Bits and Pieces

“I did not trust it for a moment,  but I drank it anyway, the wine of my own poetry. It gave me the daring to take hold of the darkness and tear it down and cut it into little pieces.”

~Lad Ded quoted by Alan Larus

My writing arises from within. No monitoring of content. Whatever happens is not of my own doing. I wish I could see that clearly in other areas of my life. When I think I have failed and want to blame myself. When I feel unloved and want to draw love to me. Oh, yes, that is the way of the ego.

But when I write, I do cut the darkness into manageable bits and pieces. Otherwise the terror would overwhelm me. I wake up, having dreamt of Bob not being dead yet. I am angry with him for leaving me or I am jealous of another woman (death, perhaps?)

I murmur the Jesus prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy,” over and over. I surround myself with white light, for I do not have these dreams consciously.

My mental scissors go to work and I have the scraps laid out on the table to form an essay. “Laurie,” I say to my little girl in the hospital, “You are going to be with Jesus soon.” (I had been advised by her Sunday school teacher to prepare her for her death.) She looked at me in full silence, not happy with this bit of ironic good news. She died and I was left bereft. An unread newsletter.

Bob is dying and I am so tired, so weary of his long, slow departure that I begin numbing myself, constructing a wall of “No more, no more.” He looks at me with disgust, as if I had turned traitor on him. Not on him, on what was being asked of me. “Help him live until he dies and then pick yourself up and dust yourself off.” I did. He would be happy to know that. I am strong in the  midst of my neurosis.

I go for eight years without seeing my mother, who is in a nursing home in Pennsylvania. I see her once in that period. Eight months later she is dead of lung cancer. She never knew she had it. But she had a full life, almost eighty-eight years of it. I am glad I saw her before she left. And I go on.

My life is made of bits and pieces of darkness through which I see the light. You can feel the silence around the edges of my mosaic. I know you can.

More in my book,


  1. You wrote, “Help him live until he dies and then pick yourself up and
    dust yourself off.”

    What beautiful and courageous words. Your social anxiety has caused
    you to go inward. Your fear of what is out there has forced you to
    find the courage to know what is “in here.” It’s a gift disguised in a
    curse. I believe that no matter how outrageous it may seem, we choose
    our curses and our gifts before we are born. If we play our own games
    well, we will learn to understand how important our choices are for
    our own spiritual advancement, and for those who interact with us.

    What might happen if we were to say these same words, but insert the
    word, “yourself” instead of the word, “him” ? (Help yourself to live
    until you die.) I’ve oftentimes, after my lowest lows said these
    words to myself: “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all
    over again.” Now I would like to add, “Help yourself to live until
    you die.” I would say, “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and
    start all over again. Help yourself to live–to really live life to
    the fullest, until your body dies, and your soul goes back to the

    I believe that most of us have some sense of guilt for things that we
    feel we could have done differently or better. What if someone said
    to us, “You did all of those things perfectly, in order to benefit the
    spiritual advancement of all of the people who have interacted with
    you.” How would it make us feel if we really believed that these
    words are true? Instead of guilt, we would have faith.

    At those times when you thought that you had failed, in truth, you
    succeeded to propel yourself forward–to dig deeper–to find the
    little pieces that make you a very unique and valuable part of the
    mosaic that is life.


  2. What lovely words of wisdom you have written. Much to think about as I continue to
    put the mosaic together. Your words remind me of the phrase, All things work together for good.


Comments welcomed....