All Posts by Rebecca Townsend

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Shattered Pieces Sparkle

Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond ~ Mark Nepo

There are lessons learned, remembered, and hopefully even embraced, during the highs and the lows of life.  Many times the depth of the lesson doesn’t manifest until many years later following considerable reflection and humbleness.

We want our lives to sparkle, shine and illuminate like the beauty of a diamond.  Yet, reality is much simpler.  We are all broken pieces of glass, typically transparent with no distortion, unlike the many facets of a gorgeous diamond.  

We make mistakes, choices and decisions that may not appear complicated.  But, when those decisions involve our fellow journeyers with the concealed life experiences they carry, all bets are off.

We hurt people and people hurt us.  The interactions we share with others aren’t always energizing and uplifting.  

When our communications leave us drained and confused, it is likely we have been a witness to the person’s own pain and confusion - the burdens they are scarred with.  Scars they may have carried for so long, they are no longer recognized as once being a source of pain.    

We carry emotional wounds deep within ourselves because we likely learned early on they were the ugliest of wounds.  So, they go unattended for many years.

Then someone may enter our lives and we can’t pinpoint why or how, but it feels unsafe to be around them...uncomfortable and uneasy.  

This same phenomenon can happen in an opposite way.  You are attracted to someone - love being around them because they remind you of someone you admire and love.  They have qualities that put a spring in your step.

We all live amongst our own little diamonds and shattered pieces.  There is light and there is dark - in each of us.  We are complex beings.  So very intricate we often don’t know ourselves.  We don’t recognize our own scars, our own triggers or what we may need to heal and eventually sparkle as we were designed to do.

The sparkle is there.  Amongst the rubble of the pain, the sparkle is still there.

Honoring the Pain

All parts of the journey are sacred and holy.  Take time to honor the beginning ~ Melody Beattie

In January, we often take time to reflect on the previous year.  In taking a step back, I am now able to see the meaning in some of the madness, pain, disappointment, and poor choices.  I can also recognize the great opportunities, amazing experiences and beautiful people that have been part of my journey. 

I can’t look back at 2017 without contemplating previous years.  Who I am and who I am becoming is a chain reaction of my prior experiences.  The growth manifests if, and only if, I allow myself the time to reflect, contemplate, and explore the blood, sweat and tears with the same honor I recall the laughter, happiness and rejoicing.

To consider the emotional aches and discomfort of my past almost seems like self-inflicted torture of a CIA interrogation.  However, if I cannot make peace with these defeating times, whether they were of my own doing or the result of someone else’s emotional defense, how can I continue to be fruitful on this journey?

I cannot resist what is – what my past has been – the parts of me that are so very frail and incompetent…I must only breathe.  Breathe in these pieces of brokenness with respect and honor.  Breathe in with a belief that there is meaning in these moments of suffering.

Can I allow pain to be significant and soul-quenching?  Can I understand and accept the value, the richness and possible magnificence created through defeated devotion and ruptured relationships?

I bear witness to similar aches, hardships and shame that afflict my fellow journeyers.  In them, I see the Divine pushing the breath of healing and their strain to allow it to fill their cracks.  I fight that same breath of Divinity desiring to saturate my being.

Why do we fight this Gift?  The most sacred and holy Gift ever bestowed to us, we reject it when we need it the most.  Do we not recognize the Extraordinary because we have neglected it for so long?  

Have I avoided and dismissed the Divine in me because I have not honored every phase of this journey?

There is Holiness in every moment.  There is Goodness in each step.  Each juncture is Sacred.  The footing of such Divinity may not seem solid at this moment, but it is the foundation of who we are to become.  

2018 is a new opportunity to breath through the struggles and allow the Divine within ourselves room to grow.  Exhale the pain and inhale the Gift of Healing.

Never Lose Hope

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

I learned a long time ago if I had little to no expectations, the disappointment of not receiving what I hoped for wouldn’t be as painful.

I lost hope the Christmas I was in the 6th grade. I was one of those kids who would sneak and unwrap the gifts under the tree, carefully taping them back together after I had a peak of what was to be mine on Christmas morning. I lost hope the Christmas I was in the 6th grade. Serves me right, huh?

I had coveted a navy blue Izod sweater our adult neighbor didn’t just have the little alligator on the left side, it had this huge alligator in the entire center of the sweater, but it was woven into the sweater with no extra color - it was subtle yet Izod bold...I can still picture it on the neighbor.

It was a very unrealistic gift for a 12 year old whose parents always ensured a wonderful Christmas for their 4 daughters but were never overly indulgent.

Something inside believed that one of the boxes under the glowing tree was that sweater. I pulled out all the boxes with my name on the little tags...determined which few were the approximately weight of the Izod sweater and carefully untaped the end...just enough to push the box end down, touch and see the gift inside.

The first one - pink and flannel. The second one - corduroy and brown. The third one - jackpot! Navy and sweater. My heart leaped with joy! I really couldn’t believe it! My mom had been listening and she figured out a way to get that navy blue Izod sweater for me! Sweeeet!

