Digging through the attics…

In the summer of 1991, I left home and ended up staying with a group of hippies.  Some of them lived on a discarded school bus that was painted blue with rainbows and other drawings or phrases.  Most of those folks earned a living selling hand-made jewelry on the streets downtown and at the music festivals.  I wanted an escape and a hiding place, so I quietly blended into the fold of these people.

The previous year had been rather traumatic and there was not a lot of stability at home due to a variety of reasons.  So, I found myself in the middle of this free-spirited group of folks who had been living life their way and embracing a diverse group of people from all walks of life.  I mostly stayed in a tiny studio apartment in an old Victorian home situated in the middle of the downtown area.  I kept to myself more often than not in that little studio and I passed the time dancing to old records on an old record player. Steve Miller Band, Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, CSN, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix were just some of the many musicians who kept me company when I was alone in that room.  I burned incense and soaked in an old, claw-foot tub while singing the blues to the saddest songs I could find to play.  Sometimes I even thumbed my way through a Tom Robbins novel or a giant book on philosophy.  I helped sell jewelry on the sidewalks to earn my keep and even spent some time on that old, blue school bus.  I didn’t have to worry about anyone messing with me, either, which is what made me want to stick around and hide within the comfort of this mix and match family of people.

A couple of those old hippy guys were like grandpas or the kind of surrogate fatherly figures that come passing through yet never stay.  I kept myself within their circle as much as was possible.  They shared their stories from living through the 60’s, their brief experiences with war, tactics to avoid the draft, traveling with the Grateful Dead, drug addictions, and then the adventures of creating a cover band of their own.  Their idea of church was smoking marijuana, having big banquets of food, and playing jam music.  Maybe it wasn’t the most wholesome environment for a fifteen year old, but I had already experienced the kind of nightmare that comes from environments that are much, much worse.  Hiding out with this group of people was heaven in comparison.

Most of the time I was very silent and kept myself at a distance as I watched everyone else from the corner.  They nicknamed me Casper, saying I was a friendly old soul who had seen much, yet spoke very little.  A few of those hippies had lived through Vietnam and, as we sat around one evening, one of them opened up his story.  He looked at me and said, “Casper, I know that look. It is the ‘thousand yard stare’. It makes me sad, man. It is like you can’t talk, like something really dark stuffed you up. You don’t have to say anything, man. But, you can’t outrun it, no matter how hard you try. Runnin’ has done nothin’ for me. I tried to outrun Charlie and caught a bullet instead.”  Then, he lifted up various parts of his clothes to show us all the scars he had acquired over the years he spent runnin’ and some of those scars included track marks on his arms.  He said he started runnin’ in Vietnam and had not stopped.

While I did not listen to him, I never forgot what he said or the different shapes of the scars that were like graffiti on his skin, telling us a story that only he really knew.  I eventually went home at the end of that summer and I later left home again at seventeen.  A little ways down the road, I got married and made my way across the country.  Over the years, I have tried every way possible to run away from the things that I locked up in the deep down.  While I have had some adventures and have met all kinds of people from all kinds of back grounds, I always ended up right back where I started.

Runnin’ has never done nothin’ for me, either, and it did almost kill me a few times even if it didn’t come in the form of a bullet or have anything to do with ‘Charlie’.

Whether it is to withdraw, hide myself in busy tasks, exhaust myself by trying to ‘do good’, or dissociate emotionally from my surroundings…I have been facing the temptation to ‘run for cover’.

Sometimes the pity party parade comes marching through the long halls of my mind to blow the sad trombones while the trumpets sound off a melancholic cadence to the tune of, “You’re not worthy! You’re not worthy!”  Shame likes to toss the confetti while fear blows up the balloons and prepares the bouquet of strings for my mind to float away on.  I can hear my children laughing and saying my name while my husband plants a kiss on my cheek, yet I am so far away from it all that it is like being an observer to a silent movie covered up in a gauzy layer of clouds.

While I was escaping with some time on the elliptical (I am telling you, working out is the best form of therapy I have ever had), I had finally had enough of that pity party parade with the melancholic music and the confetti of shame covering and clinging to everything.  I conjured up Moses in my mind and wondered if God could part the clouds of my mind the way the Red Sea split.  I pondered over all of the instances in my life when I tried to wrestle myself away from God and out of His hands.  And, yes, I have been trying to wrestle myself out of His grip again so I can go back to the familiarity of those dingy hiding places of the soul.

When I read what my husband wrote on this blog, I was astounded at the wisdom contained in those words and I came to a realization: Moses did not do anything in his own power, he was simply willing.  He was willing to use his voice when he thought his speech impediment hindered him.  He was willing to stand in front of the impossible and allow his stick to strike the ground.  The result was freedom.

So, I am standing in front of the gauzy layer of clouds, using my voice, and allowing my stick to strike the ground.  I am getting my scissors out to cut away at the balloon strings, I am sweeping up the confetti, and I kicked out the trombones and the trumpets to allow a new song to play.

