Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I'll be here

Last night I ran out. I just didn't want..... anything. Didn't want to eat. So I didn't. I don't let myself skip meals often. Last night, I did. Yesterday had a few "hiccups" yet nothing to make me feel the way I felt. I told a friend in an email about it. They were so very kind:
"... write whenever you want to ... I’ll be here..." 
I really needed to hear..... just that. Just to be told: It's ok. I feel that way too sometimes. I'm not going to think less of you. I love you as you are. 
So beautiful. So necessary. All of us need people like this in our life. 
Anyway, in my Wed night group we talked a bit about the Apostle Paul. Specifically his writings on "the thorn" in his life. We never learn any other name for it. So we don't know what "it" was. 
I think it's a wonderful thing that we don't know what Paul's thorn was. 
Why? Because then we can substitute a struggle of our own in it's place. 
With this in mind, I give you a poem that I wrote. 
I'm kind of scared to share it because I wrote it about a "thorn" in my own life. 
I never name it, of course. I just hate it. Hate that I have to fight it. Hate that I loose. 
However, I keep fighting..... 
so here is the poem,
may it encourage you.....

I want you to feel that good
I just don’t want that to be how you get there
You are worth more than that
Mean something to people
Are important
Your story
Is too beautiful
To have even a sentence wasted on that
So please
As fast & as far
Away from that as you possibly can
Please stop thinking you don’t matter
You do
Not kidding
No exaggeration
You need to have joy
That is just the wrong way to get there
So please step away from there
Move into where you are loved
You are loved
You need to be loved
Are beautiful
Your story
Is better than that
Your story
Is wonderful
You have amazing characters
In your story
There are amazing chapters
In your story
Don’t let them be ruined
There’s too much at stake
You are too beautiful
To be soiled
Like that
So don’t let that
Be the end
Don’t let that
Put a shadow
On you
On your story
Too many people
Are invested
In you
In your story
Walk away from that
Don’t walk away
Your too much fun
To do that
live into a better story....

b.e. noll

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

me too

ok... first off, I wanted to post very soon after my post on suicide. I just didn't want that to be the last, most recent thing from me for a very long time. Yet, that's how it played out. Tonight, a friend posted a writing from Anne Lamott on facebook. I really liked it. 2 things hit me from it. the title: "Grace bats last"..... & "me too". So, I haven't posted a poem on here for a while. [don't know if this is a "stellar" one or not, yet here we go...]

Me too
I know
I know that you feel it too
that feeling of being
"the only one"
The only one:
who feels broken
this much
The only one
who struggles
with this
No one else
could be this weird
this broken
this twisted
"just me"
only me
you feel
like a category
of one
No one could understand
my life is a story no one would believe
you say these things
guess what?
me too
I've said them
I've felt them
felt alone
even though
I wasn't
I had just pushed
the people who care
I couldn't help it
you weren't there "then"
so why should I believe that
you'd be here now?
You didn't know about "then"
so how could you?
you know
you are here
You believe me
Even though
if I named my story
it would be called:
"I don't believe it either [& I was there]"
are here
I'm not alone
You feel this too
you aren't alone in this
I feel this too
by b.e. noll

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Friday, June 26, 2015

for Mark

[this is a post I'm writing to a friend. He just found out about my blog. And we had a rather heavy conversation the other day. It was about suicide. As I've heard from various people, recently, about suicides, & a person who I rarely worked with tried to kill himself on Tues.]

