Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Cycle of Repeat


He was inconsolable. The blood of his bride ran over his ankle, to his foot and down to his toes, then into the flow of rain water that hurried without reason to the sewer. This wasn't what he had pictured for his life or the life of the woman who had saved him from the opiates.

He had met her here. Not in this exact place, but a pathway to the sewer all the same. He was lying in the middle of the road beneath the bridge. He was flying so high that he couldn't tell yet if he were on the ground or souring into his dreams as a child. He had bought it from this regular junkie type...prancing around and nervous. He unloaded the drug into his blood stream and let himself go somewhere that wasn't here.

She was under the bridge trying to retrieve her little brother, who had gone missing 7 months prior. Her brother was an addict and she only knew to look under the bridge. She didn't find whom she was looking for. She was raped and beaten because this is what awful humanity does. She was on her way out when she saw him.

He was shouting. He wasn't saying any words that could be understood. She didn't understand what he wanted, but she understood desperation when she heard it. She reached down to him writhing on the ground and put her bloody hand on his head.

He looked up and saw an angel. He had never believed in God before, but for this moment in time, he knew that she was a very slight, battered portrait of Him. She pushed his hair back from his face and tried to calm him down. She told him things that made him believe that the world was not over.

A week later, they met again at a little church for a twelve step drug program. He was there because of the kindness she had shown him and she was there because of the desire to know her brother. In their minds, they were both just breathing.

They talked all night long, moving from one closing diner to another. I think they both got what they had searched for from each other. He got a glimpse of something much better than him, and she got a glance at what it means to be human and falling.

They would meet many times for the next several years. They married on Christmas Day. She wore a big and beautiful white dress with her brothers pajama Batman shirt underneath. He wore the suit his father wore to his mother's funeral. Into their marriage, they both carried their own weight...and the weight of everyone they had loved and lost.

Despite the barriers against them, they flourished together. He stopped using and she let herself let go of her brother. The were happy together for once in an eternity.

...

The telephone rang. It was her grandfather. He had seen her brother under the bridge washing windows. She had to go. He begged her to stop and wait for his friends to arrive and help. She refused. She just could not wait a moment longer to see his face. She ran and ran.

He arrived under the bridge in his car just in time. She had reached her brother and looked deeply into his eyes. She expected him to know her. They had been through hell together, but he only knew what lied beyond her face, hidden deeply in the sunset. He only knew how to survive.

He watched her beg for her brother to remember him, but her brother wasn't her brother anymore. She threw her brother her purse and her phone. She cried and begged him to come home, but instead he rushed to her and cut her throat.

Her husband screamed and lurched toward his bride that bled all over the ground that he used to sleep on. He screamed like no man has ever screamed and beat her brother to death with his broken fists. The police would say  that he kept punching until the blood mixed with the pavement and finally with his own blood.

He was committed to a psychiatric facility and deemed insane. He tried and tried to convince them that he was sane and deserved the electric chair but due to his circumstances, he was assigned to live the rest of his years in dark halls amongst the rattling of chains and screams.

He spent the next two hundred years rocking back and forth, trying to convince himself that he was insane. He knew different. He knew who he was murdering that night.

He was told in a dream that as soon as he could realize he was forgiven, he could walk through those doors and see his wife again. Alive. Waiting for him. In Heaven.

But he couldn't. He knew why he had killed that man. He knew that he was the same as him. He would have done it too then. He refused forgiveness and remains, to this day, in a state of repeating history. He is plagued to repeat the cycle of addiction, redemption, and revenge over and over until he can accept forgiveness.

Happy Halloween.

Photo credit to Moodyblue 





Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Own Chains


I want to be missed by someone, but no one that is too close to me. The thought of my son missing me makes me too sad to comprehend. I want people that I have spoken to only a few times to miss me. I think that means that I want people outside of my own circle to see the value in me. I know those close to me see my value to them, that's why they stay around. I want to know that I loved people that I didn't know had noticed.

