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“I THINK I HEART”

Posted by on June 18, 2013

I sat leaning back in my office chair, musing over the rough-and-tumble of thoughts that was trampling through my mind.  Reclining like that I could see up through the window.  A flight of three egrets were subbing for self-satisfied geese who’d decided wintering here was energy-efficient.  They also create jobs for sidewalk and roadway cleaners.  Those Canadian honkers are majestic to watch in the air.  They have a down side.

Coffee?  I have some snacks here, too.  Oats ‘n’ Honey granola bars.  They have CRUNCHY right there on the wrapper.  Can’t say I wasn’t warned.  My after-market teeth didn’t get along so well with ’em.  They had the consistency of floor tile.

No prob.  Soaking them in hot java for several hours does the trick.  And if that doesn’t work, the squirrels love when I nail them to the tree.  I hate to waste 4 grams of protein.  Healthy squirrels.

By the way, I’m sensitive to length.  This visit is a tad longer than most.  I’m guessing it’ll hold your interest enough to hang with me for an extra paragraph or two.

Coffee - Dunking4

Ever been afraid to be honest?  We all have.  As a writer I find myself fencing with forms, waltzing with words and tiptoeing with tenses.  That comes with the territory–at least in a society that’s been abused by the politically-correct notion that all offensive speech and writing must be abolished.

If that’s the case, honest debate is history.  Differences of opinion.  Open discussion.  Sharing personal preferences.

The only person benefiting from what’s been labeled political correctness is the one attempting to control everyone else’s thinking.  From the past several congressional terms, it is evident that offensive speech and writing has managed to survive quite well.  We seem to be the only ones upon which PC iron control is being forced.  That’s offensive.  Therefore, by definition the entire politically correct movement has magnificently failed.

Flaming forums aside, ever wished there was a place where you could be open and honest in what you really think without fear of being judged or argued with?  I don’t mean a spot where intentionally-brutal, controlling personalities can flail away, hurting and wounding at will.  Nor do I mean a one-direction constant opinion machine that never shuts off.  Or up.  None of that will be allowed.

Writing honest?  Oh, boy.  I’ve deleted entire paragraphs, sometimes pages after calming my distraught emotions.  Okay, even that is too nice.  See how amazingly easy it is to pull one’s verbal punches?

“Calming my distraught emotions.”  Hashtag GAG ME.  How about, “teeth-grinding rage”?

When not being pleasantly interrupted by friends dropping by for coffee and counsel I tend to freewrite.   Freewriting yields some tough, real attitudes.  Editing abounds if it’s attributable to other bipeds.  Otherwise, it stands as written.  One can always edit.

Freewriting several months ago caught me in—-

Excuse me.  I wasn’t expecting anyone this morning . . .

“Hello . . .   I see.  Mm-hmmph.  Well, I think I can save you and I both some time.  I appreciate your  honest approach.  We give what we set aside for charitable causes through our church.  However, I commend you for being out trying to do something and wish you well.  Please be safe.  Goodbye.”

–caught me in a bare-minded mood.  You ‘get’ bare-minded, right?  Sort of like standing in front of your large bathroom mirror before spiffing yourself up for public view?  Freewriting is a little like letting your naked, real thoughts show.  Nothing wrong with that.  After all, God’s already aware of what you really think.

Here are some of those kinds of thoughts.   Perhaps they might strike a resonant chord in your heart.

Sometimes thoughts can jog, even sprint.  Mine were ambling.  One impression sauntered along with another, each idea jostling, shoving and kicking the one or two closest to it.   You’d think they were related.  Rather than keep playing DI with them, trying to get ’em to wise up and pick up the pace, I slowed down and began paying more attention to their subjects.  From way different directions, here’s a consensus of where they were coming from . . .

WRITE ME YOUR HEART.

