Looking Back Upon Forevers

Looking back

upon forever 

He really thought

It would be forever

every time


Looking forward

upon forever

He still thinks

It will be forever

every time


Being here, right now

He’s enjoying

the part of forever

he’s in

In this time

this moment

this breath 


We’re all time travelers

caught in the forevers 

when it hurt the most

and felt the best

Carrying our forevers

Together 

They Made Me This Way

Sharing like it was a dream
When I share it, I awaken
memories that others live with,
haunting them of what was done to me

Many excuses to justify what they knew
Many substances to numb what they didn’t
Many expiration dates way past due
It was a void, a dream, a past

The pillow I used as a child
is full 
of used up tears,
angry screams asking “Why?!”
And angry prayers asking “When?!”

Each memory I still feel
Each memory I still forget
Each memory unlocks more clues
Each memory is the same

I was more present than all of them
I was new
I was trusting
I was only a child

Walking in the morning as an adult,
wandering into the horizon
with no thoughts –
no destination

I was looking for me
For that little boy from many years ago
I wanted to let him know
that we’re going to be okay

If they didn’t make us this way
we may not have saw
there is another 
way – a different path
Extremes make visibility clearer

The pain wants to create clones
More generations of pain makers
More cycles of dream takers
That crossroad came and we walked

The path towards the abyss was tempting
It was where everyone else was facing
It was normal
It was home

We walked away from the zombies,
the substances, the destruction,
and walked back to our heart

Little boy from years ago,
know that we will be different
We will live with honor
We will live with truth

What made them that way?
Little boy, now a man,
together we still don’t understand

A way they made us,
not by walking it,
by not walking it,
by not talking about it,
the way was revealed

They are our precious teachers
for they show us how not to be
and taught us everything we’re not
They made us this way

A way, a path, a direction to take
leading us closer to our hearts –
how the Creator intended us to be

All those labeled as heroes or villains
when asked how they got there
have the same answer
in the form of a question –
How else would you have turned out if you were me?

Keep Painting and Stop Tainting

People are always painting pictures of other people and want you to take the picture they painted and hang it up in your house so you can have a bad opinion about another person, or change your mind about your positive experiences with another person. Those aren’t even paintings, they’re tainting. Just old, contrived collages of opinions that have nothing to do with how that person is now, or what God will grow that person into.
Here’s the deal, if you know someone long enough you will have both positive and negative experiences with them, and they with you. We all have our days. We all fall. We all make mistakes. We have all hurt someone and we have all been hurt. Bypass all that and just keep working on you.
Keep painting and stop tainting. Paint better and better pictures of yourself and let God hang those pictures in God’s house. 

 

God Is

Years ago when I was going through a rough time, a dear friend of mine told me a story that helped me a lot. I hope it helps you, too.

There was a seven year old girl playing on the porch in her backyard. She was playing with a beautiful, porcelain doll that her grandfather had given her. As she was playing with her doll, she dropped it and the doll broke in many pieces.

She fell to her knees, picked up all of the broken pieces, and in despair she wept uncontrollably. She looked up at the sky and cried out, “Why, God? Why did you let this happen? Fix this. Please, God, fix this.”

From behind the clouds, the girl heard God’s voice. “I know you’re hurting, my darling daughter.”

“God, of course I’m hurting. You know how much this doll means to me.”

“Of course I know. I Am God.”

“And You know it’s the only thing in my life that makes sense. My grandfather, who was my world and passed away last year, gave me this doll.”

“Of course I know that, my darling daughter. I Am God.”

“And You know how much I need You to fix this because it hurts so bad. It hurts so bad, God. Please fix this.”

“I know you’re hurting. And yes, I can fix this. I know all and can do all things. I Am God.”

The girl became furious. “You just keep letting me know You’re here! You keep telling me that You know how I feel, and that You can do all things, but You’re not fixing anything!”

“My darling daughter, I Am God. I love you more than you know. I can do all things. I Am here with you. And I can fix this, but you have to give Me the pieces.” 

Why Do You Do It?

After more than a few injuries and too many 15-20 hour work days to count facilitating interventions in my full time job as street outreach crisis counselor, someone asked me why I put all of myself into the full time work we do with the youth and young adults we serve. Well …

Because it’s not work or a job, it’s a calling. Truly a calling from God. There were many situations that called me to this work, most of them were extremely challenging situations that God used to cultivate deeper love, respect, honor and compassion. One of many experiences was when I was homeless and walking through a neighborhood during the Christmas holidays in Michigan. 

