photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Posts tagged “life

Bathed in Light: Jesus’ Love

It’s 3:30 a.m. and I’m watching The Dark Crystal and thinking about nabbing another bowl of Pistachio Almond Ice cream. Party for one. 🙂

I’m in a particularly jovial mood- a bit celebratory. For weeks, I’d been super depressed- lost in the post-breakup haze that always accompanies splitting up with the mate. I knew I would have my bad days here or there, but I didn’t anticipate that it would be so bad. My heart was just wrecked.

Two days ago, in the twilight hours of pre-dawn, I fell on the bedroom floor and just wailed. I hadn’t let myself cry after Josh left (except for once) and finally, the damn burst; I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I cried and cried and prayed and really just got all of the ick out. I read Isaiah 26 (out loud) and really felt the Lord there in the room with me. After I anointed myself and finished reading the Bible, the cloud passed over me; I could feel it lifting physically, not just in my spirit, and afterwards I felt so light. The chains fell off of me and it’s been that way since. The heartbreak and sorrow were just too heavy for me and I knew that I wouldn’t make any type of progress until I let it all out, and let it all go.

So I did. It’s funny…to the hungry, desperate soul, even bitterness is sweet, and I was just soooo desperate to feel Jesus’ love. My heart has been restocked with sweet love and I feel a warm glow swimming around inside.

I have one of these too. >>>>>>> 🙂

Oh…and these little guys don’t hurt either:

DoeyandVirgilCarl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4 film lens/Canon Rebel 

We have two new housemates! Our dog, Chance, is crazy about them: He gives them baths and is a great guard dog. Brianna named the male kitty Virgil (from Dante’s Inferno), and Brian named the female Do Re Mi Fa So La To Do, but we call her Doey for short.

They’re absolutely adorable and I’m madly in love with them.

(Time to hit the hay.)
Good night morning, world.

“With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early.”  -Isaiah 26: 9


White Linen

For Shreya. xo
One of my short stories from several years ago.

White Linen

Her fingers felt like two hot stones that had soaked up the angry sun. The sweat was gathering on her back and Ellie knew that she was racing against the clock. She’d been out there for two hours now; digging, planting, and turning over the dry, crusted earth. She wiped her brow, smearing dirt on her face; mixing it with the sweat that ran down into her ear. There wasn’t even a hint of a breeze.

“Good thing too,” she thought.

A gentle breeze would only have lulled her into the hope of being comfortable. She wasn’t much of a gardener, but her mother (and her mother’s mother) had toiled away in the burning sun, just as Ellie was doing now, and so she felt it was her womanly duties, if nothing else, to keep the grounds. It was her heritage. Her land now. Her large fingers tore at the soil and she carefully placed each small stone that introduced itself, into neat little piles. The smile that was beginning to form at the corners of her mouth, was evidence that she was quite pleased with herself. She squinted and stared up into the sun. The lemon-yellow glow, radiated out from the heavens, wrapping itself around her very heart it seemed. Panting, she let her eyes drift across the canvas of the sky, and thought of the tangy lemons in her basket over the stove. She would take a few, squeeze them tightly into a pitcher (after cutting each in half), careful not to let the seeds fall in. She’d add a few cups of sugar (she could practically taste it now), rushing to the pit of her stomach as if it too were trying to get away from the burning heat.

Ellie wiped her hand on her brown, faded dress. You know the one. A rip there at the hem from rushing through life, month after month; chores and endless lists to check off. A button- missing in the back- directly across from her burdened waist; proof that she’d rewarded herself bountifully after each carefully planned meal. The floral pattern had been beaten away by the unforgiving sun, year after year of hanging out those old stained linens. Why, they must be forty years old by now!  Ellie wasn’t aware that she’d drifted off again; her eyes fixed to those linens as if it were the sheets themselves that took her back to her Jonah, and the sound of his harmonica…and her laughter. But Jonah was gone and so were the years.
She wiped her eyes, again streaking dirt across her lid. Her parched mouth brought Ellie’s eyes away from the sheets and back to her tired old hands. Lemonade. Ellie put her packages of seeds next to the neatly stacked stones, and tried to rise. It felt as if the sun had exploded in her chest; her breathing, coming in heavy gasps, and she fell to the ground, scattering the stones as she went. Ellie closed her eyes, for the sun was blinding, and she pulled at the grass, reaching for something (for what, she did not know) something to feel connected to. Even with her eyes closed, she felt the shadow move over her face. Ellie opened her eyes. The sun was hiding behind the peculiar man, causing a cool shade to fall on her. For that, she was grateful. The ripping pain in her chest, seemed to have vanished, and Ellie was wondering who the stranger was that stood before her.

