When I Lose Someone

I was thinking about someone dear that passed away recently. I found myself gravitating to his Facebook page, and there were many comments about how we have “lost” him. Later, I was looking at gifts for someone, and a particular item could be given as a gift of remembrance of someone special who had passed away. The reviews were typically, “When we lost our brother…,” and “When I lost my husband…,” or “My neighbor lost her dog last week…,” which really could have been confusing in another context about what really happened.

Saying “I lost ___________,” when referring to someone who died always seemed peculiar to me, though I totally get how it’s more comfortable than saying “died” or “dead.” It just seems less final than the latter. Even when we are afraid someone might perish in the future, we sometimes say, “If I lose you…,” or “The thought of losing you….” “Lost” feels less permanent, a little less real, and lands a bit softer, too.

For me “lost” always sounded in my brain like, “I disappeared my grandmother,” like an action item carried out by me, vs. descriptive about the person who is now gone and where they might have last been seen or been placed. It’s a hard one for me to say because that’s what I hear when I say it, and I know I didn’t actually misplace someone, or have anything to do with where they went. But of course I use the phrase out of respect for others’ ears and hearts.

Personally, I take little solace in someone going to Heaven and still being labeled as “lost.” If there is really a literal place that is Heaven, then they most certainly are not lost, and are definitely, literally in a better place. And if there is no literal Heaven, they’re just gone, not lost. Hopefully they are not wandering around looking for a gas station where they can ask for directions or trying to get better service to view an online map. I picture a man walking in circles, refusing to ask for directions, and ending up back on Earth in another dimension. (Welcome to my brain.)

I have to agree that when someone we love dies, it sure does feel like a loss, a void, having something ripped away without our consent. I think if I were to say it exactly how it feels for me, it would be more like, “I feel lost without ___________.” The loss is definitely more on my end rather than the person or pet who died having gone somewhere where we now can’t find them, or forgot where we last left them.

When someone dies and I say that I lost them, it sounds like there is hope that I will find them again, recover the relationship somehow at some point. Some philosophies say that I might, but even with that I am not guaranteed. What this all means to me, really-really, is that I am in fact the one who feels lost. I am the one who is now wandering through the valley of grief and uncertainty, juggling life between the facts, the must-do’s of day to day life, and calling it whatever it needs to be called in order to tolerate it and accept the void of a missing piece never to be returned to where I think it belongs, to where I want them the most.


But I Love ALL People

I often wonder if we truly came to realize how much our apathy, our overt and covert racism, homophobia, genderism (or pick an ism/phobia) hurts us on a personal level — would we finally do something about it? If we found out it was making us sick, if we felt it in our own lives, on our own bodies, in our own homes, in our own minds, would we finally be compelled to do something? Or would we still just be stuck on “right” to save face and suffer silently, or blame it on “them?” I think we put a lot of energy into saving face, and a lot of running from the truth… or even mangling it, covering it up. We think, “I’m not the one; surely it’s not me,” and even get mad when confronted.

We put a LOT of energy into this, and yet we think we remain unaffected by the covering up, the pretending, the avoidance to look at ourselves squarely and honestly. We put on a mask when we go about our daily business outside of the home, but when we return the mask is put away and we discuss all about “those people,” and we have strong opinions on people we can’t even see honestly. We pretend (or do we really believe this) that if we don’t talk about it, refuse to give it attention, that we somehow are not contributing to the racism, the homophobia, Islamic hatred, etc. We tell ourselves and others that we just won’t participate in the discussions because that would be contributing to the problem. But…

WHEN HAS IGNORING SOMETHING EVER MADE IT BETTER?

If you let it, this might set you free from the invisible box you have created for yourself and probably the children you might be influencing…. Do you know that you don’t even have to understand how or why people are who they are to just let them live, and even to love them? And here’s the REAL personal freedom…. Once you are able to embrace that, it’s no effort to embrace them just as they are. That’s where love lives, and that’s what it looks like.

We like to say that we love all people, don’t we? It sounds right, and feels good to say — even seems logical. For added theatrics or emphasis, we even wave our hand when we say it as if we’re brushing off how ridiculous it is to even have to say it out loud.

  • You have a good relationship with your Black neighbor, and your kids even play together.
    • But do you love Black PEOPLE?
  • That Muslim woman in the next cubicle is hilarious, and you frequently lunch together.
    • But do you love Muslim PEOPLE?
  • The Mexican woman who babysits your children during the past four summers is a wonderful addition to your lives and with whom you entrust your children. She even teaches them Spanish!
    • But do you love Mexican PEOPLE?
  • You’re nice to Emily, the transgender checker at the grocery store that you look forward to seeing every week.
    • But do you love transgender PEOPLE?
  • Your love your cousin who is gay and you get along great with him and his husband.
    • But do you love gay PEOPLE?

