Tuesday, October 2, 2012


This image has circulated the web but today is the first day that I saw it.  This image takes my breath away.  I am not one to turn to the Word for my comfort.  I want to turn to C, or Mimi, or even my little ones.  And there are always those freinds who you can count on to support you and love you; except for when they can't.  I had a wise freind tell me once that our freinds can sometimes be God-in-skin for us, in the sense that they are or have been placed in our life to give us what we need, but they are not nor can be a replacement for The One.  I struggle in this area.  if I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: I am the proverbial fence sitter.  But this image gives me hope.  It clicks in my mind like little has done before.  I hope it resonates with you.

Peace, freinds.  May you have comfort and Love.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I want.  I want.  I want.

 Doesn’t sound like much of a quote, but it is.  I read Carson McCuller’s The Heart is A Lonely Hunter and I loved it.  The particular paragraph where this was found has never left me.  It reads:

"She thought a long time and kept hitting her thighs with her fists. Her face felt like it was scattered in pieces and she could not keep it straight. The feeling was a whole lot worse than being hungry for any dinner, yet it was like that. I want-I want-I want was all she could think about--but just what this real want was she did not know."

This particular passage does not alter the story itself.  It is proof of McCuller’s beautiful writing, but again, this moment in this book is just that.  And yet, this moment in her book has lasted a lifetime for me.  Not literally, of course, but certainly since I first read the words.

For so long, I have not ever known what I wanted.  I could tell you what I didn’t want: Where would you like to eat?  I don’t know, but not McDonalds, etc.  Somewhere along the way I stopped giving myself permission to dream.

For the first time in a long time, I know something that I want.  Something big.  Something that I will have to really work hard for.  Something that I will have to wait for.  Something that I will have to prove that I really do want by not giving up.  Even if I work really hard and even if I do not give up, there is still a chance that this dream will not happen.  I understand that.  I think it will be worth trying for.

 Today I have a dream.  Want with me.  I want, I want, I want…

<center><a href="http://www.emilywierenga.com/" target="_blank" title="Imperfect Prose"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-3s5KmhxpIYU/T4Inziu4R4I/AAAAAAAAENk/LTq221viFVc/s144/imperfectprose.jpg"/></a></center>


Sunday, August 5, 2012

I Accidentally Said I Love You

I pray with my children every night to a God I am unsure of.  I was raised on church and prayers and revivals.  I want my children to have roots in God, in faith.  But I don’t want them to have the doubts that have plagued me my entire life.  So I pray with them every night.

“Dear God, thank you for everything that you have done for us.  Thank you for letting us have a good day.  Please let us rest well tonight so that we may have a good day tomorrow.  Give the boys a pair of angels to watch over their dreams.  Let them know how much you love them and how much I love them and how very safe they are.  Amen.”

This simple prayer is part of our bedtime routine and I have found that I receive as much comfort from it as the boys do.  Some days there are more additions – prayer requests or gratitude.  One night as I prayed I accidentally told God I loved him.  In my mind, I immediately apologized, “No, no!  I didn’t mean to say that!”  I think there was shame.  How can I love a God I don’t know?  How can God love me if I don’t know him, or love me at all?

I remember one time in college where I “accidentally” told someone I loved them.  It was a guy I had liked in high school and we had recently reconnected.  We were chatting on the phone one day and as we were hanging up, I ended the conversation with “I love you.”  I was mortified – I immediately hung up the phone.  He immediately called me back and at first I refused to pick up the phone.  What could I possibly say to him?  I hadn’t meant to say that at all!  I finally picked the phone up and he asked, “What did you say?”  I mumbled “nothing.”  He said, no, that isn’t true.  He persuaded me to not be embarrassed and he said that he thought that was the truest kind of love there was; the kind where you accidentally say I love you.

We never dated, didn’t stay in touch, but I have never forgotten his words.  What if, just what if, it were true?  What if accidentally saying I love you to God was the truest kind of love?  An unknown love finding its way to the surface, snuggled among good night kisses and prayers?

What if?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Where Is My Red

Where is my red?
I am wounded and I have lost my color
When did life leave me?
Why did red turn to grey?
I found red once
Stray, lost in wintery innocence
I was surprised
And I wanted to hide-
From red, or from myself
I am unsure
Sometimes I see this life-color
And it challenges me to be free
I think I will try
To remember
Where I last saw her
With smiles and love and beauty
A heart full of red
A world full of color

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Storms and Winds and Waves, Oh My!

