Hold Up My Glass

With the recent events of our great nation,
Our amazing land,
People have a choice of how,
How they will respond.

These horrific events on the American soil,
These events stir the people to stand by their fellow American.
These horrific events,
These events drive people to murderous rage.

Terror knows no bounds,
Comradery shows no defeat.
Hatred burns the soul,
Devotion spreads like a wildfire.

Through the tumultuous events,
Dedication shines through the grief.
Accolades to those who stop,
Stop, and reflect on these events.

To those who reflect,
To those who react positively,
I applaud,
And hold up my glass!

This glass is no ordinary glass.
This holds newness of Spirit,
Of Love,
That surpasses all understanding.

Glass

The Forbidden Dig

Digging was forbidden. Rex may not be the smartest in the new Cocker Spaniel mix litter, but he learned fast that the people did not want him or the others digging a hole in the ground. Rex was 8-weeks now. He watched as those in his litter slowly went away, never to be seen again. He missed them. But, at least he still had his mother. She brought warmth and support, something he cherished. But digging, that was his enjoyable activity. Even the owner’s pup, Leo, enjoyed digging with Rex! Yet, when Leo’s mother would find him digging with Rex, she would get upset with him, along with Rex.

Truly, this forbidden hobby only drove Rex toward further ambition to dig. He wondered what he could be missing out on. Was Leo’s mother holding out on him and Leo? Who knows, maybe his other furry siblings were on the other side of the yard.

The next day after Leo’s mother put Rex and his other siblings outside to frolic she decided to return to the house and became busy inside. Rex saw this, realizing it was his opportunity to pursue his dig. He romped to a corner of the fenced yard where he had worked previously, alone and with Leo. He noticed the once long journey to this part of the yard seemed shorter and easier. The blades of grass no longer tickled under his belly, and the minor holes in the lawn that once impeded his running abilities seemed to be gone now.

When Rex arrived at his post he looked to see that between his work and Leo’s work not much was accomplished. He frowned, for he knew it would take a long time for him still. Rex wasted no time and began to dig. To his surprise he dug deep enough before Leo’s mother returned to squeeze through the beautiful hole. After he was on the other side of the fence he observed his new surroundings. Surprisingly, they did not look much different that his own backyard!

Moments later, Rex heard Leo and his mother calling for him. He sensed panic in their voice. His own mother began to howl. Rex never heard this sound before, but instantly knew his mother was calling for him. She sounded sad. Rex attempted to return to his yard through the hole he dug, but he could not squeeze through this time. He began to whimper and howl for his mother.

Before long, a strange new person ran up to Rex and picked him up. “You must be from Gigi’s new litter of pups,” the stranger exclaimed. “I think I’d better take you home. Leo told me of the fun he has with you and your siblings.” The stranger glanced at the ground. “Ah, you must be Rex! Leo told me that he enjoys digging with the red, furry puppy name ‘Rex.’”

Before long, Rex was returned to his familiar surroundings. This time confined to the indoors, forbidden to return outside unattended. Although he felt shame and embarrassment, he was very happy to be back.

Forbidden

Fence Sitter

She sat on the fence each and every day that summer. It seemed odd to those who zoomed by in a rush each morning. She seemed to become a fixture on that fence each and every morning, and the late afternoon.

One esteemed lady had finally had enough of observing this young girl sitting on the fence. It was a Wednesday evening. The lady, Mrs. Clout, who managed one of the upper end department stores nearby pulled to the side of the road. She indignantly exited her car and walked toward this girl with a scowl already upon her face.

The girl paid no attention to this finely dressed woman. And oh yes, the girl knew exactly who Mrs. Clout was. The entire town knew of her. If it hadn’t been for Mrs. Clout half the town would be out of work…in a financial depression. But Mrs. Clout swooped into town two year prior and saved it! And, with this knowledge the nobody girl appeared to be ignorantly daydreaming.

