In hopes of being True

Honest. Honesty. Honestly, what does truth mean?

If yours is yours and mine is mine,

how can we understand what’s mine is yours

and yours is mine?

Your truth could be scary. Different. Ordinary.

Mine may be strange. Extreme. Unchanged.

Her truth could be singular. Expansive. Coarse.

His truth may be selfish. Minuscule. Forced.

Truth is not a box, perfectly contained and square.

Truth is not a circle. Round and round it goes. Never ceasing.

It leads somewhere.

Truth is an explosion. A bomb ready to detonate.

Millions of fragile shards fragmented across the globe.

We are pirates. Explorers. Astronauts on an alien landscape.

Shall we dig for the gold hidden inside our souls? Or are

we doomed to lead disparate lives paralyzed by fear?

Truth is the sum.

Mine. Yours. Ours.

Humanity’s curse.

Humanity’s cure.

Truth is the questions within, glimpses in our vulnerability.

Shall we be brave and unearth the answers? Or continue to

hide where no light tends to go?

 

 

Forgive

I could start out this piece with a witty turn of phrase or a deep philosophical sentence. Truth is, I like to throw a lot of big words around for the mere sake of taking up space and turning a simple point into an exhaustive one, but isn’t that what writers do? We like to take a mundane, simple concept and turn it into an eloquent, grand idea. This makes us feel better about ourselves…

Today I am going to do something different; something I don’t usually do. Instead of carefully bobbing and weaving my way around a topic to drop some major truth bombs, I am going to shoot straight with you and divulge what is on my mind. I do hope you enjoy.

Why did I get the word, “forgive”, tattooed on my arm? Seems silly right? Everybody has a tattoo these days. Its the cool thing to do. It says, “Look at me I’m creative and mysterious, no one can understand the complex human I am.” You’re fooling yourself if thats what you think.

My answer is a simple one.

A reminder.

A moment to pause and think about my choices throughout my everyday interactions with other people. A remembrance of failed attempts at forgiveness, but also the victories. An avenue for people to see this word more often and hopefully think about their own lives and choices and how the complex act of forgiveness can change the course of our future forever.

It is a reminder to forgive others. No longer will grudges or feelings of anger control my thoughts and emotions. No longer will I be a slave to bitterness and contempt. My life is too precious to waste on holding forgiveness from someone.

It is also a promise. Proverbs 17:9 says “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven.” I choose forgiveness in my relationships believing love will prosper if I forgive offenses. The state of my relationships is directly related to my capacity for forgiveness. I can grow and nourish my relationships or I can starve and corrupt them.

Finally, it is a reminder to forgive myself.

I am my worst enemy.

My loudest naysayer.

My harshest critic.

When I fall, I fall hard, and I have a hard time getting back up for the simple fact of continuously beating myself up for my mistakes. But when I stop to look at these seven little letters on my arm I’m reminded to forgive myself and move on. It is not the long walk home that will change my heart, but the welcome I receive at the end of that walk.

Forgive, endlessly.

Words

I and love and you. 
Three singular words, apart nothing, but
together meaningful.
I becomes you. You becomes me.
Love becomes the bridge connecting two.
Apart nothing, but together meaningful.

I love you.
In the morning before coffee;
sleep riddled eyes and slow, languid stretches.
Silently staring into the ether.
What thoughts are you pondering?
Peace, contentment, and joy.

I love you.
Through busy days and sleepless nights,
working tirelessly for dreams yet to come.
Exhaustion and fatigue. Still moving forward.
Is it worth it? Can dreams come true?
I will not lay down for the scavengers.

I love you.
In candlelight and soft jazz waiting for food.
Walking through the aisle, “Is this the right
bread?”
With colds and aching bones, runny nose and
puffy eyes. It doesn’t matter how you look.

I love you.
In summer, winter, fall and spring.
I love you.
At Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving.
I love you.
In anger and fear. In happiness and sorrow.

I love you.
More than well chosen words.
More than emotion and logic.
More than a free pass into your heart.
A promise to show trust and compassion.
An intent to never leave, but to always stay.

I and love and you.
Three singular words, apart nothing, but
together meaningful.
I becomes you. You becomes me.
Love becomes the bridge connecting two.
Apart nothing, but together meaningful.

 

 

 

Paper Faces on Parade

I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till the word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces? – C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

One of the greatest joys of relationships is the process of knowing and being known. There is a basic need to understand the world around us, to make sense of the seemingly insignificant events that make up our day-to-day lives. This same basic need extends to the people who make up our world. We have a need to be understood, to be known for who we truly are, and to be unconditionally accepted.

The problem, however, lies in the being known. We long for and desire the intimacy of being known by another person, but we fail to present our true selves to them. Instead, we hide behind carefully crafted masks that hide all of the doubts, insecurities, and imperfections we fear we possess. These masks make us feel safe, they are our comfort zone, yet they hinder us from being in true connection and relationship to the people around us.

We long to be known, but we are terrified of revealing our true self to others. Lies have been spoken over us and we have believed them. They have become more than just words; they are now our identities.

