Monthly Archives: October 2012

I Will Give You Beauty For Your Ashes…..

What beautiful words these are!  Beauty is all that is wonderful and glorious and good.  Beauty is what we all want and need in our lives. Beauty is to be found in love and in life. There is the beauty of a friendship, the beauty of family and the beauty of one’s heart, just to name a few.  We have been created in beauty and therefore to live fully, we must have beauty in our lives.  This is how our Creator has ordained the world, the universe.  But often times, Life can be unkind to our spirits and cause us to become broken inside.  Something or someone beautiful in our life is taken away and what was beauty is burned away.  What we are left with then is the remnants of what was a beautiful part of our lives.  What Life leaves us with is the ashes.

The word beauty calls forth from our minds images and words that lift our hearts and brings abundance to our spirit, our soul. Does the word ashes illicit the same response from within us?  No it does not.  When you hear the word ashes, what comes to mind?  For me, the images that present themselves in my mind are those of emptiness, of a vitality that is no longer present.  Ashes are what is left when all else is gone.  Have you ever sat before a bonfire on a cool evening and felt the warmth from the fire radiate towards you and perhaps watched the tendrils of smoke rise into the night sky, a haze against a blanket of stars?  And remember as well the delicious crackling you would hear as you stared almost hypnotically  into the flames, your mind gently wandering, drinking in the wonders of the night?  I have had the privilege of doing so a number of times and the memories connected there are beautiful and sweet.  But when the bonfire had spent itself and the embers had ceased their warm glow, all the remained was a mound of ashes which no longer spoke of a warming for the spirit and body.  These ashes, these remnants now only offered up a kind of  empty and quiet coldness, a sense of something now lost.  I have never seen anyone sit in front of a bonfire whose life and light had burned itself out.  Have you, my friend?  I am sure you have not.

I suppose my point here is rather obvious.  These two words beauty and ashes are completely opposite each other in that the feelings and memories we may have of them are dramatically different as well.  And I might add that there is a scripture which states the God will give us beauty for our ashes.  What the word ashes is referring to in this passage is what we have lost in our life as well as the pain and emptiness we have suffered because of it.  So, if we have been afflicted with the ashes of loneliness due to the fact we do not have that special one to fill our being with a love that is true, God then is offering you the beauty of such a love.  And if it is not around the next corner, it is not so far off really. Just be patient and ask for the wisdom to recognize it when it comes.  Are you suffering the ashes of pain and of sorrow because of the loss of a loved one called away from our world too soon?  This is a difficult one, to be sure.  A person so afflicted can become angry and bitter and disengage themselves from what is their true self and become lost along the way.  And from a human standpoint, it is hard to blame them for feeling this way.  The words “God’s ways are not our ways” or “Have faith for it will all work out” become little more than platitudes and actually can make one in such a state even more bitter and angry.   I have been there and I know the truth of this.  And I wish for the benefit of those reading this that I could boldly say that I now understand it.  But I do not, not completely.  However, I do have peace concerning it now, an acceptance if you will as well as a belief that God still knows what it is He is doing even if I may not agree with it many times.  And I no longer suffer the ashes of pain and of sorrow for the one that I lost now lives above as well as within my heart.  The knowledge and peace I have concerning this, that is the beauty that God has given me in place of those cold and empty ashes.

What are the ashes that bring despair and hopelessness in your life?  Is it the loss of a job and the lack of employment?  God has promised you beauty for your ashes.  Is there a marriage that has gone wrong or a family that is torn apart?  God has promised you beauty for your ashes. Whatever our situation may be, God has stated clearly that He will take those cold, lifeless ashes you have within and will give you instead beauty in such abundance that it will overwhelm your heart and fill your spirit to overflowing so that you may bless others in return.  Test Him upon this promise.  Did you know that God wants us to, has actually requested that we ask, and ask believing that His promises are true?  However, a word of caution here though, if I may.  Remember that we live in a world of instant coffee, fast food and 24 hour ATM machines.  So, we usually expect answers immediately, if not sooner.  Take a breath, have sufficient faith and believe.  We may not receive our beauty for ashes in the fashion we would expect or as quickly as we would want this to be accomplished.  Know then that our Creator has a bit more wisdom than we do more often than not.  So, have patience, believe and know that the beauty He has coming your way will be what you life needs and will also arrive at the proper time for God is never late with His promises nor does He fail to live up to those promises.

I will give you beauty for your ashes……How beautiful are these words?  And who else but Our Creator would take unto Himself our emptiness and pain and give us in return incomprehensible beauty, fullness and joy?   Give this some thought, my friends.

