Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Post Script as Preface

Just thinking some thoughts inspired by the previous poem that I wrote on Valentine's Day. Let me know if this preface to the poem is interesting to you.

Author's Preface:

The most prominent thought in my head when processing the words below was this: a piece loped violently off the side of the block may may glued back, forced back, or strapped back, but can never be put back. Or restored. Or replaced with equal strength.

It's gone.

The roots of my mind absorbed somewhere along the paths of life the idea that all souls are given a finite amount of substantive material. This may seem far too abstract to even be helpful. Let me explain. The fact that our brains retain information about the past creates an irreversible imprint of the past on the vast walls of our minds. These imprints range in style, size, shape and color from clean and beautiful to dirty, stained, violent and sorrowful. The imprints may be anywhere within the elements of our mind that form the practical impetus for living daily life (both conscious and unconscious); their location is variable. However, their existence is not.

These challenging conclusions about reality naturally bring the thoughtful reader to an emotional corollary: The energy, creativity, and time that we give to others out of love or hate, out of enjoyment or obligation, out of distinction or triviality are not recoverable. These scents cannot be rebottled once they have been wafted into the air and absorbed by others. The scents may affect other people; may move them to action in either positive or negative ways. Yet, they will, for eternity, no longer belong to you.

The most appropriate and visible stage for this scripted play of life is that of love. The romantic kind of love. The love that each seeks with all their heart whether consciously or unconsciously. The love that may always grow to twice the size once previously thought to be its limit.

The opening lines of the stage play read thus:

"Ladies and Gentlemen; what you are about to see is real. The names of the characters have *not* been changed and the innocent have *not* been protected.

Truly, those who give will not get back what was offered up in love. The pieces of their hearts that were given away were traded away forever.

But this is no bad thing.

It is, rather, a testament to the grand adventure of loving another soul.

Remember, however, that pieces of the past will always remain behind. Some will be more influential than others. Some will be more painful than others. One or two special pieces will eclipse many of the bad ones with the light of truth or goodness or beauty.

And this is the element of living that brings so much meaning. It is the weight of these experiences that form the identity of our character."

We cannot be cut off from the past. It remains, but it does not reign over the present.

I am thankful for that truth.

The block may never look the same with a chunk from the side missing. Some blocks are smaller with many pieces missing; some are larger and still rather cube-esque. But their shape has been honed, refined, and crafted into a form of infinite originality and value.

Valentine's Day

Yes, I *do* understand that Valentine's Day has come and gone; many times. I have previously posted this content on Facebook and I feel that this blog is the more appropriate medium for such expression. This is something that I wrote on Valentine's Day in the midst of some reflections about the past - for better or worse.

The preface for this piece of work is posted above.

Valentine's Day

To say with words would never do,

They all sound hollow, worn, and few.

But there's one thing that needs be said,

Just let it warm and speak anew.

With each and every moment spent,

The truth is that what you have meant,

To me is more'n I'll ever know,

The love ran deeper than you knew.

I loved each time we briefly met,

Time stood still and passed, we let

our hearts grow close then far away,

And our sun dimmed the light it threw.

Though the wounds may never heal,

The best of cuts faithfully seal,

With thanks I think of days gone past, 'cause

There'll never be another you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Writer's Regret | Writer's Reward

Much contemplation has led me once again to a realization. This realization is one at which I have arrived in the past as well; many times. Sometimes I consider this realization to be positive and beneficial. Other times, it seems a burden upon my soul and conscience. It is, however, a conspicuous splotch of color on the portrait of my life.

The truth is that I am prone to communicating the thoughts and passions of my heart with much greater effect to a piece of paper than to a real person. I find myself frequently speaking with no small amount of uncharacteristic candor to the bleached sheets of arborous fiber in my journals. This practice can be good and helpful – it can also take the place of building trust in relationships with other people. Perhaps, my worst offense has been setting down thoughts so private that they should have remained covered by secrecy and lost in time.

