Contemplations about Life, Love, & the Pursuit of Meaningful Existence…

Archive for the category “Baggage”

Lead Me to Forever



I study the mirror

Doubt marring my reflection

When he says he loves me

Yesterday’s gullible girl swiftly discounts

Sentiments tumbling bravely in candlelit hours

Oft-forgotten by sunrise

When he adds that I’m beautiful

I thwart such flattery

Weary eyes mock

Witness to my journey


Hasty moves

False friends


Deep lines frame a sputtering twinkle

But flatness dominates

Harsh lessons reaping cynical eyes

Yet this weathered heart implores

Booming wildly


I paint on a smile

And turn out the light

Bracing for a final gamble

Trust versus eternal solitude

With trembling arms

I gather scraps of tattered faith

Praying he’ll prove different


Renew my belief in love

And lead me to forever…

Navigating the “Whys?”



Whether by fate or another’s choice

Abandonment became your heritage

Navigating a lifetime of “whys?”

You carefully plotted your course without a safety net

A survivor’s do-or-die mentality

Primal determination shrouded deep voids

Stoic courage and steadfast optimism

Made it difficult to fathom the magnitude of your plight

Outwardly successful

You juggled stars others couldn’t even spy


When I met you

Weariness tempered your smile

Doubt swam in vulnerable eyes

I hesitated…

What if I let you down like so many before?

Was my heart big enough?

Would I prove worthy of your fragile trust?

Did I dare find out?


Because even in your bleakest hour

Your vibrant soul shines a beacon of optimism in adversity’s face

Betrayed by those who should have cared

You soldier ahead each time

You planted trust’s seed and nurtured our blossoming love with such spirited tenacity

Gratitude floods my veins daily

So when your flesh and blood jams his foot through that door

The one you’re too gracious to close

Kicking you swiftly in the gut — yet again

My heart rages

Fists clenched in your defense

Frustrated tears turning to sobs

I can’t spare you from the torment

But with every cell I possess

I can stand by you

And it is here

I shall

Forever remain…





A hand yearns to be held

A smile seeks a worthy recipient

An earnest glance scans the horizon for congenial eyes


A heart aches to hear

Words whispered with such compassion

That light returns to corners long obscured by rejection

Increasing the tempo of a beat diminished by too many goodbyes


A soul eagerly awaits

That extraordinary individual

Willing to plunge headfirst into crashing waves

Despite past failures

Who surfaces with uninhibited gusto

Emotional doors cast wide open

A spirited demeanor that creates a stir even among observers

Prompting them to reevaluate their own cynicism



Could it be you?

The Fear of Being Forgotten



From the moment you utter your first sentence, people want to know what you’re going to do with your life. You grow up doing your best to carve a respectable path and make those who raised you proud. Year after year, you carefully construct your life. And then, one day, you feel a prickle tingling up the base of your neck. Just as success begins to reward you with the faintest salute, a thought wiggles its way into your brain:  What legacy will you leave?

Why is the possibility of being forgotten such a deep-seated fear that it is an actual phobia (Athazagoraphobia)?

Choose me

Invite me

Call me

Befriend me

Hire me

Love me

Marry me                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 MISS ME

Like a drug — the need for continuous acknowledgment lures us into worlds we may not even wish to inhabit — because no one wants to be that overlooked person who causes others to scratch their heads and exclaim (with eyes glazing over), “I don’t think I recall him/her…”

So what will it be? A grandiose discovery or invention? A prosperous corporation? Champion of some life-altering cause? A fascinating work of art? A popular compilation of songs or books? Honorable service to your country?

Maybe not. Perhaps you will accomplish something that garners less notoriety but is equally significant. An incredible parent, mentor, teacher, coach, neighbor, preacher, spouse — friend??

I wonder who is more content in the end — the person who swung ruthlessly from ring to brass ring, trampling any obstruction along the way? Or the one, without all the plaques and accolades lining their walls, who served as an upstanding citizen and role model, trustworthy friend (no matter the hour), and tireless caregiver reaching out, time and again, with a reassuring smile to aid the wavering gait of another?

I Can’t Move the Sun



I overheard a young boy and his mother conversing on the airplane the other day. The sun was hitting the wing, shooting blinding rays through the small window and causing the little one to screech that he couldn’t see.

“I can’t move the sun,” his mother wearily replied.

Such an obvious observation, yet how many of us invest a significant chunk of precious life trying to alter that which cannot be changed?

The passenger sitting by the window politely closed the shade, which triggered more questions. Does turning a blind eye on our issues make for a lighter load or do we exasperate the burdens by sweeping them beneath an already bulky rug?

Are we defined by our personal heritage, with every fear and doubt ever planted by a parent/friend/lover/acquaintance building like a rip current throughout our cells, capable of dragging us beneath raging seas? Is it pompous to think we can sort through the contents of our hearts, discarding the painful parts at our leisure?

In my optimistic moments, I spy a lifeboat waiting to whisk me away from every last problem. At other times, I worry the past is inescapably entrenched in each of us — no different from the air we breathe, spilling without conscious thought onto the face of every new encounter.

