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Monday, 28 July 2003

Tyler’s playground

Being a beautifully radiant day, I brought my girls to the park in hopes of soaking in the moment and the sunlight. Melina was so excited. With a smile, I watched her hair bounce as she ran towards the play structure. I was able to settle myself on a nearby bench when I heard this ten year old boy yelling at her to give him money or candy before getting on the structure. Being a sensitive soul, she came running to me crying. My initial feeling was mother bear anger and I walked up to that boy to see what was the problem. I scanned the playground to see where his parents might be, but I was the only adult in the park. Well, this boy would get a no-bully speech from me! But the minute I saw his eyes, my anger dissipated and my heart wept for the life this little boy must know...

His stare was defiant. Anger. He looked ready to spit at anything that came within ten feet of him. He glared at me and said, "No one comes on here unless they give me money or gum." The moment lingered as he anticipated my remark. His surface seemed tough as armor, but in that stillness, all I could hear was the beating of his heart. I smiled at him and said, "Goodness gracious! You couldn't fit more gum in your mouth if you wanted to. Foodland is just around the corner. Why don't you go treat yourself to some gum or candy there?"

He looked a bit surprised. Then he stuck a big stick out towards me and pretended to shoot at me, so I responded by saying, "Wow, you've got a great imagination! What else can you do with that stick?" This clearly stunned him. He lowered the stick as though unsure of what to do next. He actually began thinking and showing me that it could also be a grenade launcher. I suggested it could be a fire hose and we began to imagine he was saving the playground and the children on it. His imagination took over and the other children seemed to come in a little closer as he began including them in his new game.

At one point he fell and scrapped himself pretty badly. I immediately ran to him and asked to see his scrape. It was bleeding and the boy acted tough in front of the group of children who began to gather around him. "I get bruises and scars all the time" he said. I responded by saying "but this time, you are going to take care of it and get yourself a Band-Aid. Do you live nearby?" He replied that he didn't have any Band-Aids at home and that he wasn't going home. One of the other children was eager to help and ran home to get a few bandages.

When I placed the Band-Aids on this boy's shin, I literally watched him transform from a prickly, vulgar porcupine into a broken little boy who just needed to be loved. I pushed him on the swing, (along with six other children), and he told me that his name was Tyler. He watched me fix some of the swings that were wrapped too high to be used, and he watched as I pushed other kids on the swings. He almost looked clumsy and awkward sitting there. It’s as though he’d been stripped of what he thought was safe to discover it only left him all alone. This identity that kept him safe from the disappointments of not being loved enough had turned him into something unlovable. Or so he believed.

This is when I hear the children more than ever. When there is more behind their eyes than youthful twinkles, I am overwhelmed with love for these little ones. All children should be loved, and all children should have someone wipe their scrapes and bandage them up tenderly. All children should feel safe about running to their own home.

I think of Tyler often and have not seen him since that day. I often hope that the moon soothes his dreams and blankets his world from the pain I saw in his eyes, and that he be reminded that a heart is always lovable, no matter how deep and how long it is buried from others.

Sunday, 15 June 2003

My Father

My father let me wrap my little hand around his two fingers when we’d go walking, and so I learned to trust.

My father would let me mimic the footsteps he’d take, and so I learned to journey forth with confidence.

My father held me, sometimes a little too tightly, when monsters lurked in my world, and so I learned to feel safe.

My father let me feel my feelings without judging them, and so I learned to feel okay with who I was and how to cope in various situations.

My father listened when I would talk about the world and my understanding of it, and so I learned to appreciate thought and questioning.

My father would take me to church and I would watch him love and appreciate the Lord, and so I learned that faith was about the way you lived.

My father fed me food that nourished my body, and so I learned to value health.

My father took time every night to tuck me in and make me feel as though I was important, and so I learned that I was.

My father would help me even when I felt ashamed, and so I learned to rise again.

My father would teach me about trees and birds, and so I learned to pay attention to detail.

My father would speak kindly even of those who hurt him, and so I learned to be positive.

My father would acknowledge strangers and put a smile on their face, and so I learned to be friendly.

