Saturday, July 26, 2014

a funeral yesterday, & some random thoughts....

Yesterday was Mick's Grandmother's funeral. She was 97. For a matter of days. I had to work...interrupted. Interrupted by this funeral. Talk about irony. Death really IS an interruption of life. So annoying. For you trek fans this is a well known fact...well, part of it. In Star Trek: The Next Generation tv show, The Klingons were famous for saying, before a battle they might not survive: "Today is a good day to die". 
Ironically, it is never a good day to loose someone. Not only did we have the funeral, I was asked to read a poem during the service. Me. The guy who likes to sit back & listen to others talk. The guy who hates ["with the white-hot intensity of a 1,000 suns"] to be the "center of attention".  THIS is gonna be good. honestly, Mick kept saying things like: "I'll do it FOR you, if you want." "I'll go up with you. Would that be better?"
"No. I'll do this. I feel like I should do this. Some strange part of me wants to."
I nixed 1 word. NO ONE cared.
...and I realized why we ask someone else to do things like this. As I read it I could hear my Mom reading it. In that moment I realized that, were this my own mother's funeral, I wouldn't stand a chance of reading it the whole way without loosing it. Partly just because I could hear her rhythm of her reading it out loud. I only almost lost it when I reached her Dad, my father-in-law, & he said to me: "Thanks Brian, that was beautiful. You did it so well. I really appreciate it."
It also made the nervousness worth it. After the day, which was not as stressful as I thought it was going to be, thanks to prayers & VERY helpful co-workers. I posted this on facebook:

"Thanks all. It's nice to have the prayers of many "hugging your soul" though a day."

I was wrung out today. So I didn't do a whole lot of "important stuff". I watched a Veronica Mars marathon, had ice cream, made egg sandwiches for lunch, & pizza for supper. NOT a banner day, here. Yet feeling better. 
I have thought of writing on death for quite a while. So I thought maybe tonight would be good. So here goes...

While I have spent way more time thinking of what a waste my life was, to have existed at all. I have for the past 4 years [roughly] been past that. With yesterday fresh in my mind. I liked that several people didn't wear black, yesterday. My Mother-in-law wore red, Grandma's favorite color. I rebelled myself. I wore the dark blue suit. Looking [& feeling] very much like a shorter version of Mr. Reese from Person of Interest. I wore 2 things that were, "me". My survival cord bracelet thing. And my classic Mickey Mouse tie. My cousin Bradley looked, saw it, & gave me a smile & a thumbs up. 
I'm the guy who makes people laugh when they think that maybe they shouldn't. Yet they would like to to lighten the mood. Not that I can't cry. Not that I can't be sad. Maybe it's my way of embracing To Write Love On Her Arms' theme of HEAVY & LIGHT. I don't know.
I've thought about the fact that people say: "I'm sorry for your loss." or "You lost someone." I didn't loose them. I know EXACTLY where they are.... I just don't know how to get there, & I'm not allowed to go, yet. 
One day "I will go to [them], but [they] will not return to me.” - 2 Samuel 12:23
As for when I die... To borrow from The Fellowship of The Ring: "I suspect I shall not return, in fact, I mean not to."
I often say to them, [among other things] when death is near: "I will see you soon...sooner for you than for me, I'm afraid."
As always I think of songs.
When my Dad's Mom died, I really connected with U2's Where the Streets Have No Name This version, from Rattle & Hum, is for Mick.... especially the end "...oh, darlin'....oh now darlin', I wanna go there with you, yeah..." 
Yesterday I thought of 2 songs by Gungor. When Death Dies & This Is Not The End
I thought of my own death yesterday. Not from an "it should happen already" standpoint. From a stand point of those I could end up leaving behind. A sort of thoughts to remember. Or perhaps a...... me helping you get over me..."thing". [told you I'm "different"] 
Songs I think of....
Paul McCartney - The End of The End  Don't know if I agree with all of the lyrics here, yet I do really connect with some of them loudly. "...at the end of the end, I'd like jokes to be told, & stories of old, to be rolled out like carpets, that children have played on & laid on while listening to stories of old ...I'd like bells to be rung, & songs that were sung, to be hung out like blankets, that lovers have played on & laid on, while listening to songs that were sung"
The Choir - To Bid Farwell 
"And if this were farewell, friend
Would you hear one final

