just be

what if today
you stopped

and decided
to be
and not just
to do

stillness
instead of the illness
of this
or that

can you be with yourself
can you open your heart
to the presence
of He who made all of the stars
and thought of you
before your first cry
before the first time
you opened your eyes

just close your eyes
breathe
He knows your name
breathe
He loves you
just be

take time
to remind
your mind
that you
are
loved
you
are
His
just
be

november rose

november rose
i wonder if you know
that there is snow
that the cold and chill
and wind will still
your crimson petals
will fall and tumble
your proud will
will be humbled

i wonder if you know
that the season
will bring death
but in the midst
of dark cold air
and icy nights
there
right there
new life

and so we all must wait
through the winters of our days
we all must breathe the cold air
surrender what we fear
and let the clear icy skies
revive
restore
and make us alive
and help us remember
that there is more
that needs to die
surrender
in order
to be alive
once more
alive

nook night

say goodbye
and set aside
the troubles
that are storming inside

at days end
now it's all
a remember when
so feel the sads
the mads
the glads
but more than these
give thanks and see
the treasures
the pleasures
that were yours

remember
the sum of them all
is the story of you
the unrepeatable you
a treasure
created by your Maker
who paints the sky
a masterpiece
be at peace
you
unrepeatable
you
be
at
peace
and have
a
nook night

what do i see

what do i see
when i see me
let's see
i suppose i see
what i want to see
and at times i see
what i long to be
at times
i'm such a selfie

self is proud
and can be
so loud
i can push away
by the words i say
those i say i love
why am i that way
if my attitude
or my words hurt you
please forgive me
i hope you can see
a way
to forgive me

i suppose i need
to see through eyes
that are not mine
but belong to the One
who makes me whole
and sees all that makes
me
me

and when i'm known
by the One who knows
all that's inside
i can decide
that i won't hide
anymore

Lord help me see
my wife
and kids
the family
my friends
my neighbor too
and say no to self
and live to serve
Lord help me let go
of me
and be free
to love
to give
to be alive
to others
and die
to
me
and
be
free


scenes

Scene 1 fades in from black: I’m standing in the doorway of what used to be the bedroom for my two daughters. Eleven months before I said, “Her mother and I do,” at my oldest daughter’s wedding, and like the refrain of a song, I just said the same words at my youngest daughter’s wedding! My oldest son is already married. Three down, one to go. I pull out my phone and capture… this… empty room. I guess I was hoping to capture the conversations, dance parties, tears, Christmas mornings, laughter, prayers… capture all that happened in that room. The phone displays an empty room. But I am filled with gratitude as I remember that grace brought me here and will continue to lead me…home. I am crossing the vast Canyon of Parenthood, which is followed by the great Canyon of Fatherhood and the Canyon of Where Did the Time Go… and I realize that I am at the beginning of that time in my life where I will be remembered a bit less, and less. And that is what will be. And it’s ok. Scene 1 fades to black.

Scene 2 fades in from black. I’m standing in the doorway of what used to be the bedroom for my youngest son. I pull out my phone… you know the rest. Now, the emptiness of the room is a bit more final in my heart. All four of our children (can I still call them children?) are gone. Now I watch our children and their families, and I see them and the 6 little ones that are the new generation in their “rooms” praying, crying, laughing, enjoying dance parties, creating moments to remember and one day say good-bye to… one day let go… one day to try and capture on a phone. And I know that the new generation will forget more than they remember of their papa and nana. And I know that is what must be. And it’s okay. Scene 2 fades to black. One more scene.

Scene 3 fades in from black. I am being held by my mom in an impossibly strong, firm embrace. Impossible because my mom’s 96 year old body appears to be so frail, brittle and fragile. I see her connecting to my dear wife in a hushed conversation filled with memories and love. She can’t really stand up straight anymore. It seems like she is always folding in on herself, like she is ever seeking the fetal position. I tell her, as often as I can, that I love her, and her frail, thin voice tells me the same. My mom is a stranger in this world. She has lived long enough to bury he mom and dad and all of her siblings. The neighborhood is filled with strangers, for all of her friends from the old days have passed as well. She is, in so many ways, alone. Few remember who she is. And as I have had the opportunity to watch her in these late years, I am grateful for all that she has taught me. She has embraced her reality, and it is okay. She has taught me to welcome your emotions and the reality that you are in, but to not let it steal the grace and love that you can, at any moment, give to someone. She is frustrated, but not angry. She is sorrowful, but not bitter. She feels forgotten, but is not resentful. I want so badly to take away all the pain, heartache and struggle that makes up her days and nights. But I can’t. It must be this way. And that is okay. If I could take it away, it would diminish her and also diminish me. It is okay. This scene will fade to black. I am not sure I will be able to navigate that blackness. But, it will be. And that’s okay.

