Everything Is Going To Be Okay

Everything is going to be okay. I don’t know how, but it is. If you don’t think so, that’s okay. But I need to think so, and in so thinking somehow it is made so. I need to believe it, and in so believing somehow it is made so. It is backward from the cause and effect of fairy tales. No witches, no mythic heroes, no magic shoes, or sleeping spells or sweet enchantments can make this lesson any more strange and unbelievable than real people in real life. True is true and real is real with or without us as this stubborn realist resists the post modern construct. But finding some good in the perspective, as there is much despite its convolution, some things become true, some things become real, at least to an individual, once they are seen, once they are acknowledged, once they are believed in.

One of my favorite characters, from one of my favorite books, The Hiding Place, is a real, not invented, one.  A man who really lived and fathered and loved his children well. His abiding love for all people, his determination to see good in all places and in all people, comes close to what I think God’s love is like. It is graceful and ever present, unaffected by the ugly noise and distraction of greed and disdain.

In one passage in this beautiful, real-life story, little Corrie asks her father a tricky question, of which she is not yet able to understand the answer:

He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.

“Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said.

I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.

“It’s too heavy,” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”

And I was satisfied. More than satisfied–wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions–for now I was content to leave them in my father’s keeping.

This passage, this moment, is precious to me. A father who so delicately, so carefully prepares his children when they ask, enlightens his children when they look. Cares for his children while simultaneously respecting their liberty in doubt, in understanding, in choice. That’s what I think God’s love is like. And no I am not a child. And no I cannot be content too long in not knowing answers. But I can be comforted and feel wonderfully at peace for a moment, knowing that there are answers out there to be discovered. Good things to be had once the murky drains from the saturated ground.

Things have been rough lately. In my life. Things are changing, and it seems like every day I feel different. Every day is up for grabs in the sensing, feeling, doing, seeing, understanding of everything.

Some days I can handle it. Little sparkles of sunlight shine through the blinds in my bedroom. I hear the world awake and moving, car engines outside powering along the streets. I am a part of it. And I wake up strong. There’s momentum in the muscles of my legs, and I stand up and take a big step and smile and mean it. Funny things are funny to me. And difficult things seem possible. And I can make decisions about how to spend my time and rearrange my thoughts and plans so that every possible efficiency accumulated is spilled open. Those are the days where according to the dictates of my culture, I take my gauge of self-worth according to how much work I have done. How many tasks I have completed off my list. The down pressure of my stored up work sprays out of the tap like success. Those are the days when I have remembered people. And how much they matter. And how much I love them.

But there are other days too. When my head is so full of questions that they bank up behind my eyes, an eddy of thoughts swirling and hot. In salty puddles of pressure and sound, my face fills. The tributaries of my skin plump up with the tangible. I hear it. Out loud. And I am putting in contacts, and drawing on eye liner, and putting on mascara while tears are trying to overflow in the opposite direction. A sad kind of beauty. It is not gathered up good water but a muddy flood spilling in all the messiest places.

So those question days are spent in search of signs. The world looks so different. I am floating on dark water, bumping into things. All the old landmarks are covered. And new high places are found and beautiful and new places are home. There are no more footstep sounds to follow. Only sounds of water and echoes from far away.

Am I marooned with my choices? Will I take your hand and look in your eyes and be with you in a moment? Will you smile at me when I see you? And will we be friends there? A little mist falls, and it acts as a seal then. Bonds with all that is applied to the texture and becomes luminous, a metallic light over skin. Each droplet, tiny and perfectly formed for falling, reflects another light. A light and a light and a light. Until all together banded they glaze and glow. All that was perfectly applied is slightly smudged but how it has taken on reality is haunting and tender and vulnerable and lovelier than perfect.

Sometimes I say it to myself. Sometimes I hear it out loud. Sometimes I need someone else to say it to me. Everything is going to be okay. There are answers. To all my hard questions.

Expired Yogurt and Lovely People

So this morning I felt really overwhelmed. Really overwhelmed. I have taken on a lot. I have felt like I had to really. I need to bring in as much money as possible, and it’s not the time to be turning away any work that comes along, no matter where it comes from.

So this morning I was dealing with the stress of working at three side jobs, trying to book gigs, and needing a big solid block of time to prepare for this weekend’s concert. Worrying about letting people down, not doing a spectacular job at whatever I do, worrying about forgetting something, forgetting someone. And I could feel tears, big waves of them, behind my eyes. With absolutely no time to let them out. I got ready. I called my mom. I texted good morning laughs with friends.  Trying to feel better.

This is what got me: I pulled out a yogurt to eat for breakfast. I opened it and instead of putting the lid messy side up, for some reason I put it messy side down and the date on the package caught my eye. October of 2015. OCTOBER OF 2015! For a minute I had a brain freeze. 2015? But it’s 2017, isn’t it? HOW COULD I HAVE A YOGURT IN MY FRIDGE THAT’S BEEN EXPIRED FOR TWO YEARS? You know what else? It was completely fine! I mean I didn’t eat it, but it looked fine and smelled fine. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

So that’s what broke the dam. That’s what made me feel like a complete failure as a human. And though I will probably tell this story to make someone laugh, it still brings tears to my eyes right now. So I started sobbing about the metaphorical yogurt. And how I let expired yogurt sit in my fridge for 2 years without noticing.

And then I cried for everything else that it seems, feels like, I am failing at. Or at least just getting by. Barely. I can see the disappointment in their eyes. I can see that they wish I was getting further along by now, getting my act together. Or maybe that is me wishing it for them. Maybe they are too busy worrying about that themselves.

So teary and working at the same time, I have spent the rest of the day doing little bits of work in 20 different categories of my life and at every turn I have had someone, some friend or acquaintance or stranger, do or say something nice to me which has helped me to stay afloat.

A tiny bit of good news, good mom advice, a coincidence to my advantage, an encouraging word on messenger, someone finally answered my email. A friend goes out of her way to help me and invites 80 friends to one of my shows. Another friend arranges to have my show recorded and barters her time in payment. Of one my band mates offers to take care of sound and even borrows monitors and I don’t have to do anything.

And people who love me and tell me. And people who want to take care of me and do. And people who know me and understand me. And people who give of their time. And people who give of themselves. To help when they don’t have to. When they are overwhelmed too.

So now, toward the evening of this day, with still many, many things to do. I feel a different kind of overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the goodness of other humans around me, that feeling of —that’s God. That’s God loving. Loving and taking care with the hands of people.

Thank you lovely people. Thank you.

