I Hope!

Hope is a double edge sword tempered by fear and sharpened by faith. It matters not what we know, or learn, or experience. It only matters that we feel we deserve the possibility of brighter days and calmer nights.
Tempered emotions see through feelings of doubt. It’s the trepidation that guide each step silently through the crowds of reality. Desolate figures strewn throughout rubbles streets boil grease slicked water for a blessing.
Looking for a sign through hundred yard stares, hoping, not sure whether the sun is beating down on your back or shine down on your life. Then rain washes away the doubt leaving you shivering with the reality that hope is lonely.
Lonely in a sea of faces and exhaust that pollute the air revealing your soul in grey shadows on graffiti drawn walls. Your thoughts dwell behind the fragmented words that leap off the wall with anger. How can you lose hope to the point anger is soothing.
In this twisted state of emotion you sit in the filth of one hundred souls shedding their spirit for noodles and a God who gives that one chance to cleanse your soul and stand tall in the face of poverty.
It’s not the grime or the hunger that hides hope. It’s not the clothes or the state that sees hope is possible. It’s the mind that says “one more step is a step closer to something, and something id better than nothing”!
I hope!

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College Football Participation Award

So, the whole SEC, Big Ten playoff dilemma says says a lot about the denigration of our morality. The real problem for me is it makes sense to most people. The playoff system in college football is not a playoff system is what I hear and see.

Take the NFL for instance. How many championships would each team have if we followed the obscure method the that college football follows. More importantly what does it say about the “comeback kid”!

The privileged class in America is in control of our country, our sports, our entertainment, etc… There is something being said when someone can look back at a body of work (Ohio State) and portray their efforts as less because they lost a couple games early. Folks believe that should eliminate them from competition. Never mind that they came back and overcame the problems they had and continued to strive for excellence winning their championship game.

I’ve told my kids for years that if you get an “A” on your class work you didn’t learn anything. Getting an “A” means you already knew the information. The belief that getting something wrong and going back to try harder is no longer a part of our emotional beliefs in America.

This is true in academics, sports, employment. It extends into healthcare, justice, and military situations as well. Stay with me a minute cause it all ties together, trust me.

Now I’m not an Ohio State fan, I’m a Georgia and Alabama fan. In fact, I’d go as far as to say Auburn should have been placed above Ohio State using the current method of reasoning. It only makes sense that a team who beat 2 of the top 4 teams should be one of the top 4 teams, and I’m no Auburn fan.

My belief is if you win the games to get you to the top, then lose the top game to get the championship, your out. You didn’t win. Any team can be beaten on any day given the right circumstances. This is not the college football logic.

Because Alabama “participated” and has a history of getting “A”’s on the field they were advanced past a team that won their championship. I won’t mention the PAC 12 because then it really gets confusing.

The real obvious point for me is not football, that’s a game. However, nationally there are at least half of the nation that believe this makes sense. To say you don’t win your out seems to harsh. This may or may not be true in America today. That’s scary.

Even scarier is that “the come back” is no longer admirable or valuable to half of us. Participating and talking the loudest about when you did perform is more valid evidence of a champion.

If athletes and citizens start to believe “the comeback” has no value, and that some folks deserve opportunities more than others based on criteria other than effort we’re in trouble.

For me it’s simple. Win your division, go to the championship. Lose your division, try harder next year. The fact this seems harsh is beyond me. The term “deserving” is emotional. We don’t always get what we deserve and that’s life.

I’m still an “underdog” kinda guy. I don’t follow sports religiously, but enjoy football, basketball, and the fights. The individuals and teams that almost made it are my champions. They we’re up, then down in their efforts and made no excuse for their losses other than taking responsibility.

To make exceptions to make a champion doesn’t even make sense when you say it out loud. It could be true that the slowest child in a race put more effort in a race than the fastest child. It is also true that given the right motivation, training, and attitude the slowest child can train and become the champion through effort. Equally true is the child could train hard, eat right, and focus hard, only to lose again. There no shame in this, not everyone can be the best everyday.

The true champion battles adversity and overcomes deficits to be the best any given day. Making exceptions for what you’ve accomplished in the past just says you were the best once. It doesn’t mean you’re the best forever. It doesn’t mean you have more heart than others. It doesn’t mean you get a pass when you fail. It means you competed, and that’s the point we’re dulling.

We have to battle this “participation award” mentality. These folks have grown up, (questionably) and are not running business, buying tickets and jerseys, even running the country. If this attitude spills over into our governmental or business models we’re in trouble. We’ll have a privileged class that buries anyone with an exception into the bowels of an underclass. “Oh, Waite a minute, damn I’m too late!”

Psychological Incest: Living with “Little Man”!