I'm sorry I seemed to "go heavy" on you strait out of the gate.
I told you I've been suicidal. I'm sorry for talking about it in such a way that you might think I still am. I'm not. I'm 44 years old... for 39 of those years, off & on, I felt like dieing. I felt like a waste of space. A waste of matter, atoms, molecules. I could see value in everyone.......else. It is sad. The further from it I get. The more it hurts. Which is where I was/am with hearing of suicides & attempts at suicide. It helps me to know there are people like those from To Write Love On Her Arms. People who are shouting "you matter. Your story is worth finishing. Please stay. Wake up, your alive, we're on your side." That last sentence is actually one of their many cool t-shirts.
When I hear about suicide. One of THE first things that comes to mind, is the list people I would have walked out on if I had killed myself. Then there's people like you. If I had killed myself, we would never have met. I enjoy you. I would have robbed us.....of us. Like I said on the phone... I wouldn't have met Mick [Mickey, my wife of almost 20 years.], I wouldn't have met & enjoyed her 3 sisters. Who are my sisters. I love them. I need them. I wish they could understand how much. I now have 2 brothers-in-law. They are cool, too. [they don't know it either] I have 2 nieces. There are no words adequate for the task of describing the feeling of being "Uncle Brian". I NEVER thought about that. Never thought about what it would feel like to be called that by 2 little girls. They will run across a crowded room, screaming it when they see me. It is the ONLY fame worth having. Nothing is so beautiful, or scary, as being recklessly loved. I'm glad to have that. I'm sorry I almost gave up on getting it. I'm sorry I've scared people. Knowing that there is a "dark part or chapter" to my story.
I have people to call. As I told you, people who will only ask 2 things if I called & said "I need you" right now. "B, where are you? Should I bring anything?". Parents, family, LW family, friends.
I take NONE of it lightly.
I have music...
King Crimson makes me want to be creative. They remind me that I AM creative. They remind me that there are people who call me an artist, a poet, a musician, a valuable person, a friend, a cook...
I have a TWLOHA playlist. I call it that because it's code for: Songs of Hope.
There are songs by Switchfoot, King's X, The Call, The Fray, Plumb, U2, PFR, BEARCAT, Rush, Dustin Kensrue, ..... on it
I have movies....
the TWLOHA movie, among others.
I have books.....
The Inner Voice of Love by Henri J.M. Nowen
A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sitzer
Purpose for the Pain by Renee Yohe
If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski

These are my emergency med kit for when I feel dark. I have pieces of it that go everywhere with me. "just in case". Do I still feel worthless at times? You betcha. The feelings, the thoughts.....yeah, they keep trying. However, I don't plan.....I don't write notes to those who would be left behind. No.
I do write notes.......now, though..... I write notes to the ones who want to leave, asking, begging them to stay.
I sometimes read something & for me, it relates to suicide. 
like this:
[from Eugene Peterson's Devotional book: Living the Message. pg 64. Feb 28th]
"When we read a novel we have an analogous experience. We begin the first chapter knowing there is a last chapter. One of the satisfying things about just picking up a book is the sure knowledge that it will end. In the course of reading we are often puzzled, sometimes in suspense, usually wrong in our expectations, frequently mistaken in our assessment of a character. But when we don't understand or agree or feel satisfied, we don't ordinarily quit. We assume meaning & connection & design even when we don't experience it. The last chapter, we are confidant, will demonstrate the meaning that was continuous through the novel. We believe the story will satisfyingly end, not arbitrarily stop."  

Dear friend, I have lived through some nightmarish stuff. 
do you hear what I've been saying? Do you "hear between the lines"?
I HAVE LIVED THROUGH IT. meaning I'm still alive AFTER it. 
In the beginning of this post I wrote: 
"I'm 44 years old... for 39 of those years, off & on, I felt like dieing."
That's 5 years difference. Those 5 years....mean something. They mean something changed.
Something ended. Something else began. 
"I am a story still going" - TWLOHA 
I loved Star Wars. Enjoyed it since I was a kid. The sub-title of the first one...fits here.
"A New Hope"
Though, perhaps it isn't new. Perhaps it's very old. Perhaps.... at some point, I just woke up to it. Realized, yeah...this IS for me. 
I hope you know this. 
I hope that you've never deeply felt like giving up on your story.
I hope you never do.
I hope that you'll reach out to me if you ever get there. 
So I could help you leave.....the feeling,
not us. 

I hope these words find you. I hope they comfort you. 
mostly, I hope you live.
as long as you can.....

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

somewhat briefly.....

