For the Love of God

 
For the love of God
Stop politicizing your faith
The God of the nations does not identify with your sides
The God of the galaxies is not concerned with your categories
For the love of God, stop speaking so much
sit in the discomfort of silence and examine your heart
Stop projecting, expecting more from others than you give yourself,
stop painting a picture of how you want to be seen
in a desperate attempt to rid yourself of guilt or prove your personal goodness,
stop denying, stop condemning;
You are not a righteous judge.
Human, think of the conflicts within yourself
the areas of your thinking and believing that
you cannot reconcile or redeem
Do you want reconciliation and redemption?
Surely, you will not find it within
you cannot go a few days with out
opposition and pain
You inflict problems simply by existing,
lay down your pride
And understand that you are not the answer
you are the problem.

You seek your own comfort over the well being of your neighbor
you focus on the materialistic, superficial, and transient
you make idols out of lust, money, dreams, and passions
you lie for your own gain, you love for your own satisfaction
Do you truly believe that a collection of your own thoughts and ideals would bring
hope to the most broken and desolate parts of your country, your world?
You have not defied death or disease,
You have not conquered the grave,
no, you are headed for death and on a
consuming path of destruction
Everything you can hold in your hand will soon rust,
and those intangible accomplishments that you identify with
Are of no greater value than dust
If you are remembered at all after you are gone from this earth,
you will have no knowledge of what they will say or believe
About who you were, or what you did
And if you knew, would that be enough?
You are not satisfied with the words that they tell you now,
their praise and approval does not remedy the ache and void inside of you

Human, each day your body is weighed heavy by the pressure
of aging, the elements of time and space are working together
To prove your fragility and your mortality
Do you see how great of a predicament you are in
with out Grace?

Apart from Christ, there is no good
There is simply fleeting pleasure and
hollow contentment
With out the atoning blood of Jesus
you are left to your own devices
to your own efforts,
emotions, disappointments,
successes, memories, mistakes,
futile attempts at building something that will last
that cannot last,
that will burn up and
if anything at all
simply and solely be a part of the
past
Human, sit with your soul
attempt to cradle the wounds and complexities
of this strange existence,
Slow down for a moment and face the
reality of the grandeur of the skies and
the smallness of your being

I choose the everlasting,
I choose the abundant life
the one that is not dependent upon anything that I have done or will do –
The one that is given full and complete meaning
because of the perfect life of a man,
who was and is God, who was killed
who bled vibrant, pulsing blood for the
nature of my being that
was enslaved by sin
but designed for communion

I live in wholeness now,
because of the breath that returned to his body
and the purpose that was restored to me –
completely and fully alive now,
no longer defeated by the daily
anxiety and hopelessness of the temporary
I live in truth now,
I can see the world for what is is now,
an aching collection of breathing bodies
and immortal souls that will not stop
killing, lying, stealing, fighting,
dying, mourning, crying, deceiving,
breaking, aging, enslaving, and groaning…

Until, the glory of God is revealed
And the nations are healed
and every tongue declares
Jesus; savior of the world.

How do I live now? I pursue Him now,
what does he require of me?
To do justice, to love kindness,
to walk humbly with my God

Have you grown weary yet,
of eating and never becoming full?
Of drinking, only to thirst again?
The hunger within you will
only be satisfied when you no longer
Eat of this world

For the love of God,
dismantle your pride,
turn your eyes

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A Clanging Cymbal

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I have learned that
being where you are
is often better than longing for the past
or dreaming about the future
The habit of thinking that you are always in the wrong place
will keep you from existing in the present
you will float six inches above the ground
never feeling the grass bend beneath your feet
or the sand in between your toes
or the tide rolling around your ankles

So, taste the food in your mouth before going for the next bite
when you look at the stars, let your eyes linger even if it is cold outside
Listen to the voices of those speaking to you with out preparing what you will say next
Pick one thing, not everything
Choose knowledge over ignorance,
compassion over convenience
Drink your coffee while it is still hot
Examine your motives and practice honesty even when it is partnered with discomfort
Identify rush and hurry as the enemies of quality and patience
When you are tempted to numb, feel instead
Ignoring pain, begets pain

Forgive and forgive and forgive again

Speak kindly to yourself and you will judge others less
Assume that all humans are made up of complex histories
diverse experiences, circumstances, thoughts, sufferings
not one identical to the other

Go outside
outside of your home, outside of your perspective, outside of yourself
Retire your expectations
Dismiss your pride
And begin to balance the notion that tomorrow is a new day,
but also tomorrow may never come
A juxtaposition of hope and impermanence
contentment and yearning
order and chaos
And in all of this you will need an anchor,
and that anchor is love.

Dissatisfied?

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Your longing cannot be satisfied by a certain acceptance,
it cannot be extinguished by a set of belongings, a state of security,
or a romanticized relationship
In your most perfect day,
your best travels, your most loving moment of intimacy,
you will still yearn and the inmost part of your being will not
settle into contentment like you’ve convinced yourself it should

You will be constantly wanting, reaching, striving,
you will not find an eternal joy on this earth
Even the most serene moment is laced with sorrow
this life ends with death, as do most of our elated emotions
After health comes sickness
after community comes desolation
after prosperity comes lacking
after relief, another burden appears
Aren’t you exhausted?
Aren’t you afraid?
Aren’t you wondering why your best efforts are inadequate,
why your greatest pursuit turns up void?

The depth of God’s character can be made known to you,
the vast measures of his love can be made real to you
To no longer live with a crushed spirit,
to no longer bask in the temptation of self-pity,
or base your existence off of self-sufficiency, self-indulgence,
to no longer measure your worth with an underlying taste of self-depreciation,
self-abuse, or self-hate
If it is freedom you are after, take hold of this redemptive offering
The blood of Jesus gushing out for you like an ocean wave crashing at the shore
your name on his lips as he breathed his last breath
and your name on his heart when he rose to life after a brutal death
do not let this act of ultimate love be a fake tale or some far off history
entertain the thought that this might be the only reality

Will you be hindered by modern culture and mistakes of organized faith?
Will you be convinced by hidden pride that you are in control of your soul, your life?
December has been slathered in consumerism and nostalgia,
the months to follow, set-up on goals and priorities, which you will fail to keep
and continually misalign
the spring will come with movement and growth,
and you might miss the symbolism of all of creation coming to life again and
summer will distract with events and some type of temporary hope kindled by the heat
autumn will come and the leaves will change
and then it will be winter again, and when yet another year has come and gone
what will you have to say of it?

