Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fighting It Tonight

Life is not a damn cartoon.  We can't run off the cliff and keep going for a good fifty feet.  It doesn't work that way.  It is a slow slide towards a dropoff that we know is coming.  You see it coming up.  You grasp at anything around to stop your slide towards the fall is coming.  You claw at bushes, talk to friends, call out for help.  But none comes.  You're only left with the echo of your own cries in your ears.  So what do you do?  Do you allow yourself to get sucked into the vortex that lies waiting for you at the bottom of the drop off?  Do you run towards the edge and dive off the edge, trying to see how deep you wind up going?  That answer remains to be seen, but my gut says no.  My get says run towards the edge, but right when you get there, leap.  Put everything you have into that leap from the edge.  Get as far as you can, and maybe, just maybe, you'll make it to the other side tonight.  You'll have another jump and drop off in your way, who knows when, but at least you'll be over this one tonight.  So wish me luck.  Here I go, and I hope my legs hold out.  I've got a long ways to jump.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A long familiar nightmare...

I watch as its cold, bony fingers wrap around the posts of my bed.
The dead look in its eyes is a mirror.  It reflects what I feel inside every night.
It reflects the hurt that keeps me awake at night.
Hurt that no one around sees.
Hurt that no one can fix.
The claws on the ends of those fingers reach into my chest and freeze my heart in my chest for the umpteenth time.
The knot in the pit of my stomach tightens and twists, matching the lump in my throat.  The sounds of sadness thunder in my headphones, reminding me once again that this is what I'm left with.
A dark room, the sounds of country fading in my Bose, a tangle of clothes on the floor, and the knowledge that when I crawl out of bed in the morning, dog tired, sleepless, and exhausted for the next day, not a thing will have changed. Except I'll be another day older, and no closer to being out of the dark.
So I stride through the blackness. Waiting for a hand to reach down from above. To split the clouds. To bring some warmth and joy back into the wasteland that is my heart.  I don't know how long it will be, but I pray that it is soon. Maranatha, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Burnt Edges

Flames crackle, spreading up the corners.
They fill the air with the acrid smell of smoke.
It's acrid, but it's also a heavenly smell.  
It reminds me of how fast something can disappear.
From words that seem to carry hope of something more,
To the slight glow of an ember as the last bit of ink is shed into the ground.
A flame can do so much.
It can fill the eyes with tears, as the smoke wreaks havoc on you.
It can fill your face with hope, as you are allowed the chance of a new start.
Flames can promise warmth, and heat.
They can take what you have and destroy it, leaving you empty handed.
You never know.
A flame is a flighty thing. 
It can create, it can destroy.
It can sustain, it can be snuffed out.
So take that flame and do what you will with it.
Either feed it, so it crackles merrily.
Or stomp it out. 
Smother it, so it has no chance to be alive.
Sometimes eats easier to smother a flame,
So that others don't see it,
Aren't drawn to its warmth.
Don't smell its smoke and come running.
Its better to be cold, in my mind,
Than to have your fire run out of fuel.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Things I learned from my dad...

A lot of you know my dad.

A lot of you know the kind of man he is.
He's the guy who would give you the shirt off his back.
He's the guy that goes above and beyond his job.
He doesn't know the meaning of "too much sacrifice".

I know for a fact, that my father would give his life for me.

And I take pride in that.  I know that my father is a man who is looked up to.  I know that my father never raised a hand at me in anger.  I know that when I was disciplined, I was disciplined out of love.  My father has looked me in the eye, and asked me if I thought that he went too far as a parent.  I had no hesitation when I looked him right back and said "No."

I know that I put my father through hell as a child.  I broke his trust, and I disappointed him at times.  And yet I always know that my father is proud of me.  He is careful to tell me that.  Rick Adema is not an easy man.  But he's a good man.  He is a man who made it clear what he expected of me.  He is a man who made it very clear that he loves me.  He is a man who makes it very clear that if I need anything, all I have to do is call.

My dad taught me a lot of things.  He taught me how to ride a bike.  I rode my little bike with the brick looking insulation around the main bar.  I rode it straight into the clothesline pole when I was 6 years old.  And then my dad taught me to pick my bike up, get back on it, and ride away.  My dad taught me how to shoot.  He taught me to drive a manual.  He taught me how to read stories to my future kids.  He taught me how to love children with everything you are, when you are exhausted, or when they cry and turn away because of your beard.  My dad taught me a lot of things.

One of the most important things that my dad taught me, however...

My father taught me how to be angry.

That's right. I said my father taught me how to be angry.  This isn't being mad and raising your voice.  This isn't a needing to work out until you're tired.  This isn't even wanting to hit someone.

Oh no. This is very different.

This is a cold fury that starts at the bottom of your feet and works its way all the way to the top of your head.  This is a rage that fills you when you see injustice being done.  This is a searing pain that makes all fear in you go away and fills you with such passion, that all you think about is righting a wrong.