“Pardon me young lady,” Mrs. Clout’s refined, haughty tone would ordinarily send chills down anyone’s spine.

The girl continued to daydream.

“Excuse me!” Mrs. Clout was irate now.

The girl’s gaze drifted to Mrs. Clout.

“Well…?”

“Oh, hello, Mrs. Clout! How do you do?”

Mrs. Clout could hardly contain herself now. Why was she even bothering spending her time trying to speak to this young nobody?

“Have you even counted the cars, Mrs. Clout? Or watched the day from sunrise to sunset?” The young girl’s gaze was now watching the cars that drove by the fence.

Mrs. Clout’s jaw dropped. She was utterly confused about the girl’s topic. Here Mrs. Ilene Clout stood before her, and she wanted to talk about the cars and the sun?!

“Listen young lady…”

“Fate.”

Ilene was shocked that this girl would continuously interrupt her. She hardly had time to spend with this girl. She figured her simple question would only take seconds to be satisfied. Instead, she found this girl led her down her own web of musings.

“Excuse me?” Mrs. Clout snapped.

“My name is Fate. I know your name is Mrs. Clout; it’s only fair you know my name is Fate Higgins.” Fate smiled, “What was it you were saying, Mrs. Clout?”

Ilene had slowly become confused with this precarious conversation with Fate. She thought momentarily and remembered her point to stopping to speak with Fate in the first place. “So, Fate, I am a very busy lady with little time to stop and have a conversation with a perfect stranger as yourself, but I….”

“I’m no stranger, Mrs. Clout! I’ve lived here in Hucksaw for the entire 17-years of my life!” Fate protested.

Exasperated, Ilene began to feel defeated. But, defeat was no part of her persona. She continued, “I was unaware of the details of your life, Fate. Listen, all that I wanted to do was ask you why you have been sitting on this fence each and every day that I pass by?! There, I got my question out.”

Fate grinned. “Is that all, Mrs. Clout? You stopped your busy evening to ask me, a simple girl, why I sit on this fence?”

“Yes. Although, in retrospect, I must say that I regret spending the past ten minutes with you. You’re exhausting with your shifty conversation.”

Still grinning, Fate replied, “Well, I appreciate your company, Mrs. Clout. People usually don’t spend two minutes conversing with me, let alone ten!”

“Well?”

“Oh, that’s right. Sorry. I have nothing better to do. I enjoy watching all the people, cars, and the day go by, Mrs. Clout. You know, you can learn a lot about people and their likes and dislikes if you simply watch them.”

“But don’t you have friends you’d rather spend time with? It’s the summer. Your free time.”

“Mrs. Clout, look at me and learn about me. I’m a weirdo, Mrs. Clout. Haven’t you been listening to me? Hear my slurred speech? Look at my eyes and arms, Mrs. Clout. I can’t wear any of the “normal” clothes that you sell at your fancy department store…people are usually afraid to talk to me because they take one look at my eyes, and realize I’m ‘different’ and then, they look at the rest of me and confirm their thoughts.”
Ilene looked closely at Fate and noticed for the first time that she was indeed ‘different.’ “Oh Fate, I’m so sorry!”

“Why?”

“I had not noticed.”

“Mrs. Clout, you are a smart, successful lady. I thought part of how you became successful was through observation. And, my life is really great. I don’t need to be in a hurry to enjoy life. I’m perfectly happy with it just the way it is right now.”

Ilene grinned, “I guess I have been too busy observing the wrong things in life.”

Fate chuckled, “Maybe so.”

“Will you be here tomorrow, Fate?”

Fate nodded, “Moments before the sun rises, Mrs. Clout.”

“Do you think I can join you tomorrow?”

Fate grinned, “Sure you can, Mrs. Clout!”

“Okay then, it’s a date! See you tomorrow, Fate! And please, call me Ilene.” With that, she waved at Fate, got into her car, and departed until the next morning.

