Friday, June 9, 2017

Sweet One

Sweet One

My heart is overflowing with gratitude
As I sit here contemplating your sweet little soul
I have always known with unquestioning certitude
That someday your presence would make me whole

That you and your siblings would bring joy and completeness
The sense that my life’s purpose had been attained
With your smiles, your laughter, your light and your sweetness
I promise my love will be unrestrained

Take your time coming, but know we are here
Praying for you every morning and night
Waiting for your beautiful soul to appear
For our lives to be illumined by your radiant light

Your father and I promise to love you forever
As high as the sky and as deep as the sea
A love which nothing on this earth can sever
As far as the earth's core and as tall as the tree

This love will never for a moment waiver
It is as wide as the mountain and beyond what you see
Have faith in this love and let it help you be braver
As you learn to trust your heart and to give endlessly




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fire, Stone, Air and Water

Part 1 - Fire

A fire is born from the tiniest spark
A flame vulnerable and inconsequential
It must be protected and gently encouraged
In order to manifest it’s inherent potential

As humans we are much the same
Though we yearn to be independent
We must be encouraged and gently guided
In order to shine light glorious and resplendent

Thus the power we have in one another’s lives
Should not be ignored or considered lightly
We have the power to accompany, to believe in and love
And to gently encourage our friends to shine brightly

We also have the power to hurt those we love
When we think we have answers that they need to learn
Through a few thoughtless words or self-righteous acts
We can smother a spark before it can burn

So remember to love and gently encourage
To trust in the capacity of those who surround you
Believe in the flame that burns in their hearts
And watch as it’s beauty shines brighter and true



Part 2 - Stone

A polished stone begins as a rock
Protected and encased by the earth
Knowing nothing of its inner beauty
Unaware of its inherent worth

To manifest its hidden and glorious potential
Its rough edges must first be removed
Thrown together with other rocks
Through collision all edges are smoothed

Much like rocks it is quite a process
For our characters to be honed and polished
It is impossible to do in solitude
Alone our ego cannot be demolished

But in our relationships can be seen a tool
For complete and total transformation
When we collide and grind off each other’s edges
We catch glimpses of our true inner station

This is the beauty of human interaction
Through it we see with new eyes
For inside every human being
Is a gem just waiting to light up the skies


Part 3 - Air

We often smother ourselves
Hiding in the depths of our past
Unable to move forward
For fear each step will be our last

The air we breathe is filled with hurt
Denial, anger, fear and shame
We barely fill our lungs with air
Each breath poisoned with blame

We stop ourselves from feeling
The breezes of God’s love
Believing ourselves broken
And unable to attain the heavens above

But what if every test we’ve faced
Was strengthening our wings
Building within us courage and nerve
To rise to the heights of kings

Within us is the power to overcome
As much as we are willing to give
And as we transform we begin to see
That to fly is to truly live


Part 4 - Water

A drop of water becomes a puddle
A puddle becomes a stream
A stream becomes a river
Reflecting every sun beam

A river flows into a sea
A sea pours into the ocean
The depths of the ocean’s wisdom
Has set this world in motion

A tie of love is as two seas
Pulling two worlds together
Creating a body so vast and deep
It can calmly overcome any weather

Though the trials of this world of dust
May briefly darken its surface
It’s beauty lies beyond all reach
In the glory of it’s Divine purpose

For from marriage flows the essence of life
The potential for the transformation of our world
As each generation learns and develops
We watch a new civilization become unfurled

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I Hope You Know

When each of you came into my life
You left a stamp on my soul
Your joy became my joy
Your sorrow, my sorrow
Nothing compared to the love that you shared
Or the way that you made me feel whole

And when you left
Whether quickly or with a prolonged good-bye
My heart broke a little
There is a hole in my heart now
Where once you were
A loss no words can express

Your toothless grin
Your deeply wise heart
Your tickle attacks 
Your "come and get me!"
Your endless questions
Your eyes filled with love
I miss each of you
Every day
More than words can say

