, how did I get here,
walking behind this weak beaten Jesus
and my beautiful Passover torn from my hands
in stark interruption and shadows of crosses?
There I walked, behind him and lost in my thoughts
and I ate the dirt gritty outside that great city.
Then Jesus stopped, His chest heaving in agony
and dripping blood, He turned to the women
who mourned there and wailed, and He spoke to them
something so strange and unusual, mayhap just farcical
In this absurd tableau, in this mockery here
of the beautiful Passover there!
“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me;
weep for yourselves and for your children.
For the time will come when you will say,
‘Blessed are the barren women,
the wombs that never bore
and the breasts that never nursed!
They will say to the mountains,
“Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”‘
For if men do these things when the tree is green,
what will happen when it is dry?”
I recognized these lines as the words of a prophet
and spoken of old by our God Who would show heart
with love that would not quit or come to an end…
and then Jesus walked on, up that hill on that path
to the place of the skull where they stripped Him stark naked
and took His piece and mine, and nailed them together
and propped that cross in the sky and nailed Him there to die…
and me, stood there, dumbly
looking on stupidly
this rank act so coarse
and bloody and final
Then I was shoved to the ground and they kicked at me,
told me my work here was done and it wasn’t
my problem or burden to bear, it was all on His shoulders
so get out of here! But I stayed, and I saw how His red Blood ran ragged
and dripped from those beams, His and mine there united
I heard Him cry out to His Father in Heaven,
I wondered if that was Our God of Passover???
I saw Him speak to a criminal there right beside Him
He told this man Paradise waited! He spoke to His mother,
He suffered in agony, said He was THIRSTY, so thirsty for comfort!
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do”
and then they mocked and called Him King of the Jews!
Then He gave up the ghost to the Hands of His Father
And that lamb then, this Lamb now, merged one with the Other!
Now, these years later and older (and younger)
I think of the words of a poet disturbing
the beginning is often the end, and I think of that Cross
such a stumbling block to every toe of the living and dead,
and the Man who had hung there, and died,
and the earthquake that followed and the curtain of Presence
was torn from the Top to the bottom (just like my heart).
Twisting inside me, entwined there in red and white
lamb and Lamb, Passover and that odd “Pass-Under”
knitted together and stuck in my craw
in the echoes and memories of that long walk
that I took, there behind Him, and His piece and mine
and the stories of death conquered, stones rolled away
and a risen sun dawning on Risen Lord Laughing!!
I was on my way somewhere else…
the cross, this shocking interruption
on that day, on that red death day…
and so it remains now
and forever more.
“The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood-
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.” T. S. Eliot
Here on this side? See our scars.
Our wounds (both bloody and bloodless),
slashes (from sword-edge and word),
stand here stark, and they testify
in agonized aching hushed voices
of terrified troubling stories…
we hear them tell extreme tales
of widespread violence, of rape
of torture, and we the lost subjects
imprisoned in darkness and sadness
bear these wounds in our bodies, how long?
Permanent markings of violence?
These black tattoos left by oppression,
calligrified by sorrow’s stylus
that’s gripped in grief’s bony cold hand
to engrave deep its ravenous history
on our lonely hearts, carved here for…how long?
we’re identified by these curt scars.
Standing so quiet and still,
solitary smack dab
in the middle
of all that was, is,
and will be
the broken body of Jesus
the gushing stink of His spilled blood
but present with us now (like scars)
in the bread and the wine understood
to be broken and shed for our Good.
Jesus bore wounds of violent oppression
in His very own body forever!
Even after that morning so wrenching
that tilted this world on its axis
Heaven’s ringing eternal endorsement!
There, on that side? New Creation
began with Resurrected Jesus
and included those scars that He suffered
by nail and by spear and by word
and the wounds of the Glad Risen Lord,
the reminders of the crucifixion
take on new light and meaning and joy.
They shout of the Power and Glory
Of God dirty with History’s story
and triumphing now and forever
over evil and death, over sorrow
and a work of redemption that’s reigning
now begun in us, marked by our scars
here with us now in our wounded world.
So the present time is streaked with mercy
acts of justice, creation of beauty,
celebration of truth kissing grace on the lips
deeds of love and forgiveness and kindness
and such generous Grace over all!
Resurrection gives us such relevance
and a future where meaning is possible!
meaning made possible in resurrection
of a torn body still marked by the scars
like diadems, medals
adorning the Sacred Heart
Faithful forever and ever…
That’s the reality of resurrection
as displayed by the scars that He bears
as our Hope, as our Joy and our Glory
that shines in our darkest lost places
giving us reason to live.
We work and we toil, perhaps
even pour out our blood, sweat, and tears
to tend woundings of others,
and our labor is far from in vain
for Christ has gone on ahead
As I sat in the hard wooden pew, enjoying its solid familiarity and reassuring simplicity, I listened to the preacher talk about the swirl of events that ran unchecked during the last several days before Jesus met death face to face on the backside of the Cross.
I heard him tell of Jesus warning everyone around Him that He was going to the place of the skull, to get a death-grip on suffering and never let go, and then to eat it…all. I heard him tell of how Jesus warned that anyone who wanted to be His friend had to come with Him, had to see, had to get a belly-ache too…
…and I was off in my thoughts, back, back back to those days and I heard the sounds of cattle and crowds, tasted heat and dust and slid sideways through the slant orange light from a beating throbbing insistent sun.
I was in the house of Martha, her sister Mary, and Lazarus their sickly brother, and Mama was telling me that these were the very best friends of Jesus.
They had chosen Him…they liked Him…as a person. His humor and tenderness, His wrestle with being called a bastard His entire life when He was more True-Son than any of us, back then anyway. Now? Well the Adoption Agency is open for business…but that story is presaged by this one…this story of what it was like being friends with Jesus.
Jesus always was about another story, in everything He did. Each encounter, each miracle, each glance was full of metaphor and creative import, was a beam or a brick in this House that He began then and is still working on even now.
So He is befriended by these…perhaps parents long lost to death and tragedy…and He has decided that it will be His closest friends that He will entrust His priceless gift to: the understanding of Resurrection.
You realize, don’t you, that understanding a thing means knowing its front and its back, and it by definition means knowing what that thing is not. So let’s recall what happened to these, the best friends of the Shepherd.
One of them becomes very sick…Lazarus…who was never that strong anyway. He had to live with his sisters, one of whom was of a strength so as to make Patton seem like Gomer Pyle, and one of whom was gifted with such sight as to make Joan of Arc seem like Helen Keller.
Formidable…and in that patriarchy, a sick and weak man who had to be cared for by his sisters was held in contempt and thought to be of no consequence…except to Jesus. To Him, this family was the one that would together take that voyage across the river Styx…and back again.
The sisters immediately send word. Martha marshals forces and gets the message to Jesus faster than the telegraph that would come along centuries later…and Mary sends word thru the heart currents which brought the knowing immediately to Jesus and added such sorrow to His already increasingly agonizing heart.
And Jesus, knowing the Father was doing a work of instruction, answered to everyone in earshot that they would tarry where they were. Which shocked everyone, for it was well known that Jesus had a deep affection for the weak and unadmirable Lazarus (which of course made them all even more leery of this odd carpenter!), and everyone figured He would fold space and high tail it up to Bethany to heal His friend.
But He waited.
