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4.6k · Feb 2015
Failure Is Not My Name
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
I will no longer be named failure.
Failure was never my name.

I was sometimes exhausted
Sometimes sabotaged
Sometimes stretched too thin

But these things are not failure.

In the sharing of faith, to live authenticity is most important.

In my exhaustion I taught gentleness.
In my perseverance I taught strength.
In my stress I taught courage, patience, and faithfulness.

My name was never failure.

My curriculum was the act of living faith, of building trust, of relationships built in acceptance and care.

I was never a failure. I was important. I made a difference.
4.1k · Feb 2015
Patience - 5/24/04
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
When the world around me
feels like a black hole
Energy goes in
But does not come out

What does that mean?
How does God cal me to be
Gentle?
Humble?

I know patience is the key
But how?
Why?
What does this stagnation help?
How long must I wait --
To see gifts used more fully?
To move into the light?

How do I challenge myself,
encourage myself
To keep on,
to stay optimistic
to keep alive the passion?

How do I know
When to sit?
When to act?
How do I remain in patience?

I feel like I'm biding my time
waiting until things
"really happen"
And yet, I know God is working
Now
Forming me and others

How do I let the patience guide me?
2.5k · Feb 2015
Music - 9/3/07
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Music
   has the power
to stop my racing thoughts.
   To capture me in
         JOY.
To hold me patiently
   so I can BE
   in the shifting chaos
   around me.
MUSIC
   my solace,
   my peace.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Age-assumptions are allowed
where youth is concerned
because --
EVERYONE WANTS TO BE YOUNG.
But truthfully,
the gift is not in the youth itself,
but in the young people.
Just as with people of greater age,
young people have talents, strengths, and wisdom.
The difference lies in our perception that
youth have more time to realize their potential.
That they will, in time, become something great
-- and yet --
the challenge really should be for all,
that we grow past our labels
realize our potentials
and become who we're meant to be
TODAY.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
I am Lisa*
Youth is a good thing I guess,
unless --
It becomes the lens
through which you are seen.

Then --
Your ambitious ideas are
youthful, not wise
Your wittiness is
immaturity, not humor
Your springy-step is
young bones, not joy in living.

Youth is a good thing I guess,
but better, *authenticity
.

I am who I am, 20 or 60.
My age affects me,
but my age isn't me.
I am who I am.
1.4k · Feb 2015
Separation - 10/26/07
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Listening to redundancy is like
    wanting to run and being tied down
I hold my mind with my
    physical self like a balloon --
    still connected, but floating free
Listening, yet allowing openness
    Then I can be present
    while I am away.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Jump when I say, “jump.”
No.
Why not?
I’ll jump when I’m ready.
No, jump now. I said, “jump.”
No.
I said, “jump.”
I know you did.
Then do it.
I said I’ll jump when I’m ready.
You’re fired.
I know.
Jump already.
When I’m ready.
The time had come, and she jumped.
You jumped.
I know.
Why?
You asked me to, and I was ready.
I don’t understand.
Oh, well.
Jump.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
I like how it makes me feel
I hate how it makes me feel
I want to let the tension go
Yet, I want to stay, just a little.
Why?
1.1k · Mar 2015
Fighting for my Sanity
Lisa Neu Mar 2015
I know who I am
    what I remember
    how I felt
I know who I am

There is this mantle
    thrown over me
    hiding my truth
    for his benefit.

I keep throwing it off.
I am not that person.

He, most of all knows this,
    yet his mask continues
    to be painted on my face.
    Even as he is away.

This is my biggest fear:
    that I become the image
    transposed on me
    and not myself.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
I used to walk to the chapel often
    at least every weekend, sometimes more.
I'd gather up my friends and we'd head out.
    Sometimes there were 6 of us, sometimes only 2.
Walking to the chapel was an experience of freedom from our every day lives --
    from our schoolwork especially.
Walking to the chapel was an experience of living life to its fullness
    drinking in the smell of the water, of the trees, of the season.
Drinking in each other, and the friendship we shared.

