2. No llora por haberle amor llagado,“Otras canciones a lo divino de Cristo y el alma”
que no le pena verse así afligido,
aunque en el corazón está herido;
mas llora por pensar que está olvidado.
Running down the path
snow swirls and twirls in the wind.
As we laugh and smile
broken pieces shift in me:
heart beats in time with my feet
Found Word Quadrille
An interesting prompt was put out this week in the poets pub. The prompt was to put together a poem with the first lines of the first poems of each month of 2022. I had a rough 2022, so I was unable to pull that one off, but I did use it as inspiration to take the first 44 words of the last 44 poems I put onto m\y blog. With a little rearranging, here is a quadrille written with the first words of the last 44 poems I wrote. It is a bit clunky, but it was a fun experiment. I also started too many blessing haikus with the word “may.” Those mays were a nightmare to work into the structure while making sense.
Objectively, May The Broken Friend Like What Some May Like? May The Homeless? May We? Like Problematic Broken Innkeeper May Softly Break, We May Perish. May Spring’s Crabapple Poison? May Ramen Treading? I tumbled. I Lace when I may. Oh Jesus may… Shalom may?
Some friends recently blessed me with a rock tumbler. Although it seems strange, it was quite thoughtful. I wander around in the wilderness often these days. You do not need a full wallet to enjoy the forest. You do not need a credit card to walk on stone covered beaches. Living in a space with gorges and wilderness means there are plenty of places to search for rocks.
Today the first stage of tumbling came to an end: rocks gathered on New Year’s have spent a week tumbling together through the new possibilities. I have checked on them as they tumbled through the days: rotating over and over, first visible but then swallowed in the slurry of grit and water. In time, even bits of themselves joined in the chaotic tumbling. Washed, dried, and looked over, each rock is the same yet different. With reluctance, they are tumbling again with finer grit. There is a lot of tumbling in their future.
I sympathize with a rock for the first time in my life. I journey in shoes that have walked down long roads. My feet have grown calloused only through painful blisters and my legs have known spasming muscles waking me from the deepest slumber. My heart and soul have wounds to match as the days have not been nearly as beautiful as I once imagined. There are pieces of me that I will never have back and there are edges rounded off of my heart through night after night of tumbling through life’s grit-filled wasteland. Aye, there is beauty, but that beauty has come at a great cost.
Tumbled and jostled
through the dark days and cold nights
as life grinds it all
Spring’s heart glows above
as a wintry heart withdraws
as cold bones draw strength:
glacial wings swaddle shoulders
lifting burdens birthed in ice
Pokéjoke: Gotta make ‘em all
shellfish are adaptable
so do be careful
“The Wild Woods”
As January dawns, the year behind has finally ended. There were bleak nights, broken dreams, and tears aplenty. While there was beauty, there was often grief and loss. It hurt to think of all that had been and all that would never come again.
In the woods by an isolated lake, scant days before continuing the uphill climb through my forties, an elderly dog and I meandered through the branches. January snow was unseasonably absent and there were shocks of green moss and patches of red berries everywhere. A fallen trunk shattered open to reveal the mystery born forth into the world from a single seed left behind by oblivious critters in the woods. The space is sacred and thin as I walk in lands where the natural transcends mere words.
For a while, the woods were all there was in this world. Thoughts of loss waited in the car, but in the woods there was beauty to be found, wonder to behold, and even the simple challenge of not letting the canine drag us into another bog while seeking an errant smell. For a brief hour or two, the world shrank down to a world where the brown trunks swayed only gently as the wind found only bare branches to tickle. In the wild woods, a broken heart could be whole for the eternal but brief moment where two souls simply wandered together.
The wild woods reach out: I almost look for "fair folk" as my heart finds peace.
My first entry in a long time with the D’verse Poets Pub. The challenge of the week is a haibun about the changing of years or what you are doing during this early part of January.
