Sunset Happiness

Sunset Happiness

The miracle of a sunset to bring me happiness
Isn’t dependant on

How nice people have been to me,
How lucky I’ve been that day,
The grades I get in class,
How late I have to stay up to do my work,
Who wins the next election,
What people shout about politics,
How many friends I have,
How many friends have hurt me,
The storms I’ve had to weather,
The storms yet in the future,
The lightning frightening me now,
The thunder in the distance,
The wars the world is waging,
The rumors of wars to come,
The anger, the racism, the hate,
The yelling, the abuse, the pain,
The millions depressed or addicted,
The billions poor and dying,
Or any other aspect of the sadness or the wonder in the world.

If I can find something in the world beautiful
Without things outside my control going well,
That is joy.

Take my hand

This last week, I had an experience helping a friend who wanted to self-harm. Some of my thoughts about that experience developed into the first stanza in this poem, and the rest of the poem followed. 
I don’t personally struggle with temptations to self-harm. If you’re reading this and you do struggle with those thoughts, please know that you are loved. 

Take my hand 

“I cut my wrists,
So I know I won’t feel comfortable in heaven.”
Christ said, “my wrists were cut for you, 
Take my hand and you will be comfortable with me.”

“I’m different, I’m made fun of, 
So I know I’ll feel alone in heaven.”
He said, “I was mocked for being different, 
Take my hand, you belong with me.”

“My friends say I’m not good enough, and they left me,
So I know I’ll feel alone in heaven.”
He said, “in my darkest hour, my friends abandoned me, 
Take my hand, and I’ll always be your friend.” 

“I fail, and fail, and fail, and fail to choose the right, 
So I know I’m not worthy to be in heaven.”
He said, “I know how hard it is to choose to drink the bitter cup,
Take my hand, I can make you worthy.”

“The world has taken from me, and abused me, 
So I know there’s not enough of me left to go to heaven.”
He said, “the world abused and hurt me, too. 
Take my hand, I know you are enough.”

“Others are so much more righteous than I 
So I know I’ll never make it into heaven.”
He said “there’s room for everyone who wants, 
Take my hand, and you’ll make it with me.”

“I doubt myself, I doubt in you sometimes,
So I know I won’t hold on all the way to heaven.”
He said, “I will come back to you as many times as you need. 
Take my hand for this next step.”

“I’m a terrible person, I’ll never be worthy of love
So I know I’m not worth your help.”
He said, “Take my hand, and follow me.
Heaven wouldn’t be heaven without you there.”

Excellence in the little things

Written Apr 07, 2018

The title and idea of this poem is one I thought about often on my mission, as I noticed that the missionaries that were the greatest were those who strove to do even the small things as well as they could. This is something I have thought about a lot recently, and it rings true to me. One of my favorite quotes is “Most often it is the sacrifices we make to keep our covenants that sanctify us and make us holy,” by Sister Carol F. McConkie in her conference talk The Beauty of Holiness, and I think that fits perfectly with this poem.

Excellence in the little things

We who seek excellence
In eternity and in forever
Truly seek for excellence
In the little things.

Excellence comes after growing
From grace to grace.
If we never perfect our little virtues,
Perfect excellence will never be our virtue

Each of us, and this whole world
Changes all at once.
The question of excellence, then,
Is a question of how to grow in a storm.

Excellence is acting,
Not reacting.
Excellence is choosing,
Not living others’ choices.

Never shrinking from the fight,
However hard, however small,
Is more important than surviving.
That’s not why we’re here.

We’re here to become excellent,
Little by little, piece by piece,
The small battles, well fought
Truly lead us to our Captain, our Lord.

So fight the good fight,
Never give up,
And always seek for
Excellence in the little things.

God versus the world

God versus the world

The world says: “You need to keep in touch
with your phone as the world keeps turning.”
I say: “I prefer to stay in touch
with God, and His infinite learning.”

The world says: “Seek for wealth and prestige.
Money is what life’s all about.”
I say: “The joy that God gives, you can’t buy,
not for any amount”

The world says: “Power is what you should want,
seek for control and success.”
I say: “God is worth much more to me,
and in Him I’ll find what is best.”

