Sunday, February 15, 2015

Love will tear us apart...or the simple progression of thoughts in a vacuum

Entry 13 - February 14th, 2015

There it is...that date blinking away up there...staring out at us like some monolithic creature demanding our attention...February 14th...Valentine's Day.

I've never really been all that interested in this particular holiday, even during the times when I wasn't checking the box marked 'single.' It is a completely made up commercial holiday created for the sole purpose of selling more greeting cards and cheap chocolates. It essentially devalues the martyrdom of a Saint, of whom there is little historical evidence to remotely support some of the legends associated with him (them in some accounts). It alternates between being crass or ridiculously sappy. 

Why do we do this to ourselves? Couples go to incredible lengths to prove they can scale the peak of some romance mountain and end up with some (usually) good memories and a large bill. The next day rolls around and most go back to their routines; you know, the ones where they spend very little time together and what time they do spend is usually spent being hypercritical of their partner. I know, I know...that's not how it happens for everyone, there are lots of happy couples and they don't act like that....and so on...but I'm looking at the lowest common denominator here.  The fact of the matter is, there is a large population of individuals that are in relationships where 98% of the time one party is doing all the work to keep things afloat. Valentine's Day rolls around so the other party goes to great lengths to put on a show and give a bit of a song and dance to impress their partner and they figure that those few hours of happiness excuses them from putting in any additional real effort until the birthday/anniversary/Christmas rolls around. Yes I'm generalizing in a huge way....but every single person reading this immediately thought of a couple they know while reading this....maybe even themselves...

Back to why...why does this happen? In a very real sense it's because there are so many people that have a complete and total misunderstanding of what love is. This is something that could take up page after page but I'll try to be brief.  Love is not some blinding's not the pleasure of physical contact...or the complete lack of mental faculties in the other's presence....not a clever rhyme or a saccharine song...those things can accompany love but they are not its totality. Those things are all temporal and fickle...they tempt a decadent dance but deliver an accordion polka. These things are but fleeting sands crashing to the bottom of the hourglass and some spend so much time chasing the ephemera that they miss the substance that holds it all together.

Love is putting others' needs before your own. It's taking the time to truly serve the other person and experiencing what it feels like to bring them joy. Love does not demand its own way...that's the simplest way I think I can break that down. I will never forget the advice my Grandmother gave to me about marriage and how to keep any committed relationship strong. She told me that if I want to really know a successful relationship I would have to always put my partner's needs first, and they would have to put my needs first. By doing this, both of us would have our needs met and we would know the true heart of Love - servant-hood. Love is not a does not boast and demand to be satisfied. It doesn't proclaim its desires on the populace and entangle them in a string of questionable quandaries.

I don't think I can really say this enough - to truly be in love with someone, you have to be willing to lay everything on the line for them and step into a completely foreign situation. You have to be ready to carry them when they can't walk and to weep with them when joy is hidden. You have to be willing to give it all up, to put your life on the line....and when two people are in that kind of relationship they do it because they know that their partner is doing the same for them.

I'm providing an oversimplification I'm sure....and I know there are several of you that probably think I'm being too hard or that I'm unrealistic...and maybe I am to some extent...but I know that we were given an example of perfect love in action in the person of Jesus...and this is not the love I see people trying to reflect or represent in most Valentine's Day actions.

So what am I really trying to say...I don't know...maybe that we need to accept the fact that all of our attempts at the sport of romance are fleeting and temporary even with the best of intentions. Don't wait for one minuscule day on the calendar to show your love for them every day. Take them to dinner because it's Tuesday...bring home flowers tomorrow just because you can...plan that weekend getaway in June...skip the narcissism of Valentines altogether and focus on growing closer together through truly seeking intimacy with God and each willing to put someone else above yourself.

This conversation can be so much just takes the right kick in the heart to get started...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

There was a whisper...a riot...a kiss....or something new on the first rays of the dawn...

While I didn't quite finish my experiment last year of writing a post a week I didn't stop writing...I present to you in all of their imagined glory and delusions of grandeur...some new work to behold:

Chamber for Rent

Woke up in an abandoned hotel to the
chimes on the decrepit grandfather clock
signaling 2 a.m.'s arrival and the assault
of this measured insomnia

They told me I'd find ghosts
in this forgotten place
but the only spirits haunting me
are whiskey and your memories
Familiar specters I can find
on any barstool in this beach town

Stepped into the half hidden moonlight
creeping past the cracking shutters
Silver lines dancing in the dusty shadows
playing at creatures and devils in a lurking
game of tag with the chimeras in my mind

Why am I here again?

Wandering well-worn paths
I've tread ad nauseam
in search of different answers
in the same ancient routines

Why am I here?

Clinging to some sense
of imagined normalcy
and the misplaced hope
that you'd finally see
a chance for us to be

They told me I'd find ghosts
and I suppose it's true enough
I'm a phantom searching for
a little peace in the shadows
your light left behind

in your passing

Ishmael I Am Not

I lost sight of the horizon long ago
Suspended in the mists of twilight's gaze
and desperately seeking a glimmer of starlight to point the way

Nothing seems like more than what I've been given
and those that surround me seem to think
there are answers to be found in my keep
Solutions to the conundrums plaguing their existence
That one moment of clarity to illuminate it all
and divine inspiration for future endeavors

The tiniest pangs of guilt gnaw at my thoughts
Knowing I have no clues or theorems to present
that might validate their following...their devotion

Still I press on
Lashing sails and steam
Chasing my own white whale
to the pits of hell and beyond

Dragging these poor souls into the wretched gale
of my arrogance and pride
Drowning in the self-inflicted torment
Refusing any consolation prize
and lying to myself
when I say there was never another way...

On Becoming Lioness

The darkness hung in between
the silence and the scream
Tendrils stretching out to strangle
the flickering light in the guise
of improvement and "love"

Time seemed glacial
Creeping progress measured
in tears and self-realization

Sparks fly

The suffocated light
refuses to be extinguished
in the icy depths of
insecurity and control

It never goes out
Never gives in
Fights the encompassing black
until it smolders and blazes
erupting from such beautiful eyes

Unwilling to endure such sadness any more
and the sound of her voice screaming out in the night
beckons the sunrise and the arrival of dawn

This time won't be like any before
The air is electric and she's ready to roar

Enjoy everyone...see you where the sidewalk ends...