The Art of Revision: Life’s Metaphor

This school year I have tried very hard to help enlighten my 8th grade students to the fact that understand revision is an integral part of the writing as a process in their writing.  For a number of them revision has meant means to rewritinge  what was alreadypreviously written.  Yet and still And still yet, for other students revision is about erasing what they considered to be “mistakes”.  For the remaining faction, they acknowledge that revision is about neither of the previous ideas—it is an organic transformation on the page.  Over the years I have personally and professionally connoted revision with: adding, removing (as in strikethrough), rearranging, rewording, and/or replacing words on the page.  However, getting the bulk of my students to this place of writing enlightenment has been nothing short of a chore—a challenging chore. 

Today, February 25th my students must complete a state-mandated writing assessment—FCAT Writes.  They will have sixty minutes to write a drafted response to an arbitrary persuasive or expository writing prompt (situation).  For instance, the following is an example of the “tasteless” writing scenarios to which an 8th grader might be subjected.

  • Eating healthy foods is important.
  • Think about why it is important to eat healthy foods.
  • Now explain why you should eat healthy foods.  

With prompts like this it’s a wonder that students haven’t already revolted and formed a coup to overtake the state and federal government demanding educational reform.  But that’s a different post and you don’t want me to get started on education reform.   

 

In preparation for the assessment I had an epiphany: give every student a brain eraser as a symbol of their power prowess as writers.  Here is what the brain eraser symbolizes.  First, it is a literal symbol of the student’s greatest tool on this assessment.  Their brains house everything the students need to be articulate written communicators.  Second, the eraser is symbolic because I literally don’t want my students to erase anything off the page.  Because students have no resources from which to source how they will support their writing, their one and only resource during this assessment is their brain.  Thus, my rationale for So I purchasinged brain erasers for my students. 

Yesterday, I gave each student a “gift” to encourage them to do their best.  It was a simple token: a note with a reminder about revision and an inspirational quote from one of my favorite researchers—Carol Dweck.  

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I gave my students a “pep” talk after passing out the note and brain eraser, their gift.  I told them that if they erase (instead of strikethrough) they might take away something the reader would benefit from.  I also mentioned to them that everything they need to be successful is inside their brains—no, not the little erasers, but the brains housed in their heads.  Finally, I encouraged them to bring back both their brains for the assessment.  I want them to place the eraser on their desk throughout the test to remind them that they don’t have to erase, just add, remove, rearrange, reword, and/or replace.  Honestly, I really want them to be reminded of the fact that they should revise: anything they write on their allotted two pagesbefore time is called.  I’m not sure if my “kind gesture” and “words of encouragement” will be enough to spur them to higher heights, but I figured it was worth a try. 

—hence why the eraser is glued to the note.I don’t want them to erase anything.  To erase something from the page is to permanently remove its existence.  And here is where the art of revising becomes a metaphor for life. 

If I erase the fact that I filed for bankruptcy at age thirty-two, and a few months later went through a home foreclosure, I haveam eraseding (from the pages of life) the lessons I’ve learned about money management and my “needs versus my “wants.  Furthermore, if I erase the two abortions I have had, I will have also erased the lessons learned about humanity and the value of human life from my life’s pages.  If I erase from my memory my parents divorce, I erase a personal struggle that has strengthened my resolve in life.  I erase the pain and deny myself the opportunity to get grittier.  I could literally go on and on about the myriad of personal experiences that I would eagerly love to permanently remove from the pages of my life, but if I do thato,  so I do so as a detriment to my personal evolution.  To permanently erase people, things, places, experiences—both good and bad—from the pages of our lives, would alter who’ve become as a result of those same very people, things, places, and experiences.

Life is meant to be revised—added to, rearranged, reworded, and replaced.  We should constantly add love and good people to our lives.  We must sometimes rearrange our plans to make way for better opportunities.  We sometimes reword who we are after we’ve evolved.  And there are also times when we replace the painful memories of the past with the present blissful moments.  Revision is an art that we develop over the course of a lifetime.  The best writers know how to craft a masterpiece because they know how to revise.  

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Disillusioned? Disenchanted? Or Both?

This is not the life I envisioned for myself.  This is not where I thought I would be at thirty-seven.  This is not who I imagined I would be.

