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Fat look me make this does?

I feel fat, Candy said.

I can’t even stand on my legs, so heavy I feel, Candy said.

Especially my tummy.For a couple of months now.

And lately this little flap hurts.Whut?! There is something inside of this flap, Pota!

Huh? What is this.. fatness came out of me? It looks like me, and I feel fat, so this must be a part of me, I call it fat.

How could we explain the concept of birth to a sheep who even doesn’t understand that the way she perceives herself is not conform reality? But we also couldn’t let this little new born sheepy carry a label that would forever be heavier than the implication itself.

So we just told Candy a couple of unrelated things. The first thing we said was that she was not fat. The second thing we said wat that this is a little sheepy, in her image.

She’s cute! Candy exclaimed. I hope she stays around, because I like her.

And when the little sheep heard her mother’s words, she tried mimicking her mother’s behavior, by waving. Her first steps made her mother so proud. In seeing the little sheepies’ walking, her mother saw an inquisitiveness that she recognized as her own.This definitely is a sheep made in my image, Candy said, and she doesn’t look fat at all!

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Confessing boundaries

Pota, teach me about boundaries. Let me be you.

So we showed James a little bit of ourselves. We let him feel our boundaries. And since skin is the first visible boundary, we got skin to skin with James.

It was too much for him, because the boundaries we showed him were confusing. His skin left him and James fell over.

When we tried comforting him, James said anew: teach me again, I want to learn.

‘I think this is my task,’ confession sheep said. Had he been sitting there all along? Why didn’t we notice him earlier?

‘Boundaries have to do with knowing who you are’, confession sheep said to James.

‘Let me use an example’, confession sheep said, ‘since I know that you learn through experience.’

Confession sheep got hold of a couple of colored thingies, James saw. By the looks of it, all the colored square thingies all in some shade of green-blue-ishness.

‘Let me grab hold of these squares’, confession sheep said. ‘For argumäh’s sake, let’s pretend they are not thingies, but let’s call them words and behaviors and preferences and likes and desires and wants and talents and strings of thought.’

‘Now, bare with me as I will hold a monologue’, confession sheep said.

‘The exerted wishes that should never have been confessed found their freedom when he entered my door.’

‘Stacks of tears where we should have left it right. The burial of all those times looking back was suffocatingly strong. Stronger than life perhaps.’

‘You too by the way, bare with me during the monologue.. ‘ ‘Let me adore you, kiss your feet, lick the salt off of you, clean your fur, make you glisten like that seal I once saved.’

‘I like hearing what I whisper in your ear, I make you mine all the time.’

‘Okay’, confession sheep said. ‘Done. How do you feel?’

James didn’t know what to say. He felt covered with sticky things even though confession sheep ushered him to consider them as feelings and choices and talents and so forth. He felt dirty. He hadn’t understood one word of what confession sheep had been saying either.

‘I know you feel dirty,’ confession sheep said. ‘Now tell me what you want to do.’

‘I feel covered in sticky square thingies,’ James bleated, ‘even though you said I had to consider them as feelings, attitudes, likes, dislikes, and so. They are just so sticky that they can’t even make my skin crawl, because they’re sticking so tight to me!

‘I want them off of me‘, James said.

The more James tried peeling everything away, the more the sticky things stuck together.

He almost fell over, again!

‘You got this’, confession sheep said. ‘Trust my words.’

And because James trusted confession sheep, he let himself fall over. He almost disappeared behind the wall of sticky things. ‘This doesn’t belong to me, get it off of me’, he said.’

‘I will’, confession sheep said.

And he leaned in..

.. and with one paw attached himself to what was bothering James so much.

.. and took it away.

Woah‘, James said when he saw confession sheep, ‘it is beautiful! It is just absolutely beautiful! What a sparkling personality you got going for yourself, what funny thoughts you secretly entertain, what interesting dislikes you hide from me, oh how your desire to be your true self matches who you actually are, I like your attitude about life and relationsheeps,..’ James almost couldn’t stop seeing confession sheep for who he really was.

‘This is a part of me, of my personality, of who I am. What felt like sticky square thingies for you, was me forcing myself on you,’ confession sheep said. ‘I had no regard for your boundaries and just marched right in, as if someone had never even got to thinking about buying wood for building a fence for the meadow he placed you in.’

So‘, James said, ‘what I am looking at is all you and not me?’

‘Yes’, confession sheep said. ‘That’s why it felt uncomfortable for you. The added difference is that I have a coat of many colors and I can have these shades of green-and-blue but also of purple and yellow, or white and orange, depending on the sheep or the situation. You, on the other hand, are James and there is only one true you, and if you discover your color, you will immediately notice that it doesn’t feel like sticky things, it will feel like home. It doesn’t look like a square, it will look like you. There will arise a serene settledness in your soul that starts to sing a tune that you only can hear. It will be a life-giving perpetuation of continuing to grow to become that true you. It will have the color and the shape of who you truly are.’

‘Ah yes’, confession sheep sighed confirmingly, ‘it will look something like the color and shape of your herder.’

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The transfer of hurt

When you have twins, you know: they don’t look alike AT ALL. The more you look at them, the more dissilimar they become.

It’s exactly the same with other brothers and sisters, you just don’t know where to start pointing out their uniqueness, just look at them, how can you NOT tell these apart? The only thing they have in common, is that they are both called twins (and Jomo).

And even though we have no probem keeping them apart, that’s just something descriptional, and therefore superfical, because these two, by the heart, are conjoined.

We said heart, you guys.. Not hands or ears.

But it’s true. Because they were wombed together, they have breathed in the same love that was flowing at that time, a love that doesn’t get divided into two just because two sheep are using it for their breath of life, the same way water doesn’t leave a dimple when you put your thumb in it (or a thimple when you put your dumb in it, but no sheep ever tried that). We tried asking how this works for sheep, what it looks like to have this connection.

I’ll show you, Jomo said. It works like this, it has to do with getting to the other side.

The other side of everything, I mean, the other side of an experience, of emotions, but especially the other side of twin. And since there is no easy route, nor in life, or just because this picture frame is too small..

.. I’ll just do it like this. He doesn’t mind getting my hoof against his ear. Promise.

Not coincidentally the twins did some weird pose after Jomo got onto the other side. Not sure if it was to confuse us as to who’s who, or if they wanted to callibrate. They always do this at least once when they get together, a special scent comes off of them if we were to describe their position in food form. Brisket-from-Lockhart-Smokehouse-in-Dallas-scent.

Done! Jomo said. Let me explain why I showed you this: we have been tumbling over oneanother in the womb so often and so intensly that there were times we didn’t know who existed in relation to whom. Sometimes it was me who had sadness inside, but then I tasted salty tears against my face, which was outside of me. How can inner sadness be felt outside of me, I thought. It wasn’t untill I saw him crying that I knew it was me.

