I AM…

Truth revealed through a tender heart
The hands shaping wounds into works of art
Eyes that see beauty in the deepest of flaws
Who gives hope to every hopeless cause
Foundation when everything trembles around
What lifts your spirit when you’ve lost ground
The Rock of Ages in your sinking sands
A quiet still voice against the world’s demands
Maker of ways when there’s no way out
Reason for believing when filled with doubt
The light of salvation when you’ve given up
The end of thirst when you drink from my cup
Everything good beneath your broken view
Love, the Creator, and I dwell within you

This is more than a declaration of my spiritual beliefs. Each statement above represents each individual’s capacity to receive and give and BE love. There is a way to convey truth that isn’t harmful, threatening or hurtful in its delivery and intent. While some express an ease in living in denial or ignorance; this perspective is disingenuous to one’s true being. Truth isn’t always welcome, and it often travels on airs of subjectivity, causing the hearer to tune out. However, whether the hearer is someone else or you, learning to deliver and receive and BE truth is necessary to realizing a life of integrity.

Everyone is wounded. Everyone has hidden parts. Often, we sacrifice the fullness of life by constantly licking those wounds or hiding behind those secret places of hurt and insecurity. Overcoming isn’t about ignoring or forgetting; it’s about learning, reshaping and offering a testimony. What good is any pain if you do not grow from it? What good are your past experiences, if they are not used to help others going through similar trials? The key word being “good”… what “good” can come of the bad you’ve known?

Love is blind. No, it is not! Love sees all, and accepts all for what it is. Yes, we want the best for and of ourselves and those we care about… some of us even want the best for and of the world at large. But let’s be honest, nothing in this life is perfect (whatever perfect means). Criticism reigns within and without on so many levels, as this world dictates a clone mentality… look like this… think like that… measure your being up against the skew of a few. Beautiful is what makes you – YOU. What makes you special… physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually… is that which defines your unique contribution to the universe. Sameness is like listening to an orchestra and hearing only one note.

Who or what is your “go to” when you feel defeated? They say misery loves company. Well, I know nothing draws out darkness like light; it draws it and drowns it with hope and stability, pouring out a reassurance which lets you know that you will survive the sinking ship. Some are blessed to have others in their lives who serve as a rock; others are blessed to be that rock; and, many can only find the source of comfort they need beyond humanity’s angels. If you don’t have a source of uplifting… reach out, because there is ALWAYS someone willing to share joy with another’s heart.

Be still my aching heart. There is holiness in being still, in bringing peace to all the beating impulses of the mind and body. We often want to run, act, react, force, move, control… and in those desires, we lose our center. Rashness and anxiousness take over and master our wills and senses as we stand in defensiveness against the world. But in the stillness… in the calm… in the meditation… in the prayer… in the soothing whisper of a loved one, we can regain composure, perspective and presence. We must remember to carry a stillness within to balance the chaos among us.

Some believe in karma, while others see no consequence. Some believe everything happens for a reason, while others believe in chance. Some believe in free will, while others believe in destiny. Some believe in judgment. Some believe in nothing at all. Most, I think, believe in some combination of these. My faith rests in the guidance and protection of my God, Yahweh, while others define the Creator in other ways, if they, in fact, believe in a Creator. Even for the non-spiritual, however, there has to be a driving force internally or externally which prods one to persevere. Perhaps it is the human condition for them. I know, for me, too many miracles have occurred… too many paths have been uncovered… too many chances have been bestowed… too many tragedies have been survived… too many endings have been avoided… and too many unimaginable blessings have adorned my life for me to not believe in something greater than myself… greater than humanity… greater than this world.

This world confines, speaks doubt and negativity, and finds ways to extinguish the spirit of innocence and altruism. And yet, here we are. You and I, he and she, us and them… constantly fighting to reveal something beautiful, engaging, inspiring, and evolving… something so much more than what exists on the surface of existence. In as much as God is here for me, I am here for you, and you are here for someone else. We are all capable of leading someone else somewhere better; and, through the process, will find ourselves improved.

