Sunday, February 22, 2015

the glimmer of hope

Recently, while working in the emergency department, I was witness to a small family group as their loved one was slipping away. I could hear their conversations with each other and with the ER staff. I wasn't eavesdropping, but they were only a few feet from where I was on a ladder. I remember some of the conversation parts, but the words were less important that what was hanging on each one of them. It was obvious to the staff and to each in this family's group that these were their loved ones final minutes.

Yet, in spite of their resignation to the fact, there remain the smallest glimmer of hope. This hope, however slight, became a dam, holding back the flood. I know this because I saw the hope and I saw the eventual flood. It appeared that when hope was extinguished the flood of grief rushed over them. There was no gradual resignation; no slow acceptance; no release by degrees. There was hope; then, there was grief. There were words laced with a flavor of unreasonable expectation; then, there were cries of anguish. It made me think of that hope.

I know nothing of the person in the room. I never saw them. I know nothing of the small family gathered there. I did not linger with my looks. I did not want to intrude upon their hope nor did I want to invade their grief. 

I saw enough and heard enough to feel their hope and to feel their grief. 
Just that slightest fragment of hope was enough to withstand the destructive force of loss. 

I am thankful for my hope. Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, said it was the 'anchor' of the soul. 

Hope is the oasis to my spirit when I travel in dry and parching places. 
It is the rest to my mind when circumstances and events seek to steal my strength. 
It is the dam that keeps the flood waters of despair at bay. 
It is the glimmer in the darkness. 
It is the path by which we traverse the valleys. 
It is the anchor, keeping me from being swept away. 
It is my lifeline when I climb the nearly sheer face of the mountain. 

At times it is a bright beacon held aloft to light our way. 
At other times, it is just the flickering of life remaining in the embers. 
but even its weakest flickering chases away the darkness. 
It is my security when I have no reason to believe. 

It carries and uses words, though words cannot define it. 
I can show you what it does, but I cannot tell you what it is. 
I can show you where it is, but I cannot tell you what it is. 
I can show you the countless works of those that lean on it, but I cannot tell you what is it. 
I can show you what it looks like in the face of a survivor, but I cannot tell you what it is. 
I can show you the devastation that follows when it is lost, but still, I cannot tell you what it is. 
I can point you to the source, but I cannot tell you what it is. 

It is everywhere I look and yet it is undefinable. 

Regardless of the source of your hope, it is still the anchor. Regardless of your faith or belief, that hope is still your anchor. 


Friday, February 13, 2015

Life allows U-turns



One of the best things about life is the ability to change it. Your day may not start in the morning as mine does, but we will use 'morning' as a analogy for a starting point. Every morning (see how we did that) when you start your day, you have to option to continue on the path you finished on the night before, or go in a completely new and different direction. 
We hear it all the time. Today is the day I start doing this or stop doing that. That is a U-turn in life. It doesn't automatically remove any consequences from the old path, but it does stop them from continuing to compile. 
Daily, we hear of someone starting 'their diet,' or quitting smoking, or drinking, or starting a new job. Those are the U-turns that life allows. 
We read about stars recreating or rebranding themselves to rejuvenate a dwindling career. We can do the same. See the person you want to be and turn in that direction. 

Life allows U-turns!!

Monday, February 09, 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Failing

failing

I have watched you
I witnessed when you fell
I was close enough to see 
the struggle and the load
that took you down

some of it was just life
you know, the things we all have
the daily struggle
the anguish of life
the heartbreak of loss
those things we all must carry
and they are best carried alone

these are a few of the things 
someone can help you with
but you must still learn
to carry them alone
because, they will come at times
when there is no one

then, there was the weight of decisions
the aftermath of choices
the chains and baggage of living
that is different for everyone
that which is light in my life
may be devastating in yours

so, I watch your struggle
with my own internal torment
of when, where, and how to step in
too soon, and you don't learn
and I become your enabler
too late, and the damage may be irreversible
the sickness, incurable

