Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Truth is relative, right? There is no concrete truth, because if there was, wouldn't we believe it and fight? If truth was rock, there would be no debates, disagreements, or public hate. The fact is, people dont see the truth that's right in front of their face. You tell her she's beautiful with every breath and in the mirror all she sees is the pretty girl on her left. I complain and stand in the rain in vain due to the coming train that takes me away to places less mundane. The grass is greener on the other side, but green can't be seen by the blind. You hide and reside in the proverbial night with no dawn or no light and no will to fight. So wake up and see me, your living tree, the branches of my love infinity. The truth is that your eyes are closed, your mind is shut, heart unexposed. The truth will show your every flaw as you attempt to claw a way out. The truth can't hide or be denied forever or stay inside, by its nature it is pure.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
As kids, we talk about angels as if they are animals or cars, being completely tangible and real. There is so much that children don't understand, but somehow certain things seem to real and concrete to them. We get older and we gain knowledge, but lose understanding. We know that scientifically, angels can't be in a room without us seeing them, and how could we possibly have "guardian angels" if people get killed all the time and we get hurt so much? To a child, this concept isn't troublesome. God is the creator of the universe and angels are there to watch over us here on the earth. To a child, heaven isn't a complicated or supernatural concept either. When people die, they go to heaven or hell if they've been bad or if they've been good, and it is as simple as that to a child. Then, we go to school and learn about all of the reasons why heaven, angels, demons, God, and everything that is "supernatural" is really just a figment of our imaginations. Everyone buys into this thinking so easily, because how can we really ever know that the experience we have/had with God is not just our emotional self acting up? It's an interesting thought that even though many of us know for a fact that we have encountered the natural and perfect love of God, one bit of faulty scientific "evidence" that seems to contradict our beliefs completely rocks our universe to the verge of destroying our faith all together. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, "If you do not become like children, surely you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." Growing up, I thought this verse was frustrating, because children are so stupid, so immature, ignorant, temperamental, and so on. However, recently after thinking about what the core meaning of what childlike really is, I've realized that to be childlike means to be faithful. A child walks onto a playground with a dozen other kids of different races, ages, beliefs, and family backgrounds. By the time that child leaves the playground, he is friends with almost every kid he/she comes in contact with. To him/her, there is no racial difference, religious divide, theological debate, fashion style, etc. King Solomon says that "blessed is the man who finds wisdom and understanding". This sounds so much like "blessed is the man who learns the most theology and knows the most about humanity," but I think history has shown that the most intelligent people are not the most blessed. Wealthy, powerful, famous: yes but not always blessed. Wisdom and understanding is so different from knowledge as we think of it. Scientists have so much knowledge, but so often lack understanding. Children understand everything perfectly. I believe there is a reason that it says in the bible that in the end times, the YOUNG men will have dreams and visions. An aging man might refuse to believe the clear dreams and visions given to him. I think this is why it is so important to have a strong faith as a young man, because reason, science, opposing agendas, and the false gospels of self-satisfaction scream louder than the simple truth of THE Gospel. A four year old boy reported sitting in the lap of Jesus during an appendectomy that he nearly died during. He reported going to heaven for three minutes and seeing the Lord and Jesus on his right hand. Several months after his surgery, he went to a funeral and was furious when nobody would answer his question. "Did this man know Jesus?! Did he dad?! He HAD to! If he didn't then He can't go be with God and Jesus!" The adults silenced him and explained to him that its inappropriate to ask that at a funeral. The boy was incredibly confused as it seemed like the MOST important thing to ask at a funeral. His understanding of the gospel was childlike. WE NEED TO KNOW JESUS SO THAT WE CAN SPEND ETERNITY WITH THE LORD! There is no science to prove or disprove God's existence, but God cannot be ignored in the hearts of ALL humanity. No non-existent being could cause wars to be fought, nations to separate, martyrs to be made, and millions to follow Him and lay down a life of comfort and steady income to serve Him. A childlike faith means to not follow blindly, but to have a loyal gaze set upon the Lord that is blind to differences on the earth. We are all part of the human race, which is the only race. God desires for Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, and everyone else to all pick up their crosses and follow Him. This concept isn't radical, it's childlike. We can't let knowledge hinder our wisdom and understanding.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