I thank you again for your kind attention here and send to you my prayers for blessing in the lives of you and yours.

William J. Thompson, Jr.

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Life is Grand, Ain’t It?

Good evening to all!  I pray that all those who view these words here and everyone else as well has had a tremendously blessed day.  And I would further trust that you have blessed others in return.  As for the title of this little piece I am writing, I will tell you that I have not forgotten the value, the necessity of proper speech.  To be quite honest, it pained me a bit to use the word “ain’t” because as we all know, “ain’t” ain’t a word!  I will further confess that it was a cheap ploy to hopefully gain your attention here.  However, those first three words there are very much the truth.  Life is indeed grand!  I was going over the various things that I have posted here and discovered something.  Well, it wasn’t so much a discovery , I suppose.  I know myself fairly well and the fact that I gravitate towards the serious is no secret to me.  I am passionate about things, about injustice in our world and about regaining the greatness of our nation, about people coming to know the beauty that is within them and about so many other things.  Given all of this, I sometimes in the midst of being intense, forget about the simple joys that are so abundant in this world.

There is so much to smile at and give thanks for each precious day that we are alive.  For example, did you feel the rays of the Sun today as it gently warmed you?  Smile and give thanks!  What is that you say?  There was no Sun for you and it rained most of the day?  Then smile and give thanks to the heavens for giving to us once again the water that sustains us all.  And perhaps better still, do as you did as a child and turn your face upward to feel those rain drops upon your skin.  Then smile and give thanks for the gift of this miraculous liquid sunshine!  For Life is indeed grand!

Take a moment or two out of your day here and ruminate on the grandeur of Life.  And if some of you are grumbling, saying, “Oh, if you knew what my day has been like, then maybe you wouldn’t even suggest such a thing.  I was stuck in traffic for an hour and arrived to work late and the day went downhill from there!”  Hmmmmmmm……So, you did arrive to work which means you are still breathing, yes?  Take a deep breath even now so as to be sure.  But I want you to savor that breath, really feel that breath and realize the miracle of it.  Now, smile and give thanks for being alive.  That is my suggestion for you on this beautiful day.  There is a line from a Mel Brooks movie that my dear brother reminds me of now and again and here it is  –  “There are so many things you can’t do when you’re dead!”  A bit boldly stated for my taste but very much the truth.  Think about those words.  In fact, print them out and place them where you will see them often.  For Life is indeed grand!

Did someone send a smile your way as you walked down the street today?  And how about the person who held the door open for you because they noticed that your hands were quite full?  And what of that dog or cat that greets you each day, freely giving you their love and affection when you walk in the door?  And do you remember seeing that elderly couple in the store today?  Remember how you smiled when you noticed that they were still holding hands after all those years?  Smile and give thanks for Life is indeed grand!  And earlier today, when you were having that particularly stressful moment and that one song that always brightens your day came on the radio and for those few moments, things became just a bit easier to handle?  My friend, these are all small but precious gifts that Life provides us with each and every day.  If we take the time to notice and appreciate these and the countless other occurrences throughout our day, we will begin to realize that Life is indeed grand!

I should tell you that there was a catalyst that brought about my train of thought here.  Actually there were two incidents that gave me pause and made me think, really think about the grandeur of Life.  The first incident was when a few weeks ago, someone in my immediate family had a series of mini-strokes. And in actuality, the “mini-strokes” were a blessing, as odd as that may sound.  I suppose one could say it was the difference between getting punched in the arm a number of times or getting one swift, hard uppercut to the jaw.  The swift uppercut to the jaw would have obviously been the worst of the two.  There has been much prayer obviously and add to this the fact that this individual is a fighter and the result is a rather substantial recovery thus far.  This has caused me to remember that Life is indeed grand!  It is all too easy to get caught up in our life and forget about Life itself, yes?

There is also someone I know who is very dear to my heart who recently lost a loved one.  It is a difficult time for them, I know.  And strangely enough, this person is steadfastly giving words of encouragement to others throughout this ordeal.  It amazes me, to be quite honest.  This was the other incident I spoke of previously.  These are the reasons why I am realizing afresh and anew that you and I, that all of us need to savor every precious moment of every wonderful day and to be aware of the many gifts and blessings that surround us always.  My desire is that we consistently smile and give thanks for Life is indeed grand!

Thank you for your kind attention this evening.  Take care, be blessed and live Life abundantly!

Authored by William J. Thompson, Jr.

