Category Archives: Poetry

The Honest Truth

Poet Kristen Braatz Eiden shared this with us in honor of the passing of her beloved friend, and fellow poet Mary Jane Gonzales. Thank you, Kristen for sharing your beautiful and poignant poem. When I read your heartfelt poetry, it will always remind me of Jane ❤

Diary of a Clay Pot

The honest truth…
There are many things I would love to share
But wonder if you would even care

The honest truth…
We all have crosses to bare
So many burdens of past failures made aware

The honest truth…
Some things you would not want to hear
So many things that need to be made clear

The honest truth…
The pain is for real
But to many its seems unreal

The honest truth…
We all stumble and fall
We all need someone to catch our fall

The honest truth…
When we begin to realize there is no perfect here on earth
We begin to see life at its true worth

The honest truth…
Some of my worst days have become my best
There is truly hope in the unrest

The honest truth…
I would not be where I am today
Without every pain and heartache of yesterday

The honest truth…

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“Rock of Ages” poem by Mary Jane Gonzales

ROCK OF AGES
Father, I am sinking.
Would you throw to me a rope?
Would you please confirm the scripture
That I’m never without hope?
Would you strengthen me in spirit
As I trod this rocky road?
Would you bear for me the burden
That is such a heavy load?
Would you wipe away the tears
That keep falling from my eyes?
Would you lovingly send mercy
When you hear my anguished cries?
Would you not let pain consume me
Taking focus out of prayer?
Would you be my rock of ages
Greater than my worldly care?

-Copyright Mary Jane Gonzales

(PSALM 91:1,14 Inspiration verses)

 

Today we honor author, poet, and chronic pain advocate Mary Jane Gonzales by reading her poetry, as her family and friends gather to pay tribute to her at her Celebration of Life service. Her poetry was actually her prayers, as she began praying in verse after her illness struck nearly 30 years ago. Jane became a Christian later in her life, and her faith was her rock and guiding light throughout her battle with the severe neurological disease Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which kept her confined to a bed through the final years. Though her body fought her daily, she used what energy she had to be a source of encouragement to others living in pain. If you would like to read one of her inspiring books, you can find her author page here where several of her books are available for download as ebooks. 

“Shape me Yet Anew” Poem by Mary Jane Gonzales

SHAPE ME YET ANEW
Father God, I pray
That you would shape me yet anew,
As this pot is cracked and broken
And un-beautiful to you.
Lord, I feel as if you’ve started
With a fresh supply of clay
And I’m spinning on the wheel
And my life’s begun to sway.
When you’ve shaped me in your image
And you put me in the kiln,
In the furnace of affliction
To be set and processed still,
Let the outcome be for glory,
Let on-lookers stop and gasp.
“How did He make this from nothing?”
Let the people stop and ask.
Let the beauty draw attention
To the artist and His work.
Give me beauty and a purpose, Lord,
Of which I would not shirk.
As it is with real life pottery,
A pitcher or a vase,
Make me useful to the Master
In the setting where I’m placed.

-Mary Jane Gonzales

 

JEREMIAH 18:4 (NIV)
But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

 

This is from Mary Jane Gonzales’s book, Poetic Devotions for Those in Pain. I absolutely love this book of hers. The words are simple, but each poem has a profound message.
She told me that her poems are actually her prayers. After her chronic pain began, she could no longer pray as she had before… her emotional and physical pain were far too burdensome and overwhelming. 
Then she started speaking her prayers to the Lord through song and verse; that’s how she began writing books. Ten in full!
It’s incredibly intimate that she shares them with us. I find it so powerful being allowed to read one’s inner most private prayers to our Heavenly Father. It’s such a privilege. It feels as though she wrote the words written on my own heart. 
Her permission was given to share any of her poetry here, and today as her family holds a Celebration of her Life, I’ll be sharing some of her beautiful poetry with you to celebrate her life and work.  Please join me in praying for Jane’s family as they say goodbye, and I pray we as the chronic illness community can honor her legacy and continue her incredible work as the strong advocate she was. 
Purchase her ebooks here on her book page. If you can’t afford it at this time but would still love to read one of her books, please email me, and I’ll be happy to gift you a free book. abodyofhope@mail.com

 

 

Poem for RSD/CRPS “Pain Tokens”

“Pain Tokens” 

RSD: 

It’s not free.

