Sunday, September 21, 2014

Welcome Fall

“But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”

-Stephen King

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Learning to Love Again



I have a confession. I have been walking in ever increasing darkness for the past 14 years. I just couldn't find a way out and the joy in my life got dimmer and dimmer as the blackness grew.

I remember the day I stopped loving myself. I was 30 years old and I was sitting on the front porch in Seattle with a friend and I said, "I don't know what is happening to me but I don't like the person am becoming". I realize now that I was not taking care of myself mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually and I was allowing negativity and cynicism to seep into my heart and my mind.

God has loved me back and, as strange as it may seem, he used a woman to do it.

I met Amy almost exactly one year ago at a mid-week Bible study. I came hating myself, hating God and hating just about everyone else as well. I was so sad, so lost, so alone and so depressed. For some reason the day I met Amy was the first light I had seen in a long time. And it kept me coming back to Bible study week after week.

Even though we weren't dating, God continued to grow my love for her and that love became a light and a hope that helped carry me through the first holiday season I have spent alone in 20 years.

When we started dating after the first of the year God absolutely used Amy and the love He planted in my heart to pull me out of an unimaginably dark and destructive personal situation.

God used Amy and the love that he continued to grow in my heart for her to show me that I needed to put boundaries on my relationships with other people.

God used Amy and the love he continued to grow in my heart for her to show me that some of my desire for personal space was just a form of running and hiding (I'm not sure what I was running or hiding from - I think I was running and hiding from God, myself and love).

Amy and I are no longer dating and that's okay.

Even so, God is still using Amy to show me that if I want to love her or someone like her more, I have to love God more and I have to love myself more.

I see now what I started to have an inkling of 14 years ago . . . I have allowed myself to become mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually sick.

Yes, there have been hard times in my life in the past few years but that's not what has made me sick. That's like saying when you drink too much its the nausea that causes you to throw up. Its not the nausea - its the poison you put in your body.

I have unwittingly allowed poison to creep into my heart, mind, soul and yes, body.

I have felt a peace creep over me the past few days and when I woke in the middle of the night tonight I realized like a revelation that my love for a woman who I am no longer dating has caused me to love myself and God again.

God planted a tiny shimmering seed of hope in my heart the day I met Amy and he has been using my love for this amazing woman this entire past year to draw me back to himself.

I am finally resolved to allow God to heal me mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Piece by piece I am going to listen to His prompting and what he wants for me and I am going to live the life of joy I once had because I am going to go back to doing what he created me for.

My relationship with Amy this past year has made me a better man, and better father, a better friend and a better lover. I get it now. I feel like I finally know how to love again: love God, love myself and love those dear to me. I have found a glimmer of peace and joy again and I believe that peace and joy will continue to grow as I better follow him and his promptings for me.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. My dear, sweet Amy. It may have been God who saved me but my love for you is the way he did it.

With all my heart.

m

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Lower Chesapeake Bay

by Maxine Kumin

Whatever happened to the cross-chest carry,
the head carry, the hair carry,

the tired-swimmer-put-your-hands-on-my-shoulders-
and-look-in-my-eyes retrieval, and what

became of the stride jump when you leap
from impossible heights and land with your head

above water so that you never lose sight
of your drowning person, or if he is close enough, where

is the lifesaver ring attached to a rope
you can hurl at your quarry, then haul

him to safety, or as a last resort
where is the dock onto which you tug

the unconscious soul, place him facedown,
clear his mouth, straddle his legs and press

with your hands on both sides of his rib cage
to the rhythm of out goes the bad air in

comes the good and pray he will breathe,
hallowed methods we practiced over and over

the summer I turned eighteen to win
my Water Safety Instructor's badge

and where is the boy from Ephrata, PA
I made out with night after night in the lee

of the rotting boathouse at a small dank camp
on the lower Chesapeake Bay?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sweet Time

by Leonard Cohen

How sweet time feels
when it’s too late

and you don’t have to follow
her swinging hips

all the way into
your dying imagination

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Solitude

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it's mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Please Remember Me



"The Trapeze Swinger"

Please remember me, happily
By the rosebush laughing
With bruises on my chin, the time when
We counted every black car passing

Your house beneath the hill and up until
Someone caught us in the kitchen
With maps, a mountain range, a piggy bank
A vision too removed to mention

But please remember me, fondly
I heard from someone you're still pretty
And then they went on to say that the Pearly Gates
Had some eloquent graffiti

Like 'We'll meet again' and 'Fuck the man'
And 'Tell my mother not to worry'
And angels with their great handshakes
But always done in such a hurry

And please remember me, at Halloween
Making fools of all the neighbors
Our faces painted white, by midnight
We'd forgotten one another

And when the morning came I was ashamed
Only now it seems so silly
That season left the world and then returned
And now you're lit up by the city

So please remember me, mistakenly
In the window of the tallest tower
Call, then pass us by but much too high
To see the empty road at happy hour

Gleam and resonate just like the gates
Around the Holy Kingdom
With words like, 'Lost and found' and 'Don't look down'
And 'Someone save temptation'

And please remember me as in the dream
We had as rug burned babies
Among the fallen trees and fast asleep
Beside the lions and the ladies

That called you what you like and even might
Give a gift for your behavior
A fleeting chance to see a trapeze
Swinger high as any savior

But please remember me, my misery
And how it lost me all I wanted
Those dogs that love the rain and chasing trains
The colored birds above there running

In circles round the well and where it spells
On the wall behind St. Peter
So bright on cinder gray in spray paint
'Who the hell can see forever?'

And please remember me, seldomly
In the car behind the carnival
My hand between your knees, you turn from me
And said the trapeze act was wonderful

But never meant to last, the clowns that passed
Saw me just come up with anger
When it filled with circus dogs, the parking lot
Had an element of danger

So please remember me, finally
And all my uphill clawing
My dear, but if I make the Pearly Gates
I'll do my best to make a drawing

Of God and Lucifer, a boy and girl
An angel kissin' on a sinner
A monkey and a man, a marching band
All around the frightened trapeze swinger