The Bike Was Green

Christmas Day

The homeless came 

Needy

Hungry 

Scared

Tired

I see him

Huddled with his family

Together at one table

Crouching low, I smile at him

He refuses to look at me

Grandmother with missing teeth

Hisses, “He’s a freak!”

Rocking back on my heels I falter

A freak?

I tap his small thin shoulder

“That’s OK- I’m a freak too!”

Unity! His head snaps up, a bright smile

Connection! 

We are both freaks

His crusty plate of eggs get gulped up within 30 seconds

I retch watching

Tears pool in my eyes

The only meal he’ll get today

I slide a mini-candy bar towards him

Smile grows brighter

Brown eyes twinkle

Candy bar destroyed in less than 1.5 seconds

Behind me I hear the rustle of gifts distributed

His gift is a used bike

The bike was green

Bright green with white racing stripes

A torn white seat; sealed with gray duct tape

At age seven, his first bike all his own

His smile illuminating like the sun

Bear hug

Racing out the door

Zooming his bright green bike

Zigging left, zagging right

We deliver more food to his home

The shack of a home

Bricks cracking

Stairs broken

Roof sloped and tattered

A 10X10 shack housing six or more

Sweet black kitten with ribs jutting out

Meows softly a warm hello winding around my ankle

We unload our small donations

Greeted with tears and elation

There he goes

Jumping on his bike

Zigging left, zagging right

The bike was green

The smile was blinding

Jeni McCreary

*** Reflection of our volunteer time during Christmas at a homeless shelter 

Distracted

Busy lives keep us 

Distracted

Never having to deal

With it, or them, or life

We grind so hard and so long

That it’s easy 

To flop into bed

Exhausted

Causing our own exhaustion

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning

Organize, organize, organize

Go, go, go, go, go, go, go. 

Can’t stop

Must keep moving

Must keep going

Otherwise we’ll have to deal 

With the missing 

Missing friends

Missing family

Missing memories

Missing time

Missing dreams

Eaten up with 

Must stay busy

Must be busy

Stay “fine”, “I’m good”

The quiet overwhelms

The brain that just wants

Reprieve

From all the planning

All the busy

All the tired

But isn’t it sad

Incredibly sad 

That in all the busy

We’re missing 

Our children’s giggles

Dogs at our feet wanting attention

The hawk perched in the tree

Staring & hoping that you’ll

Catch a higher vision

For yourself

For your family

For your friends

Is it worth it?

Your inability to slow down?

And enjoy 

Who you are

What you are

Whose you are

Right now?

You can’t out run it

Your pain

But one day

When you’re ready

You will heal

And the busy 

Will melt

Into a life that is 

More

More centered 

More balanced 

More peaceful

In the meantime busy lives keep us 

Distracted

Never having to deal

With it, or them, or life

EIGHT Second Chances

How many second chances

Do we get at this life? 

Don’t you feel destined

To do amazing things

In your life? Urgency pounding

I’ve been handed 

EIGHT second chances

1st Second Chance

In Utero my Mom 

Kept falling while 8 months

Pregnant, hospitalized 

To prevent her from falling

Alcohol poisoning 

A projectile vomiter

Rough beginnings

2nd Second Chance

Early twenties

An ovarian tumor

Led to emergency surgery

That led to a second surgery

That led to 10 months

Of hell 

On Lupron

A plan prepared 

Ready to execute 

But the phone rang, my Dad:

“Don’t know where your head is at now, but don’t do it!”

3rd Second Chance

Late 20’s, pre-eclampsia

32.6 weeks pregnant 

14 days in the hospital

5 pounds of fluid filled my lungs 

Over night

Pulmonary edema

Kidneys failing

Liver not far behind

Emergency C-section

3#, 9 oz baby girl arrived

While I fought for my life 

For over 36 hours

To live

To meet my daughter 

4th Second Chance

Business trip

Left engine on plane blew up

Stewardess screaming: 

“We’re on fire, we’re on fire- we are all going to die!”

5th Second Chance

A devastating hysterectomy

With the gift of my doctor spotting 

Something wrong with my appendix

A carcinoid tumor 

If ruptured- a death sentence

I mourned inability to not have more children …but

Blessed to be alive

6th Second Chance

After a toe joint replaced

Got super sick

Hospitalized for 14 days

Diagnosis, “we think you have leukemia” 

Do I have enough life insurance? 

Bone marrow test- BEYOND unpleasant 

Ruled leukemia out… but

7th Second Chance 

“We think you contracted

West Valley Fever when you went to 

Nevada”

Mom was dying 

Worse mortality rate

Than leukemia 

Over 6 months

Scans

Sinus scrapes

7 doctors on deck

Final diagnosis:

“You just have really bad luck”

8th Second Chance

Insane bladder infection

With a deadly antibiotic resistant bug

I was sent home on intravenous 

Line in my arm

Self administered heavy duty 

Antibiotics into my body 

3 times a day, 3 weeks

Another Doc said:

“You just have really bad luck”

I know I’m meant to do amazing things in this life

Never take your life for granted 

Focus on your now

Spend quality time with

Your family & friends

Dream

Set goals

Achieve those goals 

Have courage

And love 

With all you’ve got 

No regrets

Craving Everything

I’ll keep stepping

Because that is what I do

Disappointment vibrates

Through me

Lack of authenticity

Sorely lacking

Thoughts in head 

Disappear 

Like a vapor

Dust

It was never real

It was never going to be enough

The mantra repeats- 

Enough is never good enough

Toe-to-toe I fold

Like the Edvard Munich painting

Screaming 

Bummed at the loss

Of nothing

But 

Craving everything

Only Son

An only child gone

Wrong choices

Weary decisions

Father sobbing in arms wondering why

Son couldn’t

Wouldn’t listen

Too late… He’s gone.