Everlasting life in His cup… the salvation of His sacrifice… the goodness He creates from our falls and failures… yes, these are my beliefs… my mantras… my “self-talk.” How similar or dissimilar these are from other faiths, I do not know. I do know that LOVE in and of itself is life giving. I do know that sharing LOVE with others is contagious and has brought many souls out of isolation and suffering. I do know that LOVE has seen through the dark, ugly and hateful, and has transformed hardened hearts and vexatious minds into completely new spirits of joy and abundance. I do know the power of LOVE… in God… in myself… and in you.

Challenge for Growth Prompt #5: I Am Love

Holding Composition

The Unknown Righteous_Jerusalem Square of Remembrance

Resurrected bits and pieces resist the crumble,

while vices mumble in these halls, leaning

hard against these walls.

And though I’m home,

I feel alone,

listening for answers my heart can’t hold.

These scenes aren’t foreign,

but I am…

not fitting this skin I’m held in;

needing new form and parcel

for this breath of partial

blowing through my frame.

Reaching for fulfilled me,

tripping over empty;

vacant lots where impressions stayed.

Wanting Him to have His way, while

salted sores impose delay;

how can I rinse away these stains

from nature’s stone?

On my own, fighting in faith,

as demolitions swing their fates;

this foundation feels the quake

… something is lost.

But for the cause, I stay awake,

vigilant for watching’s sake; a

lighthouse beaming hopeful refuge

through these eyes.

Unwelcome spies casting shades,

by this prayer eclipses fade;

flailing forms dissipate as dawn comes nigh.

Structure abides for one more ride,

but I confess this space confines

and, with it, time defies me;

pinching corners in the sphere

of my timeless here.

I just want to be –

without then or there or them or he…

free of now’s dichotomy.

Newness in a soul’s rebirth,

dropped face down in yester’s dearth;

how the pressure closes in on will.

And still, I am the pillar rising high,

holding form and sowing life, while

all the holes beneath the worth

keep me tethered to sinking earth.

Waking

Waking Image

Step by step, I’m taken
Pulled deeper into awaken
Would’ve slept sounder had I known I’d rise to this.

Without remiss, I own the barter
Served the sentence for the charter
Becoming new, I’ve grown to breathe inside the bliss.

To feel the bursting open
To hear what’s never spoken
With every sigh, I serve the universe my kiss.

Letting go and taking in
As it all gathers within
With certainty, my eyes now pierce the groggy mist.

Unfathomed warmth surrounds
While I chill upon these grounds
Amidst the noise, my heart’s bound to the cosmic hiss.

Thank you Lord for the stirring
Every stretch in this emerging
Dawning way, stay my will at high noon’s tryst.

This Labor

Heart to the grindstone…
There’s no void to fill,
only the struggle of human will.
Levitation is heavy in this
soul-dropping plane of existence.
Beyond any repentance –
the unforgiving gavel of
the daily unravel.
Sizing up situations with the
skins I tailor:
dressing down victories and
dressing up failures, but these
shoes never change.
The tread is long and light.
I wear this fight
in the ease of my stride, while the
bleed of my tears tell me
I’m still alive.
From the gritty beginnings, to the
forums of scholars; from
praying for ends, to the
giving of dollars; from the
shelter of nana and her teachings
of Zion, to the
innocence of love lost in the
dens of the lions…
This rounding out of “here”
drives my spirit to “there” and
I feel, but don’t flinch anymore.
What’s more, my falls don’t sink,
even when death seems like
more than a blink –
I linger in the quiet place,
‘til rise reintroduces itself by grace.
I work hard at this balance;
this artful toil of being present
where my body belongs, but
the rest of me doesn’t.
Lowly peasant teetering
beneath this diadem of glory;
like Hephzibah’s story –
Desolate form lost in this world;
evoking a light only God can unfurl.
Wielding His beacon, as darkness I roam;
this labor of life paves the way to my home.

In response to Dungeon Prompts: Hard Work, What Does It Mean To You?

