Hairline Cracks in the Porcelain
I come from a long line
of born-again porcelain cleaners.
I am a tidy-bowl expert,
know the brush and flush, polish and rub,
I am a woman, well trained by her Mother.
I tried to put girlhood aside,
leverage being eldest
to escape wrinkled finger tips,
upright vacuum white-noise,
dusters made of outgrown undershirts.
When I failed, I glared out bungalow windows
at my brothers cutting lawn and raking in the benefits
of shared manliness with Dad.
I had no choice. I was taught
to bake and sew and clean proficiently
as an outcome of my femininity
and with all this evidence to the contrary,
one day my Father says to me,
“All things are equal.
You can be ANYTHING you want to be.”
So fast forward to University
and what appears to be a level field, free
from reference to my body’s ability
to bleed, grow breasts or hips or, God forbid,
bear children. Sex lives, no, thrives
in residence rooms fuelled by pub crawls,
still what we do does not define our gender.
I earn my degree, my idealism, my zeal,
I am a self fulfilling prophecy
with EVERYTHING I want. Until…
Fast forward in circumstance, when Providence
unleashes a mind-boggling-paradigm-shifting-revelation
of upside-down proportion,
all my notions of equality expanded
yet reduced to this…moment…
I am pregnant!
I have to choose?
He and I choose together, and my body
blossoms in maternity, my mind
rises like a phoenix
in blazing pride at this innate ability
to create and birth new beings.
Miracles… of possibility
through pain of labour, first one,
then two boys arrive…my joys.
And then…SHE becomes unexpectedly.
SHE is something else entirely.
SHE unearths renewal in me.
FEMALE…we share more than DNA,
SHE is somehow hope and legacy,
SHE is the epitome of another chance
at THIS…AND…in feminine form.
But who am I to say…
I step back and let her find her way,
that dance, step in only when she asks.
Fast forward with my growing girl
my grateful orbit of her world. She says
“I might get married one day” and with a smile
“maybe I won’t have a child…”
Together we unleash our wild “I AM no man.”
I watch her unveil her spirit, truth,
and the beauty of no shame,
strength and intellect, all hers to claim.
She is powerful in her personhood.
(pardon boasting like I did something good)
Now she is gone from me,
like I knew she would be, eventually,
and we both thank Skype technology
for staying close with video chat.
I ask…I breathe one thing for her constantly…
that SHE finds space enough to BE,
to hold everything, all possibility,
glorious, wide and open…
Lesley-Anne Evans 2016
Nothing prepares you
in the beginning when he wails into night’s quiet hours
and maybe it’s not about him needing you that much
more about him being mad
to be pushed from warm nest into cold world.
Still you do what you can, breast to soft mouth, arms wrapped
tight against everything. You let go in small ways
like a bandage being torn slowly from scab over wound
you feel how he forgets to look back
that first time at the playground, how he smiles wider
with his friends. It’s what you do. Nobody tells you exactly how.
You order each memory in a scrapbook, smooth down his life captured
in a thousand framed stories
and wonder how seventeen years can lay out so well on the page
you are ragged edged, coming unglued.
Considering the upcoming High School Graduation of my son, Malcolm James Evans, whom I am especially fond of.
…to all who mourn the loss of beautiful and innocent life, I weep with you…
In the face of the tragedy and evil of this past week, I’m choosing to shout out for HOPE, for LOVE. I’m shouting out to a GOD who deeply loves in spite of all the vile and devastating messes we, his creations, leave in our wake. In spite of who I am, imperfect one, least of all of these, one capable of horrible things, I am SHOUTING OUT to God for all my Buddy Breathing buddies ~ because I’m thinking you, like me, might be feeling a little jaded, burnt out, alone, overwhelmed, sad, helpless, angry, and may be in desperate need of a breath of life? And I know I am surrounded by millions of souls who ask the same questions with a profound sense of helplessness. Others, like my friend and fellow blogger Rob Rife are writing, asking, shouting, crying out…
God, please help us.
Who of us doesn’t feel the oxygen sucked deep from within as news reporters tell of another kindergartener placed to rest? When we hear details of unspeakable cruelty, when we put ourselves in their place, when we shake our heads in disbelief… who of us doesn’t clench our fists and scream inside… WHY!?!? WHY!?!? And what I can offer may not be enough for you, but it’s ALL I’ve got.
God, please rescue us.
You see, I don’t believe there is any hope, any gift, any point, outside of God and his love. After all the pain and suffering is over, after the devastation, after all of it, in the end GOD’S LOVE WINS. I cannot fully explain the why. I believe what we see is the result of a force of evil at work in our world, but even more than that I believe in a God who wins out in the end. GOD is STRONGER than any evil.
God, please overcome our pain, our questions, our loss.
