The Fun House Of Mirrors

sites at the local fair ground - I never liked to funhouse.  But if I was with friends I went in them and rode rides anyway.  Nana

“Step right up, come on in, only a dollar” shouted the carny. He looked right at me and my friends. “Come on in boys, this will change your life” and he winked at me. I don’t know but my gut was telling me something was wrong. My friends wanted to go in and since I didn’t want to be left out, I went in with them.

It wasn’t much at first. A conveyor belt going the opposite direction. Oooh, scary right? We made a tight turn to the right and the floor started shaking. Everyone started to laugh but the feeling inside me was getting worse. It was then the lights went out. We started reaching out, touching each other to make sure we were all still there. We slowly inched forward and hit a wall, promptly piling into each other.  Then the lights came on and that was when the fun began.

Image result for carnival fun house mirrors

We were looking at ourselves, all four versions of each of us. We looked at each other like what the crap, a couple of my friends used some other choice words. In one mirror there was me, looking as normal as I am now, if you can call that normal. In the second mirror I was a hideous monster. What the heck? The third mirror I was a baseball player, uniform, glove and all. How could this be? I only was wearing the clothes I came in with. The fourth mirror showed me as an old, decrepit old man, all by myself. It was then we realized there was no exit. We did the only thing we could and started to push on the mirrors. The only one that moved was the second one. We all looked at each other and kind of shrugged and took a step through. But we weren’t all together on the other side.

There I was, the hideous monster. I pulled on my skin and clothes to get them to come off but they were me and I was them. It was then I noticed a small light in the distance. I walked toward it and saw it was a cell phone. It had a note on it. PRESS PLAY. What I saw disgusted me and I wish I didn’t have to tell you about it, but I do. It was 15 second clips of my life. There was me eight years old pushing the other kids down on the playground. There was me twelve years old stealing a cassette from the local music store. There was me sixteen years old with my girlfriend. We were in the backseat and she said she wasn’t ready but I said we had already gone too far so let’s keep going. There was me at nineteen at a college party when a bunch of guys took a passed out girl upstairs and I didn’t stop them. There was me at twenty two when I didn’t take the keys from my friend and he drove home drunk, but he didn’t make it. There was me at home instead of visiting my dad before he passed away. There was me watching a movie instead of calling a friend who was home alone, waiting for me to call. There was me ignoring my wife because of past mistakes. Was I really this monster? Is this how others see me?

Then we were all back in the same room of mirrors. We all looked at each other like what was that? No one was laughing now. We pushed on the mirrors again but only the third one opened this time.

There I was, at Wrigley Field, pitching for the Cubs. The crowd was chanting my name. Oh yeah, this is what I was made for. They all love me. I was on the mound, World Series, game seven, bottom of the ninth, two outs, two on, two strikes. One more strike and I bring a championship to Chicago. The wind up, the pitch…and I heard it. My shoulder popped. Then I heard the crack of the bat as it connected to the ball. Then I heard the silence. Just like that it was all over. The game, my career, my life. I was so angry. I was mad at God. How could He bring me to this moment and then let it all go? One pitch. It was all over. What kind of God would do that to me? I shut everyone out. I drank myself to sleep every night. I didn’t know the women’s names I would wake up to. I didn’t care. I went from 60,000 people screaming my name to the deafening silence of my own thoughts.

There we were again. All six of us in the same room of mirrors. Mark said that wasn’t so bad. “Let’s get this over with,” said Scott. We looked at each other and hesitantly stepped into the fourth mirror.

There I was. A decrepit old man. No one there but me. A lifetime of choices led me to here. A lifetime of bad choices. How did I get here? I was a good guy once. I believed in God, once upon a time. I looked in the mirror and the mirror looked back. Was this really me? Then I was gone. There in my casket, all by myself. Honestly, all by myself. No one came to say goodbye. Not one single person! Was I that unlovable and selfish? Was I really that bad of a person? I guess the truth hurts because I must’ve been for not one single person to show up.

