Tag Archives: recovery

the archaeology of a soul

Age is wearing me well in some spots.

I know I’m harder in some ways and softer in others—hopefully in the right degrees and measures. Some days I just don’t know….so much about who I’m supposed to be or be like remains a mystery.

I’ve learned to live with the gaps.

It doesn’t happen every day yet, it happens often enough that it’s become familiar.  When I discover I’m biting my lip and holding my breath just a little as I stare down at a new-to-me piece of uncharted territory. It needs to be reclaimed and I know I’m going to have to work it.

Remove the boulders and stumbling blocks.
Sort and set the boundaries.

This digging uncovers more of the“bones” and pottery fragments of my life.. broken places and pieces that look scattered and meaningless on the surface,  until I give them to God. He washes them and shows me how they can fit together. Shows me how, although they’re chipped and cracked, they’re still beautiful, valuable and good.

It’s the archaeology and uncovering of my soul. It’s the necessary, healing work of taking up these pieces and fragments of me and somehow finding a way to fit them together to form a storyline and sense of civilization— a place to stand and work from.

It’s this now.

the archaeology of a soul

These pieces of my story are jagged and rough. No matter how many times they’ve rolled around in my head and bump up against my heart over the years, there’s always a sharp edge that catches, snags and cuts just a little.   Today is no different but it’s a welcome wounding…. an offering.


There was a time I spoke like a child, acted like a child, thought and trusted like a child because heck— I was a child. Some said I was an “old soul” but nothing prepares a soul— young or old— for the crushing weight upon it’s innocence. Somehow, I’d entered into the presence of evil often found in those classic fairy tales.

Wicked witches and demonic spells.
An evil stepmother and a weak, unwilling to fight, father figure.
Starvation and sordid assaults upon my body and mind that even the Brother’s Grimm shied away from.

And I will too.

Because these pieces hold only part of the story and are not the sum total of who I am or want to be about. To camp out here is to miss the point of why my story matters at all. And it does matter…the whole story matters because it’s a story of wholeness— pieces made whole.

****************************************** Let me tell you more…

forever and a day

It could have been yesterday.

Hot …. humid… a day scorched around it’s edges by a punishing almost-summer sun.  It was a long hot day and I was so lonely.    I remember that well.

The weight of my twenty years hung heavy around my shoulders. Only two months of space separated me from the dirt and dysfunction of a disastrous and abusive 3-year relationship.

Even then I recognized how close I came to becoming a statistic.

Finally on my own with a place to call home—or at least where I could turn the key in a lock without fear,  I was just beginning to detox from all those years of lying… and laying with a proverbial devil. By this time, I was experiencing something close to the emotional “DT’s”— anxiety, uncertainty and doubt plagued my waking hours and strangely quiet moments.

Chaos… is bad and yet strangely comforting in it’s predictability. To those unfamiliar with it,  sometimes silence feels deadly.    It did that night.


Although we spoke to one another regularly, I felt so far from God. It was as if I was making a collect call to Him every time… hoping He’d accept and always surprised when He did.    He was still very near to me though. How near would take me many, many more years to discover and still more years to embrace.

I had a long way to go to before I’d discover who God really is and at this point in my life I’d long forgotten who I was. Maybe I’d never known at all. It was time to find out.

By the time I’d gathered up enough courage to pack up my 70 Dodge Dart and drive away from hell,  I knew only that life *could* be better and I was allowed to start over.


But that night, I was tired. The deep kind of tired that comes from fighting to get to the other side. The kind of tired that almost makes you forget what you were fighting for.. give up and halfway wonder if it might have been better to stay in “Egypt”…..

And lonely.

forever and a day

All those years of forced-chosen-forced isolation not only left me with little self-respect but, no real friends. One or two hung about the fringes of my life and maybe one would actually answer the phone on a night like this.     Maybe.

One ring.
Two….. three…
On the fourth an unfamiliar voice chirps:

“Widespread Panic Hotline!
We are open for your requests now!!”

HUH?!?!  Checking the number…yes… it was correct and I hear my friend laughing in the background as this crazy…. happy person proceeds to draw me into conversation.

I can’t remember he said.   I just remember how he said it.

He was…. funny.
Stupid funny.
A complete stranger and yet…  not.

My friend got on the line and I heard the words “party”, “come”, “tonight” and before I knew it, I was hanging up to get ready to drive somewhere I’d never been before. Taking another wild chance, on my own.

Funny how your mind works because I was intrigued and excited and scared out of my wits all at the same time. The freedom I felt was intoxicating and yet foreign and  I had to keep telling myself that this was “normal”… people socialize all the time.. yes, it was good to go.

Stepping out the door into the hazy gray softness of twilight, the heat of the day still radiating from the pavement,  I clearly remember  glancing at the sky and catching sight of the moon—round and full of promise.

Suddenly, I felt like that moon:
fat and hopeful,
bright and courageous.

The Honey Moon

And God as my witness, I looked straight into the face of that laughing moon and I knew it.
I felt it…. and  I said it out loud:

“Tonight I will meet the man I’m going to marry.”
I meant it.
And I did.
June 16, 1989.
Twenty five years ago today.

Five months later we’d stand together before a JP and a handful of family and friends and swear we’d do whatever it was we were supposed to do from that point on…. forever.

Like we knew what forever meant!  Lawd….. at that moment, forever was the furthest thing from our minds and yet, when it was all over, there we were— married and our forever had begun.

You know, some people think forever is a long time…. as if it’s a long way off or someplace you get to eventually  or achieve.   I disagree.

Forever is actually…. always…  right now.  It’s always today and each day the choice is made to keep on going within it.

Today, June 16, 2014  is  a piece of my forever….what we like to call our “Little Anniversary”, the anniversary of the day we met. It means more than the day we married.

For both of us, it was a life altering moment.

For me in particular,  it was a shot in the dark… aiming at a minuscule glimmer of hope on the horizon. A moment of near-blind faith and trusting in what little I knew of God to be true…that good was still possible…and still out there somewhere,   for me.

Trusting I had not been abandoned without hope.


And people…. I KNOW…. the struggle is real.

I don’t care where you come from or how long you’ve known each other or were engaged, I’m convinced that no two people come to this place without a lot of wreckage in their wake.  There’s a lot of necessary casting off and taking on. There’s a lot of death and dying to self along the way…and many, many moments of resurrection.

I’m humbled by the realization that there was a time in our recent history when we came
—> this<— close to losing it all and not making it to this day.

When the deep wounds of our pasts would find their way to the surfaces of our individual lives and threatened to poison and kill our marriage.
When there was nothing left to do but slice ourselves open and deal with it all.
When all we could do is  trust and allow God to cleanse,  purify and heal these hurt places in us once and for all.

Painful stuff.

Hard and yet so necessary….

and so beautiful.

Long Term Marriage

Twenty-five years… of coming  so close to becoming a statistic.… and choosing  instead to  listen beyond the noise of the waves crashing on the breakers and fight our way out into the calm of wide-open seas.

Only because we did…. with God’s help…. can we celebrate the gift of our lives together — every day that’s passed between then and now and every day we’ll share from this day forward … forever.

Because forever isn’t far away…. it’s  today.  

Because maybe you need to hear this:  there’s still hope. Keep fighting for it.

It’s worth the struggle…and today, it’s what I know.

I am blessed and grateful beyond measure.

fighting the good fight,Lorretta signature