Beacon – A Note to Self and Others

There is no reason not to be the sparkling light that you are, no reason to keep holding it in… Don’t do that to yourself. No more holding back your potential or stifling your dreams.

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Get back to yourself.

You are not this lost, nervous, fearfully hopeful wreck of waiting-for-something-to-happen. You are not this amorphous being floating, waiting for THAT THING that will give you meaning.

You are You. An amazingly giving, creative, thinking, working, loving being who is so much more than some outside perception. You have a purpose in life. And yes, part of your purpose is to love. Love is so much a part of the world that it transcends generations, race, religion, geography. It is so much a part of life that the experience of it can actually affect a person’s health and well-being. It is the source of much of the good that happens. And it lives in, and through, you.

You also have purpose in teaching, in learning, in growing and becoming and leading and holding. In putting into words that which is so much more, or in putting into action that which can be accomplished, or in putting into art that which can be felt. You have meaning. You are an embodiment of characteristics that combine to make one very exceptional and unique person. There are instances of kindness and love that others would never have experienced if it were not for you. You make a difference.

We need to get back to that. We all need to quit wallowing and floundering in this narrow view of the negatives, of the problems right in front of us and the overwhelming and seemingly endless tragedies of the world. We need to get back to the people we were meant to be, once again. Quit looking at this narrow corner of life, turn around, and face outward toward the world. There is so much more out there. Immeasurable moments of joy and beauty to find. Stop waiting for the perfect love. Stop waiting for the ideal time to reach out to another. Forget holding off on doing the kind thing just because we can’t predict another’s reaction. We can nurture good by living life in kindness and positivity. Do it now.

There is so much to do and learn and experience in this life, and so many people to get to know and care about, and so very little time. Open your heart to others. Go out and do the things you’ve been wanting to do. Stop waiting on someone to give you the okay. Go and help someone who needs it. Take those lessons. Live that adventure. Enjoy that view.

There is no reason not to be the sparkling light that you are, no reason to keep holding it in, hiding it lest it get extinguished. The only one who can douse it, the only one who can really snuff it out, is you. Don’t do that to yourself. No more holding back your potential or stifling your dreams. Don’t be the one who makes up reasons not to do things that expand your ability to Live. To do so is to succumb to fear or anger or resentment – to let negative burdens be your master.

They are not.

We humans have an extraordinary capacity for love, compassion, and generosity. We are blessed with the ability to see life from another’s point of view. We can think, and dream, and create. We can hold, and laugh, and forgive. You can do all of this. You have infinite possibilities locked inside you. You are a marvelous, fantastic, unequaled aurora of potential, and You are the only one of You in all of time. No one else can do the things you do exactly the way you do them. No one else can have the same impact on the world that you can. You are an irreplaceable beacon shining through the dark.

Let that light shine.

Passage

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How does one come to this?
Child of the woods,
Running, leaping, hunting, fishing
Self-sufficient from early days
Sleeping in the open
Since four years old
So much knowledge
Wisdom gained
Skills passed on

Eight decades plus
Of independence
And contriving
And economy
Respect for the hunted
Love for the weaker
And food set out
For small creatures.

How does one come to this?
Entrapped by walls,
Groaning, cursing, mumbling, stuck
Pained dependence these later days
Sleeping in restriction
Eighty-four years old
Jumbled knowledge
Wisdom fogged
Skills confounded

Chronos counts in days
Of helplessness
And painfulness
And expense
Afraid as the hunted
Ashamed to be weaker
And food set out
For small creatures.

Burnt

What is it about our own shadows that makes us feel we are better than another simply because we have not lived their life?

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I hate them. You filth. You’re going to hell. Kill them all. These are the words I hear the people who are supposed to be my brothers and sisters saying to one another. These are the words that we use for people who don’t live life the way that we believe they should. We judge and we condemn and we pat ourselves on the back for doing “God’s work.” We sit in our living rooms and mow our lawns and play on our smart phones and pretend that we know what it means to suffer. We tell ourselves that we would never be in that position or make those choices, without knowing the pain and the backstory that another has already survived. We assume that a child who has been hurt was not being properly supervised, or an adult who is gay was not properly raised, or a human doing drugs has no morals or good inside. We decide for them that they are worthless – and unfortunately too many believe it and fall deeper into the mire.

What is there in these hate-filled words, in the strife that we stir up, in the darkness that we usher in with our actions, that even remotely brings the light of God to this world? What is it about our own shadows that makes us feel we are better than another simply because we have not lived their life? It is a disease, a plague, this Darkness of judgment and hatred that is winding its oily way through humanity. It is the insidious work of evil, and doing it “in the name of God” or any gods only solidifies its soul-eating grasp upon us.

So the next time that we feel justified in raining condemnation from our lips or keyboards, perhaps we should stop to think, “What is there in my words, in my actions, and in my attitude that speaks the love of God out into the world?” If the answer is not “EVERYTHING,” then maybe it’s better to keep our mouths shut and our typing fingers still. Rather than adding to the hostility in the world, speak words of hope. Instead of imagining violent paybacks, move with hands of comfort.

