Month: February 2018

I Do

Do you ever wish there were

stress-o-meters for every person so that

when the level jumped into the yellow edging

toward red it would start

beeping so that everyone would know to just

back off?


Do you ever wish there were

better things to say than the flat, stupid

words ‘I’m okay’ which call for extra, evasive

explanation when pressed which cause

your bald friend in front of you to say ‘I’m

worried about you’ and you just force

a laugh, a playful

punch to his shoulder and say, ‘How

are you feeling?’ because he has

leukemia and what right have you to

feel depressed?


Do you ever wish there were

better solutions when you wake up and

just feel nothing but know that nothing really means

something means this awful ocean of

everything deep pressed down inside you

and you just

sit and stare at the woods of your backyard and feel

empty and pointless and realize that

you can feel like you don’t exist even when

you’re breathing thinking walking and that

sometimes feels the worst of all?


Do you ever wish there were

reasons you could reach out to the person

you love rather than freeze when that song

plays in the coffee shop and you get up and walk

out into the cold or make some silly

excuse to go to the bathroom once twice because you just

can’t handle the sound wave memories

of him and his closeness and everything

you used to have?


Do you ever wish there were

days you could go to sleep again after

waking up because you went to church and then

crawled back and bed although

it’s not socially acceptable to go back to bed after

having emerged and trying

to explain to your mother that it’s like

there’s this ocean of sadness and pain inside

your chest and soul and you’re just trying

to keep the lid on but when you open it just

a crack for release the whole darn thing tries

to escape?


Do you ever wish there were

lists of all the ‘rules’ that make your life just

a tad easier like

don’t listen to acoustic music

don’t remember anything at all

don’t talk about work or school

don’t ever say you’re not okay

don’t step foot on campus

don’t get too close

which are all so obvious and easy to remember but

there are always others, hidden IEDs that

blow up in your face because you didn’t

even know they were a rule and now

you’re crying and wishing

you could go back a few seconds or minutes or hours to

avoid them?


Do you ever wish there were

things that made you feel like you

used to feel without the anticipatory

fear of that momentary light being

snatched away

things better than the

awful crushing sensation of driving

back onto campus for the first time in

six months even though you knew you

knew it was a rule but you needed to

break it anyway and

the fake smile waving your friend goodbye at

drop off and driving

away to the river after and striding in

determined even though its

February and feeling the

shock when the icy cold closes

over your head and emerging to

look at the silvery blue-gray world and remembering how

this used to inspire laughter and alive but

those days are gone and

the people are just echoes in your heart and at least

now it still makes you feel

awake like

your eyes work again?


Do you ever wish there were

roadmaps to guide you to the correct journey, the one

that tells you what to say what to do

what you should have said should have done

what you shouldn’t have said shouldn’t have done

what is needed and what is true

that leads you back to the person

you love?

on this day of love

the more I know about love

the more I can only compare it to

natural things, forces of nature

unfathomable, constant

powerful, beyond us

the mountains, blue

curving one after the other


the flowing river, alive and beautiful

over mossy rock and through quiet forest

the tree, branching and green

rooted, reaching

rough and brown, alive

the pair of hawks, wheeling

feathered and fierce, borne on wind

wild and unstoppable

the more I know about love

the more I can only follow it to God

the more I know about love

the more I can only think about you


I’ve never seemed to care much about what people think. In fact, there are some who would say I think about others’ opinions too little. But actually, I often care too much.

I care so much about if other people accept me or not, whether they approve of me or not, that I try hard not to. But that doesn’t mean I’m secure in myself. Quite the opposite. And I think that’s the root of the problem—I find difficulty in accepting myself and not letting others’ opinion’s influence me. Just letting God’s thoughts define me.

But when life goes dark, you have to think about it.

Self-criticism can go a long way when used to push yourself to reach a material goal, or do better at work or in a sport. Analyzing your weaknesses and areas where other people seem better than you. But when it comes to emotions, matters of heart, I’m finding that kind of judgment can only ever be damaging.

I’m weak.

I’m worthless and lost.

No one thinks I’m beautiful or strong.

I’m stupid and cowardly for avoiding things that hurt.

I’m weird for not wanting things I should want. For wanting things I can’t have.

I’m wrong for not being able to be happy.

I’m crazy for avoiding things I used to love.

I hate the person I am.

When I’m feeling down, it is so crazy easy to think like this. In a way, it’s my mind’s attempt to get me to feel better, heal myself. But unlike physical problems, the “you’re so weak, try harder, be like everyone else, see what they think of you” motivation strategy doesn’t work. It can’t move my heart a muscle. It actually digs me deeper into whatever hole I’ve curled up inside.

And in fact, it’s nowhere near the way God sees me.

Oddly enough, it’s probably not the way most other people see me either. So I’m trying to accept everything that I am right now, in this day, instead of obsessing over the past or future or trying to “fix” myself. It’s okay to accept the way I feel. As long as I don’t let it take over all my actions, make every decision for me, halt my ability to think. That’s one thing. It shouldn’t immobilize me or stop me from trying things that feel improbable or even impossible. It doesn’t mean I don’t seek hard after truth and challenge the way I see the world. It doesn’t mean I don’t do hard things, right things. I should always do that, but I should do it while not hating myself for how I feel while I do it. And my feelings are not always right… the feelings that say, this is beauty. this is love. this is goodness. this is pain. this is loss. this is longing, those are almost always true. the feelings that say, there is no hope. that dream is not possible. you should be afraid. you are empty and worthless. you should never try, those are almost always wrong. I should accept the fact that I feel those negative things while refuting them with what I do, how I act. That’s so so hard for me. I’m bad at it. But it’s worth it to keep trying to be better at it. But accepting where I’m at—that’s a powerful thing. It’s saying, I’m okay with the way I feel. And the way I live and try to fight for love and truth, regardless of how I feel—well, that’s important too.

No one can take that away from me.

Can tell me to love someone or stop loving someone.

Can tell me to live this way or that way as long as I’m striving to live what is good and true.

Can tell me what’s possible or impossible.

Can tell me whether to be sad or happy. Because I can’t tell myself that either.

As long as I let God define truth and goodness and chase hard after that, no one can define any area of my life for me. And I’m not wrong or sinful for being me.

Being kind to myself, when life is hard, when I’m not happy, when I’m stuck in a waiting I cannot change—that is one of the biggest and hardest things of all.

Here’s to giving it my all, no matter how much I have to give. It is enough.

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