In the Wait

20170918_123109

Snowfall is playing peekaboo with us, leaving a surprise dusting in the morning that melts away by evening. The lakes lie partially covered by ice, tempting my kayak just to try it, just one more time, before the water is completely cloaked in her winter blanket. My snow shoes await their re-christening, leaned in a corner with freshly-loaned-to-me poles. It’s a time of transition as one season melts into another.

Life echoes nature. I, too, await new adventures in a sparkling, renewed landscape. I march on with the days towards an eventual twilight. Each morning, the sun rises on both the mundane and the vast realm of possibility. It sets on daily tasks and dreams half-glimpsed. Stars appear, glinting in a murky depth far away, almost close enough to touch.

Amidst it all, the Wisdom of Ages settles on my shoulders, whispering in my ear:

“This is beauty. This is mystery. It is knowing and wondering and hoping, feeling the tug of limitless possibility, the depth of truest loving, the simultaneous realization of your smallness in the universe and your great worth in my eyes.

This is the visual, breathe-it-in-deep definition of priceless, incredible, glistening creation.

This is the treasure of my heart.

This, my darling, is you.”

-KJ Roe

Advertisements

Ripple

This isn’t about money. It’s not about race, or religion, or gender, or politics, or what we ate for breakfast. Not really.

20170329_184632-1

My heart aches as I read about the tragedy in Las Vegas, about the pain inflicted on so many families at once. Those who were injured or killed, their loved ones, the survivors who were somehow spared direct physical injury, the first responders, the medical teams, police, even the mortuary workers… All of these people were directly impacted. Each person will have his or her own version of trauma from the experience. Each person will likely relive various moments over and over. Pain, anger, disbelief, looking for someone or something to blame – these are all effects of trauma. Trauma leaves scars.

But scars mean that there has been healing as well.

Healing requires care. It requires support.

Our bodies, at the most basic, cellular level, know this. When we are wounded, our bodies respond immediately and send their own kind of “first responders” – blood carrying specialized cells to create a safety net that eventually turns into a bruise or a scab, and sometimes, eventually, to a scar. Adrenalin shoots through our limbs, preparing us to fight, flee, or freeze. The pain receptors of the nervous system kick in to help us know things are bad and need to stop. At some point, numbness, often followed by pain. Following the pain, healing.

Our bodies know to respond with vital support.

Our minds and our hearts – our words and our actions – need to follow suit.

This isn’t about money. It’s not about race, or religion, or gender, or politics, or what we ate for breakfast. Not really.

It’s about humanity. About us losing our understanding of what it means to be a living, breathing, loving, hurting, mistake-making, struggling human being.

It’s about recognizing that everyone else is a human, too, and struggling in ways we can’t even guess.

It’s about extending grace and understanding and, when needed, forgiveness to everyone we meet, in person or online or in whatever format.

It’s not a competition over who’s been hurt more or who’s been stepped on or who’s smarter or more well-informed.

None of those things can be quantified and proven, because it is a matter of perspective, resilience factors, personal experiences, and a million other details that are impossible to determine absolutely.

None of those arguments solve the problem. They only increase the divide and exponentially increase the likelihood of additional tragedies perpetrated by those caught up in the rhetoric of whichever side of whichever argument.

In this competition, no one wins.

This isn’t about winning. It’s not about who’s wrong or right.

It’s about holding onto our humanity. Each hateful comment, each hurtful action, feeds the fire of divisiveness and malignancy. It grows the tumor of turmoil and grief.

It’s about peace – individually chosen peace, lived in individual lives, day by day. If we hold peace in our hearts and live it in our actions, if we salute each person on the planet as another living, breathing, struggling human being – just like us – if we remind ourselves of it each time we are provoked to angry reaction – if we just admit we make mistakes, too, and not one of us is perfect – then we do not want to hurt our brothers and sisters in humanity. We leave no ground for hatred and cruelty to take root. We can find within us the strength to offer kindness instead.

If we do this, we might begin to turn the tide of rising tragedy. Even if, as one person, we do not turn the tide, we will not have sped it along. Our contribution will be a drop of kindness in the ocean of humanity, and that drop can ripple out in waves beyond our knowing. At least, for that moment, we might shine a bright light in what is too often a dark world.

That’s a legacy worth leaving behind.

“There is no path to peace. Peace is the path. – Mahatma Gandhi

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Teresa

“…be a reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that can ripple out to all those around you.” – The Archbishop Desmond Tutu

-KJ Roe

Notice

Rainbow

I know you.

I know that sometimes you lie awake nights, mind spinning and rewinding and worrying.

I know sometimes you wonder what you’ve done wrong, and sometimes you know it, and sometimes forgiving yourself seems like the hardest thing to do.

I know you wish you could make things better, for yourself, for a friend, for someone you barely know.

Sometimes you sing in the shower, have solo concerts in your car, and dance with abandon around your house.