There are so many opportunities to bless people, but when do you ever see a person bless a stranger? So many times in our world, we pass a lost soul or a person just wanting to be talked to. You don't have to see someone hold a cardboard sign in fingerless gloves to know when someone is lonely. However, who is really the lonely one? Does a man lost in his career and agenda who goes to bed at night panicked about tomorrow really live the good life or does a man who has nothing and can barely find the money to eat really appreciate life? A man dressed in expensive black business clothes sits down to talk to a friend and discusses politics, where their kids are going to college, the economy, the latest news coverage, the ridiculous amount of money spent on a certain government structure, and so on. A middle-aged homeless man sits next to me on the bench outside Starbucks and leans over to me and says, "You guys smoke?" "No, we don't." "Well That's good, it's bad for your health." My friend and I were sitting on the bench next to him with a sign that read, "Take some free change for some coffee!" We had a can full of quarters and nickels sitting there for people to take with no expectations of reciprocity but to simply bless someone. Several people driving very expensive cars walked by us without even glancing at the sign, because they most likely assumed we were begging for money. We were dressed in casual clothes sitting outside in the cold. Not a single person looked at our sign up to this point, discouraging me quite a bit. I looked to my left to see three homeless men talking about life. "So, how's your dog, man?" "He's doing great, he is healthy and happy." "That's great to hear, how are you?" "I'm doing great, just sat in a warm restaurant for quite a while and I'm good to go for the night." "Cool man". This conversation went on and on. Several minutes later, the older gentleman acknowledged me and I looked to him. He asked, "so what are you two young guys doing sitting out here if you don't smoke?" My friend replied, "We're just giving out free change to people for coffee to help them out." The eccentric homeless man began to talk about how there must be hidden cameras somewhere and that there was a reason as to why we were doing what we were doing. In his eyes, we are two spoiled rotten rich kids who would have no reason to selflessly give money to another person without receiving something in return. I changed the subject and asked him, "Where are you from, man?" "Right here," he replied. "I'm from right here on the streets... And I'm livin' comfortably for sure! I don't know how those guys back east do it! They must freeze to death!" I had to hold back my tears as I was experiencing this man who had a bag, a dog, and a bicycle explain to me how grateful he was to live in a place that is warm enough for him to stay alive at night. I'm concerned that my midterm grades aren't all 100% grades and this man is telling me he is thankful to be alive. The three men began to talk again about various things quietly on their bench away from everyone outside in the cold. Then, a man who was much older than the other two men walked up to us and read our sign with a little bit of trouble. "Take...some... free change for...coffee. So what you're sayin' is... You'd buy ME a cup of coffee for no charge?" "Yeah, of course, do you want one?" He had a look of disbelief on his face. "Uh, yeah, I'd love some coffee, man ha!" We walked into Starbucks with him and I walked up to the counter. "What can I get started for you?" the barista asked me. "What do you want, man?" "HA! Just some kind of coffee the moon ain't gonna shine through. Black coffee." I went to hand the woman my money and she motioned to me that it was no charge. Good deeds are contagious, period. The man was speechless for a few moments and then just began to laugh. "Man, you guys are nice guys. I haven't had a good cup of coffee in so long." "It's no problem man, glad to help out," I replied. We went back outside and sat back down on the bench. After talking for quite a long time, the man said, "Name's Martin, like Martian without the A, hahaha, what's your guys' names?" We introduced ourselves and continued talking about random things that he would bring up. He suddenly got serious. "You guys wanna know something? About 90% of the people in the world are good. The other 10% are bad and they need to stay where they are. You are good people. You guys are doing things that I've never seen." He paused for a few moments. "I want to say something very...good. I want to tell you something..." He paused again and got a very serious look on his weathered face. "Thank you." No words have felt so sincere in my ears in my entire life. A grateful heart came to me in the most unexpected way possible and Martin blessed me far more than my cup of coffee blessed him. My Iphone buzzed in my pocket as I realized that to talk to my loved ones, all I have to do is press a button. Martin has to walk for miles to see the people he cares about and the entire time he is walking, people think negatively of him just for appearing and living the way he does. There is no greater reward than to bless a person who is in need of love. Martin APPRECIATES me and my friend's tiny kind deed. He is thankful in this thanksgiving season... are you?
Thursday, September 16, 2010
3. The Grove
September ended and fall came around at its usual pace. I can’t tell you how much I loved fall growing up. The air was so crisp and the leaves were crunchy. Luke and I used to make huge piles of gold and red oak leaves and jump into them off the highest possible branches of the oak tree. It always still hurt a little bit when we jumped from that high. I suppose that’s why they don’t make pillows and mattresses out of leaves. This fall was like every other fall. School was in full swing already, the house began to smell like fall spices from all the desserts and foods my mom and grandma would make, and the weather of course began to get dreary and bleak as it always did in Washington State.
