Release

I had to lose a friend today

Because time passed and I perceived

Our hearts spoke different languages

Both meaning such profound things

But we could only see one beautiful side of each other

And were blind to the rest of our unique splendor

 

I lost a friend today

Because our spirits were too far apart

Our steps didn’t have space to be made together anymore

Our existences only met in bits and pieces

Our eyes only saw us in fragmentations of our true selves

We found only part of what we were searching for

 

I lost a friend today

But not in my past

Where we felt some sort of glimpse of connection

Where we found the light of a fellow human song

An ear that tuned out the rest of the world to listen

An eye that saw our fading essence in vibrant color

A body that held space for our fascinating imperfection

A soul that was altered because of time spent interacting

 

I lost a friend today

But maybe only in my present

I hope our lives find each other again

Someday

When we’ve encountered other people

And grown even more soft and loving

Braver and whole and known

More sound-minded and less fearful

 

I lost a friend today

But I hope we meet more people like us

Ones that make us better

And encourage our wholeness

People that embrace us truly

For being more than enough

 

I lost a friend today

But maybe not forever

I hope we find ourselves

And what we very much need

That our road away from us only leads to greater discovery

Of truth, love and acceptance

 

I hope we are blessed with each other again

When we’ve attained more fullness

Because of all the sacred lives we will experience

I hope we don’t forget each other

Even if it hurts to remember loss

I hope we smile when we see each other

Knowing our lives are incomplete without the moments we shared

I hope we let go only to have more abundance

I hope the pain and fond memories help us on our way

I hope the thought of us reminds us of how short life is indeed

I know we have more valuable treasure because we gained so much

I know our lives are better because we knew us

 

Maybe we haven’t actually lost everything today

We really have so much more now

Because of us

Tide

I wander and waste

I am just waiting

Wanting

An endless expanse of giving

My heart an ocean

Who you made and I can’t escape

Falling over tumbling down

The waves crashing in all around

I cannot see or breathe

Calm the sea but you don’t

Peace the winds but you won’t

And here I am to fade

Fast and still

Thrashing until exhaustion, again

My own soul pulling me

Downward onward towards

This sea’s currents pushing me

I can’t stop what’s already in motion inside

Is there rest inside bottomless wake when doubt is confirmed?

Is there hope when it’s again deferred and sickness comes?

I know who I am

But why is the world not big enough

Expectant for the grandness of my belonging

Emptiness is here and searching makes tired

Keeping on instead of keeping

Makes ragged the lion

So the lion sleeps

And the world goes by

The ocean sounds in the distance

Grow silent in fog

And all will reemerge someday

Legacy

As my close friends know, I’ve been wrestling with the idea of church recently. It’s been a long journey of learning, growing and changing for me. And I am so grateful for what God has been showing me through it all. Church has always been a huge part of my life. But last year after a long, frustrating and exhausting period of time, I just realized maybe I had to take a break from church to see what church actually is for me, should be and what it should not be. I didn’t want church to be burdensome, scary or obligatory. Here are some things I learned. (To be specific, I’m referring to the Christian church in general, not one specific local church.)

Church is God’s place, but it’s not the only place God is. Church is where God’s people are, but God’s people are far from perfect. Church is supposed to be God’s family, but it doesn’t always feel like it. Church is for glorifying God, but God can be glorified elsewhere too.

Recently I started thinking about the legacy of church in my life and what it’s been to me and my family over the years. There has been so much I didn’t realize I took for granted. There has been so much to unravel and define as a blessing. And there are some things that are just dust that I can stamp off and leave behind.

Here are just some of the amazingly good aspects of church legacy for me and my loved ones over time. My parents met at church and had their premarital counseling and wedding at that same church. After my grandma passed away, my grandpa went to church and found community there. As a baby, I was dedicated by my parents to the Lord at church. (And look how well I turned out!) My sister was married at a church. Some of my closest friendships have been made and developed at church. My parents raised me in churches that taught the Bible. I learned life-changing Scripture at church. I was given the Gospel truth at church. I have sung and played music at church for my whole life. I have worked at church, been a part of many different church communities and learned so much about God at church.