”Can I help you Ma’am?” he asked kindly.

Ellie shook her head, as if to say no, but then nodded her head in confusion. The glow of the sun seemed to make him glow as if he too, were indeed part of the sun.

”Y-yes…thank you….sir….,” she answered; her voice trailing off, barely above a whisper. She looked up and into his eyes. How could it be? Her Jonah was gone, and he looked nothing like him, but his eyes…she could almost be certain they were Jonah’s. Yes. She was absolutely certain that she’d seen them before. She reached up, placing her hand into his waiting one. The man pulled her up; smiling and nodding gently as he did and Ellie let out a breath of summer air, returning his smile, and gently squeezed his hand. The sight of her linens, dancing happily in the breeze, caught her eye. The gentle wind kissed her hair, refreshing her for the first time in months. She could hear the faint trail of a harmonica playing, as many do in the country, and still holding the man’s hand, Ellie looked around to take stock in all that she had to be thankful for. This is the house that sheltered her through the many seasons of her life. The garden there, was her daily companion; patiently teaching her how to grow.

”Are you ready?” asked the man.

Ellie paused, and looked back at the scattered stones. Lying next to them was the body of Ellie Parkins. Ellie saw herself, but felt as if she were looking at a stranger. Dirt streaked her forehead, and a faint smile was still painted on her mouth. Hanging on the clothesline, were those white linens, which also seemed to glow with the strength of the sun shining through them. Ellie looked up at the man, and with one last sigh, she pursed her mouth together and nodding at her new friend, walked toward the shining sun…

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The Birth

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The Birth

Eyes  squeezed
Liquid
Pours into the mouth
No matter how tight it may be

Murky depths and water
Flood the slitted eyes
Death in its black and hollow cave
Extends a hand, quickly
Slapped back by the light
Which is growing yellow
Fat and bright

Wraps itself around the scene
Like a cobra
Shedding its last skin

The breath which was muted
Comes fast and loud and rough
Eyes burst open
Liquid spills and rolls down little hills

A final sigh as breath is held
Smiles are passed around like Cuban cigars
In the other room

More liquid
Filling and spilling from eyes
The baby cries

-B. Lindsey (original)
9/7/13


The Fine Art of Picking up Strange Black Men

 

I remember driving in Lousiville, Ky one night. It was summer, loud, stereos were bumping- it was a Saturday night and I was out and about in the bad side of town trying to track down my BFF at the time, Olivia; a large black woman with a brood of kids and grandchildren she’d raised. Olivia is pure gold in my eyes. We met in a homeless shelter. I had been standing along the wall “people watching” and suddenly, a burst of music rolled into the room: Olivia was laughing and dancing and spinning around- completely entertained- with a boom box on her shoulder. She was larger than life! I smiled and knew I had to meet her. 

We talked after some time and realized we immediately liked each other. We spent the next few weeks hanging out together and passing time- smoking weed out back with many of the residents there. One day, I returned to the shelter and Olivia was gone. They told me she’d gotten her own place.  So is the life at a homeless shelter; people come and go- you have to get used to that. Some you see later, some you never see again. It teaches you to love people hard while you have them and let go quickly. That was worked into me many years ago. 

As life would have it, I ended up moving into her neighborhood just a few weeks later. For the next three years we were virtually inseparable. She helped me through some very dark times and I gleaned so many good things from her. I have a very special love for that woman. And a high respect. 

After some time, we both moved out and we lost contact with each other. I had made up my mind on that particular Saturday night that I would track her down. Very much like a gypsy or nomad, I’ve traveled as a wanderer in this world. Nothing has held me back. Being poor certainly hasn’t. If anything, it’s been a catalyst.

But on that night, I set out in my car purposefully driving to the bad end of town. I knew Olivia had moved to the next state over in Kentucky, so I cross the bridge and drove into downtown Louisville. It was a hot, muggy night.

As I headed deeper into the back parts of the city, I popped open an beer, lit up a smoke and turned up the radio. (Back in those days, it was standard to find me driving with a beer nestled in between my legs- a joint or two always close by. A lot has changed since then!)