And everyone wondered if there had been a falling out…in fact Martha was certain that Jesus was angry with her…and Mary was certain that Jesus was disappointed in her…and Lazarus, well, he felt like Jesus’ companionship was good while it lasted but was too good to be true.
But inside Himself, Jesus ached for His Beloved True Friends. Because He was going to use them to make a bigger point…and it was going to break their Hearts…so they could be healed even stronger.
One day passed by, and He waited (foreshadowing another dark day coming).
The next day came and went (and the second day was prophesied of then).
And on the third day, the sun rose and dawn fell flat on her face in the silent still absurdity of an absent best friend (just to be sure that the coming 3rd day would stand in stark contrast).
Oh there was still hubbub and the frothy surface dwellers all held out hope like icing called dinner…but Jesus was not having any of that either!
“Lazarus is dead.” He said this…flatly, tonelessly. Expressionless…like the voice of the grave itself.
And then He started His journey to their house…to face them. To face their agony, their confusion. To face their betrayal and let down. To face the accusations hidden in their bewilderment about His absence.
Constance…I refer you to John 11 when you are done reading this post, for there are a few things He said that are vertical things that stretch from the bottom of beneath eternity to the top of the beyond eternity. They are worth contemplating for a year or two…but stay with me here…
…because to everyone else around Him it just sounded like Wwah Wwah Wwah and Yadda Yadda Yadda…even to Himself, His human ears, it sounded thus.
He spoke in faith.
And then He had to face Martha Patton…and then Mary Arc…and Mary said to Him, with my voice, your voice, the voice of Rachael in Rama… “Lord, where were You?”.
And He wept. Bitterly. Deeply.
Why? Because His lesson was manifest now…on the fourth day since Lazarus had died…one more day than The Third Day…and the very first day beyond that Third Day which was the first day of a forever separation from their beloved brother for His surviving besties Martha and Mary.
And then He called Lazarus forward from death, back across the river, back to the land of the living and the loving arms of his sisters…and his True Friend as well.
All around Him, people marvelled, rejoiced, and then wept in relief and reunion and resurrection.
But Jesus? He still wept in sorrow, for He knew the full weight of the pain He had knowingly inflicted on His best friends…He knew the looming agony that was fast falling towards Him, and He knew that He had no shield against it, no weapon to fight it with, only faith in His Father for Whom He had embraced this Mission Impossible, and that promise that Father would bring everything out of death with this Obedient Son.
Jesus wept because He knows that He does His friends dirty because He can trust them to see it thru to the end, past Friday and into Sunday. It hurts Him that it hurts them…it hurts Him that He does it anyway because it is the Ultimate Good and overarching Impartation of Eternity…thru broken hearts and broken spirits.
I came back to myself, and the sermon was drawing to a close. I had a fresh perspective on my life, my agonies, and the lessons that have been shown forth.
I think I am going to continue, seeking to be a friend of God. Because everyone has sorrow and trial, everyone goes thru meaningless suffering and horror…but it seems the friends of God get to have the Presence of God with them midst the fires of pain’s crucible, and the Kingdom is birthed.
to soundly navigate
through noisy choruses.
the blind spots
that I have—
The will of God
involves giving our lives
for the sake of others
on this downward path
this downward path of Jesus
that I follow
or try to.
my clenched fingers
from my own throat
(interests, preferences, desires)
and this putting
stronger than death.
is there a resurrection
from this desperate
is there a life raised
where I can matter
and result in
a shared existence
I will only find out
when I seek not to save
but to lose my life
Shuffling back and forth between…
night and day
week and week
(weak and weak,
strain and struggle)
sighs and sorrows
…the pain of this passage
of time and tears
is present always,
pulsing in my yearning heart
gone nova with the memory.I lay awake midst pain and memory,
I neither sleep nor slumber
but instead ache and remember…
I re-member, piece by peace,
arrivals and departures.
We wear memories and longings
like stained t-shirts and chinos
and shod in our torn sneakers
we shuffle down the path,
so pebble-strewn and painful,
so rough hewn, uneven
As soon as we arrive,
our hearts know we have to leave.
As soon as we leave we burn,
knowing that we must return!
Each journey punctuated
by our songs sung in the night…
songs of lament and longing
songs of suffering and sorrow
songs of remembrance and redemption
songs of deliverance and the coming day
and it moves,
to foreground and
while it waits its turn to step up and partake
of the Communion Feast, its Sacred Supper,
the Holy Sacrament of our Sojourning Hearts.I’m decided, I am settled.
I’m on the right side of pain!
I’ll not let anyone or anything keep me captive,
stranded on the wrong side of memory
and out of phase with time!
I intend to feel the pain of others,
bind their broken hearts,
be marked by suffering…
…no, wait: be marked
with suffering by my Mama!
In this looming collision between
uncomfortable mystery and unyielding mercy
and that suffering, ahh…
I can neither sleep nor slumber
because She who inhabits Eternity
neither sleeps nor slumbers but Is
Awake with those who suffer
and There with those who faint, who fall
and falter in the crossing…
She is there (I’ll be there too)
in Her house held up by beams
from that battered rough-hewn Cross,
shining fair with great doors open
thrown wide open to receive
all Her suffering children broken
in the crossing…in the crossing
and Her invitation spoken
Come and rest here at Her table,
there’s a place for every person
in the ending of between
and arrival of the Present
Oh, the greatest Gift of all, the Present!
When the crossing’s done …
Good Morning Constance! 🙂
Lately I have been waking and finding myself more rested…spiritually, emotionally, and physically. There are a lot of ways that dysphoria burdened me…a lot of ways. For years I didn’t know what dysphoria was and thus attributed so much of the trauma I lived as just being a function of being me.
It was the primary thing that drove me…straight past religion and into the arms of the God behind the curtain of religion that humans have erected. If it were not for Them, Their love, acceptance, and encouragement, I would have long ago despaired and taken my own life.
Then I began to face my gender issues, get educated on what they were (and weren’t), and the relationship between me and Them blossomed and flourished even more…depths and heights I had no idea of…and the sense of destiny and mission and purpose began to take shape and form! No longer was I here merely to serve out a life sentence in the penitentiary of this flesh, just slogging thru until release. No. I had been formed and fashioned in just such a precise and intricate way so as to be in this place at this time to help set other captives free, to break down walls of oppression and to be part of that rolling river of justice, that mighty stream of righteousness to all peoples.
So that was cool.
But these mornings…finding this new place of peace, liberty…I think it is a deeper connection to God that is derived from congruence and alignment of brain and body due to the HRT that I have been doing…there are fewer filters and a wider open field to run in. And for the last few years, the Person of God I have been encountering most is the Blessed Holy Spirit, the One I affectionately call Mama.
*Oh, and to you, prisoner of patriarchy, who rebuked me for “feminizing God and reducing His Divinity”? To you I say don’t go away mad, just go away…you who “masculinize God, and reduce Their Divinity” The Bible teaches that God created man in Their Image, male and female, and it is very broad in how this is worded, indicating that not only are there some humans assigned to biologically female bodies, and some humans assigned to biologically male bodies, but also that each human being made is both male and female in their creation…because each one is in the Image of God. This would by inference prove that God Themselves transcend gender, as the origin and agency of the creation of human beings! So again…just go away. I don’t receive your judgment and your fear. Perhaps if you just stop, exhale yourself out of yourself so you are at last empty, you may find a humble path to repentance for doing the very things you judge me guilty of. Then inhale the God…who made you…and me…and owns us both.*
Mama…I have written poems about Her, and I urge you to search the blog for the word Mama, and check them out. I rather like them. Mama is so incredible and, well, I am not gonna try to describe Her.
