If you were me

I'm stymied, I guess.
I haven't written for a while,
After criticism and censorship.
The problem I have is this:
Each word, each thought has been dug up,
Dug up from the internal (and eternal) junk pile that is my recollection.
These thoughts are mine, I own them, and yet…
I permit the criticism of others dear to me to destroy my writing; my decision.
And so I approach each new thought with their censorship in mind; don't dig too deep.
Ok, so maybe I didn't think through enough the offending thoughts.
Maybe they were right, but still I must admit a stricture on my thinking.
And so now I begin again to write.
Unable to keep these thoughts buried, I must present them to you.
You have a right to your opinion.
I have a right to mine.
But should I publish for all the world to see?
Do I needs/must take into account the effect on others,
Or do I only have obligation to my Self to write what I feel?
Who reads this stuff anyway?

– Small town boy

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Healing/Greiving

I had surgery on Tuesday, and now I am in the healing process.

Healing is like grieving, you can’t hurry it.

Both are recovery processes.

Both trying to repair the body,

from trauma.

The mental body, the emotional body, the physical body, and the spiritual body.

We’ve been given the necessaries for this process,

And though we grow impatient,

they work, after a fashion.

Seeing it in others or helping them see it,

Doesn’t help much when it’s you that is healing.

Small steps, some backwards, some forwards,

Like the frog in  the well: two forward, one backward.

Oh, how we take for granted the uninjured self.

When we’re whole our minds, hearts, bodies and spirits

Are involved with other things, not suspecting

What’s around the corner.

What is the good of trauma? It shakes me up, like an earthquake,

That allows rebuilding of fundamental structures, 

Allows change to occur.

Things I thought were important, aren’t so important now.

Things I had forgotten were important, become important once again.

Grief and healing; healing and grief,

Once thought too painful,

Now seen as brief.

bless me father.

-Small town boy


My doctors, Brant and Wang.

Trees fell down

There are trees down in the forest.

Some fell, but mostly as a result of storm damage.

A natural end to life in a vertical posture.


Now I lay me down to sleep…

No!

Prematurely, not due to any weakness in my limbs,

I am fallen to die,

And then, after a time,

Resurrection, just as Christ died on a tree and was resurrected after being placed in a cave on the ground,

I, laying here on the forest floor,

Will become a nurse log for others to grow from.

The cycle continues.

I m fallen, but others will rise 

With my help.

From

My life comes the life of others,

Standing in the sun.

Amen

– small town boy

Breath

I breathe.

Again.

I breathe,

And with each breath

My lungs extract life

In the form of oxygen 

And send it to refresh my heart.

My heart thus refreshed

Sends it on to my brain,

And the cloud on my spirit lifts

Just a little.

More breaths, more breathing,

More refreshing,

And I can go on.

Simple, slow recovery.

I just keep breathing.

Thank you Jesus,

And all those tiny angels

That I sent to my friend last year in her grief,

They have returned to me.

Their job is never ending.

Their job is to give us strength and courage

And hope.

Take a breath, take another, and another.

Recovery is slow 

But hope is eternal.

– Small town boy

 

In my grief

I grieve.

I ache with it.

My heart is broken.

I am at a standstill,

Unable.

Unable to think.

Unable to feel ought else.

Unable to breathe or swallow or sleep.

How must my daughter feel, my son-in-law, my grandchildren?

I grieve for them, with them.

I weep, in spurts .

When I think I’m safe again,

I am over whelmed with grief.

I long for wellness;

I am heartsick.

Where is my recovery?

In you? In You? In solitarity?

In time?

In activity?

I die with Christ this weekend in hopes of my resurrection,

From this terrible grief.

– Small town boy

Pedal faster

Pedal faster, he’s right behind you,

In his power chair,

He’s going to overwhelm you, again.

I’m at my gym, Fitness Over Fifty,

Pedaling the stationary bike, faster and faster,

Feeling feelings I don’t want to deal with,

About to erupt.

I thought I dealt with his death, but

He chases after me, laughing,

Because he no longer needs his power chair.

But it’s good for the chase.

It’s good because it still gives him power,

The power of love,

The power of his personality that overwhelmed his disabilities,

The power of God that dwelt within

Him and me.

Oh lord deliver me from the great sadness chasing me.

Let me weep again, let my heart break again, let my guts turn to jelly once more,,

So that he can rest and quit chasing me.

Pedal faster. Ignore him, if you can.

Dear God, he is yours now, running and laughing in the heavenly domain.

And we are left here

With our sorrows,

Pedaling as fast as we can.

I love you Terrae.

Thanks for your light in my darkness.

– Small town Boy

Awesome

I hate that word and the way people overuse and abuse it.

Awesome, dude!

That was awesome!

He/she was awesome.

Fuck awesome!

