How Did I End Up Here?

A while ago…I was twenty-one.

My future life had just begun.

A college grad,

with a future clear:

I’d go save the world…go get it in gear!

As artist, as teacher,

I’d surpass them all

(for in my own eyes, I stood very tall)!

I started off well,

with a vast inner fire.

I strove to do well, and to really inspire.

My students, they loved me.

They did very well.

(And nothing they knew of my personal hell.)

A move ‘cross the country,

as my marriage…it crumbled.

Distraught, and confused, there, my purpose got fumbled.

But then, amid chaos,

a new baby daughter!

My life was a joy, as I cherished and taught her.

Her world opened up,

as I shared what I treasured:

a deep love of learning, something not to be measured.

But, her father and I

just could not dwell together.

So, we parted our ways, fled the storm for calm weather.

Alas! It was not

what I thought it would be.

I floated, adrift, on a vast lonely sea.

So, changing careers,

like my outfits or shoes,

I veered off my path, completely confused.

A factory…a sign shop…

Oh, what did it matter?

A government job…so, my dreams were all shattered.

But, I didn’t notice

(since they paid pretty well),

that dream-compromising can land you in hell.

So, suddenly, now,

I awake with a start,

and see that my dreams have been ripped from my heart.

For, my daughter, now grown,

has her own life to live.

And, I have a life left, with something to give.

I feel that my life has been largely unfinished.

But, my dreams have grown dim;

and my zest has diminished.

A face marred by time

stares at me from my mirror.

I’m certain my vision was once so much clearer.

A doctorate degree…once a possible future.

Now, lost twenty-five years…

I forgot my own nurture.

I am tired, and afraid

that I’ll run out of time,

for leaving a legacy uniquely mine.

I’ve but one life to live,

Just one Master to please.

And, He’ll salvage my life from the rocks, and the reefs.

So, my tears must be dried;

I must pick up the pace,

redeeming the time ‘fore I exit this place.

From my Lord comes my purpose.

He will steer the right way.

Holy Spirit revealing: Dark of night turned to day.

Then, my Father will call us all home,

one by one.

And, His Books will be opened, showing all we have done.

In my vanity, I thought

that my plan was best.

But, my Father knew better, hence the difficult tests.

All I lost, or I left

or I frittered away,

served to guide me right into His narrower Way.

Now this ship of my fate,

all draped in its tatters,

sails onward and upward, in search of what matters.

I don’t have all the answers.

(Often thought that I did.)

For, great truths are oft hidden; for those, you must dig.

So, I’ll strike out, with boldness,

toward a bright, shining shore.

For, my Destiny awaits me, as it did once, before.

Copyright 2014 Regina Lee Plimpton Quinn (10/18/2014)

Sea Balm

As a Christian, who fully believes in, and has personally experienced, the healing love and power of The Living God, I have wrestled with whether or not I should continue taking medication for lingering symptoms of manic depression, and for problems with attentional focus. However, I recently endured a second round of shingles, which upset an already-irregular sleep pattern, exacerbated the widespread neuropathy I’ve had since a rollover car wreck several years ago, and I was left weak and frazzled.

What happened was, I ended up going a few days, in which I missed multiple doses of a couple of medications, and almost immediately, found myself extremely depressed, flooded with innumerable thoughts, being sleepless as much as 36 hours at a time, and with at least two fewer friends.

As I struggled to understand what might be the will of God in such a predicament, I found myself trying to make sense of conflicting ideas. From what I understand though, at least two factors are involved. First, we live in a sinful, fallen world. So, until we leave this earthly plane, we will be plagued with a certain amount of human frailty. 

Second, there is a principle spoken by our Lord that says, “According to your faith, be it unto you.” It’s obvious to me that my faith needs to grow daily. One way that I work on my faith is through writing out my thoughts, and trying to make sense of them. 

Sea Billows Roll

I must take my medicine.

I must. I must. I must.

I cannot leave those bottles sealed,

to gather so much dust.

If I don’t take my medicine,

I fight, I flight, I cry.

And then, it seems my only course

is just lay down and die.

I wasn’t always so bizarre:

I once was just a child

who played, and danced, and sang a lot,

and, ‘most the time, I smiled.

I dreamed I’d be a great success.

At what—I’d no idea.

I’d blaze some trails, be first, be best.

Those visions filled my sails.

Yet, as I grew, my course, it changed.

I sought, instead, for love.

I searched and bargained, dreamily;

sought nothing from Above.

This course, it grew so crooked;

my dreams they grew so dim.

