A Trip to Pandora

Feb 2020

Today I returned to a journey I started long ago….

Meeting with others, sharing stories, talking truth…

Some people would say this is opening “Pandora’s box” –

It will let out all manner of troubles.

I’ve peeked inside this box before then shoved the lid back down tight,

Ran as fast as I could…

Tried to “unsee” what was seen.

Always figured I’d seen enough of what was in the box…

Dealt with what I saw and moved on…

(But not so fast…)

 

Troubles still arise uninvited.

Connections made to the things that crawled out of hiding long ago.

I have not outrun them as successfully as I had hoped.

(Perhaps hope was the problem?)

No one else in my gene pool had managed to outrun these things….

Some people sing “Blessed be the tie that binds….” –

In my biological family it was more like

“The chains that bind won’t go away.

You can’t escape what people say….

You’ll never belong so don’t even try…”

(But the story is not over……)

 

There is a God who saw me in my weakness,

He saw me in my trouble and loves me-one of the “least of these”.

This changes everything…I mean everything!

Trouble is not new to Him.

The Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief…

The Shepherd who searches for one lost sheep

The Master Potter who fixes broken vessels-

Restores them and makes them usable….

Hope is the answer – His name is Jesus

And He is mending my soul.

 

Communion Song

Lord, what does it mean,
In a world so full of fear and greed
With countless folks in need
To serve you?

Instead of seeking so much STUFF
Teach me how much is enough
And how to share the blessings
You’ve bestowed.

Jesus, please forgive me.
Please show me what it means
To walk your way.
I bow down, I lay before you.
I cannot rise again
In my own strength.

Lord, what does it mean
To take the bread and wine
And worship you on Sunday
If the rest of the week is mine?
Lord, my life is in your hands.
Teach me to live as you command,
To be one of your servants in this world.

Jesus, here I am lord.
Offering what I have and what I am.
Let me be poured out for You
As you were poured out for me.
Show me how to be your loving hands.

All of my longings, all my desires
I place on your altar.
Consume them with fire.

Change me; teach me
So the world can see
More of you, Lord, and less of me.

By Teresa Norman 2004

Wolfie (a kindness story)

In a world that’s kind of FULL of all kinds of bad news, I wanted to share a kindness story from two of my favorite ambassadors of goodness…..

Wolfie                                                                                                                             2/26/2020

Today was just another day, (except for the tears and the sadness). It started with no sleep, continued with too much work and ended with missing house keys, puppy vomit in the back of the car, (And an off balance feeling like walking on marbles waiting to fall).

But there was a bright spot – today was the first day of hanging out with my fabulous grandsons after school.

When they got off the bus We were met with enthusiastic slobbery puppy love… Brandy, the St Bernard puppy, and Penny, the gentle loving guardian greeted us with wild enthusiasm, and a distressing cough. Has Penny’s cancer spread?   (Sadness). (My MRI results tomorrow should answer the same question…)

Austin, the wise gentle 10-year-old, explained things to me – “Penny’s cancer might be pushing on her lungs. That’s what the cough is from…. Soon she’ll be up with Tiger (his other guardian puppy that died) and she won’t be in pain anymore.” (Tears)…Grandma lost it.

The sweet wisdom and acceptance, the wise beyond years;  how well mom & dad prepared him. So proud of this guy!

As Austin tried to comfort me, Wyatt, the 7-year-old fire cracker, went and got me four quarters out of his valuable stash to make me feel better.  That didn’t seem to solve it so he brought me one of his loved stuffed animals, Wolfie, to take home for tonight to make me feel better. (If I promised my puppy wouldn’t eat him).

 So lucky to be loved by this tribe.

(Turns out Penny is OK! and so am I)

Fleeing from the Shadows

Little girl, hiding in the shadows
Listening to the terrors of the night
Pillow o’er her head–wishing she was dead
Praying that the darkness doesn’t win….

Half-grown girl, living in the shadows
Trying to be “good” (not knowing how)
Afraid of what it means–the way her life has been
Afraid that she can never be made clean…

Wife and mom, still fleeing from the shadows,
While silently inside she dies each day.
Half alive at best–feeling different from the rest
But not yet understanding what it means….

