My chest constricts
in a tell-tale sign that I am processing
and it’s difficult to label
which emotion it is
because I find myself immersed
in a world that exudes
both joy and loss
I see the uplifting stories
where humanity draws together
in support of the greater good
only to be followed by
the onslaught of
negative, overwhelming news
that comes at me nonstop
with no clear certainties
I am rooting for humanity
and all the good we can accomplish
yet I feel such frustration
at those who sow discord and fear
with no willingness to listen to others
We talk about the new normal
but nothing will be normal again
and maybe that’s okay
The lessons we have learned
about resiliency and compassion
sorrow and grit
responsibility and weariness
are anything but usual or expected
and perhaps they were lessons
we didn’t want to learn
But we have a choice now
to give into anxiety and hopelessness
or to focus on the good
to listen and develop
to cherish what we once took for granted
to look forward to what is to come
with hope and expectation
knowing we have something greater ahead
Poetry, like the mind, is fluid
It bends and weaves, sneaking its way through a thought
and meandering to the next
But sometimes it lingers and dwells on one thought,
one intriguing or complex or frustrating or hopeful or reluctant idea
that it just cannot let go
because letting go would mean moving on and forgetting it
and this thought is too important or painful or desperate or beautiful to let go
But there, just like that, it is done
it moved on to the next thing
the next thought
the next sentence
the next plan
the next adventure
What would happen if the poetry stopped
if the words lost their meaning
and the thoughts became jibberish
Is my mind poetry
is poetry my mind — captured with words
Poetry, like the mind, is fluid and real.
Thoughts while reading a book
All it takes is a single moment. A thought, a word, a musical note — something draws you in. It feels almost magnetic because, somehow, it understands you. It seems to be expressing the very emotions and thoughts you yourself have experienced and felt. It pulls at this deep cavern within the pit of your stomach, your heart, your soul, your mind. It radiates in soft tingling pulses, spreading like a warm rush throughout your being.
Here, in this moment, someone has reached through time — ignoring its restraints and rebelling against its limitations upon the world — in an attempt to be understood and to understand. Someone else has traversed to the same feeling, thought or emotion, and emerged from it bearing a proof of this experience — a proof similar, yet distinct, from the one you carry.
In an almost exclusive call to those fellow travelers, this individual creates a conduit between their soul and your soul. Others might hear the call, but only those that have felt this same feeling, lived a comparable experience or existed with similar hope can truly respond to the call.
The call with which this individual reaches out takes many forms and morphs among the variants of beings and experiences. But the call echoes through words penned in a book, through music transcribed and performed, through movements designed to evoke a remembrance.
What can you do but respond? So you, too, create a bridge that extends from your soul and reaches out. Perhaps soon, perhaps in years to come, another being will feel the draw of that moment and construct a response of their own — a conduit that belongs to them and reflects their own being, yet was influenced by yours.
But yours was influenced by the being before you, and theirs by the being before them. This conduit of influence and experience has passed through time and has connected beings throughout history. On and on it goes until, at last, it reaches the original Source of inspiration.
And there — unseen, yet real and resilient — exists a network of individual beings linked together in a single moment that defies time.
Why I write
Sometimes it honestly seems like there’s nothing more intimidating than a blank white piece of paper — or, more realistically, the blank white screen depicting the piece of paper humans have traditionally written upon.
Upon that blank page, you’re supposed to spill out your thoughts, your aspirations, your secrets, your mind, your being.
And the paper or screen absorbs those words.
Other minds might happen upon the words, read them and take them in. Maybe they’ll remember the words. Or maybe those words will be fleeting black characters that are briefly processed, but which never fully take root within the perusing minds.
And yet, we still write. Perhaps because we think we have something to say. Quite often, because there’s a persistent need that thumps within one’s inner being and begs to be relayed to the external world. The need grows until, at last, it drives the physical body to put itself to work and interpret the metaphysical by actually transferring those messages onto that blank sheet.
And, honestly, it’s easy to ask, after exposing part of your innermost self to the world, “To what end? What’s the use?”
