Red Ink That Splatters

Pour your heart out on a page
Spill the secrets of your soul
Let the beast out of his cage
Momentary loss of all control
Write the things that matter most
And nobody seems to care
But make a nonsensical post
Everybody wants to share

Here’s to pickles and marshmallows and peanut butter dreams
To cats and to dogs and to fantastical memes
Why waste our time with the real things that matter?
Yellow paper, yellow paper, and red ink that splatters.

I look at the things on my table
I think of the things I have said
Is there anyone that is really able?
To express the thoughts in my head
Write about balloons losing air
Whistling as they fly
They twist and turn without a care
And then they fall from the sky

Here’s to pickles and marshmallows and peanut butter dreams
To cats and to dogs and to fantastical memes
Why waste our time with the real things that matter?
Yellow paper, yellow paper, and red ink that splatters.

My ink runs dry like blood on my arm
To pick at the scab only brings harm
If I scratch the itch, my soul will bleed
I spill the words that no one will read

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You Don’t Have To Worry About False Hope

I thought I could rise above the circumstance but now I clearly see

The cards have fallen so there is no chance for me to be free

I have learned my lesson and have accepted my fate

Diagnose this depression, and wonder if it’s too late

 

You don’t have to worry about false hope, when you have no hope at all

That’s one benefit of living life with your back against the wall

 

I’m not one to get excited, thinking things are looking up

I don’t ponder, I’ve decided, it is a half empty cup

I am at a somber peace, and don’t mean to bring you down

But should my happiness increase, should my sorrows drown

You don’t have to worry about false hope, when you have no hope at all

That’s one benefit of living life with your back against the wall

 

Maybe this is my way, this is how I can reduce the pain

If my sky is always gray I am not surprised by the rain

If I am numb to feeling, I will not feel the brokenness inside

The heart I am concealing wants to run away and hide

You don’t have to worry about false hope, when you have no hope at all

That’s one benefit of living life with your back against the wall

Isolate

Paint smeared on the wall

Paper laying on the floor

Try my best to do it all

Now I run and shut the door

Isolate, get away, lock away my life

A break, my mistakes, stab like a knife

A dirty mop in the corner

A handprint on the glass

Each day seems warmer

And pain seems to last

Isolate, get away, lock away the world

A break from mistakes, I can’t take anymore

Screaming of kids

That are never satisfied

All that have lived

They all have lied

Isolate, get away, gotta clear my head

There’s a break, I must take before I am dead

Hashtag R.I.P.

Gone but not forgotten, always in my heart

Gone much too soon, this is how it feels to fall apart

Same three letters a different name

All grief is different but still the same

Another post on a wall

another heartfelt tweet

I hope you know

How much you meant to me

Hashtag R I P

From the girl that turned you down

To the boys from of your hometown

From your old high school football team

The closest friends that knew your dreams

Another post on the wall

Another heartfelt tweet

Another ‘do you know how much you meant to me’

hashtag R.I.P.

Many people send prayers and a kind word

I know that you are in the presence of the Lord

We send hugs to your mom, and ask God to send

A peace that no one can comprehend

Another post to your wall,

Another heartfelt tweet

Another ‘do you know

what you meant to me?’

Hashtag R.I.P.

#RIP

Through The Valley

Through the valley I walk

My fear subsides as I talk

For my strength is in the Lord

So I boldly speak his word

Though the shadows are like death

And their darkness seems to spread

I will represent the light

Shield of faith at my side

I stand firm and I proclaim

Salvation found in Jesus’ name

Teacher Appreciation

Achievement is attained everyday.

A skilled surgeon saves a life. A scientist develops a cure.

A new invention changes the world. A world leader promotes peace.

A musician writes a melody to be remembered for years to come.

A novelist creates a story to captivate the imagination of generations.

A new business is launched, providing employment for many.

A tender soul takes action to help those who are hurting.

All of these people are fulfilling their purpose and making a difference.

All of these people once sat in a classroom like yours, and had a teacher like you.

You make a difference in the lives of those you teach.

And through them the world is made better.

Achievement is attained every day, because of Teachers like you.

