Little Paola

Little Paola,

Where do you see yourself in the future?

What do you dream of?

Something heavier than what your vocabulary can convey

Something on the tip of your tongue, you can’t quite say

Even more than what you’ve been given permission to dream

Beyond the horizons of the coffee fields and lush, green mountains

A beautiful, natural beauty

That on some days look more like your prison walls

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What burdens do you carry?

Do you dream of carrying books

Instead of water jugs and firewood?

Carrying the weight on your shoulders, assuming guilt

For the adults in your life and their decisions past

Growing up much too fast

Never questioning the injustice

Never once uttering a “Not fair!”

Coming home from backbreaking labor in the coffee fields

Sore feet, broken ambitions

Passing neighborhood friends

On their way home from class

They with their backpacks, you with your plastic bucket

Accepting your fate

Never daring to challenge the way things are

Your vision stretches as far as your reality allows

 

An inferiority you’ve breathed day in and day out

With your tired lungs

Since the day you arrived on the earth

An inferiority as thick as smoke that never dissipates

Less than

Less than

Him, her, whoever else is out there in this big world

Less than the grown-ups

Less than the boys

Less than the white skin

Less than the educated and the rich

You never considered the damage

That breathing in this smoke of inferiority would do

Why can’t you see yourself like I see you?

The smoke and mirrors game of those in power

Clouds your vision, chokes your breath

And you assume that everyone plays by the same rules

 

Can you imagine a God who sees your inherent worth?

Who has plans of hope and not of harm

Who knew you (and wanted you!) even before your birth

Who carries your burdens in His arms

 

The flooding of things

The house in the dark during rainy season

The terror and anxiety that a storm brings

Dirt floors turning to mud through cracks in the roof and cracks in the walls

A life with cracks no one bothers to patch anymore

The flooding of emotions that you eventually learn to stop

You learn quickly to control the little things

The very few things you can, in an out-of-control world

Hard, defensive

Survival technique

A conditioning, an adapting to a harsh environment

The washing away of the vulnerability and fear and caring

Leaving a bare soul, jaded

A life-education very few could bear

 

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Invasions

The invading of personal spaces

Critters and humans taking advantage of weakness

Survival of the fittest

Fitting in your role

Survival of the lowest expectations

And you learn to expect abuse and the dismissing of wants and sometimes needs

Dulling memories of sharp violence reinforce it all

Privacy is a rarity

The power to choose, a luxury

With babies on hips, no protest on lips

It starts with baby brothers and sisters but soon the babies will be your own

No emotion is valid so there’s no value in expressing them

Why would your life be any different than your mother and her mother?

Why would you dare to dream of any other?

Could it be that anyone out there has your best interest in mind?

Could it be that someone out there cares without ulterior motive?

 

You have permission

For what it’s worth, I give you permission

To challenge

To change

To see beyond your limited horizon

To dream of something new

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We see each individual, created in the image of God, as having inherent worth and much to contribute to society.

We have just founded a nonprofit organization called VER International (501c3 status pending), committed to breaking cycles of poverty through community development initiatives. We are currently working in rural communities of Honduras with the hope to expand to other countries in the future. Our website and social media accounts are “under construction” at the moment but we will have our official launch soon!

For the month of October we are launching a student sponsorship fundraiser. With a one-time donation of $50 marked “Student Sponsorship” you will give the gift of education for one year to a student in rural Honduras, like Little Paola. Look us up on PayPal by our email address, verinternational.info@gmail.com, or go straight to our link to give: www.paypal.me/verinternational

Student Sponsorship

Student Sponsorship-2

Comment or message me if you would like these flyers to help promote among your church or school groups.

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A Call to Love

A poem I wrote several years back in an attempt to express the love affair I have with a country & people to which I don’t belong. Honduras.
ImageBroken streets and broken souls call
I am compelled to answer, answer them all
Your small hands have taught me more than textbooks could contain
Your selfless joy is like my heart’s refrain
I’d choose you over a city of gold – all of you, every inch
I’d choose you first and I’d choose you again
I am a jealous lover, it’s my heart you win
You’re more than a memory, more than a friend
More than beauty and dirt and land
More than a good story to tell, more than I can stand
I am who I am because of you
It’s taken years to verbalize, but for years it’s been true
My commitment to you runs deeper than a flutter in my chest
You have all of me, my worst and my best
I love you longer than seven days
Beyond borders and languages, my love stays
I love you stronger than a smile or a tear
Because I choose to love in the face of pain and fear
I’ve felt welcomed, accepted, rejected and betrayed
I was close to giving in and letting heartbreak have its way
But I am led to you by a greater Hand
And my trivial emotions are irrelevant to His plan
I haven’t forgotten you, I never could
You are my first love, and my love is for good

“Love” by Roy Croft

love

I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;

I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,

And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple.

Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good.
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.

You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.

___________________________________

That’s legit.

Humanity. Honesty.

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Photo cred: Shashank

[something I wrote in 2009]

 

I only want inspiration
I only want good
I only want to know the best
And for the best to do what they should
I wish the world was full of people
Like the few good people I know
I wish the good in all of us
Was all that ever showed

I wish I knew some people better
And that some wanted to know me more
I wish we hadn’t burned those bridges
And I wish you’d open the door
I wish we weren’t intimidated
By the things we didn’t know
And that we had started speaking our minds
A long time ago
I wish I spent more of my days
In grace instead of judgment
I wish my life was a complete sentence
Instead of a teasing fragment
I wish more people sharpened me
And that my iron sharpened yours
I wish we’d think deeper and longer
And I wish we loved more

I only want inspiration
I only want good
I only want to know the best
And for the best to do what they should
I wish the world was full of people
Like the few good people I know
I wish the good in all of us
Was all that ever showed

I wish we could get over our fears
And our insecurities
I wish forgiveness and peace replaced
War and jealousy
I wish we leaned toward acceptance and
Understanding, more than hate
I wish we knew that life and death
Are things that our words create
I wish I didn’t waste my life
In safety and security
I wish I was brave enough
To trade my reputation for maturity
I wish our attention spans were longer
And that we felt each other’s words
I wish we empathized deeper
And let our hearts be stirred
I wish you could look at me and know
All the things I never say
I wish vulnerability
Wasn’t such a scary place

I only want inspiration
I only want good
I only want to know the best
And for the best to do what they should
I wish the world was full of people
Like the few good people I know
I wish the good in all of us
Was all that ever showed

Change

Written June of last year.

Don’t hold on to anything that won’t hold on to you

Learn to let go of those things you “can’t stand to lose”

Often, change has the worst sense of timing

But time will always change

It will push and pull and twist in your gut

Press and stretch and strain

It enters without permission

Change is a forceful opponent of all that remains

The most accurate evidence that we are maturing

Is in our growing pains

Change resonates in the marrow of our bones

It pulsates through our veins

If ever you get too comfortable or lose sight of important things

It won’t be long before you’ll hear a whisper softly urging, “Change.”