We were all back in the room of mirrors. A couple of my friends said how cool their mirrors were. They hope their lives turn out like that. I didn’t have anything to say. This time the first mirror, the normal mirror, opened and we walked through. A couple turns and a few distorted mirrors later we were at the exit.

“Hey boys, how’d you like it? Did you like what you saw?” said the carny. “The mirrors don’t lie boys. If you didn’t like what you saw, you still have time to do something about it.” That was when he looked at me again and winked and gave me something. I was too terrified to look at it so I stuck it in my pocket and left. He turned around and started shouting , “step right up boys and girls, come on in, only a dollar and it will change your life.”

I forgot about what he gave me until I got home and undressed. It fell out of my pocket. A small bible with a note inside. Read this if you want to change your life. Read this if you didn’t like what you saw in the mirrors. It is your choice.

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The Haunted House

Animated Haunted House animated house gif halloween haunted

I have been in the house many times since the first time. The first time was when I was eight years old. I was being teased, called a chicken, and all those things kids say to each other. Triple dog dare. You can’t turn down a triple dog dare. It was the first time I opened the door. I only looked inside for a second but that was enough.  The door had been opened and my future was doomed.

I soon started visiting the house more than I would like to admit. Always by myself of course. I couldn’t let my friends know what I was doing. Each time I went in I would find a new room to explore. It was fascinating at first. All these new things I was finding meant I was also learning more about myself. I thought I was being brave. Anytime something would happen to me I would run to the solitude of the house. Only in the day time though. Never at night.

At night you could always find me in my own house. Safe, warm and comfortable. My parents loved me and I felt safe in my house. Of course you could say as many times as I was visiting the so-called haunted house that it became my home away from home. My place to go to be alone and collect my thoughts. Leave some of my thoughts there. Come out a new person, but I left a part of me in that house each time I went.

It wasn’t long before I was sneaking out of my home and going to my haunted house at night. I couldn’t help it. I loved being the only one there. The only one that knew I was spending so much time there was me. I loved that sometimes when I went there would be a new room or two to explore. I never questioned how they got there. Part of the mystery of a haunted house I thought.

I started to withdraw from my friends so I could spend more time there. I could explore my house for hours on end, always something new but I could also go back and remember. Remember the who, what, why,  where and when of the first time I opened this door or that door. Remember when I was so scared I slammed that door closed, only to peek back in a few weeks later. No door was ever sealed shut. I could visit anytime I would visit the house.

The problem came when I couldn’t resist the house anymore. It just kept luring me in. Like it was calling out to me. Come on in, it is safe here. You don’t need anyone else. Just you and your thoughts, that’s all you need. No one will hurt you in here.

Comfort. I found comfort in that house. I should’ve bought the place and moved in. Saved me from going there all the time. It was on one of these trips that I met someone. A man like I had never met before. He told me to stop going to the haunted house. There is nothing there for me. How did he know was my first thought? My second thought was who cares who he is. This was my world and my house and he was just an intruder. Another person out to get me.

A couple days later I was going back to the house and there he was. Sitting on the front steps. The same steps I first went up when I was eight, except they didn’t look so scary anymore. They almost looked warm and inviting. Anyway, back to my guest. There he was. “How did you get here,” I asked. “I’ve been watching you for years,” he said. What kind of person is this?  I then bluntly told him to leave. He wasn’t welcome here. He told me he couldn’t do that. He was here to help me leave this place, leave it for good.

No way. This is my place. My home. He had no right to ask me to leave it.

But he got me thinking. In my experience, that is never a good thing. I would rather just go to my house and leave my thoughts in one of the rooms.

I walked on by him and he got up and followed me in. “Look at your prison,” he said. “My prison? This is my house,” I corrected him.  “No”, he said, “I have a much better house for you. Want to see it?”

“Not really sure,” I said, “I like this place.”

“Here take my hand and I will show you,” he said. I don’t know why but I reached out for his hand and….all the doors opened. All the doors in my house flew open and everything that was in them came pouring out.

I screamed, “let me go!!” I pulled my hand away and ran. This wasn’t my house. How did all these things get in here? Why was he letting them all out? I tried to shut the doors but they would not close. I fell to my knees and let them overtake me. But they didn’t touch me. They all poured into him. He took them all. All my good and all my bad. All my pretty and all my ugly. They all poured into him.