Fence

Sal, the Soul Companion

He walked her to her front door at, groceries in tow, looked at his watch and said with a smile, “Well, it looks like our time is up for this week! I’d love to help you with these, but you know protocol….” His voice trailed as he walked away.

Jean looked at the pile of grocery bags, sighed, and waved good-bye to her companion assistant who helped her twice each week with simple chores that she simply could no longer do on her own. She was only 53 years old, but her medical dilemmas caused her continuously agonizing pain and the weakness of a small child. These issues slowly intruded her daily life years before, but she never imagined the debilitation it would ultimately cause her.

Jean was a prominent business woman before the medical issues overtook her life. Since her childhood she knew she was different. She was never good at sports, and at a young age would become exhausted sooner than the other children. He pediatrician informed her parents and her of her future decline. The thing that her pediatrician did not inform her of was along with the physical ailments; she would lose trusted friends and loved ones. Her family would eventually leave her due to the burden that she became.

Jean was alone. She had Phil, her 23 year old companion assistant, who was in fact, the same age as her daughter and two years younger than her son. She took herself on brief walks around her neighborhood when she had the strength, but that was random and rare. She had special transportation to her church each week, but again she felt as though she posed a burden to her fellow church members, so never asked for assistance.

On Sunday morning, Jean waited for her special transportation bus to arrive. She noticed that today her typical driver, Saul, was late. This was unlike him. Saul was usually early and waiting for her! She looked at her watch and noticed that he was only five minutes late. She figured this was no big deal. She sighed, and then she heard the bus rumble into her driveway. She smiled discreetly.

Jean opened her front door with a smile and blurted with a sparkle in her eyes, “This is a new surprise, Saul….” She looked at the new driver standing on her doorstep. He looked to be a kindly, narrowed framed, man in his early 30’s. He had light brown shoulder length hair, pulled in a ponytail under his bus driver’s cap, and a neatly trimmed beard and mustache. Surprised she exclaimed, “Oh! I’m sorry, sir!”

The new bus driver apologized, “I’m sorry for my tardiness Ms. Tucker.” He glanced at his watch and continued, “I believe we shall arrive to your church in plenty of time. This is my first day on the job, so headquarters gave me a small number of riders today. Shall we be going?” He held his hand out to assist her to the bus.

Jean grabbed the driver’s hand and smiled hesitantly. “Where is Saul today, uh…?”

“He has the next two weeks off. He’s on a family vacation. And my name is Sal.”

“Oh that’s right! He’s been talking about the vacation for the past two months. My, how time has flown by!” She smiled, glad that her Sunday driver was finally on his anticipated vacation.

“Jean, I don’t mean to be intrusive, but after I drop you off at church, I don’t have another rider until I pick you up. May I attend your church service with you? Maybe you can introduce me to some of your friends.”

Jean’s face scrunched warily. She hesitated to answer as she boarded the bus.

Sal smiled saying, “No pressure, Jean.” He began driving.

When the two arrived at the church Sal assisted Jean to the front door of her church.

Jean looked at Sal and said, “Sal, I’d enjoy some company at church. I don’t have anyone to introduce you to because there’s something about me that people don’t like.” She shuddered embarrassed at her disclosure.

“That’s okay, Jean. I’ll park my bus and meet you in the church foyer.”

When Sal entered the church he found Jean sitting alone in a church pew. When he sat next to her the parishioners stared. Sal and Jean worshiped together as though nobody else were present.

After the service ended Sal and Jean walked back to the bus smiling and aglow. “Sal, thank you for attending the service with me,” Jean exclaimed. “I haven’t felt so spiritually filled in ages.”

“I’m glad you felt the Holy Spirit, Jean.”

“I don’t know what was different, other than having a companion who actually wanted to socialize with me. I even feel like I have an extra bounce in my step!” Jean appeared to be in less pain than usual after her church’s service. This was unusual.