The reason for this post is because a lot of you have been in contact with me and have indicated you would actually show interest in and desire to be in relationship with a God like Mama…but that She is different than the god they were taught of as children when they attended church. That god they want nothing to do with! And who could blame them?
Well, I want to invite you to try out something: I would like to invite you to talk to Her. She was telling me in my heart that She will talk to anyone who approaches Her with an open heart and humble spirit (that means a spirit that knows that it doesn’t know but would love to be taught). And She said to suggest this to you:
If you would like to know Mama…then talk to Her and simply say “Mama, the One that Charissa talks about…I would like to start a dialogue with You. I will show up everyday at the time and place that is established, and I will literally talk with You just as I would my bestie when we go out to coffee.”
If you do this…She will not disappoint, though She will indeed surprise and confound, often times will bring things to you that may make you uncomfortable or downright angry! I know this for a fact from experience. But hang in there, stay present, and above all, be honest. If you get mad, tell Her. Speak from your innermost core…hey, She is God and already knows what is there anyway, so you might as well. I have said literally the worst things I have ever said to anyone to my Mama in those moments…but I didn’t stop there, for She talks back, yeah? She will bring thoughts, new understandings, revelations…
Spiritual awakenings are such a crucial component of being in this life, and they are common to nearly every religious experience and cultural expression. They share a lot of common factors in spite of the various trails that people walk to arrive in them. Here are some components of them:
☾Increased tendency to let things happen rather than making them happen
☾Feelings of being connected to others and nature
☾Overwhelming episodes of appreciation
☾A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears of past experience
☾A loss of the ability to worry
☾A loss of interest in conflict
☾A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
☾A loss of interest in judging others
☾A loss of interest in judging self
☾Gaining the ability to love without expecting anything in return
☾To be so strong that nothing disturbs your peace of mind.
I saw that list this morning, and I wanted to share it with you, but with the Charissa-twist that comes with my connection to Mama:
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have an increased tendency to let things happen rather than making them happen.
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have feelings of being connected to others and creation
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I experience overwhelming episodes of appreciation
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears of past experience
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of the ability to worry
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of interest in conflict
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of interest in judging others
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I have a loss of interest in judging self
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I am gaining the ability to love without expecting anything in return
☾When I am in relationship with Mama, I am so strong that nothing disturbs your peace of mind
(I was trying to make a rainbow, by the way lol!!)
Oh no…you don’t have to enter into connection with Her…there are many beings out there to connect to and not all of them good…but I am in relationship with Her, and I can testify of Her goodness, Her faithfulness, Her steadfast unending love and acceptance, Her humor and fierce sense of Justice, Her unending Tender Mercies…
I Love You, Mama
Your girl, Charissa Grace
Jane and I had the absolute wonderful honor to get together with John and Jennifer Pavlovitz and some people they knew via their blog and Facebook. They were out here from the East Coast for the Gay Christian Network Conference. John had posted on Facebook that they were holding an informal 2 hour meeting in Portland, and as we are only an hour or so away, we just knew we had to go.
The event was set up by a lovely woman named Diane, and we met Bridgit, Jessica, Terri, Steve, Gordon, and Ken. We had never met any of these people before, and yet somehow we all felt as if we knew each other for years.
It was a foreshadowing of eternity.
It might also be a foreshadowing of another sort, a blogger convocation that I have my lil pea brain churning away over, but that is months if not years away yet.
I cannot tell you how edifying it was to us. We are in a season where people are falling out of our lives faster than the speed of terminal velocity…being transgender is worse than being a leper, I guess. Constance, not to worry…it isn’t contagious…though the hatred that swirls around it sure seems to be. In its own way, the season of abandonment is a good one, because I have always had this deep question that has haunted me: am I loved because of what I do, the gifts I have and the things I contribute? Or am I loved just because I am me and I am alive, regardless of what I do or say or write or think?
I know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt that the people who are friends now, few as they may be, are here because they really love us, and not just what we do.
Well, the other part about this meeting that was amazing is that it foreshadows the time coming, when Mama begins to add people back into our lives, and I know She will because They are good. And these people will be people who see us.
Last night was such a time…we saw…and we were seen…and love waxed thick and comfortingly delicious! Words fail me, because it wasn’t some grandiose profound thing! It was just a bunch of ordinary dorky human beings who love an extraordinary and Lovely God, and in that meeting with us all and Them, we were beautified and overshadowed with grace, glory and gladness.
I wrote a poem for my new friend Terri…you can see it a couple of posts back right here. All the imagery and conversation has direct integration into the evening together.
Constance, do yourself a huge favor and head over to John’s blog and prowl around. He is all heart with a mind awake and a ready laugh so freely infusing the tears of the world.
I guess the best thing I could say about him is that he is safe and I trust him.
To John, Jennifer, Diane, Terri, Ken, Gordon, Steve, Jessica, and Bridgit: if you find your way here, Hiiiiiii! BIIIIGGG Charissa smiles and huggz!! I love you all and we just met! If I see you before, it won’t be soon enough, and if I don’t see you again here in this vale, well then I will see you on That Glad and Glorious Day Eternal Bright and Fair!
Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.
PS: we ate at a place called Killer Burger. Jane and I split a hamburger with peanut butter, bacon, pickles! YUMMMMMM
Waiting…it seems that we spend an awful lot of time doing it, don’t we?
If you experience what I do then you too feel the weight of waiting that is imposed on us from the outside by external forces of various kinds.
I have to wait for the sun to rise
I have to wait for the coffee to brew.
I have to wait to read those magic words, hear that lilting quick voice.
I have to wait for pending actions that deeply affect my future.
I have to wait for the bus.
I have to wait for the doctor.
I have to wait for word from the four corners of my heart.
And then there are other kinds of waiting:
I have to wait for transition to show the outsides what’s inside.
I have to wait as others process my life transitions in their own terms.
I have to wait for the words to come, from my muse and her well.
I have to wait for answers to various correspondences.
I have to wait for almost everyone else, for I move at a pace different.
Waiting is an activity that is seemingly aimless…
and when viewed in light of time,
waiting is a doing.
Generally we feel a sense of something we call “restlessness”…
expressed by pacing back and forth, drumming our fingers, bobbing our knee up and down,
sighing heavily or groaning to release frustration as time drags its feet
…and seemingly mocks us by slowing down even further.
Or…we might simply languish and wallow in something we call “listlessness”, that slouching, slack-jawed, mind-numbed escape from doing which is, in and of itself a doing…as inertia takes us over, drags at all our metabolisms and slows things down even further…and then time becomes a marathoner…
Sadly, this doing (as all doings do) ends up as a becoming (as all people end up too)…
…a becoming anxious, or cynical, or harried and indifferent, or discouraged and despairing.
All too often we are blinded to the simple blazing truth:
Becoming is always the result of time passing,
and there is no choice about this, becoming…
but rather only the choice of what it is we will become.
And it is in this choice, what it is that we will become, that we discover:
there is another way, another point of view from which to understand “waiting”…
…and it is from that place that we fully grasp the way in which waiting becomes a state of being, an intentioned choice of the heart and spirit, rather than the doing I mentioned earlier.