The answer: Who can really tell?
I think it all hinges upon passion and purpose. If I truly believe in something, then wouldn’t I want to show that to others? Wouldn’t I need to?
So, we continue to write, to speak, to relay, because we need to. Because part of our innate human nature is a desire to communicate with and to be heard by others.
But you know what? Other humans will probably let us down in our endeavor to be heard and understood.
And that’s where I insert the source of what drives me to write on those blank screens.
I write because of my love for Jesus.
More importantly, I write because of His love for me.
His ear is always extended to us. He is always there to talk to, to communicate with. He is always there to listen, even if what I have to say feels measly and insignificant or monstrous and looming. And He doesn’t hear only to forget what I said later. He hears, He knows and He cares. And He extends a hand to hold onto.
That’s why I write.
Call me a logophile (or maybe just “a lover of words”)
Well, here’s a random musing for ya.
The premise of this one emerged when I realized how cool it was that the following sentence actually works as a sentence:
I think that that that that that that describes should be deleted.
Go ahead, put it in Word. No squiggly green lines.
Naturally, I had to outdo myself with my nerdy, wordy weirdness. So I started thinking of words that I can type using just one hand (because I love it when that happens). I mean, come on.
Awed. Bump. Crest. Dread. Eager. Fester. Grade. Hilly. Ilk. Joy. Kill. Limp. Monopoly. Numb. Opinion. Pomp. Rare. Secret. Test. Up. Veer. Weave. You. Zest.
(Yes, I gave up on “q” and “x”.)
So, maybe that doesn’t quite excite you. But what about when you take those same words that once held individual meaning and create something entirely new with them?
It holds a monopoly on abandoned dreams,
for mountains of its ilk have long caused travelers —
once eager and daring —
to stumble, crash and limp along
and exchange joy and purpose for numb torpor.
There the mountain looms with pomp and pride,
causing thoughts of dread to fester,
turning secret opinion to supposed fact:
the journey up will kill you.
Yet up you trudge, veer and weave —
up its steep, taunting and daunting grade —
you dig deep with rare resolve to master its test.
Now, here you stand upon its hilly crest,
Awed, empowered, with renewed zest.
It was just another bump along the way.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find the ability to do that fascinating. So, call me a logophile… except I should probably just stick with a lover of words.
The voices we choose to listen to
Words have tremendous power. They can build up and encourage; they can tear down and wound.
To relay and comprehend words — even when reading — we use a voice. Each person’s voice is unique, be it the cadence and rhythm of their speaking voice or the personality and style of their written thoughts.
But what voices are we choosing to listen to?
The world contains millions and millions of voices, and so many of those voices are vying for our attention. Maybe it’s the latest must-see TV show or movie that uses the voices of actors to convey the voices of a director, producer and writer. Maybe it’s a company’s commercial for a “must-have” product that uses its voice to seep into your mind, thereby triggering your own voice that says you need to make a change to become better.
And there — right there — that’s where we become vulnerable. Because our own voices can be both our allies and our enemies.
I’ll speak for myself here, but I imagine I can’t be the only one when I say: Sometimes the loudest voice telling me I can’t do something is my own.
So often, I end up becoming my own deterrent. Because I listen to that voice. I give up on myself before I’ve even allowed a chance to prove to myself and the rest of the world around me that I can, that I will.
We tell ourselves we’ll fail. We tell ourselves we’re alone in the world. We tell ourselves we’re not good enough. We tell ourselves, “Maybe tomorrow.”
Sometimes the voices are like a mob screaming at us and sometimes they’re quiet whispers that snake through our ears. But each voice has the potential to drag us down in defeat, failure and loneliness. Instead of fighting, we convince ourselves those voices are right. We give up on ourselves before we have the chance to fail or succeed.
We’ll never get anywhere if we live like that.
Instead, use your voice to declare the truth and cut through those lies. Use your voice to speak words that are true, right, uplifting, pure, lovely, excellent and full of life.
And then listen to that voice.