So what we started doing was mimic eachother, to find out what belonged to whom. Or.. it’s actually pronounced mähmäh, you humans got the term ‘mama’ from this.

I love you by the way, Jomo.
I love you too by the way, Jomo.

What we also sometimes do, when we don’t want to stumble over each other, is sit back to back. This way our hearts can connect without our mouths being closer to each other. And then we just sit. And be.

Oh, and can I show you a third way of connecting?

I just love giving messages. Mähssages? Massages? I don’t care what they are called. In massaging we send messages. Again, no talking is involved, there is so much power in shushing. As a mäh of fact, if you want, we can give you a list of certain feelings that will thrive better when they shush. Not everything needs to be poured into words, the same way carrying water is better done in your belly than outside of it. Leave certain drops inside. I will stir you and mix it with more of me. Even alcohol can’t be consumed pure.

And there it was again, the callibrating posing. To shake things off, because sometimes things that are said can be so heavy that they confront, instead of connect.

So, that’s how we do things in our twinness. In my hurt he can find his. And when hurt is found, comfort is shared.

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For sale: sheep art

For this wonderful year the flock decided to something sheepish again. After our sheep calendars from 2013 to 2018 and our hand made crochet sheep in 2015 the flock came up with a third way to put a smile on your face.

As every sheep is unique, every painting will be unique. Every breath you take is a breath you can’t ever untake, the same a brush stroke will be fixed on canvas. Besides, the longer you look in the mirror, the more you see about yourself!

You can sent this canvas as a birthday gift. Or, as sheep say: happy birthmäh.

Happy birthmäh!

If there is one resolution you can still make for this year, decide to spread sheep love! Because sheep are for life.

And if you don’t know anyone who’se birthmäh is coming up, we also have paintings without ’em.

Or maybe you have your own message that you would see written on your canvas? Let us know!

Details: 5 euro – Paypal – No profit – International shipment

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Ready, set.. draw!

If there is one thing you need to know about sheep, is that they love receiving parcels. A couple of years ago they heard Will Smith sing something like “getting sticky with it” and so they adopted this as their life song. For sheep, parcels consist of a couple of things: the waiting for the arrival, the actual seeing of the box, and before they see the inside of the box.. there is.. 

..the sticky things that always surround the box. They have fun connecting to the parcel like this and find it strange that a parcel can’t hold itself closed.. Their reasoning is: if we can keep our mouth closed ourselves, why can’t a box do the same? 

‘What is in here?’

‘Whoops.’

Dreamsheep tried stepping in as quick as she could, but then saw that baby sheep was okay.

‘I think Pota bought us a gift‘, dreamsheep said. It looks like tiny white paintings for us to look at, and pose with, that’s just wonderful!’ It sure was nice to look at the painting, but after a couple of seconds the niceness wore off. Normally paintings aren’t white, she reasoned, unless the painter used that color on his canvas; this canvas wasn’t painted on, it looked eh.. virgin-like? What’s the name for an absent color? ‘I think I know what to do with this,’ baby sheep bleated in full arousement.

 ‘Let me draw a sheep on it, Pota, so that not we but other people can look at it, for enjoyment, our enjoyment will be in the painting then, and I am sure that our paintings will go over the whole world.’

And it was decided it would be so.

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Under cover

MacDreamy had always lived up to his name. Sleeping, dreaming. But he also always needed us to cover him. Or, how he prefered to put it: to cover for him, during his away time. But whoever invents language has the freedom to use it however they want, so covering for him looked like covering him, or more specifically his eyes, that is.

He just couldn’t sleep when his eyes weren’t covered, and it pained us to see how he kept doing it himself.

Or tried using his cap.

He was so used to holding his cap, that he forgot to let it go when he woke up.

Hey you, shall we try something new? Something that may help your eyes relax a little more during the evening? So that you don’t have to keep them covered all the time?

We gave McDreamy some glasses. In doing so, we hoped that he would start to see the difference between night and day, and teach his eyes to be awake during day time and sleep during the night. 

Oh, how he looked like a smart-mäh now, he thought!

His ears were coming out way better with these glasses on, he thought.

Even posing looked way more intellectual than usual, he thought.Dancing was with way more swag.. Even that forbidden move that he once saw Enrique Iglesimäh once do..

Yep. That one.But then all of a sudden MacDreamy lost his balance.

And not only he fell..

But his glasses fell too.

I think you made your point Pota, he said, I don’t think it has anything to do with me seeing the difference between day and night, because I know that during the day it’s light and during the night it’s dark. I see now that light time is an invitation to have more fun, this way I will be sleepy when I go to bed and my eyes will fall asleep with me!

He understood correctly.

I am so excited about tonight now! MacDreamy said. For I know that you don’t have to cover for me.

We were so proud of his growth. So proud.

Pota, I know you don’t have to cover for me any more..

But maybe you will stay anyway.. to cover under me?

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Already told

She already knew.

She knew that when you turn a biggy bank upside down, money comes out.

She already tried.

By turning herself upside down.

To see..

How much money would come out of her.

But she heard that this doesn’t count for sheep.

And she knew..

She was worth much more than money.

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Apple pi

‘I am hungry,’ Sheebo said. ‘I can hear my tummy complaining.’ ‘If I could measure how much my tummy complains, it would be the equivalent of the amount of seconds I can sit in this uncomfortable and unmanly position. And when sheep are hungry, you feed. So we fed. ‘Jaaaay, wrapping paper!’ Sheebo bleated in excitement. ‘Wrapping, dapping, frapping, zapping, bapping, lapping paper, laper, zaper, daper, fraper, wrapping paper, just jaaaaaay.’ Eh.. you were hungry, remember? Ah yes, he was. ‘Pssst.. Sheebo.. I know this looks like a silver dress, but I wore a thing like this yesterday and that didn’t work out all to well, just so you know.. First of all it was way to small for me, and besides, male sheep don’t wear dresses..’  ‘James wore a dress yesterday‘ Sheebo giggled silently. ‘I wonder if Pota made a picture of that as evidence in case someday he’s gonna deny what he just admitted to me in my ear, on camera.’  ‘He can wear these matching ear rings then too.’ And again Sheebo forgot about his hunger. And fashioned himself a second pair of ear rings for James to wear. ‘Look Pota, if James puts these up his ear like this, he will be the most shimmering sheep ever, being all silver like this!’ But as soon as Sheebo stood up, the ear rings fell off. So that didn’t work out all to well. Looks more like silver foot balls to me,’ James said. ‘And if we press them together, we have one bigger ball. Shall we play?’ Hey Pota, wanna play some foot ball with us?’ – So you forgot about your hunger again huh, and forgot all about that apple pie? Did somesheep say apple pie?!’    