I watched, mesmerized. It seemed like it lasted for hours but it couldn’t have been more than a few seconds. How could I let all this stuff in my house? I watched as everything flew out. Things I forgot I put in the rooms. Things that kept me a prisoner in my house. Fear, lots of rooms full of fear. Anxiety, worry, hurt all leaving my house. Negative thoughts and lies I believed to numb the pain all gone. Depression, shame, guilt- all gone. Anger and hate, see you later. Regrets, doubts about who I am, lies, distrust, unforgiveness, all gone.

You might ask what was left but you already know. Love was left. A love that told me I didn’t need to live in this house. A love that told me I was forgiven. A love that showed me who I am. A love that told me to unlock those doors and throw away the key. A love that told me my house isn’t haunted. A love that told me I could’ve left that house anytime I wanted. A love that told me I never had to build that house.

Mansion by NF – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF5QE3-ox4o&w=560&h=315]

My Own Prison by Creed – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBBqjGd3fHQ&w=420&h=315]

Empire In My Mind by The Wallflowers – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJdalfe75ko&w=420&h=315]

Demons by Imagine Dragons – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWRsgZuwf_8&w=560&h=315]

Baptize My Mind by Jon Foreman – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Lqn6wtToIE&w=560&h=315]

Change Your Mind by Sister Hazel – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71KdkbT7FKA&w=420&h=315]

Keep Your Mind Wide Open by Annasophia Robb – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYFwJR73R50&w=420&h=315]

Outta My Mind by Anthem Lights – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT9Ieal8TMo&w=420&h=315]

Peace Of Mind by Decemberadio – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T1GLg4a73o&w=420&h=315]

Voices by Sumerlin – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usdmb_32G4g&w=560&h=315]

Hearing Voices by Anberlin –  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaDziaupqHE&w=560&h=315]

March Out Of The Darkness by Papa Roach – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ9UxY8ENb0&w=560&h=315]

Out Of Mind by Queensryche – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fb4Uu9objag&w=560&h=315]

Bruises and Scars

Image result for domestic violence

The bruises are gone but the scars remain

She will never look at you the same

You were supposed to be her protector

You were never meant to neglect her

What were you thinking ?

Do you blame it on your drinking?

That’s no excuse, that doesn’t make you a man

Tell me where do you stand?

You think those words won’t leave a mark

Man those go straight to her heart

They leave a scar only she and God can see

Why don’t you just let her go free

Let her learn to spread her wings

Let her learn how much beauty she brings

Would you want your daughter treated like that?

Always flinching, always watching her back

Image result for domestic violence children quotes

Man, why can’t you understand?

She was made from God’s own hand

If you keep treating her like that

I know where you will spend eternity at

Daughter, I know you want to scream and shout

On your knees, your prayers, He hears, that I never doubt

Don’t despair

Know someone cares

Daughter, I pray no matter what you go through tonight

You’ll remember the scars Jesus bears so you know there is a light

When the bruises are gone and the scars remain

Daughter I want you to know that He knows your name

He knows your name, He knows your name, He knows your name

October is officially domestic violence month but we don’t hear about it. All we hear in October is breast cancer, a worthy cause to fight also and one that needs to be fought daily as well. We don’t see any football teams wearing purple. It simply isn’t talked about.  Domestic violence is something we need to look at every day, because every day someone you know is the victim of it.  One in three women, one in four men are victims. One of of every fifteen  children are exposed to domestic violence and 90% of these children witness domestic violence a year. Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness in the United States.  Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies.

These are reported.  Most domestic violence incidents are NEVER reported.  Speak up, speak out, and make a difference for victims of domestic violence. The time is now to change these facts.