It is in this intentional, chosen state that we find things like patience, discipline, self-control and emotional maturity answer the call like warriors answer the summon of their sovereign.
For patience is a state of being as well, yes? (Impatience is just “doing’s” word that describes chafing against time’s leg as we are dragged along, gimpy in that awkward infernal race to nowhere). Discipline is also a state of being, along with self-control, emotional maturity…all of these qualities are fruits that grow from the root of the choice of intentionality to wait.
There is an assumption that underlays the choice to be “waiting”. It is the assumption that our choices have consequences of becoming…and those consequences manifest in process as a function of time passing. And this assumption has its own treasures to give us in the moment, treasures that inform our choice, empower our choice, and then become an actual living part of our choice.
Those qualities are enduring and never fail, and ultimately they triumph over all the activity of doing for the sake of the expediency of the moment. They are the antithesis of busy-work and the resulting chaos surrounding frantic activity in the name of “doing something”. They are the good hard work of intentional being.
Advent is a season that comes each year, and it opens its heart to us, to the exhortation there, it whispers to us…each year…
and as that insistent cry emanates forth it carries upon its wings great gifts of stillness, reflection…honest longing in the dark with true vital hope of longing fulfilled, joy in the anticipation of immanent manifestation of what is, but hidden…emerging from what conceals and is seen…just like a wrapped gift (and ponder for a moment that metaphor of a wrapped gift…yes?)…which finds its true purpose in the unwrapping as much as in the preparation and gifting of it.
Advent imbues anticipation! Advent focuses time and puts it to work stoking the fires of faith, hope, joy, love as we sense the arrival of that miracle our hearts all know lurks just outside this skein of time, practicing its own waiting for the miracle moment of emergence, of catalytic manifestation and the redemption of yet another investment of waiting.
So how about it Constance? This Advent season, this time of preparation…will you receive the precious gift of waiting, with Her mighty warriors of being? Or will you hide yourself in busy-ness, rushing around, and re-wrapping a gift given in your own papers of cynicism and ribbons of refusal…and end up fed up and waiting anyway, just waiting for Christmas to be over, instead of for Christmas to come?
Remember: Divine Silence is not Divine Inactivity and Indifference!
A miracle is upon us…it is every year (in fact, it is everyday).
And thus we are gifted with great opportunity to wait for the Christ who comes each year in the same way and in brand new ways unexpected and greatly needed, and the Christ comes to be the Answer to our heart, not to do the things we think we need done.
But to see Him, to catch a glimpse of Him as He comes…ahh, that vision comes to those who wait…
wait on the Lord oh my soul, be strong and let your heart take courage, for they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength! They shall rise up on wings, like eagles, and shall run and not grow weary and then walk and not faint! And they shall see the goodness of God in the land of the living.
I am busy today…cooking, visiting with my baby and her father, watching the parades and a little of the football games. So I most likely will not have a lot of time to think of some post regarding Thanksgiving. Certainly in the midst of much loss, I do find my heart Thankful…though I am mystified as to why.
Well, John says it better than I could have or would have. He writes this with his heart blood and underlines it with his faith. Read and contemplate the core of thankfulness and the pulsing heart of this day.
Thank you John…I am thankful for you,
This is a time when even the most calloused and cranky of us steps back, takes stock of life, inventories the beautiful people and the sweet stuff we’re surrounded by, and gives thanks.
These gratitude lists are usually filled with things that most people would consider blessings. They’re made of friends and promotions and gifts and favor and celebration and recovery and success.
Maybe your year hasn’t felt that filled with such things, though.
In fact, you my have had a downright terrible year, or a really painful season, and maybe right now you’re bitter and exhausted and worried and grieving, and the blessing storehouse is feeling rather empty. Maybe giving thanks is a very tough sell right now.
Let me suggest an alternative.
“This has been the worst year of my life.”
I recently found myself saying this phrase out loud to a group of friends, when caught off guard and asked what I…
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wanna know how you are,
cus who you are,
me? well, I been well
but still and always how I am
cus who I am.
sometimes I think how you flutter inside
your heart and your breath there, racing the moon
around the night sky ablaze in fiery contest
between her jewels and her sable coat
sometimes I get a glimpse of that goblet
there on your nightstand
after you’ve been in your cups
and I ken the vintage and varietal
cus you do drain what is opened to you
(a bit too much, darling, a bit too earnest and compelled)
and when it is joyous red I sip too and laugh in your rest
but when it is dull brown and rust and no diamonds
well, then I sit beside you as you sleep, those miles away
and you there still torn open and seeping your value priceless
and that goblet stinky, forceful, insisting on being drained
but only sipped from and then denied unbearable…but present still lurking.
you toss, and then I see your shuttered eyes glimmer
and then your loss leaks, wells up and thru limpid lids
squeezed tightly against remembering ever but driven and compelled
by memory’s tortured brew…alas, that goblet…and you
I snatch up that cup (this cup is passed to me, dear)
and to my tender lips I raise it up and press it hard against them
(ah, it burns so hot, it aches so frozen and immobile)
and down I drink the bitter draughts so tragic for you, so tragic in you…
but inside me they find a resting place
to be changed and sweetened, then expelled
out thru my eyes so tender and so kind
and filled with teary balm of sorrows healed
I catch them, the tears, one by one, in that rank glass
that goblet graveolent and grim, musty and mephitc
and loathsome in its unwashed remembers and never can forgets
and while you sleep my tears work a washing wonder
and then the cup do I return and place beside your bed
and just in time, for whimpering you thrash about and grope
wanting to forget, needing to remember, your heart stuck in December
another drink to drug you, goad your hurt and to falsely sustain you
but to your lips my tears transformed within the cup
into a sleepy healing vintage of AD 33
and hale and healthy once again
my tears…my heart…
and your eyes flutter in relief,
and your chest heaves, and sighs
and fall at long last do you from that cliff
and into Her soft stark healing embrace
and as I look, I see your face grow placid
peace in rivers breathed and mercy streaming
and then you rest and restoration reaching
to touch your troubled brow and make you whole again.
you got broke, yes? torn.
cus that’s just how this world…yeah.
just one heart torn willingly and glad
cus that’s just Love and constant
sleep now, you will awake, and breath so lightly
and know that all is Love Redeemed and Lifted,
scars are left as medals, evil works are sifted
and what remains becomes
the makings of many poems
of Life Divinely Gifted.
I know, I know…I can hear the squeal of mental brakes locked up, smell the smouldering acrid heat of belts spinning fast on cogs that are jammed and won’t move…did Charissa just say she is an introvert???
Giggle…believe it or not, I am indeed.
So, before I get to my point, I want to preface with this:
I love what my friend Dani writes of and speaks of when she mentions icebergs as a phenomena and metaphor for seeing and understanding what you see. She points out that the vast majority of an iceberg is under the surface, regardless of what is visible on the surface. She then has sort of developed this teaching moment for her readers, derived from her own life practice, and instructs us to understand that we must intention to see, and in that intentionality we can see what we don’t see…granting credence, respect, inferring presence and thus legitimacy to something more, something that exists and extends beyond our own way of defining it.
I think it is this intentionality of being and granting being that informs Dani’s writing and thus infuses it with such potency and presence. And it is also what enables her to see me, something that is a literal miracle to me but the scope of which far exceeds this forum’s ability to reflect or contain.