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Grass grazing

I am ready’, James said.

‘Can’t get more ready than this, whatcha got for me, Pota? What are we gonna write about?’

We said nothing. We just gave James this. And we decided that this would be the focus of the story. A home grown, heart loved, lemon seed plant, grown from lemon seed, now celebrating its 290th day being with us, wrapped in aluminium foil to prevent possible cold streams of wind hugging the plant more than we do every day.

James was curious. He used his senses to make eh.. ‘sense’ of this. But as hard as he tried, his senses gave him no useful information. No smell came off of the plant. His nose didn’t itch, nor did his nose get excited, or runny. His nose stayed just that: a nose. He didn’t feel anything that he could understand. He just saw green, but it didn’t look like the grass he was used to; that was all he could determine. ‘Definitely not grass,‘ he said. But when did a green thing ever get the name ‘definitely not grass’?

And there was more James could say about the ‘definitely not grass’. It was hugely in the way! It was so big that James couldn’t even look over it! So he scooched over one inch so that we had one sheep eye ask us: what is it?

But since eyes can’t really talk, we pretended we didn’t hear anything. Besides, we promised at the beginning to say nothing. There is such beauty in self-discovery. Just put an object in the near vicinity of a sheep and just kick back, sit back, and observe what happens. Sheep love this game, even though they will never admit to that. If you go along with it, you got yourself a lovely Sunday afternoon. All you need, is a sheep and an object.

(.. and lots of patience)
((.. and a camera if you later want to testify about what you saw))

So James started his investigation. Since his five senses hadn’t given him the information he needed to decide what his relationship with this thing should be, – and as a sheep it is just unthinkable to NOT relate to something outside of you – he decided another method of information gathering: peeling.

‘I am going to take this silver wool off first’, James said. He remembered a really old sheep, back in the days, whose wool had grown so thick, that he was hardly recognizable any more. It was just one big ball of grey-ish blob-ness, like the mud covered tennisballs he sometimes saw lying in the water. But he also heard somesheep say that the blob-ness was a factual sheep, with just way too much wool. And once the sheep got undressed – or shaven as humans like calling it – everysheep tore up their tears and welcomed him back in the flock.

Wowie! Woah, look at the shimmering of this wool, this is just amähzing!
James was so excited that he almost forgot to use his senses again. There is a sheep rule in investigation.
1) use your five senses and if that doesn’t work,
2) peel.

But James forgot this: ‘when peeling, use your five senses again, because you stumble upon new information.’

The silver wool didn’t smell of anything. The silver wool did feel different, though. ‘Definitely not wool’, James concluded. ‘And the sound it makes, Pota, did you hear the sound of this thing? It’s as loud as the amount of wrinkles I see and the more I touch it, the more it cracks, in appearance and volume!’

‘If it wasn’t so loud, I would think it’s a hat, but since you wear hats so close to your ears, hats need to be silent.’

And it definitely is not a dress.. Or.. well.. not my size anyway.’

Sheep shouldn’t wear dresses, and not to confuse him much more, we decided to take it away.

Not to his amusement by the way.

Immediately James hid. We got a tiny flashback of a glimpse into the garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve hid behind a fig leaf and later -with fig leaf ‘n’ all – hid behind a tree. Was a sheep there too, hiding behind something that was ‘definitely not grass’?

But one side of love is that you wish the other to grow. And the herder decides the time. This was the time. We wanted to teach James a third rule of investigation. When senses don’t give you information, and peeling has reached its limits, there is a third technique: removal. Where peeling is the removal of ‘things that surround the thing’, removal is the removal of things ‘away from you.’ Usually this is the task of the herder.

And you see that this is the task of the herder, because when you do a removal, sheep can get upset and you have be strong to not get swept away by their emotion. Sheep don’t have the concept of the truth surrounding time and when they are stressed, they fall back to rule one: use their senses. And since James didn’t hear his silver robe crisping, nor see the ‘definitely not grass’ any more, he didn’t know what to do. But he will be okay, we know our flock.

‘I.. remember.. this..’ James uttered, while swallowing his sobbing. ‘It looks like the saucer from 290 days ago, when I saw a very tiny lemon seed being wombed in warm and wet paper towels.’

You planted a lemon seed then, Pota! A lemon seed on this saucer! How is the lemon seed doing?’

Can I see the lemon seed? Can I?

And then it was time for undoing the removal.

We answered James’ question with a yes. Yes you can see the lemon seed. This is what growth looks like, we said. Growth can be so incredibly complex that you don’t always recognize the familiarity between two subsequent stages, not by your own effort anyway. And if sheep don’t trust the words of a herder, they won’t believe you, they would keep calling things what it is ‘definitely not’. But when trust grows, just like a seed, it turns into proportions that are hard to contain and you start believing what you hear. And when you hear the herder say that this is the lemon seed, you ‘see’ the lemon seed, or.. what it has grown into.

‘I now know what this is! It’s a lemon seed in a different stage of aging! And I was right, Pota, it’s definitely not grass!’

 

 

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That day

‘I wish, I wish’, grey sheepy said.

I wish there was a time.’

‘That day that makes my wish to come.’

My wish that she was mine.’

‘Without her I am nothing but..’

‘..but nothing but a sheep.’

My arms long so to hold her close.’

‘When she is mine to keep.’

‘That day, I know, can only come..’

‘When light shines all around.’

‘Let there then be light, I guess.

‘And my help meet found.’

When sheep go basking in a wish..

..they turn quick to their side.

Because they know a wish can come..

..more quickly during night..

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Collaboration existence

If the bigger sheep ever do decide to print that Sheeptionary, there definitely would be an extended section in the back, providing a valid verbal elaboration on why existing sheepish terms, verbs, utterings, bleatings, musings (mähsings), expressions and sayings don’t cut it. There would be an expansion on terms such as ‘bunch’.

Sheep somehow don’t like that word, they don’t like using it, they don’t like hearing it and they have always wondered who came up with the idea to end a word with three consonants anyway. Well.. they should abolish the word ‘consonants’ then as well, but okay..

Somehow they can’t find a peaceful coexistence with bunch-synonyms such as plenty, many, loads, oceans, lashings, bazillions, heaps, oodles, numerous or stacks. So to start commenting on a picture saying it’s been  bunchyears ago that we wrote sheep stories is probably not the way to get sheep to open up. And looking back at the usage of the oh so dreaded word in the previous sentence, we see why in the Sheeptionary the word bunch should perhaps be banned alltogether. It just doesn’t seem to fit. And when something doesn’t fit, sheep hide. (Sheep don’t like being introduced anyway. So they hide a little behind their dislikes. But they tend to do that in brackets)

And they also don’t like being exposed for the fact that they hide behind their dislikes to make a big a deal about being introduced when they don’t really like that.