My heart aches to hug you
To have you run into my arms
To watch you grow
To make sure you know
How deeply I love you

But I also hope
That you forget me
That you grow and learn
And that the time we spent together
Becomes a fading memory
A happy one
Oh how I hope it is a happy one

But not one that holds you back
Not one that brings you sadness
I hope you dream and you smile
That you find beauty in the tests you face
And are always surrounded
By His loving embrace

And I hope you know 
I hope you always know
How deeply
How utterly
How completely

You are loved



Friday, December 2, 2016

Emotional Reality

Sometimes the sun and the rain
Are intertwined in my mind
The weight of the chain
Of the joy and the pain 
Leave me deeply confused and confined

Lost in this storm's refrain
I am blind and undermined
Struggling to ascertain
What God has ordained
By placing this capacity in humankind

I wonder why He designed 
The human brain to contain
Feelings blurred and unrefined
Merged and combined
Emotions which it cannot explain 

I search for a purpose to be defined
And though I often cannot ascertain
Any obvious or visible sign
Of the mysterious Will of the Divine
I trust that my search is not in vain

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Perspective

The path that is my life
Stretches out before me
Going farther in the distance
Than my mind can fathom

Endless in its possibilities
Mysterious in its essence
Meeting the sky and Sun above
With great joy and deep love

Yet sometimes my vision is pulled
To the ground just below my feet
The pebbles, stones, holes, obstacles
That cause me to stumble, to fall

I forget the path before me
Its beauty and light
Its grace and purpose
Its soul-stirring wonder

And instead I stand frozen
Unmoving, angry, hurt, lost
Caught up in my own trap
Not seeing the path before me

But when I do remember
To look up, to see the bigger purpose
The paralysis is lifted
All the heaviness trickles away

And I stand ready
To walk
To learn
To stumble
And to grow

Friday, July 8, 2016

On the Edge of Reality

Sometimes I have to talk myself down
From the edge of a cliff
Where I stand, frozen, believing the rim will break
And I will fall
My heart pounds and my fingers grow very cold
In anticipation
I hear the wolves behind me, screaming and taunting me
Telling me there is nowhere left to turn
I see only the insignificant and failed attempts to get away
Which brought me to this cliff
I can't breath, my body is numb, my mind flipping in circles
Useless and unhelpful
Often it is a combination of others and my heart
That get me to step back
Recognizing that the cliff I see and feel in my mind
Isn't actually really there
That the howling I hear is actually coming from within me
Not from another creature
The first step is to back off the ledge, slowly, carefully,
One step at a time
To take a deep breath, calm my mind, feel my feet
On solid ground
To warm my body, others share their strength and love with me
Gently bringing me back to life
Then they help me to find strength and love within myself
For it is there, even when I can't see it

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Waiting

I sit at the peak of a tree
Waiting for the sun to rise, for the wind to pick up
For the confirmations to shine and to flow
Telling me to wing my flight
And guiding me to glorious heights

Other birds taunt me as they fly past
Not understanding why I sit here waiting
Unaware of the turmoil inside my heart
The anguish and worry in my soul
Uncertain and yet certain at the same time

When I lose my focus and determination
I am beckoned by the world below
I question my resolve, my reasoning
Whether I'm actually making the right choices
Whether I truly have any value

I wonder whether the future is as dark as my ego leads me to believe
Praying for His light to shine and warm the chill
That has filled my soul in it's absense
Yearning for the wind to pick up and start billowing
It's presence guiding me towards His light

But nothing happens, not yet anyway
I sit and I watch and I pray for the strength
To believe in His light within and surrounding me and it's ability to guide me
To continue to follow the path that God wishes of me
Even if for the time being, it requires patience

Patience

I sit at the peak of a tree
Waiting for the sun to rise, for the wind to pick up
For the confirmations to shine and to flow
Telling me to wing my flight
And guiding me to glorious heights