Anyway, I am an introvert, in that all that is visible is really not that much compared to the things unseen in me, unsaid by me, and unacted on thru me. I have tried to build in an “airlock” in me…a space thru which I try to pass all things before they exit or enter me.
I am much better at filtering the things I allow out than the things I allow in! But I am working on that!
So this post was stimulated by the quote below:
“One of the risks of being quiet is that the other people can fill your silence with their own interpretation:You’re bored. You’re depressed. You’re shy. You’re stuck up. You’re judgmental.When others can’t read us, they write their own story—not always one we choose or that’s true to who we are.”
— Sophia Dembling’s The Introvert’s Way
I think that is what goes on in a lot of ways with a lot of people…and it was an insight moment for me in regards to my dementors. They simply must settle things, and settle them in the way that makes them feel–what? Authentic? Present? Solid? Justified? Affirmed? Secure? Any of those things can drive dementing.
I want to go ya one further: even when it is more benign and less toxic, less radioactive and destructive, the small, daily banal ways that we do this “defining” of others can really be a source of a lot of alienation and separation. The ways we look at our spouse when they are quiet, and we want to know what is up…or the way we imagine our friend when we haven’t heard anything…or the way we speculate on the inside of our teenager’s brain…it might be the one greatest source of separation between people there is…and the truly sad thing is that most of the time the motives are fairly benign!
So…give another go to the quote, and really chew it. Then give some more thought to Dani’s beautiful practice of Intentionality…and then lastly, see what you see, and see what you see by what is unseen!
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward being is perishing, yet the inward person is being renewed day by day.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.
“For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
“Do not fall in love with people like me. I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.”
— Caitlyn Siehl
WOW! This quote gets to the heart of a very salient, perhaps the salient aspect of Love…it transforms us.
Once you are loved, you are never ever a “not-loved” person again. Oh, you can lose all your friends…acquaintances who were kind can turn on a dime and revile you as evil and lost (Charissa waves her hand and says holla! Been there…am there)…but then you will be one who was loved who is no longer…and thus still one who is/has been loved and thus never “not-loved” (or maybe to say “has never ever been loved”).
There are many things that masquerade as love: desire, lust, hate, fear, anxiety, courage, wanderlust, romance, religion, law…and many others, Each one of these things affects us, impacts us…but to transform us, now …that is a completely other thing.
I am speaking here of the transformation that is of this order: tadpoles into frogs, caterpillars into butterflies, ice into steam, plain water into tea or coffee, one who has never reproduced into one who is holding offspring, one who was totally spiritually dead who is not alive with a life not of this worldy order and frame, but with a Life that comes from Beyond the Universe…transformation.
So now re-read the quote, and you can see there that what she is saying to you is that if you show yourself to her, she is going to give you everything, no holds barred, nothing held back, come what may…and she is promising, no…she is covenanting with you that you as you are right now in yourself will be transformed…or “destroyed in the most beautiful way possible”…
I get that. I get what she is saying…and I want to be this kind of person, but with a slight but important twist that would read something like this:
Count the cost
if you find me interesting
and want to know more.
If you really want to be in my life,
we will be together, and in that place,
everything looked at will never
be seen by one again!
We will see it, from now on!
Works of art well known
will seem strange and alien and
need explanation and interpretation.
Long familiar haunts of ancient peace
will be new and turbulent and full
of glorious upheaval as they
settle underneath the feet of we.
You will never again
taste anything as it once was…
it will taste always of peaches in hot sun
and fudge in cold snow,
of salt in rainy days
and honey in times of sorrow.
I will be present with you
and the me I am
will be an always kiss
of your heart,
to your soul,
of your vital you.
I will never go away
until death sunders us,
and in that moment
you will hate death
as deeply as I do,
and vow to join my side
at the arena wall
when He stomps death dry
and disappears it forever.
Count the cost,
and if you still want,
then I love you
and let us go laughing.”
Love, Charissa Grace and all her sticky bleeding heart
Constance, in general, I think that the stuff I am posting below is pretty good stuff…certainly my baby and me have experienced fruit in all of these ways and areas. And it is a good friendship guide as well, filtered for the obvi romance stuff.
So what about it? How are your relationships? Maybe this guide can help…and if you find a trouble spot, maybe you can isolate it and then dress it so it heals. Hey, when you get a sliver, just take the dang thing out, right??!!??? No need to cut off the finger!
27 Signs of a Good Relationship
We’ve all asked ourselves the same question at least once in our life: “Is this relationship going the way I want it to?” Finding someone unique, someone who stands head and shoulders above all those who came before can be an exciting prospect. It’s all too easy to cling to the hope that the special someone you’ve been seeing is actually the one you’ve been looking for, and sometimes it is necessary to think logically about what that person offers, and how both partners behave when in each other’s company. Here are 30 signs of a good relationship.
#1 You can be yourself
In daily life, we put up walls to block out the people around us, and it can be difficult to let our guard down once we find someone we genuinely want to spend time with. Often, relationship woes are the result of this internal struggle. Being yourself is one of the toughest things to do- not only in relationships but in everyday situations. We sabotage our own chances of relationship success when we shy away from being ourselves, and the mark of a great relationship is one in which both partners don’t even feel the need to alter anything about themselves.
#2 You are able to tell them everything
If a couple meets for the first time and they are comfortable enough, they often get a crazy, sudden urge to come clean and reveal all of their dirty little secrets. At some point, both partners will have to decide whether or not to succumb to this urge, and the choice they make can have a huge impact on the relationship. The type of impact it has can tell you a lot about the nature of the relationship. If both partners are able to open up to each other and reveal things about themselves that they wouldn’t dream of telling anyone else, it is an extremely positive sign. It means that they both genuinely want to be with each other no matter what. The mark of a great relationship is one in which both partners don’t even think twice about it, they “come clean” with each other, about anything and everything.
#3 Strong emotional connection
A strong emotional connection with someone is hard to describe in words, everyone experiences it in a different way and everyone thinks they understand it. It can elude many, slipping out of one’s grasp easily, and there are many things which masquerade as a truly strong emotional connection. But nothing comes close to the real thing and when you have it, you know deep down that it’s real. This is an essential part of every good relationship. If both partners aren’t fully committed to each other and don’t truly care about each other, then it is a waste of time for both parties involved.
#4 They’ve been through a lot together
Sometimes a person’s true qualities are revealed when they are faced with serious, perilous situations. Sooner or later, a couple will be faced with such a situation, and the way that situation impacts their relationship is a sign of how strong the connection is. Sometimes a couple already has a long history of hijinks together, even before the relationship began, as in couples who have known each other since early childhood. In any case, shared experiences between the two partners strengthen the relationship immensely, especially if they are success stories.
#5 They’ve rarely fought as in really fighting; their arguments are usually playful and helps build their relationship
Fighting is never a good sign, but sometimes it is necessary, and never is it a good idea to keep concerns bottled up without expressing them. Communication is key in any relationship. It is imperative, however, that the need to express oneself does not overstep the boundaries of communication into physical violence. People who truly care about each other do not inflict pain on one another. In some relationships, levels of passion run so high that people are driven to do wild, uncontrollable things. Sometimes this is unavoidable, although still completely inexcusable. As long as there is no violence or abuse whatsoever, a fight can actually build tighter bonds and prove to both partners that intensity is present in the relationship.