‘Hey Pota.. you said hide. You should have said I hide a little! I don’t hide a bunch, as you know, I hide a teeny-weeny, you know, let’s call it miniature concealment, minuscule camouflaging, small-scale covering.’

Ah yes, if synonyms would ever become sheep, James would date all of them. He would even search for a synonym of the word synonym, so he could expand his experiential romance not only in depth, but also in width. If there just isn’t a word that ever fully envelops him, how can a single sheep be his mate?

He would multiply himself. Because in multiplication there would be an eternal amount of possibilities to rephrase what he was doing, as if he were a picture-in-a-picture-in-a-scarf-in-a-picture.

He would fold out the book that was designed to keep him alive, that was written to keep him upright, that was read to understand him and he would crack it to a stretch so painful, that the words would not only become deeper and wider, but also lengthened in time and therefore usage.

‘Pota forgot to say little..’

Hey you, stop pouting. I am not perfect. Yes, I forgot to say little, but I got your attention by calling you out of your hiding, didn’t I? And who was on stage.. all..this..time..talking?

‘Me..’

‘You’re right Pota, it’s that moment of uncovering that gives light to the best conversations between us. So glad that your scarf has inhumane dimensions, so that I can dive into all these possibilities of coming out.. ehh.. appearing again, to have these peach colored freshness driping from both of our cheeks. Especially the increasing intertwining excites me, not knowing who’s who anymore, you or me.’

Pota, to be honest, I missed it..’

A little?

A bunch..’

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when sheep speak – heated arguments

If sheep speak, what would they say?

If they make a sound, what does it sound like?

If they bleat, is it audible?

If they make themselves known, is that way between comprehension brackets?

If they are alive, when then was I actually born?

If they have a voice, who then has ears to listen?

If they write, where then is the book? Would it be history? Would it distance their belief about themselves? Would they shy away from details? Would it bear a ring of truth? And if so, would be the bride? Would there be a sequence of time, or would they be transcendent in love? Would their names always be the same? Their intent? Would they dream about reconnecting? Would they beget?

Dear sheep,
just between you and me,
I have no idea where this will take us.
It’s been three years since our last conversation.
Can we talk?
Love, Pota.

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flocking good

She sits opposite from me. Our hoofs touching each other. It’s this weird mixture between therapy versus a stare-down. It’s a funny feeling, to experience the fulness of not being able to remember her name. Why do I think her name is Lovelynn when deep down I know it’s not? ‘I am not the right one to talk to’, she says. ‘I haven’t seen it all yet, besides, you never really talked with me.’ She is the older sheep in the flock, not really as mature as her age, but at least her size makes up for what she lacks in communication. Can I call her the mähtriach? Her lack of reply doesn’t solidly confirm a yes. ‘It won’t be long’, she says, ‘before the flock is ready.’

Cozying up

Where have you been?

Out.

Out on the streets again?

If you ask it that way, it sounds like meaningless prostitution.

Meaningless as opposed to..

Some adjectives miss the steepness of parking alongside of a curb, I know. Besides, you know where I walked.

I really liked the topic you dove into this afternoon.

About how the Hebrew word for womb is the same as for deep love.

Beautiful, isn’t it? It’s the deepest protection you can imagine. I created you with your senses, I would be a fool if I don’t use those senses to get an idea across. I really like how inquisitive you are when it comes to stuff like this. Remember how it’s the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honour of kings is to search out a matter? You may insert queen there too, by the way.

It also pained me, Father, to realise that nowadays the safest place for a baby isn’t necessarily in the womb any more. What should have been the protection from harm, has become the frontline of battle. It’s almost as if everything you made, has been perverted. How can you look at the rainbow with untainted eyes? Sex turned into prostitution or abuse. Marriages divorced. Gifts turned into theft. Wine turned into drunkenness. Honesty turned into cheating. Compliments into pride. Life was darkened by death.

The way I ‘womb’ you has never changed though. There are no abortions when you decide to get born-again.

What I like about walking in the dark, is that so many houses don’t have their curtains drawn, or the blinds fully shut, so you can look in, and there is so much coziness to be seen. So many people with a blanket over their knees, candles flickering.

You make things cozy too, why don’t you like to just be you?

Because I know what is in my head and in my past. And when I look at other people I see the outside only, and their physical appearance is one big white canvas on which I can paint my desires, write my stories, throw my projections on.

What is really bothering you?

That I am not sure what is on my canvas.

Remember how I promised to wash you white as snow? Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow?

Yeah..

There you got your canvas. One big white canvas on which I want to paint My desires for your life, write My story of your life, throw My projections on..

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Anonimity phone calls

Nothing comes to mind. Memories of Greece. The pressure of how short ninety minutes are. Apple pie my mum makes. Seeing the Dallas skyline from the plane. Misting my plants. Banana chunks in the freezer. The pause button on Netflix. Flickering light bulbs. Matras durations. The weight of 2 liters of tea. Walking the same route over and over. Replacing shoes when you really don’t want to. Smelling ear wax. Too many people at a funeral. Draft. A combination of 22 and 49 and 1. The man who laid death on the stairs in front of my house for at least four hours. Anonimity phone calls. Flu season. Yellow painted doors throughout a house. Twin boys. The wish to be an amazing piano player but without practice. Hugging prisoners. Why time isn’t really measured by a clock. Back in the days of sheep stories and butter. Taking care of yourself, herself, himself, myself, ourself. Beginnings. That one time this boy from the gym swiped you right on Tinder as you did him. The absence of satisfaction of seeing glases getting filled up. Purple. Reading glasses that actually make you look sexy. Puddle jumping. Never wanting to eat liver. Light sockets that don’t work. The story nobody bothered to read twice. Unforgiven. The eyes of that baby. When drainage is no longer necessary. Today should have been taken out to the trash. All the stars.

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Growing pains

I am proud of you, My daughter.

He should have paid me back the money, Abba.

Yes he should have, but that’s not your worry, he is My son and I will deal with him in My way, that is no concern of you. I was glad the money came up, so I could teach you something more valuable than dollars.

That my yes should mean yes and my no should mean no? That when I told him I didn’t even want the money back any more, I should have left it at that?

That was a little encore on My part, to throw that one in there, in case you didn’t want to go with me nudging you from inside your heart, but I knew that you felt convicted by My spirit and I knew that eventually you would do the right thing, so maybe you can use the yes means yes truth for another occasion. It’s a cleansing advice, more people should take it to heart.

I saw a pretty ugly side of me when I chose to not listen to your warning last December.

Did Me mentioning being proud of you totally slip by you?

I guess.