I've said it everywhere else, I finally got my CDL license. I've been reeling since.
I have had a sore throat for many days. [since, last Fri. I think]
I'm driving every day except Fri. this week.
So I might be really "off" for a bit.
maybe not post anywhere for days. Then post a little one place, or post everywhere in a matter of moments. It's hard to say.
I do want to finish & post some things here. It's just crowded in my head... & outside my head. To be honest. I know quite a few people who are struggling right now. So I struggle.... with them.
As well as on my own.
Been listening to all kinds of stuff. From Rush, Big Big Train, Yes, Huey Lewis & the News, Queen...
To Miles Davis, John Coltrane, King Crimson, Return to Forever, Steve Taylor, Steve Vai.....
Thinking of all kinds of moments from my childhood....
Things I want to get done....[some I wish were done years ago]
My wife enjoys watching The Voice. I came in, sat down & ate supper as one person sung a cover of a song, which I really took a liking to. [Demi Lovato - Warrior]
And in case a friend of mine, who's been struggling a lot lately, is reading this post.
I'm going to link another song for her. [hang in there sister. Thanks for helping me all those years ago.]
Bethany Dillon - Beautiful

ok.....I need to take care of myself now.....
May His grace drip from your fingers,

Friday, May 22, 2015

"So let the words slip out of your mouth"

Life can feel like a roller coaster. Last week at this time I was feeling a bit "at the ever living end" of myself. Tried to help someone out & it seemed to go sideways. Which is part of the reason for the X-men post. Yet as I talk to a few other people.... it seems like I write or speak the words others couldn't find. It's "scary encouraging". I'm trying to help a few struggling friends. Trying to speak into their lives.
...& the whole time remembering a scene from TWLOHA movie. On the rooftop, Jamie & Renee talk.....
Jamie "Sometimes I wonder if I could've said something. I want to be the guy who knows the right thing to say."
Renee "I think sometimes, people need more than words."
We do.
While I want to be helpful. Some of that help seems to end up being me sharing my story. At least parts of it. And/or how it effects me. I learned from my abuser that I couldn't trust people. Long before Sameen Shaw of Person of Interest said it, I said it to a friend. "Trust is overrated." No, it's not. Under appreciated, perhaps. Not overrated. So it's difficult to share about myself. Certainly to do it without feeling like it's going to bite me in the rear. So sharing deeply can be a process for me. A not so fun one, at that. Yet I yearn to be helpful. To speak healing into people's lives. Don't we all? Partly because I think when we help others, we ourselves end up feeling helped along the way. While I love Jazz music, Progressive music, among others. I like unique approaches to it. Classic ways of doing it... I guess I enjoy good musicianship... yet, I also want music who's lyrics speak to the human condition. All of it. Love, joy, pain, sorrow, loneliness, silliness.... the range of emotions & experiences that we all have. I don't want to avoid any. Yet, some, like sadness, I don't want to become a "permanent residence" either. As I write to a friend or two. As I share things that at first are hard to type.....& then hard to hit "send" or "post"..... I am struck by the words of a song.
The Words by Christina Perri.
"I know that we’re
both afraid
We both
made the same mistakes
An open heart
is an open wound to you...
And I know
The scariest part
is letting go....
I promise you
the truth can’t hurt us now
So let the words
slip out of your mouth"
Which is hard to do. It's easy, putting on a "hard outer shell". To play tough. Though I've never really liked tough guys. Partly because they want to fight. Either you, or they want you to go with them to fight someone else. Boring. I've fought. I've fought for my life. Truthfully... I have come to within millimeters of killing 3 people in my life. No... it isn't cool. The last 2 were by accident. That hurts to type. Because it means one was on purpose. The first was my abuser. When I was 11. I had him. "dead to rights". Just twist his neck a few millimeters further... What bothers me is how bad I wanted to. I crossed a line that day. A very dangerous line. For one thing, I held a life in my hands. If you can avoid doing that... please do. It does something to you. Also, more than before, I truly didn't care if I died. I had lost the fear of death. I wanted it. Living, at times, felt like being punished. Living felt like a prison cell. A side effect of that was, you don't want to care about anyone. Because it means they can hurt you. I'm reminded of a scene from Star Trek: Voyager. Jerri Ryan played a borg. Named Seven of Nine. She didn't feel much. She was "emotionally challenged", seeming more like a cross between the Vulcan Spock, & a robot. Yet in one episode, she bonded with another borg that, like her, had been "separated from the collective". She began to have a mothering relationship with him. She was with him as he lay dying in sick bay. Suddenly, she breaks the painful silence with a childlike response as she holds his hand & looks at him lying there, slowly slipping away. "Stop it. ....you are hurting me."
It was powerful. At least to me. We wouldn't say that to anyone we love who was dying... but we'd feel it. Loudly.
The scariest thing about loving someone... is we give them the power to deeply hurt us. To leave us bleeding on the floor. Physically perhaps, yet more likely emotionally. Obliterated... ribbons of who we used to be. A pile of shards of broken glass.
Yet... without love..... we won't break....& no one, not even we, ourselves, care. It is in being fragile, breakable, that we can be helpful to anyone. Healing to anyone ...and... in helping others... we strangely find ourselves being helped... being healed. It does not make any sense.
I don't think it's supposed to.
You don't have to understand why chocolate tastes so good,
to be able to enjoy eating it.