Other birds taunt me as they fly past
Not understanding why I sit here waiting
Unaware of the turmoil inside my heart
The anguish and worry in my soul
Uncertain and yet certain at the same time

When I lose my focus and determination
I am beckoned by the world below
I question my resolve, my reasoning
Whether I'm actually making the right choices
Whether I truly have any value

I wonder whether the future is as dark as my ego leads me to believe
Praying for His light to shine and warm the chill
That has filled my soul in it's absense
Yearning for the wind to pick up and start billowing
It's presence guiding me towards His light

But nothing happens, not yet anyway
I sit and I watch and I pray for the strength
To believe in His light within and surrounding me and it's ability to guide me
To continue to follow the path that God wishes of me
Even if for the time being, it requires patience


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Gratitude

The birds sing their praises
As the breeze gently moves the leaves of the trees
Outside the window if this blessed room

I sit here pondering the gratitude
That pours forth from my heart
The joy and preciousness of these past nine days

Of the beautiful people
That I have prayed and sung and grown with
And who I have grown to deeply and profoundly love

There is no sadness in my heart
Only gratitude, awe and wonderment
That God brought us together in this way

That He chose to put each of us here
At this time and allowed us to share an experience 
That has connected our souls for eternity


" O SON THAT STOOD BY HIS OWN ENTITY IN THE KINGDOM OF HIS SELF! 

Know thou, that I have wafted unto thee all the fragrances of holiness, have fully revealed to thee My word, have perfected through thee My bounty and have desired for thee that which I have desired for My Self. Be then content with My pleasure and thankful unto Me." Baha'u'llah (The Hidden Words)


Monday, June 27, 2016

Contentment

I feel a peace within my soul
When I set aside my own wishes and desires
As if in this action I am made whole
No longer rocked and shaken by what transpires

A readiness to accept any event or outcome
And react with grace no matter the situation
To not look at anything as a problem
But rather as an opportunity for greater illumination

In moments when I am able to achieve this tranquility
My heart is filled with contentment and trust
No longer do I feel hindered by my own fragility 
For I know that in all tests He is guiding and nourishing us

"O Son of Spirit! Ask not of Me that which We desire not for thee, then be content with what We have ordained for thy sake, for this is that which profiteth thee, if therewith thou dost content thyself." Baha'u'llah (The Hidden Words)








Sunday, June 26, 2016

Generosity

I long for my thoughts and actions to change
To give more freely
Love more deeply
See more clearly
To give of myself with no thought of return

I see the person I would like to be
Gracefully gentle
Selflessly generous
Utterly service oriented
But I'm not always sure how to get there

I see in Your perfect example
A generosity of spirit
A humility profoundly moving
A love unconditional
And I yearn with all my heart to be more like You

Day by day I strive with all my heart
To align myself more with Your example
To live more completely by Your guidance
To accept more radiantly Your will
And to never stop longing to draw closer to You

"O Children of Dust! Tell the rich of the midnight sighing of the poor, lest heedlessness lead them into the path of destruction, and deprive them of the Tree of Wealth. To give and to be generous are attributes of Mine; well is it with him that adorneth himself with My virtues." Baha'u'llah (The Hidden Words)



Saturday, June 25, 2016

To Be a Bringer of Light

Within my heart and mind, a fight is taking place
My ego screaming to be heard
Feeling injustice, unloved, villainized
All its efforts to please and appease unrecognized

While my soul is praying with every ounce of its effort
For the ability to hear and see through His lens
To detach, to show love, to let go
For the purity of heart to put unity before my own ego

The resentment, hurt and anger well inside me
Screaming to be released
They want justice, understanding and recognition
But their yearned for actions would only lead to further demolition

The only solution I can see for repair 
Is to love unconditionally with no expectations
To hear with His hearing, to see with His sight
To beg God to assist me to let go of my darkness and be only a bringer of light 


"O Son of the Throne! Thy hearing is My hearing, hear thou therewith. Thy sight is My sight, do thou see therewith, that in thine inmost soul thou mayest testify unto My exalted sanctity, and I within Myself may bear witness unto an exalted station for thee." Baha'u'llah (The Hidden Words)



Friday, June 24, 2016

See With the Eye of Truth

We live in darkness, in blindness, in confusion
Fear and distrust often dictate our existence 
Doubtful of the truths that others share
We hide from each other in sorrow and despair

Secretly we are searching for light in the world
For answers to healing its ever increasing decay
Yet at the same time we are critical of any answers that appear
For how can we truly know the motives they convey?