Two mornings later, as I act surprised with the long flannel nightgown and the corduroy brown pants...I can barely contain myself when I get to the Izod sweater...I rip the paper and the box to proudly lift up - a navy crew sweater with my initials embroidered in kelly green across the center...WHAT?! Where is my Izod sweater?

There was never an Izod sweater under the tree. Rightly so, my parents would never have spent that kind of money on me for one sweater. But my hope was gone...I was disappointed and a bit jaded...

That’s a sad place to be for a 12 year old, a 25 year old, a 42 year old, a 68 year without hope is not living.

Having hope is the anticipation, the belief and expectation there is more to come...better ahead...dreams to come true...

In our world of times of pain and hardship, dreams and optimism, faith and aspirations are difficult to grab hold of...

The bleak and scary news blaring out of the TV and talk radio don’t lead to promises of optimism and brighter times ahead.

So where is this hope? The hope is in this season of Christmas...

Can you imagine the fear and doubt weighing so heavily on the young couple who were about to become the parents of the greatest package of Hope ever to be given?

This couple was likely shunned because of their circumstances...the young lady who had expectations of marrying her love in a celebrated ceremony was now riding on a donkey into a stable on the verge of giving birth...thinking of the confusion and apprehension they must have been experiencing causes me a bit of anxiety.

Yet, they believed. They trusted. They had hope.

We have a choice. Disappointment over material items or joy and peace with the gift of Hope selflessly given to us over 2000 years ago.

I choose Hope.

Believe. Create. Live.


You endure what is supposedly unbearable, and before you know it, you would have done the impossible by bearing the unbearable ~ Donovan Inniss

It is so much easier to stay stagnant.  Easier to live in the current status quo rather than to be uncomfortable, challenging yourself to grow.  Yet, we find ourselves complaining about where we are, what we do and what we don’t have.

Most of us desire to live our lives more fully - whether that is in a different profession, in a meaningful relationship, or in a deeper relationship with the Divine. 

These advancements in our quality of life require more than words.  Speaking our desires is an excellent beginning - words are only the initial fertilizer of growth. 

There is a requirement of action to push us out of the settling cement of sameness.  Persistent action.  Repetitive effort.

But we are so easily discouraged with one failed attempt, surrendering dreams with no plan of attack on the naysayers who kill the desire...the desire which was lovingly gifted to you by the Divine. 

Lately, I’ve been studying persistence and I am reminded of almost 30 years ago when I learned to walk for the second time in my life. 

After a tragic car accident left my pelvis shattered and hip fractured, I laid in traction in a hospital bed for three months - my feet never touched the ground in those 90 days.

I was transported to doctors’ appointments via ambulance because of my confinement to the bed.  This was in 1988 and apparently, my orthopedic specialist believed in human persistence more than physical therapy. 

In what would be my last visit to his office in my ambulance limo ride, he told me and my mother that when I returned home, I needed to get up and start walking.  When I came back in a month, he expected to see me walking in alone.  Those were his only words.  He did not give me a wheelchair, a walker or even a cane.

I clearly recall the 35-minute ambulance ride home.  My mom and I decided we would need to wait for my dad to get home.  The EMT in the ambulance suggested a walker might be helpful and that we would need to move slowly sitting up and hanging my feet off the bed.

After lying in bed for 3 months, with no large muscle movement, no physical therapy, and no type of exercise, my muscles had atrophied - they were small and weak.  And I couldn’t even imagine how I was going to lift my body out of the structure I had been restricted to for so long. 

While my mom and I waited for my dad, we strategized.  She moved a chair as close to the bed as possible.  We thought sitting up with no support would be the first challenge - and it was.  I was overcome with light-headedness but persisted until it passed.

When my dad came home that afternoon, he stood on one side and my mom on the other - each holding a forearm.  My feet, initially tingling from the touch of my weight on the carpet, quickly began to burn and my parents sat me in the chair my mom had strategically placed. 

I remember feeling exhausted after the quick pivot from the bed that had imprisoned me to the blue chair which I saw as my first step of freedom.

With assistance, I moved between the two pieces of furniture for a couple of days.  The first day I attempted to walk farther, I realized my weakness and, just as an infant learning to walk, I had to revert to a crawl.  I'm not sure what it was like for my parents to see their 17-year-old daughter crawling, on hands and knees to get around the home she had learned to walk in 15 years before. 

It didn’t phase me then.  I never thought about what I looked like - I was purely determined to be independent and walking, just as I was 3 months earlier. 

Just as a toddler, I went from crawling to walking with support.  I used a walker for a couple of weeks and then a cane.  I would tire easily and my parents would want me to rest, fearful I would fall in my weariness.   I wouldn’t stop.  I was persistent. 

I am persistent. 

When I begin to feel overwhelmed by the dreams and goals I’ve been blessed with, I remember I am still that same 17 year old - determined...persistent...tenacious. 

Some days, I may feel as though I am crawling through the weeds growing around the dreams Divinely planted, but I am on my way to standing tall to decipher what needs to be cut down and what shall be left to grow. 

Some call it hard-headedness.  I call it Persistence. 

Believe. Create. Live.

© 2017 Rebecca G. Townsend

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