Love is Always the Correct Decision 

Because I’ve opened my heart to you and shared all of my mistakes, hopes, dreams, fears, and love with you, you get to decide many things.

You get to decide to be authentic and vulnerable and share your mistakes with me, as we laugh and see that we’ve all made similar mistakes, or you can decide to pretend you’ve never made mistakes and try to use my mistakes against me. 

You get to decide to be authentic and vulnerable and share your hopes and dreams with me, and we become ignited in a fire of inspiration of support to one another, and take relief in knowing that we all have hopes and dreams, and when we share them and support them, we can all live them together. Or you can decide to laugh at, demean, and disregard my hopes and dreams.

You get to decide to be authentic and vulnerable and share your fears with me, and in Love’s light we dispel those silly fears we all have and breakthrough to live in love once more. Or you can pretend you have no fears and try to use mine against me.

You get to decide to be authentic and vulnerable and reciprocate the love I give and we witness how love – the most powerful force there is – truly does heal everything and anything. Or you can withhold your love, falsely believing that love could be used against me or anyone. Love is not against anyone or anything, Love is everyone and everything. 

Yes, because I’ve opened my heart to you and shared all of my mistakes, hopes, dreams, fears, and love with you, you get to decide many things. However, there is one thing you absolutely do not get to decide: You do not get to decide my worth. 

My worth, like yours, was established by the Most High God, long before we manifested into human form. Just like you, I am a sacred blessing, miracle, and gift. We get to decide to see each other or not. And until we decide to see each other as the sacred blessings, miracles, and gifts, we all are, we’ve decided to not see each other. 

No matter what others decide, decide with love and always see yourself as the sacred blessing, miracle, and gift you are, always have been, and always will be. 

Love is always the correct decision.

God bless you.

On Earth as it is in Heaven

When people become as passionate, outspoken, and supportive about ending sex trafficking, homelessness, hunger, and domestic violence as they are about money, political elections and professional sports, we will have heaven on earth.

Every youth emergency shelter and domestic violence shelter is almost always full. There are millions of homeless, runaway, sex trafficked youth, and victims of domestic violence. Yes, it’s a pandemic. I am fortunate to work side by side, day and night with others whose mission it is to serve, yet the laborers are so few. And as programs that tirelessly work to serve others struggle to keep their doors open from year to year, I watch the news and see that politicians generate millions of dollars in one evening just to campaign. People will pay $50,000 for a plate of food and to listen to a candidate they support talk for an hour and take a photo with them, while we have children who are homeless, hungry, and being bought and sold; while we have women being beaten and murdered; while the masses turn a blind eye to the abuse, exploitation, and murder of women, children, and elders and say, “That’s not my business,” or more common is people saying and doing nothing.

One of my favorite artists, KRS-One, in one of his songs, speaking about why his music isn’t mainstream and isn’t played often on mainstream radio said,

You know why they’re shutting down KRS-One?

Because I’m not sexy, thuggin, or dumb.”

What came first, the marketing and branding or the consciousness of the masses? I mean, either society has been overtaken by marketing and branding to the extent that money, sports and politics is now what resonates with a ferocious passion within the masses, overriding common sense, compassion and the needs of those who are abused, exploited and marginalized, or the masses within society have always been shallow and the marketers and branders simply followed suit. Why is there is a media frenzy about missing sports jerseys, political ideologies, “get rich quick schemes,” religious differences, yet not a peep about the pandemic of missing, homeless, hungry, sex trafficked youth and victims of domestic violence? Is there any challenge that we as a humanity face that is more important than missing, homeless, hungry, sex trafficked youth and victims of domestic violence? I don’t think there is.

Protest, march, do what you want, just take an extra look around you and make sure in your efforts to make a stand you don’t march right past the most marginalized and traumatized people in our society. One day, I hope soon, there will be as much passion about homeless, hungry, sex trafficked youth, and victims of domestic violence as there are about so many other things.

Why is it that flyers of missing children barely get any shares on social media but a quote from a politician or professional athlete gets millions?

When will we, as humanity, campaign together to end the suffering? Whenever that day comes is the day we will see, not just say, On Earth as it is in Heaven.

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This Holy Instant

This Holy Instant 
(originally published in Elephant Journal)

On the mountaintop upon the altar of light he was born. Others recognized him as the love he is and the love he came from. In his innocence others were able to see their own innocence again, and recall what truly matters. He was a precious child. Wherever he was people wanted to hold him because he wasn’t heavy, he was light because he was love. When people held him they held a holy reminder of the truth of what we are.

