Every Beautiful Thing

A friend told me the other day about something suicidal people do sometimes, make a list of things they have to live for. It reminded me of a line from the 12 step book about making a similar list of things you value in your life and how much your destructive behavior hurts those things. If you do struggle with either suicidal thoughts or addiction, please seek help.

Every Beautiful Thing

Every beautiful thing
Is worth changing for.

Any glorious sunset
Can only truly be enjoyed
When the peace of the colors
Is matched by the peace in your heart.

The latter of success is not worth climbing,
And the height reached will be found lacking
If you leave behind honesty or integrity.

No race is truly won
If you placed first
But left pain and hurt in your wake,
Stepping over and past others to make it.

It’s a hollow victory
To conquer in the greatest battles in the world,
But be conquered within the silent chambers of your soul.

The moments before falling asleep
Are full of a happy peace when your life has earned it.
And only then.

In the end,
Every beautiful thing
Makes my life worth changing
For the better

God is

God is

God is
the water turned to wine
at the pleas of the mother,
duty and love bringing power forth.

God is
the whip, cleansing the temple,
the rage at defiled holiness,
and the tempest of love making it clean.

God is
the mud, dripping off of the no-longer-blind man’s eyes,
the tender mercies of love,
the healing of his touch.

God is
the tears shed over Lazarus,
the sorrow of a life gone for now,
only tempered by dreams of eternity.

God is
the laughs of the children
He always suffers to come unto Him,
however busy the world gets.

God is
the nails, painful reminders of the evil
in the hearts of the friends and enemies
who He was pierced to save.

God is
the blood that dripped from the cross,
collecting on the earth it was shed to save,
as the parched voice cries for mercy.

God is
the empty tomb, wept over
when you just want some small solace among the heartache
but even that seems gone.

God is
the scars graven eternally onto perfect hands,
proof of just how deep
love goes.

A Convicted Christian

A somewhat well-known quote, attributed to Jimmy Carter, is “If you were charged today with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” I was thinking about this the other week and wanted to put it into a poem.

A Convicted Christian

Brought in before a judge and jury,
Accused of faith in God.
The lawyers introduce the case,
And witnesses are called.

Friends and family, boss and more
Bear honest testimony,
And the jury deliberates
To decide if I am guilty.

Would witnesses all testify
That I spoke like a Christian?
Speaking with kindness, joy, and love,
And when others speak, I listen?

Or would people recall the epithets
And mean things that I’ve said?
Instead of Christlike language and care,
Did harsh words come out, instead?

And would the evidence show clearly
That I often read of Christ?
Would my scriptures, worn and well-marked,
Show who I turn to for advice?

Or would a dusty, unmarked book
Show how much those words matter?
No well-worn knees of pants to tell
To whom I turned in my disasters?

Could I testify, under an oath
Of times I lived by faith in God?
Of covenants kept under pressure
And faith maintained despite the odds?

Or would my life show a fair-weather Christian,
Believing when things go well,
And almost-lived moments of faith and trust,
When storms begin to swell?

Would the judge throw out the case,
For no evidence to convict me?
Would the jury reasonably doubt
That I was truly guilty?

Or would the evidence stand firm,
In a swift and clear conviction,
That I believe in God and live His word —
In short, that I’m a Christian.

Stay in the Boat

Our lesson in church today was about the talk Stay in the Boat and Hold On! by Elder M. Russell Ballard.

  1. Stay in the boat

Drifting down the river,
I see the calm stretches, but
Warned of the rapids ahead
I stay in the boat.

  1. Always wear a life jacket

Rowing in sync over white water,
Gratitude hits me at the lack of fear,
From having the safety of a team, and
The reassurance of a life jacket.

  1. Hold on with both hands.

When others take a turn at the oars
And the river bounces the boat,
It’s holding on with both hands
That turns the fear to joy.

Dont forget to stay in the boat!

When the rapids end and the boat pulls in,
I will be glad, with my crewmates and guide,
To have sailed through life’s rough river
And to end in joy and peace.

The more you know

The more you know

The more you know
        Of the rough journey,
        Of the struggles few see,
        Of the refiner’s bright heat,
        Of the scars from rough times,
        Of the sadness that smiles conceal,
        Of the traumas and unjust treatments,
        Of the disappointments and discouragements,
        Of the hopes and dreams and secret wishes,
        Of the love in hearts not often shared,
        Of the good deeds and promises,
        Of the true joy of sweet smiles,
        Of the planted seeds of faith,
        Of the sacrifices of love,
        Of the hearts touched,
The more you forgive.

With Tears of Joy

With Tears of Joy

I look up at the narrow road to heaven,
And look at my feet, wand’ring from the way.
I look back at the gospel path, where true joy can be found,
And wish that I could make it back to stay.

CHORUS: I stray from him, I fall away, I wander,
This covenant path seems too hard to complete.
But if He lets me try again to reach Him,
With tears of joy, I’ll wet His blessed feet.

I thought this gospel road would be so easy,
And trials would be small bumps on the way
But seeing all the mountains and the cliffs I’ve yet to climb,
I want to turn around and walk away.

