The Sky and Me

cornfield with clouds overhead
What I see when I look out my window now.

Take your cities
Take your stores and theaters
Take your histories and markets
I’ll take the open sky
Where I can see
The sun rise and moon set

Take your cities
Take your events and ease of living
Take your things to do
I’ll take the open sky
Where the stars are

Here the woods are still wild
Where the hawk flies and wolves hunt
Where the sky is a canvas
And the stars are bright

Take your cities
Take your wonder and opportunities
I’ll take the sky
Where I can stand and breathe
Where I can hear my thoughts

Take your cities
Take your crowded streets
Take the stench of cars and trash
Where the city is always abuzz
Leave me where the air is free
And the hawk cries

Just leave me be
Where the sky stretches
And the world seems large
And I feel the wonder again
Just leave me and the open sky

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Friday Thoughts: Moments

Good morning! It is Friday and we have made it through another week. Unless you are in a different time zone that results in a different day. Then I’ll just say good morning.

This past week, my coworker reminded me that I need to take each day one at a time. Not to plan out far into the future. My own devotions have stated that God has given me so much time to work with.

Despite whether you believe in God or you like to plan ahead, everyone has a limit to what they are able to handle. Some can handle more. Others are only able to handle less.

But here is the question that I encountered: is there a difference between “living in the moment” and “living for the moment”?

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be any difference. However, I think there is a difference. A big one that can shape how one’s life unfolds.

Living in the Moment

I believe this means to focus on what is current. Whether that is living day by day or hour by hour, just work with what is immediate. It could mean working on a project that is due next week for work or school. Or it could mean focusing on your child’s dance recital instead of the tomorrow morning’s work meeting.

Instead of trying to figure out what is going to happen for Christmas or where I am going to be in five years, I focus on what I need to do now. I need to eat today. I need to check in on my friends. I also need to get a design done today.

Living in the Moment does not mean I am ignoring planning for the future. Just not taking on tomorrow’s worry.

I find living day by day helps reduce how much stress I have on my shoulders. This also helps me find the little things that make life enjoyable. A joke by a coworker or watching the sunrise as I commute. For me, these things is what makes life living.

Living for the Moment

It reminds me of the phrase “you only live once”. A phrase that implies just do whatever comes to mind because life is short and you only have one. This life plan strikes me as short term and short sighted. From my understanding, the idea is that you are looking for the thrill from one moment to the next. What gets you excited and that every day you are making it an adventure.

While that does sound fun and a joy, life doesn’t not unpack itself like that. Each day is full of responsibilities that need to be attended to. If you are always looking for just the fun, then you’ll forget to get your work done and life becomes difficult.

It also makes it hard to enjoy life.

If every day is an adventure, then you’ll need to find a bigger high every moment. Life has it dull moments and that’s okay.

Take Away

Enjoy your life and have your adventures. But not at the cost of your responsibilities or your sanity.

Friday Thoughts: Life’s Achievements

When I was a wee lad of sixteen or so, I always assumed most people graduated from high school at 18, finish college in 4 years, and get married by the time they are 22 years old. Four years later and they are expecting their first kid.

As I wave goodbye at my mid-twenties, I have come to realize that these assumptions are wrong. Not everyone graduates high school at 18. Some wait decades, others have to earn their GED instead. There are dozens who are in their early thirties who are single, no kids, and still no game plan.

This realization made me think: where did this assumption come from in the first place? Who sat down and said “you must have graduated by this point and married by this other point. Or else you are a failure.”

I do not have the answer to this mysterious question. However, I do have some words of wisdom from a dear friend of mine: “You are on your own path. You cannot compare your journey to anyone else’s.”

In other words, your path is your path. You can use others to guide your way (or in my case, do a lot of praying) but you still have to walk it.

Oceans and Life

Life can be like the open ocean. Some days are clear skies with smooth waters and strong wind. You can choose your course and your pace. There is a beautiful journey full of light and wonder. Other times, the ocean becomes a cruel and terrible place. A storm comes or the wind becomes more. The waves crashes against you and forces you one direction then another.

Personally, I like the smooth sailing and dread the times when my life has become a turbulent ocean. And at the moment, I feel like I am caught in a moving whirlpool. I’m going a direction but not the one I want and I’m not going that direction very well.

But one thing I realize about storms is that there is beauty within it. The awe inspiring thousand feet waves. The brilliant colors that lighting are dressed in. The spine shivering bass of thunder. The power in the winds that toss the water.

By the same token, there is beauty in the troubles of life. I am not saying that the woes and aches found in life is beautiful. Or it should be called so but there are moments within those tragedies that can keep hope alive.

And that is what I am finding out right now.

I am not where I thought I would be three months after graduating. However, I have a good family, food, shelter, and clothes. I have good friends who I can call upon. The storm of this moment is a tough one but there is an island with a safe harbor in my future.

Finding Life

A pen to write
A pencil to draw
A brush to paint

Each a story to tell
Each an escape to make

A camera to use
A stage to walk
A prank to play

Each a mask we wear
Each a shield we hide behind

A way to speak again
A skill to find ourself in
A way to see the world
A way to live again

We all run from life at times
We all leave for a while
But we must come back

What we once used to disappear
Is how we live yet again

The Room

I remember
I remember the first time I saw you

You were young
It was your first year here
I was empty, void of life
An empty shell

You carried your books
Your clothes, your furniture
Wide-eyed and hopeful
Looking forward to the future

I watched over you
During your long nights
Of homework and sleep-overs
Your struggles and your peace

I watched you mature
I watch you during your heartbreaks
I watch you during your success
I cried for you, I cheered for you

Two years has past
You have dozens of souvenirs

Your choice of clothes and colors have changed
You are growing your hair out
You’re wiser now
You are growing up

Your classes have become harder
You’ve switched your major twice
But now you are happy
You found someone special

Exams and projects are piling up
You started drinking coffee
And now you have a job on campus
You may be tired but you are happy

You’ve covered my walls
In photos, notes, and papers
My floor has been deep cleaned twice
And you’ve locked yourself out three times

Now you groan because of a fire drill
You throw your clothes on
And grumble about hair dryers
I watch you leave with a happy chuckle

It is finished
Your last year here is over

Congratulations, you are engaged
You cannot stop grinning
A graduation gown stands in the corner
Projects sit completed

Your room now consists of two colors
Your conversations are deep and thoughtful
Your hair is cut short
And you have a real job

You slowly pack your bags
Saying goodbye to close friends
Realizing some of them you will never see again
Parents come in excited and sad

Slowly, bit by bit
Your belongings are carried away from me
There is a sadness and fondness in your eyes
You reminiscent with friends
Of the times you spent with me

I weep silently
For I will never be able to shelter you again

My body stands empty once more
No sign of life or anyone being here before
A layer of dust settles on my bare bones
I sigh in thoughtfulness

I look back and remember
Your silent cries out in desperation
Your cheers of joy at success
I wonder where you are now

I wonder if you remember me