As time went by the boy grew into a young man. In his journey from infancy to being a young man he encountered those who recognized him as the love he is. He also encountered others who saw him completely different than the love is. Those who couldn’t recognize him as the love he is gave him a bag to carry. He was instructed to use the bag in this manner: Place everything you say, do, and think that is wrong in this bag and carry it. Those who recognized him as the love he is also handed him a bag to carry with this instruction: Place everything you say, do, and think that is right in this bag and carry it.

Accepting the bags and the instructions, he went on his life journey. Every day, whether at work or play, either he or someone else placed something in each of his bags. Some days his bag of wrong was heavier than his bag of right; and other days his bag of right was much heavier than his bag of wrong. He was strong, so he easily compensated from one side to the other to walk balanced and straight in public. However, every evening in private he unpacked both bags before going to bed. As he looked through his bag of wrong he cried and condemned himself; and as he looked through his bag of right he smiled, boasted, and congratulated himself. Placing all of his rights and wrongs back in their appropriate bags he would sleep. Some nights when he forgot to place his wrongs in their appropriate bag, sleeping proved to be difficult.

Days passed, merging with weeks, blending to years, and accumulated to decades of the rights and wrongs he and others gave him to carry about himself. He began to lose his balance, even in public. Both bags were full and heavy, overflowing onto others in every interaction. Some moments his wrongs along with the inferiority and condemnation that comes with that bag spilled onto others. In other moments his rights along with a sense of superiority and self-righteous indignation that comes with that bag spilled onto others. Weary, frustrated, and lost, he decided to return to the mountain where he was born in hopes of finding himself.

Hours after sunset he finally made the seventeen inch journey from his head to his heart, and was once again upon the mountaintop where he was born. He didn’t have to light a fire, because the star that never moves from that special place illuminated the entire area with its light. His grip loosened from the heavy bags of wrong and right as the memory of who he is ran through his tears, and spilled upon the altar of light where he was born. His tears reflected the light that has always shone brightly upon the altar of his heart, cleansing it, and revealing an inscription:

In this Holy instant
Of Light and Love you were born
And Light and Love you will always be
Place your bags of rights and wrongs
On either side of me

Step back upon the altar
Where light never ceases
And allow the light of love
To dissolve the useless pieces
Pieces of rights or wrongs
Hold not one glimpse of you
Step back upon this altar
To remember all that’s true

You are not lost
You’ve just used your eyes to see
Only your bags of rights and wrongs
Exchanging holy memory for misery

You’re not in either bag
And cannot be found in one or both
No matter if you hate yourself
Or use each day to boast

Beyond failures or successes
Past confidence or guesses
Afar from gracefulness or messes
Is your true reflection – Love

Of Light and Love you were born
And Light and Love you’ll always be
Throughout your life you may come here heavy
Yet in this holy instant you are free

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Dear Parents Who Threw Their Children Out onto the Streets

Dear Parents Who Threw Their Children Out onto the Streets ~

Early this morning at sunrise I saw your son. He emerged from behind a store where he’s been sleeping on the concrete. He was trembling from the morning cold, hungry and exhausted. He doesn’t sleep well outside but he does it every night. I took him to a restaurant where he warmed up from the cold and we ate breakfast together. He is a good young man who is so very talented. He’s an amazing artist with a wonderful sense of humor. I thought you might want to know that despite the beatings he suffered within your home, and you throwing him out onto the streets, day by day, he’s inching his way back to his heart and learning to accept himself as the sacred blessing, miracle, and gift he is, despite you rejecting him.

