I Am the Way I Am Because I Have Seen How it Can Be

I am vague now in my recall. But, I was somewhere where I saw the people around me, and everyone was losing their heart and soul. They were increasingly more empty and cold…dead vessels. I was somewhere, maybe a bar, and we were doing something…it felt like we were grabbing a bottle of something to take somewhere and fill ourselves with more emptiness.

At some point, I was walking through a door of a room and there was a mirror on the door. I saw my reflection. My eyes were rolling back into my head and there were red petechiae forming. I was dying, suffocating in this vapid, airless world. Finally, I was able to self-reflect enough to know I had to get away immediately.

As dreams do, my reality shifted and I was suddenly driving a car along a winding white-gravel road at night. There were caution tapes that were only tied to things on one side of the road and they were blowing across my path in the wind. “CAUTION.” Telling me, “Turn back.” I blew right through them, and my tires slid through muddy patches, still, I kept speeding ahead, losing traction, but not momentum. I wasn’t going to believe the lie. I had to get away from the place the soullessness was creeping into. Finally, I got to the place that appeared to be the other side.

But, when I got out of the car, the space around me felt even more like a ghost town. It was as empty as the people around me had become before. And suddenly there were dogs coming from everywhere, but they weren’t man’s best friend. They were unattached, dogs of the hunt, raised to expect no affection from humankind. I escaped into a building.

Now, very vague…I ran into a man and he had a soul, but while stronger than those I’d left, it wasn’t full. He asked me how I was the way I was.

He had not been where I’d been and didn’t appreciate what was coming. He only knew his reality, as it was now, I did not know what this reality was yet, I would see it later in my dream, and there were people and interaction, but now that is too vague to recall in anything other than scraps.

I looked at him, and I knew my eyes were level again, and I answered him, “I am the way I am because I have seen how it can be.”

There was more to the dream, a person or two from my reality was in it. But, I got up a little after 4 and came to work in the living room. Byron got up shortly after and said, “Mom, you are so loving, there is no one better than you. How did you get to be the way you are?”

And, the dream, in all its vagueness of recall, crept over me and I answered him.

“I am the way I am because I’ve seen how it can be. If you fill yourself with love, there is no room left for hate. And, while you can still be hurt, you will never join their army. Evil cannot win.”

While love can make you vulnerable to feeling hurt by others who do not love the same, it cannot empty you of the love you fill yourself with, that is within you, and so you will never be empty, you will never be evil or soulless.

I am the way I am because I know how it can be.

Mama Built the Home

FeaturedA toddler girl and small boy standing at a marine's grave

Mama worked two jobs

Most of our lives

One was serving others

One was raising us right

Church on Sunday morning

And Saturday fun

And summers after school’s out

We would work in the sun

We saw daddy as the strong one

He was big and he was tough

He worked hard all day

And came home to us

His breath often smelled of whiskey

Or one or ten beers

But he could throw us over his shoulder

Without shifting gears

He sat in his chair

I would take off his boots, climb in his lap

Mom would serve him dinner

And then he’d take a nap

But as I get older

I look back and I see

It was mama with the strength

Like a solid oak tree

Mama may have seemed soft

When she would stroke our face

But there was love in that hand

And unwavering faith

Mama was the strong one

Who would have known?

Daddy bought the house

But Mama built the home

And on my way up

I got lost here and there

But I had a northern star

Cause Mama was always there

(Yeah Mama wasn’t going anywhere)

Mama’s strength was overshadowed

By a man twice her size

She calmly weathered our storms

And we never realized

Mama was the strong one

Who would have known?

Daddy bought the house

But Mama built the home

Now daddy’s in the ground

Underneath a solid oak tree

That was a sapling when we lost him

I was almost twenty

Two decades have passed

And mamas getting gray

I still miss my daddy

But I know my way

In life you find your rock

And you find your wings

Sometimes your sail and your anchor

Can be the same things

So with a strong foundation

And secure in my home

I set out raising my kids

And I’m not doing it alone

Cause Mama was the strong one

In time it has shown

Daddy may have bought the house

But Mama built the home