I was walking to the school bus stop one morning but something was different about this particular morning. It began to snow, but the snowflakes weren’t flakes at all. They were little pellet-like snowdrops that accumulated fast on the ground, because the whole ground was already covered in frost. I merely walked to the bus stop as a formality, knowing school would be cancelled anyways. One or two inches had accumulated in a matter of fifteen minutes as I slid around on the hill with my ratty old shoes that lacked rubber on the sole, making them perfect for doing so. It was a foreshadowing of that very cold winter to come.
Just as I had suspected, the bus never came and I started back down the slippery hill to my house. I looked to my right, looking at the biggest house in the neighborhood. It had a huge balcony that wrapped around the whole third story. The high balcony had a fantastic view of the snow-capped mountains that seemed nearly level with their house. Halloween was just a few days away and I got a very eerie feeling as I walked past that huge house. I looked at the banister and there was a rope hanging off of it, pulled tight by some object tied to the end of it. I couldn’t see what was attached to the rope so I hiked back up the hill to get a better view. After slipping and sliding around, I got to the base of their driveway only to see the most morbid and frightening thing I’d ever seen in my life. A man was hanging lifelessly from that rope. I stared at him for what must have been a good minute and a half, completely bewildered. I had a hard time believing it was real at first, seeing as how Halloween was just around the corner and it didn’t seem too unusual to hang a dummy from your porch as a morbid way to celebrate. I’ve never felt my heart pound that hard and I’ve never felt nauseous just from seeing something, until that morning. Time stopped. The snow no longer felt cold on my face and the wind no longer made a whistling sound as it passed my ears. Everything in the universe disappeared as I stared at that man’s limp body. Suddenly, a old Buick pulled into the driveway and three people ran out of the car screaming and crying frantically. This was the moment when I realized I had witnessed this man’s death. I began sobbing, because I realized who the man was. It was the father of the family that lived there. They had seven children from ages 5 to 25. He was a hard-working man who built that huge house with his bare hands. I didn’t know what suicide was at that tender age, so I assumed he was murdered and I was suddenly afraid. I didn’t know what to feel. I felt terrified that a dead man was dangling in my neighborhood, while I felt extreme grief that a father and husband and grandfather had left his family. I finally went numb with confusion as I walked home slowly, unsure of what to do or think. I ran inside and told my mom what had happened and she didn’t know what to say, as usual.
“Mom… the Russian dad is dead.” I said unsurely
“What?! What happened? Who told you?” she frantically asked.
“I saw him! He was hanging off the railing on a rope! It was around his neck and he was just hanging there!” I said in an even more frantic manner than she asked me.
My mom didn’t say anything after that. She just wrapped her arms around me and cried for what seemed like an eternity. I hated it when my mom cried, because she was so strong that if she was crying, then that means something truly was wrong. I was so confused as to why he was dead, that my emotions went completely dead for the next few weeks. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t laugh, didn’t want to talk about anything important, because I didn’t want that topic to ever come up again. That was the time I visited the grove for the first time. I would close my eyes and picture myself in the most perfect place I could imagine. I could practically feel the warm breeze on my face and through my hair. Most importantly, it wasn’t snowing in the grove, because snow reminded me of that terrible day. Nothing represented death in that place. The real world was ticking on as usual and I wanted to scream, because nobody seemed to care after the funeral that this family had lost their dad. Time kept moving and he was forgotten as another family moved into the house that he built from the bottom up. The home that he built for his family was bought by a rich couple that didn’t even have kids. I don’t know where the Russian family moved to, but when I looked at that banister, I couldn’t help but think about the incredible irony of the situation before I even know what irony was. This man had spent his whole life building. He built his family, his reputation, and his own home. I wanted answers, but people only gave me answers that they thought a baby would understand. They would say, “Some people just die” or “he must have been selfish” or “he didn’t love himself enough”. These answers didn’t satisfy me and I would continuously escape to the grove in my subconscious to create my own answers. When the image of him dangling there dead kept me awake at night, I would take that man to the grove with me and ask him why he did it. Even in my subconscious thoughts, he had a thick Russian accent. I asked him, “Sir, why did you kill yourself?” I was frustrated that his response would always be a combination of all the things people would tell me. My mind couldn’t imagine any answer better than the ones they had given me. I would run my hands along the tops of the tall grass and just listen to the wind blow through it, rustling and flowing to create that beautiful white noise. A bird would sing to me and then suddenly I would forget about my scarring experience. I would forget that the world is a sad place, because there was nobody there but my dog and I. The oak tree never complained that the wind was bending his branches and blowing off his leaves. That is where I would escape from the inexplicable, because as far as I was concerned, the real world didn’t make much sense sometimes.