As Children Often Do

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From the time she could talk she was full of questions. And I, of course, was full of answers.

Why this, why that, where, when and who?

But as children often do, my daughter grew and grew and her questions became more elaborate.

Where are we going dad?

Nowhere.

Dad, what will we do when we get to nowhere?

Nothing, absolutely nothing.

Yeah, dad, I love going to nowhere with you and doing absolutely nothing. But I wonder, if we go nowhere and do nothing, does that make me a nobody?

Her questions were very deep so I thought for a second and told her she would never be a nobody. She is loved and cherished and will always be a somebody to me.

If I keep going south will I eventually be north?

38 Anniversary Quotes That Will Inspire You 24

As children often do, she grew and grew and her questions became more challenging.

Dad, if we get lost going to nowhere, will we end up somewhere? And when we get to somewhere, will we do something? But I wonder, if we go somewhere and do something, will I then be somebody?

Dad, can we get from here to there without going anywhere? And if we find anywhere, can we go there anytime? But I wonder, if we go anywhere anytime will I still be anybody to you?

If I ever find myself stuck between here and there and can’t find my way to you, will you come looking for me?

I couldn’t understand why her thoughts were taking her to these places but the only thing I could do was put my arms around her and reassure her no matter where she is or what time it is or what I am doing, I will always come and find her when she needed me.

But if I don’t tell you I need you, how will you know?

I will always pray that I will know but if for some reason I don’t know, I know a father who loves you more than even I do who will always be there for you even if I, for some inexplicable reason, get lost and am a little late in getting there.

Thanks dad, but what if I meant to go nowhere but ended up somewhere doing everything I know I shouldn’t do, would you still love me then? Would you go everywhere and do something, anything, to bring me back to someplace where you always are?

Not a doubt in mind that I would go everywhere and do something, anything, anytime to bring you back to nowhere so we could do nothing.

If the sun sets in the west will it always be dark the more west I go?

Just remember, dear daughter, no matter how many steps you take into the darkness, it only takes one to turn around and see the light.

 

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If I’m doing nothing am I really doing something and can I be doing something but actually be doing nothing?

As children often do, my daughter grew and grew. As she grew it was my arms that became empty, as she no longer wanted me to hold her and it was my heart that shattered to pieces, as it seemed she longer wanted it to beat for her.

I would knock on her door and ask, “Would you like to go nowhere today and do nothing?” To which she would just sigh and say “Dad, I’m not a little girl anymore.”

I would give her some time and distance and then I would knock on her door and ask, “Would you like to go somewhere sometime today and do something?”

To which she would reply, “Dad, I’m busy doing other things today.”

But I could tell something was going on, but I didn’t want to seem pushy, but I knew she needed me.

I gave her more time and more distance, even though it was killing me to see her so sad.

One day I knocked on her door and said, “My daughter, when you find yourself nowhere doing nothing and wanting to go somewhere to be somebody but you can’t seem to go anywhere any of the time remember I love you everywhere every second of every day simply because you are you and that’s enough.”

She gave me a sad smile and a thanks dad.

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Then I heard a voice telling me time and distance isn’t what she needs, she needs closeness and love even though it isn’t what she says.

I went and I knocked on her door and she was crying. I sat beside her and wrapped my arms around her and let her cry. After a few minutes and a very wet shirt later, she calmed down and looked up at me and I looked into those beautiful brown eyes as she asked me a question I had been wanting to hear for so long.

“Dad, do you think we could go nowhere?”

I smiled and asked, “Daughter, what will we do when we get there?”

Then she smiled back and said, “I was thinking we would do nothing dad, absolutely nothing.”

“Daughter, there is no place I would rather be than nowhere doing absolutely nothing with you.”

As children often do, my daughter grew and grew.

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I’m Standing With You By  by Chrissy Metz-

Like Your Father Does by Rhett Walker Band-

Pray With You by Mallary Hope-

I’ll Wait by The Strumbellas-

Have To Stay by Dido –

Shed A Tear by Kodaline-

Like Arrows by Matt Hammitt-

Short Are The Years by Jason Crabb –

More Than Gonna Make It by Alisa Turner-

Fighting For Me by Riley Clemmons-

 

In The Morning by JJ Heller –

 

 

The Room

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image credit: willomailley.com

 

For the last fifty nine days, every day has been the same for me. I didn’t expect day sixty to be any different.

