Ascent

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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

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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.

Epitaph

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When I die,

Shed tears if you must

Let them wash

The scales from your eyes

Reveal the light

See all the little

Hidden things

That make the world beautiful

 

When I’m gone

Shout and wail if it helps

Let it crescendo

Into songs of life and movement

Raise your arms

Free your feet in

 

Dances

To secret music

That lift the soul

Irresistibly

 

When I pass

Grow though the grief

Let it teach you to

 

Cherish

 

Moments

Lay bare your heart

Act with kindness

 

Let love live as my legacy

 

-KJ Roe

 

Awakening

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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

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

Deafening

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When does the war end
The barrage of bullets
Shells filled with words
Full metal jackets
Punched from indignation
Shot from weapons
Forged from hate
Intent to harm
The flag for a
Battlecry of
“We are right!”
And
“At all costs!”
Warpaint of
Self-righteousness

Dripping into our eyes
Like the soul-blood
We spill

Blinded in the fight
Deafened by
Our own wailing

Tripping over bodies
We proclaim to save

So allegiant to the
Cause
That the
Death toll of

Freedom
and
Brotherhood
and
Kindness
rings

Silent

In our ears

-KJ Roe