poem, A Letter to my Husband About the World
When the winter comes
And the skies become overcast
That you too enter the blue lake
And reflect on things.
The tables turn
Because I am usually
In the blue lake
Your complex mind is usually settled on things.
In the blue lake
But it is not enough
For the world weighs heavy
I love you anyway.
The holographic nature of the world
Means it's a bit robotic
We are tied too much to the
It’s a conspiracy.
The grand order must enter the blue lake.
I love them too."
by your wife Michelle Murphy (married name). I remember when I first set this poem out for you to read after the night I wrote it.
Here is a beautiful picture of our little baby the day I brought her home, Midnight. You were there that night and you loved her at first encounter. Since then she has led optimistically putting it down to a thrill of a lifetime adventure with us and now you have passed away from our sight. I remember one of our first fun dates under pressure under our second phase of marriage when we went to Chili's as a beautiful couple and you introduced me to everyone over a broadcast that I was your wife even though I am not a gorgeous woman. Sometimes I am outrageously bold but else times I come across as a housewife and engineer with nothing special to toss around. Tonight is another night you would be proud of me as I have healed people. We continue to be safe but I know not what for if you are not here. I wanted to be the last samurai as well the other day and here I am. Wretched am I. Wretched have I been for nearly 2 years and if it were not for love and romance to kindle me through I would have no reason to smile on the inside from day to day like I do. You got by that way too. We are in the blue lake as strangers from a distant land enter our home to hurt this tiny family but God has been providing somehow. Something Greater works through so many people in our lives too. So many people have lost loved ones lately that I know of, and we all grieve in our own way hoping to have someone to hold dear to, but mostly I am in a land of strangers trying to feel something real. Peace has entered my life lately on a somewhat grander scale but I am enraged for the world and the blue lake becomes hard to reflect upon. My heart only knows pain but my mind carried me through and I was able to heal my gut just the other day by anointing myself with oil and blackening out my eyes and walking through the darkness at night. I am at a loss of idea and longterm thinking other than to carry on. I am blessed in so many ways by being able to talk to so many famous people and loved people from my past remotely. In some ways I have become one of the luckiest people on the planet by being able to make a decision only honorable leaders have the occasion to make from time to time on behalf of millions and millions more of people. I know not how, but yet I do know how, but yet I am at a loss of it as there is no sure way to make sense of it from the rear view mirror or on cinematography from a telescope from afar. I am ready to carry on and make love and poetry and dance and meet once again with the everyday neighbors in the Knoxville area but the journey of this nightmare has not ended. I wonder about you. You are my hero with a badge of love for everyday people that carried the burdens I have carried for 2 years for a lifetime and I want to sing your melody for the rest of my life, but I keep getting deceived by strangers carrying your name. There is nothing for me to forgive you for, for you did what the Bible prescribed in one major part, you risked your life for me in a way that reminds me of the way Jesus gave his life for each and every saint. You are in my heart always no matter what happens, as we have it on a good note and that's all I want it to be is on a good note between us I mean, and I don't know what that means right now, but my prayer candle is lit in your honor.
How wretched have been me and my family and some of my extended family. Hear my prayer and take over my love life completely if you have not yet already as has happened over the last 40 years. I have loved so deeply among friends and family and lost so deeply among friends and family that the blessing is that I have truly felt. I am ready to go to sleep tonight and wake up to a new day ablaze with rainbows and sunshine and heartfelt people. Hear my sigh for everyone around the world in wake or sleep and pierce our hearts with something that matters. Something that matters has both evaded me and subjected me all throughout the years. I am ready for all my memories to resurface if it is not against your will. Let me raise my freedom flag of this great country soon enough in honor of my full freedom from a life strapped down and no matter what I ask for the blessing to stay free in my home and away from my evil pursuers. I love you very much. Brian too and Midnight too and so many others that I love romantically and from my past, present and future. Thanks for using me in a great way and keep straight my path.
