A Disjointed Incomplete Meditation…

This is talking about my own life, my own family…and yours, too…because all of us have this brokenness.  The evidence is irrefutable.

This poem is all about forgiveness…trying to give it and trying to receive it…and the incredible revelation that it is impossible.

There is no trying…there is only becoming.

“…And so now we get down to it:
there is no exit,
no escape from agony,
pitstop from pain…
all we can do is
exchange suffering’s form
and it’s face, from our own
for the pain of another…”

Source: A Disjointed Incomplete Meditation…
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A Meditation About Toilets

Yunno…toilets are sort of important.  Life has improved SO MUCH since their invention and use…

Sometimes the greatest service a person can be to another person is to be a toilet…and the most immediate act of forgiveness is to flush it down.

I had an experience like that this week…and am working on the things I wrote about in the picture…

by being a toilet that flushes, and not one that is stoppered up and back-flows shit everywhere.

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Source: The Suffering of Forgiveness

You Can Only Go Forward…

“I am so sorry to all the people I hurt while I was hurting.”

I saw this quote online this morning.  It captures my feelings about that long, long past, much of which I am only dimly aware of having lived, but more like an observer than a participant.

Certain parameters have been laid out…and sadly those preclude forgiveness.  Apparently, there really is more than one “unforgivable sin” (and really, each human being sorta gets to decide what sin is forgivable and what sin is not, no?).

But the truly fine thing about being a human being?  The power of understanding embodied in choice and become action.

And I am…so sorrowful that the hurt that I was in…that I was in my “not-being” resulted in hurt to others.  And yet there is nothing to be done about the then, and the to come has not yet arrived.

There is just the now…finally and at last the now…and I am in it.

Glad, Grateful and Free…
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Charleston Shooting Families Proved Grace Wins Out Over Hate – The Daily Beast

Charleston Shooting Families Proved Grace Wins Out Over Hate – The Daily Beast.

Just this.

Constance…here is why I chose my name.  I wanna be this amazing…I wanna be this full of Grace and mercy.

Reader:  these people lost their family members to murder and offer grace…and yet you still shun me because of your own perceived “loss” of a “perfectly good man” and your words consigning me to someplace “across a river which you won’t be crossing”…and your right to my face statements that I am demonized and in danger to my mortal soul…

…you have not even shed blood, been affected in any way personally…how bout a lil grace?

Don’t worry, I won’t soil you…hey if Jesus could take on human flesh and walk amongst us…going so far as to live inside you, and not become defiled, well I am pretty sure that you can interact with people you have shunned without ruining your Sunday Souls and risking getting dirtified.

How about we all walk in these magnificent footsteps, one to another, offering grace upon grace…seems like a good idea to me.

To The Ones Twisting In Agony

Dearest Hearts:

As time passes it becomes increasingly clear to me that you are incredibly shocked and perhaps even traumatized by recent events.  What started as a journey rooted in solidarity and a narrative of history held in common, stitched together by memories of holidays, traditions, and countless days in the sun has been blown apart by a story describing a life experience so different and distinct as to seem like the most crazed and addled of fictions.

Except it is far more complicated than that…both your experiences of it and ours.tumblr_npmvryFJ0N1unf033o1_1280

And trying to put the spotlight of truth on “what really happened” is as fruitful as running on the beach to try and catch a seagull…memory and our past flies up and away when we run hard at it.

Certainly there is a plethora of artifacts that buttress my own experience…but here is the rub for me:

So much of those days is fuzzy to me, blurred by time and by the assumption that we were pretty fortunate to have one another…but most of all so much of it was swallowed whole and robbed from me by a Leviathan called Dysphoria.  In the bone-frying terror of trying to survive the assaults of despair, a lot of my memory is reduced to memories of just hanging on.528483-Depression-1364630455-842-640x480

As you all have been processing things, you have gone silent, gone angry, but mostly, just…gone.  Nothing.  And what reports do trickle back have been shocking in their vehement accusations and recollections, have been utterly astonishing in the gaping holes where context tells a radically differing tale…and completely and totally devastating to read and encounter.