I wake up, look in the mirror and tell myself today is the day. Today will be the day that I can do it. I am stronger than I think I am. I can do this.

I then walk out of my room and go exactly five feet three inches and stop in front of the room. I reach for the door knob then pull my hand away. I stare at the door for what seems like hours but it is only minutes, maybe seconds. I then take a deep breath and walk away.

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image credit: The Sabbath Recorder

 

I go about my day like a robot. Doing without thinking. Lost in my guilt. Lost in the what if’s. Everyone looks at me the same. Fake smiles. I fake smile back. They say everything will be alright. I want to scream at them that it will not be, but I don’t.  I only want to hit something. I have so much anger and hurt and it’s all my fault. They say it is not but I know it is.

I go home. I hesitate as I turn the key to unlock the door. Do I really want to go back inside? I don’t know what else to do so I turn the key.

I make dinner and set two plates out of habit. I know you won’t be joining me. I eat in silence.

I go upstairs to go to bed and I once again stop at the door. I reach for the door knob and pull my hand away. I take a deep breath and walk away. I go into my room and yell at myself in the mirror. Why are you so weak? Why can’t you turn the knob?

God help me! Where are you? I need you. She needs you. Why won’t you make her wake up? I need a miracle.

I fall asleep listening to the hissing and popping of the machines that keep her alive.

I have the same nightmare, but it’s not a nightmare. It’s a reality. You fell down the stairs and couldn’t move. Ten minutes. That’s what the doctor said. If I could’ve gotten you to the hospital ten minutes earlier you would’ve made it. If I would’ve came straight home that night you would’ve been okay.

But I didn’t.

We were fighting and I took the long way home to clear my head.

Ten minutes.

I wish I would’ve driven straight home. That’s why it’s all my fault. That’s why I can’t go in there. I know I did that to you.

I wake with a startle. The house is silent.

It shouldn’t be silent!

The machines have stopped. I jump out of bed and run to the door. I reach my hand out and pull it away. Maybe it’s for the best.

She needs you.

I look around. No one is there.

She needs you. She is still alive. Appreciate the living while they are here. One day she will be gone and you won’t be able to tell her anything.

Tears pour out of my eyes and before I know it my hand turns the door knob. I slowly walk to your bed and reach out to hold your hand. I am so sorry. Please wake up, please. I love you. I need you. I am sorry I haven’t been here. I will always be there for you from now. Wake up!  Please God, wake her up.

I feel her hand squeeze mine. It had to be my imagination. I look up through the tears and see her eyes open.

I didn’t expect day sixty to be any different. God knew it would be.

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He Still Does Miracles by Hawk Nelson – 

Miracles by Alisa Turner – 

God Of The Impossible by Lincoln Brewster – 

Faithful by Sarah Reeves – 

God Who Moves Mountains by Corey Voss –  

Mountain Of Sorrow by The Taylors – 

 

Rodney The Raccoon – Inside The Mask

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(image credit: Mari Jones from Journey of a Million Miles)

“Oh, hello there.  My name is Rodney. It’s nice to see you. I don’t get many visitors. Most people see the mask and think I am bad.  I must tell you, I am not! At least most of the time. I am honest if nothing else. My mom always told me honesty is the best policy.”

“Come on down and have a sit. I don’t have rabies or anything. My uncle Phil had rabies but he is long gone. Only one in the family to get rabies but everyone usually thinks we are all rabid.  It’s like your family. I bet you have one bad apple in that tree.  Does everyone think you are bad because of them?”

“Let me tell you something else. We eat a lot of different things from pesky insects and small rodents to fruits and nuts. Yes, that was me in your trash can the other day but I could not find any other food. I had to feed my family. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  You know how many of your kind I have seen trying to find food in trash cans. It’s sad if you ask me.  I mean me, I’m an animal and I don’t have anyone looking after me except maybe my near family. Your kind though, you throw away about half the food you eat. I see it in your trash cans and land fills. Shouldn’t you be helping others of your kind out instead of throwing it away?  How about buying less so there is less to throw away and using that extra money to give to a food bank or something? I once helped a deer out. Not typical for me but I just could not eat anymore berries so instead of tossing them to the ground, I gave them to the deer. Next time you see that homeless guy, look past what you see and feel what’s in his heart. You won’t miss that dollar or that sandwich you give him. Maybe even your heart will  grow three sizes that day if you did.”

