Quadrille #15 for dVerse Poets – A Son Leaves

We are laughing,
in the last moments
together before
you begin your new life,
in a new city.

You are taking
part of me with you.

At the door, you grab me
into a fierce hug,
then you say goodbye,
and leave.

I cry.

© D. Elaine Wood-Lane

8/30/16


Here’s how to Q44 with us at https://dversepoets.com/2016/08/29/quadrille-15/

Write a poem on your blog in exactly 44 words (excluding title) where at least one of the words is leaves, and link your poem back to dVerse. Visit and get inspired by the other poets. Have fun and remember to come back throughout the week to check out if there are any new entries. We will select one of the poems to be included in our upcoming anthology, and if you are selected we will contact you to get your acceptance.

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I believe if there was more hugging, praying and listening to one another, there would be less hatred, bigotry, judgment, and violence. It is very difficult to hug and pray for someone and continue to hate them or fear them. You see them as they truly are, a person, just like you, with faults, foibles, gifts and goodness. (Yes, I believe there is some goodness in every person on earth. Every person.) If you actually listen to people, most of the time you will find they want the same things you want: love, safety, security, acceptance, and…love again! We’re all different people, but all people nonetheless. So, the next time you’re tempted to tell someone off, hate someone because of their ethnicity or different viewpoint or lifestyle, or worse, take a deep breath, remember they are human just like you, give them a hug either in actuality or in your heart, and say a prayer for them. Jesus said to pray for your enemies and to love one another. I think a lot of good things could come from following those instructions and examples that He gave of that. (Have you ever noticed that what Jesus taught and Jesus did were completely the same?)

Do you think hugs are too simplistic or that people won’t accept them well? Here are a few instances that reveal the error of that idea.

*One day at a grocery store, a complete stranger, an older woman, came up to me, started talking to me, and by the end of the conversation we were hugging and loving one another like long lost relatives. She was old, lonely, and just needed some love and attention. Okay, I’ll come clean, this wasn’t a one time event. It happens to me all the time! I think I must have a sign on my back that says, “Need a hug? Come to me!” Hahaha!

*At a job I had at the Texas Tech medical school, one day a young man who was HUGE, but greatly mentally challenged, broke free from his caregivers and charged down the hall at me yelling, “Want to bite! Want to bite!” He ran into my office, grabbed me by the arm and raised it towards his face as though he was going to bite my arm. (I was terrified! He could have bitten my arm in two. He was that big.) I patted him on his arm and gave him a gentle hug and said, “You don’t really want to bite me, do you? My name is Elaine. Did you know that God loves you?” He put my arm down, returned my hug in a nearly rib-cracking manner and apologized right before his caregivers caught up to me. He was calm for the remainder of his visit and kept repeating, “God loves me! God loves me!”

*As a final example among hundreds, one day I came across a young man who was obviously a criminal, a drug dealer, a gang leader. It was a highly charged, scary situation. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time quite by coincidence. There were other young men with him and all looked like they’d just as soon injure me as look at me. To this day I don’t know why I did this, but I believe the Holy Spirit took me over because I walked up to this scary looking big gang member and gave him a hug and told him God love him. He grasped me to him, hid his face in my shoulder and started crying! I’m not talking a little bit of tears. I’m talking body wracking sobs. He was trying to hide this from his fellow gang members, but whispered to me, “Do you really think God loves me after all I’ve done?” I assured him that God did love him, even now. Then I said something my Grandmother Gill used to say, “It’s time to come back to God’s country.” He shook his head in agreement, asked me to give him a moment to compose himself and thanked me as he let me go.