It has been like a pogrom on my history…and what is worst of all is that whatever or however it happened, you have come to this time and this place where you have these driving needs to tell your story and write your history thus.

And thus the heart of this post:  I want you to know that it is okay.large (4)

I want you to be and do and say whatever it is that will bring you expiation and freedom.
I want for you liberty and fruitfulness.
I want for you life and wholeness.

I want for you what I have always wanted for you and sought to provide you.

And I love you…regardless of what you might think or not think, say or not say, remember or forget.
I will never not love you.

Never.

Perhaps someday there will be enough said or done that you might begin to feel those relentless scales within entering into a sort of equilibrium…the doors of my heart are flung wide open.tumblr_ngu7ex2a631t5zt91o1_1280

Perhaps someday you might be handling the artifacts that my fingertips and heart tendrils trace daily, and you might find the tracks of my tears and the perfume of my love…in letters, in cards and emails…in memories other than the ones who swell and swarm our landscape like Red Tides…

…and if that ever happens, please do not waste one moment of your lives in regret or remorse…while it is evident to me that it is highly unlikely that this will ever happen, there is a chance that you might feel as if you have in some fashion or way done wrong in the process of this becoming of ours, and if this is ever the case I say to you

I love you
I forgive you
I have no record of wrong
I believe everyday in who I know you are
I want the best for you as you are able to discover it and access it
It is my honor to have had a part in your coming to be and it is my doom to be accountable for the innumerable ways that I failed you and caused you pain and horror.
I hope everyday that you are finding the sort of strength in becoming that I am experiencing.

Should you ever glance my direction, I am here at the end of the lane of home, everyday standing on tippietoes and my eyes combing the horizon and my heart listening to the wind and my nose sniffing the air for your presence…

…hoping to see you, praying for your safety and shalom…and never ever failing to hold you in my heart precious.

I also want you to know this:  whatsoever you need to write, need to shout, need to throw, need to yell, need to think or tell or believe…whatever you need to do or be in order to be whole, it is okay with me.tumblr_msjrksOnZh1rkjw3bo1_1280

I refuse to ever be “a betrayed one”
I refuse to ever be “a wronged one”
I refuse to ever be “offended”

I choose you and your wholeness.
I choose you and your horror that you lay at my feet and at my accountability.  So be it.  Let it be on me, to make things lighter and easier and more fruitful for you it is my glad and sacred honor.

If the narrative is now that I was the worst abuser, a victimizer, a (fill in the blank)…whatever it is…as long as it is an assignation of responsibility that enables you to be delivered and put in a place where you can choose life and choose wholeness and becoming, then it is a sentence that I want to have over me that I shall do my absolute best to carry in the way that creates the freedom and deliverance and cleansing within that brings you the very best that can be brought.

May it be my meals for the rest of my days if in eating it there is even a modicum of relief and wholeness for you.

Everyday without you is like Kafka’s world with no exit…unless in the absence I have the assurances it is resulting in your liberty and gladness and joy…

…and in that case it is the greatest of honors to be in this place.

I think I know who I was…and who I wasn’t too, finally.  I think I acted in good faith, but who really knows?  When one is dysphoria’s ball of yarn it gets a bit discombobulating to be batted around for 5o years.

But now?  I know I know who I am, and who I am not…and while I can do nothing about what has happened, the future is mine to write, each and everyday that is left in God’s coffers for me to walk out.tumblr_npxzck3PTr1rav43uo1_1280

I love you with all my heart, and I am honored by each of you in your strength of voice, your commitment to one another, your loyalty to truth and your heart for justice.

There are many who could have loved you more perfectly.

There are none who could have loved you more.

I loved you utterly, totally…I still do.

And I always will.  Love you.

Say on…it’s okay, let it rip…do what you must and need and want…be…become.

