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she become what she had always been.
the other caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her strange becoming.
they wanted her to return to the shell,
that had once surrounded her.
but she had wings.
she had tasted the perfect harmony of becoming & surrender.
This is a quote I adapted by Dean Jackson and that I used as inspiration for the piece featured above. The piece is titled, “Harmony.” It was created using acrylic paint, paper & wax on canvas, and is featured on my LAR Art Photography website today.
I was reminded in the silence this morning, that flowers don’t compete or compare themselves to what’s around them… they just bloom.
flowers lean into the light & bloom to their fullest potential.
joy is found in surrendering fully to your own blooming… the process… and remembering we each have our own unique way of becoming. allow the journey to awaken & strengthen the soul.
I miss you when I am still and the earth is silent,
when my feet are covered by a blanket of wildflowers
and I delight in the view of the birds resting on city wires.
I miss you when the world is screaming and the clock refuses not to keep time,
when I find myself grinding for the future in spaces where we use to dwell
and move here-to-there, arms empty.
I miss you when I sit at a table for four, with only two seats occupied,
and when the music plays and I want us to dance.
I miss you when I sit in my art studio creating,
giving life to breathless things.
I miss you when all my head can hear is your faint cry
as you passed into this world from my womb,
as if you knew.
I miss you when I remember I am a childless mother,
and that no brush stroke from my hand can give
my greatest masterpiece life.
December 4, 2013 I gave birth prematurely to Annee Juredline Rouse Tinsley with my partner for life, Cleve, holding my hand. She lived 2 hours and died resting upon my chest.
A year ago today, love and grace kissed my brokenness through three of the most important people in my life… helping me to pull upon all the courage within me to fight through the shame and guilt to choose life. I will forever be grateful for their love and the opportunity to co-create a life that I will forever love. I am thankful. I am deeply sad. I am free.
Monday, was a hell of a day. Grief snuck up on me and hit me pretty hard. It was my first visit with the doctor since being released from the hospital, and as soon as I opened the door… BOOM!
Totally caught off guard. I looked to my left and saw a women whom I had seen at the doctors many times prior to delivery, belly expanded and that pregnancy shine… BOOM!
Tears started to roll gently. I kept it together long enough to sign-in and make it to my seat, but it was all over once my bottom was secure. I sat in my grief, disappointment and anger. To add salt to the wound, there was a mistake at the front desk so they did not sign me in on the computer. I sat in that waiting room as pregnant women, some with children and spouses, came in and out for 1hour and 26 minutes.
I sat there, watching women and children walk in and out. Some of the women I remembered from earlier visits… they are showing… close to delivery and I just wept. I could not control it, and I like to be in control. Everyone around me so full of joy and holding within the potential of life… I felt empty and alone.
Words from three close friends got me through. Encouragement to breathe and allow myself to feel, I do not have to try to be strong. The reminder that sometimes it may be best to be surprised by grief and just go through it, release control. Reminders that I am not going through alone and though very feelings are very real, they can at times deceive.
I made it through all of the rubble of that morning, had a good visit. Physically I have healed well. However, the grief made me realize some interior places that need to be attended to as I transition back into some routines.
A colleague gave me a term for my experience with grief Monday morning… Emotional land mines… They are there, don’t exactly know when or where they will be set off, but…
Naming it helps, along with the awareness that they (emotional land mines) are there and probably be present the rest of my days. They may not go off as often as they do in these present days, but they will be there for sure. That’s how grief goes.
Instead of working to avoid them, I think I am going to work real hard to figure out practices that help me get through them without being destroyed. Honesty, breathing and creating (mostly through photographs) are three helpful practices I discovered yesterday when I went back to work.
I only went in for a few hours. It was good. Only one minor explosion, and I was thankful for it because it inspired me to go on a photo walk downtown to find an image that could express how I was feeling.
