Monday, March 19, 2007

Over The Rainbow

But sometimes,
We forget what we got,

Who we are.
Oh who are are not.
I think we gotta chance,
To make it right.

Keep it loose, Keep it tight.
Keep it tight.
-Amos Lee

I have forgotten what I’ve got, who I am. I cannot be everything to everyone.

When I was a kid, about once a year, The Wizard of Oz would appear on our television set. It was a special event; so rare it almost seemed a holiday.

At the time I thought it was just a story about a fantastic adventure to a wonderful place. As a young adult I became aware of enough history to see the allegory about moving off the gold standard, but back then it was simply a wonderful story, a fantasy.

My English major education shows me more important aspects of the story.

It’s a story of someone wanting more from life. Someone tired of the ordinary, the dreary life of work. A place where the whole world seems to be cast in sepia tones.

Dorothy thinks there must be a place where things are different. A place where things are beautiful. Perhaps beyond that occasional arch in the Kansas sky, the rainbow:

When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around

Heaven opens a magic lane

When all the clouds darken up the skyway

There's a rainbow highway to be found

Leading from your window pane

To a place behind the sun

Just a step beyond the rain

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high

There's a land that I've heard of once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue

And the dreams that you dare to dream

Really do come true
--“Over The Rainbow"
(as sung by Judy Garland

Brenda feels like that. She is frustrated, and angry, and tired.

I understand. I am tired too.

Raising these boys has been a tremendous amount of work. And now, as we sprint (or stagger) toward the finish line, the time when they should be ready to go out into the world, it seems they are not at all ready.

Brenda fears we will never be done with the job.

Our parents didn’t work so hard at it. Neither of us were really raised. We were grown. We were provided with food and shelter. Nothing more. No guidance, no training, no practice runs at the skills we would need. As first borns our place was to take up the slack in raising our siblings.

There was no leisurely move into the world when we turned 18, it wasn’t in the cards. Brenda went to business school before the month after high school let out (she met me soon after). I was told to be moved out by my 18th birthday (even though I wouldn’t graduate high school for another two months).

Today her frustration is tangible. Some days are better than others. A roller coaster for both of us. (She is in a good mood tonight, sweet, generous.) But underneath everything is the tension about how much further we will have to go in raising these two boys. I suspect that when the job is nearly done, she will go seeking that path over the rainbow. She will be within an arm’s length of graduating college and will take the freedom that education offers to flee this burden. She wants desperately to run away from her life.

I'm in love with a girl,
Who's in love with the world,

Though I can't help but follow.

Though I know some day,

She is bound to go away,

And stay over the rainbow.

Gotta learn how to let her go.

Over the rainbow.

--Amos Lee

I don’t know what to tell her anymore. I have tried, and I have failed. I am a very imperfect person. I try to ease her struggles, to honestly see my shortcomings and grow into someone that provides all she needs. But I cannot conjure up that brilliant world beyond the rainbow.

Sometimes we forget who we got,
Who they are.
Oh, who they are not.
There is so much more in love,
Than black and white.
Keep it loose child,
Gotta keep it tight.
Keep it loose child,
Keep it tight.
--Amos Lee

I have failed her in making my work too great a priority, in focusing too sharply on things outside our home. I seek to bear as much of the burden of our home that I can, but I cannot change her heart.

Her disappointments I cannot heal. I cannot change the fact she cannot bear children. I cannot change the fact we were misled regarding Jeremiah’s abilities. I cannot change the fact our first child died. I cannot change the fact we must diligently watch Jeremiah to ensure he does not play with fire. I cannot take away her guilt and shame over the burning of our church. I cannot stop the constant references to the rebuilding of the church. I cannot take away her anger at God, argue theology with someone who does not accept the premise God is good.

I want to keep her close, love her forever. Perhaps that is how it will turn out, but I have doubts.

When someone sees life in sepia tones, and a sparkling rainbow appears in the mind, a portal to a wonderful place, a place without worry or cares, it is very tempting. I understand.