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We Are All Of Us The Same….

There is something upon my heart this evening which is weighing upon me rather heavily.  Often times in writing, I am able to achieve some level of clarity and my heart seems a bit lighter.  I had intended to complete another piece I had started regarding how Love defines our hearts.  But that will be for another day, I believe.  As before, I pray for your indulgence here as I try to express what my heart wishes to say.

I am disturbed greatly by the lack of tolerance which is so clearly demonstrated in our world these days.  If one takes notice, it is quite prevalent and seems to become more of a problem with each day that passes.  I ask my spirit almost daily why this so, why do people of one nationality have the desire to inflict pain and death upon others simply because of the color of their skin or a religious belief that differs from their own?  Do they not see what madness this is?  Why are so many so consumed with such hatred so as to take the life of another?  And I wonder as well if when someone ends another’s life, do they and can they truly feel good about this deep in their heart?  The logic of my soul says this cannot be so, that when the heart of another ceases the rhythm that is indeed Life, the person who caused this cannot truly rejoice in what they have done.  They may have acted in the name of religious fervor or in the name of the supremacy of their race, or in the name of any other belief that has diseased their soul and mind.  But when they are alone in their room, away from the chanting and rantings of those they associate with, does such a person feel conflicted and deep within their spirit feel pain and doubt about their actions?  I believe this is true at least in most situations for if I did not believe so, then I would have to say that our world is racing at breakneck speed towards its own destruction.  I do not sense in my spirit that this is the case as yet.  Oh, you may have noticed I referred to “the logic of my soul” a bit earlier.  To some, it may sound an odd thing to say.  But every soul does indeed come with logic programmed in.  Make no mistake about this.  Perhaps this will be a subject for another day.  But I digress and for that, my apologies.

I just want to say that we are all of us the same in that we are all different.  Those of you that breed hatred within you and spread it about as a disease, may I ask you this one question?  Why can’t you see that this is true?  This statement is perfect in its logic because this is logic that was born of the soul.  Our differences were meant to be celebrated for in celebrating our differences, we are become as one people.  Am I saying then that we would all adhere to the same mode of dress and share all the same ideas and worship in the same fashion?  No, not at all.  What I am trying to convey is that we have so much we can learn from one another and in doing so, we have unity one with the other.  I am who God created me to be and therefore I do not want to be that person from a far off land and become someone I am not.  However, would I like to know this person from this far off land and learn from he or she what it is that brings to their life goodness, joy and fulfillment?  Yes, yes, and yes again!  And perhaps they will find something of worth in what my life style has to offer as well.  This is called understanding and with understanding comes tolerance.  And my friends, with tolerance comes wisdom and in wisdom lies true Life, the most precious of gifts.  Can you not see the truth in this?

What I am writing this evening came about because of a friend I have who resides in Tunisia and we converse now and again thanks to todays technologies.  I came across an item he had posted and it broke my heart.  It was a photograph of the face of a man who was of Arabic descent, I believe.  If I am incorrect in the nationality, I apologize.  I mean no disrespect.  You see, I view others through my spirit so all I really see is a human being.  But with regards to the photograph that I mentioned here?  Well to make this easier, please do something for me. It will only take but a moment or two.  Close your eyes and see this photograph now.  Do you see the face of a man, possibly Arabic in his mid-thirties with a dark bread and prominent cheekbones?  Do you see the turban he wears on his head as is the custom?  Now focus in for a moment on his eyes, if you will.  They are beautiful and dark brown in color.  Do you see reflected in those eyes a gentle kindness looking out at you?  It is difficult to miss, to be sure.  But look deeper for just a moment.  If you are observant enough, you can see also a quiet pain there, one that says to those who will hear, “Why do you dislike me so and why do you judge me based on the actions of but a few?”  Now, do you have this picture, all of it in your minds’ eye?  Good, for now I want you to visually pull back and see what else this picture contains.  It might be difficult for a moment ago, you really “saw” this person in a true light.  Now as you look at the photo again, you notice that someone has placed labels all over this beautiful human face.  Labels such as terrorist, fanatic, Muslim, Al Qaeda, militant, Saddam, prisoner, o9/11, Taliban, fundamentalist and others as well.  My friends, this photograph demonstrates the ignorance of our world.  But as disturbing and sad as this photograph was to me, there was something else which grieved my spirit.  There was a caption nearby with regards to this picture.  It read “Unfortunately, it is how others see us”.  That comment was written by a fine young man, the friend I spoke of in this writing.  He is a beautiful and kind young man with a gentle spirit and the soul of an artist.  I cannot tell you how many beautiful photos he has sent my way which have graced my day and expanded my heart.  I cannot express to you the depth of his thoughts he has shared that have caused my spirit to become more than it was previously.  And yet this wonderful soul endures much pain and trouble because of the many who believe that we are so much different, that we have no commonality in this world.  I saw this photograph he posted months ago and did make mention of it to him because it troubled me so.  I did not tell him of the tears that filled my eyes and the pain which tore at my heart because of it.  When will we as the people of the world recognize the truth of things?  And as you know, that photograph could have just as well been of a person of Hispanic descent or Asian descent or African descent or……Well, you see what it is I am saying.  It is not the nationality or choice of belief system at issue here.  It is how we as a people label and judge those around us.  Adolf Hitler did that, you know.  And if you know anything of history at all, then you know this one thing.  History will repeat itself unless we do something collectively to keep that from occurring!  And what is wonderful about that is that it is all up to us.  We can control these types of things.  Do you wish to know the frightening part of this as well?  It is also the fact that it is all up to us.  Think about that for a moment.  It is so much easier to leave things like this up to others and hope all will be taken care of properly, isn’t it?  It does not work this way however.

