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Friday, July 26, 2013

Only Say The Words

Only say the words
       That tell me how to find you
Only say the words
       That tell where to look next
Only say the words
       That let me know you’re with me
Only say the words
       That teach me how to rest

Only say the words
       That calm my inner battles
Only say the words
       That restore this tired soul
Only say the words
       That make me not so fragile
Only say the words
       That make me truly whole

Only say the words
       And help me hear them loudly
Only say the words
       That show your love is real
Only say the words
       And help me hear them clearly
Only say the words Lord
       And I will be healed

Living LIfe

Is a risk

We walk through our days
Anticipating good

We have to
Or how else could we
How could anyone
Take any next steps

Steps taken
With the same trust
That’s in place
When we walk
A sandy beach
With every step
Soft warm sand
Burying soft warm feet

But every once in a while
A sharp shell
Every once in a while
Debris that punctures
Every once in a while

Every once in a while
Life catches up
And makes a fool of you

But you keep walking
One foot in front of the other
In the sand
Through life
And through pain

Thursday, July 25, 2013


It’s a battle
And battles wound
Battles cause scars
Battles take lives

That’s why
We don’t
Like battles

Battles take
The peaceful day
You had planned
And make it
A luxury you can’t have

Battles exhaust
And make
Past progress
Feel wasted

Battles sometimes require
That you show up
And try to fight
With old weapons
And tired strategies
Knowing that
It might not end well

And for those
Who have already
Fought their battle
Then fought it again

For those
Who have already
Spent themselves up
To survive

Another battle
Feels like just
Way too much
To ask

Most Happy

I am most happy
When I encounter honesty

I am most content
With those willing to laugh

I am most peaceful
With those who know what they don’t know

So I guess that would make me

Most unhappy with those who aren’t honest
Most discontent with those who choose sadness
Most unsettled in the company of those who are sure

Seems so basic

I wonder
What’s important
To other people
What makes them most happy

Being around those
Who are smart
Or accomplished
Or confident

None of that matters to me
Not really at all

Give me the honest laughers
Who live strong lives
Amidst hard questions
That’s where I’ll be
Most happy
That’s where I’ll feel
Most at home


Taking a look around
Taking inventory of what is
Not liking what I see when I stop
Not liking how lonely life is at its core
This is what empty feels like

Taking a breath
Realizing that I still don’t know what’s next
But whatever is next
No one is going to do it for me
Not liking how hard life still is
This is what tired feels like

Lets the empty tiredness
Catch up with me

Only makes it harder
To start again
That old rule about
Something in motion
Being easier to maintain
Than starting something up

Stopping makes me afraid
That one of these times
I won’t have the energy
To start again

Maybe if I think of it
As a pause
Instead of a stop

Maybe if just one of these times
When I paused or stopped
There was anything waiting for me
Other than nothing
I would do it more

Or maybe it’s that
I have to pause or stop now
To make things less empty
To make me less tired

Maybe before
I needed to stay busy

Maybe now
I need to stay still

Or maybe whether busy or still
Or paused or stopped
It’s just going to be hard
For a little while longer
For a long while longer
For as long as it takes


I believed a lot before
But what I believed
Had so many loose ends
Unresolved parts
Pieces that didn’t fit

So I set those pieces aside
Outside of the puzzle
Because adding them to the puzzle
Would have messed up
The only picture
I could see starting
To take shape

But those pieces
That I ignored
Were always part
Of the puzzle

Those pieces
Were always necessary
To complete the picture

And the picture
That is forming
Is nothing
Like I thought it was

So now I believe a lot less
But I believe it more

There will always be pieces
I can’t connect
But all of the pieces
Are important now
Not separate or extra
Not something to set aside

All of the pieces are there now
Stray pieces are everywhere
And the picture is still incomplete
And that’s OK
Because I feel no more pressure
To finish the puzzle

That was never my job

My job was only ever
To gather up
The pieces

Anyone Else's Life

I don’t want
Anyone else’s life
But I would like
My life to be easier

I don’t want
Anyone else’s life
But when I listen
To people describe their own lives
I sometimes wish
They were more grateful

More aware of how good they have it

I want to say
Enjoy this
This is the good part
Don’t lose your mind
Over the small stuff

