Offensive

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Flinging
Barbs like
Throwing stars,
Flaming arrows of
Frustrations
Boiling over
Scalding the nearest
targets,
Watching in grim
satisfaction
Tinged with guilt,
Anger and past
resentments
Held up like a shield;
The will to draw
back the string
Fueled by voices
in our heads
Chanting ‘just desserts’
and ‘consequences’
And reassurances
of being ‘right’
As we watch sparks
Flare into flames
And flames turn into
A blazing inferno
of insults
and raised voices
And offended
Righteousness,
The hatred
burying pain
and fear,
The fists of our
False courage
pummeling blindly;

Then inferno
runs out of fuel
And blaze
collapses into
ashes
And smoky anger
dissipates,
Revealing crushed
dreams and
Broken hopes
And lost relationships-

And we think that
This
is how to
Love.

-KJ Roe

Confession

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

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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

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

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