Boring

Seasons of strife, fear, and doubt

come to everyone,

When twisters touch down, the lightning

is close, invisible is the sun.

Kindnesses scarce, love seems run dry,

and time is your nemesis,

backs on you are turned,

little you’ve learned,

but bear hurt and malice.

Shoved to the wall,

destruction will call,

magnet to death’s very door;

your mind you have found

unstable goes ’round,

so much pain in store.

The time when it’s past,

you hope it will last,

and let you recharge like you should,

and the thing you say, at the end of the day,

“I am boring, and boring is good.”

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Breathe

Murmurs can’t pierce dead ears,

autumn’s foliage  dead eyes,

dead lips can’t taste saline tears,

dead hearts can’t utter cries.

A Word, a Breath, animates a soul,

life,  light fill to the brim;

you breathe, for now, you are whole,

can love on a whim.

Week 12 – The Only Way

The Whisper of God

Image result for picture of a long path

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6

Truth be told, I struggled with this verse for much of my Christian life. Until I actually opened up the Bible and began to read and study it for myself. It was then that the truths and concepts I had always heard about in church came into focus and the lines no longer blurred together. With knowledge of God’s word comes clarity, strength, and courage about His ways.  I was no longer willing and vulnerable to the watered down version of living that the world was trying to pour into me.

I know this verse can be controversial, even among Christians, and can seem exclusive, but I think these eighteen words Jesus spoke so long ago are the axis on which everything else spins. In the Greek, the article “the”…

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Expressing Gratitude

There is a shortage of words,

rations are severe,

they tell me.

I reached into the Cloud-

empty, and my eyes were blind

from its mist for awhile-

even every crack in the sidewalk

explored, dandelions seeds

having fled to far off

neighborhoods,

counties, towns, states.

So  my austere  words are simply

“Thank you, God”.

A Kindness

Reach, palm to palm,

kindness threads

through my tongue-

A spoken word,

gaiety inserted;

yet is there unconscious judgment

of the receivers

value?

Do niceties rise out of

the expansive, self-righteousness

of my

inner caste system?

Testimony

Darkness was my guide,

behind a book, I’d hide.

Blind to beauty others saw,

deaf to music in crow’s caw.

 

Then one day He came near,

a light turned on so clear.

Felt radiant, full of joy,

until with sin, I would toy.

 

Quickly ran astray,

away from the light of day.

I thought romance was my chance,

flirted with lusts and decadence.

 

Went to magic, darker arts.

demonic studies played the part

of witches, superstitions call,

into selfish living I would fall.

 

Before my last year of high school,

asked forgiveness for being a fool.

Felt quiet joy in my heart,

but a storm of thoughts would start.

 

Cyclone thoughts and images filled my mind,

hope left, despair would bind.

Raw heart, white-hot burned,

no corner could be turned.

 

Life on superficial,

enemies I would wish ill-

confusion in the empty mind,

truth elusive to find.

 

Music buoyed me up,

self-hatred filled my cup.

Years of despair, cold, and lust,

my faith collecting so much dust.

 

Committed outside faith,

a ghostly walking wraith.

So much rage and sin desires,

with a coldly blazing fire.

 

Tried to work my salvation out,

constantly plagued with doubt.

No victory over sin,

puppetmaster deep within.

 

Hope would come, gently call,

would make a start, then quickly fall.

Struggled with my foolish pride,

unforgiveness festered inside.

 

Unstable to those around,

my footing never seemed found.

Chase unbelief, and fall,

back into the devil’s thrall.

 

Seek Him once again,

with those I love, family, friends.

Through explosions path led many astray,

some my children, to this day.

Balance

There is that walk,

Barefoot, one foot crosses over,

Lands with precision, soundless as snowfall;

Taut tightrope.

Transparency without familiarity,

Kindness without cause,

Dancing without disrespect,

Acceptance without compromise.

 

Annaleise, Part 3

Annaleise curled up in a fetal position on her hospital bed.  The flourescent light from the overhead light threw shadows everywhere.  Trembling.  Still trembling.  A few hours after lunch, and four after medicine, another one.  They had increased her dose, and it had still happened.  The screaming obscenities, the dark waves washing over here.  It was a wonder she could talk to the nurses, with all that noise, and all the circles rushing at her.

About a half hour before, it had receded a quickly as it had overtaken her earlier.  Could’t sleep.  Couldn’t eat.  Too many people’s eyes.

The mysterious retreat was welcome, but the coldness in her stomach hadn’t abated.

God hates me, I am broken.

An open Bible in front of her.  She had selected a random page.  Somewhere in Peter.  She hadn’t read anything yet.  Worried the pages would cause it again.

God, please help, please help, please…

She closed her eyes.  Tired.  A random thought in her head,

I should look at what Sam dropped off.

Her husband had tried to visit earlier, but a conversation had been impossible.  Opening her eyes, she saw the gift bag on the night stand next to her.  She reached for it, sitting up and pretzel crossing her legs.  She removed the tissue paper on top, and pulled the first item out.  Pink, fleece pajamas.  The second item was a book.  She pulled it out and examined the cover. Victory Over the Darkness.   It was actually one she had read before, years back, but had not remembered much about.  She set it on the bed, and went into the bathroom to change into her pajamas.  Emerging from the bathroom, she padded to the bed, the still opened Bible on the bed, the book near it.