Hint of Jazz
I stand in the stillness
And I wish the wind would blow
That it would blow me away
Into tiny pieces
And everyone else around me
Or that loves me too
And really everyone altogether
So that no one would grieve
I can hear the wind building up now
Picking up speed
I imagine the wind blowing
And the pieces of me
And everyone else
Turning into dust
But also music
A low tone of music like jazz
That only God hears
But it is so faint
He’s not sure if He hears it at all
Just the sound of wind
And the tone of the bells
Of wind chimes
And that hint of jazz
And nothing else
Imagine going to the grave and not coming back, silence for eternity but without ears. Imagine the end to a cycle of life and breaking into bits of nothingness. Imagine ending your life and not coming back. Remember that day you realized what the world was and it was really ugly. But also remember the day someone handed you hope.
This poem is about a hopeful ending but it is also a little suicidal. When someone commits suicide is there a beautiful ending? Do they come back? Are they lifted up and healed?
Who strives towards peace?
Do You strive towards peace or are you leaving it up to us? What the hell is going on? Are You trying to spook people? Is Your wrath without song? Why the temptation all around? What initiatives are You working on, on behalf of mankind?
“A very strong Ok” is useful to people — “A very strong Ok” is useful to the general Ok. “A very strong Ok” is in addition to fact and acting on that fact. “A very strong Ok” means a strong altruistic attraction and like, Ok longing and desire, and Ok connection between persons. “A very strong Ok” means great strides taken, heroism, giving up for another person, grief and sorrow, ok romance, bliss, joy, unity, community, partnership, and risk for people.
If a person's actions are noble, why is it so much hard to understand and mysterious? Why do elite men want to keep the godly things for their own? Because our gods’ convenience in rulership for regular people. Yet, we normal people like “a very strong ok” at the same time knowing the big realization of the Heavens; in fact, one very strong ok philosophy we know and realize. Some noble facts are available to normal people for all time.
"The Spirit of an Animal" was written for my cat Blue years ago as she was facing death from cancer. As we speak my cat of nearly 17 years is passing away. I once said as part of a poem searching for my faith,
"I listened for God
While petting my cat
And felt his heartbeat
And a connection of love.”
And he brought me better faith.
The love we receive from animals can make life worth living on a hard day. Humans have companionship with each other and with animals because love exists here on our planet, and we thrive on love. Love is a wonderful gift from Above. Occasionally I hear someone preach that animals do not live on in the after-life, but mankind does. I disagree with any view of heaven that does not include animals and find it hard to believe heaven would be such a great place without them. Life and companionship are abundant in heaven. In some circles I've traveled in I've found friendship with others who barely know any other person outside of their landlord or social worker, except that they are pet owners who know the love of God through a Madison, or a Frisky, or a Smudge. People who are often rejected by society find friendship with animals. Animals are more than additives to life - in many cases they are at the core of our daily living. The blessings of this life can be abundant in so many ways, and the various forms of love we receive on our daily, weekly, yearly and lifelong journeys is really something remarkable. The love we receive from animals is unique and kindles loyalty, nonjudgmental, warmth, responsibility, and joyous song.
Skky, the 16 year old handsome tuxedo cat is Skky-dog, because he has the loyalty and companionship towards my husband and I that the best of dogs have to their owners. So dear Lord I pray:
That when he goes, he has good companionship
Until we get there to be by his side again
Treats, rubs, kisses
And because he is a fighter, a lover, and a maker of peace
Place him high in his heavenly duties
For whatever work is done in the great cities
Of the After-life.
May he bring faith to others
May he communicate openly with all who see him
May he still sink his feet into the grass and call it good
May he enjoy the wonders of the Creation as he did during his life.
P.S. Give him cream cheese, human food snacks, rainwater, and outdoor theatre… the theatre nature offers.
P.P.S. Promise us a reunion with our Skky-dog after our final days.
2nd Corinthians 12, Verses 9-10 - But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Recently the fervor and spiritual passion in my life faded. The whirlwind of spiritual interest that often carries me has dissipated for awhile. But I continue to take communion, sing the songs, attend Bible study, and when it's not a Sunday be thankful to God for my blessings, and try and live the good life the Christian faith demands. This is what I mean by "standing still with my faith". I mean also: observe, think, grow, and you have to stand still to do that.
What about you? Have you "stood still with your faith" recently? Or did you give up practicing your faith when your passions dwindled? Did you give in to indecency? Did you forget about loved ones and turn inward to self? Did you go looking for something to fill what felt like a spiritual gap or hole in your life and end up lost? I have done all of these in the past. Instead of taking the time to observe, think, and grow I've gone searching for the next spiritual high (or other kind of high). Spiritual fervor can be as strongly pleasing as any cocktail or drug.