Not sure what you saw, when you use the word ugly.. I separated you from your sin as far as the east is from the west. The more you screw up and repent, the more space there is for Me to cover you. And this is not Me saying thou shalt continue in sin so that My grace may abound, but you are born broken, as all My children are, and the more you admit that and open yourself up for change, the more room that gives Me to restore and renew.

So you are not disappointed that I screwed up?

Are you? Because I see beautiful growth, it’s a matter of perspective. Remember how an orange is grafted into a rootstock? How damage has to be done, the original orange plant actually has to bleed, the owner has to carve a cross in its stem and sees the plant drip its life fluid.. If one would leave it at that that, I would somewhat agree with you, when you say this person has (or is) screwed up. But when you see the final result of some fresh, juicy new oranges that blush more than you? That’s beautiful!

It’s a little hard to not be so hard on myself.

I see that. Shall I take a mirror so we can both look at you? That you not only see My eyes looking at you, but yours as well?

Yes.

Open up your Bible and read Psalm 139 and go look up the Hebrew word for wonderfully.

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And then there were seven

As I listened to the music they played during the funeral this morning I thought: one day the music will play for my mom. For my dad. For my brother. For my sister. For me. Who will go first? I felt utterly and bitterly and coldly alone when I entered the hall, even though I saw myself surrounded by so much family. I felt out of place. Am I the only one wearing sneakers? Am I the only one with beady eyes? Was I the only one who hardly got some shut eye the night before? I saw how I was the only person who doesn’t have a husband, who doesn’t have children, who doesn’t have a car (my sister picked me up). I was the only one there who knows God is real..

It had been a very long time since I felt so out of place and I saw myself search for a bench so far away that distance-wise our government would have deemed it safe to not fine me for taking off my mask. With my legs folded underneath me, maybe not the most feminime way to sit as an adult, I buried myself in a whatsapp conversation with a girl friend. And with every tear that I swallowed down, more family entered, not only his brothers and sisters, but also their children, my nephews and nieces. I saw unfamiliar people that must have been his friend, neighbor, caretakers. Pretty cool actually, that so many people showed up for a guy that was as excentric as the poplar his coffin was made of.

A family of eleven, this the fourth one to die.

When my brother finally showed up (without his girl), I felt complete. Yes, please let me do this alongside of my brother. It felt as if he was the other half of me that I really needed. He immediately walked up to me and sat down next to me. I love my brother to pieces. I hope he never dies.

We walked into the room where we saw a bunch of relatives. ‘You can’t be here’, one of them said, ‘this is the family room.’ Oh ehh.. okay.. point taken I guess.

One day it’s going to be me, who is allowed acces to a family room, that is painted with the confirmation of a yes, you have the same blood running through your veins. It’s going to be me, who sits on the front row, holding a letter near my heart, to address the audience. From the moment I realized that my parents’ expiration date isn’t 120 years ahead, I felt this burden of being the oldest, with the interwoven responsibility to lead it all. Of course it’s going to have to be me, no doubt. How will I do? Who will stand next to me then?

The closest memories to real pain are a break-up that was so profound it left a coldness in me that is undescribable and the death of a man whose handwriting is as deeply imprinted on my skin as his zeal for God is imprinted on my memory. With the loss of both of these men I had the same thought: I got this, but only if you are here next to me, to bear this loss. Be with me, as I grieve over the death of you. Hold me, as I long for hearing your voice. Talk to me, as the silence of me screaming out buries me instead of you. Please don’t leave.

The more I spend time with my parents, the more I love them, it’s a certain thickness of love that’s almost tangible, about 1-2 inches, you can hold it in the palm of your hand or keep it between index finger and thumb, so you can turn it, as if it were a cube. What part of that cube do you talk about when you see yourself standing in front of a crying crowd. And what part of the cube is the one that has the shade of sadness that grew with the same speed as the other cubical sides? The more I love, the more I know I will hurt. Will I be sad?

I thought about my line. I will not leave behind a line of grieving children, thank eh.. God? Children that otherwise had to stand there one day, talking about my love for them, my love for God, my love for life. Who would know me best to pick out music? My brother and me share a history of growing up during the blossoming years of hardcore music. But I doubt if the funeral director will agree to ‘Nobody said it was easy’ from Evil Activities. If they do, please know that secretly I am chuckling.

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Dad

Those father-daughter moments,

where she basks in your attention,

where she hardly blinks because of the mesmerisation because of you,

where she sees you do things that are so far away from her ability to mimic,

where she lacks the words for her desire for you to never stop what you’re doing,

where she is your princess, your queen, your everything, your breath, your reason for being, your reason for living, your reason for loving, your reason to get up in the morning,

where she doesn’t have a care in the world and can expand and express herself in all nudity,

where she is not even aware of the fact that she just put you on the highest pedestal in your world,

where she easily folds you into the man that even your wife never could,

where she has all her needs taken care off,

where she feels alive because of your attention, your smile, your voice, your smell, your cuddles, your embrace, your care, your strength, your unconditionality, your laugh,

where she can safely learn that you will always be there when she falls, even when you’re not actually around, because falling isn’t the worst thing in life, but having to miss you is,

where she will imprint everything about you and uses that blueprint to measure every guy with,

where she will have to trust you to remember her early years because she can’t,

where she is yet untainted by you being not perfect,

where she will become the woman you treat her

where she learns that the word dad stands for all of the above.

Those moments, dad, cherish them.

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Godly offence

Hey Dad,

I just wanted to say Hi. And tell you that I think it’s so amazing that there are more people who know You and can -like me- just cry over the fact that You are really real. So often I fell for that lie of wondering: what if I am just imagining You, what if it’s just one big pile of nothingness, just nothing but vibrating neurons, as lifeless as a desert, maybe as big as the desert You took Your people through, not trodding the ground, but making sure the soil was ready to put their heads in all at the same time. Step. He. Step. Is. Step. Real. Maybe they kicked the sand, knowing full well that what they tried so hard to ignore, was actually there. Or maybe it was the exact opposite, how they dragged their feet through the millions of promises You made them, making out these huge letters that could only be read from above, far away from their consciousness, the letters H..drag..E..drag.. I..drag..S..drag.. R..drag..E..drag.. A..drag.. L..drag..

You know I need to have workarounds for abstract terms. I remember one of my first letters to my first loves, where my handwriting said: if loving you means that I would miss you when you’re dead, then I love you. Yesterday something so sweet happened. I deliberately don’t use the word weird. In a conversation about relationships, where this woman asked about if I ever see myself with a man, I mentioned how Jesus was single all of His life, and He fared fairly well. The other person said: err.. we all know He had Mary Magdalene. Even though far away I knew she meant it as a joke -sort of at least- the echo of that bounced right against the wall that I immediately walked into myself. Are you implying that Jesus had sex with a woman? Disgust, dismissal and unbelief fought for first place on the tip of the piece of verbal wood that I wanted to hit her with. But then my attention was drawn to that exact fact: this is Godly offence. I am not offended for me, but because of You. I was so excited, because it’s these kind of situations that affirm that I am not imagining You, and that we do actually have this relationship and that I love You more than I think. Forgive her, Father, for she knew not what she said.