When I was a kid I would spend an exuberant amount of time daydreaming about my adult life (young and dumb).  I dreamed up: kids, a husband, a house . . . an entire life (silly musing).  But what’s strange and eerily unfair is that none of those dreams have become my present reality—not even remotely (hard slap in the face).  There are no kids (blessing and a curse).  There is no husband—not even a committed boyfriend (perhaps the result of my sharp tongue).  The house was foreclosed on in 2008 (bad money management).  Some of you are probably tired of hearing about my still being single after all these years (it’s okay to be honest).  Heck.  I’m tired of talking about it (really, I am).  I’d much rather write about something else, but for some strange and demented reason I am stuck on stupid—in more ways than one (pray for me).  This is my reality and it is far from the dreams of my youth.

Here is my problem—here is why I am stuck on stupid.  I have always been one of those girls who would rather be in a committed relationship, but most of my life I’ve found myself settling for the “table scraps” extended to me from any man who showed me a modicum of attention (daddy issues).  I think it’s time that I stopped believing in fairy tales (my name is not Snow White, Cinderella, or Belle).  There is no such thing as a prince charming—at least not for this girl (do they even make those in the African-American variety?).  I think it’s time that I realized that my life isn’t going to turn out the way I dreamed it up as a child.  Perhaps I am destined to be one of those women who never gets married and never has children (I will not turn into an old cat lady).  Maybe God and the universe have been sending me smoke signals all these years and I’ve been too dense to see them and to accept the reality of my present, my future (I’m thick headed).

When love has evaded you and disappointed you as much as it has for me, your hope begins to diminish and your light begins to fade (if you had any to start out with).  I’m getting to a point in my life where I have accepted that this is as good as it gets (damn!).  I have accepted that I am the perpetual cheerleader for my married friends and family members (I think I still have an old uniform from high school).  It will be my responsibility to remind them to cherish the love and their companions.  As for me, I’m going to have to continue to do for myself because it doesn’t look like any knight in shinning, or dull armor, is coming to rescue me from the castle tower (damn to being independent).  This is my life:  intelligent, attractive, educated, gainfully employed, funny, hard working, sarcastic, dedicated . . . and single.  You may have thought that those first eight adjectives would give a sista a chance—but nope, not this girl (somebody has to end up with the short stick—and I’m short so that seems to make sense).

Disillusioned.  Adjective.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary denotes the following about the word disillusioned (it sounds so dramatic).  Having lost faith or trust in something; disappointed that something is not as good, valuable, true, etc., as it had seemed.  Love has been a series of disappointing moments (my bad—years).  I have discovered that it— a relationship, a commitment, love—is less good than I believed it to be in my childhood.  A man finds me attractive, he pursues me for a time, he loses interest in me, and then he finds another muse or object of attraction (no lie, it’s happened several times over).  The process is repeated and the disillusionment persists and grows.

DisenchantedAdjective.  No longer happy or satisfied with something (according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary).  I am no longer satisfied with my present reality—hoping for a blissful future.  Being repeatedly dismissed no longer makes me happy (it makes me slightly bitter, but dark chocolate is slightly bitter and I love it!  Does that make me a metaphoric piece of dark chocolate?).

I suppose (actually I guarantee) that I am disillusioned and disenchanted.  Disillusioned with love and disenchanted with my reality.  My solution to moving beyond the disillusionment and disenchantment is to live without expectations—for a blissful future filled with the never-ending love of one man (unrelated to me) and kids (besides the ones I teach).  I know it’s a dismal way to live, but it’s safe and hurts less.  At this point in my life I need as little collateral damage as possible (my tender heart has been through hell—literally and figuratively).  No more making plans, no more hoping for a future that will never be (daydreams are for little girls and I haven’t been one of those in a few decades).

This is about living in the moment of each day.  This is about finding satisfaction in being—just as I am.  This is my life!