How many times do I have to kneel at the cross and beg to be included in the fold?  How many times do I have to be baptized to feel clean?  How long do I struggle with faith?  I am afraid to fall on either side of the proverbial fence.  I cannot bear to trust.  I cannot bear not to.  Why do I beg in my heart to be moved and yet consistently feel nothing?  Where is the God that calms the wind but not my heart?  How will I ever trust?  What is wrong with me?

I hate bible stories.  Seriously.  The more often they are told, the more I hate them.  Sunday’s sermon was on Mark 4:35-41, about the disciples crossing the sea and the horrible storm and how Jesus calms the wind and waves.  Hearing this particular delivery of the message was fresh for me.  I found myself stirred.  One of the statements the speaker said was that a relationship with Jesus is built on intimate adversity.  He meets us where our fears are, our storms are, are hurts are.  From my questions above, I fear he will never meet me.  But I still manage to hold on to faith somewhere, hoping that in time it will become truth to me.  Another statement that resonated with me was this: “The disciples had seen miracles in other people’s lives but never before in their own.  This was their storm.  What is yours?”  My storm is the grey between feelings and choice, between desire and actions, between beliefs and preferences.

 Jesus meets us in the storm but he tells us to follow Him.  Today is another step.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Drink to Change

I remember that time I tended bar and told bawdy jokes.  As I laughed and pranced, quite proud of myself because, after all, I had no talent for jokes, a guy stood up from one of the wing back chairs he had been sitting it, quiet and unnoticed.  We had been very busy that evening, two conventions in town.  At this time of the night only a few remained – my captive audience and this gentleman who stood up.  One of our groups was a convention of military chaplains.  Tim was his name and he was a preacher and he felt the need to tell me.  I grew up in the church.  I knew all about churches and pastors, certainly, so I thought.  He shattered that image for me and do you know it was me who sought him out afterwards to go get a couple of long necks and talk about a God I didn’t remember.  It has been hundreds of wild nights and hundreds of no longer wild nights since then.  I didn’t change overnight.  In some ways I haven’t changed at all.  I am still a small girl who wants to know the way, a girl that wants to stop seeking approval from others, and a girl who ultimately wants to look up to God and claim him as her Father.  If it is a choice then I must still be straddling the fence.  But I am different than I was that crazy night.  Not sure why I am thinking of you, Tim, but here’s to you.  Cheers.

 <center><a href="http://www.emilywierenga.com/" target="_blank" title="Imperfect Prose"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-3s5KmhxpIYU/T4Inziu4R4I/AAAAAAAAENk/LTq221viFVc/s144/imperfectprose.jpg"/></a></center>

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Borrowed Art

His borrowed art makes me want to weep.  The words, the sound, amazing in their own right, and yes, he only borrows it, but it still makes my heart swell…  When will I learn to stop being jealous?  How do I change these pangs of pain in my heart to pangs of pain in action?  Here is a quote that I need to take a lesson from: Create ambition.  Ambition creates motivation.  Motivation creates a motion.  I would probably replace Ambition with Desire, but it admittedly doesn’t flow as well.

I want my soul to continue to ache at beauty.  I think I will always be this way.  I think I was made this way. 

Anyway, this is the same old song and dance for me.  I long, I love, I appreciate.  Then I want my own.  I can say this a thousand different ways but it all comes down to that.  And I can say it to myself as long as I want to and nothing will ever change without the movement on my part.  Here’s to hoping that saying out loud over and over again constitutes as some form of movement…

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's there to be scared of?

In a  deliciously enticing conversation with a friend, I grieved over my inhibition to write.  How I am afraid of failing.  How not writing, not creating is safer than failing.  He asked, "What are you scared of?  Two little letters - 'n' and 'o'?"

The answer is yes.  I am the guilty party.  I tell myself no assuming that others will tell me no, and what that no depicts varies...  Is [it] good?  Am I talented?  Am I worthy?  Do I have what it takes?  Will anyone care?  The list goes on, but the one thing that doesn't change is that I answer my own questions, and not nicely.

