Truth is its own magic: A Mother’s Day message

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When you’re a mom, some of the things that come out of your mouth may sound strange:  “Don’t chew on Jesus,” “Will you just hurry up and poop?”, and “Stop putting chicken on your head!”, are some of my greatest hits.

As I was getting my daughter ready for bed the other night, thinking about what I wanted to read to her (praying she wouldn’t mention Minnie, as in The Mouse), the Beatitudes of Jesus came to mind.  I realized then that I’ve spent so much time reading and singing to her and teaching her the things she will need to know to get on here–like letters and numbers, saying “thank you” and not littering–that I hadn’t focused much on the religious part of her education.

Thinking back, that’s exactly how my parents raised me.  For them, church was something you needed if you were an ass.

When I was in high school in the nineties, a lot of kids were self-proclaimed “Jesus freaks,” wearing “True Love Waits” rings and WWJD bracelets.  There was a lot of talk about the rapture and born-again virginity.  Church was their social life, Praise and Worship music their vibe.  Some of them even carried their Bibles around at school.  

Just as Felicity (remember that WB show?) followed a boy to college, I, a freshman, followed a senior boy to his church.  One evening, after service had ended, we sat in a pew as he led me through the salvation prayer, and I was like, “That’s it?  Are you sure? It’s that easy?”

I had been expecting a feeling–a total transformation like Saul’s to Paul–and now I wonder when Jesus told Doubting Thomas that (and I paraphrase) blessed are they who don’t see but believe, that “see” could also apply to “feel.”

Four years later, I joined the Mormon Church.  All the good feelings I had expected to feel when I had gotten saved, I felt then, but who isn’t going to feel good when they’re around so many friendly people who open their hearts and homes?  Even though it’s been years since I sent my name to Salt Lake to be expunged (er, removed) from the records, I will admit that the Church made me a more spiritual person.

In the Church, I was taught that the glory of God is intelligence and yet, according to these same people, for those who had mental challenges, the devil could not touch them. 

To my understanding, a lack of mental capacity (e.g. intelligence) saved a soul.  It seems contradictory, and yet, it somehow makes sense to me.

As I gaze upon my child, I see that light and intelligence.  She knows so much more than she communicates, which can be frustrating, but I have learned to overcome the need to explain why she is the way she is to people who don’t know her–to explain why she doesn’t respond when people ask her her name–but then, I have had several people who’ve taken one look at her and ask if she’s autistic.

I may never know how much she understands, but I do know that I will teach her everything I know and believe, whether it’s that adverbs are the enemy of good writing or that respect doesn’t have to be earned but it can be lost.  (You don’t disrespect people until they “earn” your respect.)

I’ve striven so much to give her a magical childhood through imagination and storytelling.  (Children’s author, Nancy Tillman, is a master at this.)  Nearly every night, since my mom passed from this earth, I ask my daughter to tell Grandma “good-night” and “I love you” and to blow her a kiss.  And then I seemingly catch that kiss in midair, letting her open my hand and take it; sometimes I place my palm on the crown of her head–a blessing from Heaven.

Of course, I don’t really know how things work up there, but part of parenting, for me, has always been teaching truths with just a pinch of magic.

C.S. Lewis did that very thing with his Narnia series, just as I will someday do with mine.

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Poem-a-Day April 2019 Writer’s Digest Challenge #30. Theme: Stop/Don’t Stop #aprpad

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The Pursuit of Happiness

Never stop pursuing your passion
because if you do,
it will always be a temptation
that will never be satisfied,
for any writer worth their saffron
will find the time—
even after time with family
& time with friends,
time at work
& time working out,
time with feeding the head
& time with feeding the mouth,
time spent sleeping
& playing
& running errands,
for those who love to write,
there will never be enough time,
but those lovers will make the most
of the time they have—
in the waiting times
& the lunch times,
in the television times
& the alone times—
the last of which they cherish,
for it is in that time
that they don’t feel like
they are taking it
from someone else
who needs it more.

https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/2019-april-pad-challenge-day-30

Poem-a-Day April 2019 Writer’s Digest Challenge #28. Theme: Remix #aprpad

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A Truth Told as a Lie

When the hustle-bustle of the day died away,
and her cats had been put down for the night,
she poured out her frustration onscreen
through the filter of her stories,
as told in the third-person,
where she drafted the opposite of the fake memoir,
making her more of a truth teller
than the memoirists with their selective memories.

Poem-a-Day April 2019 Writer’s Digest Challenge #13. Theme: View #aprpad

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The Speechwriter

Her view of herself was such
that she felt most comfortable
when she stood behind
her words.
His view of himself was such
that he felt most comfortable
when everyone stood in front
to hear him speak those words.
She felt like a silent ventriloquist,
a Wizard of Oz who made
the dummy come alive,
even as he felt like he was
the ideal receptacle
for such pep rally rah-rahing
that made them believe that if he won,
they all won.

https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/2019-april-pad-challenge-day-13