Alone—All one

There is nothing like a Rom-Com to bring clarity to your life.  Just today I had the pleasure of watching Baggage Claim starring Paula Patton and host of handsome male co-stars.  Much like Patton’s character Montana Moore, I proudly proclaim the title: romantic.  Despite the fact that I have yet to light upon the man who takes my breathe away while also encouraging me to be the best version of me that I can be, I haven’t given up complete hope that he exists and will someday find his way to my heart.  I may be delusional to think that mutual love and commitment can coexist in a “happily ever after” scenario, but I’m okay with that.  I’m okay with it because I refuse to settle for just any man.  I want the man who will fight for me—not literally, but figuratively speaking—fight for my heart, my attention, my affection.  I want the man whose face lights up when he sees me, the man who smiles at the thought of something funny I said and/or did.  I want the man who will love me when I look and feel my worst.  I want the man who isn’t afraid of my strength, the man who will see it as an asset and not a deficit.  I am holding out for the man who is a gentleman—holding upon doors and pulling out my chair.  I am willing to wait for the man who recognizes that I am perfectly imperfect and that is perfectly fine with him.  If such a man exists in human form, I will wait—hope-filled, not hopeless–for him to materialize.  And the following are quotes from the movie that moved me.

“It’s the 21st century; you don’t need a man to define you.” 

–Gail (played by Jill Scott)

Montana’s co-star and on-screen gal-pal Gail, played by Jill Scott, expressed these words in a scene where the two ladies reflect over the thirty-day plan to find Montana a husband (or at least a date to her sister’s wedding).  While Gail’s words are true, many a good woman, myself included, have yet to completely escape the scrutiny of being unmarried and single well into her thirties.  It is as if the unmarried after thirty have been stamped, or worse yet, branded “defective” in the eyes of society.  I will be the first to admit that I have been trying everything humanly possible—just shy of crazy–to keep from remaining single.  But in the last week or so something inside me shifted.  I’m not sure what, why or how it happened, but I started looking at my current circumstance: single, unmarried, and childless from an entirely different set of eyes.  I’ve reached a peace-filled place emotionally and mentally.  Before, I seemed to be on a mission to rid myself of the label: single, unmarried woman.  Now however, I have come to see it as a new start.  Think about it.  How many people can say that they’ve had countless opportunities to start over—again and again?  Starting over used to carry with it a heavy negative stigma, but lately I have come to appreciate the ability to start back at one once more.  This fresh start has given me a chance to reinvent myself, to appreciate me just as I am.  No, I refuse to be defined by having, or in my case, not having a man.  I am my own person.  I am a quirky, fun-loving, animated, passionate, devoted woman.  Yes, I would love to find a mate with which to share my life and love.  But if it never happens I am at peace with being alone—all one—that is, complete and lacking nothing.

“The magic isn’t in getting married; it’s in staying married.”

–William Wright (played by Derek Luke)

Derek Luke who plays William Wright, Montana’s on-screen long-term best friend, and eventual fiancé, shared these words of wisdom with Montana (Patton) on the way to the airport in her first of many failed attempts at reigniting fires with previous love interests.  What I love most about Wright’s words is the staying power that he connotes with the institution of marriage.  Being the romantic individual that I am, I strongly believe in lasting love.  If there is one thing that my failed attempts at love have taught me, it is that I am gritty—I don’t give up easily.  I have fought tooth and nail for the men I have loved.  I have never walked away easily.  It seems that many people get married because of timing: they think it’s the right time or they think their time is running out.  I’ve contemplated both scenarios over the last decade.  In my mid-to-late twenties I thought it was time to get married.  After all, nearly everyone around me was doing it—getting married that is.  And as my early-to-mid thirties came and went, I thought time was running out.  And when one relationship after another failed to develop into marriage I began to feel a sense of desperation take over me.  But life has a way of bringing clarity to you.  I do not take marriage lightly.  To me it is sacred and should be cherished.  If I should marry, and truly I do hope that I do.  It is my hope and prayer that it happens only once and that it lasts a lifetime.  I take my commitments very seriously and marriage is about commitment—a life-long commitment.

“You give me hope that there’s still some good men out there.”

–Montana Moore (played by Paula Patton)

There was a time in my life when I thought the available pool of “good men” had dried up.  Only recently have I changed my thinking.  While I have known a few good men, I do hope that there are at least a few more out there.  No, I’m not greedy.  I just want one for myself and a few for some really great women whom I happen to be friends with.  I know I’m not the last of the thirty-something single, unmarried, and childless clan.  There are many of us out there.  Many of us, despite being intelligent, independent, and attractive, have yet to happen upon the right man, for us that is.  We’ve kissed many a frog over the years, but we haven’t lost hope.  Like Montana’s character, we still believe that our day will come.  We hope against our previous and current circumstances that there is at least one man willing to appreciate us just as we are.  We may not have a thirty-day turn around like the character Montana Moore, but that hasn’t kept us from hoping he will eventually arrive on his noble steed.