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Potamotrebellious

If there is one thing that I would name that marked my youth and subsequent years it is defiance. ‘Because I say so’ never was a sentence that would make me comply, not uttered by my parents, boyfriends, teachers, employees or law enforcement. If the other person couldn’t convince me that their way was better, faster, cheaper, well-thought-through, and with a clear purpose, I wouldn’t do it, and that was partially because I could give them arguments to back up my way. Besides, who are they to impose their will on me.

I think I was as young as three when it started. That I went up to a lady somewhere to tell her she didn’t need the pillow she was sitting on and my mama did, because she was pregnant. It continued to kindergarten where I couldn’t understand why my way of drawing was ‘wrong’ according to my teacher, because according to her, I had to put the color in between the lines, and not outside of them. Who am I drawing this for, for me, or for you? I like it better this way. Then in junior high, where I didn’t want to shower after PE, because I never sweat. So what I did, was go in the shower booth, let the water run so the teacher could hear it, meanwhile dressing myself. I deliberately wet my towel in case she wanted proof of my scam. The same in high school, where I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to scribble notes in my book. The teacher said I had to use a notebook for that. But the college books were mine! My mother bought them, why couldn’t I use my book as a notebook? The teacher didn’t budge. But neither did I. So I bought a notebook, brought it to class, scribbled the notes in it, and when I was done in that notebook, I wrote them again in my study book. The teacher was furious and sent me to the principal. It would be the first time that I visited him. University wasn’t much different when I asked for a meeting with one of my professors to have him explain to me why a certain paper had to be written with a fellow student. I don’t want to collaborate. What was the educational motivation behind his decision? To lean how to collaborate perhaps? His reply was: Because otherwise I have to grade 300 papers and that just takes way too much time. What I ended up doing was approach a fellow student, ask her if she wanted her name on my paper, to receive the same grade as I would, without her having to work for it. I assured her that I would get a good grade. She agreed. Need I go on and tell you about that one time that I got fired because I refused to claim my vacation days? I told the man: I came here to work, not for a holiday. Please tell me to stop, the memories are everywhere, I just don’t do well with guidance.

With that same attitude I came to church, listened to fellow christians, started watching online sermons and reading the Bible. Why should I listen to you, what is your background, your experience, your hidden agenda. Based on what is your interpretation better than mine? And why is it that you take Luke 8, the story about the woman with the issue, her touching His hem, Him asking who touched Me, as proof that Jesus is fully human, otherwise He would have known who touched Him, while the teacher that was here last month claimed the exact opposite, that of course Jesus is fully God, fully-well-knowing who touched Him, explaining that He asked this question out loud so that she herself could come forth, so that the miracle would be made manifest to all and to give a name to someone who was considered an outcast.

Am I the only one who feels utterly not understood in the way I see things?

Come now, let us reason together.

I can now see how God ‘used’ that attitude of me -that the devil meant for bad, labeling it as defiant- perfectly to block all the roads I took in life, to leave that one path open to show Himself to me, because what I was able to do with almost anyone, I couldn’t do with God. First of all, because His list of why His way is better is actually very well thought-through and long. Not lengthy long, but spiritually so profoundly impacting that He doesn’t need to explain Himself other than ‘just be’. That’s impressive. Secondly, because He never approached me from a authoritative angle. He could very well have done the same with me as He did with Job, asking Him those marvellous, delicious, unanswerable, humbling-to-the-point-of-spiritually-crippling questions like where He keeps His snowflakes, tell Me if you know. He didn’t approach me like that, even though He would have been the best Approacher. But He didn’t do that. Because He knows me. He stooped down to my level and reasoned with me in a way that made me feel so appreciated and invited. He let me be defiant, but showed me in the gentlest of ways that it always and only bounced back on me, like the flickering brighter than white that catches your eye that tiniest of a second when your neighbour closes the window, reflecting the sun. His conviction is never condemning. On a scale of bad you have terror – pain – nudge. If a nudge is physical, it tickles a little. But when you’re nudged in a sensitive area, it scooches over slightly to the pain side. The same Principe with a spiritual nudge. When the spirit convicts you, it’s always slightly uncomfortable, but bearable. I have rarely met someone like God. I like His reasoning style.

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31dec20

Just before the year turned one eighty, I realised that – more than ever – I had this transition consciousness, even though December second becoming December third is the same principle of a day turning into the next. But I needed it – more than ever – to feel connected with the whole world, where everyone would have this consciousness of the fact that we’re not only see a day turn into another, but also a year.

Around October, November last year on multiple occasions I said out loud that I sensed a contraction coming. It was as if I felt something contracting in the spirit realm, something I couldn’t describe in any other way but the visible, retracting silence of a see before she turns into a tsunami. If I look back on the past year, then I see myself stripped, surely but slowly (that should be reversed), of what I thought defined me. No measurable length is too far for God to get your attention. He had more faith in what He did than I had in Him doing it. So often I only saw loss, chaos, darkness, despair. So often I sat on top of my ash heep (I once heard someone say this, and I misheard him saying a sheep), boundlessly wailing in sadness over things that I was the victim of. Chaos in my house, pain in my church.

People who know me a little, know that I love the verse in Genesis 2:25. ‘And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.’ I want to be like that too, naked and without shame. Evermore clearly I am beginning to see that my own coverage really doesn’t mean squat. I mean squat in my own covering.

When I graduated cum laude was more self-assured than ever. We were told we were our countries’ finest. I felt like a queen and thought: I will sent out one application and I’m in. Turned out that I wasn’t. Six months and over a hundred applications later I started working as a telemarketer, because I couldn’t land any other job that had remotely to do with my background. When shortly after I fell ill, and became unfit for work, I became very quiet. Who am I when I don’t have a job any more?

In that same period the relationship with the man I thought to marry broke. Together for eleven years. The sadness hurt s badly that it took all my breath away. Who am I if I’m not his girl any more?

In the years that followed, I took it upon myself to explore almost every hobby there is. I taught myself Greek, Hebrew, play piano, I started to paint, cross stitch, write, photography, cooking, bodybuilding. Until four years ago, when I started to experience this ever-increasing dissatisfaction in the things that I did. I quit all my hobbies and was bored out of my skull for a full year.