Sad sigh
For the songs I never would sing
If I were to bid farewell my friend today
A glad song
As the bells beyond the night ring

And though I walked beneath the moon
The sun was in my eyes
So this is not a sorry tune
But heaven help me

A sad sigh
For the words I never would say
If I were to bid farewell the world today
A glad sigh
For the promise of a new day
If I were to bid farewell and fly away
A sad sigh
For the songs I never could sing
If I were to bid farewell to you today
A glad song
As the bells beyond the night ring
If I were to bid farewell and fade away...."


One last song. I thought of this a long time ago. When one of my cousins died very young [17 yrs old]. Then it was to her little sister, yesterday, I thought of my nieces....
The Choir - Wide-eyed Wonder  
I don't mind tears. I'm not ashamed of them or scared. All I would ask on that day, is that you don't stop there. Live. Keep living. Today I thought of one of TWLOHA's shirts. The one that reads: "Wake up, you're ALIVE. We're on your side." 
Don't just keep living, though. MEAN IT. Do it for real. If you outlive me. You can wear black...or... you could wear green or red. I enjoy Christmas colors. Because once I die, I will forever after be "green". ...and red will be the reason. You can wear orange, or blue, or yellow, or purple, or brown. All colors you find in nature. Which I love to be in. This part might be unsettling... I would rather be cremated, & have my ashes scattered into a stream in a park. If you are going to come & visit where my body "rests" [the "shell" this "ghost" is in], I'd like it to be somewhere peaceful , tranquil. If you want to gather things. If facebook still exists, if Twitter still exists, post songs & photos there. As you all know I enjoy both. 

If we hung out. if we had stories, funny & sad to uncontrollable tears. I have loved & enjoyed you. If we were related, I enjoyed growing up with you. I have loved & enjoyed you in my life. Do not forget that. Do not regret that. Some heartbreak...is SO worth it. It means you have loved & been loved. It. is. good. even though it hurts. Do not hate yourself. Let someone else with no imagination do that FOR you. YOU ARE WAY TO IMPORTANT FOR THAT CRAP. Let it fall to the floor. To be vacuumed away. No matter what, you matter. remember that. Write it down till your pen dries up, you run out of paper, your hand cramps up. Really bad. Don't let what someone does to you, tell you that you have no value. You have value. You ALWAYS had value. [you. always. will.] 
Remember.... we will out live death. We will stand over the tombstones of sin & death & time.....&. we. will. dance. On THAT day...we will not cry, for every tear will have been wiped away. Remember...
You,
are loved.

I'm not dying, or terminal [at least that I know of.] So don't panic. Just some thoughts I've been wanting to share. Now... if you don't mind, I'm going to end this wild ride on a positive, life affirming note. With some different posts. [most of which are thanks to To Write Love On Her Arms. I can't believe the movie will come out March 2015! I WILL see it]
Today Means Amen 
Shake the dust
Anna Clendening: Nervous Singer Delivers Stunning "Hallelujah" Cover - America's Got Talent 2014

May His grace drip from your fingers,
B

 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

flowers @ our house











These all grow along the front of our house. We did black & white photos this week @ the studio. So I took some of the flowers. The top 5 photos are from the same amazing plant. One stem produces about 10 - 12 flowers on it. They bloom slowly from bottom to top, & just amaze me. The stem looks at first like any of it's leaves. Then it buds, in a pattern still keeping the outside shape of the other leaves. Then it blooms as you can see. And, in person, they are the deepest shade of purple you have ever seen. Mick LOVES them. I love to see her face when she first sees them blooming. She loves flowers. I tell her that she's MY favorite flower.
I'll post some other black & whites later on....

