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When life is going well
And when we are living the good life
We want to think
That God has blessed us specifically
Or that our good life
Is the result of our good choices
Or natural genius.
Don't discount luck.
It is an illusion, a vanity, to believe
That we are in control.
It is an illusion, a delusion, to believe
That we have been untouched by tragedy
Or nearly drowned by sorrow
Because we are a Special Untouchable.
Luck begins at birth
When we are launched into the world,
Some loved more than others,
Some cared for with tenderness
While others are cared for with cruelty or disdain.
There should be much compassion
In us all
And much acceptance of the fact
That unfairness in life
Begins at birth.
Any good thing we encounter
Has more to do with luck and chance
Than with our genius or God's blessings.
I believe in God
But his ways are mysterious and inscrutable to me.
I do not believe that
God has a special, privileged class
To whom He gifts special blessings
While turning his back
On those whose lives seem cursed
With hardship and heartache.
I believe in the power of prayer
But I don't know why.
In spite of the mysteries
I choose faith
And I believe in God.
Sometimes I feel that I should not enjoy my life
Since you are in prison and have no life that can be enjoyed.
Then I remember that misery does not love company
(Even though some have said that misery loves company).
I think misery does not like company.
Misery likes solitude
Because solitude is a guarddog bully that tries to prevent light from entering the darkness.
If misery really loved company
It would be because the miserable person
Yearns for light to shatter the darkness.
It does not make sense to try to share the misery of another human.
If the miserable person does not want the light to shine in
He will not take notice of our sympathetic adoption of his misery.
And sharing his misery will have no value for us either.
We are not deserting our miserable friend
By refusing to adopt his misery.
Misery's enemy is the light that shines on the darkness and
Allows misery to be seen as the jealous jailer that she is.
Escaping misery is not easy
But we should not embrace another's misery
Or feel that it would be good to have misery's tentacles ensnare us.
We are not deserting our loved one
By choosing happiness over misery.
Our miserable loved one
May one day return to a happy place
But we serve no good purpose
By succumbing to the despair of misery.
We can only fight misery
By letting the light shine in us and through us
Even if the light shines
Through our tears
And in spite of our sorrows.
Let us cling to hope instead of misery.
Let us hope that some light,
Welcome or not, yearned for or not,
Will illuminate the way out of the darkness of misery
From now on,
I'm going to live
As though I have one more year to live.
Every action, every decision
Will be more intentional,
No more going through the motions,
No more looking back with regret.
No more wandering why.
No more dwelling on questions that have no answer.
Jut spending time on
Enjoying the present,
And being fully present in the moment.
Every night before I go to bed
I touch your face on the photograph downstairs
And I tell you Good Night.
I miss you.
I have missed you for a long time.
It has been more than three years since I've seen you.
You have spent years in prisons, jails, and mental institutions
And I have missed you every day.
I do not let the sadness of missing you
Turn me into an emotionally disabled person
Who cannot enjoy life.
I enjoy my life.
But missing you is a part of every day and every night.
I must focus on my love for you
Rather than the void and emptiness your absence creates.
I wish I could do something
To make your life better and easier.
But I know there is nothing much I can do to soothe you and help you.
But instead of focusing on what I can't do
I must direct my thoughts
Toward the thing I can do.
I can look at your handsome face
And I can smile at your photograph
And I can tell you
Good Night, I love you.
For now, that must be enough.
I hope you know how much you are loved
I hope loving thoughts have power,
Power to connect one spirit to another spirit
In a love that is pure and constant.
You are loved, Kevin.
Good night, my precious son.
Happy Mother's Day to me!
I believe there are many mothers out there
Who are feeling much the same way I do.
So let me give voice to their pain and thoughts.
There was no joy
Like the joy when my children were born.
Now they are adults
And sometimes their hard times
Have produced enormous sorrow and grief
For them and for me.
I do not blame them,
And I do not regret their birth.
They have not lived a risk-averse life
And life has brought them disappointments.
But my children are still alive
And they can endure the punishment and heartache
That come from poor choices and bad luck.
As for me, on Mother's Day,
I will focus on what I have and what I enjoy
Rather than dwelling on the missteps and failures
Of my children or me.
Life happens to us all
And frequently the consequences and outcomes in life
Are not planned, expected, or welcome.
Still, there is a new day.
There is the hope of tomorrow
Although life does not promise or guarantee us tomorrow.
