The Tear & The Tender
(up all night)
© 2014, all rights reserved
It is early Sunday morning and I have been, “up all night.” It is not because anything was left unresolved, from too much to eat or drink, which would not allow me to sleep or from worry, or restlessness. I am not cramming for a test or preparing for some extraordinary ‘life event.’ I am not just too excited to sleep, because of anticipation about some pleasure filled, up-and-coming occasion.
I am actually in pain and it, will not allow me to sleep. I am alone and in pain. Just one of these by itself may be an ardent thing to deal with, but together, they can be even more intense. I am alone and I am in pain.
My pain is in my neck and left shoulder and the inflammation runs havoc on the nerves running down from my neck, to the tips of the fingers of my left hand. The description simply is pain and numbness. The numbness is similar to trying to stand up after the circulation has been reduced in your leg. The pain is intermittent sharp, throbbing and dull.
I may have some arthritis in my neck? This could be relived by some form of anti-inflammatory and over-the-counter drug, but I am taking certain supplements, for specific reasons and I do not want to either risk any contraindications of what together might be incompatible or possibly reduce the benefits, I am seeking with the supplements. I have tried to alleviate or lesson the pain by self-massage of my neck and shoulder and left arm to little or no avail. I do believe an adjustment by my chiropractor will help, but it is early morning and it is Sunday. I will just have to deal with this, ‘bite the bullet’ or ‘buck-up,’ until I can place a call to him on Monday.
I am NOT writing this, because of some selfish need or because of that “misery loves company,” thing. In contrast, I would rather be alone when I do not feel well. And I wouldn’t like hearing myself whine or subject others to my whining. Here, I simply desire to share with you, how I have dealt with this present distress, what I have gained through the experience and with hope, that it may somehow, be helpful to healing your past, present or future experiences.
I prayed. I believe in prayer. Prayer is not just saying words of things you want, but it also, is taking action in the direction of a desired outcome. But my prayers are not always answered in my time-frame (like right now) or in the manner in which I think they should be answered. Quite often, I do not believe to receive from God, even what He has already promised. And quite often, my prayers are for the wrong things.
When one is in pain, the pain is often the ONLY focus. A distraction is the farthest thing from my mind. I want relief and I want it now. Most selfishness or self-centeredness usually begins with impatience. We live in an instantaneous, copy and paste, instant download, me-myself-and-i, and a NOW culture. There is nothing wrong with thinking about yourself. How could I ever truly love anyone, if I don’t first love myself. My sister told me something I hope to never forget, “Make your mind your friend!” Put emphasis and concerted effort on the word “make.” Yes, sometimes like a child, I think like a child, act like a child and even pout like a child. And like a child, I have to “make” my mind behave; be my friend. When we don’t feel well, this can be quite a challenge. That word “make” may not always be an instantaneous, copy and paste, instant download, iWant or a NOW thing, but may require time, effort and PATIENCE.
So, I thought about pain; my pain. What is pain really? Isn’t it just a message from our brains and our minds that something is wrong? Wrong? What’s wrong with me? Did I do something wrong? Is it my karma, is this payback for wrongs I have done to others or ill-words spoken to others? OK, even if I think I know the why or the cause, at present, I still have no immediate solution. So, I thought about other people’s pain. It is not always wise to compare yourself with others, but I realized that maybe others have far worse pain and greater challenges than I may have and others may have less? Thinking that I have it better than others, does not make my own pain go away, but it made me think on the many pleasures and blessings I have had, have and hope on, to have in the future. Is this just a distraction?
Then I thought of my childhood elementary school science. What was that rule, oh yes, “no two solids can occupy the same space at the same time.” Are we solid; am I a solid? Are not we just a mass of protons, neutrons and electrons; etc., spinning around in space? Don’t we try to fill up our spaces or fill the void (the spaces) when things and people in our spaces, for whatever reason are no longer there? What is it about nature? Oh right, sooner or later, a vacuum gets filled. This is not a distraction, it’s an attraction and an impaction!
I thought about the video I watched today. It was about a soldier going home on leave, who specifically chose the date, to be there for his oldest child’s birthday. His other child, he had only seen for five days from the moment of his birth, then not again for 7 months, nor his oldest son and not his his wife. On the plane, he sat next to and chatted with a man named, Brad. Brad asked the soldier, for his address so he could later send him a card and the soldier wrote it down in Brad’s book. When they landed, the soldier was met by his family. Brad not only thanked the soldier for his service to our country, but he said the exact same thing, to the soldier’s wife. They each and all went their separate ways. The soldier and his family went to a special resort that the “birthday boy” loved, for four days. When the soldier went to pay for their stay, the front desk clerk said, it had been paid in full, by a man named ‘Brad.’
For many years, my manner has been, whenever I have met an active or previously served military person, I thank them for their service to our country and extend to them, my right hand of appreciation. But this video showed me that this was not enough! More than a thank you, by what other tangible means, can I show my affection, appreciation and perhaps help them with some need or want? Why would not I do the same, for anyone? Why not for you? How may I help you or bless you?