But I've observed, thought, and grown this time by "standing still". I've observed that my prayer life is stagnant for specific reasons. I've observed that I have been over-stressed by life's continual race, and that I have not always reacted well to that stress, and I'm developing new tactics. I've noticed that my spiritual passions have led to impulsive actions, and that I am not usually observing life enough to grow in a healthy way as needed; I need my brain as well as my heart, educated thoughts as well as feelings.
Passionate thinking can lead to impulsive, incoherent, and erroneous thinking. It can lead us to believe things spiritually that are unhealthy or ignorant. From what I can tell many Christians are under the influence of misguided doctrine, or dumbed-down doctrine that does not possess or pass along the mature Christian faith as told through the Bible. It feeds itself on offering a spiritual high as it's mantra. It can be too feel-good with too many slogans and not enough understanding. Sometimes "standing still in our own faith" means catching up on our understanding to the level of our fervor and commitment. Remember, observe, think, and grow.
Dear God, This time in my life is one for observation, thinking, and growth. I thank you for the many chapters in my life and avenues that have been presented to keep me on a good track. Maybe I am luckier than most, or maybe Your hand combined with good choices has led me to the blessings I have today. But I can remember so many times I made terrible choices and did not pay full consequences. My prayer life needs my attention and I commit to tending to it. My life is improving by standing still for a moment. May Your glory overwhelm me again in the future. Amen.
Womenshealth.gov says, “Women who can get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant may also be infertile. About 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” The average is heavily weighted toward women over 30, and even more so for women 40 and over which have infertility rates in excess of 30%. Women are getting married and conceiving later (after 30) and so many young families are facing fertility problems. As a result a lot of couples have opted not to have children because options for fertility treatments have improved but remain expensive and intrusive.
Married women face a different multitude of issues having children than their mothers and grandmothers, and medical technology gives them both options for birth control and infertility solutions. Women often plan their careers and lifestyles by having children later in life by choice, but often find increased problems later when trying to get pregnant. A few women are opting to freeze their eggs before 30, even before committing to anyone in marriage. Children born with certain special needs are on the rise.
There are women who want to get pregnant who cannot, and there are 1-1/2 percent of women who opt for abortion because of unplanned pregnancies - that is over half a million unwanted babies killed per year. Birth rates in modern countries are down for numerous reasons: (1) infertility rates, (2) abortion rates, (3) less couples (married/unmarried) choosing to have children, (4) advent of birth control, (5) the generation gap is increasing between parents and children, (6) couples (married/unmarried) choosing to have less children, and (7) less marriage. Population growth and existing population levels have been a concern within certain circles for a very long time. For certain, the elites have been vying for quite some time to adopt measures that have driven the numbers down. Many of the measures or lifestyle changes in modern countries have affected core good-values surrounding families. The sheer quantity of abortions performed, regardless of political affiliation with the pro-choice or pro-life movement, is devastating. In the past and even to-date people have had to deal with mass starvation, killing through war, and sterilization because of poor leadership and a de-emphasis on life. Population growth is now leveling off and geared to head in a slow downward direction. More countries are becoming modern, and being modern has benefits for citizens and leadership, along with being a better choice for curbing population size. There is not likely to be another “baby boom” generation, even with medical technology, not so long as women have the menu of options with family planning. In modern countries many women raise children as a single parent, some have none, others face infertility, others start their nuclear families early or later on, and some still have really large families.