I’m sure you’re onto me by now, and may have already begun making excuses before you reached the end of the list or stopped reading the list altogether. Hopefully none of that’s true and you get the point. But if it is true, I hope you ask yourself why that is, and I hope you go even further and begin really thinking about this. One thing that can happen is that you will start showing up as the person you’ve been saying you are. You remember — the one that loves all people!

I get it. (I don’t, actually, but I do know something about this personally.) You’re secretly afraid of what other people in your circles might think. You don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. You’re afraid of what you will lose, and this is a driving force for so many of us that causes us sometimes to double down on the excuses, and why so many of us turn to apathy, ignoring, or defending all the “good people on both sides.” We are more afraid of how we might look, what we might lose, or even who we might have to talk to in a new way.

Freedom. That’s what you get. You get freedom from the excuses, freedom from toxic ideas and people. You get new vision, and you get to do the work of self-repair, self-reflection, and self-love instead of the arduous work of covering up, the laziness of apathy and tolerating, and the sweat-work of defending terrible people, systems and ideations. You get freedom from the pain of giving and being an assist to systems that hurt other people. You will lose some; you will. And then you will be free from people who won’t operate on a higher level of humanity.

Operating from this is also work, but it isn’t the kind that hurts us on a soul level or the level of hurting humanity. In fact, it’s actually restorative on a cellular level. And the best part of all… you will be on your way to telling the truth when you say, “I LOVE ALL PEOPLE.”



Walking & Thinking #8

What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.
Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare


So, what IS in a name?

Some people don’t like their own given name, and sometimes we don’t like someone else’s name. Sometimes we are in wonderment at how someone might have arrived at a particular name, or notice that a name has a funny ring to it, or sounds like it might be from another language than our own, etc.  I remember disliking my name when I was young. I much preferred nicknames to my own given name when I was a teenager. That changed as I grew into an adult, but not necessarily for the reasons this post is about… until now.

Our family has another grandbaby on the way — our third. So it’s an exciting time! I was teasing the kids about naming the baby after me — even if it was a boy — or combining mine and mother’s names — DeboRosa. Yeah, I know how it sounds. My former husband says it sounds too much like “ambrosia,” which I still feel qualifies it for the possibility list. (I’m seriously just kidding.)

When I was out for my walk the other day, I was chuckling to myself about that conversation. Then I started thinking about our children’s names. All three boys are named after beloved family members who are not only loved, but strong in character. The lone girl’s name was chosen because it sounded pretty (and it is — almost as pretty as her). Our first granddaughter is named the same way, and our first grandson is named after his father and has a middle name with a very special meaning in Spanish. Anyway, that’s the context for this post.

As I and my thoughts meandered around the neighborhood, it occurred to me just how much I love our kids’ names, and how much they mean to me. I started thinking about the things I mentioned above about my own name, about times when I couldn’t imagine why someone would name a child “that,” or when I heard someone making fun of a name because it sounded “foreign.” I know people who have changed their names because they didn’t like them, and others because the name they were given at birth did not match their gender identity. I know some who have changed their names because they wanted a more American-sounding name. (That makes me sad for a few reasons.) I also recalled some people whose names make me personally feel a particular way — upset, angry, sad, fearful, anxious. And there are still others when I hear them, I feel joy, love, warmth, happiness. But I couldn’t recall ever hearing a parent say that they regretted giving a particular name to their child/ren.

I worked in various positions in healthcare, primarily women’s health for many years. Names were important, and spellings of those names were extremely important. I used to keep a list in my drawer of the peculiar or unusual ones. Some seemed thoughtful, but others still have me scratching my head to this day. Nonetheless, someone cared about those names enough and whatever was behind them to dole them out to a most precious gift.

How do people respond to your name? How do they feel when they hear it? How do you feel about your own name? How will you hear names after this?

When your parent/s gave you your name, it sounded like love in their soul, like music to their ears, a song etched in their heart, or a sweet memory worthy of sharing. It meant something to the person that thoughtfully gave you your name, and they heard something in it, knew someting about it no one else could hear, see, or feel quite the same.


My name 🙂

The Thing About Suffering…

When you set out to cause suffering in another, you double your own and invite more of it. You cannot escape the suffering you put on others until you give up the practice of causing it, and give up your addiction to that savage, satiating feeling you think fixes you when you cause it.