The next week, Sal attended with Jean again. This time she entered the church with him, radiant, approachable. Parishioners greeted her gladly, saying that she seemed in a positive mood. After the service, one of the ladies even invited her to the women’s weekly after church dessert.

Jean looked at Sal, as though worried she would be abandoning her fare home – her friend.

“You go ahead with them, Jean. It seems my work here is done. Please be sure to express my gratitude to Saul for recommending that I take you to church. I believe you have found true companions within these walls.

Companion

The Summer Miracle

She woke with her alarm, one minute before the sunrise today. She jumped out of bed and ran to her front door. She felt as giddy as a tot! She turned briefly and blared her music that played intense, awakening music.

And then, she watched the first ray of sunlight rise from behind the far off mountains. Mary’s face creased with each wrinkle upon it as she smiled broadly. In her mind, with the first ray of sunshine on this summer equinox, the season of Summer officially begins! She watched a while longer until the sun shone completely from behind those mountains. The music continued, dramatically thundering in the background.

An hour later, Mary drove her 1984 Cadillac down the small town’s main street. Now, the music pounded in her car, and she still wore a joyful smile on her face. She stopped at the busiest area in town. Shuffleboard and skateboarding occurred.

Mary exited her car, but let the music pound on. As a matter of fact, she turned up her tunes for all to here. And then, she pulled a small stool from her Caddy’s backseat and stepped on it. She lifted herself to the roof of her car and began to dance to her tunes, with arms raised high in the sky and a broad smile on her face. She sang loudly, “Praise You in the morning! Praise You in the noontime! Praise You ALL the time! Praise You for this beautiful day, this beautiful new summer day!”

The shuffle boarders dropped their shuffle sticks. The skateboarders stopped their boards. Passerby’s and others watched in disbelief. Sirens in the background of the music slowly became louder as they got closer to the scene.

Mary amazed all who watched even while the EMT’s gently assisted her off of the roof of the car. This 99-year old had not left her house since the first snow last winter. And now, the first day of summer lifted her spirits and soul right out of her abode!

Summer

Aimless Enjoyment

We wandered around all through the town today.
Aimless was the enjoyment,
The destination was null.

Fun to be had,
On this special day,
Father’s Day fun was the ultimate goal!

We returned to our fortress
Refreshed with glee
With unexpected treasures in tow.

We feel whole as a family
Wrapped in His love
As we create fond memories to stow.

Aimless

Understanding Shoe Strings

It is as easy as 1+1….or could it be more difficult like a^2+b^2=c^2? Whatever it was she was having the most difficult time understanding what her mommy was saying. Bunny ears? Since when do shoe laces morph into bunny ears? Seriously!

Penelope was a big kid, really. 3-years old now and she had already completed her transformation into big girl underwear. She could recite the entire Pledge of Allegiance, the Lord’s Prayer, and the ABC’s for goodness sake! But this shoe tying business was quite the undertaking. She focused while her mommy showed her for the fifth time now in 20 minutes! It seemed ridiculous that this was so challenging.

Why wouldn’t those bunny ears – shoestrings, to be precise – cooperate with her?! Penelope thought for a moment. If her mommy was telling her that the shoestrings had suddenly become bunny ears when she started to tie them, then maybe there was more to this shoe tying thing than meets the eye. Penelope realized that maybe she needed to befriend the shoe string. She was going about this all wrong before!

Penelope watched her mommy again. This time she watched her mommy’s attitude toward the shoe strings. She realized that Mommy treated the shoe strings firmly, yet was kind, so as to not hurt them. Maybe Mommy didn’t want to hurt the shoe strings’ feelings! She realized that Mommy only needed to tie her shoes once a day. And, in return Mommy’s shoe strings stayed in good condition for her and lasted longer….allowing their relationship to last as long as the shoes!

