Showing posts with label Familias. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Familias. Show all posts

Saturday, March 13, 2021




I’m working on it

Nibbles of taste buds at a time

don’t seem to be as effective

as jawbones lopping off lengua

and knitting it back together

with toothpicks

Bite your tongue, they say.

I have, many times. 

See this stitch?

And this one, ad infinitum?

If you pick these sutures apart

I bleed, too.

And so would she.

That’s why I wear the beads of her hands

of gold and white,

elasticated and easy to snap,

suffocating my skin every day.

We actually feel pain, you know.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020


Dear Katie,

I’m listening now

Twenty two years of vibrations 

And six hundred thirty six miles of string unwound

Now your tin can is touching my ear

I hear that you don’t trust God to change you

You’re not alone

Life feels lonely and powerless

When everything hangs on obsessions of ideas

I heard what you said about fear and depression

But phobias are products of actual organic illness 

You also were not the only person depressed in that household

Everyone was depressed along with you

I heard what you said about needing change and happiness

You’re much stronger than you think

Not many are resilient enough 

To carry such burdens as yours for forty years

I heard that you had a tumor

It’s shocking to learn about that now

Having never heard about it before

Is anyone surprised that David cared less?

I heard your foot was in bad shape

Another summer of fun ruined because of it

Even though you’d like to blame others

The kids were not safe or happy around you, so get over it

I heard that you’re moving to Cedarburg

That sounds like a lot of work to prepare for

Packing last minute sounds emotionally draining

Are you sure you’ll be pleased with any house they can afford?

I heard you really want to choose the house or see it ahead of time

But what if no one can read your mind or satisfy your expectations?

What if everyone is exhausted by your manic depression?

Wouldn’t that be painfully ironic, if true?

I heard you wanted to go home to your mom

That’s another seriously depressing thought

Things were clearly so bad that you just couldn’t stop entertaining

More depressing, imaginary desires

Then there was Jonathan

Did you know he was a drug addict then?

Did you care that he needed help?

Just imagine how worthwhile a drug addict teenager must have felt, too

I heard you mention twice your need to be “productive”

You need something to replace what you dwell upon obsessively

You know, things you can’t change

So you can blame God for not changing you

I heard you mention burnout

You sound exhausted and hopeless

Consider how everyone else feels too

Especially those you blame and whine around incessantly

I heard you want to live, work, and be happy?

Well then, what are you waiting for?

But don’t forget the list you left behind

With dozens of reasons for why you can’t work or be happy

I heard that no one knows the truth about your health or desires

And no one talks to you, and you’re not allowed to talk to them

That’s another depressing thought I can forgive now

Brought about because of your extreme mental illness

I heard that you’re scared, and concerned about anger

You want help but you’re not allowed to ask for it

And you’re “probably” not supposed to accept it

I call bullshit

I heard that you felt hopeless and did’t have help

You had no recourse, and couldn’t talk to anyone

But I know you gossiped to everyone all the fucking time

I call bullshit again

I hear that you wish you could start life over differently

If you could you would surely choose another destiny

Surely, Satan is to blame, or David, or God

They all work overtime, so they all qualify

I’ve really been trying to listen to your prayer

And what I have gleaned is this

The Lord did come to your heart and redeem and restore

Now it’s your turn to pray for whomever



Friday, October 4, 2019

Between the liens

I wear my emotions on my sleeves
I'm as transparent as it gets
What you see is what you get
Correct me if i'm wrong

Whence did I receive rationalizations galore of righteous indignation?
I got my foolish zeal from you
There I inherited my infatuation for justice

And my great pride?
My boldness in the face of evil?

My extraordinary self-confidence?

All from your example
My phobias come from her 
My pushiness from her
All empathy from her 
My pity from her
My cunning—all hers

Nobody knows as much as you though
She was severely mentally ill
You were completely and stubbornly sane
Her illness would manifest a complete manipulative two-faced bitch at calculated times
You were just a self-aggrandized asshole caring more about the prized stallion more than tony the pony

She received treatments for a time, and then adamantly refused because she was fucking crazy
You never received correction or ever accepted therapy though
Your excuse? 
You didn’t want to lose your kids

Your excuse?
There were no counselors Christian enough for you
Your excuse? 

Secular psychologists couldn’t or wouldn’t empathize with you
Her excuse? 

Does she even need one? 

She was sick
Her natural personality was triune
The frenzied wrath of a father, the fleeting wind-likeness of spirit, and passibility of the son all wound together in one flesh

She was fucked up
She was literally insane most of my life

But you? 