This manufacturing of suffering is a vicious cycle for all involved. Life brings suffering at times on its own, this is a fact. But the manufacturing of it is something else. It’s abuse, for one thing, and manipulation. But more than that, it’s a whole cycle. The one inflicting the suffering circumstances (manipulator, abuser) is already suffering. What a horrid way to go through life — perpetrating hurt and pain on others. I’ve heard victims say that they don’t understand how the abuser lives such a good life, or gets away with their behavior. I can see how it appears that way, but I think this is mostly false.

Once the cycle starts, the target will find ways to avoid the circumstances and abusers will double-down on their victims, but the suffering continues to return to the manipulator and multiplies by a factor of their own and the person/s they’re hurting. One’s own suffering can’t actually be cured or satiated by inflicting more suffering. And if you’re the abuser, frankly, you give up your right to be angry at the change in people caused by your endless refusal or inability to be decent, or their willingness to go to great lengths to stay out of your line of fire. That’s part of the price you pay. So… more suffering.



Aunties, Uncles, Safe Harbor

It’s just the way I grew up, and I thought everybody had this, and I still think everybody should. Be good to your people. It’s just a thought for the holidays.

Growing up, my aunties and uncles were safe harbor.
Sometimes kids need a safe harbor that isn’t a parent.
Everyone benefits.

Happy all of it from my home to yours.

Walking & Thinking #5

I was remembering a suggestion someone made, tongue-in-cheek, about how politicians should wear suits or jackets like professional auto racers wear. You know the ones that have patches and graphics all over them showing who their sponsors are? I wish we would do that. It will never happen though. They don’t really want us to easily identify, or in some cases ever identify who donates to their campaigns because then we would really see what is behind their masks and who they really serve. But then that had me thinking a little further — about all of us. What if there were specific characteristics that showed the world who we are, what we are like as soon as anyone laid eyes on us — characteristics that couldn’t be changed? We already have issues with making assumptions based on skin, national origin, sex, etc. But what if naturally blue hair meant you hit your wife? What if checkered grey and green skin meant you were a cheater? What if lavender lips meant you were chronically mean? What if hair that grew straight up front, but tight and curly in the back showed that someone was a narcissist? Or what if whatever clothes we put on for the day and our bodies just instantly became tagged with these clues? What would that be like? Would that cause us to be kinder, to be quicker to care about how our actions affected others? The possibilities are endless… but I’ll bet a lot of us are glad this is just a daydream from a walk.

Osaka, Biles, and Grace

There is a younger generation of leaders changing the way they are handled and taking charge of their priorities. It’s an opportunity for grace.

Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles have made me look harder at what grace really means lately, or at least what it can look like. Each has pulled out of major athletic events recently to tend to their own mental health and safety, and they have been widely publicized and scrutinized. Each was dragged on social, print, television, and radio media. But even more importantly, each was revered, lauded and applauded, and supported by so many more, and even defended on those platforms. Perhaps you are one of the people coming to stand with and behind Osaka’s and Biles’ decisions to back out of competition – or you had negative feelings when Osaka did it, but after hearing favorable commentary on what she did, you came around to a new way of thinking when Biles made a similar choice. I have no argument with those reactions whatsoever. In fact, I feel like that is progress that so many of us are showing that kind of love and support – grace, if you will. That is the loving response, and certainly the God-centered one. We should remember that their bodies and minds are sacred temples unto themselves, and do not belong to anyone other. 

St. Augustine said, “What is grace? I know until you ask me; when you ask me, I do not know.” As spiritual beings we know grace to be favor or even sincere kindness and allowance from our God-source that we grant. It is not something only God can grant. Because we have the source within, it is a choice we can make. It is at once an understanding, while we may not yet totally understand. It is a conscious choice and action that begins within rather than from factors without. Was St. Augustine correct in his assessment of grace? It is my opinion that he was, in that we sometimes forget that we have choice over this and forget from where grace begins. Romans 3:24 talks about the grace of God being given freely. Therefore, it is not a stretch to understand that it is also ours to give. We are creative expressions of the Oneness within… so let us examine where we fall short when we just forget.