If everything is awesome, then nothing is awesome. We’ve reduced it to triviality.

But, then…

When you have the honor and privilege to know and love an awesome person.

Awesome because, though he was quadriplegic, he ran to you for a hug.

In his power chair.

Though his speech was difficult to understand, he spoke plainly

When he was on the phone with his girl friend.

Though he needed help with the meanest tasks,

His smile was AWESOME.

His love was awesome.

His humor was awesome.

His strength in the face of disability was awesome.

His love for his young nephew, yep, awesome.

It is not hyperbole when you are talking about him.

You have led the way for the rest of us.

Today I will try to be awesome too.

I guess awesome isn’t so bad after all,

When applied to the right person.

– Small town boy

Dedicated to Terrae O’Neal, 

1/6/80-4/6/17


Awesome!!!

Today is the next day

Since I decided to live out each day I have been given,

My life is much simpler and anticipatory.

After experiencing grief over the loss of my eldest grandson this weekend,

I realized this morning that today is the next day

In a series that is ongoing 

Despite death, and grief, and sadness.

The moon still shines and becomes full again;

The sun rises; the rain falls; flowers bloom again.

Even as they will when I am gone.

Even as they have since my father, my mother, and my sister have gone.

One day after the next.

So, each day holds the promise of a next day.

And this is it.

I still love you, even in your absence;

I still have those around me who love me;

I await the gifts you have for me today,

With great anticipation.

Thank you.

– Small town boy

The Ocean

God is like the ocean.

Powerful, beautiful, and dangerous.

S/He ebbs and flows with lunar cycles.

One can stand at the edge and watch or enter the surf and feel the power, straining against it.

In warmer climes, one can swim in the salty waters, until one is  out of their depth, but stll able to stay afloat, because of belief in the ability to float and swim.

There are boats on the water, large and small, some fishing the depths, some transporting cargo to unknown places.

There are animals near the shore, birds, crabs, sea lions, and sand shrimp, all occupying there own niche, all a part of the oceans ecology.

Am I part of God’s ecology?

In the depths, where I can not see, live giant whales, sharks, fish, octopi and squid, and so much more: diverse in nature but adapted to life in the sea, each having its own part to play, each a part of the food cycle.

Am I part of the spiritual food cycle? Whom do I prey (pray) upon, and who preys (prays) on me?

The sea has been here before me and will be here long after I’m gone.

As I stand here naked before it, arms upraised, willing myself to resonate with its roar, I await the day.

Resistance is futile, harmful, and not in keeping with why I was made, not in keeping with my basic, fundamental nature.

Being open and working with the forces present allow me to ride the crest of the wave, to receive the power offered, and to live with a force stronger than my own and feed as my soul requires.

Thank God for the ocean and it’s abundance.

The ocean is great and reaches far away past the horizon to where others stand by it and marvel at its grace, beauty and power, my brothers and sisters on this globe,

A planet, when seen from afar, is notable because it is blue,

Blue because of the ocean.

Let me sail forth today, find the spirit of God, and fish for the sustenance offered me.

Let me be with other sailors riding the wind and the waves, going together on life’s journey today.

Amen

– Small town boy

A Contribution

I don’t listen well.

At church for three sundays in adult class

We have been learning to listen well.

Though I have trained others to listen,

I found myself unable to follow instructions.

Don’t race ahead in your mind preparing your next comment.

Keep your mind still and don’t speak.

Get into what the other is saying in a sincere mode.

Wait for the lesson, what you will learn from the ‘other.’

Humbug, I said.

Conversation is a two way street, I said.

It’s often competitive, say I.

Needless to say this wasn’t received well by the instructor.

And so I’m left with: where did that come from?

This morning, after meditation, I found it.

When I was young, I often heard, “Well, do you have something to contribute to the conversation?”

Or, “Do you have something to add?”

Or, “Don’t speak until you have something to say.”

As a consequence, when I am listening, I am saying to myself, “Do I have something to. Contribute to this conversation?”

And I race to add an anecdote from my files of life stories,

Just what my listening coach told me not to do.

My memory is slipping now, but even before, in my anxiousness to contribute,

I often interrupted or talked over my conversation companion,

To add my contribution.

Rude huh?

So the result of this coaching to be a better listener is:

That I listen to my grandchildren;

I listen to my wife (I don’t think she would agree here);

I listen to strangers and to friends.

I sit quietly waiting for the kernel,

That kernel that I will learn from, attention is required.

And I am attentive while listening, quieting my mind,

And respectful even if I don’t agree with you.

I still have my outbreaks, like this morning at fitness over Fifty,

Where I took advantage of the person on the machine next to me (twice) to unload,

About being a good listener and my need to make a contribution

To the conversation.

What do you think?

Go ahead, I’m listening.

-Small town boy