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what is my purpose

Imprisoned Behind No Lock

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(Photo Credit: This poem was inspired by German painter Thorsten Dittrich‘s piece, Analysis, which part of his series: Indikation.  http://www.thorstendittrich.de)

 

 

Paralyzed inside

The staying

Relaying of doubt

Endless repeating of

Retreating of

My will

Once standing

Now squatting

Soon laying

But that I would

Straighten

Stand

Erect with prospects of

Chances for

Courage.

 

 

Hypnotized by

Echoes inside

Loud like a tuba

Booming against

Subway walls

At two o’clock in the morning

When lovers kiss

Goodbyes sour, linger

Into mourning

The lonely few

Number too small

To diffuse the

Notes

The rhythm

The song.

 

 

Mesmerized

I sit inside

Me

The me I know

Myself to be

And ponder

The me in the street

Treading feet on concrete

Smiling above

Labors of love

For those who pass

Or

A shield against

Further questioning

“Leave me be

and be the back that

I watch leave.”

 

 

Neutralized by comfort

Rejected

Encumbered by

The work of my mind

Smoke

Lifting up

Like steam rising

From a cup

Some evidence of

Heat

Quickly dissipating

Burnt up

Then out

Oxygen of doubt

Throws chains

Around and in and through

My almosts accrued.

 

 

Memorized

Prison of defeat

Broken latch

Deadbolt fallen

On the floor

Flopping around

Like a fish on the ground

Swelling

Heaving

Drying up

Melting down

To the sound of

Pacing

Frenetic racing

In a circle

Not even a spiral that

Denotes destination.

 

 

Compromised

Wandering inside

Here

Then wondering—

Consciousness there—

Where my eyes

Who are birds

Fly

Alight on a single point

Bright

Reflecting the sun

Inclined to run

Plunge into shade

Cool with decay

Arrayed in muted stain

But stay to

Examine this ray.

 

 

Energized

The edges of light

Like a spout

Pour memories out

Faces cascading

Words in shards relaying

Bloody stabs

Unanswered jabs

Impenetrable marble slabs

Erected high

At the entrance

Of my mind

Gleaming under

Beaming under

Illumination

Like light but

Also like . . .

 

 

Disguised

Pain

Old

Slathered in new stain

Dripping

Refrains

From then

Cutting the foundation

Of now

With shadows sharp

But also with

Opposite—

Bright—

Revealing

Not stealing but

Liberating through

Brilliance new.

 

 

Polarized

Between

What is

Possible

Out there and

The name of this absurdity

Gluing me to these walls

Inside

Subsiding

No

Dividing all of my

Determination

From

The fabrications of doubt

No

Fear

No

Terror

That my volition

Though beautiful

Is not enough

Out there . . .

 

 

Minimized

I find my active voice

Make a choice

To organize

Slay the giant

In my brain—

Smoking tobacco

Rolled in disdain

Of the day I mobilize,

Drunk on his power

Slurring his curses and

Stumbling over

The verses he

Whispered

Has whispered

Is whispering

Into the corners

Of this room—

This room

Erected in fear

And painted in doom

Crawling with roaches

Like a demon’s womb.

 

 

Sensitized

But not quite

Stabilized

(No need to wait

for the moment

of strength—

just go)

I stare once more

At the reflecting glow

Take my compass

In my hand

Start out

And below

The window

Of my inside

Tread first with caution

Second with grit

And finally with power

Toward the exit

And the freedom

And redemption

Like a contestant

Who jumps in the ring

Beats the shit

Out of the king

And wears the ring—

A victor

A hustler

An emerging prisoner

Who always was free.

 

copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

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Is God Working?

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It has been difficult for me to write lately. I am not exactly sure why but my mind has been bifurcated; my emotions have felt disjointed and my patience has been altogether broken. I sit down to write and instead of waiting peacefully for an idea to shape itself into an image, I become agitated by the sheer whiteness of the virtual page before me. The way my cursor blinks like its tapping its foot, the vastness of the white box itself and the fact that my favorite writing music sounds more shrill than usual . . . it is like sitting a little too close to a camp fire whose sparks keep escaping the blaze and landing impetuously on my skin. Annoying, a little painful and seemingly purposeless.

I am grieving the loss of my dog. Believe me, I wrote that sentence with a rolling of my eyes. Not because she does not deserve to be grieved and not because I fancy myself to be above sadness: because I do not feel like grieving.

I am not an overly emotional person. Sure, the older I get the easier it is for me to live in moments and be emotionally present . . . but I am not a big hugger. I do not often allow anyone to see me cry or to comfort me if they do. I am not a fluffy dog and the color pink kind of person. I am emotionally available for others, but not one to emote much for myself.

So, this process of grieving is very uncomfortable to me. One thing I take comfort in are the words C.S. Lewis wrote in his book A Grief Observed as he grieved the loss of his beloved wife, Joy. Before I go on, I MUST make it 100% clear that I do not compare the loss of a dog to the loss of a spouse or family member. Even so, there is a measure of grief surrounding me and these words describe it perfectly:

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.

At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”

I can’t help but feel there is a bigger grief unfolding.