May His grace drip from your fingers,
B

Sunday, July 6, 2014

some photos, a poem, & other random words

ok, I was sitting there this morning as I listened to the talk unfold...and for some reason this came out of me:
half of me 
has been trying to kill 
the other half of me
because all of me
can barely understand 
any of me.

Not a very kind sort of thing to post, I know. Yet... it is so very true. Not true over the past few years, mind you. [roughly 4 yrs. Don't ask how I arrived at that number. It's just this..."gut thing" to me.] I'm not sure where I'm going with this post. So welcome to a journey of surprise for us both. 
I needed to hear the talk today. And I needed the irony of the film my wife & I watched afterward [The Fault in Our Stars] The talk today was: WRESTLING with the love of God. Learning to know that God loves us...exactly as we are, where we are. Something I have spoken to Him about many, many times. Mainly how He can love someone who can't always stand themselves. The movie spoke similarly to this. One of the final lines was this: "They wanted to be remembered long after they died... I believe it is better to be remembered & loved deeply, by a few, than to be adored by many."
My life doesn't fit into a cute Disney movie that ends with me riding off into the sunset. Truthfully, most really good, gut wrenching stories.......don't. I still struggle. I may be done with therapy, yet I am not done with struggle, or messiness. [it would be SO VERY NICE if that was the way it worked...it isn't] I'm glad I had a 3 day weekend. To slowly bring me back to a healthier place again. Which started with a photography opportunity on Thurs night. That was fun. Don't know if my photos are "stellar" or anything, it was fun anyway. I got to "get lost" in the best way. Took a walk yesterday. Always a good thing. Haven't needed a band-aide for a few days, always a good sign. So I don't know where to leave off at... yet I need to soon get going. So I'll finish this with some photos that will appear next on this menagerie.


The sky last night.


Better to me
what happened?
why'd I get here?
why
do I let me
take me here?
haven't I lived here 
long enough?
didn't I have this argument already?
I cancelled my reservation
I don't want this table
I really don't want this anymore
I am valuable
I guess I need to fight harder
and more subtly
I need 
to be better to me
I know it's true
I know
it matters to you
it matters to me, too
I know I didn't travel
all this way
to just give a thumbs up 
and go back
no
I'm meant
-if anything-
to rest & then
keep 
moving
forward
I know I'm going to
no matter how much it hurts
no matter how hard it gets
no matter how steep the climb

b.e. noll

May His grace drip from your fingers,
B

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ragamuffin, the movie & Rich Mullins [& other stuff of earth]

Blessing or curse I'm in one of "those places" where writings/thoughts/musings flood into my head faster than they come out of my fingers.
Backwards from the title up there...here we go.
My drives were..."interesting". Yesterday I turned the box truck around so many times I could've swore it was a horse with a pole running through the middle of it. [you know, a merry-go-round] Yet all in all a good day. I got back later than my usual leaving work time [6:15 as opposed to 4:30]. No biggie. I DID get some sleep before waking up at 2:30 this morning. Left the warehouse at 4 am. Got back around 1 pm. Stayed till about 3:15, & then left to get ready for group tonight... Oh, & I was having trouble starting the truck much of the time. It finally left me set. It gave up & refused to start....thankfully when I got back & had already unloaded it. So I wasn't stranded anywhere.
I'm trying to be honest. Which means that you will see sadness, humor, happiness, joy, ...& perhaps some other stuff on here. For some of you, you might read me taking about God in ways that are strange to you. To others of you , you might feel that I'm a bit weird about life on here. Having said this... I'm trying to be good to me. I'm not trying to be my own biggest fan or anything. I'm just trying to not be the villain in my own story. [I think that happens a good bit anyway, I'm not trying to be. I never said I wasn't succeeding at it, though.] This week I've not done that so very well. Skipped supper Mon. Which, in & of itself, is a "yawner" of a fact. I just can't let it happen to many days/meals in a row. Starving myself does do something for me. What it does is not worth getting done. And tonight I had to resort to a band-aide to stop picking at a VERY old "spot" on my hand. It seems to have dried up a bit. Got rough, & with everything else going on this week...I just find myself tearing into it with a vengeance. So, it's either: cover it, or watch it bleed. I've done the bleeding thing. I think I'll pass. [or at least try to]
Tonight our Wed night group watched Ragamuffin. Which is about the life of Rich Mullins. I thought of my relationship with my Dad. I'm glad we are so close. I did good, till the end. Then I got up & spoke to the group about the film. Which is SO NOT ME. There is nothing to really back up what I'm going to share. It's just something that was soothing to me. When Rich died, for whatever reason, I came to this thought: "Jesus said he's going to prepare a place for me... Well, the one nice thing about loosing someone is... at least Jesus knows how to decorate the place He's making for me." Which is to say that people are what really matters. When I loose someone now, I think of it as they are going ahead of me so that when I get to heaven...it'll feel like home. Because people I love will already be there.
Need to go for now. one more rather busy day left...with [hopefully] a "photo finish" to it.

