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The Written Word

The Creative Meanderings of S. Brown

The Madness that is Pain and Pleasure

There are dreams the world will never see

An endless cavern of lost hopes and fruitless pursuits

But as I wander through their possibilities

I wonder what the world would be

If every dream came true

Would it be this paradise

We praise within our minds?

Or would we find a hell on earth

Doomed to be our life?

Does every word become a poem?

Does every note become a song?

Not every dream finds existence

Not every wish becomes a memory.

What is it about this feeble race of men?

We yearn, we cry, we crave, we think we know,

But in the end–so often does it happen–

Our dreams become our nightmares

And we realise we know nothing

Of the madness that is pain and pleasure.

Does ice not burn the skin

When left there over time?

Does surgery not both cure

And bring new pain?

Not every pain is meant to be destructive

Not every pleasure made to be enjoyed

But this does not make all dreaming fruitless

Nor leave all hopes destined for a grave,

But as the shadow needs the sun

So darkness finds its absence

In the presence of bright dreams come true

And even in the darkness Shines a Light

For He is the one who touches every shadow,

And whose love crosses all despair

He is the maker of all true desires

And the bringer of hope to all the world.

For in Him all darkness becomes as day,

And every day is like the sun

In Him are selfish dreams exposed and left to die

And every darkest hour

Finds heavenly hopes are won.

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Time Comes A Little Too Late

Hand of time

I’m drowning in letters and figures
Of this information age
There’s too much at stake and too little that’s really ours
We seem to learn as we grow old,
But after death is a little too late

Where is the fire that once burned bright?
Where is the passion that yearns for true life?
You lost your heart to words,
You lost your heart in dying embers
I found you lamenting over ashes
Of a life never really lived

I’m coming to an epiphany
That hurt a bit in coming
Nothing can outrun our guns to take the world back again
But when it’s won, we lost it all,
Learning what it meant a little too late.

Where was your soul when the earth was formed?
Where will you be when it comes crashing down?
You lost your will to a curse
You lost your will to endless work
You find your soul encased in a fading frame
That was never really yours to own.

I was swallowing your corruption
To make it go away
But I’m done wasting chances and throwing up my shame
But I know I won’t be brave enough, til I have the guts to die,
And that may be a little too late

Where was I going when all the chaos started?
Where were my feet when the line was drawn in the sand?
I was already lost
I was lost in an unwinable maze
That’s where He found me, looking for answers
In a life that was never really mine.

I’m revolving through the noise
And changing every song
I don’t need your money, or the empty charms you keep
I’m screaming songs of mercy
And hoping it’s not too late.

Where is the truth we stood for as we raged against all odds?
Where is the youthful song that began with every baby’s cry?
We lost it all to vanity
We lost it all to cheap tricks
You’ll find our children chasing shadows
Of dreams they were never really meant to fulfill.

I’m dying, loudly headed to the grave
Going back to where I came
I’ll spend my final hours, filling up this page with poems
Writing with my tears and blood of redemption
And a love that’s never too late

Oh, where is our hope as we scream for the dawn?
Where is Your life as we dream for more time?
We lost it to desire
As You lost your life for us
Time will find what we have forgotten,
And death will reveal what we never really cared to know.

Wandering Thoughts and Drops of Nachos

From Wandering thought and drops of nachos...

Several drops of rain hit my head and I wondered if I should go ahead and put my hood up to protect me. I had a love hate relationship with rain, especially the kind of rain that taunts you with slow drips and drizzles. So far it had been a productive day despite the rain, that is to say, I had lazed the morning away and then gone to two books shops in search of anything by Khalil Gibran. I’d just discovered his writing and immediately became enthralled. I had to read more. After a couple hours of searching and drooling over the hundreds of other books I hoped I would one day have a chance to read, I found a copy of The Prophet and now searched for the perfect place to sit, read and be inspired. I hoped that this crazy weather wouldn’t put a damper on an otherwise pleasant day. It was the one thing I had yet to figure out while living in Scotland. The weather was as moody as the people; so, I guess I hadn’t quite figured them out either.

