Skinned Knees: Hope Is A Salve

Skinned knees. Remember them before? Maybe recently?

Even if it’s been a while since you physically fell to the ground…maybe you’ve had a series of fails at work – it’s sort of the same.

It stings; it hurts; the wound lingers, there’s periodic pain, it doesn’t go away quickly.

What’s the answer, what’s the salve to ease the sting, ease that pain…?

Hope.

Struggle? Repeat Mistakes? Not sure how to proceed?

Recede.

To.

Hope.

Fall down, again and again? Skinned knee that won’t heal, from all the falls?

Don’t give up. Keep trying; keep going.

Hope.

Do the next right thing. Don’t lose hope.

HOPE.

These Songs, These Words, Closer to God

Talking to a good friend recently, talking about my struggles of late, my thoughts and feelings therein, and how my writing relates…

For better or worse, I lay a lot of it out here, you see…

It’s a blend of diary and journal and blog, giving me both the personal and creative outlet, together,

I prefer together, living and figuring it out, together,

Spinning the words oft indirect, sparse, wandering.

I’m often inspired, often relate to lyrics, that’s been true since I can first remember,

And so has God, been near, somehow coming close to me through those words, storied, and in song,

Closer to God, somehow even before words, the music a bridge,

And so this, so it is, these two from Dave bare it out, good examples laid out,

“Eh Hee”

Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh 

Praise God, who has many names but the devil has many more and with the love that my mother gave me I’m gonna drop the devil to the floor 

I’m gonna drop the devil to his knees I’m gonna drop the devil to his knees 

there’s always someone who’ll try to convince you that they know the answer no matter the question be wary of those who believe in a neat little world because it’s just fucking crazy, you know that it is 

Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh 

Walking along in this haze of confusion sometimes I can laugh but at times it takes all of my strength just to find enough reason to take the next step step, but I will, but I will, ’til I do 

Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh 

Brother, sister, brothers, sisters brother, sister, brothers, sisters 

Praise God who has many names but the devil has many more and with the love that my mother gave me I’m gonna drop the devil to the floor 

I’m gonna drop the devil to his knees I’m gonna drop the devil to his knees 

Strange evolution, that people have come to believe that we are its greatest achievement when really we’re just a collection of cells overrating themselves hello God, I’m avoiding the truth 

Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh 

I’m gonna drop the devil to his knees I’m gonna drop the devil to his knees 

Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh eh amana
Eh hee yeah amanaya yeaha yeah eh he…”

And…

“I can’t believe, can‘t believe we would lie in our graves, wondering if we lived our living days well…”,

And this sort of lyric, these words,

They lift me, inspire me, bring God near, to share, however sparse, however wandering, and,

To try again,

And be better,

For me,

For them,

For you.

How Far? MLK Jr.

This is a day to remember many things.

Where we started.

Where we’ve been.

How far we have to go.

And of course, this man, Martin Luther King Junior, his words, his work, his inspiration.

Especially after these recent years, and all the divides, I think I’m most hopeful that King’s words only gain more credence, more salience, with time.

I’m also hopeful because my children know King’s stories, they know his leadership, his vision. So very VERY grateful for that.

“He was a hero, a leader, a speaker, a man of great courage, and a very wise man, a counselor, a believer, a pacifist, a preacher. And all people were the same to him.”

Yes, there is reason to hope. There is much MUCH work to do, be we should do it being hopeful. We CAN make it better. Let it be so.

Remote, Yet Close

Strange times, pandemic times we’re in, we’re living, so much has changed on so many levels.

We’re restricted from each other for school, for work, for worship.

Fundamental to most faiths, the worship therein, we’re meant to come together, have a sense of the come together, can’t be together in-person just now. Screens and social distance are the necessary norm just now.

What does that do to faith? How do we exercise our faith? How do we teach our faith to our kids in these times? More effort needed, starting with an example, striving to draw near to the perfect example, is God near?

God is near…find God in every moment, draw near, God is close…

Now not my words, but good words for sure, have a listen, God is near,

“The design that God has for each one of us is always a design of love. And the greatest joy for every
believer is to respond to that call, offering one’s entire being to the service of God and the brothers and sisters.”

