Poem- What is Your name?

What is Your name?
Not the name of Your disease
not the name others have called You.

Your name that is
Special and star-like
Blessed and beautiful,
Your name
for You alone?

It might have been a long time
since You have heard it.
It might have been never.

The names others have given You
might not be true
might not fit
in the same way that
hand me down clothes
Don’t.

In the same way that
sometimes You have to
make Your own clothes
stitch
by
stitch
to have something
that fits
sometimes You have to
Discover
Uncover
Recover
Your name.

You might not be the name
You were given at birth.

You might not be
mother, brother,
day labor, CEO,
friend, failure
gambler, penny pincher
mentally ill, stable
ex con, confidante.

The names that stick to You
(or are stuck on You)
out of relationship
or habit
or job
or history
or health
might be a part of Your name
or Your name might be
Entirely apart
from them.

What is Your name
Your true name
deep inside Your heart
small and bright and solid
And beautiful?
Immovable
Unchanging
Eternal
like the stars
like the sea.

The vastness of forever is inside you.

Find Your name
And You find Yourself
again
or for
the first time.

“Our cabin”

My husband and I have discovered the ideal home away from home. We’ve found out that nearby state parks have cabins that people can rent. This is genius. We get all the fun of a cabin, without the worry.

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We don’t have to fool with a mortgage. Not like we could afford another mortgage anyway, unless we inherit a lot. We are both government employees. They pay us in benefits, not in actual salary.

We don’t have to worry about somebody breaking into it while we aren’t there. There are rangers around, and hey, if one is damaged for some reason (vandals, wild animals, or by bad weather) we can just pick another cabin.

We are starting to think of it as “our cabin”. We tried it out once and it was a nice retreat. It is just an hour away. We can get there not using the freeway. Just driving there is like going back in time. The drive alone is part of the fun.

The interesting thing for me is that the place we have chosen is a place I went many years ago when I was active in the SCA, a medieval reenactment group. In a way, it was a test to go there. The last time I was there I wasn’t quite well.

That was before I was diagnosed as bipolar, and more importantly, before I learned how to take care of myself. Just taking the pills that I’m prescribed isn’t the same thing. I didn’t know how important it was for me to get a good night’s sleep and enough water and food. I didn’t get enough of any of those things when I would go to events, and there was a lot of stimulation. There are a lot of people and a lot of things going on. This is a recipe for disaster when you are bipolar.

I was a little concerned the first time we went that I’d remember that bad experience and relive it a little.

Here’s the field where I started to notice that something was up. This time I was fine.

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The sunset was very pretty.

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I’m always mindful of going off the deep end. But I’m also mindful that I don’t want to live my life in fear of another episode. If I avoid anything that I think might trigger another period of strangeness, I might as well just hide away at home right now. It is important for me to push myself and stretch.

Otherwise, I’ve let this disease win.

I’m constantly pushing myself, in all areas.

It is why I took classes in pastoral care. They were every week for months, and I had to drive myself downtown to go to them. I knew it was important to take this class and I was grateful for the opportunity, but I was afraid. I was afraid that I’d get lost, or the car would break down, or the stress of being in downtown Nashville traffic would be too much. People aren’t very nice drivers here, and I try to avoid being behind the wheel in busy traffic as much as possible. But for this, I did it, and I’m glad. I proved to myself that I could.

And I’m using that as a stepping stone to more things.

So for the same reason, I’m going to this cabin. It isn’t just any cabin. I love going, of course. It is like a little retreat. But this particular one has this field in view. While we are eating breakfast, lunch, and supper I can see it. And every time I see it I remember, and I think how grateful I am that I’m OK. And I’m mindful of how fragile “normal” is, and how much work I have to put in to it to keep it going.

And then I look out the bedroom window and the trees look like they are making an archway, just like in a medieval church entrance.

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Maybe a some of my recovery is where I put my attention. Look at the past, at the old field where I realized I was losing my grip on reality – or look the other way, and see a doorway?

I’m glad I went, and I’ll go back. It is important to face my fears.