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Thursday, May 19, 2011

One More Day

"One More Day"

We had received the news that my father-in-law Jim had an Anuerysm, which is the bloating or ballooning of an artery.  The good news was that it hadn't ruptured, so it was operable, albeit a difficult operation of bypassing the artery.  The operation was made more difficult by the fact that he had been fighting other ailments that negatively affected his breathing.  Sadly, he would never recover from that surgery.

When I first saw Jim following the surgery, the prognosis was not good.  He was in a coma, and it would take some time to determine the level of damage to the brain.  I looked at this man who I admired, and greatly respected over the years, and thought to myself he has probably seen his last normal day.  He remained in a coma for several months, his brain was deamed to have no activity, and he later passed on with his wife, and his daughter by his side.

The night of his surgery, I went home and reflected on what just happened.  It really hit me hard that the man I had known: an all state athlete, top executive at Ohio Bell, avid family man and grandfather, was probably never going to experience another normal day.  I started to reflect on all the things that we take for granted in life, and all the things that I would miss if I was told that I had one more day to live.  The poem "One More Day" just flowed out from that inspiration.

Recently the video for "One More Day" was used in a closing presentation to a convention of physicians in Los Angelas.  The presenter, spoke to the physicians about the "human side of medicine", and how the patients they are dealing with may just be a "number" to them, but that same person is the world to someone else.  She challenged them to put themselves in their patient's shoes, and think about what they would do if they discovered that they only had "One More Day" to live.  The convention ended with the video, and the speaker received a standing ovation.  A fitting tribute for the man who inspired the words, and my friend who put together a beautiful video to honor those words. 

I hope it touches your heart.

"One More Day"

As the sun was setting
what would you say
If the rest of your life was just one day?
Would you wish for things in a material way,
Reach out to friends, or quietly pray?

Having it all seemed the only way,
But I'd give it all up for just one day.
That one last chance so I might see
The special gifts that made me "Me".

Like a toddler's hug, or my lover's hands,
The unmistakable sound of grade school bands.
My mother's perfume, my father's style,
Grandma's kitchen and grandpa's smile.

The gift of charity, the feel of pain,
The silence of dawn, the summer rain.
Family gatherings, or private tears.
A son's good humor, a daughter's soft hair.

A dog's wet nose, the miracle of a seed.
The compassion of others in moments of need.
The roar of laughter, the hush of a crowd.
An honest day's work, and feeling so proud.

Toasting fond memories, and learning to forget
The heartaches endured, and all the regrets.
Finding my passion, and one true love.
Finding forgiveness, and the Lord above.

So much I discovered as I traveled life's way.
What I wouldn't give for


Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Christmas Angel

"The Christmas Angel"

by Richard Doyle

High on the tree
she sat and pondered,
why the Christmas season
was a time of wonder.

A Christmas tree ornament
surely should know
why at this time of year
everyone was aglow.

Under the cover of darkness
she slipped away
to discover the secrets
of Christmas Day.

Surely there was someone
who knew of the reason
why so many people
celebrate the season.

The ornament marched
down through the woods,
and came upon a peddler
selling his goods.

“Excuse me fine sir,
can you tell me the reason
why so many people
celebrate this season?”

The peddler smiled
While pulling out money.
“The reason” he said,
“is really quite funny!”

“The people all buy,
in quantities galore.
Christmas is a time
for profits to soar!”

There had to be more
so she went on her way
to search for the meaning
of Christmas Day!

The ornament wandered
up to a group,
singing their songs
on a front porch stoop.

“Excuse me fine folks,
can you tell me the reason
why so many people
celebrate this season?”

“Of course we can,
or we wouldn’t be here,
singing our carols,
and spreading good cheer!”

“Christmas is a time
of many rejoices,
but best of all
we show off our voices!”

There had to be more
so she went on her way
to search for the meaning
of Christmas Day!

The ornament spied
a man selling trees.
Blue Spruce, White Pines,
as many as you please.

“Excuse me fine sir,
can you tell me the reason
why so many people
celebrate this season?”