That portal isn’t really there. It is an illusion. There isn’t any way to get over it, or under it or through it. There isn’t an end to it. The pot of gold isn’t there. It is in one’s heart... or it isn’t.

Oh, Brenda... a rainbow is a circle. Much of it may be invisible, but it is still a circle. The center of that circle is ourselves... or the shadow of ourselves. If you look closely at the exact center of every rainbow you will ever see, you will find that it is framed exactly on your shadow’s head. You are the center of it... it is your viewpoint which carries the rainbow and as long as you have a body it will always be so.

But if you turn around, put your back to that fanciful imaginary portal, you will find you are looking at the sun, the true source of the power of the beauty which is framed around you. The rainbow is the earthly halo bestowed upon your shadow.

And just as the sun places this metaphoric crown over our heads, the Son places a spiritual crown on each of us.

I can’t prove it. I can’t point it out. But I know it is there. He does love us, and He is good.

I am a scientific man in many ways, and I understand how people can view a rainbow as simply the refraction of light through glistening raindrops or virga or mist. But I can also understand how people can marvel at such things and wonder at the miracle it holds. Not of its existence, but of the wonder that we can see it as beautiful. a dog can see a rainbow. Perhaps not all the spectrum we see, but enough to see it is there. But a dog never feels a rising passion within his breast, the emotion we call awe.

Logic can not prove the existence of God. Just as logic cannot explain our sense of beauty. Those are discernments of the heart, not the mind.

Ah, honey... I love you. I don’t know where this will all end. But if you can’t see the invisible blessings which streams earthward I am incapable of pointing them out to you. You must see them with your own eyes, with your own heart.

You wonder how God can let so many hurtful things happen in the world, happen to you. I cannot answer such questions.

But I know that wherever you may go, the rainbow will always be outside of your reach.

I’m tired. I am having trouble keeping this smile in place. I will always love you. I won’t try to force you into a mold, into anywhere you do not wish to go. This means that if you want to chase after rainbows, that will be your own journey.

Dorothy chased her rainbow... and found that everything she wanted was always where she began.


Anonymous said...

Oh, CS. You're all in my prayer.

jel said...

That is all I can think to say too!

will be lifting y'all up in prayer!


jel said...

Forgot to say That was one of the things I looked forward to , was watching the The Wizard of OZ!

I was sad when they quit showing it !

Felisol said...

Dear CS,
I don't know if I should actually comment on your writing, because it made me angry, and then I tend to speak out too bluntly and harshly.
What I want to say is: There is no refund on children, whether they are yours by biology or adoption.
(For that sake; there should not be a refund on husbands or wives either.)
You've told how you both worked and prayed to become parents. The good God gave you two boys, both created by him in his picture.
If they had turned out to be top league athlets or promesing math geniuses, would you then have abunded them at the age of eighteen.
If they were bright enough to enter Harvard, but had no scholarship, wouldn't you go far to raise the money??
Remember when one in the old days callled people with a low IQ score for slow? That's a good name. Mentally retarded may be slow learnes, but they do continue to learn, all of their lives.
Teaching retarded has been my profession for twenty yeas, so I do know from first hand experience.
In Norway forest fires are set on by children every year. Great damages are done, but I've never heard of parents throwing their young ones on the street for that reason.
I should presume that Jeremiah has learned his lesson by now.
I also have been lead to believe that the American constitution says something about all men are created equal, but I may perhaps have been misguided.
I am more of a feminist than the average woman, I guess.
Equal right to education, salaries, equal resposabilies both at home and at work.
But there is a time for every thing. One has to face the consequences of previous choises being done. Like having children before finishing education.
You cannot leave your obligations behind, because the result did not come out to fullfill the American dream.
You have to play the cards you have been given,- together.
Feel free to delete this. I know I am talked like the worst of Job's so called friends just now.
Go seek help, seek healing, but please, don't give up.

curious servant said...

I am not going to give up. Never. I worry about Brenda doing so...

Thank you.

curious servant said...