Silenced my Mersi Stone – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtuCSfK3b-A&w=560&h=315]

Face Down by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ux6SlOE9Qk&w=560&h=315]

Alyssa Lies by Jason Michael Carroll –  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLh5vbBLpxI&w=560&h=315]

The Door by JJ Essen – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHph0I1cTj0&w=560&h=315]

Leaving You Behind by Emii – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiRSHSwB5nI&w=560&h=315]

Lies and Bruises by Ryan Daniel – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4GCwEwz5MI&w=560&h=315]

Luka by Suzanne Vega – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZt7J0iaUD0&w=420&h=315]

No More by Kuzie James – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpuNuOzu4e8&w=560&h=315]

Voices Carry by Til Tuesday – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uejh-bHa4To&w=420&h=315]

Broken Girl by Matthew West – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOYyi_FL79w&w=420&h=315]

Beautiful by MercyMe – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vh7-RSPuAA&w=560&h=315]

God’s Daughter by Son of Adam – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIttOjlcMXc&w=420&h=315]

I Believe You Domestic Abuse and Faith Community – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z3dHhLL8RM&w=560&h=315]

He Knows My Name by The McRaes – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULDZZqVekJg&w=420&h=315]

He Knows My Name by Francesca Battistelli – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYpBgJHmGmw&w=560&h=315]

Shadows In The Dark

Image result for shadows in the dark

I have a story to tell you

It is hard to believe, but I swear it’s true

I hardly believe it myself

But it is a story I must tell

You see just last night I saw shadows in the dark

I swear it’s true, cross my heart

I know you are thinking, “How can there be shadows with no light?”

I say you are correct, but this world isn’t always black and white

So sit down and listen, let me tell you my story

It won’t take long, in case you are in a hurry

Image result for john 1 5

You see I was walking home, it was the darkest of nights

No where could be found a single light

(Except of course from the windows of a few brave souls up that late)

But their light didn’t cast a shadow for this was my fate

The wind ripped through the trees

I was scared, (but keep that between you and me)

I knew deep down in my bones

I just knew I wasn’t alone

I could feel the enemy all around

They made such a terrible sound

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The gnashing and gnawing gave me a fright

I could hear them, but they were out of sight

I had chills up and down my spine

I felt as if I was running out of time

It was right then and there I said a little prayer

God, if you have just a little time to spare 

Even though a lot of bad I have done

Do you think you could help me out some?

It was then I saw the first shadow

He took the lead so I decided to follow

Image result for bible verses on light in the darkness

Soon I saw ten or fifteen more

I felt a peace that wasn’t there before

They told me their names

No two were the same

There was Integrity,  Honesty, Compassion and Loyalty

There was Kindness, Forgiveness, Responsibility and Humility

There was Hope, Love, Faith, Joy,  Courage and Trust

They told me each one of them also lives in us

They told me we are so distracted by the darkness of this place

That we often do not see them, even when we are face to face

Image result for bible verses on light in the darkness

They walked me to where I needed to go

They left before I could thank them though

I am thanking them now by writing this to you

My friend when you are lost and don’t know what to do

When you are in despair

And think there’s no one who cares

Think of something good, something you can not see

No matter the darkness, there is a light in you and me

There is a light that can penetrate the darkest of dark

You just have to believe with all your heart

That in  your darkest of  darkest nights

There are shadows that can only be caused by the light

Image result for darkest of nights

At The Corner Of Unicorn Lane

At the corner of Unicorn Lane

Right before you get to Leprechaun Street

There lives a…. I don’t want to tell you it’s name

It’s not something most would want to meet

Some say it’s small, like an elf, fairy or pixie

Some say it’s big, like a Sasquatch, an ogre, or a Nephilim

I have seen it and to talk about it is quite risky

What I will say  is that it doesn’t look like any of them

 

Image result for mythical creatures

 

Some say it’s a hybrid, like a griffin, a Minotaur or a mermaid

Others say it’s a shapeshifter, a werewolf, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

I have seen it and trust me, don’t get in its way

The last person that did has disappeared, perhaps has died

I’ve heard some says it’s a Kirin or a dragon

I’ve heard some say it’s a Chupacabra or a vampire

I have seen it and it’s worse than you can imagine

I can understand that  you might think I’m a liar

Let me continue please

I’m not an expert but it’s important what I have to say

Trust me, it’s for your safety

For it doesn’t matter if it’s night or day

Image result for Friedrich Nietzsche monsters

Some say it is a hideous creature

Others say it looks just like you and me

Some say it has the scariest features

It’s always different for those  unfortunate enough to see

So when you go down Leprechaun Street

And you get to the corner of Unicorn Lane

Please keep walking, I beg you to move your feet

Especially on a cold dark night when it starts to rain

Enough already! You exclaim. Just tell me does it really exist?