You’re a prized stallion
You’re a former athlete 
You’re a soldier and patriot
You’re sovereign and national
You’re a prophet, priest, and king
You’re a martyr, shepherd, preacher
You’re now a doctor, too

A man after God’s own heart
Look at what you built
Look at what you defended 
Behold what you have sustained 
Your career of presuppositionalist herem had much success
Like the late great Mr. Pink

Sipping communion at home until his dying day because no one was as prized as he was
No one sustained what he had
Not one soul on earth fought tyranny and built walls of estrangement as high as him
Praise Obama 
Remember that letter of her excommunication that my brother and I wrote? 

Me neither
I remember you writing the whole thing and telling us to lie for you to the session 
Remember how good at chemistry, and math, and history I was? 
Me neither

I didn’t have to be
You either left the answer key lying around or you were too busy building God's kingdom to follow through with love and attention
You left all that for an insane woman to take care of—absolutely brilliant

Why did I become an addict at age fifteen? 
She bought me cartons of cigarettes

Bribing me to steal from you

You modeled resentment and bitterness
You sculpted an image of war propheteering
You recited the grace of God's Law
You delivered the real goods nobody else would
You denounced all cowards for their pablum

Whose habits do you think contributed most?
Perhaps that's a false dichotomy?
The great irony of puritans is that they can’t r/e/a/d
The great tragedy: they insist they can

Because they know they’re clever
And they truly are
They wave their God-in-paperback around in ways that would still make John Knox proud

Upon the first blast of the trumpet
Against the monstrous regiment of women

She received the capital punishment you thought she deserved

To which is added
The contents of the second blast

You became sovereign and she became homeless

Death is right here—Be sober o soul, and read between the liens

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Memory Eternal (my wings part two)

All day I played Wings Part Two on repeat
I didn’t want to hear anything else
Just tears poured out whenever I imagined
You were the light and the way they only read about
I didn’t start the day expecting it to become this way 
I left the post office and opened your purse
I hadn’t seen your face since I was nineteen
And now all I could see was your smile
I wish I had seen it in person since then
I remember it, but from too long ago
I wish I had just one more glance
Or better yet, one hug and kiss
And one for Alison, my angel, too
And one for Jadon, Eden, and Gaius
Or better yet, to spend a whole day with all of us together
To welcome you into my own home
To share a meal or two together
To hear your voice resound
To gaze at your smile next to me
To even cry together
I’m sure there would have been lots of tears
I would have been there holding you in my arms 
But I wasn’t ever given that chance
A son can dream, can’t he? 
I miss you so much
And yet I don’t even know the you in the driver’s license 
Other than what my teenage self last recollected
I’m so happy to have received your little notebook though
I immediately recalled your distinctive cursive handwriting 
It didn’t change a bit over the last two decades
Maybe my strong opinions about cursive need to change
And your faith in the Lord didn’t change either
I can imagine a certain someone still asking, “What faith?”
Forget about him
His faith only has a dozen followers
But yours has the hosts of heaven 
“Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord
To what end is it for you?
The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light
Read verses twenty one and twenty two
God himself is saying these verses!”
I didn’t want to read anything else
Just tears poured out whenever I considered
You were the light and the way they only read about
I couldn’t leave the post office 
I stayed parked far beyond my fifteen minute sign limit
Just weeping and praying
More weeping than praying though
Eventually I went to work and didn’t accomplish much
Because I was thinking about your smile and your cursive notes
What an incredible sight to behold
Such a sincere and childlike faith
Not even the most severe tempests of life could loosen your grip
“Hate the evil, and love the good
And establish judgment in the gate
It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph
The prudent shall keep silence in that time
For it is an evil time”
You held on to the very end through an evil time
Which began when he divorced you for another
I wasn’t in a good place to know any better at that time
So please forgive me
And recovery without you was much needed
But now that nearly two decades have passed
All I could recall from him was the mantra
You were to blame, not him
You ruined everything
He needed a secretary
You were demon possessed 
You were the problem
He needed a virtuous wife and never had one
You abandoned him
You were not merely ill
Because illness wasn’t a just enough ground for him
Yet from what the Sheriff mentioned over the phone
According to others in Aberdeen, you were still known to be mentally ill
And in ways just like I remember you being
But that simple, sincere smile of yours still catches me off guard
And your handwritten notes still overwhelm me 
You remained filled with the faith of a child all these years
“Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live
And so the Lord the God of hosts shall be with you”
Yet I had no way of knowing this sincere faith of yours all these years
Because you were nowhere to be found
You were remembered as the self proclaimed victim and martyr, abandoned and unloved
And no one taught us how to consider some validity to that
Tears just pour out because I now realize
You were the light and the way they only read about