I should add that the plan is that Jeremiah stay with us for at least three years beyond graduation for a transitional progam we have here in our community. The fear is that it will be much longer than that. But the other issue is that we are both simply tired. Every person handles things differently. For some, what might be a great burden is a much lighter thing for another. The discrepencies between the two can create tension, guilt, shame, a mix of emotions that strain a relationship.

MMM said...

I am in the Desert of the Real.
I am praying for you.

I will be praying for the greater blessing to manifest itself and reminding God that all His great strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Then, I say, be strong in the Lord.

Dan B (no, not Bennett, think harder) said...

Speaking of Judy Garland, there is an exciting and popular new group on Yahoo called THE JUDY GARLAND EXPERIENCE. The group features hours of ultra rare and unreleased audio files by Judy, great photo’s, lively discussion, and more! The membership has the most ecletic gathering of Garland fans anywhere and includes Judy’s family members, friends, people who worked with her and saw her perform, directors and producers of Garland related projects, authors of Judy biographies, historians, and more! The only thing missing is you. Please stop by our little Judyville, and check it out, you may never want to leave!

Becky said...

I've chased the rainbows and sometimes still do...

GOD--this was a moving piece. This must be so hard for you.

sometimes chasing the rainbow is what one has to do. There may never be the gold but it can how a person survives in that moment in time.


bjk said...

‘Begging God daily is the right place to be. Not to possess anything in myself but to draw the day’s grace as the branch draws from the vine – whether bread or essays or purity of heart. Andrew Murray says it was God’s intention, in creating the universe, to communicate His attributes to His creatures. “But this communication was not meant to give created beings something they could possess in themselves, having full charge and access apart from Him. Rather, God as the ever present, ever living, ever active One….meant that the relationship of His creatures to Himself would be one of unceasing, absolute dependence.” (humility)
In your right mind you wouldn’t want it any other way. Andree’ Seu

Problem is how very rarely I find myself in my right mind...praying for all of you.....

Bill Scott, Sr. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Scott, Sr. said...


You and I have spoken a few times in the past. When my son almost died I was a mess. Yet a few years later I was a blubbering disaster. He lived but I was still hurting and so frustrated. I sat down to write my feelings and this is what I wrote:

After the Rain

Right after my storm; as the winds stopped and ceased
There was a great calm; as I sighed in relief
And though there is damage; from the previous rage
I can start a new chapter; and can turn a new page

But as the dust settles; and I clearly can see
I look through the rubble; though I would rather flee
Though all is destroyed; and there’s nothing but sand
I can still trust in my God; as He helps me to stand

As I survey the damage; and I calculate cost
The pain swells up in me; as I see all I’ve lost
Though I tremble in horror; and I ask the Lord why?
I know the Lord loves me; and it’s ok to cry.

It’s so overwhelming; as my emotions do flare
It’s easy to doubt; that my God really cares
And yes the storm passed; yet the fierce winds were real
It’s so hard to move on; as I struggle to heal

My eyes fill with water; my mouth gets all dry
My heart sinks in despair; as I long to die
My emotions, they hurt me; I hunger and thirst
My heart; it aches badly; I feel as if it will burst

The rain is now gone and the skies are now blue
Yet I still haven’t healed; from what I’ve gone through
And now time has passed; as life continues on
I still live in darkness; even though the night’s gone

I know this sounds gloomy; what else can I say?
The Lord will heal my heart; as I seek Him and pray?
My worst fears behind me; or that’s what they say
I once felt victorious; I now feel like prey

But all is not lost; though I feel that it is
For my heart isn’t mine, it is totally His
And my God is faithful; I’ll trust Him till I die
I will lift His name up; I will lift it up high

My God is my healer; he will one day heal me
And though I am now mourning; I will one day be free
For here is a truth; that I will try to explain
The Son always shines; even after the rain!

I hope this ministers to you as it did to me because I truly believe that the Lord gave me this poem.


Terry said...