These are but a few examples of all the people I’ve met in life who just needed a hug and a reminder that they were loved by God, if no one else, and that they mattered. Now, I’m not suggesting you go up to a stranger on the street and give them a hug without asking. I am suggesting that when opportunities arise to give a hug or even a pat on the shoulder…take it! Pray for these people! Remember them and keep praying for them! We’re all humans who need love, even if we’re all different from each other. Thank God we’re all different from each other and have such variety! How boring would an entire world of Elaines be? Ugh! Actually, the world would fall apart if everyone were like me because although I’m a hugger, prayer, and lover of people, we also need accountants, doctors, lawyers, garbage collectors, mechanics, engineers, peacekeepers, artists, judges, factory workers and even politicians to keep the world running properly and with beauty. Ever single one of those people, though, needs love, or at the various least, respect. So, love, pray, hug.

Peace and love, always,

Elaine

1 Corinthians 13:1-8
The Greatest Gift
​ Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.

What Are Your Hands Doing?

I was reading Guideposts this morning and came across a quote so profound, I felt I had to share it and some other thoughts I have on the matter.  Here is the quote:
“Our hands are really servants of our thoughts, so if you want to understand what you’re thinking, watch what your hands are doing.”   Jewel, singer

  What are our hands treasuring?  What are they doing each day?  I like the idea that our hands reveal our thoughts, and to a greater degree, our hearts.  I wish I could say that all of my days are spent using my hands to help others, to do good works, and to enourage, love, and build others up.  I would be lying if I said that is what I do all the time.  For, my hands are often spent serving and entertaining myself, especially online on my iPad.  I also use my hands for housework, some gardening, knitting/crocheting, petting my animals, and touching people, hopefully in a loving way. I waste a lot of time, though, when my hands could be serving and loving more.

I did a search on my Bible app (via my ever present iPad) for the word “hands” in the New Testament. Do you know what came up over and over again?  Jesus or his disciples laying hands on people to heal them.  Jesus laying his hands on the  little children to bless them. Jesus lifting his hands in prayer to his father in heaven.  In other words, Jesus used his hands for the same things we can use our hands for–laying hands on people, helping them and praying. I’m not suggesting that all of us have the spiritual gift to heal people when we lay hands on them. I am saying that as a people we should be touching others in love and encouragement, more. We don’t do that anymore. Our hands are too full of things to reach out and touch someone. Our hands are even clenched into fists of anger, frustration, and protests so much that reaching out in a friendly manner and touching someone has almost become a taboo activity. Why is that? Have we become a society so filled with fear that we can’t be human?

I like to touch people, especially babies and old people. Now, before you start thinking I’m a pervert, I’m not. These two demographics of people seem reach out their hands to be touched, patted, and/or in a request for help. The interesting thing is, these people seem to inherently know when they see me, a complete stranger, that I’m a person whom they can trust and will touch them with love. I’ve had complete strangers walk up to me in public places, take my hand, and ask for help or just start talking to me. Babies, in public, when I pass by, whether I’ve seen them or not, laugh spontaneously when they see me (yeah, I’m funny looking and make lots of people laugh!) and then reach out their little hands to touch me. I’ve even had babies out in public spontaneously jump into my arms! I can’t explain this phenomenon, but both groups are right. They can trust me. I won’t hurt them. I will do what I can to help them. I actually love it when people reach out to me. It’s always a blessing to me and fills me with peace and joy the entire rest of the day!

So why don’t I reach out and touch more people? Why don’t I use my hands more often to help and serve others and God? Why do I waste so much time? It is easy for me to say, “Well, I have fibromyalgia and have a lot of pain and weakness. I can’t do things like I used to do because I don’t have the physical capacity to do so.”

A couple of years ago, God told me my mission, if I chose to accept it, was to simply “Knit, Pray, Love.”  That’s it. Three words. I started knitting/crocheting prayer shawls. As I would work on the shawl, I would pray for whomever was to receive the shawl and pray that through that shawl, they could feel my love and, more importantly, God’s loving arms around them. Sometimes I knew who I was making the shawl for, but, more often than not, I had no idea who would receive the shawl. Every time I finished one, I learned who it was for and would pass it on to them. I felt a great deal of peace, love, and usefulness in this work, but somehow let it lapse. Oh, I keep buying yarn and getting patterns, but I’m not doing what I was doing, what God asked me to do. I need to do that again. I need to use my hands for good instead of entertaining myself. I need to reach out and touch people in real life too. We all do. We’ve become a society afraid of touching and it is isolating us and creating huge rifts amongst family, friends, ethnic groups, religious groups, and the world in general. I think if there was more handshaking, pats on the back and hugging going on amongst all people, a lot of these tensions would melt away. I think if we used our hands to help and bless one another, no one would be able to take weapons up against one another in haste or hatred. Lives would be spared. All our lives would be blessed. 

