Shine

It’s been four years today since my Daddy left me. Has it gotten easier, missing him? No. But it hasn’t gotten harder, either. The dark hole of sadness hasn’t gotten any deeper. The black emptiness of pain hasn’t gotten any darker. And the gasping, breath stealing anguish sneaks up and ambushes me less and less often.
I knew I’d be thinking about him a lot today, and I had wondered what thoughts would float through my mind. This morning, when I set off to get parts, I sat back, turned on the cruise control, turned off the mental to-do list, and waited to see what bubbled to the surface.
It was this: Sitting with my hand on his arm after his spirit had left his body. The feel of his arm with no life left in it, but still warm. The memory of not wanting to let go because I knew this would be the last time I held my Dad’s hand.
As this memory floated through my mind I found myself wishing I could ask Dad a question. Wondering what he would answer. How he would phrase that answer. And so I asked.
“Dad, do you think I should keep writing? I’m struggling with feeling like I’m not good enough at it to keep going.”
And Dad’s face came to me as clearly as I’ve seen him since he died. He put a hand on each side of my face and looked into my eyes. He leaned in and kissed me, soft lips in bristly whiskers. And all the times he ever told me I was enough came flooding through my brain. Every time he told me he loved me. Every time he told me he was proud of me. Every time he made me feel perfect because of who I was.
In the physical world I was driving through the Silverton hills, past farms and through oak groves, marveling at what a beautiful place I live in. Warm in the sun. Happy with my car. Sipping good coffee.
But in my memories I was being reassured by my father that he had never doubted my ability to do anything I set my mind to.
And I realized I’d always had Dad’s answers and I already knew how he would phrase those answers. He’s already answered my questions. Over and over and over. All my life.
By holding my face in his hands, looking into my eyes, and loving me while he was alive, he gave me a memory that will never leave me and an answer for every time I doubt myself.
Whether there is a heaven or not, Dad let his light shine down on me today. He gave me a sign, a word, and told me what I would find.
Of course this song was playing on the radio. Why am I surprised?
SHINE
by Collective Soul
Give me a word,
Give me a sign.
Show me where to look,
Tell me what will I find?
What will I find?

Lay me on the ground,
Or fly me in the sky.
Show me where to look,
Tell me what will I find?
What will I find?
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down

Love is in the water,
Love is in the air.
Show me where to look,
Tell me will love be there?
Will love be there?

Teach me how to speak,
Teach me how to share.
Teach me where to go,
Tell me will love be there?
Love be there?
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down

Give me a word,
Give me a sign.
Show me where to look,
Tell me what will I find?
What will I find?

Lay me on the ground,
Or fly me in the sky.
Show me where to look,
Tell me what will I find?
What will I find?
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down
Whoa, heaven let your light shine down

I’m gonna let it shine
I’m gonna let it shine
Heaven, let your light
Shine on me

Oh, yeah,
Yeah
Heaven, let your light
Shine on me

Shine on me, yeah
C’mon and shine

Working Two Jobs at Once

13669838_10208482278153544_5244428867736681454_n

It’s harvest time and I’m sitting in a combine, going ’round and ’round in circles at a whopping 1.75 mph. Meanwhile, my brain is going ’round and ’round in plot circles, untangling knots, smoothing transitions, justifying twists.

The first gives me focused time to think, the second keeps me from going fruit-loopy bonkers from boredom.

Profane to Profound

A few weeks ago I was asked during a critique of a piece I wrote with two POV’s which voice was mine. Was I the timeless, sweet, warm voice or the tongue in cheek humorous voice? I didn’t even have to think about my answer.

I’m both.

Life is full of moments that take my breath away, make me cry, leave me feeling moved beyond words. And then it farts, or trips or flashes me a bare assed moon and I laugh ’til my tummy hurts.

Life is both, too.

Cola
I took Cola to meet my dad today. He would have loved her and fed her forbidden snacks and let her get away with stuff he shouldn’t have and generally spoiled her rotten. And while I sat at the gravesite, Cola calmed her hyper, 6 month old self down enough to crawl into my lap and snuggle and the sweetness of it made me weep. Of course, it didn’t last long, and before I knew it she had jumped off my lap, squatted over Dad, and peed all over him. And in that moment I could almost hear Dad’s laugh again. Almost.

Life is laughter and life is tears and life is everything in between and so am I and so is everyone else.

Someone once told my dad he could go from “the profane to the profound” in one sentence. Dad took that as a great compliment. I take that as a goal to aspire to.

Peace,

Chris

 

Bravery

“What you are feeling is scared. What you are doing is brave.”

Tried really hard to remember this today as I got up to read a first page of a story to a room full of strangers so they could tell me what they thought of it.

I was very, very brave, if you go by the above quote.

IT’S ONLY STANLEY, by John Agee

4313350_orig-2

Alice and I read John Agee’s delightful story, “It’s Only Stanley.” Written in rhyme so good you don’t realize it IS rhyme until you are a couple of pages in, this book is a delight to read. And while the story itself is wonderful all on its own, the illustrations tell a separate but equally funny story themselves. Alice particularly liked seeing what would happen to the cat next. And Stanley may just be Gromit’s (of Wallace and Gromit fame) cousin. A giant “Cheese!” smile from Alice.

Planting a Garden

P1080512

The summer of 2012 ripped me open like the plow rips open the earth. The death of my father and the near death and subsequent incarceration of my son tore through me, digging up long buried rot and fear. For awhile I lay open and exposed, pounded by storms, barren and dark.
Into this dark, cold place monsters crawled. Anxiety. Depression. Panic. Insomnia. Everything they touched turned to shit. Tons of shit.
But that summer also brought into existence a new sun, bright and warm. The birth of my first grandchild. Her smile chased away the fear, lit up the darkness and warmed my soul.
And in that warmth I found the strength to go talk to a very wise woman. A woman who gave me seeds of light and love. Seeds that took hold and sprouted. Grew. Flourished.
My garden needed all of these components to come into being. Fresh soil, fertilizer, sun and seeds. My crop? Stories. Many stories. After dreaming for most of my life about being a writer, I am finally making that dream come true.
I may have waited until my Autumn years to begin writing, but Autumn is harvest time. And this harvest is going to be a bumper one!
Anyone else out there who needed a swift kick in rear to get started writing? I’d love to hear your story!
Love, Chris