I often feel, then believe, and then repent of something specific: a feeling of purposelessness.

For some reason, I feel a little like a car whose gasoline is being siphoned because I am not sure what I am supposed to be doing on any given day. About a year and a half ago I quit my job so I could write and then perform a one-woman show. I am happy to say that the play is written, it is currently sitting on my desktop in its 20th draft form and I am positive this play will find a home. Hopefully, many homes during its life. Also, the play is no longer a one-woman show. Now, it is a four- person play that tells the story of Eva Mozes Kor, who survived Auschwitz as a 10-year-old girl and later in life chose to forgive her tormentors. Through the play I also tell my own story of surviving childhood sexual abuse and working to forgive my own perpetrators.   I am proud of the piece. It is a powerful play.

My initial plan was to perform this play, which is entitled Throwing Stones, in many venues all over the world, in conjunction with a speech I have written under the same title. The two were to work in tandem and my objective was simple: enter a global dialogue on the topic of forgiveness. Forgiveness has the power to break the chains that fear, anger, false guilt and mistaken self-identity use to strangle those who were once victims. Even if the offense was not as flashy as surviving Aushcwitz or walking through the perils of sexual abuse. When it comes to victims and perpetrators there are no degrees of harm that the soul suffers: a wounded soul is a wounded soul.

You can probably see that this is where my passion lies. You might even say my heart lies somewhere in the pages of this play because I understand the power of the message.

For now, I am in a season of waiting. I am waiting for a theatre, a director, a producer, a cast. Waiting for guidance and wisdom while also purposing to be proactive in my thought-life and in finding doors on which to knock . . .

Waiting. Patience. Stillness.

No one ever told me waiting feels so like fear.

What I am beginning to sense is that I am grieving the loss of my dog, fearing the loss of my dream to see this play produced, feeling confused about why I am 37 and unemployed but fuller than a hot air balloon with ideas, energy, passion, talent and desire to DO something meaningful with my life. What exactly is that? I know it might sound crazy but I think my little Duchess was fulfilling a sense of purpose for me. I loved her as much as I could possibly love a dog. I used to tell her all the time, “I love you as much as I could possibly love you. No more and never less.” And, perhaps because she was blind, she became second nature to me. She depended on me for more than an average dog might: I had to tell her to “step up” when we reached a set of stairs or a curb. I had to be her eyes and warn her when she was nearing a danger. “Careful,” I would say. At the sound of my warning she would stop, back up and then slowly move in a different direction.

I had to let her know when her water bowl was filled, “Come here, Duchess, let me show you,” and then I would flick the water with my hand so she could hear its contents.

Duchess trusted me. The teamwork with which we moved throughout our days together gave me a feeling of pride, contentment and joy.   It was an effortless dance of mutual respect.

I wish I trusted God as much as my dog trusted me. I often watched Duchess maneuver her world while listening to my voice. She felt safe when I was in the room. In fact, whenever she walked into a room and could not hear my presence, she would lift her nose into the air and walk the entire room until her nose bumped into me. Then, she would sniff my legs and lay at my feet. She depended on me to love her actively.

Perhaps, this bigger sense of grief I feel is a lack of trust. I know God is there—here—and I know His plans for me are good. He tells me that he will never leave me nor forsake me and I know this with my mind. And yet, I wish I could hear him more clearly. Heck, I would even settle for lifting my nose and smelling Him! Just…something tangible to let me know that my purpose and the dreams with which I am filled are not heading toward danger. A divine, “Careful!” would be very helpful right now!

I do not doubt His provision, His goodness, His plan. But I do doubt myself and I am scared that I have not, will not, cannot do enough, or be enough, to advocate for this play and, by extension, the message itself and Eva herself.

I guess I am feeling a little lost right now; grieving the loss of my sense of direction; grieving that daily experience of seeing, first hand, what it looks like when clear guidance is given and received; the give and take of love and trust. Grieving a lessening of confidence while sensing a waning expectation.

Eva would say, “Never, ever give up.” Jesus would say, “I have a plan to prosper you and not to harm you.” (I should have put Jesus in front of Eva, but you get the idea). Duchess would say, “I’m here. Are you there, too? Oh, good.”

We don’t always feel our faith. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1:

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Even in the absence of feeling my faith, I absolutely believe that God has put me where I am for a reason and that He will use this weird, still, boring, quiet time to lead me to where I need to go. I do believe that in my mind. But I am having a difficult time trusting it in my heart. I do have confidence in His plan, but the sound of the ticking clock is deafening, and when the evidence of that plan seems as barren and dry as a tumbleweed-laden dirt road in Kansas, I even begin to doubt what I know.

Duchess had faith. Her mind didn’t have the capacity to reason through my whereabouts. She simply came into a room trusting in my presence; and when at first blush, her senses didn’t perceive me, she kept her nose up in the air and continued to scour the room until she could lay successfully at my feet. Duchess loved me.

And I loved her back.

If I could love Duchess, a dog, so much as to constantly watch over her for the sake of making sure she was moving in the right direction, how much more is my Father in Heaven actively involved in the direction of my life?

“Step up. Careful. Let me show you.”

Jill Szoo Wilson

Photo Credit: Safwan Dahoul

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