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

Slay a Dragon Every Day

December 7th, 2020, marks the 4 year anniversary of me leaving on my mission. Later this week will be the 2 year anniversary of me coming home from my mission. I have a lot of thoughts about it, and it seems really fast and really slow at the same time. One of my many thoughts about it is that time will keep going whether or not you use it, and that thought inspired me to write this poem.

The title, Slay a Dragon Every Day, comes from a line I heard in a zone conference on my mission. I thought it was a regularly used phrase, but apparently not. I think it ought to be, though.

Slay a Dragon Every Day

It was the first competition of the Marching Band season.
This was my senior year, I was ready to march
The best I ever had, and play the best I’d ever played.

I marched onto that field, and 10 minutes later I marched off, sweatier and out of breath. 
I thought about what I’d just done.
I hadn’t marched or played or performed any better than I usually had,
But I also hadn’t marched or played or performed any worse.

In fact, I had done just as well as every day I had practiced.

I thought about that for a while.
If I had practiced with more intensity, I would have performed that way.
If I had given 110% every day on the practice field,
That’s what I would have left behind on the performance field.

I guess that’s why the saying goes
“Slay a dragon every day.”
We each get the same amount of time,
If we spend it fighting metaphorical orcs or goblins,
We may get something out of it.

But if we slay a dragon every day,
Or at least mount the hill to fight one,
We’re living up to all that we could be,
And not settling for less than giving
110% every day.

We Battle on for Greatness

We Battle on for Greatness

Originally published 02-15-19

We battle on for greatness,
but forget just what that means.
The largest house? The richest life?
such are façades we trade for dreams.

And we give up ourselves,
as we fight to reach the peak.
We rationalize ninety-nine percent good,
and leave the one lost sheep.

We forget the shoulders we ride on,
and let no one stand on ours.
we fight to the end, and find that
the fault was not in our stars,

But that we fought for height, not brightness,
and inside, we are no star.
Our lamp would not guide poor lost sheep
through the darkness very far.

So never trade your values,
Whatever trials may come.
The final battle, after all,
Is for who you will become.

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