On Mother's Day this year
I will celebrate the lives of my children
And I will not wallow in worry, sadness, or guilt
Over what I might have done
To protect them from life.
No one can protect anyone from life.
Life is just one adventure, one ride,
Much like a roller coaster freefall.
Having children is a prescription for heartache
And love is the reason for the ache.
On this Mother's Day,
I thank God that their mistakes and bad luck
Have not ended their lives.
Some other mothers on this Mother's Day
Are not so fortunate.
They are grieving the loss of children to disease or disaster.
On this Mother's Day
I will concentrate only on the love I have for them
And not on the ups and downs
Which are embedded like DNA in the ebb and flow of life.
Hate crimes, hate crimes, hate crimes.
It's easy to hate and denounce the hate crimes.
Most people are in agreement
That hate crimes are wrong.
But peel off a layer
And we find the seed of hate:
And intolerance is harder to hate.
It is more difficult to see the
Vicious, pernicious, poisoning influence of intolerance.
But intolerance is largely a choice,
No matter what our religion or philosophy teaches.
We can choose to nurture intolerance
Until it becomes hate,
Which can motivate and energize the intolerant
To murderous rage
Often in pursuit of misguided ideals.
Intolerance can poison us and lead us to dangerous actions.
Our personal intolerance can become planted like seeds in others,
In our children, spouses, friends, grandchildren,
And lead them into wrong directions
And to embrace harmful philosophies.
Our weaker sisters and brothers,
Can get infected and emboldened by our intolerance
And a loss of self-control and self-discipline can take hold
Until they become our intolerance in action.
Let us try to make tolerance, a step toward love,
And let us speak out against
The demons and leaders who urge us down the deadly path of intolerance,
The road toward hate and hate crimes.
Before we find the blame in others
And pompously stand with the majority who hate the crime crimes,
In our political correctness,
Let us all look inside ourselves
And find the seeds of intolerance
That we need to eliminate.
Let us all be responsible for eliminating the hate crimes.
It doesn't mean we don't love you
If we refuse to be sad all the time.
It doesn't mean we don't miss you
If we try to live life as you lived yours.
You had dreams,
And you made your plans to make your dreams come true.
You loved deeply
And the people you loved felt special
Because you loved them.
You inspired your family and friends.
You infected us with your spirit,
And even though we no longer have you physically in our presence,
We still feel your spirit
And we still love you
From the bottom of our hearts,
No, actually from the bottom of our feet
To the very top of our heads,
We love you.
But we have to learn
How to live without you now
In a way that will honor your life.
You would not want us
To sink into misery and despair.
You would not want
Our happy family life
To become sick and unhealthy
Because of grief.
You would not want to be the cause of that.
We don't really know how to live without you,
But as a tribute to you,
As a way of honoring your short life,
We have to be willing to learn
How to live without you
In a way that resembles the way you lived your life.
We just need to let your spirit guide us and inspire us
So that we can live and love as you lived and loved.
We are so proud of you,
Son and Brother,
We want you to be proud of us
As we soldier on in the brave way you lived your life.
We want to live our lives so that you can be proud of your brave family.
Joy is what they call me,
But it is hard to put a face to my name.
I am the elusive goal.
I am the fantasy of most people.
I am the destination of choice.
But I cannot be a permanent home
For most people.
I can pass by some folks
And they do not recognize me
In their distracted state.
I visit some people
And they take me for granted
Instead of embracing and welcoming me.
The truth is that I linger longest
With those who try to produce joy for others.
In the process of generating a joyful experience
Joy Producers find that I seep into their lives
And a little bit of joy
Goes a long way.
But joy cannot be a trophy you obtain,
It is not a special address
Where you can go and live permanently.
Joy is a fleeting high.
Joy is a feeling that warms us to the bones.
Joy is not something we find or chase.
Joy simply drops by
And it is a byproduct of love and unselfishness.
Just cherish joy when she visits.
She will not move in permanently
But she can light up our world
With gratitude and appreciation
While she visits.
Make joy welcome
And then let her go when she vanishes.
She will be back, if we're lucky,
But she may have someone else to visit,
Just for now.
If I can't feel joy as my personal companion right now
I will just find the next best thing.
I will occupy myself
With trying to help others feel a little joy.
That might take various forms
And trying too hard may not work.
Instead I will be aware of opportunities
Usually small and unexpected
To shine a little joy into someone else's life.