“The mask?  What’s up with the mask you ask?  Take a look around you, everyone wears a mask.  Some you just see easier than others. My mask is for me to be able to see better at night. Look at that person over there? Do you think her mask is to protect her from her past?  She would love to take off her mask, get rid of her past mistakes but she is too scared to take it off. You don’t see a mask? Trust me, it’s there.  Look at that guy.  Do you think his mask protects him ? He looks like he is big and tough and can take on the world but inside he is hurting, he is begging to be loved, he is a big softy but no one will ever see that.  That little girl over there? Yes, another mask. She tries to put a smile on and be happy but I see her eyes. Her pain. She gets yelled at everyday. Her parents fight all the time. She doesn’t think she is worth anything.  That’s sad to see a mask on someone so young. I think you humans can do better. Take off the mask. Like my mom always said, honesty is the best policy. It will release so much stress and hurt.”

“What? You thought I was an animal to stay away from?  Why?  Because of my mask and the rings on my tail.  Really?  Take a look around you. Do you stay away from everyone that looks scary?  The guy with all the tattoos?  He is the nicest guy I ever met. The black man over there gave me his leftover food one day. I took that right home to my kids. They were so thankful. The white guy over there killed a snake one day and brought it over near my home. I eat anything.  Dead carcasses are sometimes my favorite. The Asian guy over there came right up to me one day, just like you did today, and just started talking. I sat there and listened. The Muslim lady over there wept with me one day when my youngest baby was hit by a car.  I don’t discriminate. I need all of you to survive.  Sometimes I help you, sometimes you help me.  That’s the way it should be. ”

“It doesn’t matter who you are. I will come up to you. That scares most people who only see my mask. Do you know I have a friend names Jesus who was the same way?  He talked to everyone, and there were people who were afraid of Him. He only wanted to teach people about His father and the love He has for all of us and how we should treat others.  Yet, people were afraid of Him and had Him crucified. He died for all of us. That includes you. Isn’t that awezing?”

“What? That’s not what you are taught. That’s a shame my friend. A real shame. I can call you friend, right? That’s what you are to me. I think you should take my words to heart. Go out and look at what’s inside a person. Get to know them.  Get past the masks and the colors.  You might be surprised what you find.”

“Have an awezing day my friend.  What’s that? You don’t know what awezing is? Oh, that’s a word I made up combining awesome and amazing. See, never know what you will find once you get to know someone.”

(image credit: Laura Ross)

Walking Blind by Javier Colon – 

Chosen Ones by Blanca – 

Get To Know Me by Mateo – 

Colors of the Wind by Tori Kelly – 

Heal The World by Michael Jackson – 

Where Is The Love by The Black Eyed Peas – 

Unite by 1GN – 

World Changers by Matthew  West – 

Love Feels Like by TobyMac – 

Rainbow Connection by Gwen Stefani (original by Kermit the Frog) – 

The Pier

I remember the first time I saw her. Standing all alone in the water. I stood in awe at how beautiful she was. A true work of art. It was love at first sight.

It was our first vacation together to the beach. Our first of many.

I remember the first time I walked out on her, I stood so far out into the ocean. The beach looked so far away. I was so far out all the people on the beach looked like ants.

I learned all about her. From the beginning when she was first being made until now. All the storms she had been through, everything that made her into the beauty she is today. I couldn’t help but wonder if other people looked at her the way I did.

How many sunrises and sunsets have we seen from that pier? How many long talks have we had walking the beaches and that pier while holding hands?

Every year, before we would go back, I would look at the old photos of us taken on that pier.  The first one taken when we’re just dating, the first one taken as a married couple, the first one with our daughter as a baby and all the ones through the years as she, and we, grew older.

