THE PAIN of it ALL

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What do I say to a black mother whose son was murdered at the hands, or knee, of a white man?

.   I saw George dying, in front of all the world, murdered. Every fiber of my being cried out for action to save him, knock that cop off of him, hurt those who were hurting him, scream “STOP!!!!!” at the loudest volume my wind and stretching vocal cords could scream. I saw him die. I could see the actual moment the life left him, we all could. His killer’s arrogance galled me, I cried as if George was my own. Those awful, endless minutes are now emblazoned on my conscience, and the world’s. But George’s suffering was finally over, the pain had ended for him. His family’s pain goes on.

.    My daddy died unjustly, and it took years for my anger and pain to subside. But, then, I am white. And it wasn’t a police organization, or even a police man who killed him. For me it was a hospital, who killed him just as surely as if they kneeled on his neck. And he was a Sicilian man, very dark complected, 1st generation borne of immigrants to this country, but I suppose he will be considered a “white” man by history.

.   But the pain I felt is the same pain George’s loved one’s feel in this sense: there was death, it was not natural, there was injustice, and there is anger. I feel it now, these years later. I was righteously indignant, I loved my daddy more than any girl ever loved her daddy, ever in the whole world. Whole universe I thought. I never saw his flaws, he was a hero to me, and they murdered him, and someone had to pay. I had to make it right , for him. For his memory.

 Dad and Kiko
Another Day in Paradise

.   They hated me at that hospital, I believed. They had been out to get him, because we were poor, and because everyone knows doctors and hospitals only want one thing, right? Money. And we all know that there are very baaaad people in the medical field, there is a long, very, very long history of distrust in the Sicilian immigrant community against the “establishment”. It carried down from tyranny and mafioso, in the “home” country, where my ancestors were murdered and enslaved and oppressed by terrible injustice. Not only was the regime murderous and corrupt, even the local officials were, requiring payoffs and inflicting gross injustice and physical pain on the poor people who were supposed to be under their care. They had no choice, starve, be murdered, or board ships of misery with their last pennies to try living in a beckoning land across the great sea.

.  My granparents had experienced the ghettos in New York when they arrived, cramped, dirty, unlit, no facilities, living in dark, dank, freezing, stinking tenant housing in their new country. Now, instead of their tropical isle, where they knew the enemy, there were new enemies to contend with. Such hatred, such predjudice, such injustice, such poverty. All these conditions shaped the mentality of generations, the distrust of the “system”, the lack of eqaulity, the oppression…

.   My father was an angry man. For as far back as I have memory, he was mad at what he perceived as injustice in government. In another age pehaps he would have been a radical, I dont know. But he worked so hard, all his life, had  access to more education than his parents ever had, served in the military and was able to move to Florida in his early 50’s. which had been his lifelong dream. He never stopped working, even then, and I had everything I needed as his kid, except love. But I adored and idolized him, to my mother’s dismay. When I became his sole caregiver, he was my child, and I determined to never let anything bad happen to him. For all the grief I had put him through in my life as an addict, now that I was sober I would appease his every whim, and ease his Dementia and Alzheimer’s. He was my reason for being, for except for my dear shih-tzu’s I had lost everyone in my family, and had no children.

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Always a Dapper Dad

.    I was a she-bear when it came to his care. Endless research, talking to pro’s and others  on caring for the elderly. But no matter what I promised him, no matter how good I cared for him, and no matter how totally committed I was in my devotion, I was not able to save him from being killed.

.   So, then. What can I say to the millions of traumatized, oppressed, angry people who are fighting right now? They will do what they believe they must, to find relief for their anger. But to the loved ones of a man who died unjustly, there is something I can say, even in my proverbial “whiteness”:  I am so, so sad for you.  I can relate. I can relate to the sickening feeling in your gut, that horrendous hot ball of lead where your heart used to be. I  remember the anger, the absolute bursting feeling of helplessness, the burning knowledge that this should never have happened to your child, your son, your daddy, your husband, your brother, your uncle, your nephew, your cousin, your dear, dear friend. Your Beloved.   

.   My pain was real… Your’s is all too real right now. I will never question your pain, or think I know what you should feel, or do. I never want to exaccerbate your suffering. everyone grieves in a different way, for different lengths of time, for different reasons. there is never a right or wrong way to grieve. I wish you peace, someday…healing…a lessening of this great burden you carry.

.   My anger  was only relieved by my learning the true reason for death, suffering and in justice. Knowing and believing in the the knowledge that God will soon do away with the true source of the evils we experience as humans. the tormenter of us down thru the ages, all the way back to the garden of Eden. The father of the lie, Satan.

God had an answer to Satan’s lie right there on the spot: Jesus Christ, God’s Only-Begotten Son and The King of God’s Kingdom would crush Satan and throw him and all his cohorts into the Abyss!! It will happen very soon, when God says it is time! Then the words of Revelation will come true!