Maybe creating a moment of joy for others
Is almost as good as feeling those moments of joy
In my own life.
At least it might put me in close proximity
To my favorite companion,
There are no platitudes that ease the pain,
No light that vanquishes the gloom.
There is always a sober awareness
That your life has been derailed
And my sorrow is that I can't help you.
I miss you.
Your mental state does not allow you
To let us into your life now.
I just want to see you,
To help you,
To love you.
I want to be part of your life.
But I know
I cannot focus on what I want
Or what I am missing.
I must find the joy in every day
And not focus on what I miss.
I must find a way to decrease the sorrow,
I must find a way to keep the sorrow
From ruling me or drowning me.
I must find a way to look ahead
Without seeing the problems.
I must grab hold of the pain,
I must find a way to use the pain
To keep me alert but not miserable,
And I will try to find ways to let the pain strengthen me.
Maybe I can set aside a time each day
To meditate and pray and unburden myself
As I lift the weights that try to push me down.
I will boldly approach my weights
And take hold of them, pick them up, and lift them up.
I do not need to fear my weights or try to hide from them.
I want to walk fearlessly each day
Toward my thoughts of you
And embrace them intensely with love.
I want to live each day
Without thoughts of you
Weighing me down constantly.
I want to pick up my weights
And lift them up
And pay tribute to you
And express my love for you
And then put the weights down,
In their place,
Where weights need to be kept.
I will let my love for you find the way
For me to manage the pain
And let the weights
Help me find new strength.
I need to do
What I would want you to do
If you were in the same situation.
I will try to lift the weights daily
But not carry the weights constantly throughout the day and night.
I will not let the weights be a constant burden.
Strength does not result from overdoing heavy lifting or constant lifting.
So I will try a new weight lifting program.
I will find some time each day when I can lift my heavy sorrows
In an intentional way,
In a forward-looking way,
And trust in the certainty
That good things can come
From lifting my weights daily
In a mindful and dedicated way,
All the while honoring you and finding comfort in thoughts of you,
While putting the weights down at the end of my weight-lifting session
And letting good things come
From the process of lifting my weights in the right way.
The next time you see a rainbow
It is like every life experience.
The moment you see it or feel it,
It is disappearing or changing.
There is no holding on to anything.
So when you next see a rainbow
Love it, enjoy it,
But don't try to hold tight.
It is fading and disappearing as you view it.
Let it remind you of loved ones who have passed,
Let it remind you of God's promise not to flood the earth again,
Let it remind you of the fragility of life,
Let it remind you of the fleeting nature of life,
Let it remind you that the rainbow is a miracle.
Let it remind you that
All sad and sordid things in life
Pass away and fade
Just as do the people and moments
We enjoy and cherish.
So let the rainbow remind us
That nothing in the human experience
Look ahead to the unknown future.
Wave goodbye to the old pain.
Open our heart to the joy ahead.
If we are aware that good things are in our future
We will be on the lookout
When the special people and times emerge.
We cannot hold on to anything
As it passes through our life.
We can't hold on to the rainbow.
Let us listen to the reminder given by the rainbow:
The storm has passed. Look ahead to good weather.
When a new year arrives
It makes me feel intentional
About what I want this year
And who I want in this year.
I already know
Who the lost causes are,
The people who continuously disappoint
And cause pain.
So I will resolve to
Let it be.
Let the ones who disappoint
Be who they are.
Let it be.
Learn to train the expectations
And tame the soaring hopes
So that I do not get disappointed.
Let it be.
Don't wonder why.
Sometimes there is no answer
Let it be.
Let me take life as the ocean pulsates every day,
Ebbing and flowing,
No matter what,
Even when the ocean overreacts
As in a tsunami,
What is the result except destruction.
We don't need another lesson
In the reality
That overreaction causes destruction.
Let it be.
Ebb and flow,
Absorb the barbs and the wounds,
And don't expect good things
From the selfish and lazy and self-centered.
To let them wound me
Means I am allowing them to be my driver,
To control my heartbeat, to govern my ebb and flow.
I won't let the dead fish
Or the troublesome fish
Disrupt my ebb and flow.
So I am resolved to have a year without a tsunami
Or an overreaction
To the people who are chronic disappointments.
Let it be. Let it go.
They may be doing their best.
Even it their best is not good enough for me.
I cannot dictate someone else's actions or thoughts.