He sat and pondered,
and soon thought aloud,
“I sell many trees.”
he said as if proud.

“From miles and miles
they come to buy trees,
so naturally the reason
must be me!”

There had to be more
so she went on her way
to search for the meaning
of Christmas Day!

The ornament giggled
as she entered a store
chock full of candy
from ceiling to floor.

“Excuse me fine lady,
can you tell me the reason
why so many people
celebrate this season?”

Behind the store counter
the lady was in awe,
at the Angel’s confusion
even after she saw.

“Why look all around you.
Is this some kind of game?
Christmas is a time
for selling candy canes!”

There had to be more
so she went on her way
to search for the meaning
of Christmas Day!

The ornament spotted
a red suit and cap.
And found herself sitting
on Santa’s lap.

“Excuse me fine sir,
can you tell me the reason
why so many people
celebrate this season?”

“Kids all adore me
for I’m jolly and stout!
I bring shiny presents
to kids who don’t pout!”

“But I am just part
of a story book fable.
To find your answer
proceed to the stable!”

She knew there was more
so she went on her way
to search for the meaning
of Christmas Day!

Down to the stable
she made her way,
and found a young Mother
resting in the hay.

“Excuse me fine lady,
can you tell me the reason
why so many people
celebrate this season?”

There was no response.
The lady just stared.
Well, why would Santa
send the ornament down here?

For all of the animals,
shepherds, and kings
were simply statues,
and not living things!

Then suddenly she spied
a wondrous light
beaming from the baby
this Christmas Eve night!

She then heard singing
and looked to the sky.
The Star of David
was dancing on high.

And then she beheld
a magnificent sight.
An angel with wings
had taken to flight.

The ornament watched
as the angel came near.
Much to her surprise
she had no fear.

She gazed at the angel
with wings spread wide,
and in her halo’s reflection
the ornament spied!

“Could it be true?
Can I believe what I see?
Do I have wings
and a halo on me?”

The angel said,
“You are what you see,
and God has a very
special place for thee.”

“Hanging high on the tree
of all who believe
in the birth of the Christ Child
that first Christmas Eve. “

“You’ll serve as a reminder
of this wondrous event.
When Jesus arrived
and what it has meant.”

“As a Christmas Angel
you now know the reason
why so many people
celebrate this season!”

And from that day forward
the ornament would say
“God bless the reason
for Christmas Day!”

Merry Christmas!

Special thanks to Mrs. Bott's 2nd grade class from Sacred Heart School, Wadsworth, Ohio, for their creative photos (2003-4).


Sunday, November 21, 2010


Theme:   Seek Peace

PeaceLilly-1.jpg picture by DoyleArts

To purchase this painting click here:  Peace Lilly Painting



I release myself. I want no more
Turbulent waters eroding my shore
I'll drift from bad, and focus on good.
Forgive all others, and do as I should

I'll give for giving, anonymous is best.
Count my blessings, and long for less.
I'll pause for nature, and free my mind,
And never forget the gift of time.

I'll share my talents answering Your call
Give to others if ever they fall.
Carry a torch to illuminate Your light
Never surrender the fight of good fights.

Though not deserving I beg for your grace
In helping my soul to finish this race.
Like the hand You laid upon the restless seas
Calm these waters, and grant me Thy peace.



Peace external
can only be derived from
peace internal.


"Nature's Whisper"

When nature whispers,
a soul's inner reflection
is tranquility.

"Peace is Universal" - Peace, Vrede, Paqe, Salaam,
Fridn, Achukma, Paix, Frieden, Mir, Peng On


I believe that we all long for peace, and those that don't perhaps have never experienced true turmoil in their lives.  I was one of those individuals, until events happened in my life that made me wish for nothing BUT peace.  For Christmas one year all I asked for was "Peace", but instead all I received was an ugly tie.  Or as Charlie Brown would say, "I got a rock."  Just kidding, I was actually given a Christmas Star ornament with the word "Peace".  That meant a lot to me, and it will always hang in prominence on my tree.

