Tag Archives: mental-health

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Green Ceiling

Before the leaves turned, and before the weather changed, there was green.

Along the trails, the sun lit the forest, worthy of being seen.

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Funeral

I climbed the hill on foot, but it wasn’t much of a rise. For some reason though, my feet didn’t want to go. It just felt like I was walking through both, the sands of time, and quicksand all at once. Imagine making strides just to make them, but wishing not to take a single step. Forces fell from somewhere, making the quest more of a question, than a statement. I walked hand in hand with my bride, partly because the pull from the gravity of the situation made it a necessity to move forward with her at my side.

The hill crested, round the bend we came. Faces were familiar if not just the same. And the door loomed like the wall of a fortress that I’d rather not breach. I stepped up but the closer I got the further that handle seemed from my reach. Until all at once I found myself inside. As soon as I was seen, part of me wanted to run away and hide. Every hair on my neck stood up, for the feeling in there was just not right. I had come here on purpose, to stand, maybe, for those who no longer were here to fight. Still I was afraid of what was yet to come. There were people in a line, and it wallowed aimlessly it felt, not knowing where it went, or whether I’d rather run. I waited though, holding my wife’s hand, and hoping for something good. But I have been to many a funeral and this one didn’t feel like it should.

The line writhed forward, like it was wringing away every last bit of good. Until finally, with my wife, at the front, we stood. But I was wrong, it wasn’t the good that had left the room, but rather the feeling of evil had entered and hung like a thick black smoke over everyone and every thing. I can’t say that I have ever felt that way before, but it was a place to which not a soul I’d ever again wish to bring. It was almost as those we met, were there because they had to be. And I dreaded anything even close to that sense, were something ever to happen to me. We talked with those there, gathered and disconnected, somehow I sensed. We smiled and we cried, we shared our stories, while this virtual wall of darkness, I felt myself pressed against.

My heart skipped several beats as I looked down and saw the young son left here to carry the light that once held him. And I wondered how a life so warm and beautiful could end up remembered here in a scene so bleak and grim. I searched for my next breath as I had lost my sense of where I was, and stopped, paralyzed by the weight of deep sorrow. I sobbed and wondered how it is that one full of love here one day, was taken from each and every tomorrow. Either way, it was time to move on, to the next stop in this old place. There was nothing more to see here, for the warmth of nurturing love had been compromised, with barely a trace.

Then we spilled into a room, that was just as uneasy to enter, like the next chapter in a book that was missing too many pages to make sense. But there we found smiles among the tears of co-workers, truest of friends. I didn’t have words for anyone then, as I found myself in a battle with the now, and all that I previously knew. So, I smiled in hopes that the look in my eyes would say all that I couldn’t, and reflect the love and passion for the children of the one we remembered, to help others get through.

I don’t know what felt better, getting outside to the fresh air, or knowing that we stood for the warmth of the fallen who cared for many, more than most. See, she stood for the child and acted on it, while so many others noticed, but only came close. Then, ever-changed, we wandered, back down the hill. We got to the car and stood there talking, shaking our heads, in tears, baffled still. I sobbed, as I shared my emotions with my wife. I talked of the thin line so attached, to that so precious, a human life. Were there more of us that looked past the frailties and labels we are so quick to place, we’d be so much better in general. So there we left it, set to remember and share, knowing full well that I’d never forget that funeral.

Month of Missing

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Wendy and Holden. (C) Union Leader Corporation. 2016.

Must it be that the light which stood for hope and the promise in change,
In an instant is obliterated, senselessly by the unsafe and deranged?
Is there no lucidity in a month of moments ensuring one can share the pain?
A luminary is gone, one who would, in time, opponents’ favor to gain.
Who has sight to see the symptoms on society before they leave yet for school?
Call it as I see it, taken from our crown, this most precious jewel.
Look it up, anything unidentified by man, tis the meaning of the word tefft.
Yet the story seems true enough, a life tragically taken, moreover a theft.
Those whose path was swayed, should come together, that the young not wander.
The rest of us that knew, well we are left to cry, and yet to ponder.

