Posted in Musings and Reflections

The Aging Artist Invisible

i awake from deep slumber with thoughts of yesterday’s sadness still raw in my heart and mind. the song break it down again comes to me here in the red light of a cold morning. the weight of what it means to be an aging artist invisible after years of work and where-what now to put my energy towards leaves me curled up in a ball. i have no answers. and yet there is something i think in not becoming overwhelmed by giant thoughts. break it down again. the big picture sometimes just gets bigger and bigger until it floods the senses and leaves me paralyzed by the unknown. break it down again. what are the bits and pieces of a satisfied life. what do i act on. no more sleepy dreaming. break it down again. this is more than success, ego, or legacy. i do not seek the spotlight, but i also am tired of toiling in the shadows. what is my forum. is it time for me to dim, or to burn bright with compassion, to fade into love for the other and leave my dying dreams behind. where can i find in me the beauty of decay.

Posted in Longreads and Essays

Salvation From The Depths

There is a bridge in Washington DC that is named after an unlikely hero, a man who quite literally gave his life to save others.

Thirty-eight years ago, on January 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 Boeing 737-200 crashed onto the 14th Street Bridge and into an icy Potomac River, killing all 73 passengers and crew. Four passengers and one flight attendant were the only survivors.

At least four of those people owed their lives to the “sixth passenger” as he became known.

After the plane crashed and began to sink into the ice-strewn river, six people could be seen clinging to the plane’s tail fin. A US Park Police helicopter arrived on the scene and immediately began trying to rescue the survivors. The helicopter rescued one person and then returned to the tail.

Arland D. Williams Jr. caught the rescue line and instead of wrapping it around himself, he passed it to flight attendant Kelly Duncan. When the helicopter returned to the wreckage a third time, it dropped two lines because the crew feared that the remaining survivors would succumb to hypothermia very soon. Williams caught one of the lines and passed it on to a severely injured Joe Stiley, who also grabbed Priscilla Tirado. Patricia Felch took the other line and was towed to safety along with the others.

When the helicopter returned, Williams and the tail section of the plane were gone. After the bodies from the crash were recovered, the coroner determined that Williams was the only passenger to die by drowning therefore he had been the “sixth passenger,” the one who gave his life for others.

Ninety-one years ago today a man was born who would give his life to rescue his people from the dark depths of racial segregation and discrimination. Fifty-two years after his death, the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is honored and acknowledged through his monument on the National Mall.

I will probably never have a bridge named after me, but I want to be a bridge between people. I may never have to pass a rescue line to another, but I want to daily live my life in service to others who may need a helping hand.

I will probably never have a monument highlighting my deeds, but I can make my life a monument that honors an ordinary hero like Williams and the extraordinary life of Dr. King.

Perhaps I can be the one who keeps someone from slipping beneath the surface into the cold depths of despair.

Originally posted January 15, 2012, dates updated to reflect present.

Posted in Musings and Reflections

Depression 1.11 – The Gift of Brokenness

The gift of depression is compassion. I look in the mirror everyday and know that I am broken.

Elegiac tells me that I should stay there, captured by this narcissistic reflection.

Yet to do so is to miss the truth that I see through a glass dimly, that “now I only see in part, then I will see in full.”

And that often my reflection as seen through the lens of depression is not how God sees me.

Knowing that I am broken can incapacitate me.

Or it can serve as the humble catalyst for me to show grace and mercy, compassion and gentleness, and above all, patience, to others.

Tonight, I will serve a meal to women whose lives have been upended in ways that leave me breathless. They are broken like me. Yet they are strong, so strong.

They are always gracious, kind, and encouraging and I always leave feeling like I have received more than I have given.

And for the briefest of moments, I do not feel the weight of Elegiac and Lethargy, my everpresent twins, upon my shoulders.

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

The Bloom

once
long ago
i reached
for a lovely
bloom
when
suddenly
there
before me
a pollinator
flew
and i
thinking of
life and
love
withdrew
my hand
leaving the
flower
to give
sustenance
to many
more visitors
than i
in the time
and place
where it
so simply
and beautifully
grew

Posted in PEACE GROOVES

Monday Monday Song 79 – A Body Was Found Down By The River (Final Mix 1.1)

“I read the news today, no, I can’t close my eyes and make it go away…”

The news can seem so cold and inhuman when an unknown person is discovered dead somewhere…a brief line or two in a small column in the newspaper is all that the loss of a precious life illicits.

Never lose your ability to mourn the invisible…

My response:

A Body Was Found Down By the River (Final Mix 1.1) by PeaceGroover https://api.jam-community.com/song/detail/c6a47f57-5479-11e9-99f7-064f3e9f608e

Posted in Longreads and Essays

Geometric Peace – I Seek to be a Parabola

Mathematically speaking the parabolic curve reflects any beam striking any place on the curve to a focal point. Parabola.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words are worse.”

I have three choices:
A) Receive Pain – no response = bitterness growth, delayed psychotic reaction
B) Receive and Return – “an eye for an eye” – consciously open or subtly, demeanation = broken relationships, friendship alienation
C) Parabola – Receive, Reflect, Focus – acknowledge pain, transform into love action – “a way out is always provided” – attitude adjustment = health, healing, and transformation (inner and outer).

May 21, 1995

Posted in Prayers and the Sacred

“Whose Dignity Do You Regularly Disregard?”

Such are the words of the audio devotional this morning.

Dignity is inherent, yet it is so easy to live where the suspension of judgement is a foreign thing.

To disregard the dignity of another does not change the fact that she is to be honored. Rather, I dishonor myself.

And I dishonor Christ the King, whose life and death exemplified compassion and honor for all people.

My prayer then (who I hope to be with everyone I meet):

Each day may I see thee the way Christ sees thee, to give my regards to thee and to your precious dignity.

Posted in Musings and Reflections

ER

there is beauty here too
in this place of the sick
where a child screams in pain in triage
kindness laughter compassion
broken humanity rubbing shoulders

perhaps such interactions are what we need to smooth out our rough edges

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Food for ugly birds

when the hummingbird finds the feeder dry
when the birds of bright color do not imbibe
does one refuse to continue the feeding
or refill the lorelai?

the hand should not withold that which can satisfy for every creature is precious and should never be denied

suffer not the little ones whether they be grounded or given wings to fly
faithfulness is the portion upon which all can rely