I fit well into the category of women struggling to have children. I married in my late twenties on birth control, already well into a career. My husband and I pursued our careers with two incomes and sought to become financially independent and debt-free, and also develop a solid foundation in our marriage before committing to children. We pursued children when I was in my mid-thirties. I witnessed many of my friends who did the same start families. Now, being 40, I am enlisting help from a fertility clinic and my options are limited, because my eggs are not as viable anymore. Emotionally, the biggest difficulty is that I have not been dealt a hard blow on a given day that I have to deal with. Instead, it’s an ongoing grief with a nagging feeling. As long as one option still exists there are hopes and mixed feelings. I can’t move on and so I grieve quietly on-and-off on-going. I’ve fasted and prayed for a child, and I’ve considered the benefits of not having kids with optimism. Adoption seems an easy solution to a difficult situation, but it doesn’t appeal to my husband, and my mental health issues from the past stand in the way. Right now, a child is still a possibility. For those without the rich financial resources, they have to stand down. As a woman alive today life is full of possibilities and richness regardless. Blessings abound! Still, society stands or falls by its next generation and I desire to pass something on that will live further (maybe several generations). I’m missing the age of raising children which leaves an emptiness in my heart and anxieties about the future. It seems most women identify or want to identify as mothers - as one who carries in her womb and creates life and as one who sees a part of her reflected in her children. This is all part and parcel for my generation of women, the turbulence of life. It was also an issue in the Bible which was sometimes alleviated with patience to the God-fearing. Being an optimistic person and a lover of life this issue does not define me, nor should it.
To the woman (or man) who also struggles with infertility I say the following 5 things: (1) Stay optimistic in life and love life. (2) Pursue the world with the wonder of a child, regardless if you raise one or not. (3) You have a lot to offer reality, so offer it. (4) Everyone in life faces difficult issues, some as consequences of past actions, and others we are simply dealt. With every issue stands the possibility for spiritual or mental growth. Grow! (5) Be a great aunt, uncle or mentor of another youth to influence the next generation.
To the Child I May or May Not Ever Know, a poem by Michelle Murphy
To the child I may or may not ever have -
There are things I want for your life.
And here they are:
I want you to learn mathematics and art,
And your dad wants you to learn history and economics.
This is why we will look after you in the summers to keep you learning when school is out.
I want you to sit in the church pew and behave,
Until you learn the songs of Jesus (Psalms)
And come to a deep understanding of God.
I want you to look at the world with wonder,
Until you first look upon the world with dismay,
And come back to that wonder for healing and inspiration whenever you can.
It is hard not to get stuck in dismay as an adult.
I want you to be independent -
In thought, and from your parents, and from your peers,
And as much as possible from the system (matrix).
I want you to sneak your first booze,
With your cousins Olive and Oscar
And have a good time.
I want you to be beautiful - inside and out,
And realize that even when teenage girls or boys
Might pass you up for some other person
That you are beautiful.
I want you to know that there are aliens in the universe
And that they have probably been here
And that they probably care about man, but some of them don’t.
I want you to understand that war is an ugly thing,
But that there is just war,
But that history often looks back on war and sees that it could have been avoided,
And that people died for no good reason.
I want you to understand the kings of this world do things that are difficult to understand.
That I have sought to understand this world, but it is complex.
And maybe it is not for us to know everything.
I want you to seek knowledge and truth and learning
And not be satisfied with an easy answer.
I want you to think about how long mankind has been here - on earth,
And think about your ancestors and those that have passed,
And about the ancients who influenced our ways.
And the Greeks, and the Romans, and the Hebrews.
I want you to know we live in a material world, with instant access to everything,
And the importance of patience, and love, and simple things.
I want you to be free of any kind of mental illness, because I have it,
While it is a gift, it has also been a curse,
And I would choose to rid myself of it.
I want you to be a person of prayer, because prayer works,
And it is the right thing to do if you respect God.
I want you to smile and make people laugh,
Because I already know you have a beautiful smile and laugh.
It is one of the things I love best about your father, and about other people.
Smiles and laughs are addictive.
It is the kind of addiction you should have above others that you should not have.
I want you to know that some good people are tortured, or their head is lopped off,
But that God is there and not remote from those locations.
And that is something for you to search out, understand, and come to terms with
As part of your journey in life.
I want you to get and seek a challenging life,
So you will grow and develop work ethic and solve problems for others.
If you encounter pain and struggle, that you will overcome and grow,
That there will be mentors in your life that have done the same.
I want you to avoid drinking the Kool-aid, and we will make sure you do,
And steer clear of left-right methodologies or other simple mantras.
I want you to develop within yourself and through hard work your life purpose,
And not seek something frilly to keep you fulfilled.
We are not sprinkled with fairy dust.
I want you to stay off your phone or implement at the dinner or luncheon table
No matter what others are doing around you,
And spur on conversation or sit in silence and watch others.