Whether we accept it or not, we are indeed our brothers (or sisters) keeper. We are responsible one for another.  And that responsibility includes loving your neighbor as yourself.  It is past time to realize this.  Besides, if you participate in the way things should be, you may find out you will enjoy Life that much more.  We are here on this Earth, our Earth together, are we not?  Take the time each day to speak and smile to those who you believe are different from you.  You will be surprised how that we are all of us the same!  May the blessing and the fullness of this day be yours to share!

Thank you for your kind attention.

Authored by William J. Thompson, Jr.

 

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Enough is Enough!

With the presidential election pressing in close upon us and the candidates playing politics’ games, there is a question I must ask you this night.  Haven’t you, haven’t we as a people had enough?  Enough of a government mired in mediocrity, one where our elected officials are no longer public servants but instead have become servants unto themselves?  And are you not tired of the reckless government spending yet?  We are over 14 trillion dollars in debt and that number is steadily climbing!  Does this not disturb us, you and I?  If it doesn’t, then it should!!  Wake up, America!  And wake up before it is too late to do so.  It is our own apathy and complacency that has brought our nation to where it is today.  This needs to change and quickly.  Our nation’s elected officials are there to serve the people, not to serve themselves.  This ride of leisure that they, our leaders have enjoyed has gone on far too long now.  Whether they realize it or not and whether you realize it or not, this is still a nation that was founded “by the people, for the people”.  Send a message to Congress and to our President.  Let them know that this is our country and that “Enough is Enough!”  Do it today!

William J. Thompson, Jr.

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Where Have You Pitched Your Tent?

Is this an odd question I am presenting here this evening?  Perhaps, perhaps not. You see, I was listening to Joel Osteen and he made mention of a scripture that states “I have pitched my tent in the city of hope”.  The reference does not reference a physical location but rather the location of your heart wherein lies your dreams, your spirit and your beliefs.  So I ask you this question this evening, my friend.  Where have you pitched your tent?  Now bear in mind, back in Biblical times people did not have homes like the ones you and I know today.  Many did have a physical home, one built from the materials of that time.  But for so many people, a tent was where they dwelt, where they lived, loved and raised their families.  In a word, it was home to them.  And since it was their home, I would think that the location of this home, where this tent was pitched would be important, yes?  Those families would consider and ask questions, questions such as “How far away is the stream so that we may have water nearby?” or “Is the land here fertile enough so we may grow vegetables and is there sufficient grass here for our flocks?”  These were things to consider when pitching one’s tent.  By the way, the definition of the word pitch when used in the context of pitching a tent means to erect or establish; set up.  To set firmly; to implant; embed.  When viewed by this definition, pitching a tent seems a more important task than you or I may have thought.

Another consideration would be to perhaps determine what direction the winds might be coming from.  On the side of the tent where the winds would be the strongest, perhaps additional stakes would be used to fortify the strength of the home.  And perhaps those stakes would need to be set more firmly into the ground? This seems logical enough to me.  To be honest, I never dealt with tents a great deal.  But I know enough to know that where a tent is pitched is at least as important as what and whom you wish to protect within that tent.

