Hard

Something inside of me hardened. 


It’s an odd feeling to get when someone is giving you advice. 


Yet it happened. 


I felt sadness fill my core. 


My mouth contorted in an attempt to stop the pending frown.


And something in me became solid and hard as steel. 


Usually, I welcome spoonfuls of guidance from those I trust. 


But I couldn’t digest this dose.


I tried to swallow each letter. 


Each syllable. 


Each argument. 


But I vomited them all up immediately.


And I didn’t understand why.


And it troubled me deeply.


So I went home. 


Sat on the steps. 


And thought. 


And prayed. 


And cried. 


Then it came to me. 

Maybe it’s not digesting because it’s not supposed to. 

I hardened for a reason.



Hardened so that the pounding of her words against my heart wasn’t enough to break through. 


Hardened so that it would obliterate the precarious logic behind her reasoning. 

Hardened so that the truth encased within me wouldn’t be tainted. 

People can be sincere in their advice. 

And they can be sincerely wrong. 

Look Up

My day starts at an hour when most people are still sleeping. 


The sound of chirping birds fall into my ears, singing a duet with my alarm clock.


My eyes half closed, I place a bare foot on the floor. 


I turn towards the window but I don’t know why. I can’t see anything because it’s still dark. 


The motion of walking wakes up my leg muscles as I begin the routine. 


Shower. 


CNN. 


Toothbrush.


Eggs.


Comb.


Mascara. 


Coat.


Keys. 


Door. 


The morning air is brisk and flushes away whatever sleep is left in me. 


My body’s awake but my mind fully isn’t. 


I’ve forgotten something.


But then I look up. 


I see licorice black branches against the cool gray sky. 


Or an orange flood bleeding into the fresh morning. 


Or a wide stroke of periwinkle floating in the atmosphere. 


Or a creamy cluster of pink clouds slow dancing in the air. 


I look up and see God. 


And I remember what and Who I’ve forgotten. 
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The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display His craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
Night after night they make Him known.
They speak without a sound or word;their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.



-Psalm 19:1-4

Power Trip

It was a sad story. A minister was convicted of murdering his wife in order to carry on multiple affairs with women in his congregation. Most of the women had reached out to him for help with failing marriages. But their trust in him soon became obviously misplaced. 


A woman who had been one of the minister’s lovers and her husband sat before the television reporter with matching melancholy expressions. 


And the woman said something that stuck in my brain: 

“Power corrupts and church is a place [where] people can get power.”


The ideas sound so foreign next to each other. 



Corrupt control and church. 


Clout in a holy place. 


But it can happen..so easily.


Raise your hand and you become head over the 75th church anniversary committee. 


Attend a meeting and your name is typed in as the guest speaker at this year’s conference. 


Show your face and say “Hallelujah” enough times and you earn a permanent seat on the third row on the dais, in perfect view of the podium. 


Then titles become Velcroed to first names. 


Expectation and duties are heightened to a frightening level. 


True leadership becomes disfigured.

And then the main idea is forgotten.

Because how can anyone really have power or pull or sway in the Almighty’s house? 


When we’re all supposed to be servants?
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Jesus got them together to settle things down. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” He said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away His life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”


-Mark 10:41-45 (The Message)