My father has lived every moment of his life with honor and dedication, and so I have learned how lucky I am to have been blessed with such a wonderful person as my father.

Tuesday, 13 May 2003


If I was to describe my world tonight, this is what I would say...

It would be night: one of those quiet nights where nothing stirs, and if not for the crickets, one would think life stood still. The sky is clear and so very big. It reminds me of life beyond and the countless worlds waiting for me.

I am barefoot in the grass, wet grass from humidity and remnants of the days sprinkling shower. I can feel the mud beneath my feet as I walk. I fear the night and the unknown. My heart thumps loudly. I am alone with the shadows of the night and I do not know where I am walking. I think it's towards a river. No, not a river. Something slower, more still. But I am headed towards water. The moon is full and illuminating my path, my unknown path. And yet I walk as though I've done this before.

My nightgown clings to me from the heat of the night and my hair is damp. I am alone on this road towards something that feels familiar yet foreign in the night setting.

My thoughts are deceiving. They try to scare me with false shadows lurking nearby watching my every step. I look to the moon and the stars for reassurance and call upon the sense of being guided. But why am I alone? Why is it night? Where am I going? It is a feeling of being set apart. The comforts of my world in daylight include those whom I love. But the night has awakened only me and those whom I love do not know of my absence. I am forgotten, unmissed, unnoticed.

My feet greet the feeling of water. I am here. I keep coming here. I am so afraid of swimming in the night. I am too afraid of what I do not know. And even though the element of water has always been my savior, I cannot trust her to honor me in the shadows of the night. But if I do not swim this time, I will have to walk back home again and awaken to my world that remains unchanged. I know that if I do not take that chance, I may not swim to find my freedom. She calls to me every night and I turn away from her. Fear of what she possesses keeps only my feet immersed in her promises.

The moon is as bright as it can possibly be. The world is trying to accommodate my choice but I continue to fear her. What if she drowns me? What if her creatures turn on me? What if her shore escapes me and I am lost forever? I am screaming for her. My heart breaks every moment I turn my back to return home. Why does she call to me in the night? I would not fear her depth in the day! But she is quiet with her subtle sound of water. Patient and quiet like an old lagoon. She calls to me from within and then waits without condition when I arrive, watching as though piercing through my very soul with gentle enigmatic eyes. I cannot know her and yet she feels like she is me. Waiting. Just waiting for me.

This is my world tonight. This is my journey. My water heals me and curses me. She is my greatest love and my greatest fear. I am so afraid of her in this night. And I think I am about to turn my back on her once again. I hate that I do it, but I cannot find my courage. I simply cannot find my courage!

But I fear that she will forget me in time and that she will stop calling to me. I fear forgetting the sound of her future. I fear slipping further and further away from her promises and forgetting that she ever existed. And I will continue to live my life empty of the water from which I emerged. I will forget my home and who I was truly meant to be. I will lose my water and never be the same again...

Tuesday, 28 January 2003


I have wandered my world for twenty four years and in that time, I have discovered many things…

That grass was meant to be walked on barefoot and examined closely with a magnifying glass and a young child.

That water was meant to hold you and surround you with serenity and wonder.

That rain was meant to cleanse and share with you the magic of the elements dancing with your emotions.

That wind was meant to be heard, for its wisdom rides on the back of a thousand voices and whirls its way around you, sometimes chilling with things you didn’t know or want to know, and sometimes refreshing with reminders of life’s truth and beauty.

That stars were meant to be caught in the hands of faith and shared with those who dare to breathe that same fragile air of believing the world is still good.

That the moon was meant to be held and lulled to sleep in the arms of the ocean tide and to drift amidst the dreams that wash up along its shore.

That sand was meant to be piled high and crumbled down to remind us that nothing lasts forever but we can always enjoy rebuilding it.

That darkness does not suffocate nor ambush your uncertainty but rather invites you to rest peacefully when dreams can protect you from lurking shadows.

That shadows cannot exist without light.

That hands were meant to hold and caress loved ones and the cheek of a lover’s smile.

That the heart was meant to break a thousand times in order to master its ability to mend itself again.

That the soul is without life if it is without faith.

And that laughter is without sound if it is without love and humility.