Shun the hate, Live the Love.

-KJ Roe

At the Crossing

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I can do this on my own. That’s what I tell myself. I can be strong enough, tough enough, and I can learn enough. When absolutely necessary, I can lean on my friends – just enough.

There are so many, many things to learn, and ways to learn them. Really more than one can learn in a lifetime. And more things to do than there are hours to do them.

So I learn, and I do, one little piece at a time. How to grow a garden – how to replace a floor – how to paddle up a river efficiently. Fixing a washer. Painting a picture. Writing my heart. Walking this path on my own, just a bit wiser or stronger with each footfall.

Sometimes I remember to lean on Jesus. More often, I put up a wall (as if walls can keep Him out), turning away, avoiding His gaze so that I don’t have to recognize my own weakness and how very, very much I need Him to carry me through. Forgetting – ignoring – the countless times He’s held me at the tumultuous crossing. Holding my breath as though I can hide from His love and understanding. Pretending I don’t feel Him beside me, waiting patiently – and perhaps somewhat aggravated – for me to acknowledge Him. To yield and accept, once again, the depth of His love for me, His broken child.

Possibilities

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How does one understand the heart, much less explain it? The blanket statement “Everyone wants to be loved” just doesn’t do it justice. It doesn’t cover the nuances, the journeys, the heartaches and heartbreaks and effervescent explosions of infatuation. It doesn’t convey the quiet, comforting joy of a love well-lived and a life well-loved. There is so much more to the heart, a strength and fragility that co-exist in a precarious symbiosis of counterpoints: trust and trustworthiness; honor and understanding; encouragement and truth.

Human language is ill-equipped to truly express the depths of what is in the heart; this is why we use so many other mediums to say what words alone cannot. We turn to the rhythms and melodies of music. We capture snippets of beauty in photographs and strokes of a paintbrush. Perhaps we build, or design, or grow. Whatever our talent – nay, whatever moves us – we hold in our hearts. Hopefully we cherish it, nurture it, feed it with more of the same magnificence that lifts our spirits. Then we can send it out into the world, a little fuller, a little brighter, a little bit of heart grown bigger.

In this way, love – the love of a person for his fellow human – grows. If we all grew our own heart-source like this, there would be little room for anger and strife and war. If we all opened our hearts to shine our own special light, the darkness would be overcome. That is what the heart is – unveiled, unshrouded, unrestricted, it is our very own universe of unlimited possibility, created to be a light in this world.

-KJ Roe

Expendable

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You are the expendable.

You choose to embody love, kindness, and forgiveness as far as you can safely do so, and further than you should reasonably do so. You choose to consider others’ viewpoints. You think about how their lives may have led them to believe certain decisions were okay, or the only option available to them. You ponder the interrelatedness of people and events, and the ensuing results. There is little that you do not think about, for everything merits consideration. In the same way, everyone has worth and is worth considering.

Unfortunately, in being considerate of everyone, you find that others are not the same. Others will use and abuse, until you finally find the strength to say “Enough!” Not “Enough, the world is bad,” but “Enough, I am good, and there is no room in my life for liars and manipulators.”

It may be a lonely road, and you will undoubtedly have people – the ones who are accustomed to you being understanding and pliable – who become angry that they can no longer use you. You will have to re-establish those boundaries again and again. But you will stand your ground. You will withstand the tempest. Those who leave, you didn’t need anyway. Those who stay will have newfound respect for you, and perhaps begin to recognize the strength you held all along. They will begin to realize you are not expendable, but that you – your quiet strength, your belief in them, your ability to bend but not bend over – is vital not only to their lives, but to the well-being of the world.

Their realizations, their respect, will only validate a simple truth. Their opinions of you are extraneous. Your worth is in your Self, your Soul, who you were created to be – not in what others choose to see. You are not expendable.

You are irreplaceable.

-KJ Roe

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror

I’m thinking of breaking all the mirrors in my house. Maybe all the screens, too. Heck, maybe I’ll just leave the house, and the town, and society. I’ll never measure up anyway.

At least, that’s what they tell me. Tell us. Because it’s the same message they’re giving you. Giving everyone. Probably even themselves. Possibly mostly themselves.

No matter what, we will never be “enough.” Not smart enough, pretty enough, fun enough, serious enough. For years, women have been told to worry about whether their butt was too big, and men, whether their belly was too round. That they had to pick clothes that emphasized a shapely-but-not-too-wide-at-the-hips figure. Now, thanks to idiotic media focus on things like the Kardashians’ anatomy, we’re supposed to worry that our butts aren’t big enough.

Don’t even mention breasts. There’s still plenty of film – digital, video, or still – dedicated to cleavage, and I have had to resign myself to the fact that no amount of padded-ultra-push-up-underwire-lift is ever going to make me look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Now, however, there is Continue reading “Mirror, Mirror”