Worthless.

Shameful.

Ugliness.

Ignorance.

Violence.

Like chains longer and heavier than Marley’s we drag these lies around and we allow them to become our identity. We become something we are not and never open the door for someone to know us, to really understand us, because they may witness our weakness and struggles.

The Greeks say, “know thyself.”

Buddha says, “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” and “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

Ephesians says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

The ability to know another human being cannot be achieved without first knowing yourself. And who are you?

You are not worthless. You are worthwhile.

You are not shameful. You are honorable

You are not ugly. You are beautiful.

You are not ignorant. You are wise.

You are not violent. You are peaceful.

Why?

Because God created you in His image. You are his perfect workmanship, a treasure, the apple of your Father’s eye and the pride of His heart. Listen to what He has to say about you and believe it.

Do not listen to the lies you tell yourself. Do not hide behind the masks any longer. Revel in the love and adoration the Father has for you and bask in His goodness.

He is good. He is faithful. He loves you.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. – 1 Cor. 13:12

 

 

 

Mutationis

Change is inevitable. It is the natural process of life. Flowers bloom in the spring after months of harsh, biting cold. Seeds are planted in the ground and watered with diligent care to become nourishing, life-giving food. An oak tree rises up from a tiny acorn thought abandoned in the forest, but now stands tall and regal.

change:  to make or become different.

In 2008 the American people were promised change we could believe in.  It was an iconic and tumultuous time in America’s history.  The first African-American had been elected President and it felt as if the country was on the precipice of greatness or failure.  At the helm of our great nation was a man who was not white and had a funny sounding name.  Naturally, he could not be trusted.

He promised change and change occurred.  Depending on your perception, these changes have either been detrimental to the morality of the United States or a positive step towards equality for all citizens.

Fast forward to 2017 and America has a new man at the steering wheel.

A white man.

A rich man.

A man who shoots from the hip and says what he thinks with little regard for the consequences of his words.  Depending on your perception, these qualities are essential to being the President of the United States or you believe a man who doesn’t know when to speak up or stay quiet has no wisdom in him.

This man has also promised change, and we are all waiting with bated breath to see how these changes occur.  He has promised to build walls, dismantle terrorists, dispel illegal immigrants, advocate for the middle class, provide more jobs and work for the people of this country. Some believe these changes are needful and necessary, while others are wondering what happened to the America that used to be a safe haven for all people.

Regardless of your views or opinions of the new President of the United States, change is happening.  Change is terrifying and the natural response is to resist it, but resisting change stunts our growth and is never the solution to problems.  The question does not become how can I stop this change, but transforms into how can I respond to this change?

Should I respond with anger, hate and hostility, or with love, patience and acceptance?

Should I seek to understand the burdens of the families around me, or blind myself to the injustices occurring around me?

Could I try to have a conversation with someone from a different culture, different skin color, or different religion?

Should I just stay the same?

yellowstone-wildflowers-9351

Change is all around us.  It is the rattle and hum of this complex machine called Life.

It is present in me.

It is present in you.

Change is the transforming power to put others needs before your own.  Change is the amazing beauty of a helpless baby growing into a strong, independent individual who has the potential change the world.

Change is the formation of thousands of people descending upon Washington to march for what they believe is right.  Change is the compassion to finally understand the perspective of your enemy and empathize with his plight instead of hating him.

Change is a God abandoning a perfect world for a dirty, broken one just to be with us.  Change is letting Your creation kill You in their ignorance, only to redeem them after three days time.

In the coming days and months we are bound to see change.  It is useless to stop it; it will happen.  Some of it will be positive and some of it will be negative.  Negative change has a way of casting shadows on positive change, but light always outshines the darkness.

Right now the world may seem bleak to some, while others see the sun shining brightly.  Personally, I believe the clouds are just hiding behind the sun’s rays for a bit.  All is not lost.  Hope is still rampant across this great country and this world.  Let’s put aside our differences and work together to make this nation truly the land of the free and home of the brave.

Don’t resist the change.  Just change the way you respond to it.

 

 

 

 

 

Elemental

Water flows down from highest peaks,

Cold as snowflakes on the tongue.

Swift as night in winter.

Fire leaps from tree to tree,

As if by magic.

Hot as July in a Tennessee summer.

Harsh as a word from a bitter soul.

Earth shifts and moves though unseen,

Yet immovable and still.

Pungent as mushrooms cooked in linguini.

Solid as the one in your arms.

Air swirls and dances among the leaves,

Turning Nature into Music.

Clean and sharp as the smell of fresh lemon.

Free as a child among wildflowers.

Four elements each unique.

Four distinct personalities, present in each of us.

Bringing balance to a chaotic mind.

Reflections

The end is greater than the beginning.

Or is it the same?

Both are immovable,

Waiting for a sign.

One is looking ahead.

The other behind.

A beginning is exciting, new life has begun.

At the end all is made known,

No matter what has been done.

Beginnings rush toward the end.

Endings long for a new start.