An Aside about Alcoholism and Zoom Bombing
You know, I don’t talk a lot about what happens in my program of recovery. I put in work daily and that’s really all I want to say. If you want to know more, I ordinarily invite people to go to an open meeting of a twelve step recovery program and learn more for themselves.
That being said, I get tired of people thinking they’re funny or cool and Zoom Bombing meetings. A lot of people in the rooms are in a lot of pain. Some have lost everything, others are in grief, and others are just doing their best to fulfill their twelfth step obligation to pass along what they’ve learned to others. There are tons of people in a lot of different vulnerable positions.
It isn’t okay to come into the rooms and tell people to kill themselves. It just isn’t acceptable to do your best to knock down people who are already hurting. It is awful and if you think it is funny, it really isn’t. You could kill someone by putting your hatred into the head of someone who is suffering from a disease which is related to choice but is not wholly a condition of volition.
As an aside to an aside, be nice to people in recovery if you’re a “normie.” You wouldn’t believe the stuff people throw at alcoholics for trying to recover.
Remembering a rough year
What is freedom when life begins again?
How does one measure the ways one lives life
after all you have loved is burned in strife?
Where are the sprouted seeds in the ashes?
Is life renewed when one walks down the path
through sleet, snow, rain, thunder, and burning sun?
Is it renewed when you start to have fun?
If so, perhaps the pain was a herald.
Does the heart revive as one strikes the bag
as thuds echo and skin begins to break
while blood, sweat, and tears fall as shoulders quake?
Was it life throbbing beneath the blisters?
Is it in awe from looking at one's work
and seeing hundreds of moments you cared
writing letters from the good heart you've bared
even as it mended from shattering?
Does life grow as the shutter shares moments
where eyes opened to see good in the world?
Even as the bad news whooshed, howled, and swirled
visions of goodness just kept giving life.
Is it in sermons, poems, or rambles?
Is life found in meetings, coffee, or work?
Is it where I laughed and shared a small smirk?
Is life found in all of these good places?
Okay, it was a hard year, but not bad.
I bent and swayed: my good soul did not break
through all of the storms I stretched out to take
a bit of my soul back from the abyss.
Now a new year is about to break forth
over a good land where I will survive
and at times even slowly start to thrive
as this phoenix rises on hopeful wings
Treading over these icy paths
I feel these steps are familiar
and none strike me as peculiar
as I balance my weight.
Life itself requires close watching
as one connects as through the ice
to ground oneself in world less nice
requires careful balance.
Still, the path waits for bold and brave:
Neither under the summer sun
nor after Jack Frost's cruel fun
are things ever perfect.
One foot, one step, one day, move on.
Keep moving through the winter's cold
and face the heat with a heart bold
as you keep your balance
Dedicated to the two people riding bikes past me. Now that’s dedication and bravery. Also, one of them apparently thought it was just as ludicrous as I did by the panic and joy in her eyes.
These haiku/tanka-formatted poems have come out of long meetings with difficult conversations around the church community. I write poetry to express feelings and thoughts that might disrupt or aggravate during meetings. I share them later, without context, for they continue to inspire me to consider what words I use, what notions I carry, and that I, too, might have blind spots.
dividing with our notions
and cutting our ties
"We" "Ours" "I" "My" "Mine"
There is a space between us
that is shown in words
The apple and tree: growing in their own spaces but sharing some roots. Hubris, pride, self-righteousness: can't you see the path ahead?
Christmas has come and gone. I received one text saying merry Christmas and the 28 second phone call where am I child told me all she could do was say Merry Christmas and hang up. There were relatives standing by, I could hear them. They were the same ones who stood by and congratulated me at my wedding. The same ones who said they cared. Not a single message explaining: just the silence of complicity.
There’s a possibility I’ll see them this weekend, but I doubt it. There’s no visitation arranged for January or anytime soon. there is a motion to dismiss my case, because nothing has gone wrong since July. I was guaranteed visits, between six and twelve of them. I saw my two kids once or twice, but haven’t seen my oldest since July.