People stood out on the corners, openly dealing drugs. They knew others knew what they were doing- didn’t care. Cops rarely bothered the little fish anyway. As I was pulling up to a red light, I saw a black guy standing on the corner. I don’t know what grabbed me about him, but something did. Let’s say, it was destiny.

“Hey, you need a ride, man?” I asked him.

“Yeah, yeah…” he said and he hopped in the car.

Now this isn’t the wisest of things to do, no doubt- pick up a black guy I don’t know in the bad part of town. But at that time, I really didn’t care. I was governed by my instincts and driven with a purpose. I had no idea what my purpose was half the time, but I new that I needed to do what I was doing and that’s all I knew.

“Where ya going to, man?”

“My mother’s house,” he said. 

We chitchatted briefly and he told me his story. He had been excommunicated from his family some years before. They had given up on him and pretty much cast him out. I felt really bad for the guy. He went on to tell me that he had only just decided to go and see his mother on that very night, and was in fact pondering the decision when I picked him up. I felt honoured that he would include me in that. Totally. 

We bonded immediately. I may have even smoked a joint with him. It’s no big secret that I was a total stoner back then. I smoked 1 to 3 joints every day for 18 years. As a matter of fact, “stoner” is putting it mildly. My Dad had the best stuff for miles and everybody knew it. He was known for that and so I never lacked for good weed. It’s no wonder I ended up being an artist in life. Weed does that. I know everybody thinks it’s so “bad” and it’s a gateway drug and all kinds of other things that they’ve been taught to believe, but I will always be an advocate for marijuana and a person’s right to smoke it. I just don’t smoke it myself anymore and haven’t for years but I’m strongly for it, if the person and the circumstances are agreeable- let’s put it that way. 

Moving right along, we eventually made it to his mother’s house. I thought we would say our goodbyes right there but he invited me to come along. Wow. He hasn’t seen his mom in years, and is hoping to be reintegrated back into the family unit and now he’s going to bring a stoned white girl with him who picked him up on the corner. Ok!

We stood outside on the porch and I stole a few glances in his direction. Even stoned, I could see a lot. He was hopeful and meek. I really like that guy. That took guts.

The door opened and a small woman stood before us, small in stature but full of expression and total shock. My mind plays it as if it’s in slow motion- her mouth, open with shock- she was yelling and mumbling and screaming to somebody else that their man had come back. I don’t remember his name now. It was 18 years ago.

She ushered us inside and we followed her to a back room where a woman lay in bed. I sat down quietly on the side of a chair and tried to disappear. I could hardly believe I was there and I felt a bit like I was in a movie. The woman in bed was his mother, who immediately cried upon seeing her son. They embraced and he crawled right up next to her and they just held each other and cried together. 

I have absolutely no idea how we got on the subject but they found out that I sang and was a songwriter. What happened next can only be described as something so bizarre that it now seems more like a dream than a memory, but I sang. I sang A Capella, a song that I had written, a song about Jesus. Four strangers sat in the room there- eyes fixed on me- in a semi-petrified state, mouths slightly open. They felt honoured that I would sing for them. I was honoured that they let me.  

I sang from my heart and sang especially for that mother and son. It was one of those rare moments in life that you know has been brought together- orchestrated by God even- that will never happen again: A true once in a lifetime moment. 

The mother cried again and thanked me repeatedly for bringing back her son. I was especially emotional because at that time, I was separated from my own two children who the system had taken from me years before. It brought me great comfort that I could reunite a mom with her son like that, and I cried too.

I hugged them all and made my way back to my car alone. I smiled all the way home.

“You’re awesome, God,” I said, smiling, tears still in my eyes.

He smiled too.

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The Looking Glass

It’s 2:50 a.m.
Chance is going nuts, ripping and running around the living room. I just gave him a bath. Brian Bob is chilling in his room- Brianna- the same. I should be sleeping, or doing homework, but I’ve just downloaded Tex Murphey: Overseer. Gaming is one of my coping mechanisms, much like millions of other people. Until my heart heals, I’ll trudge along the motions of my life- school, cleaning, cooking, sleeping, etc. and slip away into my game as often as possible. I just can’t process any more raw emotion at this time. Tex Murphy is a welcome escape.

I’m torn between another pistachio and almond ice cream cone and Guinness Extra Stout. I have a 6 pack in the fridge and it whispers to me. I keep forgetting to drink one. I  decide on lemon and ginger tea with honey instead. I’ve had a migraine for two days now. (Imagine that.) I can’t do this again tomorrow. After two days, my mind starts fracturing into tiny bits of livewire pain- sizzling every nerve until it’s raw and jittery. It does little good to complain other than to serve as a reminder that I’m still suffering. It too is a welcome escape from the pain in my heart.