I want you to understand where material items come from,
And that we are surrounded by technology,
And to support common-sense sustainability.
I want you to understand energy and how it drives the world,
And how it converts from one form to another in nature,
And how mankind has harnessed it.
I want you to know that mathematics and science are everywhere,
From the leaf on every tree, to the vacuum space in the universe,
From microscopic organisms, to macroscopic systems,
That once you dive through the boundary of our skin - there is another universe altogether.
That this is awesome.
I want you to know we love you, dad and I, even though we don’t show it sometimes.
That we love each other (your parents) and that things are good right now as I’m writing this.
That love is a verb, because it requires action,
And it is something not to take for granted, but something you can learn to rely on in a good family.
Work to have a good family when you grow up.
To the child I may or may not ever have.
These are the things I want for your life.
You were just walking by and that good looking man was watching you. You’re not gorgeous either, but he was curious and noticed those good traits you did have that make you beautiful. Maybe the way you dressed that day was attractive. Or maybe he was thinking something altogether different and was just generally curious about the life you lead based on where you were heading. Or maybe it was your smile. Or he noticed your general over-coming confidence about things. “Hmmm… that person looks beautiful.” For sure, you noticed his good looks and charm and wondered about him after he noticed you…
With maturity people move in a direction of not-caring so much about what other people think. Yet, we should not care for ourselves or our appearance as such. There are lessons we can learn from watching others, and having others watch us. Just getting a glance now and then from one interesting person to another is intriguing. And as diverse as the human race is, people vary in what interests them. Sexuality is not the only thing that interests men and women. Beauty is more than sexual appeal.
Women represent outward beauty, men do not. While anyone may have a beautiful soul, it is the females among mankind that have always been characterized as beautiful in looks (in some species males have the beauty marks and traits). Embracing that role requires special attention. Good taste in appearance ranges from person to person and culture to culture. Personification of our souls can be through choice in attire and adornments, and women generally personify beauty that way. So dress and adorn beautifully!
External beauty is not just a matter of good taste in dress. We can strengthen traits that make us beautiful outside of our dress. A smile, a gentle nature, a carefree attitude, and a warm facial expression are all noticed by others with just a glance. These things can be altered because we are not bound to negativity or bad dispositions. An attraction to others’ expressions and moods is part of a good bond between good friends, and a nicety among strangers. We reveal a bit of our souls to each other outwardly not only by our basic appearance but through expression and good or bad nature. And to have a beautiful soul is worth more than gold.
Sometimes a bad disposition or depression can skew reality and we can fail to see the natural beauty around us. We can fail to see the beauty in our lives, and the beautiful part of ourselves and in others. Recognizing and appreciating beauty in our daily lives is a natural anti-depressant. Creating beautiful and interesting art is also therapeutic.
The most interesting people often lead the most beautiful lives. When we think of a beautiful piece of art we are also commenting on the interesting nature of that art. Beauty IS interesting! Often people say we are born with specific passions and interests, however, mostly this is not true. We develop interests and passions overtime by pursuing them. And we should pursue interests and passions! Being beautiful is about having developed interests and passions. Again, mankind is diverse so what is interesting to one person is different to another.
We can have confidence in many things - that our car will drive down the road safely, that our career is a success and always will be, that our marriage is solid and reliable, or that our faith in certain things will take us in a good direction. In many ways the opposite of confidence is fear. We may be fearful of driving after a car accident, or a bad review at work will send us spiraling down into anxiety, or we develop fear about other relationships after losing a spouse, or we lose faith in the idea of God after a spiritual setback and fear a host of new things. Confidence is attractive but not fear. And since beauty is not skin deep, someone will be beautiful if they can overcome fears as they arise and boast confidence. Innocence has beauty, but also people who have overcome difficult experiences with success and confidence are beautiful. Withered by life a person will be dragged into the mud and sometimes never get up. If they get their wings and stand up and fly after-death to a better place we see the beauty in that. If they get their wings while they are still here on Earth they are a representative of beauty to all that know them.