Dear Curoius Servant. I have read your post and will print it out and take it to work with me tonight.
I just haven't the words to say except that I will pray for all three of you... Brenda, you and the boy.

Bill Scott has,it seems shared the same feelings as you guys so he is able to at least encourage you where as I can't.
And this is so sad because all of the encourgament that you have given to me!
God Bless you Curious Servant. I hope that you go and see Jel once in a while because your comments are always so nice!
She doesn't have a rainbow blog but it is full of sunshine!!

Penless Thoughts said...

I feel the pain in your words and I wish I had answers. I don't except I know HE carried our pain and our sorrows. It's part of the price HE paid.

Jada's Gigi said...

Praying for you brother..and for Brenda...

Coco said...

I do not have children (God's choice for me), but from what I've seen with my parents...
a parent's job is NEVER finished!
No matter how old the child is,
a "parent" is a "parent" matter how old they become, we can still learn from them.

Remember, your children have "special" needs, therefore, you will always be needed...

Blessings to you and your family.

Take Care,

Felisol said...

Dear CS,
I feel bad about the comment I posted yesterday, and I want to apologize for being so hard in my statements.
I should be the very last to point finger or pass judgement on anyone.
Your boys's problems just hit me in a very weak spot.
I've seen ugly things happen throughout the years working in an institution.
Clients were moved against their wish or had to undergo treatments I strongly resented of.
It hurts to see people hurt.
I wondered if I should not have tied so close bonds with the ones I was in charge of.
The psychologist working in my team said,
" you cannot predestine the clients future, but what ever good you can give, teach, build together, noone can take away, and these things will be a sours of strong foundation further on."

Those words really helped me, and for years they were my working mantra.
Why did i not write about that in my last comment?
I have no idea of what Brenda has been going through. She has for sure been giving all she had and could for many years. I hope she'll know that nothing was done in vain, even if she cannot keep on anymore.
God bless you both for the good things you have done. God give you mercy and strength, peace and love wherever your roads will lead.

curious servant said...

Thank you, all of you, for your kind words and prayers.

I know that even those who have strong feelings and strong words are trying to be reaffirming and encouraging.

I'd like to share a word or two about this post. It was more difficult to write because it is crititical in some ways to my wife, and I wish to encourage her, hold her up. I wish to avoid criticizing her.

But this post was written really for myself. I am trying to work through my own feelings here, trying to articulate what I feel.

I am concerned aboutmy family, especially my marriage.

This is not to imply that I feel that I can wash my hands of my children at some point.

What I seek for them is that they are someday able to live lives that are the fullest expression of their own freedoms. Aside from that, is the concern about the toll it is taking on us.

Many marriages end after the death of a child. Ours survived that. Many other marriages fail through the difficulties of raising children with special needs. There are also other factors which lead to the dissolution of a marriage.

I am simply concerned about mine.

I love all of you. I welcome your prayers.

But this post is simply my wrestling with the difficulties of trying to lead a life that is pleasing to my Lord, handles the challenges we have, and perhaps, grow old with my wife of 25 years.

Thanks again to all of you.

I love you.


Jim said...

Hi CS. You have been an inspiration to me many times by your writing/blog entries.
This time is no exception. It leads me to pray more for you and your family. God bless you all, you are a young family, hurting right now.
Your commenters really are not like Jobs friends, they are thoughful, God loving and inspired words meant to be of comfort for you.
Brenda and boys, can they share in these words of love? Mrs. Jim doesn't always appreciate [mildly speaking] some of things I try to say about her. So I run my posts about her by her for 'censoring.' Things she doesn't want shared I won't share. Some of that will be her loss because readers won't know.

All that to say one thing on my mind. I started a post and wasn't a good enough writer to finish it.
The theme was to be rainbows, specifically that no two persons ever see the same rainbow. They may be similar, but each is a different one for another person. Everyone has his/her own rainbow.

Vicki said...