Revelation 21:3-5 reads:

.  ” With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them , and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.(4)And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

(5) And the One seated on the throne said:”Look! I am making all things new.” Also he says:”Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

.   Such beautiful words…a beautiful dream, perhaps? No. A promised reality from our God who cannot lie, whose purposes always succeed, and whose prophecies always come true. I have a favorite scripture about the surety of all God’s promises coming true, maybe because I am a farmer at heart, who has always loved the rain.

.   This is in the Bible book of Isaiah, in Chapter 55, beginning in verse 8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” declares Jehovah. (9) “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (10) For just as the rain and snow pour down from heaven And do not return there until they saturate the earth, making it produce and sprout, Giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,(11) So my word that goes out of my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, But it will certainly accomplish whatever is my delight, and it will have sure success in what I send it to do.”

.   Yes, The Creator of the entire Universe has everything taken care of, he has told us that he will be the only Judge, and His Son will carry out his Judgement.  The Ride of the Four Horsemen is already well underway.  One day soon our dead loved ones will be resurrected and what joy there will be, when this earth is finally free of evil and we will live forever in peace.Artwork and Pictures 056

.  Please take the time to learn what the Bible says, I want you to have the peace of mind and heart that I finally found. It is not too late, my friend.

A Little Better/Thanks to Friends

I must not complain. I MUST NOT COMPLAIN. I MUST NOT COMPLAIN! I MUST NOT COMPLAIN!!!!!

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breathlessly blue

I hope I am getting better about that. When so many have, and are, suffering SO MUCH. I shudder to think how it must sound to people who had to say their last goodbye via cell phone. My own little issues are so insignificant in the face of the reality of Covid-19. I suppose I’m like the rest of humanity in the face of enormous grief, enormous death… all we can really see is our own little corner, our own miniscule lives…???????????????????????????????????????

.  That’s the thing that is SO remarkable to me about God. How can he love us so much? How can He care about a selfish little worm such as I. It is because He Is Love. Not “He has love.” Not “He feels love.”

.   He IS love. He IS LOVE.

.  Some people have been fed the lie that it is God who causes suffering. In reality, the Bible teaches that it is the evil one who caused death and suffering, by lying to the first human pair in the garden of Eden. That one caused them to die by his lie that they could eat the forbidden fruit and not die. “You surely will not die.”, he claimed.

” Then death spread to all men”

.  But God made a way out for us immediately. Immediately, right there in Eden. He spoke about Jesus, about how His Son would ultimately kill off the devil, do away with death forever, and by his willing sacrifice would give humans a way to forgiveness and a clean conscience before God.

. Even little worms like me! Isn’t that amazing. Yes. It really is.

.  So, don’t ever doubt God’s love, or that HE IS LOVE. He did not cause this pandemic, nor will he allow such things to continue forever. There will be an end to all human suffering very soon…you can count on it. Don’t give up, keep on seeking…

.   I will meditate on these things today, and stay upbuilt, and focus my mind on helping others…and I wish you all peace. We will give a great shout of praise to our God, all of us together, in the not too distant future…

Right Side Down/Wrong Side Up

20170703_091151I wish I looked like this right now, because it looks like I feel pretty good about myself in this photo! And I did! I think it lasted a couple weeks, it was after I was alost finished moving in, and I was enjoying exploring my new home town.

I had gone into ma cute little salon for a haircut, a new look for my new beginning, and the young man who did it was a true artist!

Then I saw the prices! Forty bucks, just for a wash and cut! Ahhhhh!!! I never paid more than 20 bucks for a cut, and most of the time that included a five dollar tip! As I paid my bill and thanked him, I still felt on top of the world! This was my new, fresh start!

I was full of hope about my financial situation, I still had money after buying my new (1970) mobile home and land. And I had also purchased a car, cash, so I would not have alot of expenses and bills! OOh , I was SO smart!

After all, in a month or so, I would be selling my art in a new gallery, and be in new shows, and my fame would spread like wildfire! I had a big opportunity to be in ” a really big show”, as Ed Sullivan used to say, and I worked so hard-sure that I was a shoo in.

Months passed, money dwindled, but my hopes were steadily pinned on my huge success in this upcoming event. I spent more money, remodeling, new furnishings, paint, welding class, tons of art supplies.

I worked round the clock, taking photos of my work, even going to a free class to learn to present my work just right. I bought black sheets as backdrops, spent hours setting things up, months agonizing over artist statements, resume, biographies.

I wanted to really knock ’em dead, so I got a little dramatic with my entry, really emphasizing my struggles with trauma and mental illness.

I sent my entry in at 11:30 pm on the last day they accepted entries, and the cut off was 12 midnight. I even thought this was brilliant, to make me shine even brighter.

Even thinking about it makes me feel a little queasy, I put so much worry and sweat into the process. I told friends about the show, and I said that I was not pinning all my hopes on it.

That was a BIG Fat Lie. I had pinned EVERYTHING on that show. I even planned how humble and gracious I would be.