There is much to overcome in life other than fearful things. People, like butterflies that were once caterpillars, are truly initiated into life from overcoming difficulty. Any mother has overcome the difficulty of labor and the challenge of raising children. As a group people of various stripes have overcome adversity, knowing their dark ages in history and rising today with more opportunity than before. Modern life includes difficulty in relationships and family, but also problems with work and temptation. We have so much at our fingertips but also must weave to and fro to stay on course. Today, we have increasing problems with addiction, sexual intimacy or behavior, economic factors, and anxiety or depression. There is a lot for people to overcome. The butterfly seems to go back into its cocoon over and over again waiting to finally blossom in its entirety.
Sin is not beautiful. God looks at sin with disgust even when He meets us with a graceful and forgiving attitude. Often, righteous people do as well. You can consider some sins and easily get an ugly feeling about them.
Beauty is seen, and beauty is emotion, but beauty is also sound. There are so many sounds described as beautiful such as the sound of the ocean, a symphony of music, the silence on a still night, or a baby crying for its mother. What makes a sound beautiful is deep meaning and emotional peace, or the stirring up of love, appreciation, and romantic notions. Where we find deep meaning vs. insignificance we find beauty. Where we find peace vs. war we find beauty. Where we find romance vs. dislike we find beauty. Where we find love and appreciation vs. disgust we find beauty. Beauty looks, sounds, and is experienced as goodness and depth.
Beauty resides in the hearts of men and women, it resides in our mind intelligence, and it resides in our soul. We carry that soul beauty with us when we pass from this life, unlike the accumulation of material items. Beauty itself has a heart, mind, and soul that reaches the four corners of the Earth, evidenced in nature through the Creation. Beauty is not just cultural or personal, but relevant to every human being in similar ways. Beauty is deep and penetrating, and we should never be so spoiled to just glance at it and look away. Beauty is inspiring. Beauty is worth striving for.
"Recently I turned 40 and I began to think about those alone years that one person or the other person has in marriage, during old age without their mate. I was thinking how we often forget certain things about a person who has passed, and that I want to remember what I love about my husband if he were to go first. I would remember going to bed together, or afternoon coffees in town and how I loved those times together, and I would remember his laughter and our deep conversations; I would remember his touch and caress, and a hug from him on a hard day. I would prefer to remember and miss my husband in grief rather than not think of him at all - missing him through memories would be worth the pain. The demonstration of love towards one another in marriage is hard to beat, and the fact that people die while others are alive and left to grieve and miss the other person deeply is one of the sorrowful examples of human love. Yet, it is an expression of deep love nonetheless. Love is complex. Love is also one of the best things about being human, and mankind should be more serious in pursuing it. The Bible says love covers a multitude of sins, and that it is greater than faith or hope. I agree." - Michelle Murphy
Relationships with others can be troublesome. This list of troubles is extensive, but includes: being put off or numb to the other person and their actions, holding grudges, hatred or anger against the other person, cheating sexually, being strangers after knowing each other a long time, taking the other person’s commitment or friendship for granted, having vengeful or mean attitudes directed against each another, and negative gossiping about the other person.
There are so many types of friendship, from being acquainted through church, work, or social organizations, to lifelong commitments such as with family and marriage. Romantic relationships and family ties endure more hardship than the average friendship; with endurance also comes the potential for deep love.
The relationship I have with my mother and sister is based on this endurance. The commitment and level of understanding we direct towards one another, along with a general awareness that family is worth the effort of a good relationship, brings about what we desire and yearn for — love. There is nothing to me like the support of a sister, who has kids I am becoming crazy about. There is also nothing to me like the support of a mother. The only thing that trumps either of these two in my life is my marriage. People are meant to thrive with the loving support of one another. Not every marriage or family has that kind of support, and it is shameful, for families and marriages are the building blocks of society and the way that people are designed to thrive. Love is worth enduring hardship to experience. As the band U2 says, “Love is bigger than anything in its way.”
The two greatest commandments are: (1) to love God with all your heart and mind, and (2) to love one another. To have a heart after God is to endeavor to do what is right, respecting His ways; it has an immediate and eternal payoff. To love other people, even as much as we love ourselves, means to look past the shell of strangers and hope they have a good life; it means to say thank you when someone does something for you, and to be a giver to those in need; it means to brainstorm what you can do to help others if you are not already in a position to do so; it means extending forgiveness when someone is oppositional. It means kindness and compassion. Love does not dictate that others respond in likeness; it is a difficult feat to love on those terms.