I sense the pain in your struggle, yet so appreciate your gifted words to express what many dare not admit. Praying for you and Brenda. C.S., God uses you more than you know. Your writing challenges me to face my own fears and be more honest about them. I've not been real enough in my own posts. I see that now.

byhisgracealone said...

this may sound like stupid words....but....I chased the know much of my pain these past few years...parenting, marriage, life is not easy....

Please tell Brenda I would love to encourge and talk to her....and I mean that....send her my way...

please tell will always be easier if she stands beside you, wraps her arms around you and her boys and praises God for ALL He has given her.....what God has given her will last, the rainbows fade and disappear.......

love and prayers to you Will


Judas Hate said...

My Dear Friend,

I can not tell you I can relate.

I will not quote scripture.

I have no criticism or advice.

I will not share an anecdote that I think is poignant.

I realize and respect that this is YOUR PERSONAL blog and you are kind enough to make it viewable to the public so that someone may benefit from your words.

You give and do and share with everyone and ask for nothing in return. This one time, I see you quietly ask for prayer. Amidst the whirlwind of screaming voices, I meekly, humbly offer this prayer.

Dear Lord,

Although we speak infrequently, you know when we do I never ask anything of you (directly) for myself. And when I do ask you for something, it is well thought out and not asked for lightly. Whatever merit my words hold with you, I ask that you grant my obedient request this time. As always, whatever you ask of me in return, I will gladly obey.

Lord, you have blessed me with many beautiful brothers and sisters. Some do your work while others do not. I know that you love us all the same. I ask this day that you consider those who do your work and teach your word with the greatest of conviction. Lord, my brother, your son, Will is in great pain and needs your guidance. Lord, if those who worship you, live and teach your word and try to live in your image deserve the rewards of your love, your protection, your guidance and have a place in your kingdom, please let it be known by this faithful servant of yours.

Lord, please bless and watch over Will, Brenda, Jeremiah and Isaac. Please grant them peace, love and unity. Please allow them to see that their pain, hardship and suffering was sacrificed toward a higher purpose and reward. Please let them find once again what they have lost and grant them the vision to behold and embrace their family bond once again. Please do not forsake their cries for help at this most crucial time.
I beg for your compassion and mercy to unite a family that has labored so hard to do your bidding while asking nothing in return.

In your name, oh Lord, I do pray.


Terry said...

Dear Curious Servent..I agree with Donna..The rainbows DO fade and disappear and then you are left with nothing but the pot of gold and each other!..Love Terry

ame said...

My heart weeps ... because I know ... you must let her go ... first in your mind and heart ... and then in her person. And the choice to go; the choice to stay; is hers.

I once had thought somewhere in the early years of marriage that I could "control" him, to some degree. Not in a super-controlling, manipulative kinda way. But in the way that ... if I do *this* ... then he will do whatever. I have read that concept in many a Christian book on marriage and heard it taught. But it is not true. His choices are his; mine are mine. And the pain of that reality . . .

Oh, you have articulated so much of what I have experienced in similar ways. The emotion. The fear ... of her staying ... of her going ... of the unknown ... of the children ... wrapped in the steadfast committment you have made.

Somehow, when we marry and speak those vows, we think our future becomes *known* in that it will be together forever.

I feel, through your words, the struggles of your wife ... and the struggles of her husband. Though you hold her body in your arms, you cannot hold her heart.

It is not about you, you know. And that you had a tumultuous 25 years or whether you would have had a picture-perfect 25 years ~ I'm not sure it would make a difference. This restlessness deep in the wells of her heart and soul, which she has not reconciled with her God, drives her despite any life circumstances ... conceived long before you met her ... and not laid at the feet of Jesus and left there ... I know it breaks your heart.

As a man, who by nature wants to care for and protect and fix, this must be a poignant place for you ... a place of brokenness ... where God has shown you ... your humanity ... your inability.

On my own level, as a woman, I understand. All I had been taught and learned about being a wife was washed down the drain. Meaningless. Even if I had done "it all right," as my counselor said once, and I probably did on many levels within my humanity, it would not have mattered. He was still given the freedom to choose.

