The Sheltered Side

June 26, 2016


 We run through life with our hearts in our hands. We look for places to stop and rest. Places where we can set down our loads and step out of the icy blasts or scorching heat.

               Where can we say whatever is on our minds without the threat of rejection or censorship?

               Is there even a single person who understands us and this load we can't let go of?

               I believe that our story and our journey are sacred. We need to be seen and heard. This is a universal need. But it is almost impossible to find a safe person who won't use our pain or censor it.

               We don't need to be told what to think or what to feel. We have had enough of that already and it has crippled us. We've had years of trying to measure up and trying to do the right thing but it hasn't relieved us of our burden!

               I think most of us would run to a safe house if we could find one! We'd knock on the door and rush in to sit in the den where a welcoming heart waited to hear us out. We'd gladly retire to the well-appointed guest room and take the load off our travel-weary feet. We'd take a nap before the evening meal and not have to feel one bit guilty! We'd let someone else take care of us for a change!

               Does such a place exist? Can we find a sheltered side away from the blasts and assaults?

               I believe that if we can find a person who has travelled a long way on a road of suffering and who has come to some healing places of their own, we can sit with that person for a while and find companionship that will provide us with some comfort and rest for our souls.

               I invite you to sit with me for a while on the sheltered side. I am a 57 year old woman, married for 37 years with three sons and three grandsons. My journey has been a difficult one through many different kinds of suffering. I am a woman of faith but that faith has been severely tested in several ways. So I have learned to accept questions and doubts, both my own and others'. I have learned that life does not fit neatly into boxes, and that platitudes are some of the cruellest arrows with which we can shoot each other! The nicest people can hurt us the most, and have.

               If you have been wounded by life, including by some of those nice people who can't seem to let you have your questions and doubts, then accept this welcome to the sheltered side.


               Here are two poems, from my heart to yours:



               Out there


               At the Club

               Guard the door:

               With the answers

               With the keys

               With their knives

               To cut off

               Anything that curves

               Outside the box-

               Trimming pain

               Taming life

               Quickly sopping

               Shuttling away all



               But here

               No straight edges

               In our circle so

               Keepers at the door:

               Don't have answers

               Don't have keys

               Don't have knives

               To cut

               The curling pain

               Or tame

               Unruly life

               To fit

               In any box

               There are no





               This place is not the Club

                              where some are in

                                             and some are not-

                              where lists are kept

                                             and hearts are not


               This place is not the Club

                              where sins are counted

                                             and sinners do not-

                              where holiness is foremost

                                             and kindness is not


               This place is not the Club

                              where pain is buried

                                             and hatchets are not-

                              where judgment is guaranteed

                                             and acceptance is not


               This place is not the Club

                              where doubts are questioned

                                             and answers are not-

                              where pretenders are winners

                                             and strugglers are not


               This place is safe

                              for conversation

                                             that spills the heart-

                                                            where others will catch

                                                                           you when you fall


               This place is open

                              for anyone

                                             who needs to belong-

                                                            where no one will judge

                                                                           you when you fall


               This place is sacred

                              for journeying

                                             that savours all the flavours-

                                                            where every grace is given

                                                                           you when you fall


               This place is powerful

                              for healing

                                             that follows borrowed hope-

                                                            where every strength is lent

                                                                           you when you fall


               This place is not the Club

                              for separating

                                             who belongs and who does not-

                                                            where acceptance is denied

                                                                           you when you fall


               This place is not the Club


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