only word

9.19 internal wrestling

what game are you playing with my dreams? did you read my mail before you whispered these foolish possibilities to my eager heart? you say the wisdom of your divine encounter is foolish to the world, well i’m going to look an idiot if i go stumbling after you, the blind man who heard of a magic healer somewhere out on the road.

yet you’re so precise in these stabs of heavenly temptation. only it’s not a tempter i know, this is weighty goodness, so thick with joy you could almost clench it.

oh i long to find you out in the dust of the road, is it you calling me, sweet lord, or my foolish dreams? did you plant this yearning, or is it some foreign desire? fear creeps at the door, i’m such a weak man, come speak to me with words of fire. i doubt so easy, let me see the marks on your blessed skin and then i would step out on the waves.

i’ve been looking for you too long, like the sun you overwhelm me, and i’m starting to trip over these visions. why do you flood the parched valleys of your weakest disciple? what is it in you that comes back for your weakest follower, to tell me the stories i long for? why pursue when i am trying to hide away.

oh i want you, jesus, but the waves i made threaten to drown out this flickering hope.

come write answers on this wall, whisper truth to this little doubter.

sweet jesus all i ever wanted was you. i don’t want to fall asleep alone, i want to rest in you and wake to delight in new mercies i never deserved. i long to tell them all of the stories about your love. i want to light up their faces with the truth of your delirious invasion.

i wait for you, as i wait for sunrise. come down this dusty road, you need not even say my name, let me see the slightest glance from you and i will come running. oh call me away into these mountains, let them rumor that i went crazy following the jesus i always sang about. let it be me and you, let me be at your side and there i would silence these fears.

sweet jesus all i ever wanted was you. these waves are so high, lord. let me look into your face, and this frail follower will stumble out onto the sea to where you are.

9.18 amateur

and maybe it all meant something, all the noise we made just trying to make these days count. maybe there were more than stars when we craned our necks searching out the dark blue.

i can’t prove it, but whatever I’m looking for out past those mountains can be found in the dishwater at my parent’s house just as easy. oh i never have the words for this heartache, but there are glimmers in the patience that comes with the legos and innocence of my little brothers. you agree the sunrise screams a song, but i’m telling you there are traces of gold in the sidewalk cracks, and magic bursting in the colored pictures strewn across the fridge.

can’t you taste this? we might spend ten thousand lives searching this whole earth and beyond for the joy that comes in one heavy reality of an eight year-olds’s endless card tricks.

you don’t need to look for joy anymore, open your eyes! the mountains are calling, but so is the moon, and the shared jacket as the night gets cold, the phone call home, boundless sunrise, the fumbling apology, tears, and laughter.

let’s grow old together, you and i. soak in this rainfall with me, won’t you. i’ll be out in the street, awestruck as even the fluorescent blends into this symphony.

we’ve spent too long looking for signs in the starlight. can’t you catch the glimpse of His invasion into this reality? all that is gold does not glitter, goodness just open your eyes.

we’re thirsty so close to streams of life. we’re lonely one seat away from Him.

9.17 talking to myself

a fragile fragment of hope in the wail of the little one, it’s an earnest love that tries to calm her. you’re rocking her to sleep in the hallway where you grew up and it’s richer than honey in messy realities.

long past midnight you’ll crawl into cold sheets, still there’s hope in the room even as you fall asleep to a lonely heartbeat.

can’t you see traces and feeblest parallels? purity is a price you pay, not a holy grail. love is a willing sacrifice, not hidden treasure.

go to sleep, little warrior.

9.14 scrub

every morning i slip into the same old dull routine, hoping that somewhere between the crawl out of bed and drying off i might scrub my heart as clean as my skin. unfortunately the shower water hasn’t seeped that deeply into my soul, and i can’t seem to absorb any lasting cleanliness.

so i keep my head down and hope to goodness i can crawl into church and feel warm enough that this sickness might slip away. i want a good strong fever of conviction to eradicate my diseases plural.

oh you say i take you to jesus, i’m not even sure i could point Him out in a crowd of strangers.

but i’m still here, sucking up enough courage to slink into church, knowing without a doubt that when i go to a place looking for Him, that i will find Him.

knowing full well i don’t deserve His love, feebly praying for mercy.

knowing more surely still that His love never was about my track record, so quick to forget His mercy for the dirty and blind ones such as me.