How To Clean Up A Really Big Mess:

Once I had a friend have a pretty giant disaster in her house. She wanted an opening in a wall in her kitchen, to let some light into the dark and gloomy room where she spent so much of her time, to be able to see and talk into the living room while working, and she was determined to make it happen, thinking the only obstacle was hard work. She was willing, so she undertook the project on her own. Dove in. After removing the counter tops and removing cabinets and opening the wall herself with a sledgehammer, pulling back the drywall with her hands, she realized there were issues with removing studs because of the load from the roof, and electrical wires hung in the way of her plans. But by then she was too far in to stop. The contents of her very full kitchen were spread out in the living room. Cabinets and counter tops and tools and mess everywhere. She hadn’t even cleaned up the daily mess before starting, so there were dishes and clutter and laundry mixed in and no kitchen sink to wash them.

When I arrived I was overwhelmed. I looked around and all I could see was mess. Putting things back together required skills I did not have; I had no concept of how to help her with it. I remember the feeling that came over me of helplessness. There was no easy way out of this for her. She had begun it and would have to figure some way out of it.

I didn’t say much. Instead I just started moving around the living room among the mess of things strewn about. No order, no rhyme or reason at all, to any of it. Slowly I began to move things around as she was in the other room. I gathered up school books into a stack and took them to the kids’ bedrooms. I collected dirty dishes into a plastic container and took them into the bathroom. I assigned a corner of the room for the contents of the kitchen cabinets and stacked and arranged all the random things. I found a rag and cleared and wiped off the table, placing little items in a basket in the middle. I collected papers into stacks and returned things to other places in the house. By the time I left that evening, I looked around and could tell that I had made a tiny difference.

She called me the next morning and thanked me saying that when she woke up, instead of the wrecked living room, there was a tiny bit of order. She could see the table, find her keys, decide what to do. That week as she met with people who could help, and as she painted every possible surface and worked and worked and worried and worried, I puttered around in the background. I never helped at all with the real project going on, but instead I cleaned and tidied and organized and sorted. I started in one small area–a tabletop, a drawer, a closet–chosen for no particular reason, finished it up and then moved on to another one. I did that for the whole week. Furniture and windows and curtains and tables and pictures on the wall, all rearranged, cleaned, straightened, and made fresh and tidy. Open a drawer and all the contents were put away neatly. Open a closet and all things were visible. The floors were cleared and cleaned, baseboards wiped down and she even painted the walls.

When we finished at the end of that week, with the help of so many friends, she had her kitchen wall opened up, and every surface painted. Cabinets were rehung in a better arrangement. The appliances were put back, the kitchen sink returned to working order. The whole house had undergone a cleaning out. With a little staff of children to help, we had all the laundry done, every room and closet and shelf cleared and cleaned and arranged for life.

It seemed a miracle to me that we had conquered it. The mess, the disorder, had seemed overwhelmingly impossible. But each tiny task, even ones we had to redo a hundred times, took us closer to where we wanted to be.

I happen to be good at cleaning up messes, and not everyone is, but what I have learned is that the important thing is just to start. Without starting you are truly continuing in the opposite direction. When you start, even if the area is a footprint, even if the spot seems arbitrary or inconsequential, by starting you stop the momentum in the wrong direction, turn the hulking task around, and press and pull it into a new one. After a bit, the task seems to pick up its new momentum somehow.

Work, like coins in a jar, adds up. How to clean up a really big mess: Start.  Do the task as well as you can. Keep going until it’s done. Repeat.




This Tiny Little World Just Dotted With Souls

And so we pass another soul. A face along the way. We do not know the meaning that will someday come to pass. And how unlikely, how strange that we pass a thousand times and once again, the same face but not know, not recognize, the souls that will make us who we are some someday.

We talked about this today. My friend Sheryl and I. For we grew up not far from one another, but never met. We probably passed one another in the mall. Ate across from one another in a restaurant. Skated on the same Friday night at thirteen or danced on the same Saturday at twenty.  But it took a life time to meet in a new city. A new place. And a far away time.

Is it all planned out? We wonder. Or is it chance? What are the factors, the little pieces of air and soil and road and choice that take us to those who will shape us, who we will shape? I don’t know.

Now I look around me and see that the souls, the friends I cannot live without, the souls that love me true, are assembled in seeming happenstance. The kind eyes, the funny stories, the amazingly talented and brilliant, she who can use the same word in a thousand different ways, she who can capture a heart in a moment, he who can recognize, identify a truth inside a look, inside a song. They are all assembled now from far away places—and selfishly it seems to me–just for me, just perfectly for me.

How impossible to predict where we will be in time. How impossible to see the places we will inhabit and the faces we will know. Where will we find one another? Where will we be? We will change one another. And we will become new and different and grown and free. We will become something new.

Life is strange. And wonderful. And I am surprised over and over again by it. Someone try to tell me where I will be. I will not believe you. Though sometimes I claim clairvoyance, it is indeterminate and intuitive only. The outcomes are impossibly creative. Crazy and incomprehensible. I am so grateful to be alive in such a world where anything, truly anything is possible.

These faces I know and love, these faces I begot, these faces I am learning. They are everything. Everything of beauty and love and life and sacrifice and attachment and understanding. I think now of every soul I pass. Every soul I pass. Who are you? Who are you in the world? Can I know of you today? Or will you be another day? Another time? Or will you be of the thousands I pass by and never know?

This Tiny Little World Just Dotted With Souls

I’ll listen to sad songs if I want to
I’ll hear them and they’ll cluster and bind
I’ll listen to sad songs if I want to
I’ll feel them and they’ll match my mind

For this tiny little world
Just dotted with souls

We’ll walk on strung cords of wire
We’ll walk and be sure of our place
Our web of workings self-sound and safe
But the net below is taken away

For this tiny little world
Just dotted with souls

I’ll go first and stare at the sky and
One by one you’ll all stand beside
The light will illumine
Truly see our size and
Love and joy for one another
Love and joy for one another
Love and joy
Love and joy

For this tiny little world
This tiny little world
This tiny little world
Just dotted with souls




My Grandmother Died Yesterday

As sometimes happens to me in the middle of the night, yesterday sometime around 2:30 in the morning, I woke up with a complete chorus playing in my head. I got up, went downstairs, found the chords on the guitar, sang the melody, and wrote the lyrics in my book.

Here’s what I wrote:

All the pressures of this world got me feeling like dying
All the pleasures of being with you got me feeling like flying
Flying, flying, flying, flying
Flying into the colors

I even recorded myself singing the chorus, lest I forget the tune in the morning. I made up the chords, as they are not ones I normally use; they are uplifting, but they are tinged in sadness.