It’s not “regional,”

And it’s not seasonal.

They say it’s like fire, but it’s so much more.

Like pieces of yourself scattered on the floor.

~
RSD: 

It’s not free.

It will cost, and it will take.

People will think your pain is fake.

You’ll feel it in your body;

 You’ll feel it in your soul.

It can start when you’re a kid; 

It can last until you’re old.

~
RSD: 

It’s not free.

Your family will pay.

Some will behave in a different way.

Some try to help; 

Some go away.

Some can’t stay to watch you change.

~
RSD: 

It’s not free.

It moves and grows in ways you cannot know.

You adapt…you can flow.

You can bend,

You can throw caution to the wind!

~
RSD: 

It’s not free.

You pay the toll;

You walk the road.

Share some coins;

You’re not alone.

@abodyofhope, 2014

*********************

Today is Color the World Orange Day! This is an annual international campaign to raise awareness and funds for chronic pain research. Please participate by sharing something orange to social media  (or to your blog) with the hashtag #CRPSORANGEDAY. Thank you!

 https://rsds.org

“Waking in Winter” quote by Sylvia Plath 

Lines by Mitsuhiko Kamada


Waking In Winter” by Sylvia Plath
I can taste the tin of the sky —- the real tin thing.

Winter dawn is the color of metal,

The trees stiffen into place like burnt nerves.

All night I have dreamed of destruction, annihilations —-

An assembly-line of cut throats, and you and I

Inching off in the gray Chevrolet, drinking the green

Poison of stilled lawns, the little clapboard gravestones,

Noiseless, on rubber wheels, on the way to the sea resort.
How the balconies echoed! How the sun lit up

The skulls, the unbuckled bones facing the view!

Space! Space! The bed linen was giving out entirely.

Cot legs melted in terrible attitudes, and the nurses —-

Each nurse patched her soul to a wound and disappeared.

The deathly guests had not been satisfied

With the rooms, or the smiles, or the beautiful rubber plants,

Or the sea, Hushing their peeled sense like Old Mother Morphia.

It’s the love that hurts the most: Poem

~It’s the love that hurts the most~

Is that you?

Is that your voice I heard whispering to me last night?

In a dream,

In a nightmare,

In a moment, I felt you again.

I rolled around in the sticky sickly pieces of our past.

I awoke covered in your aftermath.

Threatened by your promises,

Violence to my heart,

The remnants of our love still cut me,

Shards slice through my consciousness,

Ripping me apart.

 

The Liar Inside

Portrait by Hypnotic Teapot, Etsy

Hypnotic Teapot Portrait Artist

~The Liar Inside~

There is this voice. It whispers. (It screams.)

It tells you that you have fallen too far.

There is no returning from these hits.

It tells you that someone else would have handled this path better.

Braver. Tougher. Smarter.

Someone else would not have lost so much. Someone else would not have allowed themselves to fall…this far. 

She tells you that you are a burden. A vampire.

Selfish. Helpless. Unworthy.

She tells you that if you disappeared…no one would grieve for you. 

She has a voice and she has eyes. She shows you how others might see you: Pathetic. Weak. Alone. 

This voice is a liar. 

She lives in the home of everyone. 

She sneaks in through the window of your mother and father. 

She sings you hateful songs about others. She sings you hurtful songs about yourself. 

Satan is an angel. Nickname: “the great deceiver.” 

Silence her deception with love, service, worship, gratitude.

Silence her deception with truth:

You are loved.

You are strong.

You are worthy.

You are made in the image of God.

You are SO unbelievably beautiful! 

You can face this day fiercely and boldly!

