Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Shine of Light

sean builds his houses in the finest neighborhoods * he has been a contractor now for twenty years * in that time he has earned the reputation that has skyrocketed his career * he builds to perfection * he has the unique ability to capture the heart of his clients through the work of his hands* building is seans escape * it is his wilderness * a place where he is the master of his destiny * but beyond his talent * beyond his gifting * beyond his creating is reality * sean often thinks to himself * if only i could stay in this moment forever * but life outside his sanctuary of peace always continues * he at some point * at some time * faces some of his most challenging endeavors * the times he is not doing what he is passionate and gifted at doing*

jeff i read the words on your pages and was inspired by what you had to share * favor * i have always had it * talent * it was my strength too * the ability to succeed at everything i put my hands to * we are alike in so much more than you could ever imagine * but there is something i do not understand * how is it then that i struggle with such insecurity * time after time it has been verified that i am doing everything right * but i do not buy into it * year after year i make the comment that if i died today i would be completely satisfied * but why are there times i am so dissatisfied with who i am and what i have done * i speak in front of people who give me accolades and compliments * but i want to hang my head and slide into the shadows * if everything is perfect * and may i admit it always is * it is still never good enough for me * this is the realm of my insecurity *

i will not ever come to you for religious advise * but i want you to know that i appreciate you speaking to me man to man * i reflected upon the words of my friend for days on end * i had been trying to help him for some time now but he seemed not to respond at all to me * i was not trying to be his parent * i was not trying to be his counselor * i was not even trying to be his pastor * i just wanted him to know i cared * but for weeks i got nothing * the cold shoulder * an arrogant remark * avoidance * and a show of no interest of what i was trying to do or be * i just wanted to be there * and i wanted to express my care and concern * and nothing in response * but now * that statement * powerful * moving * life giving * important * just a few characteristics for such a simple expression * it confirmed all i had hoped and desired in my heart * it did matter *

there are often ghosts at night in our rooms that we battle time and time again * this is the limit of our perfection * however secure we may become at the reality that our room is safe * there are always those times that the lights are dimmed and the shadows that lurk in the dark become our reality * it is not the fact that the ghosts are there and that they haunt our dreams that we struggle with the most * it is the fear of not knowing how to deal with them or what our response is to be when we feel their presence lurking * our ghosts are similar in that many times they are created by the very one who struggles with them * sean has been haunted for years by the responsibility he has outside what he is passionate at doing * likewise * i have been haunted by the fear of failure * but what is it that confirms within us that the room is safe to rest in * where do we draw our security * maybe if it can not come from within then we need to be looking outside our own rooms * outside our own endeavors * even outside ourselves *
* who will you let in to your darkest places to shine the light on your biggest fears *

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Night Life

its six in the morning when i lay my head on my pillow and close my eyes* at a time near when most people are waking up I am finally going to bed * but this is not something uncommon in my life * it is normal * night is my canvas * a time and a place where a masterpiece is created * the art moves from shadow to shadow across the room * the sequence to the rythmn of the sounds of twilight * visualizations reflect every decision * every action * every spoken word and interaction * every mistake * every success recalled from the days activities * as i look at the portrait of the life i have painted for myself and that others have painted for me * i critique * i examine * i passionately become intimate with * and i dreadfully hate * as i go over every detail of the masterpiece in the shadows* while the twilight * through the night *


Monday, February 21, 2011

Alex


alex picks up the candy bar as he waits in the checkout line at the local grocery store * he thinks to himself * i could put this in my pocket right now and walk out of the store * but what would happen * maybe i would get away with it * maybe i would get caught and have the cops called on me by the store owner * so what * what would that feel like * who would care * in his mind he remembers his two brothers that only have him to rely on and the responsibility he has to protect them and keep them together * he puts the candy bar down and walks out of the store *


alex is a good kid * at such a young age in his life he has experienced hardships that many kids his age have never had to endure * after his dad left when he was very young it was hard enough to manage * but when his mom later decided she would abandon the family and leave alex responsible for two younger sibilings the struggles really began *