My friend joked and mentioned the Yes Man movie and how instead, I should write about the no's.
He's right.  I have to right about the No before I can teach myself Yes.  I have to face my fear.  I have to own it.  Sit in it.  Remind myself that No can actually be good sometimes.

So not tonight, maybe not tomorrow, but I plan to face my No's.

No becomes a Yes.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Am From...

I am from clothespins, Tide, and hot summer breezes.

I am from the big curve at the 11 mile mark and the circle driveway I used to park in.

I am from dreaded poison ivy and pesky mosquitoes,

And eagerly anticipated dogwood trees.

I am from Turkey at Thanksgiving and Pizza at Christmas,

From the expected and the unexpected.

I am from freckled cheeks and arms, almond-shaped brown eyes,  

And pale skin that burns.

I am from kamistybeth

And Elmores and Ballews.

I am from hard - sometimes sweet - martyrdom

And smiles that sometimes hide.

I am from I love you and Don’t be sassy

And This too shall pass...

I am from AG, fire and brimstone, and revivals that didn’t really mean anything.

I am from a city I don’t remember and a city I abscond, and a city with new roots.

I am from home-grown corn, fried green tomatoes,

And the summer Dad said Merry Christmas in July with presents of garden hoes.

I am from the picture wall of baby photos, school portraits, and unknown faces from long before,

And from the top shelf in the walk-in closet with all its secrets:

Untouched family albums, clipped-out newspapers, and old half-forgotten letters.

I am from hurts and hugs and half-truths and secrets -

Each being discovered one at a time,

Like finding southern country treasure,

Or an un-seen bee,

Hovering over a glass of sweet iced tea.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Morning Pages

It is Easter - early afternoon.  I am sitting outside and it is starting to rain: beautiful, big, fat rain drops, the kind you can hear falling.  Norma was going to do an Easter egg hunt but now it will have to wait.  Sitting out here, I can't help but hope all the laughing and happy screaming children go inside.  I would love to sit out here with just the rain for company.  It is utterly peaceful.  It is starting to rain in earnest now and with it a little thunder and a cool misty breeze.  The black car just drove away while the red and white stay, a couple of passengers not wanting to face the rain.  Over there is a mom and baby, perhaps as enthralled as I am, looking out over their balcony.  The water is pooling in the courtyard and I am happy to see the rose bushes blooming again.  I wondered about them just yesterday.  Oh look!  The happiest surprise of all!  My neighbor is blowing bubbles into the rain.  I wish I had a camera for this moment has made me happy.  The thunder is closer and I see Misha looking out from the boy's room.  I think she likes this spot because she can watch the pigeons, but today there are no pigeons.  The quiet I desired has finally come, along with more rain-spray.  I don't mind getting wet.  I think I may have dreamed this.  The neighbors have all gone back in and still the courtyard floods.  A blue truck replaced the black, the white car decided to leave, but the red car remains - much like me.  I look around again and this time I see a neighbor leaning over the edge with a potted plant, choosing to let the original waters nourish this house plant of theirs.  Beautiful and original.  I am alone again.  The skies have admittedly turned greyer, but I do not mind.  It is still bright day, not to be confused for darker times.  The hour, the rain, the bushes blooming below - these all remind me it is spring.  It comes back to Easter day, circular indeed.  This time the rain and breeze are pushing me in, too wet to stay, but still I hesitate.  It is lovely and I do not want to go.  But with the rain comes boredom and little boys who want to play.  Good day, Easter, good day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I asked him questions about God