On Facebook, most are familiar with the ‘Like’ button. At least, that is something, like saying thank you. I feel this way as do many and especially, that what we really want and need are, for comments, for love and maybe even more. I am reminded of a poem I have long enjoyed.
DO IT NOW
“If with pleasure you are viewing any work
a man [anyone] is doing,
If you like
him [them] or you love him [them], tell him [them] now;
Don’t withhold your approbation till the parson makes oration
he [they] lies [lie] with snowy lilies on his [their] brow;
No matter how you shout it
he [they] won’t really care about it;
He [They] won’t know how many teardrops you have shed;
If you think some praise is due
now’s the time to slip it to
he [they] cannot read his [their] tombstone when he’s [they're] dead.
More than fame and more then money is the comment kind and sunny
And the hearty, warm approval of a friend.
For it gives to life a savor, and it makes you stronger, braver,
And it gives you heart and spirit to the end;
he [they] earns[earn] your praise – bestow it;
if you like
him [them] let him [them] know it;
Let the words of true encouragement be said;
Do not wait till life is over and
he’s [they're] underneath the clover,
he [they] cannot read his [their] tombstone when he’s [they're] dead.”
I thought about time and how in the ‘good times;’ times of inexplicable and often contagious joy, of how prone I am to take for granted, what I’ve got and how quickly those moments pass. And I thought of times like these, of pain and sorrow, where long I recall, what I’ve NOT and how slowly, those times seem to last. Yes, how precious; how limited; how finite, and how fragile life really is.
I thought of relationships, in terms of fifth grade science.
“These are the miraculous arrangements that compose you, compose you like you were one flawless movement in a cosmic symphony sprawled into existence by the quills in quasars dipped in inky reaches of dust. Let’s start, too, about how these impossibly small particles are composed of impossibly smaller pieces, how these pieces, too, twirl through eternity in a dance that binds their fates so fundamentally that you can rip them apart and shoot them miles in opposite directions through underground tunnels never to be rejoined, and yet when you set one spinning in a different direction, the other one responds in kind across the miles without any observable passage of time whatsoever.”
excerpt from a video presentation: by, Taylor Gaar, Fifth Grade Science Teacher
you may see the entire Youtube video at: http://youtu.be/lb-FhAbaVnI
I thought about a friend.
Several days ago, there was a post of a friend on his Facebook page. It was mostly in the form of questions. I thought about this (for quite some time) and how I might respond. I replied to his Thursday post, just about an hour ago, on this early, Sunday morning (around 2:00 AM).
My friend Greg, posted the following:
“We all need correction in some area in our lives, who is best to tell you a friend or a complete stranger? Could you say you love someone if you see that they are just being destructive? Where do you draw the line?”
My reply was as follows:
I saw this, shortly after you posted it. It is now, early Sunday morning and I have thought about it all this time. I’ve often heard that complete strangers can be more objective? If that were true, I think I would ask them to be my friend. Maybe it was the way I was raised, but my grandmother always demanded honesty, no matter what the situation was or how it was received. We may have many “friend-lies,” in our lives, but I have really, just a very small number of “true” friends and I am blessed and grateful to call them my friends. We may sometimes think that we should give our friends a break or a pass; some allowance and some room because, we love them so much. I have a friend named, Janet. Perhaps the greatest thing about her is that she NEVER lets me get away with anything, ever!!! Her message is usually simple enough for me to understand, something like, “Well that’s stupid!” The Bible speaks of a “friend closer than a brother.” It says that if a parent loves their child, they will correct them, and it also says that if we make our bed in hell, God is still with us! But if that is the situation, I have never read that He will sleep in the same bed! :)
That’s about all I know on the subject. I hope this is helpful to you!!”
I thought about recent tragedies and conflicts in Ukraine, Palestine and Israel. I wondered why commercial airlines would be shot down and innocent people killed and innocent families are left to grieve? I thought about why thousands of missiles and other weapons would be launched and fired on the Palestinians and the Israelis? My question remains unanswered except, for the idea that all conflicts begin with some type of ‘grievance.’ Quite often, the grievance is just between two people, but in the end, many are left to grieve.
I thought about the courage of our friends that even now, are visiting Israel. Like many Muslims desire to make a lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca, many Christians and Jewish people desire, to make a pilgrimage to their ‘holy place’ or ‘holy land’ too. I would have wanted to do this myself in the past, but not for a long time, due to the religious and political commercialization and corruption and certainly not now, because of, the tumult and precarious state of affairs, in the region. I wonder why or how our State Department would allow any US citizen to travel in this area right now? I would be concerned and concerned enough that I would not be there, ESPECIALLY at this unstable time. I prayed for the continued courage and well-being of our friends, Jim and Judy, while they remain in Israel and until they are safe and sound at home.