Whether he knows it or not, my father taught me this.  He taught it to me by his example of integrity.  He taught it to me by every time he told a young person that I met, that if they ever needed his help, all they had to do was ask.  He was always in the shadows, ready.  Waiting for that call to come in.  He was waiting for the wolf to prey on the sheep.  He is the sheepdog.  And so am I.

So here I stand.  I look around and see pain.  I see people hurting.  Hurting themselves because they know nothing else.  They have no other way to feel anything.  They have been beaten.  Scarred.  Wounded.  Taught how not to feel.  This has been done to them by parents, siblings, employers, acquaintances, pastors, teachers, and strangers.

I read stories about parents who struck their children out of anger.  Parents who beat their children for disobeying.  Parents who lashed out because they felt it was their calling.

Well, guess what?  Do you want to know what my calling is?  My calling is standing between you and those who are trying to hurt you.  My calling is to be that sheepdog.  I feel that anger.  I feel the anger that I learned from watching my father quietly stand up for those he loved.  I feel that cold fury that makes me unafraid of what may come.

I was homeschooled.  I was disciplined.  I turned out alright.  Thank you to my dad for that.  Thank you to my mom for marrying him.  Thank you that he has always been honest with me.  Now, I'm being honest with you.  Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself.  You will never be alone.  There's always me.  And my dad.  We're not afraid.  You shouldn't be either.  Stand up.  Be counted.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mumford. Or not. WARNING. THIS IS A VENT SESSION.

I relinquished hope.
I will let you choke,
On the noose around your neck.
Yes, I find strength in pain.
So I won't speak your name,
You broke my trust this time, my friend.

I have other friends to seek in life,
You kept me on the hook, but not this time.
You couldn't speak the truth,
Or find your bloody spine.

So now I'll walk away and plug my ears.
You've thrown away this chance due to your fears.
I gave you every chance,
Now I'll ignore you and your tears.

I relinquished hope.
I will let you choke,
On the noose around your neck.
Yes, I find strength in pain.
So I won't speak your name,
You broke my trust this time, my friend.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Howl

Lone wolf, that's me.
I run alone.
I beat my own drum,
And write my own song.

My coat is dark,
My teeth are sharp.
Get in my way and you'll find,
The bite is worse than the bark.

Don't try and figure me out,
My path is my own,
Don't stand between me and my goals,
If you want to ever get back home.

I sit out at night,
Look at the moon.
If I see another soul,
It'll be too soon.

I don't want to run with a pack,
I don't want to have someone's back.
I want to be on my own,
I want to set my own tone.

So get out of the way,
Don't try and get me to have fun.
I've got my own game,
Lone wolf's gotta run.


Friday, September 5, 2014

The Song of Pain

It never stops.
The chorus keeps ringing.
It sounds all around, just waiting for you to listen.
August said to follow the music,
But this is different.
It's pain.

Everyone feels it.
They all cry out because of it.
Some people can't fight it.
They let it take over.
They let it win.
It ends.

Their only sound is silence.
Their only presence is emptiness.
The space where they should be calls out.
It cries louder than any voice ever could.
It screams through the night.
No one answers it.

We walk on eggshells.
We can't talk about it.
No one will understand.
It makes you a bad person.
Lies, all lies.
It makes you a person.

Some people fight.
They lash out.
They cry out for help.
Sometimes, no one ever hears them.
But I hear them.
I can't help but hear them.

Their scars beckon.
Their downcast eyes call me.
They know what it's like to be dark.
They know how it feels to be on the bottom.
They look up.
I look up.

We look up together.
We've been there.
We've been dirty.
We've been bleeding.
We've looked through tearstained eyes.
Wondering, when will help come.

We reach out,
Hoping for a hand to hold.
We cry out, and all we're met with is silence.
People cross over.
They walk on the other side.
Because it's the easy thing.

We wear our pain outside like a medal.
Some wear it by how they look.
Some wear it by how they dress.
Some sharpen their tongues to cut.
Some sharpen their skills to kill.
They pull themselves up because no one will help.

But if we reach out,
If we quit fighting ourselves.
A hand comes down.
A hand bruised and scarred.
A hand bloodied.
A hand pierced.

It reaches through the black.
It reaches to the bottom.
It grasps ours and pulls us up.
The blood runs down.
It washes the dirt away.
Our voice is silenced.

Our voice is silenced by a cool drink.
Raw throats from crying out are quenched.
Eyes red from weeping are dried up.
Arms scarred from cutting are smoothed over.
Ears jarred by laughter are quieted.
We hear no mocking.

This my cry.
This my passion.
There's no reason to give up.
There's no reason to lose hope.
Our plight is heard.
Our call is answered.

Quit struggling and look up.
Quit fighting and call out.
He will not walk the other side.
He will tend our wounds.
He will hear our cry.
He will heal our land.

If you or someone else you know has ever considered or participated in self harm, or attempted suicide, don't lose hope. We have a way out, that is eternal, and it doesn't come at the mouth of a gun barrel, the end of a rope, the edge of a knife, or the bottom of a bottle of pills.  Reach out.  Keep seeking.  He cares, I care.

You are not alone.

~Levi