alex watched daily kids playing outdoors * kids going places with their parents * he heard his friends talking about allowances * getting grounded * eating home cooked meals * going fishing and hunting with their dads * and he longed to just be a normal kid * but alex could not have those luxuries * instead he had to be mom and dad and brother all at the same time *

it is soup again tonight * alex opened the can of cambells * awww stated his brothers * again * we always have soup * why can you make something else *alex responded * that is all we can afford right now * just shut up and eat it * the teenager came out of him * he quickly shifted back into a parental role * did you get your homework done * hurry up and finish so you can get ready for bed * i will read you a story before you go to sleep *


alex never questioned why he had to take on the parental role for his two younger sibilings * he never hesitated to ensure that they were together and that they were safe * it came second nature to him * like it had always been his responsibility * it had always been his mission in life * yes * there were times he hungered and longed for a better life for he and his brothers * but never a life seperated and institutionalized *


one thought that ran through alexs mind was the thought of one day giving up the parental role and allowing a parent to take he and his brothers in * he knew for sure he would never accept being split up * but one thing he questioned was what would it be like to give up the authority to another * to be a real teenager * to see his brothers loved * hugged * corrected * fed * bathed * tucked in at night * and read to by someone else * how would he respond to the same show of love and support * what if he allowed someone to come into his life only to be let down and abandoned once again * could he take such a chance with his heart * could he allow someone to do that to his brothers *

living with his heart opened but his hands fisted alex endured another day anticipating what was to come *










Saturday, July 10, 2010

Spoken

difficult * that is the word that described how it was for marty to share his deepest secret with you that saturday morning as you had a cup of coffee together * unexpected * was your first thought * fear was the synergistic emotion driving both sides of the conversation * but he did it anyway * he told you * you asked * why me * he responded * because i knew you would listen * the idea of telling his friend what he never thought he would tell anyone else played over and over in his mind for weeks * and now he had done it * he finally had gathered all the strength and courage within the deepest part of his soul and spoke * but now what * he stared into the eyes of his now enlightened friend in wonder * what next *

my father spoke with my teacher that night at the parent teacher conference * she told him of the many great things i had done in her class * how i was a good girl and did everything she felt a six year old should be doing in class* i was very happy to see how pleased he was * but not as happy as i was excited for my dad to see my work displaying a happy face hanging on the wall * so while my dad spoke to my teacher i tugged and pulled on his shirt sleeve * dad * i said * dad * hey dad * daddy * as he continued his conversation ignoring my pleas for his attention I began to wine * but dad * dddaaaddddyyyyy * sweetheart we must not interrupt an adult conversation * wait one minute * but daddy * do not interrupt * ok * so i waited but I could not stay still * when my father finally realized my urgent patience he responded with * now what do you want to show me darling * look * i said with the greatest pride * my work * my smiley face * i spoke with exuberance and great joy *

spoken words * treasures from the head and the heart * but what it takes to speak those words is sometimes as difficult if not more difficult than the consequences that come from what has been said * why should things be spoken * because once it is out there is the possibility of peace within * spoke * speak * spoken *

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Situation Awareness

only three more days to go and the project would have been finished * only one problem * i had missed a step in the instructions and put the project together all wrong * i came into the project with 110 percent effort and a passion to make something amazing with my own two hands * but several days into it i lost interest and just wanted to rush to complete my workmanship * that is where i got careless * that is where i lost focus * and that is where i made the biggest mistake * all that passion and hard work wasted now as i envisioned what was from what could have been * if only i had stayed focused * if only i had not become careless * if only i had not let my complacency get in the way *