Cus I am here now:  Charissa Grace, and I am finally free and not a helpless bystander any longer, and nothing can ever lock me up ever again.11094852_690388207737694_2806437274797532527_n

Written in my blood and tears and sweat…and the tattoo ink of forever love,

Me…the one who was there and now is here…the one who engendered you…

Your loving parenttumblr_noiz30RJh51tpdjt7o1_1280

Apologies, Real and Otherwise

Have you ever had someone give you a “faux-apology”?  You know the ones…

Here is a lil list:

1.  Any apology that says “I am sorry that you…”
Um, no.  You do not get to be sorry for anything “me”…you are either sorry for something “you”, or you are not sorry.  Don’t hide behind the words “I’m Sorry” to issue another attempt at policing me in some form or fashion.

2.  Any apology that starts out with “I’m sorry if…”
Naawww…nope.  Nada.  Not going there, doesn’t work, and you cannot say that to me.  You are not sorry nor do you have cognizance of what you did.  You just know that I am hurt and want me to stop being so in order for you to feel good about yourself again.

3.  Any apology for lack of clarity over what was said when the true offense was the actual saying in the first place.  If someone says something hurtful, and then apologizes because they were not more clear in how they said whatever hurt they said?  No…not.  Not an apology.

4.  Any apology that contains some sort of implication that they are sorry they were not more available so you could approach them and repent to them.  Um…yeah, no.

Here is how you do it.

“Dear One…what I said, what I did, what I thought (fill in the blank) in that it broke our relationship (or damaged it or harmed it) was wrong (inappropriate, hurtful, immoral, etc).  I have wronged you and hurt you, and I can clearly see that I bear responsibility in this.

“I am so sorry.

“These words carry no power in and of themselves until I fill them with life as I demonstrate true remorse by living (speaking, thinking, acting) differently from now on, and treating every other person I meet differently as a result of this.

“You are free to act as you feel the need, and it is my hope that someday I will have opportunity to work together with you to rebuild things (trust, fidelity, integrity, understanding, etc).  But I do realize this is not mine to demand, but yours to give as you choose.

“I deserve no props or cudos for this, and God deliver me from getting what I deserve.

“My heart is hurting at my failure in this, and I will let this pain make me a better person, and the doors will be open to you if you choose to offer me forgiveness and grace.  Until that time, I remain committed to change and to you.”

Now…I wrote out a bunch of words, to convey the attitude of an apology that does not obligate or demand.

It is of course a two way street.  Rare are the relational ruptures that do not involve wrong on each side.

But you are not about pointing out to someone else how they hurt you if you are there to apologise to them, now are you?  You are there because you see that you failed and fell short…right?

No?  Hmmm…better go review the numbers up at the top of the post!

Charissa
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On Outing Another Person

Constance…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…and so silent I remain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In sorrow, in hope,
Charissa

Moi Aussi, dearest ones of my heart…moi aussi

10 things your mother never told you

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

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Blind Bartimaeus and You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am going to pick two things for examples:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…and then we warm to the task.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blind Bartimaeus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Failure and Forgiveness

There is a brand new recycling of an old, ancient lie told to soothe one’s enflamed ego and sense of being wounded and let down in experiencing the world.

The lie is that there is no such thing as failure, and that as a human being it is impossible to fail another person.

I would laugh if it wasn’t such a tragic and poisonous lie.

But the lie is told for a more basic reason than to just insulate one’s heart against hurt:  the lie is told to free one’s self from the pain of forgiveness, from giving forgiveness and even more important, from receiving forgiveness…

…and those pains are freely paid to avoid confronting the root:  Pride.  I think it likely that Pride is the root of all evils in the world.

At any rate, Desmond Tutu has some very cogent things to say about forgiveness:

“The quality of human life on our planet is nothing more than the sum total of our daily interactions with one another. Each time we help and each time we harm we are dramatically impacting our world.
     As long as we are human, some of our interactions will go wrong, and then we will hurt or be hurt or both. It is the nature of being human and it is unavoidable.
     Forgiveness is the way we set those interactions right. It is the way we mend tears in the social fabric. It is the way we stop our human community from unraveling.
Desmond Tutu, The Book of Forgiving

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Still Underneath

I see you there, still
underneath your words
underneath your pain
underneath your masks
deep beneath the strain

of putting every thing that hurts
all that grew from choices made
all that sprung from things not done
all that you have fearful run
from and still found it there within

though the darkness haunt you long
I will hover in the song
that I have sung your whole life long
and love the you I see there, still
I see you still…underneath

Those Razors Bloody

They were laying there on the ground
of my heart, bloody and gore-flecked
and dully glowing with the sheen of life
blood and the thrill of cutting to ribbons
the tenderest places of my heart.