Sometimes we walked to the chapel, sometimes we ran;
    Always the joy pouring out of us, the fresh energy of youth, and the
    raw emotion of our shared relationships.
We walked to the chapel, but then we also floated there:
    carried by our love of the land, the water, our curiosity, and each other.

Walking to the chapel was a sacred experience.

Tonight we walked to the chapel again;
This time a group of 5 --
two parents, three children -- together.
We smelled the water and the trees,
we felt the warm breeze.
We walked together -- one unit -- and yet each of us free.
The children running ahead, the baby carried.
The adults joined now in care not only of themselves,
but of the little ones they helped create.
The beauty of the place heightened by the beauty of being a family.
The emotions of days past, the joy, the freedom, the experience of life, they rise up.

We are a family.
    We exist to help each other.
We find joy, delight in one another.
    We are free to love life in all its glory;
    to be uniquely ourselves,
    and yet bound together in love.

Walking to the chapel as a family is dynamically life-giving,
    and an example of holiness.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Sometimes life feels like Wonderland
When up does not seem to be up,
And down does not seem to be down.
When we start out with big ideas
And find ourselves hoping we don’t extinguish
as the variables in life keep changing.
Sometimes we find ourselves in worlds
Where “off with your head” seems a sensible quotation
And where rabbits with gloves does not seem unlikely.
These times are when we are closest to God
Somehow in the place where confusion meets consciousness
And logic meets emotion
In that place is a thing called truth
A being called God
And the core of what it is to be human.
891 · Mar 2015
Silence
Lisa Neu Mar 2015
Pretend it didn't happen.
Act as if she is crazy
    for remembering: for being hurt.

Then act like her hurt
    has no basis in reality.

Call her crazy.  Emotional.
    Dismiss her humanity.
    Dismiss her.

Then, treat her with disrespect.
    When she objects,
    remind her she is
    too emotional, crazy,
    that her memory is flawed.
    She is less.

When you want something,
    rescind all this,
    remember tenderness and care.
    Flip again if anyone notices.

Keep her questioning:
    then she will stay silent.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Evasive
    Mysterious
    I want to reach out
       Touch
          Feel
       Watch
          No words
             Just Being.
          Quiet
             words
          Passing Each other
             Apart
                Yet drawn together
             Evasive
                Tension
             what would happen if --
             I reached out my hand...
                         and you took it?
835 · Feb 2015
My Tony - 9/29/07
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Beautiful man.
Caring for me,
showing me compassion,
holding me,
listening to me.
My best friend,
my constant companion,
always close by,
paying attention to me.
My Tony.
Gift from God.
Beautiful.
My Love.
819 · Feb 2015
God's Will - 4/23/2003
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
God puts his will within us so that we can know the way.
While he sometimes uses outward signs to help us know the way to truth,
it is usually the desires of our heart that lead us to truth.
Yes, we can be muddled by our own selfish wants
Yet, we have the ability to discern our own thoughts
to feel out our own emotions
and to know with a fair sense of certainty
where we are to be going
just by listening to ourselves.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Stop taking me from my quiet space
the space I know I am to dwell
Trust the Spirit moving in me
God will not take me from the path

Please give me space
allow me to listen
God speaks --
When the world is too loud
I cannot hear.

Be still --
the peace is a good thing
The peace is God's gift to us
A gift we're meant to share
with those we serve.

Ironic though it may seem,
God is calling us to stillness --
not busyness
calling us to patience
with each other and ourselves.

God wants us from us,
not all the things we do
Let us rest in God's gift.

Amen.
671 · Mar 2015
Look Away
Lisa Neu Mar 2015
People look away
    it is easier to find fault in me
    than to hold him accountable.

His position wins for him respect
    despite his actions of disrespect.

He is assumed to be:
    blameless, holy, good;
    compassionate, caring, together;
    but he is also human.

In his humanity is the capacity
    to do harm, to hurt others.
    And he has hurt me.

I do not blame him
    though he is responsible.