sam was leaving the baseball field after a long three hour practice with his team * the playoffs were coming up and so the extra time had to be out in so that they could be sure to place in this years tournament * sam was tired and worn out after the long practice so he just wanted to get in his car and drive home * as he approached his car he saw leaning against a nearby vehicle one of his teammate who seemed to be crying * sam considered walking up and asking what was the matter but he hesitated * after all it had been a long practice and he was very tired at the moment * sam put the key in his ignition but stopped briefly one more time to consider whether or not he should offer assistance to his teammate * no he thought he will be ok * i need to go home and get some rest * i will see him again tomorrow and if there is still an issue maybe i talk to him about it then * sam started his car and drove away *

the jazz club was the place to be tonight as lanesha and damion walked in and took their normal seat at the bar * the music was right on and the ambiance was just perfect for a romantic evening * lanesha and damion were newly married and had committed to a night out once a week at their favorite club in town * at the jazz club they enjoyed listening to the smooth sounds of the music while they stared into each others eyes wondering how they could have ever been without one another * this couple was in love and it was more than just obvious * after a few moments of being seated lanesha got up to go to the restroom * while she was gone damion decided to order their food and drinks * the waitress brought the food and drinks out to them just as lanesha returned to the table * as she sat down she tipped over her purse and out came a pill bottle * being a gentleman damion reached to pick up only to realize someone elses name was on the prescription medicine *

it is the constant changes around us that seems to slip through our hands * or do they * maybe they have been in our hands all along but we were not aware of the situation and neglected to ask any questions or stop for just one moment to notice * my project was never the same as it could have been if i had only gone a little ways further to see it done right * is there something that needs our focus that we have neglected or avoided * are you the recipient of responsibility and yet you choose to bypass or ignore that responsibility because it takes you out of your comfort zone * sams teammate did not go home that night nor was he ever able to play for the team again * lanesha laid her head on the table and closed her eyes for the last time * neither sam nor damion had a clue that their awareness was important in the choices their friends and loved ones made *


seeing beyond the ridge of our nose will take us to small places with large windows *

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Shattered Glass


he had only been at his friends house for a few minutes when he accidentally bumped the the antique glass pitcher and watched it shatter on the floor* devastated the teenager fell to the floor reaching for the pieces as if he could somehow save the valuable heirloom* to late - what was once one of the most treasured belongings his friend's mother owned had become no more than a pile of glass* shattered* destroyed*it was her favorite piece that had been passed down from generations of women starting with her great, great grandmother* now it was nothing but pieces of glass scattered on the floor* after breaking the antique pitcher and staring at the shattered pieces on the floor the boy burst into tears* all he could ask himself is how could this happen* he left that day feeling shame and guilt inside as if his world had ended*

as a man i look back on my childhood* the years in middle school where i was picked on and bullied* many days i came home to an empty house and i would quickly escape to my room and think about ending my life* with self esteem shattered* with confidence in myself shattered* with hope shattered* with a sense of self worth and value shattered* the pieces were scattered and i could not see with my own eyes how they could ever be whole again*

miranda was only seventeen years old* how could it be that at such an early age* an innocent age* that a boy could break her heart* what went wrong* how did it all happen* she could only make sense of some of the details of their breakup since it happened so fast* she felt so used* she felt so dirty* shattered was her dreams of marrying this boy* torn to pieces was her self esteem* broken was her heart which was one so trusting and vulnerable* she looked in the mirror that night and stared into the eyes of a confused and lost woman where once a young innocent girl once looked*

the boy who had broken the antique pitcher returned to his friends house the next day* he had tossed and turned all night with the pain and humiliation of something so dreadful happening to him* now he had to face his friends mom and see the hurt in her eyes* he knocked and entered their house feeling for once like an intruder* like he did not belong* he met his friends mother in the kitchen with his eyes on the floor* tears falling* ashamed of life* she gently lifted his eyes to meet hers and wrapped her arms around him holding him close as she spoke these words ever so softly* i heard what happened to you yesterday* i am sorry that it upset you so badly* can i show you something i made* then she led him into the living room and pulled out a small mosaic filled with all the pieces of glass from the broken picture* you see* although the pitcher was broken and it could never return to its original form* the shattered pieces can be used to make something even more beautiful and valuable that ever before*

the broken pieces of the pitcher became a beautiful mosaic and was restored to a beauty beyond that of what it was before* likewise i became a stronger man more compassionate for those less fortunate than i because i knew what it was to be less fortunate* and the young girl who had her heart shattered can know what true love is because she has experienced the hurt and pain of a shattered relationship*

there is a reflection of hope in the shattered glass that only a trained eye can see* eyes tested by time* focused in faith* persuaded by purpose* may your shattered pieces be restored once again*

