Make a Choice

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(this addresses the feelings surrounding my decision to leave the evangelical “christian” church when they decided to support the former president)

they said it was right
i knew it was wrong
they told me to rethink
it didn’t change my mind

they made me choose between
community and loneliness
feeling part of a family and
walking on my own

i couldn’t stay and
let it erase who i was
no matter how painful
the decision proved to be

so I walked away
with my head held high
my friends left in the mire
of conformity and error

but i can’t be responsible
for who they choose to be
when my own identity is
at danger of disappearing

i won’t lie and say I don’t miss them
but I never really
fit into their crowd
always just on the edge of belonging

the truth is, though,
i’m better off living in the light
seeing the truth and walking in it
instead of following the crowd

i’ve always been a loner
so readjusting was easier
than if I needed people to feel
whole or valuable

speaking the truth can
carry a hefty price
but i counted the cost
and paid the price

integrity instead of conformity
compassion instead of condemnation
love instead of judgment
empathy instead of scorn

when i stand before God
and answer for how i lived my life
i want Him to see my heart and know
i honored what He called me to do
more than what people thought of me
because that matters more
than all the money or power
in the world

9-10-2020
©plfreitag

Solitary

She’s alone now.
Only memories and ashes
remind her of the one
who held her heart.

There are no arms to embrace her
in the long, dark night;
no soft breathing from
the pillow next to hers;
no warmth to ease the chill
in the bed they used to share
as temperatures fall
and winter approaches;
there is only
silence and longing.
Some days she feels
a wave of overwhelming grief
she can’t control.

There are moments when
she wonders
if the pain of loss
was worth their time together,
if it would have been easier
to never have met him,
loved him,
shared his life…

Then, in her mind’s eye,
she sees his smile
and it reminds her
of the love they shared;
the touch of his hand,
the feel of his skin against hers,
the sound of his voice,
how he said her name
like nobody else could…,

And she knows
It was worth it all.
©pfreitag2021

Pain Will Not Win

you are my constant companion
with me each moment of every day
never ceasing to remind me
of the fragility and the preciousness of life

the pain you have given me
drives me to cherish the smallest things
the times with my loved ones
now all too infrequent 
touching my life in a deeper way
than ever before

I have questioned myself
my motives and my actions
trying to discover
the root, the cause, the reason
only to find you are
as random as the wind
striking whom you will
where you will
when you choose

there is no preventative measure
I could have taken
there is no cure in the annals of medicine
only a hope for relief
from the constant pain I live in
a hope that drives me
to try yet one more medication
one more treatment

to spite you
I will not give into depression
I will not let your presence
steal from me who I am
instead, I will make the most
of each second I've been given
and in the hard times
I will cling to that which is good

you will not win
you will not take my life
you may grab at my livelihood
my possessions, my ability
but who I am
will always shine through
the pain

torture me if you must 
leave me writhing in agony
crying out for relief
still my spirit will be there fighting you
I will fight you with my last breath

I will not give in to you.

©2008



Part of Me

Long ago,
when I formed you
in your mother’s womb,
I placed
a piece of Myself
inside you.

I have been with you
since your conception.
I was there
as your organs formed,
as your fingers and toes
took shape.
I determined
the color of your eyes
and
the sound of your voice.
I was the one
Who decided
what you would
look like today.

Nothing
that has happened to you
has been hidden from Me.
I have seen
what was done in the open
as well as
in the hidden places,
the places
others thought
nobody would ever find.
I have shared with you
every moment
of every day
of your life.
None of it has been
hidden from
My watchful eye.
Nothing you have endured
has come as a surprise
to Me.

When necessary,
I have intervened –
Informed the enemy,
“Enough. This far
and no further
will you go.
This child is Mine.
The mark is there,
clear to see.
Take your hands off.”

I have watched
as your character formed,
as the pressures of living
forged in you
a strength
that an easy life
would have left you
deprived of.
And,
though the furnace
was hot,
the heat was
always controlled
by my hand.
Never too much,
never too little;
always just enough
to shape you
into the person
I knew you could be.
Strong, reliable,
trustworthy –
yet still dependent on Me.

And now,
today,
I hold in My hand
the desire of your heart.
It is there,
but you must
reach out and take it.
Do you really want it?
It will cost you –
some will not understand,
others will be jealous;
you may not even
comprehend for yourself why –
it is because
I have placed it within you.

Look and see
what I have for you.
It is a blessing,
meant for you
and no one else.

