Exhumed From the Tomb

‘What is ur tomb constructed with? Do you visit it often? Too often? Live there? Leaving ur tomb requires faith, courage, hope and love of God and Shannon!’ ~text message received from MD

I decided to follow the minister’s challenge from Easter Sunday’s message and pinpoint exactly who or what assembled my tomb(s). Now I believe in boundaries (if there are boundaries in blogging or all forms of social media for that matter) so I’m not about to rattle off a list of offenders, but I will release a few personal revelations.

1. This was no easy task. It’s natural to know people have hurt you but it is quite difficult to travel back in time and remember exactly who and exactly why. It is even more difficult when the damage is situational and not individual. For example, one may blame their child molester for their adult promiscuity but where do they direct the blame for the sexually transmitted disease they contracted during that time if the culprit is unknown.

2. In brooding over those things that others have done to you, you inadvertently recall those things you have done to others (at least half of it, ok, maybe a fourth); that is if you have a conscious and are in the least bit decent but let’s be honest, if you don’t and if you aren’t, you probably are not concerned with living outside the tomb. If you are genuinely trying to come out, you can’t come out hiding behind half the truth. What is done is done, own it, apologize for it, learn from it and move on.

You know what else…just because you are trying to come out doesn’t mean your offender will; your tomb may be their home. For the record, I don’t want to be in my own tomb and I don’t want to be in yours either!

3. At some point you realize that much of the tomb is built by your own hands. Maybe you didn’t lay the initial brick, or lay the complete foundation, but you didn’t need any help enclosing yourself. I realize that in some cases, I have closed the tomb over and over again as if putting a box in a box in a box. In other instances, I have found my way out of the tomb and then found my way right back in. I give the slow head shake-horizontally, to the idiot who continues to go to jail for the exact same thing. Yet I am guilty of the stupidity I mock.

By the way….if you must build tombs, build your own. Don’t go around engineering tombs for other people. Celie said it best in The Color Purple, “The grave you dig fo’ me is the one you gon’ rot in.”

4. There is freedom in speech (this is not a reference to the first amendment to the United States Constitution). Once you have spoken/written those devices of embalmment, your resurrection begins. The revelation is the beginning of the process by which we come out of the tomb. Undoubtedly, you will return to the misery of decay, but acknowledgement is a step toward freedom from darkness and toward light. Who doesn’t want to live in the light?

Today I had the opportunity to be entombed, I elected to be exhumed.

Tomorrow is unknown but I am fighting not to be buried alive. What is keeping you in your tomb?

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Is Santa Real?

He looked up at me with innocence and inquisition behind those big drops of coal. “Auntie Shannon, is Santa Claus real?” Peering around the corner in the next room, I could see my sons and the horror on their face that revealed they had killed the fantasy. I had no idea what to say so I popped a whole coffee drenched ginger snap in my mouth, giving myself a moment to think.

This is not the first time an offspring of mine murdered the myth. When the oldest was four, I received a frantic call from his teacher “Uhmmm…can you just come get him…quickly. I’ll explain when you get here.” I entered a classroom full of crying students and a red faced teacher who was desperately trying to maintain some since of order as she unraveled what had happened in the moments before.

The students were coloring holiday pictures when the little girl next to Cameron expresses her excitement over Santa’s upcoming visit….

Cameron: You do know Santa isn’t real.

Pigtails: Uh huh, how do you think you get the presents under the tree?

Cameron: Your mom and dad put them there.

Pigtails: That is not true! He comes down the chimney and everything.

Cameron: No he doesn’t. There is not a Santa Claus!

Pigtails: Mrs. McGinnis (screaming) Cameron said there isn’t a Santa Claus!

Cameron: Because there isn’t!

Emotions erupt in the class as students start yelling at Cameron and crying.

Cameron: (now standing on the table and yelling) There is not a Santa Claus! And if your parents tell you there is they are lying and all the liars are gonna go to hell!

Hence the phone call.

As the teacher is telling the story, she admits that she too tells her children that Santa is real and wonders if she is also going to hell for the little white lie. We made it out before pick up and the lynching that was sure to occur due to my little preacher.

