That was my constant state at the age of sixteen. Reflective, contemplative, dreamy. I didn’t find out until years later that what others saw when they looked at me was “sad” or “unhappy” or, better yet, “stuck up”. That one was a personal favorite and it gave me quite a chuckle. What in the entire world would I ever have to be stuck up about, I wondered. And how bizarre the game of perception is. If only they knew how tortured I was to even look them in the eye, to have to stand up in a full classroom and talk about me.
At a very early age I learned to turn inward and began the process of creating, trying to bring out the questions in my brain while shedding light on the pain in my heart. I just seemed to feel so much. I still do. While I am mentally matured, my body certainly is showing signs of age, and my understanding of my purpose thankfully seems more clear these days, I have to say that my heart and soul have not changed a bit since that tender age.
I have had a few recent events which have pulled up the old tendencies of self-doubt, sorrow and insecurity which plagued my teen and young adult years. The difference is that I can no longer plunge into the dark shadows of self loathing as I once did. I know better. I can shed a few tears, curse myself for a while; but then I have to let it go. It still helps to write about it though. That is what writing does for one-anyone. It is a way to talk to the universe, or whoever else is paying attention, and to share oneself.
Ever since I awoke this morning, a little song has been playing in my head-from out of nowhere (as if) it came, invading my senses and I was singing it aloud before I realized it. Instantly I knew it was my mother, right there with me, talking to me in that firm, but loving way she had when there was a point to be made. I knew it was she who prompted that little song to plague me. It has been with me all day and I am happy to say it really hit home. That little children’s hymn sung in church schools all over the world will always remain a favorite. So, I say to you, “let it shine, let it shine, let is shine..”
Below is a poem I wrote at that age of sixteen, when life was only beginning to present me with the challenges I had signed up for. My mother would be gone in less than a decade and I would have my first of four sons to begin raising without her wisdom or guidance-born just two weeks before her passing. She liked this poem when I read it to her. One of my little accomplishments in school, it made it into the publication that year.
At times, dear Lord, I’m so confused.
Time flashes by, and I feel so abused.
Why must I make friends, just to lose-
the roads always wrong that I seem to choose?
Why must happiness be fleeting and rare,
understanding so sparse, when I need care?
Why must failure be a frequent guest
at my heart’s door to give me unrest?
Why must peace be just our of touch,
when I want to grasp what my heart needs so much?
Why must tears always dampen my eyes?
Why is life filled with so many goodbyes?
Why is there love burning deep within
when all he wants is to be a friend?
Why can’t I see you and hear your voice?
I am always faced with some difficult choice.
Yet, I know the answers, even as I ask.
I know why each new day is such a task.
You love me so much, you won’t settle for less
than what you know to be my best.
Thank you, Lord for giving me pain-
the weeds of confusion and blinding rain.
For there will be pastures of green tomorrow
and a welcome ease from the burden of sorrow.
After the rain comes a splendid rainbow
and I know that I an only grow
Mom and Me 1959
This is for you, Mama
Thanks for always being there for me..
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