It is so easy to fall prey to this darkness
The hopelessness and despair that lead to numbness 
Numbness which leads to vile acts
That only throw more tinder in the flame of the world's decay

Though it is painful and difficult beyond measure
Each of us must continue to search for truth
We must not give up in our efforts to find answers and solutions
For the future of our world rests in our hands

The answer to the world's problems are within each of us
In our ability to love unconditionally and universally
In our learning to see capacity and nobility
Within the heart of every person on this earth

O my brothers and sisters 
Pass beyond the doubt and prejudice that tears us apart
And rise to the heights of certainty and love
Open the eye of truth and see God's fingerprint within every human soul

"O Fleeting Shadow! Pass beyond the baser stages of doubt and rise to the exalted heights of certainty. Open the eye of truth, that thou mayest behold the veilless beauty and exclaim: Hallowed be the Lord, the most excellent of all creators!" Baha'u'llah (The Hidden Words) 


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Confirmations, Blessings and Martyrdom

Gratitude and joy resonate within my soul
For only you could have set this in motion
To be in this group with your nephew and family 
Fills my heart with overwhelming emotion

Farid, my spiritual father and friend
You have given me the gift of your story
Your humility and flexibility and deep selflessness
And the choices that led to your eternal glory

I pray I can someday express my gratitude to you
O precious, beloved, respected martyr
But for now I will strive to spread His light in your name
And live every moment of my life in your honor

"O Son of Being! Seek a martyr's death in My path, content with My pleasure and thankful for that which I ordain, that thou mayest repose with Me beneath the canopy of majesty behind the tabernacle of glory." Baha'u'llah (The Hidden Words)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

O Man of Two Visions

My eyes were stuck in this material world
Caught up with deficiencies in myself and others
Victimized and villainized, bullied and betrayed
I saw myself as broken and faulty

I lived in a bubble of fear and doubt
Never knowing if my actions were right or wrong
Lost and lonely, cloudy and confused
Imprisoned by my own vision

But then light and purpose came into my life
And brought glimpses into a different reality
Of compassion and clarity, servitude and sincerity
Where learning took the place of failure

He is teaching me to see with new vision
Through the eyes of His home, my heart,
Spiritual and soul stirring, open minded and optimistic 
Where this physical existence is not our true reality

Though I am learning to see in this new way
I still often see the world through both lenses
Prejudice and perception, barriers and blessings
But someday I pray to see only the Beauty

"O Man of Two Visions! 

Close one eye and open the other. Close one to the world and all that is therein, and open the other to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved." Baha'u'llah (The Hidden Words)



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

With the Hand of Your Power

Ignite this flame within my heart
That it may grow brighter with each passing day
Build it high and build it strong
So that even my ego cannot quench its grandeur

Assist me at all times to remember You
So that Your healing love may flow through me
Gently nurturing, lovingly guiding 
Aiding my soul to draw ever closer to You

Help me to treasure and cherish Your love
That I may always see beauty as I walk through this world
It is the key to my sight, the beat of my heart
The very purpose of my earthly existence


"O Befriended Stranger! The candle of thine heart is lighted by the hand of my power, quench it not with the contrary winds of self and passion. The healer of all thine ills is remembrance of Me, forget it not. Make My love thy treasure and cherish it even as thy very sight and life." -Baha'u'llah (The Hidden Words) 






Monday, June 20, 2016

A Finely Tempered Sword

You look within your heart
And see nothing there of value
Critical of all that you are
Seeing only what you've been taught to see
By the world around you