I met your daughter the other night. It was late when the police called my phone and woke me up at 1:34 am. I could hear your daughter screaming in the background as the police officer asked me to come out and see if I could help calm her and get her to a safe house. You see, your daughter was manipulated by predators who call themselves pimps. Over a period of several months these predators drugged her, violated her, and convinced her that they care about her. They sold her over and over again, and over and over again. When I arrived on the scene, I looked at your daughter and the first thing I said to her was, “You’re a sacred blessing, miracle, and gift.” I just sat there with her as she was wrapped in a blanket shivering from trauma, but she was also wrapped in love by the officers and I who continually reminded her that she’s safe now and none of what happened to her is her fault. As I drove her to a safe house she decided to tell me part of her story. She told me about when she was sexually abused at an early age and held it in for as long as she could. Then one day, with all the courage she could muster, she came to you and told you about what was done to her. To her heartbreaking surprise, you didn’t believe her, and not only did you not believe her, you demanded that she not say anything to anyone. Not long after you didn’t believe her and she stuffed the horrific truth of what happened to her way down in the depths of her being as you demanded she do, she began cutting herself, using drugs, and drinking alcohol. She told me about all the times you insisted that she is crazy and took her to and from psychiatric hospitals telling psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists, “I just don’t know what’s wrong with my daughter. We’ve done all we could and there’s nothing more we can do for her.” So the day came when you put some of her belongings in garbage bags, placed them on the porch of your home, and told her, “You just need to leave. We can’t handle you anymore.” With tears in her eyes, and begging you to listen to her, you closed the door of your home to your daughter, as the predator who violated her, the one you told her to protect by remaining silent, stood behind you smiling. But don’t you worry, despite you not believing her and telling her to suppress the truth, and then numbing the pain of what happened to her by cutting herself, and using drugs and alcohol, she’s safe now. Now, she’s in a place where she’s surrounded by people who are teaching her to break those three rules you taught her to follow for so long, the three rules that exist in all abusive relationships, the three rules of Don’t talk. Don’t tell. Don’t feel. Yes, she broke those rules and is talking, telling, and feeling with people who see, hear, and believe her as the sacred, blessing, miracle, and gift she is and always will be.

I looked for your son the other day in an abandoned building someone told me he was living in. Some other young people living in the abandoned building told me he took off a few days earlier with some pretty shady people and they hadn’t seen him since. I looked all over the place for him but just couldn’t find him. I made up some missing person flyers and posted them around. He has my number and I hope he calls me to let me know how he’s doing. I met him and talked with him many times in a park where he was living. I even had a surprise birthday party for him at the park. It was just the two of us, but of course he talked about some of the birthdays he remembered having with you as a child. He said the last one was when he was twelve years old. He shed some tears, but was extremely grateful to have a birthday celebration with cake, ice cream, and a birthday song. He got a new pair of pants and a shirt. He put the new shirt on right away and as he did, he told me to look at his back. The gashes in his back from when you beat him with a horsewhip have healed but the scars are deep and permanent, like the wounds you left upon his heart. Of course the police and CPS got involved, but because of your connections, nothing ever happened, other than you kicking him out onto the streets because you have a business and a reputation to uphold. I reminded him that it is possible for us to count our scars as the number of times we’ve been healed, not wounded, but I’m not sure when he’ll be able to do that. Don’t worry, we’ll keep looking for him, and when we find him, we’ll continue to provide all the love and support he allows us to give him.

I went to your daughter’s high school graduation. You weren’t there, even though she sent you and invitation. A few years ago you got remarried and have a new wife who your daughter accepted, respected and adored. But your new wife doesn’t like your daughter and didn’t want her around. Eventually, your wife told you that you had to choose between your daughter and her and her biological children. You chose your wife and her biological children over your daughter, threw your daughter and her belongings outside, and locked the door. Not too long after that is when I met your daughter. I got a call about an amazing senior in high school, who, even though she was homeless, didn’t miss a day of school, and continued to make all A’s and B’s. I helped her find a safe place to live, get a job, and provided food, clothes, and support as she needed. Man, she’s smart. She just started her second year of college and is in the process of becoming a counselor to help young people. She says that her dream of becoming a counselor is because she knows from her own experience how important it is to have stability and support in this life, and she wants to be that stability and support for others. She says that you’re a great dad to your new wife’s children, though, and that you went to all of their graduations.

I’ve met so many of your sons and daughters. Each of them has the resiliency of a true warrior, because they are warriors. Every day and night, they maneuver through predators, hunger, hopelessness, alleys, streets, woods, parks, and abandoned buildings. They maneuver through stigmas, judgments, and labels placed upon them by people who couldn’t survive a day in their lives. They’ve been through and maneuver through so much, and emerge day by day, night by night, a little closer to their own hearts, holding on to their divine vision, mission, and purpose that God has endowed them with. They’re so quick to share and help others in need with a deep, true compassion I am blessed to witness, a compassion that’s seldom given to them, but one they’re so willing to give. Despite the broken hearts, broken dreams, and broken glass they’ve walked through, they’re putting the pieces back together, walking back to their beautiful, courageous hearts, and remembering that they are sacred blessings, miracles, and gifts.

You taught them one thing, you taught them how not to be, which is why they’re some of the greatest people I’ve ever met.

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