What about loving life? Some people have a natural disposition to love life, while others are naturally negative or depressed. All who find themselves in depression or negativity will pull out of it, or have the potential to pull out of it with effort. People with severe mental illness have succeeded in setting a goal to get out of bed and accomplish a goal on the harshest of days. And circumstances change. No one should resign their fate to a bad set of circumstances or a bad disposition. Humans are designed to succeed and grow by overcoming challenges. Someone with a natural disposition towards joy has other struggles from time to time. A person who is very smart will struggle with depression and worries, while someone with Down Syndrome will nearly always be smiling. We should learn from those with Down Syndrome that being dealt not all aces does not mean one should not love life. For those with a good disposition, bad times may stick out like a sore thumb, or maybe they are easily forgotten; for those with a depressed disposition, good times can stand out in memories upon intentional recall. Humans will always have to deal with suffering, in one form or another, but loving life is a standard we should seek. After all, there are the mountains and beaches, which do not live as humans and animals do, and we look at them with wonder. Life - breathing, talking, moving, emotional, creative, and experienced through 5 senses, is worth our amazement and deep appreciation. Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be” should be “to love what is or not to love what is” for we have no choice in “being” except to resign to a dead state, but we do have the choice to love life, or deny it for what it is.
Self-love and self-respect are a sign of good health. For how can we love others as we love ourselves, if we cannot even love ourselves? Healthy self-love is the key to life. On the other hand, attention-seeking behaviors in excess, and vain or egocentric views of one’s own value, prohibit one from moving forward. Behaviors to avoid include, but are not limited to: shamelessness, arrogance, envy, entitlement, exploitation and bad boundaries. Many have dark pasts, but no one is limited to their past. With just a mustard-seed of faith you can get started — for even the Phoenix rises from the ashes.
Some people refer to hate as an opposite of love, others war as an opposite to love. War and hate should never be synonymous; we should never go to war for reasons of hatred. We should only be involved in war if it is to preserve life, or virtue, or justice. These are positive affirmations, not negative affirmations. War is not to kill and pillage or rape an enemy, but to sacrifice, save and carve out what is good. War has a history of inciting hatred and unGodliness; we should always be cautious about endorsing war as a nation, and we should remember that hatred should never be a motivator for any action we pursue or endorse in our lives. Hatred is the opposite of love.
1 Corinthians 13, Verse 1-3, says, "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing." Just as knowledge is useless without wisdom, the greatest gifts or actions are useless without love. It may be the universe was created by God by the big bang or some other collusion of great import (most likely), but at our beginnings there was love and God was there seeing the future of us, mankind, and infusing into our core the capacity to love in His mirror image along with the choice or option not to.
Love is not just a fluffy thing for good people. It has met me in the darkness in the depths of despair. By darkness I mean places where Godliness is not present and temptation and fear-mongering thrives. I have met evil face to face with an attitude of consideration and it has either fled or been changed for the better; that is, when I have not caved in. I have experienced love from the least of people where it was not expected. And I have turned my back on others who did not give up on loving me.
I myself have been resigned to depression and deep trouble at times. During one of these troublesome times, I wrote a poem to my husband on love. I was having difficulty figuring out love at the time. In the last stanza of the poem I say, “I hear God is love, But I don’t understand it myself.” It is true - I have heard that all my life about God. And while I do understand "God is loving", the complexity of "God IS Love" is both bold and complicated.
Lonely in My Own Mind, a poem by Michelle Murphy
I came to be on a cross before my closest friends
More than once.
In general sanity has been my only friend
But I am lonely in my own Mind.
There have been a few things driving me to ruin.
But I am not afraid of the Dark. I know It.
It has not ruined me.
I have become friends with evil without becoming evil.
But I still fear evil will devour me, and man.
Or make others pay a high price for my head.
Or that I will be hung on the cross again and again.
Or that my head will finally be given up.
I was sitting on this mountain the other day, I could
Feel the breeze in the darkness, and rumors
Of war ending.
It pleased me but not enough.
I am still lonely in my own Mind.
I meet You before the dawn, You
That swirls through places and time.