I cannot even dictate my own thoughts and actions.
But I can bend and sway,
I can ebb and flow,
I can resist the urge to take actions or speak words
That only disrupt.
Let it be.
A friend of mine lost her son today.
He was fifty years old
And he took his life.
I know my friend is in such pain.
What I realize right now
Is that her son is dead
And my son is alive.
My son is in prison
And he suffers from mental problems
But he is alive.
I will see his face again one day.
There have been moments
When I have wondered
If he wouldn't be better off dead
But I am so glad he is alive.
His life is harder than I wanted it to be
But he is tough.
In spite of the fact that his life is hard
I am glad he is alive.
Tonight I am so glad
My son is alive.
Living life is not an exercise for the fainthearted.
And most of us will experience the full range of life's joys and sorrows.
In youth we feel our ability to shape our outcomes.
And we think ourselves brilliant when our choices lead to success.
We are in control!
We have figured out the formula for success and happiness!
But the dizzying and intoxicating experience of living life
Tricks us into believing in our power to control.
When disaster strikes, when misfortune occurs,
We feel battered and betrayed.
And our confidence in our ability to control life's outcomes is shaken.
The time of disappointment and sorrow ushers in a new era,
An era of enlightenment.
We are enlightened when introduced to the reality
That forces and events beyond our control
Are largely in charge of our life experience.
We savor the highs and the ecstatic moments
But the lows are intense
And there is never true understanding
About why we experience the random pain and sorrow of life's tragic events.
So enlightenment comes but it does not bring understanding.
And we are left to live our life
In the reality
That we control nothing and we understand nothing.
We are powerless to vanquish evil.
We can only push our nose against the glass window
And be tormented by the slow, merciless, and horrific forms of evil and despair we see around us.
Enlightenment is a painful place to be.
The only way to deal with Enlightenment
Is to embrace our sadness cheerfully and with dignity
And help to lessen the pain of other human beings tormented and ravaged by life.
Enlightenment tells us, though, that our kind actions and benevolent deeds
May make little difference in decreasing the misery and unfairness in the world.
Such actions may assuage our guilt
But enlightenment will not allow us to feel comforted by our modest contributions to human misery.
Who knows what difference love can make
To humans living life in a world full of pain and turmoil
But reaching out in love may be
The only way to decrease the intense agony of the human experience.
And if you know the agony of which I write
You know love
And you have experienced how love can break your heart
In a world that is, for some, without mercy or compassion.
Life is filled with loss
But it makes sense;
Life cannot be all gain.
We must shed things along the way.
Some of the losses make us sad,
And some are tragic,
Lile the loss of a young person's life.
And there is no solution for grief.
We must just soldier on,
Often for others,
And find comfort and joy in the natural and good things
Rather than the toxic things
That only depress and medicate.
Sometimes all we have
Between us and happiness
Is simply our commitment
To live the life we have, with gratitude,
Rather than the life we wanted
Or the life we had
Or the life we thought we deserved.
It may not be of much comfort
That all humans are in the same boat,
Being buffeted by the winds of change,
And the storms of chance
And the ravages of time.
Sorrow is an inescapable part
Of the human experience.
When sorrow comes,
We bend and sway with the experience
And some day
We will find ourselves standing tall again,
Not necessarily pain free,
But living a good life
Is not a pain-free adventure.
Melancholy is my name
And bringing folks down is my game.
Your elevated mood and happy thoughts will seem lame
After I invade your thoughts, your happy mood to tame.
Your best defense is not to let me in,
If I permeate your thoughts you cannot win.
I bring thoughts that do not need thinking.
My thoughts produce tears and eyes blinking.
With me, there is no mirth or winking
There is only carrying a weight while you are sinking.
I am not worth inviting into your space.
While spending time with me, you will not be in a good place.
Thinking through the thoughts I bring will not bear fruit.
My companionship will leave you mute.
Chase me away! Tell me to go!
Shake your head and let me blow.
My friend Neale,
I will miss you so much.
I treasure the time we had together
And I cry tonight because your illness took you from me.
Our friendships was one of those rare friendships
That began with a business relationship
And flowered into an enjoyable working partnership.
Our values were much the same.
You loved your wife and family,
Your granddaughters were the apple of your eye,
And you knew the love I felt
For my children and grandchildren.
I depended on you,
And you depended on the work I provided for you.