 

Your Marquee

Maybe put on a song you like, one that brings you back. A song that ties to something bigger than just you, and only now. Float back in time, read along with me, maybe it relates. Just a poem here that I had to get out of my brain tonight. Maybe this is a song, I don’t know. I have cousins much better at this than I. Have at it boys! Just know there’s passion here, and the feeling cuts deep enough for this meager collection of words to spill out. Enjoy. What’s on your marquee?

 

The motion picture running in your mind is only for you to see.
The picture’s familiar, remember? Your name’s on the marquee.

Physically, you’re restrained, but it’s not all body, more the mind.
The will to seek, pursue, and enjoy has been lost for another to find.

Pause for a moment and get outside that zone, inverted spiral.
You taught me that here on earth, adversity follows trial.

Just STOP! Listen please, there’s never a time when we cannot learn.
Words deserve thought, even though it may be your turn.

The smile might be tied to something long ago yet time marches still.
An open mind knows there’s countless things containing a thrill.

Yes, the movie in your mind is only for you to see, you told me.
The picture’s familiar, remember? Your name’s on the marquee.

There’s been trouble along the way, but whose not there with you?
Even then is it about what’s done, or can it be that you wish to do?

Reflect if you must, find your place, and expand the zone.
Even when you close your eyes, you’re never really alone.

If the answer’s not your desire, then ask again, a different way.
Look around, maybe it’s time you’re the rock to lean on today.

Smile, let the Light wash over you, ponder not that which is ill.
An open mind knows there’s countless things containing a thrill.

The motion picture running in your mind is only for you to see.
The picture’s familiar, remember? Your name’s on the marquee.

Yes, the movie in your mind is only for you to see, you told me.
The picture’s familiar, remember? Your name’s on the marquee.

If I could I’d go back and walk with you there, to see how it would be.
This is your matinée, remember? Your name’s on the marquee.

Delight to show mercy

In recent weeks I have been thinking an awful lot about the end of days, whether they are mine, or anyone else’s. Not in a morbid sense, but in more of a reality sense. More of a thought process revolving around the thoughts, dreams, and wishes of someone, anyone, who might be living through the end of their days. Then, mentally I dig a little deeper, and expand the thought process to include people who might be close, or at least were once close, to the person now towards the end of their time here on earth. I think about life, and all it may have held for anyone, or maybe each of these individuals. I think about fun, laughter, and the best of times. The times that any of these people would escape to, right then and there, were they afforded that opportunity. Conversely, I think also about forgiveness. I think about those free passes (forgiveness) we possess and carry with us every day, and why sometimes we freely give of them, and other times why we hold to them on so tightly. As if, perhaps, we are above the act of forgiveness, or because who would be forgiven, or even due to the act that we deem unforgivable.

We may think that not everyone deserves a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card in life, but there are more that do deserve one (or more) than those who don’t. Primarily, you and I are the ones who decide who gets this free pass and then also, who doesn’t get one. Seriously though, who are we to forgive or not to forgive? Shouldn’t we also remember that we too, many times throughout life come, head-bowed, in the presence of someone we wish to be forgiven by?

Imagine this. There’s comes a time in your life when circumstances you cannot control consume your mind and your daily thought process more than they should. Maybe decisions are made that are not normally decisions you would make, but in doing so, you have further complicated things. Things that could, should, and otherwise would be simple, but not right then, because attention is paid elsewhere and the simple is forgotten, temporarily foreign. Then news of matters you knew were on the horizon are now staring you in the face, and decisions are necessary, furthermore, action is overdue. You long to escape all of it or at least the unpleasant, so as to concentrate on the things you’d rather focus on. Life doesn’t work that way, and mounting pressure pushes you further from the normalcy you may have known through times in your life. Suddenly devastating news, or something near and dear to you, presents itself in the form of a problem or a situation you wouldn’t wish on anyone. All of this is added to the 24-hour schedule you already were struggling to keep up with. Ugh!!!!!! Then there’s more heaped on because it can be heaped on. And so on. Any balance seems lost and, at best, you keep your head above water.

