Follow by Email

Thursday, April 28, 2011

In-Between Places

                                               Why do I waste the “in-between places? Like those first moments when I know I’ve awakened but haven’t accepted it yet.

I see the cat’s paw prints in the dew on the car and only think of the workday ahead.

I hear the first call of the dove on the neighbor’s roof and yet dwell on the leaky faucet in the kitchen.

Out of the corner of my eye I spot the old black tom crossing a cul-de-sac many houses from home. I wonder is the white flea collar still fighting the fleas

I’m grateful for the pensive pauses at work … gazing out the window for brief moments … no constructed thought. Then I hurry to the next task.

 Something makes me look upward and I note the fluffy white cumulus caressing the deep blue heavens. I can’t help but think “ Hello Father … I see you there. ”

The days labor past; darkness has descended.  Bitter tired, I stare as the headlights part the way towards rest. Several deer bolt across the beam. They’re wide-eyed and frantic as one stumbles at the roadside ditch. Injury or death passes whisper close by his haunches then he bounds away into the night.

The moment arrives when I shoulder my way through the back door off the garage … hands full … weary. My still sick and pale teenage son asks if I need help and I mumble, “no … I’ve got it.” “Thanks” comes a little too late as I pass through the bright light of the kitchen.

Lying in bed, reading before sleep, the book startles me when it falls. I leave it knowing I’ll have to find my place tomorrow. As I reach into the lamp’s yellow glow for the dangling chain of the switch I welcome the click that brings a nether world of darkness … sleep … renewal.

Dreams are the best in-between places. They’re always waiting there just beneath the surface.

At least dreams are one thing that refuse to be wasted.

The Silent Children


  There was this girl in grammar school. Her name was Karen. She had greasy hair and wore the same two dresses over and over again. Karen would pick her nose and furtively lick at the results. It seemed, in some way, an absent-minded act. She’d have this far off, haunted look in her dark eyes.  
  Once, as we stood in the line at the library, I noticed I was standing in a small pool of liquid on the dark wooden floors. The trail led to Karen who was standing beside me. She had wet herself. Her arms wrapped about her torso like an embrace as she stared at the floor. I could see the flush on her face and neck from her humiliation. Gradually the others noticed. I moved out of the small puddle and stood silently.
  The rougher boys began to exclaim, “Ewww … Karen peed on herself.” Many of the girls simply stood with horrified expressions. I was frozen. All I knew was that someone needed to help her. “For God’s sake … someone help her,” I thought.
  The teacher came and took her by the elbow to lead her away. That’s when Karen looked at me.
  I’m a middle-aged parent today. This morning, during meditation, I saw Karen looking at me once again. After all these years, I realized something. Karen was crying out for help. Those fathomless eyes were pleading and had been pleading all along for someone to save her. I can only imagine what might have been her torment.
  I was never unkind. As I recall I spoke only once to softly encourage her. That was before I became harder. That was when my heart still yearned with open love for those around me. Today my heart opened once again.
  I can’t help Karen anymore. It’s too late. The moment passed by as I stood watching. Maybe I can help someone else though. Maybe you can too. So I’ll pray for Karen. I’ll pray for all the children who need to cry out for help but can’t. They can’t cry out for the shame of it. They are ashamed that others will know their brokenness and the brokenness of their tormentors. They are afraid that if they tell, the torment will increase. They are alone in a world full of people so we need to listen. We won’t hear them with our ears. We will only hear them with our hearts.
  Listen and be careful. Hold them. Encourage them. Teach them and watch. Look for the opportunity to save them without doing harm. Remember … there are children who need to cry out but are afraid. 

Listen …