The years will pass,
you will age
you will lose the people you love and the money that you have saved
you will feel glaring moments of sadness, fleeting moments of joy
you will accomplish things that will soon be forgotten,
and you will build things that will rust and eventually be destroyed
What will you have left,
when all good things come to an end?
What will you have left,
when your body fails and you give up your last breath?

This is a plea to those I love,
to those I have yet to meet
Don’t waste this life when you could live
in the most tender care of a King
One who will transform your weakest attempt
into a miracle of grace and redeem your bruised body
to be an eternal reflection of his glory

Through out these days of living in a state of groaning,
I rest assured knowing
that I was made to be known and to be loved by him
and I was made to know and to love him
and this simple declaration satisfies every longing
it settles my soul, gives life to my bones

This poem was inspired by a sermon titled “The Wounded Spirit” by Timothy Keller, probably one of my favorite sermons ever. Listen to it here. Read it here.

 

Twelve Years

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For twelve years the sun has risen
and the sun has set
there have been twelve hot green summers
turned into crisp and colorful autumns,
For twelve years we have gone forward
wanting to be where you have been

My fear, if left unattended
turns into a frigid tightness in my chest
I lay in bed pushing away thoughts of loss,
I can’t bring myself to believe in the false security
of his breath rising and falling next to me
I shut my eyes tight
but I can’t shake the feeling
that all good things are ending
that someday I might wake up
and later that day, have to fall asleep
with out him beside me

My dread, if not bolted down by hope
will come in the form of irritability
will settle in like a blanket of sorrow
an unwelcome uneasiness, lining the thought of tomorrow

My anxiety, turns from a raging ocean
into a steady bay
Sometimes the wind picks up,
but it won’t be long until I’m calm again

I have not been left in the casket of my fear, dread, or anxiety
Just like you have been given more life than I have ever known
the same God that has made you immortal,
removes the sting of death from me

I move through life with the thought of heaven
anchoring my heart and breathing peace into every part of me
If one believes that we don’t go on living,
then what would the purpose of these years, like mist, be?

My fear is not stamped out by worldly remedies,
it is healed by the design of a God who sent a savior to die for me
My dread and dissatisfaction only exist when I lose focus of His
grace and prominence
How humbled I become,
when I acknowledge my quickness to forget
that this world is only a shadow
and He has called me out of denial

I do not want to lose any more of the people that I love,
but how wonderful to rest in the assurance that those who have gone
are not actually lost
The world might label this faith as the loss of freedom
but I would argue to say that this is freedom at the core
to no longer be controlled by my fear of death,
to no longer rot in the depth of my selfishness,
to no longer allow sadness to consume my joy
to live in the liberty of a redeemed existence
followed by life eternal,
where there is no more death
or mourning, crying, or pain

There is no time to be wasted,
no time to hold onto bitterness or self-righteousness,
no time to ignore the way that rust eats and bodies age
There is beauty in everything if we submit,
but there is only pain if we reject
This life is just the in between
the race preparing us for the next

Twelve years are like a fleeting memory in comparison to eternity
twelve years, half of my lifetime at this moment
and I am not guaranteed one more day
Let the fragility of this life lead us to cling to the author of salvation,
let it guide us to love like there is no act of greater importance

The loss of you, revealed the greatest truth:
What is seen is temporary
What is unseen is eternal

 

Freedom from Me

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This poem is inspired by Sharon Hodde Miller’s book, Free of Me, this sermon by Rev. David Stephenson from Mclean Presbyterian Church, and my most recent life transition of moving from Arlington to Amissville.

Replace my self centeredness with an awareness of your
sovereign presence
Who am I to say
what will happen tomorrow,
or even today?
I’ve always known
a false sense of control
harboring anxiety like it’s a part of me
Allowing my plans and the failure of them
to dictate my disposition and my trust in you

There is freedom,
wherever you are
but not just from my past or future,
freedom from my present self
My never fleeting condition of
selfishness and pride
my constant fear of
inadequacy and the notion
that all good things will be
taken from me

There is freedom now,
your presence as real as the
invisible wind shaking the spring green trees
There is freedom in the evening,
when I’ve yet to complete all the things that
I set out to do in the morning
There is freedom in each new sunrise,
an opportunity to seek you more
to accomplish the purpose you have made me for

So let me find satisfaction in you alone
in your creation and your sacrifice
There is freedom from myself
You have forgiven all of my failures,
and finished all of my good works
I need not dwell on myself,
for you have given me a new identity
one that is made up of you,
I am free of me.

Red Lettered Death

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Inspired by John 12.20-36
Encouraged by John Piper, Dying as a Means of Loving

I’ve always known the red letters were sacred
and when I read them to myself I would try to deepen the tone
of my voice in my head, to make them sound more like Jesus
to make something or someone distant, feel a little closer

And in my dark moments of depression
when I clung to disobedience in fear that
following you would leave me more empty
I may have echoed the words of the Greeks at the feast,
“I wish to see you”
Many times I made the request,
Many times you revealed yourself and I turned away,
caught up in sorrow, persuaded by the need to save
To save someone on my own,
with my own strength

And in my elated moments of pride and false contentment,
I may have echoed those ancient words again
tossing my plea like a coin to a fountain
not knowing that your presence requires death

I remember the day that I committed to following you,
preceded by a lifetime of arguing, doubting,
surrendering and taking it back,
questioning, pondering, watching and waiting,
and finally saying
make me into something new,
take my life I give it to you.

I was a grain of wheat
fighting my fall to my death,
thank God for the moment that I finally gave in

I gave in to your grace and my death
led to Life,
I wish to see you Jesus
for who you are and not what I’ve made you out to be
I wish to know you Lord,
in the intricate ways that you have known and loved me

As you laid your life down for me,
teach me to do the same
Every day dying to self,
Heaven is my gain

As you shed your red blood for me,
spoken in red letters on paper to see
Dismantle my pride and obsession with
shortcomings,
Conquer my desire for earthly things,
put my selfishness to a red death
by a crucified King

Make me Like Mary

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Inspired by John 12.1-11

Mary poured out her oil onto your feet,
your skin saturated and slippery
the fragrance of holiness catching the senses of
all in that home in Bethany
Lazarus was breathing again,
his life felt real and awake as he inhaled,
exhaled the glory of your existence
Martha could smell it from the kitchen,
where she joyfully wept while washing dishes
her heart raw from the death and life of her brother
could these days be compared to any other?

