While I Breathe

Girl In The Moonlight Sky

There is hope, while I breathe

Be it the hope of a dreamer

I will continue to dream

Or the hope of the dancer

I will dance on hard floors

While I draw breath

I float on the ether of hope

There is hope, while I breathe

Hope of love returned

Dreamed of, lost and denied

Hope of riches gained

In laughter, joyful tears spent

As I draw breath

I soar on the winds of hope

There is hope, while I breathe

Hope that gold is gold

Hope that silver is silver

Hope that hearts are pure

Hope that spoken words are true

As I draw breath

I drift on warm breezes of hope

While I breathe, I still hope

Always, I remain hopeful

24-March-2016

24-March-2016

Inspiration

OpEdThe other day I was strolling through the blog world, trying to catch up with my reading; it seems I am always behind these days. I haven’t been up to my usual self frankly; things have been weighing on my heart and mind, keeping me from my normal enthusiasm, my desire for social interaction and visits with friends flung far and wide. I miss you all; I truly do yet can’t seem to concentrate, to focus on what is needful to maintain the important relationships we have built through our shared words in this strange and wonderful blog world we all visit and make a piece of our homes.

Then I saw this: What Inspires You, by Penny

I have been thinking about this one for days, truly off and on I have been thinking about what inspires me for days. I have also been thinking about why I am feeling a bit uninspired, why it is hard for me to get up off my azz and write, dance, visit or anything else I normally do. So, in response and as a challenge to myself, I have spent the past couple of days writing down what inspires me.

Life inspires me. Yes, just life, the idea we have a limited number of days on this earth and how we choose to live them, what we do with them is a concept so few of us grasp completely. Some of us, we spend our life in frivolous, sometimes ignorant pursuits. Others are amazing what they are able to accomplish, so yes life inspires me.roseglasses

Hope inspires me, so much seems terrible and tragic these days and yet so many still face the world with hope. I know there are those who look at me and think I see the world through rose colored glasses, who believe I am a bit naïve. Honestly though, I am not naïve. I know there are monsters in the world; I have met many of them. I simply choose which I will dance with and continue to rest in the lavender in a lounge chair of green wearing tarnished rose colored glasses. I am inspired by hope, all around me I am inspired by others, who despite the terrible and the tragic continue to rise up out of the muck and the mire, face adversity and hope for more and better.

Malala

Malala

Fearlessness inspires me. Not stupidity, not bungee jumping types of fearlessness, but fearlessness in the face of great odds. I am at times stunned by just how truly fearless human beings can be when it is needful and meaningful.

Joy inspires me. There is nothing more I can say about this. Great joy, pass it on.

Selflessness inspires me. Those men and women of our past who gave the gift of their blood, sweat, tears and lives to gain us so much; they inspire me to do more and better. I forget sometimes how much they gave, I think we all do.

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Love inspires me. Yes, love in all its manifestations love inspires me. It is so easy to say, “I love you”. It is really hard to live, “I love you”, every single day, every single night. Love is hard, perhaps it was meant to be so we would have to work for it. We are, I think by nature, selfish and self-centered creatures. Love is, by its very nature, selfless. For any of us to love, we have to set ourselves aside and choose to not be selfish, even if only for the minute it takes to not think about what 1img-thingwe get out of it.

That is what inspires me, it isn’t all that inspires me but it is enough for now. There are people who inspire me. There are things, great works of art, great pieces of music; but for now, this will do. Many of you inspire me quite often. If I don’t visit often right now, it is because I am having a difficult time keeping up, working through personal things that will sort themselves out as they should.

I hope you will visit Penny, who inspired this one. Maybe you will be inspired as I was.

Hope and Hard Places

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday I struggled, all day in fact I struggled. My emotions raged and I didn’t want to do what I had committed to, truthfully I wanted to pick up the phone and call my friend and say, ‘Hell no, I am not making that drive and standing up to tell that story’.

That is what I wanted to do.

Yesterday, I woke in the morning with Victim Impact on my calendar. Not just any victim impact but the hardest victim impact, Sexual Offender Victim Impact. Yes, they are juveniles, they aren’t hardened and terrible molesters and in many cases, they are young men who are being criminalized for having consensual sex with their girlfriends, but not always. In this case, this was the parole group, their parents were there with them. I had forgotten, it wasn’t just the kids it was the adults too. Yesterday I woke up and all I could think, I wasn’t in the space head or heart to do what I had promised.