The message of Christmas is that Christ came for us. Jesus became a vulnerable little baby, so that 33 years later he would choose to die a horrific death for us, to sacrifice himself and make a way for us to right ourselves with Father God. (the Easter Story is the rest of the Christmas Story).
Emmanuel ~ God with us now, in our time of deepest need.
We each get to choose God, or not. We each get to decide for ourselves if we want his gift of loving friendship. We each get to gather up our big doubts and our little faith and choose to believe that God does love us and he will always love us, no matter what happens in our lives here… no matter what. God offers us a healing HOPE, JOY, PEACE and LOVE, that starts now and goes forever.
God, please touch us and heal us and restore us.
That’s all I’ve got. That and all the questions that remain around the events of this week. That and all the unresolved emotions.
God, please show your goodness to us, we are desperate for HOPE.
As this youtube video suggests, may we see evidence that there are still good people in this world. May we know in a real way that GOD IS GOOD.
Hard pressed on every side, SDG.
A word misunderstood, a glance in the wrong direction, downcast eyes, silence. Suddenly what began as a new week, fresh with energy and focus and potential, crumbles. And all before 9 AM.
Doors slam. Voices rise. Eyes fill with tears. Peace is broken.
Why is it so easy to go here, when you desire and strive for the opposite. Why is the family fraught with arguments, disagreements, conflict? This place of refuge and rest, our home, is anything but this morning. After I drive those blessed children of ours to school, I retreat to my corner, my chores, my thoughts, my own set of tears, and pray that God will make a change.
God make a change in me. Is it me, Lord? What is this ever changing role of mother supposed to look like in your eyes?
Am I trying to control too much? Am I not entitled to an opinion? Have I not sacrificed much, loved much, given much, to be allowed to speak into their lives? And it’s not about complicated things… it’s about hair products, the type of music one might learn at guitar lessons, meeting deadlines for applications. It’s about emptying and filling the dishwasher. It’s about being respectful and polite and loving in one’s tone of voice. These are not biggies… to me… but to them, they are the mountains worth fighting for. Why?
They are growing up and away. I understand that, for the most part. They are testing their boundaries. I understand that too. All the years of investing… infant, toddler, little children, pre-teens… all to bring us to this new place called ‘young adulthood’… just as it should be. We have been preparing them to go. That’s easier said than done. Sometimes, in the words of a dear friend, it feels like you are trying to cram everything you can into them while you still have a chance! And at the same time, I’ve grown older, more tired, perhaps even a little worn out?
I need a faith injection, Lord! I need your wisdom, clarity, energy, and a huge outpouring of your love, to allow me to love them lavishly! As they so deserve and require of me.
God knows. God is here in the middle of it with me. I don’t know what I’d do without him here. Sit on the kitchen floor and cry while the dog licks my tears and wonders what’s wrong with mama? (Hey, wait a minute, I just did that!)
Even so, I get up and turn on worship music, I turn my thoughts heavenward and ask again for the strength and resilience of God’s spirit, that will enable me to get off the floor and carry on. Deep breaths. Inhale faith. Exhale despair. Inhale peace. Exhale entitlement. Inhale grace. Inhale more of God’s grace. For me, for them.
Forgive me, Lord for losing my patience with your precious kids. Forgive me for not being a very loving mother this morning. Forgive me for causing them pain, for sending them out feeling sad and misunderstood. Forgive me for not inviting you into the situation then, rather than waiting until now. Please walk with me Lord, because I cannot bear to walk alone.
Keep calm and carry on… yes, I will do just that.
Dear Lord, I do not ask to see the path. In darkness, in anguish and in fear, I will hang on tightly to your hand, and I will close my eyes, so that you know how much trust I place in you, Spouse of my soul.
– Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad
The “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster was initially produced by the Ministry of Information in 1939 during the beginning of World War II. It was intended to be distributed in order to strengthen morale in the event of a wartime disaster. Two-and-a-half million copies were printed, although the poster was distributed only in limited numbers. The designer of the poster is not known.
I come from a long line of strident women
First born porcelain cleaners.
I have cleaned white bowls for 40 years
if you count the early days when my brothers did yard work
and I polished taps and sanitized alongside Mother.
I tried to levy birth order then
for wrinkled finger tips, upright vacuums white noise, and
dusters made of outgrown undershirts.
Stared with longing out the window for
a clue less obvious than
the flowering buds of my own soft flesh.
Come to think of it,
I denied things long after;
my femininity an afterthought,
broadcast an ‘I Can Do Anything’ mantra like a war shield,
blazing fearless into
life and love.
Life inside me changed everything.
Womb blossoming like a June rose
fragrant with maternity, all thoughts of
equality cracked like the precious hand
of my grandmother’s china doll.
Clarity came with mother’s milk and creation,
my benediction to a long line
of strident women