Fire And Ice

You were hot, then you were cold.
Weren’t sure you remembered bold.
Something had taken a hold,
Of your life and sold,
Your joy to the thief of old.

Clock out, then clock in.
Pay bills then spending,
More time worrying than enjoying.

Anxious escapades,
Trying to find the shades.

Places to hide behind,
Fancy frames and stylish.
Fuel your grind,
And smile’ish.

Nothing felt real,
Not even “real.”

Spiritual facades or authentic prayers?
When they laid their hands on you,
Was it tried and true?
Or was it a man-made cure for the blues?

So where is this power the church speaks of?
Where are these angels watching above?
And when it comes to push-and-shove,
Will you catch any blessings in your glove?

Life is harder than it is easy,
Those inspirational quotes pure cheesy.
Promises of things to come, just a tease.
Nothing seems to set your heart at ease.

So you wonder through the desert for 40 years,
Fill your eyes with many tears.
Occasionally stop to hear the cheers,
Of the opponent’s love of your many fears.

Shame has made its home here,
“Freedom” makes your heart sneer.
If you were free, things would be clear.
Wouldn’t fight the ice you see in the mirror.

Asking God to send fire from heaven,
To melt your calloused bruises,
Provide answers for your excuses,
To wipe away the memories,
Of things that happened and shouldn’t be.

If God is love, then couldn’t He;
Come down now and rescue me?

And this is the cry of many hearts,
Debating worthless politics,
While evading what makes the soul tick.

All this hunger and all these dreams,
All this thirst for bountiful streams,
All this prayer for all these things,
All this comfort for all these stings.

So Lord, I placed myself in open;
Admit that I’m one of the you’s that’s coping;
Struggling as an adult to fully believe,
That you really want what’s best for me.

So Father God come and make yourself seen,
Clear our eyes and answer our screams.
Fulfill your promises and walk in my dreams,
Sew my heart back together at its torn seams.

Ice cold, but ready to be hot.
Flame once and ice I’m not.
So heavenly fire come and melt the ice,
I know that Jesus’ already paid the price.

It won’t be easy and it won’t be nice,
But I’m ready to win life’s game of Fire And Ice.

fire and ice

When Green Eyes Meet Blue

 

There I was stuck in the trenches,
Prematurely pulling out my stitches,
That bloody kind of messiness;
I’m broken now, sure of this.
I hid my face from the One that could save me.
Save another; don’t even bother.
A failure even to my father.
But were these statements true?
Of course not. (My father loves me.)
Paralyzed again by anxiety,
Faking my own piety.
Snuggled on the couch with my love,
Quietly searching my own soul while she looked onward,
What a sight it must have been.
Watching your man wrestle within.
Green eyes that searched for light,
Finding only grey and darkness tonight.
Beauty saw me for what I could be,
Never ceasing to love fearlessly.
Cloudy numbness gave way to tears,
Realizing love like this will weather my fears.
Projecting my perfect expectations onto others, onto me.
You’d wear yourself out to spend a night in my dreams.
Fiercely working,
Forever searching.
Running, but not a runner.
Fearful, but always cheerful.
Brewing, but not a brewery.
Wondering why God’s decided to choose me.
Prolonging His call and staying out of sight,
Hard to ignore, even in the night.
A dead heart still burning bright.
And there Love’s love still loved me.
She held my hand and prayed for me.
Asked God to set my heart free.
I’ve met Beauty, and her name’s Allie.
So green eyes met blue,
A weary heart, yet true.
Eagerly awaiting what God’s about to do.
Baby, I love you.

Let’s Get It – Season 2

This anxiety in my chest,

Just trying to catch my breath.

Why am I such a mess?

Wanna get my life in check,

But there I was bouncing checks.

Figured that one out but have other problems,

Might take a couple seminars to solve them.

Am I a puzzle that needs put together?

Or should I be tanned like leather?

And there I was running,

Tripping and stumbling,

Feet pound the pavement,

While fists punch the air;

I gotta get out of there.

So I listen to music,

Think that’ll do it.

Run faster, run harder.

Last longer, get stronger.

Trying to channel the artist’s energy

Into me.

So I listen to that anthem-rap;

DJ Khaled, Thi’sl and other trap.

Problem is, I was born to create;

Their music’s great and sure I relate;

But none of it demonstrates

What’s on my dinner-plate.

