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 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.

Not Too Much to Ask

Not Too Much to Ask

My God gave me my everything.
Everything that makes me bright and happy.
I’m truly in His debt, He loves me so,
My love for others is not too much for Him to ask of me.

He gave me every breath I breathe,
My body, with such detail and quality,
My every moment is because of Him,
To spend those moments helping others is not too much for Him to ask of me. 

He guides me onward, leading me right,
I travel on His paths to mountains I can’t yet see.
He leads me away from rocky roads of pain,
My heed to His directions is not too much for Him to ask of me.

I know that I can live with Him
Because He died for me on Calvary. 
My hope was paid for with his broken heart,
My living to come back home is not too much for Him to ask of me. 

He gave me my heart, my mind, my strength,
And asks so little in return from me. 
And yet, to Him who gave me everything,
I will give whatever He asks of me. 

Gratitude Day 1: Friends

In following the Prophet’s advice, I wanted to post a poem every day this week, instead of just on Sunday as I usually do, listing things I am grateful for. Today I wanted to #GiveThanks for the many friends I have, and the times they help me in my life.

Friends

Friends who let me talk to them 
When I just need to talk,
And get it all out in the air,

Friends who sit there while I cry,
When I feel like crying is all I can do,
To let my emotions out.

Friends who accept my cookies and hugs
When that’s all I can give,
Though they need so much more. 

Friends who make me feel like I belong,
When loneliness is heavy on my mind
And belonging makes it better. 

Friends make life a better place,
So thank you, God, for all my friends,
And please, help me be a good friend, too. 

Hugs & Cookies

I’ve had a couple of experiences this week where friends were struggling with problems I didn’t know how to help with, or even how to begin to comfort them. While making cookies for one of my friends, I realized that even if I can’t do anything to really solve their problems, I can do a little bit, through cookies and hugs and many other ways, to bring a little bit more joy to this world. Even though I can’t do everything, I can do something small that matters.

Note: if you are seriously struggling with the things mentioned in this poem, please seek help.

Hugs & Cookies

When Addiction shreads your life apart,
And nothing matters more then your next fix,
Let me hug you untill you know you matter,
And let fresh cookies remind you how reality tastes.

I have no cure for Depression,
No way to stop the bleak, oppressive thoughts,
But I’ll bring you cookies so you know life’s not all bitter,
And hug you so you know there’s someone there.

When Anxiety’s crippling thoughts have you trapped
In a downward spiral I can’t break you from,
I’ll hug you until you remember someone else exists,
And bring you cookies, so you know somebody cares.

Loneliness will tear you down to worthlessness, to dust
And I don’t know how to build you back up.
But I can bring you hugs to show you that you are not alone,
And cookies to remember me by when I’m gone.

I am no Atlas who could lift
The Stress from off your shoulders.
But cookies can distract you for a bit, help you relax,
And hugs make the load lighter, I have found.

I’ve never been Assaulted, Abused, or Cast Aside
I don’t know how to heal such deep scars.
But if you want, I’ll hug you so you know real love exists,
And bring you cookies so you know others truly care.

When good friends Take Their Lives, and forever leave us,
I cannot bring them back, though I may wish I could.
I’ll bring you cookies, so you know you’re not in this alone,
And hug you so you know your pain is felt and heard.

I can’t do very much against the struggles of this life,
I’m just one man, and the world is just so big.
But my love is real, please see that in my cookies and my hugs.
I’ll do my small part to bring you joy.

Always Remember Him

I really enjoyed general conference, and I will likely have some poems in future weeks about some of the messages. For this week, here is a poem I wrote on my mission:

Sep 03, 2018

My poem for this week was written in answer to a question my brother James had: How can we literally fulfill the commandment to “always remember Christ?” When I first heard this question, my mind went to a quote I had heard by President Eyring: “I have learned… something about always remembering. Fathers and mothers who love their children already know it. It is this: The child may be absent. The cares of the day may be great. Yet love for the child can be ever present in the heart of the parent, coloring and shaping every word, every act, and every choice.” I once thought, on my mission, that the Gospel should impact every part of our lives. I thought about it, and my mind thought “There is no way that the Gospel can influence the way I clip my fingernails.” With a little bit of thought, and D&C 42:41, I realized that we are commanded to be clean, and therefore it does matter. Maybe that’s a little bit of a stretch, and it’s certainly an odd metaphor, but the gospel affects everything from how we work (be diligent and be honest, etc.), to everything we let it affect. That kind of relates to my poem. (It made more sense in my head):

Always Remember Him

We’re commanded, and we promise
Each week we eat the bread,
To “always remember Him”
Who made salvation possible.

But how can we remember,
Every second, minute, moment,
And still live a life-
Still think, still survive.

I don’t know the perfect answer,
But perhaps my thoughts might help
In understanding how we can
Keep our covenants.

First, I don’t think Christ means
That every moment, in our conscious thought,
We must think His name-
That just wouldn’t work.

But I think part of what He means
Is that every act and every word
Must be because of who we are-
Followers of Him.

When I help an old woman
Onto a bus, I don’t think (actively, at least):
“I must remember Christ”, but
I remember Him in what I do.

I don’t believe our life has any piece
That the gospel, if lived, cannot touch.
And so, as we consistently do what He would do,
We will find that we always remember Him.

Friends who ask of me my very best

Friends who ask of me my very best

Friends who ask of me my very best
are the friends I keep the closest to my heart.
They never let me get away with being less than I could be,
they see my potential, and the greatness that I could achieve.