Yet, there has been great good born of this practice of mapping my mind and emotions through words on a page. Were it not for this practice, many a fine epiphany would have been lost at sea, many moments of lucidity would have remained clouded, many weavings of personally relative (*laughs*) eloquence would have remained tarnished and buried. There stands one last positive benefit derived from this practice; it is the most important and the most enduring prize. I have prayed with a pen in hand on countless occasions. I have bowed before my Maker as my hand recorded the cursive ellipses of my cries to Him. I have drawn closer to God than I had previously thought possible. It is a joy to reread the struggles, the triumphs, the confusions, and the apprehensions of truth that came about from these times of communion.

Thus, I am thankful for the freedom of the pen. May its movements be continually redeemed just like the movements of our lives.

* * *

I recently stumbled upon a prayer I wrote almost six years ago and thought that I would share it because I think it may actually be free of heresy ^_^ Six years was more than enough time for me to forget that this piece of writing existed and, as I was rereading the words, I found myself truly praying them back to God. This find provided some great perspective and reminded me of some important truths about our faith.

This is a verbatim duplication of what I wrote (pardon the...dust):

“Father, to you be the glory forever and ever, amen. You have created the world, your power and majesty extend throughout all reality – giving meaning, creating purpose, and providing hope to us imperfect souls on earth. I thank you that you have provided for me in your sovereignty and given me a place in your kingdom. Father, I praise you for how you care, not only for me, but for every person on this earth. You have created everything; nothing can match your glory or power and yet, you care for me. Though you hold this entire universe in the palm of your loving hand and can extinguish life with a wisp of your breath, you still sent your only Son to this dingy, grainy, humble planet – to die for our sins and to bring us instantaneous forgiveness for our iniquities.

Oh Lord, my God! When I consider all you have made and provided to me, a mere speck of dust sustained by your grace, my mind learns a new subject of incomprehension. I ask, “Why?!” Why me of little faith? Why me of slight strength? Why me of miniscule proportions? Father, why did you choose me?

Because of your grand, incomparable love, I stand in humble adoration and blissful awe at the great mystery of your salvation. Your forgiveness shines forth as a beacon on a hill, as a fire of impassioned liberty, piercing the cold hearts and minds of humanity with its soft, merciful rays of life – true life.

Father, I pray in this quiet moment that, as I consider the eternal ramifications of my faith and the immense temporal applicability, that I would be drawn anew to share in its brilliant vibrance. I pray that you would take my crusty, imperfect heart and continue to transform it into a heart like yours. Father...I pray in earnest sincerity to let your mind be in me; I pray from the depths of my being that Your light would shine through my life – thereby transforming my heart and the hearts of others on this earth.

Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Oh Lord, bless my efforts to draw near to you even as You draw near to me. Let me marvel in your grace, take comfort in your love, and believe with all my heart in your liberating hope. Amen.”

* * *

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Things Above

Questions for the soul, for the imagination: What is the proper context for five story ceilings supported by the most beautiful, sweeping arches and pillars? Or the most wonderful of smells? Or the warmest, most welcoming environment - as though the very air being inhaled filtered out any anxiety, tension, or anger held back inside? Or the surreal observance of lavish excess on display at every angle within the view of a sweep of one’s eyes? Or the visual assurance that this place may be the most stunning feat of architecture, artistic decoration, and love labor ever witnessed by a mortal?

A palace, you guess? Bland. A temple, for instance? Shallow. A mine of diamonds, correct? Dirty by comparison.

Indeed, such a context would only be fitting for a place of the utmost imagination, the most eloquent of all expression, and the housing of the most central displays of character, independence, and wisdom known to any mortal: the highest pinnacle of literary pursuits, a library. A library? Indeed, could there be anything of such immense value and importance in a library? Quite so. But even more so in:

The Library of Heaven.

You are hereby freed to let your imagination work, and required to visualize with all your senses, the noble and truly awe-inspiring halls of writing and literature within the eternal realm.

A Dot, A Line, Eternal Time

I wound my way along the streets,

Of golden stones and ruby dust,

Up to a place of treasures sweet,

Preserved from foul moth and rust.