As I walked to a nearby coffee shop (my second favourite thing besides books), I passed a young couple with their two little girls. They skipped behind their parents, pulling on their rain jacket sleeves and sang in defiance of the drizzles: “It’s raining nachos! It’s raining nachos!”, then giggled at the joke they made. It was a joke only childish innocence and silliness could understand, but I couldn’t help but smile; a small part of me wanted to dare to join in their chorus in defiance of my adulthood. I was reminded of all the things I used to do in the rain as a child, and wondered what people would think if I jumped into a nearby puddle of water and laughed at the world for no reason whatsoever. And that was it, I thought, how much had that little phrase destroyed the dreams of children and removed the innocence of how we once reasoned: “what people would think”. Or I should say, a fear of that phrase. Making decisions based out of fear of what those ‘other’ people would think has determined the rule of nations, caused love to end in despair and kept artists and geniuses from gracing the world with their feats and daring. What is it about that phrase? How can other people be so frightening? Maybe because we already know how much we judge others to realise how much others must be judging us.

But, perhaps there is a bright side to caring what others think, like the silver lining on the dark clouds that loom over my head. I open the door to the coffee shop, smile at the waiter, take my seat by the pastry shelf, and ponder. The social norms that guide our communities can bring harmony, and the wisdom of our elders can keep us from falling into chaos, but to fear the thoughts of others to the point of ceasing to live, only moves the chaos into individual hearts and minds. Yes, that silver lining could exist, but only in the absence of fear, only with that childlike innocence, that fearless daring that follows every young mind; a mind ready to learn, and ready to live, with the question “Why?” ever on its lips. Those minds tend to trust the voices closest to them, the voices that love them, more than they care about the ‘others’ they will never meet. Such a mind considers what other think and shrugs it shoulders when others say, “Shut up!” and then asks “Why?”; and waits for an answer that does more than command them to conform. They wait for answers that satisfy.

For a brief moment I lifted my head and thought, “Why not?” and was tempted to shout out “It’s raining nachos!” just for the heck of it, but thought the better of myself and preferred not to be considered a raving lunatic for the rest of the day. That answer would satisfy me for the present, but maybe, just maybe when I left I would jump into that puddle and see if anyone even noticed that I had.

Indonesian Scrabble

Untitled drawing (1)

Neal made himself comfortable on the couch and folded his legs underneath him. He had a sly smile on his face and his eyes sparkled with a bit of delight as he stared first at Elizabeth and then at his scrabble tiles.

The young lady shifted uncomfortably in her chair, took another sip of coffee and sighed. She stared at her scrabble tiles with a furrowed brow and poked one with her finger to move two tiles together. After a moment of serious silence, she groaned with dissatisfaction, and finally looked up from her tiles.  She stared at her opponent for a moment.

“I’m going to beat you this time,” she stated with newfound determination.

“Uh-huh.”

Neal sat with phone in hand and bit his knuckle as was his habit when trying to wait patiently for her to take her turn. His eyes still smiled at her.

“Gue harus menang (I have to win)” She pushed her tiles around with her finger again.

“I mean, it’s just not fair,” Elizabeth twirled her hair in aggravation, “You can’t always win, Neal!”

A long grin stretched across his wide face, “Well, apparently…” he shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows.

Elizabeth glared at him for a moment, “Oh, shut up.”

The grin was still there and she couldn’t help smiling back.

“Come on Lizzy, just plaaaayyy.” He shifted in his seat and placed his phone on the table.

“Ok, ok,” with a groan she placed three tiles down on the board, “There, that’s…how many points is that?”

Neal leaned forward and pointed at the tiles while he counted. “Duabelas.”

“Only twelve!” Elizabeth shook her head then rested it on the table. “I’m gonna lose.”

Neal couldn’t help but laugh at her; his laughter was warm and low. For a brief moment he almost wished she could win this one time. They had gone through this same scenario so many times, and with the same outcome: she always lost. He ran his fingers through his black styled hair and stared at the tiles on the board. The brief moment disappeared. Neal saw the perfect play. It was gonna be fun to tease her when she lost yet again.