I was having a conversation with a friend about relationships. We were talking about the stereotypical “little man” or “bad boy” situations many woman find theirselves in. These often co dependent relationships leave many woman confused and hurt seemingly never being able to do enough, or the right thing.
On the surface you think, “why doesn’t this person wake up and find a man, instead of chasing after boys, or dudes acting like men?” It’s obviously way more complicated than that.
“Little man” in many cases has been manipulating women since birth. The absence of a male figure leaves them psychologically stunted in relationships when they’re older. Their experience tells them they act out, the woman responds with guilt or anger, then she makes excuses for his behavior to make him feel better. This rubric may have been in place for 18 years and your daughter may be the unlucky woman to encounter this guy.
She’ll spend most of her time sacrificing her own needs to create peace within the house. When he acts out because he wants a motorcycle, or a bag of weed, she’ll sacrifice getting her new outfit, cause he tries hard, but just can’t catch a break. She may lie to herself to the point it’s embarrassing and awkward to keep the hope that it will all turn out in the end.
This is the dangerous place for her and the advantage he will take. He’s already learnt from Momma to keep their business in the house. So she distances herself from friends and becomes reclusive because it’s too embarrassing to have people see life ain’t quite working out the way she planned. He gains more influence over her perspective because he’s the only one she can talk to without accepting she is ina failed relationship. Now she’s stuck.
At first she has unrealistic expectations and you cannot say anything without becoming the enemy. She will defend the person who is psychologically abusing her to protect her dream, or hope. Meanwhile things become more turbulent in the home.
By the time he has recreated his childhood in his new house norms have become dysfunctional. She may feel like she is the mother one minute and the spouse the next. This “psychological incest” he is perpetrating solidified his role as the man and the child in the home and she learns to adapt to which person she is dealing with.
When money is tight or kids act up he’s the child who needs space or quite. He may need dinner or a drink he has worked to hard to fix. When the check rolls in he’s the man who has the plan to come up. He’s gonna pay to get her hair done or take the kids to Chucky Cheese.
The set up is; half way through the week when he doesn’t have money for lunch and has to make his lunch he’s the victim. Maybe he can’t afford beer or weed till payday, but he works so hard, he deserves to kick back and get a buzz. Now he’s suffering for her and she better respond with sacrificing her needs for him. Eventually the entire house revolves around his needs because he’s manipulated everyone into thinking he is the center of the household, like when he was younger with Momma.
“Little man or “bad boy” are portrayed too positively in our culture. I’m raising another little girl and I think real hard about the mistakes I’ve made and how I can do better for her. First off, I ain’t raising a victim or a wife. I’m hoping my daughters find men who are their friends and that they keep each other as priorities. I hope they can call each other out and be more empathetic, than sympathetic to each other. Of course we all want our kids to have lives filled with challenges they conquer, but raising “little man” or “bad boy” is on my list of “no no’s”. I can’t control who they marry or date, but I can make them aware so they know that I know it’s a choice they’re making. We won’t lie to each other.
They’re are hundreds, if not thousands, of characters in the relationship game. Family, friends, and co workers are just a few. I focused on “little man” and “bad boy” because of how prevalent they are in our society and cultures. He travels across race, ethnicity, and culture creating havoc and leaving families in turmoil for his own gratification. I hope my daughters stay clear of this minefield and writing this was my first step in preventing them from trying to raise “Momma’s Boy”!

Her sense

Listen to her words, don’t just hear her
She’s speaking to her own heart for you to hear

Why do you speak to her in that tone which is yours
When all you have to do is whisper to her pain and sorrow

So take the time to feel her soul with your hand in hers
Not pulling or squeezing, just patiently awaiting that moment she knows

It’s easy when you put yourself aside for one glorious moment and you realize time is the elixir that soothes your desires for her needs

Then, the beauty of her scent reminds you of past passions and future dreams and you can taste tomorrow in all the sweetness that comes with inhaling her breath as part of your life

Free Spirit

I choke on plastic words creating packaged sentiments of empathy or condolence. Lies slither through cracks in the walls of closets and basements like smoke through an open window. Where do you live in a reality where nothing is real.

To know the truth but carry it buried in the pocket of a smoker wrapped in wolf’s bane for fear of it catching wind. For fear that the others will know and suddenly the scrim will melt away like embers in a moonlit breeze. What would we say, now naked and free, no cloaks to hide our intent. How would we continue without truth layered in embers, but blazing with glory in the dark of night.

These facades have taken on a life of their own trapping us within characters we no longer recognize, but can’t escape. Trapped, breathing though porous masks that suffocate a souls yearning to be free, dying to be released. Is death our only truth and birth no more than awakening to contrived realities dished out in plastic stages of development for the benefit of the play.

We fear nature for its truths. We hide in clothes, houses, and careers dreaming of freedom from it all. We dream of The freedom to be wild and human, compassionate and forgiving in a world without lies.

We fall to our knees looking up to a God who doesn’t recognize us because we hide beneath layers of decay for decades serving a different purpose. A faint pulse beats under a black heart starved of the blood and air nature demands. No one hears the rhythm or feels the life that screams to be judged.

