Vivid Recollections

Vivid Recollections

DAWN (0-20yrs)
an open doorway
—hands grip the edge of wood.
Lifting, now standing on two
wobbly limbs
—hands let-go
then, The Fall.

Attempting again and again
fall after fall…

Years pass
—now, running through fields
gliding as if on waves
—swinging from branches.

Peace here,
but returning home
—the glass ceiling is broken.

Solace found in an empty church.
NO words.
Staring up at an altar
—seeing a suffering man
Love swaddled me.
I fall and then
—lifted by unseen arms.

School days, childhood friends.
I played hard, studied little.
On the field, I could release 
all that was pent up inside.
I excelled cracking the bat
at the ball, striking the racquet
hitting a winner over the net,
serving and volleying to lead
the team to victory.

So proud, on the sidelines
the family—an illusion.
I continued to play.

Countless persons stepped in,
unknown at the time,
—they nurtured me.

One man, a father figure, impacted my life.
He left the world too soon.
His final words written to me,
“How I wish I were your father
so I could have had you forever.”

Church, that quiet haven,
no longer had answers.

The introduction to substances
provided little/if any comfort to me,
especially when I had to care
for persons whose addictions
tore the bandages covering
the scars that never
could heal.

DAY (20-40yrs)
Wandering  away—
I put down ‘the games.’
I picked up books and a 
new family bound me in their
loving pages.

New writings.
Upon completion of my studies,
out I stepped
—working with neglected and 
abused children.
Next, I worked with 
incarcerated juvenile girls.

The work was natural,
easy to empathize.

Then, a call.

My grandma suffered a massive stroke.

I bargained with the One I
called God.  One moment I asked,
“Please, end her suffering,” then I’d ask
for a little more time.

I flung the Holy Book across
the room and wept.

I sat beside her.  She, unable to speak,
barely moved any
of her limbs.

I looked into her eyes.
She looked back and folded
her hands in prayer.
My Wise Ole’ Grandma.

Death came for her.
I chose to embrace the hand of
 Death’s path.
I walked beside others as 
a Chaplain as they faced
life’s transition
from here to eternity.

All are equal here.
 I recognized immediately that it
doesn’t matter if one is rich or poor,
black or white, male or female,
no matter what faith one practices
or does not practice.

In life’s turning of the page,
The End becomes New to 
the one passing.

The living hold
the memories.

DUSK (40-60yrs)
Another path revealed itself when I embraced the
role of a Peace Officer.
An only woman in a field of Blue.
I was surrounded by brothers.
A small few would have liked
me removed (and baited their traps),
instead, an injury took me out
of a hid-den prison.

No longer a hostage,
no longer able to walk, 
I wondered, if I ever would stand.

An old lover found me once
again.  Pencil in hand,
I began sketching images
of persons.
Ordinary people from
The Hebrew Testament and The New Testament.

Before I realized what was it happening,
the sketches took the stage.
I was breathing life
into old stories.

As many times as i broke open
the Word, I knew the journey would
be different.

What unfolded is
the story of my own words in
photographs and colored artistry.

I have walked a path unknown.
Glancing back, I’ve 
watched a mosaic forming

many blank ‘areas’ held open
for life still being lived.

Changes began unfolding
for individuals who were
pillars in my life.

It was easy to be in a Chaplain
Role, but to these persons
I was more than Chaplain.

Loss, another loss,
cognitive changes,
decisions to move into a 
safer setting, taking the set
of car keys…

It was now time for me to walk.

First, down into the depths
of the canyon.
The Grand allowed me to descend.

Coming up,
I walked with others on
The Camino Mary Magdalene.

Alone, but not lonely,
I walked The Camino de Santiago.

My steps would travel to England’s
Coast to Coast, to Wales, The Pembrokeshire Coast Path and
to Italy’s, The Camino St Francis.

A Pandemic ‘struck’ the World…

I have walked a daily pilgrimage.

I suffered an injury that
shook my core.
Still, here I write, walk, sketch,
strum a guitar, provide pastoral care
and tend to the needs of loved ones.

I have lived the life of the sun’s
rising.  I have been to where 
the sun is at its highest point

I am at the place where the sun is
making its way to the west.