There’s nothing one can do but ride the wave of heartache after a breakup. One of my x’s is all over me like white on rice- I’m disgusted. He thinks it might be a good time to squeeze back in. I think it’s highly disrespectful and pretty insulting to me. I know people do that- the rebound thing- but if you’re crawling away from the battlefield of one relationship, why would you hop into the trenches of another? That doesn’t make any sense to me, and it’s the furthest thing from my mind. (And heart.) I think I’ll be alone for a very long time. I’m a one man woman, and I think it’s necessary to experience the pain after a breakup. It tells me that the love I knew was real and that’s why it hurts so much. My friends don’t know what to say to comfort me, and that’s ok. There’s only so much another human being can offer in the way of companionship and support. If it weren’t for my love, relationship, and friendship with Jesus- I would absolutely crumble and die. I have no doubt. I’m not enough to keep myself going- I think of Sylvia Plath- and can understand how a broken heart could make her stick her head in an oven and forget to live. She couldn’t bear to lose her man to another woman. But Sylvia Plath said when she was just a child, “I’ll never talk to God again.” And I suppose she didn’t. So, she killed herself. I think she should have talked to God.

That’s where she and I differ. I love life, and as painful as it is to feel your heart being ripped from your chest, I do have a very close relationship with Jesus. We talk, commune, and just have a good time together. When I think about His love, and how He’s able to reach into every tiny place in my heart- I can’t be angry or sad for long. I smile, and know I’m loved. He washes away every awful feeling, and the bitter tears become bittersweet. They eventually become joyful, and I become like a child again, marveling at the beauty of God’s creation: I rise above the pain.

I’ve gone and talked myself right out of my misery again, and feel a half-smile creeping across my face.

Oh heart, you’re going to make it…

Image50 MM/manual/ISO 3200/natural lighting/Squire Boone Caverns/3.28.13


Sheltered by These Stones

Sanctify me
From the dark and stormy seas
That try to keep
Me
From fighting the good fight

From fighting
The good fight

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Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 1 timothy 6:12


Interval Notations and Honey Brandy

Good golly what have I gone and gotten myself into?

It’s 2:24 a.m. and typical as ever, the house is alive and buzzing as if it were 3 p.m. Brian and Brianna (sorry Brian…) -Brianna and “Bob” are in their room doing God knows what- I hear occasional screams, back and forth- I have no idea what they’re going on about in there…

[Enter Brian]

“Lotus Flower” (Radiohead) plays on my speakers and Brian…I mean, Bob is dancing around the kitchen-head poking in and out of the fridge. It’s possibly the coolest chill song ever. You really should give it a listen- it always puts me in a super good mood, no matter what:

I’m quite sure he’s higher than a kite- Mr. Yorke.
You know I love you, Tom. My kids think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.
(I do too.)

Bob puts his hand on his head, shakes his hips and tries to moonwalk.

“Dude, you did not just do that…” I say to him.

He smiles at me deviously, revealing more of his gnarley socks.

Tomorrow is a full day and I have no idea what I’m doing up at 2:30 a.m. I’m supposed to wake up at 7:00 a.m. and hit the prayer closet, then read a few chapters from the KJV. I have sadly slackened off lately.

Consider this. We take care of our bodies- we bathe, we try to eat good so we can live longer. But why do we want to live longer? Especially those that hate to live. I’m not one of them- I love life- and think there’s something to be gained from pain.

But we do what the television tells us to do. It says work out- we work out. It says “be pretty- feel sexy”- we are pretty and sexy. And so on.

But what do we do for our spirits? Our souls? I scratch my head and search for an answer. It’s been too long. I’m not uneducated in spiritual matters. I’ve just gotten lazy. So, I’ve decided that tomorrow I will wake up exceptionally early and pray. This clashes with my honey brandy tonight though, and I’m feeling particularly stressed out, so I’m having a few shots.

I just know this. Whenever I rise up early in the morning and pray, I feel directed. I feel stronger and my day has purpose. I need to get that back.

“Reckoner” rolls out of the speakers now…

“You are not to blame for bittersweet distractions…dedicated to all human beings…”

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From Zero to Hero

When I first met J, he had long hair well past his shoulders. He was a total stoner, just as I was,  and was fresh out of a foster home: he was 18. My brother had brought him over one night, looking for some Klonopin (of which I had plenty at the time) and sort of left him on my doorstep. My brother was inebriated and wandered off into the night, having left his friend behind. 

