In the fall of 1986 someone said to me "You write very lyrically. Are you a poet?" I replied pretty vehemently, "No, no, I'm not a poet!" as if I was physically trying to push away the concept. I was also ignoring the fact that I had published poetry in a school literary magazine when I was in junior high. Several weeks later I remembered why I stopped writing poetry. Shortly after that, I composed the first poem I had written since I was 14 years old - and it explained why.
My heart stopped beating when I was fourteen,
Avoiding the pain that could rarely be seen.
It hurt me so deeply, I pushed it away,
Never to feel what had happened that day.
I published five poems, and bubbling with joy,
I showed them to Daddy, be proud of this boy.
"You're good for nothing," Dad drunkenly cried,
In shame I stopped breathing, my heartbeat had died.
I blocked out the words which my father had said,
But ever the message still hummed in my head.
I felt I was worthless, was frozen with fear,
Could not see my talents, yet the signs were so clear.
I followed his footsteps, did what he had done,
I felt like a nothing, but I still was his son.
He had stayed fairly average, so I did the same,
So that a mere nothing would not bring him shame.
The life I endured was seldom my best,
Success I avoided, defeating the test.
I could not surpass the hero still there,
Fear ruled me and conquered, though never aware.
I tried to be happy, but something was wrong,
My heart still carried the childhood shame song.
All my self effort was wind through the trees,
At the point of despair, I sank to my knees.
If the blessing of grace is to try once again,
I stood before God, so to begin.
He asked "Are you willing, now to be free?
To live full of joy, as I wish you to be?"
I answered my life, Dear God, is for You,
Do for me those things which self cannot do.
You must give me the strength, for I am weak,
Many the time I am too frail to speak.
God took the hurt, and showed me the pain,
Gave it back to me, myself to regain.
I walked through the anger, the shame and the fear,
My part to be willing, His to be near.
I thought it would kill me, so deeply it hurt,
I tried many ways, the path to desert.
God guided me gently, feeling to live,
Trusting in Him, with nothing to give.
I rested in Him, the fear washed away,
Along with the wounds of that horrible day.
He has freed me to feel my heartbeat of life,
With peace to replace the old internal strife.
To see my true talents with humble clear sight,
To rejoice in the pleasure I feel when I write.
From God be the power, in myself to believe,
And to feel I deserve all the love I receive.