The world says: “Don’t look for more out of life.
Right here and right now is all you need.”
I say: “Happiness and joy in my life
come as God becomes closer to me.”

The world says: “Always put yourself first,
your focus in life should be you.”
I say: “My God told me to go forth and serve
others who need my help, too.”

The world says: “Go, and be true to yourself,
and your dreams of who you want to be.”
I say: “I’d rather be true to Truth,
and God’s greater plans for me.”

Christ never said

I was reading Mosiah 24 for Come Follow Me this week (I’m a little behind) and I was struck by verse 14, where Christ seems to show that helping us in our afflictions is more important for us to build faith than delivering us from our afflictions. I decided to expand on that idea with other instances from scripture.

Christ never said

Christ never said that storms wouldn’t come,
He said He’d be a refuge when they raged. (Isaiah 25:4)

Christ never said we would not have trials,
He said He’d visit us in our afflictions. (Mosiah 24:14)

Christ never said He would keep us from wandering away,
He said He’d come and find us when we do. (Luke 15:4-7)

Christ never said we would not have grief or sorrow,
He said that with His stripes we could be healed. (Isaiah 53:4)

Christ never said we would be perfect in this life,
He said He would succor us in our infirmities (Alma 7:11-13)

Christ never promised we would never cry,
He said He would wipe away all tears from our eyes. (Revelations 21:4)

Christ never said we would not be heavy laden,
He said He’d give us rest, and make our burdens light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Christ never said that life would not be hard,
He said He would be with us always, even to the end (Matthew 28:20)

Behold the Man

Originally published 6-25-19

This poem is based off of Elder Uchtdorf’s eponymous talk and the scripture John 19:5, where Pilate pleads with the Jews to “Behold the man!” and to not kill the innocent Christ. I thought it would be fitting to share, as last week we read this in Come Follow Me.

Behold the Man

When encompassed with sharp grief,
Behold the Man.
When surrounded by pressing trials,
Behold the Man.

In affliction’s fiery furnace,
Behold the Man.
Under guilt’s crushing weight,
Behold the Man.

In bleak, hopeless night,
Behold the Man
Who died the darkest yet most hopeful day.
Behold the Man.

See Him as who He truly is—
Behold the Man.
Follow Him, love Him,
Behold the Man.

Peace will come when we
Behold the Man.
So come to Him, remember Him —
Behold the Man.

Sometimes He Calms the Storm

Originally published 03-10-19

In high school, someone I knew made a clay model of an empty, mostly sunk boat. The title of this art piece, and the inspiration for this poem, is “Sometimes He calms the storm, sometimes He calms the sailor.” I thought this especially fit the Come Follow Me for this week, where Christ calmed the tempest.

Sometimes He Calms the Storm

One bright spring day, a fisherman
left home to ply his trade.
With a prayer to God to return him safe,
he sailed into the waves.

He cast his net, and gathered in fish
to feed his family poor.
Then, with a prayer of thanks to God,
he started home once more.

Then, suddenly, swift winds arose
and a storm was all around him.
He fought to steer and stay aboard
as waves began to pound him.

The sea attacked and stole away
his fish, his nets, his oars,
and the lonely seaman, struggling, desperate,
fought the storm for hours.

And as he strove to stay alive
his hour of death seemed near,
and, in hope and desperation,
he lifted up a prayer:

“I ask this not for me, alone,
but for my family, too.
Please help me live through this fierce storm
to give them house and food.”

And as his boat was bashed by waves
the sailor saw a single ray of light
pierce the clouds and strike his boat,
and he felt all would be right.

The sailor then felt peace so deep
it seemed to calm the storm.
He felt that God was next to him,
and his soul felt still and warmth.

Though pounding waves still crashed and raged,
though the water felt like ice,
though the sailor’s fate was still in doubt,
He felt serene inside.

I don’t know this story ends,
perhaps he lived, perhaps he died.
I don’t know if God wanted him
to die, or to survive.

But I know this: in seas of live
were each faced with storms of trial and danger
and though sometimes God will calm the storm,
sometimes He just calms the sailor.