The storehouse doors rose stories tall,

And were engraved with detail fine,

They opened to reveal a wall,

Decked with splendor, only Thine.

I stepped into the colossus grand,

And stood transfixed with heightened awe,

A living silence swirled like sand,

Amongst the pillars, tall, I saw.

Columns stood in lines before me,

Upheld by time and fine as gold,

Their countless shelves a sight to see,

Rich as the books they’ll always hold.

With every step, an echo pealed,

Along the marbled hallways wide,

The sounds were like a heart been healed,

They skipped and danced from side to side.

Then down I turned one aisle fair,

And gazed in wonder what I saw,

Countless volumes resting there,

Upon the shelves of diamond awe.

I drew one volume from its place,

To rest within unworthy hands,

A scent of heaven rose with grace,

As my eyes traced its golden bands.

I thought the book almost alive,

Its glow was shining vibrantly,

It begged the reader’s gaze arrive,

And learn its truths consistently.

Then I dared to lift the cover,

Its glory took my breath away,

The words were deep and like none other,

They came in fresh like Summers’ Day.

Then as I read this ancient tome,

My thoughts traversed a new direction,

This place, the countless volumes’ home,

Was only Heaven’s reference section…

Friday, January 15, 2010


To Be

Who am I, asks the prophet.

Who am I, asks the priest,

Who am I, asks the poor bum on the street.

Who am I.

My name is who I need to be,

I call myself differently,

Depending on necessity,

I could be like anybody.

I change to the color I see,

Each hue a possibility,

The same is me differently,

My name is who I need to be...

Who are you? What things do you do and what thoughts to you think that would write the Webster's definition of You? How do you face the tests of the short term? The trials of the long term? What gives you hope?

Identity: Conscious and intentional personal character.

I've often reflected on the question of personal identity instigated by the outcomes of various events in my life. It's natural and even expected, I think, that many thinkers in my peer group are asking themselves the same questions. A fact that may be even more startling is that the question of identity is being asked with all due respect to the power of the potential answers. The question of identity has once again gained enough clout and report to be considered both a legitimate and a healthy pursuit for each individual. It is thus crucial that the answer each one of us gives to the questions that challenge the presuppositions about our very existence and purpose must be thoughtful, careful, and weighty.

The fact is that so many in my generation have both seen the scars and been scarred themselves by the answers to the question of identity that remained satisfied with the superficial. It was right for previous generations to pick up the shovel to dig deeper, but instead of searching for buried treasure, they dug themselves a shallow grave; empty of meaning, with only enough room for themselves. In search of meaning, those who walked before us were turned too easily aside by the bright lights of broadway, and the shiny currency of materialism. Sadly, the realities of their journeys set over them a mortal pale that stole their imagination and erased their memory of the beginning of their journey. It was thus, unprofitable to cast aside the whits of their minds – it did not lighten the load, and it did not bring new insight. Instead, innovation, and progress became mired in the muck of the roadside on their way to the banquet of shining precedent.

Do not do likewise, dear ones.

Rather, search and do not be finished until you find. Seek, and do not become satisfied with a comfortable substitute. The question of identity cannot be answered with mediocrity. Identity is not and cannot be a formula, just as the painter's single brushstroke cannot be a painting. Rather, let the application of effort, and the repetition of those things that we know to be virtuous, of merit, and charitable, bring to you the apprehension of the picture of identity. Personal identity, the question of ones intentional character, is not merely an event, but a collection of inspired and thoughtful instances of fusing that which good for you and good for others, of melding that which is true and that which is beautiful, and of learning the discipline of choosing what is hard because it is more beneficial than what is easy.

Identity is thus not the desire to start running, but the crafted form assumed by the runner as he competes; he has taken action, and runs with intentional determination knowing that identity is not found by at the very beginning but is realized and refined as the practice of running unfolds.

So to you, thoughtful reader: are you willing to be uncomfortable and dig deep? Or are you content to lie in a shallow grave?