My Prayer for Today

When I woke up this morning, my eyes, ears, mind, and heart were filled with stories of the tragedy in Las Vegas. The emotional flooding began . . .

-Sadness about the loss of 50 lives.
-Grief for the families and friends of each of those people.
-Fear about the unleashed hatred that confronts us daily.
-Gratitude for the quick response of  law enforcement, emergency personnel, and civilians who worked quickly at the scene.
-Appreciation for those who have already stepped up to give blood and help save lives.
-Disgust with the human condition and that the shooter’s anger/rage/fear/unknown was     big enough to visibly harm over 200 people, and non-visibly harm a band, and city, a         plethora a families, a state, a nation, and then some.
-Amazement at how quickly this news spread across the nation and to other nations.
-Exhaustion from listening to the internal voices asking “What can we do? What can we do? What can we do?”

Needless to say, I started thinking about how our world needs more empathy, more grace, more love.  What does that look like? How do I do that?

The news told of a young concert-goer who had witnessed M______ D_______ shouting, “You’re all going to die tonight” 45 minutes prior to the shooting. She was led out of the concert because she was disruptive.  This gave me pause.  Was this her last act of desperation? Could things have gone differently if someone had heard her? Obviously, someone heard her, as her quote can be found all over the news. What I mean is could things have gone differently if someone had actually listened to her? What if as she was being escorted out somebody asked “What do you mean? Is this something you’re concerned about? I hear you. Tell me more. What do you think will happen next?”

Could the shooter have been stopped? Minutes beforehand? Days beforehand? Weeks ago?  What if someone had really listened to him months ago and responded with “What do you mean? Is this something you’re concerned about? I hear you. Tell me more. What do you think will happen next?” Could we have gotten help for him?

I understand that this cannot undo the damage that has been done. There’s been a lot of damage. Lives have been lost. We must grieve.  I’m just thinking that as I move forward, as I grow, as I try to love fearlessly, that maybe I need to listen more courageously.  Not ignoring. Not hoping someone else will deal with it.  Not writing it off because it’s not my problem, but fearlessly asking the questions. Listening.  People who are hurting do not usually do the most drastic thing first.  Acts of desperation come from smaller pain that escalates. Sometimes the signs are there beforehand.  Sometimes it’s just a whisper.  Ignored whispers become screams.  Ignored screams become acts of desperation. What would happen if I listen when people are indicating pain?

When someone is talking about depression, or suicide, can I make a difference if I were to respond with “What do you mean? Is this something you’re concerned about? I hear you. Tell me more. What do you think will happen next?”

When someone is talking about anger, and wanting to inflict violence can I make a difference by responding with “What do you mean? Is this something you’re concerned about? I hear you. Tell me more. What do you think will happen next?”

When a nation of people are demonstrating their pain, can I make a difference by responding with “What do you mean? Is this something you’re concerned about? I hear you. Tell me more. What do you think will happen next?”

When someone is hinting about abuse/violence/neglect in their own home, can I make a difference by responding with “What do you mean? Is this something you’re concerned about? I hear you. Tell me more. What do you think will happen next?”

Could I make a difference if I just listened?

Lord, help me to listen to others.  Help me to respond to other people’s hearts when it is early enough to hear, to understand, to help.  Help me to be brave enough to ask difficult questions, to be there for others, to respond and help before their pain becomes “too big.” Help me to listen to people when they are whispering for help so that they don’t have to scream for help.  Lord, help me to intercede and intervene (or at least just listen) before another person’s pain escalates into an act of desperation.

Lord, surround me with others who will also listen.  When I am struggling, let me be near another who will hear me.  When my pain becomes “too big” and I am on the path toward  a bad decision, self-harm, or any other act of desperation, place people in my life who love fearlessly. People who will ask tough questions. People who will listen.

Lord, help me to be brave. Hope and healing happen in the light.   Topics like shootings, domestic violence, suicide, substance abuse, racism, hatred, sexual assault, and fear must be talked about—in the Light. We can not heal if we turn our faces away from these things. Help me to courageously speak up for humanity.  More importantly, help me to LISTEN to humanity. Help me to listen and respond when it is just a whisper. Help me to listen and respond when I hear a scream. Help me to listen and respond before it becomes an act of desperation.

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Going down in Flames (Day 25)

Her hardest hue to hold—
Bubblegum innocence
Now a sour  sangria,
From violated vines.

 

She once was dewy fern
Unfurled fronds, helical,
Harboring hope and joy,
Now, jaded with envy.

 

Long ago lapped lapis
With gloved-Tiffany-touch;
Today, tired and tainted
Aged and aegean .

 

Once a tawny tiger—
Delightful Dreamsicle—
Sunsetting sandstone o’er
Her insecurities.

 

NaPoWriMo prompt for May 25 — “Write a poem that begins with a line from a another poem (not necessarily the first one), but then goes elsewhere with it. This will work best if you just start with a line of poetry you remember, but without looking up the whole original poem.”

 

Rain Is Purple – R.I.P.

Prince,
Rest in peace
Purple rain

R.I.P
Rip
Ripe
Ripen
Pence
Inspire
Piece nest
Ice lune
Price spare
Pain plan
Lunar pep
Rap spine
Sprain lips
Spur plea

Plea sure
Pleasure
Sure Please
Press ace
Arise in place
Ripen rules
Air Please
Sure tear
It is pain
Purple rain

C’est peine

Rest In Peace, Prince

Rain Is Purple, R.I.P.

NaPoWriMo – Day 14

Based on inspiration from NaPoWriMo2016 and The Daily Post, I have written a san san using the The Daily Post daily prompt “Suitcase”.  NaPoWriMo explains that the “poem called a san san means ‘three three’ in Chinese (It’s also a term of art in the game Go). The san san has some things in common with the tritina, including repetition and rhyme. In particular, the san san repeats, three times, each of three terms or images. The lines rhyme in the pattern a-b-c-a-b-d-c-d.”

Suitcase

The frame, atop the journal, in the battered suitcase,

Both holding memories of her old flame

Suitcased in Sadness, agony becomes nocturnal.

In her journal, a moment when his hands framed her face

Now she desperately wants to forget his name.

Then page subsides to leaf, so grief sank to rue,

Eternally framed, and stored, in her journal.

Like the suitcase, her heartanguish, a portmanteau.

Paper Things (Read Along)

Before you read, let it be known that we were inspired in two ways.  First of all, we were inspired by the book Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson.  It is an incredible book!

paper-things

 

Our second inspiration came from Brian Wilhorn @HelpReaders, who put together a similar visual guide for the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  We decided to compose our own version for Paper Things, which is another must-read.

Thank you to Michael, Bella, Trey, Emma, Jezlyn, Shae, and Rowan for doing the research and the hard work to put this together.

Chapters 1 through 5

Chapters 6 through 10
Chapters 11 through 15
Chapters 16 through 20

Chapters 21 through 25
Chapters 26 through 30

Chapters 31 through 35
Chapters 36 through 43

Book Reviews – in verse

http://amzn.to/1iPcXea

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds (Double Tetractys)

Matt,

Grieving—

Missing mom,

Worried ’bout dad—

Finds employment and wisdom while working

For Mister Ray at his funeral home.

Mourning, truth, and

Friendship bring

Healing

Hope.