But what if those beliefs
Are a sheath blinding your view
Surrounding you in darkness
Until all you see is that same darkness
Not a single ray of light shining through

Stop looking at the darkness
Which breeds fear and doubt within your mind
Look for the light reflecting in your heart 
The beautiful colors it manifests
Learn to value the way you were designed

For as you learn to seek out this beautiful light
Your eyes will change, and no longer blind,
You will see that concealed inside your heart
Was a finely tempered priceless sword
That all of humanity has been searching to find

And aware of the value within your own heart 
You will search for that same beauty around you
Drawing attention to the light 
That glimmers and dances in the hearts of all people
When all we are looking for is beauty shining through

"O My Servant! Thou art even as a finely tempered sword concealed in the darkness of its sheath and its value hidden from the artificer's knowledge. Wherefore come forth from the sheath of self and desire that thy worth may be made resplendent and manifest into all the world." -Baha'u'llah (Hidden Words)




Friday, June 3, 2016

A Good Thing

I have a calendar on my desk which has quotes on it and the quote for today says "Too much of a good thing is still a good thing." This seemed exceptionally appropriate given that today marks 7 years since I arrived in Israel. So many emotions fill my soul today. But somehow they all come back to gratitude. Gratitude to God for having put me here, for having given me the opportunity to live in an environment that reflects and is a manifestation of the nobility and true essence of the human race, for having tested me and assisted me to grow and move farther beyond my own limitations and fears than I ever would have thought possible. A bit of sadness for all the beautiful souls I have said good-bye to in the 7 years I've been here, but also so much gratitude to have had them in my life. Particularly a family that just left 2 days ago. Two precious little girls and their loving and beautiful parents whose fingerprints are all over the most joyful and touching memories of my service here and who have left an imprint in my heart that will stay with me forever. I think I will feel grateful for the rest of my life for the gift that has been my time here.













Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rusty

Silence greeted my gentle nudges
A lack of words or movement
So silence became the mode of functioning
And settled into a comfortable corner

To speak would admit a rustiness
A need for practice, for repetition
A need for patience and perseverance
Silence was much easier

But I miss the beautiful melodies
My pen used to weave across my paper
The radiance and joy that came to me
When forming words into masterpieces

So I picked up my pencil today
And wrote of the hollowness I've felt
For in my impatience and unwillingness to make effort
I set aside my greatest tool for growth

The Essence of Who I Am


Happy Birthday Mommy! You are the song of my soul and the radiance that unites our family and draws us ever closer together! I hope you know how deeply and profoundly you are loved!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Searching for Signs of His Will

Lost in a sea of options
No confirmations yet in sight
An uneasy anxiety overcomes me
As a lonely child in the quiet of the night

My heart seeks answers
As a plant seeks the light
Looking for signs of His will
Praying to do what is right

Vulnerability

I stare at your dead flowers
shaking in the breeze
While right beside you
your small brother flourishes
His coral flowers reach for the sun
What left you destitute my friend?
bereft of life giving beauty
What internal struggle broke your spirit
leaving you an inflexible and thorny barrier?
How can I help you to bloom again?
To believe in your worth
to show your vulnerability?
For the most vulnerable and fragile part of ourselves
is often the blossoming flower
that attracts the hearts of others

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

An Endless Sea

In front of me
An endless sea
Flows as far as the eye can see
Filled with movement, beauty and grace
Yet tears flow freely down my face
For on these rocks my feet must be

Clearing blocks so the source is free 
To flow into this glorious sea
To change its depths and every place
In front of me

I wish I could jump in this sea
And give all of my energy
To finding pearls in the darkest space
And into hearts of children place
The tools to recognize the sea
In front of me


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Inside Your Heart

Inside your heart there lives a place
Of which none see a single trace
Where fear and doubt live undeterred
And joy and hope are never heard
A place where sadness sets the pace

But if this world is only space 
And light can shine upon your face
Then love must be the written word
Inside your heart