May His grace drip from your fingers,
B

Monday, June 30, 2014

2 poems & some other words

 Ok... a couple of poems. I can't believe the first one came tonight. I wrote 2 emails that were so brief, the one could have been a tweet. I'm just "not ok" at the moment...& yet, as I've written tonight, I'm feeling better. So enjoy these. I may not be online much the next couple of days. Especially "socially". I have a drive that might make tomorrow a 12hr day for me. Then I'm going to try to go extremely early for my usual drive to Delaware on Wed. I honestly don't know how long Wed. will be. I'm catching a movie with the guys [my Wed night group]. Actually I'm BRINGING the movie, Ragamuffin. Then I'm going to try, really hard, to finally make this the summer I "make good" on my "threat" to go to an artists group @ LW. Thurs. night. It's going to center on photography. So I'm equal parts: excited, nervous, to try this out. 

The first poem is kind of written to 2 people. Or with 2 people in mind. Partly to myself, to just let go & allow my natural self to be. To be me, without thinking about it so much. [analyzing myself too much]. The second person is working on their next disc of music. An encouragement, not just to keep going with it. To go with it in joy. To enjoy the process of making her record. On her own terms, in her own time. And her fans, the ones to REALLY write to...they will be glad she took the time to make something she's proud of. After all, if even one of the songs goes big...she could be singing it for a very long time. She might as well like the song. [songs, disc]
I think of weird things like that with the bands/artists I like. Don't just do it for me. Enjoy doing it. as Robert Fripp rehearses for a new King Crimson tour, I'm hoping/praying that he enjoys the whole process. From rehearsals to every tour stop. I'm hoping to catch them in Philly. They're touring with three drummers this time. Should be a fun time to sit "in" music & just drink deep. That's kind of what a "Krim show" is about. I so enjoyed it last time. To me it's a Hard rock band that not-so-secretly enjoys a bit of Jazz. I would also say they are the reason Surround sound was invented. -ok, enough "leaking words endlessly onto the screen"... I gotta go. Enjoy:


Leave them alone
please let go
stop trying so hard to be
whatever THEY want
be you
let them be them
the REAL them
and focus on the REAL you
don't do it
for fame
for a label
for something they can see coming
just
be
you
and let them go
let them be
yet, one more thing
don't JUST be you
enjoy doing it
enjoy the process
so you don't do things the way others do
You can be a clone
or a masterpiece
masterpieces are
one of a kind
it's so much better to be one of a kind
[after all...they can't say you did it wrong...
if it's never been done this way before -right?]
and
besides
it's fun to keep them guessing


I'll live
Live
it may not always be fun
but
I'll live
I do not know
what my story can do
to help you
or anyone for that matter
and yeah
I am scared to death
to tell my story
to share my story
to write it
it's so ugly to stair at
and...yet
some of my very FAVORITE books
are of similar stories
similar parts of stories
where the author
didn't want to share it
yet friends convinced them
that they should
that they NEEDED to
even though it was
painfully uncomfortable
for the author
it might just be
THE most important book
they would ever publish
...
what if
this is true
of me?
what do I do
then?
life is harder than I thought
[more worth it than I've thought, also]

[both]  by b.e. noll

May His grace drip from your fingers,
B

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Age

Well... I'm back from a small vacation. A very nice one. The photo is from last Thursday. Even though it looks like a fall one. The sun shown in such a way it made the trees look golden. It was such fun to just sit there & drink it in....