Penelope looked at her own, old, worn out shoe strings. She realized that she never gave them any thought before now, except when they would untie for the zillionth time in any given day! She would become frustrated at the shoe strings and run all over them before Mommy would call her over so she could tie them for her. Mommy was always nice to her shoe strings. She would even remind Penelope to be patient so she could tie them well. And then when Mommy was done tying her shoes, she would pat her foot gently on the shoes strings. Like she was reassuring the shoe strings! Mommy was looking out for them….being nice to them. And the bunny ears knew that too!

Determined, Penelope’s fingers changed as the tension that was once in her fingers eased, she relaxed and smiled at the shoe strings this time. She whispered to them, “Okay little bunny ears, I’ll take special care of you. But, we need to work together to take care of each other. I’ll be gentle with you, and when I finish tying you, then you stay tied to keep me safe. And if you flop untied I’ll make sure to carefully tie you up again. I understand now that you and I have a relationship! We help each other stay safe!” This time Penelope was successful. She smiled grandly at her mother once the final loop was tied. She exclaimed, “I did it all by myself Mommy!”

Understanding

The Clueless Do-Gooder

The Clueless Do-Gooder

“Here. You dropped your pen!”

Brandon looked at Goth suspiciously. Who cares that I dropped my pen? Brandon thought to himself. Nobody helps anybody anymore. Especially in the modern business world. Brandon winced at Goth’s friendly smile. He extended his hand to take the pen and feigned polite gratitude, “Thanks, Go-, er, Gordon.”

Gordon looked Brandon in the eyes, smiled genuinely, and responded, “You’re welcome, Brandon! And, thanks for addressing me by my name. The nickname can stay at the high school these days.” He smiled once more and continued walking down the padded flooring of the corporate business office where the two young men worked.

Brandon watched Gordon walk away in disbelief. Just four years earlier the two men graduated from high school. Brandon was a famed basketball star who attended the prestigious Galahein University on scholarships and promise. Gordon, on the other hand, lived up to his nickname while in high school. He was quiet, dark-natured, intimidated even the most confident kids with a quick glare, and was sure to do things that earned his fearfulness. In high school no one had any care or hope for Gordon’s future.

Now, looking at his former classmate was like looking at a completely different person. Brandon was recently hired at Sportelle Commercial Banking, Inc. knowing that his outstanding basketball career at Galahein was a factor that helped him to get the job at the esteemed banking firm that received acclimates due to its unique source of revenue – athletics. How Gordon was hired was a mystery for Brandon.

Brandon observed Gordon in the following weeks, nearly stalking him at work and out of work. Gordon was observed doing small and large good deeds in the observations made. Gordon hardly slept, yet was consistently polite and cheerful! To note, Gordon helped the busy and overworked secretaries when he had time, as well as the mail clerks in the office. While he was crossing the street he assisted an old lady cross the street with a large amount of groceries, and proceeded to assist her to her house while carrying the groceries. He also interrupted some neighbor kids at their neighborhood baseball game. The teens playing on both teams were nearing a brawl. But, Gordon helped them work through the issues and continue the game agreeably. Next, Gordon was seen walking into a local bar, the kind that Brandon would suspect Gordon to attend before his transformation. Brandon naturally figured that everyone has skeletons in their closets; however, Gordon’s would not be a total surprise. He sat outside the bar for several hours, waiting in his car to finally see Gordon walk out of the bar completely sober and helping the inebriated patrons to the local sobering facility. Then, after watching this act 12 times Gordon returned to the bar, and walked out with the wait staff 20 minutes later, helping them carry the left over bar food to the local Mission. Brandon could not believe his eyes! Brandon couldn’t help but wonder, who is this man that he now sees? And why does Gordon fascinate him this way?

One Sunday morning Brandon decided to follow Gordon around his daily business, curious of what he would be doing on a holy day. Surprised, Brandon discovered that he arrived outside of Gordon’s apartment too late. Gordon had already begun his day, and it was only 8:00am. Gordon hurried into his car and drove away. Brandon followed Gordon a bit behind. Where would Gordon be going to at 8:00am on a Sunday morning, he wondered. Slightly surprised, Brandon found himself pulling into a Christian church parking lot. Actually, it was the same church he’d attended as a teenager with his family! Some of the parishioners that Brandon watched walk into the church were familiar faces….older now, but he knew them.