I can no longer breathe the air that’s so polluted with purpose and intent I gag with each breath through constricted lungs. How can I free my soul to meet my spirit before the last breath leads me to a land promised by a bat wearing a doves feathers. I want to live before I die.

I want to overcome the clothes I’ve been given to wear as a child that fashioned my tunic for another mans dream. I want to overcome banners and parchments that hang on dilapidated walls and rusted poles. These shackled dreams of men kept me from wandering free where my God would show me mercy and resolve like Job and his ashes.

I have faith that though I was removed from God at birth I can feel His presence in the absence of the humanity I reside. Everything here is gray and steel, stale and stagnant like ponds of nuclear waste in a forest of deciduous trees permanently dormant. It’s the distant shrill of one lone cardinal that affirms my hope.

My banners are fabric, my honor is defined by laws, and my faith stands alone surrounded by lies. I am made to think. My places of worship have locks and flood lights illuminating signs with catchy slogans selling faith for tithes. It is in the wilderness where truth awaits, where God reveals his majesty, not within rooms decorated for posterity. A forest of mirrors reflecting man’s arrogance and contempt for God’s power and presence is just a step away.

So now I live outside myself. For my body may be imprisoned in this nightmare, but my mind is free to travel the earth searching for a handshake or a hug with the warmth of blood.

My hood drawn loose I walk narrow paths avoiding the noise and smoke from distant fires. My path is lit with the spirits of those gone before me. The spirits of men who walked alone with the weight of the world on their mind. I see with my heart and listen with my mind for signs of life, but the world is static and I was born robbed fluid.

Charismatic and Atheist

Truth doesn’t make me a Christian, faith make me a Christian. Wether it’s true or not that Jesus walked on water, I have faith that the lesson He would want me to take away from that story isn’t about His majesty, rather that I will sink when I let my faith sink. Christ died on the cross for my sins. I will never have a video or physical evidence. Which is the point after all. My faith gives me hope, and that pertains to life, not just spirituality.

I hear atheist and charismatics harping on the supernatural nature of religion. One side mocks God when a tragedy occurs, while the other side takes annual pilgrimages to bleeding trees. Faith is not knowing, it’s hoping with trust. Hoping with confidence that you can live up to the ideal of Christ. This faith has nothing to do with religion, religion is power, faith is spirituality. They are different and that’s what is unique for me about Christians.

There is a movement in the world to tarnish the Christian faith. The folks who are behind this movement, the followers who buy into it, and the Christians contributing to the narrative don’t understand its religion that they’re referring to. Christ wasn’t religious, he was spiritual. Christians do miraculous things daily for folks around the world they don’t know, nor will they ever meet.

Folks ask questions about why God lets tragedies occur. Some even go as far as to mock Christians for turning to God within tragedies they perceive He let occur. We hear statements like, “Where was God when this or that tragedy occurred. It’s cynicism as a tactic to create doubt, but we’re taught about doubt with Thomas.

God doesn’t direct our lives to ensure outcomes. Faith wouldn’t exist if we didn’t have free will. It’s within these tragedies we learn that our world has evil and it can never win if we keep our faith. We can’t be a Christian and know, that’s ridiculous, there’s no room for faith in that world.

Christians are leading the way in separating themselves from religion. The Old Testament provides us with many stories that have messages on how to live together. The New Testament gives us the hopeful message of Jesus and examples of how to maintain faith in turmoil. These stories aren’t instruction manuals for the supernatural.

So don’t come at with “pray about it”, or sarcastic comments about how God let’s bad things happen. God wants me to act on my transgressions and atone. Not sit around hoping a prayer is gonna make things right. He doesn’t control my life, He gave me free will and human nature, he knows my heart. So if you’re an atheist or charismatic Christian running around talking about Christianity is magic, I probably won’t see you later. Don’t pray about it either, do something about your misleading intentions.

Angela

I’ll write till I die with a pen in my frozen fingers and never find the words to express how anguish pales in comparison for how I feel about missing your childhood.

It’s past sad into a realm where violence is emotion, not an action. I feel the lighting strike my soul at what we lost on my account. I’ve spent years thinking and erasing the futility of my pain, it’s selfish, but hopelessly true.

I have no right to your sadness or forgiveness. I fell aimlessly grasping at what could have been while I free fell through memories only I share. On the other side of the veil I screamed at smoke figures of impossibility.

I’ll always be stuck in that space with your memory. The images are no longer important, the feelings are what haunts me. Indiscriminately they strike like streaks of lighting across the ocean between us, and I wonder if you see, or even look anymore.

I know it’s just selfish pain looking for broken souls in the darkness of past storms. I know you’ve tasted the sunshine of life and I watch now from afar as you soar through darkness and light seeing sunshine and moonlight with the same joy; and then I wonder if your journey ever really included me. Maybe I was just part of the scenery along your path to a higher journey.

It’s here I understand the age old adage, “if you set something free…..”. You may never return, and if that path is too dark, I’ll continue to look for you in the light of day and night knowing I once held the most precious thing in the world, my child, and now she is free!