These young women’s very public and personal situations bring forward important questions for us personally. First, are you showing grace to the people in your life – your spouse, neighbor, parent, child (young or grown), best friend, student, employee or subordinate, etc. – are you also giving them the same allowances, favor, and grace as you have given the famous and very public Osaka and Biles? ‘Just something to think about. Everyone has problems, difficulties, struggles. No one is immune. It might be financial disparities, physical or mental health issues, relationship struggles… there is a myriad of possibilities here. If their response does not align with what we think, or they are taking too long (in our opinions) to resolve it, or we are tired of hearing about it, what then is our response? Grace does not have to look like agreement or even complete understanding, but it will always look like support and the space for that person to be where they are while being covered in our love. 

Finally, and extremely important, are you also standing up for yourself? Are you giving your own sacred self the same grace that you are giving these very gifted athletes and others in your life? We often see a bit of our own humanity in others when they go through some ordeal publicly, or when someone we love is in the middle of maneuvering complex decisions. Yet, there are times when we assign more importance to someone else’s plight. There are times when it feels easier to publicly give someone outside of us grace and then walk back into our own lives and drop that mantle outside our own front door. We may not even realize we do that. Self-deprecating actions can be unconscious and habitual. Remember that you are deserving of no less grace than our Wayshower and brother, Jesus the Christ, exampled for us and that which is a constant from God.


Let us fine-tune the way we think of grace. Grace is not an award to grant. It is the truth, the reminder, and the acceptance that we are one with God, and one with each other. We are each but one part of the whole. It is an active admission that we are connected and different (not separate) at the same time – interconnected – and that not one of us deserves less or more of anything. If we can find it within ourselves to grant it when public or celebrity calls are made for it, we need only to reach nearer and harder and put it into practice for ourselves and those in our circles (1Peter 4:8). Imagine the world that will show up out of that.

That’s truth. That’s love. We are LOVE I AM.  

First published as a contributor on www.LoveIAm4us.org

#olympics #NaomiOsaka #SimoneBiles #grace #love #truth #athletes #MentalHealth #health

Clean House, Messy Heart

Today, I am going to get personal. I often talk about things “out there,” or I am ambiguous on purpose because what I’m writing about can have more than one meaning. I usually want the reader to find the one that resonates with them. So I’m going to do something in this post that I don’t frequently do — get personal.

The hubs and I have one of our best friends coming to visit for a quick overnight stay. We haven’t seen her in two years, where we normally would see her and her family three to four times a year. She and her husband moved out of the state a couple years ago and, thanks to COVID-19, we haven’t had the chance to see them or their kids. She’s “home” for a spell and is making the two hour+ drive to see us. Because of this, there has been an amount of “getting ready” happening in our home.

Something about tidying up and rushing around the house reminds me of my father. He was a tyrant. He was fastidious, to say the kindest and the least, about everything, and definitely about the inside as well as the outside of the home. The majority of my chores were outside for some reason (no clue why). It’s probably no shock that I’m way better at taking care of the outside of the house than I am the inside. But there’s more to it than that. I actually get sort of frozen-in-place when a project inside is a giant one, or when someone decides they want to rush me around. Nothing was ever good enough for him, and he never cared how hard you tried.

So, back to our friend that’s coming over. I got up this morning with a migraine and tallied up the things that I felt needed to be done before her arrival this evening. There weren’t many, and even those were pretty simple things. I had already washed sheets, dusted and cleaned the bedroom, and made the bed. I dusted the living and dining rooms a couple days ago. But there are dog nose-prints on the front window and mulberries squished on the floor from dogs that run around the backyard and then track them inside. The mulberries are a several-times-a-day project until the tree stops dropping them. Well, shoot, my vitamins are out on the counter in the kitchen and the kitchen rugs could use another wash. Some of the placemats on the dining table don’t match. Recyclable trash needs to be emptied, and there’s a stack of mail on the dining room table. My desk – well my desk has always had a life of its own! Laundry is in the dryer, so that means it probably won’t get folded and put away before she gets here. I sort of sat there with my cup of coffee in a trance, frozen-ish, headachy.

By the time I finished my cup of coffee and cottage cheese with blueberries, I was over it — not over our friend’s visit, but over being overly-concerned about what there was to do. First of all, we love her and she loves us, and I know for a fact that she is not going to come into my home and begin examining everything, and I already know she has no expectation of walking into a showroom model home. Secondly, I’m not going to have friends who are that judgy anyway. (If you are, I might just hand you some spray and paper towels and invite you to clean the dog nose-marks yourself.)

I realize that my first reaction this morning was really coming from someone/somewhere else, and not from me. I just happened to let it in. It was coming from people who have been in my life who really need to do as much heart work as they do in other areas of their lives. My heart is full of love for our friend, and I know it’s returned. My home is clean, comfortable, and welcoming. Save my desk and a set of shelves in my bedroom, my home is orderly. You can open my cupboards and look under the rugs and furniture.