So I walk in the cold and write poetry, wondering if next year will be any different. I doubt it. In the meantime, the cold reminds me I’m still alive and the pain is lifted like a prayer. At least I have no more bruises than the ones I have on my heart
Twenty eight seconds
and one "Merry Christmas" text:
What did you expect?
Contact was all you wanted
so that's what she took away.
Will the court help me?
Does the sun rise twice a day?
That seems more likely
than for a judge to enforce
when the victim is father
Longest Night Service: Prayer Poem
Innkeeper, street vendor, wool weaver: all sleeping.
Traveler, road watcher, bread baker: all dreaming.
Carpenter, brick layer, clay potter: all dozing.
Cold shepherd, star gazer, wise midwife: wide awake.
Young soldier, wise rabbi, landowner: all abed.
Census staff, messengers, young children: all snoring.
Important, powerful, the “normal”: they miss it.
The outcast, the restless, the strange ones: they hear first.
Heartbroken, discarded, pushed away: still awake.
Broken souls, groaning ones, frightened folk: open eyes.
Mourning lives, empty chairs, lonely ones: let them see
Christmas comes first for those who need the hope’s light most.
No tinsel, no label, no price tag: love comes down.Rev. Robert Dean, Composed December 15, 2022; First Shared at Trumansburg UMC’s Blue Christmas Service December 21, 2022;
For the lost, for the sad, for the hurt: love comes down.
Through the tears, through the dark, through the grief: love comes down.
Emmanuel, Prince of peace, Savior: Love and Light,
Meet us here where we wait, wide awake and in need.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
One of the strangest things about the holidays is dealing with the expectations of other people. I say that it is a strange thing, because it can be quite surreal and odd at times. People have expectations about what it means to celebrate holidays that are often reinforced by the culture at large. Holidays are meant to be “happy.” There are expectations that people will be spending time with loved ones and friends.
Everyone has an image of what the holidays are meant to be, but on occasion they come across someone like me: a person-shaped stumbling block between them and their ideal vision of the world. People are meant to be with people they love at the holidays, but that person over there has no great plans. People are supposed to see their loved ones and families, but my only close family in state is traveling to see the rest of my family while I remain behind to work. People are going out of the way to see kids and grandkids while I am waiting for a court order to take effect that hasn’t even been filed at this point. If everything works out, I just may see some of my kids for the New Year weekend, but I’m not even bothering to assume that will happen at this point.
Some people try to fix the problem by inviting me to come and join their holidays, which is lovely, but I want to see my family for the holidays. Some people try to fix the problem by suggesting a new legal strategy or by urging me to somehow force other people to do things they are not willing to do. Some people get quite frenetic about fixing things.
They can’t fix things though. To use recovery language, there are things I can change and things I cannot change. For the people trying to help, there are things they can change and things they cannot change. I would love it if they had a solution based on the things that they can do, but the reality is that there is no solution that falls under the category of “feasible.”
As my attorney put it, there is a system of order in our country, not a system of justice. The system is biased and unfortunately it would take a truly criminal act on behalf of my former partner for me to even be heard. It doesn’t matter if my former partner is, in the words of my attorney, the least cooperative and least Christian person he has seen while working in the family court system. The system does not care and that’s not going to change today. As one person put it quite clearly: “Family courts don’t separate children from their mothers. Period. Hard stop.”
In truth, without going into the religious aspects of things, there’s only one person who could truly change any of this: my former partner. If she had some kind of Christmas Carol experience things might change, but dreams of vengeance seem to be the only dreams she has carried for most of a decade. I’m no stumbling block on the path to her happy holiday, for I am the refuse tossed by the side of the road to be discarded and forgotten by her, her children, and everyone she knows.