Now on Easter Sunday
I learn by text message
That you passed away in the hospital after a heart attack,
I wish I could in some way comfort
The ones you loved and left behind.
If there were something I could do
To show my love and respect
I would jump to do it.
But it seems that all I can do
Is cry and miss you.
You will be so missed, Neale Williams.
I loved you, dearest friend.
It is such a shock
To find oneself living a life
Which is totally unexpected,
A life which does not fit neatly
Into our plans,
A life which does not bear the fruit
We thought we were producing.
We look back, and we know that
We did not imagine that we could control every outcome,
Or that life would be as we willed it.
So we come to the end of life
And we fuss over preparing our will,
As though we will be able to exercise
Any more control in our final will,
And control any more outcomes through our final will,
Than we could in the process of
Living life en route to the end of life.
Much like playing the cards we are dealt
We just have to live the life we ended up with
And not the life that might have been.
Our dearest Kyle Alexander,
You died because of a vehicle wreck on Thanksgiving
And we memorialized you this weekend.
Now we are supposed to get back to normal.
How do we get back to "normal?"
How do we emerge from the sadness?
How do we put clothes on in the morning?
How do we put one foot in front of the other?
The only way we can do it
Is to do what our young soldier-to-be would want.
He would want us to live life
Without living under a dark cloud.
He would want us to soldier on.
He would want us to mourn fully
And miss him thoroughly for a while,
But then he would want us to wake up to the sunshine.
He would want us to see his face
And feel his presence
In the sunshine.
Gloomy dark days are not the days
When we will feel his love and life.
We will look for his presence in happy times.
We will find the comfort of his spirit
In times of laughter.
We will honor our son in the way he would want most.
By finding the way back to a life
That is filled with joy and laughter.
We celebrate his memory best
When we let his loving spirit and zest for life
Penetrate our sorrow and chase it away,
When we allow his loving spirit and zest for life
To shine through us.
It will not be easy to do that.
But it is the best way to celebrate
The short action-packed life
Of our beloved son,
Kyle Alexander Nordan.
In honor of Kyle Alexander Nordan
by Patty Sleem
Some days my life seems
Like the sum total of
My disappointments, my failures, and my heartaches.
But I know such raw emotions
Are not My Truth.
Those emotions are the ghosts that haunt me
When I am lonely and it is dark.
They haunt me and they stalk me,
They try to steal my joy,
And they try to reduce me
To someone full of fear and self-loathing.
Then I remember
That the human experience is not a straight line
Or an angled line
Constantly stretching upwards
To newer and newer highs.
The human experience is an inscrutable process
Which brings us into contact with
Every emotion known to humans.
It can be helpful to recognize
The intrusion of unwelcome guests,
The ghosts who want to remind us of past failures
And to instill fear of the future.
The pity party they want to throw for us
Is never an enjoyable experience.
So we can try to turn a cold shoulder.
Why should we be welcoming
To ghosts and monsters
Who want to reduce us to sadness and misery and human frailty.
They may come calling on us
To throw us a pity party
But we don't have to treat them as guests or friends
Who understand us in ways that others do not.
They are our enemies and they intend to cripple us.
There is nothing wretched about being human
And we should make no apologies for being a human
And living the human experience.
Get away, ugly ghosts who bring ugly stories.
Get away, mean monsters who want to spread vicious lies
And milk a single episode
Into a lifetime of remorse.
Life doesn't last long enough
To have pity parties with bad friends.
I want to sleep tonight and enjoy tomorrow.
I have discovered
That I am grounded
When I know how
To pull on the umbilical cord
That connects my spirit
To The Spirit.
It means connecting creatively
To the pulse that inspires me.
It may be fishing.
The point is that
We all have an umbilical cord
That we can learn to pull on.
All we have to do is pull and tug
Ad we can be drawn close
To the source of our spark, our ignition source.
We can draw close to the warmth
As though drawing close to a fire
And we feel warmed.
All we have to do is listen to the call,
Hear the whisper,
Like paying close attention to the sound of the wind,
And then we move toward the sound,
Pulling on the umbilical cord
And feeling gravitational pull,
Feeling like a baby
Being drawn to its mother
And to the safest place it can be,
To the place where there is total understanding
We feel the nudge
Or hear the muted call,
And we turn to
Walk in the direction
Heading to our spiritual source.
It's like returning to a familiar watering hole
When we are parched.
We feel the pull
And we answer nature's call
To draw near
To the place where we can regenerate and recharge.