However, church was unfortunately where I grew severely isolated. Church was where I saw only one example of “acceptable” manhood and womanhood displayed. Church was where I was devastated by words of ignorance from people in authority. Church was where my heart was trampled through betrayal of friendship and lack of love. Church was where I began to feel trapped and eventually emotionally suffocated. Church was were I gradually felt like God was also trapped in a box church presented to me. Church was where I felt guilt and obligation to do all the things a good Christian should do. Church has been the source of pain for those of us who happen to look and act different than the majority of Christians in church. Church has become a political party of conservatism and Americanism. Church felt like a weight almost too heavy to bear.

I know God loves the true church. But God is so much more than just church. God has been expanded far beyond those earthly church walls more for me now and I’m so glad. Church is not everything, but it is something. Church is not the best thing, but it can be something good. Church is not a life-saver, but God can use it as a life-enhancer, simply to point to God, who actually saves people.

Church may be what I had to run away from for a while, but it’s also where people can run to and hopefully find Christ. Church may be what drove me to despair, but it’s also where I found the Savior in the first place. Church is a mixed bag of humanity and the divine, messiness and beauty. Church is lovely and fearful, at times both encouraging and harsh. Church is a dichotomy, just like many other things in Christianity, this complex religion of faith and grace. I may not be able to understand all that church has been and is to me, but that’s all right. I’ve mostly made peace with it and its legacy in my life. I choose to believe my life is God’s and so is the church. This is faith, which is far more precious than just religion or church.

Worthful

I can’t uphold my life, I feel like I’m barely here

I don’t know the reasons, I just float

Broken, abandon, fear, failure and anger

This is not who I am meant to be

But it’s what I feel

Jealous, alone and wary, so much is beating me down

And I have nothing left, there’s nothing I can do

I’m out of control and I’m stuck

I keep giving up BUT life is too short for that

I am a gift to the church and peoplekind

All of me is a treasure to myself and others

And I will not be wasted

I won’t play small

I will hold space

And be much

Questionings

Where is God when I feel like I’m here but God’s not showing up

What is God doing when I feel like I’m all I can be but nothing

Why can’t I see God at work when I feel like I’m doing everything I can

When is the day when I will stop waiting

Who is this God who leaves the children to fend for themselves

Was I betrayed

Lord have mercy I do not know how to live this crazy, confusing human life you gave me

Lord have mercy the world is falling apart and I’m just trying to survive

Lord grant peace in my heart when I always struggle to find some rest in you

Lord grant peace in a world where there is so much anger, hate and fear

Lord plant love in my mind where waves ebb and flow and I just need reminding you love

Lord plant love in these wild days where people just need to know they’re already loved by you

Of blood and bone

I can feel vitality in my heart wanting to break through and run free

I can feel so much the blood in my veins pulsing all inside

Where’s all this life going to go when I feel blind and numb and small

How am I going to live as much as I know I can when I fight just to matter

When am I going to not care enough and still care about the right things

What can I do when all I can control is dust and I’m quickly burning to ashes

 

Monotony tears me down

Discouragement beats me up

Deferred hope wears me out

Disapproval grinds my fingerprints

All the should, coulds and woulds eat me up, chew me and spit me out again

My broken old skeletons come back to haunt me when I’m least expecting them

What can I do when all I do is listen, feeling frozen and unable

 

Sometimes I can’t build myself up again

So I just dwell

Sometimes I can’t fight the fight so hard

And I just rest

Sometimes uphill is too steep

But I live another day

To be strong again

I have to be weak

Because I’m being created

Over and over

Again

I will

Fleeting

It is so hard to walk through the world with very much love

Among human beings who are needing and crying that I break

I feel and fall under the weight for fellow souls who wander

We float and fear and fight while there is so much pain

We distract and try to not hear or hurt or dwell with the heartache

But we can’t escape

My hands want to hold the hearts that burn

While I might be burned in the process

I want to help the hurting

But yet I may suffer more

I’ve been called to sit in empathy with the tragic

And still survive the dark

I carry all of me and the weight of the world

Here I bleed to death

Find me among the extremes

Insanity and spirituality both

And inside me is a depth