Yesterday, was hard and I didn’t know why. The truth is, I believe what I do is good. I believe down to my bones and my soul, if we can we should. If we have the strength to stand up and tell our stories, we should. If we can reach these young people, tell them who we are, show them our faces and the impact of their actions but also that one mistake doesn’t have to define their entire futures, we should. If we can reach them, if we can show tradenewswirenetthem the face of compassion, perhaps we can also change the trajectory of their lives, maybe we can change the inevitable outcome so many of them face, from classroom to prison cell. I have always said, as if it is a mantra, give me just one and it is worth it, one out of every session that I reach and who hears then it is worth it, every one after one is a gift.

I have spent ten years standing up, telling my stories, staring into the faces of young people and adults alike. Sometimes, like yesterday it is hard as hell and I don’t want to do it. Some days like yesterday, my heart falters, I stumble and feel bruised and battered. Yesterday, yesterday though it was worse than normal, I don’t know why or maybe I do. It was bad because I am more battered by everything and am feeling a bit less hopeful than normal, a bit less strong, a bit less like I can conquer the world. I hate that, I hate not being strong, not being fully in control of my emotions and my world. In fact it pisses me the hell right off.

Yesterday, I reached out to a friend who I love and respect for his ability to cut through the bullshit, in spare and simple words, after a short back and forth about what I was feeling this was his response:

Maybe what you are doing with this victim impact with sexual offenders is a good thing, but just maybe you are not now, at this place in time and your life, ready to do that. Maybe at a later time you will be strong enough to do this victim impact with sexual offenders and not experience the turmoil you now feel. Maybe you need a break, after all you are human, and feel things.”

I hate he is right, it would be easier if he weren’t right , easier if I could ignore his analysis and find some different answer. The truth is, I was in turmoil. My heart was fighting me all day because I simply didn’t have the emotional strength to do what I had promised. I did it, not because I wanted to save that one young person, because I wanted to storm the gates but because I had made a commitment and there was no one else. I wouldn’t let people down who depended on me, I did it out of obligation and long-standing relationships.

I did something else though, I took myself out of next quarter for all Victim Impact for Sexual Offenders. I can’t do it. I know there are so few of us in the state, taking myself out leaves them short but my friend is right, I am human and I need a break it is hard and I don’t have to prove I am strong I have to heal from what has broken me. I have to get my own house in order before I can return to saving others, no matter how much I believe, heart and soul, part of why I do Victim Impact is a mission of hope and compassion. If I am going to bring that into the room, I have to feel it and show it to myself.

Last night I stood up, I told the story of a brutal rape of an eleven year old child, I stared into the faces of teenagers and their parents and told them what happened afterwards. How that rape changed my life and the lives of my family. I watched as mothers winced when I used the words;

  • Bitch
  • Slut
  • Whore and Ho

I watched as young men wanted to fight when I asked them what the difference was between calling their mother a bitch or calling a girl on the street a bitch. I thanked a mother who in tears blessed me for my ‘testimony’, while acknowledging I did not speak from a Christian position she told me I had touched her spirit and she would remember, her son approached me afterward shook my hand and thanked me also. I spoke to a young man who told me he wanted to be an engineer but was afraid he wouldn’t make it into college now, because of this because he had sex with his girlfriend; all I could tell him was to work with the judge and his parole officer to find a way.

Yesterday was hard. Before I walked in the door I called my friend, I need a voice beside the one in my head. Maybe what I needed was to hear my own voice out loud, saying why I do this;

‘Because despite everything I believe in hope, I believe in love, shit I still believe in knights on white horses who slay monsters. I am not naïve I know the monsters exist, I have met too many of them; but I still believe in www.forum.nethope and love and I think they might be part of the same thing.’

Yesterday was hard. I need a break. I need to take care of myself. I need a little bit of tenderness and care. So I won’t do these, at least not the Sexual Offenders, for the next quarter maybe not any of them. I think my friend is right and I will listen because there is no sense in doing what is that hard, no sense in brutalizing myself.

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