Petty fights over who left the milk out
Or the choice of window treatments
Or the few extra pounds
Or the To Do list things that didn’t get done

I want to say
Try not to lose your mind
Over things you actually have control over
Over things you can decide
Not to give energy to

Save your energy for the big stuff
For the things over which
You will have no control
For life’s true hardships

But I guess you can’t know that
Until life shows it to you
Can’t fully appreciate
Life’s normal ups and downs
Until the bottom falls out from under you
And up doesn’t exist for a while

I don’t want
Anyone else’s life
I’ve worked way too hard
On my own life
To trade it in

But I often wish
Others appreciated
The ease of their lives
Like I can appreciate it
So very easily
From a distance
From a place of unease

No One Ever Tells You

Be in the world but not of the world
Love the sinner, hate the sin
Nice sentiments
But no one ever tells you
What this looks like
In real life
In real relationships
In real churches

Just a constant
Repeating of rules that say
Keep your distance from this world
But love it intensely
And while you are loving it
Be sure to judge it
And by the way don’t love anything
You haven’t come to a conclusion on
And unless it’s for the purpose
Of changing them
And don’t love too fully
Those who walk a different path
Because that
Would look too much
Like compromise

No one ever tells you
How to love while you are judging
How to love from a safe distance
Probably because
Judging and distance keeping
Are not very compatible
With loving

No one ever tells you
Just love
And don’t worry
About the rest

That seems
To be something
You just have to tell


Is a big jar
Of pearls
And rightly so

So when
By request
Or by courage
The pearls are shared
Willingly spilled out onto a table
There should be
Someone there
Ready to catch the pearls
That roll off

Someone there
That knows how to arrange
Spilled out pearls
Into a pattern

Someone there
To acknowledge the courage
Honor what’s been shared

Someone there
That does more than
Celebrate that
The jar is empty
Because the goal
Is not
To get people
To empty their jars

Authenticity’s goal is deeper
Focused more on the pearls
Less on the jar

I hold what you share
You hold what I share
We protect each other’s pearls

And they grow in beauty
And we grow in beauty
And beauty grows in us
Everyone more beautiful  
For the sharing


Closer to God
Further from God’s people
That’s weird
But true
For me

Steps towards God
Are steps away from God’s people
Or at least the God people
I know

Where are the other people
Stepping towards God

Did they stop stepping
Did they give up
Did they go back
To what they knew

Back does not exist for me
Only forward
Only closer to God
And someday I hope
Closer to people
Who have stepped closer to God

But even if never
Closer to people
Stepping closer to God

Closer to God
For sure

Pitch In

Three weeks
And so much rain
Since the lawn
Was last mowed
How does grass grow so fast
And has it always
I’ve never paid attention

Harder now to cut
Than if I’d just kept it up
Requiring a few passes
To make it presentable

Me with the lawnmower
Frustrated with my lack of ease
Him with the weed whacker
Frustrated with his lack of vision

Then a neighbor
There with his lawn mower
“I thought I’d pitch in”
Beautiful words

Now two lawnmowers
One weed whacker
Getting it done

Two lawnmowers
And he took the hill

Two lawnmowers
And as I finished the front
He cleared a path out back
A path I rarely give attention to
A luxury

And as I mow
I replay the words
I thought I’d pitch in
Over and over
And think yes

That is exactly what helps
Not someone
To do it all
Just someone
To pitch in
Come alongside
Take the hill now and then

Let me know
I’m not alone
Let me know that
Hills can be conquered


God’s strength
Given to me
Sustaining me
Through months
Of pain
Sounds so nice
Sounds like something
To be thankful for

But I’m torn
I feel like someone
Crushed by a truck
Every limb broken
Barely breathing
And the paramedic comes
Gives oxygen that saves me
Oxygen so that I’m awake
Aware enough to know
All my limbs are broken
Aware enough to feel
All the pain, physical and mental
Aware enough to know
There is no promise of repaired bones
No promise of life gets better now
Just awareness and pain
Awake just for that

And I wonder
Why the oxygen
Why the strength
Why the rescue at all

It doesn’t seem nice
It doesn’t seem enough
And I can’t yet see this
As a mercy