One Tree on a Hill

One tree on the hill standing strong, standing tall
Through summer and winter, spring and fall —
This aged tree has stood the test for the best —
And what has she seen through fat years and lean?
So many foibles of humanity born of pure insanity,
But also beauty, bravery and much love from above,
For battles have been fought, victories blood bought,
And in peace lovers have promised passion, as well,
Neath her mighty branches, sounding wedding bells,
And so this majestic tree has seen heaven and hell;
Now what would she tell us if she could but speak?
This tree on the hill standing strong, standing tall?

Quinn Mighty in Pen

There was a man named Quinn, who was mighty with the pen
And did win the favor of all sorts of men, but he did greatly sin
Again and again till he dwelled in a den of dark so stark
That he could no longer see and words left him bereft
Of light so that try as he might Quinn could no longer write,
And he became quite the sight to behold having sold himself
To gloom and doom — so sad and utterly bad — and he cried
As he tried to fill his days in the haze that had become his life
So rife with pain and no gain and stain upon his lonely heart;
So goes the tale of Quinn who once was so mighty with the pen

We Cast Long Shadows

We cast long shadows over our own lives,
So long that we belong to those shadows,
Though we imagine we are walking in light
With our sight set high and so we fly . . .

We fly to our own murky destinations
Without hesitation or any examination,
Thinking all will be well (so sound the bell!)
When we have only created our own hell

We cast long shadows, deep and dark,
And in them we hide from stark reality,
But the finality is all the same (and not tame);
We wake up to realize it’s more than a game!

Yes, we cast long shadows over our lives,
And we bury ourselves in their folds,
But when bold comes the light shadows flee
And we can see clearly the bright truth
And then, and only then, can we really be free

Cry from the Dark Maze

Slice me and dice me anyway you like and I’ll still bleed!
For however distorted now, nevertheless, I am still man;
Yes, I am still a man, though running through this maze
Like some rat – lab fed and fat – less than what is human;
See me and hear me as I try to climb these walls and cry,
But don’t stand and stare; rather, help me repair my life
So rife with pain and seemingly no gain; let mercy reign!
After all, I am none other than your brother, not another!
. . .
Dominus eleison! Dominus eleison! Dominus eleison! 

Welcome to the City of Light

Welcome to the City of Light where bright rules the day
Every step along the way, where the soul can safely stay,
Where one can rest in an extraordinary nest of serenity,
Where there is plenty of love and peace that never cease
Here in this place, where the pace is slow and beautiful,
And joy dutiful to attend every step and the mind is kept
From all alarm as fear is dispersed by the light ever near
To the heart with no false start in any part of joyous day;
And where the night is absent of all fright and very calm,
Which is a healing balm to the soul … in the City of Light

Fog of War ~ Cry for Help

It is the fog of war and I cannot see clearly as I am nearly blind,
And so I bind me to you, my Beloved, clinging to you kind hand,
And you tie your band around my waist lest I here waste away
In this foreign land with battle trenches dug deep into the earth
From which every soldier must show his worth even in dying,
Crying for mercy and peace and I, too, beg the warfare to cease;
Oh, my Beloved, give me new lease on life and let all strife end!

Here is my heart and all of me, too, to do with as you might will;
Take and seal me for eternity in fraternity with you forevermore,
But bring relief now as well as the bell chimes out this late hour,
And show your power to heal, and to fill me with your great love
Above the cacophony of this world into which I’ve been hurled!
And write my own name on your palm and calm all of my fears
Which lurk ever near to my very soul and so wholly fill this hole!

And grant me sweet serenity even now . . .
Oh, grant us serenity even now, my Beloved

An Openly Honest Comment Upon My Condition

Dealing with depression and anxiety is no laughing matter, to be sure, especially when prescribed medications begin working against you. Not that medication alone is the answer, but when what has been prescribed no longer helps but, in fact, begins causing negative side-effects, then you are moved beyond frustration to the point of tears.

This has been, and continues to be, my own experience. Several weeks ago, it seems the antidepressant prescribed to me lost its effectiveness and then actually caused akathisia – that is, continual restlessness, agitation, sleeplessness and heightened anxiety. This has been enough to drive me to tears, as I am fighting on two fronts: depression and akathisia.

After numerous visits to the emergency room and three hospital stays, my psychiatrist wisely removed all antidepressants and even cut in half the dosage of the mood-stabilizer I have been taking. Alas, though, largely removing the culprits – that is, the psychotic medications – has only partially subdued my akathisia, for which I am now taking medication.

What am I to do? In many ways I believe I am actually taking too much medication, mostly to address side effects of other medication, but without the medication for akathisia I am caught up in a whirlwind of nervousness, agitation, restlessness, and high anxiety. Will I ever know freedom from all of the above? In other words, will I ever be free of depression, anxiety, and akathisia? Of course, this is my ongoing prayer.