I try to be kind to everyone. Obviously if you know me, you know I fail more than succeed. I do try though. I want to be someone different than what the average suggests. Again, I fail.

Lately I struggle. I am not a very good picture of who Jesus is right now. I'm not breaking apart for the right reasons. I heard a song a few hours ago that reminded me how much I wept for those that hurt and how much of myself I was willing to give. The song made me want to weep again, but the sentiment came face to face with the same anger that has kept most sincerity and innocence out of my actions for the last several years.

When I gave my life over to God, it wasn't because of some Bible story or some deep seeded belief in someone out there. I came to know God through laying my head on cold steel train tracks and challenging anything out there to stop me from destruction. Nothing about meeting God was pretty for me. I found God in the nastiest place I could find Him...in desperation. I went forward with a head full of steam and hurt a lot of people along the way trying to "save" them. I pushed them further away. I judged without knowing I had sat in judgement.

I worked harder than I had at anything. I opened the telephone book and slammed my finger to a name and sent them a letter, letting them know that if God could love me, He could love anyone. I still believe this more than anything else. If you saw me during this time, you did so looking at the Bible in my hand. When I met my wife, she noticed immediately the Bible in the back seat.

My best friend, who had adopted me as a brother died. It wasn't pretty. You can figure the rest out.

Since then, the anger. I had other Christians profoundly hurt me before, some whom I was trying to serve. This was different. I didn't feel betrayed by an imperfect person, but a perfect God.

How does one get mad at perfect God? I can't answer this. How does one so obviously blessed with beautiful people be so angry? I still have no answer.

I want to be the guy that burns with passion for God and for rescuing those that were like me, but I cannot seem to get this churning in my stomach to allow me to relax and let go. I cannot stop feeling like a fool who gave his life savings and ended up with hands full of sand. These feelings pass after a while when my logic and faith object, but they remain buried.

Pray for me. I've since now been too proud to ask.






Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Reset (A Short Story)


He held the button between his index finger and his thumb, rubbing his thumb across the surface of the crystal face. The button is dangling from a chain that hangs around his neck, a reminder that nothing is final anymore. Nothing has been final since his father gave him the necklace and explained the meaning of his life to him. His dad said, "Your purpose is to fix everything." That was a tall task. He delivered pizza at the time. Only God knows how many times his dad pressed that button. What he did know was that his father was tired now and something was left blank on his face. He handed him the button and fell asleep.

He feels something wet dripping down his head. His legs are stuck and he can't feel anything below his chest, which hurts every time he tries to breath at all. He is coughing up a lot of fluid and struggling to breathe between the expulsions of red vicious blood onto the steering wheel. He holds the button between his fingers and presses it again. And he dies.

Yet his eyes open in the same place he was when his father gave him the button, standing over the body of his dying father again. He smiles at his father and wipes the hair from his dad's brow; something he has always done when his father was drunk or dying. He let his father go again and went back into living. He went home to his pretty wife and cute kids and enjoyed their lives together all over again. Again, he got to see his son hit his first home run and his daughter skate as if the coliseum wasn't watching and win gold. He took his wife to dinner every night and gave her the very best of him. He corrected every mistake he had ever made in their marriage and continued to find more mistakes. He was nicer to people at work and to people serving him at restaurants and markets. He worked less hours and spent more time with his family everyday. He would hold on to his kids and wife as if everyday would be the last.

Then he would find himself pinned between a car and a guardrail. He'd find himself shot in some freak hunting accident. He'd find himself struck by lightning and paralyzed, just strong enough to fight his hand to his necklace and press that button. Each time, he did things differently. Each time he lived life more generously and less selfishly. He made adjustments and prayed that God would allow him to live this time. If he could just be good enough to be useful for God to let him live. He worked so hard to keep from dying. His biggest desire was to die without regrets...something his father had told him as a child.

He was bleeding out after a machinery accident when he pushed the button again. The next time he was running to keep his cholesterol down and slipped and hit his head on the concrete. The next, he just began dying in his sleep and was dreaming his passing when he pressed the button instinctively.

