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

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Creative

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You were put here for a purpose
to touch somebody’s life
and leave them smiling

thinking
wondering
expanding
you were given a calling
a dream of what you could do
that thing that fulfills your soul
it pulls

at your heartstrings
speaks in your ear
when you’re quiet – still –

Listen
you have a hidden wish
that longs to see the light
a seed that yearns
for warmth
the water of life
the food of faith

and risks taken
you keep it close
buried in the dust of

years
of denial and practicalities
and “musts” and “shoulds” and
worst of all

“can’ts”
but you can and you should
unearth the treasure
deep inside you
reveal the gems of
your hopes and talents and desires
uncover the beauty of

your dreams
rise up to the challenge of
being the gift
You are

Created
to be

-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

 

 

Breathe

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Breathe
Breathe in me
Your stillness, your quiet
Breathe in me
Your peace
Your hope
Your love so unbelievably deep

Breathe
Spill your laughter
Into my soul
So that it spills
Out of my lungs
Bubbling up in joy
And smiles
And moments of contentment

Breathe in me
The life you meant
For me to live
Whisper away
My fears and insecurities
Still the nervous
Echo of my heart
And the worries writhing in my veins

Breathe
Like the breeze in trees
Air currents on water
Breath that gives life
And words
And dreams
And peace

Breathe.

-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

Frankly, My Dear…

People say they don’t like drama. But they love the Scarlet O’Haras of the world.

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Olivia de Havilland as Melanie & Vivien Leigh as Scarlet in Gone With the Wind; image via charmofthecarolines.com

“You’re a very sweet person, but…”

It’s never a good thing when someone starts out a conversation like this. Like they’re trying to soften the blow of whatever it is they’re going to say next by building me up, by acknowledging one of my better traits. But what they’re really doing is discounting it. Saying, You’re a very sweet person, but it doesn’t matter. You’re a very sweet person, but it’s not good enough. Not exciting enough. What they are saying, in essence, is that the best of me is just not “enough” for them.

Really?

People say they don’t like drama. All the time. But they are attracted to it. They love the Scarlet O’Haras of the world. People like the one who draws attention in a crowd, who draws the eye and the ear. They like the one who argues and slams doors and expresses their opinions – loudly. They think that a person who doesn’t do these things is weak and uninteresting. Those ones – the Melanies – are too sweet, too quiet, too – boring.

But the Melanies of the world are tough.They have been hurt and suffered more losses than many people know. They don’t expect other people to carry these burdens for them. They carry their weight. Melanies hold their own cards in this game of life, and they work with whatever hand is dealt them. They keep their poker face, playing each round without throwing in or throwing down their cards. What good would it do? They’d just have to pick them back up again.

Melanies take care of themselves and their families and their homes. They are the ones who give quiet strength and direction to the Scarlets when the Scarlets can’t find their way. They bring presence, observation, and sometimes wisdom to a situation. They have depth and perspective born of experience and introspection. Where a Scarlet brings excitement, Melanies bring peace. Scarlet may be fire, but Melanie is the mesmerizing glow of the coals.

Given the option daily, I choose to be Melanie.

So I don’t drive the drama train. I don’t command the room’s attention. I have opinions, and I will share them, but I will not shout them or demand that others agree. I will not expect that everyone drop what they are doing and focus on me. Why? Because it’s not all about me. I choose to be considerate, to stay positive, and to take the path of kindness. I will be the coals, lambent with the heat of heart and soul.

People don’t have to like it. Heck, people don’t have to like me. If my being “sweet” doesn’t work for some people, that’s fine.

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Little Rebellions

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I won’t do it
Live hate and negativity
Telling the children
This is all your life can be
Acting like goodness
Is false – ain’t no positivity
I won’t shut doors
In the face of possibility
Wear blinders to
Kindness, love, and generosity
Close my eyes
To the joyous world it could be

I won’t drink it
The poison of animosity
Shrink my mind
Like little bottles of hostility
Spread the darkness
Of media hypocrisy
I’ll fight it
With everything I can be
Believing in
Faith, hope, and eternity
Giving freely
What little bit I can of me
I won’t give up
On a hill a light I’ll try to be
Live fully
This blessed life God gave to me

We hold out
Our hands and hearts to one in need
We lift up
Our fellow man from murky deep
Fight despair
Allow a little dignity
With open minds
Practice sensitivity
Bring happiness
And grace and love and charity
So much more
Than in our most amazing dreams
When we know
This human race is family
Then we spark
The flame of peace and harmony

-KJ Roe