You pause to listen to the rain rattling on the roof and to admire the rainbow brightening the sky.

You make up plans and dream dreams that you’re not sure will ever come true.

You wonder what the future really holds and how you’re going to survive here and now.

You question, more than you’d like to admit, how you’re going to have the strength to face another day, another challenge, another crisis.

You build castles in the air while working the grind on the ground.

You come home… to a partner, to your kids, to your parents….or to an empty house.

You put on a good face. You stay strong. You keep going.

Some days you look inside yourself and see loneliness and helplessness eating away at you.

Those days you feel alone, adrift, and lost in the universe.

But you’re not.

You are not alone.

I feel it too.

Together, we face the loneliness.

Together, we fight the demons of despair.

Together, we are stronger than our fears.

We are not alone.

You and me, together.

You and me, admiring the rainbows.

~ KJ Roe

Breathe

20170601_222827

Breathe
Breathe in me
Your stillness, your quiet
Breathe in me
Your peace
Your hope
Your love so unbelievably deep

Breathe
Spill your laughter
Into my soul
So that it spills
Out of my lungs
Bubbling up in joy
And smiles
And moments of contentment

Breathe in me
The life you meant
For me to live
Whisper away
My fears and insecurities
Still the nervous
Echo of my heart
And the worries writhing in my veins

Breathe
Like the breeze in trees
Air currents on water
Breath that gives life
And words
And dreams
And peace

Breathe.

-KJ Roe

Confession

There is a person that I love, but I am not sure how to tell them.

20170608_121937_Burst01-1-1

There is a person that I love, and I am not sure how to tell them.

They are someone I admire, constantly striving to be a better person. They smile at the cashier and ask in earnest how they’re doing. They work hard to be considerate of other people. They are smart, but are still learning so much. They are creative and hard-working and open.

There is a person that I love, but they are not perfect.

Sometimes they get lost in their own thoughts and miss the obvious. Sometimes they act like people should automatically know what their expectations are. Sometimes they lose their patience. Often, they miss opportunities for kindness and sometimes are even a little selfish.

There is a person that I love, but they don’t always know their worth.

They get down sometimes, although they try not to show it.  They might focus on their faults and need reminders of their strengths. They extend grace and forgiveness, often more than is wise. They occasionally fall into unhealthy relationships. They try to shine God’s love, but forget to reflect it on themselves.

There is a person that I love, but I am afraid it would be awkward to tell them.

Then again, maybe that isn’t important. Maybe what really matters is that they get to know how I feel. Maybe they have days when knowing I care could make all the difference in the world. And it might be awkward, it might come out wrong, people might misconstrue. It may cause issues with those who don’t understand. But they should know. They deserve to know. And so I’ll start with this:

Hello, Me. You matter. You are a glowing creation of God, a being of purpose and wonder. I am happy you’re here. I love you.

-KJ Roe

For the Lost

20160131_160913

Hey you.
Yes, you. The one hiding behind a façade of laughter and everything’s fine.
You, too exhausted to get out of bed.
You, crouched in anxious trepidation behind walls of independence and strength.
You, who are busy, busy, always moving, always going.
You.
You’re not alone.

Look around. There are others near you, fighting the same fight, scared to let it show. Others who are lonely, and frightened, and lost. Who feel the air suffocating them and the darkness of the unknown looming. People you see, probably even people you talk to, who wonder if anybody cares. Just like you.

I’ve been there.
Been so worn down I fell asleep standing up.
So scared, I couldn’t see a way out.
So wrapped up in murky despair that I had to consciously name reasons to be here. Some of them seemed ridiculous (chocolate? really?), but when you’re down, anything can be a lifeline.

Others are oh, so worthwhile. Family, or friends, or the way you feel when you hear a beautiful piece of music. The sunlight, the raindrops, the stars, the shapes in the clouds. The first time you mastered – anything: Catching the ball, turning a screwdriver, beating that game. Being held, or the touch of a hand. Simply making someone smile.

Whatever your lifeline is, grab ahold and don’t let go. When it seems to get dim, hold the light it brings right in front of you. Make that decision to keep it in your sight, even if you have to consciously force it to be there. When the voice in your head speaks darkness and negativity, fight it with words of brightness and positivity and self-affirmation. You are unique. You glow. You deserve the good that you long for. You are worth it.

You are a beautiful soul.

It’s okay.
You’re not alone.
Take my hand.

We’ll get through this together.

 

Kindred

laughing-child-1-xh39gk
Photo by http://keywordsuggest.org/236284-laugh.html

There is a language
that draws us all in
A cadence
that builds every bridge
Moments in time
held in crystal clarity
As the joy bubbles
up from within
And breaks out
in a wild dance
Of liberated laughter
And open-mouthed grins
And the music
A symphony of shining eyes.

-KJ Roe