A Difficult Month

I have experienced loss this month, not simply grief of losing a loved one to the natural course of life. More presence and banishment. Not hostile as much as confusing. Many aspects of life have been exposed, many others kept in their dark holes of quiet solace from revealing my greatest fears. And yet there is the heartbreak of our lives that we always keep close to ourselves in order to find some sanity in our day to day.

I have known love on so many levels, and now I am being asked to love alone, without any recourse beyond knowing in my own seeming understanding of God or some spiritual entity that love does exist and continues beyond the mechanical or physicality of the human condition.

My belief is in God. I have kept that tucked away for many years because parts of our society do not accept the reality of some of our own ways to find personal strength in ourselves, in our lives. I remember a time over a decade ago when I was struggling and when finally coming to terms with whom I was in the moment, I sat in a chapel, looked at an altar and began to feel the tears stream down my cheeks. I didn’t hold back, I just let them fall, and the memories began to flood my mind. I thought immediately of my cousin Billy, who I miss so much, and my parents, and my childhood, and like a film reel my life ran its course of recall and redemption. I realized that morning that I could be okay with whatever decision I make in life because it is my own. I believed that day, that God was looking over me, and offering forgiveness. It felt unique in contrast to the many times I would on my knees or in a fetal position pray that God might take me out of this miserable life. That day God held my hand.

Recently I have returned to the church and it has offered me a unique peace. Though I still walk through my days with questionable motives. I have very good friends, a support system that is just short of phenomenal, but are we ever completely satisfied? There is a void in my life that I created on my own, that I find troubling because I fall into patterns of neediness that won’t allow that to be fixed. I have made a choice in my life that I could not possibly regret because moments do teach happiness and truth.

Today, my words gradually become more revealing. I hope they might speak the truth in what I feel, not simply words to fill the page and find reader’s eyes, but words that would somehow tell a story that when other’s hear, they have their own quiet ‘yeah’ moments. My mother always called them ‘aha’ moments, so I save her mantra for myself because I do love her and miss her dearly. With my dad the two taught us as a family how to live with one another no matter the struggle. We used to spend hours in debates with all of our family around the old oak table – freedom of thought without judgment. Something I miss dearly, but in writing we can find and use that venue to our own advantage to help define our thoughts.

So it has been a difficult month. I have returned to work in a capacity and the students are clearly my life blood. I see them throughout the day and their smiling faces is all a person needs in the moment. It is the hours afterwards that I will continue to struggle to find my own space, my own identity, my own truths.


© Thom Amundsen 2/2020

Deep Thinker

Sometime, long ago while he was wishing for more,

a word crossed his lexicon

while a simple analogy

the eccentricity of normalcy

caused him a stir.

Always the wish for routine,

easy marks,

a leisurely stroll through challenges,

an alluring sanity,

might bore some, but for this man,

his desire to thrive got in the way of

humility.

Had to know, needed to show,

wanted to

wanted

want to fit in.

Do the sands your feet grace along the ocean waves,

feel the same to you as me,

or do they trigger a different reaction?

Might you think of home differently,

than the others

the thousands,

the minions who somewhere, some other time,

walked along the same grains,

wondering similar yet,

far different realities.

Well then it is true,

after all the thought and compelling advice,

we do want the same thing.

Yet who decides the depth of

any single

any collaborative,

any obligatory

journey toward the sun.

I Found a Letter

One of those earth shattering moments

When the truth hurts so badly

One of those I see it this way man

And I’m struck blind

One of those, I wish you could just be a

Normal part of our society

~

I found a letter that said these words

That to me felt just bad

Such a powerful word is bad, just bad

Reminds me of so many days

When in the heat of the moment the end

Result again pointed back to me

~

I could never run away from my personal demons

They’re always lurking about

Waiting to remind me of that particular

Time while I was searching for

Something is always in the way of my happiness

I think it is easily found

~

Because I see it in everyone’s eyes except

My own seem to falter

I want I want I want and then again I really do

And then you tell me once again

Shadows seem to suspend themselves around me

When in the midst of challenge

~

I found a letter and it seemed to say that everything

I worry and compel myself with is simply here to stay

Many Voices

I am in this room. A place where

People gather often alone. There are

Separate moments taking place

Everywhere. Yet it all seems close

~

In each interaction a choice is made

To say hello with our eyes or just

Toss our glance back to a computer

Screen …

~

We all have a façade that we

Work really hard to contain

Now if we can let go the negative

Connotation – façade, fake, pretend

~

We might recognize value in each individual

~

Interaction

Table crossing

Physical adjustment

Spilled coffee

Unmuted favorite song

– and now listen –

~

We don’t have to be different

We can all love and laugh

We can avoid the insecure scrutiny

That makes pretend our reality

~

By being present, we do exist

Long enough for the person nearby

To recognize a feature of your identity

So, that isolation might be in vain

~

Unless, of course

If we take a long walk in the forest

Continue going forward over brush and tree root and rocks

Come upon the edge of a cliff after miles of hiking

Without looking back

We then do find ourselves alone without anyone seemingly …

… Watching

~

Nature’s grasp upon our soul

Allows our physicality to interact

As human beings God’s peace exists

What happens when listening walks away?

Sanity has an Edge

Feel that?

The moment you lose control

The conversation takes a turn and suddenly

You can’t find that comfortable stone you were just

Looking at a second ago

While

You formulated

A new thought.

~

What triggered that pang of anxiety?

Was it loss?

Perhaps it meant a blow to your pride?

Could it have been an over-reaction?

Hard to know but damn as my eyes scramble

Along the gravel below me if I could just

Find that stone …

~

I know.

I should go work out!

Work out, flex my joints; release my tension

And somehow shut down

My mind for the afternoon before I feel like

Throwing that stone through a glass wall

If I could just find the damn thing,

My balance

My boulder towards contentment

Show me a distraction from this angst

Playing with my head.

~

How do we get here?

What is the driving force behind anxiety that

Preoccupation, a dwelling, nervous tick

Of confusion

Lacking any control, helpless

To mastering an outcome that favors your passion.

~

A rock, a blade of grass, a certain piece of landscape

That allows the mind to recognize a static reality.

The Departure

I chose a route today

One perhaps not realized

When Frost speaks of travels

The message is plain

A simple analogy

The challenge is classic

Well aligned; easy, suggestive

~

Yet, what if my path

Had huge obstacles

Ones that I knew I couldn’t surpass

What would be the point?

Validation?

Recognition?

Satisfying an urge to succeed

~

Where is – waiting for me

When I wish upon a …

What value – speaks me?

Why do we seek answers?

Who cares?

~

Truth is

Looking outside my window tonight

The rains are sweeping the avenue

Winds bending trees in a surreal

Mix of pelting atmosphere

And yet here I continue to breathe

~

Is that enough?

Crossroads

Oh, I’m tired

exhausted with the strain

plodding along

trying to withstand

society’s

ever incessant expectations

For isn’t that it?

Truly aren’t we all wishing

otherwise

looking ahead, anticipating

another bridge to cross

a goal to meet

an end to the challenge.

What if that ‘journey’

were actually His way

of suggesting our lives

are meant to be in continual

motion

seeking

wishing

hoping

everlasting …

Peace

is awaiting our minds

if we might allow the future

notion of restless yearning

to just simply rest

at the crossroads.

Sit back and marvel the view