The next morning my mother called to tell me that my grandmother had died sometime in the night. And I remembered the chorus that I had written in the night, wondering if it had been around the same time. I played it again and cried and thought of her. Thought of her flying into the colors, seeing all those she had lost and longed to see again.

Most of yesterday I felt frozen, mysterious, and distant from everything. All I could think of was this vision of her hands. I held them last on Saturday when she lay sleeping. The skin tissue paper thin over her bones. Hands that once knew the secret to every task, tiny but amazingly wise, always expressive and gentle hands. I saw her hands as if over a pottery wheel. Over those of my mother’s lovely hands. And under them is all of me and mine.

She shaped everyone that shaped me. She made all the things that made me. So much of her lives in me. I am like her in so many ways. I am so grateful for all she showed me. So loved by her all my life. It is so much that I almost can’t speak or write of it. It is everything. The greater everything from which all growth is rooted, from which all branches have grown. It is so sad to know that those roots have slipped down into the earth to nourish us in a new way. My mother has become that firm root now, that place from which all else becomes. It will be my turn someday.

My mother and aunt asked me write the obituary. The honor of which I cherish. Today I sent it to them, and they both wept with the loving of it. And that giving, that act of me giving them something they can love today, the day after they lose their mother, makes me feel prouder than I can say. It makes me feel that I can be good. That what I make can be good. Goodness.

I am now sharing it with you here; if you knew my grandmother, then you will know the truth of all I have shared. If you didn’t know her, then I am sprinkling some of her goodness to you now. And you will be better and happier for standing in it.

Lois Ann (Francis) Morgan Zukunft

On September 6, 1926 Lois Ann Francis was born in the pocket of Prairieton to Helen and Marion Franklin Francis, with four brothers and a sister before her; a younger sister followed after her. She grew up with love and happiness despite the Depression, and according to her own recollection, never went without anything she needed. Tucked in each night with her three sisters all sharing a bed, her mother would play them all to sleep at the piano; each of them calling out a request. Young days blessed with a happy home despite the early loss of her father.

Lois lived a beautiful life. That beauty spread about her in droplets in all the places she touched with her hands, walked with her feet, like a brightly colored path, each a flash of memory, sweetness, laughter, music, sadness too and loss, but each she made a color, for each she made a place, for each she loved and worked and smiled.

Those early beauties were days of hide and seek, playing house in “the trees”, whispering with friends on the playground, dolls at Christmas, singing with her sisters at church, pinning her curls back and sneaking her sister’s sweater for school. Dates to dances, and brothers off to war. And further on a husband and babies and making baby clothes and dinner and memories. Making a precious home, magical Christmases and doll clothes for little ones, laughing over cups and saucers of coffee on a porch, and children running and laughing and holding kittens and opening so many presents. Early mornings of cleaning and cooking and weeding and watering, eggs to fry, tomatoes to slice and grandchildren to talk and tell stories to. Card games to win and gardens to plan, and clubs to attend and funeral lunches to make; choirs to sing in and vacation bible schools to serve in. And further on friendships to cherish and loved ones to lose, new loves to find, and sweet days to spend.

And in each and every place, she sprinkled that beauty like colors, like texture, like contentment. Every love, every friendship, every child and grandchild and great-grand child, every living thing in the garden, every task done well and in love. Every day spent in purpose and affection. A legacy of love, a family tree, a watermark, as those droplets settled and spread, little tributaries of more love and more love. Lois Ann Francis married Earl Morgan on June 19, 1948. Together they raised Lou Ann (Pence), Cindy (Morgan), and Scott (Morgan).  In marriage added a son in Donnie (Pence). Families grew and grandchildren too they loved and provided every good and perfect thing to Sara (Quah), Nathan (Pence), Courtney (Morgan), and Lucas (Morgan). Added in marriage new grandchildren in Mark (Quah), Sarah (Morgan), and Stephanie (Pence). Abundant joy found in great grandchildren Lexie (Hardy), Lizzie (Quah), Mallory (Quah), Caleb (Jones), Evan (Quah), Zach (Morgan), Andrew (Morgan), Samantha (Morgan), and Mara (Pence).

On July 10, 2010, Lois happily married Carl Zukunft; their wedding a day of joy and sweetness for them both. Lois added to her heart Carl’s three children, grand-children and their families. Though declining in health in recent years, Lois and Carl found happiness and companionship in one another.

Yesterday, on August 15, 2017, Lois Ann (Francis) Morgan Zukunft died just as she wished to, in her sleep, at the age of 90. But the beauty she leaves behind her is not faded. It grows more and more vivid with each new photograph and story and remembrance. Hold hands today for her. Bend and kiss a child. Sing a song today for her. Smile over dinner at those you love. Plant something new in your garden. Take a walk and pray. Love a little bit more for her today. Sprinkle droplets of beauty as you go, as she taught you, as she showed us all.

Please come and share your memories with us. Visitation will be held at Debaun’s Funeral Home  on Springhill Rd. from 4-8 on Friday, August 18th. Funeral services will be held at Prairieton United Methodist Church at 2:00 on Saturday, August 19th.   In lieu of flowers, Lois asked that donations be made to Prairieton United Methodist Church, Prairieton, IN.




From one hallowed truth to another we carefully step and stumble. Step and stumble. Probing further and further into the dark corners and dusty places we have overlooked since we moved in.

Those sweet days of unpacking and sorting and moving in. A place for everything and everything in its place. Which pictures to hang and which closets for storage, and which things can go. Fresh paint, fixing doors, and outlets, and sharp places in the carpets. Till it’s all done and settled. And good. It is the kind of hard work that feels good to the soul. That when you finish you have something. Something that reflects both the value of your time and the value of the objects with which you fill your life.

This kind of reset needs to be done every few years. For the creep of clutter and complacency are relentless. We learn to live with and expect the failures of our lives and we don’t bother to fix them. The door that won’t open properly. The stack of boxes in the garage. The hose with the leak. And the stain on the carpet. Whereupon do those little unfinished tasks, those eyesores, become invisible to our daily eyes? We continually walk past them and over them and put them off for later.

And what brings about the last modicum of patience for the broken, the stained, the messy which then pushes us to clean, and organize, and replace. What brings about the snap from tolerance to frustration and on to active improvement. When living with the problem becomes more difficult a task than fixing it. That balance of power moving from one side to another. As always our paths are determined by what is easiest, the most peaceful, the least likely to uncover more problems.