I know the feeling of having others sabotage your peace.  I'm not the guy who thinks that you have ultimate control over all scenarios, however you ARE the person that has the power to improve your chances.  I'm not sure that I will ever find complete peace, but I have learned some things that have helped me get closer to true peace.  Hopefully you can apply these 20 tips to help you on your journey:

Simplify & Organize:  Try to organize the world around you.  Also eliminate obligations, so you can control your own destiny. If you eliminate chaos, you'll eliminate stress.

Respect:  Respect those around you, especially the people you love.  Once you lose respect, everything else starts to crumble.  The Golden Rule is called Golden for a reason, so do unto others as you'd have done unto you!  Be the person that others can respect.

Give Generously:  Nothing beats the feeling of gifting, especially to those less fortunate, and do so anonymously.  Surprise everyone with your generosity. 

Just Say "No":  Learn to say "No", except to those things for which you are truly passionate about.  Volunteer your time, but choose those opportunities wisely.  Don't volunteer for the sake of volunteering, instead choose a couple of events and give it your all.

Trust:  Be the person that others can trust.  Trust people, until you are given reasons to otherwise not.  Surround yourself by positive, loyal family and friends.  Negativity and betrayal stains anyone that's around it.  Remember that people's true colors, good or bad, will shine through.  Trust your gut.

Save Money:  Spending leads to temporary fun, but debt leads to longer term stress.  Save your money for a rainy day, because there will be a rainy day.

"In the End" Rule of Thumb:  If the source of your stress will be nothing but a ridiculous waste of time "in the end", then let it go.  As the saying goes "Don't sweat the small stuff: it's all small stuff."

Release:  Release yourself and matters to a higher being.  Don't fret over things that are out of your control.

Work Hard:  When you've worked as hard as you can, you eliminate any potential regrets, regardless of the outcome.  Failure is not failure when you've given it your all.  You may also find that you'll work your way out of scenarios that might be causing you the stress in the first place.

Embrace Silence:  Re-discover nature through solitary walks, silence, and observance.  Breathe the fresh air.  Take time to pray, or reflect.  Take action on the things that come out of silence, for they may be God's little whispers.

Stop the Bleeding:  Whatever is broken, fix what you can as fast as you can. The rest can heal in time.

Fertilize Your Own Grass:  Improve yourself, and don't compare yourself to others.  Your grass will soon be greener than the other side when you focus on you, instead of the other side. 

Acceptance:  "Accept your imperfections, as God's perfections."  Accept others' imperfections as well.  Everyone is unique, so celebrate those differences, don't anguish in them.

It Ain't All About You:  People have enough of their own problems to not have to worry about yours!  Don't worry what other people are thinking, because chances are: they're not!

Forgive:  In time you will.  You'll have too, regardless of how hard it is to forget.  Time helps the healing.

Marvelous Me: Create a success zone where you can see all the good things you've accomplished in life:  trophy wall, scrapbook, photo gallery, website, something you can get to quickly whenever you're feeling down.  You have had a wonderful life, so remind yourself of that on occasion.

Legacy:  Create a legacy that can last beyond your lifetime, so the world will remember you fondly.  It will make you feel bigger than yourself.  Take tiny steps towards your dreams and goals.  Those baby steps over time will turn into miles!

Cherish Time:  Whether it be grand times that are distant memories, or bad times that are lessons learned, keep moving onto your next grand adventure.  Because in the end, time won't wait for you.

Laugh:  Laugh at yourself, laugh with friends, laugh with family: find humor in everything you see, or do.  Be the person that others can laugh with, and laugh at.

Know True Wealth:  It ain't about the money.  Discover your true wealth, and spend it wisely.  Think of the things you'll cherish as you reflect back on your life, and I bet money won't be at the top of the list.

Peace may sometimes be elusive, and you may not have ultimate control over finding it, but you certainly can improve the odds.  Make sure you take the steps to do so.  I'd be interested in your comments as to what brings you peace.

I wish you "Peace"


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Coach a Kid

Theme:     Coach a Kid



They came with eager hearts
to play a game they love,
Brandishing their uniforms,
baseball bats, and gloves.
Eager to learn, they had no skills,
they could not hit or run.
Until with patience and some care
you taught them to have fun.