I offer forgiveness instead,
    because that's who I am.

Ironic: my virtue sets him free.
612 · Feb 2015
My Last Week - 9/3/07
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Thrown off;
caught unaware.
My mind so full,
   I can't take in more.
Thinking,
Processing,
Trying to understand
   MYSELF
in the midst of
   new emotions and
   different sensations.
Who am I?
Why do I act this way?
What will I do next?
Unnerving:
   Realizing I don't
   know myself
   as I thought I did.
Unnerving:
   to see myself shaken,
   confused,
   surprised.
Seeking to integrate
   these newly-known
   parts of myself
   into the ME I know.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
People don't know it,
    but I'm subtly overthrowing the world.
I'm in the process of rewriting reality;
    of changing global paradigms.

Maybe people don't realize it,
     but the world changes every day,
     and so do they.

I'm a catalyst of that change;
I'm commissioned with vision;
I choose to follow.

People don't know it,
    but I'm subtly overthrowing the world
    with love.
September 4, 2003
578 · Feb 2015
What I Would Say
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Look at ME

Finish the conversation
With ME

Share ALL of the information
So I can respond appropriately

Allow me to do MY job
Allow me to be ME
Allow me to be happy
Allow me to be joyful
Allow me to love

Stop assuming you know it all
And don't need to verify my truth
You are wrong as often as you are right
And sometimes more wrong than that

I am this person who deserves her own voice
561 · Feb 2015
That Tired Feeling
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
A ragged self
Detached from meaning
Confused
Unable to connect
Trying to make sense
But failing
And starting again

Replaying memories
Renaming realities
Reframing experiences
Cut-off
Not allowed an ending
But not allowed to continue either
Stuck

This choice leads backward
This choice loops back around
Caught in circles

Not
Victim or
Culprit,
Hero or
Villain

Detached self
Trying to understand
Caught in the quiet
Lost in the noise

Waiting to move
Clearing the path
A ragged self
Caught

Lord, please show me the way
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Do you ever have days
where you are just "off"?
You know --
Days where your head aches
and everything you try seems fruitless?

Today was a day like that for me
and no matter what I do,
the headache continues; the pain continues.

I miss being home;
I miss my kids;
I miss Tony.

Some days working is such a burden
even when it is a joy.

This is the third night this week
I'm away from home.
The third night Gabriel will need to
go to bed without being nursed.
The third night I won't have been
able to help Madeline with her homework.

Sometimes the pace
of my life and work
gets to me.

Like today.

Then I wonder - is my work worth so much?
that I sacrifice time with my family?
I miss things --

Things like Gabriel's first time climbing
up the stairs.
Like the first time Dominic went to preschool;
the first time Madeline went to the dentist.

And why really?
What's the point?
Is work that important?

Today was a tough day...
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
I feel like ice - frozen
unmoving
Then the panic engulfs me -
terror
My body
My mind
My spirit
In Chaos
How can I break from
its vice-line hold on me?
How do I get away?
If I can't, will the world
crash down on me?
I am frozen in fear
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
What is it to live just below financial "self sufficiency"?
* Food assistance
* Energy assistance
* Medical assistance

and still having a hard time making ends meet.

* Enormous student loans to repay
* Mortgage payments near half our monthly income
* Old cars breaking down and needing repair

Two working parents
Can't afford childcare
Can't afford dental care
Can't afford so many things...

It's like being "almost" healthy --
well enough to live and
look normal

but every day taking a toll on the body

unseen

but there.

Bringing you down over time

so that one day when you CRASH

people wonder why.

You looked fine.


Just Below Sufficient is no place to be.

How do I help my children have advantages
I can't afford
that might keep them from this same situation?

What is it to be family
when work requires both
mother and father to be
single parents most of the time?

We are following our calls
Working hard
Doing the best we know how

YET -
at the edge of every day the stress
threatening to overtake us

Waiting for the days we will CRASH
and hoping for the miracle of
better pay for our work.
507 · Feb 2015
Proving Myself - 9/16/03
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
I know that I need to prove myself
I know my experience is dwarfed by the height of some around me

but

I also know that wisdom dwells within me
and that I am not a "typical" twenty-five-year-old.