#6 They both can trust each other
Trust is a crucial part of any relationship. One could even go as far as to say it is the foundation of a good relationship. Without trust, both partners will be fighting an uphill battle until they resolve this part of the puzzle. Trusting someone means believing in someone, it means casting aside all doubts and diving headfirst into the unknown. This is one of the hardest things to do in any relationship, because it means risking everything. That is why only the strongest of relationships exhibit true trust, because both partners risk betrayal and heartbreak when they put their trust into someone, but they do it anyway out of complete faith in their partner.
#7 They sleep together
Sleeping together is an essential part of a healthy relationship, and has been proven to provide many health benefits. It has been shown that sleeping together reduces stress in the human body by reducing blood pressure. It also has been observed that people who sleep together get a better sleep and an improved immune system. It is a way for the two partners to reaffirm their interest in each other, reassuring themselves that there is still life in the relationship. If a couple is sleeping together, it signifies a strong emotional bond, trust, and true unbridled passion.
#8 They get each other
Communication is a key part of any relationship, but it is also necessary that the message itself is understood. There must be some level of empathy between two partners, and the mark of a great relationship is one in which couples can finish each other’s sentences and put themselves in each other’s shoes. Sometimes this can manifest in an eery, almost telepathic connection between two people, in other situations it can be more of an unspoken understanding. If at least a basic level of understanding is maintained between two partners in a relationship, unnecessary misunderstandings and worries can be avoided entirely. A mark of a great relationship is one in which a couple is crystal clear about each other’s feelings at any given time.
#9 They take care of each other
When a couple are in a loving relationship, they are completely devoted to one another, each hopelessly dependant on the other. In a way it weakens them both, and in a way it makes them both stronger. They cease to be two individuals and become one whole. They take care of each other because if one partner is suffering, the other feels it as if the pain were their own. Indeed, it is almost as if they both exist as a single body, and one does not allow harm to come to one’s own body. It is a mark of great endearment when both partners take it upon themselves to look out for each other and put their partner’s best interests first.
#10 They can rely on each other
A couple’s trust is truly tested when the need arises for one to come to the other’s aid in times of dire need. Actions speak louder than words. It is one thing to claim devotion to someone, and another thing altogether to actually follow through with it. Even the most unreliable, forgetful and inconsistent person will still pull themselves together for someone they truly care about. A mark of a great relationship is one where a couple has no doubts about putting their fate in each other’s hands, because both partners will always deal with their own needs and desires only after the one they care about is satisfied.
#11 They don’t really keep secrets
A great couple is always confident that they will have a strong connection no matter what. Fear of rejection and abandonment can sometimes lead to one partner keeping secrets from another. This fear is understandable, because one partner doesn’t want to lose the other, but in the end it will always be detrimental to the relationship. People who truly care about each other cannot stand to feel the guilt that arises after the deception of one another. When a couple keep absolutely no secrets from each other, it is a sign that they truly have faith in the strength of their relationship.
#15 They commit to each other
Unless two partners are truly committed to each other, their efforts to please each other will undoubtedly be half-hearted. To be considered a great relationship, a couple must be overjoyed by the feeling of causing each other comfort and pleasure. It must be a top priority. Commitment can also mean being unafraid to shoulder increased responsibilities and taking more serious steps forward in the relationship, like moving in together or having a child. Commitment is present in every great relationship, and it means that a couple is devoted to making each other happy and plans to continue doing so for a long-term period of time.
#16 They have pure love
Ghandi once said that the strongest example of love on this earth is the love between a brother and a sister. A brother and sister have pure love, they care about each other and it simply because they care about each other, there is no other factor involved. Pure love is not loving someone because they are pretty, rich, famous or visually appealing. It is the love of who a person is, plain and simple. It is the intrinsic value of a person’s soul which inspires true love. Great couples have a strong emotional connection with each other based on who they are, not what they are.
#17 They don’t really need others to validate their relationship meaning approval from friends/family
In the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet, two lovers from rival families fall in love and although their relationship is ultimately doomed, this is a great example of how two people who are truly passionate about each other will always find a way to be with each other, no matter what they risk and no matter who objects. A truly great couple will never put the wishes and opinions of their friends and family above their own and those of their partner. It a great sign when two people in a relationship overcome the opinions and objections of the people around them and persevere through faith in one another.
#18 They sacrifice for each other
A willingness to change things about one’s self, and to make concessions in order to please one’s partner is a sign that the relationship is a strong one. One should not feel the need to become a vastly different person in order to please one’s partner, or to spend lots of money on them, but in a great relationship both partners are willing to make sacrifices for each other. Sometimes this can end up improving both partners’ lives, especially if one is forced to give up a bad habit to please the other. A couple’s willingness to put their own needs after each other’s is a sign of a great relationship.
#19 They don’t focus on the past and when they do it’s more a matter of something they’ve accomplished
Couples who are truly content with each other’s company will always remain positive, no matter what has happened in the past. In a great relationship, two partners who are in good health will always be happy with the fact that they are together, and right then in that moment, that is all that matters. They count it as a miracle and a blessing that they have each other, and that feeling is so sweet that it makes them focus only on the here and now, the present. Often in great relationships couples are proud of the long road that it took to get them where they are, and count the path that lays behind them as further testament to the strength of their bond.
#20 They don’t expect each other to always be strong
A truly great couple can break down and cry together without fear of losing face. Neither partners tries to uphold a facade of being a superman or woman, they accept each other’s humanity and realize that life has its struggles, and that we all can feel low sometimes. A couple who truly care about each other doesn’t lose respect for one another when they see each other suffering, instead they try to understand it and help them through it. A mark of a great relationship is one where both partners have experienced firsthand each other’s weaknesses, and they have persevered with each other’s help.
#21 They ‘ve thought about as far as if their significant other is not around, they wouldn’t want to be around too.
Couple who are truly serious about each other often think about what kind of effect the loss of their partner could have on them. It is almost unthinkable for both partners in a great relationship to have to go through the pain of losing each other, it is not something that they even want to think about. This is because in a great relationship, both partners are such a huge part of each other’s lives that without each other’s presence their lives would be empty and meaningless. the acceptance of this sad truth is one of the things which makes a great relationship.
#22 They both appreciate each other’s flaws and bring out the best of them
It is often said that people are attracted by good qualities in other people which remind them of their own good qualities. On the other hand it is also said that people are repulsed by bad qualities that they observe in others which remind them of qualities they don’t like about themselves. In a truly great relationship, both partners are able to put these feelings aside, and instead focus on simply who that person is at their core, rather than what that person reminds them of. If in fact partners in a good relationship remind each other of their own flaws, this feeling is not met with reluctance but acceptance, and it can even inspire both parties to improve themselves and accept their own flaws.
#23 They don’t really try to make you jealous.
If someone feels the need to make their partner feel jealous, it is sometimes because they are not sure whether or not that person cares about them, and wants to see how much their partner will suffer after seeing them acting intimate or friendly with someone else. Other times, it is simply because they want to see their partner suffer and squirm. Either way, this behavior is not a hallmark of a good, functional relationship. A great couple is truly confident that they are desired by each other, and doesn’t feel the need to reaffirm this fact or prove it to anyone.
#24 They don’t take each other for granted; meaning each moment is something they appreciate.