Judas, angry and appalled
why would so much value be
emptied, couldn’t one drop be enough?
It was not the poor he was worried for,
it was the selfishness of his own heart

I am Mary kneeling at your feet,
I am Lazarus brought to life by your mystery,
I am Martha weeping at the thought
of your sacrifice for us and submission to the cross
I am Judas, trying to get by
only giving you bits and pieces of my insufficient life

I am the crowd that came to see,
who you really were and what miracles were complete,
I am the skeptic and a sheep
You spoke for all to hear,
and you called me

Jesus, renew me
make me clean
I want to wave the palm branches and cry out to my King
Hosanna, Hosanna
Don’t let me forget
about your death
the time that you lived and died on this earth
Your resurrection soon to come,
but I will dwell on the darkness that you endured
to know the weight of your devotion
to gauge the magnitude of your wounds
to understand the capacity of your love for me

Make me to be like Mary
kneeling at your feet
“There I lay my sins and sorrows,
and, when weary, find sweet rest.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
there I love to weep and pray,
while I from his fullness gather grace and
comfort every day.”

Make me to be like Mary,
giving you everything I have and love,
keeping nothing from you,
resting my forehead on your anointed feet,
you have come to rise and to raise me

Make me like Mary,
kneeling at your feet

 

To Be Yours

It’s a desire to be in more than one place at a time
not a fear of missing out, but a fear of time
The quickness of it, and the thought of am I doing enough?
being enough, loving well enough?
Never enough and that’s the core of it all
My actions don’t satisfy my debts, my words
don’t earn your approval
My life could decrease in works and increase in mess
and you’d love me all the same

I would make it work the other way, if I were God
I don’t have thoughts on my own that are anything like yours
My thoughts are like dark roads covered in black ice
waiting for a chance to sneak in and crash up the movement of sanctification
If I were God, I’d say
the better you do, the better you are
and that would be more comfortable, knowing that my merit is earned
but I am not God, thank God

Instead, you give freely
and I come up short
you meet me

I am most at peace when given the opportunity to sit on the couch
with books and your word, and a hot cup of coffee
and I also feel anguish in those moments with the knowledge that I can’t
stay in this place for as long as I want
and among the peace there is also torment
the wrestling of my flesh, I just want to be more like you
I am not a savior though, I am simply saved

Simple in the sense that your blood is real and covers it all,
I long for your truth and the shaking off of my hindered perspective

My perspective that is hindered by the daily anxieties that I hate that I have
when I admit the things that truly worry me I am ashamed
Uneasiness rises within me at the sole thought of moving from one place to another
travel, food, sleep, furniture, finance, any ounce of change
I’m embarrassed by the concern that causes my chest to tighten,
I hold my breath when you’ve given me reason to breathe

When conviction runs rampant in my anxious heart,
I am left feeling defeated and undone
I crave to get every single idea and event inscribed on my internal calendar
and carried out into eternity but I fail
I fail to accomplish the simple things, and I have always been
compelled by the complex

This is an admittance of guilt for things that I should rightly feel guilty for,
but you told me that to set my mind on the flesh is death,
and to set my mind on the Spirit is life and peace
and I want to live

I want to live in utter admiration of your character,
letting this knowledge of you lead me away from darkness
the shadows of my heart and the way it sets my mind up for failure
Let compassion be an enabling emotion, leading me to
serve you out of freedom and genuine care for others
Let each day be counted as good because of your work
already finished
And in my lacking let your fullness be
illuminated

Slow my internal discourse, my outward speech
make a symphony out of my discomposure
and let me hear your voice above it all
saying

“Child, you are mine and that is enough.”

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Overwhelmed

Would I have been the one who hated you, who stood in the crowds and yelled?
Would I have been the one to judge you, to claim your ungodliness in the midst of your perfection?
Would I have been the one to disgrace you, to invite you to my home in an attempt to prove you wrong?

I want to see the depths of my unworthiness,
the grandeur of my sin,
I want to know it well and never forget it,
so that when I remember your mercy towards me
I will not take it lightly

So that when I think of the way you have redeemed me,
I will not be able to glance at another and have a single condemning thought
You said that you hate six things,
and I have done every one of them
I’ve been consumed by my arrogance,
seen myself as more important
I’ve been a part of a culture that consumes at the expense of others,
I’ve made my plans and drawn out my days, ignoring your truth and existence
I’ve spent years hurrying to my own depravity, running to a relationship
that perpetually produced brokenness and separation from you
I’ve breathed out lies, failed to speak truth, allowed rumors to thrive
I’ve been the cause of discord, hosted hostility in my heart and opposition in my words

Oh, how I need you
Every hour, every minute, I need you

The notion that I am not enough, will never be enough, will always come up short
is the most freeing conviction
In my desperation and weakness, your grace is sufficient
The concept that I could never do enough, achieve enough, work enough
is the liberation my soul desires
You have already finished everything I have yet to start,
you are the beginning, the end, and the most important thing in between

Oh, my soul is satisfied and wanting more at the same time

Do not let my distracted mind forget the crimson blood you shed for me,
Overwhelm my quickness to settle in the temporary with a vivid vision of eternity

Although I have yet to carve idols out of wood and stone,
I’ve set my eyes on things a part from you
This is an endless plea from my mouth,
let me see your goodness and not stray from it

I remember the wormwood and the gall,
and then I look to see your face
In your truth I am free from a life of bitterness,
In your love, you’ve eradicated my transgressions,
redefined my future, and justified my presence

Each new morning, I am met with your mercy
and it will carry me through every day
Silence is unwelcome here, in the light of your grace

Let this be a declaration of my hope in you,
let my words saturate the emptiness of life a part from you
let this be an invitation, like the one you’ve given to me
for any soul that is aching, to finally be redeemed

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Another need for freedom

Let my thoughts not be declared by what my eyes see,
A thousand images on a scrolling screen
Let my insecurities not be birthed from comparison,
Like a toxic breath shaking the foundation of my cells
I want to think on my own again
I want to look at what is around me again

I am becoming surely convinced that this is all quite unnatural,
Checking in on a thousand other lives but knowing nothing more
than highs and lows – the intricacies of humanness are being stripped from us
The need for individuality strikes a wrong chord
It’s a self obsessed world we are making with each image and caption
Whether we love ourselves or hate ourselves, we really have put a lot of
emphasis on ourselves

