Kernels of Truth
ten months after
four months after
you asked me
what I thought
and I told the truth
but y’all don’t fit
it was that woman thing
just didn't like her
you had it all wrong
there were those
I thought would be a
great fit for you
lovers of wine
whose blood runneth blue
this one wasn’t for you
you’ve held my
against me all this time
made me the
and now after
you finally realize
all those reasons
y’all don’t fit
so next time I’ll
tell the only truth
you want to hear
then I’ll go
Susan Ahlbrand is our host today for Day 16 of #VerseLove. She inspires us to write poems about friendships that didn’t work out for whatever reason, whether there was a move or a disagreement or a divorce or another form of distancing. You can read her full prompt here. I wrote about a time I left a church because the views became too radical to accept.
so you’re holier.
new pastor said NO WOMEN
his blind sheep believed
not one stood with me
not one challenged his iron fist
not one saw the wolf
wife who rarely spoke
children white as untanned lambs
always in the house
I took a firm stand
when I saw the truth. I left
that mutton pasture
one by one others
did too, down to a dozen
“disciples” who stayed
no grace, mercy, love
so you’re holier?
is that what you call yourself?
guess again, girlfriend.
You might remember these two faces with hearts full of love for each other. That’s my baby brother, Ken, and his girlfriend, Jennifer. I featured them on Valentine’s Day on the blog and shared their winning Godiva chocolate preference (dark chocolate lava truffle) after their taste test in March. They were set up on a blind date early last fall by mutual friends, and the rest is history.
As a way of involving others in my blog posts this month, I recently texted and asked Ken and Jennifer one question: if you were giving advice to a new couple on how to plan a great date and spend time really getting to know each other, what would you say?
My brother responded first:
One of the things we did was to try and find things that were new to both of us, or at least that we weren’t experts at – like the painting party. Neither of us were experts at that, but we’d do another painting activity now. Also, something active is good, outdoors. Stay away from cliche’ and make sure there are plenty of opportunities to talk.
Jennifer responded a little while later:
I really loved riding bikes on Jekyll Island on one of our first outings together. We rode about ten miles, then stopped for lunch and a beer. It was a beautiful, sunny day outside, and they had live music. It was amazing. You really learn a lot about someone else by their spontaneity.
They really did follow their own advice. They’ve played golf, they’ve run a 5K, and flown kites on Amelia Island at the beach. They’ve been on bicycling adventures and ambled down Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee checking out the honky tonks. They’ve also attended each other’s churches, finding ways to make two faiths meaningful for both of them as a couple.
They’re sharing life – investing in each other.
They’re savoring moments.
Cheers to Ken and Jennifer for reminding us to be active at adventuring and talking – whether we’re dating, married, or single and loving it!
In February, I started thinking about all the interesting ways I might involve others in my blog posts in March for the Slice of Life Challenge. Product reviews were one of the ideas I had, and so I sent products to several of my friends and family members asking them to dive into a fun experience and to share some feedback.
My brother came to mind right away, and since it was Valentine’s Day, I sent him a text:
I considered several brands of chocolate, but landed squarely on the one with a little bit of spicy history in its name. I ordered two boxes of Godiva – one for my brother and one for the woman he loves – and had them shipped to his front door.
No one ever says no to reviewing chocolate.
In February, I introduced my brother and his girlfriend on the blog when he shared a great strategy for deepening their relationship through a game called Let’s Get Deep. I promised in that post that they’d be back in March with a big announcement about their tastes. So here is the announcement: they love Godiva chocolate, and there is a clear winner on the exact piece that they both think is the best.
Their overall winner is the Dark Chocolate Lava Cake Truffle.
They shared their review: “The lava cake’s consistency is good, with a dual filling of a fusion of molten chocolate and decadent dark chocolate, which is representative of our love. It’s our favorite flavor, but also a metaphor of how filled we are with love for each other. Although the name of the candy is over-complicated, it’s a lot like our relationship – an easy, simple, and flavorful experience.”