Reset.
Reset.
Reset.

It became exhausting trying to figure out a way not to die. Every turn was death waiting. The begging and pleading wasn't working. He wasn't going to be good enough to live. Whatever he had done was going to be a permanent penance for his crimes.

He sat in the subway when he realized this. He sat in understanding and acceptance. He couldn't be perfect. His father couldn't be perfect. He had been holding on so long that his face was blank just as his father's was. He had seen his kids grow up so many times. He had loved his wife for God knows how many decades. Right now, he might as well be sitting on the ocean floor. He was so far from real humanity. In the subway, he realized he couldn't do it anymore. He just couldn't give his family another liar. To rewind is to lie. To edit anything is to lie. He wanted them to be at rest.

He paid the ticket and stepped onto the subway car and road the ride. As the squealing of the brakes started, he already knew to close his eyes. Your last moments are best felt looking at your life, not the environment around you. He felt his body release from his seat and soar into whatever was in front of him. He felt things crack and break and his head smash against something.

The noise died down and then silence reigned. He was in whatever existence we was going to be in. He lifted his thumb to the button instinctively and thought of his daughters laugh and his son holding his hand when he was scared. His son hated storms and his little girl loved to laugh. He thought of them and pressed his thumbs next to the button, but couldn't press it. He had to let them live without him. He had to go to where he belonged and wait for them. His last thought was of his beautiful wife and the way she would lay her head on his shoulder. He thought to himself, "I was the luckiest man alive." He dropped his hand to his side and let them all go.




Sing. Migrate.
Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tapestry ( A Short Story)


A photograph of a piano. An old silver microphone. A small bottle of industry grade hand soap in a greasy sandwich bag. A step ladder. A grey sweater. A dusty picture frame with a man in a kilt and a woman in a wedding dress. A doll in adult's clothing. A small figurine in his underwear. A ceramic Gnome.

If you were to knit these together, a creative person could build a life out of them. A really creative person could build a family from them.

These are the items catalogued from section 5 in precinct 17, located in the heart of the Gustaphson district. Ellis Gustaphson discovered this district in 2163 under the sponsorship of the king to excavate unknown territories inhabited by radicals. It was a huge risk. A risk the king believed to be profitable to learn more about the human habit. This was the site that he believed to be the location of the initial bombings. Gustaphson dug through the roots and cut down trees. He dug until he touched something solid. His crew dropped to their knees to gently uncover the finding...a half dissolved and faded Gnome. Gustaphson was well educated in the field of human culture. He knew this discovery meant that humans had been here.

Gustaphson kept digging. He dug all night and kept finding small objects scattered all around the excavation site. A microphone. I photograph of a piano. A bottle of hand soap.

In 30 sundowns, Gustaphson had compiled 9 artifacts from section 5. The objects too random to figure out. Too different to piece together into a solid story or experiment. Nothing to report as significant. The plug was pulled and the excavation ended by the king's orders.

Gustaphson retired 140 years later, with his greatest discovery ultimately leading to nothing. Other excavators had found gold and silver. Some had found skulls and almost perfectly preserved food items. Gustaphson learned nothing from what he found, but he never stopped wondering. He had these items placed in his quarters on the ship, pinned to his walls. At night, he tried to imagine the couple on the wall in the picture frame. He understood this was a wedding of some sort, but just couldn't reconcile the rest of the story. When a bullet was found next to a gun, you could easily understand it's history. This was different. This was connected, but not in a way anyone understood. Gustaphson had two weeks left of his life to figure it out. In two weeks and one day, he would be gone. The king would press the button everyday and those that turned 250 would drop where they stand.

Gustaphson called in some favors and blackmailed some business bosses and secured enough money to re-excavate district 10, later called the Gustaphson district, particularly section 5. Gustaphson dug deeper and faster. He worked all night and retrieved nothing. He moved the dig further west, then further east until he started hitting solid materials.

