Everything I'm Not

Made Me Everything I Am*

I ran my hand over the wood tracing the scars from many years of use. There are nicks and scratches caused by moving it from home to home and room to room. There are various stains and areas of fading, all marks of well loved furniture. Each scar and stain an allegory marking a moment in its antiquity.

In my other hand the sander worked at removing these signs of the past life from the piece. I sanded off layer after layer, my daughter by my side. We worked together for hours. My mind retracing indiscriminate memories as I go, just as my hand had traced over their embodiment.

I have always been fond of this particular piece of furniture, built in the 50's by my father, a master wood worker. That fact does not lend value to its sentiment, it is simply a fact. I have several pieces of his work, each handsome and unique. Each of them a manifestation of the mastery of his gift, his personal style and his eye for art.

I think of my father standing over this piece some 50 years ago doing the very same thing. I stopped and laughed at the reality that he never, not once, poured an ounce of this same care and love into me. And yet here I am with my daughter, forging another work of art. Bringing it to life once again. A new chance, another journey to begin.

And while it bewilders me, that he could not love me like he did the work of his hands, it matters not. I am grateful for who I am without him. I am thankful for the fact that he was not in my life.

If he were...
Would I still wrestle with the rule of God?
Would I learn to accept the love of a Father?
Would I still have the need to please everyone?

These are winds not worth chasing.

I turn off the sander and go inside. The smell of ham and green beans, fresh rolls and pecan pie, the sound of laughter and football. My daughter and I working side by side in the kitchen and outside. My family together, creating memories - scars & stains - marks of a well loved and well lived life.

Today, a day of thanks, I give thanks for the I Am. And to I Am, I give thanks for the I am not.

*Read this on my oldest daughter's myspace page. The quote comes from a song by Kanye West, of whom (who/whom? I always stumble) I'm not a fan. But I like the quote for some reason and ever since I saw it on her page it has stuck with me. Besides, I happen to be a big fan of her!


  1. Wow, Dana. This is an incredibly written post - and beautifully written! Love you!

  2. Thanks Kelly! I love you too!

  3. I second that WOW. Really great stuff!

  4. Shae,
    Coming from one of my favorite authors, that is a huge compliment. Thank you Sharon!

  5. jus so you kno i changed my headline it no longer says that, it now says "a mugshot tells a thousand words" which is true have you seen james browns mugshot i think that thing could fill a whole encyclopedia, the quote coinsides with the mugshots i got on my page that the army took of me and my squad so, i must say we are all bringing sexy back in our own way in those horrible shot not as good as james in his own scary hair-drunkin stupper look, but some what close, btw thanks for the shout out

  6. Erienne!
    Hey girl! You know I've tried to go back to your MySpace page and I'm not allowed...hmmm, whats up with that?!?!?! :P Oh, and you bring sexy back with a vengence. I hope you comment more often. I miss you...

    Text me soon.


and remember, words are my love language...