So, yeah, there’s no amount of turkey and stuffing that will make this a happy holiday. There’s no party or gift that will suddenly make things better. There isn’t even the possibility of cupid coming on the scene with hope for the future, for even the idea of trusting someone in those ways is beyond my grasp. Every time that idea even comes to the surface it is shot down with extreme prejudice. I simply am a stumbling block between others and their ideal vision of the world.
My holidays are different and they’re not suddenly going to get better regardless of what you do. In a few weeks I’ll get another year older, another year wiser, and thanks to circumstances, I will probably be a little more of a miser who needs to pinch every penny so he can pay for his kids to have another happy year without him as he remains out of sight and out of mind. These holidays are going to be hard and there’s no getting around that reality.
I wish you could fix my holiday too, friend. Unfortunately, the only thing I want for Christmas is something nobody can provide.
Sometimes I wonder
I took a long walk today, which isn’t that unusual. I followed the same route I took on the hottest day of the year. I almost passed out on that July day, but today things were fine. The wind was brisk, the air refreshing, and there wasn’t a thermometer reading three digits anywhere in sight.
I pondered my life choices as I walked. I have been waiting for several days for my attorney to draft the Court Order that will allow me to see my kids over the holidays. I haven’t seen all of my kids since July and only saw them once in the last three months despite the guaranteed joint-custody/visitation rights in the initial court order. I have been waiting and trying to be patient.
When I wait, I tend to work out more. There’s a reason I’m down nearly one hundred pounds this Christmas as I have been nervous. The thing is that sometimes my nerves make sense. It is hard to wait and it is hard to miss my kids. I often feel afraid to visit my kids as I remember things my partner has said and done over the years. Some of it wasn’t meant to be threatening, but it was frightening.
Let me give an example which has been bothering me. My former partner once told me that she highly admired the leadership style of Adolf Hitler. She actually put it in her ministerial psych exam paperwork and bragged that she wasn’t even questioned about it. Even now, it is uncomfortable sharing that idea even though I’m not the one who stated it. She claimed that it was because he was a highly motivational and effective leader, which he seemingly was given the way he reorganized his nation. The trouble is that I now wonder what effective leadership style movements someone like Hitler would use if his former partner came into town. Would it have been easier if their former partner just disappeared? It is something I think about whenever my kids have a school event. Would I come back alive this time if I went?
What’s even worse is that even as I feel frightened of the implications of adoration of someone like Hitler in a former partner, I also feel like everyone will judge me for overlooking what was, in hindsight, and enormously blaring red flag. Why didn’t I walk away that day? Why did I believe someone was loving who admired such a domineering and demented person? Why didn’t I think of that adoration of such a charismatic lunatic when everything I did was held up the ideal of what she thought was right and good?
Then the real question comes out. Could anyone love someone like me who put up with that kind of stuff? Who could love someone who not only loved such brutal efficiency but has been using it for a year and a half without any repercussions? What kind of person would love someone who put up with that kind of nonsense? What if they would only want to do so because they see an opportunity to take advantage of me? What if I escape the frying pan just to land in the fire?
All of this begs the question of “why bother?” According to Fitbit I walked over 15 miles today. I lift weights regularly and am slimming down. I put another three holes in my belt because the belt I bought that barely fit a year ago now needs to wrap around through several loops to the point where the end is approaching the small of my back. I put in the work in my long term recovery every single day, attend a fatherhood support group, and am incredibly active in my faith community. I have a lot going for me, but I wonder if I’m just putting a really nice exterior on a life that is scarred, wounded, and full of experiences that make me feel crazier than a bag full of feral cats.
What if I put in all this work and just end up dying alone? What if that’s the best option instead of inflicting myself on someone else again? I know it is the week before Christmas and I should be working on getting ready or mourning the fact my kids aren’t here, but I have to be honest and say that I’m not even sure they care about my anymore. Maybe that’s for the best. Maybe I’ll just spend the rest of my life walking here to there, lifting heavy objects, and doing my best to be of service to other people who can have the nice things like relationships that I may never have again. Maybe that should be what happens to the person who was too blinded by love to recognize the red flags in the first place.