A box containing paper materials. A pocketknife. A small canvas book with a painting on the cover. Inside were human letters, which no one had discovered the meaning to. A swing-set. A flat, black screen. Finally, a photo of 4 humans, two small sitting on a sofa. The larger ones, holding the smaller ones so tight their knuckles were white.

This was it! This was the the final piece to the puzzle Gustaphson had worked for so long to solve. All of the sudden, he realized that the pieces fit together to paint a picture of a group of people that cared about each other and lived their lives together. Each person maybe had their own interests, but shared them with each other? Maybe some of the humans didn't fire any bullets? Maybe some just lived together in peace.

This was a true discovery. Gustaphson knew this would be the change to the game. What they had always assumed was that humans hated humans and naturally made humans extinct. This was the first proof that some humans may have lived together and didn't hate the other.

He closed his eyes and brought up the communication screen. Nothing. No answer. He ran to the nearest shuttle and jumped on, begging the pilot to go faster. He got to the compound with the downloaded memories and leaped off the shuttle to the pavement and into the make-shift command center. He ran as hard as he has ever run. He got so far as into the command center door, shouting "WAIT!"

And he fell silent to the ground.

Everyone looked to his dead body, realizing the king's button and kept doing their jobs. A cadet named Rael took notice of him lying on the ground. She thought it strange that he would shout such a thing. She reached into him. She put her hands into his head as if they were both just data and immediately felt the pain of loss. This was an unknown experience; this feeling of losing something that was a part of your body...something that you would never imagine living without. For the first time in her history, Rael cried. No one had ever seen anyone cry before. She didn't know how or why, but her chest tightened and she could not hold what was inside of her in. She snatched her hand away from Gustaphson's brain and doubled over as everyone watched.

This was what she had always hoped the humans had; humanity, something different from loneliness. She had always wondered about humanity. She had always wanted to know why they seemed bent on killing each other. She considered them evil. She always wanted to know what could drive a person to kill or to die.

For the very first time in her life, Rael felt love...and hurt.






Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, September 8, 2014

She


Hey. You're sleeping on the couch beside me. You were so tired tonight. You were so tired that I didn't have the chance to tell you what you have done for me.

When you are married for over decade, you sometimes forget momentarily what your partner actually is to you.

As you lay there sleeping, I can't help but to remember some things. I couldn't keep them out if I tried. So here is a short list of the things you have done to change who I was to who I am becoming.

You swallowed my sorrow. In my grief for Will, our marriage went through the worst strain it could endure. I dropped my guts onto the floor and you picked them up and hid them from our kids to protect me and them from trauma.

I wanted to live in anger. I wanted to hate, but the softness about you kept my edges dull and my senses confused. You simply are too beautiful to hate the God that gave you to me.

You never let me go unchecked. You were tenacious in keeping me from destruction. I had always been a strong person with strong convictions. The moment you saw my convictions were damaged, you acted and endured my anger to keep me safe. I did things harmful to us in grief and it hurt you. You forgave me. Forgiveness is the most valuable virtue.

You made Christmas mean something other than death to me. To some, this would be trivial, but you knew what Christmas has always meant to me. You would not allow me to destruct what is the single most beautiful day of the year.

I could list things you have done all night, but I think they can be summed up by saying that you became my heart. When mine broke, your's did. You didn't weep for me or mourn for me or feel bad for me. You, Laura, my beautiful wife, wept with me and would not let me give up. You gave me everything. You continue to give me everything. My heart hasn't broken before. You let me fall apart and held me close to you, knowing things would never be the same. They won't, but I love you more now than I ever will.

No one has ever loved me so much.


Sing.
Migrate.





Thanks for reading...Z

My Wife

Some day soon, I'm gonna tell you what my wife means to me, but right now I don't have the right words.





Sing.
Migrate.



 Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Consequences of Only Seeing Half


Every song and poem written in heartbreak was written in a 50% viewpoint. There is always more to the story than the author's viewpoint, but many of the others don't have a voice.

The problem is that many of the things we hear are so exciting because they match what we already believe, so they are the ones that we choose to believe.

But sometimes our belief is just a product of a productive lie.