Questions that could not be answered

My questions required faith

Though I seemed to have none

I wanted to know why the world was hurt

Why I was hurt

I told him I didn’t understand

I told him I didn’t like his parables

I even said I wish we were puppets

And it is true – I do

But there was no fire

And no rain

And there were no answers

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Creative Lethargy

So lately it seems that I keep struggling with everything.  I have a huge certification test coming up in 4 weeks that I have known about for months and I have not studied.  At all.  I have 2 or 3 books sitting by my bed that I have been meaning to either read or finish.  Yep--they are still sitting there, and this coming from the girl who loves to read.  Other things, too, like wanting to make really delicious meals for my family.  I know how, want to, but when it gets down to dinner time, what happens?  Mac and cheese.  Or sandwiches.  I know what depression is, I know what it feels like--I have battled it for what seems like my entire adult life, but this is different. 
This feels like lethargy--creative lethargy.  Once again I put easy before trying new things (or old, for that matter!) and tried-and-true before any out of the box ideas.  I am so completely inhibited.  Creatively constipated.  Nice image, huh?  C told me I should take some art classes.  We were discussing my absolute love/obsession with tattoos and he told me I should become a tattoo artist.  I immediately laughed and said, 'I can't draw!  I can't even draw a straight line with a ruler!"  His response was that I could learn.  Take a class here or there...  and you want to know what happened?  For half a second, I actually dreamed.  I actually imagined what taking a class would look like and then I compared myself to every other art student who has been drawing for a lifetime and I threw it away.  I threw that image away.  But do you see it?  Do you see it still lingering? 
I don't know what happened to me.  I feel now like I always do.  But I am saying it out loud.  I feel lost.  Sometimes I don't know why and even the times I think I know, I pretty much go running away.  It is time to stop running.  Ok, so I may never learn to draw straight lines without a ruler and therefore never become Kat Von D, but I can pick up a pen.  Or type a few lines.  I will purposefully set out to fail so that in doing so, I can actually succeed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Touch of Melancholy

My desire speaks to me
But at a distance, like the moon
I try to find out about myself
From everyone but myself
I feel the spaces are dark, unknown
I think I am scared, scared to want
Scared more, still, to succeed
I look for reassurance 
Soft and sweet-scented like the wind
One day I will know
One day I will see
But tonight, tonight is for dreaming

Friday, March 16, 2012

How do I start?

Most days I do not know what to write or what to say.  My husband says that I am scared to look in my heart.  That it is like peeking under a rock and then running away.  I think I agree with him.  I am afraid, afraid that if I look, nothing will be there.  I have always said there are two kinds of people in the world: those who create art and those who appreciate art.  I have always called myself the latter but it is the artist I wish to be.  They say in order to create you must first be willing to do so poorly.  I feel like I can’t do that.  Or won’t.  I want to create.  I think creating is beautiful.  Therefore whatever it is I might create should be perfect.  But this is all wrong.  I have to learn to wander and linger inside my soul.  I have to listen fiercely to the tiniest of whispers inside myself.  I need to stop relying on feelings—as in the need to FEEL creative before picking up a pen.  I need to immerse myself. I need to try and try and try again.  I read this recently: When do you make the time? They say, and it’s impossible not to. Art is oxygen is faith is sanctuary. This is how I want to be with my writing.  I want to have a voice.  I choose to exercise this voice.  I have to because there is no other way.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A poem about me...

I have always been
one of the Unfortunate
One who understands
I was part owner and part slave
to the plantation of dreams in my heart
my dissatisfaction was a balm for my wounds
to teach me a lesson
I recognize disturbing behavior but
I belong to the reorganization crew
I like to stand alone, against Time--
Against the only Force strong enough
to knock me down--The Wind
That same wind which would carry
a strand of my hair
to offer a blessing to
the little rat's nest
Likewise, such is that of me
Should a single tear fall
thousands would find shelter in it
An Unfortunate
Grateful despite myself
But I cannot speak to the Raised Voice
the way It speaks to me
I cannot move mountains
nor my own faith
Yet I embrace these concepts--
these acknowledgments--
into my being
for they are me as well
I teach them and they respond well
I learn that I grow
I am passionate
my touch forbidden
due to self restrain and a love
for self justification
I cannot comprehend all that is in me
Cannot express all that I am
I can only be beautiful
and Unfortunate
Tempered by Truth
I sing a language few dream of
I am my own sun
and my own moon
But I would be arrogant
to include the Universe
Still, I am quiet
A foreshadow of the ripples in the pond
I am shadow, a glance, a peace so tranquil
It is lonely
I am a memory
A joy so desperate
Only a wall without a door
can stop me
Most of all
I am a succession of queens
bold and conquering
while martyrs and laughter live in my heart
I am a perception
a reflection
a fear
I am tomorrow
and while I never was Today
I am the connection
a thin line
to a meaningful
"some things but not everythings:
and I am an Unfortunate
Such knowledge is truly
No power at all...