Through this blog I have been blessed with the budding friendships of so many beautiful souls.  There are also some other endeavors outside of my four walls that are bringing about blessings.  I look at the faces of my children as my husband’s lips press warm against my cheek and I realize that I want to be present for it all.  Through the good, the bad, and the impossible…I want to be here for it.  I am tired of runnin’ and all it has given me is a collection of scars whether visible to the eye or not.  I am sick of studying the shapes of those stars like graffiti on the heart and I am tired of reading the words to a story only I truly know.

Runnin’ never did nothin’ for me, unless it has involved runnin’ into God directly rather than away from Him.


Philippians 3:13-14

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

This post appears in the book: Shattered in Him  © 2016 JD Mays

36 thoughts on “Digging through the attics…”

  1. Praising God for His love, His deliverance, His healing, His absolute and full provision… Jesus Christ IS the Alpha and the Omega; may God continue to bring us all a profoundly deeper revelation of Him and who God has made US IN Him! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear sister, my heart overflows for you
        and others who suffered so at the hands of evil persons, and I am so exceedingly grateful that our Savior has finished His work, has made the way for complete healing of body, soul (thoughts, feelings, and desires), and spirit; that Jesus has restored us to the very image of God, and has knighted us with His authority to conquer our “giants” and receive dominion… So exceedingly blessed to be worshiping and praising Christ with you!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What an incredible story…it sounds like you have done and seen a lot in your life…and not all of it seemed good. But it may have been God’s plan for you all the time. We all are on paths which are directed by Him, and much of the time we don’t know where we are going. In fact there is a passage about that in the bible…(Proverbs 16:9). But if we are truly children of God in Christ, we know we have the goodness of a God of love. Things still get tough, even for Christ followers. But it will all work out for our good as promised by the Lord. Again, a great story!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, not all of it was good and some of it was ugly, but as I sift through things and start tossing old bags into the sea…well, I think I am seeing a clearer picture. I am becoming more grateful about the path and believe, perhaps, there is a plan at work that is too much to take in all at once. So, one foot in front of the other, I am going to keep pushing toward the Goal! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Good for you! That’s all we can do…one step at a time. Trust that there is a plan for you…for all of us! And keep tossing what is behind you away. It is only baggage which holds you back…Read what the apostle Paul says in (Philippians 3:13).

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow is right! A super verse to consider when we feel our past tugging at us. In God’s grace, those things of the past are gone…we walk in the Light as He is in the Light and the blood of Jesus Christ washes us clean always…(1 John 1:7).


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  3. “…and I am tired of reading the words to a story only I truly know.” That is a great line, it truly is. And what you said about exercise is true – I always come home from a walk or jog with a little happiness in my heart and nothing is as bad anymore as it was when I left.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That last couple of nights, I have pounded out so much on that elliptical and tonight I need to remember to breathe and stretch! Even as I type this comment, I can feel a new story being written on my heart. We’ve got to keep pushing, don’t we? Let’s keep pushing, girl! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I was watching a documentary (one of the many I tend to find) and they were showing bronze sculptures with patina and describing how the patina just adds to the beauty of the creation. I am going to take what you said, because it works into Micah 4:13 – “Rise and thresh, Daughter Zion, for I will give you horns of iron; I will give you hooves of bronze, and you will break to pieces many nations. You will devote their ill-gotten gains to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.”

      Well, the Hebrew context for bronze in this verse is regarding “the hooves of Zion”. I am using truth to combat the old stronghold of shame, so you just delivered yet another word by your visit. Thank you!! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hey dear, hmm this life indeed… we are so much in common than we could otherwise think… thanks for making the decision to start blogging… I recently wrote a blog titled: “HOW FAR COULD I FLEE?” The awesome amazing Grace of our Merciful Almighty Father, ah sometimes I don’t know what to say or write about that… I feel like Moses the stutterer… I have a feeling He is up to much more with me for His Glory and I think He knows How READY I AM NOW MORE THAN EVER… In Christ’s Love, Marie

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah yes I was beginning by then to: but it started hitting my soul in June/July 2015 and on the 10/10/2016 I got to my holistic Turning Point. It’s Amazing to feel how I feel. I mean I am Rahab, Mary Magdalene and who else? The adulterous woman brought to Jesus… I can tell I understand why once Paul embraced his new role and mission, there was no holding him back

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh sorry I thought you meant you had Finding the Strength in what remains… Yes Fighting the Fear within is a profound one for me too, second only to my first memoir on My Unconventional Loves: My Hurts etc yes My Almighty Father keeps doing it am really in total awe cause left to my own guise I should have been out of this earth in 2009

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  5. Someone like you. Yes, when we are reminded of someone like you, not running pass the arms of God, with all your adversarial occurrences, devastation, wow, how we feel inside. What we went through seems like a walk in the park. That He put a hedge about you, that must rile Satan. You speak to many who are relying on your ere they come across the out pourings of your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Apostle Paul wants us to remember that past sufferings, past misfortunes, past blessings, past achievements and even past sins are all in the past for the child of God. Hope is the anchor of the christian fate, the hope to attain the utmost for his highest. That “utmost” is where we set our eyes, our affection and our passion upon. I was deeply moved by your story but I am at ease because you know the Lord. Thanks for sharing your testimony of His the amazing power of transformation.

    Liked by 1 person

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