What are your hands doing? 

  

I just watched a video on Facebook that showed a series of clips where people would stop and help another person who obviously needed help, such as a person who had fallen or was having problems crossing a busy street. Several, ok, most people just went around them. In each of the clips there was at least one, if not two or more, people who stopped to help the person. I love seeing things like this because that is what all of us should be doing–helping each other out! See a need and fill it! I will even go further and say that, at the very least, we should acknowledge one another’s existence and treat one another with respect. You never know how much good doing that simple thing can help another.

The other night I had to go to the grocery store pharmacy to pick up a prescription. As I walked up to the pharmacy, I realized there was a queue and looked to see where the end was. I passed two women with a cart holding 3 little cute girls. It was pretty apparent that one woman was the mother of the little girls and the other was the grandmother. As I walked on past, I noticed an older man sitting on a bench, waiting for a prescription as well. He was the last in line. I stood there a moment and said hi and asked how he was doing. He said, “I’m doing just fine! See those little girls over there?” pointing to the basket. “Those are my great-granddaughters, or is it great-great-granddaughters? Hmm, anyway they’re my grandchildren!” he said with obvious great pride. I replied, “They’re beautiful, every one of them! I know you must love them! I just became a grandmother for the first time and I love my little grandson so much it hurts!” He said, “Guess how old I am! I’m 86 years old and I have nine children. Guess how many grandchildren I have!” I was amazed that he had nine children, but wasn’t going to guess on grandchildren numbers and said, “I have no idea.” “I have 61 grandchildren, that includes the greats and great greats and I’m hanging on until I at least have 62 grandchildren!” We both laughed at that and then the pharmacist called for the next person. Since his prescription wasn’t ready, I went up to the counter and collected my prescription.

As I turned around and was about to walk away, the old man said, “Have a good evening!” For some reason I just wanted to hug him. He had the look of someone who needed a hug. No, I didn’t hug him, tempted though I was! I did stop, though, and put out my hand and he took it. I told him, “I just want you to know it has been a real pleasure to meet you! You’re obviously a very good father and grandfather who is proud of his family and rightly so. You’ve done a great job with your family. I hope you have a good evening too!” He beamed with a smile so bright it could have lit up the whole store.

I started on down the aisle and was at the front when I heard someone say, “Miss! Miss! Wait!” I turned around and the old man’s daughter was headed my way. My first thought was, “Uh-oh, she didn’t like me talking to her dad!” (Why do I always think myself in trouble, first thing?) She said, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for talking to my dad and for what you said as you were leaving. It was the exact right thing! How did you know?” I said, “I don’t know what you mean.” She said, through tears in her eyes, “We’ve been so worried about him. He has been so blue lately and thinks he has no purpose. When you talked to him about our family and said he was obviously a good father and grandfather, he cried after you left. He said, ‘Well, I guess I am worth something after all! I need to stick around to watch over you guys, don’t I?’ We’ve been telling him that, but he didn’t believe it. He thought he was just a burden. When you told him almost the exact same thing in the exact same words, it finally got through to him! So, thank you for doing that!” Then she hugged me.

So, am I saying I’m all that and a bag of chips too? No! I’m not at all! Quite the opposite actually because I know how many times I’ve been in a hurry and passed people without even looking at them, much less talk to them. There have been times, however, like that night, when I felt a nudge to engage with a particular person. I never know why, but I have learned to go with the nudge. Very often, after obeying the nudge, I come away feeling so blessed by the encounter and realize most of the time why I was led to that person. It’s usually a sad or desperate look in their eyes, as though they just want to be acknowledged and maybe even loved on a little bit. I can’t tell you how many little old ladies I’ve hugged over the years. I’ve just come to expect it if I’m out and about.