Imagination clouded, yet,

I looked not up to Him.

At last, long last, I floundered.

My tears, they tumbled down.

My ship of dreams had sunk so low,

it finally ran aground.

I found myself in roiling seas,

a tempest tore my soul.

My dreams were dashed in pieces,

as I lost sight of my goals.

Far down, and down, I drifted;

the depths, they covered me.

I thought my life would end right there,

if no one heard my plea.

At last, I reached the bottom;

in stillness, I lay there.

I thought, in fact, my life was done.

I really didn’t care.

The darkness grew so cold, and yes, 

my passions did, as well.

No view, no songs, no fantasies.

I’d sunk right into hell.

Then, suddenly, I felt a sound, 

a still, small Voice, to me.

I heard, “I know.” And, that was all.

Two words that set me free.

So, I was lifted upward,

and was set upon the shore.

An Anchor stood beside me there.

My feet were standing sure.

I found another ship of dreams, 

I journeyed on again.

This time, my course was truer than

it’d ever, ever been.

A problem came to plague me, though,

in spite of well-made plans:

a cargo holding baggage, which 

was not from Master’s Hands.

So, piece by piece, I cast it off.

I’d held it way too long.

“Don’t trouble me, you burdens.

This weight feels just so wrong!”

My destination’s out there.

Of this, I am assured, 

if I can just endure this sea,

whose storms must be endured.

So, I must take my medicine.

No seasick mate am I.

I must be watching at my post;

the sails are billowing high.

There’s precious souls aboard this ship.

A charge so precious, dear.

But, one day—yes—we’ll all be there,

with nothing left to fear!

Copyright 2016 by Regina Plimpton Quinn

What if God…

What if God didn’t bring my plans to pass?

If, instead of first, I came in last.

If, instead of riches, I suffered lack.

Would I doubt my God

and turn my back?

If my best friend died, if I was attacked,

and someone cruelly turned their back,

would I blame the Lord? Would I shrink away,

turning my face from the light of day?

Would I shout, “Not fair!” And scream and cry?

Cross my heart and hope to die?

Stop my prayers, and brood and groan?

Would I really think: better off alone?

What if God stayed true, as I went astray,

watching over me, silently, night and day,

hiding Himself through all my distress,

as I longed to feel my soul caressed?

Would I struggle to trust Him, amidst all the mess,

standing on promises under duress?

It’s so easy, when everything runs smoothly on.

But, with many catastrophes, hope almost gone,

would I crumble in anger and think I was conned?

What if God simply waits for our souls to cry out,

sends a still, small Voice, to answer our shout, 

after we’ve wearied ourselves, and grown quiet?

Will we hear our name, when He quietly sighs it?

Now’s the time I’ll discover an answer to this,

as I crouch in hysterics, above an abyss.

Will I slide off, hopeless, by choice or design?

No trace of me, ever, for any to find?

But… what if this God I so stupidly fought,

shows mercy to me, and claims what He bought?

Saves this soul! Yes, me, this sinner so wretched!

I finally see, now that I am so aged!

But, what if it’s too late, and too long I’ve waited?

All my life spent so foolishly, spurning, debating.

Yet, what if God knew me before I was born, 

and saw this day coming, when I’m so forlorn?

What if God enters in, now the door’s been flung open,

bringing peace, and a healing to all that’s been broken?

What if God made and blessed me, then swept all away,

to get me to this point, so humbly, I’d pray,

“God, the wages of sin has brought life to this!”

What if God allows suffering to bring us to bliss?

Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Regina Plimpton Quinn

Youth’s Quest

I wish someone could suddenly, somehow, see

the me that I know I could someday be,

instead of this lame, lonely “wannabe,”

instead of the geek, who stares back at me

from the tech screen, reflecting.

I wear a façade, when I go out the door.

I try to blend in, but it’s such a great bore,

because the real me is so very much more,

than the tedious covering that mantles my core.

Nonetheless, I keep hiding.

Why should I give to others such power over me,

that I limit myself to just what they see,

when, alas, I am nothing, if I can’t be me,

true to my nature, not my own enemy,

cringing and cowering?

Where is bravery, when I need to take a bold hand?

Where is confidence hiding? More courage to stand?

Why am I always following, and not in command?

This is not the grand destiny that I have planned.

For what am I waiting?

I must realize, in fact, what this quest is about:

slaying my dragons of fear, and of doubt,

battling imaginings, stubborn and stout.

There is no ragged barrier that I can’t surmount,

if I just start challenging.

So, my mission, for me, is abundantly clear.