I prayed for the families and friends of those lost in the Ukraine, Palestine and Israel. I am not Ukrainian, a Muslim or Jewish. But if I knew you needed prayer, I would pray for you! If you knew I needed prayer, I would hope that you would pray for me. I do need your prayers and I do ask you for them. But though my needs may pale in, insignificance to other’s, are not needs, needs and all needs significant?
I thought about hope and I thought about dreams. I thought about one of our grandchildren that were here at our home recently. I thought about little three year old Miles and how huge he dreams; how big his heart is. I wanted to show three of our grandchildren just a few, small, wild blackberries I had found while I was weedN and whackN around the trees in our backyard. I prefaced this little trip with, “I want to show you [three] a few blackberries I found.” Miles picked up an empty, lightweight, white whicker basket to gather blackberries. It was almost the same size as he is. I explained to him that there were only maybe a small handful of berries. He insisted. I told him it was a long way down the bottom of the hill and that he would have to carry the basket down and back up himself , if he took the basket with us. He persisted. Miles’ dreams were too small to fit inside any apparent infinitesimal, immeasurable space within his huge and nearly infinite heart. In his heart-mind, that basket would be filled to overflowing. But his dreams were too large for his present head or capacity to carry, to any desired completion. How often is this same scenario, true of my own life?
I thought of my Aunt Babs, whose husband (my uncle Bob), had passed two years ago today. What is my pain and loss of sleep to that? How do I thank her for how much they both have meant and mean to me?
And I thought about my friend Deb, whose birthday is today. What do I have to give that she may need or want that I may have the means to give? How do I thank her for how much she means to me?
I thought of my wife Susan and watched her sleeping. I thought of my brother, my sister, a friend thinking about her father that would have been 102, if he were still alive, and I thought of others. What else could I do, but pray? And I prayed for them.
I thought of my son Daniel, whom I have not seen for many years. What would I; could I change between us, if I could? What would I; could I say or do, for him, if I could? I thought about the first book of poetry I ever wrote and that I wrote for him. The title poem is the same title of the book and the same title of this post.
The Tear & The Tender
Oh, how bitter and sweet is life
of often twists and turns
Of need to purge from fullness
of empty heart which yearns!
It’s taste is:
One time sweet
One time sour
One time endlessly long
One time not an hour.
Oh, how cruel and kind is life
of often foe and seldom friend
Of loss and gain
of beginning; of end.
It’s touch is:
One time soft
One time rough
One time too much
One time not enough.
Oh, how confused and simple is life
of often slip and glide
Of need for understanding
of need to rid of pride.
It’s sight is:
One time beauty
One time gross
One time less
One time most.
Oh, how hard and easy is life
of often stands and falls
Of push and pull
It’s sound is:
One time peace
One time noise
One time sorrows
One time joys
Oh, how plain and varietal is life
of shadows gray; colors, shades and hues
Of dark and light
of win and lose.
It’s scent is:
one time pungent
One time sweet
One time unfinished
One time complete
But, there is more to know of life
Love is the bond between calm and strife.
Love is the bond which holds and coheres
the balance of the tenders and the tears.
The tear is both joy and sorrow
The tender is both hope and pain
Love is the strength and force in life
Through loss; Through Gain.
After all is said and all is done
The tear and the tender are victory won
The tears bound by love to the tenders are -
from the collection: ‘The Tear & The Tender’
by Dahni © 1997, all rights reserved
Note: The image above is the cover art for the book, ‘The Tear & The Tender.’ It was made using the old ‘Paint Brush’ program in earlier Microsoft Windows operating systems. The crude and child-like teardrop over three childish pussy willows, growing through the grass and out of the earth, was my first attempt at digital art and with my actual signature.
In the end of my “up all night,” I grew very tired and was finally able to sleep some. I was feeling much better. What had changed? Prayer changed my distress and discomfort, but it was not noticed until the prayers and thoughts were, for others. My attitude changed. My thoughts changed and rearranged. Voids were filled among my many spaces, where pains only, had previously occupied and disturbed my many near-bys’.
My prayers are not fully or completely answered. My pain has not fully subsided; my whole wellness and comfort have not yet, wholly returned. There remains room enough in my heart, for all of this and more, but in my present mind and body, this was the best that I could hold, in my present capacity. And I am thankful and grateful for it all. I feel better. I was able to sleep. And though my childish image above may be only that, just childish, I thought about the child that learns and the teacher that imparts. The love of learning, growing, and changing in whatever life brings, every suffering and every joy, to be alive, it’s all worth it! A child opens their eyes, opens their minds and opens their heart!
If I see no more dreams fulfilled and if my wellness will never be completely restored, my pain has been worth it, as has been my joy. For as those flowers need the drops of rain to grow, I need those tears not of happiness or suffering, but both, for they are bound together in joy and they are both together, the ‘Tear and The Tender!’