A new experience can sometimes jar us awake to our own drifting standards of what is acceptable. A step into a newly painted room, when the light from clean windows hits the wall, and the floor is clean and empty. Sometimes I stop after emptying and painting a room and sit in it. Just being in the newness and the bright emptiness. Or after resetting the furniture and hanging the pictures, I will sit and just be there and enjoy the rightness of it.

So much of this summer I have spent on these resetting activities. Getting rid of things I no longer need, re-purposing cabinets and drawers and closets, so re-ordering my life so that it works for us now. And in every space I clean, in every space, I find work that needs to be done. Somehow the dust has found it’s way into every place. I was blind to it as it happened. I didn’t see it until I started looking.




Lately I am restless. I am sighing and staring into everything. I want to be by myself and simultaneously want to be at a party. Everywhere I look there is meaning. Everywhere I look there is beauty to note. All these actions and behaviors and circumstances that I am witnessing, that I am part of, are symbolic and powerful; I see the potential poetry in them and something is making me stop and be in it. I cannot not see it.

I am in a parking lot after a storm and there on the ground is a dead bird. A big one, not crushed, but whole, as it looks like it has fallen dead from the sky. And there before me is a woman pushing her grandmother along the clean pavement in a wheelchair. And there is a man reaching for the hand of his child. There along the side of the road is a storm drain drowning, the swirl of water hypnotizing. There in the long green grass are branches too heavy for me to drag to the curb, and a young stranger helps me without a word. I see all this and I cannot pass it by. I know it is for me to notice.

In another there, in another conversation, is a looking-away, a gesture; a leaning back of the head, a deep breath, and a smile replete with effects both poignant and cynical. A bursting of truth under the lid of decorum; a rebellion against what restrains. There in another is a leaning back. An acceptance of something they do not wish for but will abide. Arms crossed, bland smile, cordial agreement. A politeness, self-control, at war with desire.

In another is the too revealed connection, the deprecating joke told with a finger tapping on the shoulder. In another the far away look of drugged fear and anger. In another the self-awareness of an average person who finds average unappealing. In another a wide-eyed and slightly ashamed sadness, a voice that trembles in talking, the muscles of the face cannot hold a composed expression; a grimace threatens.

Meaning is replete like water vapor in the air. It is palpable and labors my breathing. When I drive I can feel it pushing against the forward motion of the car. I can feel the particles sloshed in the air around me as I walk and the inner-workings of humanity appear like thinly-coded thought bubbles.

The people are holy. All of them. And all the other things in the world, the roads, the birds, the chairs, the rain, the heat, the shoes, the beds, and blankets, and lights–they all exist for context and setting and connection. And I pet a cat and you pet a cat and we are somehow the same.

When you are gone, and I am in the quiet, I am overcome by sounds. Auricular humming, an organ of chords. Even the heat has a noise, with a parallel release of air alongside the pitch of its droning. The meaning is a thing I can hear. It is a thing I can feel like atoms, like leaves tossed and resettled, crushed and re-purposed. It is a thing that I love about you.

Of Angel Stories: A Collection From You

Below is a collection of angel stories sent to me by my readers and friends. I implore you to send me yours too, short or long, so that I may in turn publish them and share them with the world. To participate, send your story to me at sbquah@outlook.com. I will post them here under the title series “Of Angel Stories.” Newest are posted at the top.

Stepheny’s Angel Story (told by Stepheny; written by Sara)

A few weeks ago I was playing at the Farmer’s Market in Terre Haute and a young woman came up and took my card. She was sweet and sincere and one of those people who make playing out worthwhile. A few days later, after reading through my blog and these angel stories, she commented on one of my Facebook posts; I was so touched by her kindness and intrigued by her words that I asked her to meet me for coffee. We did. It was lovely. Her green eyes glowed bright with the telling. And now, I have my final angel story:

Exactly one year before that day at the market—June 24th, Stepheny said goodbye to her dog Chico, a mostly black Dalmation mix that she and her boyfriend had rescued from a neglectful owner. Chico was a devoted and beloved friend whose daily doses of affection and service brought joy to her home and faithfulness to her life. Chico knew when Stepheny, an epileptic, was about to have an attack and would lay on top of her with his head pressed against her face to keep her safe. Chico died at fifteen years old, and his death marked a period of sadness and loss to the whole house; it seemed that joy left with him.

That summer after Chico died, everything seemed to go wrong– with jobs, with relationships, even with the house. Disconnection and dysfunction multiplied.  All that had been good seemed so fragile, so thinly present. For some solace and quiet one day, Stepheny went out alone to go fishing. While there she got a call from her boyfriend that a stray puppy was hiding underneath their camper. He had to go to work and couldn’t get him to come out. Could she come home and take care of it?

When she got home, her boyfriend had left but she could see the puppy’s shape under the camper. She called to him but he wouldn’t come out. She went inside, got a bowl of food and brought it out. As soon as she sat the bowl down, the puppy rushed to the bowl. And when Stepheny saw him it took her breath away. A very hungry, mostly black Dalmation mix puppy ran up and licked the bowl clean. She almost couldn’t believe what she was seeing. But truly a new friend had arrived.

Healing and joy, little by little, returned along with the new member of the family, Tito. Little by little, things got better. Stepheny decided she needed to focus on others, so she took a job caring for preschoolers, and supporting their families, in the poorest areas of town. At home, they began the slow process of fixing all that had gone wrong with the house that had seemed overwhelming, and with the smiles and laughter of the new puppy, strained relationships began to heal as well.

But it wasn’t just those tangible things that got better. It was something bigger too.  In the arrival and sweetness of this new puppy, a message was delivered as well. And it was the message that altered all. Within the disappointments and struggles, life is also precious and good. And there is someone who knows your need and longs to fulfill it. And there is someone who knows your sadness and longs to heal it. Your little life is meaningful. Your little life is deserving of a miracle. Your life will have joy, and love and faithfulness –and new puppies and sustaining angels.

Here’s a pic of Chico on the left and Tito on the right. Seriously wow, right?