the sad sad shadows

so i think that we should sing
about the sad sad shadows
why do i keep remembering
their darkened glance
it seems that they want to dance
into the story
and at any moment
the sad sad shadows
fall on me

so about those sad sad shadows
inside those weathered picture frames
a broken promise here
something undone there
framed fractures and failures
each one calls my name
and the struggle starts again
with one word
oh the shadow
of shame
falls on me

so listen sad sad shadows
i remembered today
that you don’t have to stay
you’re not the whole story
Light and Glory
can rewrite your songs
mend all the wrongs
and scatter the darkness
not just for a moment
but for eternity
all these parts of me
will be
restored
once more

oh sad sad shadow
the final say
will not be yours
the Light will end the night
and all the sad sad shadows
will go away
and there will be
only
Light

letting go

at this ripe young age
can it be three score
as i turn each page
i know less not more
and the more of less i know
it seems
it’s about letting go

i let go of the boy
i used to be
though he still
seems to want his own way
so still letting go
of my selfish ways
that boy won’t go away
that’s okay
i’m learning
letting go

i let go of just me
“i do” means now “we”
can it be two score
and there is so much more
of letting go
that i need to know
for “we”

letting go of
seeking me in her
letting go
of smashing mirrors
with my pride
letting go
of thinking
it’s better to hide
letting go
of staying inside
my head
letting go
of keeping my heart
to myself
i guess
the long slow road
of letting go of self

letting go
of expectations
of
well
everything
and
everyone
letting go
of just taking
letting go
of just faking
that we’re all okay

i pray i practice well
all the lettings go’s
that wait for me
‘cause someday soon
the last let go
will come into my room
and i want peace
and i want to know
that all those other letting go’s
will help me see
what waits for me
is an eternal embrace
it really is amazing grace
He never has
and never will
let go
of me

the story teller

i took a breath
listen
i took another one
i can hear
the soft hush
of oxygen
entering my lungs
bringing life
listen
another hush
is this what life sounds like

i opened my eyes
color
light
darkness
shadows
hues
stars
sunsets
waterfalls
my little girl’s
impossibly tiny
fingers
the gaze
of my beloved eyes
they all fell
through the windows
of my eyes
i opened my eyes
is this what life looks like

i felt something
the slightest variation
of texture
of temperature
an embrace
a fall day
wrapped in
a favorite sweatshirt
the caress of snowflakes
on my face
is this what life
feels like

i heard a sound
a song
a melody
the waves crashing
on the shore
the symphony
of autumn leaves
my little boy
is crying
thunder calling
across the sky
someone said
i love you
is this what life
sounds like

and life can taste
so sweet
as coffee
chases the donut
ice cream’s
creamy comfort
the delight of strawberries
i can smell
each fallen leaf
calling winter near
the scent of summer rain
and the blackened
marshmallow
in the snappy campfire
is this the aroma
and flavor
of life

and what of all the pain
and sorrow too
countless tears
and so alone
and shame chases
me down the years
is this what
life is

transcendence
calls me home
the unseen real
touches my soul
i long for a place
that is real
that is safe
at home with
the author
of my soul
complete
and whole
finally at peace
is this
what eternal
life is

yes
to all the above
and more

i
am
here

no
one
took
me away

so
yes
to
life

yes
to
the
story teller
of
life

rest in you

sometimes i feel
like i don’t belong
i’m not a part
of the song
that everyone
seems to know
and i wonder
if i’ll ever know
how to sing again

you see i’m not quite sure
what’s deep inside
i’m not quite sure
that i’m all right
i’m not quite sure
if i
matter
did i ever
matter

hey world
i wonder
if it’s okay with you
to quietly say
i’m not okay
i’m sad
and
don’t
know
why
i’m mad
and even when i try
to find some rest
all i find
is just a mess
i’m just a mess

so i still will pray
peace be still
God please
invade my heart
and my will
and let me see
what you see
in me
and rest
i am a mess
but i’ll rest
in You

i’ll rest
in You

dear mommy dear daddy

dear mommy
dear daddy
i’m sorry
you’re sad
i want you
to know that
i am
with Peace
i am
at peace

dear mommy
dear daddy
this wasn’t
your fault
i want you
to know that
i am free
of pain

dear mommy
dear daddy
when grieving
gives space
the light
that you gave me
let it shine
in this world
so many
are living
but they’re
not alive
lonely
forgotten
and screaming
inside
it would
make me
so happy
to know
you
are
listening

dear mommy
dear daddy
give others
what you
gave me
love
light
life

dear mommy
dear daddy
if i could just say
this longing
this knowing
it’s not supposed
to be this way
we all know it
we all see it
do you know
what it means
that we all
know this place
that we never
have seen
where all is made right
no darkness only light
where mommies
and daddies
at the end of the day
hug their children
and play
and love
is over all
in all
between all
so let us all pray
Your Kingdom come
Your will be done
on earth
as it is
in heaven

- written with lament, sorrow, love and prayers for those who lost everything and for the community of Uvalde