So let this love, your heart, embrace
Your fear and doubt, let it displace
For love and joy are like a bird
Their flight just waiting to be stirred
By the deep and beautiful grace
Inside your heart


When Hope Fails You

When hope fails you and you've no light
Look up into the darkened night
Find the moon and the stars that shine
That lead you in this world of vine
Where He have given to you sight

For in this world there is great light
That radiates oer every height
Trust in its grace on the incline
When hope fails you

Let your spirit and soul take flight
And in their dance your heart delight
Do not unto this world consign
Your soul to wander lost and blind
Just turn your heart to the Divine
When hope fails you


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Gray People

The dust obscures my vision
Smothers my breath
Steals all my energy

It leaves me lonely and broken
Blind and silent
Hidden from the world

Zombies walk in the dust with me
Not really seeing
Not really breathing

Gray people, lost and yet
Unaware of their loss
Of their own blindness

Thinking they understand the world
And all its potentialities
Believing life is gray

I've seen glimpses of color
Breathed fresh, clean, beautiful air
Felt the sun upon my face

My heart has been stirred and awakened at times
By Your syllables and sounds
Your letters and words

But it often gets lost in the gray too
Hopeless and wandering
Catching only glimpses in its search for meaning

But there is no meaning in the gray
Just dust and dirt
Just emptiness and loneliness

Help me to not be a gray person
This is my heart's desire
My deepest wish



Badi


He carried Your proclamation with faith unyielding
A boy with the courage to face a Shah
Your message of utter truth he was wielding
And nothing could alter the vision he saw

Transformed by his time in Your glorious presence
His heart’s foundation rearranged and alight
Created anew, ablaze with Your essence
He set out on a journey to deliver Your light
                                                                       
When each of us leaves this Holy mountain
We leave transformed, as Badi left
Aflame with Your love, a billowing fountain
Carrying Your proclamation to the sorely bereft

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Darkness in Me

When someone sees the darkness in me
It is like eyes piercing into the shadows of my heart
Fear holds me silent and still 
The suspense kills me as I stand frozen
Unable to move forward or retreat
Unable to breathe
I wait for the bullet to fly
The judgement, the loss of worth, the rejection

As I stand there I am filled with anger at myself
For standing there, unable to breathe or move
For believing the implications of that bullet's existence
For seeing the darkness in them as well and in others
For not being able to fix their shattered opinion of me
For believing their opinion would be shattered in the first place

When someone sees the darkness in me
It is my own eyes that pierce into the shadows of my heart
It is my own judgement that holds me silent and still
It is my own belief that causes bullets to fly
It is my own rejection of who I am

But what would happen if I looked with forgiving eyes
If I stared into the dark murky corners of my heart
Into the dark murky corners of everyone else's hearts
And took a little bit of light into them with me
Someday would they simply disappear
If darkness is truly just the absence of light
Then the darkness in me and in others
Are simply empty, lonely areas 
Just waiting to be filled 
With light


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I Am With You Always

This month is childhood cancer awareness month. I wrote this short story nearly two years ago. It was first published in a book called "Love: A Short Story Collection" (which you can buy on Amazon) but I've been wanting to share it on my blog as well and felt like this is clearly the appropriate month to do so. 