This is not a call for ignorance, for being unaware
It’s not a call for judgement – we are different and we all handle it differently
but God help me if I don’t acknowledge the stickiness of over connectivity
The way it seeps into the parts of life that were meant to be private

Transparency is to be promoted but it will not come in the form of a filtered, cropped,
and framed photograph
let’s call it for what it is – we want to be known
but this desire is a harmful thing when we no longer experience
the current like it is our own, no longer savor the moments with those living, breathing bodies around us

Many have lived before us, untouched by the weight of a phone in their hand
This is insanity! My fingers have curved to cradle it’s edges even when it is not present
This is an obsession! My chest feels heavy when I have not “checked in” on things
I’ve allowed myself to feel defeated, like my success of the day was non-existent if not documented

Somedays it’s a more subtle kind of thing, others it’s overwhelming
Is there a balance to be had, or should we disengage entirely?
How would we experience the world surrounding us if it were not
perpetually shared for others to see?
How would we love and believe and know and learn
I want to love wholly
to believe undoubtedly
to know with taste and wisdom
to learn with focus and dedication

Not this double tap, swipe down kind of love
not this edited and revised kind of belief
not this over saturated, too soon kind of knowledge
not this quick and done kind of learning

So here is a plea for reconsideration
to stop being so sure that we are in control
This is just scratching the surface,
A plea for refocusing,
A plea for intentionality
God, let us be freed

Still Intact

Let my words be large, let them overflow because my
Dreams are saturated and enlightened and I need to grab
on to something now

The man I love told me that my emotions are compulsive but my actions are methodical,
so let that be true, let me feel deeply but act in patience, in worthy commotion
I want to give, that’s the core of it
he said being selfish is exhausting and
everthing in me agrees

My heart is breaking and simultaneously being repaired,
each moment of realization that she is decaying
and too many things are toxic, and challenging
my heart sinks beneath the surface and succumbs to
hopelessness and then it rips its way back up to the
light again, strapping itself up with encouragement
My God is Greater, my eyes seek Heaven, my soul knows rest

So rolling forward with bandages on wounds, regaining strength with
Each new hope and possibility (solely found within the realm of
believing) I take my thoughts and I marinate them in truth and I speak
them back to myself as best as I can

I spent five days wandering hospital hallways,
I saw the brittleness of reality and the opposition of health,
And then I spent five days on the road, traveling with a dear soul and
I saw the world in ways I never have before
and even in new perspective I can get swallowed up in old trains of thought
and even in virginia mountains, tennessee alleys, and texas deserts
I can see that I am small but the desire to live greatly is embedded deep within me
I know that my sentience is only developed through experience

To live greatly does not mean largely,
no, I do not need more than I have
To live greatly means to live in empathy,
to live with kindness and a capacity to see differently,
to live with flexibility, I have my dreams but I’ll be alright if they
are taken from me
To live greatly is to live selflessly, to stop saying “God make something of me”
and to begin to live in the identity that He has already given me
Free, adored, consecrated, new

I am new each morning because of His redeeming glance towards me,
and how can I avoid speaking about this grace in my poetry?
It is the greatest thing, and with all of this ridding of the unnecessary I am left
with the bare bones of life and my God is the spine

My grandmother has called me her Rock, but I am a small stone
her life has been full and I try to absorb
every sound that echoes from her,
from the spoken memories of her Italian childhood,
to the movements that she makes
when the sun is first rising, and I can hear her slippers shuffling
through the crack of the door of our shared bathroom

Time is fleeting and my small revelations of existing cannot slow it down,
with an aching heart I’ve read love letters of past lives, I’ve watched new
uncertainties develop, I’ve seen injustice rise up like a plague,
I’ve gotten swept away in worry, doubt, and fear
and through all of these things, Time is fleeting

Let my heart break and be repaired, the days will follow as they always do
let my shaky voice settle in the confidence that this place is not our final home
let my prayers be consistent and ever reigning over the temptation to stay discouraged
To live greatly is to live overwhelmed and still intact

When the clouds roll

There are large black crows outside of my window every morning and every evening,
I catch a glimpse of them swooping past out of the corner of my eye
It is strange outside, humid and muggy
the clouds roll over the tree tops and down by their roots
the gravel and bricks have taken on a darker shade
Wet like the sky

My world has been changing lately,
weights lifted and others added on
the responsibility that comes with knowledge has the
ability to sink to the center of me and dwell

Nothing is very certain, not one thought is ever solidified..
and then, I think of you
In every new ideal you give me patience
in every new anxiety you hand over peace

Slow and steady, that’s how I’d rather live
yes quick to be quiet, quick to be kind
but I can do with out the immediacy of a strained life
The nervous tension of expectation will rise before
the contentment of a satisfied heart can settle

Leave me with words, and carefully brewed coffee
leave me with souls and the ease of conversation

Speaking of souls, my social anxiety had a better grip on me before
you, now I can almost approach each circumstance selflessly,
I’ve got everything I need and it seems that notion lightens
the impending judgement that I once felt accurate and overwhelming

My fear of misunderstanding is steadied by your
willingness to understand me, by your stubborn rejection
of allowing a night to end with out resolution
You investigate my mind with tact and endurance,
sifting through surface emotions and wrestling to the core
You give my inadequacy an undeserved second glance,
and come up with words that restore my identity in it’s most
strengthened and beautiful state

When I lift my fingertips to the curves of your face
It is to test if your silhouette is a reality
I’ve felt desperation so deep within me,
this fullness can feel foreign and leave me doubting
but joy in the morning has conquered over my weeping

When the clouds roll and the threat of mundanity
gravitates towards me, I will remember the
way that stillness makes a moment memorable
the way that intentional thinking can
tranquilize the anxiety stirring up within me,

And I will think of you,
and I will resign myself to an assured disposition
that allows these thoughts to be enough for one poem
that allows these thoughts to be enough for right now

In an Effort To Be Productive

The desire to make new things gnaws at my heart when I am not moving,
I try to eliminate the guilt that I feel with distractions, small batches of laundry, and random bouts of cleaning.. so, I stripped my bed of it’s sheets, got the washer running and proceeded to attempt to make some space on “my side” of the closet

The closet that I share with my grandmother, who has become particularly obsessed with her stuff since my pop-pop died. Obsessed, not in the way of clenching photographs or lamenting when she sees furniture from their old bedroom, more so obsessed with unendingly vocalizing that through our moves and the process of building a new home she is missing all of her “Stuff”. This closet is a small representation of how many items are jammed into corners of our living spaces, wrapped up in newspaper, hidden in the dark, only to be found out when someone wrestles through the disorder to open up boxes and find sentimental items mixed with literal trash. I believe she’s formed this relationship with her belongings because it makes her feel she can hold on to the past, she falsely associates the goodness of a life well lived with the culmination of material things.