Next, interactions with people take on a different tone. Words are said, maybe not meant, but certainly slip through the filter, and are out there to be discussed, felt, and otherwise held against you. Priorities shift, and the left is separated from the right. Not much seems to fit together anymore. Continuity is slowly replaced with uneasiness. Calm found in a moment, held so sacred now, is replaced with despair. Darkness is welcomed as the sense of who can see, and how you’re seen, dissipates with the fall of night. A temporary respite from the day-to-day life that you’ll get through, but that outcome seems more like a guess than a certainty on any given night. Time seems to disappear at least in the sense of measurement of it, as reactionary mode will often do. Deadlines are chosen, meaning some are met and others are treated as if they were gentle reminders or suggestions. These come around again and usually get more serious in nature with each passing round. Indifference sets its hold now, and that changes everything. Relationships suffer all around you, because there are too many layers between caring and just making it through the next few hours without disrupting the regiment of simply breathing.

The end of the day is welcomed whether it is mid-afternoon or the middle of the night. Quiet is sought after but soon turns its back on you as your mind retrieves the images of what you think, assume, or maybe even know is happening around you. This too, becomes just a mere suggestion, from you to yourself, and you carry on in spite of the warnings from the inner you. Days, have since run right through weeks, and now mount as months turning into years. The cocoon from which you operate your daily life feels like its closer to the big picture, any normal life you used to know, but it’s really just a fraction of the space that once felt so open, free, and uninhibited to function in. For now, you don’t notice the difference, or maybe you sense it, but deny it like the suggestions you’ve given yourself up to now. At some point you ask yourself:

What was I thinking, when this bed I did make?

Missing now, how many years did this take?

Time passes, life marches on. Maybe differences have been reconciled, maybe they have not. Relationships strained, perhaps mended again, but maybe left unattended still. Each of us on our own path and your paths don’t cross with the same groups anymore, as a result of the route you chose to take. But, also there’s the path(s) that those around you chose to take as a result of your impact on them. So the circles that once gathered together as one, maybe now gather in spite of you, the one.

All the while, over this time elapsed, so long, others all carried those free passes, the get-out-of-jail-free card known as forgiveness, recognized as mercy. Passes saved for you were held, other passes were given freely in areas that didn’t sting the affected so much. Like a sliver of water that finds its way into the crevices of solid rock, it gets cold and freezes, splitting this formidable bond wide open, your allegiances are diminished.

Finally, or at least close to it, the end of days for you has come. Whether it’s the number of years you’ve been here on earth and the time is short, or if it’s sickness, suffering, illness, disease, or self-inflicted health restrictions, either way, it’s almost your time. There you sit, lay, wait, otherwise pass time until time is no more. In those moments when the mind is clear, your brain is free of clutter, and measurement of time once again seems not to matter, you wish to cling to the memories worth pulling from the past. You long for a circle in your place of rest, a circle of those you love, those who have loved you, and for those who are now estranged. You wish, to each you could extend a hand, asking for them to give freely of the passes they hold, one by one. Maybe they come, maybe they don’t. And like the inevitable dawn of the next morning, it hits you like a wave of first morning light, and doesn’t stop, that the people and situations you callously disregarded in the spin that was your time of despair are the ones you want near you before you leave this world. And you wait, you wish, and you wonder how it is that this you, the same you all the years through, could have been that person who pushed people away, or even ran from the direction they gathered in. You beg for forgiveness and wonder if you ever asked for it while life’s time was elapsing.

So, I ask the question: Why didn’t we do anything about this before there was a time limit applied to the action?