The ginger snap has now dissolved and the little one is egging on my response. “Yeah mom, is he?” The smile in his eyes proves he is taunting me. I turn to the eight year old and say “Baby, every family has their own belief about Santa. Some believe in him and some don’t. I think the important thing is that whatever you believe is true for you.”

His response: “Just like Jesus.”

Balance Beam

My cousin is tatted down her spine. Equilibrium. She has an eloquently rehearsed reason for getting this tattoo. She is finding balance in life. She is a double major in genetics and biology, works at the mall, maintains an impressive social life and juggles finding herself within it all. The black letters perfectly centered along her latte color reveals its own sense of harmony.

Equilibrioception refers physical balance, the ability to stand or walk or move without falling over. It is disturbed by disorientation and dysfunction. Many physical ailments can cause one to be unsettled, nausea, vertigo, an ear infection and so forth and so on.

What has you discombobulated mentally, emotionally, spiritually? What has you stumbling over trying to walk a straight line?

I’m trying to balance single motherhood with single womanhood. Eager student with educated teacher. Cooperative servant with furious leader. Social butterfly with shrinking violet. The balancing act is all-consuming and ever transitioning. What I am balancing can completely differ from week to week.

In an effort to balance chores, I’ve adopted a routine of doing one chore a day. On Mondays I clean the bathrooms, on Tuesdays I vacuum, on Wednesdays I clean the kitchen, and on Thursdays I clean my bedroom. This new plan eliminates housework on the weekends and involves daily tasks to be completed by the fruits of my loins. Chores balanced.

In an attempt to balance school work with blog work with work work, I’ve cleverly designed a diagram that allows time for each throughout the week (of course 8 full hours a day are devoted to tasks surrounding my employment and the duties assigned therein). The only dilemma with this is that I write, when I’m inspired to do so therefore it’s hard to calculate when inspiration will hit but for the most part….work balanced.

That leaves me with relationships (deep sigh). I am not battling the parent-child relationship because I radiate in that area. Nor am I competing in professional situations because I gleam there as well. I am referring to friendships, specifically those of the romantic sort.  I have lost my footing in affiliations of the personal kind. I find that I give too much of myself and do not demand as much as I should or I’m easily dismissive and give too little. I don’t know how to categorize this balance into a mutually acceptable chart of expectations that minimizes disappointments. Relationships imbalanced.

This is where I solicit suggestions.

Creepy Callers (and good ones too)

I’ve just gotten over the chills from my uninvited intruder some thirty-one hours ago. I tried to write about him last night but was still a bit overwhelmed by his presence. I’ve noticed myself looking under couches, the television stand, beds, anything not flush to the ground for a mate or an offspring of my spiraling visitor. I keep looking to where his carcass lies to make sure he has not been reincarnated.

Bright and early this morning, I received another unexpected transient. She delivered a beautiful fruit basket from my church family. It was sent in sympathy for the loss of a family member. This visitor was not unwelcomed and she was not slithering. She apologized for waking me up. I wanted to tell her that the dreams of being in an ancient Indian serpent cult awakened me hours before her arrival.

Mid-morning I had yet another unwanted guest, in the form of the little boy who rings my doorbell almost every day to ask my boys to come outside. I told him the same thing I told him yesterday, “They aren’t here. They’ll be back next weekend.” I wanted to hold up my fingers and ask him to count with me one, two…seven days. Usually he shrugs and rides away but today he asked “Do they still live with you.” Through laughter I began to explain to the eight year old on the blue bike that they were visiting their father while they were tracked out (we are year round school attendees). I’m certain we have had this conversation once, twice…a hundred times before.

Minutes after Curious George rides off, the boys are returned to me. Early. This makes my fourth unplanned “visit” in two days. I’m sure that George will see them unloading from the car and will think me a liar. For whatever reason, I am worried about what he thinks of his friend’s mother. Probably more of what his parents think of his friend’s mother.

A snake. A courier. A chimpanzee. My kids.

I should have gone out-of-town for the weekend. Definitely.