“Your turn, Neal.”

“I know, crazy.”

Lizzy took another sip of coffee as she drew three new tiles from the pile and found herself humming the song that echoed through the Starbucks.

I can’t feel my face when I’m with you…” she sang the words aloud without even thinking about whether anyone else could hear her or not.

“…but I love it,” Neal’s voice finished the melody, “…ya I love it.” He bobbed his head a bit as they both sang the next line together, and continued dancing as he placed a single tile on the board.

“Ummm…” he calculated for a moment, “thirty-one points.”

Lizzy stopped mid hum, “What?!” She stared at the tile until Neal thought her eyes would pop out. “But…”

The grin returned.

“But you…wait a minute,” she eyed the two letter word he’d made in suspicion, “What does Q-I mean? Is that a real word?”

“Yes, crazy, it’s a word”

“Are you sure?”

“Lizzy, it’s a word.”

“Ok, smarty pants, what does it mean?”

The blank expression on his face said it all.

“Ha! Lu nggak tahu ya (you don’t know),” she pointed a finger in his direction, “so how do you know it’s a real word?”

Neal let out a short exasperated sigh of disapproval and ran his fingers through his hair again, “Cause it’s a word!”

“Hm..” She folded her arms across her chest and tried to raise one eyebrow in disbelief. She looked a bit like a teacher who suspected their student of some form of mischief. “I’m gonna look it up.”

“Seriously?” He deadpanned.

“Yes,” she grabbed her phone and started typing.

Neal picked up his phone too but casually browsed through his Facebook while waiting for the verdict.  He knew the verdict would fall in his favor; he’d spent time looking at scrabble websites and how to best play the letters Q and Z.  But he let her search anyway. Lizzy could be incredibly stubborn sometimes.  It just made teasing her when he was right all the more enjoyable.

Neal glanced up at her serious, confused face and started singing the new song that had begun playing through the coffee shop, “Sugar, yes please, won’t you come and pour it down on me.” His voice squeaked as he tried to sing the high notes.  He successfully broke her concentration for a moment and Lizzy shook her head with a smile; a smile that quickly melted into shock.

“So? What does it say?” He’d paused his karaoke session.

“Q-I is a word?? For real?”

Neal groaned over-dramatically, “Yes, crazy, I told you!”

Lizzy frowned, set her phone down and sighed in submission, “Fine.”  She took a bite of Neal’s brownie.

“It’s your turn, Lizzy.” He looked back at his phone ready for a long wait and took a sip of Lizzy’s coffee.

She stared at her tiles deep in thought, then to the scrabble board.

“Aw man…for real?” her eyes flit back and forth several times.

“Apa? (what)” Neal looked up at her.

“Kenapa sih (Why)? Why does this always happen to me?” She looked over every square inch of the scrabble board.

“Apa?”

“Somehow this is your fault,” Lizzy’s eyes shot up for a moment to give him a disapproving look, then back down to the scrabble board.

“Whaaaaat?” he pronounced the “t” at the end with emphasis and set down his phone.

“I have like three amazing words, and no where to put them.”

“Well, you could just put them…” Neal paused for a moment and Lizzy saw the playful glint in his eyes.

“On your face!” Lizzy said the words before he could get them out and laughed in mock triumph.  He laughed back at her; the playfulness was still in his eyes, “I was gonna say, up your nose.”

They forgot for a moment that they were in a public place and laughed louder and harder than their silliness merited. But it didn’t matter what anyone else thought because it made all the sense in the world to them.

“Ok Lizzy, plaaaay.”

“Ok, ok, ok…all I need is….”

The timing was perfect, the song Sugar was still playing over the loudspeakers, “…a little love and little sympathy…” Lizzy sang the words at Neal with a smile. He sighed and shook his head.

“Mainlah (play)!”

Lizzy stuck her tongue out at him, picked up three tiles and placed them on the board. “There, that’s as good as it gets.”

“That’s…sixteen points.”

“Oh ya? That’s better than I thought it would be.”