With all that said, I ask again the question, Where have you pitched your tent, my friend?  Have you pitched your tent in the City of Hope or does it stand sadly in the oh so busy Metropolis of Despair?  When deciding location, did you check the depth and quality of the soil where the stakes would be driven deeply and firmly so your tent would stand strong?  Or did you just assume that dirt was just dirt and that depth was not so important after all?  And now when the winds of Life blow in strong, you feel what you thought was your protection shudder around you and constantly you fear that all you had set in place will collapse down upon you, perhaps even this night?  And the stakes, those stakes that you selected that provide the strength for your shelter, those stakes that were deemed inferior but they were a bargain so they were “good enough”?  Are they sufficient unto the day, unto this dark night where the winds now howl round about you?  Can you here those timbers cracking above your head now?  Do you scream out to any who and all who will hear but your voice is ripped away by the winds of Insecurity and Hopelessness. Did you expect something better than this??  Look where it is you so thoughtlessly pitched your tent!  What you put forth is what you receive back.  And just as the blessings you send out come back to you as a double portion, so do those cursed things you send forth.  A double portion to you, blessings or cursings.  It is a universal law.  The universe only sends to you as a reward what you have sent out.  We make the choice as to which.

My word, this is all so uplifting, isn’t it?   Will you ever want to visit this blog again?  If this was all there was offered here, I would never return.  And it is my own blog!  But there is good news and salvation ahead.  And here it is…..Do know the really great thing about tents?  Unlike houses whose foundations are permanent, tents can be moved much more easily.  Do you desire, truly desire now to move from the darkness of Despair into the glorious Light which is Hope Everlasting?  Then come along, let us take apart this tent of yours!  But let us only keep what is valuable, shall we?  The fabric that provides the walls of your tent, is it good quality?  For some, it would appear much thought was given as to its selection and strength. For others, this fabric is already threadbare, worn, and tired.  But as it is your tent, you must decide.  And what of the stakes which are in reality the foundation of your shelter?  Did you select them for quality or did you lay hold to them simply because the were just “good enough”?  Again I say unto you, it is your tent so you must decide.  I would suggest to you that you do not try to take with you what is inferior or tired from your old home of Despair into your new Life of Hope.  It will become a burden just as surely as the dawn awakens to greet the new day.  Oh I’m sorry, what is that you say?  You have nothing but a worn and tired dwelling to bring to this City of Hope?  Well my dear friend, I have something to share with you here so listen oh so closely now……….You are the very person we are looking for.  It is usually those who feel they have the least to offer whose souls have the greatest gifts to share.  And besides, all things become as new here in the City of Hope.  And if you must know, we have been waiting for you, kind friend.  So, come on in and let us give you the traditional Words of Welcome always offered here in the City of Hope.  You may have heard them before but today, I believe they will have new meaning for you.  Come to Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.  And as we enter this great city together my friend, I have but one question for you.  Where is it that you wish to pitch your tent within the City Of Hope?”

William J. Thompson, Jr.

(To those reading, I am afraid I strayed a bit as to form. It is how it came out from me. I pray your indulgence. Blessings to all.)

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Cadbury, Anyone?

Have you ever been sleeping deeply and dreaming a dream, one that is quite vivid and you would very much like to “see” it through so as to know how it ends?  I am sure you have. I know I have had this happen on more than one occasion.  Well, this happened to me the other night.  And of course, I woke up before the dream carried me across to what I am assuming would have been its illogical conclusion.  I found this to be particularly frustrating because it is the off the wall dreams I enjoy the most.  You know what I mean, don’t you?  Often times those oddball dreams are fodder for some good writing.  And even if they are not, they are just plain fun, a bit of zany fun to offset a world that can be quite often rather off kilter.  Well, at any rate I wanted to share this dream with whomever may read this.  After all, if there can be parallel worlds, then who can say there are not parallel dreams?  Perhaps as I slumber and dream, there is someone, somewhere who is dreaming my dream but only in sort of reverse reflection?  Perhaps as you read this, it may come to you that this was a dream you had as well, sort of.  Or perhaps not?  If not, I can only hope that what I dreamt will be a recurring situation for I really would like to know the outcome.  Now I am aware I could fabricate and fill in the blanks, as it were.  But that would be cheating, yes?  Okay then, friends and neighbors.  Please be advised that there is not much to go on here.  Hey look, it isn’t my fault I woke up!  Some things cannot be controlled, you know?  So, here we are and here we go……