Simon’s Angel Story:

It was about eight months ago, I was going through a bit of a rough time. I was living alone in a rundown bedsit and feeling utterly depressed. It was dark, cold and wet outside, almost time for me to start the second part of my shift that day as a home care worker. I wouldn’t get home that night until​ after 10pm. I just wanted to sleep, the thought of having to go to work was unbearable, I just wanted to die, I wanted to cry. I sunk to my knees and wept in despair and prayed for God to take away the pain. I then stood up, grabbed my bag and jacket, reluctantly stepped out the door, got on my bicycle and began the two mile journey to my first call. I was feeling so low, and I was fighting back the tears welling up inside of me. I told myself to get a grip. My clients home was set back off the main road, I thought that perhaps I’d be able to compose myself before going inside but the nearer I got the more my emotions were getting the better of me. That evening’s rush hour traffic was worse than​ usual, I was thinking that I needed to stop, to find an alleyway, anywhere to hide myself, just sob and get it out of my system but I was almost there​, just one more busy junction to navigate and a hundred yards further up the road I’d be at my destination and just maybe I’d be fine. As the tears began to cloud my vision and I gingerly weaved my bike through a stream of slow moving vehicles, a female voice called to me from her car asking for directions to Gipsy Lane. I never did look at her, I guess I was so preoccupied with oncoming vehicles and not getting involved in a collision. “Take a left then turn right at the next set of lights” I told her. I rode on but the odd thing was my tears were gone, the despair had instantly lifted, in that moment I felt completely fine! I pulled up on the driveway thinking to myself, ‘What just happened, was I losing it’? It was like someone had flicked a switch in my mind. That night when I got back home to my cold, damp bedsit, the thought of what had happened was still troubling me. I questioned whether it was so inconceivable that God had somehow answered my prayer. I sat down on the bed and thought about what had happened, what she said. She had asked for directions to ‘Gipsy Lane’. I grabbed a notepad and pen and quickly I rearranged those letters into ‘I spy angel’. There is no doubt in my mind that Jehovah God really did help me that night by sending his angel to look over me in my hour of need.

Tammy’s Angel Story:

We have a few of these types of stories in my family, but my grandmother’s is my favorite.

In 1937, my grandmother was pregnant with her first child. Like most new moms, she was scared to death about giving birth. One of her favorite sisters (Grandma was one of 12 children) had died giving birth and she was understandably fearful the same thing would happen to her.

The time came to give birth to my uncle and the birth was taking a very long time. Things didn’t seem to be progressing and she was getting more and more scared that she really would die. She was under to medication, so she was pretty aware of everything that was going on around her and knew the doctor and nurses were concerned, too.

About halfway through the labor, her sister, the one who died in childbirth, walks in the room and sits in a chair by her bed. She never spoke to my grandmother, but sat there until my uncle was born. My grandmother said it was very calming and she was able to relax. Once she relaxed, everything progressed as it should and her healthy baby boy was born.

Once the delivery was done, her sister left and she never saw her again.

Cheryl’s Angel Story:

We went through two and half years of infertility before finally getting pregnant only to have our hearts crushed almost halfway through the pregnancy (19 weeks) to find out we had lost our baby. And then found out after having a DNC that we had lost not just one but two babies. We were expecting twins and didn’t even know.

I got pregnant a month later and began having problems at 10 weeks gestation. I was told I would most likely miscarry again and was placed on bedrest for a month. Low and behold the rest helped and our baby was doing well. At an ultrasound we found out that there had been damage to my placenta and that our baby was getting all of the oxygen needed but only half of the nutrition so he was undersized. Once again I was placed on bedrest and had to continue going to Peoria for routine checks every two weeks in order to monitor the baby’s growth.

On my 28 week appointment I was told there was little to no fluid and that I was being admitted to the hospital immediately; I wasn’t even able to go home and pack a bag. They immediately started me on surfactant injections to try and develop the baby’s lungs with the expectations of having to deliver within the next 36-48 hours. That turned into a 5 week hospital stay. They couldn’t explain it but my amniotic fluid levels had come up and they wanted to keep the baby inside to finish developing for as long as possible, so I was monitored throughout the day, every day and through the nights as well.

At 33 weeks the fluid was once again depleted, and it was time to deliver via c-section because a normal delivery was too risky given the size of the baby. Doctors and nurses were talking to us right up to the delivery to prepare us for the very worst. Things like cerebral palsy, lengthy hospital stays, potential surgeries, and the worst yet…the potential of going home without a baby at all. We were scared, terrified really probably describes it better.

We were about to become first time parents and while we were so excited for that role we also knew our fight wasn’t over and we were trying so hard to not think about the “what ifs” and to just focus on one step at a time. On November 24, 2003 we delivered a 2 lb 3 oz 12″ long baby boy that we named Corbin Reid. He never needed any oxygen to assist him in breathing, didn’t need a feeding tube; his Apgar scores were perfect and he was perfect in every way; just super tiny. He needed to grow and learn how to maintain his own body heat but considering everything he had stacked against him he was remarkably healthy and happy. He spent 1 week in the NICU, then another week in the PICU and then he was transferred from Peoria via ambulance to St Joe’s here in Bloomington where he spent a week in the mother/baby nursery on the maternity ward. We brought him home on his three week birthday weighing a mere 3 lbs 7 oz. The doctors had never seen anything like it and told us we had angels watching over us.

I believe with every fiber of my being that my grandfather (who passed away my senior year of high school in 1996) is Corbin’s guardian angel. Corbin knows who my grandpa is, and not because we have told him about him. When he was almost 2 years old he would point to a picture I have on our book case of my grandpa and and say “papa”. We had never told him at that point who was in that picture. I believe Corbin’s story is a success story because my grandpa was by my side every step of the way making sure he was protected and healthy. Corbin is our miracle baby. ❤️

Morgan’s Angel Stories:


Years ago, my mom was coming home from Kmart. She had the green light to cross over Veterans while on Empire and as she got into the middle of the intersection, a cement truck (full of cement) SLAMMED into her car going 45 mph. Mom didn’t have a seat belt on. Her airbag deployed, windows shattered, car was totaled, and the fire dept had to jimmy the door to get her out. She walked away from it with some minor bruising. One of the police officers came up to her with a picture of Jesus in his hand and said it had been sitting upright in her backseat. That picture of Jesus was given to her by a foster kid and placed in a pocket in her wallet. Her purse had not been blasted around the car, and her wallet was still in her purse when she got out…

And Dad’s:

After my Dad died, I was very distraught for several months. I had been hashing up old memories of Dad, like the time he was a chaperone for my 5th grade trip to Chicago. We took the train up (first time for many of us from Towanda had been on a train) and Dad had us laughing the whole time. He chatted it up with a guy from the government and got him to let my classmate use his “cell phone” to call his mom. It was one of the first phones in a suitcase. (I’m 37). Another classmate had broken her leg the week before so Dad piggy-backed her through both museums and the aquarium. All the kids wanted to be by him. They thought he was the coolest. It was a great day with Dad.