“Ya, except I’ve got like a hundred more points than you.” Neal couldn’t help himself, it was just too much fun teasing her.

Lizzy frowned over-dramatically, folded her arms and leaned back in her chair. She looked a bit like a moody teenager. Her bangs fell down across her eyes and she blew them away in exasperation.

Neal’s grin seemed to get wider than it had before, and that mischievous glint re-appeared in his eyes. “So, are you sure you’re a native English speaker?”

Lizzy’s mouth dropped open, “Yes!” But her gaping mouth of shock quickly turned into laughter. “Astagaaaa, (oh my gosh) this is so stupid,” she said between laughs, “How does this always happen? How can you always win?”

Neal shrugged his shoulders and stuck his bottom lip out as though genuinely confused, “Maybe I’m just better at English than you?”

“Eh?” Lizzy sat up. She felt a bit like punching him on the arm but he was too far away, “English isn’t even your first language, crazy!”

“I knooowww” Neal laughed; he was having way too much fun.

She stuck her tongue out at him again.

He leaned forward, “And what’s your job again?” He rested his elbows on the table and raised his eyebrows up and down to provoke her.

Lizzy tried to glare at him, but the truth of the situation was too ridiculous for her to be actually upset. “I’m an….” she mumbled the rest under her breath.

“Apa (what)?”

“Lu udah tahu, sih (Oh, you already know).”

“Are you sure you know what it is?”

Lizzy couldn’t contain her laughter, she and Neal laughed like school kids and thoroughly disrupted the others in the Starbucks.

“Yes, I’m sure!”

“So…?”

“I’m an English teacher,” she mumbled. Lizzy covered her face with her hands in embarrassment, but she was still smiling, “who can’t beat my Indonesian friend at Scrabble.” She shook her head in disbelief.

Neal sipped her coffee again and shrugged his shoulders, “Well, it could be worse.”

“Like what?”

Lizzy moved her hands away from her face; she and Neal made eye contact for a brief moment and they both knew what the other was thinking. “You’re face!” they said simultaneously.

Don’t Look Now, but There’s a Rebel in Here

I’ll give you a smile
If it’s what you really want
But don’t expect much laughter
From these messed up crazy thoughts
Like a zoo in one cage
Like the animals are crazed
These emotions run deep
These feelings are wild

I don’t want to interrupt
Your rays of golden sunshine
Don’t want to upset
Those phantom beams
I just want to expose you to the rain
It’s the rebel in me

I’ll say I believe you
If it’s what you really want
But your polite laughter
Isn’t reason enough to stave my thoughts
Like shades on your eyes
Like an overcast sky
Those deceptions run deep
Those pretendings are wild

I don’t want to interrupt
Your oscar winning drama
Don’t want to upset
Those phantom dreams
I just want to pause for the commercial break
It’s the rebel in me

I could say I don’t enjoy this
If it’s what you really want
But the smile on my face
Won’t disappear in second thoughts
Like a child having a scene
Like running to nowhere in a dream
These temptations run deep
These cravings are wild

I don’t want to interrupt
Your hallmark card apology
Don’t want to upset
That phantom poesy
I just want to make corrections in red ink
It’s the rebel in me

It’s my pent up, stubborn inner child
It’s my irony on madness gone wild
It’s the fine line between courage and stupidity with style
It’s the rebel in me