She opened the book to the first page.  The first sentence was “Who are you?”

A strange, subtle stirring moved in her heart.  Slowly at first, she read down the first page. The reading picked up speed as she read further and further through.  She was startled when the first chapter became chapter two.  Digesting the words came slower than reading them.

I am not….

Her eyes fell on the Bible she had left there, and the lines on the page seemed to be in bold, and she felt them cut through to her heart,

“But you are a chosen people, a holy priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9, NIV version)

I am…God’s.  He. Chose. Me.

It. Is. Grace.

Still, I am broken, my mind is broken…

A new, clear thought rose, almost painful in it’s suddeness.

I am not…

my sickness.

I have sickness….

it is not who I am.

She wasn’t sure how long she would feel it, but a soft peace, a balm over her raw mind and heart, and a lifting of tenacious darkness inside.

Everything would not be perfect, but she was Jesus’.

For now that was enough.

Part 2, Annaleise

Pale sunlight fell on and filtered through gritty eyelids.  The pounding headache made itself known abruptly, and the feeling of a membrane having been stripped from her brain.  Everything was terrible, but quiet.

Quiet.  The  tsunami thoughts were much slower, fainter.

“Thank you, God.”  She whispered.  It was done.  She was awake, alive, and her mind hadn’t drowned.  The liquid, warm gratitude was quickly replaced by cold fear.  It would come again.  It always did.  “Please, God, no.  Please.”  the whisper was quiet in the white, basic room.  The mid-morning sunlight softened the starkness of all the white.  White sheet, white blanket, white gel-like pillow.

I should go back to sleep.  Then I won’t be awake if it happens again, with the dark cloud, and her far away self.  I could lose control, I could do something bad.  Need to sleep.

She tried to get her eyes to obey, but cold alertness persisted.  Finally, throwing off her half-folded pillow, she threw her legs to the side.  There was no memory of the nurse coming in for her early morning vitals.  Maybe they had left her alone?  For hours into the night, she had struggled.  They must have figured she needed sleep.

Rising, she shoved her feet into oversized, soft slippers, and did the morning shower and routine.  Her eyes were just eyes in the mirror, not the floating circles.  There were dry flakes around her nose and on her forehead from the hospital soap.  When she came in, they had even taken her facewash, because it held some remote risk of a suicide attempt.

 

The breakfast room had only one lone patient, a thin, medium height black man named Slate.  Most of his tray looked devoured, but he was sipping grits.

“Coming out to see us,”  His teeth were perfect as he smiled.  “First group going to start soon.   Might want to hurry and eat.”  He nodded toward a tray across the table from him.

Annaleise slid into the chair across from him.

“Don’t worry.”  He smiled again. “Today is gonna be a good day.  The Lord is here, and everything we need is taken care of.”  He winked.  “Don’t forget that.  His grace is sufficient.”

A nurse had appeared in the entrance to the breakfast room.

“Group time.”  The voice exiting her was sweet and pleasant, but the face was expressionless.  “Oh, you can finish first, sweetie”, she said as Annaleise started to put the cover on her plate, “Come in when you are done”.

Slate rose, letting a hearty whistle start.  He took his tray to the stainless steel meal holder, then disappeared around the corner.

A flicker of a smile turned up the corners of her mouth as the whistle persisted.  He seemed so normal.  He hadn’t really volunteered much in groups and goals what was wrong with him.  It was completely optional.  So much faith.

The smile fell abruptly.

“God, are you still with me?  The stuff that happens to me seems so demonic, and your Spirit can’t dwell with demons.  Are you here?  Am I your child?”

There was a quiet emptiness that started to blossom in her.  She was defective, her brain was useless.  She was worth nothing to God, and she couldn’t really be God’s child.  She was nothing but an OCD brain.  It was who she was, and she would never be useful.  Her wiring would destroy her crediblilty.  Crazy, a bunch of frayed wires…

 

 

Annaleise, Part 1

Anneliese Kimberly Ryan wasn’t sure if she was awake or asleep.   A vague sense of her brain suctioning in reality, distorting stark white walls, scuffed checked floors, a white, checkered ceiling.  It was coming at her.  Everyone’s eyes were too circled.  The circles stood out, and if she closed her eyes, they were burned into her minds eye.  So many circles in everything!  Her pale blue eyes sought out, and found, circles in lights, lines and curves and circles.  Everything had them!

Echoing, harsh thoughts that came shouted obscenities, after images of people around her, eyeless.  Some of the nurses wore animal print scrubs, others had cats.

“Anneliese.  Anneliese.”  a hand on her shoulder.

Had to resist the thoughts, but will was trampled, lifeless.  So cold in her belly.

“Take this,”  the faint voice, and she saw a pill.  She plopped it in her mouth.  Now, she could sleep.  Water would be nice.  Another storm of obscenities toppled anything upright in her mind.  “Keep your tongue in your mouth.  Stop.  Now, lay down. ”

Yes, she would lay down.  Needed to sleep, to get away from the thoughts.  Needed to exert some of her own voice, and mouth it, so she would know it was hers.  4,8,12,16, 20, 24, 28….

4’s weren’t round, the-

Darkness.