After throwing away three pairs of my worn out, too-small, or too-big shoes, folding clothes that had slipped from their hangers, and awkwardly setting aside a glass house cradling a frog figurine, a broken violin, and a giant plastic wrapped comforter, I found something different.

Something that did not irritate me, something that had a presence and eeriness to it –
My pop-pop’s toiletry bag sat there solemnly, a slightly oversized red-brown leather rectangle with curved edges and a zipper down the center

It was heavy, a weight that went beyond physicality and laid on my soul
I decided to move forward anyways in my new minimalist fashion – to look at this item with out overwhelm of emotion and solely for what it was – an old bag filled with various items… sticky cough-drop wrappers, expired Tums, an unopened package of floss…
but then there was an oiled shaving brush,
then there was a half used travel shampoo bottle from a beach house we visited many autumns ago,
then there was his cologne – and my sentiment returned in the form of a fiery blanket at the base of my throat and blurring tears behind my eyelids

This stiff leather bag was carried, stuffed, and used by someone I love dearly
and as unnecessary as many of these items were then, and are now
they smell of him, and they make me think of mortality and the fragility of time

My pop-pop was an entrepreneur, a fixer, a joker, a musician, he loved others and was loved by them,
he was stubborn, he was compassionate, he was thankful — always

I remind myself that these personal items, even with all their very real and human characteristics are not what makes my memory and love for him live on

I kept the floss (because I needed some) and a key (which I will eventually discard because I doubt I will be able to find what it unlocks) And for now, I’ll  keep the cologne, because it’s scent will inspire a sticky sadness that allows me to visit lost days then reorients my eyesight on heaven above.

The extent of my minimalism ends at photographs, I cannot bring myself to discard of them.
They are time – frozen, and not just the history of myself or my family but of the entire human existence
We make up the world, so this photograph of my grandparents in July of 1947 does not only exist for them, but also as a representation of that day in the past
which may have held a memory of happiness, or an event that disrupted the hope that we often place in this world when we wrongly identify glimpses of heaven on earth

This desire to rid my surroundings of clutter,
to let go of material things that don’t add value or serve a purpose,
is not solely for a clean area that settles the OCD in me but it’s more so a desire to simultaneously live in the very moment that is happening with respect of the past

To give space for my mind to see beyond things and stuff, and recognize a variety of more important matters –
the importance of being with each other,
the necessity to disconnect from irrelevant occurrences,
to let go of thoughts of past and future and solely be present
of making money not because of the fear of not having enough, but with the intent to use it as a tool to further what is truly deemed invaluable in this life
of spending money with the goal of investing into a larger, more pure notion, not just a temporary satisfier or filler of a hole dug by advertising and inadequacy

– Are you missing those around you because you are missing someone gone? Are you enveloped in comparison instead of creating authentic experiences? Do the things that you own serve a purpose? Is that purpose worthwhile? Or do the things that you own cause conflict, in your household or within yourself? Are the things that you own made well? Or was it at the expense of someone else, someone less fortunate than yourself? Are the things that you own stealing peace of mind and potential creative thoughts? Does the way you make money reflect what you value? Do you need all the money that you make? Are you forfeiting personal contentment for status or justification by those around you? –

We have decided that these questions should be less common then “how are you?” and “enjoying the weather?” for the sake of convenient conversation, but if we really want to know the state of our being and the wellness of those around us, we need to accept that our lifestyles cannot be compartmentalized, it all works together, each thing makes up who we are and the quality of our living

My pop-pop’s toiletry bag could’ve stayed in the closet, could’ve been found by someone else, but In An Effort to Be Productive, I discovered it and developed a train of thoughts that would not have been there before

As I move on in my attempt to rid my life of the unnecessary, I will
remind myself that things are not what make up the personalities of people,
that our accumulation of stuff is not the reason we maintain memory,

That which does not hold purpose, could still hold meaning, but I am meant to be alive now
to be awake now, to be real and true now

The past of my own and the history of my family has made me dimensional,
given me perspective and carried me through time
I desire the validity of my character to be made up by attributes, to escape the distractions and crowded closets, to eternalize memory with out the need for physical items

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moths and rust destroy”

how long will it take

how-long2

Oh, how quickly we whine
at the faintest resemblance of discomfort
when we are inconvenienced or set back

How eagerly dissatisfaction sets in our brow
when we are told we cannot have
What we believe should be ours

And how vastly we believe
that this life was meant for our own taking,
when in actuality we have been given something
Far greater (or less) than what we deserve

How long will it take
to find contentment and
an amiable disposition in the midst of ever-changing
flaws and thorns and circumstance

Uneasiness is rooted deep within me, I won’t be dishonest
the second confrontation surfaces, my insides shake up and
my ideals crack like the autumn leaves on a paved road

I want to fix everything, and everyone around me
What a fool I must be, to ever believe that my own imperfections
will not get in the way

I want to bind up my wounds, and yours
and even when my intentions are good they
rot beneath the speculation of others,
and when I feel my thoughts carving out
craters in my mind in an attempt to uncover some
hidden solution that will smooth out the
knots and gnarls of existence

I come up empty,
always empty on my own

So I’ve gathered up my greatest inquietudes,
I’ve got plenty now but I know there will be even more soon
and I’m giving them to You

To You, I give my pride and my desire to be with out thorns,
my inability to satisfy every echoing demand,
my selfishness in the state of change,
my fears of displeasing and being displeased

Because dismissed anxiety is like a venom, it stores up in my system
and brings on symptoms that I cannot bear

I won’t discount the reality of these
unsettled situations, but I will not reduce the sovereignty
of an all-knowing God in light of my discomposure

Wake up, to the thought that response remains
the primary concern
my response to You when I am:
in pain, uneasy, at a loss for words, helpless, overwhelmed, taken under, sorrowful, dissatisfied, aggravated, distressed, disappointed, angry, or a thousand other things

let my response to You be only
praise, and I know I will fail at this but God
then there is your grace
and I know I will take it for granted but God
then there is your peace
and I know I will be anxious again but God
then there is your hand and you reach out to me
and you are present in all of my responses and lacking
and why in the world did you think of me?

