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

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.

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.

The Man Who Climbed the Mountain

The Man Who Climbed the Mountain.

I went to climb a mountain
To see the lofty view,
But the journey turned out to be more difficult
Than I expected it to.

I started up the path
And soon I saw a field of flowers.
I plucked a few, I smelled the scents,
And lost a couple of hours.

I began along the path again
But soon the path grew very steep.
I slowed, I wandered back and forth,
Night fell, and I had to leave.

The next day I started up again,
Committed to reaching the top.
Past the flowers, up the climb,
Determined not to stop.

The path turned thin, along a cliff
And I almost turned back to the base.
It took me hours, step by step,
To conquer my fear in that steep place.

I passed flowers in the final stretch,
Walked along cliffs, climbed paths quite steep.
It wasn’t as hard as it was at first.
Then, finally, I reached the peak.

I saw the view a different man
Than the one who started out the climb.
I conquered my distraction, laziness, and fear,
And in the end, that is what made the view so sublime.

Dehydration

Most people who know me know I really don’t like to be dehydrated, and so I carry a water bottle around all the time. When I realized the spiritual parallels, I decided to write this poem.

Dehydration

I notice quickly when I get dehydrated.
My mouth gets dry, I feel a headache grow,
My mind pushes me to go and drink,
And my body yearns to just be filled.

Because of this, I carry a water bottle
Just about everywhere I go.
I drink from it often, I refill it a lot,
Staying hydrated is important to me.

I notice, too, when I get spiritually dehydrated.
I feel sad, I lose perspective,
My life feels empty, blank, and unfulfilling,
And my spirit yearns to just be filled.

And yet, I don’t carry a spiritual water bottle,
A prayer or a scripture in my heart.
But Christ is more important than dead water,
And He will fill my cup to overflowing.

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.

The Difference

At the sacrament meeting I went to this week, a missionary spoke about ministering, and he said “the difference between a lost soul and a found one could be a text or a call. You never know.” I decided to expand that idea into this poem.

The Difference

The difference between a lost soul
And a found one
Could be a text hello, prompted by the spirit
To a man lonelier than anybody knows.

The difference between a wandering soul
And a purposeful one
Could be a call out of the blue
To a woman struggling not to cry.

The difference between a lonely soul
And a belonging one
Could be an invitation to catch up
With an old friend.

The difference between an aimless soul
And a devoted one
Could be a sincere “hello”
To someone who doesn’t know they’re noticed.

The difference between a stranger
And a friend you never knew you missed
Could be a simple smile
To someone without enough smiles in their life.

How Grateful I Am

How Grateful I Am

How grateful I am for the friends that I know,
Friends who I see and make my smile grow,
Friends who I cherish and help when I can,
Friends who help me a better man.

How grateful I am for my family, blessed,
Family that accepts me when I’m a mess,
Family to laugh with, to play with, to love,
Family forever with God up above.

How grateful I am for the earth where I live,
The earth that selflessly, generously gives,
The earth full of beauty, of life and of joy,
The earth that we all are blessed to enjoy.

How grateful I am for the words of the Lord,
The words of the prophets who testified bold,
The words of disciples who struggled like me,
The words of the scriptures, so inspiring.

How grateful I am for the Savior, dear,
My Savior who, when I’m troubled, always is near,
My Savior who loves me when I stumble and fall,
My Savior who helps me to grow to my all.

Gospel Shoes

In preparing for my mission, I invested in a nice pair of mission shoes. They lasted me my whole mission and are still the shoes I wear to church now. It was a great investment, I love them.

Gospel Shoes

The gospel is like my new pair of mission shoes,
Like me when I was baptized, they’re clean,
Shiny, and full of promises of long use.

The gospel is like my newish pair of mission shoes.
A little uncomfortable at first,
It feels a bit tight, and I don’t know if I like it.

The gospel is like my best pair of mission shoes,
Molding to my feet, supporting my sole,
And often unnoticed in the help it gives me.

The gospel is like my used pair of mission shoes,
Trusted in storms on and relied upon,
Dear to my heart and important to me.

The gospel is like my old pair of mission shoes,
Quality standing the test of time,
Worn familiar by my footsteps.

The gospel is like my well-worn pair of mission shoes,
I put them on and think about the paths I’ve walked with God,
I smile, and I take another step.

May God Always be With You

May God Always be With You

My friend,

May you be blessed and comforted,
May you be strong and true.
May your light shine so all the world can see,
For I’ve seen it in you.

May the Master Healer tend your wounds,
May the Good Shepherd watch over your soul,
May you feel love for all God’s children,
For your love can make them whole.

May you never regret your choices,
May you repent quickly whenever you need,
May peace and joy be your rewards,
For you let God succeed.

May you stand tall as you stand for truth,
May the devil fear your name,
May you choose to always fight God’s fight,
For you belong with him again.