I wrapped them in the ribbons of heart
you left intact, attached at one end
by the tenuous tendrils of flesh that
you either missed, overlooked, or flat out
just didn’t care enough to slash.

I hung those wrapped razors
those razors bloody with me and fading
up on the wall where your picture
used to be, and I straightened them
so they hung just so, and straight…

my mementos remaining of you
and my hopes for a future with you
dripping onto the floor
and then drying out and becoming
a static reminder of a moment
in a dynamic river of our lives.

Walk On A Spring Evening in May

I walk the gloaming path,
rain-drips fragrant whispering
to leaves, to rocks and kissing
moss with secret snikkle-nips
of spring flower nectar.tumblr_nn9sazLEZ71rv2dfko1_1280the night rises out
of dusky shadows
grown bold as the sun
shrinks first behind her
cloudy veil and then
sheltered behind hills
she drops her gown
to stand unclothed
hidden and revealed
solid and present          (like me)
in the growing dark

and i think about you there
in boulevards of noise and neon
surrounded by staggering solitude,
aloneness in the conflaxity and klaxxon
streets of phony fire.tumblr_nkgasibdcT1sm8q63o1_500

the ferns bend,
wave in winds
and breathe in
my loneliness
as I pass by,
sort of a
photosynthesis
of the heart, of soul,
of sorrow rebreathed
and transformed
into something
less than

and clean.SONY DSC

what was today?
what are these
days strange and
alien to me,
totally same and
labeled other?
totally different
and called
a mask?

but the path,
fresh and baptised
in the cleansing
of the sky
(become the river)
(become my tears)
(become my steps)
the path beckons

and mirth
tamped, banked
whispers from
under leaves
and rain

and wind

“follow, and be amazed.”

so I walk
in the rain,
in the growing
dark of fading day
and happy nighttumblr_n0hj58ZFAz1rrcicko1_1280stars there
behind clouds
waiting to walk
the runways of
my hurty broken heart
gracing each jagged edge
with the light

behind the Rose
behind the sun.

i cry gentle
and I walk on
to the next rising.tumblr_nhs49zgIcw1qzkm8ro1_1280

The Forest Dark Is Full of Grace

“dark is the forest and full of grace”
I read this line and it made me pause
as I recalled spanish moss lace
concealing all the oak tree’s flaws

and how the path did twist and flit
around the thickets dark and deep
to clearings where light does acquit
the night as my soul’s love will keep

you, in the brambles, in the brush
and lost in deepest forest glen
and blind to dusky quiet hush
or if not lost, well……wandering, then.

Full of grace…oh grace so sweet
and falling soft as snow on leaf
to wash and bless your tired feet
and lead you home healed of all grief,

this is the cry of my soft heart
cut from the velvet cloth of night
and covering every broken part
with grace like stars dancing so bright.tumblr_n2vydq86xI1t2po5ao1_1280

Trellis of A Future

Hush, Angel…
what?  Oh, that…
yes, you are my angel
and always with that stardust
brushed on your heart’s eyelids
like Heaven’s mascara decorative and blessed.

I know you
built the walls
(you used my flesh
and blood as brick and
board and stone and mortar)
and your hands are covered in the stain and effort.

Never mind,
do not try to tear
it down, or dismantle
what you did not see you built.
I HAVE A PLAN!  See, Ima grow
up and down and in my Lady’s Chambers

and cling
to divisive bricks
and cursing stones
and hangman boards
and bloody bones, in beauty
and covering all with fragrance

the fragrance of forgiveness
and love forevermore.

A Disjointed Incomplete Meditation…

houses of grey blank walls decked out in smooth rich wood
panels and pictures of picnics and parties…
banal bacchanalia, all splattered in Blood.