Do you trust Me?
What I have for you
is a good thing,
I will say it again –
it is a good thing.

Take hold of the blessing.
It is there for you,
And it is a good thing.

©1998

Alone

Silence explodes
enveloping my world
like the mushroom cloud of an atom bomb
now that I am here
without you.

In youth I craved solitude –
the stillness, a lack of expectation,
no mindless chatter to clutter my thoughts….
now, like an old friend who has
outworn his welcome,
its presence dogs my steps
and demands my attention.

The emptiness created by your absence
overwhelms me.
I wander aimlessly,
night flowing into day,
nothing making sense.

There is no reality for me
any more
but the chasm of your loss.

I am alone.

©9-28-2016

Gratitude

Your smile lingers in my mind.
I can still recall the sparkle in your eye
and the sound of your laughter.

Memories comfort me
when missing you threatens
to overtake my heart.

I remember how we laughed
and loved
and gave each other strength
in the hard times…
how much we cherished
not being alone
any more.

We didn’t have it easy.
Our lives were constantly
challenged by circumstances
that could have broken our spirits
or even our bond….
but we had been through worse,
and we knew how precious
our togetherness was,
so instead they made us
stronger.

I look back
and think of the things
you did for me out of love,
things you wouldn’t have done
for yourself –
the vegetable garden,
that silly chicken coop –
and I realize you did those
because you wanted to show me
how much I meant to you.

I hope you understood
how much your love changed me.
I hope you knew being with you
made me a better person.

Thank you for loving me.

©4-10-2018

Interment day

The silence was palpable
as I placed your ashes in their niche.
I wonder –
did they see me kiss your urn
or hear me say, “I love you”?

I should have spoken at the committal ceremony
but I didn’t know what to say.
How can you sum up years of memories
in a 15 minute window?
What could I have done
to show what our time together
meant to me?

You taught me unconditional love,
acceptance without judgement,
sacrifice,
faithfulness,
devotion,
humility,
all parts of what love should be –
the kind I’d never known before.

You helped me accept myself
for who and what I was
instead of feeling like my life
had been a series of failures.

You loved my children as your own
and cherished our grandchildren
as much as they did you.

You were a living example to me
of a godly man
even though you never claimed to be one.
You didn’t have to –
your actions spoke volumes.

There was no way
to put that into words
so I left it unspoken.
Your life spoke for itself
in those who loved you.

©10-23-2106

emptiness

I searched for you in the night
and my hand only met the air.

I listened for the sound of your breathing
but heard my own instead.

I made your favorite meal –
somehow it’s just not the same.

When we were first in love
I remember telling you I’d like to
open you us and
crawl in next to your heart.
Now I feel as if
I’m the one who’s been dissected,
left with a gaping hole in my life,
my consciousness,
my being,
where you used to live.

Sometimes it’s almost unbearable
going through the days without you.
I’m like a robot executing
expected movements without emotion
…….except I miss you
so badly it hurts.

©4-1-2018

All I Need

Look at me.

I’m a mess.

Broken, weak, and bleeding, I make my way to the throne of grace.

I stumble over pride, shortcomings, and fear as I crawl to the feet of Jesus.

The cares of life grab at my ankles, demanding my attention, trying to distract me from my goal.

I wonder if I’ll ever make it….

Finally, exhausted and weary, I enter that most precious place – the Holy of Holies.

Everything else fades into the background when I hear the Father’s voice bidding me to come closer.

Burdens lift; encumbrances fall away; cares disappear.

All I hear is His voice.

All I want is His touch.

All I long for is His love.

His grace, mercy, and forgiveness overwhelm me. I fall on my face in reverence and gratitude. Tears flow, cleansing my spirit-man as they carry the dirt and weight of the world away with them. I am refreshed, renewed, and made clean as I submit myself to the all-consuming fire of a Holy and Righteous God.

In the overwhelming silence, saturated by the very presence of God, I am revitalized. He refills my empty cup and the Balm of Gilead flows abundantly over my wounded soul. The hurt, shame, rejection, and doubt are replaced by love, unconditional acceptance, and healing. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt I am right where I need to be. This place is the only source of restoration for my battle-scarred body and strength for the journey ahead.

Most Holy Lord, please let me never forget that all I have, all I am, and all I do relies on You. Let me never place faith in my own ability or wisdom, for You are my sufficiency. Without You, I am lost. In You, I am complete and able to do what You have called me to do.

You are all I need.

©3-30-2018