At times they lacked attention,
they giggled, or they cried.
At times you watched in marvel
as they hit, or caught pop flies.
At times you had to holler,
"Drop the flowers and the dirt!"
At times you lent a hand
to wipe a tear if they got hurt.

The score it never mattered
as long as they played their best.
Giving their all and having fun
would pass the "winners" test.
Through faded years and grayer hair
a champion you may not boast.
But deep in the hearts of all the kids
you'll forever be their



Whether a grin when you win,
Or a frown when you're down,
Nothing can replace
how loud I am proud!


"Helping Hand"

When you lend a hand,
you also lend a heart and
miracles follow.


I was recruited into coaching in the year 1995 B.C. (before children).  I helped a dad coach a 4th grade basketball team, because the dad never played basketball in his life, and he thought having an "expert" on his staff would help.  If he only knew how little he needed to know to really succeed, perhaps he would have had more confidence.  From then on I was considered "The Go-To-Guy" that the town could count on to always step up and coach, regardless of the sport.  I've been having a ball ever since.

Here are some classic coaching tips and memories:

Provide Direction:  I coached a 4th grade boy in basketball who would accidentally grapple people to the floor.  We would jokingly tell him that he should be a wrestler instead of a basketball player.  He went on to win a state championship in wrestling in the 215 lb. weight class.  Great directional coaching, no doubt.

Teach Fundamentals:  We taught our 3rd grade girls basketball players how to "switch" players on defense if they get stuck behind a pick.  One game they executed a "triple switch" among three of the girls, and as coaches we all looked at each other and said, "Did we teach them that?"

Be A Fan:  My son as a five year old soccer player scored his first two goals ever.  I proudly cheered him on as the rest of the fans remained perplexed. Being a believer in positive reinforcement, I wanted to recognize his efforts, even though he accidentally scored both goals for the OTHER team.

Incentive:  After several games of watching my five year old son run away from the soccer ball when it came near him, we began "bribing" him with Star Wars figurines if he would simply just touch the ball.  The first Star Wars character he received wasn't when he first touched the ball, but when the ball touched HIM.  He got the point quickly, and soon thereafter amassed quite a collection of figurines, and went on to become a high school soccer player (but not that same year!)

Instill Confidence: As softball coaches we always rotated players into every position, regardless of their talents.  We were the only team to continue that practice, even in the playoffs when we weren't required to do so, but it was more important to us that the girls knew we had confidence in them.  In our final game of the season the "Ballerina" on our team, who was not the strongest of talents except when wearing a tutu, caught a running fly ball in the last inning of the game sealing the victory.  Did I mention that it was the CHAMPIONSHIP game?  The entire team ran out to left field to hug her for making the greatest catch ever, and the greatest memory ever.  Our confidence in her, led to her confidence in herself, which led to a team championship!
Losing:  My son's first year of kid pitch baseball was a rough one.  The team wasn't that good, and we never won a game.  He really didn't want to continue to play on the team until he and I sat down and wrote a list of the "Top Ten Reasons Why It's Fun to Play on a Losing Team".  The laughter soon followed, and a great lesson was learned, and great memories of the season too.

Cradle of Coaches:  They use to call me the "Cradle of Coaches" for youth soccer.  We really had a fun, and successful program for the tiny tots, and the most rewarding part was when the moms & dads whose kids were on our team went on to be successful coaches themselves.  Scary when you would hear the phrase "Speed & Power" yelled from multiple coaches on the soccer fields Saturday mornings.

Recruiting:  I always thought I was a great soccer coach after winning year after year. Then a few years later I noticed that the kids that played on our team ended up being the big time athletes of their high school: two football running backs, a wide receiver, a basketball star, a baseball pitcher, and a soccer captain.  Perhaps it wasn't my superb coaching after all.