Beds of spikes, hidden neath down comforters,
and wool knitted afghans of colorful,
threatening sinister pattern.

Houses in neighborhoods bereft of neighbors,
each one is serving themselves and alone
in community of this alienation…and all is
destroyed by their own bloody hands…

the work of rough hands…even rougher grave throats.

Our eyes are still bloodshot from staring at visions
of genocide done that we didn’t see coming
but now we continue to watch, in foreboding

but hoping in vain that the cute lil houses
are what’s really real and not all the horror,
lurking beneath in destruction and gore.

we are really in fear and wondering…
what happens when a killer comes home,
or (gulp) even worse

if that killer had never left home?

what then?

what happens when victims
*widows orphans*

and murderers

look each other in the eyes again?

what then, and who blinks first and looks away in shame?

What are these wounds on your chest?
The wounds I received in the house of my friends.

What is greater:  the pain of being violated
or the bitter agony of forgiving?

a valley of dry bones cannot be forgotten
even in the face of forgiveness so costly.

This impossible for me to try to describe
or even conceive of apart from the cross of Christ.

Because forgiveness is also
it’s own rare and exquisite
form of great suffering.

And so now we get down to it:
there is no exit, no escape from the agony,
no pitstop from pain…
all we can do is exchange suffering’s form and it’s face,
from our own for the pain of another…
and us become willing to be bashed and broken
by those very ones we so desperately want
to reach out to and reconcile and leave pain behind.

This is the agony of a tortured soul wrestling
and a wrecked body there…offered in prayer
on the altar of sorrow…for the forgiveness
of torturers’ torments in this dank dark world
of violence and victims, laboring heavy
beneath weights unspeakable and even greater,
the weight of the cross.

And Him?  The Reproached?
The Betrayed, Who was Broken?
Him The Despised and King of All Criminals,
King of All Victims, King of All Shame?

Perhaps He knows of the path thru this valley
of broken dry bones full of dust, full of death.

Perhaps He can see those small signs of life
that are hidden from eyes filled with blood, hate and rage
and only seen by the eyes washed clean with tears
of repentance and wonder to look for our Spring

and the signs there so gentle
of a coming glad day of Resurrection…tumblr_ni0sfjatWG1qzq0kvo1_1280

An Open Letter About Time

I do not dare add any of my thoughts to this…Dani, you know why, Sis…you know why.

Sooo glad you did not experience the ultimate and have been given this opportunity to invest in this thing made new, old things having passed away.

Much, MUCH love…Charissa

bloomingspiders

Moon_pic monkey

Dearest Reader,

I received a call four days ago. It was one of those calls; the kind that even the phone knows is bad. I was told my father couldn’t speak or move. He had been found that way. “The ambulance is on its way”, she said. “We’ll call once we have more information”.

In the car, I looked through my phone and changed my background to one of him and I. Then I went and listened to my voicemail. The most recent one was him saying “You never answer” then a click. I couldn’t move–couldn’t breathe really–and began thinking: What was it he said again?  I take what money and put it where?  And where are those documents? And then I call whom?

I thought of the little black dress I had bought months ago. The one I was supposed to return, but didn’t. I thought about how scared…

View original post 1,199 more words

To Forgive, or not to forgive? THAT is the Question!

Dear Constance…

I was made aware of a fairly profound article today on the subject of forgiveness.  What make this article scintillating is it is taking a very “outlaw” position that runs directly counter to our cultural assumptions surrounding the topic of forgiveness:  what it is, who should give it, who deserves it.

Her take is that there is a coercion of forgiveness present in our culture that is in a sense just worthless cheap grace.  She examines the rise of those cultural assumptions and exposes the underlying flaws in them.  Then, she talks about some of the ways that people respond when she shares her ideas, and in the process gives a lot to think about.

Constance, I am posting this because in many ways it mirrors my own thinking on this topic.  I think I differ just a bit, but that is due to axiomatic beginnings underlying my position, rather than any disagreement with the substance of what she writes.  But I would like to take the occasion of her thoughtful and provoking article to codify some of my own thinking on the subject.

