Buried Alive

I’ve been buried alive for 17 years.

Living life underground became so easy that I pretended to not even miss the sun. The actual burial was painful--breathing in dirt instead of dreams. After a while, life under the soil became quite cozy. Little by little I dug and hollowed out a new home in the mud and accepted death as my new life. But one can never fool the heart.

The heart may be hardened with layers of pain. It may be bruised from well-targeted punches. It may get knocked to the ground, seemingly unconscious. But even as it lies there, still in the middle of the boxing ring, its sound can be heard.

Drown out the hissing of the crowd. Forget the mocking laughter of your opponent. As you hear the referee’s count down proclaiming you have lost, lie there and listen. You can hear it. Yes, your heart is still pumping.

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

I grew up in a mid-sized city in Missouri (USA). Even though I left my childhood home at the age of 18, there are a few sounds that can always transfer me back to my life on Felix Street.

The sound of a shirtless teenage boy’s stereo blaring 80’s rock while his hot-rod speeds down the Belt Highway; hoping to impress some girl. The rattling of the windows of our old, Victorian home during one of Missouri’s epic thunder and lightning storms. The slightly out-of-tune music of my high school band as they practiced the difficult art of simultaneously marching and playing tubas across our football field. Then there is the unforgettable sound of the cicadas.

Foreigners to the land of Missouri may be frightened by their sound. These insects remain quiet until dusk when all goes calm. Then they join together as a choir of buzzes and hums that sounds more like an alien invasion than a song to welcome the night.

As a young girl, I would run around the yard of my Grandma Juanita’s small yellow house shadowed by a large and elderly pine tree. On the tree’s rough bark, in the light of day, I would often find proof of the nightly alien cicada invasion. In the darkness the cicada adults would emerge from their brown, hardened shells and leave their exoskeletons clinging to the tree. I always wondered is something beautiful could emerge from such a dusty, ugly entrapment.

cicada shell.jpg

 

************   

At Christmas time my husband and I saw the movie Joy about a woman who turns her life around to become the person she was always created to be. Her grandmother was the only one who saw the true woman and would remind Joy that she was destined to be “the calm, non-anxious presence in the room.” While reading a bedtime science book to her daughter, Joy discovers a fact about cicadas.

She pauses before slowly reading aloud, “Cicadas live most of their lives, 17 years, underground until they emerge as full-fledged adults.”

Honestly, I thought the screenwriter’s use of the cicada was quite weird imagery to depict the journey of Joy – a woman who ended up being a Home Shopping Network tycoon complete with a mansion, ‘80s hair, shoulder pads, and large clip-on earrings. She didn’t remind me, at all, of the rough cicada shells I had collected as a child.

As we were leaving the theater, Nick looked at me: “How appropriate for you! You are like a cicada. You’ve been buried for 17 years, and now it’s your time to emerge.”

Seventeen years ago, I let my heart get knocked to the floor of the boxing ring. I was in the middle of pursuing my dreams as a university student, and somehow I forgot to listen to its beat. Fortunately the heart, treasure chest of our purpose and dreams, was designed by God to never forget its purpose. It even collects the dormant years, of breathing in dirt, to become stronger and more beautiful.

It never emerges alone. As we crack open the ugly encasement and see the light of day, we inspire others to do the same. We no longer fear the dark. When the night does inevitably come, we all join together in a melody- so distinct that the whole city takes notice.

**********

It is now 5:30 a.m. on January 22, 2016--the morning I launch this website and take steps to follow my heart. I am so ready to live above ground.

Oddly, after seventeen years underground, a cicada only lives one or two months. Their main purpose is to lay eggs; to produce a future. Everything they endured prepared them for this moment--to give life to others.

That is what this website is about. That is what my life was designed for.

I want to use everything I am, anything I have, anyone I know to help you become the very best version of yourself.

I want you to emerge from your shell--reminding you all along that you were meant for more, you are not alone, and you indeed can learn to sing again.

A life hidden for seventeen years never emerges unscathed. I am no longer the 20 year old with the desire to become a well-respected singer, worship leader or writer someday. I am a 37 year old that finally realized my heart’s true song – to be here for you.

So let’s emerge together. The world has been waiting. They are listening for YOUR song to rise strong.

{As a part of this blog, I recorded a song entitled, “Pumpin’ Blood.” May it remind you that you have a great life ahead of you.

I also made myself do the one thing that scared me the most. I needed to exhale some dirt and finally breath fresh air. It is entitled, “Rise Strong.”

You can listen to both songs on my Music page here.}