9.13 you knew this would get to my head

i prefer that riddles and analogies cover up my straight truths, thus the more simple-minded of you might be tricked into believing i have something of worth to say. still at the end of every hard-earned day i’m a man who had the patience for one lesson and had to learn five just to catch up. this isn’t false humility, this is an accurate analysis.

you say i’m dramatic, i say i’d prefer to scream while the roller coaster plunges.

the riddle is that i’m moving away from my hometown after twenty-two years of learning every crack in these sidewalks. the analogy is something vague and mumbly about looking fear in the face.

and here, finally, the straight truth.

it is a fog-bound morning, and i cannot see more than five feet ahead into the woods. there is the strain of some symphony out beyond the grey nothing in these pines, and i am far too curious for my own good.

ah, you point out the elephant in the room. no, i don’t have the straight truth neatly packaged for your consumption and my peace of mind. but i’m going, and i’ll miss you.

in my head i have this dream, and i’ll be honest because it becomes more comical the further i keep it. yes, i’ll depart with my duffel bag and assorted books, but i’ll come back as a man you respect.

oh yes, all i needed was this clean slate, i tell you. give me six months in the mountains and i’ll come back with all the dancing prayed right out of me by hard work and a snowbound mountain town.

the truth is a drink most people want mixed, but i’ll take it straight.

i’m all over the place, an inedible jello that hasn’t set in the fridge long enough. we may flee half-way round the world or three states over but we can’t escape our own heart.

the older i get the more i accept that this process and change and general growing-up has very little to do with my own effort and very much to do with His work.

oh, Him, somehow i forgot to mention that elusive lover of mine, didn’t i? well He’ll probably be chasing me up into the hills, gosh darn it. and in the end if we’re both honest He will make this screaming infant into a brave man.

don’t trust me, trust Him. this was never a story about thaddeus, it was always another chapter about jesus.

doesn’t that give you peace of mind? i’ve already stopped the internal screaming.

alright, colorado. three more weeks.

9.8 development on a theme

they whisper rumors of another divine symphony, just out past the shadow of that last sun-soaked hill. i’ve heard stories of the sweet water you lead them to deep in the lofty pines, and i may be blind but i want to taste of this living water. one hundred miles beyond where my clumsy feet ever wandered they dance and run with you, oh yes, i have heard the legends.

simple i may be, but i’ve caught hints in the sound of the ocean’s waves, and i know with tears i saw more than these eyes were allowed in the sunset that they tried to hide last night.

oh, what are they all saying in the wind talk through these forests that i never wandered? i believe the stories i’ve heard in the hush before storms, and i know they all wait for another dance with you. but i am the lowliest of servants in these courts, and they say my eyes are too weak to contain even a glance when you run with them through the wild.

still, i’ve packed my bags, and i’ll stumble out into the dark woods, searching for the light. oh, i will catch a glimpse of you, they don’t know it but i’ve heard your whisper in my soul, and i know beyond any doubt that you’re calling me away into these viscious mountains that quiver at the sound of you.

they’ll laugh at this poor blind cripple as i hobble where they can run, but even to sense your shadow through these feeble eyes and i might be innocent again. they say with you one can drink from the water of life, and i am so thirsty lord.

i know you made me a little lower than the angels, but jesus i heard them singing to you, and i just want to see your face.

9.5 this isn’t writing so much as typing

there has to be some days where we don’t have anything worth saying to share. we can’t all be limitless fountains of conversation, can we? i’m certainly not. i’m a shooting star, not a planet. i have my moments, there are days in these endless years.

truth be told i’m spilling words for a goal, blood-letting all the garbage writing out of my system in the vain hope that someday when i sit down to write something truly meaningful it will sound halfway decent. and then i will be satisfied. yes, that’s the goal isn’t it? satisfaction, and as of yet i can’t get any of it.

so we tromp on, my little keyboard and i, forging through this jungle of jumbled thoughts, a young man trying to put into words the tangled knots of thought that are criss-crossing daily through my brain. you may think we boys only think about one or two things at a time but it isn’t so, i’m a thousand and one thoughts at the same time. they may be compartmentalized but they’re overwhelming nonetheless.

what will it all lead to, in the end. when i’m an old, ugly man who smiles a little too much at his grandchildren and still hopelessly idolizes his wife, will i suddenly start creating worlds in your mind? will this truly be a foundation towards something that will last or will it all fade away, quicker than the dust from runaway schemes that i label as traveling? oh, it will fade make no mistake. they won’t remember my name even one hundred years from now, and the sooner you realize this about yourself as well then the sooner we might shine as bright as those comets through the skies that dreamers gaze in to.

we are but glimpses, you and i, but this is what we were made for. we are threads in a tapestry, echoes in a symphony orchestrated by the divine. i will be but one note in ten thousand, but let that note be true and strong. let us burn bright as we might with the five seconds worth that we shoot through their atmosphere, let us be found burned out and pointing the way to something far greater. when they cut us open let them find another heart and a vanished soul.

do not think so much of yourself that this hurts your beating heart, it is right that we might see ourselves as we are. we may be greater than the angels, but in the end we long to join in that great symphony. to raise our voice in the throng and howl as wolves at the moon, to be bright stars in a galaxy, strokes of paint on a canvas telling a far greater story than ourselves.