“He was lost in a city he did not know and wasn’t quite sure how he had gotten there.  The streets and buildings were foreign to him.  He had tried again and again to get his bearings and set his mind to right but to no avail.  The small town of Cadbury is where he had been, where he had lived for most of his fifty some-odd years and it was to Cadbury that he must return.  Cadbury.  Come on now, you can do this!  Think Cadbury!!  He concentrated even harder, eyes tightly closed and mind singularly intent.  And what was this he now felt in his closed hand?  He slowly unfolded his fingers to reveal what now lay on his palm.  Lo’ and behold, what lay before him were two foil-wrapped Cadbury chocolates!  “Well,” thought he.  “That’s a start anyway!”  And as he unwrapped one of these tasty treats and popped it into his mouth, his eyes widened in surprised disbelief.  For here came a giant Cadbury on wheels!  It pulled up along side the curb and what appeared to be it’s only door opened.  From inside, a sweet voice came forth and bade him to step into the Cadbury………..”

This my friends, is where I woke up.  Even as I as lay between the two worlds, those of sleep and wakefulness, even as the real world drew me up and out, my mind cried out, “Unfair! Unfair!  Bad form!”  But as you know, there is not much one can do except arise and move into the day.  And I did so, but not without a great deal of resentment.  Of that, you may be sure.  This dream has not surfaced again since but I still am hopeful that it may pop in…..perhaps even tonight!  If this should come about, you will be the second to know of it.  I, of course will be the first.  That is unless you have had the same dream, sort of?

William J. Thompson, Jr.

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To My Other Brother….

I’ve been thinking much lately about one who was in my life, was a big part of my life actually.  His name was Paul Boyd.  He has been gone now for almost 3 years and I miss him still.  Nowadays I can go for 2 weeks or more sometimes without thinking about him.  And then, there he is in my mind and heart as if he never left.  Any who truly knew him were indeed privileged.  He had requested that whenever his day came to take leave of this world that I speak a few words at his memorial service.  And I most certainly did so.  There is not much I wouldn’t have done for him.  Again, Paul has been on my mind a great deal lately.  So, please don’t think me odd or even self-serving for posting here the eulogy I wrote for my good friend.  I do this to honor his memory for he was one of a kind, as they say.  But I also do this to bring a renewed awareness to all of us that we need to honor those we love each day and while they are yet living.  Life catches us and throws us about, forever running and forever busy, doesn’t it?  And because it does so, we tend to forget the significance of “now” in our lives.  Now is the time to give that one a hug and a kiss to show them you care.  Now is the time to make that phone call to that friend or loved one and let them know that they are on your mind and in your heart.  And no, I did not say that four letter word text!  There is no substitute for sound of the human voice.  My point here is remember the importance of now!  Tomorrow is too late for it is not promised us.

Now, what follows here was my attempt to capsulize a life in just so many words.  As you read these lines, think of those you have loved that had to take leave of this world as well.  Honor them in heart and if you need to, with your tears.

Saturday, 12 December, 2009

Paul had requested that I say a few words at his memorial service.  Words are meant to describe and in this case, encapsulate a person’s life.  Many words immediately come to mind when I think of Paul Boyd.  Strong, grounded, intelligent, sensible, reflective, tenacious, outspoken and determined are but a few of them.  One word which was not in Paul’s vocabulary was complacency.  He was always trying to move forward in his life.  I am sure that God (or “The Boss” as he always referred to Him as) has His hands full right now.  Paul is probably giving him suggestions right now on how things could be improved up there.  Or down here, for that matter.

There are other words that reflect Paul’s character as well.  Kind, compassionate,loyal, caring, tender, supportive, loving, empathetic and sensitive.  All of these words and the feelings attached to them were a large part of Paul.  I did not know him as a kid, not really.  He was just “Uncle Paul” to me.  I knew that he had a bad accident as a child and had fought his way through cancer a couple of times.  He was what Life refers to as “a tough customer”.  I admired him for that.  But other than that, I didn’t know Paul.  Not the real Paul Boyd.

Many years ago, Life stepped in as it sometimes does and I was given the opportunity to know Paul.  I was living in Westland and was unable to renew my lease out there.  Paul heard about this and ahold of me which wasn’t easy since I had no telephone then.  He told me I was welcome to move into his home on Hickory Street in Detroit.  Now, if he was standing here right now, he would tell you that he was a bit apprehensive about making this offer since he didn’t know me either.  Not really.  I accepted and that is how the close relationship I had with Paul began.  He helped me grow as a person.  And conversely, I helped him grow in different areas of his own life.  But, I think I got the bigger blessing out of the deal.  At that point in my life, I had never come across a person, outside of my immediate family who was more encouraging and supportive with regards to my personal growth.  He would always tell me “Thompson-ay, I’m on your side, no matter what!”  Now, so many people say things like that.  But where Paul was concerned, it was the gospel truth.  When he said that, he meant it, end of story.