I look back and see that I tried to hold what was never given to me as mine. Though his words spoke it to be so, and his will even desired it to be so on occasion, his actions proved it was not true. His heart was given to another ... something other than me.

Ironically, the Bible speaks to husbands and wives without condition. And you know this to be true because you live it. She doesn't love him *if* ... he doesn't love her *if* ... We obey simply because we love God.

I am sorry. I wrote like this a lot, though not on my blog b/c that was before I even knew blogging existed! Keep writing ... somewhere.

God will give her the freedom to turn her heart back home as long as she has not completely left.

Dear God, I know You are weeping. I know Your heart weeps and hurts as You care for Your Will through these painful days. Marriage is SOOO hard. I pray and ask that You touch Brenda's heart and soul and mind and body and drive her toward You, for it is only in You that she can endure, that she can love, that she can find complete peace. Heal her wounds; comfort her scars. Relieve Will of that which only You can do. Provide for Jeremiah and Isaac in supernatural ways. They need relief, Lord, from the burden of these children. Though they love their children, they need relief. I don't know what that looks like, but You do, and I ask that You provide that relief for them. Clearly show Will what is his and what is not. His humanity is bellowing, and he needs to let go of that which is not his to carry. Reveal this to him clearly, Lord, for only You know what that is. Continue to provide healing, strength, wisdom, discernment, endurance, peace, and love to Your precious son, Will. Thank You, Abba, for being God. I love You, God, Ame

Jada's Gigi said...

Still praying...

squirrel said...

I cannot even begin to imagine your angst or your wives frustration. But I do understand (somewhat) the tiresome feeling when your children become teens and you can't wait (on some level) for them to be grown and on their own. It must be very very difficult to face the fact that they may never be able to be on their own.

I am praying for you and yours.

music.angel said...

I am so sorry for your hardships. It is so difficult to help someone see that all they want, is truly right there with them. Be it God, be it your family. God called your wife to the journey you all are on and gave her the grace to walk it...if only she take hold of that grace. But she must take it, you can not do it for her. Right now in my life my journey is hard, very hard, and the road is long. Discouragement and doubt knock at my door daily. Some days I am sad to say I open the door...and the fight to get them to leave is a hard one. I work to not answer those knocks or even look thru the peephole!
So I pour truth into my life in every way I can...I listen to many talks online, I read, I listen to audio books in my car... I fight the voices that are lies, with the voices of truth. I have found great comfort in a few areas... - right here, right now... truth that although convicting, brings such hope in the end.
I also think of a book that i've heard many parents say was greatly encouraging to them:
Age of Opportunity
I love the book Captivating for a women's soul... to heal & bring it to life.

I know it is hard to see another, especially one you love so much, become so blind to God's goodness & love but just as you say you will NEVER give up...neither we He.

Life has been hard for me lately. As I seek God's grace for my life, I will remember you and your family and ask God to pour His grace upon you.

curious servant said...


Not sure what to say... things have gotten a little harder lately. I tried my hand at writing a post... a way to sort things out in my own head... but I'm too tired (or too depressed) to finish it right now.

I appreciate all the prayers, the kind words.

It isn't just that life is hard... but it's also weird.

At any rate... I think I'll go do a little reading right now. Seek a little quiet.

Me said...

so much has been said. I will say two things.

First, you were incredibly loving of Brenda - the criticism you feel is certainly in your heart and not in your words as I was impressed by how carefully you explained a very difficult and sad situation to us.

Second, I will pray.


forget me not said...

Praying for you CS. Hang in there!

wilsonian said...

...lifting it to our Father...

Coco said...

just stopping by to see how you are doing...

praying for you and your family.

take care my friend : )


Susan Kelly Skitt said...

Dear Curious Servant,
Continue to seek God's face my friend. Remember His promise to be with you always... I need to remind myself of this promise every day. "And the Lord, he it is who doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee; fear not, neither be dismayed."
In Christ,
Founder of "Anna's Place"