The Field

The parable, in its original telling, goes like this:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”  – Matthew 13:44

Here is my version of that parable:

I saw the field.
I thought, at first, it was only a dream…

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There I ran through the long grass and wildflowers with abandon.
There I laid my head down in confident safety.
There I believed I could do anything.

One day I woke up and knew the field was real, and the price to buy it would be great, all that I had.

I took the risk.

I bought the field, with great joy.

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Enter

I ran my fingers, fanned out, down the length of the fence, past the open gate, getting up close. I stopped. I took my index finger and placed it at the pinnacle of the sharp point. I held it there, as I slowed my breathing. It didn’t hurt. I was okay. 

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I continued walking, head held high, anticipating something I knew awaited me just around the corner. I’d been here before, many times, but I was afraid to enter. Not anymore. I began to skip, quickly, ready to see, ready to lay hold of the treasure.

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I could see him just on the other side, through the shiny black bars, and I gasped with delight. He’d been waiting for me, patiently. To come, To enter, To simply be myself. This was my moment. And it was also his. Just a kiss, only a kiss, was necessary to bring him back to life.

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 I didn’t hesitate. My fingers touched lightly the ornately carved handle. I applied pressure, down and then back, pushing the gate wide open. His hand was on his heart, and so was mine, but soon, our hands, like our hearts already, would be locked, together, forever.

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Longing, when it is allowed, can become something more.

A Red Balloon

a red balloon came to me in a dream

descending slowly from the sky

its red ribbon teasing me

the closer and closer it came

and I reached, standing on tiptoes

almost having it in my hand…

and suddenly

I woke up.

 

Today, wide awake, I caught the ribbon – I purchased a red balloon. For the next few days I will follow the red balloon… wherever it may lead.

 

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A Feast

Love After Love
by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the
stranger who was your self.
Give Wine. Give bread. Give
back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who
has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you
by heart.
Take down the love letters
from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate
notes,
peel your own image from
the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

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Breakfast
by Danese Grandfield

Now.

I kneel, before
the early morning dew
in thanksgiving
for this

moment- suspended,
believed, captured
and inhaled.

The feast is
everywhere I look
such bounty

and it catapults me
to dream.
imagine.
eat.

I press the shutter,
slowly
and rise

my knees,
wet
my heart,
full

Mended

My angel fell – again.

Just as I pulled my journal out
the one that says
dream  believe  discover

the other writing books, mine
the daisy journal, advent reflections,
little girl lost, a horse story
slanted, off balance

they hit her and as she
fell the top of her
remaining wing
broke off flying across
the room, my room

It didn’t seem fair.

I cried.

Several days later
I made a decision.
I moved her. To my jewelry box.
I searched for
and found
the broken tip

both wings now
broken
yet still
she holds the
book
her writing, her story
firmly in her
hands.

Nothing has been lost. Only found.

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“Would you pick me up some glue?”

I put her back
together.

It was hard
the broken pieces
were so heavy
and though the
glue was super
I had to
lay her down,
put her to
sleep.

She awoke,
mended
her visible
scars, a sign
of what
she learned
about failure
and the hope
it
brings.

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Preparing For My Forty Day Photo Pilgrimage

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On September 22nd, I had a remarkably intense dream. In it two girls led me to a little boy named Timmy. Rarely do I get up in the middle of the night to write anything down, but that night, at 3am, there I was at my desk jotting down very quickly what I remembered of the dream- what I remembered about Timmy.

“We are supposed to leave him after the girls have fed him. I ask all kinds of questions about how in the world he takes care of himself the rest of the day. They say they leave food out next to him and somehow he manages to eat what he can grab. I can see he is undernourished, maybe even a bit impaired because he has been left alone so much. I refuse to leave him. I decide to adopt him…I take him home. I will not put him down. He and I have an incredible bond, I feel it between our two hearts. I am not at all scared about taking on a baby at my age. It feels right- and exactly what I need.”

I know Timmy, have known him my whole life. Same with the girls who took me to him, their names are Katie and Amanda. They are parts of me, inner lost children. Children held in remote interior places, partly by the tragedy of sexual abuse. Kind of a multiple personality thing without the outward manifestations.

Fractured pieces of self, scattered by trauma, hidden away in the darkest recesses of my soul.

But they refused to remain hidden. Outward circumstances and inner pressure caused them, one by one, to emerge. I needed them in my life, desperately. But each one carried pieces of my pain, something I had separated myself from in order to survive. Or so I thought.

Listening to them, at first, was hard. For so long they were silenced, by me. I didn’t mean to neglect them and ignore them, I just didn’t know how to let them speak. They scared me.  Yet I knew I needed them back, to embrace them, in order to be whole.

So I finally took a risk. I didn’t just listen. I let them speak.

Katie spoke first. Her voice was part of a novel I wrote back in 2007-2008 titled “Little Girl Lost.” It was painful. I had to let go and move aside. She brought intense emotions that caused me to give up many times. Even after I finished the manuscript I chose to put it away in my basement. I still wasn’t ready to fully embrace what she meant for my life.

Writing became more important, and the novel kept drawing me back. I attended a couple writing retreats at Holy Cross Monastery, and for the first time I began to believe I was a “writer.” Katie gave that gift to me. How could I possibly thank her for waiting within me, ignored, all those years? And Katie then introduced me to Amanda, her twin.

Amanda’s voice started with a not so random meeting with a horse in Florida. I share a little of that story on my page listed above titled “A Horse.” I finished that short novel in April. She brought a poetic lilt to my writing style, and the idea of a different way to tell the story Katie had already started. I thought that was the story I was meant to tell, wanted it to be. I gave it to some close friends to read. But there was something missing.

The novel and the story now sit on my desk. The two, together.

What was missing was Timmy’s voice. I had seen him first in a dream 20 years ago. Of my three inner children, he was the one I kept locked away deepest. Maybe that is why his voice will go public as it erupts. Here. During this pilgrimage.

Except that Timmy doesn’t just represent words, writing. Since the dream it is my photography that is taking center stage. And with it the beginning of a possibility, one this photo pilgrimage will represent. I am listening. That is the start. I have my camera ready.

Right now I’m here, sitting on this bench, resting and contemplating where my pilgrimage will begin tomorrow. Will you join me? There’s definitely room on this bench for two. Or maybe more….

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