Let us listen when The Spirit calls us....
What is the cure for depression?
What is the antidote for sadness and pain?
What can flip the switch from dark to light?
What is the magic solution for a downcast spirit?
For some very lucky people
Grandchildren are their secret painkiller.
It defies reality
That rambunctious toddlers
And demanding babies
And school-age children
Whose electronic past-times challenge our values
Could be the surest and sweetest cure
For our distress.
How could it be
That those little ones who wear us out,
Who disrupt our routine,
And who overrun our tidy, quiet existence
Could be the best painkiller of all?
I don't understand it
But I have felt it
And I have experienced it.
The feeling they bring to my world,
Whatever they ooze into my space,
Transforms me into a person I really like.
I feel myself being inspired by the purest of motivations
And I feel the power of love
Breaking down barriers and reducing tension in my world.
I never really knew what true love was,
I never experienced the purest form of love,
Until I met my grandchildren.
And my love for them has changed me forever
And made me stronger in every physical, emotional, and spiritual way.
I know how much God loved Jesus,
But if God ever experienced grandchildren
He experienced the greatest joy in life.
Grandchildren, you wear us out
And our recovery times between visits get longer,
But you stretch and expand every heart muscle, every emotional band,
And you add something unique and special
To our lives.
God bless you, precious grandchildren.
The things I miss
Fill my thoughts.
There is a consistent news reel and video
Which I do not control
Which spray paints every day
With memories and recollections.
Holding two babies on my lap.
Moving kids to college.
Helping newly marrieds settle into their house.
Visiting you in prison.
Welcoming and meeting grandchildren.
Cleaning out a house after a divorce.
Losing touch with imprisoned relatives.
Losing my father to a car wreck.
Losing my mother to a malicious disease.
And missing the chance to spend more time
With my grown children
Who have their own overly busy lives.
Every event, every interaction
Will soon be a memory,
But it is a gift
That we have memory.
It is our memory that
Helps us remember and re-enjoy
The things we miss.
Perhaps part of the art
Of living life well
Is to work on creating memories
As we go along in life
That will bring us mirth and joy
Rather than sadness and regret.
We are only human
And in our human imperfection
We create some memories
That nurture us later
And some memories
That later cause us pain.
Let us all try to live life
With a gentle touch and a kind spirit
So that our loved ones
Will miss our words of encouragement
Rather than our words of reprimand.
Life is a hard journey for us all,
And we are in control of very little.
But when we do have a chance
To control our behaviors and our speech
So that they nurture and build up and edify
Rather than scold and criticize and break down.
Let us take care
To show our softer self
Our hard or mean or hurt self.
Let us try not to turn a disappointing life event
Into a sad memory.
That will only take an event or encounter
And turn it into a permanent recollection that replays over and over forever.
Let us try to make the human experience,
With all its disappointments and hurts,
An easier process, a gentler journey, for all we meet.
The things we miss
Will include some memories
That we can feel good about.
Today I can live without sadness, grief, anger, resentment, and negativity.
I have a reprieve from the emotions that are my constant companions,
Constant companions that weigh me down and sometimes make me feel
That I am treading water in an ocean of despair.
Today I do not feel bitterness
Toward the system that has imprisoned and demonized you,
And toward the mental illness that has attacked you.
Today I can understand that it is the system that causes my pain.
While humans have built the system over time,
They are acting like pawns, seizing any opportunity to exert their influence
In a bloated bureaucracy that overwhelms them.
The humans operate inside that flawed bureaucracy with varying degrees of integrity,
As do humans inside all organizations.
So it doesn't reduce my grief to hate the perpetrators of injustice.
Humans are flawed.
And they build flawed organizations.
Hating the humans who build dysfunctional systems does not reduce anyone's misery.
The organizations we want to hate
Do not feel our heat.
They are, by definition, cold and cruel in their unresponsiveness and passivity.
Most of us can relate to the truth
That, To love someone who can't love you back
Will break your heart.
It is also true that, To hate someone or something that can't hate you back
Is a degrading experience that is an exercise in futility.
It will break your heart, over and over again.
So the only way to hold on to sanity
Is to refuse to be another prisoner of the system.
A prisoner who waits outside the prison walls
For her loved ones to be set free
Is every much a prisoner
As the one arrested, convicted, and imprisoned.
It doesn't help to hate.