Guidance:  I'd like to think that I was a positive role model laying the foundation for the kid's to make good decisions in the future. And then one day at a high school varsity soccer game a young man gets dropped off at the north end of the stadium, drops his clothes and streaks 100 yards across the field in nothing but his tennis shoes and a mask, and then is picked up in a get-a-way car at the south end of the stadium.  All three of the kids were kids I coached the summer before in high school baseball summer league.  I have to admit I chuckled at the news of "The Winning Streak" as it was referred to in the local newspaper headline. 

Coaching has always been a wonderful experience.  The memories, and friendships I made were priceless.  I encourage everyone to try it at some point.  It will make you a better parent if you do.

Coach a kid.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Endless Childhood

Theme:  Be a Kid

Click on his link to purchase this painting:  Little Lady



Too much work, and not enough fun.
They say that youth is wasted on the young.
"Poppycock" I say, for the time is here,
To begin living life as if you've no care.

I bequeath to the world my worries and stress,
Deadlines, agendas, and ultimate tests.
Replace all of these with frolic and fun.
On my final marquee put "Ornery One"

Before it all ends discover what matters,
Turn off the news, and political chatter.
Think like a child my daughters and sons.
For life is too short to not have fun! 


"Now & Then"

If you feel now
that you missed too many 'thens',
then refuse to miss any 'nows'.


"Child's Laughter"

A child's laughter
can be yours, regardless of
the years you have forged.


In military time it was 02300 hours, 11:00 PM to you civilians, when we gathered in secrecy at Central Command.  The enemy was alert, but we knew logistically we had to move tonight under the faint glow of the full moon.  It was a true 'all or nothing' moment.  Mac and David were the lone holdouts, but soon gave into the subtle pressure of their peers.  After all, history was in the making, and they wanted their names forever engraved in the archives of mankind.

Davies led the Diversionary Team (D-Team) down the gravel road on the western side of the waterfront.  Their task was to draw attention to the front of the targeted zone, while the Excursionary Team (E-Team), led by the capable guidance of Easton, Zingale, and Doyle, worked their way through the thickets along the eastern waterfront.  It was from that well protected flank that the actual attack would occur.

D-Team was soon in position to make their charge.  The E-Team was poised to attack upon the signal from the D-Team's flashlight.  In the distance we could hear the roar of the diversionary charge.  Their flickering flash was our signal to attack.  As the D-Team drew the attention of our enemy to the front, we entered through the flank.  There was ensuing chaos as debris was flying everywhere among the horrified screams of panic.

After the first wave, the E-Team retreated 50 yards back into the brush to regroup.  All members of the brigade were present and accounted for, which meant it was time to launch the second strike.  This would be a "Hit & Retreat" mission.  We were all to report back to Central Command.  In a fury of counter fire we launched our attack. 

Off to our right we could see the flashlights of the Diversionary force retreating, so we knew we were risking much by delaying our exit.  The signal to disperse was sounded, and it was an all out sprint back to Central Command.  Lagging behind were David and Mac, but as the good commanders we were, they would not be left behind.  Mac literally ran out of one of his boots, which we scooped up without missing a step, and David's glasses were fogged from the steam of his sweat in the evening mist.  We managed to make it back to Central just as the D-Team arrived.  A quick head count, and all were accounted for.  Mission accomplished.  We would leave no man behind that night.

Such an attack could not go without recourse.  Later that night, while the post was asleep, Central Command was attacked.  This was no ordinary attack.  This was a covert operation in which one of Central Command's finest snuck the enemy into our lair.  This was a "Scream and Grab" attack in which the enemy grabbed anything they could before retreating.  The Central Command defenses were too much for the attackers, as only one of the spoils of war was actually confiscated: an old boot covered in mud from the earlier escapades.

The next day there was a truce called, and peace reigned over the valley.  As both sides gathered around a flagpole as a show of camaraderie, there was only one person who was not embracing the terms of the peace; he with one boot.  As the young man limped to the front of the group wearing one boot, and a wet-bottomed sock, he grew frustrated among the giggling onlookers.  He then glanced skyward in the direction of the multiple stares, and saw why everyone was posed in a common salute to the symbol of our peace: a lone boot tied to the top of the flagpole.  His smile was raised, as his boot was lowered.