And you are not alone. 

~a Body of Hope

*****

 Custom image by Portrait Artist, Hypnotic Teapot on Etsy. She creates stunning, unique color and pencil portraits Hypnotic Teapot Portrait Artistof you, your friends, and your pets at an affordable price. I have ordered custom artwork from her and can vouch for her professionalism and amazing artistry. Go buy a gift your loved one will never forget! #ValentinesDay

An Unlocking Spell: Conjuring Myself

My sister asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday last year. I told her that if I had been well enough, I would’ve wanted to invite friends over to make sandwiches to bring to hungry area children. I used to do this type of thing in high school sometimes, and last year fantasized that it might make for a unique summer birthday gathering that my friends would like to participate in (being my awesome friends). I was really only thinking out loud, and then asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday (since our birthdays fall inside the same week).

When my birthday came around, I went to stay at my parent’s for the week. On the day of my birthday, my family gave me a small photo album filled with pictures of smiling children. “How cute…What is this?” I asked, curious what my family was up to. My parents and sister had arranged to spend the day volunteering for a back to school program called Give a Kid a Chance which prepares underprivileged children for the coming school year. My family donated goods, packed backpacks and checked little heads for lice. They spent their entire Saturday volunteering for this wonderful program in honor of my birthday!!!! I was crying, they were crying, we were all emotional as they shared the details of the day. It is absolutely one of the most heartfelt and most humbling gifts I had ever received, (which others received) and I know I will never forget their beautiful selfless gesture.

When my mom explained why they did it, she said, “Volunteer work has always been such a big part of who you are. After you couldn’t help in the community any more, you turned your attention to caring for people online. Your sister told us what you would have wanted to do for your birthday, so we did this because you would have been doing this if you could have.”

I didn’t realize how much I needed a wake up call until that moment. I felt like a doorbell was being rung to the door of my soul that a warrior part of me had to close in order to stay alive. To fight the illness, I had to know my enemy, and get in the trenches with him. But the price was that a piece of me had to be shrouded away, protected in that way, while I fought through the very worst of it. My family didn’t know how much I desperately NEEDED this reminder of my core, of who I am.

No one had spoken of my former self out loud in what felt like years. Their gracious act and words were like an unlocking spell. Something awakened inside of me on that birthday that started a transformation- which is still in progress. I am so thankful and fortunate for them, for having the ability to see the good in who I am now, and for never forgetting the person I have always been.

I woke up the following morning with this poem trickling from my brain:

~The Apparition~

 

In the time and space between

dark rooms and restless painful nights,

you might have time to count

too many stains on the paint.

The time between forgotton breaths

may have left you wondering

who you used to be.

Did the air sneak your old life out?

Under the door?

Through the cracks in the floor?

 *

Like Russian dolls,

the top one falls:

Broken.

And mama sweeps it away.

Those who recall that ghost,

tip toe beside the host of the demon.

They bring pieces of the past,

until at last you remember.

The apparition waits outside.

Now, you can smell her perfume.

-aBodyofHope 7/23/14

*******

There are times during the fight that we must lay down our old lives and find a way to nurture today, without looking back or too far ahead. But I’ve also learned that reminders of your past can boost your spirit in the midst of a struggle. Wherever you are in your journey, I hope you have someone in your life who sees the strength in you and reminds you of it.

Peace.

Blooming Beauty is by one of my favorite artists: Peggy Wolf. Check out her gallery on Etsy, you’ll love her as much as I do.

She’ll Always be Baby to Him

She’ll Always be Baby to Him

He walks through the door to a woman on the floor. She’s sick now, and he never knows who he’ll be coming home to. The house was built with children in mind. They left a life of adventure behind to save and to plan ahead for a wonderful family instead.

She was still a girl when the illness took hold. But neither of them let go of their goals. And they kept looking on to a brighter tomorrow when all of thier visions would come into view.

More health concerns, the bills piled high, the doctors said she’ll get worse through the rest of her life. And the dreams that once made them laugh were fading into thier past.