And how long will it take
to recognize the veracity of Your character
and the weakness of my own,
my flaws and thorns and circumstance

How long will it take
for me to loosen my grip on this
idea of perfection found in anything
other than You

You are the only one
to save us from ourselves

something beautiful, something good

It’s moments before my twenty first birthday,
the humid august air runs through the open body of my
black 2002 cabrio convertible and I listen to the
CD player spinning sounds of heartbreaking hymns

I recently came into possession of recorded audio of
my pop-pop playing trumpet, converted from cassette,
once upon a time they nicknamed him harry james
because he played magically, igniting raw emotions
with every trembling note

tonight, the absence of his body on this earth
has taken the form of visions in my mind,
I can see him playing, using the same hands that
I used to hold in mine, the same hands that I would
lay thick layers of lotion on when they became old and cracked,
gold bond would gather around his wedding band

I can see his glasses wiggling on his nose
as he inhales, I can see his thick eyebrows
rising with the melody, sinking through the bridge

“Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life

If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble
They were my dreams at the start
And the hopes for life’s best were the hopes
That I harbor down deep in my heart
But my dreams turned to ashes
And my castles all crumbled, my fortune turned to loss
So I wrapped it all in the rags of my life
And laid it at the cross”

I can speak of restoration in an all together honest way,
and how grateful I am for this ability.
I can promise you that the bitter sorrow I have known
has made this deep joy all the more wonderful

I have a multitude of words within me that I am desperate
to write down, I have a thousand thoughts of thankfulness
for the way that these years have revealed the tangibility
of a loving, sovereign creator

How strange my collection of days have proven to be,
but how beautiful it is to be made new over and over and over again
I have found myself in awe of the goodness that has overcome
the view of how I naturally perceive this life

It is something beautiful, something good
to admire the present and a nostalgic past
something beautiful, something good
to extinguish loneliness with the truth
something beautiful, something good
to settle upon surreal peace in the evening
and to awake hopeful in the morning

a content poem for all the discontent that came before,
a content poem for all the trials that might await
a grateful soul, for always

patient stanzas

I’m thinking it shouldn’t be this easy,
that you or I should say something wrong
that the morning should turn to afternoon,
and with the evening conflict will come

I’m feeling it shouldn’t be enough,
but I’m left wanting more in the most
satisfied way, like the end of a good song
with the rest of the album to spin, echo and play

I’m hurting and sad most of the time,
but a smile often interrupts my aching body
and breaks my habit of anxiety
when I see you, it’s like a light turns on

I can’t think about my grandfather too much,
I can’t believe he’s really gone
but when I pray to god I see him with her
and I’m overcome with the thought of eternity,
more real than all that’s in front of me

These are simple words for a reminder
that love does not stamp out imperfections
but seeks out goodness past first glance,
that love is patient and thoughtful
and patience is the lack of anxiety in
time of waiting

Patient stanzas for a string of days that
were once ridden with such intense fear of the future,
I’m not so afraid anymore,
not all the time like I used to be,
and it’s easier to daydream now
because I’m more content with this reality

If I start my morning with praises,
end my day with prayers
I can see the goodness that’s waiting
and an abundance that wasn’t meant for
someday but for every new day

Simple words to say I’m tired but I’m not weary,
to believe that nights of stillness can live
among times of agitation
to comprehend that rest is the most
glorious, and contentment comes in the
form of deep exhales and admiration of the clouds

So, when my mind wanders to the familiar sorrows
to the leftover aches, to the visions of those I love weeping
when my nostalgia heats up like a hot glue gun
and my sentiment stumbles over my thoughts
I will try to remember the patient stanzas,
the eager hope and satisfied heart that rests on me now
the light that turns on, the peaces that melts like wax and
maybe then I will welcome the presence of repletion
in both times of drought and the
conclusion of a feast

Sought Out

My voice rings back, as I say that I am for or against
I wonder if my opinion could weigh heavy enough to change another’s mind
It seems impossible, to trust that revelation could come with time

I told you that it feels like another life
With out you, I know joy for what it really is
A sorrowful understanding that the answer does not exist within

I want to stretch out my deepest feelings to reach you,
There is an abundant amount of hopelessness here
and I remember it in the quiet gaps of time that announce
their presence in the movement of air thrown from a ceiling fan

I’m taking these steps in front of me with a fearful
realization that I’m moving further away from you
but it’s true, this movement is long overdue and I am
now seeking out obedience for its redemption and necessity

There’s a newness here, I am believing it to be good
but with change comes a constant voice of uncertainty
Let my voice be small and far away, Let Your voice be
like the clouds that hover over rolling hills and relieve
hot skin from harsh sunlight

I’ve sought out a savior and in you I’ve found,
All that’s behind and ahead is alright somehow
In my moments of anxious thoughts and furrowed brow,
let your voice be clear, let your voice be loud

I’ve sought out a savior and in you I’ve seen,
All that’s above and below is greater than me
In my moments of discontent and guilt feeling,
let your presence be known, let your peace find me

the practicality of living during sadness, in the mundane

On the days that you can,
Do Not Lose Yourself In The Mundane
On the days that you can’t,
still wake up, fix your bed
make yourself breakfast, toast and eggs
open the windows even if it’s hot,
especially when it’s cold

On the days that you can
build something –
use words that build up each person around you
and if there is no one around you,
still speak aloud of the things that are good
Identify your heart and the ability it has to fold
beneath emotion and pressure
Recognize that you are existing and
that is enough some days

On the days that you can’t,
Don’t watch the television, read books
and if you’ve got to rest, watch a good film,
one made before 1970

Let yourself dream about the future,
but don’t get lost in it
Think about how you’ll someday have a home
With a kitchen that has windows from ceiling to ground
You’ll think about the places you will travel to,
the people you might meet
Dream about the future, but not with intent to forget the past
Dream about the future, but do not stop living now

Walk outside, crunch leaves under your feet
And breathe in
Stop feeling guilty for being sad
stop feeling guilty for feeling guilty

Let gratitude invade the parts of your mind
where there is no thankfulness left

When you have to go to work
Let your eyes see what they haven’t looked at before
When you are driving,
listen to The Beach Boys, or the soundtrack
to your favorite film

Drink Coffee, Eat Bread, Go Somewhere
Be alone

Don’t attempt to muffle your sadness with the company
of people who do not acknowledge that it is there,
or people who talk about other people

If you can be with friends, be with them
but know it is not worthwhile if when you come home
you feel more distant than when you left earlier that day
There are people who are for you, find them