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Anamnesis (my wings part one)

I remember my first thought being about a can of soup
Everything changed with my birth
Or was it a shot?
 The docs were oblivious and Merck never made a peep

I remember the sandwich bags
The drenched vivas
Flies in window sills
Roadkill and raindrops spreading disease

I remember a holy man driving our Sunday route ahead of us
Just to remove diabolical obstacles 
So we could make it on time
And spare us all your bitching and carwashing 

I remember covering my face from fumes 
The greasy plaid couch pillows
The lysol spraying
The chlorine cleansing

I remember the eyes closed
The wiping of faucets
The crossing a brass fluted transition
The holes you burned in carpets to save the kosmos

I remember the video games and chips and soda
The weight gain
The weight loss
The bitching about a brother stolen

I remember the money borrowed from dad's wallet
Traded for cartons of newports and camels
So you could look him in the eye
Saying truthfully it wasn't you

I remember the sleeping all day
The shopping
The hoarding
The careless starch flamethrower that looked "nice"

I remember which one were you that day
You'd leave randomly
You'd return randomly
You'd smirk and bitch and provoke

I remember it takes 45 minutes to microwave a frozen lasagna
You never prepared meals for us
Dad pressure cooked chicken and boiled brussel sprouts
Peace and quiet was at Boston Chicken

I remember you never really cleaned
You never educated
You never really cared
Until it was always too late

I remember the blinds closed in every room
During the missionary trip to South Africa
The pensive panic with little kids
Bitching back at you to let us pay our water bill

Which one of you cared afterward?
For years I wished one of you cared about me
I searched but never found her
She never tried to reach me either

It took decades to wish that one would find me
Had I been found within the last few years
We would have taken care of her
I wanted her to know them anyway

But it's not all bad news I'm remembering
I also remember that God became what we are
So that we could become what He is
Including every one of you, who was no guardian angel

Since God is the one who vindicates
Who is the one who condemns you now
If He who is risen knew you and loved you most
Sandwich bags and all

Thursday, September 5, 2019

For Cyril Methodius

O God of all spirits and of all flesh, Who have destroyed death, overcome the Devil, and given life to the world, grant, O Lord, to the soul of Your servant, Cyril Methodius, who has departed from this life, that he may rest in a place of light, in a place of happiness, in a place of peace, where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing. And since You are a gracious God and the Lover of Mankind, forgive him every sin he has committed by thought, word, or deed, for there is not a man who lives and does not sin: You alone are without sin, Your justice is everlasting, and Your word is true. You are the Resurrection and the Life and the Repose of Your departed servant, Cyril, O Christ our God, and we render glory to You, together with Your Eternal Father, and Your All-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages.


May his memory be eternal. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

One Year With Jadon!

Friends and family celebrated Jadon's first birthday today! To watch the YouTube video my wife made for everyone, click on this link.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Not every man really lives

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? She said to him, "yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world." When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you." And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (John 11:21-32)

I know this is going to be a difficult post for me to write. Ever since I found out that my uncle Ed died this morning, I haven't been able to stop thinking about what I would write; yet now that I've started, I know it's not going to be easy. There are too many thoughts running through my mind. I'll do my best to be brief. 

I'm not that old, nor am I considerably wise for my age, but I know one thing for sure: All human beings have at least one thing in common. All human beings will die. It's an inescapable fact of life. Life is so busy and our immediate needs are so constant that we're often too focused upon living, even to the point of forgetting this one sure thing in life. Life necessitates death. All men know this. There's no way of avoiding it no matter what religion you believe, and so no one has a legitimate reason for pretending as though death is not important. As C.S. Lewis once commented in response to the recent death of his wife, "It is hard to have patience with people who say 'There is no death' or 'Death doesn't matter.' There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn't matter."1  Death matters a lot. It mattered a lot to C.S. Lewis when he lost his wife. It matters a lot to me after losing my uncle Ed. It mattered a lot to Martha and Mary after losing their brother Lazarus too.