To me… physical labor, service to others, motherhood, spiritual growth, career development, and living with integrity… are all necessary, valuable, “doable” elements of life. And by “doable” I mean… very manageable for me, without too much difficulty, given my natural inclinations toward each area. The “hard work” comes in when one must balance everything meaningful to one’s life without cracking under the pressure and breaking into pieces of uselessness that no one else can be held accountable for because… well… all the pressure came from myself; my own desire to excel at everything and let no one down. We measure ourselves constantly… in our minds, in our circles, in our societies. We size up our intellect, cleverness, humor, brawn, adeptness, victories, failures, likability, uniqueness, sameness, and so on. Even the lazy have a slothful scale of comparison. No matter how much or how little you do; how much or how little you have; and how much or how little you care, I believe life is contextually challenging. Life itself is the hard work; the adding and subtracting of the relevance and impact of experiences and circumstances through the tunnel vision of human eyes. And for those of us who relish in spiritual elevation; life is all the more intense, but in a peacefully centered way. I have been fortunate enough to walk down many trails in this lifetime. The culmination of societal extremes rests squarely in my mind’s eye and my heart’s understanding; and I would be a lesser person if I didn’t embrace this blessing. So, while I do complain often about the injustice within my bubble… it is only dust babbling. My soul can’t count high enough to tally all the good I have known. I am ever grateful for this labor of life.

The Struggle

How troubles find me in these fields
wrapped in petals, among smothering weeds
Deeply inhaling fresh damp earth, as I
dig deeper to sow these seeds

Like freckles lost in newborn skin,
each blemish quaintly smoothed
This face reflecting every end –
A profile still unmoved

Knowing all a heart can know,
yet seeking so much more
Praying for death as I chase new life
Self-abandoned for the One I adore

Holding steady to a centered peace
while I heel-toe on the ledge
Begging for a safe reprieve, as I’m
drawn closer to the edge

So much lies within these walls
where windows threaten to shatter
Taking cover amid hallowed halls
to escape the earthly chatter

Sirens call out with their charms,
flickering moth to flame
Darkness woos with candied tongue
Now, thoughts are dipped in shame

Herein lies the shifting lever
to this tug-of-war inside
Can compromise buy out my fervor
and gently cloak these eyes?

There is no price that can be paid
to resurrect the Light
But treasures bartered in the lay
intensify the fight

Steadfast is the soul’s one cry
while dust drifts towards the sea
The sun and moon in this spirit lie;
my struggle with humanity

Amen

Amen.
I start with the end
because it is the only known
in a reality blown to pieces
by shades of gray explosives
planted by the pretty faces,
strong arms and warm embraces
of false prophets with the dirtiest of hearts
in the purest of places.
If I’ve found a resting place,
then I’ve lost it – my grip on what this is.
Chalky blue skies whisper life’s secrets
as told by the stranded children
of a forsaken Lord,
leading generations of non-believers
down paths of misfit tragedy.
Yes – if I’ve found a resting place,
I have been misled.
For I am not my Father’s miss-gotten child,
and in this foreign land
amidst the back-stabbing nature of man;
I must not tarry.
Diligent is my soul,
harnessed with irreparable spirit that
stares blaringly into the eyes of the wicked,
not with a beseeching plea for reciprocity,
but with an inescapable love
and spine-bending tenderness.
Still, no less …
my compassion and understanding are
deftly limited by my
humanness –
my inability to Know God
in my inherited affliction known as
original sin.
Here’s the bind I’m in:
charged at birth with past, present and future
crimes
of the flesh, heart and clouded mind;
I face a darkness the sun’s brightest rays
cannot lighten.
Even enlightened,
I fall short of His righteousness.
But knee-deep in His grace,
I navigate the abysmal conditions of
a race gone mad
– called humanity.
And in spite of its insanity,
I break loose its chains,
letting the blood of Yahweh’s brow
run eternally in my veins,
so through the Lamb’s pure stains
I can see the spark of hope that reigns from
Heaven,
which is my home.
Thank God His path is known.
For I must end up where I started
as the Holy Spirit’s beloved departed,
bringing death unto the dead
and walking new into my stead
with my Dear Heavenly Father.

Thanksgiving

Not a day,
but a way of life
centered on You

No feast greater than
the filling up our Creator has
placed at my table

But for You,
I was never able to overcome,
persevere, survive… See

Mind never
quite where it needs to be
because I’m human

Thus, eyes You’ve sewn
in this heart – Your part;
Master’s giving tree

Eternally praying it forward,
loving how You love me,
and I can’t help but share it

Spared it at times,
as recovery takes time
from the hands of man

Pain is fleeting;
not this beating of Truth, though
Your embrace never dies

Never too wise,
compromise binds the fragile spirit
veiled with flesh and ignorance

Still, where this soul fails,
Your faithfulness prevails
and – if nothing more –

All of my being
knows
to whom it shall give thanks