My poem, “Love Remains” was written for a short film “Lake House 2” produced by Rugged Tribe Entertainment. Part of why I love to read is to be able to connect with the author and see what is inside their heart and mind. I thought it might be fun to decode the poem and let you know exactly what I was thinking and hoping to convey.
Since the 5th stanza is the conclusion and draws the poem together and to a close, I thought we would take a look at it.
Both life and death express the same
Sadness sings sweet refrain
But time and tide are never tame
I’m gone but love remains
Here’s what I was trying to say:
1.) Both life and death express the same
This line is peeling back the mystery of life and death. Life and death are the very same thing at their core. They are both movement and transition. They are both changing, forming and reforming. There is essentially no difference between the two.
2.) Sadness sings sweet refrain
Sadness does not seem to know or respect this reality. In poetry and music the term refrain means “a repeated line or number of lines typically at the end of each verse”. More than this, the term also means “to hold back or restrain or stop from doing something.” In this instance, the sadness fueled by grief does not see the truth of life and death.
3.) But time and tide are never tame
The “time” it takes to heal and the “tide” of emotion are two powerful forces of nature, and also completely out of human control. And ultimately, the revelation of truth is also out of our control. The griever cannot master time, tide, sadness, or revelation. It goes when it goes. We get it when we get it.
4.) I’m gone but love remains
This is the ultimate revelation that the physical form has left and is no longer visible, but the energy and power that is LOVE never goes away. Both energy and power are never created or destroy. They are both only revealed or transformed. The same is true for love.
Last week, a thumbnail for a featured YouTube video caught my eye. It was a picture of Hip Hop DJ/Vlogger Jay Smooth from Ill Doctrine and he had “the face”. I don’t know what else to call his facial expression but I promise you, if you have ever had to give someone “the face”, then you know what I mean.
The headline below the picture told the story of “the face”. It read, “Nancy Giles Awkwardly Assumes Black Radio Host is White (Video)”. I hear myself let out that audible sound that is half outrage and half exhaustion. It is the “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Damnit, Man!”
The incident in the video as well as the subject being discussed (Starbuck’s #RaceTogether campaign) were definitely worth of a post, but I did not feel I was the one to do it. Writer friend, Wendy Grossman is my objective source for asking the tough questions (without the undertones of ‘Damnit, Man!’ that kept popping up in my head). To read her post, click her site’s banner below. Comment and let her know what you think.
I appreciate what Starbucks is trying to do. I mean, at least they are doing SOMETHING! I can’t think of a single corporation who has even broached the subject – so kudos to you! But I don’t that this is the solution to starting a dialogue. I have visited Starbucks a few times. (Okay, more than a few, don’t judge me!) I seldom see people of color (not just Black Americans, but any ethnic group) in the restaurants. If I pick up my “Mucho Grande Deliciousness” from the counter and discover #RaceTogether on the side of my cup, I’m not going up to some random and starting that type of dialogue. For the record, I also would not walk up to a stranger and ask them to give me their candid views on money, politics, religion, same-sex marriage, etc.
As for penning a post to speak directly to Nancy Giles, I think Jay Smooth took care of that when he created this video. Take a look.
Throughout my 20s, I was “in da club.” (Pause – 15 second dance break as the 50 cent song plays your head. Go, Shawty! It’s your birthday!) I was young. I was single. I worked hard. I partied hard. That is what young people do, right? I was sowing wild oats or buying them or smoking them or something. I know that my 20s took ten years to get through, but literally I blinked and they were gone.
By the time I reached my 30s, I was making more money than ever had before and my career was beginning to really move. I had finally found my niche. I was on top of my game. Life was golden. I began building my life with and around people who had the same philosophy: “You work hard so you deserve to party hard.”
What a perfect cover for this budding alcoholic. Anytime I thought I had gone too far, I could point to some success in my life and say, “I get promoted every single year,” or “my bills are paid on time,” or “my credit score is 786,” or “I wear expensive clothes,” or “my boyfriend/husband is really good looking.” Alcoholics don’t have those things happen in their lives. They are messes. I am not a mess.
(Comparing and rationalization are an alcoholic’s best (deceitful) friend!)
As my 30s came to a close, I had a small child, a failing marriage and I was drinking every single day. Not much, but I had to drink something, every single day. It was no longer a choice. I had long come to the horrifying conclusion that I could not stop. And if I did stop, how was I ever going to face my life, or as I liked to call it, “Chernobyl”?
When you think of Chernobyl you think of the explosion at the nuclear power plant, right? Well, my life was living day by day in the mistakes, the failure of containment, the explosion, the fire, and the fallout, the damage to anyone exposed to the radiation, the painfully slow announcement, and equally sluggish evacuation.
One of the primary excuses I used for “self-containing” my problem was my child. I was deathly afraid that admitting I had a problem with alcohol would automatically forfeit my rights as a mother. Not legal rights (although a divorce was looming) but my right to ever be perceived as a “good mother”. Good mothers are not drunks! Drunks are not good mothers!
I am so bad.
I am so broken.
I am so disgusting.
Pour me… another drink.
But even in the haze of my disease, I loved my daughter above anything else in my life. Anything! I thank God for giving her to me because when I finally decided to get help, it was for her. It was ONLY because I did not want her to be raised in the house with a drunk. She deserved a mother who was sober, alive, engaged, devoted, safe, and helping her to become her biggest self.
In my recovery group, there is a saying. It goes, “First you come. Then you come to. Then you come to believe.” By the grace of God that is what happened to me. I came and started to get sober. I came to get the understanding that I was a sick person not a bad person. I came to believe that not only did my child deserve a mother who was sober, alive, engaged, devoted, and safe but I deserved those things from and for myself too!
Addiction – be it alcohol or shopping or sex or drugs or toxic relationships or food or whatever – does not mean you are a bad person. It means you need to learn a new way of being in the world. You are worthy of the help that is ready and waiting for you. We can walk the path to getting well together, one day at a time.
Don’t take my word for it. Here are some other voices sharing their experience, strength, & hope.
If you have any questions and do not want to comment below, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The topic listed for today was “Festivals” as in, what are you going to check out this summer. I don’t have any planned so instead I did the Day 10 topic on what is the one thing I would take to a desert island. (I’m a rebel, huh?)
Now… Stop Looking at Me and Go Write Something!