I was wandering around with no particular destination other than wanting to get to a 24 hour store or restaurant where I could warm up and take a nap. It was snowing and as I was walking through a neighborhood I looked across the street and saw a house with a huge window, and through that window I saw a family eating dinner. They were passing food around the table, eating, laughing and talking. I remember sitting down by a tree in the snow just staring across the street, watching the family enjoying life and each other’s company. I don’t know how long I was there, but I remember what I was thinking. I was thinking, how the fuck did I wind up in this situation? I’m not stupid. I have talents and abilities. I know my life is supposed to be more than this. I feel so lonely. So lonely. 

That feeling of loneliness was so intense that for a little while I forgot about the cold. Loneliness can make us numb. When our needs are frozen, literally frozen, we become numb to so many things. And when God sends someone into our lives to bring God’s warm light to thaw our needs, meet our needs, and show us a better way to think and live, it is a miracle so intense that all you want to do is be a vessel through which that miracle is delivered to others. 

If it’s partial or conditional, it’s not love. And if it’s not love, then I wouldn’t dare refer to it as a calling.

Did the Cat Commit Suicide?

A beautiful cat was wandering lost in the wilderness on a cold, winter night. Snow covered the ground and the freezing temperatures, slowly but surely, began to disrupt her breathing, heart rate, and instincts. When she first realized she was lost, she panicked and frantically ran in an unknown direction hoping she would find shelter. Out of breath from running, and discouraged from not finding shelter, her emotions began to grow as numb as her frostbitten paws. Her tears of desperation were frozen to her fur, and with each struggling step she took, hopelessness began to fill her. Then, off in the distance she saw a farmhouse. She mustered the last bit of courage and hope she had within her, and moved towards the farmhouse. Both the weight of her despair, as well as the weight of the ice-covered snow sticking to her paws with each step, made her feel as if the weight of the world was upon her. And it was. Her world, seemingly out of nowhere turned from the familiar place where she was born, grew up, loved and knew so well, to an unfamiliar, cold, dark place. With each shaky step, she limped and cried out for someone to help her. And who among us, if we are honest, hasn’t wandered into cold, dark and unfamiliar places, all while never leaving a place we once knew so well?

She wasn’t experiencing a moment of weakness. She had just been strong for as long as she could. And despite all odds she made it close to the farmhouse, where to her pleasant surprise, she saw that the farmer’s truck was just a few more steps from her. With her last bit of strength, she crawled under the truck and felt the warmth emanating from the motor. Warmth, oh, sweet warmth. The warmth gave her hope, and in this hope her heart began to beat strong again. As her blood began to flow strongly through her, she leaped up, crawled onto the warm motor, and as her frozen paws began to thaw, she knew she was safe. She curled up on the motor of that truck and fell into a deep sleep.

As he always did, in the morning the farmer awoke early. After he ate his breakfast and drank his coffee, he went outside, got inside his truck, put the key in the ignition, and started the vehicle. The cat was instantly killed.

We all have needs. Sure, the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing are needs. But ask yourself, has your belly ever been full, and yet your heart completely empty? Have you, or someone you know had all the things that brought comfort on the outside, and yet, inside you felt so alone that even in the middle of crowds the loneliness was so intense that it sent shivers up your spine? We have more than the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. We need to be seen, heard, believed, accepted, loved and safe. We as humanity need one another. We are here to meet the needs of each other. It is a blessing and responsibility to thaw out the frozen needs of each other so that we don’t seek temporary warmth by curling up inside a bottle of alcohol, a bottle of pills, with a needle in our arms, or in a lifestyle that is not only destructive, but essentially suicide on an installment plan.

There are many people who are wandering lost in a cold, dark time that just one smile, one word of encouragement, one loving conversation, one afternoon spent with someone who cares – someone like you, would shine a light of warmth and love so bright that their frozen needs would instantly thaw, and you would see it, because all that has been frozen within them would melt, pour out through their eyes, rid them of their pain, and they with you, will take that seventeen inch walk from their head back to their heart. And what greater honor and purpose is there than to be there for one another to call ourselves out of the cold and darkness and back to ourselves and God?

Did the cat commit suicide? You decide.

winter night