What do I do with these feelings of being outmoded, outdated?  Used and used up, forgotten when the immediate need is past?  Is there a place to tuck away the embarrassing inadequacy, the bite of others’ polite dismissal because, after all, ‘he’s fragile’?  You can see it in their eyes.  You’re the only one standing close, yet you can see their glance doing a not-so-subtle search across your shoulders for anyone else nearby.

Does God heal as He’s done – is doing every day – in me for no reason?  Just because I’m no longer ‘The Guy’ with this imposing physique, will no one see enough worth in me and what I have left to give to do SOME lifting?  How about lifting a friend’s load?  How about lifting a brother or sister’s sagging faith?  What about lifting the self-worth and putting a hesitant grin on the face of somebody I just met?

I ask again:  does God heal just to set people like me on a dusty museum shelf like some oddity that bounced off a truck from an old carnival that came through town?  Does He heal only to provide illustrative pap for others’ books?  Is that what I am?  A sermon story to make somebody else’s speaking or teaching sparkle?  An anecdote to provide filler for somebody else’s writing and speaking?

I hate very few things.  I absolutely hate being patronized.  I haven’t met too many people who do like it.  Among those who despise it are especially trauma survivors like me who know God’s the only explanation why we’re still here.  Hearing ‘toss-off’ remarks that pretty much say, “That’s nice.  Any idea how many stories I’ve heard?  Next”?  In the current vernacular, that blows.

Don’t patronize survivors.  Don’t take them for granted.  Don’t pity them.  Their lives may be forever altered, but in other ways they have so much to offer now that they never did before.

You’ll be caught up in your own world and eventually think of them again and realize they’re not there.  They’ll have disappeared from your orbit.  Disability doesn’t automatically mean mental deficit.  Survivors have feelings, emotions, dreams.  Often, the proximity of death highlights them and makes them even more vivid.  Yes, in some ways they are fragile.  In others, they’re tougher and stronger than you’ll ever know.

Here’s a question from every man or woman who’s ever been close to death that God’s graciously allowed to live some more.

“What about the me that’s still here?  No–I’m not the same as before.  This experience has changed the way I think, the way I look at life and other people–especially the ones who whine.  It’s changed my physical and mental responses to a lot of things.  Okay.  I get that.  I’m different than who I was.  SO???  Am I not still a real person with things to teach others?  Do I not still have some real worth so that through (maybe because of) my limited physical ability I can now relate to so many others like me?”

So I’m fragile in some ways.  In others I’m more imposing than ever.  How do you intimidate and frighten somebody who’s smelled Death’s stale breath several times?  Is that what scares people off right after they say, “Oh, I’d love to hear your story some time, but I’ve gotta run right now.”

Could be.  When people tell their story they’re being real.  No PC frosting.

I see ‘normal’ people all the time whose personalities and individual lives are fragile, too.  I don’t see them being ignored and unused.

The rest of the world swishes on past in self-importance, even those closest to me.  What do you mean, how do I know?  I don’t need to be Einstein’s nephew to figure out whenever I enter a room and the conversation suddenly swerves into the railroad-tied wall like Buffy Peterson’s old modified dirt-tracker that I’d been the most recent subject of talk.  I don’t need to be one of Adler’s cousins to figure out what the uncertain, sympathetic expressions mean.

Disabled - Freedom2

Did I mention survivors hate being pitied?  Hey, we WORK at making up for what we don’t have available to us any more.  We shift and compensate every way we can.  Mighty creative lot, we are.

“Life goes on” is accurate.  Don’t they understand that’s as true in my world as in theirs?  Are my dreams, my life goals, the things concerning me less important because I’m ‘disabled’?  Am I now dull, pitiable and uninteresting company because I’m now permanently missing some features once considered standard equipment?

“Well, you don’t look disabled.”

Neither do you.  And down in there somewhere, somehow, I bet you are.

