An Abstraction on the Chain

Meet Ashley Larkin, who’s graciously sharing her #Concretewords with us today while I care for my Titus. He needs me to hold him all day, so in this mean time, please show Ashley all the lovin you’ve got? I always enjoy the way she pulls it together.

She connects little daisies one to another, and it is magic to see how she links them — pushes her thumb nail through the bottom of a stem, runs another flower through. She laces while the sky falls warm on my face.

We sit in this field of summer green, and it is dotted with lion manes and white-rimmed sunshines, and here, with our dresses touching, I feel free.

My hands splay next to me in the cushiony green, and I pluck blades, then a tiny flower, twirling it between my thumb and index finger.

When she’s done, my friend holds the long oval of flowers out in front of me, and I duck through the hole, garland lying across lavender plaid.

I smile at her with a closed mouth and a slight squint to my eyes. I feel like a goodly queen, like a treasured daughter, in my dress, these jewels.

I don’t ever want my chain to wither and brown because this necklace means I’m special.

Here, this is for you, she’d said.

There’s this chain that links me to her. The one with small petals that spell I belong, and we need each other, and we like each other, and no matter what, we’ve got each other.

There’s the chain that sways back and forth in the give and take of us, only pinching enough to remind me of her tug. And I tug back.

There’s the chain that ties me to what she expects, or what I think she does — to the turning of her eyes, her words, the head nods or head that stays still — because I so badly want her to think highly of me.

Because maybe I should call more, say more, laugh harder or a little less, look more polished or not so much, because then I will be more like her or be more like what she needs, and she will want me.

I am chained to her and I strain for her to need me, and so these chains that are not flowers pull hard, make ruts in wrists and necks.

She and I can’t seem to figure these links that connect us. Sometimes they lay easy and light, other times they are bonds we want to shatter.

But we can’t forget that place with soft grass like grace, where we sit close and hum our song. The sun is warm, and we know we’re loved because we know Love.

We remember we are ones released from chains. We are freed by Love, after all.

And this Love delights in us — us together, her as her, me as me.

This Love quiets and rejoices over and about us in strings of flowers. Strings we wear like song round our necks.

Ashley Larkin, wife to Michael and mama of three shining daughters, writes about living fully awake several times each week at her blog, Draw Near. You can receive updates on Facebook and connect with Ashley on Twitter at @AshleyMLarkin.

‘); // ]]>

On Mondays I write on writing, which means that mostly I’ll write out spirit by practicing a little with the concrete things in my life and maybe in a fictional life. We’ll see. If you want to mess around with these little prompts, send your readers this way, and link up below. At any point this week, link below to any concrete post you’ve written about a book. Practice writing, the craft; share it with us. Next week’s topic is on the HORSE. Make sure to use #concretewords on twitter. Thank you always for coming here.

There’s a freedom I hear about that I just don’t always recognize in my life. I long to be free so much that maybe I’ve built a habit of feigning it. I would love it if you would like to join me in exploring this path to true freedom, A Study of Chains in 31 Days. You can follow along on Facebook or subscribe to these posts by email or in a reader. {Thank you so much, by the way, for walking with me.} Are you ready to shirk these chains? 

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Reply October 22, 2012

Your words pour out in such vivid eloquence...make me feel, breathe, embody these chains you speak of....I resonate and ache and am reminded of hope, all at the same time.......
Thank you!

Reply October 22, 2012

Your words just dance along the screen.....

And it is a dance of truth, wisdom and love.

Reply October 22, 2012

"And this Love delights in us — us together, her as her, me as me." Your words penetrate my memories of navigating friendship as a child and relate still today. So often we make chameleons of ourselves, instead of embracing the one He has made us to be and the one He has made her to be. Such beautiful writing. Thank you.