In one of the gift shops, there was a paper weight I loved that had beautiful colors. Dad must’ve seen me gawk at it as he surprised me with it when I got home. After he passed and I was telling a friend this story, I remembered I hadn’t seen it for a long time. I searched my house high and low and was frantic I couldn’t find it. I remember sitting on the kitchen floor sobbing and praying I would find it as I needed to grasp any bit of Dad I could. A couple days later, I was having a dream that got completely interrupted by Dad telling me to check the keepsake box in my closet, which I had already checked. I immediately woke up, checked it and there it was. Now it sits on my end table next to my bed. Never losing that again.

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Lou Ann’s (My Mom) Angel Story:

It was Christmas Eve, 1984.  It was really, really cold in Eastern Kentucky; around 20 degrees below zero.  Our family of four was packed into our old panel van with all the Christmas presents, the dog, and the cat.  We were headed to Indiana to celebrate the holidays with our family.  We were happy and excited and over-tired and a little stressed.  It wasn’t easy getting everything into the van in the bitter cold, and it was so early the stars were still out.

About thirty miles into our trip, the old van started acting funny.  The engine made some sputtering sounds, and then – it died.  My husband managed to coast to the side of the road.  There was no need to worry about traffic behind us – there wasn’t any.  We were in the area of a little-used state park and several miles from a town or a gas station.  And our van had died.  And it was 20 degrees below zero. And it was Christmas Eve. 

My husband, who knows very little about cars and engines, got out of the van and opened the hood.  He looked inside, but I knew he had no idea what he was looking for.  I climbed into the back of the van and started wrapping up the kids and trying to corral the cat.  I tried to figure out a plan…how to keep warm, how to get help, how to get home to Indiana.  Should my husband start walking?  How long would it be before he started getting hypothermic?  Should we all stay together?  Wrap up in one blanket and try to share our body heat?  Hope a Good Samaritan or state cop would drive by?  No cell phones in those days, and there wasn’t a house in sight.

While I was in the back of the van and my husband in front of the raised hood, he felt a tap on his shoulder.  There was a man (in a flannel shirt and jeans – no coat!) holding out a bottle of gas tank antifreeze.  He handed it to my husband and said, “Put this in your gas tank.  It will fix the problem.”  My husband lowered the hood of the van, and I saw him and the man.  My husband walked to the side of the van and put the antifreeze into the gas line.  When he turned to thank the man, he was gone! 

Was the man an angel or just a nice guy with a bottle of gas line antifreeze in his glove box?  Of course we’ll never know for sure, but as soon as our old panel van started back up the road and home for Christmas, my husband and I were convinced we had been rescued by an angel. 

Tony SanFilippo’s Angel Story:

The Hammond Organ Angel

So I was out watching Sara play solo a couple weeks ago. It was a lovely outdoor show, in the dusk of a perfect night in Central Illinois. She closed her third set with a song called Stylevester Brown, a song that is about a man she met in Chicago who may possibly be an angel. This reminded me of a gentleman I once met who I believe to be an angel, specifically the Hammond Organ Angel.

The story starts early one Saturday morning. I had fallen asleep on the couch and never went to bed that night. I still had a land line and its ring is what woke me that morning. I was surprised by it, and by the fact that it was daylight and I was on the couch and never made it to bed.  The voice on the other end was the deep bass of my friend Mike White. Mike is a bass player, singer, guitar repair guru and all around great guy. He also is one of those guys who gets up to hit all the garage sales, and read the classified sale listings in the newspaper.  [For the youngsters reading this: a newspaper is like the internet, only made of very thin pieces of wood.] 

So its somewhere around 8am and I pick up the ringing phone to hear this booming radio announcer voice saying, “Tony, its Miiiike.”  It took me a moment to come to and react. “Hey man, what’s up?”  He said, “There’s a Hammond M3 in the paper for $50 that you should buy for the studio.” There was no part of that I didn’t like. I asked him a bit about the M3 and he explained that it is in fact a tone wheel organ, and some even call it the Baby B. It has a built-in speaker, but Mike mentioned that he could put a 1/4” output to interface with the Leslie rotating amp the studio already had. I fumbled around to find a pen and paper to write down the name and number of the owner. 

I gathered myself a bit and called the owner. When I said I was calling about the organ she asked, “Is this Tony? I spoke to Mike a few minutes ago and he said to expect your call.”  OK, this is working out well. I make arrangements to drive out to see the organ, in between afternoon and evening gigs. I drove out, the organ worked and looked pretty good as well. I handed the nice lady a fifty dollar bill and told her I’d need to make arrangements with my boss to come out with his pick-up within the next few days. I was still working at a studio called Shiny On Top at the time. The owner was Edwin Pierce who played rhythm guitar on Taking Me Back.

Either Monday or Tuesday evening Edwin, myself and our good friend Dean Carlson (who sings and writes for the rock band Wiplot that I’ve played with since moving to Bloomington) went to retrieve my new Hammond. Even though the M3 is a smaller and lighter model compared to the venerable B3, or its even heavier brother the C3, it is still a heavy beast. We muscled it into the small pick-up, strapped it down, and drove to the studio.

Shiny On Top was housed on the second floor of a fairly old building in Downtown Bloomington.  It had a straight staircase, no turns or landings. It was never fun getting gear up and down those stairs, and this was no exception. Ed, Dean and I may have been the three skinniest musicians in Bloomington at the time, which becomes important as this story continues. Being it was a weeknight, we were able to park close to the door. I opened the doors on the street level, ran up to open the studio and turned on the lights. 

Back on the street we jockeyed the organ to the doorway, which was luckily wide. Edwin and I were on opposite long sides of the instrument, me on the keyboard, Edwin at the back, and poor Dean was on the short end- and thus the bottom of the weight. We were pretty tight in the staircase, and were trying to move carefully.  It was fairly impossible to move fast, but we were making progress.  At about the halfway point, Dean said, “Um, guys, guys, GUYS!!!”  He was having a rough time dealing with the weight and the force of gravity. I got quite nervous that things were going to go south quickly (and literally). I had visions of knocking on Dean’s door to tell his wife that he was in the hospital or dead at the hands of my $50 Organ. We were trying to figure out what to do when it happened…

Out of nowhere, an Asian man appeared behind us and asked with a slight accent, “You need a hand?” In almost perfect sync, Ed and I turned our heads as the three of us said “YES!” in perfect unison. He jumped to our aid, taking one of the bottom corners to free Dean from the brunt of the weight. We quickly got up to the second floor and set the organ down in front of the studio entrance. We were all thanking the mystery man when he said, “One more floor?” I smiled and told him that this was it and we could get it in place. As I was reaching in my pocket to give him literally whatever money I was carrying, he was already at the bottom of the stairs. I called to him as I ran to catch up, but he kept moving forward out the door. By the time I hit the sidewalk, there was no sign of him. Main Street in Downtown Bloomington was deserted. The studio was in the literal middle of the block, and I can’t see how he could have turned the corner in either direction so quickly; the speed needed to clear the remainder of a city block to take him out of my view would have been inhuman. There were no moving cars that I could see or hear.

