Story Sirens

Stories we watch to get outside of our own story.
People we watch to distract us from the fact that we are missing real relationship. Maybe we want to avoid relationships that are difficult. Maybe, like me, we lack relationship and are alone. But we turn to these faces on these screens to help us with something.

The emotions I feel when I watch a story play out.
It's a short journey of predictable turns and sometimes unpredictable twists. But the writers usually give us what we don't know we really want. A story that doesn't end but is added to with each new episode or each new theatrical release. We don't want them to end.

We long for eternity.
A place where stories are told forever. Endless friends who have no evil and speak no lies. We crave a place where our stories go on and we continue in the limitless potential of existence. The entertainment industry continues to deliver story after story. But Heaven delivers true story after true story with no fillers and no editing.

People are a wealth of story.
Each person we meet has untold stories just waiting to be heard. Even the mundane are significant. Sure, Hollywood does us a favor of keeping our emotions on high and our minds engaged. But if you met those actors they would tell you it was all staged. Their story is different, but they played the part well.

Diving headlong into entertainment is sinking deep into illusion. The sirens only help us escape to the dark depths of a cold and unforgiving sea. When we come up for air each time the air feels more stale and the colors less real. It's killing us but we prefer death to truth. Slow death seems to be our default humanity.

I visit the sirens when I'm lonely.
They sing me their lullaby and tell me stories that aren't true about people I'll never meet. After I walk away and face the silence of my room I...  realize that I was never alone. Even as I sought after the solace of those deceptive voices of the sea, He was with me. I feel His flood of real peace that isn't edited or written or walking a red carpet. He just IS.

The peace of knowing He who holds everything in place and He who guides my every step. Knowing that He loves... no, adores me! He longs for me like I long for Heaven. He is with me on every page of my story and every flicker of the unseen film that is recording every second of my life. The ways He kisses me with colors and coincidences and brushes my hair back with a cool breeze. The way He floats a calming thought through my brain and surprises me with a small convenience. He opens my door and gives me flowers and listens to me endlessly. He knows everything about me and His mercy is palpable and sweet.

My body and brain long for relationship with people. My spirit longs for God. My body and brain settle for entertainment and bide their time. We visit the sirens as old friends and listen to their song. They don't scare me. The God of all things can shut the mouths of the sirens or sing much more beautifully than they ever could. I wait for Him to do that. He's always with me as we enjoy the stories and my spirit finds moments to share with Him as we do. I do everything with God. He unlocks it all and shows me the reality in everything.

Entertainment is an opportunity to see what God sees. He reveals the siren's song for what it is and lights up the darkness with His veil-ripping strength. Then He closes my eyes and rests my imagination while He does His unseen work in my spirit. My story will continue forever because of Him.


Learning Grief

What is grief? I've never been too close to death. I can only begin to imagine the pain of losing someone who is a part of my every day. But I am quickly approaching the age where death is starting to just happen around me. Everywhere. People leave. They leave this world. They leave us here to remember them. We know they will never be back. Somehow the pain of knowing this wells up within us in a flood of memories. The end of who they are on Earth has come. They will no longer add to their story. There is an ending. We are afraid we will forget. We are compelled to celebrate their completed story, all the while feeling the devastation and finality of mortality. We shoulder the weight of what they won't contribute to the world. An abrupt halt of life and yet we saw so much more for them.

I'm slowly becoming acquainted with grief little by little. But I have yet to feel the sledge hammer that comes when someone very close is lost. If I can survive it, it will happen to me. That's the way it works, I believe. Meanwhile, I lose a few loved figures of my identity. A couple of friends' moms and my all-time favorite mainstream singer/songwriter. I was hit unexpectedly hard with grief. It's like the dark reality of death finally busted down my door again and a few brushed-away tears weren't enough. Having no close experience with loss makes me sensitive to it, perhaps.

But death is temporary. Really, people just move on before us but they can't tell us what's there. I strangely float between jealousy and mourning. But mostly, I think, grief is having to let go. All those expectations and hopes vanish. The empty places where they might still have been, make the memories of when they were there painful. It's missing out on the story.

There are many levels of grief. Closing a casket on a loved one is a deep grief I've yet to fully endure. Closing a book after spending weeks with fictional characters is a shallow grief. It's just practice. Walking out of a theatre after intense emotional connection to actors is also a small grief and shallower still. More practice. We take the memories from entertainment with us and pull them out of our back pocket brains as long as they'll hold together. But the memories of real people who knew us and loved us in return, this get engrained.

But what's gone is gone here. Time passes and grass grows over graves. Bodies that were once warm and full of magnificent life are empty and cold, becoming part of the ground around them. It's so wrong. Hands that once gave loving touches become crooked like roots. Bones that no longer move with the grace of a dancer crumble like white clods of earth. The person is long gone from it. They've only left their pieces and headstone behind as a memory of who once dwelt here with us.

It's a clear message from eternity. The message whispers that these bodies are merely instruments used for the glory of their Creator. They were never intended to contain the entire story of their inhabitant. They are merely the introduction to existence. This life is only the preface to the actual Life. It's where God gives us a start and so many chances too fail. This shadow sparks our appetite for something more and something real. So many generations before us believed rightly that there is a world beyond this one. It's the hunger in our souls that is never satisfied here.

There's so much that I don't know about grief. But as I learn in small ways and am prepared for the agony of loss I can remember the greatness we were created for. Death is the ultimate evidence that we need God. It's the flaming sword that keeps us from the Tree of Life. The only way to Him is through the fire. The only way to survive the fire is by going in with Jesus.


My Healer - A Poem

My Healer

Where are you, my healer?
The salve of my wounds
The rest in my breast

These hands, alone
holding each other
while murmurs of grace slide past
ears sunk in memories
muffles in a white tub
me, only breathing

Where are you, my healer?
The bed of warmth
The grip of embrace

A company, myself
to touchstones, go out
with a pair of feet lonely together
eyes, two reaching arms
in the dark of waiting
me again, just hoping

Where are you, my healer?
The ending sweet
The promised balm

No motion but mine
waves still with no moon
hollow echoes from too near walls
vast the empty splayed out
life leaving what fell where
just me, to walk through it

Where are you, my healer?
The balanced act
The stable quiver

The seconds drop away 
piling up on other days
dust rests on the humbled forgotten
content to thrum on, on
beneath calm distractions
lies an unexpected peace

(C)2017 Diana Blackwood