Poem in need of expression
I don’t have my own “word salad”:
My thoughts often get quite jumbled
and forgetting leaves me humbled,
but my soul is quite clear.
I care for people with my heart
and my head runs away at times.
If that is the worst of my crimes
then let me live in peace
If I could clear out hateful words
and live as if my life mattered
instead of this feeling scattered
I might come to find peace.
Instead I hear her voice shredding
any confident words I share
as I seek to just show I care
I hear: “its word salad”
Today I found myself driving down the road towards my home when a song started playing from deep within “My Likes” in YouTube Music. Years ago I was obsessed for a time with the movie Brave. I watched it with my kids, listened to the music as I drove around with them, and acted generally as a fanboy for team Merida. Even when Anna and Elsa came on the scene, I looked down my nose at them. I had found my favorite Disney Princess and she was a raucously independent archer who had all of the confidence and self-assurance that I wished for my children.
So today, the song “Touch the Sky” began to play and I listened to the lyrics.
When the cold wind is a-callingSongwriters: Alex Mandel / Mark Andrews
And the sky is clear and bright
Misty mountains sing and beckon
Lead me out into the light
I will ride, I will fly
Chase the wind and touch the sky
I will fly
Chase the wind and touch the sky
Where dark woods hide secret
And mountains are fierce and bold
Deep waters hold reflections
Of times lost long ago
I will hear their every story
Take hold of my own dream
Be as strong as the seas are stormy
And proud as an eagle’s scream
Touch the Sky lyrics © Reservoir Media Management Inc, Walt Disney Music Company
The last few days I have been feeling very strange. This week I will learn if the court is going to help me see my kids before the year ends. I haven’t had the visitation the court set in place since July and I don’t have a ton of hope that suddenly the court will start to care, so I have been down in the dumps. Tack on the amount I have been working and the reality behind why I don’t feel safe conversing with my former partner even over kid issues (see any of the posts about Domestic Violence from October and they’ll paint a picture in broad strokes even if they never describe things in detail (on purpose)) and I have been really really really down in the dumps.
I have been trying desperately to get a hold of my feelings and my emotions to get them in check before any further bad news pushes me down further. I have been trying to understand what’s happening within as something kept feeling off.
I found myself crying as I drove in the car today because I had a moment and finally understood what was happening. Why haven’t I been hitting the punching bag as aggressively and why have I been taking more pictures of nature? Why did I choose to take my camera on my long walk today and why did I spend most of it texting another father in my fatherhood support group? Why?
As I had been walking earlier an angry song came on my phone and I reached within to connect with what has felt like an endless pit of anger for over a year. When everything else was lost, I could dip into that pit to find fuel to walk another mile, punch the bag for one more set, or even to just stew while driving. It has been so constant and a companion for many miles as I have walked. That deep sense of grief, anger, and sadness has been there for the 1,915 miles that I have walked this year (according to Fitbit). The anger has been as constant as hunger, thirst, and soreness as I have walked on and on.
I had reached in and nothing was there. The bucket hit the bottom and I had been worried that I was broken. What does it mean when you reach in to find the angry part of yourself and find nothing is there? Does it mean that you’re doomed to be unfeeling and lost?
I started crying as the words to the song to Brave came on because I recognized something in them: “When the cold wind is a-calling and the sky is clear and bright, misty mountains sing and beckon: lead me out into the light.” Do you know that there’s a growth on a tree on the Catharine Valley Trail that looks like a snail?
There’s also a ton of damage to the ash trees, likely from a combination of ash borers and woodpeckers. The sight is truly tragic, but also beautiful when you are walking around the woods and suddenly bleach white branches pop out of the woods that are so brown!