They hired me. They saw potential in me to accomplish great things.
I need them to trust the spark of potential they saw when they hired me

and

support me in fullness as I prove myself
to them
and to everybody else.

I need them to believe that I can accomplish
what I will accomplish

and for them to challenge me to take on things
they know I can do

and support me when I take on challenges
even when they think I will fail

being ready to encourage me to continue
even if I do fail

knowing that within me is the ability, the talent, the desire
to do what it is I need to do in this life

and supporting the person that I am
by supporting what I am called to do.
500 · Feb 2015
You Wanted
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
You wanted me to make it bigger, brighter, more beautiful.

You thought noise would draw attention, keep energies focused.  Sometimes it does.

I was doing something different. Building strength in the quiet of routine, in small choices that create habits that become virtue.

I was creating spaces for people to be who they were, in authenticity, and then to know they were loved. Connecting the acceptance of the community with the love of their Creator.

I was creating opportunities for people to share themselves, those things they loved, and the pain. In the sharing: God's provision manifold. Apprenticing people in the mundane and exciting walk of faith.

I was empowering people to lead, because in the leading was also the learning, creating a people who knew how to sustain themselves in faith. And in sustaining themselves they passed on their faith.

I was building confidence in the people, God's people, because confidence combined with authentic human living is unbelievably attractive. We want to know people who live in fullness. Then we want what they want. And that wanting leads people to faith.

I was building depth, stability, sustainability, strength, apprenticeship and faith. And the fruits of my labors show a community more alive in faith because of my work.
458 · Feb 2015
Feeling the Pain
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Sometimes I need to feel the pain --
Not as final judgement on the situation,
But as a way to move on to new life.
Because new life comes from death.

So, when I  am  sad, let me be sad.
When I'm in pain, let me hurt.

To disrupt this natural cycle is
to dishonor life.

Jesus' story teaches us --
death brings life transformed.
So then, as ironic as it  seems,
honoring life means embracing death.

To live fully is to give one's life away.
Written while working at St. Aug's or St. Mary's, 2008-2010?
444 · Feb 2015
Growing Up - 9/14/07
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
The pain of my childhood
   still hurts me.
Feeling alone, unwanted, unlovable.
Knowing other's joy of me came
   from my service to them.
Desperately wanting, needing
   to be loved for myself and
   not for what I could do.
Now, the unworthiness follows,
   lurks in the darkness.
   Waiting to grab me
   in a moment of weakness.
And yet, I live in HOPE!
   I can escape those demons,
   but it is an every day job
   of Resting in God,
         and knowing LOVE.
432 · Sep 2018
Telling people
Lisa Neu Sep 2018
The ability to take one step
Was all I could do
     In the dark
     When I felt alone
     A mask over me
     Hiding me and my truth
Taking one step
Choosing a direction

In the dark, cannot see
Trusting, hoping, believing
     In the tiny speck of light
     Barley visible, so small
     Could be it isn't there at all

One step, then another
     Speaking quietly
     Unsure
     Years.

Awakening one day in a new place
     A good place
     Hope
In something new

7 Aug 2018
432 · Feb 2015
I Walked Away - 4/30/05
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
I walked away today.
I needed to.
I am worth more than that.
And yet the pain runs deep.
The betrayal is still fresh.
I want to believe
the world, the church
is better than this.
My "Why" resounds
in the darkness --
hollow, alone, cold.
But I will keep asking--
     WHY?
And I will keep walking.
The new life is just ahead.
I know it.
427 · Feb 2015
Where? - 10/1/06
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
You motioned
    I responded
You went ahead
    I followed
You disappeared
    I walked on --
    I checked for you,
    you were not there
I am challenged
    I want to understand
    I want the tension
    to break, or fall to
    a comfortable companionship
To bring the mystery closer,
    to swallow it
So that I can walk on
    and so can you
    united but apart.
426 · Sep 2018
I don't know
Lisa Neu Sep 2018
I don't know--
          If you know
That you've been systematically
Turning all my lights
Back on.