A crowd has always drawn a crowd. Anytime there is a fight, many flock together to take sides. Not many stop to really think about the possibility that both sides are wrong or even right. We sometimes would rather expend our energy bashing the other than figuring the problem out. In that instance, we become the problem in itself.

A people that cannot think beyond their anger is people bent on blood.







What is Christianity?

Is it a political view? Does being a Christian grant us guns, political freedom, or prosperity? Is it a long standing religious entity that powers millions of people? Is it an excuse to forget those that destitute by their own making?

I think Christianity is about being Jesus himself. Jesus made a habit out of pissing religious people off. He did the things that made already self-righteous people condemn and eventually kill him.

My question is: How did Jesus come off to those that were not religious?

He meets a thief tax collector in a tree and invited him to dinner. He walks into the bar with the people that are drinking and having a good time and befriends them. He turns water into wine as his first miracle. People then were excited to finally see a Savior they could get behind...a not judgmental, loving, and compassionate Savior.

If you ask yourself to take a realistic view of what the world needs right now, I think you will find a similar state of universe. People need love. That is a constant for all people and a deficit in humanity. Jesus offered loved and no condemnation. To be a Christian means the same.

I was raised in a religion that drove me far from Jesus. A religion that rejected imperfections and hurting people and justified these actions with self-righteousness. I am so happy to say that my family has for the most part freed themselves from this thinking. But the fact still remains...we are a church in need of saving. We are destitute. It isn't the world who God judges now, it's the church.

But I won't apologize for the Church. The Church has historically kept those in peril above water. Soup kitchens, shelters, and crisis pregnancy centers have enriched the world of the love of God. The problem is the stagnant majority. The people that sit in the seats and allow suffering as long as they don't have to act.

I constantly find myself in this category.


This is my shame. I'm going to try to do better.

What if we just put out our hands to catch those that are falling without scorn? I think maybe they would finally see the love that God has for us in our hands.



Sing.
Migrate.


Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Don't Forget That I Love You


The carpet was teal and striped with every ugly color the mind could imagine. He looked down between his knees and folded hands to his feet and couldn't bring his eyes back up. He thought of everything they had been through. He thought of the tears and the laughter. He thought of the times he would have never made it through without her. He thought of their wedding in the sun. Their family and friends all gathered and celebrated. He could not wait to be her husband. He thought of their children that shared both of their traits equally, but both sharing their sensitivity and sincerity. He always wanted a home. He had one finally.

But now, it seems lost. He made a mistake and everything is going away into the dark. He made a series of mistakes. He made a habit out of making mistakes. This one was the one mistake.

He wasn't a stranger to failure to say the least. He had been to jail more times than he had voted for a president. He had lost his family and most of his friends. He was at the bottom when he was released from jail and found himself wanting to go back or just go away somewhere that people couldn't be hurt by him anymore.

Then she showed up, this beautiful girl that tended the bar he frequented. He didn't recognize her, so he introduced himself. She was quiet, but confident. He left his number on the bar napkin and walked out, ready to end everything this night. He thought to himself, "What if she calls?" It really didn't matter. He was done being lonely.

He walked to the bridge and stood on the ledge. He had decided not to hurt anyone else for his benefit of going back to jail. This time, he would only hurt himself...for milliseconds. He felt the wind on his face as he stood there alone in the night sky. The snow was falling and he couldn't help but put out his tongue one last time. He couldn't find a tear in him left, so he let go of the suspension cable and felt the wind on his face as he fell to the black water. He closed his eyes, half in fear, and half in solitude and heard the phone ring. Then nothing was heard.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. His eyes opened. The lights were blurry and no one was there, but he knew he was alive. Everything began hurting a half an hour later. It didn't matter...the pain. He made it through the darkness. He was supposed to die, but right now, as he lays here, he doesn't want to be dead. In fact, he very much wants to be alive.

He recovers and leaves the hospital. He has one job. He has to find out who called him. His phone was broken. He believed the call was a sign from God. He search high and low. He called his mother, who hated him. He called his father, who hated him before he was even born. He called his friends. He called his enemies. Nothing.