Embarrassed that he himself no longer attended church, Gordon continued to drive through the parking lot to the nearest exit. Suddenly, Gordon stepped in front of Brandon’s car, causing Brandon to slam on his breaks so as to avoid hitting Gordon. “What are you doing?” Brandon fearfully and angrily yelled at Gordon.

Gordon smiled peacefully. “Brandon, I know you have been watching me for the past few weeks. I was a completely different person in high school than who you see today. But please, don’t leave the Sunday service on my account.”

Brandon pulled into the nearest parking spot and got out of his car. “Yes, for some reason your life change has really enthralled me Gordon. What happened?”

Gordon knew that was only half of Brandon’s questions. He grinned answering, “The Lord works in mysterious ways, Brandon. What I want to know is why did you ever leave Him?”

Dumbfounded, Brandon had no reply. He was at a loss for words knowing that he had allowed his life to become too busy to find time for church anymore. With his basketball, college, now a new and promising job….and stalking his once hardened high school classmate.

“Well, whatever it is Brandon, please come to church with me today. Who knows what you might find!”

For the first time in a long time Brandon felt nervous and excited, void of vulnerable confidence as he walked into the familiar church with his colleague.

The Boiling Kettle

Simplicity is all it takes.
The smallest spark, the faintest thought,
It comes so easily,
Unexpectedly at times.

Merriment can be amidst one fellow one moment,
Laughter and gaiety,
Delight.

But then in the next moment
A subtle nuance of emotion can flare
For no apparent reason.
But you know the reason,
No matter how small it may be.

Like a kettle that begins to heat up
From the coolness of its original form.
Innocently placed on an unsuspecting burner
Until the coils within begin to warm.

The kettle warms.
The water within begins to heat.
It’s fair to moderate
Harmless really.
The water then begins to writhe within,
Slowly becoming uncomfortable,
Painful,
Then absolutely unbearable.

The kettle next whistles,
It may be unheard at first,
It whistles some more,
Then louder,
Screaming on the stove top,
Helpless.

The difference?
The brewer knowingly placed that kettle on the stovetop.
The one who has control can free the kettle from the agony,
The burning heat.

But who can save you?
Who can free you from the anger within,
That simmers,
Then brews,
Then outward screams,
In the evident pain that you feel,
Or the agony thrust upon others?

Others cannot control your anger,
They may dare to assist you through the phases of the boiling kettle,
But you are responsible.
You have resources within to practice, use, or even rely upon.

The anger that rages within lasts as long as you allow.

Angry

Circus ease

She did not know what to do next, or what to expect for that matter! The colors above her head were painted across the sky of the giant canopy. She oohed and ahhed at the artists as they gracefully flew in the air, throwing each other across the diameter of the tent. How was it possible? Was she dreaming?

He gently squeezed her hand with reassurance that he was still beside her. Yet, she was breathless with captivation that she not only forgot to breathe, but forgot that he was next to her. How could she forget? She’s waited longer than he realized for a day like today. The first date. It was not a customary first date, which enchanted her more about him!

Next were the bears, giraffes, lions, and tigers. All were amazing! Up next, the clowns, the snacks, balloons, and pranks. All the excitement was endless. The daredevil motorcyclists astounded her to a halt. She did not laugh, inhale nor exhale. Her eyes watched cautiously. She now held his hand tightly, and shuddered ever so slightly with fear for the stunts people’s safety. She knew they were skilled at their craft, but still….

He walked her to her front door, gently holding her hand. She trembled now with excitement from the circus she watched, and with relief from the ease of not needing to put on her normal circus act on this first date!

Circus