Brutal, sad tears

A son, an only child gone too soon

His two year old daughter eating crackers perplexed by the crying.

Why was everyone crying? 

Where was her Daddy?

Why will he never tuck her in again?

Kiss her forehead? 

A whisper

Our life is but a whisper

We better live it like a roar

The son asked for Jesus to forgive him… Over and over again 

The Polish Priest administered last rites… 

He found peace

Now may his family

Only son

Our Pink Burrito

On Saturday, 09/8/12 we had to put down our Australian Shepherd, Sassy (aka: Sass or Sass-a-fras). We rescued her in 2003 on Father’s Day. She was the gift.
When we called about her, the foster parents said she hated men. And yet when we got there- she immediately fell in love with Matt. She crawled into the front seat of the car on the ride home and kept inching her butt into my space and kept looking at me like, “Excuse me, you’re in my way and I would like to be close to MY MAN!” I finally asked Matt to pull over the car. He looked at me weird, but did it. I went in the back seat while she sat in the passenger seat so happy and content. She was immediately in love with Matthew, a love affair that started in an instant and never diminished as she followed Matt everywhere and nowhere.

Our precious Blue Merle Aussie with one brown eye, one blue with a precious freckle on the side of her nose. Halle was 16 months old when she came into our lives and Devin was eleven. She loved each of us so much, was so loyal, protective and loving. From the moment she got home she never had potty accidents, never complained and rarely barked.

Devin was 11; we still lived in a condo and he had to take Sassy potty on a leash. One day as Matt and I sat sipping coffee, we saw Sassy eye a man across the courtyard. She was not happy. In her effort to protect Devin she decided it would be a good idea to charge at the man. Devin flew through the air as Sassy dragged him across the grassy courtyard. The entire time Devin screaming, “Stop Sass, Stoppppp!” When he stood up he was covered in dog poop and grass stains from his chin to his shins! Matt and I were doubled over, laughing so hard we could not breathe, tears pouring down our faces.

Sassy had terrible OCD and would not stop licking the carpet, couch or legs. She loved licking Matt’s shoes; when he stepped in them without realizing she had been slurping on them we would always hear, “YUCK, Sasssssss!” Then laughter and he squished around the house in dog saliva sandals.

Years ago when Matt’s back took a turn for the worse, so did Sassy’s hips. She would sleep behind Matt’s chair, just to stay close to her man, to protect him and listen to his breathing.

Sassy loved crystal burgers, car rides, French fries, peanut butter and popsicles. She hated strangers, stray cats, and bubble baths.

Sassy took a chunk or two out of my brother-in-laws butt and shin, pulled Matt’s Dad to his knees for moving too close, too fast to her toddler Halle.

Sassy danced on her hind legs, in a circle for treats. She would speak softly and would get louder when we said, “You can do better” or “Louder” She twirled in excited circles when we asked her, “Wanna go in the car Sass? Car ride?”

Sassy was afraid to kiss and when she would, her kisses were so gentle, like the wings of a butterfly softly on your face or lips and then looked guilty afterward as if she were in trouble. If we were eating pizza- well forget the soft kisses, she would slurp and beg and kiss for a piece of crust!

Sass pouted, smiled and herded the vacuum like a champ (yes, plastic is still missing from the dyson).

When her hips and back got worse, she valiantly tried to get up and keep moving. What was once easy, suddenly became a struggle that ended with one of us having to help her up. When she stopped eating, we were devastated, but with no mass found… we were elated. She got more tired our precious baby. And the struggle got worse. The medication wasn’t working.

We loved her enough to let her go and say good-bye. We wrapped her in a fuzzy pink fleece blanket. She looked at us knowingly, but shook in fear and the coldness of the room. We cried wet soppy tears all over her head.

When they injected the anesthesia first to let her sleep…every muscle relaxed and for the first time in a long time, our girl was pain free. We collectively stopped crying as we looked at her, relaxed and snoring. It would be the last time we heard that sweet snore.

Sassy looked so happy, surrounded by her family, loved, wrapped in a fuzzy pink fleece blanket. She reminded me of a fuzzy pink burrito.

When the final shot was given and two vet techs listened for a heartbeat, it was Matt that stayed close. He was adamant that he be the one to carry her out. I didn’t argue, I knew why (regardless of his back pain). He was her man, that was his girl and while their love affair ended on this earth- it would never be forgotten in his heart. In any of our hearts.

She was our precious girl, wrapped like a fuzzy pink burrito. At peace and ready to go home.

Let’s go home Sass, wanna go for a ride? Let’s go home baby, let’s go home.

Beautiful Bricks

Patiently waiting

Hoping & longing

For a sign, a direction

A brick, momentum

Murky rut for years

He’s wanting to, waiting to

To be good to me

Calling me

Saving me

Bookstore

Customer Service Desk

Teach a class

Youth? Not my calling

God- hit me with a brick, I said…

Raging storm

Lightening cracking

Every where

Anxiety

Doorbell rings

Door opens

Welcomed embrace

A brick, smiles at me

Another brick

Another

And another…

Twenty beautiful bricks

Beat me

Speak to me

Tug at my heart

I am broken

I am found

I am released

On fire bricks

Changed me

Altered my path

My journey

My direction

My momentum

I will never

Ever

Be the same again

Twenty

Beautiful bricks!

**** Jacob Eaddy loved this story/poem that he turned it into a song that he sang for NFA you can see that here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiwHg-wEBXc      (2009)