I am CONVINCED that gentleman was the Hammond Organ Angel. His ethereal mission is to save musicians from certain death by Hammond. He can hear the distressed calls of keyboard players the world over, and he appears saving the day. He’s gone as quickly as he appears.

Janine’s Angel Story:

When I was in my twenties, my dad died. It was traumatic for me being a daddy’s girl, but even worse for my mom who had been married to him for 34 years. About a month after his passing, I was on my way home from work and a thought popped into my head to stop at the florist. Now, I’m not prone to visiting the florist, so it was random but I went with it. When inside I decided to send my mom some flowers. It was easy, it took maybe 10 minutes for the entire transaction, almost like I was outside of myself and someone else was driving. I walked to the case, picked out yellow roses in a vase, had the florist write “He still loves you” on the card and planned to have them delivered to my mom the next day.

The next day my mom called me in tears, and my heart sank. I did not send her the roses to make her sad, I had hoped to bring her a little joy. She said “You don’t understand. I’ve been praying. Asking God to send me a sign that your dad was doing OK. I prayed that he would send me yellow roses that I might know it was a sign from your dad that he was with me and that everything would be alright.”

Why had I sent flowers? Specifically yellow roses? What in the world had possessed me to do such a thing? After much thought I have come to the conclusion that angels work through ordinary people like you and me. The next time you get that little itch to do something that seems out of the ordinary, do it. I’m convinced it’s an angel compelling you to do something for someone else.

J9's parents edited

Of Angel Stories: Stylevester Brown (Sara’s Angel Story)

Upon you now is an invitation. I invite you to share with me your angel stories, short or long, so that I may in turn publish them and share them with the world. To participate, send your story to me at sbquah@outlook.com. I will post them here under the title series “Of Angel Stories.” 

I’ll go first. So this story is almost two years old now. My circumstances since this experience have changed quite a bit, and I wonder if I’m not being too dramatic to think that this was a pivotal moment for me ending up where I am today. Read on.

Two years ago I was up in Chicago at a musician’s conference. It was a first for me; calling myself a songwriter enough to go to a conference full of them. I think I had just released “Windows” and was about to release “The Bookstore;” I was hesitant and unsure of what I had written and its value. The first night of the weekend, I met new friends and partied and had a blast; the next night we built on those new friendships and filled up a hotel room with music and laughter and meaning. I was surrounded by talent and vibrant people going places; it was a great feeling, but I confess I didn’t think I belonged or deserved to be there. I kept thinking, “These people are incredible, maybe I just need to be a fan.” So on Sunday morning, early, I was feeling the urge to get away from it for just a minute and think. Walking down the sidewalk, a beautiful, cool Sunday morning, empty streets, I was feeling happy but also just a little out of place. I walked for a couple blocks, hoping for a place to get breakfast, and Yelp led me to a little diner a few blocks away. Waiting at the crosswalk, the only other human walking around at that time, I met an older man with a huge smile and very kind demeanor. I don’t know why, but I can’t remember what he looked like. I have tried very hard to see him in my mind, but I can’t. It’s weird. All I know is what I wrote down. I know he was brown. I know he wore a hat. I know he had freckles and long eyelashes.

So, we are crossing the street, and he says something casual to me like, “What do you do?” and of course I have this internal squeamishness on how to answer. Do I call myself a songwriter? Even to a stranger? I answered that I was a teacher. So he asked me a couple questions about that. We kept walking for just a bit and arrived at the diner where I was heading. I opened the door and without thinking about it at all said, “Will you join me for breakfast? It’s on me.”

He was as surprised as I was, but I asked again and he agreed, shyly. We went in and ordered, and you could tell he felt a little funny about accepting. We walked over to the counter and ordered; he was going to get just a drink until I insisted that he eat with me. Then we went and sat down at a booth and started our talking. I asked him a few questions. He was a writer of poems and stories, lived in uncertain circumstances most of the time, loved his parents,  loved people, loved to ask questions and explore the past and motivations of all people, to understand them utterly and love them despite. That was my impression, anyway.

I asked him his name, and he smiled and told me a story about his father and how he taught him to always regard women; that as life came from them they possess an earthly goodness to be revered. As he is saying this he is slowly reaching for his wallet and stretching the story out. I am feeling off center. I am feeling overwhelmed. I am feeling I have stumbled into another plane. He pulls out his driver’s license and shows me his name; I guess he knew I wouldn’t believe him otherwise. His name was Stylevester Brown. Not misspelled. Not made-up. Stylevester Brown.

He asked me a few questions, and I told him why I was in Chicago; told him about songwriting and music. He knew which things to say to bring out the root, the truth of what was on my mind. The things he told me were so surreal and strange and wonderful that I cannot truly express to you what it felt like to sit there and listen. I had the feeling of being outside of myself and talking to myself and I said, “Don’t miss any of this. Remember every single thing.” But I couldn’t. It was too much. He talked of Adam and Eve, he talked of voices and poetry, goodness and truth and living. He talked of existence and place and meaning. He said to me, “All the good you see in me? That’s all the good inside of you. You talked to me when we crossed the street. I’m not someone you ever thought you’d meet.” He said, “You have something to say that needs to be heard. You have a truth that needs to be known.” He spoke of God. He spoke of good things, and where they come from. He talked of stories and of telling them and love and loving and how best to be that in the world.

All this time of course I am thinking also to myself: What is happening? Is this a dream or is this real? He asks me what time I have to leave. I look at my phone. Say –it’s okay, this is more important. He smiles. He tells me about his mom and what she taught him; he says: “Everything good I ever got or ever learned came from a woman, glorious and powerful in kindness and love. And when they cut you out of me, and I opened up eyes, I beheld what loved me and taught me to be. From that moment I worshiped you.”

So in this moment my brain is searching for some kind of sense-making and I realize suddenly and with an audible gasp what is happening and I say: “I just figured it out– You’re an angel.”

He smiles, doesn’t miss a beat–he looks up, gestures with his hand “She figured it out.”

