The little one

Remind me, Lord,
that I am the little one.
I can see a great big world,
Yet have little power to change it.
All around are people like me,
Yet they are not the same as me.

Remind me, Lord,
that I am the little one.
Choices come unexpectedly
And I cannot see their full results.
Once I choose a path to take
I cannot return the way I came.

Remind me, Lord,
that I am the little one.
Friends show themselves some days
But are absent for most.
Company is all around
Yet is also inaccessible.

Remind me, Lord,
that I am the little one.
I plan for decades in advance
Yet cannot predict what will come in one day.
Prosperity stays for a time
Then leaves unexpectedly.

Remind me, Lord,
that I am the little one.
I struggle with what to do in the present
And forget to recall my past.
The responsibilities of now
Overshadow Your provision in the past.

Remind me, Lord,
that I am the little one.
Impossible challenges for me
Are puny pebbles in your hands.
When I cannot make my efforts work,
You provide a way unforeseen.

Remind me, Lord,
that I am the little one.
Trials and questions bring me to my knees
Yet in them you make me grow.
Though misery may seem to have no end,
Your love is a promise and is never vain.

Remind me, Lord,
that I am the little one.

Vanity, vanity

The years which have passed
In a town I knew well
Have faded in my memory
In a mist I cannot dispel.

Good times came aplenty
With friends who gave me hope
Yet now that I have moved away
I can hardly cope.

Isolation sets in quickly
And pulls me toward despair
It leads me to a burnt-up country
Where life is found nowhere.

And here
I find
in this hopeless mess
Still I
can feel
my God’s call to rest.

It’s not enough, I cry out,
To sit from eight to six
And add to the empire
Which leads with brazened sticks.

Is there not another way
In which you can restore
This world to mercy and forgiveness
From greed and lust for more?

I find myself giving away
The wages which I earn
And simultaneously signing forms
Which promise I’ll be secure.

Yet while
darkness
leaves me angered and vexed
I find
respite
in your empathetic Text.

I’ve found no answer which can soothe
The sorrows from my vain labor,
But by one command I’ll face my struggles:
“Love God, and love your neighbor.”

The burden of stress

It’s a funny thing, this crushing feeling
That can come and go at any hour:
One moment we are living free,
The next we have lost all our power.

From where does it come? Does it fall from the sky?
For it feels like a comet dropped on my back.
My shoulders languish in bearing the weight
And to my mind it cuts no slack.

It knows no boundaries and never sleeps;
Each day as I wake it’s the first of my thoughts.
Cumbered by it, I rarely find
Shelter, in spite of how much it is sought.

Accomplishments and peace are its worst enemy
And fear is to its fire like wood.
Help us, O God, trust your grace in full
So we can vanquish this beast for good.

A poem: The infiltration of empire

Days are ordinary and repetitive
as we live for the prosperity of our nation;
yet a motivator behind all that we do
is selfish gain and fear of coming last.

This is the tension, love and lust: to give to others or ourselves;
to live in fear or in freedom; to live it up or give it all.
With ears to hear, O saints, listen and learn:
the empire of unrighteousness has invaded our lives in full.

We put on our shoes
before we think of our souls:
with the soles of our feet
we flee from all grief.

We do not know how to stop:
it goes against all that we do.
When life leads us to a red octagon,
we slightly slow, then speed off again.

The noises of business and pleasure continue
amidst the daily work of our hands.
We pretend to ignore their mind-numbing sound,
yet when they are silent, we fear and panic.

Our conversations seem sincere
as if we care for our friends,
yet in the back of our minds
we only care for our pocketbooks.

Children expect and wait all day
for their fathers to come home,
while fathers become slaves to work,
or go on the run to escape commitment.

We’re given weekends for family and friends,
and judging by our schedules
our spouses are potential clients
and our marriage is our mistress.

Divorce is second nature and first response
to conflict in covenantal love.
We embrace the anguish and frustration
and divorce our commitment to work through.

How long can we run before our pain catches us,
and binds our hands with the rope of despair?
We wear the masks of “I’m doing fine”
when we have no idea how “fine” feels.

What shall we do, Lord, since we are the ones
who preach a message of sacrifice and love,
Yet only love the all-demanding “I”
while hardly heeding our neighbors and you?

Living the dream but not feeling dreamy

Yesterday I received a letter in the mail from a dear friend. In it he told me how he has been keeping up with my life through social media and this blog, and he said, “… it sounds like you’re living the dream!”

I have had many dreams; this is not one of them.

Don’t misunderstand me: I see nothing wrong with having a full-time job in a professional workplace. Nonetheless, the quick transition from student to employee has left me shaking still from the change in lifestyle, as well as the lack of time to pursue my passions. It will likely do the same to most of you who are job-seeking college graduates or are still in school.

To anyone who wants to find fulfillment from “living the dream,” I give you this poem of my experience so far:

Living the dream but not feeling dreamy

I moved to a city, far away,
Thinking a job would bring satisfaction;
But the longer I work, day after day,
I feel like it is a simple distraction.

As a bird seeking shelter from the rain,
Wanting cover in branches of nearby trees,
I find no place for my head to lay,
So forward I trudge with weary knees.

Faith, hope and love–it is these three
Which keep me at peace in the long hours
And from my gloom they set me free
Refreshing my joy when it starts going sour.

For in this time of the Lord’s chastening,
I remember my hope, for it shows He loves me.