One doesn’t simply get bored of a genuinely meaningful relationship. When two partners are truly captivated by each other, everything seems new and meaningful, nothing is routine. If the passion fades with time and a couple feels like they are just going through the motions, then the relationship is not a truly worthwhile one. In a great relationship, a couple may come to assume that they will always be together. Too often however, is the assumption made that this enables partners in the relationship to get away with all manner of wrongdoings and still be able to count on the one they care about to still devote themselves to the relationship. Truly great couples do not take the affection of their partners for granted, and will never abuse their partner’s trust.
#25 They feel like life is worth while
As long as two partners with a strong connection are in a relationship, life will always be worth living to both of them. If one feels dissatisfied or unhappy with their life and is currently in a relationship with someone, then the person they are in a relationship with isn’t someone they truly enjoy spending time with. A couple in a great relationship could be completely broke, going through the worst spell of bad luck imaginable and still love life, because in spite of all their difficulties they still have each other.
#26 They help each other stay grounded
Couples with a strong attraction to each other sometimes experience the strange phenomenon of being reminded of their true self when in each other’s company. It comes as a kind of heavy realization, that a couple only feels like they can truly be themselves when in each other’s company. Indeed, it can feel as though one’s whole life previous to meeting one’s partner was merely a false prelude to one’s true life. The mark of a truly great relationship is one where both partners feel at peace with themselves, each other, and the world around them when they are in each other’s company.
#27 They constantly empower each other
Couples that have a strong connection beleive in each other. Partners that are in great relationships never belittle or patronize each other, they take each other seriously. They might playfully tease each other or joke around, but it never becomes mean or distasteful. They are constantly encouraging each other to succeed and to try things which they might not believe they are capable of. A mark of a truly great relationship is one where each partner never looks down on the other. When people truly care about each other they compliment each other and constantly reassure one another of their potential
after your dead leaves magnetic and alchemal
drew from you those vapours and fumes
our Mama gathered each bitter sprout one and all
burned them in fiery plumes
i cried for you, with you, sharing your sorrow
and burden inside of my heart
and then found a leaf from the tree of tomorrow
and wrote there with tears a fresh start
i give it to you, now, here, wet and made clean
and waiting the touch of your pen
that will write of promises aquamarine
Made by Mama, kissed with Her Amen.
and worry not that your inkwell might run dry
for I will my tears shed for thee
and there you may dip your quill, write, and then fly
to your Mama-promised destiny
and i? i will walk in the forests and trees
in fall, i’ll catch every fallen leaf
and i’ll gather them precious, add my tears as keys
and i’ll Sister-stand there, stark relief
so write on these leaves with your heart and your soul
and when they are filled up, write some more
and our Mama will faithfully there make you whole
from your leaves to your pen to your core.
i love you, dear sister and friend,
me, your ever faithful bringer of tear-washed leaves
Dear Constance…it is official! At 1:15:15 PM yesterday, the judge said the words…and I legally became me.
Charissa Grace White
I guess I am out there now…still have yet to do the entire company sit down and talk, which will be about 15 minutes…but things are moving along.
And yes…I did wake up this morning and feel totally different. Not some massive quantitative change, but rather a deep and profound qualitative change. I have often jokingly sang to myself “I Got a Name” by Jim Croce…well, now for real I do.
I went out to my car to leave work around noontime, to go home and get ready. I see a yellow legal pad with writing on the seat…and there is a vase with 6 beautiful lavender coloured roses!. They were from my darling darling DARLING!!
I dressed nice, in a style that gets me lotsa compliments (Scorpio-Patrol I think you have seen the outfits??), and arrived walking straight and tall and in the right sort of way proud. I looked everyone straight in the eye and smiled. I was treated with deference by this old man there…I honestly do not think he realized I was transgender! He was kind and interactive.
The clerk office opened, and within 5 minutes I had my papers and was on my way to a teeny courtroom. It had 5 rows of benches, and felt like a mortuary funeral service chapel.
In the back, there was an advocate for battered women talking to a woman about a very very scary sounding man that she had been involved with. I thought about how I had been treated by the old man. I prayed that I would not have to sit through that case.
When the judge arrived, she walked forward…slim, serious, no nonsense, and appeared highly competent. I was equal parts afraid and excited.
She called for me, and I stood, and then…
…she did this thing with her eyes and face that told me non-verbally “you are so brave for being here!” I just know that is what she was saying. I turned in my papers, and she read them over, the ghost of a smile playing at her eyes and hovering at the corners of her mouth…and then she took her pen, and brandished it!! And then she signed…announced that I was now Charissa Grace White, and openly congratulated me.
I walked out and down the stairs, and then in a rush I began to weep, overcome in the moment with the monumental implications of one loooonnngggg journey at last drawn to a close, and a new one well and truly begun.
The clerk was moved by my tears and much nicer…mayhap she figured out that this was a big deal?
I was alone.
Oh, I know you were there, but Mama had distanced everything, everyone…it was just me…and Her. I went home and stood in our house, raised my hands in the air and upturned my face, and I prayed out loud to Her, thankful, grateful, supplicating…
…aware that I had started the first life ignorant of Her…and was beginning the second in relationship with Her, the most amazing indescribable being ever.
Later in the day, I was able to have a short conversation with my bff, and her words of life just laid down right beside the prayers I prayed, and then later in the evening, my darling and I opened a bottle of pink champagne and toasted many things.
I am out.
I am free.
I am Charissa Grace, my Mama’s daughter of grace and sister to the Great Precious One.
I am at last glad to be alive.
You told me there would be silences,
mountain streams and valley brooks,
You told me Your flow was warm,
liquid collecting of the gifts
and graces of valleys.
You said my bracing quick lightening was
“clear and quenched thirst, but good lord girl,
to bathe in that electric chill??
I might never sleep again!”
And Your Face
so still and mobile
and wreathed in grace,
and determined healing.
You wear tears naked
like jewels, like chrystal
chips of Your Clear Heart,
intimate on Your face.
and me…spit up and emptied
and waiting for You
to fill the silent spaces
that ate grace and jeered
while feasting on my food.
me emptied, waiting …
and my heart,
ego-stained and washed clean,
by Your face,
waiting…for that one grain of sand
to start an avalanche within me
of hope, nay!
sure and certain of its end,
like a leaf on a stream floating easily
on its way to the sea is certain
that it shall the voyage endure
and enjoy rejoicing!
You told me there would be…
You told me warm…
You told me…
I really am…I have my joy, the one that has been with me this entire journey, Mama is hovering close to me, and She affirms my quest to seek after Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Gentleness, Kindness, Faithfulness, and Self Control…and says that when I am in the midst of those things there is no law that binds me…none!
For true and real…I am intact, okay and moving on.
I can no more police the gentleman’s behaviour (or anyone’s) than what they think of me actually makes me what they think.
Now…to move forward, and ask Them, Okay, so what’s my Mission!!??
I do want to thank some very special people…
Katie B, Kat C, little mama (you know who you are), Ace, all of you who have made just a few comments of encouragement,
Do justly…love mercy…walk humbly.
When I got home,
my thoughts were milling
like sheep round the shepherd
come to lead them to pastures green and waters still,
milling around you, around blessings, around treasure
my icons, symbols metaphors hung
on walls to glorify the ordinary and
reveal the one and only state
i shared them with you.
then I went outside and picked tomatoes
in the breezy busy day,
early in autumn’s business
and not yet serious
about this fall into splendour.
I heard Mama rustle in the blue spruce
and then in the buzzy bees
in our strawberries
low and humble.
and then I knew what I want for Christmas.