I hesitate, not sure if you can handle the truth

Please stop asking ! I can’t say! Oh, why do you insist?

Are you ready? Are you sure? It… it’s…. aahhhh it’s YOU!

 

 

Image result for ephesians 6 12

I Let You Go

Image result for letting go of someone you love

Today was the day

I had to find the strength to walk away

I know I have to let you go

You are still as beautiful as the day we met

Our time together I will never forget

But, I have to let you go

Memorizing the tiniest details of your face

Memories that can never be erased

But, I have to let you go

I know our paths will cross again

You were my lover, my best friend

But, I have to let you go

The room used to spin when you walked in

I really can’t believe this has to be the end

But, I have to let you go

When we were together time stood still

A love like ours was honest and real

But, I have to let you go

Maybe we could’ve walked another mile

Maybe we could’ve had a few more smiles

But, I have to let you go

I know that there’s someone who loves you more

He is waiting for you and this kills me to my core

But, I have to let you go

I know you know how much I care

You know with you, my heart is always there

But, I have to let you go

Image result for letting go of someone you love

I try to understand

As I let go of your hand

And, I let you go 

Asking God a million times why

As I turn my head so you won’t see me cry

And, I let you go

I know one day I might be fine

But for now, it’s just simply time

And, I let you go

Thankful for the time we shared

I really thought I would be more prepared

To let you go

The light in your eyes has went away

I knew today had to be the day

That I let you go

I know your pain wasn’t leaving

I could hear your labored breathing

And I knew I had to let you go

I held you tight, oh so tight

Knowing there was no more fight

And, I let you go

God give me the strength to walk away

God give me the strength to face a new day

As I let you go

Your last word, your last breath

As you slipped from life to death

I let you go

 

Image result for philippians 3 21

I’ll Think About You By We Are Messengers – 

Kidnap An Angel by Bon Jovi-  

Austen by As It Is – 

Ok, Here’s The Truth By Javier Colon- 

Strong Enough To Cry By Joey Feek-  

Where Were You by Francesca Battistelli – 

You Came Running by Laura Story – 

Walk By Faith by Jeremy Camp – 

Why Not Me?

Image result for children cancer

You look at me with tears in your eyes

Begging, pleading, asking God why?

You say I am too young

Too much life left to be done

High school graduation, jobs, marriage, children

Heroes and villains and all that will remain hidden

I am telling you it’s okay

I smile and simply say

Why not me?

Maybe it has to be

If it’s God’s plan and it’s my time

Then in His hands I will be fine

A plan

We can’t understand

A better lesson learned

A life being returned

My heart given to someone new

My kidneys will be donated too

My lungs will help someone breathe

Parts of me will continue to be

Maybe a foundation in my name

Will raise enough to change the game

In the meantime don’t be sad

Remember the time we have had

A lifetime wrapped up in just a few short years

When you cry let them be joyful tears

Things happen that only He can see

So I ask again, why not me?

Why should it be yourself

Or even someone else?

I am strong, brave, and courageous, can’t you see?

That is why I say why not me?

I trust in God’s plan so I don’t ask why me?

Let your smile be the last thing I see

Related image

If you would like to help, there are many foundations to donate. Here are a few:

http://www.championforchildren.org/portfolio-item/lindseys-wish/

https://www.sambishfoundation.org/

Image result for children cancer

Little Giants by Tay Barton – 

Sing Me To Heaven by Bradley Walker – 

Kola by Damien Jurado – 

Braid My Hair by Randy Owen – 

Thy Will by Hillary Scott –   

No One Fights Alone by Christian Spear – 

Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood – 

I’m Gonna Love You Through It by Martina McBride – 1