Real Life Parables: The Jump

IMG_20160922_105219Real Life Parables: The Jump

    He felt a drop of rain hit his head. It was just a drop, but it made the burden he carried feel heavier. He didn’t have a backpack, he wasn’t carrying any box or bag, but his burden was heavy and his feet dragged more with every step. The sky was as overcast as his life was bleak. Was he going crazy? He wasn’t sure. He didn’t care. What did it matter? No one would miss him anyway. He was nothing and nobody saw him. He could’ve been the literal walking dead and no one would have stopped to see him. He was an invisible failure at life.
    Will I even miss myself? It was a ridiculous thought, but he pondered the question anyway.
    His eyes stung from the thousands of tears that had filled them, but he had nothing left to cry. Tears wouldn’t put things right. He searched for another answer than the one he’d decided on and only desperation answered back. He wasn’t sure which direction he was taking. He just walked. His hands shook, but whether from the cold, or from fear, or just old age, he wasn’t sure. Someone bumped into him and his hat fell from his head. In any other circumstances, his instinct would be to get angry, but the anger didn’t come. He couldn’t feel anger, he couldn’t feel anything. He just watched as the hat rolled away, caught up in the wind, while he continued dragging his feet up the stairs in front of him.
    Just keep walking to nowhere, he thought. Just keep walking until there’s nowhere else to go.
    He made his way up the stairs, and through the crowd. He pulled himself onto the escalator and went up. He pulled himself on the next one and climbed higher. He went as far as he could go. He gripped the railing. He was afraid of letting go, but he was more afraid of living. He looked down and all he could see was emptiness. A shallow world of hopeless dreams and he was the most hopeless of them all. He had gone as far as he could go.
    No more emptiness, he thought. No more tomorrow.
    He had reached the end of his journey. It would be better this way.

………

    “Girl, weren’t you the one who dragged me into H and M?” she laughed as she asked the question, and got laughter in response.
    “Yeeeesss”
    “Then how come I’m the one who spent 30 quid?” Barbara threw her hands up in the air in mock exasperation and the two young women walked out into the busy streets of the city center. It was a chilly and dreary day, but neither Barbara nor Elizabeth seemed to mind the cool breeze or the threat of rain that lurked above them. The city was full of life and so were they.
    “So… where to next?” Elizabeth looked inside her bag as she spoke; she wanted to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything inside the store dressing room again. “It’s your turn to drag me somewhere, isn’t it?” she said with a smile.
    “Let’s go inside the shopping center. I wanna check out the makeup store”
    “Sure.”
    The two made their way up the street, which sloped upward and opened up to a large staircase leading to the main entrance. But something greeted them at the top they hadn’t expected: bright yellow police tape. They stopped for a moment to take in the full picture. The tape ran all around the entrance as did five police officers, all wearing bright yellow vests and grave expressions. A police car sat at the bottom of the stairs and next to it a man with a news camera.
    The two friends looked to each other with the same unspoken question on their mind: what happened?
    They kept walking, stealing glances through the glass doors to see inside as they walked past. More uniforms and more cameras, but no sign to tell them what had happened.
    “What do you think?” Elizabeth asked the question while still trying desperately to see inside.
    “I dont know, maybe somebody famous is here, you know like Beyonce?”
Elizabeth laughed and shook her head. “What?”
    “Ya, you’re right, it couldn’t be that,” she paused for a brief moment with a smile behind her eyes, “cause Beyonce is right here!” Barbara gestured to herself with a grin and a little dance and the two were laughing and thinking of shopping once again.
    The other entrance was open, so they would take the long way round to get to the makeup store. As they walked past the shops and wound their way around the other customers and the cleaning crew, they hopped from one random thought to another. It was a pleasant day despite police tape and the impending rain, and they were determined to enjoy it.
    They turned the next corner toward the front of the shopping center, and had hoped to go up the escalator to get to their intended store, but got another surprise greeting.
    More police. More yellow tape. The entire front of the shopping center had been closed off, from top to bottom. There would be no getting up those escalators any time soon. This was something truly serious. Elizabeth went through the possibilities in her head. Some political event, perhaps? Nope, there aren’t any people. A robbery, more likely… maybe?
    She couldn’t stand the suspense. They walked slowly past the escalator towards the one open store directly beside them.
Barbara was about to stop, but Elizabeth kept going and stopped next to the police officer.
    “The escalators are closed ma’am,” his voice was low and serious, “I’m sorry, but you can only go to this store if you wanna go this way.” He gestured to the small drugstore next to the escalators.
    “May I ask, what happened here sir?” Elizabeth couldn’t hold back the question.
    The officer’s expression changed from a serious one, to serious one with a hint of annoyance. “There’s no use asking anything like that just move along.”
    The two young women obeyed and walked into the small drugstore.
    “Gosh, it must be something really bad.”
    “Ya, maybe it’s a robbery,” Barbara browsed a bit as they spoke, but glanced back at the escalators.
    A short woman with curly red hair came from around the corner and greeted the two with a half smile. “Can I help you with anything today ladies?”
    They shook their heads and turned to leave, but Elizabeth paused for a moment, still filled with curiosity.
    “Actually,” she said, turning back to the employee, “Can you tell us what happened here?”
    “Oh…. Ya…” the woman paused for a moment as she looked toward the escalators.
    Elizabeth was surprised to see that there were tears in her eyes. These were not the tears of someone who cries easily at everything. These were the kind that sit in one’s eyes like the water that waits inside a dark storm cloud, waiting to be released because they can’t be held back any more. These were the tears of tragedy.
    “They think it was a jumper,” she finally said. Her voice was small, and she exhaled after she spoke.
    Barbara and Elizabeth gasped in genuine surprise.
    “A man just leapt over the railing and his body fell through the air. You could hear it hit the bottom. It was terrible.” She stopped and winced a bit with pain. It was clear she didn’t want to say more.
    “Oh my goodness, that’s so sad,” Barbara shook her head and looked down in thought.
    “Yes, that’s terrible.” Elizabeth’s mood was not as lively as it had been before and she looked with a new perspective at the railing by the escalators.
    What makes a person want to jump to their Death? She thought.
    She looked into the woman’s eyes once more and could see that whatever had happened would never be erased from this woman’s memory. She would unwillingly remember this day in years to come. Barbara and Elizabeth awkwardly thanked the woman and walked out of the store with slow, dragging steps. Elizabeth looked out to the railing one last time. She looked past it, right out the front windows of the mall.
    It had finally started to rain.