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Throughout the years, I always knew the pier would be there when we were. The times when we would walk early in the morning and the fog was so thick we could barely see our hands in front of our face. But somehow, I knew the next step would land on the next plank.  On the dark nights when we could not see the end of the pier because of the darkness, I still knew it was there.

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Then I looked at the last picture, the one from last year. The pier was showing her age but she was still so beautiful to me. Our daughter had grown so strong and beautiful, ready to go out on her own. There was something off about the picture though. There was a light missing from your eyes. Maybe the smile wasn’t as big as years past.

Maybe it was just my imagination. I couldn’t get the thought out of my head.

Do you believe in coincidences?  As I was staring at the picture there was a breaking news alert. The hurricane hit the pier and she was gone. I couldn’t believe it. All those years of storms and sunshine, cold winter nights and hot summer days, all the things the pier had been through and now she was gone.

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A tear came to my eyes as I stared In disbelief. Was it real or was I dreaming?  Was she really gone? All these pictures, all the memories, all of it gone. No, they were still there but as I looked at the empty space in the ocean I knew things would never be the same.

I couldn’t help but look at the last picture again. The one where the light in your eyes was gone and your smile wasn’t as big. All the storms we have faced and survived.  All the good days and the bad days. I couldn’t help shake the feeling that a storm was coming.  A storm bigger than we have ever faced before.

We will survive it or we will fall like the pier?

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Almost Broken by Sister Hazel-  

Church Clothes by Kelleigh Bannen – 

Performance by The XX – 

A Day To Be Alone by One Less Reason – 

Even If by MercyMe – 

That Could Still Be Us by Keith Urban- 

Where We Go From Here by Jason Gray – 

Where Do We Go From Here by Oleander – 

Something Beautiful by One Less Reason – 

Broken Together by Casting Crowns – 

The First Bud Of Spring- A Love Story

 

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It was a long, cold, dark winter. One that she didn’t think would ever end. There was snow, rain, and sleet. A couple of times there was enough ice to nearly break the branches on the trees. The little girl held on. She waited for the warmer weather, the better times, the warmth of the sun. She knew it would come, it was just a matter of time. As she waited patiently, she would say her prayers, she would thank God for protecting her and her mommy and daddy during these cold, dark, winter nights.

Finally, the day had come. The first bud of spring appeared out of the ground. The bud peeked out of her shoot and could feel the warmth surround her. She was filled with so much joy that, at first,  she didn’t notice she was the only bud sprouting. After basking in the warmth of the sunshine for a few minutes she looked around, startled that she was the only one. Where was everyone else? Was she going to be all alone? Did she come out too soon? Was colder weather coming back and she would die because of her eagerness to sprout? She was filled with fear and doubt but she stayed strong. She knew God had a plan for her. It was then that a little girl saw her and started yelling for her dad to come see the new flower. The little girl was so excited that the bud could not help but smile. Her excitement was contagious.

 

A little while later another bud awakened. He also took a moment to take in the warmth around him. He then looked to see if the others had awakened and that was when he saw her. She was within inches of him and he knew he would love her. It didn’t take long for her to notice him either, even though it took the help of a little girl yelling “Look, daddy, now there’s two!”

 

They welcomed the spring with all the other buds that started to awaken. With all the other flowers around them, they knew they were meant for each other. When the rains came, he would lean towards her to cover her petals. When the strong winds came they would lean into it together, holding stems. They were inseparable. When the bees came they opened their petals for them so they could spread their seeds to other lands where there were no flowers. They also knew that the bees relied on their pollen to take back to their hives for food. It was a beneficial relationship.  Everything was new and exciting.

Then summer came. It was a scorching summer, one like they had never seen. There was no water. Many flowers died but not our couple. They shared what they had with each other. Every little drop of moisture was shared between them. Luckily, they were also planted where they had shade for part of the day. They counted the hours down together until they were cooled by the shade. Every once in awhile the little girl would come out with a can of water and help keep them alive. They were often too tired to open their petals wide enough for the bees to come but they did their best. They knew the only way to survive this summer was with the help of others. They prayed their prayers for rain, for cooler temperatures but it was not to be. Sometimes in life, God doesn’t answer prayers and there are reasons only He knows why. They had reached a point in their relationship that they were still together, but they didn’t talk much. Too much too worry about, too much life got in the way. When was their next rain drop, how would they make it through another day without food, why couldn’t they be like they were in the spring? Did they waste this whole season of their life? They knew better because they still shared the little water they had, they still  protected each other but the excitement was gone.