The photos of this blog are two of the ones I received during my walk. They are of the rubble of a building that was turn down to prepare for new affordable apartments that will providing housing for individuals who are without a home. A Houston artist, Gonzo, had created a mural on the side of the building to honor the births/lives of men and women who find themselves living on the streets. The wall was covered with the image of babies in the cradle position, various colors and sizes. It was a cool piece. Looking forward to watching and documenting this building project over the months to come.
Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace. -Frederick Buechner
Well, 2013, when Abbie and I declared at a local Houston coffee shop that you would be our year I had no idea all that you would hold. We welcomed you with great anticipation and joy. From the get it was “Hello 2013! You will be my year! I have no idea what that means, but I know you are going to be a good. You’ve got to be!”
As we sat there at the Doshi House I must say I had absolutely no idea that your days would include me meeting my life partner only a few weeks later, hosting my first art show or sharing in a number of conversations that would empower me not only to dream but act in that very same coffee shop.
There was no way I could have known within your 12-month frame I would experience the miracle of life being created within and learn what a privilege it is to bear life. In the same breath I must say there was no way in hell I could have known that within the same 12-month frame I would also know the tragic sting of death like never before, as I would hold my baby upon my chest as she breathed her first and last breaths on December 4. Oh how I love and am thankful to have been the vessel that had the joy of bearing Baby Annee Juredline. She is one the greatest gift I have ever been given next to life itself and the love her father and I share. I am broken.
Seriously 2013, if someone had told me in that January moment with Abbie that before I wave goodbye to you tonight that I would be engaged to the man whom my soul has been waiting to love for years… I would have laughed in their face while secretly hoping it might be true.
2013, you have definitely been one of the most memorable, life-giving, freeing and empowering years of my life. I wish I could say I am glad to see you go, but for some strange reason there is part of me that grieves your passing.
But as quickly as I needed to say “Hello” to you with great hope and anticipation, it appears I am needing to wave “Goodbye.” Know I will carry into 2014 all I have received, learned and discovered along the journey with you.
Know I am thankful.
The journey has truly awakened and blessed my soul, as my path has merged with one of the three best gifts I received this year, Cleve V. Tinsley IV. I am looking forward to 2014 days of living in grace as we nurture a union that will last.
Memory most days is my friend. Last Friday we enjoyed each other for most of the afternoon, especially when sharing with a somewhat attentive ear about the first day I began reading Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II, in 2004 while working in Leeds, England.
I remembered the day as if it had been Thursday, March 28, 2013. I sat for an hour in a small little coffee shop near Leeds University, feasting on each and every line really wanting to digest what this particular influential theological voice had to say about creation… my neighbor… future lovers… me. I did not get very far that first read, I think I only got 5 or so pages in because my imagination was captured by his words that every single created thing is a divine manifestation of a good loving God. I was stuck… Captured. There was absolutely no reason for me to try to read another line in his book that day.
I remember reading the two creation narratives over & over for an hour or so, then journaling for another hour about this reality and the implications of such a truth upon my seeing, speaking, touching and being. It was one of the only moments that the written word read instantaneously transformed my thinking & seeing in such a way I was not the same. It was in some ways my “Aldersgate Moment.”
I remember my vision being the sharpest it has ever been, and possibly will ever be, as I drove home that fall West Yorkshire day in 2004. I was overcome with tears by the light of each and every person I passed, wondering if they could see it to; whelmed by the truth, possibility of things and keen awareness of the harsh daily realities that we can too often give the power to dim such radiance.
During this season of awakening for me, of labor, I am glad memory invites me into moments like last Thursday that help me push a bit harder and breathe in the stillness of the light within, around, below and above me, as she also invites me into moments that I long to forget but need to remember to forgive… to heal.
The journey awakens the soul.
“God has chosen to save the world through the cross, through the shameful and powerless death of the crucified Messiah. If that shocking event is the revelation of the deepest truth about the character of God, then our whole way of seeing the world is turned upside down… all values are transformed… God refuses to play games of power and prestige on human terms.”
― Richard Hays