When you are alone,
write down everything you’d like to do
(but it’s alright if you can’t do it all)
Don’t try to improve yourself for the sake of being better,
come to terms with defeat and the fragility of  yourself
and then look up
You’re made whole, if you want to be

If you begin to feel restless, or purposeless
Don’t try to move fast all of the sudden
Pick up one thing at a time
Take each day by itself

When you look at a calendar,
and it’s numbers are glaring back at you
and it’s weeks are overwhelming
Remember that there have been many days before this,
and you are not the one who has to call the sun to rise

Listen to good music,
the kind that makes you feel a part of it
become familiar with lyrics and tones
and learn about the people behind the noise

Take photographs and keep them to yourself,
get them printed and when you go to pick them up
look at them in a parked car before you drive to the next place,
Realize that you’re creating a world that no one else has seen before

Some times it will all be overwhelming,
Other times it will all be stagnant
sometimes the idea of “there’s nothing you can do about it”
will be relieving, other times it will be a defeat

The practicality of living during sadness, in the mundane
Hold onto the idea that vitality is a real thing

// written on November 6th, 2015

Lifestyle2-ELT_Photo

years later

let my heart rest,

although time runs through my fingers
like liquid, or grains of sand
although each moment gains momentum
and my whole soul weighs heavy at the sound
of silence, or the sound of her voice
(I am older now than you ever were)

let my heart rest,
because the night can come smooth
or it can steal, darkness can be the overcoming
abyss that it is
but my heart, it will rest,
because years later I am echoing the
hope that has been written across my
bones and the vision of eternity becomes
more real with each passing day

It’s easier to become numb, and to let
the ache form callouses and corruption
of feeling and it’s no longer freeing
But this time, I’ve been broken up
and aware again* of the ability of loss and
(AGAIN*, all the things of today arise and remind me of old:
Pink Lilies smell like Funeral Homes Pink Lilies smell like Funeral Homes 
That is NOT Her, she is NOT there, Her body was just a case for her soul
We Lost We Lost We Lost Gone Gone Gone)
The terror of grief and that
seemingly god-forsaken moment in the night
where gloom and desperation
charge at the idea of ever hoping again

The state of despondency is my greatest fear,
lurking at my bedside when I fight to get up in the morning..
and how my heart aches, so deeply and intensely
when I see that fear approaching the ones I love
and I can’t help but to cry out to God
to throw myself in between and pray that
my weary growl will scare it off from ever
grabbing a hold of someone else’s heart

There is a multitude of emotions
that trample over the people left after death
A range of detestable sentiments
and they will not leave you unscathed

But I will still say; hold onto hope,
destruction has no reign here
Do not let your heart
become hardened with worldly time
Let your heart rest,
for with every ounce of pain
there is new hope and wholeness multiplied.

years later, I am sitting by a fire,
listening to voicemails that are not hers,
and aching all the same
because I remember the longing that comes after loss

years later, I am seeing her absence
as more of a normality
and it breaks me up,
but this is no time to be broken

I am not a hopeless being,
and neither are you
lay down my doleful spirit
and pick up joy again
my heart is, and will always be at rest
so that yours can someday find fullness again

yearslater

Look Back

never thought it was a good idea to Look Back
I’ve always known not to do it,
I learned this when I was twelve and the outside
was getting soaked and I knew it then that this
place was not a good one to be, I can write of those
Times where the floor was always cold and I
was always afraid to see my family
because I knew how sad they were and would be,
and every word that people would say,
After she left, stuck in my head I used to repeat
them, and above everything there was doubt
in the reality, for this couldn’t truly be happening

Round, wet, tears swelled up from
our stomachs and set free from the eyes
I think sometimes, was this the start of
a never ending stretch for redemption?
I think, were our hearts so low,
buried underground with her body,
that this was the beginning of the attempt
to dig ourselves back up to air and living?
this is heavy but this is how we know loss,
and as the days went on I remembered not to
Look Back because there everything was laid
out and time moves forward for a reason

Years later and many incidents
good and terrible, and in between have taken
place, new things have shared space with
an original ache but I never thought that
Looking Back would bring weight
that I’d pick up and desire to carry again
Turn my head to move
these eyes through the situations that
have brought on newness, I will not let go
of the idea that every morning is new
that is the only thing that lets me sleep at
night, a chance for a beginning that
does not hinge on Looking Back

But I am made up of each ounce and second,
each measurement of time and space
builds the canals and caves in my mind
and in the Looking Back I am reminded
to move on and up again

the poem above was inspired by something that I wrote two years ago. “If I were sad again, sad like I used to be” is a reference to a time when I first began dealing with depression, years later I wrote this after gaining some clarity – to remind myself of the way that sadness is a detriment to living with vitality, and that, if at all possible, it is necessary to choose joy:

“…and if I were sad again, sad like I used to be, I’d tell myself to think of the days and how quick they go by and before you know it you are writing to end another day and before you know it you are waking again and I’d say, sadness is worth nothing, just be joyful in each moment because that is all we really have. joy springs up out of a heart who is set on god – joy nourishes and knows sorrow but does not let sadness remain heavy and bitter. I’d say be joyful always – joy makes a lifetime of quick days count for something. sadness takes away life and health and all things sweet.” June 22, 2013

LookBack

Drenched Again

There are remnants of you
in everything I do
like moisture in a bathtub
dried up only to get drenched again

and you, there are small cracks in my mind
and you pry at them until they become gaping,
welcoming yourself into what was once stable
and satisfied, and before I know it I’m bent out of shape again

curved where there was a right angle,
I had that thought perfectly squared away
but the surrounding of chaotic commitment is like
a siren, warning that all the safe places I’ve
built up will soon become unoccupied
_

Terrible is a word that I think of often,
I like the way it sounds for some odd reason
when I hear that something Terrible is going on
I will say it to myself: “Tare-eh-bul”
and I will bow down at its heftiness
because although I like the way it sounds
I know its weight has unbearable consequence
_

I can claim a grander peace,
and an overwhelming freedom
but what I’m still working on is getting
you, and you, and that and this
gone from my head and replaced with silence

I crave the quiet, the way it melts into a tangible
presence in between the bones in my head
Not the quiet that lets my thoughts ring louder
but the quiet that gently crawls right underneath your
cheekbones and beneath the bridge of your nose
To let a stillness raise a calm cure to the anxious
_

So, tell me of the house you grew up in
so I know that I won’t forget mine
Read the last words someone sent to you aloud
so I know that we’re not all wandering in a mirage of people
Write to me the way the scent of the morning smelled
so I can remember what it was like
to wake early and live forwardly

Caught in motion, solely to realize I’ve never stopped,
times of ultimate surrender happen on a daily basis
so can I claim that I have surrendered at all?
Continually letting go of claims that I swore
I dismissed and one day I will sit in the quiet
and I will remember the noise, and maybe I’ll think
fondly of the times that you, and you
And this and that were on my mind and
my soul stretches across thin paper and
sopping bathtubs,
only to be dried up and then drenched again

drenched
drenched-flip

In the light

I am often entirely caught up in the present anticipation of the next moment,
signaling my emotions, intentionally letting my heart get a head start on what is to come
this idea of preparation started the second I realized my body
was capable of losing control of it’s breath.

