Till Death do us Part

I didn’t want another pet

Not that I don’t love animals

I do

As a tender-hearted kid

I rescued a skunk once

And wanted to keep it

Till it sprayed me

Then there were the two baby squirrels

That in spite of all my efforts to save them

They died

And I will never forget the huge tomcat

 With a nub for a tail

That completely stole my heart

He went on the prowl one night

And never returned

And there were puppies and kittens

And hamsters and guinea pigs

And a talking parakeet

All mysteriously went missing

Except for the parakeet

That got sick and died

Then

Not that long ago

Fate delivered to my doorstep

A rambunctious homeless mongrel

That wriggled his way into my heart

And broke it to pieces when he died

 That’s why I didn’t want another pet

You love them then they go missing or they die

Yet

Here I stand gazing into the dingy cage

Tears streaming down my face

Falling in love

With a floppy-eared

Skinny

Long-legged

Thirty-pound mutt

Her wet nose pressed against the heartless cage

Her soulful eyes pleading

Her tail wagging ferociously

And in spite of all the what if’s and’s and but’s

That stormed across my mind

My heart told me I couldn’t leave her

In this stinking noisy prison

Where her beautiful life

May soon be put to an ugly end

So I brought her home with me

To care for her

To play with her

To protect her

To stretch my patience to the outer limits

Through all the chewing

And pooping

And peeing on the floor

And the frenzied running and jumping

And boisterous demands

And to promise to love her

Till death do us part

Broken Wings and Crooked Halos

I avoid calling myself a Christian these days

I’ve had to work too hard at trying to be one

Just when I thought I finally was one

I’d lose my temper

Fly into a fit of rage

Do and say un-Christian stuff

Feel guilty

Beat myself up

Get depressed

A never-ending cycle of madness

Sick to death of it all

I looked deep inside

Through all the muck and mire

Of judgment and ridicule

Of pride and self-righteousness

Of fake joy and happiness

And faced the stark reality

That I wasn’t a Christian

I was a broken mess

Just like all the other wanna-be Christians

Sitting in their padded pews

With their broken wings

And crooked halos

Finally

I called on God to fix me

To change me

To free me

To wash me clean

And He did

Now

I’m just a sinner saved by Grace

Free from the chains of religion

Of having to keep my halo straight

Of pretending to be something I’m not

Free to just be myself

While striving to be more like Him

 ~ Sandi

Fixer No More

As a committed Follower

I thought God expected me to fix things

Broken hearts

Broken relationships

Broken lives

Broken anything that was still breathing

But when I couldn’t

I’d sink into a slimy pit of depression

Where I became more broken

Than the ones I was trying to fix

Again and again

I’d try

Again and again

I’d fail

Till one day

Weary to the bone

God opened my eyes

And told me loud and clear

That those lofty expectations were not His

That He never gave me the authority to play God

And that He is the only One who can fix

All the brokenness in the world

What a relief to be rid of that cumbersome burden

To turn it all over to God

To let Him handle it from now on

What a relief to know that

All the brokenness I failed to fix

Is in His Mighty hands

I no longer have to worry about it

Never

Ever again

~ Sandi

Hope at the End of the Rainbow

Bludgeoned by sorrow and grief

My heart was mangled and bleeding

 No one could fix it

No one could ease the piercing pain

Comfort my soul

Calm my fears

No one could deliver hope for today

For tomorrow

Or ever

Then after the pouring rain

God appeared to me in a rainbow

Reminding me of His promises

His love and faithfulness

His ever-present nearness

His healing touch

 And in that moment

Hope was restored

And my battered heart began to heal

~ Sandi

Nothing

As a child, I would lay in my bed, stare into the blackness and think scary things, like monsters being under my bed, or ghosts hiding in my closet or little men with knives crawling through my windows. But the most frightening of all was when the darkness transformed into a gigantic scary monster of nothingness. Total void and emptiness. No beginning and no end. No God. No heaven. No earth. No life. Nothing! And I’d cry till my crying became sobs.