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First of all, the concept of forgiveness and what it is has been trashed thoroughly over the years and passing styles and fashions of thought and belief.  It has also been forced down our throat in such a way that it literally devalues the person being asked to forgive…all in the name of setting them free.  When a person can do the most heinous act, commit egregious violation and abuse, and then turn around and demand to be forgiven by the one they have wounded it is akin to giving them a free pass to another form of rape!

No…forgiveness is nothing that can ever be demanded!  No one has the right to be forgiven.  Get that!  No one has the right to be forgiven!

Anything you have a right to is in the field of Justice.  Anything you have no rights to but deeply desire is in the field of Mercy.  Any attempt to grasp which is which and when to give either or both is in the field of Humility.

Look familiar?  I thought so.

So…forgiveness.  Basically this is the decision and declaration by a person who has been violated in any way shape or form that they willingly choose to relinquish their right for justice and their right to be repaid what was taken from them and restored to a place of integration and wholeness.  There are any number of violations and any number of redresses for them…and there are some that literally cannot ever be repaid.  In our reality you always…and I mean that…you always have a right to be repaid when you are wronged.

You need to understand that if you choose to forgive (which means simply saying “you don’t owe me anything, now or ever”), you are intentioning to forgo any claim to redress and restitution.  You need to know in your heart why you are choosing this option.  You need to know that you will likely hurt and ache for a long long time, even if you forgive and usually especially if you forgive.  Forgiveness is a sacrifice, and sacrifice always…always involves suffering.

Do you see how this is something that cannot (literally) be coerced from you?  Because if you are guilted into it, or coerced into it then no matter what you have mouthed, you have not forgiven (and I am not assuming that as a value here, just stating what is and isn’t).  You have granted another the opportunity to “get away with something”, and this is horrible for them!!  Oh yeah.  You think it is bad if you confront someone, that it might cause hard feelings?  Think about the condition that results in letting someone get away with something, which further emboldens them, lets them sink deeper into their places of being violators…

What is crucial here is to understand the core, the absolute essence of what you do and why you do it when you forgive.  That is a journey only you can make.  There are sources to consult that will help guide you…there are powers that will assist you should you decide that the sacrifice of forgiveness is one that you choose to make…but it is only genuine if you walk that lonesome valley every last inch yourself, right there in the shadow of death, and then emerge on your own terms.

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I want to share with you my own position on this topic.  Of course you can expect that as best as I have been able to figure out, I have sought to base my thinking on the life and example of Jesus, Who is God Incarnate to me, and thus as an example is an easily seen picture of the Creator’s desire for the ways in which we “do relationship”…and also on the further writings in the New Testament which I believe to have been inspired in the heart of the author by Lady Grace, and then written out and set in counter-balance with other writings so that there is a dynamic tension which would always drive us to the Person of God and keep us from the horror of a behavioural code which would doom us all.

I think there are 2 very important sub-categories to the general act called “forgiveness”

The first one I call “Universal Forgiveness”.

What this refers to is the state of being that all humans are currently in due to the Crucifixion that hangs in the very center of the Universe and
penetrates/intersects/pierces every reality and every time and every culture and every experience.

In this Highly Exalted and Ultimate Act, all things have been set up for the opportunity to find wholeness once again…the chance to be made brand new!  Not just a “re-run” or a do-over”, but the chance to actually become something you never were before!

This state of forgiveness has nothing to do with any decision that anyone makes but The One who was crucified.  Makes sense, it is consistent with what I had said earlier about the essence of forgiveness.  If you never know about it, it is still done, and you are still poised for the full freedom that its embrace entails.  If you know all about it, but reject it as unnecessary, it changes nothing about it.  And, if you fully embrace it and receive, it still changes nothing!

It simply changed the climate once for all in the entire Universe!  His words “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do”…they echo into all of our dark and ignorant, benighted nooks and crannies!  But those words themselves have nothing to do with the fate of a violator in and of themselves!  They are not a free pass, a get out of jail free card.