For all of you, all of us, you and me, we hold the keys. While forgiveness does not excuse the transgressor, nor does it validate the erroneous action taken, it is the right thing to do. In essence, the lack of forgiveness, the lack of showing mercy, is wrong in its own right. Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

That person, the person counting down the days and waiting, is thinking about you, and yes, you from time to time, maybe more often, allow your mind and your thoughts to wander in that person’s way. Maybe it’s Mom, maybe it’s Dad, an uncle or aunt, long time friend, brother, sister, or whatever, it’s someone that at one time held your interest above most others. Until now, you’ve not forgiven them for whatever that wedge which came between you is. Or if you have, you haven’t let them in on your secret as of yet. Then you must realize that you are no more perfect than the one reeling from not being forgiven. You must be aware that in your own moments, long or short, that you have struggled with many of the things listed above. And yes, maybe you handled them better than the one you won’t forgive, but you are no more human, no better created, or in any other way a superior being. You are you. He or is she is who they are; period. And within each of us, we maintain the capacity to forgive, to accept another, or to be supportive, loving, and caring. So, why hold on? Is that something you want to take inventory of at the end of your days? I love how this passage talks of this idea of forgiveness:  Micah 7:18-19

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.  You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

“Delight to show mercy.” If only we were all that good.

I started this piece in my mind months ago. I started applying words to a document a week ago. Now, I close this piece after writing, re-writing, adding, subtracting, and changing the order of these paragraphs, only to put them back in the order that I originally conceived them, in order to deliver a message. The message is more or less this, none of us are perfect, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves and think we have this figured out better than another. Tomorrow is not promised, and neither are the things we may have to encounter. Therefore we are all, at some level, susceptible to the chaos, lack of balance, and poor decision-making described earlier. We do control more than we know sometimes, and being the voice that sets another free, or the listening observer, the calm at the side of the bed, the partner in prayer, or the touch that calms an otherwise restless soul, may be in among the passes we hold. So, pray, understand, change your perspective, and “delight to show mercy.” Something tells me you will be glad you did.

This piece is very much inspired by events in my own life from long ago and right through until now. Learning is ongoing. Sharing is my treat, as well as my refuge. I hope you made it through this with me. Thank you for stopping by and sharing a few minutes with me.

 

No action

Have you ever been so worked up, so stressed out, that you just felt you had to run? Run in any direction at all. I don’t care where I end up because I can’t see it from where I am anyways. So you run. The wheels turn. The mind starts spinning at blurring speed. Thoughts turn over in your mind almost faster than you can process them. So you run. But you have no idea where you are going or even where you want to be once the run is done. In the meantime, as your mind, or even your legs, actually lead you further from the place you decided to run from, your mind slows its pace. Thoughts come easier. Thoughts come more clearly. Then the thought you wished wouldn’t show up; shows up on center stage, spotlight glaring, heat appears from nowhere like there’s a crowd in your mind, watching and waiting for your reaction to this single thought. The showstopper. What are you doing? As if you didn’t hear yourself, your mind, with a little hint of your own sarcasm retorts again. Seriously, What are you doing?

The reason it’s the showstopper is because you already knew the answer. You already knew that question, like the unwanted competition you have no answer for, at anything competitive, was gonna rear its ugly head and stop you in your tracks. Which, is the point of this piece, stop you in your tracks. As you fumble over your internal words on that mental stage with the glaring spotlight zeroed in on you as if your thoughts themselves were visible to the audience you put there yourself, you realize that running, taking action at all, was not necessary. You respond, drenched in shame, a human response which is completely unnecessary, but more importantly, you admit that you don’t know what you are doing. Fine. That happens to all of us. No action would have been far more effective. Sometimes when you feel totally stressed out, or that you are in a position you don’t feel like you can (or want) to deal with, you speed things up and your mind, in its rapid fire format you brought upon yourself, you think you must take action. And many times that means run from the situation. When in fact, you could have stayed put, let the action come to you, thought on your next step and direction, and been so much better off as a result. There are times when no action is the action best suited for the moment you’re faced with.