“Marriage doesn’t make you a lady anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.”

–Montana Moore

Even though this is an odd analogy to make, you cannot deny the truth of Montana’s words.  We—the lot of unmarried women—are no less a lady than the rest of the female population because we happen not to have a husband, a fiancé, a committed boyfriend, or even a prospect or two.  Does it take being married to make one a lady?  Does motherhood require giving birth?  I say no to both.  I may not be married, and I may not have birthed any children, but each day that I wake I present myself as a lady and I oftentimes find myself taking on the role of mother at work.

“I did meet somebody that I’ve really been needing to meet, me.”

–Montana Moore

Starting over allows us the privilege of getting to know ourselves again.  When there isn’t anyone else vying for our time, attention, and affection we have the opportunity to love ourselves without condition.  The time alone that we give ourselves is rejuvenating.  When we finally learn to appreciate us, we make way for a refreshing wave of freedom.  When we meet ourselves just as we are, we can appreciate our strengths and limitations.  Etymologically speaking, the word alone is Old English for “al one” or all one—wholly.  Being alone–all one–whole–frees us from buying into the lie that we are less than.  The truth remains that we are complete, whole and lacking nothing.

“I want a lifetime.”

–Montana Moore

Call it greedy; call it whatever you like.  I want a lifetime and I won’t settle for anything less.  I believe that a love can last a lifetime if both individuals maintain the same level of commitment.  All too often however, it seems that one or both individuals opts out—physically and/or emotionally when the going gets tough.  I am not a quitter.  I am a fighter and a lover.  The hope-filled romantic in me won’t settle for anything less than a lifetime.  Truth be told, it may take a lifetime to get what I earnestly desire, and if that’s the case, then I am okay with that.  The bottom line is that we should never settle for less than what our hearts truly desire.   And when we choose not to settle, one day we may have the pleasure of hearing our significant other say . . .

“You could stay awake the rest of your life and you’d still be beautiful to me.”

—Damon Diesel played by Trey Songz

How’s that for romantic?

If you haven’t seen Baggage Claim, you should.  And then we can banter about the quotes that moved you.

Never settle!

A Heart Worth Holding

My heart:

fractured, bruised, and heavy—

longs to be held safely in your hands.

 

“What would you do if I gave you my heart?”

 

Would you toss it aside as a frivolous gift?

Would you cup it in your hands?

Would you throw it back at me?

Would you place it inside a satin-tufted box?

 

Just what would you do if I gave you my heart?

 

I want to trust you with my most precious asset,

I long to share with you every fiber of its contents,

I want to give you my heart because there is something about you that makes me smile.

 

Truth is . . .

 

You entertain my special.

You appreciate my uniqueness.

You ignite my femininity.

You share with me a silliness that makes me beam on the inside and out.

 

I can no longer deny that I want to give you my heart.

 

I want you to take it in your hands and nurture it.

I want you to kiss it and speak gently to it.

I want you to ravage my heart with unconditional love.

 

I need to know that my heart is worth holding.

I have to know that my heart is priceless.

I yearn to know that this heart of mine has value.

 

I am entrusting you with this heart of mine.

I have faith in your holding on tight to my heart.

 

This heart, my heart, I want to give to you.

Will you, could you . . .

Never let go of my heart.

When God Kisses You

“What were the things that romanced your heart as a girl?”

For me it was:

  •  A good book
  • Pretty flowers
  • My father’s undivided attention
  • Finding a bargain (while out shopping)
  • An encouraging word from my mother

For the past week or so I have been reading Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge.  Today however, I began the chapter titled “Romanced”.  After the section where the co-authors shared anecdotal accounts of how they had been “romanced” by God, I began thinking about recent instances when God had been romancing me.  When we talk about being “romanced” by God, it equates to those moments when God “woos” us—times when his love and pursuit of our hearts is revealed through earthly majesty.

John and Stasi Eldredge further noted that, “Every song you love, every memory you cherish, every moment that has moved you to holy tears has been given to you from the One who has been pursuing you from your first breath in order to win your heart.  God’s version of flowers and candlelight dinners comes in the form of sunsets and falling stars, moonlight on lakes and cricket symphonies; warm wind, swaying trees, lush gardens, and fierce devotion.  This romancing is immensely personal.  It will be as if it has been scripted for your heart.  He knows what takes your breath away, knows what makes your heart beat faster.”