Gauntlets of chain mail, I don’t need to wear.

Toward my goal, toward my victory, I need to steer,

unrelentingly onward, and upward from here,

dauntless and daring.

I may fumble, while gaming. I may have some false starts.

But, I might just succeed, if I don’t lose my heart.

So, I’ll reset my efforts, only saving what’s smart.

Success isn’t mystery; that’s only a part

of victoriously living.

Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Regina Plimpton Quinn

Just a Day

Today is just a day;

it began in such an ordinary way.

I awoke to aches and pains,

and I proceeded to complain.

Looked for coffee, but there was none.

Just as well; drink it too often.
I squint at sun, outside my window;

decide to hide, inside again, though,

watching birds that flit and flutter,

hearing nothing that they utter.
I count the hours ‘tween dawn and dusk,

endure them wearily, since I must.

I neglect to start some new thing.

I don’t really fancy changing.
Just a day like any other.

I’m quite sure, there’ll be another.

So, tomorrow, I’ll get out.

Make it count, this day. Today.
Well, today is just a day, too;

began as ordinary days do.

I awoke to aches and pains;

thought I’d rather not complain.

Had no coffee; drank some water,

for my health; you know, it matters.
Felt warming sun, through open window;

planted flowers to watch them all grow.

I watched birds that flit and fluttered,

enjoyed the melodies they uttered.
I’ll fill the hours ‘tween dawn and dusk.

No more days wasted, but, there’s no rush.

I think I’ll start my favorite new thing.

I like the fact I’m finally changing.
Just a day, like any other.

Alas, for me now, there is no other,

So, today, you must get out.

Make it count, this day. Today.
Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Regina Plimpton Quinn

Shattered

Before the spinning, out of control, the shattered glass flying,

and my brain rolling upside-down…

I’d set an alarm

to wake myself from dreaming,

splash water on my face, 

throw on my fashion of the day,

distractedly down dripped coffee,

then, dash into the frenzied machinations

of the weekly blur of the marketplace.

But, that ordinary day,

bathed in beguiling sunshine,

had dissolved into clumps of uprooted grass,

that flew past my crumbling windshield,

hypnotizing my psyche.

Not a mark was on me.

But, inside…

worlds had collided.

Where I had entered, carefree and laughing,

I stumbled out, stunned,

scraping soft skin on razor-sharp glass,

blood dripping onto the green grass.

My sole comfort: a sign standing mutely,

across the highway, in front of a little church,

stating simply, “Jesus: The Way. The Truth. 

The Life.”

In a collision with catastrophe,

I had emerged

alive.

Later, I slept,

until burning liquid pain began pouring

out the back of my brain.

With no such thing as house calls anymore,

my only option:

careening over hellish highways.

Medications. Tests. 

Medications. Surgeries.

Medications.

Then, it was 9/11, 

and I watched…

and felt

everything

fall.

Dazed days

dissolved into years.

Tears stopped falling…

an empty chasm remained.

The sticking doors and windows of my silent house

arrested me with their stubbornness,

having to be shoved open by force,

due to a lacking of use.

Countless mornings were spent,

with curtains drawn, 

shunning the light.

Cobwebs hung, mocking me,

everywhere.

At night,

the blanket of dark and silence enveloped me

like an ethereal shroud, as I wandered from room to room,

while my mind shouted for me

to awaken. For what?

This morning, this ordinary day,

I caught a glimpse of sunshine,

first silent, then, shouting,

through trill of birds and chortles of squirrels,

all oblivious 

to my morosity.

I leaned, lethargically, toward the dewy windowpane,

resting my head against the cool solidity of the thin glass,

the self-imposed prison wall, that kept me 

safe from 

unexpected harm.

One little bushytail stopped his furious scratching,

amidst the fiery flush of fallen leaves.

He stared at me, unblinking, but for a moment.

Then, he bounded, uncaring,

on his merry way.

But, oh!

The unmistakable twinkle of that beady eye

sparked an ember, 

deep inside.

I thought it had been long-extinguished

by torrents of tears, over long years,

or had surely been smothered by the ashes, of

all that remained, of

everything that had been

lost.

Suddenly,

the sun had sound,

the light had movement,

and my soul, long silent,

began to sing.

With renewed strength, 

I threw open the window,

scattering the chorus of a dozen birds,

and felt the warm sunshine, mingled 

with the crisp breeze of a new day…

a day in which I would dress myself,

and call a friend,

and drive to meet her,

to converse over coffee

about how nice it is

to be alive.

Copyright 2015 Regina Plimpton Quinn