There is something disheartening about anxiety,
actually everything about consistent fret and oncoming doom
can shake any mark of confidence from your being
If I allow my identity to be built up of
weaknesses, I will inherently be made weak

This is factual, this is brick and mortar,
this is tangible and real-life
This is truth and transparency,
it’s a constant conflict to stay at peace
or feel an ounce of it at all

To take this concept of pressure,
that often overruns my existence,
and to label it as ‘manageable’
can render me defeated

Oh, how I am a mess
my heart fails at the sight of hardship
my tongue sets flame to destruction and
my mind lets chaos reign
left alone, I am broken up
and fearful – pitiful and desperate,
selfish, jealous, and insecure
condemning, bitter, and impure

In the light, I can see this great decision
to be made, and oh how I am grateful
for the opportunity to choose,
even when it’s unbearable, I can still choose
I can choose to rest in an undeniable truth
I can let my best intentions, my greatest strivings
and ambitions dissipate and in my weakness
I am given peace, but only in the moments
where I adopt gratitude over grieving
where I pick up song instead of sorrow

And in the moments where I fail to be in the light,
I am then given insurmountable grace
The defeat that once left me immobile
has been transposed into chance for
redemption and newness

So let my days be made up of
a continual act of letting go,
for everything I hold onto
shakes itself into solicitude

Let my heart be one of
gratitude, let grace be all that is left

Time is too quick to
be made up of anxious preparation,
to be solely an existing essence of regret,
sorrow and past experience

Let my heart know rest,
Let my heart know rest

Do not fret— it only causes harm. —Psalm 37.8

Fretting means getting ourselves “out of joint” mentally or spiritually. It is one thing to say, “Do not fret,” but something very different to have such a nature that you find yourself unable to fret. It’s easy to say, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37.7) until our own little world is turned upside down and we are forced to live in confusion and agony like so many other people. Is it possible to “rest in the Lord” then? If this “Do not” doesn’t work there, then it will not work anywhere. This “Do not” must work during our days of difficulty and uncertainty, as well as our peaceful days, or it will never work. And if it will not work in your particular case, it will not work for anyone else. Resting in the Lord is not dependent on your external circumstances at all, but on your relationship with God Himself.

Worrying always results in sin. We tend to think that a little anxiety and worry are simply an indication of how wise we really are, yet it is actually a much better indication of just how wicked we are. Fretting rises from our determination to have our own way. Our Lord never worried and was never anxious, because His purpose was never to accomplish His own plans but to fulfill God’s plans. Fretting is wickedness for a child of God.

Have you been propping up that foolish soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God to handle? Set all your opinions and speculations aside and “abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 9.11). Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about whatever concerns you. All our fretting and worrying is caused by planning without God.

Oswald Chambers | My Utmost For His Highest

should I gather

siloguess I should gather my thoughts
should I gather up anything at all

we’ve all been told too many things,
that aren’t valid or of meaning

take everything: silk garments and empty cans
leave nothing
canvas striped green and in my head it should have been
different
and you’d think I’d get tired of anxiety
but no my mind keeps telling me-
feed me with your worries
drench me in your shame
lock me up inside your darkest times
inside your fear and wring your damned hands

over and over again

feed my with deceptions
drench me in complaints
lock me up inside your night terrors
inside your black loveliness and wring your damned hands

over and over again

I’ll fight back with what some would say is optimism
but if anything, it is an unavoidable hope
there’s something about knowing truth
there’s something about holding it close

sometimes we’ll gather together
we’ll laugh and grit our teeth-
only when the other is looking away
only when they can’t see me

but sounds carry and visions don’t
your vision escapes me-
why can’t I find some type of balance
why can’t I find a hint of peace

lift your eyes, lift your chin
I’ll take your hands and
chapped lips
lift your eyes, lift your head
it’s not easy for me too, ya know.

unavoidable hope turned into tendency,
a tendency to fall and get back up again
WHY would you attach negative connotations to your hope
only because the truth brings so much contradiction
only because the truth highlights friction
only because the truth means progression
means lighting your own desires and again putting them out
and figuring which way is up and where in this place is down

repeat

only because the truth means this sorrow is real and, correction- IS REALITY
only because the truth means I have lost and wait, AM I LOSING
only because the truth means I might lose you too
only because the truth means
means
means
means
my words are dust but dust can shine beneath the SON

my only vitality is in-
what I have found to be the truth
And in this truth, alone.

and this gathering of thoughts
amounts to nothing at all
because again I am lost
and thrown out of sorts
because we’ve got bombs going off and
then there are the others who are just sad

and before I wrote this, I wasn’t even thinking of that

but if the truth brings all of this, does that mean it’s false too
mixed up by calamity, It’d be easier to deny righteousness
but I can deny nothing that weighs heavy like this on my heart
I can deny nothing that carries my soul out of dark

 

LEADING back to my initial goal
to let go of these ideas and nothing more
relax and breathe a little
syntax,diction,allusion,creation,
exposure,contrast,hue,debate
whether this life that is coming up is cut out for you
is this life that is coming up allowed to be taken one segment at a time?

push my tongue to the roof of my mouth
grit my teeth and think of the

laugh
the laugh your grandfather yells out at the t.v.
at one in the morning on a saturday evening
the laugh that claims all ideology and future anxieties
throws them to the ground and proclaims
I can have peace.

I don’t think the way you think.

“I don’t think the way you think.
The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

12-13″So you’ll go out in joy,
you’ll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
exuberant with applause.
No more thistles, but giant sequoias,
no more thornbushes, but stately pines—
Monuments to me, to God,
living and lasting evidence of God.”

Isaiah 55.8-13 Message Version