Redemption Through Grace

She is redemption.

Looking into her eyes is like looking into my own soul. I know I have glimpsed eternity. How could someone like me, who has cheated, lied, lusted, hurt others, and hurt herself, create something so pure? She has saved my soul once more.

The agony it took to bring her into this world would be my greatest joy. My life now completed by her appearance. She will never know but I finally understand. My mother did this for me.

One day she too, sadly, will loose that purity and for a time feel like she has ruined it all. However, a day will come when she looks into her baby’s eyes after roaring that life into this world and she will understand. The story is not over yet. Redemption come to each generation with pure life.

As God intended.

Redemption through Grace.

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Laid Off

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It has been coming for awhile. Subtle things have happened. Difficult to analyze or describe.

First came all the promises.

We promise to expand. We promise to add more jobs. We promise you, smallworker bee, productivity, benefits, incentive, but most of all, security. This is a small town. We are a corporate giant.  You depend on us and we will not let you down. You, as people, human beings, with families, and honest hard-working hearts are our first priority. Money is second to you, trifle friends.

Second comes the meetings.

Gather round, ladies and gentlemen! We want to keep you in the loop because we respect you as our employees. Here’s the thing… the economy is bust. Sales are hard, stocks are dropping. Our options are limited. I know, I know, we promised expanse but circumstances just won’t allow and it is out of our hands. Eighty of you are losing your jobs. We are “restructuring” to align your goals with ours. Do not fear though, little man! We will take good care of you. For the next two months we will decide who stays and who goes. Sit at your desks and continue performing admirably. You will know the news when it is convenient for us. You understand I am sure.

Third the goodbye emails.

You tried your hardest. It just wasn’t good enough. The factory is closing. Pack your desk by Friday. There are no jobs in this rural place. We we’re your last hope. Uproot your family and move somewhere else. Truly, minimal monkeys, we really did try but the investor’s bid was higher.

Goodbye Dear Friends,

Allow me to thank you for the energy you put into this company. It has been a pleasure working with you. Wishing you all the best and knowing we will not see each other again. I do not know where my future will go from here. I have worked for the factory for fifteen years. What will I do now? How will my family cope? Don’t believe them when they say they care. The only thing they see is green. But don’t let them get you down. We are resilient and without us there is no them. Move forward. You never know what’s in the next chapter.

Sincerely,

 

Too Nice

img_0268We’re taught to be nice. From the very beginning it’s all about sharing, manners, and putting others before ourselves. This is horribly true for a young girl. Never talk too much, never talk too loud, please for the love of God never speak your mind. I have been the master of never speaking my mind. Perhaps that is why it is so loud in my own head. Keeping me up at night. Making me blush and sweat as I stand among others. Why do words always get caught in my dry and tight throat? Oh yes, because I’m afraid of coming off rude or worse… stupid.

How nice is too nice? I have been asking myself that frequently as of late. Because when this stranger looks a little too hard, when he ask for a hug but adds in a kiss as well I find these hammered in niceties turn sour. However, I am paralyzed; I don’t stand up for myself or say what I want; that I am uncomfortable, that I am angry, that he is a slimy snake that likes nice. Nice doesn’t fight back. Nice doesn’t put snakes in their place. Nice plays the victim.

I have a daughter. She’s new to this world. I don’t want to teach her to be nice but I want her to be kind. So often I sit in a panic wondering how I will every protect her from the evil that seems to lurk around every corner. Why is it that little girls more often than not seem to be its target? Every day she grows. Every day she gains a bit more independence. I want her to be independent. I want her to be capable. I also want her to always fit in my arms so that she will always be safe. But I know, with despair and every passing day, I cannot always keep her safe. Then comes a moment of clarity. A thought that resonates deep into my history. It is not particularly comforting but it is true. My father’s words resound in my memory. “Keep your head up and always know what surrounds you. Do not put yourself in a place where you become the victim. Stay aware and keep your wits about you, girl.” I cannot always protect her but I can teach her to protect herself. I can protect myself.

Is today the day? The day that nice is done. Will all the anger and sass and rudeness I’ve bottled up for years come pouring out in a scream that stuns the world? Or will I simply look it in the eyes, put my arms out and say no. You cannot touch me. You cannot break me. I am not the victim you are looking for.

I am not nice.

Winter Worn

img_1696Winter. It is brutal. Maybe not for all but I live in Northwestern Wyoming. I can’t tell you how many times I ask myself between the months of December and April “Why do I live here?”  Yes, Yellowstone is only sixty miles away. Sure, the mountains are beautiful but they are also responsible for wind speeds of eighty mph that drives the sandy snow into a whiteout whorl. And don’t get me started on the subzero temperatures; let me just ask you this: have you ever experienced the crystallizing feeling of your nostril hairs freezing? Even more, have you ever crystallized for so many weeks on end that you cannot remember what 10 degrees Fahrenheit feels like? Because every year, usually around February, there is this thing my predecessors call a “cold snap” (what does that even mean?). Well, the term refers to a three to five week span where the temperature drop to below zero. Sometimes as far as negative forty. Dear Lord, that is cold enough to make you wish you could hibernate. And the monotony of it lasting for five weeks is enough to drive the sanest person into a straight jacket. “For everything there is a season.” Oh, really? Did King Solomon ever step outside only to find that he could not breathe because it was so cold? I don’t think so… Dang, see what you did there? You got me started.

I know, I know; the complaint monster is rearing it’s ugly head. Truth is, there are times I cannot tell him from myself; especially when March 1st rolls around. I can even go so far as to sit in tears like a child as I stare out the window; looking into the gray and brown, lifeless abyss that is my backyard. I try to reminisce of green and living things but I find them to be distant and foggy memories; like they belong to someone else. Every year I reach a point that is a new low. I give up. Surely the words “spring has sprung” will never be uttered again. However, to my surprise, every year, the clouds break. It is so subtle that you barely want to hope. Does the sun feel just a little bit closer? Is the ground just a bit less hard? Take a sharp breath in; is that a robin you just heard?! Yes, today is the day. I will utter those words: “spring has sprung.” As usual it happens so slowly and then all at once. The world bursts forth in rain clouds and surprisingly warm days. You turn around to find the grass has emerged from it’s hiding place and the buds on the trees make their shy entrance. Suddenly, the red-wing blackbirds are trilling, the geese fly over in droves of Vs, and the farmer is hard at work in a green tractor in a dark brown, fragrant field.

Breath deeply. Savor. Plant growing things. Revel in the long lasting sunlight. Thread that fly rod. Climb that mountain. Enjoy that bonfire. Spring will give way to summer; summer gives way to fall.

Winter rounds the corner.

Here we go again.

Thank the Lord! Has summer always been so hot?

 

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