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Matchy-Matchy Green Squared

I gravitate to themes. Matchy-matchy makes me giddy. When the perfectly accessorized interior design or rocking hot outfit comes together, my face glows with satisfaction. I adore coordinating a table setting and dinner dishes with all the detail of a professional ‘maître d’. When all the pieces are in motion, my heart rests. When all the stitching comes together from tattered fabric, or scrapbook junk— my creativity pauses to admire. It is of the utmost importance that family pictures color coordinate. Like, duh. In short, I’m a good candidate for the shopping channel. Because if you actually could purchase happiness and *all it’s matching accessories*, I would. I absolutely would.

I take after my Aunt. She had a different pair of matching sunglasses for every outfit. If she hollered ‘blue’ from the top of the stairs in the morning before church, you best believe her entire family marched down those stairs donned in blue. Besides sunglasses— if she chose the color of the day as red, you saw red. Red shoes, stockings, dress, necklace, earrings and bracelet, purse, fingernail polish on long fingernails, THE sunglasses — she had it all!

Her house mimicked this same sentiment. There was the pink room that doubled as an extra space for laundry and ironing. Then the orange room, blue room, purple room and green room. Carpet, curtains, bedspreads, lampshades, and artwork color coded and on point. I loved visiting Kingsley Circle.

Aunt J square danced, worked nights and bought her kids sugared cereal. She had a laundry shoot and a finished basement. She laughed big and talked into the wee hours of the morning with my Mom, her closest sister. At her house, I rode my first Big Wheels, sorted through bags and bags of cousin hand-me-downs and tagged along to her weekly beauty shop appointment. She drove a Cadillac.

She lived out loud and spoke her mind. She cheered for the Cleveland Indians and Gran loved her grandchildren well.

As a young woman, I verbalized I wanted to be like her. And you know what? I still do.

One reason, to my recollection, is that even her dying days had a theme. She wanted all her kids close, all the time. She sang the hymn 'Dwelling in Beulah Land' as her theme song for weeks leading up to her passing. But the matchy-matchy memory that strikes me most at life’s end was making her accounts short and clean with those who visited. Calling people to her bedside privately to say her apologies or grant her forgiveness, she lived out loud and spoke her mind. Her theme was forgiveness — being forgiven and forgiving.

And that’s it. That is the theme I hope others capture in me when they gaze past my long painted fingernails and perfectly manicured table setting. I want them to see forgiveness, walking. On this blog, in my writing, may it be said of me, ‘She was the best forgiver I ever knew.’

October 20, 1850

"Therefore come what may, hold fast to love. Though men should rend your heart, let them not embitter or harden it. We win by tenderness, we conquer by forgiveness.”

Frederick William Robertson 

And men WILL rend your heart. In the most unlikely of relationships, hurt will come.

Stay tender. Conquer.

Because of this natural bent in my personality and my style, always looking for the theme— searching for the one thread weaving through the tapestries of my life, I had been listening for the thesis in my brutal winter, my grief, my poetry. My theme weaves together like the three strands of a braid. It sounds like the interluding music between scenes.

Grief, impending death (life is short) and legacy emerged. Forgiveness — both forgiving the ‘terrible awfuls’ in my life experience (acted upon me) and my own waywardness and wretchedness— will I be? can I be? Forgiven? All in all, it feels like one big loss I’m groping through— a retirement party measuring my worth over thirty years of parenting, an existential 'midlife' crisis (if I live to be 104 years old) and reaching for my Beulah Land. Quite certainly, I am longing for the place with manna from heaven and no more tears.

I want to live out loud and speak my mind.

In survivor circles, forgiveness might as well be ‘THE F-word’. It is reduced, resisted and scorned. I am not denying it’s complexity or making light of the task as though it were easy. I am certainly not boasting — as forgiveness was a lengthy and cumbersome hardship while I went through a man-hating stage, outward. When the anger turned inward, depression.

But for me, it will be my ‘long obedience in the same direction’ (Peterson). It will be my repeated refrain before I die, but written as my epitaph, spoken at my eulogy and remembered at my wake.

Here lies Sadie.

She forgave well.

She conquered by forgiveness.

Her heart remained tender.

She was not bitter.

She was mercy, she was grace.

She believed in second chances, for if one is unforgivable — we all are.

And I will match perfectly the theme of heaven. I will remind myself the math of the equation while I live. I will walk even if I limp. I will die well because I lived well, forgiven and forgiving. For in His mercy, I’ll be dwelling in Beulah Land.

I’m Not Sure

I’m not sure I believe in second chances

And I’m not sure you do


There’s a limit

And you over spent it

So just keep walking out that


I got one chance

To end that romance

And thank God I


But he messed up real big

Dug deep his sinful pit

Ain’t no chance he’ll ever be different than


Cause I only believe in second chances

If you don’t cross


And I believe in being forgiven

By the Man who hung on a


But it’s hard to mix the two

And forgive the unrepentant


The thing about radical sin

Is that it terrorizes the


The thing about radical forgiveness

Is that it pardons the


Maybe the Lord has us forgive 70 x 7

Because He knew we would get it wrong 489


But maybe He is The Great Teacher

Having us practice til we get it


There’s no shortage of people to forgive

In this great big world we call


You’ll never know how much

I needed that gift given to me, the


For a sinful past

I couldn’t get


And I’m so glad

the forgivers


While we were still sinners

Jesus died for


Maybe forgiveness doesn’t discriminate

Between the sinners and the


It takes and takes and takes

For every mistake

Just follow the


I don’t know if I believe in second chances

And I’m not sure you do


But I’ve been granted

A grace for all my {in}fractions

The Cross doesn’t leave that up to


And sinner that I am

My fellow man

Deserves a forgiveness


I wish it were different

This Universe a perfect space

But the truth is that it’s filled with the vile

A most horrible


And the Hope of Heaven shouts


He whispers, Go and sin no


At the foot of the Cross

We all walk in lame

And the Great Healer has us limp until we


I’m still limping

But I do believe in Jesus

And the old rugged cross

And I choose to believe in second


‘Cause I believe in lame men walking

I believe in miracles

I believe there’s forgiveness for me

And even for you

Cause I believe in




I left some of the incongruencies of font, spacing, tenses and lilted meter in the poem and piece as a sort of plea for grammatical forgiveness by the reader.

My favorite line in this poem is, 'Maybe the Lord has us forgive 70 x 7

Because He knew we would get it wrong 489

Times '.

Do you have a favorite line?

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