So what happens as I part ways with this angel-prophet on the street on a Sunday morning in Chicago, two strangers as commonplace, as unimportant as they come? Angels sing in my mind, and the day, the path, is brighter and clearer as someone has highlighted each step in front of my feet. And I can walk even faster and I can smile even brighter, and I can fill up each human I pass with the goodness that is flowing out of me in abundance, like excitement, like happiness. And I arrive late and completely brimming at the opening session and find my new friends who have saved a seat for me near the front of the auditorium. I sit by Blair and his goodness is evident in his whole self, and he smiles at me and I feel secure despite my smallness in the big room. And I see that I belong there. That I am part of it. Part of it all. And needed in a way that I may not understand or need to. But with confidence in the divine blessing of it all, I sit and listen and take in what I now see is mine to be.

Here’s the song I wrote for Stylevester Brown, the angel.


I released a single a while ago now called Windows. “If eyes are windows then mine are closed. If souls are behind I am enclosed. To be cast down. To be cast down. And there disclose. A lesson not learned by mind but by heart.” I remember getting those first few lines written down; it wrote itself, and the lilting little hook of the chorus locked into my head. “You never knew what I said about you, did you? You never knew what I knew to be true, did you? I never knew I could lose what I never had. I know it now. The time for the chance is past.” I wrote the song, then got in the shower and cried.

If you asked me back then what that song was about I would have said “music.” But I wouldn’t have explained any more than that out of embarrassment, –even now I flush at the idea of revealing it all. It was an unrequited love song for music, but the direction of my disappointment was not in music itself, but in my own unrealized actualization of potential. At various moments of my life I have known that I could have done more, learned more, accomplished more, but I did not do it. I did not overcome against the army of implications real and imagined that told me I was mediocre. That told me I am only one of many. Any creeping confidence was quickly squashed by my own engineered and groomed humility.

Last night, flipping through my old book and the progression of my lyrics over the year following that, I saw something else too. Windows was only the second song in the book, which contains all the songs from the album and many others I have never played for anyone. Reading through with the luxury of a time lapse, I see that I was stuck. Trapped. Locked into a place, a role, too limiting to be satisfying, too stifling to be fully realized. Like arms and legs on a too small couch, I could not, in that place, fully achieve what was possible. And I had to push against those obstacles, leverage the strength of my limbs and head to break apart the panels that impeded what was possible. And all the while ignore the habits of politeness and practicality that told me it was wrong to break apart a perfectly good, though too small, couch. And that I should be grateful to have such a possession as this when there are so many with none at all.

And what are the tools that pried me into that space in the first place. It is always so much easier to get something in than to get something out. Praise of the servant’s heart. The slave’s sacrifice to the master, which manipulates the self-awareness of both. Praise of the quiet. Valuing omission over confession. Granting the quality of sagacity to those who say nothing just because in their silence they do not defy the assumption. Linking femininity to acceptance. The more sweetly we bend and sway, the more beautiful we become. Praise of humility, with a twisted definition, above all else. That which demeans itself, undervalues itself, does not have to be demeaned or undervalued but is content with the little crumbs that fall from time to time.

“My soul like glass, like eyes with no lashes. My eyes are windows with no sashes.” As I filled page after page in the book, how was it that I wriggled my way out? I’m not completely sure. But I see now that I did it. I am out. I feel it. And I am different. But it is not all spinning on mountaintops and hills alive. It is also smallness in the vastness of here. It is also responsibility for more than I prepared for, more than myself. It is also fear. Fear of becoming a jerk. Fear of being overconfident. Fear of forgetting something. Fear of forgetting someone. Fear of failure.

I had a dream when I first started this project. I told Tony about it so I remember it still. It’s super weird and embarrassingly transparent: I had a baby. And she was lovely. She was big, out of proportion big for a human baby. Like mixing in a small baby doll with the barbies big. She had beautiful skin, almost clear. And no hair and huge eyes. But here’s the creepy part. She had no mouth. I was afraid because without a mouth of course she could not eat, and I felt she would quickly die. So I took her to the doctor who didn’t know what to do, and he sent us to a specialist. The specialist took a little knife and pushed through the membrane where her mouth should have been and pop, with just a little blood she opened her little smiling mouth. My brain sorts things out in dreams.

Now that I am out of that stuck place, where what I could accomplish in music was completely dependent on others and how much they were willing to let me do, I am starting in on just being here. Working. Doing things. Making decisions. I can see that my decision to break that-which-was-closed open is a forever change, and I cannot go back because the pieces are everywhere and a glass puzzle is impossible to reassemble. And why would I want to anyway.

I am saying goodbye, though it may be a thing I do over and over again, to all that I allowed to stifle me before. I am stretching out to my full length and spreading out and taking up space like a man does when he spreads both arms across chairs and plants his feet way out in front of him. I have not forgotten yet the smallness of myself but I am saying goodbye to the cognitive limitations of my circumstances: Doubt. That I’m not good enough. That when people shrug their shoulders at me it is because I do not belong where I am. That I don’t know enough to deserve this spot. That I will judge poorly or too quickly my own capacity for creativity. Laziness. That I will not do the something that would have made all else possible. That I will say no when I should have said yes. Fear. That I will say yes when I should have said no. That I will have closets filled with boxes of my own unsold vinyl records for years to come. That I will have to live with regret. I am saying goodbye to it all.


I know there’s been something wrong
For awhile now
I know there’s been something gone
For awhile
Now the meter you filled
Has run out of time
And I’m daring you not to
Step over the line
With your hands in your pockets
Your toe kicks a rock at me
I don’t have any change

You say:
We don’t spend enough time
We don’t spend enough time
We don’t spend enough time around here

I know there’s been something wrong
For awhile now
I know there’s been something gone
For awhile
Now the scene I imagined
Has filled up my mind
And I’m scared that you’ll say
I’m just wasting your time
When we walk under street lights
Your shadow takes over me
I know it’s time for a change

You say:
We don’t spend enough time
We don’t spend enough time
We don’t spend enough time around here

I can’t make up my mind
I can’t say goodbye
I open my wallet
And out comes a lie
You jingle your keys
And turn back inside
We leave at the same time
But facing two gates
And then only the strangers
See tears on my face
Lights refract in my eyes
I can’t say goodbye

Sara Quah- Goodbye




Read the rest of the Taking Me Back Series here:

For You, Dear: Taking Me Back, My New Album



What I Heard


How I’m Feeling


A Little Bit

Take Me Away

20 Steps

I’ll Be Alright