9.4 more of this, less of that

i wish you two could see through my eyes, as i watch you hurtle through these violent years. with me all you’ve come to expect are loud stories and dancing and wrestling, but there’s a heart that beats for you under this bloody skin.

you’re young men now, and i’m in awe of you. i watch as you grow and take each next hill with a bravery you certainly didn’t learn from me. they tell me you are hard workers, and that you are gentlemen, and it makes me so proud to say you’re my brothers. i know a reputation isn’t the point, but your character is, and i want you to know that i’m rooting for you, your biggest fan on the field of your life.

we will come and go, many battles will be fought here in this hometown but also far away in foreign fields, and through all these battles we will emerge as men. i urge you to fight hard, to run the race well, and to listen for the call of jesus on your life. i won’t always be there in person to cheer for you, but i hope you remember on the hard days that there’s always an old, repentant sinner you can call, because you’re always in his prayers.

i love you, kurtis. i love you, kenneth. i thank our heavenly father for giving me brothers as strong as you. fight well, my friends, and chase after Him when He calls you further up.

9.3 no tightrope walker

for most of my adult life i have lived under a cloud i wasn’t consious of. though the night grew darker around me, my feeble eyes never realized how bad the storm was growing. if you are born blind, how would you know the sight of sunrise?

in my mind’s eye there stretched out before my feet a treacherous path. my course was set upon a tightrope three thousand feet up, and each step forward was an infinite risk. one misplaced foot and i might fall off that razor thin line, and the line was God’s will for my life.

so for years i blundered on, agonizing step after step, attempting my very best to make it even one foot along what i perceived as the only course that would make Him happy, and my ultimate goal in life must be to somehow by sheer effort bring a smile to his glum face.

each time i fell, it seemed to me that God would catch me, set me back upon the violent line, and ask me to try again. He seemed to me to be a patient character, if not exhausted. One who has vast, deep reserves of love, but has been drained from years of resue missions of my tightrope act.

one wonders how long this might have gone on had i not been shaken awake by jesus during one of these more vivid nightmares. yes, it was a fantasy of my tortured sleep.

it was then that He brought me down from that tightrope of my mind to a wide, green pasture. joy gleamed in His eye and He gently teased my somber, black clothing. He spread arms wide and told me that this was God’s will, that there was no bounds to the limit of His love if i wandered through with Him.

and i sank into that green grass and sobbed deeply for the years i’d spent trying to please Him, only to find that it was never about my performance, that His love had burned away all my best attempts, and all my greatest failures.

come, let us go away into the mountains, i long to show you greater things. there are roads you have never dreamed of, and i can show you the springs of joy. i will burn out this heart of darkness and i will make you new. there is no limit to my love, come away with me.

6.2 this is imitation

i am not a hero, i am the echo of a symphony, four rows from the door, witness to the divine story unfolding its wings upon the stage.

there are no books about me, but there are books within me about the subject that matters. there are stories, but if you’re truly listening they are thread stiched to an epic far more sweeter than my five-second scream. listen, can’t you hear the yearn in every songwriter’s words? look, can’t you see the gleam in the eye of every stargazer?

we are ripples from a splash of the divine, we are leaves shivered by the breath of a lover we have only glimpsed. we are expectant children, writing our letter’s to santa claus of all our hopes and dreams, we are the screams hurtling down the stares to witness all our expectation finally realized. we are those who dance in the sunshine, who whisper hope over every last bonfire for the threads we see in every passing comet.

you and i have witnessed splashes of the divine color in this black world, and our hope is not un-founded.

can’t you hear it in the poems of our mothers, in the stories of our forefathers can’t you taste the eager expectancy?

we are not foolish dreamers, we have tasted in glimpses, and we remember all too well the embrace of our lover. this is not a dream, this is quivering hope.

we are to be remade. all the rabbit in us is to disappear - the worried, the coscientious, the ethical rabbit as well as the cowardly and sensual rabbit. we shall bleed and squeal as the handfuls of fur come out; and then surprisingly, we shall find under it all a thing we have never yet imagined; a real man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy.

8.31 farewell magic

it took me a minute to remember where I’d seen these two little girls before, one doesn’t remember every eight or ten year-old we meet in life, unfortunately. they searched my face, wide-eyed with all the intense innocence of youth, but as they peered over the edge of the counter at me while I made drinks, i realized that we had all crossed paths before.

as they left they were pointing at me and whispering a story to their nanny that i couldn’t quite hear, and then it all came back. i’d seen the eager pointing before, when these two had realized i was the one who rescued their dog, owen, when he ran away from home.

i remember meeting their father, who assured me that the two little ladies would be coming by fairly soon with lovingly crafted colored pictures and thank you notes. they had come in the same day, giving me notes and high fives. in my mind i was just taking care of a stray dog, but in their eyes i was a hero.

and apparently i was still well remembered. my actions i had long forgotten, but in their minds it was not so simple to fade away.