Paul, or “PB” as I called him and I (he called me “EA” most of the time) spent a lot of time together.  We would have a few beers and solve the world’s problems, and all in one night, if you can believe that.  Many times one of us would say something funny or so incredibly dumb and we would laugh until laughter became physically painful.  And then we would laugh some more, each one begging the other to stop.  Those were good time, good memories.  I miss my friend.

I also watched as Paul grew into being a father to Kunga, Sawah and Bird.  You know them as Joe, Sara and Keri.  Paul poured his love and tenderness into these kids.  It was really something to see and I got to see it firsthand over the years.  He did his best to give them a good life.  He laughed with them, encouraged them and worried over them.  He really took them inside, you know?  And I cannot tell you how many times over the last few years that he told me how proud he was if each one of them.

You may have noticed I’ve made no mention of a wheelchair in these memories.  This is because to me, these was none.  Paul did not allow the hand he’d been dealt in this life to define who he was.  After getting to know Paul, you simply didn’t see a person in a wheelchair. You just saw a guy who sat down a lot.  Maybe that sounds far-fetched but it is true.

Was Paul a perfect human being?  No, of course not.  None of us are perfect.  Did he have his short-comings, his imperfections?  Yes, he did as do we all.  But it is important to remember that it is our imperfections combined with our strengths that brings out the best in us, that makes us who we are.

I apologize for going on and on here.  It’s just that the air is thick with my memories of Paul, sort of like a gentle, heavy rain.  I see his smile in my mind.  I hear his laugh in my heart.  I see his face before me often and I hear his voice.  It’s as if he is not really gone.  He was and is so much a part of me, of who I am.  I miss him a lot.

In short, I have been blessed to have more than one brother in this life.  By bloodline and by birth, Paul was my uncle.  But by association and by choice, he was my good friend and my brother.  For that I am truly grateful.  I love Paul and miss him.  This is probably not how a eulogy is supposed to go.  I just wanted to be certain that people knew the Paul Boyd that I knew and cared about.  He was one of a kind and that is the truth.

This was for PB from EA….

To those who read this, thank you for I know it was long.  God’s blessings be upon you and yours.  Share the love you’ve been given always.

William J. Thompson, Jr.

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Ode To Mom

She has a fine heart, one with kindness and with caring.

It’s warmth can be felt by all those who know her.

Her eyes are expressive, they have depth yet they sparkle.

They reflect contemplation and her spirit within.

Her laughter, like music, a pleasure to hear.

It floats in the air and makes others smile.

Her voice is a mystery, it is strong, yet still gentle.

Her words carry merit for all that will hear.

Words of life, love and wisdom for those that she cares for.

Her strength is a quiet one, not boastful or loud,

developed through time and has brought her thus far.

Her manner is conservative, yet not overly so.

It has flexibility and brings with it humor.

Her ears, they do listen, with discernment, compassion.

They hear in an effort to help the one speaking.

Her talents are varied.  Of this, I trust she is aware.

Many things have I learned from the Mother I know.

I’ve the knowledge of life skills, to cope in this world.

These things, they were taught me by the Mother I love.

But I’ve learned things much smaller which have value too.

What things do I speak of?  I will tell you just now.

I speak of cooking and sewing. I speak of boxing as well.

As a lad, I learned much, countless lessons to be sure,

from the woman, my Mother whose character shows here.

These words I’ve penned here are a tribute to you, Mom.

I wanted to tell you and speak best when I write.

 

Your son, Billy

 

Authored by William J. Thompson, Jr.

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Love’s Gift

Two bodies with souls entwined.

Hearts pulsing, beating as one.

Two spirits conjoined,

thoughts once separate become alike in love.

Passions’s fire burns bright,

giving way then to Love’s warm embers.

Soft and gentle kisses are gifted

as a new Dawn gives its’ Grace to the sky.

Love’s gift has been given.