My point is not to pat myself on the back. My point is that we should all be paying more attention to the real people right beside us or that we run across throughout our day. Every so often, all of us need someone to acknowledge us, to treat us with some respect and love. We’ve all been blue, been sick, or grieved, feeling alone in the world. Wouldn’t it be nice if during those times, someone saw us and spoke with us? Doesn’t it help to share a hug or a pat on the back sometimes, even with a stranger? I know a lot of people worry that the person might take offense or get mad if we speak to them or anything, but do you know, I’ve talked to or hugged at least hundreds of people through my life and not ONE of them has been hateful or offensive back? As a matter of fact, most of them have cried or laughed or said something grateful in nature. Even the big, mean looking guys who look like they could eat me for lunch and spit out the bones have been grateful! Actually, they’re usually the ones who need a friendly face more than anyone else. We all need real, live human contact and interaction. We all need love. Share some love today with someone! You might be pleasantly surprised by the response. We might actually start a revolution of love and wouldn’t that be awesome?!

Peace and love, always,

Elaine

John 13:34
“I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you.”

This felt like me today for sure! I didn’t fall, but I felt like I had been run over by a mack truck this morning. I hurt, I felt mean, and I was jittery as that squirrel on Hoodwinked with coffee. I took my husband to work because I needed the car for a lunch date and when I got back home, I realized that I hadn’t taken my medicine last night! I don’t know why I do that sometimes! I only take five kinds of medicine, but they’re for fibromyalgia, hypertension, and estrogen replacement. If I don’t take them, even for one night, the repercussions are immediate and painful.

The moment I realized I hadn’t taken my medicine, I went and took the medicines I could that wouldn’t knock me out (I thought), and ate some breakfast. I returned to reading a book. I was supposed to be at my former workplace at 11:00 so I had a couple of hours to get ready and drive over there. I woke up at 11:20!! I hurriedly threw on some clothes and hit the road. At a red light, I texted my friend to let her know I was running late. I was a mess! Trying to wake up, fight anxiety, and get all the way across town. I still was hurting some, but by golly, I wasn’t going to let it get me down!

One of the reasons I visit my former workplace is that I love so many of my former coworkers. I’m not talking about, “hey, I love ya man” love. I’m talking, I really care and love these people deeply. They’re some of my best friends I’ve made here in Colorado Springs. They’re really good people and some of them lately have been going through some really tough challenges of all kinds. I can’t do as much for people as I did in the past because of the weakness, fatigue and pain of fibromyalgia. I hate that aspect of not feeling well. However, God has shown me that I’m not helpless or worthless. I can still pray, encourage and support my friends. I can go to them, listen to them, and hug them. (My specialty is hugs. I know that sounds goofy, but I feel like I can transmit my love best by hugs.) So, I went to lunch with one of my friends and we had a great time, even if I was late! I got to see some of my favorite people, give hugs, share love, and so…today became a good day!

It became even better when I came home and found out that one of my fellow bloggers here on WordPress, https://sailingpenguin.wordpress.com/, had nominated me for the Creative Blogger award!! (Tomorrow I will be nominating some of the blogs I follow and truly appreciate for this award as well!)

I feel so honored that she liked my blog enough to nominate me for this award and to bring more attention to my blog. It made my day! Thanks so much Nicky, for the nomination! I truly appreciate it.

So, now I will hush. I’ve talked too long, a frequent problem I have and for which I apologize. I just wanted to remind all my friends, family and readers that, even if a day starts out really rough, if we hurt physically, emotionally, or mentally, if we pray and keep our faith, spend time with people we love and who love us, and share hugs (even better), our day can improve exponentially! NOW I NEED CHOCOLATE!!

Peace and love, always,

Elaine

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 1 John 4:7-9