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine,must be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.

8.29 laughable pride killers

unfortunately, you have me confused with some other repentant hipster. yes, i’m sure a parent or well-intentioned friend sent you my way, that you might glean some wisdom from the fields i’m burning. in reality, they’re shredding all the documents from a blundered scheme and if you’re looking for a good story, you’re fifteen years too late.

i’m not a role model, i’m a basket case. when they tricked me into getting on the roller coaster called life they did not strap me in and the results have been laughably cataclysmic.

my only claim to fame is one i cling to with grubby little fingers, and it is that i was saved in my darkest hour by the only hero worth following.

look no more in my general direction for some sort of inspiration, don’t think for even five seconds that there’s some sort of anything going on here in this space i occupy.

the one you’re looking for is jesus.

do not confuse the name. do not look for cheaper alternatives, and do not let your pride get in the way of admitting you need his help.

you see, jesus is a heart surgeon, and i was a few years past due on a heart surgergy. now the heroism of this jesus is not that he successfully healed me, which he did. his greatest act was that when no heart could be found for my breaking body, he gave me his own.

this is why i tell you that you’re looking at the wrong man. anything i am, any good thing at all is because of jesus.

but by all means, come over and sit with this self-obsessed cafe dweller. i will listen as best i can, i will smile and nod knowingly, and if you ask any question at all i will answer as blindly as a sunday school child.

the answer is always jesus.

8.27 daily dose of drivel

the older i get, the less i trust that any good thing originated from somewhere within this cardboard cut-out of a man. i am a collection of second guesses and mis-steps, an array of beautiful memories marred only by my presence.

these are the types of thoughts that parade throughout my mind, the little demons nagging at my last foothold of hope.

is it possible to love yourself rightly? to take in with honest eyes the brokenness that festers under the surface and still see the last sparks of good that were planted within, little saplings in a cruel desert?

i am one who faced fair trail and stood condemmed. the sentence is that i might walk through each waking hour and see clearly my own brokenness. to know what i was made to be, and to know better still how short of that mark i truly fell.

it is in this coldest night hour that he passes by, and it his rebuke in the whisper of the wind that breaks down every defense.

i loved you at your darkest, and my love does not bear rebuke. you are worthy of my love. where are those who accuse you?

they are gone, lord, and the voices are silenced at your word.

then neither do i accuse you. live in the light, do not wander again into your own darkness. i would give you a new life, you know well that i am making all things new.

my mercy is new every morning.

8.26 ain’t no rest for the wicked

i’ve heard your offers of peace and rest, the crowds followed you desperately just for a brush of your robes that might heal every sickness. they say you rubbed dust of the road and your spit into a blind man’s eyes and he was made well. and i see the poetry in your work, that you would reach into the dirt and the mess, and add yourself to it. dirt and divine spit.

but what were your words to those who had dug their own grave? surely, you’re mercy was offered to the ignorant, and i was a prodigal son of yours. i was taught to know you from a young age, a child in the courts of a king, and thus is not my rebellion that much more greivous to your heart? are you not repulsed by my cry for help, a beggar who came on his own sweet time?

still, i stumble to the road where they say you might pass by, and i cry out for mercy, mercy alone!

ah, but you were waiting here for me, i should have known. indeed, you were the stranger who helped this blind man to the road, and you were the one who whispered of a mercy that i might have.

lord, i have heard you can make me well. i have heard you offer rest to the weary, and i am so weary of my own designs. lead this blind man along, let me stumble forward at your side until this stubborn heart learns to love again.

lord, i have heard you can make me well! i believe, help my unbelief.

"… he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, "go, wash in the pool of siloam." so he went and washed and came back seeing."

8.25 oceanic analogies again

here i scream, in a storm of my own making. how i wish we were out at sea together, and my faith was tested by harsher demons than my own weak flesh. alas, the scene plays out on a man-made lake and it’s all i can do to keep from drowning.

this is the perfect storm, and each wave bears the signature of a weak man giving in. if i perish, none will wonder why.

and as always, in this moment i hear your voice, calmly you question why i watch every rising wave, why i ever turned my eyes away from your face.

lord, these waves will consume me today, i know it.

and who do you know that can silence the waves?

none but you, lord.

i discipline the one who i love, but i will not let you perish. you were far more broken than this when i pursued you. my love does not come and go as these storms do.

it hurts, jesus!

i will not lie to you, i am going to kill your flesh, and it will hurt more than anything. but trust in me, have i ever failed you? you know how i love you! have you not heard?

i am making all things new.