I don’t run around shirtless.  And if I ever had, it wouldn’t be happening now.  I have a world-class scar from breastbone to pubis that’s been opened up 5 different times.  They had to take my original bellybutton, so I now have a custom-built one.  Being a perfectionist, having an off-center navel can be a . . .  it can be—- D’OH!!!  Yeah, I’m kidding.  I’m kind of used to it now.

WRITE ME YOUR HEART.

There are a lot of different ways to be disabled.  Not all wounds leave visible, physical scars.  Sometimes the deep internal wounds are the slowest to heal and their effects take a long time to recognize and treat.  And sometimes they never are touched.  Few slow down long enough to know they’re there.  It doesn’t seem worth it to try again to get somebody’s attention and try to make them understand.

But if somebody did care enough . . .   If you could speak directly from your heart without fretting how it sounds to me what would you say?  What would you let out?  What grinding, crusty, sharp-edged thoughts and memories would you release?

If you didn’t have to worry about being attacked with, “How dare you—” or “I can’t believe you said that”, or “Well, if you just had enough faith . . .”  how would your statement change?

That’s what WRITE ME YOUR HEART means.  It means I won’t judge you nor your words as you work to say what’s really there.  Sometimes it takes stopping in mid-thought, backing up and coming at it from another direction.  Like the wheelchair-bound patient who said, “I’m disabled and horny.  I just needed somebody to stop long enough to listen, to understand my frustration.  It puts me on edge sometimes and people think I’m mad at them and I’m not.  I love life and really like most people.   It’s the situation I’m angry at and frustrated and need to let that out.  Thank you for sitting here and letting me talk.”

That’s what this is about.   I may ask questions to assess your thoughts and evaluate your views so I understand where you’re really coming from.

You won’t, though, get judged.  You won’t get put down or laughed at.

All you need to do is preface your remarks with CAN I WRITE MY HEART TO YOU?

I’ll respond with WRITE ME YOUR HEART.  That’s a brevity code between me and you that everything from that point on is laid bare, emotions right out there, thoughts bouncing here and there like those cool Superballs we had to have as kids.

WRITING YOUR HEART may bring equally open, unguarded, real responses, but only if you ask for the feedback.  But aren’t you getting just a little fed up with all the other kind?  “Oh, no-no-no.  You must not offend me in any way!”  Ever notice those are the same ones who do and say anything they want to you, obliviously and intentionally offensive in return?

So.  If you’re a shy, sensitive soul it may take you awhile to figure out I mean this.  You need someplace safe to open up.  Someone who cares enough to listen without reacting.

“OKAY!  I HATE __________!!!”  I CAN’T STAND IT ANY LONGER AND I CAN’T HOLD IT IN ANY MORE!  I HAVE CARRIED THIS AROUND WITH ME TOO LONG!  I’VE PRAYED ABOUT IT BY THE HOUR, BUT THE MINUTE I GET UP IT’S LIKE IT’S CLIPPED ONTO MY BELT AND I END UP DRAGGING IT RIGHT BACK WITH ME!

So, you just wanna rave, here?  Or would you like to get rid of it?  I’m good either way and I’m right here with you.  Up to you.

“Question.”

Okay.

“Is this Granger writing or is this you?”

Yes.

It’s okay to WRITE ME YOUR HEART.  You can use email if you’d rather keep it between us and not out here in 2nd Cup land.  And if you want me to respond confidentially but openly so other 2nd Cuppers can benefit from it, I’ll do that, too.

Probably call for an extra pot of joe, huh?  ‘S okay.  I’m here as long as you want to visit.

I love you, I care about you, and I believe in you–

And, ah, I’d love to hear your story.

Dan

© June 2013

 

 

One Response to “I THINK I HEART”

  1. george peintner

    I spent 3 miles on the track today going around in circles and thinking much of the same message. What’s going on here? I feel God is working us through something and preparing the way for something truly spectacular. I cant wait. I would love to write more, but i am hitting the road in an hour and have to get ready for a 3 day outing. Maybe we can catch up by phone?

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