Do you know that there are green things that are neither evergreen nor willing to turn brown? Do you know that there are these weird bamboo looking things popping out of the ground in the middle of December? Do you know that the moon is almost full and it can look like fingers of bare branches are reaching into the sky to caress the moon as it rises? Do you know how amazing things are out there in the woods today on the edge of winter? Even as the sun continues to fade for a few more days, do you know how beautiful things are our there?
I cried because I reached down within me to find anger and only found the bottom of a well that hasn’t been empty for a while. I cried because I realized that I understood the lyrics to that song at last. In the midst of the cold wind, I heard the beckoning call to open my eyes and see what God had created. Legs that have walked miles have grown strong enough, skin that has known sun and darkness is thick enough, and even my own sense of fortitude has grown elastic enough that I can take time, even in grief, and see beautifully amazing things.
The song has a second verse that goes ” Where dark woods hide secret and mountains are fierce and bold, deep waters hold reflections of times lost long ago. I will hear their every story: take hold of my own dream. Be as strong as the seas are stormy and proud as an eagle’s scream.”
I’m filled with grief and sorrow, but there’s another part of me that has grown as strong as the seas are stormy. I’m frustrated I need the court’s help to even see my children, but I know what it means to walk miles and see the beauty in the depths of the woods with the endurance to decide that 6 miles into a hike is exactly the time to go wandering down a hill to get a closer look at that bleached white tree down the hill.
Even now, I want to cry because there actually is pride in the person I am becoming. I reached down for anger and found nothing, but I opened my ears and heard a reminder that I am becoming the person I once dreamed of being. Mile by mile, step by step, I am being reforged into someone that my children and I can look upon with joy and pride. I don’t have to be sorrowful today, for I am becoming exactly the kind of person I would have been proud to be when I was young.
This isn’t the road I would have chosen, but it is the road I have, and I am walking it well.
I have an old pair of boots that need to be resoled or replaced. Any minute now I’ll lace them up and walk the half an hour to church. Any minute now I’ll shake off these dismal thoughts about how Thanksgiving ruined my weight loss streak and finally convince myself that I don’t need to starve myself with a fast to hurry things along. Any minute now I’ll remember that I walked over nine miles yesterday and that my body needs time to process nutrients and expel waste before that shows. Any minute now sane thoughts will lace these boots. Any minute now…
Lace up your old boots:
draw tight both your loops and will.
Trudge that you might walk
down the road in warmer times
when all is finally well
A Strange Advent Feeling
I don’t really have a Christmas tree desire this year. I love a good Christmas tree and have a lot of fond memories over the years, but this year I am probably not going to put up a tree. There’s a wreath by my garage door and I’ve got my ugly Christmas sweater game on point. No tree though.
Trees are for presents. Trees are for gifts. Trees are for family and I’m not the kind of pet owner who will put presents under the tree for my dog or the fish. I’m getting presents for others, but there’s really no need for a tree.
Instead, this is the year of the Advent Wreath. I’ve put together a really cheesy electric wreath from an inexpensive five candle window candelabra. Three dollars of cheap paint and putting the “wreath” on a smart switch: we’re good to go!
As you can see, cheap is the name of the game, but the other side of things is that it is meaningful to me. Each time I have seen the wreath since I have put it up, I have begun singing the Advent Song from The Faith We Sing: “Candle, candle, burning bright: shining in the cold winter’s night. Candle, candle, burning bright: fill our hearts with Christmas light.”
I don’t need presents. but I do need light. I don’t need wrapping paper, but I do need to be wrapped in hope. I don’t need a continual reminder that there’s nobody here, but I do need to see the light growing week after week.
What do I want for Christmas? Hope, love, joy, and peace. Burn candles, burn.
Sharing a meal
I have the kids today! The only time I can see them again between now and the end of the year is if I exchange them with their morning Sunday morning at 10:00 AM two hours by car from where I have church at 10:15 AM. That part of things is awful, but today I see two of my three kids for the only time from October through December.
So, we broke out the fancy serving dishes and made macaroni and cheese with carrots and hot dogs. It seems silly to put such a simple meal in a nice dish as I never need a serving dish when alone, but this is a good silly.