So ended just one of the many adventures of the Sacred Heart Parish School fifth grade field trip to Camp Christopher: boys versus girls.

Addendum: The flickering flashlight "attack signal" was no signal at all.  It was the D-Team's commander tripping over a sidewalk edging, launching his flashlight and himself through the air.  When they both came to rest on the ground, they did so at the feet of the REAL commander of the camp, her clipboard in hand, and making her nightly rounds.  This act of military prowess was followed by a waving, authoritative finger in his face as he laid on the ground, retorting her infamous quote "THIS is why we don't allow people to raid other cabins at Camp Christopher!  Now get BACK to your cabins."

Needless to say, the moms and dads who had the privilege of acting as temporary camp counselors, had just as much fun as the kids.  In fact, later that night around midnight a few of us dads were able to sneak our daughters out, and take them to the Mummy's Cave.  Nerves were rattled as we approached the dark cave.  It took some coaxing to get the girls to enter, especially since it was rumored to be haunted.  And then, with a flick of the flashlight switch, the cave became illuminated to reveal hundreds of bats flying in and out of the opening.  After a short period of excessive screaming, the girls (and dads) settled down and marveled at the sight we were witnessing.  A sight that would prove to be the "coolest" part of the "coolest" night of camp, all because a few grown ups decided to act like kids.

Be a kid!  It's never too late to just be a kid.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Perfect Line

Theme:  Taking Risks

SailingMap-2.jpg picture by DoyleArts
Click on this link to purchase this painting  The Perfect Line

"Perfect Line"

The tides and seas will greet you
At the dawn of early life.
From a sheltered cove you'll venture,
Along paths of ease and strife.
The sails upon your masts
Capture every wind benign.
So chart your course for greatness.
You'll sail the perfect line.

As you depart for open waters
Jagged shores will test your skill.
You'll battle villainous pirates.
Violent storms will test your will.
You'll venture beyond horizons,
And push the tests of time.
So chart your course for greatness.
You'll sail the perfect line.

Before the sun's departure
as it sinks into the sea,
You'll encounter grand adventures,
And discover your unique 'Me'.
Through trials and tribulations
In time you'll do just fine.
So chart your course for greatness.
You'll sail the perfect line.


"Life's Impasses"

Life's impasses can lead to
great rewards, or painful regrets.
Wisdom is knowing whether to
turn back, or forge onward.



Some seek fortune, and
others seek fame, but most just
seek oblivion.


Erosion is an amazingly powerful force.  Anyone who has ever spent time along the sea can attest to that, from the fallen cliffs of the Pacific, to the billions of ground up sea shells we call sand.  Life can have a similar eroding effect on all of us too.  Sometimes it erodes our emotions, laughter, and memories, and in many cases our ability to feel.  Sometimes by clutching to the bad, we bury the good.  And by burying the good, we often bury ourselves in silent oblivion.  I guess there's less pain in the dark.

How do you convince someone who's been burned in the past, to take risks in the future?  It's hard.  I've lived it.  For me I had to evolve to the point where the pain of the darkness, was greater than the risk of potential failure.  Once I set sail, I knew I'd be fine.

I am amazed at the early sailors who ventured off on new discoveries.  Think about this: many of us won't even venture off the highway for fear that we'll get lost in an unfamiliar, or dangerous area of our own cities.  How would you feel if that unfamiliar area was a sharp corner on the edge of a flat world, or the risk of sailing in open waters with the potential of never seeing land again?  At some point the early explorers risked everything to venture onward, instead of turning back.  Yes, some of our most heralded explorers had to also be considered our most insane.  Perhaps there's hope for me yet.

In the end, we are all sailors of sorts.  The adventures we encounter test our skills, erode our shores, and challenge our faith.  At times we may be called upon to sail a perfect line through dangerous waters.  We will need to know when to turn back, or when to forge onward.  Only time will determine if we made the correct decisions.  Perhaps everything happens for a reason.  If that's the case, then undoubtedly you can boast that whatever path you take, in the end you will be certain to...

"Sail the Perfect Line".