I see you fall
I fight the urge to run
I fight the overwhelming internal need
to rush to your side
put you on my shoulders
lift you above the troubles
show you the warming sunlight 
of a bright future

I hear the terrible sounds
you hitting the ground
the rush of breath
forced out as you land
the breaking
as you try to catch yourself

I listen
for the next sounds
the sounds of movement
the sounds of struggle
the sounds of the fight inside you 
the sounds of determined breath
the sounds of raising

it is not the falling that scares me most
it is not the sounds of struggle I fear
it is not the scrapes and cuts
it is not the bruises
these I dislike, this is true
but they do not break my heart (much)

the thing I fear the most
that which would surely break my heart
would be the sounds of stillness
the lack of the sounds of a struggle
the awful sounds of resignation
the terrible sounds of falling becoming failing

over the years I have lost count
of the times I have seen you fall
even when you threatened to quit
you did so with the sounds of the struggle
still in your voice
I heard the fall
I didn't hear the fail

you have stood
you have shook yourself
you have, at times, limped back home
you have done what you must
to prevent a fall from becoming a fail

perhaps we haven't said it often enough
while we have not always been delighted 
with the choices and decisions you have made
we have always been proud of the person you are
proud that you still struggle
proud that your falls have not become your fails

falling is a given
failing is a choice

Ron Simpson, Jr.
January 31, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

trying a new type of portrait .. I liked the original photo .. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Intent

Everything the ocean is, it is at all times .. 
Everything the ocean possess, it possesses at all times ..
The fury of the ocean; the great or raging waves; are caused by the forces of the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun and driven by the wind .. The storms raging .. spurred on by the wind and wave ..
They do not make the ocean more than it is .. They just change the way it affects us ..
The same is true about words. You can fill an ocean with the words that have been written and spoken. Everything a word is, it is at all times. Everything a word possesses, it possesses at all times. The fury of a word; the great or raging words; are altered by intent. Intent doesn't make the word more than it is. It just changes the way it affects us. 
The question in my mind is whether the gravitational pull of the moon working in concert with the ocean or is it working conversely?
In the same light, does your intent work in concert with your words, or does it work conversely?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Broken


Societally,
we feel the need 
to assess blame
for whatever happens

We seek the weakness
which must be the reason 
for nothing breaks
unless something is weak

This is a misnomer
It takes a great quality of strength 
to allow oneself to be weak
and continue, even broken

When we are born
we come into this world
weak and nearly defenseless
without even knowing 
we come, needing someone

As we grow
we rely on the strength
and independence
of our parents
as we watch them raise us

They teach us
necessarily so
to be independent
to 'stand on our own two feet'

We learn, by rote
when something is broken
there are two things to choose
fix it or throw it away

As a parent looking back
I see now, the error of my teaching
if I taught my children
that weakness is powerless
and that broken is useless

As the sum of humanity
we are all weak sometimes
and often brokenness
creeps into our lives

Just as when we were born,
by the greatness of design
Life, fate, or God
(call it whichever you choose)
has placed those with strength
into our lives

In these times of weakness
whether short or long
they are there for us
to utilize their strength

In times of brokenness
again, whether short or long
they are there for us
to hold us together

We all need someone at times
someone to hold us up
someone to hold us together
someone to get us through those times

Brokenness is not weakness
the strength required
just to continue in these times
is far greater than ever required before

Our character
the sum of our experiences
with the addition of our actions
will never be defined by our brokenness

We are who we are
when we are weakest
when we are most broken
when that strength
that we have forgotten 
comes shining through

The strength
to take another person’s hand
to lean on the shoulder of a friend
to allow love to bind our brokenness

It is your great strength
that will allow you to be weak
that will allow you to be broken
and will carry you through
with help, a little or a lot

Strong things break
inflexible things shatter
strength is perfected
in times of weakness

If you must be weak
be strong through it
if you must be broken
be flexible enough to lean

Brokenness
has never been
about weakness

Broken
Strong

Ron Simpson, Jr.
January 18, 2015