7 Aug 2018
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
I often offer hope to the world
I see it as my job;
My task in the world.

I enjoy being the spark of light
in the darkness!
So often my spark ignites flame in others.

However; today the wind is strong
and my little spark is having trouble
staying lit.

I need to learn how to maintain my spirit
even on days like today;
I cannot let the wind of the moment
affect the flame of today and the fire of tomorrow.
Instead of seeing the wind as a threat to existence,
I need to see it as the wind of life which will, in time,
make the flame burn brighter; the light spread farther.

Windy, cloudy, dark days only test our resolve
on the journey of faith.
If we are only hopeful, only bright on the good days,
then what are we?

Indeed, I accept the challenge of living faith.
I accept the duty to "put on Christ"
and so the wind, the darkness cannot daunt me.

For didn't Jesus say, "take up your cross and follow me?"
Jesus never promised the road would be easy.

Jesus also suffered from emotional exhaustion.
Remember, his response to God's call was,
"not my will, but your will be done."

Jesus took hope in the fact that God was in control.
He followed his calling unto death;
So must I take hope in God; God is my strength.

My pain, my trouble, my worry
is for nothing
Because ultimately God is in control,
and if I trust in God,
all the pain, trouble and worry
may still be there
but in the end is the assurance
that through the goodness of God,
I will make it.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
If an older person falls asleep at work,
    they are tired because of the work they've done.
If a younger person falls asleep at work,
    they must have played too hard last night.
Is it the fact that a younger person may have
    had fun last night that engages the judgment?
Is it jealousy or anger for a feeling of loss in being older?
I would like to be accepted as I am;
    appreciated for the gift of my continued youth.
I would like to feel respected --
    regardless of my age, my thoughts or my JOY.
Maybe it's all about love.
306 · Oct 2018
An Ode to Sleep
Lisa Neu Oct 2018
Evasive, foolish, time user
Sleepy, silent, giver of life
Nodding off, filling in
Soft, warm, puddle of moments
Dreaming, scheming, slowing
Opaque reality, necessary
Unwanted in a meeting
Liquid of vitality
Please, let me sleep!
296 · Feb 2015
Writing the Story
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
I am trying to write the end
Looking for words to describe what happened
Why I am where I am
Why you are where you are

Wanting to write an ending
That would tell the whole story
When I only know my part

Finding several stories intertwined
Stuck together, yet separate
How do I write the ending alone?
258 · Oct 2018
Living with PTSD
Lisa Neu Oct 2018
Living with PTSD is like riding a horse, feeling the crisp breeze, the exhilaration of the gallop, the rhythm of the horse's hooves, and the synchronicity between the rider and horse.  The goodness of life captured in the view over fields and valleys, the smell of grass and flowers, and the beauty of the sunset on the horizon.  

And out of nowhere the trigger knocks me off of the horse.  Just before I black out I see the bottom side of the horse, and his powerful hooves, right over my head.  And then there I am, on my back, smelling dirt and manure, and not knowing at all where I am, or how it is that I came to be there.  Panicking and alone, the sound of horses far away.  This can be made more confusing when someone next to me blames me for falling, as if I have fallen on purpose.  This is what it feels like.  

My horse came back today, and I'm not astride yet, but he's standing here warming me, waiting for me to climb back up, nuzzling me with his warm, wet breath, and communicating that the view is great, the air is crisp, and the rhythm of the ride awaits.
211 · Sep 2018
It's like
Lisa Neu Sep 2018
A bow tied
With delicate precision
Made beautiful in the form
And held in tension

A promise believed
Fragile in humanity
Durible in hope
Generous, free

A conversation
Call
Response
Steadiness, connected

An opening
Vulnerability
Everything could be broken here
Resisting the urge to close
Because the goodness lies within
Terrifying and terrific
Friendship

— The End —