Never realizing they both play a part.

Beginnings require control.

Endings offer release.

Beginnings offer hope.

Endings offer peace.

Affair of Emotions

I find it interesting that people ask for what they want, receive it, and then look to other things almost immediately as if what they finally have is not enough.  This poem is a reflection upon that phenomenon.  Culture tells us the grass is greener in other homes, schools, cities, and towns, but perhaps the grass is green everywhere.  We are only viewing it through dirty brown lenses. – C.P.H.

Logic races toward oblivion,

In a little black dress and heels.

Whispering words of love in your ear.

 

Reason waits in the house,

In yesterday’s shirt.

Wanting very badly to be held.

 

Passion consumes only in secret places,

Clad in lace and silk.

Tempting the beast that slumbers within.

 

Love lingers in the mundane,

Wrapped in a soft blanket.

Surrounding you with the smell of her.

 

Anger sits at the door,

In a black suit and tie.

Shouting obscenities at the lawn.

 

Bitterness creeps along the baseboards,

Swathed in ill-fitting jeans.

Choking down your advances in favor of sleep.

 

Indifference blindly maneuvers without care,

In dirty shorts.

Oblivious to the outside world.

 

Sadness drapes upon your shoulders.

In a warm, heavy coat,

Reminding you of love lost.

 

Excitement swells among the forbidden,

In dresses that reveal too much.

Promising dreams they can never fulfill.

 

Happiness glows in the unexpected,

With messy hair and a baggy T-shirt.

Saying be content with what you have.

Prosper

“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven.” Prov 17:9

Lately I have been spending a good deal of my time thinking about relationships. The highs and the lows of relationships and the various forms they take. I have even been thinking about broken relationships. Here is what I have found to be true.

Relationships are messy.

Relationships can leave you bruised and beaten.

Sometimes it feels like you are in the trenches and never gaining any ground.

However, despite all of the heartache and pain, relationships can be the singular most beautiful aspect of life that we experience. Relating to other people in ways that cause us to sacrifice our wants and needs, to give of ourselves unselfishly and freely, is a picture of the kind of love Jesus tried to show us when he walked the deserts of the Middle East.

But sometimes we don’t love this way. We feel slighted by the other person and treat them with malice and ill intent as punishment for what they have done to us. We were created to love. We can aspire to love, but we can just as easily aspire to hate. Why?

Because we have been jaded by someone.

We have been hurt.

We have been treated with hostility and anger, spoken to in degrading tones, and those words have entered into our thoughts and minds like venom from a snake bite.

We have not been treated like we wish to be treated, so why would we treat others with love and kindness? Why should I sacrifice for you when you will not sacrifice for me? As I grow older I realize the old adage, “you reap what you sow”, holds a wealth of truth.

Imagine two gardens planted by different men. One garden is haphazardly planted. The rows are crooked, the ground hasn’t been turned and the weeds are so thick you can’t even tell where the tomato plants begin. The air is thick with the stench of rotting vegetables and the plants are wilted from lack of water.

However, the other garden is pristine. It looks like it belongs on the front page of a magazine. The rows are exactly two feet apart. The ground is so soft your feet sink into the soil. The plants are fertilized and watered on a schedule that could rival a production line. There are no weeds, just lush vegetation. The air smells of tomatoes, green beans and cucumbers. The whole neighborhood enjoys the spoils of this garden.

Which garden would you want to have? Would you want the garden with vegetables rotting on the vine or the garden of your dreams?

Naturally we want the garden that is beautiful and produces good fruit, but to achieve this we have to work at it. Nobody sees the hours our fictional old man spends weeding, watering, pruning and picking his garden. We don’t see the labor of love he puts into it. We don’t see the value he has placed upon this garden.

We want the good garden, but our actions say we are content with the rotting one.

We desire a fantastic marriage, yet we treat our spouse with indifference. We no longer see the love of our life standing in front of us. Instead, we see a person with faults and problems who only cares about themselves. We no longer see the value in the person we couldn’t live without.

We want our kids to be the best they can be, but we degrade them and never speak encouragement into their lives. We constantly yell at them, fight with them and bully them into submission. We, the parents, have the perfect path planned for them, yet we forget they are unique individuals with their own path to walk. Our job as parents is to help them find that path, not force them on one they were never meant to walk.

Negativity breeds negativity.

Jealousy breeds jealousy.

Hate breeds hate.

Nobody wants hate in their life, yet they let it in by the way they treat people. I understand being hurt and wanting justification. I understand treating people the same way we have been treated, but doing that only continues the cycle of hate and anger.

Love calls me to pour good things into those around me.

Love calls me to show hope to the hopeless.

Love calls me to encourage the destitute and to heal the broken.

Love calls me to go deeper, to go higher and to go farther into the heartaches and pains of people around me.

I am willing to sow into people exponentially and to see the fruits spring forth. I am willing to get my hands dirty and fight in the trenches for my relationships. I am no longer satisfied with the rotting, stinking gardens that we have become so accustomed to.

I want the good garden.

I want to prosper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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