Then the e-mail came. The same e-mail I got last year:

“We thank you for your entry, but……”

“…but…”

…but…but…but…but…but, but, but,but,but,butbutbutbutbut….BUTTHEAD!!!

so here is my inner rotten, little Susie-In-A-Red-Devil-Suit-On-My-Shoulder, whispering in my ear: ” You stupid, stupid girl, You should have known you aren’t good enough, they are all laughing at you, you LOSER!!” The little Susie-On-My-Shoulder even has the audacity to make an L with her hand and hold it to her (my) forehead.

She has not stopped this horrible dialogue yet, but she will. VERY SOON. VERY, VERY SOON!

“Ha, I DARE you, you loser, nya!nya! You don’t have the guuut, HEY!, What are you DOING! PUT ME DOWN! PUT ME DOWN! AHHHHHHHHH!….”

“bloop!” Oh, my, what did I do? She slipped out of my fingers and into the huge pot of scalding Turkey soup I have boiling on the stove! Oh, my!”

Her tiny little mouse-sized red suit boils to the surface, I scoop it out and toss it in the trash.  There is no trace of that rotten little monster!

I will brush the dust off of me, off of my canvasses, off of my paints, and do what I love best: Create Fresh and Relevant ART! YAY!!!

the dustbowl.

It is very dry here in South Florida. I mean popcorn-fart dry. I do not enjoy these droughts we have, I am sure no one else does. I find it particularly painful to watch all the foliage crisping up while I sprinkle my whole Social Security check’s worth of water onto it. In futility, like a dog chasing it’s tail.

I save what I can, moving the plants who still have a chance into shady areas, and setting up areas close to the water hose where I can set the most fragile ones, to be watered daily. We have a very large lot for this area, I like to see the astonishment on my friend’s faces when I show them my backyard garden with the most enormous oak they have ever seen. And my most beautiful gardens. Actually it is God’s garden, I just tend it.

I have been very fortunate to have worked with a Master Gardener in a Paradise called Sailfish Point on the very southernmost tip of Hutchinson Island. His name was Lynn, and he knew the nuts and bolts of every plant that grows here. How to grow it, feed it, water and prune it, until it gives the most glorious display. And I tried, every day, to absorb some small kernel of his knowledge. Any tree or flower growing on that golf course was fair game for me to take a seedling, a cutting, a pod- even an entire plant-if Lynn gave me the green light. This property has some interesting specimen plants who had their roots (ha ha!!) on Sailfish Point. This is a favorite of mine, he called it a “Pine Palm”, and I have only ever seen these near the ocean.110 Banyan, abandoned and vandalized 001

It actually looks much better than it did when this was taken- I have since learned to keep the centers of each group of fronds as dry as possible, or they start to rot. I eventually had to prune the whole near left section off for this very reason. I had not noticed in time that my sprinkler was dropping exactly over the center of that bunch of fronds. The tree frogs told me about it. I believe that, on the wind-swept dunes near the beach where this species grows naturally, the stiff ocean breeze would keep these trees quite dry. One thing I did learn when landscaping: Pay attention to the plants natural surroundings, and plant in as similar a position as you can.

This means that if your new shrub came from the sunny side of a slope, but under a tree that shades it in the late afternoon, then you should give it a well-drained west facing partially shaded spot. Shady in the late afternoon, that is. And pay attention to the soil where your specimen came from. Sand? Deep moist black earth? (Boy, I wish we had that here!!! That is what Pennsylvania earth is like, in the western Appalachian foothills.)

Anyway, I digress. Just be an observant gardener, and your results will please you and make all your girlfriends jealous when they come over for coffee. Another great trick to fool them into thinking you are a master gardener is to find some cheap, aged pots and planters from a Thrift store and fill them with good potting mix and fresh. blooming annuals from a nursery. Then just make sure to tend to these three or four, moving them from place to place near your front walkway or doorstoop (stoop?) (stop?) area. Even if the rest of your yard looks like poo, keep tending these few- Miracle Grow anyone?-and you will blow them all away with your mad skills. Observe:my new hair, and stuff to sell 022

See how the yard is pretty plain behind my little front patch of flowers? I am SO sneaky! I rearrange the pots as some flowers fade or I just have a whim, taking the shabby looking pots around back to be reworked at a later date.

And I just love taking objects that totally look like they do not belong outside and placing them around my garden for focal points. Broken plates (pretty ones) make nice edging, old chairs you were going to throw away make a great plant stand with a coat of bright spray paint!

That old carved owl was a throw away from a friend- I kept it in the garden till it just fell all apart. and we had bunches of leftover ceramic tile from when I did the house, so Dad started using it to edge the beds, and it looks pretty spiffyIMG_20140507_114010I Has been fun sharing this with you all, I feel ready for my own T.V. show now:

” The Sneaky Crafty Artsy Lady Gardener Show”!

I am keeping my prayers focused on Jehovah’s promises for a new world where righteousness will dwell, and where there will be no more pain, suffering, war or death. I pray that we can all be there one day soon.! I’m ready to live in a peaceful world!

Goodnight!