Even though I would like to write about the entire story of Lazarus, I'm not going to in this post. Instead I want to focus upon the central point of that pericope. As noted in bold type above, Martha and Mary both believed Jesus could have healed their brother. "Lord, if you would have been here, my brother would not have died," they both cried. In other words, their faith in Jesus was exceptionally great. They both knew Jesus alone had the authority and power to heal their brother. And they didn't look to anyone else. Martha even states explicitly that whatever Jesus would ask of God, God would give to him, which implies her belief in a harmonious unity between God the Father and the Son. What the Father wills, the Son obeys. What the Son asks of the Father, the Father grants. There is no disharmony between the will of the Father and the Son. If Jesus had willed to come earlier, Lazarus would have lived. If the Father had willed for His Son to come earlier, Lazarus would have lived. The only thing mistaken presumption of Martha and Mary's faith is that Jesus could only heal the living. But Jesus did not come merely to heal the living, and the Father did not send his Son into the world merely to heal the living. 

Martha clearly believes in a bodily resurrection of her brother Lazarus too. And if Martha is emphatic about this doctrine, it's reasonable to presume that her brother and sister were aware of it too. But Martha (and perhaps, Mary too) doesn't seem to understand that Jesus is the resurrection and the life until Jesus asks her if she believes it. "Do you believe this?," Jesus asks her. "Yes, Lord," she says, "I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world."  This is the central focus of this passage. Yes, it's amazing that Lazarus is eventually raised from death to life again. Yes, it's wonderful that the glory of God was revealed in this manner. But the central focus of the Lazarus-resurrection narrative is not Lazarus. It's not the faith of Martha and Mary either. It's that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. It's that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, whom God sent into the world so that men may believe in him alone and never die. "Whoever believes in me," Jesus said, "though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die."

There are a few noteworthy aspects of this conversation between Jesus and Martha. First, Jesus teaches that all men will die. In fact, he takes this for granted when he says, "Whoever believes in me, though he die...". According to Jesus, all men will die physically. That's a fact of life. Secondarily, Jesus is teaching that not every man really lives. Only those who live and believe in him shall never die. Life, therefore, is more than mere self-preservation, and all men know this in their heart of hearts. As I was speaking with a friend of mine on the phone today, trying to vent some of the sadness I felt just thinking about the loss of my uncle, he reminded me that God has placed a startlingly clear sense of self-preservation in the heart of all men, whether they believe in Jesus or not. People live as though they are their own gods who control their own destinies and are slaves of no one, but deep down inside they know they're not God and they also know their destinies are in their own control too. That nagging sense of self-preservation haunts them because they know every single choice they make in life has eternal consequences. They know they are culpable for thinking they are the god of their own life and death, unwilling to bow the knee to Jesus as Lord over all in life. They know that death is inevitable. They know there is a life now that exists and will end some day. And so they preserve their own life to whatever degree they want. For the Christian there is more though. 

This brings us to the third and final point I wish to draw out of this central passage of John 11:21-32. For the Christian, our lives are not our own. Jesus taught this throughout his ministry. Mary and Martha understood this when they called Jesus "Lord." Christians know they are bought with a price -- a price that is going to be paid by someone eventually, either by ourselves without Jesus or through the substitutionary sacrifice of the Son of God who loves us and gave himself for us. In other words, Christians know they are slaves who have been bought with the life and death of Jesus. Christians are not free from slavery in every sense of the term. Slavery, in some sense, is an inescapable concept. It's never an option of whether one will remain a slave or not. It's always a matter of whose slave we will be. Will we be slaves of our Master whom the Father has sent into the world? Or will we be slaves of sin, saying within our hearts "there is no God"? For the Christian, death to one's self is essential to becoming a slave. Because we have been united to Jesus who died for us, death becomes the precursor to resurrection as well. And since death becomes the precursor to resurrection, death is also the precursor to real life. Not only do we know that we will rise again bodily in the resurrection on the last day, but we know who will be raising us from death to life and by what power we will be raised. We know it will be our Lord and God who raises us because he already has raised our dead hearts to life that we may know it is He who bought us with his life and death. And because He has purchased us as his own, when our perishable bodies die, they die with him. And just as his body was raised as one more glorious, so will ours. What Jesus has begun in our perishable bodies he will raise up to be imperishable. What He has sown in weakness, He will raise in power. We can be confident, even as the Apostle Paul taught, that "If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." (Romans 6:5) 

I am thankful my uncle Ed knew Jesus was the resurrection and the life. Now he is washed clean. Now he is clothed in white garments. Now he is feasting at a much better table. Now he really lives. 

1.  C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed