The Prison Cells of Life

Dark and cold, dreary and grey

I have an image of a prison cell today.

It’s small and of stone, from ages past

Sometimes I stand there or lay there, my soul downcast.

How did I come to be here,

When I know I used to walk free?

I recall now giving in to resentment,

Holding the hand of un-forgiveness too long.

Till it weighed me down with bitterness,

Blinding me with hatred so I couldn’t see the dawn.

And instead of continuing my journey,

I walked into this road-side prison cell.

The longer I stay, the more shackled I can be,

To the chains of these evils that would destroy me.

But I remember days of freedom, I remember times of peace,

And I see as in a dream that I am capable of being free.

For the prison door stands wide open,

Its chains can be made weak.

I need only to take the hand of God,

In hope and faith, for love’s pure sake.

Then I can rise and leave that prison,

Walking out its open door,

Running into freedom’s light and love’s vision,

My life and joy restored.

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Losing Me

I don’t want to lose you

But I am out of control

Desperate and hopeless

Driven to madness and lost

I don’t want to lose me

But I am confused myself

Emotions drowning me

No orientation or footing

Words misconstrued

Words pulled out and forced

Words not said and reality lost

Misunderstanding of even myself

Confusion and hurt and loneliness

I am grasping for time

Or time is grasping for me

I need time, we need time

I don’t want to lose you

But I don’t want to lose me

The Garden of My Heart

 

Things in this life can take root in my heart.

The good and the bad are like seeds scattered by the wind.

Both come to lay on that rich soil of my heart,

Yet which ones are left to grow in my garden?

Which seeds do I nurture with attention of water and of sun?

Which seeds do I neglect and allow to be choked out by weeds?

The seeds of honesty, hope, and love have roots that go deep,

Flourishing into fruitful trees and honey-flowers of character-gravitas.

These take time and patience, attentive care and constant guard.

Seeds such as despair, hatred, and bitterness can be hard to distinguish.

They fall in my heart among the good and grow quickly and deceptively.

If left to take root in my heart, these weeds choke the good seed.

Yet if I tend my heart’s garden with my love and the love of God,

Together we can pull them up, making sure to dig deep,

To remove not just the weed above the ground,

But also all its evil roots below the surface.

Digging deep and pulling up can hurt something terrible,

But the gardener’s touch and pain is necessary for cultivating beauty,

For love and pain must go together, for a time at least.

If I would know love, I must know pain too.

This ground is not to be left empty, lest any remaining root of evil grow again.

The miracle of the garden, is that the soil is not barren and ruined,

Once again it can be rich, good seeds can take root and flourish where evil used to breed.

Pure seeds are watered and sunned, taking root and thriving free,

Into shade-giving trees of good-character and love, colorfully lush and creatively full,

Providing and protecting with fruits of patience and peace, kindness and joy.

Like rose bushes planted at the end of wine grape trellis’,

Wisdom grows strong as my heart’s garden hedges,

Its vibrant-colored roses giving warning,

When any evil seeds land in my heart’s garden,

Blown in on the winds of life.

I walk and live within this beautiful place, this peaceful soul,

The life-flourishing garden of my heart.

 

Wrestling with God

 

I find myself uncomfortable and I know I’m not at ease.

I recognize I’m fighting something, my stubbornness is apparent to me.

My efforts, my work, all the things I run around and do,

Don’t seem to accomplish much; there’s still always so much more to do.

Frustration has set in and I neglect to just be at peace,

Because I know what I truly want, yet I do things that don’t achieve them.

I’ve been trying to “be still”, to withdraw from busyness.

And I find that it is in my blood and nature and is hard to come off of.

I’m attracted to being busy, to doing it all on my own.

I’m fighting with myself and wrestling with God,

Like a cranky child only seeing that my blocks have fallen and I spilled my milk.

No…there is a reason for being still, there is a danger in staying busy…

I resign and simply surrender to God, realizing in my fits,

That wrestling with him is welcomed and he’ll participate,

But boy, it’s exhausting only for me and when I end up being still from tiredness anyways,

I see that either way God is at work for me and God always is.

 

Less Than an Atom

 

We are each really nothing, worth less than an atom…

Is what the man sitting across from me said…

From there, I heard everything he said

But began to witness someone trying to believe what he himself had discredited…

Man is so primitive,” he continued, “trained up and educated to hate and kill…”

The more he talked, the more horribly it fit together, it just did not connect,

Yet his words sounded familiar…I have heard them spoken and believed by others.

One remark had discredited all his other beliefs,

Even what he was trying to impress me with of his life…

His pictures of poor children he saw when visiting the Himalayas,

The theories and rational of his economic opinions he insisted on as truths,

Even up to his political assertions that lacked relativity,

Of no use for feeding the hungry people he was talking about – all talk.

Like an hourglass cracked and spilling out its sand…

It’s only a matter of seconds to see that all his other beliefs

Cannot be held together even by his own attempts.

Foolish, faulty, and contradictory is what came to my mind.

His passion behind his words, his emotional fervor and energy,

As he went on and on talking at me, rather than with me…

And no wonder…after all, we’re worth less than an atom, in his mind.

My few replies were never finished, he interrupted them all.

Until I finally managed to get out the words,

Why do you even care about all you just said so passionately?

About all the judgments you make and all that you think you know?

After all, according to you we all just amount to nothing…

You say we imagine God and create God as an idea,

As our own futile attempt to believe we mean something,

Our primitive nature to believe we’re special and there’s meaning to our life…

You have said all these things and that you believe that we’re worth less than an atom.”

Now, I respect differences and agree to disagree,

I may believe in God and you may not believe in God…

Yet where do you go with the belief that we’re worth nothing?

What devaluing of human life, what disregard for hope…

How embarrassing for this educated and traveled, lonely middle-aged man.

Just one belief, one principle, a thought or claim is all it takes…

For one to spout notions, to base one’s life and theories,

Into a foundation that is full of holes like a strainer…

It can hold no hope, no respect, no integrity or wisdom…

I felt deeply sad, looking at this man, seeing insecurity from deep inside he was trying to hide…

I felt tired, hearing his words go on and on in his self-battle of denial and desperate attempt to…

To not be lonely, to mean something…to mean something to someone.

And it dawned on me – I was looking into the face of the foolishness and ignorance that starts wars,

I was sitting across from the spirit of blinding hatred…

It disguises itself, even to its empty unknowing host, and wreaks genocide and death.

This is how it happened in the past, this is how it looks and sounds when it embodies,

This is how it can repeat itself and be carried out all over again…

 

Just One of those Days…

 

Have you ever had just one of those days?

Can you relate and know what I mean?

It’s like my body is fine, but my mind is fuzzy,

There’s a fog in my thoughts and heart.

No matter what I do, I don’t feel productive,

Instead, I feel hindered and frustrated on every front.

The littlest things start to irritate me,

Even just walking out on the street.

I mean, if people are going to stare,

Why don’t they at least smile?

When I have kids, remind me to teach them those manners.

And for God’s sake! I need an onion to make dinner,

But in Spain, no stores are open on Sundays.

Oh and what is that?

My rehearsal got changed to a different location,

Further away of course and now it’s starting to rain.

There goes lighting and thunder, which I love in a storm,

However I am not cozily in my apartment reading a book,

My emotions are in turmoil.

I’m moody, I’m tired, and I’m female…ahhh…that explains a lot…

I look back now on yesterday and I’m glad to see,

That there was still laughter, music and singing,

Hugs from friends and even gifts.

There was understanding and listening ears,

Patience and kind words, grace and authenticity.

I feel more okay now with having just one of those days.

Those days are just as important to teach and show us things,

That it’s good to laugh at myself and not take things so seriously,

That emotions are good and there to be felt and then let go of.

That gratitude and thankfulness is precious and powerful.

That I don’t always have to be happy and have it all together,

I need my bad days too.

The day will come to an end when I go to bed,

And I will wake up to a new day, a different day,

I can be grateful for the two.

 

Words, Words, Words…

I search my head and creative space,

Hoping to conjure up new ways to relate.

But words escape me, I’ve used them all before,

There’s nothing that new or inspirational any more.

“Use fewer” they say, “Too many words is too much.”

But then the picture is bland and ugly to touch.

And even the few words that I use,

They have no patience to hear…

How can they listen when they hardly see.

For words can combine like colors on a canvas,

To paint a story like a painting that never stops telling.

But I realize this, I must open my own eyes,

And remember that there are those who appreciate art

And those who keep on walking by.