Lights Out

Flashes of brilliance, explode and destroy

LIGHTS OUT

But listen to the whispers of a lost boy

Loud, deafening, dying glow of moonlight

See the sounds too low to hear, see the wizards disappear

LIGHTS OUT

An aura, a cloud, a halo…colors unknown

Little boy that was lost is now almost grown

Shadows dance across the midnight hall, off the wall, they droop and fall

Like the ashes that fall from the sky

Black as a smoker’s lung, doorbells rung

Light on the front porch sizzles and fades

LIGHTS OUT

I close my eyes

Goodbye

Waves

Ashes to ashes forever more

A wave that crashes onto the shore

We break across the sands of time

Spend every moment and every dime

But each wave will return to the sea

And as for you and me

We will return to the ground

Lest eternity can be found

Haunted Rails of The L&N

I watch the rising moon as the sky darkens

The breeze plays a tune and the trees harken

Moved by the sound, the branches all sway

Welcoming the end of another day

The night has come, the world turns black

Hear the hum, of a train of track

The whistle wails, like an antique hymn

Down the haunted rails of the L&N

A homeless man, sits sunken like the concrete

On the sidewalk

No train has been here in more than fifty years

Somehow I hear the whistle ringing in my ears

The night has come, the world turns black

Hear the hum, of a train of track

The whistle wails, like an antique hymn

Down the haunted rails of the L&N

They repurposed the station, ripped up the rails of steel

If its my imagination, why does it feel so real?

The night has come, the world turns black

Hear the hum, of a train of track

The whistle wails, like an antique hymn

Down the haunted rails of the L&N

A Christian in a Hindu Temple

Here is an informal report of my visit to a Hindu temple. I wrote this in 2012 as one of my first seminary assignments. I encourage all to read. I gained some insight.