Reply October 22, 2012

Ashley - how you manage to speak on some of the toughest, most painful subjects and have it ring with beauty is a mystery to me. But you do. You Always Do.
In this piece you begin with this most innocent of images - two little girls, friends, sitting in a field of daisies and "lion manes," humming as blooms are woven into a lei of love and belonging. (The beauty of this scene is like honey, and so warm and palpable that I felt it all over!) Then you take us to this place where the innocence and certainty inevitably goes as we leave those days behind - we doubt, we question, we try too hard. Are we too much? Or too little? We try to be like another, or at least not like ourself, trying so hard to recapture that peace that place that we Knew as children. These, as you say, are the chains not like flowers.
And then Ashley, you remind us in this piece, we still Are the Children. The love and acceptance, the "Here, this is for you," has never left us. We are Loved (without reservation or condition) and we are Free. And that lei of daisies, we still wear, unwilted!
Thank you for this beautiful piece of writing this morning! You've made my day - already! xx

Reply October 22, 2012

Love this portrait of your relationship.
The depth of these words rendered with such gentle images stagger me.
I am left uneasy by this telling of your connection and community. I think of so many friends and family to whom I am beautifully chained and with whom I have made chains of love...chains which I have let turn to dust.

Good writing stirs up stuff long left unexamined.

Reply October 22, 2012

Why, at times, is it so hard to just be who God made us to be?

I love your imagery!

Reply October 22, 2012

Love this so much, Ash. Such a vivid picture of friendship. I'm grateful for the the Love that binds us -- you as you and me as me! xoxo

Reply October 22, 2012

Ashely , oh women and their dance in and out of the circle of friendship. You tell honest and brave and bold how we long for acceptance, love unconditional, delighting in their delightling in us. Beautiful friend so beautiful. Is today's word chain? I know that's the series. I love Mondays don't you. You are a treasure. One I pray God I will never let me allow it to tarnish or dim as long as our writing eyes and hands tip toe around this writing friendship. One day in RL. I have been tugged at and I have felt dead brown in my long time ago from a friend or two.

Reply October 22, 2012

Such delicate writing on a weighty topic! So very glad to see you here today, Ashley!

Reply October 22, 2012

Ahhh. My girls make those chains, too. This is lovely. Thanks, Ashley :)

Lori Harris
Reply October 22, 2012

Simply beautifully spun!

Tanya Marlow
Reply October 22, 2012

This was so beautiful - and I feel like I knew that tug of back and forth in so many of my friendships. Is it a girl thing, I wonder?

Friendship as a daisy chain - I love it.

Reply October 22, 2012

Beautiful words Ashley! Love the way a sinple image of two little girls opens into something so much deeper & more profound as your words breath meaning & understanding!

Reply October 22, 2012

I love the image of the chain. The ones that link us the ones that hold/bind us...and that we are freed.

Reply October 22, 2012

Such a beautiful description of the beautiful and messy balance in relationships and our larger communities of faith. I am blessed to get to live out this blissful journey with you.

Reply October 22, 2012

"We remember we are ones released from chains. We are freed by Love after all." I am sure you are not surprised that I cherish that sentence so much. Beautiful Ash, thank you xo.

Alia Joy
Reply October 22, 2012

Ashley, I love seeing you over here. I've been back week after week and I love reading Amber and your abstractions. I want to jump in and play too but I'm just trying to make it through my 31 days and adding another word to the mix might just push me over the edge. ;) This was beautiful Ashley, you write and I can see it all. Beauty.

Reply October 22, 2012

Lovely, lovely words, thoughts, feelings.
And I have now found a new blogger to follow....:)

Reply October 22, 2012

Ash, such a beautiful rhythm in your that perfect song you love hearing and fall into the words and melody. Your pictures are so clear, so real, and so honest. I'm very thankful for you, sweet friend, and this gift you lovingly share.

pete clemente
Reply October 23, 2012

Such eloquence, such precise and vivid imagery. Your writing brings clarity and draws me as if it were a magnet. You encourage me to look inward and confront my own issues. Your writing fuels me, energizes me. I am so proud of you my darling daughter!

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