God just kissed me on Friday, January 31st when one of my 3rd period students turned in an extra credit assignment.  First off, I rarely provide students with “extra credit” opportunities.  I firmly believe that if he or she gives enough time and attention to the assigned work, there would be no need for extra credit.  However, I’ve been doing some educational research on motivation and thought that providing random extra credit assignments may motivate some students to take advantage of their education.  At any rate, the objective was for the students to transform a letter they had recently written in a previous assignment.  The letter the students wrote was a persuasive letter to their parents in which they attempted to get their parents to change their mind about a decision, rule, restriction or ideology through the inclusion of the three persuasive appeals: logos, ethos, and pathos.  For the extra credit assignment students had to change their role/perspective as a writer, alter their intended audience, and change the format/writing mode.  With all that said, the 3rd period student’s letter had been transformed to an invitation.  It wasn’t some Microsoft Publisher crafted document; it was hand made with an embossed wax label.  When he handed it to me my face lit up.  After class ended I picked up the invitation once again and marveled at the detail and precision with which the student had crafted his assignment.  As an educator I strive to impress upon my students that taking the initiative is an impressive trait.  I also want them to understand that the quality of their work speaks volumes to their personal character and is a reflection of who they are inherently.  When this young man not only turned in a thoughtfully prepared product, but had also done so before the due date; I was moved to tears.  This was one of those instances that had brought me into the teaching profession.  Without realizing it (at that moment in time), I had been kissed by God.  A student had taken the initiative and gone above and beyond the general expectations—God had kissed me, romanced my heart.

While the euphoria of God’s kiss has swelled my heart, I have come to realize why the ending of my last romantic relationship was so emotionally crippling for me.  For fourteen months I had been courted—I was taken care of financially, I was treated like a lady, I had satisfying conversations with my mate, I and my mate shared of our spirituality, I had been romanced, and for a time–I had been the singular object of one man’s affection and attention.  It was God’s kiss, God’s way of romancing me through another earthly vessel.  And then it abruptly ended.  To this day I long to be courted once more.  For during those fourteen months I was ablaze and alive.  Nevertheless, I understand why the man I loved chose another woman—but that’ll have to wait for another entry—“The Unveiling of a Woman’s Beauty”.  Until then, here are some additional profound statements from John and Stasi Eldredge’s book.  Ladies, if you haven’t read the book Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge, please do.  It will open your eyes of understanding.

Notable “Nuggets” from John and Stasi Eldredge:

  • “You are meant to fill a place in the heart of God no one and nothing else can fill.”
  • “ . . . he [God] wants your obedience, but only when it flows out of a heart filled with love for him.”
  • “God delights in revealing himself to those who will seek him with all their hearts.”
  • “We have missed many of his notes simply because we shut our hearts down in order to endure the pain of life.”
  • “God has been wooing you ever since you were a little girl.”
  • “A woman becomes beautiful when she knows she’s loved.”
  • “As women we long to be loved in a certain way, a way unique to our femininity.”
  • “ . . . he [God] will thwart our efforts to find life apart from him . . .”
  • “He [God] often takes us aside from every other source of comfort so that he alone can have our heart’s attention.”
  • “Our hearts yearn to be loved intimately, personally, and yes, romantically . . . to be the object of desire and affection of one who is totally and completely in love with us.”
  • “Worship is what we give our hearts away to in return for a promise of Life.”
  • “No, to be spiritual is to be in a Romance with God.”
  • “The desire to be romanced lies deep in the heart of every woman.  It is for such that you were made.  And you are romanced, and ever will be.”

PS: Chyla, thank you for recommending this book.  I love you girl!

Where Is The Path to Forgiveness?

Co-authors Stasi and John Eldredge noted in the text Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul that, “Until you forgive, you remain their prisoner.”  I have been harboring ill feelings (unforgiveness) towards another human being for the past seven months.  Why?  You ask.  Because he was one more man on the growing list of many who have discarded my heart, love, and affections.  Recovering from the rejection and loss hasn’t been easy.  It’s never easy to bounce back from disappointment.  But it is true that time heals all wounds.  What I have learned is that some wounds take longer to heal.  To this day I am unable to watch one specific commercial because it reminds me too much of the last man who walked away from me.  Because I turn the channel or divert my attention each and every time that commercial comes on, simply proves that I haven’t completely forgiven this man.  I have backed myself into a corner and the only way I can get out is to forgive him.  But the truth is, I don’t know how to get onto the path of forgiveness.