So here I am writing,

Breathing, conniving;

Sitting here crying.

Wrestling with identity,

Wish I had a friend in me,

But view myself a frenemy.

One step forward,

Then sprinting back.

Can’t stay on track,

What do I lack?

Beauty’s mine,

Her love’s divine;

Patient and shimmering;

Her eyes are glimmering.

Family loves me deep,

So why can’t I sleep?

I’ve seen myself come alive;

I know what it’s like;

But I’ve yet to arrive;

Barely put in drive.

Yet here I am;

I’m standing.

Stare-down with the man in the mirror,

Calling him out to face his fear,

Praying for a whisper in his ear;

Missing the prophetic gift;

Heart’s been adrift.

Can’t stand the reflection,

My vanity, a misdirection.

So Jesus come back,

Don’t turn my soul black.

Heal my broken back,

Stitch my heart in-tact.

Keep me on these tracks.

Help my unbelief,

Because I believe in you.

But I don’t believe in myself,

Yet you’re in me and I’m in you.

Holy Spirit’s available for everything I do.

And help me with these emotions,

Turbulent like the oceans;

Dark waters and still deeps;

Crashing waves and breaking seas;

Some days it’s crushing me.

Give me the strength to face it;

Give me the perseverance to chase it;

Let’s Get It – Season 2.

We’ve got some believing to do.

stormy_seas_by_bkhook-d60s7o9

 

 

I’m Justin, Here I Stand

Heart’s in a panic;

Beating quickly;

Thump, thump; they’re voting Trump.

Don’t get political;

Turns hypocritical.

Temper your opinions;

You are just a minion.

 

No confidence,

Lack competence.
And these are the lies,

That catch me by surprise.

 

Because really, if you knew me.

You’d see the mirage right through me.

 

Bravery and intellect,

Inquisitive, that is correct.

I’m smart and unapologetic;

Communicate without the rhetoric.

 

More passionate than Romeo;

Come to me and your troubles go;

A counselor to and fro;

Not afraid to go deep;

It’s in the shallow-end, I’d likely sink.

 

So what causes me to come and drink?

These lies from the bitter sink.

 

A broken mirror I see into,

Wondering what to do.

How to become the better me,

Because me isn’t enough,

But he’d be – he’d be tough.

 

Through and through, a winner.

Respectable, with accolades,

A house with lots of shade,

Married and pretty great;

Crises averted and problems dissolved,

Justin – Evolved.

 

But I am what I am,

Sam I am.

 

An overcomer,

Not a bummer.

 

Strong and relational,

Rarely confrontational.

 

Come to think of it,

I like who I am.

I’ll write my name in this sand;

I’m Justin, here I stand.

 

#BeatKU – A Wildcat Poem

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

No one really likes KU.

 

Their arrogance

Isn’t happenstance.

 

So full of it, they’re bound to leak.

Perhaps that explains the big, yellow beak.

An outlet for when their head pops,

When the Hometown Heroes 3’s drop.
Welcome to the Wildcat Land,

Purple, black, silver brand.

Have you seen our band?
If not, you’re in for a surprise!

After all, that was The Enterprise!
Pride comes before the fall,

That excessive dunk Trump’d them all.
Faithful to our colors we shall ever be,

At least we’re conservative and free.

 

Keep your quidditch and your liberals,

Stay in Lawrence with its fake hills.

 

Keep your Crimson and your Blue,

But first, travel through the Flint Hills so K-State can beat KU.

Darkness

Hidden behind the veil of humor,

Lies the man in life’s stupor.

Couldn’t take a picture,

Without an elixir – I mean, filter.

Paranoid with perception,

Obsessed with perfection.

Always running from feeling;

Because if you sit in it too long, the world would be reeling.

In laughter,

Like the mad hatter,

It is only a matter,

Of opinion’s touchy bladder.

When dreams fall and shatter,

Or more likely, clatter,

To the ground,

When anxiety leaps and bounds.

People can’t see the darkness,

It’s heartless.

But it’s time to admit the journey,

You’re nowhere near a gurney.

Yet is not doubt something to pout about?

In a round-a-bout way,

Debate the theology of the day.

And politics. Liberty or socialism; even the pastors need justice.

Interesting the way we act.

With tact.

Filter this and delete that.

Do you even recognize the man in the mirror?

