Nothing More and Nothing Less

Nothing More and Nothing Less

I was talking with a friend today who told me that their biggest fear was failure. Not being smart enough or good enough or capable enough to live up to what people expect of them. This poem is a response to them and to anyone else who fears failure.

Be you – that’s all I ask of you,
Nothing more and nothing less.
To be all you can be, my friend,
Is all that I request.

You won’t disappoint the world
In falling far short of perfectness
Those who love you don’t just love
The parts you show off to impress.

And God, who loves you most of all,
Has perfect knowledge that you possess
So much good, and kindness, and care, and love,
When sins and errors you confess.

I don’t expect a perfect friend,
It’s fun together to progress,
We’ll push each other to work and grow,
To each do better than yesterday’s best.

And as we work to be our best selves,
We’ll take time to breathe and rest.
Take time to pause and think and laugh,
And in our mental health invest

So walk some more with me, my friend,
Life is good, and we are blessed.
Be you – that’s all I ask of you.
Nothing more and nothing less.

Life Lessons Learned on an Ice Skating Rink

I went ice skating this week, and it occurred to me that there are a lot of life lessons that can be learned from some time on the rink:

Life Lessons Learned on an Ice Skating Rink

If you aren’t falling down or coming pretty close, you aren’t trying new things.

When you do fall down, just laugh at yourself and get back up.

When you focus on what other people are thinking of you, you mess up what you try to do.

Rarely, if ever, will you be the best skater in the arena, and that’s okay. There’s room in the arena for amazing people and people still learning how not to fall down.

Don’t forget to have a fun time.

You can look at the amazing skaters and think, “dang, why am I not like that?” Or, you can look at them and think, “what are they doing that I can copy, to be like that, too?”

Sometimes, you try something and it turns into a flailing 720° spin. Some people may look at you and think about how bad a skater you are. Just laugh at yourself and keep on skating.

Nobody in the arena is happy to see you falling down.

There are a couple of different really great moments. The moment you master a trick. The first time you do something hard right. Just feeling the wind in your face. Teaching somebody else how to do something.

You don’t have to be doing the same thing as everybody else to have a really fun time.

When a song comes on that you don’t like, remember that it’s just a couple minutes. When a song comes on that you do like, figure out how to dance with ice skates on.

Don’t forget to laugh at yourself.

To Friends Who Know How to Hear Silence

Originally published 08-21-19

I have had several experiences this week that have taught me
the priceless value of friends who know how to really listen. When I wrote this
poem, it wasn’t based on any specific personal experience, but I think we all have times
in our lives where we need friends who know how to hear silence.

To Friends Who Know How to Hear Silence

When the loudest noise is the stubborn air conditioner,
            and tears rolling on cheeks,

When words are gone, are incomplete,
            though repeated however heartfelt,

When it seems that each man—and I—am an island,
            an ocean away from true connection,
            an ocean away from humanity,

When all I have inside that must be said has
            no words, no true names,

When my thin voice cannot capture my bursting soul,

How thankful I am for friends
            who know how to hear silence.

Break All Bonds

Originally published 05-07-19

This poem was inspired by the Come Follow Me for this last week. I loved the line in Luke 13:16, where Christ describes healing a woman on the Sabbath as “loosed from this bond.” I like the imagery, and I wrote this poem in response.

Break All Bonds

When an ox
falls in a hole
would you not each
rescue her?

Do you not—
even on the Sabbath—
lead your sheep
to be watered?

A daughter of Abraham,
too, can be loosed
from her bonds
on God’s day.

He who breaks all bonds
comes now to you:
will you let Him free you
today?