There is a Light that drives away the darkness
There is a Hope that rises like the dawn!
There is a God who loves you–even though He’s seen it all.
He’s there for you and longs to be your friend….
You can begin again…..to live.

(In honor of Aunt Eleanor, who suffered greatly and is now at peace)

People Like Me

Little girl, needing her father’s care
Vulnerable, trusting, and not yet aware
Willing to believe what the grownups say
(But paying a price, even to this day).

Seduced by abusers with smooth, cunning lies;
Next 20 years, got no tears left to cry.
Carrying for them the guilt and the shame,
It’s cause long forgotten–
Just a wound with no name.

“Nice Christian Women” don’t have problems like this!
So you think God’s forgotten (or has no help to give).
You deny it. You numb it. (But it won’t go away).
Their choice to abuse you left a high price to pay!

Now when I remember what I’d rather forget
I feel some of the anger (but it’s not over yet!)
I still want to shake those who stopped up their ears
When I tried to get help for the heartache and fears!

I want them to listen. I want them to know!
Little girls don’t ask for this! Dear GOD let them know!
It’s when people around them are too scared to see
That little girls grow up to be people like me.

They swallow their anger, give it to their guts
Then get in their 30’s and start going NUTS!
When flashbacks take over the hours before dawn
They grab a soft pillow and try to hold on.
Inside they lie screaming with rage and with fear
(But there’s no one to show them the way out of here!)
They want to do something to destroy who they are
But there’s nowhere to run to get away from the scars.

The “powers of darkness” the “Prince of the air”
Laughs at their tormented, weak little prayers.
He says they were purchased that day long ago
And he’s come to lay claim to their charred little souls.

The lies they believed long ago call their name
As the guilt separates them from God and their friends.
Religious pride tells them they must LOOK o.k.
(But honest confession is the only real way).

Unless they feel safe to speak out with the truth,
They are bound by the lies Satan knows how to use–
Like: “God doesn’t love you! You’re dirty and bad!”
(All the things that they learned from “dear loving dad”)

But Messiah, Redeemer, by His power and might
Can deliver from bondage those that give Him the right.
He purchased them, claimed them that day long ago
And He’s waiting to free those who give Him control.

************************************************************

(Wrote this a long time ago, when memories were still a bit overwhelming….haven’t done much writing the last few years but it’s time to integrate the pieces of my life….)

THE CAPTIVE TREASURE

Crouching in the darkness, In the nighttime of her fears
Struggling 'neath the burdens that have kept her bound for years....
Captive to the Liar -- the accusation she's received
That her life has no value -- not aware she's been deceived.

Hands that reach to hold her in her loneliness and pain
Are feared as those who've come before to hurt and crush and maim.
Her broken heart lies bleeding...the Accuser shouts with glee
For her captive heart confirms the lie she never will be free.

But the Lord of Life is calling His anguished daughter's name.
He feels each wound she's suffered and He died to bear the shame.
This precious captive treasure is a jewel in His hand
(Though her blinded eyes and shattered heart cannot yet understand...)

"You are not your own, My child, I bought you with a price.
Purchased as a special gem -- for you I gave My Life.
I've come to be your Champion -- the Accuser has no part!
If you place your life into My hands, I'll free your captive heart."

The Crystal Vase

Like a crystal vase smashed against the cement wall
The little girl was fractured by life’s blows.
Now hidden deep inside lie the pieces she can’t find-
The broken parts no one but Jesus knows….

Like catacombs in ancient Rome there are tunnels here…
She’s been lost in them and hiding out for years.
But she’s tired of trying to run 
She knows a change has got to come.
Believing He has seen it all and loves her still
And the emptiness is one that He can fill.

She was blinded by her tears,
Held captive to her fears,
Not sure if she should let His light shine in...
But when His love breaks through
Mended broken things become new
Reflecting once again His marvelous light….

'Cause He’s picking up the pieces of her shattered life
Cradling them gently in His nail scarred hands.
With tender love He comes to heal
Wounds she tries hard not to feel
And let her know she’s still precious in His sight –
That she will be alright.

(Written for a friend December 19, 1991. But like so many of my poems, still being worked out in my own life.  Grateful for a church community where broken people are welcome and redemption, grace, compassion, and humilty are seen as essential parts of faith…..)