Perhaps there is a middle ground. One where we pull the shade halfway, sparing ourselves the retina burn while still harnessing the sun’s energy, helping us move forward  — a little brighter each time.

The Spectator


The bustling street’s attention-garnering hum drifts upward

Tired eyes peer from an oft-shuttered window

Momentarily intrigued

Watching the world’s dreams unfold

A long-forgotten pursuit

Time blurring into weeks


Then years

She’d lost track a lifetime ago

Oh there was a period

When temptation’s tantalizing hand reached out

Beckoning her to play

But expectations consumed

Caving to the status quo

Earned her the praise of family and friends

Where were these folks now??

A risk-free existence

Carried a cumulative price tag

Missed opportunities

Memories never made

Forfeited youth

And the reverberating regret of being a mere spectator

Alone and shocked by the breadth of her heart’s vacancy

Leaving Home


How many times had I counted down the days until sweet freedom would be mine? Going away to college meant doing precisely what I wanted when I wanted — sans parental monitoring. I could not wait! So why was my heart heavy as I waved goodbye from the curb of my twin-bedded dorm room? Independence and all its glories were mine…ALL MINE.

I suppose somewhere in the recesses of a still maturing mind, my brain knew this was just the beginning. Family life as I knew it would never be the same again. “Home” from here on out would only be a place to visit during holidays and summer breaks. I was on my own. Life’s hurdles awaited my every stumble.

That first month on campus passed in a blinding whirlwind of new faces and overwhelming schedules, where potential failure loomed. After all, we were curtly informed at orientation: “Look to your left, look to your right, one of those students will flunk out by semester’s end.” One third of the freshman class gone in four-month’s time? No pressure — just had to tweak a workable balance between academic and social.

There were moments, that only thirty years later I will admit, I wanted to go home so badly it hurt. Sitting on that lush green quad, I would try to quell my homesickness. All the while wondering how the family I couldn’t wait to leave suddenly seemed so warm and compassionate in comparison to the cold, calculating strangers in this cut-throat institution. But I did not hail from a line of quitters.

I came to love that central Illinois campus surrounded by its cornfields, ear-tagged cattle with strange funnels sticking out of their sides, and chicken coops (courtesy of the Ag department). Inhale…hold breath…hold breath…hold breath…and exhale (whoooooosh). We had the largest Greek system in the country that supported an impressive range of philanthropic causes. We still had Chief Illiniwek as our mascot. And Kam’s served a budget-friendly Long Island Iced Tea that lasted the entire duration of happy hour. My experiences, both positive and challenging, made me more confident and adventurous — albeit a bit more cynical than the innocent soul who’d arrived four years earlier.

Each of us has to break free from the nest and ascend into the clouds. Fears of operating in uncharted skies can be debilitating. Shoot for the moon anyway. Even the smallest daily motion powers upward momentum, each effort building upon the other until one magical day we marvel at the glow of starlight splashing across our faces…

The Lost Art of Communicating


What on earth has happened to the art of communicating? I’ve seen people on buses, trains, airplanes, and park benches so engrossed in their phones and miscellaneous gadgets that they have no clue what’s going on around them. They miss interacting with that stranger next to them who could be the most intriguing individual they’ve ever met. A career connection, a spiritual inspiration, perhaps a future lover — sadly, they’ll never know.

I’ve observed families at restaurants, each of them lost in their own electronic world. It makes me grateful for the fond memories I have of family mealtime. Each night we’d gather, say grace and swap stories of the day. What we discussed wasn’t as important as the bond we forged.

And when I watch couples out on dates, checking their phones obsessively, I thank the heavens above I’m not single. Because, unless my date was an on-call neurosurgeon, I would get up and leave if he dared to eyeball his phone during our conversation.

True, the myriad of paraphernalia has made life easier, providing a certain sense of security, but — as with everything — moderation is the key. Far too many are missing out on precious moments happening in real-time right before their eyes…

The Ride of Life

Life…the roller coaster we all must ride, yet we hold the keys. Or do we? How many people stall, waiting desperately for the tattooed operations man, the frowning clown — anyone — to push their buttons?

Life…it just happens. A trip with no itinerary, a journey without a map, a tome of blank pages staring back at us. No one asks if we want to be born. There is no interview, no preference card on which to notate desired selections, just a seed planted without our consent. Someone has thirty some-odd weeks to prepare for our arrival, but for us it’s one giant surprise.

We start out warm and safe, contented creatures indulging in a nine-month all-inclusive vacation. Perhaps that old-fashioned slap on the newborn’s bottom served more as a reality check (wake up the party’s over!) than a breathing tactic.

It is at this moment, when we realize we have joined the ranks of the earthlings, that our ride squeaks and sputters into motion.

Manners and Closed Toilet Lids


Observation:  Humans who are gracious enough to incorporate words like “please” and “thank you” into their daily interactions are more apt to close the toilet lid.

Sure, there’s the Feng Shui ideology about exposed toilet bowls serving as vortexes that suck prosperity away, but some people simply adhere to common decency.

I salute these considerate individuals, the ones who never think twice about leaving a place better than they found it. Whether closing toilet lids, tidying up before departing an area, or displaying heartfelt manners — THANK YOU — for enhancing the civility of our world!

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