I Am With You Always

She wandered down the halls of the hospital in search of an escape, some door she could open that would change her present reality. A door that would take her to the life that was supposed to be, the life every parent envisions when their child is born: perfect, healthy and beautiful.
She couldn't breathe, her lungs screaming that this couldn't be real. Like an animal being hunted, all she knew was that she had to get away, to find some quiet place away from sympathetic and careful expressions. Her family and friends didn't know what to say, they ached for her, their pain written on their faces, but at the moment those faces made her want to scream in frustration and outrage at the injustice of it all. She knew in her heart that all they wanted was to help, to take even an ounce of her anguish away, but how could they? Nothing could fix this.
She read every sign on the walls, searching for something, anything, to offer her even a moment of solace. Her eyes honed in on the words ‘prayer room’ printed on a door she’d never noticed before. No one would think to look for her there. With a twinge of fear she opened the door.
Inside was a small room, blissfully empty and quiet, with a smattering of chairs and cushions around the walls and a table in the middle covered in books of various shapes, colors and sizes. The walls were painted a gentle blue, and there were a few shaded lamps that lit the room; a relief after the industrialized lighting in the hallways. She closed the door behind her and sunk down into a cushion directly to the right of the door.
Her knees bent and her head in her hands, she took a shaky, wet breath. The words the doctor had said kept echoing over and over in her chaotic mind. “Keep him comfortable… only hours left… nothing more we can do.” How had she reached this point? She had fought for the last 15 months with utter and complete faith that her little boy would survive this. That he would grow up and graduate high school, go to college and probably become a doctor, like so many other survivors of this wretched disease, and someday get married and have children of his own. How could she just let go of that future? How could she let go of her hopes to see him running down the halls of his school on his first day of kindergarten in the fall or walking with his little sister in their neighborhood trick-or-treating in the Harry Potter costume he had been talking about since February? How could she give up on her little boy, her monkey, her partner in crime?
Tyler’s face was always there in her mind, his gentle, loving brown eyes, the color of honey when the sun shines through it, his perfect pink little lips, so quick to smile and to give kisses, the wrinkle of his forehead and squint of his eyebrows when he was focusing, the feel of his soft skin and small body folded perfectly into hers. Five years wasn’t enough time to cherish the gift of his existence, it wasn’t enough time to breathe in every ounce of his essence.
She knew he was suffering; they had been giving him the maximum amount of morphine they could give him, and it wasn’t helping to ease his pain. She knew she had very little time left with her little boy, and yet she also knew she couldn’t go back into that hospital room until she was ready to accept, for his sake, that he needed to stop fighting. Until she was ready to comfort him and hold him and tell him that everything was going to be okay – even though her heart was screaming that nothing about this was okay.
She and her husband had never talked about death. It had always seemed like they would be betraying him to even think about the possibility of his death. Not that it hadn’t been in the back of both of their minds for the past year as they watched their precious, beautiful child get poked with needles and have poison shot through his veins; as they hugged him tight as he cried and tried to explain to him that the pain, and the poking, and the surgeries would help him to get better. They had lived his death over and over again in their minds, terrified, afraid, helpless, but the only thing that kept them breathing was knowing that if they fought hard enough he would get better.
But he hadn’t. He had gotten worse, and now she was struggling to find words to explain death to a child who was barely five years old. How could she explain something to him that she herself didn’t even understand? Questions kept rolling around in her mind, “What happens when a person dies? Where do they go? Is there such a thing as life after death? If a child dies is there a special place for them? Are there angels there who love and cherish them?”
She lifted her head and looked closer at the room, trying to find some answers to the infinite and unanswerable questions that were swirling around in her mind. She noticed the books on the table and went to look closer at them. There were a few different versions of the Bible, five or six other Christian prayer books, a copy of the Quran, a book that looked to be in Hebrew, a Bahá’í prayer book, and a number of books of poetry. She picked up one of the books of poetry and opened it to a random page. The poem on it was titled “I Am With You Always”, and as she read it she began to reflect on her own relationship with God and with her loved ones.
She had been raised by parents who believed in God. Their family had always said prayers every morning and evening together. They had often talked about what a moral, upright, conscious person looks and acts like and they had always worked hard to put their faith and trust in God. She and her siblings grew up with the understanding that the tests this life offers us are here to help us grow and develop into better people, and that this is our purpose in being alive. However, when Tyler got sick, she had a lot of trouble understanding why God would take a perfectly healthy innocent child and subject him to so much pain. It was so utterly unfair that he should have to go through this. How could anyone find meaning in a child’s suffering?
People would say “God doesn’t test us beyond our capacity,” but He did. He tested her beyond hers, and she broke. She had begged and pleaded with Him over and over when Tyler first got sick: to heal him, to make him healthy, to take her instead. But all she had seen was him continuing to get more and more sick and at some point, though she never stopped begging and pleading, her heart stopped believing. She stopped believing that her prayers have power and that this life has a purpose.
Sitting in that prayer room, she realized that she didn’t know what she believed anymore. She had unconsciously been blaming God for the past year for Tyler’s illness. But now faced with the death of her loving, gentle, pure-hearted child, though she was overcome with sadness and anger, she was also grateful beyond any gratitude she had ever felt. Tyler’s existence in her life had changed her into a person she never would have become otherwise. His joy, his perseverance, his forgiveness, his love and his own unquestioning faith in God were such an example to her. She realized that she would rather have had Tyler in her life for 5 short years than never to have known him at all. Tyler’s light, his kindness, his love, his smile would live on within her and her husband and his little sister and all of their friends who had met him and watched him grow. His story and his fight had created around them a family of people who were better for having known him, and not a single one of them would have given up a moment of the time they were blessed to be in his presence. His life, not his death, would be his legacy.
Sitting in the middle of the room, she knew her time was running short. She had to return to her little boy’s hospital room. She had to go back and hug him tight and give him permission to stop fighting and to fly away from the sadness and sorrow of that room. Though she knew the months and years ahead would be difficult for her, she had to believe that her little boy would be in a better place where he would no longer be in pain.
And so, for the first time in a long time she said a prayer, with faith that it would be heard and listened to. She prayed that her son would be surrounded with love and light and joy after he died; that he would be surrounded by rainbows and clouds that told stories, shooting stars and ladybugs and butterflies, and that he would give her some of these signs every now and then to show her that he was happy and safe. She prayed that he would live his last hours peacefully; that her sorrow and her family’s sorrow would not keep him from knowing the love and joy they felt for having known him. She prayed that his love would live on inside of her, and she promised that she would dedicate her life to making him proud.



