Turning the other cheek..

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This was always a hard pill to swallow.  Even as a child, upon hearing that phrase for the first time, while I could understand the idea of not reciprocating harm, I certainly was not down with the thought of giving anyone the opportunity to harm me twice.  It was just going to be one of those things that looked pretty on paper.  For me, it was an idea to aspire to in principle form only.  On some deep, DEEP level that I’d never actually have to come in contact with.  Until one day in the shower..

I was thinking about changing my mind on things.  Literally trying to see and envision words, phrases, and ideas in other ways, and this particular phrase came to mind.  Turning the other cheek..

Now for some reason, I’d always figured it meant allowing harm of some nature without retaliation.  Right?

If someone says something rude, “turn the other cheek.”

Someone steals your parking space, “turn the other cheek.”

Things start to get a little more uncomfortable when it hits closer to the skin.  A little more unacceptable.  If someone breaks your heart, what then?  Turn the other cheek?  For how long?  And how many times?

I don’t know where the permission had been hiding, but somewhere inside it clicked that there could be another meaning for this phrase for me.  And while it may not resonate for everyone, it made such clear sense.

For me, turning the other cheek could mean looking in the other direction.  Not in avoidance! I want to make that clear, but rather looking into a new possibility.  As if to say, “that’s enough now, I’m moving on.”

And again, I’ve given myself the permission to think this way.

I’m learning to allow myself the gift of turning the other cheek.  Allowing myself the opportunity to look into a more positive light.

Saying “no more” to a negative space that’s become too comfortable.

Turn the other cheek.

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He’d been seen

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He knew he’d been seen when the space around him warmed, familiar.

When words gave their rights away to a silence that steadied his racing pulse,

and straightened the curve of his spine.

His heart having kept pace with hurried breathing.

Breath catching up to speeding thoughts – rowing backwards in time

to find where he’d missed his calling.

Back to where his name stopped feeling like the center of him

and started feeling like the outskirts of his best intentions.

And then to have it melt away..

Peeled back.

The weighted rush of day-to-day invisible,

forced to retreat

and bow before a strength of kindness so bright

that it cut through all of his darkness.

Where i was..

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I tried the other side.

The backdoor escape.

Dishonestly provoking an ease never meant for me.

And we couldn’t meet eye to eye, this ease and I.

Dashing and daring,

step after clumsy step,

knowing our dysfunction.

And then one day ease left me

and gifted me a burden that made me move a little slower.

A little closer to the ground

until I finally felt where I was.

But dark comes first..

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Walk along, dear heart

and meet again the places that you’ve been.

Retell old stories of past steps.

Steps now covered in the shadows of those who feel they are alone.

Wandering shadows,

their comforts out of reach,

while their exposed feet slide unsure into the impressions that your stumbling once left behind.

Their puzzled faces,

wrapped around minds which have not adjusted to the change they feel

yet cannot see.

For the dark clarity that swaddles their future selves, holds fast.

That unyielding darkness.

The great defender of the precious sublime,

not to be seen on this side of the mountain.

Walk along side them, dear heart.

Tell them that the dark keeps company with light

and protects it against any foe.

Old friends they,

taking turns at introducing themselves,

but dark comes first.

So stand with them, dear heart.

Stay close to those wanderers.

Stay until the light reassures its protector

that all is well.

Amen

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When Amen fell,

rolling over and over again, dodging the stinging, pitter-patter drops of her incriminating past,

she gained a silent strength.

Momentum.

Pulling down, as she went, the illusory blankets of uncertainty

cast and caught along the textured walls of her recollection.

And with each fall a finality gripping against the cold pangs of a questioning mind.

A mind begging for one more round through the fog, familiar.

Until time and grace firmly pressed her heart to murmur.

To speak.

To no longer betray the truth that pushed her to the edge.

Leaving her on her knees to face the storm that shook alive the deep pent resolve that gave her her name.

And broke away the well worn armor that held her hostage.

The key being on her very own lips

when she bravely spoke,

“let it be.”

Just to stand

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When dawn came,

looking over the mountains we’d found to hide behind,

she was gracious enough to light the way before finding us out.

Kind enough to charm and churn our senses with her illuminating confessions,

giving cause once more to rise

and acknowledge the length of promise that sat as trapped as we were.

Only not really trapped at all,

but we’d abandoned the truest heights of ourselves.

The stature that would allow us to see over.

Kept at bay when we’d forgotten to choose to stand.

And she changed us with her gentle passing,

and moved the very scene.

Caressing the jagged spaces we’d one day meet.

Warming the ground we’d one day walk.

And walk we would when our standing had been tried and proven.

Walk we would when our standing was sure.

 

 

All that was left

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As night turned overhead,

twisting the latch that would open wide a new day,

the sky inched itself one shade closer to morning.

The edges of it already aglow with the promise it was eager to keep,

while anxious light waited and watched for God’s cue.

Buzzing below the surface of dawn,

making plans to adorn every space

that had begun to believe the dark’s cruel persistence.

Gradually lifting the weight of that darkness with new light,

until all that was left of night

was the sheer and shadowy reminder at our feet.