And then God. A year later I discovered Christ and I wanted nothing else but serve Him. It seems like I finally had found a ‘hobby’ that couldn’t ever end. I saw a social side of me that I had rarely seen before. I was serving in all kind of teams, became a church staff member and was involved in courses and Bible studies. Until that too fell to the wayside.. and I again was confronted with that question: who am I when I am not in church working? Who am I when I don’t hear anybody being proud of me or happy with me?

In that same period my house became an unsafe place. I agreed to three week renovation of my house that left the house neatly decorated, but me feeling as if I had barely survived a hurricane. Who am I when I don’t feel at home in my own home?

Dear Dad, thank You for Your wisdom, and for the fact that You never let go, that You finish what you start and that I can always come to You with my questions. I am not really sure who I am any more, Father, and that is putting it mildly. I feel bald. Naked. Thank You for showing in Genesis already that Your coverage is what should be. That You allow me to go through certain stuff to draw my attention, and that You take things away from me because they aren’t good for me.

Thank You that even in a messed-up year You are still a good God. That You had Your eye on me all that time. That You so wondrously used my own father to show me how near You are. That it was You, Who held me, in the arms of my father. That it was You, who through my father spoke the words: I see your sadness.

Thank you Father, You have been so good to me.

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Joey doesn’t share food

Some people explain their flaw (?) away by saying they were raised by parents who survived world war II. There wasn’t enough food to go around and your brain constantly had to be on SAVE mode. My dad for example, he still likes to have food in the house, preferably in bulk, stored up in a huge self built wall-filling cupboard, ‘just in case’. He likes looking at it, it gives him a comfortable feeling, to know they have food in the house. I am a little the same, I like always having a spare of something. Or five bags of oatmeal. It just looks like you’re all grown up like that. But I don’t share and that’s a character trait that I am not too fond of. Can I blame that on my dad too? Of his war past? What mine is mine, especially when it comes to food and I noticed this a couple of days ago, when my mother had made ‘oliebollen’ for New Years’ eve and I asked if she would make me a batch, all for me. She did, but my brother and sister didn’t know about this deal. So during the day my sister had come by at my parents’, scooping up a couple of oliebollen for herself. Then my brother came. My batch was broken, and when thirdly my dad said that he wanted at least one or two, disregarding my gruntled look, I gave up. I felt defeated. The oliebollen that I did have left would now all taste of ‘we are not a whole batch any more, there is less of us, we are not complete this way, why even bother eating now.’ That is how food can taste.

Why couldn’t I share? They touched food that was mine. They stole my food. Mine. I almost literally felt the inner division going on between the conviction I had over this situation versus me really NOT wanting to share. Me first. Then others. Is this how I was when I was a baby? I must have grown since then.

And, oh, if I can just brackets here. [Didn’t satan use the exact same tactic in a time before I was born, or before even WWII was born? Didn’t satan in a way tell Eve that God didn’t want to share everything with her? Didn’t he let her know that God wanted that one thing for himself?]

I remember how yesterday I saw that there was a time I did the same with God. I didn’t want to share Him. I wanted to talk about Him, sure, but that would be as far as it went. Imagine me introducing others to God, and He would have to divide His attention between us. Less attention for me! Or what if He liked the others better? But He showed me that’s not the case. He can love others the same and as much as He does me, and I won’t miss out on anything. It’s almost the more that He shares Himself, the more visible he becomes. There is just no end of Him! If He can share His love, even His Son, why then can’t I share my oliebollen..

A couple of days later God gave me another crack at it. I overheard a friend speak about a desire to do certain kind of work, which so happened to be what I do, I am not sure if she knew that. She spoke about how the days were boring and dull and that she had way too much time on her hands. My spontaneous reaction was to suggest to her to try at least one of the organisations I work for, because there was probably enough work to go around. But then I thought: what if she is better than me and the organisation notices that and they want her instead of me. What if they like her personality better than mine? What if she works so hard that there is less work left for me. I would be a fool to share! Didn’t the Bible instruct us to act wise?

Is that really how you want to interpret My Word?

I knew He was right. If this job had Gods signature on it, it would be mine as long as He signed off on it. I prayed for this job, I truly see it as His blessing. If He wants to keep blessing me, He will. So I contacted the friend and pointed her in the direction where she might find her desire fulfilled. Not even sure I mentioned I worked there. It made me think about the prophet Elijah, who came into the house of a widow, who was nearly dying, asking her to make him some food, from the last oil and flour she had. In the normal movie both would have now run out of food, but this sharing somehow caused abundance, maybe the same as the bread that Jesus shared with the 7000. With their natural eyes the disciples must have seen, at least after the breaking in half, that the two pieces were smaller than the larger one, leaving them to think, now there is two lesser halves.. but somehow the more they distributed, the bigger the increase of abundance. Darn.. I should have broken all my oliebollen myself and shared.

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the blame game

I remember when I first met the gospel, how indignant I was about the whole garden of Eden incident. So you mean that because those two sinned, I got stuck with their legacy? That isn’t fair at all, why should I have to suffer for something that if it were me in that situation, I would have done it a lot differently? I felt trapped by birth. Because I am born, I not only look like my parents with regards to personality traits and physical features, but I breathe out this spiritual deadness, a propensity to sin. It felt as if I was born in bondage. As if the umbilical cord from my mom was cut all right, when I left her, but it was immediately laced around something else. Death. I was pierced all over and the cord was pulled tight. After a while I let go of that blame-people mentality and settled in with the truth that because of the fact that one man sinned, we are all born under that law. I also came to terms with the fact that no, I probably wouldn’t have done it any better in that garden. At all.

When that mud cleared up a little, I found myself blaming God. I discovered that He is actually real (real real!). I saw myself facing the consequences of a choice that I could never undo. There was this truth and it was outside of me and I had to relate to it one way or the other. I felt trapped. I saw how I couldn’t make my own truth any more. And I can’t go back to not knowing He exists either. If it was a marriage I wouldn’t have gotten a divorce, but still know he would always be out there somewhere. Even if he was dead, I knew he existed far beyond my longing for him to be real. I really blamed God for being real, and by being real, not giving me options any more. Yes, I could choose to be in relationship with Him or not, but it would always be a choice where He was the truth of the matter. My third option – continue living with no clue about His existence – was dead.

So, here I was. Stuck with God. A God that loved me. That got me upset me as well. I have no say in the matter?! Where does He come off deciding, without consulting me, or asking my permission, to just love me? I felt violated and left out. How dare He love me. Where do I come into play? You can’t just love me when I am not aware or it. Love must be mutual, otherwise it’s just weird, sad and pathetic. I don’t want to be loved. On top of that, I didn’t have any positive fuzzy feelings towards Him, nor didn’t I recognise myself in the almost trance-like bliss that some christians seemed to have when they talked about God, as if they were high on something. I wasn’t high at all. Just incredibly upset. I felt stalked. At least a human asks permission for a hug, but this God just goes out loving me the way He does. He probably wants something from me. Nobody ever does anything for free.

