My Secrets (a poem)

When I was a small girl I loved heart-shaped ice cream bars, story books read aloud,

and running barefoot all summer long.  I remember back scratches and hugs after bad dreams.

I believed the world was good.  I knew nothing

of sorrow or regret; that someday I would need to forgive.

As I grew I began to see my father was never satisfied and he was afflicted by a secret rage.

Mother grew sad and afraid, there was no-one to tell; no-one who could help.  My world began

to crumble; secrets became bigger than life.

I discovered I could disappear, hiding from him I’d read a book all day long.

And later, hide

in work, shopping or a glass of wine.

Just like Mom, it was safer to be invisible, silent, placid.

I used whatever I could find to make the crushing sadness stop.


After years and years of hiding, love found me.  I began to write, to create, to grow things

and finally to heal.  Then I found my voice.

By telling this story I would flourish and reach, timidly at first for forgiveness.

At nearly forty I accepted that I was the one Jesus loved.  I never believed

that could be true.  You can’t be cruel to a person and share that truth.

My secret life of sorrow and lament;  the constant melancholy has become something else.

Though I still cannot understand why my father was angry, why life was so hard.

Today, in the early morning quiet, I know who I am now matters most.

I remember, which hurts.  I forgive, which heals.

When your grief overwhelms and possibilities are gone, what you choose then matters.

Somehow love found me, but I chose to receive it.

Bad things will happen, I can’t stop them.

In choosing Jesus and hope, I have a world of possibilities ahead.

In choosing to forgive, I live.

by Melody Harrison Hanson.   https://logicandimagination.wordpress.com

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A World of Possibilities (my poem edited from “When Life Was a Bad Dream”)

When I was a little girl I loved heart shaped ice cream bars, storybooks,

and running barefoot all summer long.

I remember back scratches and hugs after bad dreams.

When I was a little girl, swinging, playing happily I had no thought for the future.

I believed my parents loved me and each other; they would never hurt anyone.

I believed the world was good and safe; I couldn’t conceive of sorrow or regret.

I didn’t know that some day I would need to forgive.

I began to understand that some Daddy’s rage and are never satisfied;

that Mommy’s can be sad and afraid, and that children are a problem.

I learned that the world was scary.

I began to wonder if this would be the fight that ended everything,

their secrets exploding the world I knew.

If this time she would sink down so far she might not come back; like Alice in Wonderland

shrinking to a place I couldn’t find.

When I was older I discovered I could find that place myself.  Sometimes I would hide

in bed with a book all daylong.  And later, much later, when I got so used to hiding

from my pain, I would hide in alcohol, or work, or shopping.

I would disappear into a crowd of friends and a glass of wine.

Whatever I could find to make the sadness stop.

It was safe to be invisible, silent, and placid.  I began to hide, just like Mom.

After years and years of hiding, I was finally coaxed out into daylight by love.

I began to write, to create beauty, to grow things.

This was how I would learn to forgive.

I began to consider that I was the one Jesus loved;

the Jesus I never knew.  You see, when someone cruel tells you about Jesus,

you can’t believe that God would really love you.

And if Jesus did, why did he allow years of lost days and nights?

Sorrow.  Melancholy.  Lament.

That mystery, I have considered for years.  And years.

Why was my father so angry?  Why was my life so difficult?

Here’s the thing. It happened.

What I have learned is that who I have become is important.

And so I sit in the early morning darkness,

In the quiet of this beautiful new life, remembering.

It happened, the past.  It hurts to remember.

When life is most terrifying, when your grief overwhelms,

when your possibilities are gone, what you choose matters.

Somehow, I found love.  Or love found me.  Either way it’s good!

And bad things will happen.  I can’t stop them.

We make a world of possibilities for our children and ourselves.

In choosing hope,

choosing the life that Jesus offers,

choosing to forgive,

I will live.

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New Year’s Resolutions Update (Jan. 30th)

I thought it might be wise to check  in on my resolutions now a month later. My New Years Resolutions … they were:

I will Learn. See. Respond. Be …

I will give more of my time, voice, and energy to the disadvantaged, oppressed, and forgotten in my community. (Immigrants, LGBT, homeless, unwed mothers, the illiterate.)  To put myself in situations where I am the ethnic minority.  If given opportunity, I will tell their stories through word and image.