Who hides in the shadows of my life.
And gives me the peace beyond understanding
When in my presence.
It’s sensual, its erotic, but the music is altogether
Different. I feel understood in a way that passes
Time. At least Time in the way I’ve come to know It.
And that is complex, as I feel we knew each other
Before the Time we caught up with each other.
I cannot fathom a simple Prayer or wish, that your genuine
Seeming generosity (which makes me tremble) and love
Be real. Because reality is not my thing.
I don’t trust it. So I don’t trust.
I meet You in my darkest of hours.
I am still lonely in my own Mind.
Except when You are near.
And now I am fearful You will come and go.
Or vanish for eternity.
I cannot dedicate to being either with You or alone.
As You might have. Or being fearful for days on end.
Because even with my best friends on the cross I feel
Some sense that I am not alone, even if
I am still Lonely in my own Mind.
Either leave me on this cross with my Friends.
Or lay ahold of me so the darkness
Can turn to Day for me and by Night
You are still there.
With you, I am no longer wanton for something.
And I am no longer lonely in my own Mind.
Show me plainly what is real, because
Reality is not my thing.
I hear God is love,
But I don’t understand it myself.
I accomplished something yesterday, and my husband remarked that I should write an article on overcoming. I said, "Why overcoming?". He said, "You have accomplished something unexpected and unlike your condition." My condition is schizo-affective, and last spring I ventured back into full-time engineering work not knowing if it would stick. I was able to obtain flexible working hours and work-from-home conditions; I am still expected to respond to deadlines and even travel out-of-state from time-to-time.
This summer I took on a 7-week project in which I was the sole engineer working the project, and the technical acumen to get the job done right was high; expectations were high also and the schedule squeezed. I ventured into an assignment I had only mid-level experience with, worked more than 50 hours per week some weeks, and traveled twice from Tennessee to New Mexico to meet with the client of the project. I just yesterday turned in a finished product on-time that everyone was extremely happy with, that also promises more business to the company I work for. I straddled a few sleepless nights, additional medication and the associated side-affects, stress-stimulated voices and paranoia, and a constant fluctuating stress level. I gave up all my weekends this summer and dove right into a complex, interesting, and confidence-boosting endeavor. I also carried a nagging in the back of my mind that something extreme might happen with my mental health, and took great care of myself so I would finish and finish well.
The accomplishment of finishing and finishing well is a mark of overcoming - I worked beyond the normal abilities for someone with a condition like mine. It's unexpected. The doctors who try to call all the shots have long told me not to expect much, and they tell my husband that too - in terms of working, in terms of becoming a mother, in terms of being an adequate spouse. But I think my husband and I have both favored high-standards; it's a constant battle for us. That other nagging feeling - the one that says we should succeed and hush the naysayers - I think that is the one everyone should more often listen to in making daily decisions.
You don't have to have a condition like mine to have naysayers in your life about issues you are facing, and it doesn't take much to give in with an excuse of your own either. You don't have to give in, you don't have to settle, you don't have to live an underwhelming life, you don't have to lay down and live out your weaknesses instead of your strengths. That last point, to live out your weaknesses is important. It's easy to choose to be lazy instead of accomplishing a goal - to sit back and watch others work hard for a promotion instead of taking on the challenge yourself. Life is full of missed opportunities. Excuses can be a worst enemy. So cheers to those who succeed in work and relationships, and in spiritual matters or overcoming addiction or health issues. I've truly made a statement about myself each time I've recovered from mental health bouts, and this recent accomplishment goes a long way with others and myself in the demonstration of recovery. I still have a long way to go in terms of any road to goodness or perfection, but hey, I've come a long way baby. You should too, and congrats to all your accomplishments past, present and future!
p.s. The rad thing I enjoyed doing was developing the operational and protective philosophies and settings for computers that operate a high-voltage new substation (transmission utility power system equipment). This is my mountaintop. Climb your mountaintop.
Do the Unexpected, a poem by Michelle Murphy
Live out your weaknesses, or your strengths.
Which is tempting you?
There’s the naysayers who never expect the unexpected.
The calculators. The pill-givers.
But the gamblers bet on me.
They love me.
And I aim to show them love back.
I’m better off for it.
To do the unexpected.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.