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.

Eyes did close

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It was a drawn out breeze

that shook free what was left.

A timid, though unrelenting thing that cast shade and shape

over our faces.

Summoning aged branches to sway.

Aged limbs, that threatened to break when they bent and tilted the light

which we trusted to show us the truth.

Turning foul the friend thought foe

to stand in unforgiving shadow.

Placing heartbreak’s color – raven,

to reign over eyes that once saw rose.

And my eyes did close at the breeze’s soft bidding.

Though closing, not to hide,

they closed to remember.

They chose to remember

the good they’d once seen.

In a moment

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How long was the moment that changed us?

How tight was the grip it must have had around the hands of time

when it held back what was right and what was wrong between us

long enough to allow our humanness to stand alone?

And lay bare the purest sense of us,

set apart from the chaos,

granting safe passage to the place where honesty resides.

In between our feelings and failings

and the understandings therein.

In the trenches of our utmost best,

we found a common thread.

A thin line.

A crack in our armor.

The width of a moment.

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.