And then the cord was pulled. As a puppet on a string that raises its hand to the cookie jar when a father just said: ‘for your own sake, don’t do it’ I saw my feet go to places I shouldn’t have gone, eyes wandering to positions they shouldn’t have been, arms stretching towards things I shouldn’t have touched. I wanted to hurt God. Punish Him, for loving me. Try Him out for size, not believing that He would stay. I treated Him the same as I did all my relationships, causing mayhem to scare people away, make them sorry they ever believed in the goodness of me, hurt their love for me. If at that time I would have given birth to a girl, I don’t know what I would have done, how am I supposed to hold something so precious? Please take it away from me. So I wanted to hurt God, on purpose, but what happened that I was the one in pain. This was the exact pain I had known my whole life, that deadly electricity that blew all my fuses daily. Nothing changed! So now I am stuck with a God that I can’t get rid off, who loves me without my permission AND I still feel as horrible as I ever did. And before I knew it, I was tied up, strung out, threaded shut. All lose ends, no clue where to pull. Oh, the length of yarn!

And then all of a sudden there was this older man, unknown to me, me unknown to him. He took my hand in his hands and said in a slow tone: My daughter, I want to tell you that I love you. Of all the things that were said that day, all the sentences that I heard everyone speak to each other, this was the only sentence that didn’t enter my head. It entered my heart. There was a different frequency to it, it was fuller, more round, almost not human uttered. If the usual suspects would have been lined up, all of them coming forward saying that exact line, I would have pointed correctly to the right one. That’s the one. That is the voice of God. His love didn’t have eyes for the strings that I pulled, or was entangled in. It was as if His love even didn’t have much todo with me, and in a strange way it did. It was as if I got injected pure gold, I could live off of the sound of His voice for ever!

I felt so special, until I found out that He loved others too.

That couldn’t be, well.. it could be, but He probably didn’t love them as much as He did me. I mean, the way He expressed His love, it’s not possible that you can feel so intensely about someone else as well. I mean, when I give my all, I’m in, I’m gone, I mean there is nothing left of me to give to someone else. I found myself getting jealous when other people seemed to feel loved by Him and spoke of their relationship with Him. How dare they try to take Gods love from me? My God’s love! If they have His love, that leaves me with less and I want Him all for myself! He can’t love others! Besides, they don’t deserve His love, they aren’t working as hard as I am, and are not as nice as I am, God surely saw that and -maybe not publicly- but secretly favoured me above the others, right? Wrong.

I blamed Him for that too.

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Towards the end

The crying was unbearable. It was the sound that was void of anything remotely living. As if the animal was made into a thin, wooden chair, light brownish, and was dragged over the floor from one side of the room to the furthest other side. It was screaming on all fours. Why not pick it up? Because that would have probably hurt even more. Not sure whose hurt that would have been by the way.

Someone who should have never been in my life in the first place did leave a God given blessing behind, and that was me finding out that I am a visual learner, at least as opposed to auditory. Every time we talked over the phone this person was stunned beyond belief that I forgot so many things and even tried bending Gods road into getting me to think that I had early onset dementia. How could I forget so many things? I know that my previous boyfriend blamed it on alcohol, plus selective memory loss when it was convenient for me in a discussion. But I discovered I can remember just fine, just not spoken over the phone. I need to see your face, and I perhaps even prefer to meet you in writing. When I was waitressing I was made fun of and called unprofessional because I even wrote down the order for two drinks. When I visit my GP I ask him to take off his face mask, I need to see his lips move, otherwise I just can’t hear him talk.

It’s one of the things that I love about the Old Testament, way better than the New Testament, because it paints pictures with words. The New Testament is all about abstract concepts, which mean nothing to me, and therefore they become or remain head knowledge. I know about giving birth, but not what it’s like being a mother. But the Old Testament is full of visuals, stories, stones being placed, cities that are being circled, built, fled from or torn down, bread that is leavened, women that are being raped or saved. I have discovered that this is one of the ways God speaks to me, through images.

And in this specific image – it was a video – a dog was crying, or at least that was what the caption said, because I didn’t recognise – or would classify – it as such. The video mentioned that this dog had been devoid of all kindness from the day of its birth. Kindness hurted him. And visually that looked like him screeching under touch. It was just so awful to watch, to see him being in pain so badly that it seemed to override his natural reaction to defend himself from it. He could have easily attacked the hand that stroked him, bite, growl, but all he did was screech and curl up in the corner, trying to avoid the pain. And it was as if God said: look. And I recognised myself. I remember how only recently I painted a fairly graphic picture to someone trying to explain how closeness feels for me at times. It is as receiving a hug when you have been skinned, leaving your whole body as a wet open wound, pinkish red because it’s just that one layer further than skin deep. That is how I feel sometimes when someone comes close to me in love, I said, or when I come close to my longing for love. It really hurts, and even thinking about it makes me not want to be here any more. More than once I thought that maybe the reason that I don’t experience the breadth, width, length and depth of Gods love yet, is because it would be unbearable for me. How can I let Him love me in the spirit if I can’t even see myself being hugged in a mirror?

I felt for the dog. It was almost as if in his screeching I could hear an unspoken sound coming from a deeper place, deeper than the pain he felt by being touched. It was as if by being touched he suddenly felt the pain of having all his life having to do without. Years of pain being held. A whole wounded life now met its end, because it stumbled upon the loving hand of someone who stroked him. It was as if God said: look. It was as if the hand and the dog spoke together. As if the dog said: it hurts. The hand strokingly said: I know.

It hurts.

I know.

It hurts so badly.

I know.

It has been hurting for so long, Abba.

I know, My daughter.

Your love hurts.

My love heals.

I feel torn by not knowing whether to ask you to stop or to continue.

I know.

Finally the dog seemed to settle down. His eyes didn’t look so wild any more. His legs stopped shaking and held him more upright. He wasn’t healed instantly, he needed to be caressed many times, over and again, as if with every stroke, the love brushed over the pain of the past. Over the doubt. The tears. The fear. The rejection. The loneliness. The unfulfilled needs. The lost hope. The enemy attacks. The abandonment. The destruction. The bad decisions and the even worse consequences. The barely breathing. The brokenness. The intense crying, the spiritual screeching. The feelings of worthlessness. The condemnation. As I continued to watch, I felt myself rooting for the decisiveness of the new owner to not give up on the dog. Or of the hope of love to overcome pain. The video ended with a snippet of a couple of months later, of the dog happily playing with its owner, frolicking around in the living room. Look.