I am not here, yet,
BUT, I’m living beside the
persons in my life who are
leaning toward life’s settings.

When the sun goes down
on another life lived,
I fall.  I touch the ground
where they rest.

I weep watering the earth.

I rise in the early
morning hours trusting
the stars lighting the way for 
those who have passed.

Lasting flames
light a way through the 
darkness I shall one day

I trust the words…

the words of the suffering
man I stumbled upon
years ago,

“I am with you till the end
of the age.”



3 replies
  1. Ann Pawlik
    Ann Pawlik says:

    My dear Sandy,…through this piece, I am coming to know the earlier years of a person I had yet to meet. At one point, I am struck by these words,…”In life’s turning of the page, the End becomes New to the one passing. The living hold the memories.” I find them to be beautiful and a reminder that in the Circle of Life, everything old becomes new again, like that saying “what goes around comes around.”
    Our paths cross in the dusk, a time of day when the light is fading but it is not yet dark. And yet, so many things came to light and life for you (and me, too). A new sense of self exposed through your writings and sketches which opened me up, too, in that wonderful circle of sisterhood we experienced together, you more so than me, but at each meeting revelling in joy with sisters we have loved and lost and friendships that have been sustained and have stood the test of time.
    I watched you, from the sidelines. breaking open the Word to young, eager and wide-eyed faces. Coming back to the setting over and over again, sharing your stories and sketches. Reading with acceptance and joy, letters written to you by children on the cusp of those teenage years. They loved being with you as did I, watching you ignite their spirits.
    I so thoroughly have enjoyed living life vicariously through yours, the many and varied journeys you have taken to the depths of the earth to paths followed by so many in a quest of covering the miles from Point A to Point B, the same “road” taken by a number of friends in my life, the Camino. Other trips you have taken and shared through your drawings, poetry and phtography, meeting new people and having them come alive for those of us who know you.
    Like that song from “Bye, Bye, Birdie” (“I’ve Got A Lot of Living To Do”) you have lived so many experiences so fully, but you have not yet experienced all that is intended for you, nor have I. My path is very different from yours, one that I am experiencing through “new eyes,” the eyes of my grandchildren. Things I have taken for granted are revealed in new and varied ways and are being appreciated.
    So keep on writing and sketching and photographing, dear Sandy, so I can continue to be inspired by the many pathways you are journeying. I will continue to laugh at silly things, dry tears and kiss boo-boos, pretend to be an elephant while a toddler is riding on my back or having a child twirl my hair as he is falling asleep…to be honest, this is a journey I could never see for myself but it continues to teach me new things everyday, and for that I am grateful. And for your presence in my life over the years, I am thankful.

    • Sandy
      Sandy says:

      Dearest Ann,
      “Thank YOU”
      From the ‘sidelines’ I breathe in your words…it was your invitation to come & break open story! I treasure so many memories from each and everyone of those moments! I hear the questions posed, I see the curiosity, I recall the wonder…it was their “spirits’ that unleashed the fire in me…the LOVE of the Divine to play itself out! When the thank you notes arrived on my doorstep…I knew it was your guidance & direction from the sidelines…what a teacher YOU are and continue to be…NOW your grandchildren blessed to ‘learn’ through you! I SEE you kissing the boo-boos, I hear the imitation of your elephant roar and the gentle twirl of a child’s fingers wrapped around your hair before closing his lids…such peace!!!
      Lasting, lingering memories of a shared sisterhood…Yes, so many connections & Yes, even those whose journey’s ended on this earth as we know it yet have begun anew…I trust they are in the stars keeping watch over us and certainly laughing with uncontrolled delight!!!(So many of those grand memories)
      “We’ve got a lot of livin’ to do”…so blessed to know our paths are joined even across many miles!!!
      Love & MORE love

  2. Kathy Michalek
    Kathy Michalek says:

    I just finished reading this incredible piece of ‘recollections’. I feel as though I have walked with you along the journey…maybe I have in different ways, at different times.
    Your words ignite many feelings…thank you for sharing such heartfelt, personal, raw emotions. You are a blessing.


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