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

Kindred

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Photo by http://keywordsuggest.org/236284-laugh.html

There is a language
that draws us all in
A cadence
that builds every bridge
Moments in time
held in crystal clarity
As the joy bubbles
up from within
And breaks out
in a wild dance
Of liberated laughter
And open-mouthed grins
And the music
A symphony of shining eyes.

-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

Listen to the Music

When we choose to look beyond the clouds of misinformation and slay the demons of prejudice and animosity, we can move towards a world of life rather than destruction.

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Crazy, but that’s how it goes
Millions of people, living as foes
(Crazy Train, Ozzy Osborne)

Song lyrics speak what so many of us think and feel. They question why we have so much violence, why, month after month, war after war is waged on the only planet we have to call home. It’s no secret that the majority of people are against war: thousands killed, hundreds of thousands homeless or disabled or starving, homes destroyed, water sources irreparably damaged…When we think of our loved ones, none of us desires these things to happen to them.

Nations droppin’ bombs
Chemical gasses fillin’ lungs of little ones
(Where is the Love, The Black Eyed Peas)

The mystery is in how we continue to allow and even cheer on the indiscriminate destruction of various peoples around the world. On the micro level, we profess ourselves to be kind and virtuous and to only act in self-defense. We express shock and outrage at those who attack innocents, and disbelief when people carry on revenge in Hatfield-and-McCoy fashion.

I got my finger on the trigger
But I don’t know who to trust.
(Devils & Dust, Bruce Springsteen)

On the macro level, however, that is exactly what we, the human race, or more specifically, the first- and second-world nations, continue to do. Except that it’s the Hatfields and McCoys and whoever Continue reading “Listen to the Music”

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