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.

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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

Mis-guided

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Where do we go from here?

Mother returns to an empty house,
the spaces inside crying to be filled
and the quiet scares her

Father closes doors on sleeping angels,
dreading the loneliness of next week
and planning excess to fill the void

Friends debate calls and texts
footing unsure as balance is lost
each tries to find solid ground again

Lovers wait and watch and hold
their hearts within walls,
seeing love slip through their fingers

Anxious, hurting, frightened
we wave false flags of victory
over the ashes of our hope and trust

Families crumble under the weight
of broken promises and kept lies
and injuries never asked to be forgiven

Pain of emotions and thinking
steal color from the sky
and burn the liquid from the eyes

Stereotypes and scapegoats fill the feed
arbitrary lines of Side A or Side B smother the brave and the free

Blocking the exits for thought
no view of a bigger picture
as the blinders are pulled tight

Boundaries multiply exponentially
highlighting divisiveness and
burying brotherly love

Value our diversity becomes scalding
don’t you dare think differently
and our strength becomes frailty

Crushed by disjointedness and
suspicion and drama-fed fears
tourniquet squeezing every breath

Blinded, we thrash about wildly
reaching for any safehold
grasping the tails of sharks

Mistaking the hunter for
beloved rescuer as he
smiles and chews our limbs

And nodding sagely, smugly,
we watch our brethren sink
under the load of our

hemorrhaging condemnation

-KJ Roe

 

 

 

[not] alone

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If you know me, you know I try to be considerate of everyone I meet. If you really know me, you know I try to find beauty and joy in each day.

And if you really, really know me, you know I get nervous around people I don’t know, anxious with confrontation, and that I struggle with my own sense of self-worth. As in, really struggle. That there are more days than I’d like to admit when I wonder what my purpose is for being here.

I’ve been working on opening up more about this, on putting a name to the shadow as a means of identifying it as just that – a shadow that can be banished by the light.

In admitting my own fears, what I’ve found is that there are so many of us out there. So many of us who are uncertain, and maybe a little scared, and maybe a little sad, and fighting demons of loneliness and self-doubt.

In fact, based on the responses I’ve had, I’d venture to say that it may even be a large percentage of us.

By opening up about my own uncertainties, other people have felt more comfortable talking about theirs.

And guess what?

There are lots of us.

Which means two things.

First, there is something wrong with the messages we, as a society, give to each other about vulnerability and sadness.

We’re not “supposed to” be scared or lonely or anxious; we’re “supposed to” be tough, and smart, and happy, and self-confident, and completely comfortable both in a crowd and being alone – and so we all cover up our “weaknesses.” Which only compounds the impression of being the only one struggling with these thoughts and emotions.

Second, that we are not alone. So many of our friends and loved ones often feel the same way, but we’re all hiding it, trying to be tough.

Often, people say that the hardest thing is feeling so alone, like there is no one out there who feels the way they do, who understands what they are going through. But so many of us feel that way.

Your “alone” might feel different than my “alone,” but for both of us, it can be soul-wrenchingly aching, bone-deep painful, and sometimes creates a curtain of bleakness that shrouds the view of the future. It can make it extremely difficult to look forward to the coming days.

But it’s lying.

There is hope in the future.

There is light in your life.

There is joy yet to be had.

I saw a challenge in which a person identifies one word to focus on, one word to try to live for this year. If there is a word that resonates with you, that helps you meet the challenge of another day, I encourage you to focus on that. Let it become your mantra. Let it be your reminder, when things get hard, that you are not alone, that you are stronger, and that you will make it through. Post it on your bathroom mirror and on your car visor and on whatever you look at at work. Flood your environment with it to continually lift you.

If there is not a word that helps you, I invite you to share the word I’ve chosen:

Believe.

Believe in your own worth.

Believe in the beauty of your unique soul.

Believe in the unfathomable greatness of your heart.

Believe in the very real magic and value of your presence.

Believe in the brilliant light that is your future.

Believe that you are never alone, no matter what the shadows might try to tell you.

And believe that you, one-and-only, amazing you – believe that you have a purpose and a reason for being here.

May you have a beautiful and blessed 2018.

-KJ Roe

 

 

Riding the Rails

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You look thinner
hair unkempt
clothes unwashed
I ask how you’re doing
where are you staying
do you have food
You smile vaguely
doesn’t reach your eyes
eyes that avoid mine
You say you’re good
got an okay place
got big plans
I ask if you’re eating
offer a lunch date
maybe some groceries
Ask about extracurriculars
simple code for
are you using
Tell you I’m worried
offer help as I
[secretly] scan for signs
You wear long sleeves
pants that once fit
taped-up shoes
Are you covering tracks?
red eyes lacking sleep?
are these gifts yours to give?
I watch, and I fear, and I
tell you.

Tell you I love you too.

We both know
I’m stupid.
Both know I question
your stories
Both know I want you
off
this train you’ve boarded
Helpless as I try
to show you
hope
To show you
love
To try to bring you back
from the broken track.

But I am not the engineer,

And I fear
you
are no longer

Driving this train.

-KJ Roe