Monthly Archives: July 2016

Chasing the whale together

I had a dream that died.
A dream that, having once dreamed it,
I chased with all my might.
I devoted every part of myself to it.
I pursued it with the all of the
Exuberance of my remaining youth.
I followed it around corners,
Over distances, and through
Many obstacles.
I hoped for it when no one
Understood it, when
Others had forgotten it,
When they had shrugged it off.
I believed in it when I was
Afraid to say it for fear of laughter,
I still believed when they laughed,
And even worse—when
It wasn’t worth their laughter,
When with raised eyebrow
They turned away.
With the constancy of Ahab
I hounded it like it was
My own white whale.
And with the same capriciousness
It teased me relentlessly
Coming just within grasp
Before diving to new depths,
Crashing my boat, or speeding away
Toward perdition’s flame—
And I followed.

Many storms and shipwrecks later,
Weather beaten and sail torn,
My dream has become a ghost.
Something hardly considered.
A memory of only the pain
Of unresolved goals,
Of people who sought to stop me,
Though I didn’t know why.

Today, a friend spoke of my dream
As if it were alive, as if she
Were looking to its fulfillment.
I said, “I’ve given it up.”
I said it matter-of-factly.
I said it without bitterness.
I said it truthfully.

She said, “I’ll just dream it for you.”

It was a kindness I have
Rarely seen and only experienced
A few times.
To bear up under with one another,
To be with one another,
To share one another’s burdens like this
Means that, sometimes,
We have to hold things for one another,
Hope in things for another even after
They’ve lost the ability to hope in them
Themselves.
To carry someone’s dream for them,
Even after the burden of carrying it
Has become too great,
Is what it means to be in community,
Members of one another.

Without membership,
Perhaps we are all bitter captains,
Agedly balancing on peg-legs,
Swearing at the waves and the wind
As we chase that uncatchable thing
To the end of our lives.
With it, we face the treacherous
Sea together, holding one another
Together. Bound together
Not by the fulfillment of the dream
But by our love for one another.
What was once a hopeless plight,
Has become a promising adventure.

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Coexisting

Coexisting
is being
near the other
without fear
despite being
different.
It is recognizing
ourselves as
a part of
the whole,
dependent on
many “others.”

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Truth and sandcastles

I was once
That man who knew,
Being certain of what is,
How it happened,
And what should be.
I spoke with authority
About things I had
Never studied.
I espoused with certitude
Beliefs which had no basis.
The “other” was enemy,
Being “ignorant,”
“Dishonest,”
Or “wrongly motivated.”
I rationalized his thinking
To make him less scary,
Questioning the motives
Of people I had never known.
The world was simple,
The questions easy,
The answers obvious.
I defended desperately
My sandcastle of certainty—
Built on insecurity—
With handfuls of sand
Flung madly in all directions
Which disappeared into the wind.
My castle was “truth,”
And I its self-appointed champion.
Until one day,
Tired of fighting,
I faced the tide.
A world of questions,
A universe of books,
A great community of minds
Melted my castle away.
And I became free
To grow,
To change,
To seek,
To meet,
To ask,
To argue,
And to think
From a sense of conviction
And faith in the promise:
“He who seeks will find.”
I became free to let the “other”
Be other, and remain myself.
I became free to ride the surf,
Pursuing truth where it took me.
And I found that
that which I had once feared
As a threat
Was, in reality,
A universe of adventure.
And instead of a defender of truth
I am an explorer
Foraying into
The unknown.

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“Peace” I whisper…

“Peace” I whisper
Through quivering lips
Over the painful lump in my throat
As the video violence assaults my eyes
Through my hot tears.
I am breaking down.

“Peace” I ache,
While the world is fascinated
With weapons and killing and retribution, though it is
Tilted toward the strong and powerful,
Though injustice is done—
And met—with force.

“Peace” I beg,
Though all around is war and hatred,
Racism and prejudice, fear and guns
And the modus operandi of this place
Is greed for power and
Endless conflict.

“Peace” I remember,
When an innocent man, having
Done no wrong, having
Spoken no deceit, before his mother
Was murdered for love and spoke only
Of forgiveness and ignorance.

Peace we live
As we follow behind him
Suffering with him
As we carry his cross,
Suffering peacefully
With one another
And with this place.

Peace we make
As we speak the truth
As we suffer what’s right,
As we call on the world
To lay down its arms—
To come with us.

Peace we await
Until that day
When he returns
And every knee bows
Each tongue confessing
He is lord.

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