Oh, but the one hope that they couldn’t ignore was to start a family so they prayed to the Lord. But her body took a terrible turn- the house went dark- their last dream (like her pain)- it was burned.

They believed that their love would always survive, but the emptiness was an angry kind that filled the corners of their home with doubt. Without the promise of a little one, dreaming just didn’t seem much fun for the couple who had survived everything–until this.

Now a grown woman is like his child and she wonders if taking care of her will drive him wild, but she keeps on praying love will see them through. The loss they mourn is another Chronic Pain that they must both endure, but Hope and Love they cling to just like glue.

-A Body of Hope

********

Brett Williams "Isole" | "She'll always be Baby to Him #Spoonie #endametriosis A Poem about how chronically ill couples survive without children #MS #CRPS #Marriage

This striking image is courtesy of artist Brett Williams. “Isole” is one of Brett’s chalk works. Please visit one of his pages to purchase an original piece for your home or a gift.

www.brettwilliamsart.com

Facebook/BrettWilliamsArt

Chronic Pain Time Machine

If I wish away my pain, I will wish away my life. And time is too precious. | "A Word on Time" article about chronic pain slowing down time. And how that can be a benefit to cherishing small moments in life. #Spoonie #Pain #ChronicPain #RSD #CRPS #CFS #MS #Fibromyalgia #Arthritis #abodyofhope #Migraine

When we are children, time goes by soooo slowly- sometimes we have more vivid memories from youth than just last week. In High school, I remember dating someone, feeling as though we were together for years when in reality the time may have only been months, but the value of it was just as great as many years. Was it the focus perhaps? The undivided attention? Was it the emotional impact? The relationship blew out a canyon of feelings and memories… like nothing you had ever felt or experienced before.

“Time is an illusion.” -Albert Einstein

“Time is what you make of it.” -unknown

I think about things like this from my bed now. I feel time slipping through my grasp at an alarming speed when I think about how long I’ve been chronically ill. [Especially] When I think of all of the missed celebrations gone by. The weddings. The births. All of my best friend’s son’s birthdays missed. My baby brother’s sporting events.

Only one life

Once in a lifetime

Don’t look back

Crane your neck

*

Only one life

Sand in a bottle

Sand so quick

Sand like diamonds

Every single moment

So damn precious

*

Only one life

Slow down time

Ticking on by

Once in a lifetime

Time like diamonds

Moments shine

Around your neck

But there’s another side to experiencing time. Now this is a secret that people with chronic pain know that I’ll be letting you in on:

Time slows down when you are suffering. The more pain you are in, the slower time goes.

Slow time in pain is definitely NOT like the gift it sounds like, however. Mostly, we are wishing for the minutes to speed up. But time going by faster will not diminish the pain, unfortunately. I used to push myself to get through each minute. Watching the clock, I would be relieved I got through another minute gone by- another day passed. Congratulations to me- I got through the day! The problem with that is wishing away time. Before I knew it, so much time had gone by and my condition was only worsening, treatments weren’t helping, and ticking away my life’s minutes was only getting me closer to worse problems in my future.

I cannot control so many of my circumstances, and I cannot go out and DO all that the world once called from me. However, I see a new opportunity presented. Precious moments with loved ones can be truly cherished instead of rushed through. I’m not implying everyone in pain has a surplus of time on their hands. No. In fact, what this means is the pain is so outrageous that I’m fighting not falling asleep, passing out, or screaming out loud. This very physical fight between my will and body is where the precious moments lie between. Where my best friend holds my hand at my bedside whispering to me about her son’s new toys at Christmas with a twinkle in her eyes. This is where time slows down and the moment seems to go on and on.

Life is a gift. We only have so much time. And we each only have one trip. If your current time feels it has slowed down, maybe it can be an opportunity to focus on the moments that matter.  Looking back, time will always feel like it went by too quickly. No matter your present circumstances, you always have a choice in how you spend your moments.

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