Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Remembering PERSON, NOT A

### ## ####

This is not a person.

We wore dog tags
and POW bracelets to remember men we would never know.
They were athletes
sons, brothers, husbands, fathers

### ## ####

This is not a person.

Children unaware,
we only knew something bad was happening somewhere we couldn't go.
They laughed

### ## ####

This is not a person.

We hoped for change
though we did not know to what or from what,
and we did not know things never change.
They were brave


### ## ####

was not a person
to us.

Why do the men in the dark sedan give dog tags to mothers and wives?

This is not a person.

You take away a priceless human being
and return a piece of stamped metal?

You throw away a life,
a piece of combat equipment,
a fighting unit,
and bring her

### ## ####

Friday, May 24, 2013

View - Five Minute Friday

So it’s Friday again, and this time I’m meeting the day as it begins, still up at 1:00 a.m. This week's Five Minute Friday prompt is “view.” I decided to take a look at that for a while before retiring.

Five minutes: Go.

View is larger than sight
because view sees beyond what is there
to what it means,
I think.

I have a long view
of life,
and it helps me see
what’s important,
what’s nonessential,
what’s enduring,
and what’s not.

When I say there’s a lovely view,
some people just look quickly and nod agreement,
but others know
that I mean the sight has meaning:
it is lovely because of something,
something other than its appearance.

I suppose in my world,
this one, I mean,
the one everyone can see,
appearances mean more than views.

The way I see it,
life is all about the view.

Monday, May 20, 2013


I decided to smile on purpose, twelve & more years ago. I decided to help my face grow into a pleasant appearance, so that I wouldn't have frown lines and scowls engraved in the delicate muscles of my countenance. Once they're carved, that's what I have to work with. I know this. I study faces. I take notes. I know my heritage. I've watched in slow motion the women whose faces age into troubled and distant masks, tough coverings etched with disappointment and fear and suffering. I've seen other women whose faces have developed into radiant reflections of the joy they chose to live out.

I decided to make a stand against the frown lines, to be me, to let my face reflect the peace my faith provided. I'd fallen into a habit of scowling when I concentrated, and I realized that face, ostensibly at rest, gave testimony of much more suffering than had been my lot. It was an ungrateful face, a lying face that I was creating by not paying attention, by doing what came naturally instead of what could be done intentionally. I did not wish to bear false witness. Instead I chose to make my face show that I knew God was in charge, that I did not need to fear, that I was celebrating the freedom of trusting in Him. I wanted a face that would draw people to Him, and I set out to make my face be that.

Recent months have brought a number of challenges and I've fallen unconsciously into the old natural habits again. My face is reflecting my earthly situation and not my place in the kingdom of God. Yes, I've been weary, and tired people don't make good decisions. Exhaustion tends to make us fall into old patterns of behavior. So I can use that excuse if I want it, but I don't want it. The habits are making the lines whether I mean them to be made or not. So I'm remembering again today, remembering to look up, to smile, to say without words what my heart knows to be true.

I'm remembering - because God kept bringing it to mind all morning - that all things work together for the good of those who love The Lord. I certainly love Him, and I'm going to smile today and believe that even my crazy schedule and list of tasks is part of His plan for my good; that if I'm out of balance He'll show me; that going through trials will help polish me so that I can reflect Him better.

If you see me NOT smiling, will you remind me to remember?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Thank-You Note

I am thankful today for sheets on the clothesline,
sunshine to dry them,
and indoor plumbing.

I like the fact that those things could have been on my grandmother's thank-you list, too.

I also like the fact that when I choose to be thankful it changes my world.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Woman Song

I wrote this a few days before the Five Minute Friday prompt was published for May 17. But it was a five-minute work, and it fits the theme, "Song." I hope it still fits the rules, because it's the only song I'm coming up with during my busy, wearying, joy-filled days. I'm going to say "it's a God thing" that it came to me early.

* * *

Maybe because of Mother's Day. Maybe just because. I thought of how music lifts spirits in trying times, and about how being a woman gives opportunity to experience a fair share of those. My friend Wil Maring once reminded me that even the sad songs make us feel happier. Anyhow, the musing turned into this:

Woman Song

Sing we now of things to be
of wars and dreams and worlds to see
of love and life and broken glass
of wishes that may come to pass

Sing we of the moments kissed
of pain and mercy, loved ones missed
of past and present, now and then
of memories that thrive again

Sing we of our limits found
of promises forever bound
of hope endured and peace restored
of losses we can ill afford

Sing we of the blessed child
of taming hearts forever wild
of growing up and growing old
of dancing warm and giggling cold

Sing we loud with silent voice
of tears that fall when we rejoice
of meaning hiding in plain view
of living lies and staying true

We sing.

Deborah L. W. Roszel
May 12, 2013

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Comfort - Five Minute Friday

Comfort ye, my people, saith your God.

It's not a cozy comfort I'm thinking about. It's a comfort in knowing a cozy comfort awaits.