The last man’s rejection left me feeling like the fourteen-year-old version of me.  Once again I was that girl searching for guidance from a father that wasn’t available—physically or emotionally.  Each time a man has chosen to leave, the pain of that initial rejection from my father resurfaces, and I once again question my self worth.  When my father divorced my mother he divorced himself from me too because our relationship hasn’t been the same ever since.  While we have made some headway over the years, the little girl that lives inside me wants her dad(dy) to be there to shield, rescue and comfort her from the harsh realities of life.

I remember vividly the moment when I knew my father wasn’t returning—not just from the trip he’d gone on—but to his family.  My family had recently returned from a three-week cross-country vacation in our motor home.  My older brother had just graduated from high school, and I was fourteen years old.  My father had left for Michigan (not sure if it was business or pleasure that time) and when he didn’t come back when he was expected, I knew that my nuclear family would be forever changed.  One night I awoke to odd sounds downstairs.  Slowly, I crept down the stairs to find my mother on the floor in the living room shredding—quite literally–my father’s hunting rifles.  Without making a sound I sat there on the steps for a few moments.  My mother must have been in a trance because she never noticed me, never heard me, never turned around, and never stopped hacking.  As she hacked away at the guns, I knew with all certainty that their marriage was in serious trouble.  When my father finally returned home a week or two later, he merely came to retrieve some personal items.  Just like that I had become a statistic.  I was one of those kids whose parents divorced.  I was one of those kids growing up without a father in the home.  Sure, he lived in the same city, just a few miles a way in fact, but from that moment forward our relationship was strained.  I was a girl without her father’s guidance.  I was a teenage girl who was clueless about navigating the interests of the male species.

I think I’ve spent the past twenty-something years running from the pain of being the statistic—the 50% of North American children whose parent’s divorce.  Along with that, I presume that I’ve subconsciously, and to some degree, consciously feared that every man who walks into my life will do the same thing my father did—unexpectedly leave.  It’s the classic case of the self-fulfilling prophecy.  Psychologists define this phenomenon as the process in which an individual’s expectations about another individual eventually lead the other individual to behave in the way that confirms their expectations.  This is to say that I expected every man who entered my life to also one day exit my life because they were men, just like my father, not capable and/or interested in maintaining their commitment.

I don’t want to be a closed flower or a caged bird.  I don’t want to be hard and calloused.  I don’t want to stop feeling.  But I do want to know love, security, protection, passion, and commitment.  I want the freedom to love without the fear of being rejected.  I want the freedom of being quirky.  I want the freedom to express myself without being misunderstood.  I simply desire to be free from other’s judgments.  I seek to live a life without regrets or condemnation.  I admit to making my fair share of mistakes.  I am far from perfect, and I’m okay with that.  I want to also be okay with life’s disappointments without them decimating me emotionally and psychologically.

I’ve come to realize that I’m that little girl who’s craving for her father’s attention.  I’m the same little girl who followed her father out into the garage or out into the yard.  I’m that same girl—only now a woman—seeking her father’s validation and love.  If my father had let me, I probably would have followed him everywhere.  It didn’t matter if he was tinkering with one of his motorcycles or playing with a turkey call, I wanted to be right there stealing away some of his love, time and attention.  Perhaps I’ve been doing the same thing all these years later.  Though every man has been different, the desire has remained the same—maintain the commitment and give me the attention and love I didn’t get from my father.

Today I’m asking God to heal my heart once and for all.  I’m asking God to give me all the love and attention that I lacked from my earthly father.  I undoubtedly love my earthly father, but have come to understand that we cannot go back in time to reclaim what has been lost.  I forgive him for his humanity and hope that he can do the same for me.  If there is one thing I have gleaned over the years, it is that we are all doing the best we can with the information we have obtained.

As I close, there are questions that I need God, The Father, to answer.  What is it that makes me special?  What do you see in me?  What makes me captivating?  When the answers to these questions are revealed, I am confident that the constant yearning in my heart will dissipate and a peace I’ve never known will fill me to overflowing.  And so I ask you dear reader, what question(s) do you need The Father to answer?