In the early fall when I was sipping my coffee and gazing out at Lake Juliette from my camper window on a Saturday morning, I got a call from my brother.
“I went on a blind date, and I like her a lot,” he told me.
I knew when he was ready to talk about her so soon after the first date that something was different – he’s never done that before. He’d sworn he was going to throw himself into his work as a real estate agent and enjoy the life of a single man, but he’s an attractive guy – as much as any brother can be – and when friends of friends start talking and matchmaking, a strange sort of magical chemistry happens. Friends see in their single friends a compatibility factor between two yet unintroduced soul mates. A seed is planted, and love blooms.
I was also surprised – though I shouldn’t have been – that he’d ordered a game as a Christmas conversation starter that has become a relationship-strengthening part of their courtship.
According to my brother, you can play the game Let’s Get Deep different ways, but they choose times to draw cards and take turns answering three levels of questions – from icebreaker, deep, and deeper categories.
“I’d recommend this game for any couple progressing to a more serious phase of a relationship. It gives you a chance to gain valuable insights into the shared values and dreams – and yes, it gets deep,” he told me. “In fact,” he offered, “I can also see how couples who have been together for a long time and seem happy should perhaps avoid this game. It has the potential to shake things up, but it also helps clarify how close or far apart you stand on issues.”
That, he explains, is why they keep holding their breath, holding hands, and taking turns drawing cards.
I’m pretty sure an ever-deepening love is in the cards for them, and on this Valentine’s Day, that’s worth celebrating! This adorable couple will make another blog appearance in March with a big announcement about their tastes. Stay tuned!
The key to loving how you live is in knowing what it is you truly love. – Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy
Today is my dad’s birthday. He’s a classic!
Forever a collector~
Lover of books
Incurable love of dogs
Dad’s Valentine/Birthday dog he rescued a couple of years ago, a Schnoodle named Kona, has brought a whole new realm of friendships through the local dog park, which he visits more than once each day to let Kona play and to chat about life with other dog owners. He held a birthday party for her there last year (complete with dog treats and ice cream) and in a characteristic Dr. Dolittle move, blessed all the animals – including a parrot who showed up for the party and sat on the fence. This past week, he officiated at a dog park memorial for the unofficial mayor of the dog park and made the paper. Here he is, in true Felix fashion, officiating:
Have patience with everything that is unsolved in your heart and try to cherish the questions themselves. – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
In 2006 when I was going through a divorce, I did a lot of self-help reading as I climbed out of the rubble to begin a new life. Somewhere in all of those books, I came across a line that still causes me to stop and reflect: Trust is more important than love.
Apparently, several different authors have used the line, because it’s attributed to a list of names on a Google search. For nearly 20 years now, I have wondered about ways that the trust vs. love question could be true.
The Aha! moment came in a conference on building community partnerships that are categorized as connecting, cooperating, and collaborative. The speaker said, “Collaboration is built at the speed of trust.”
I’d never really considered the foundational position of the trust factor. A roof is as important as a foundation of a house, but without the foundation, the roof cannot stand. The Faith, Hope, and Love Bible verse tells us the greatest of these is love. I’ve returned again and again to this thought-gnawing statement about trust and love. But being the greatest, being the most important, and being the most foundational are pivotal superlatives.
So when the speaker explained the development of community partner relationships, the importance of trust became clear all at once. Trust is foundational. It happens first. It’s the prerequisite for relationships to grow. If there is ever a chance for love to bloom, it must first be rooted in trust.
No marriage, no friendship, no partnership will ever be anything more than a pet rock relationship without trust.
Finally. Finally, I have chewed long enough to reach the marrow of truth. I’ve grappled long enough to be satisfied that trust is more foundational than love, but that love is in fact the greatest of these. And that the importance of each may simply remain a matter of perspective.