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jesus Wept

Theme:   Believe

Click on this link to purchase this painting  Jesus Wept (Finger Painting)



I'd rather be perceived ignorant
by mortal atheists,
than confirmed ignorant
by an immortal God.



Believing in God
seemed so much easier when
He believed in me.


Dear Lord:

It's me. I'm down here again struggling to believe. Just when I'm ready to call you a friend, it seems I'm abandoned, and back stabbed again.

I've given you chances. You've thrown them away. I invited you over, but you said "not today"! I'm tired of trying to bridge this gap, when all I get is shunned or slapped. I think it's time for my life to be autonomous.

Respectfully yours,

Dear Anonymous:

Oh, it's you again. And I'm the one who's called the false friend? How dare you question how I feel, the things I do, or the cards I deal.

You know the alternative, so go on your own. But rest assured you're never alone. For if you believe it's the end of the line, then all of my miracles were a waste of time.

I won't abandon you as you do Me. Know that I'll be there in your hour of need. But deny Me then, and then you'll see, your eternal partner won't be Me! You can't even imagine the horrors ahead. If you give up on Me you're already dead.

I feel so much pain that I'll continue to sob. Wishing you were here!



Believe?  There was a time when I was lost, and questioning everything that I had previously believed in, including God.  During that time I was asked "Do you still believe in God?"  My response was a very nonchalant "Let's just say that God and I aren't on speaking terms right now."  Those were some dark times indeed.

It was around this time that I began writing what I believe to be some of my most profound works.  Poems, haikus, short stories, that others have called remarkably "deep".  The words just flowed.  It also wasn't hard to recognize others who were also in that lost stage.  But what I discovered in my writings was a common theme: deep down inside I still believed. 

Coming to that conclusion I then went on my own personal journey to find my God.  Not some God that hovers over church on Sundays, but the God that hovers over me all the time.  What I learned was that everyone seems to see God differently based upon their own circumstances.  Perhaps that is how God wants it.  Perhaps that is His grand design.  Perhaps He is a God of many faces.

 JesusWept-3.jpg picture by DoyleArts

I joined a bible study group several years back.  There were some good guys in the group, several of which believed without reservation.  When a question came around to me there was a long pause of silence as I pondered the answer.  They waited patiently for my profound response, and all I could muster was "I don't know this stuff.  I'm the glue eater in the back row!"  We all got a good laugh out of that, and afterwards we discovered we were ALL glue eaters to some degree.  Several people later declared "glue eater" status when it was their turn to answer a question, as if they were "taking the 5th" while under oath in a courtroom. 

I always wished I was the guy that believed without reservation, but that wasn't me.  Perhaps doing so would defy logic.  I was too "smart" for that.  In the past I've run into atheists who were equally as "smart", and then I thought to myself, what if they were wrong?  When the good Lord comes calling will I really be concerned about all the atheists who perceived me as being ignorant, or do I want God to perceive me as such.  Umm, I think I'll err on the side of God.

During this time of being lost, and then found, I thought to myself how sad God must have felt to have me questioning Him, and how many other anonymous souls do the same on a daily basis.  I think God has broad shoulders, and I believe He let me go so that I could truly discover where my heart was.  In the end, I think He knew I'd come home.

I went through a similar time in my life in which I was questioning my beliefs during my late 20's.  During that time I had a dream that shocked my system.  In the dream I was on a dock looking over a railing into a shallow, rock filled shoreline.  Washing up to shore from underneath the dock was a dead body, cold and gray, gently floating in the relatively calm tides.  It was my best friend.  In the shock and fright of the moment, the image suddenly vanished and was replaced by an immediate calming sensation.  Jesus was standing there aglow in silence.  He then said one word: "Believe".

That was it.  I awoke.  I've never told that story to anyone else, except my wife.  If I told that story, perhaps others would perceive me as being ignorant.  Perhaps by witholding that story, I truly was. 

I wish I was perfect, but I'm far from it.  I have a lot of catching up to do, but I have a pretty good teacher to help me along the way.  I hope in time you'll see the face of your own God.  In the end, through all the trials and tribulations of life, there's only one thing that really matters: