A Terrible Week

I found myself crying a lot this week. I don’t mind a good cry, it can be rather cleansing. However, this emotion I experienced had layers. It had begun early in the weekend, the truth of a sudden turn in my life had reckoned itself to such a degree I felt for the first time I was unable to turn back. I realized pain, and sought some way to reduce the impact of my fears. But I couldn’t, the foundation had been laid down, and I was now faced with never being given another chance to redeem myself. I think the most difficult aspect of that reality was that I was confused with what was real and what now is illusion in my life.

Never is illusion an easy outlet to define. The term suggest we are ill in our own state of mind, to such a degree, we are compelled to create something out of nothing. In doing so, I remained stuck in my own quandary over how I lost someone I really loved. Everything in my life became one-sided, and I had no recourse. I was no longer connected to the security of our passage of time, and I was forced to imagine life without her.

And then it happened. Something bigger than any of us could ever predict. I lost two people in my community that recognized a certain culture buried in backlash and discrimination. Two people died under unusual circumstances. I watched someone I was very close to unravel, and it was difficult to experience. At the same time, I kept wanting some explanation in another part of my life that leaves me today, extremely alone.

I didn’t find relief, and tonight as I write these passage, there is still no peace.

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For There Is Love

muslim-woman-praying.jpg

We are taught to know love,

a spectacular spiritual solemnity

we embrace

wonder

wander through our lives

with a constant

in some evaluative sojourn.

 

We know lives

touch the spirit of others

in quiet encounters

a silence can speak so

tenderly in its clarity

to know her,

answer him,

wander through a myriad

of human condition

centered proclivities.

 

Yet in the quiet

of loss

of tragedy

of the knowledge

we do not have,

though sometimes protest

to hold the key

to why it is

who we are

what we might become

in such judgment

we can never really know

beyond our ability

to show compassion

in the eyes of hope

 

For it is this confusion that draws

the most stolid heart to tears.

Two Lives – A Cultural Divide

Dedicated to the short lives of Bushra Abdi, 19, and Zeynab (Hapsa) Abdalla 19


girls


 

There are already open wounds

two young women lost their lives

their final moments

in a panic with 911.

 

We have these preliminary assumptions

the dead can no longer speak

a certain beauty will now forever

encompass the memory of their lives.

 

What happens in the middle of the morning

to find the soul and heart

crying for safety, lost in a certain mire

unable to see, perhaps without ability.

 

Now we have to listen

we have to hope in the midst of tragedy

no foul play, only the reality

of two lives ending in such a tragic way.

 

They perished in a city

in a hot bed of controversy

the marginalization of a society

lived and breathed until this day.

 

We will wonder the bystander

if there are questions to remain

perhaps two children in the throes

of living each day like their last.

 

They will be, were, are always loved

ours is not a place to judge

only find the peace of finding Grace

finding paths for their soul to rise.

When A Mass Shooter Commits Suicide

I feel lost and helpless, out of control,

I cannot fathom the pain that is now endured

by the family, the friend, the community,

the loss of life so random and unexpected,

… and this has nothing to do with the shooter.

 

I’m left in a fury of angst and simple confusion,

I know the emotional drain of being human,

living out our purpose and striving to be,

and like Hollywood, just when we realize …

… and this has nothing to do with the shooter.

 

I think we all think about how a person’s day begins,

the same as yesterday, perhaps a sweet happiness,

or even probably the angst of having to be the machine,

another day of social squabbles and night’s end purpose.

… and this has nothing to do with the shooter.

 

All of these moments we’ve all felt together,

we know the sense of sunshine in the morning,

we understand the beauty of a co-worker,

the laughter of a memo, the reality of our family.

… and this has nothing to do with the shooter.

 

There isn’t a day when we are awoken

by the silly notion of our mortality, when thriving

seems to be our goal. There is no reaction

to the possibility our life will be taken with random …

…. AND THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SHOOTER!

 

THIS PART has everything to do with the shooter,

because those lives, those people that were so important

to everyone far beyond the trigger of your cowardice,

deserve an opportunity to COME TO LIFE AND WATCH,

WATCH YOU SUFFER INDIGNITY, YOUR FLAWED PURPOSE ON DISPLAY!

When My Father Cried

It was the changing season,

a tragedy,

we were all crying,

dumbfounded and surreal

the moments ahead

forever.