Friends who ask of me my very best
also know how often I’ll fall short.
But they’re the friends I turn to when I stumble and I fall,
they’ll pick me up, they’ll dust me off, they’ll help me stand up tall.

Friends who ask of me my very best
will cheer with me whenever I succeed.
Jealousy is not the way they act, or how they think of me,
but their joy is for my happiness, and it comes selflessly.

Friends who ask of me my very best
point me to Christ, the best who ever lived.
He gave His best on every step from Bethlehem to Calvary;
in return, it’s not to much for him to ask my best from me.

My Greatest Friend, who asks of me my all,
yet opens heaven’s windows for each mite I give,
invites me to accept His sacrifice and honor what He’s done
to make of me my very best, and to bring me back to our heavenly home.

He Lived for Us

This poem stuck me as a great one to go along with Alma 34, which I read this week for Come Follow Me. is one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. I especially think about verse 10, where Amulek describes the Atonement as an “infinite and eternal” sacrificed. This has always struck me as odd, because although I certainly see that the effects of Christ’s sacrifice are infinite and eternal, the sacrifice itself seems to have been limited in time and scope. Christ gave up his life, but he was resurrected. He suffered, but He is not suffering now. If any of you have any insight into this, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

One thought I’ve had is that part of the sacrifice that Christ made was sacrificing His life as He lived it to be an example and to be worthy to perform the Atonement. He sacrificed His will entirely and for all eternity, not just in the Garden of Gethsemane when pleading if the cup could pass from Him. 

He Lived for Us

Written on my mission, May 6, 2018

On a mission one spends a lot of time studying and pondering the Atonement. One thing I have been struck with was that Christ didn’t just come down to earth, suffer, die, and resurrect. First, He lived a life. A perfect life. That means that every single choice, every single temptation faced, would have to be faced and overcome perfectly. I can’t imagine the sort of pressure this was on Him, but I am fortunate that because of His perfect life, our lives, though far from perfect now, can become better.

His first steps were not on the road to the hill called Calvary.
His first breath was not taken in the Garden Gethsemane.
His hands were first a carpenter’s hands, before nailed to the cross.
Before He died, our Savior and Redeemer lived for us.
 
Christ was born in Bethlehem, a baby in a manger.
He grew from grace to grace, though to temptation was no stranger.
He always chose the harder right, never the easier wrong.
The Mighty God Jehovah served the weak He was among. 

He taught us how to live our lives, He said, “Come, follow Me.”
He did good long before he died for us on Calvary.
He fulfilled His father’s will in all things from the start,
Until the end, upon the cross, when sin’s pain broke his heart.

He is a man of sorrows, well acquainted with our grief,
But He knew the way to give true healing and relief
Was to be perfect—to bear the weight of the world in every deed.
And when we make His soul an offering for sin, he’ll see His seed.

It’s as if He walked a tightrope over a pit to save a friend—
One misstep and down He’d fall, a poor and unhappy end.
But Christ was perfect! Every step was straight and strong and true
So He could qualify as sacrifice and die for me and you.

He’ll look back, and He can see the travail on His great soul.
But if just one man, through His sacrifice, can be made pure and whole,
He shall be satisfied, His joy in heaven how sublime.
How great a man, my Jesus Christ, how perfect and divine.

Would I See Him

Sent home from my mission Aug 07, 2017

The poem I want to share with you this week is one I wrote half of in the MTC around Christmastime, and I finished the rest of it out in the mission field. I thought about what kind of person I would be if I lived in the time of Christ—would I be a shepherd who went and worshiped the baby Jesus, or would I be one of the hundreds or thousands of other people in Bethlehem to whom this was just another baby? 

Would I See Him?

If I’d walked the roads of Palestine
in older, simpler years,
would I have seen a man
drying people’s tears?
Would I listen to His words 
and choose to follow where He goes,
or would I spit on Him, reject Him,
there in Calvary, alone?

If I’d walked the roads of Bethlehem
on a certain silent night,
Would I have seen a baby
in swaddling clothes wrapped tight?
Would I have knelt and sang his praise
and worshiped Him, my Christ, that day,
or would I have been too busy
and continued on my way?

And in the paths I’m on today
in this loud and noisy world,
do I make time to see my Savior
and His gospel flag unfurled?
To pray for truth, and seek His grace
and follow what He taught,
or will I never feel His hand in mine
and do the works He wrought?

As I seek to walk His paths,
and simply serve my brother,
will someone see me, and notice 
as I try to help another?
Will they see my work and think of Him
who served us each so selflessly?
I don’t know, but I did my part
And I that’s enough for me.

The Great Minister

Originally published 11-03-19

I had stake conference this weekend, and one of the speakers, talking about ministering said a line I really liked. I expanded the idea and turned it into a poem.

The Great Minister

I’ve never raised the dead
        back to life,
never been able to say “I know
        exactly what you’re going through,”
or “I’ve suffered through that so you
        don’t have to,”
never made a mountain move
        or multiplied loaves and fish.
never made up for every loss,
        every broken dream.
never “wiped away tears
        from off all faces.”
never been a perfect example
        to lead the way back home,
never died to save my friends
        and enemies,
never changed the world.

But, like the Man who did those things,

I can take somebody’s hand
        and lift them higher.
I can weep with those
        who just need to cry right now.
I can help make tiny miracles happen,
        with my simple prayers and faith.
I can follow gentle promptings
        and bless those I am near.
I can wipe one tear
        off of one face.
I can be a friend, be close
        to those who suffer.
I can let my candle,
        however dim, show the way.
I can give some hours of my life
        to help someone in need
I can change a life.