Tonight I attended a Deepa Aradhana service at the Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple in Plano. I had never been to a non-Christian place of worship. I had no clue what to expect. I thought the temple would be larger, but it was small and makeshift. I learned upon entrance that the makeshift temple was temporary and they are in the process of raising funds for a permanent temple. I was a little surprised to see that they were having a raffle to raise money for the temple. The grand prize for the raffle is a new Lexus.
I saw several people walking in as I parked my car. When I walked through the entrance I saw a lady just inside the door talking on a cell phone. She was speaking in Hindu, I assume. She took a break from her conversation to greet me. I told her that I was there to visit. She asked me to take off my shoes and welcomed me into the worship service.
I placed my shoes in one of the cubby boxes that lined the wall. I left my socks on, thinking I was being reverent (as I would when entering someone’s home). When I walked into the worship area I noticed that no one else was wearing socks. I tried to be discreet as I took off my socks and hid them in my pockets. The room was large and reminded me of a cafeteria. It was clear that this was a temporary setting, awaiting a permanent temple.
Now I was there but didn’t know what to do. I saw several people sitting on mats on the floor. I joined them, sitting with legs crossed on a mat. After a few awkward moments I noticed a few chairs sitting to the side. The lady that I had talked to earlier came over to explain what the service was for. I didn’t understand everything she said, but took the opportunity to move to one of the chairs at the side of the room. I’m glad I moved, because the chair gave me an excellent view of the ceremony.
There were two priests performing the ceremonies. Every word was sung in what I presume was Hindu. The garb was traditional Indian robes. The altar was large and marble and slightly reminded me of baptistery because it was capable of holding water. At the back of the altar were several idols. I wanted to ask questions, but the worship service was in full swing. At the center of the line of deities was Ganesha. Ganesha is the elephant faced God for which the temple is named.
As I sat in my chair I saw a couple walk in and approach the altar. They left a container of something that look like sour cream on the altar. (I later discovered it was cream made of mangos and cashews). I then noticed four gallons of milk, two containers of honey, coconut water, bananas and apples spread about the altar.
By this point I was very curious. The priests were singing in Hindu, and many of the worshippers joined in. Everyone knew the song, even though it continued for an extended period of time. The milk was opened and poured into an offering cup. The cup was then poured on top of the idol of Ganesha. They repeated this until all of the milk was gone. The design of the altar created a cascade effect of flowing milk. A flame was placed near the deity and then raised near the crowd, each time the worshippers would react by saying a prayer toward deity.
After the milk, water was poured on the idol. Honey and coconut water was also poured onto the idol. Between each offering the flame was again raised, first to the deity and then to the crowd. The singing continued throughout the service. I wondered if the bananas would be fed to the deity.
A powder was placed on the deity. Then the powder was passed out to the worshippers. They also passed out a reddish-brown oily substance. I wondered if it would be offered to me since I was sitting at the side. A child offered the brown substance, and a little girl offered the ash. I observed what others were doing, and I likewise partook. I felt uneasy at first. Then I remembered that there is no other God. I was in no way betraying my loyalty to God, but being respectful to the people present.
Shortly after I placed the ash on my head, one of the priests sprinkled water in my direction. The small drops of water took my by surprise because I wasn’t looking, but was examining the ash residue on my finger.
A curtain was now drawn, blocking the deity from view of the audience. This is when the priests worked hard to clean Ganesha. My vantage point from the side of the room allowed me to see what was going on behind the drawn curtain. The priest worked diligently. They used a water hose and a wash cloth to clean the deity. They then began to clothe the deity and placed ornaments around him. The priests were doing this behind the curtain. It caused me to ponder a question; ‘how do we serve our God when no one is looking?’
When the curtain opened again, the priests began lighting incense. This was done is a very methodical way. As different parts were lit, different chants were recited. One elderly man in the audience seemed to know the words better than the priests, for I noticed several instances in which the elderly man was ahead of them. Then I noticed that one priest seemed to be taking direction from the other one. Perhaps he was training. I saw the younger priest look at the older priest for nonverbal cues as they recited various chants.
Kids were present, and at times were loud, much like at my church. Parents would quietly take the children to a room down the hall. Any time a new person arrived at the temple they would walk beside the altar, anoint their forehead with some of the oily substance and walk behind the altar out of sight, returning on the other side. I wondered if it was to signify the importance that reincarnation plays in Hinduism.
One of the priests sat down inside the altar, and lit several flames on one incense burner. It was round and produced a small ring of fire. It smelled like sandalwood. I sniffed my fingers and discovered the same smell. The ash that I placed on my head was sandalwood ash.
The service was coming to an end, but the fruit was still untouched. Flowers were meticulously placed on the deity as the song of prayer continued to be sung. The entire service was full of song. It was like one long continuous song. The flowers were at times put upon Ganesha one petal at a time. All of this time and attention were given to the deity. I was later told that this exact service is done twice each day.
An idol made by human hands receives this much attention, yet Christian churches meet once a week. The entire service is about giving, and literally pouring out to a false God, yet a very small portion of our services are about giving. I felt that God opened my eyes to the lack of conviction that has spread through our faith. We have the real thing, yet our reverence and devotion is weak.
At the same time I could see a sense of tireless routine to the service. I saw people desperate to serve the Sri Ganesha. I was saddened by the meaninglessness of it in light of truth in Jesus.
The service was ending, and everyone started lining up at the altar. I was about to leave when the lady I spoke to invited me to partake in the ‘holy’ water. She was very kind. I stood in line not knowing what to do. I watched each person receive ‘holy’ water from a small ladle into his hands. Each person was given a fruit. That’s what happened to the bananas.
When it was my turn, the younger priest handed me an apple and said “God bless you”. I took the apple in my right hand as the other priest poured water into my left hand. As others did, I drank a little drop of the water and wiped the rest of it on my head. The water tasted spicy. Perhaps it had a little pepper in it.
I dropped something that the priest gave me with the apple. Just now, I realize that it was a petal of a flower offered to Ganesha. I should have picked it up.
My experience was eye opening. I found it interesting that the priest said “God bless you” to me. He didn’t say “gods” and he didn’t say “Ganesha”. I’m certain it was obvious that I was not Hindu. Everyone I met was of Indian origin. I did not have the opportunity to talk in detail with the priests, but I might stop by sometime to get more insight into their practices. I wonder if much of what is done at the temple more cultural than religious.
As I write this I am eating an apple that may or may not have been offered to Ganesha. I’m reminded of Paul’s teaching on food sacrificed to an idol. I never thought that would apply to me. This apple is delicious. I give thanks to God for providing it as food. I thank God also for the valuable insights I gained tonight.