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Door: A Story of Choice


michelle knew of a door that had never been opened before* she had seen the door many times but had never even ventured near the door* she witnessed many people coming in and out of the door many times in her life* all of their faces seemed confused and overwhelmed with grief* michelle therefore stayed far away from the door never anticipating that she would open it one day herself*

michelle was a very joyful person with a great outlook on her future* many would consider her a success at what she did* she had everything she ever wanted family* wealth* laughter* content* security* and so much more*
as michelle journeyed through life her path would bring her close to the door* close enough some times that she could reach out and touch it* but she would hesitate remembering her concern for the faces of the people she had seen coming in and out* how she never wanted to look like that* how she so wanted to continue the wonderful life she had just like it was without having to worry what lied behind the door*

but there began to be birthed deep down a thought in her mind if maybe her concern was for no reason* and that the door possibly was not as bad as she thought* i wonder what could exist behind the door she would ponder to herself* is there something i am missing* is there something more that could add greater value to my life* as she thought these things she eased closer and closer to the door* leaning up against it* straining to hear what was behind it* but there was no sound at all* she thought i will just turn the knob ever so gently and peek in* but nothing of any concern* maybe i will open it a little wider to get a better look* and she flung the door open* silence* peacefulness* such a woinderful feeling for michelle to think that her concerns were pointless*

michelle stood with the door open for what seemed like hours* things seemed so wonderful on the other side* but as time passed what was once a great feeling began to get scarier* darkness began to descend on the door* hurt and guilt started to set in* feeling like she did not belong there anymore forced michelle to set back in and close the door* but it did not budge* she pushed and she shoved with all of her might but the door stood its ground against her* out of the shadows came the most frightening thing michelle had ever seen and she screamed to the top of her lungs for help* it got closer and closer and closer until it its shadow enveloped her whole body*

at that point she was deperate and could do nothing but cry and hope for the best* but there at the worst time of her life two friends came to her side and togther all three forced the door closed on the darkness until the door was locked and nothing could get in or out* there michelle sat on the floor feeling overwhelmed with relief and accomplished* her battle was over* she could have never done it alone*

michelle returned to her happiness and went on with her daily routine just as she had before* she grew closer to her friends and they thought back on the experience they shared together that saved her life*but one day michelle thought about the door and wondered if the darkness was till there* she considered opening it, but this time just a crack*




*the door in this story represents a choice that we make each day to endeavor things that are harmful to our lives* to a young adult the door is a choice to venture into a bar and take the first drink of alchohol because he/she is of the drinking age* to single adult it is the visitation to a non-sexual porn site for the first time just to "see" what it is like* for a married man or woman it is the lustful look at someone else in the passing and wishing he/she was with them* for others it is the choice to lie* to cheat* to steal* to murder* etc*

the door is the enteryway to a place that is percieved as wonderful* satisfying* gratifying* full of wonder and amazement* at least until we face the dark consequences of venturing into a place not made for us where we do not belong*

inside the door we get caught up and trapped in the addictions while being battered by the consequences
* and by ourselfs we cannot defeat them* it takes the accountabilty of friends to help us remove ourself from the darkness and close the door and ensure that it is locked*

once we have opened the door* seen what was on the other side* and even been delivered from it* the battle to never open the door continues the rest of our life* it is not ok to journey near again* it is not ok to take a peak* it not even ok to listen close or feel the texture of the wood* stay near your friends and never forget what it was like to be in the situation and how hard it was to overcome*