Sometimes life is hard. Busy and intense and protracted like labor. Which is not to say it isn't good. Life is good and hard. And comfortable.

Someday may never come, but someday I'm going to be able to sit down and say, "Yes, that was done well." Perhaps God's reward will come at heaven's gate; I want the comfort of knowing I am doing well so that I will hear His voice say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

That's definitely not cozy comfort. That's about being brave and patient and bare and strong and broken and determined for a long, long time. That's about doing the hard things when no one else does. But I take comfort from the promises that the work will bear fruit, comfort from the examples of those who have gone before and shown the way (and the fruit).

Here and now, today, my comfort often comes from making others comfortable. Is it coincidence that "comfort" starts the same way as "community" and "commitment"? I think not. I think comfort is something that comes when we share, when we pour out ourselves together in love.

Like Winnie the Pooh, though, I'm not sure I'm right about all this.

Wonder what Christopher Robin would say.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Four days after the wedding . . . finding my way back to normal

Today I am cardboard.

Not marble,

not patiently formed,

gracefully curved,

caressed into life

or beauty.

No, marble is alive.

I am cardboard.

Not metal,

not smoothly reflective,

carefully polished,

pressed into service

or function.

No, metal is alive.

I am cardboard.


intentionally severed,

mindlessly shredded,

drowned to submission

or pulp.

All the life

squeezed and dried,

edges and corners

shaped into die-cut


I am cardboard.

Still I lie.

Stiff, dull, dry.

Bland, harmless, useful.

Even recyclable.

Tomorrow I'm coming back as a butterfly.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mother-Son Dance

I couldn't eat at the reception for my son's wedding.

There was plenty of food, and I liked it just fine. But halfway through the meal I remembered that there would be a mother-son dance and we hadn't practiced. We'd barely talked about it, weeks before. My stomach tensed and my throat closed up and I couldn't eat another bite.

I ought not to be so silly. It's just that the idea of dancing, in front of people, all alone - it was terrifying. I would look awkward. I would step wrong. I wouldn't follow correctly. I would trip. I would be ugly and embarrassing and shameful.

I kept breathing, kept waiting, kept smiling, kept praying secretly in words I could neither hear nor understand. Did you see what I wrote today about being brave? I was brave. The father-daughter dance came first. The thoughtful and attentive DJ came over just before announcing it to let me know I wasn't being left out; their dance would be at this time, then a few more activities, then later the mother-son dance. The bride and her father danced; I didn't really watch, not that I remember much; it was behind me and I was dealing with fear. Other daughters and fathers were invited to dance. My daddy was at the back of the room and I saw him stand. I stood to go meet him. The music kept playing. People congratulated me; they didn't realize I was going to dance with my daddy. I got to him, worried, afraid the music would end and I'd walk all the way through the room and onto the dance floor with him for no reason, unsure if he really wanted to dance or if he felt comfortable at all, and fearful on my own account because it was dancing. I hugged him. He asked how I was doing. "OK." Half a breath caught in my throat. "Mostly OK." And then I started crying on his shoulder, and he gave me his hanky. That's what he's always done. He's always carried one, folded neatly in his pocket, ready for a lady's tears.

I cried out the fear and held onto the hope he offered with his hanky, hope that I could be brave and strong. I told him I loved him and he told me he loved me, that I should always remember that. He's never said it like that, "always remember that." It made me tell him the same, that I always love him. It made me realize he won't always be here to tell me, so it's important to remember. We didn't dance after all, but I'll never forget the moment with him.

I did better after that. The mother-son dance came, and I faced my son and we danced. He'd chosen "Unforgettable" by Nat and Natalie Cole. Of course that made me smile; he knows me well. I only felt a little awkward, and he smiled and made polite conversation to put me at ease. I stepped as well as I could, and followed acceptably, I think - at least I didn't trip. I didn't feel ugly. And no one told me later that I embarrassed or shamed them. He thanked me for all I'd done to make the weekend special. We hugged and I told him I loved him and was proud of him and happy for him, and he said he loved me.

It was just right.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Brave - Five Minute Friday

I was brave this weekend because every single thing I did was something I’d never done before. I was a first-time mother of the groom. That’s why I’m writing today instead of Friday; it took me this long to have five minutes to sit still and write.

I tell my children that being brave doesn’t mean not being scared. It means doing the right thing even when you’re scared. I was scared a lot this weekend, but it all turned out well. I’m still quite scattered, unpacking, etc., but I kept thinking about things that are brave, so I’ve listed them. (Just so you know, they didn't all happen this weekend.)

going to your first dance
hosting a party
getting married
complimenting a stranger
caring for an infant
finishing the course
going to college
getting a job
living on a budget
smiling when you don’t feel like it
eating strange food
taking yucky medicine
accepting failure
getting out of bed
swimming in dark water
driving to the airport
holding a hand
staying quiet
admitting your mistake