I know some people who insist on a spotless home who are actually not great at being good humans, or whose lives are in complete disarray. (That’s not to say that everyone who has a spotless home IS a terrible human, so don’t email me.) But it occurred to me today that we can work so hard at looking good, appearing competent, acting organized, etc., but forget or refuse to give as much attention to becoming the person our exteriors claim we are. We may have a clean home, pressed clothes, a nice physique… but a messy heart. Take for example the person whose home looks clean and tidy when you walk in, but you better not open a drawer or a cupboard because the mess was never really cleaned, it was just stuffed away out of sight. A funny thing about that process is that even we forget sometimes that the stuff is in there or forget where we even put something!

Things become lost – like souls.

I’m not at all saying that someone cannot master both home and heart. What I am saying is this: Be kind and loving to your people, especially if you’re raising children. Our children grow up to be other versions of us, or worse, versions of the mess we stuff away in cupboards or sweep under the rug, and you never know how that’s going to come out. For me, it comes out as anxiety, a kind of frozen, soft-serve mess. For others it might come out like a spotless home, but a frozen heart, and for still others it might look like abuse. We raise these little people sometimes without remembering that other people have to deal with them after they leave our care or we leave this world. If you’re going to leave a mess behind, let it be the dog nose-print on the window kind, or the home overflowing with fun kind — not a person, or not the mean-spirited, heartless, not enough, or anxiety-in-skin kind that hides away or projects onto others. Your spotless home might be something to be proud of, but don’t make it meaningless in the grand scheme of it all, or a miserable place to be for those with whom you share it.

Appearances are just that – something to see; but a kind and giving heart is something to behold and cherish.

Walking & Thinking #3

I hear a lot lately about cancel culture. I’m sure it has its negative impacts, as I can see how we might want to jump the gun or be specifically harsh to someone if our feelings have been hurt in some way. I can also see how it is necessary if someone is toxic or dangerous to our very being. More specifically, today I got to thinking about people that claim to love us or have our highest interests at heart — someone we live with, a spouse, a neighbor, a relative, or a friend.

Sometimes people just aren’t for you, even if they have love for you. Sometimes people just are not your tribe, or someone truly isn’t your person. Everyone has some kind of genius inside of them, and you will know your tribe by the fact that they not only recognize it, but they actually celebrate it, and they might even recognize it in you before you realize it. That’s your tribe; that’s your person!

#WalkingAndThinking #blog #blogger #tribe #GeniusInside #DeboraLynn #recognize #gift #CancelCulture #redefine #struggle #MentalHealth #love #friends #family #spouse #happy

Imagine… If We Had a Superpower

People come to us whole! It is only in our own eyes that we see and make someone else otherwise. Putting “less-than” upon another person is our own shortsightedness, not theirs.

What if you spent more time appreciating your spouse’s strengths than you did on wishing they did something else better or more? How much better could it be if you celebrated the whole of who they are instead of lamenting who they are not?

What if you got to know your kids just as they are, and loved their kind of genius that is already thriving in them vs. working to mold them into who you wish they would be? True, our children need our guidance. I believe fully that they come into this world already knowing every ounce of who they are, but we think or think we should know better and we convince them of the same. How confusing! Imagine if they were guided standing in who they already are instead of what we wished we could change them into!

Imagine the possibilities, the transformation, the opportunities that could open wide up by freeing up the other from the heaviness of our shortsighted expectations. Understand that it doesn’t just free them up, but us as well. Imagine that! No, really, take a moment to go on ahead and imagine it. I’ll wait.

Now, imagine all the love and affinity you could pour into that newly freed space – that even they could pour into it. What a world that could be. In my imagination, I see families freed up from generations of cycles of all kinds of abuse, spouses and children freed up from the different levels of fear and terror they feel when they hear the other spouse’s or parent’s car pulling up in the evening. I imagine children and young people freed up to be whatever it is that they dream and has them feel like the whole and worthy beings that they always have been, and employees returning home at the end of the day feeling satisfied instead of used. I imagine whole groups of people from different cultures and ethnicities walking freely on this Earth just as they should, knowing that they are loved and cared for just like anyone else, and not only accepted but appreciated for everything they are.

So I will end with what I started with. People come to us whole! It is only in our eyes that we make someone else otherwise. Putting “less-than” upon another person is our own shortsightedness, not theirs.

Move beyond imagining. It’s a superpower we all possess.