Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Most Beautiful Heart

(Reprinted from a flyer sent out by my union's chaplain)

One day a young man was standing in the middle of town proclaiming he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A very large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart, for it was perfect - there was not a mark or flaw in it. Yes, after viewing it they all agreed it was truly the most beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was proud and began to boast even more loudly about his beautiful heart.

Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said "Why, your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine." The crowd joined the young man as he looked at the old man's heart. It was beating strongly, but full of scars. It had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in, but because the pieces didn't quite fit there were several jagged edges to be seen. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces of the old man's heart were missing. The people stared. They thought "How can this old man say his disfigured heart is the most beautiful?" After seeing the condition of the old man's heart the young man laughed and said "You must be joking. Your heart doesn't compare with mine! My heart is perfect, and yours is just a mess of scars and tears."

"Yes," said the old man, "your heart looks perfect but I would never trade mine for yours. Every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love - I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them. Often they give me a piece of their heart in return which I fit into the empty space in my heart - but because the pieces aren't an exact fit I end up with rough edges, which I cherish because they remind me of the love we shared. The empty gouges you see represent the pieces of my heart that I've given away without the other person giving a piece of their heart in return - but that is the nature of love: giving unselfishly and taking the chance that no love will be given in return. These gouges are the most painful. They stay open to remind me of the love I have for these people, and in hope that someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting. Now, do you see what true beauty is?"

The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands. The old man placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his own old scarred heart and placed it into the wound in the young man's heart. The piece fit, but there were some jagged edges.

The young man looked at his heart - not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever since love from the old man's heart flowed into his. They embraced and walked away side by side.

(Love means giving unselfishly, not expecting reward or acclaim but because it is the right thing to do. The person who is unafraid to love has the most beautiful heart of all....)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother's Day

What can compare to the beauty of a mother?
She who has been charged by Almighty God to be the wellspring of life.
She who endures untold pain to bring each of us into the world.
She who's heart can hold each one of us with room to spare.
Her endurance is unmatched.
Her forgiveness is unfathomable.
Her love.....unconditional.
Who is always there to dry your tears?
Who could always feel your pain, and be the first to share in your joy?
Who can you always talk to - even when you don't know what to say?


I write this in appreciation.
For all she ever did.
For everything she said.
Because she always knew how to make me smile.
Because she never gave up on me.
Because no matter how much I disappointed, she never stopped loving me.
Because even though I often misunderstood her, I never stopped loving her.

You see, my mom has gone on.

She went home to be with the Lord.

On Mother's Day.

Its been five years now, and well.....

I miss her.

I miss her laugh. I miss her smile. I miss her prying into my business and driving me crazy. I miss her sitting behind me in church and telling my childhood secrets to total strangers. I miss her calling me every year and singing "I Just Called To Say I Love You" on my birthday. I miss the awkward walk she developed from the ravages of arthritis. I miss going by her house and falling asleep on her bed when I just wanted to go somewhere to get some peace and quiet. I miss knowing I had someone in my life that I knew it was always okay to be myself around.


Don't get me wrong.

My mom is gone.

But I'm not sad.

I'm thankful.

Thankful that in a cold and God forsaken world such as this, I had a mother that never stopped loving and never stopped trying. I'm thankful that she took the time to make sure I knew right from wrong, and made sure I always tried to do what's right. I'm thankful that she demanded we always treat everyone we meet like they are precious in God's sight. And, I'm thankful that she never let me give up on myself.

If I could have one more day with her, I know just what I'd say. The entire day would be filled with the same phrase - over and over, all day and night - but even if I had ten thousand tongues there still would not be enough time to tell her these three words as many times as she deserved to hear them. So every Mother's Day I reminisce. I savor the joys, the pains, the laughter and the tears; the good times and the bad times; the conversations and even the disagreements. I remember everything she was - her strengths and her faults - because those are the things that made her real. But most of all, I remember the love.


I love you.



Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Chat Room

The imaginary room
where I meet my imaginary friends
and we go on for hours and hours
sending text hugs, smilies and fake flowers
pretending to love each other
from the safety of our homes
found in locations all over the world.

Although its been nearly three years
I still find the technology fascinating
(the conversation, at times, quite stimulating)
the potential of the medium quite captivating
and the thrill of meeting new people
from all over the world
quite exhilarating.

Yet I try to never lose sight of the fact
that what I see
are all just electronic avatars
computer generated fascimiles of people
total strangers
living who-knows-where doing God-knows-what
most of whom will never cross each other's path.

In truth
for most of my online existence
I've never wanted it to be any other way.

But every now and then
even in the emotionless, desensitized, artificial realm of cyberspace
amidst the innocent,
the naive,
the obnoxious,
the overzealous,
the undercover hackers,
the undiscovered stalkers
the all around ne'er-do-wells
even though handicapped by the persistent superficiality
prevalent throughout the medium
forced upon its participants
by rules that hinder real discussion
and surrounded by people
who encourage you to go along to get along
and who discourage any attempt at independent thought
even in this remote intellectual wasteland
every now and then
you can find someone
who can change your life for the better.
Someone you'll cherish meeting forever.

To that someone
who has managed to make me believe
in things I swore were never possible
until the instant our paths crossed
in a chat room
to that person
I pray that I have made their lives better
I hope that I have made their days brighter.
To that someone
I say
Thank you.