"Love has it's reasons,
which reason knows nothing of." - unknown

And again... I sit here. Should I post this?
Is it helpful? Was the therapy only in me writing it out?
Getting it outside myself?
Or... is there a use for you? Is there something you can use in this?
If it's for my glory... then it's a waste of time for you to read it. I have no glory.
I am not the sun. I'm the moon. I don't give off light from myself. I reflect it from another.
So... that said, is this reflecting that light? Or just pretending to?
These last questions are just some of the thoughts that I have right before I hit "post".......
If nothing else, remember that I'm learning. Just as you are........
The other Christina Peri song that has been stuck in my head some of you may be sick of hearing. I like the song... & I hate it. I hate... how true it is. Most of us can fake being ok. Make others & even ourselves laugh. We can smile & say we're fine. Yet.. like "being tough" it pushes people away. Creating barriers to community. Being honest is messy. It allows our flaws to be seen. Our weaknesses to be revealed.
.....is that as bad of a thing as we think it is? 
Isn't the reason the song is so popular, 
because so many of us can honestly sing it? 
After all...... 
we're all 

[...and yes, for some of my friends... I'm going to pay for this late night writing. Fri is going to be a bit long.]

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Monday, May 18, 2015

My three favorite X-men.

They would be: James Howlett III, also known as Logan, & The Wolverine.

The thing is, I see the X-men partly from the standpoint of flaws made to look attractive. Wolverine gives you an idea what it's like to have PTSD. He's always waiting for someone to try to kill him. When he feels threatened, his claws come out. I so get this it's not funny. Probably because my abuser always surprised me with his desire to "go down that path". Wolverine also wasn't born with the steal on his bones & claws. [called Adamantium] It was an experiment done to him later on. I also felt "experimented on". So I have felt like him a bit. Like if he were real, we'd understand each other.
It's why I "jump" sometimes at LW when people touch me. My "jumpiness" is my mind overriding my body's natural desire to defend itself. I learned to do that because of the negative, abusive touch I used to get. It doesn't always happen. Yet it can happen when I least expect it to. I almost broke a friend's neck in a grocery store checkout line, once. Not fun. Though, he never walks up behind me anymore... So I'm nervous about myself at times.

I mentioned talking about Kurt Wagner, also known as Nightcrawler, when I posted a drawing of him on Pinterest. Nightcrawler is the one X-man who believes in God. Ironic, huh? He looks like a blue devil.
I've often felt like I might as well look like that when I've been around some people who are Christians or believers, worshipers of God. Not all of them "get me". I'm "out there" as far as they are concerned. I like things they think I shouldn't. I hang with people they don't think I should even acknowledge. Honestly, I tried to be what they wanted... & I never felt so far from God in my life. So I stopped. I just tried to become what ...[it's a bit scary to say it like this. Though I don't know how else to say it] I simply tried to draw close to him. To be what he wanted. When I walk alone in nature...I feel like he walks with me. Ok... that was weird. yet still true. Same with the movies I watch, music I listen to....
I also liked a line from X2 [the film X2: X-men united]
"You know... outside of the circus. People were afraid of me, but I didn't hate them. Do you know why? Because most people will never understand anything beyond what they can see with their own two eyes."