The Voices Sent Out into the Void

During some digging around for my dissertation, I stumbled across a speech made by a man named Bishop B. W. Arnett, and was struck by how familiar some of his words were.

Here are a few lines of his speech: “We do fervently pray and earnestly hope that the meeting held this day will start a wave of influences that will change some of the Christians of this land and the brotherhood of man, and from this time forward they will accord to us that which we receive in every land except this ‘land of the free and home of the brave.’  All we ask is the right of an American citizen; the right to life, liberty, and happiness, and there be given us the right and privileges that belong to every citizen of a Christian commonwealth.  It is not pity we ask for, but justice, it is not help, but a fair chance; we ask not to be carried, but to be given an opportunity to walk, run or stand alone in our own strength or to fall in our own weakness; we are not begging for bread, but for an opportunity to earn bread for our wives and children; treat us not as wards of a nation nor as objects of pity, but treat us as American citizens, as Christian men and women; do not chain your doors and bar your windows and deny us a place in society, but give us the place that our intelligence, our virtue, our industry, and our courage entitle us to…Judge us not by the color of our skin, nor the texture of our hair, but judge us by our intelligence and character.

I was shocked to discover that he spoke these words at the first Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893.  The last words I quoted particularly struck me; it was as if I had heard them before, but how could I have, when I’d never heard of this man before?  Then it came to me as perhaps it has for some of you reading this.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. echoed this same hope for justice in 1963, 70 years later, when he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  Most of us know the words of his famous speech, but how many of us have ever heard of Bishop B. W. Arnett?  

    This got me thinking about all the people in this world who are currently fighting for a better world but whose faces we may never see and whose names we may never know; and then I realised, I am one of them.  Although I am certainly not comparable to those who fought so bravely for civil rights, in my own way I fight for truth and justice.  I seek peace and I strive for a better world through the words that I write and the students I have taught.  Perhaps some will read my words and be affected, perhaps my life has made a difference for a few, perhaps one person will realise their ungodliness and wish to change, but it is unlikely that my name will ever go down in history books, nor am I likely to see the changes I so “fervently pray and earnestly hope” will occur.  I have come to realise that this is perhaps the hardest lesson God teaches us: God calls us to speak words of truth aloud and gives us the courage to do so, even if we never see any significant change.  