I Am With You Always

You live within me
Yet fear blinds my sight
Keeps me locked in shadow

I live within you
Your heart is My home
Your deeds My greatest joy

I don't understand
The tests of this world
The sorrow we must feel

As coal becomes a diamond
You must also be honed
By tests which lead to purification

What is the purpose?
Of suffering and loss?

Of sadness and pain?

Without tests
How would you know Me?
What purpose would life have?

I fear I will die
Having wasted the time you have given me
Walking alone in anger

Fear not death
It is a messenger of joy
Drawing you to Me

And know that there has never been a moment
When you have ever walked alone
For I am with you always



Photo from Michelle Joanne Andrews website 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Cage, My Wings

And one more... This one seemed to deserve it's own post.... I wrote this in Sep-2014. I was thinking about what the hardest memory/time period is for me to re-live, which was my from my Senior year in High School to my Sophmore year in college (between 2004 and 2006), and the moment that for me epitomizes that time period. I wanted to be able to move past it, so I wrote it into a poem. It totally helped... Sorry, it's pretty dark...

My Cage, My Wings

Lost in empty hollowness
Bite marks on my arms
Alone in the darkness
Of my own confusion and pain
I stared at my wrists
Wondering what it would be like
To break the skin, to bleed.
I wondered
Would anyone care
If my body finally mirrored
What I felt was happening
In my heart

I took out a pair of scissors
And lightly drew them across my skin
Putting pressure, but not enough
Knowing I would never do it
Feeling guilty even thinking of it
Wishing for five minutes
I could simply shut out my conscience

In the darkest moment of my life
My conscience was my cage
There was no escape

I wasn't alive in this world
But I couldn't leave it either
It was unquestionable
It killed me with shame
And guilt and sorrow

Broken and shattered
I  died over and over again
Abusing and bruising my body
Out of frustration and hatred
Knowing it would never let me give up

Yet I look back and am grateful
For that cage
For the shackles and imprisonment

For my conscience,
My connection with God

For though in that moment
It was my cage

In actuality
It was my wings