Panicky, mom would rush to my side and ask what was wrong, but as hard as I tried, I couldn’t explain it to her. I didn’t know how to tell her that my mind had spiraled down a deep black hole of fear and despair; a bottomless pit of absolute nothingness.

Frustrated, mom would leave me, still crying, still consumed by the void and emptiness.

Then, through the oppressive darkness of my mind, I saw a soft glow and I knew God was there. Hope began trickling through my veins, the darkness dwindled and I drifted into a peaceful sleep.

Even today it is difficult to explain what I often felt as a child, especially in the oppressive darkness at bedtime. But I can tell you clearly that I am so thankful that my mother taught me that there is a God and that she took me to Sunday School where I learned more about Him and His awesome, unfailing love for me. I’m thankful that I learned to believe and trust in Him and that He has the power to dispel the darkness that often overtakes me. Most of all I am thankful that because of God, the Author of life and Creator of all things, the feelings of nothingness are mere ashes in the wind.

The Great Pretender

Pretenders

Rather than a game

Pretending was a way of life

I became a master at hiding my feelings

I’d just pretend I didn’t care

That I didn’t need friends

That it didn’t hurt me at all to feel invisible

Over and over again

Day after day

Year after year

I stuffed down the pain

And pretended it didn’t hurt

I didn’t realize I was building a bomb inside me

A mighty bomb of anger hate and rage

With a hair-trigger

That kept exploding inside me

Blowing up my sense of reason

My self-control

Shattering my mask

Exposing my nakedness

And I couldn’t pretend any more

It’s been a long painful journey

And it’s far from over

I’m slowly putting back the pieces of my life

Embracing the good the bad and the ugly

Changing what I can

Accepting what I can’t

And enjoying the freedom

Of not pretending anymore

~Sandi

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Old Woman

Mirror mirror on the wall

I am my mother after all

My face is lined and wrinkled

My eyes are growing dim

My throat looks like a turkey’s neck

And hair’s growing on my chin

My butt’s the size of a barn

And my belly’s not far behind

All my body parts are sagging

And I’ve nearly lost my mind

I hope I’ve finally made her happy

As she looks down from heaven on high

To see that her fateful words came true

Before I roll over and die

~Sandi

Quiet, Please

QUIET!I don’t like noise

loud music

Barking dogs

Four wheelers zooming through the neighborhood

Sets my soul on fire

I feel violated

That the walls in which I live have been torn down

That intruders have stormed in

Destroying every thread of inner peace

And there’s no place to run

No place to hide where I feel safe

Where I can drown out the noise

Where My heart can stop pounding

Where my nerves can settle down

And all is at rest again

~Sandi

Squirrel Capers

Squirrel By Colin

Every morning he amuses me

Scrambling up and down the tree

Chasing his buddies

Jumping from limb to limb

Sitting on the ground

Eating from his tiny hands

His white belly glistening in the sun

He’s so cute

Until he jumps on the bird feeder

Chases all the birds away

Costing us a fortune

Dumping birdseed on the ground

That’s when I want to wring his scrawny neck

Cut off his bushy tail

And hang it on my car antenna

For all his fellow critters to see

Instead

I let the dog out

He likes squirrels

As much as I like snakes

Like a raging bull

He charges out the door

Barking and growling

His hackles sticking up

His Iron jaws clamping down

Barely missing the little guy

As he scrambles up the tree

Where he belongs

Where I wish he’d stay

Forever

But then

I’d miss all the fun

~Sandi

No Language Barrier

Photo1

I walked with my neighbor this morning

It wasn’t planned

We just began walking at the same time

She speaks very little English

I speak no Philipino

But we walked

Laughing at ourselves

Struggling to help the other understand

She said she is sixty-two

Patting her knees she grimaced

Arthritis

Pointing to the cloudy sky she stammered

The rain is coming

When we reached her house

She pointed to the weeds

In her beautiful flower bed

Patted the small of her back

And I understood well

The pain pulling weeds entails

Stopping at her driveway

We hugged and waved good-by

Wishing each other well

Our walk together helped me realize

That speaking a different language

Or wearing a different skin color

Doesn’t make us different at all

We are all people

Created in God’s image

Our hearts beating the same language

All over the world

~Sandi