So I did take  my camera. Enjoyed taking Mick away with me. Got away as they say. It's nice to slow down & just sit still for a while. Even though that can be extremely difficult for me at times. [turns out I am my father's son]
Before I left I had some interesting moments. People talking to me about age. Mostly mine.
While I don't really care much how long my physical form has been on the planet... it is one more way I have felt very... "not normal" for a human. Or perhaps it would be better said it is another reminder that I'm not like most people. I don't feel this way as... "Mon - Sun" as I used to. There are still times, moments, conversations that bring it back to mind, though. So I'll speak of this here. From multiple angles.
First. I was, by the knowledge of that time, "scheduled to arrive" on April the 25th, 1971. For those of you who are not like my Dad, that would mean I am 43 as of right now. Again, not that it is terribly important. Due to "complications" I was not born until 5:30am the morning of the 26th.
NO... I do not "remember it well". I remember Mom telling the story countless times. [I'm not upset about that. It's just the facts] The details of that I will leave to my Mother, who never tires of telling it. I have been told for quite a long time that I appear much younger than I am. How much depends greatly on whom you ask. One friend states that I am: "forever green" "You look so young. You should tell people you are 25" Another recently said: "I had no idea. I thought you were maybe 30." [he was fun -& one to talk. I never would have guessed he was older than me. I thought HE was 30! He & his wife look MAYBE 30, if that. It's nice to tell people what I've heard most of my life]
I even had a police officer apologize to me once. He thought I had a "Cinderella license". "No disrespect, officer. How old do you THINK I am?" "16" I was around 28. I told him I would love this when I was 40. Love is a strong word.... maybe when I'm 80? Anywho.
While I'm not fond of the grey hairs that are slowly taking over. Or the fact that I no longer have an extremely thick head of hair. What I really don't like about the prospect of aging is 2 fold.
1. Having people older than me. To go to & say: "So. Is this a thing I should worry about? Or is this a 'huge thing now & totally forgotten in a week' thing?" I like being able to go to people older than me to ask things of. To ponder things with. I've spent a great deal of my life hanging out with people older than me. I'm an only child. I've been doing it for a long time, now.
2. as I talk to aging folks...there is the realization that we spend 21 years becoming independent. We really want to spend zero time going the other way. TWLOHA has ...a blog post, a shirt, even a hastag "People Need Other People". Yet... many of us are really bad at letting other people help us. I am chief among them. I really suck at letting others help me. Be there for me. Don't get me wrong. I love the slogan. I think it's true. Just... "when the time comes"..... I fail at this. Which will make me more of a pain as I get older.
Though, while I still have trust issues, I'm thankful that I have people who try to be there for me. Even though I do not make it very easy for them. [pray for them. they need it.]

May His grace drip from your fingers,
B

Thursday, June 12, 2014

This is not the end [this is not the end]

If you can understand it. This is from a song by Gungor, a song by Christina Perri, & listening to an interview [Conan interviewing Jack White].


This is not the end [this is not the end]
This is the end
It is
So very over
I have walked
Through the door
I could walk back
There is no point
In doing that
Though
I’ve been there
And done that
I wanted to do that
However
I don’t want to be
A scratch on a record
Playing the same
Notes
To the same melody
Over
And over
And
Over
Again
While this is the end
I’ve come to it at last
I’m
Gladly terrified

…and yet
This
Is not
The end
Not the end of me
The end of us
This is not the end of me
This is the beginning
One book ends
One movie
Rolls credits
And a new movie
A new book
Begins
Where will
This character
This me
Go now?
I’m scared
And I’m excited
Can it be
That what scares me
Is the very point of origin
Of my excitement.
So this is the end
And
This is not the end
[and ok, I’m done now]

May his grace drip from your fingers,
b.e. noll