There remains the question:  if indeed this Action IS, then there are results assumed, demands implied, or consequences ready to unfold depending on anyone’s choice of what to do about this deed, if anything…and that is where we get to the second sub-category, and it is in this category that I think the author of this article has a powerful and cogent offering to us.

The second category is what I call “Personal Forgiveness”.

Think of Scrooge McDuck’s treasure vault, okay?  All the gold, the jewels, the dollar bills, the wealth just spewing out everywhere.  Now think of the key to that door being available…all you have to do is go ask the authority who watches over the vault if they would give you the key.  Whether or not you do that is your choice…but here is what happens…ask not and you need to go round up your own treasure.  Ask…and it is yours for the taking, as much as you need!

But you have to ask.

Similarly, if you desire personal forgiveness in the broad sense of the word for all the wrongs and bent of your being, you must ask the One who has the treasure and the key.

If you do ask, it comes to you with a couple of rules:

first is that you are receiving freely, there is no price you can pay that is enough to cover the cost…it is free…and as a free gift you are then bound to give freely as well.

And the second is that from that day forward, however and in what manner you choose to forgive others you are setting the measure for your own forgiveness process.  Again know that I am asserting that based on my understanding of the words of Jesus.  You will have to decide if it has any merit on your own.

Now, and this is crucial to get:  as you choose to grant forgiveness, your forgiveness will function in both the “Universal” arena and the “Personal” area.  That point is the absolute key to a clear heart in your decisions about forgiveness.

Now it is time to explore the process on our end personally…let me take you through my own decision matrix, okay?

There was a situation that I am thinking of in which I was deeply violated, actually spiritually ganged up on by a group of men in the “Name of Jesus” (of course, isn’t it always?)…I left that meeting torn up inside, literally mauled and torn apart, and each one of them had taken their turn at me.  I was absolutely completely totally innocent of the charges.  But how does one prove a negative?  Right?  If it did not diminish the horror and evil of actual physical rape, I would call it a spiritual rape.

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As I drove home, barely able to see from the tears and sorrow and hurt of violation, I was talking to Them, for They knew of my innocence!  And I was running thru the matrix, and ultimately was able to choose to forgive, and by that I meant in the Universal sense…they did not know what they thought they knew.  I chose that they did not owe me anything before God for what had occurred.

I never ever told them of this…nothing is quite so smarmy and sickening as the so called saint who comes back and boasts odiously “I forgive you”, when in fact you haven’t asked for forgiveness and maybe you don’t need forgiveness!  Maybe they are just offended right?

No, I never said a word, but inside my own heart, still hurt and torn (and was for months after) I declared that they did not owe me.  I did so because I felt that to be the authentic loving thing to do, and because I know…I know what a generous measure I need for forgiveness in my own life!  I want to over-forgive rather than under-forgive!

But I never ever brought it up with those men.  And there is not one of them that I ever tried to be close to or spend time with or give access to my heart to.  Why would I?  They were violators…but worse…they were unrepentant!

After several weeks, one of them finally pulled his head and came to me.  Stupid me, I thought he had come to repent, and my heart leapt in joy at the chance to truly forgive a truly repentant heart.

See, repentance is not “just being sorry”.  It is not mere remorse, not mere apology.  No, repentance is when you know…you know what you have done, and there has been a deep and fundamental sorrow over that act accompanied by a total determination to do whatever is necessary to repair and restore the person hurt.  Repentance is when you have the revelation that what you did was wrong, period.  Full stop.  End of story.  There is no justification, no excuse, no explanation…there is only:

“I hurt you terribly, and I was sooo deeply wrong!  I grieve over what I have done and will do my best to learn from this and ask for help in becoming a different and better person.  Should you ever decide to give me the opportunity to repair and restore our friendship it will be far greater than I deserve.  In the meantime, I withdraw to give you space to make the best decision for you, and just know I will be refining everyday, seeking to become better.”

Or words to that effect.