I want to serve you and R Christmas Dinner…
my Prime Rib grilled and salty,
hot and tender and
dripping garlic splendour,
smoked turkey toothsome
and stuffed with a riot
of savory sage elements
and candy ham, salty salty
overlaid with maple glaze
and all the sides.
(potatoes mashed, candied, salad, cheeses, pies, green beans overlayed with crunch
I will show you wine, for real)
I want to share this Communion with you
as we laff into the night
and welcome yet again
the Babe into
this Prison Camp world
and shout to the ages
Ollie Ollie Oxen Free!!!
and all around us lights
and the thick green smell of
Hope eternal and renewed
and ornaments and baubles
adorning the Person of
Yeah… That’s what I want for Christmas
Constance, I found this delightful quote:
“I am trying to see things in perspective. My dog wants a bite of my peanut butter chocolate chip bagel. I know she cannot have this, because chocolate makes dogs very sick. My dog does not understand this. She pouts and wraps herself around my leg like a scarf and purrs and tries to convince me to give her just a tiny bit. When I do not give in, she eventually gives up and lays in the corner, under the piano, drooping and sad. I hope the universe has my best interest in mind like I have my dog’s. When I want something with my whole being, and the universe withholds it from me, I hope the universe thinks to herself: “Silly girl. She thinks this is what she wants, but she does not understand how it will hurt.”
— THEORIES ABOUT THE UNIVERSE by Blythe Baird
Now…I don’t know if universe thinks this or not. The universe has never talked to me, or even capered madly in front of me making silly faces (Mama has done this by the way…giggle! She funny…She very funny).
I think a lot about the idea that is gaining prevalence in modern thought that the universe is sentient, and is benevolent as well. My mind is strange and quirky…because I wonder: why benevolent? Why not malevolent? Why not indifferent?
Here is my take: I do believe that we as creatures are innately wired with a sense of justice, of “ought to be”. Think about this…whether you attribute origins and causes to God or to a process or if you believe in “always was always will be”…we still all have it, the “ought to be”.
We are also wired with a sense that rationality and reason are good guiding principles and that our reality can be (partially) grasped and explained with such, and again, I will simply giggle when I am confronted with elaborate well reasoned arguments why everything is meaningless and absurd (and these beautiful lines of reasoning use reason and rationality in an exquisite way…giggles again and a nose chuckle simper).
We are also wired with a deep sense that our world around us speaks of something “Beyond”, and this sense is deeply stirred in majestic acts or displays in creation. Creation is evocative of that Beyond, regardless of what or who we attribute “Beyond” to…we are wired to know we dwell in the heart of a Mystery, and that mysterium tremendum is our dwelling place…and we long for that mystery to be made known, fully.
Last, we have an innate wired sense of Beauty…and Truth (both with capitals intended).
Here is why I posted this, besides that I love the quote: I am happy that Mama has messed with me and done these things for me that the quote refers to. I am overjoyed that the Incarnation of God Themself, the One known as Jesus, undertook an act simultaneously creative and destructive all at once: when He displayed Their passion for all (even the universe?) and made every single axis of being and existence intersect in that great and terrible offense and wonder known as the cross, rich with its attendant implications. (as an aside, even if you are not christian in faith, reading the implied actions and existential declarations that the cross entails is a matter of great interest. you would most likely need to go to old time-y writers such as the early church fathers…but there are some fabulous modern theologians who in moments of philosophical bliss wax eloquent about it…Rissa says check it out…and gives a loving shrug and shoulder punch even if you don’t 🙂 )
I don’t know much about God, truthfully. The more I find out, the less I know…but the even more honest truth? I don’t know a dadburn thang about the universe. It don’t say much.
In jovial irony, tongue just a lil in cheek…
Sister, open hearts, strong minds and stronger wills
Delicate and fine and indomitable.
Knowing paths, shortcuts
(so, Rissa, right around this corner, yeah that goat path
right there, over the brookstones skip hop and jump
and voila! Saved 5 miles and come out by Starbucks!)
I have always been outside (and never out there),
but I listened so hard, and I learned the murmer of voices
and the rise and fall of song, of tears, of friends.
I practiced when I was alone, (I practiced all the time)
Last year I walked beyond the blade’s reach
(my neck still feels steel teeth and slice) but it
still croons cold, calls, cackles when I shake and
plug my ears in terror.
But this time, after a war-night and thready sleep,
I humbled myself, and took the risk…and I asked.
I asked MamaMick (um can I just say AHH-MAZING!!??
mother, wife, friend, writer, christian, and still has inside issues
just like me?? So great and so nice it scares me).
I asked Kat (steady, the loudest quiet person I know
or is she the quietest loud person? Kat, solid and
marathoner’s legs and sprinter’s heart…gives me so much
calm and gut chuckle peace).
I asked Dani (*insert 15 volume dissertation here*),
and of course my baby, there always, and then Heather
jumps in with funny pics and also this:
“Time to trust your subconscious and mama and
________ and me, and all your other peeps and
pack away your worries and trust yourself in the
process. I will send you a supportive photo”
Giggle…see this: and I was ‘posed to say “DON’T F**K WITH THE CAT SHARK cat…thingy!
I let me be buried, be shoved down and bound,
but went out to the slaughter feeling like a goat (scape)
and not a lamb.
And then, trickle, stream…you. Your words.
and soon I was lifted and floating a bit, and then…
…it was done.
I MADE IT! And though I hurt, I never freaked out!
You, sisters, are the gifts I never had,
never knew could be,
You are Lady Grace Incarnate, and here…right here
Your Hearts’ Love Mingled
With flowers, petals…
winds and traces
of winter approaching but
long afar and spicy-mixed…
with leaves rustling restless
to let go and fly, vines
singing in groaning labor
to deliver fat plummy booty…
with fruit trees bending
glad and low
to toss offspring
seedy and slow
(and ripely tart)
and gentle to
the eager earth…
with all of this and more
our Queen approaches cloaked
in Her browns brilliant,
in Her golds glorious,
in Her oranges and yellows
and effervescent reds
all running, streaming
before Her, behind Her,
off Her, from Her…
She draws near to bless you
on this chosen day.You lay, languid and loving
‘neath Her Blessing Touch,
beside Her Autumn Splendor River
pouring from Her Heart,
gushing from that Cornucopia
upended, turned half sideways
and spinning fast in galaxies,
in stars, in planets…and spiraling
to where you lay, nestled,
snug beneath that decade-tide
of triumph, trial,
of tears and trimmings
and always, Love, always,
a little here,
a little there…
(you, oh you there)
budded into summer’s wish
(you, there, too),
blossomed into Autumn manifest and blazing
in the desiring you
(with flowers, petals)
and the longing you
(vines groaning for release)
and always You
She crowns your hearts with Her kisses,
your hearts’ Love, mingled
in turn Her crown…
and Her court will stop today, and in stillness
remember that day…
miracle of choice, of will,
of destiny determined,
moving strong and free…
it fascinates and flabbergasts,
it renders speechless in the heavens
to see that Sacred Heart appeared
miraculous in your You, there…
in autumns’ rushing splendor
and shining scented wonder,
with the flowers,
with the winds,
with the vines,
witnesses all to
Love living and not dying
nor growing cold,
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…Lady Grace 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 back story 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 caterwalling.
And my mouth and mind were with God…hey, I had no where 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 unctious 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 Lady Grace (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 dumb-assery 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 “Whaddja 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!!