He was heart-broken

no place to stand or sit or feel,

just simple pain,

always and forever,

misty eyed and helpless

to the reality of the human condition.

He’d been tested,

he’d been traumatized,

together

ships passing in the night,

his words to soothe,

his reaction lost in agony.

 

How could the world ever be normal again,

when his son had left to travel,

and nearby,

a consoling brother,

a relative of sorts in marriage,

in a consoling gesture,

suggested a distraction.

 

How might he react any other way,

then lose faith in humankind,

when the soul of his world,

remained lost in the mechanics.

There is heartbreak to be noted,

when one’s dream

suddenly fades

while all of those around

have no idea the strain.

Fallen Shadows Still Rise

We might think of them as a memory,

the pain of losing them,

the loss of heartfelt passions and laughs,

we might imagine them a memory.

 

Yet, their shadows can still rise,

it is where we left them,

forced to say good-bye,

we remembered how they stood against the wall.

 

Oh to have the fortitude,

of those quiet souls,

the bodies left behind,

and yet still, the strength they show beyond.

 

We wondered out loud,

why should I be left alive,

who’s the lucky one,

who’s the recorder of their sweet mystique.

 

I wander sometimes quite a distance,

before I land,

I recognize my shadow always remains,

it is a spectacular sunlight.

 

Oh, to hold the sweet caress of yesterday,

to know the beauty we have all a reveal,

to touch the universe in one short life,

is to know the serenity of time …

 

It is inside the mystery of time,

when our shadows rise again.

Recognizing Who We Are Today! (a draft)

We experienced a tragedy in (our community) last week. We lost a young man as the result of a traffic accident. He touched many hearts. The city, the district, the students were all impacted by the loss of (student), a student known by many for his affectionate and charming persona, an infectious personality. I listened to a couple of students the night of the tragedy talk about the immediacy, how quickly a life is taken, that we cannot quite comprehend the confusion such a loss leaves us when just hours before they were standing right next to the young man, full of life. We are all surely saddened by tragedy, yet, we are also enlightened by the way the students rallied around the celebration of this young man’s short life. In an intrigue, this experience speaks to an aspect of the beauty of our lives in (our community) as we recognize the diverse nature of our community.

On Friday, as the news flooded social media the night before, the students all wore white to honor the young man. I was amazed to look around the school and see nearly 90% of the student body dressed in white. The sight provided a welcome contrast to the negative image our district has attained in recent months. Here’s why.

What happened inside our school buildings on Friday mattered to the students, they were the ones being represented and cared for, and they responded with more unity than I have seen in my career as a teacher. I watched a school that put aside curriculum for the day, and reasoned with the reality of the human condition in every step of the way. In mid-day, there was a service, known as a ‘smudge’ provided by the young man’s family – his Native American heritage celebrated – and in attendance easily hundreds of students witnessed a cultural phenomena with open arms and respectful intrigue.

I said to a friend of mine late Thursday night, that (young man’s) loss would be a unifying force for allowing our students to recognize life as a whole rather than an individual need for survival. I watched kids from every walk of life hug one other, speak kindly to each other, and embrace grieving in a thoughtful and beautiful manner. (young man’s) death was responsible for that coming together of a school district.

Even more intriguing, I attended a football game that night, a ‘Friday night lights’ experience during which both the visitors and the home team wore white to symbolize (our community) tragic loss. It was remarkable to watch the unification of two school’s students who all recognized together the beauty of life and the tragedy of loss. But together they created and expressed a natural silver lining. Ironically, several schools around the region also showed unity and compassion by wearing white in a symbolic gesture of support. My boss said to me today, ‘It’s a small world’ when I shared my delight in the actions of many.

This weekend we celebrate the loss of a beautiful young man, one that I did not know personally, but understood to have touched the lives of many, including many students in the drama program, for which I am an advisor. The lesson learned from this weekend’s start of the healing process, is that we as a district do embrace the beauty of a unique population of student body that do and can believe in one another if given the proper resources. We as a community need to do our part in assuring our students that we can go forward together.

I think (young man) is imagining how special our world is given his new perspective, and his engaging smile is suggestive of our need to recognize his gift and not forget the message his role in the circle of life provides us all.

*names withheld to respect the student and family.