I’ve informally interviewed for a communications job at a local non-profit that works in the black community here in Madison.  I’m prayerful.  No money, but exciting, purposeful, wonderful opportunity.  I feel afraid, because I know nothing about communication to blacks as a demographic.  But most of what I’d do it communicate to donors who are (mostly) white, so I’ve got that one down in spades.  We’ll see.

I’ve written a few things here on the blog.  Here’s an archive of January, 2010.

I continue to shoot for Our Lives Magazine.

This is Petrovnia and Chris McIntosh with their son Jackson.

I have another shoot today.

I will grow more of our own food.  I will learn to can.  I will shop locally, especially community based privately owned businesses.

I’ve joined the Willy Street Co-op.  I love their options. I love their prices. I love their organic local produce. I love their vibe!

I am planning a protest of the TARGET that wants to move into my neighborhood.  Be national behemoth chain of evil that it is.

I will save more, spend less. I will live on a budget. I will continue to not buy clothes for myself for a year, until October, 2010.   I will use the library.

I have not written up a current budget, but we’re not spending.  I haven’t bought any clothes or paraphernalia for myself since October and to be honest I hardly think about it any more.  I still have trouble getting to the library for books I want to read.  It’s a mental shift to not OWN books but rather borrow them.  Why is that?

I will help us be a connected family. I will turn off electronics while the kids are awake. I will turn off electronics  4-8 pm. And do more together. (e.g. Go to ballgames, the symphony & opera,  plays (The Lion King), go camping, …)  We will call cousins and other family members.

Fail.  Clearly this is an area that Tom and I need to agree on.  He’s been in the basement with regularity cause of his current music project.  I have been a baby about it and just surfed the net, reading and improving myself.  And I pout internally.  I could or should turn of the TV and play games with the kids.

I will continue to work at staying depression free. I will work the 12 steps.  I will exercise every day, if only 20 minutes.  I will taper off Effexor.

Ahem, well let’s see.  Yes, no, sorta and not yet.

I will write for an hour every day of the work week.  About … What I am thankful for.  What I want to know.  What I think.  Who I need to hear from.

Definitely achieved the writing goal.  Here’s an archive of January, 2010.

Wrote an article for my church’s new magazine, Illuminate.

I will read with intentionality. (On race, gender & the church, faith, poverty, global issues …)

Check.  I’ll get a bibliography up soon. I read so many blogs.  I thought that list might be interesting as well, but I can’t think of an easy way to list them.  Anyone know?  I’m sure there is a way.

I will play my piano and find an avenue to sing.

Not yet.  Well I’ve tinkered with the piano, but it is sadly out of tune.

I will work on a photography project with the goal of a gallery showing and work on a website for online sales & exhibition.

I had an offer to exhibit in a show on Angels by my friend Drazen Dupor. As this isn’t something that I have shot a lot of, or created I didn’t do anything with it.  I will think about a project for both church (where I have an open invitation) and perhaps a coffee shop.

I will be working with my church to create and manage a blog for artists.  If you have thoughts on this shoot me an email.  It should be a fun avenue for both creativity and faith.

I will take Tom to Big Ben before he’s 50.

See I will start a budget.  :-) Save for Big Ben. W When I mentioned this to Tom he warned me to be prepared for a major falling apart when he turns 50.  And that I’d better hurry, only a year and a half.

Feb Goals:

  • Write a current family budget.

  • Get to Willy’s every week.

  • Keep praying about the job.

  • We really, really need to turn off electronics during the week!!!

  • Get outside with the kids.

  • I will walk the kids to school (Erk, that’s hard to write when it was -2 degrees yesterday morning.)

  • Work on the Artists Blog for Church.

  • Write an article on forgiveness for next issue of Illuminate.

  • Walk on the treadmill every day and get to the Y with my mom.

    Be well, friends.  Be well.  And if you feel like it, drop me a word about what you are doing in 2010.