Before they knew it Autumn was here. They had made it through the difficult summer and were enjoying another season of their life. The rains came again, as well as cooler weather. When he looked at her she was still the most beautiful, most loving, most caring flower in the garden. When she looked at him he was still the bravest, strongest, most handsome flower this side of Eden. They held each other’s petals more each day, knowing that their days were winding down. They reflected on the spring and the summer. Days when their love was new and days when they didn’t know if they would make it. They thought of their seeds spread far and wide, soon to be new flowers that would spread their love and beauty around the world. It wasn’t easy, they had moments of doubt but they fought for each other, they fought for their love. They survived.

Soon the cold winds blew again. They held on for as long as they could but with each passing day, their petals would fall off. They knew it wouldn’t be long now but they held on for each struggling moment. Relying on each other to get by. Praying for just one more second. She was the first to go, as she was the first to sprout. He wasn’t far behind her.

 

The little girl, all bundled up from the cold,  looked at her daddy and said, “Look, daddy, the first two here are they last two to leave. I wonder if they were happy here, I wonder if they were in love.”

“Now, now,” said the daddy, “we know flowers can’t fall in love but if they could, those two would definitely have been like me and your mom. Through all the seasons and all the weather, the rain, the sun, the cold, they were standing right beside each other. Holding petals all the while.”

The little girl giggled. Through the cold, dark, winter nights she was safe as she anxiously waited for the first bud of spring to blossom again.

I Will Be Here by Steven Curtis Chapman –  

Then by Brad Paisley – 

Stand By You by Rachel Platten – 

Love Like Crazy by Lee Brice – 

The End Is Not The Answer by Three Days Grace – 

Worth Fighting For by Nine Days – 

When I Said I Do by Clint Black – 

Forever Changed by Carrie Underwood – 

Remind Me by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood – 

Would You Go With Me by Josh Turner – 

I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders – 

Meant To Be by JJ Heller – 

What Faith Can Do by Kutless – 

By My Side

IMG_1078We watched the waves roll to the sea

As we sat out on the beach

In those two weathered chairs

I watched the breeze blow your hair

Our feet sinking in the sand

Reaching out to hold your hand

We watch the seabirds fly

Just sitting there, watching the world go by

The wind carrying a thousand memories

Every one had you sitting beside me

A flower in your hair, a smile on your face

And I thought this is such a beautiful place

The view was spectacular but it wouldn’t be the same

If you weren’t by my side in that picture frame

By My Side by Ned Ledoux – 

Love You All The Way by Sean Mcneill – 

Dance With Me by Phillip Phillips – 

The Wave by Blake Shelton – 

Tonight Feels Different

The stars shine a different light

They seem to be a little more bright

These city streets always filled with noise

But tonight all I hear is your voice

I walk these streets, your hand in mine

It seems like I’ve done this a million times

But tonight feels different

Somehow the Dj seems to know

To play our song on the radio

I sing along, mostly out of tune

I sing our song to the moon

People look at me like I’ve lost my mind

They don’t know this love took me so long to find

That’s why tonight feels different

When we are apart

You take my heart

Its impossible to explain

How I feel when you call my name

My stomach is filled with butterflies

Every time I look in your eyes

But tonight feels different

You walk across the room and you shine so bright

It’s like  God gave you your very own spotlight

We dance, a little off beat

We kiss, your lips so sweet

We walk, hand in hand

I think I am a lucky man

 

I don’t know why but tonight feels different

Is tonight a long awaited answer to a prayer asked?

Is tonight a hope for the future, a forgetting of the past?

Is tonight a new beginning?

I don’t know but I can’t stop grinning

I can finally see you like God sees you

That’s enough to start our love anew

Tonight feels different

Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton – 

Lady In Red by Chris Deburgh – 

Die A Happy Man by Thomas Rhett – 

For The First Time by The Script – 

Tonight Feels Different by Riley Smith – 

Heartbeat by Carrie Underwood – 

Something Beautiful by Steven Curtis Chapman –