CHORUS

I stumbled on the road again, exhausted
Unable to move on through my despair.
A hand reached down and wiped away a desperate, pleading tear.
Then I looked up and saw my Savior there.

CHORUS

My Measuring Stick

During church today, the high councilor made the observation that “When I’m looking at others, I don’t see the average person, and think, ‘I’m doing pretty well compared to that.’ No, I look at the very best person around me, and I see how far I fall short of them.” After some reflection on that, I wrote this.

My Measuring Stick

Jealous of him for how smart that he is,
Ignoring the talents I’ve got,
Distainful of those who just can’t understand,
Ignoring how I lack a lot.

Jealous of her for how social she is,
Ignoring the friends that I have.
Distainful of him for his social mistakes,
Ignoring my faux pas and gaffs.

Jealous of all of the good in the world,
Ignoring the good in my life.
Distainful of those who are worse off than me,
Ignoring my personal strife.

Jealous of early saints, who personally knew Joseph
Ignoring the modern Prophet’s calls.
Distainful of those who won’t follow Christ,
Ignoring the times my faith falls.

Jealous of Peter for walking on water,
Ignoring the miracles I’ve felt.
Distainful of Thomas for his lack of faith,
Ignoring all the doubts in myself.

Will you let Him in?

I wrote this on my mission. To make our house (well, apartment) feel homier, I hung up a lot of gospel art pictures, and on our bathroom door hangs the picture of the Savior knocking on a door. As I was walking by right before personal study, I saw the picture and the line “Will you let Him in?” came into my head, so I wrote a poem about it.

Originally written July 02, 2018

Will you let Him in?

Standing at the door and knocking firmly always stands
With piercing eyes and loving words and open arms, a man.
He waits for you to hear Him there and open wide the door
And when you let Him in, He’ll do as He has done before.

CHORUS: Will you let Him in, into your heart?
Will you let Him in, into your life?
Will you let Him in?
Will you let your Savior in?

Will you let the master Healer lift you off the ground?
Will you let Him take you home, where warmth and love abound?
Will you set your heart free from the sins that hold it down,
And offer up your life to Him, the King with Calvary’s crown?

CHORUS

Will you let the Savior have a place within your heart?
If you let Him in, then He can heal you, He can start
To change your life and make you fit to live with Him again,
So open up the door, and choose to let your Savior in.

CHORUS

Jesus at the Door (Jesus Knocking at the Door), by Del Parson

Gratitude Day 5: The Plan of Salvation

One of my favorite verses in the Book of Mormon, as well as one we are studying this week for Come Follow Me, is Ether 12:4. In that verse, Moroni teaches that “whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” In short, our faith in God leads us to hope for and seek something better, His plan is for us to become like and return to Him. I want to #GiveThanks for the Plan of Salvation and it’s impact on my life.

This poem is kind of based off of one of my favorite poems, Choose Something Like a Star, by Robert Frost; and one of my favorite quotes, which I first heard from President Thomas S. Monson, in his devotional Decisions Determine Destiny: “Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But . . . you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny.”

The Plan of Salvation

I walk along life’s paths,
with many blind corners,
many unknowns ahead,
and few road signs —
I often get lost.

The only things constant are
the world changing around me,
and the ever unchanging stars.

Some travelers I’ve met on my journey
have told me that the stars should be guides —
“You can’t walk far enough to reach them,
but they’ll always lead you true.”

Others say — “Stars are useless,
all that matters is the path.”
Though if you don’t know where you’re going,
there are so many paths to take,
and I don’t know where to go.

I try to follow the stars.
They remind me that, in the chaos of the universe,
something is eternally true,
eternally pointing
to a final destination
where God knows I belong.

The Jerusalem News

I was reading through my old mission notebook and found this fun little poem. I thought it was a cool way of saying that if we aren’t willing to open ourselves up to Christ, no amount of evidence will change that.

The Jerusalem News

Originally written 9/19/2018

The daughter ran home excitedly,
“Dad, I saw up on the road
a man who healed the sick
and cast out devils from the poor!”

The father looked up at his girl
from his morning Jerusalem News
and said “Sweetie, I’m sure it’s false
and a scam, it isn’t true.”

She came back another day,
“Dad, the man I talked about,
raised his friend from up the dead,
he stood and walked around!”

The dad sat, unimpressed,
with the morning paper and said,
“It’s all a fake, I’m sure of it.
I know what I’ve read.”

The daughter trudged in sad one day,
“That wondrous man of miracles —
they took him, now he’s dead.
It’s just so unbelievable.”

“Serves him right,” the father said,
“He taught odd, new things.
He said he was the Son of God,
he said he was our King.”

A few days later, she ran inside,
bursting through the door:
“He came back! He’s risen!
He came to life once more!”

The father shook his head.
“He can’t even stay dead right.”
He turned back to his newspaper
and read in the morning light.

Those who look and come to Christ
see the miracles He’s done,
see Him as who he really is —
God’s miraculous son.

But those who look no further
than the things they read or hear
Never get the wonderful blessing
of having their Savior near.