Sigh…as I look back I see how this was a difficult thing for me to learn…the presence of an apology does not indicate a truly repentant heart.  It is one of the ways that we empower abusive people in our relationships, this notion that an apology is the purchase medium and forgiveness is the commodity, and if you don’t “sell a forgiveness to them” then you are the one with the problem, you are the one with the issue.  That is a lie.

The only condition under which you are obligated to even take a LOOK at the possibility to give forgiveness in this category of “Personal Forgiveness” is a repentant heart making no demands whatsoever and determined to do whatever is already possible to do to repair and restore.

But no…he had gotten wind that I was hurt, and so he came and demanded I forgive him…said that he had a right to be forgiven!!  OMFG!!  (and I almost said that outloud on the spot!!)  He violated me, and then demanded his right for forgiveness.

I tried to explain to him the need for repentance, for recognition and understanding of the essential wrong and violation…his reply?  “Just tell me the magic words and I will say them, okay?”

Well, needless to say, I didn’t say to him “I forgive you”.  The mere saying of those words would have been meaningless!  There was nothing to forgive and no way to forgive because the required cognizance on his part was absent.

I had already forgiven in the Universal sense of declaring they owed me nothing…but in the personal sense, there was no platform for the forgiveness to take place, because the repentance aspect was missing.

Chew on these things for awhile…and in the mean time I will confess that I have been steeped in the Coerced Forgiveness culture, and I think that I experienced some of the wounds I did to help develop these current understandings.  Before I conclude, I will refer you to a beautiful post on forgiveness, which I think contains the elements that I refer to above…it is over at Dani’s blog “Blooming Spiders” (yaaay Dani!)…

…and then I will confess here my recent guilt of “demanding forgiveness”.  It happened last year, around this time.  I very foolishly shared some incredibly explosive news with someone I love deeper than life itself, and my timing was atrocious!  Totally self centered, completely shared out of desperation and insecurity and a deep need for this person’s love and approval.  She has always secretly been my hero, and it has at times been hard for us because we are a lot alike.  Well, she was hurt, scared, upset, angry, felt I had taken from her the aspect of choice, stripped her of any power to listen with strength and offer me the benefits of who she is.  I demanded…

…and she was not wanting to interact with me.  Understandably so, I see that now.  But at the time I was soo wracked with the guilt and horror at my poor choices and clumsy stomping around…and I was also terrified during this time that I would lose my family like what happens to the vast majority of transgender people.  I wanted some reassurance, I wanted restoration myself…but no.  Instead of waiting, patiently and penitently enduring, I demanded!

Dearest Lil Red Songbird…I was wrong.  I am so sorry for my demands…my insistences…the ways I unwittingly sought to coerce you…and while we have long resolved the original issue I want you to know that I carry that hurt everyday, as a reminder to be careful and wise, and openhanded with power.

Okay, without further ado, head over to Stir Journal and check out a very powerful and provoking piece of writing.

In a life commitment to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly…
Charissa Grace

PS:  I have a poem on this stuff:  Gifts You Give Yourself .  Perhaps it is helpful?  perhaps not…

 

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What do you all think?

Ok…here is another lil quote:

“If the word ‘sorry’ needs to be said more than once for the same reason, it should never have been said in the first place.”
— The truth

Now…I get the sentiment.  It is stating that we ought to be sincere and deep in our repentance for when we have transgressed someone or something.

But:  I strongly disagree that once is enough, and if you say it more than that you weren’t sincere the first time.

“Sorry” is a power word…and as a power word it has power to heal.  When spoken in the proper attitude, it will heal, and heal and heal.  And when the healing is complete, why “sorry” withdraws the field and awaits the next battle.

What I am trying to say by that, is that sometimes we are totally sorry for what we did, and totally inept at expressing it to the one(s) we are sorry to.  Sometimes the things we are sorry over are deep and very hurtful things that one sorry is like one bucket of water poured onto a house afire…the issue is not with the water, the issue is with the bucket!

Constance…turn away from seeming truisms that are tricky and assuage our innate laziness in relationships!  Follow your heart, and speak in love!  Too much love is better than not enough, and when it has been enough sorry’s everyone will know…capisce??  Capisce!!

Rissa Roo

 

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