I had lost two of my children to the system some 14 years before, due to a series of tragedies, and so my heart really went out to the guy when he shared with me his story. His mother had been murdered when he was only 7. His Dad died of a heart attack when he was 14. He was sent to live with his grandmother afterwards, who treated him unkindly, and from there, he was placed in one foster home after the next. I was still fighting for the return of my own children at that time, and when we compared notes, we soon realized that our stories were strikingly similar, except he was “the kid from the foster homes” and I was “the parent fighting for mine to return”; nevertheless, we shared the same feelings, ideas, notions, beliefs, struggles, and hopes. It was obvious that there was an age gap- 18 years to be exact- and I thought, at best, we would become friends who shared a spectacular understanding of loss and life. 

We talked for the next three days- without sleeping. We smoked a lot of weed and bonded entirely. We both knew that we had “found somebody” who could truly understand our paths, both past and present. We discovered that we were both Christians, and singers/songwriters/musicians. We were also both French and Indian (native American). 

As I learned more about this amazing guy, I realized that he had a gift in the areas of endurance and overcoming tragedy. I hadn’t yet learned many lessons that he had learned, and at some an early age. I followed him like a shadow, studying his easygoing manner, his very slow and methodical way of speaking. I noticed that he never spoke without giving what he said much thought. I on the other hand, often stuttered and, especially in his presence, was tongue tied and gushed out any ole thing my brain was thinking at the time. I completely lacked finesse and grace. 

I was also extremely hot-headed. If somebody pissed me off, I was ready to roll- and I do mean roll. J and I weren’t by any means “an item” but we grew close and formed a unique bond. I taught him the ropes in photography; how to compose a shot and the importance of exposure and lighting. He soon became my apprentice and model. I painted a huge set of butterfly wings on my wall and he became my living butterfly. (They made for very interesting pics. 🙂

The weeks turned into months, and the months years. I grew to love J with all of my heart, and have never known a love so strongly, apart from my children and parents, but this was a different kind of love altogether. I’ve learned so much from him, as he has from me. We quit smoking pot ( 5 years ago) together, and we quit smoking cigarettes together around the same time. We quit drinking whiskey together and somehow, we’ve worked the worst out of each other and have polished up our best parts. 

When we first met, we were both aimless, bleeding wounds in life. He’s been able to comfort me, and repair some places in my heart and soul that were dying. I’ve been able to care for him and give him the nurturing and love that he’s craved for many years. 

Although he was riddled with unspeakable horrors as a child, he was able to become an outstanding academic student, which has rubbed off on me entirely. We’re now both college students and can call each other a “life partner”. We’ve literally grown up together. Saying that J is a “boyfriend” is somewhat insulting. He’s so much more. If he were my husband, there would be labels and expectations and such. We share a unique friendship, but with a love and respect much stronger. I’ve often told him that I would rather be dirt poor, living in a cardboard box with him, under a bridge, than to have a fine mansion without him. And it’s true. 

And that’s the funny thing about love. It’s such a precious thing in this world; when it comes to you, you must hold it like a child, cultivate it, and care for it like the most delicate of possessions. In five months, it will have been 7 years since J showed up at my door. 

“I love this little pitty…and this little pitty….and this little pitty….” J says, grabbing my toes and smiling at me. I return the smile, my heart swelling and burning with love.

Who knew it would take an 18 year old kid to make a woman out of me? 
(And such a trainwreck of a person to make a man out of him.)

We’re not the same people were were years ago. We’ve merged into the same being in a way. We can give each other one look and say so many things. He picks things out of my head almost constantly- verbatim- and that’s really freaky, but so very neat. I feel like the very threads of our souls are intertwined. I speak much slower now. 🙂 And I always think before I speak. 

My little car is falling apart, and so I’ll be getting another soon. I told J that I will give him this one when I do- it can be his fixer upper. He just replaced the alternator and the battery, and I love the way he stands here, holding his prize (like a caveman) – the beast- conquered. 

Life can change so quickly sometimes. One big earthquake can bring a nation to its knees and everything you have today can be gone tomorrow. I think of these things daily. I can’t speak for tomorrow, but today, love is not only in my life, but it rules it. I barely have two pennies that I can rub together, but J’s love has made me a rich woman. 

And I’ll take love over money, any day…

 

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