In our movie-magic, fast-paced, instant gratification world, I think we often expect corrupt systems and ungodly people to change just because we voiced the truth about them, but this is seldom what happens in reality.  In matters of truth and justice, change is often slow, painful and only a few voices mark moments of significant transformation.  The other voices, the ones that spoke so often and so loudly before a glimmer of that transformation was in sight, rarely get remembered and even more rarely do they get praised for the words that they spoke and the trials they endured.  However, I have also come to believe, that every time someone speaks in the name of God’s truth and justice, the voices of all those who spoke before them get echoed in their words and any praise that is received for the one person is praise received on behalf of them all.  For the voice that is heard and remembered, the voice that marks a day of change could never have been there without all the ones before it, sending out their messages into the great void of time in the hope that someday, somewhere, someone would hear them and bring about change, and in the knowledge that they would receive their reward from God in heaven for speaking His truth in diligence, no matter what.  What greater faith is there than this?  The very faith needed to transform our world.  And so I praise God and I refuse to be dismayed even when my eyes can’t see a difference because I can have true faith.  Praise God, we are all a part of something much bigger than just ourselves.   “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart…” (2 Corinthians 4:1).

Real Life Parables: In Memory of the Girl With No Name

I can still see her face. It haunts me at night sometimes when my mind wanders and I can’t quite go to sleep. I remember how I wiped the blood from her face and she groaned in pain. She was so small. She was so young. She still had so much life left to live, but whether she did or not, perhaps I’ll never really know. If she did survive all that she had to undergo, her life would never be the same.

“You never know when your time will come”

That phrase has never meant more to me than after the day I saw her.

I only saw her, sat with her, for a few minutes, minutes which mean little to nothing when compared to the vastness of time, but mean everything when compared to endless hours of joy and happiness that she will probably never know again.

Her grandmother walked beside her as she hopped and skipped down the street. That playfulness of spirit can only exist in little children. So full of hope. So full of dreams and possibilities. I often wonder exactly what game she was playing, and what pictures filled her endless imagination. I could see them both from across the street amidst the laughing and talking with my friends. We couldn’t have known–neither could they–that the second I glanced down and the second her grandmother didn’t see, there was something speeding around the corner of the street.

A noise.

A crash.

A scream.

And that was it.

She would never be the same.

We went over to help, but what do you do, and what can you say?

I remember perfectly the pain etched upon her grandmother’s face. The horror. The scar inside her that might never heal. She clutched the little girl to her chest and wailed, and frantically tried to comfort the shattered frame in her arms.

We tried to help. We placed her down upon someone’s backpack to keep her neck and head upright. Her eyes rolled back into her broken head and all I could do was wipe the blood off her face. Oh, God, I remember it all so perfectly.

How do you look all the terrible things on this earth and still have tears to cry? How do you live each day knowing that any moment could change your world forever? Any day could be your last, or the last of someone you love. Oh, God, help me to live a life prepared for whatever will happen in each day. May I live a life broken for the things that break your heart and a fire that burns with a love for all the souls you’ve made.

My friends and I were across the street from where it happened and yet I can still feel the shock of grief and the cries of help lifted to heaven for a little girl who changed my perspective of life forever.

Does she still live? I’m not sure.

If she is, does she still have dreams, can she still imagine? I don’t know.

My heart weeps for her, though I never even knew her name.

Fallen

I closed my eyes to what was broken
And covered all my doubts in dreams
I didn’t know how far I’d fallen

And every time I thought that life would hurt me
I let my fear of love push you away
And all this time you knew that I was searching
You made the paths wind round to You again.

You won’t let me fall far from your love
You know my heart’s not strong enough
You won’t let me fall far from your love
You won’t let me

I thought your promises were broken
My dreams got lost inside mistakes
But doubt is just an open door to faith.

I thought a life between would give me freedom
But I could feel my hope slipping away
All this time you knew that I was hurting
So you made the paths wind round to you again.

The time we have on earth is our great tragedy
When regrets don’t hurt bad enough
All the broken pieces are inside of me
But you look on me and say “This one, I love”

You won’t let me fall far from your love
You know my heart’s not strong enough
You won’t let me fall far from your love
You won’t let me

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