He left his house distraught that night, resigning himself to jump from an even higher bridge. He stopped in to the bar to get drunk when he saw her again. He sat down and looked at her. She was so beautiful that it made his hands shake. He could live a life with her. She looked back and smiled. She walked over to him. "I tried to call you."

Obviously, he didn't tell her why he didn't answer for almost a year later, but he had finally found happiness. He had love...finally. The kid who had nothing had someone so wonderful he couldn't even look at her without trembling.

They made a home.


***



But then he made the mistake of getting drunk for ten years.

He couldn't remember much except that she was all he had ever had, but the things he never had or lost were too much for him to bear.

She left in the middle of the night without malice. She left with understanding, but she had to leave.

As he looked at that carpet, he realized that he wanted to die again. For the first time in ages, he didn't want to be alive. Maybe he never did, but what he had was something he had never deserved.

He got up and raced to their home...the place where their children's height's are marked into the wall at various stages of growth. The place he would dance with her in the living room on Saturday nights when the kids were sleeping. The place where the first person who had ever loved him wiped his eyes of his tears when his best friend died.

She was crying when he opened the door. He was sober. He wasn't going to drink again. He wasn't going to make these mistakes anymore, because these mistakes put him right back onto the bridge. He wanted her. He wanted his family. He wanted all of the things that he never deserved. He expected the worst from her..for no reason.

She smiled back at him and embraced him. "Welcome home. Don't forget that I love you."


Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Blog About Judging For Yourselves.


Whatever makes a good story. That us American media. The intent is to stir up hatred and tension between races of people so the network can report the "news" to the masses, who do not regularly fact check what they hear.

The predominate story right now of an unarmed kid who got shot by the police to death. The story in the media is about racism and hatred for black teenagers. The police officers are automatically being demonized. Without any facts. On the other side, the media is posting thug-like pics from the kids Facebook to get a contrary response.

The problem is, there aren't any facts at all. There is only the police side of the story and nothing else.

But who cares about that stuff? Who cares if the kid was an idiot or the cops corrupt? The problem is that another person has died. It doesn't matter what your opinion is on the story, a kid died. He's not coming back. This was his last ride on this earth.

The media wants to exploit him. The world wants the cop's head on a platter. The police want the rioting to stop and have taken excessive force to stop it. All the while, the media is hoping for more bloodshed to they can lure you in with their lies.

Please be careful America. I don't know the full story and neither do you. But the fact remains that people are dying and racism is very real. The television wants you to hate. They want you to jump to conclusions. They want you to tine in for their next terrible attempt at journalism. My advice is to look it up and be very wary to judge anyone. I believe there is wisdom in that.



Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Apathy


Things and people cycle in an out of your life at different times for different reasons. You need some people for a time or they need you and for some reason, both of you are there at just the right time to lift the other out of the mud. Sadly, most people go away from you. Most people, without malice take a different path and your time with them is all but forgotten. You live hard and work to keep yourself and your family afloat and forget what that person was to you. Then out of no where, a song comes on or you pass their neighborhood and a crushing feeling in your chest halts your breathing. All of the sudden you miss this person as if they had always been at your side and suddenly died. Sometimes, of course the person never left and was always at your side, then they die. In either case, you swiftly remember how much you took that time for granted.

The world is so awful right now. Maybe it always has been, but technology is empowered to bring calamity into our living rooms. There is so much suffering in the world and it's easy to see a picture of a screaming father holding his dead daughter in his arms with her face removed and charred, and simply grit your teeth and move on. We see so evil much that we forget. I forget that that could be me screaming and holding my daughter as a photographer smells a Time Magazine cover in the making. People are so hardened.

If we could just learn empathy, we could be a great society. We would act when needed and reach out to the hurting and stop judging people. We would remember what people have meant to us and realize that person means the same to someone else. We could finally feel our feelings again.

I really strive to conquer this apathy inside me.


Sing.
Migrate.






Thanks for reading...Z