Thirty-two.

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Thirty-one.

The year of survival and growth and stretching and reaching…

and breaking.

Stumbling and falling.

Stubbornly rising each and every time.

Slowly at first.

Then faster and fasterandfaster.

Stronger with each climb.

Angrier.
More terrified.
Bewildered and enraged.

 

until the breaking.

 

And the silence.

The defeat.

Loneliness.

Despair.

“Finish the job, God. Finish steamrolling me. Finish burning my life to the ground. Just get me to the other side. Please just get me to the other side.

 

Surrender…

when my back was so far against the wall I had melded into it.

Surrender…

when the breath had been knocked out of me so hard,

 

I wasn’t sure my lungs would ever fill with air again...
or my eyes with tears.

 

And then…

jolted back to life

from the hot embers and ash.

To peace.

Hope.

Love.

Compassion.

 

To purpose.

 

Rise up from the ashes. Rise up.

Share your strength.

Lean into your deep roots.

Hold my hand.

 

Rise up from the ashes

like your hardy, beloved peony.

Rise up into thirty-two.

 

Rise into that purpose.

You are new.

You are worthy.

You are whole.

 

You know who you are.

 

Rise into the novel.

To the stage.

LEAD.

 

Make your own way
with your hand in mine.

 

Rise up…
 

and let them all rise up with you.

 

 

REM, 08-01-2018