I can do more things when I concentrate on what and who I love
Rather than who and what I hate.
It is not always easy.
The urge to hate is an impulsive emotion that can envelope you
And you feel that your only escape from its tyrannical hold
Is to lash out, crudely and rudely,
Returning vengeance for vengeance
And modeling the vile spirit of oppression.
But the heightened angst hits a brick wall and deafening silence.
The spirit of oppression does not listen.
Our cry of pain is unheard.
So we refuse to be ruled by the harsh forces that could dominate our lives
And reduce us to sad, lonely victims in a human experience that is full of pain and loss.
Whether we like it or not,
Whether we mean to or not,
We bear fruit.
We produce byproducts.
Our human existence leaves footprints
And impacts people.
It does not matter how many people
Show up at our funeral.
The funeral crowd is not the measure of our fruit.
We cannot change the cards we are dealt,
And life is not fair.
Some seem to be given a birthright
That enables them to prosper.
But success and prosperity have little to do
With bearing fruit.
Our finest fruit is produced
When we are not in control,
When we are thrown out of our comfort zone,
When we realize that we have no answers,
And no one who can answer our questions.
In a ritual fashion much like the bumblebees and butterflies,
We go about our day and night
Trying to find the light
And trying to touch the goodness of life.
We feast on the simple delights of nature
And we find comfort in experiencing wonder.
The bumblebee does not flit from flower to flower
Seeking knowledge or power or prestige.
The bumblebee takes comfort in being itself,
Moving in rhythm with instincts
That perpetuate its nature to pollinate.
We move around as pollinators, too.
We are wanderers, often unaware of our impact on our surroundings,
Often trying way too hard to make an impact
And leaving little evidence of our being.
Most of the fruit we produce
Are the unintended consequences of our living.
We do not control the outcomes of our living
But we do bear fruit.
May we all try to enjoy the satisfactions of each day
And not waste too much time or energy
Counting our conquests and triumphs.
The new day that awaits us
Might be the most satisfying day yet.
I can't help what I remember.
It's not my choice.
When a memory comes flooding in
And I see a sight
That is etched in my memory
Even when I would rather not
Remember you in that way.
And then, of course,
There are the memories of the
Kind behaviors, the loving gestures.
I am not in control of what I remember
But I will not hold onto
The disappointing thoughts and hurtful images
For a second longer than I have to.
Why do I have the feeling
That I am called to a high and noble purpose?
Why is it not enough
To live a life of savory enjoyment?
There is no disgrace in enjoying life.
Indeed, the ability to enjoy life
Makes the possession of life more dear.
But there is a deep-seated urge,
A primal instinct,
To be a part of an idea
That has the potential to profoundly enrich the human experience
And especially help the lepers and castoffs in our society.
I do not want human suffering
To be my master
But I do not want to experience life
In a way that makes me oblivious
To the downtrodden.
They may not appreciate my help
Or even be aware of my interest
But, from a distance, perhaps,
Or maybe even up close,
I want to help,
I want to help people who are sad or angry or disillusioned
Find their way back
To a lifetime of meaning and joy.
To help a precious, innocent child
Is an act that produced a euphoric pleasure.
But to help the child in a grownup,
To help the sad and vulnerable child
Locked inside a troubled grownup,
This is my calling and my fate
And my destiny.
Perhaps this is also my way
Of enjoying life to its fullest
And finding the ultimate meaning
In this joyful and curious experience,
So full of missteps and disappointments and heartbreaks and bad breaks,
That we call Life.
The older I get
The more I realize
That spoken words
Have the potential to sting
Of course words can soothe and help and encourage
But words we speak
Stay in the atmosphere forever.
What this means is that
We should freely speak
Words of encouragement and love
(How often do we regret speaking those words?)
But we should be careful
Not to speak words of reprimand and criticism.
We need to realize that
The words we speak
Will ring in the ears of the listener forever
And long after we have forgotten what we said
Or what we actually meant.
Is our momentary angst
Worthy of a Forever Moment?
Maybe there is a way
To express ourself in words
That will not lead to discord or hurt.
Before we speak our mind
Let us ask ourselves,
Is my opinion worthy of becoming a permanent record?
Could I word my speech
So that I drop a hint
Of what's on my mind
Rather than drop a bomb?
I need to ask myself,
Are my words going to sound like a personal attack
Or will they promote goodwill and harmony?
Even the truth (as we see it)
Is worth saying out loud.