“In each act of service, in every work of #mercy we perform, God manifests Himself; God sets His gaze upon the world.”

“We are always on a journey in life. Let us choose the path of God! We will discover that there are no unexpected events, no uphill path, and no night that cannot be faced with Jesus.”

“A society is all the more human to the degree that it cares effectively for its most frail and suffering members, in a spirit of fraternal love.”

These from Francis, Jorge, and grateful, so very grateful for this voice, this humble insight. In these pandemic times, to find our way, how to find our way? This is the path.

God is near, God is with us, God is waiting for us to turn, let us turn, amen, AMEN.

Glimmer

A glimmer of hope, that’s what I find;

That’s what I find when I look up close, when I’m open, eyes, arms, wide.

A bit of hope, a friendly tone, an unexpected embrace, literally, figuratively, over a screen,

A glimmer of hope, glimmer, not dimmer, brighter still, in a friend’s voice, my kids’ joy, gentle lean-in, hug, love,

LOVE.

The Hopeful Switch

Most every morning I wake up quite early, in the dark, feeling something like despair.

Every manner of negative thoughts flowing in my head: things on my list I’ve not done, mistakes I’ve made, my broken marriage, how I should have kissed the kids good one more time, etc.

Big things, little things, all flow, giving me this start to the day with worry and concern and innate angst.

Meh.

And then somehow I flip the hopeful switch, and somehow things start to get a little better; and the despair recedes, even if only a bit; and I get into the day. And it’s ok.

Flip the switch. Today. Everyday.

Seeking Tender Moments

I find that I really like and appreciate and will prioritize tender moments.

Example? As I write this piece I’m lying in bed while my son sleeps next to me. He came in a few hours ago, upset by a dream.

I listen to him sleep, and I feel really, really lucky. Blessed to have this child. Even more blessed because I have three kids – three super-special relationships.

Another, different, tender moment? Spending time on the phone with an old friend. It doesn’t take long to get into the familiar, old tempo of conversation. As I sit in a chair by the window, alternately listening and talking, covering all manner of topics…

It’s soothing, relaxing, reminding of simpler, pleasant times past, making the present more pleasant too.

Just two examples. They’re all around if you look, if you’re open.

Maybe that was something of what God intended when he came into the world as a humble human, as Jesus of Nazareth. If you believe in that sort of thing. I do, but you don’t need to.

Either way, they’re good for you. Good for your soul.

Tender moments. Take ‘em when you can get them.

How Do You Feel?

Dawning reality as the year winds down, maybe I’m not as in touch with myself as I think I am.

Harsh awakening. Sorta. Not really harsh maybe, but a personal wake-up call for sure.

A therapist I saw earlier this year, he observed I talk about my feelings, but maybe I don’t feel them so much. Or express them fully. Hmm.

Talking to a few old friends just the other day, they observed some of that about me too. Or at least that I spin things to the positive, finding the silver lining. “Well, yeah…” I think, “that’s maybe the hallmark piece of me.”

Hearing my friends share their observations, it spurs me to consider my hallmark, my basic life strategy anew.

Quite a revelation, I must say. Also, it’s an invitation. It’s an invitation to consider how I feel, how I go about feeling, and if I’m actually living in deep denial.

But then I think, I’m not sure what I’m denying. I feel deeply a lot of the time; I feel so much I think, it freezes me, most days; I start most days that way.

I feel deeply, the uncertainty, the doubt, awash in worry. I have to push through those feelings to the other side, to function, to cope.

I believe happiness, like love, is a choice. And my feelings are the medium, continuum through which I live out each day, they are the foundation that I respond to each hour, each day.

All that said, maybe this sounds like some sort of defense of me I put up; not meant to defend, but explain, and reflect on how I am and why, out loud.

Yep. quite an invitation before me, quite a revelation: to peel back more, more to the core, core of me, inside, feeling, what am I feeling?

Not sure, exactly. But it’s something like relief I’ve come this far; and who I am, and how I am, and how much better I can still become.

Lyrics Post: “Silent Night”

Silent Night” (German: “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht“) is a popular Christmas carol, composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria.

God is with us. God is near. Believe it. BELIEVE IT. Because it is so.

“Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, oh, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth”

The above intro from Wikipedia. The whole entry here.