With his angry sneer.

It’s as if he forgot where he came from.

And that the church has named him.

Retreated to slavery because it was familiar,

Freedom’s taste was forgotten and hope had grown rotten.

But he won’t leave your dreams at night;

Won’t leave without a fight.

So as we sit tonight,

May we see the light.

Dreams tell me it’s quite the sight,

And that your journey is quite alright.

Roses Are Red (And Gifts & Things)

So I was driving mindlessly down the street toward the car-wash. Marvin The Martian, my handsome 2013 Toyota Camry, wasn’t looking so handsome. It was time for a shower. As I hit the gas in my powerful new car down Santa Fe, I remembered that she was in Price Chopper. A mixture of whimsy and a longing to surprise hit my chest as if Cupid, himself, had just set free an arrow that penetrated my tired, asleep heart.

Recounting all the sweet-nothings, countless gestures of kindness, cooked meals, free drinks, and hugs that still the choppy waters of my life – if only for just a moment – I realized aside from writing letters,  I’d yet to DO anything for her.

Excitement crept into my heart as I found Trudy, her 2015 Corolla. She was still there, picking up groceries for dinner that night. Awesome.

Goofily, I jogged into Price Chopper, power-walking like my Mom might down the front aisles. I kept a steady pace and kept my head down, hoping she wouldn’t spot me and the surprise would be ruined.

Arriving at the floral section of the store, I found the last dozen flowers worthy of her beauty. Roses are red, her eyes are green. Chameleons of shade and ever-changing, they’re constantly serene.

Hurrying to the register, I pay for the roses and head out to the car. There was a family parked nearby, probably waiting on their mother to return with groceries. And in true Justin fashion, I awkwardly looked through the drivers-side window to make sure the peace-sign pendant she has hanging from her rear-view mirror was there (how disappointing it would be to brighten the wrong girl’s day!). I’m sure the kids in the car were becoming worried I was a car-jacker.

But to their surprise, I didn’t steal the car. I took a dozen roses and secured them underneath one of her windshield-wiper blades.

“Mission accomplished,” I skipped off to my car like an excited high-schooler that’d just taken the leap of faith necessary to ask a pretty girl to Prom. And then Marv and I headed to the car-wash…

So why is it that I share this story with you? Well, it’s fun to tell. Also, she’s gorgeous. Her name is Allie. And she’s my girlfriend. Hallelujah. But there’s more to it than that.

You see – we all have a gift. My gift is words and encouragement and letters. Hers would would be random acts of kindness, being a source of comfort, and giving all she can to her friends.

I’m a terrible giver. Gifts are not my gift. For years my poor friends have received letters, while I’ve received probably a thousand dollars worth of Starbucks gift-cards (my bachelors-degree thanks you for your caffeinated blessing). More often than not, I’d rather spend that money on a night at the movies or a couple beers at my favorite bar.

But my world is evolving and I decided to stretch myself, and it felt great. I’d highly recommend it. Perhaps you’re an excellent giver. This is true of many of my friends. They are just naturally gifted in not holding onto their riches for their own sake. They’ll pay for you to join them on that trip, or to keep your caffeine-addiction alive one more day.

But maybe they’re naturally introverted and reclusive. They love to give gifts, but they get uncomfortable when it comes to quality time. What if they spent that extra hour of awkward face-to-face time and invested in seeing where the heart-to-heart conversation could lead that evening with the friend they don’t see that often?

Or maybe they’re naturally very affectionate and affirmative. They love people. They’re the “I just love you, man” guy when they’ve had a few too many drinks. And they’re hugging all the bros in the dorm. But they’re terrified their words aren’t good enough to actually impact another’s life? What if they wrote a letter? What if those words lit a fire within their friend’s heart again?

You may not be good at it now, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck there. I’m learning that we are not defined by our failures. I’m bad with money and not incredibly disciplined with my diet and exercise. But these items do not define me and I can overcome them. I’m bad at gifts, but I’m giving better (see what I did there?). Your level of intelligence and skill in a particular area is not forever-decided-upon. If you stretch yourself, you will grow. If you get a little uncomfortable, it’s a sign you’re learning. That’s great.

So roses are red. And her eyes are green.

Let’s use our gifts and acquire some others, if you know what I mean.

(Up next – a better poem than that ^ in the near future.)

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