Archive for the ‘Personal Growth’ Category

I’ve never been me before

October 5, 2018

With the early morning fog
All was white-gray
Seeing nothing for more than 100 yards
Islands were not to be seen
Nor the far shore

Silence
Well, not quite
Soft, gentle movement heard
Water caressing the rock-strewn
Beach

I was thinking, for me,
This is a new experience
And certainly so
On this day, in this place
At this age

Who I am today is new
What I experience today is new
All I see and all I hear, new
The me of now
Has never existed before

I’ve never been this me before
I should be in awe of everything
Tired of nothing
Open to the grace
Of all things

©2018 Thomas W. Cummins

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Staying true to self

October 4, 2015

Turmoil and pain from events, even if separated by 30 years, can be reawakened by the words of a poem.

In Desert Run, Mitsuye Yamada reflects upon her family’s time in an internment camp during World War II. In the last stanza are these words:

I cannot stay in the desert
where you will have me nor
will I be brought back in a cage
to grace your need for exotica.
I write these words at night
for I am still a night creature
but I will not keep a discreet distance
If you must fit me to your needs
I will die
and so will you.

When I re-read those words a few months ago, moments of shunning and rejection came creeping back out of dark passages in my life. Most assuredly, there have been times when I couldn’t/wouldn’t, or can’t/won’t, dance to the tune of someone else. To have done so would have been sacrificial and destructive to my own sense of self and well-being. This isn’t about following instructions or performing job expectations. Rather there have been behavioral and performance expectations of the most unreasonable and servile nature.

What is most interesting to me has been the astonishment and rage, punishment and revenge, observed and experienced as a result. Not bending in order to conform to a misinformed and delusional notion of who I am, or who I should be, comes from my unwillingness to be an enabler. Been there, done that, the ‘walking-on-eggshells’ thing.

As you can see, Ms. Yamada’s poetic reflection struck a nerve with me. Much suffering has come from my resistance. But I must not create a false self to meet unreasonable expectations of others. Nor can I sit idly by and await the next page for me to recite from an unshared and unexplained script. I’ve never been very good at playing guessing games.

If you must fit me to your needs
I will die
and so will you.

If we look closely

September 18, 2014

DSCN0972

 

If we look closely

Amidst dry, lifeless clutter

As our life seems, sometimes

Or often

Can be found

Breathtaking beauty

Hope

Everything will be okay

September 14, 2014

I wish, somehow, there was a way to put up sandbags against today’s flood of sadness

But through God’s grace, I know things will get better

Patience

Acceptance

Finding sustenance for my spiritual roots

To not get pulled down, dragged down, diminished by the careless behavior of others

My best friend is with me

Everything will be okay

We’ll get through this

Gentleness, kindness, understanding and forgiveness will prevail

Surrendering to the power of Wisdom

Perhaps letting go

Beckoning Call

May 26, 2014

—∞—

A dog is barking
It’s late
That distant sound
Pulling
Tugging
At a loose thread
A fragment
Of memory
 
Memory of what?
I’m not certain
Was it in a play
On some long-ago stage?
A movie?
Or heard from the window sill
Of my childhood bedroom
On a hot summer night?
 
Hearing that faraway call
Pulls at me
Each time
Every time
What is the meaning? Why am I drawn?
Perhaps it’s because
It always beckons from beyond the current situation
From beyond myself

© 2014 Thomas W. Cummins

If not me, who?

November 17, 2013

I’m preparing to travel to the prison where an execution will take place at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 20. In my role as a ministerial witness, my arrival is to be around 11:00 p.m.

The man scheduled for execution is Joseph Paul Franklin, a hate-crime serial killer. I have known Mr. Franklin for more than 12 years, and I have visited his isolation cell countless times.

Some may ask, Why bother? That question calls to mind a couple of lines from the movie, Longford, about which I have blogged previously. Lord Longford was on a radio show and was being challenged about his long, frustrating and futile efforts to free Myra Hindley, one of the notorious Moors Murderers in the early 60s. The crimes were horrendous, grisly.

Lord Longford: … Forgiving her has proven difficult, very difficult. Not for what’s she’s done to me, that’s neither here nor there; but for the terrible crimes themselves. Forgiveness is the very cornerstone of my faith. And the struggle to deepen my faith is my life’s journey. In that respect she has enriched my spiritual life beyond measure, and for that, I will always be grateful to her.

Lord Longford: If people think that makes me weak… or mad… so be it. That is the path I am committed to. To love the sinner, but hate the sins. To assume the best in people, and not the worst. To believe that anyone, no matter how evil, can be redeemed… eventually.

So, I told Mr. Franklin I would be there for him. And if the execution goes through, I will be.