Break out the good plates:
garnish with tasty extras
and join your children.
To eat while you're not alone
is a fleeting gift these days.
The Stumbling Block
I wrote this poem while thinking of the passage from Matthew 18:6-9, which says that it is better to be drown in the sea than to cause someone else to stumble. I am trying to come to a place of peace with the frustration which is continuing to take root in me despite my best efforts. I am working as hard as I can to burn off the anger through diet, exercise, and even spiritual disciplines, but there are times when things are simply wrong and more than an irritation. There are times when people do real harm to you and that pain becomes a thorn in the side that will not go away.
Even if there may be divine punishment for the person who causes another person to stumble, it still hurts deeply to be the person with broken toes, scraped knees, and a noticeable limp. I don’t doubt for a second that all that is happening is noticed and noted in the Book of Life and any equivalent book with opposite purpose. It would still be nice if there could be some relief.
Broken heart longs for them The hugs, smiles, and dumb jokes as joy is hard to coax when you're alone Prayers flow as I walk Burn the anger with fat. I look more and more flat but rage lives on. Walking, praying, fasting: I curse this stumbling block as on the Door I knock and ask for help.
Even so, upon further reflection, a better passage to consider might be Romans 14:12-19 which is far more balanced in perspective. What I mean by balanced is that Paul does a decent job in Romans in balancing the concerns. Yes, it is wrong when someone else causes us harm, but Paul writes in a way that invites people to look inside before looking at one’s neighbor. It is not right for your neighbor to harm you, but first consider whether or not you will be ashamed when you give your account to God about how you lived your life and what you did, which is different from what your neighbor did to you.
So, how do I live with this pain in my side and sorrow in my heart? I see wisdom in Paul’s words in 2nd Corinthians 12:7-12. I have asked time and time again for this thorn to be removed, but it hasn’t budged. I guess that God’s strength is shown in my weakness, so I’ll keep trudging down the road while remembering the simple truth from a few verses earlier in Romans 14:7-10:
“We don’t live for ourselves and we don’t die for ourselves. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to God. This is why Christ died and lived: so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you look down on your brother or sister? We all will stand in front of the judgment seat of God”Romans 14:7-10, Common English Bible
This life I live with thorn-gifted pain is the life that I have to live. My “neighbor” may look at me with disdain or judgment, keep me from my children in defiance of the court order, and teach them that it is dangerous to speak with me (since I might call Child Protective Services if something goes wrong and the kids are in danger). Even with that sorrow and pain, I am called to live, so I will live. When the day of my death comes, even if I am alone I will die in the Lord with hope in my heart that:
“We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand through him, and we boast in the hope of God’s glory. But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”Romans 5:2-5, Common English Bible
Thorn in my side or not, I will live in hope and I shall not be ashamed of the Lord. I will seek hope all of my days, even with broken bones in my soul, for God loves me and will make all of this right one day. Even with broken places in my soul, I am still fearfully and wonderfully made and God loves me. I am God’s child and I trust that my Parent will hold me as close as I wish I could hold my children.
I found this prayer today while looking for some paper. It wasn’t dated, but I am guessing it was towards the end of one of my rare visits with my children.
I should change my name.
"Curse God and die already."
Job’s name would fit well,
as I, also, do refuse
to give in to the sorrow.
Here I sit in ash:
Emmanuel hear my cry.
As sun sets again,
I would prefer a whirlwind
to agonizing silence.
When the leaves fall to earth, the branches seem forlorn; yet when winter has worn, life proves verdant.
The wind shifts the leaves
The moon dimly glows this night
as peace covers all
No rude words out there
No deeds to fear in this home
Peace swaddles with hope
October has been Domestic Violence Awareness month since it was first introduced by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 1981. Regardless of the month, domestic violence is never okay, no matter the circumstances. If you or someone you know is in desperate need of help, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.