 

William James Thompson, Jr

 

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A Letter Towards Love

Dearest reader, my post this evening is of a different sort as you will see.  There are many out in our world who are alone and living in a quiet pain, a pain of the worst sort imaginable.  They are alone in their heart and alone in their Life.  And loneliness bares its cold soul in a number of ways.  One cannot truly know the empty pain of loneliness until one has been truly alone.  It is a thing I would wish upon no one for those afflicted become broken within.  I will tell you my friend, that I was hesitant to present this for the subject makes many uncomfortable.  But it is also important for we all know someone who is indeed alone.  I would implore you to reach out to hearts that are burdened so.  Please do!  What follows here is an attempt to show you one of the faces of this Life stealing disease. And there are many more, believe me.  I chose to describe this “face of loneliness” because for one to paint an accurate picture, one needs to be familiar with the colors being used.  I have lived this particular “face”, if you will.  I gave more than just a passing thought to writing this for it is a closed-door for me now.  There are always parts of our past we do not wish to recollect.  To do so can often cause one to relive certain things, yes?  This was not easily entreated by my heart, to be sure.  In the same moment, too many suffer lonely hearts and empty spirits today.  This requires the attention of us all which is why I put myself aside for a bit of time and took a look at what lay beyond that closed-door in my heart.  And yes, tears were shed as these memories again ravaged my spirit and held hostage my mind.  For I found my letter towards love from not so long ago………….

Oh Lord, my heart is so tired and alone it seems.  I know You are with me, that You reside in my heart.  And for this, I truly give thanks.  But so often, my heart aches and yearns for a special someone with which to share my Life.  I have much to give for You have given much to me.  And for this, I also give much thanks.  I know you are my Source and the Supplier of my Life.  That is why I feel almost traitorous when I say that I wish for and need something more.  I long to be touched and to touch another in return.  My soul cries out for this to be so.  I do not speak of simple lust.  In this world, that could be easily remedied, were I to choose that road.  That type of behavior does not lie within me.  I speak rather of a physical contact where true love is at its core, where hearts and spirits are shared and become as one.  This is my desire, one born of a season too long empty and dry.  My soul is often tortured for the lack of the Life-giving waters of a love freely given.

The vessel that is my heart ran aground long ago and seems to be buried now in the sands of loneliness.  Our hearts, our spirits were designed to sail upon Love’s ocean, unfettered and with Hope reflecting upon the horizon.  It is how our soul is sustained.  I fear love will not again find me on this desert island which goes unseen day upon day upon lonely day.  It seems there is no escaping the dark soul that is this place for I have tried and often.  The strength within my spirit and my soul is diminishing so my attempts to escape are not as frequent these days.  Prudence whispers quietly that I must conserve what is left in hopes of a rescue.  This idea seems real enough still.  So I wait. Even as Life’s light begins to dim, I wait.  And I hope.

My Lord Jesus, what is to become of me??  What of my heart and its need for love??  It is You who placed these needs, these desires within me.  Why do You turn Your Face from me now?  It is more than I can bear, this void that steals away my Life.  I do not fear Death.  There are days when I would bid Death welcome, if only this pain would die with me.  What I do fear is this existence which seems to have wrapped tightly its cold, unfeeling arms around me, slowly breaking my heart.  Life’s breath eludes me so often now and the Spirit that indwells me is malnourished, the result of my diminished capacity to breathe.  The world becomes dark as does my tired heart which seems to beat ever slower with each passing day.  Even still, I wait.  And I hope.

Do not leave me here, I pray thee, My Lord.  I have not yet given up hope that the fire I keep alive on Desolation’s shore will be noticed by one who is also looking to be touched in Love.  Should this come about, I would without hesitation attempt to swim out beyond the breakers that best me, unmindful of the dangers lurking below.  It would be better to die in a valiant effort to reach Love’s touch than to continue this pain of isolation.

I should tell you, Lord that I am not and would not consider violating the gift of Life You have so freely given unto me.  Life is a sacred thing, a living thing and for me to cut short that gift is blasphemous, a slap in the face of God and nothing less.  I am just so tired now.  We were not meant to live solitary lives. To be alone and without love is in direct conflict with the nature in which we were created.  There are those who would say they need no one save themselves.  I would suggest that perhaps they are deceiving themselves so as to avoid the risk involved when one loves another with their whole heart.  Or perhaps they have been blessed with a strength that I do not possess.  I do not know that answer and my heart has become tired in the course of my writing this letter to you, my Lord and Creator of my Life.  All I do know is that I felt it important to put pen to paper today, the anniversary which celebrates four years almost to the day, the day that I was cast onto this lifeless island where I remain a prisoner.

Lord, I pray that You read these words and attend to my prayers.  Please respond as my heart is fading now.  I anxiously await Your reply…..

Yours in faith believing,

Anonymous, for You know Your children as by their name……

Author William J. Thompson, Jr.

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