A Prompting

Something tells me I must write,

Or perhaps someone;

My muse? God?

A schizophrenic episode?

 

I sit in silence, voices scream in my head,

Too many voices, jumbled words.

Slowly evolving into dictation,

Deciphering my legion of messengers.

 

At first, nothing makes sense,

Meaning uncertain, devoid of form.

But soon a sentence takes shape,

And a story is born.

 

At Arm’s Length

At Arm's length

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I am afraid; but I’m too scared to admit it.

 I am afraid of you, and what you would think if you knew my fear.

 I am afraid of you; yet I don’t even know you. (But I know your type).

And it frightens me, so I keep you at arm’s length,

Just a face in the crowd, a statistic, my enemy.

 

I am afraid; so I mask my fear with loud condemnation.

It’s easier to preach against those I do not know.

 

I am afraid; so I camouflage my fear with humor.

Cutting sarcasm makes everyone laugh, right?

 

I am afraid; so I build beautiful walls around my neighborhood

With ornate gates that open only with secret passwords.

The secret? I am afraid.

 

I am afraid; so I project false courage and buy a gun,

That’s every American‘s right.

But I will only use it on those who wish me harm,

Those evil men whom I keep at arm’s length.

 

I am afraid. I am afraid of you;

Yet I don’t even know you. (But I know your type) 

And it frightens me…

 

    There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.”                                                                                              1 John 4:18

 

The Steps to Nowhere

Kiepe PlaceThere were steps on the back of my grandparents’ farmhouse that led to nowhere. Apparently, there was once a back porch that got enclosed in order to enlarge the kitchen for their growing family.

Even though those steps led to nowhere, I still remember them as an important and hallowed part of the family farm. Whenever our large family got together, say for the 4th of July holiday, those steps became the place where bushel baskets of fresh ears of corn were shucked and garden green beans were snapped by the pot-full. I have fond memories of playing hide and seek with my cousins in the back yard while the women prepared our feast perched on those back steps. Multitasking was the name of the game for them; shucking, snapping and visiting, all while keeping an eye on us kids.

While I never witnessed it, I’m pretty sure the back steps was also where a chicken or two made their ultimate contribution to dinner. Funny how those chickens scattered through the backyard during our games, but never once did they venture close to the back steps. I suppose they saw the steps as hallowed ground as well.

Every summer grandpa made a four-hour round trip trek to the Missouri Bootheel to buy a  pickup bed full of watermelons to bring back to friends and neighbors. After dinner, grandpa would use the back steps to bust open the dark green variegated rind, exposing the beautiful red flesh for the family to devour. Grandpa was a connoisseur of good melon and was known to cut them open only to eat the heart and leave the rest for us kids. We loved standing on the back steps and spitting the seeds into the yard.

The steps that went to nowhere are indeed hallowed in my mind. I believe they’re a beautiful metaphor for how our lives can be repurposed for something even greater than we had ever thought possible. If it seems your life is going nowhere, take heart; it just means you’re on the brink of a new purpose and adventure.

Was there a time in your life when you thought you had lost your purpose, only to discover a new purpose that was actually more meaningful than before?