An Architecture of Life

20181018_101303~2

People say that
it’s better to be strong
to be independent
to know there are no
promises
and to rely on
yourself
because they’re going to
let you down
anyway.

They tell you to
build your own life
hold your head up high
and to always
be ready
to strike out on
your own.
And I will.
I will be strong
and hold my head up high
and build
my own life

But this is how
I’ll do it:

Reach out my hands
with the amber light
of friendship
Plant the seeds for
emerald new
adventures
I’ll stop and stare
at brilliant orange
sunsets
Feel the violet sorrow
of the heartbreaks
and know that
I’m alive

I’ll drink the
calming blue
of the sea
Ask the questions
of a thousand
stories
Release the laughter
bursting
in my chest
Sing the melodies
dancing
in my veins

I will open my heart
to the radiant
beauty
of this world
and build a life of
magnificent
fullness
in gratitude’s
vivid freedom

-KJ Roe

Advertisements

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.

-KJ Roe

*If you or anyone you know is feeling alone, feeling that their light is fading, please reach out. Talk to a friend, talk to a counselor, talk to a pastor, or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8755. Don’t give up. YOU ARE IMPORTANT AND THE WORLD NEEDS YOU.

*This first appeared here April 4, 2017.

Ascent

20180429_202926

She paused, raising her eyes to the crest of the hill above her. You’re almost there, she told herself as she reached for her water bottle and took a swig. You got this. Her legs had already traversed several stages on this hike – stretching, tired, sore, shaky, ready to collapse, and finally, stronger. She could almost feel the muscles tearing and healing and building as she went. It made her feel tough, as if she could handle anything. As though it didn’t matter if she was the last person on earth, or the only person on the mountain.

Her heart was another matter. It pounded in her chest like she’d just run a marathon while being chased by a bear. Too fast, too hard, but what worried her was the erratic unsteadiness of it. As far as a rhythm, she was pretty sure it was skittering between a bouncy reggae tune, a pounding rap, and the wild pulse of thrash metal. All fine for listening to; maybe not such a good thing for a heart rate.

She took a deep breath. Another one. In-two-three, out-two-three. Willed her body to calm, heart to slow. Practiced some learned-long-ago relaxation techniques. Tried not to think how ridiculous it was that this little hike was so difficult for her. The important thing was that she was doing it. She was facing the challenges she set for herself, overcoming all of the excuses and reasons for holding back.

She had spent too many years in the shadows. Too many days watching from the sidelines, being the cheerleader. She loved the encouraging, the guiding, the helping. She was good at it. But what she’d only partially grasped was that when you constantly encourage others to follow their dreams, eventually you get left behind.

But now.

This was her time. Her turn to explore. To grow, find her horizons. Most of all, to stop holding back.

She turned to look back at the trail she’d been following. The mountain dropped away before her, river cutting a valley through the hills. Trees danced in the breeze that cooled her skin. Snow blazed the tops of the range. A blue sky caressed the horizon, greens and grays and browns of the forest mixing in a grand palette of wild, untamable, glorious nature.

Where she had been was breathtaking.

Tears watered the landscape for a moment, and she grinned in exultation at the sheer magnificence of life and the world. Yes, the trail had been hard sometimes. Life had been hard. There were moments that she wondered what had possessed her to take it at all. But this – this majestic view of her journey so far was definitely worth it. It was more incredible than anything she could have imagined.

A prayer of thanks rose within her.

She took another deep breath, another swig of water, trying to hold the picture in her mind to look back on later. Holding onto the satisfaction of love feely given and obstacles overcome. So many memories to cherish.

She turned back up the trail. Her heart was steady now. She was ready.

There was further to go, and the view would be even better up ahead.

-KJ Roe

That Moment

That Moment picThat moment.
That moment when you stop to take a breath. The moment when you feel the laughter about to burst from your chest. The one where you drink in the beauty around you, or when you feel the love in every particle of your being. When peace settles over you with a welcoming sigh, holding you, for just a moment, in its gentle embrace. That moment. Hold onto it, melt into it, revel in it, cherish it. Then, when it is time to carry on, pick up where you left off, keeping the treasure of it safe within your heart. Let its glow be a light in the darkness. – KJ Roe

*”That Moment” first appeared here on April 9, 2016.

Awakening

20180501_093720

And then the growth
started

No more of the bated
breath, waiting
for something

that never became.
No more of the holding
back, hoping
for rescue

that never came.
It started
with a small
shift, lifting
the heart

from its hiding place;
With a quiet
recognition
the soul

is a precious thing,
A sudden ancient
knowing
the worth of

the person within;
And then,

a raise of
the head, a
straightening of
the shoulders, as
The strength of

one’s being
spread its wings

and took flight

-KJ Roe

Buoyancy

2015-07-08 11.21.55

The fullness in my chest
Swells like the tide
Rising unquenchable,
Unendingly hopeful,
Buoyed by the comraderie
Of my soul mates
And heart guides-
By Beauty, and Grace,
Fair Flora, and Fauna,
And Music, and Poetry,
By the blessings of
A life of Peace,
And the gifts of
The God of Love;
And Hope lives in me.

-KJ Roe

“Buoyancy” first appeared here on March 27, 2017.

Type Cast

20180331_141543“There are two types of people in this world: Those who…” That’s what the advertisement I just heard said. And then it broke down the two types in two sentences.

Where do you fit in – which do you identify with?

That’s the advertising company’s goal – to pique your interest, and then to draw you in. Once you’ve identified with the “type” that will buy their product or service, it’s an easy nudge to convince you to actually spend your money. They have your attention, they have your sense of comradery, and they have your wallet.

And what did it take? Thirty seconds. Thirty seconds of making you feel like you must belong to one of those two types. Thirty seconds of intriguing video footage, of carefully planned and chosen voice-overs, pauses, and background music to set the mood.

Thirty seconds to convince you to believe the lie.

Because, you see, there aren’t two types of people.

It’s a false dichotomy. A person cannot be determined or described by a single factor. What type of car you drive (or don’t), the music you like, the place you live, the color of your skin – none of these fully describes you.

One characteristic cannot possibly convey your dreams, your relationships, your past, and your future. It cannot reveal the kindness of your heart, the hopes you hold dear, or the things that keep you awake at night.

You are more then just one of two types.

You are greater than a false choice aimed to create income.

You are the combination of a million things past, and a billion things future.

You are the beauty and the strength and the will forged from experiences only you truly know.

You are the awe and the wonder and the joy of a future only you can build.

You are the unique mystery of your particular stardust soul.

There are not two types of people in the world. There are billions.

And you – in all those billions –

You are the only type of you.

Be the brilliant star that you are.

-KJ Roe