But let me get to the point of sharing all of this: One who does not struggle with these internal problems, or ailments, should be very careful not to judge those who are experiencing this (or other physio-psychological difficulties.) Really, unless you have experienced this, or another condition, yourself then you really don’t know the awful reality of bearing this burden. You cannot understand just what devastating effect it all has on the victim.

However, you can show love and compassion, encourage and offer to help to the extent that you can help, and you certainly can pray for the person who suffers. This is a point well-worth stating, remembering, and putting into practice. Sufferers need kindness, sympathy, and help rather than suspicion and condemnation.

Moreover, it is really beneficial – potentially, at least – for family and friends to acquaint themselves with depression, anxiety, akathisia, and other conditions. Learning is the first step toward authentic sympathy as well as the ability to truly help the one suffering. As you begin to better understand the condition(s) then the better equipped you are to actually provide much-needed, genuine, and courteous benevolence.

Personally, as I suffer I realize that most people in my life just don’t have a clue. Depression and anxiety are largely “unseen” afflictions. The akathisia is more evident because it is more physiological, manifesting itself in constant, erratic motion – i.e. extremely jittery nerves, inability to concentrate or carry on a sustained conversation, etc. – but even still, people wonder why I just don’t settle myself down.

I feel a certain sense of hopelessness because I cannot adequately explain my depression, anxiety and akathisia, and I am worn to a frazzle anyway. As moment follows moment, and day slips into night, my whole person is seemingly at war with itself . . . and I seem to be losing! Thank the Lord God I have been able to hold on to hope born of faith that this too shall pass; otherwise, I would despair to the point of giving up altogether.

On the brighter side, though, there are those who do understand, either from personal experience or through a loved one (or close friend), and so they are able to relate. Of course, this only goes so far; after all, they are unable to alleviate my actual suffering. Still, it is an astounding blessing to know that I am not alone. Now if I could just find the cure for it all! (And I say this sincerely.)

Right now the war is thick and every battle has its own special aspect with which to deal. Right now I hardly know which end is up and which is down . . . but I do know the suffering and am well-acquainted with the wounds resulting from the fight. I also know how tremendously grateful I am to God, who has sustained me thus far and promises never to leave nor forsake me!

No, none of this is a laughing matter. It is serious and I would not wish any of this on my worst enemy. God help me! And God help those around me – those within my network of friends and family – to understand (to the greatest extent possible), and to be patient while encouraging and praying for me. Finally, may I learn to be even more empathetic toward those gripped by depression, anxiety, akathisia, and other difficult ailments while longing and waiting for my own redemption from this awful pit! Lord, have mercy!

As I Cross This Ocean Deep

As I cross this ocean deep where secrets keep,
My fair soul sends forth its prayer so very bare,
And naked I stand before the band of angels,
Aware of weakness of flesh, with fresh songs
So melodious and filled with love from above;
Ah! But can I sing with them and bring peace
To my spirit so troubled within me in serenity,
While the waves come higher quenching fire
In my heart, taking the better part of my self
Into watery caverns buried beneath the water?
And when shall I reach the coastline of glory?
When shall I sit in peace to tell my paltry story?
When shall I walk the distant shore in peace
With new lease on life – new, abundant life –
Given to me as gift as I lift my hands to heaven?
Ah! I cross this ocean deep where secrets keep,
And in this journey grow into brand new birth
For all that I might be worth on the other side;
So, dear Lord, help me on board this regal ship
Not to slip in despair, knowing you will repair
As you lay this my heart bare without one tear,
And so I shall yet be all that is meant for me . . .

So I Belong to You

As the stars belong to the night and light to the day,
So I say, ‘I belong to you,’ and I long to be with you,
So, too, I will be true to you, my one and only love,
My dove from above, who hovers and covers me,
Always close at hand with bands of compassion
In passion of fire that never tires or ever wanes
In nearly insane affection but with no affectation
In connection with the best part of heart and soul,
Filling that hole with which I have lived for so long,
Giving me your own song sung sweet in meeting me
Each and every moment as I breathe in the fragrance
Of your undying devotion in unending motion forever!

Your Love Washes Over Me

As I bang my head against the wall in the halls
Of this home, not my own; sigh and loudly cry,
Your compassion washes over me like waves
From rich love wider and deeper than the sea,
And you had no bed, nowhere to lay your head,
But you’ve said you will take care of my needs,
Sowing seeds of faith that grow ever so slowly
As you provide my daily bread, day after day,
And remind me I do have somewhere to stay,
And so what shall I say? And how can I repay?
I say ‘thank you,’ as I bathe me in love so true,
Which canopies over me like the skies so blue!