trying to forgive…

The Door Of Forgiveness

i’m always torn about how i feel when it comes to my childhood. i didn’t have a bad childhood but it was no sunny spring day when i look back. i’ve dealt with situations in my life that have scarred me for what I believe will be an eternity. no matter how often i say “i’m over it.” out loud, the truth is “i’m not over it.” i’m broken. broken into a million little pieces and i simply don’t know where to start putting it all back together.

i believe people on the outside believe i’m perfect and that my life has been easier than most. but that’s only due to not revealing a stained past. a past i still relive in my mind weekly. it haunts me and for the longest time i dreamt of having that part of me surgically removed. i simply find it astonishing how our mind and body allow us to relive past events as though they happened yesterday simply through a rush of emotions.

my father was an alcoholic when i was young. he was a bartender, a carpenter and a man with a sharp tongue. he knew all the right things to say and all the right moves to make. my mother was always in the medical field and she had a heart bigger than this world could bear to hold. she wanted to take on everyone else’s burdens and solve everyone else’s problems. not too say that she wasn’t a good mother because that would be far from the truth, but there was room for improvement, like most mothers, i presume. i honestly don’t know where to go with this because my story is so intricate and i’d hate to paint the wrong picture and give you the wrong introduction to my life.

all i wanted to say today is that the hurt i feel is crippling to the person that i can be.
crippling to the person that i want to be.
and crippling to the person that i will be.

is there really a way to overcome so much pain, so much anger, so much hurt that you can live a productive life? a life that won’t allow you to continue taking steps back every time those painful memories come flooding back in, filling every crevice of your mind. i don’t know. is there a separate Bible chapter for dealing with this kind of hurt? does it get better with time or do you simply suppress it every time it resurfaces?

why is walking through ‘the door of forgiveness’ such a daunting task?


autumn’s song…

autumn's song by Silence and Chaos I’m awakened by the morning sun creeping through my blinds.
my hands caress my face over my eyes to fight the light.
my legs massage the ruffled sheets as I turn over to hide from the light.
my eye’s are greeted by the soft light that cascades across her face.
I smile.
my limbs graze across the bed and drunking-ly find their way to the floor.
the cold wood floors send a chill up my spine as my feet shutter at their greeting.
I sit and stare into the bathroom for a moment and allow the remnants of sleep to linger.
my eyes refuse to adjust to the glare off the mirror sink.
I reach for a t-shirt draped across the bottom of the bedpost.
I put on my socks with rulers stamped onto both sides and head for the kitchen.
the light from the kitchen window stretches across the floor into the foyer.
I clumsily reach into the white cabinet for a coffee cup.
i press the power button on the Keurig.
I popped in the K-cup and I wait.
the coffee drips and the aroma is morning.
I lift the cup up to the light of the window to see the steam.
i exhale
I walk towards the front door and stare into the yard
I look up and acknowledge the tree has began to change.
i exhale
I reach down to pick up a leaf and admire the details.
every vein.
every point.
the gradient.
I take a sip of my coffee and I place it on the ground.
I reach for my phone and focus it on the cup.
i snap
I look up into the tree and say a silent “thank you”.
I walk back into the house and down the hall. coffee in hand…

I want to be yours…

Abandoned Home I’ve always been a dreamer. I can’t tell you when it started or if it will ever end, but I can tell you that right now, in this space–I still dream. I get lost in foggy mornings and rainy days on a regular basis. The smell of rain has to be one of the most intoxicating things I believe you can experience. I’m not sure why anyone does drugs. I’m not sure why we don’t love life more and take in all the ‘little’ things. Have you ever stopped and listened to yourself breathing? Every inhalation is a divinely crafted push of air from God to you. Take a moment and run your finger from your palm to your shoulder blade and notice how the feeling changes–its so subtle and yet so magnificent that I tend to get goosebumps. What is this? All these beautiful things that God has created and yet I neglect Him daily, I pray less instead of more. When life gives me lemons–I cry in the silence about things I can’t control and I refuse to believe that He will free me from these burdens. How is it, I can be so ungrateful to a God who’s continually covering me in grace?

When I think about the honor it was to grow up in a Christian home where I learned the Bible and drank God’s word on a regular basis–I feel so blessed. But when I think about how far removed I am from it and how I can barely recollect many scripture verses, my heart weeps with discontent. I find myself wanting to exchange literature of poets and lyrics of musicians for that of scripture. Why, have I become so lost in these wordily things and forget about my maker until I’m knee deep back in sin?

I pray that God have mercy upon my soul and lead back to where He and I were in constant fellowship. I pray that he would restore in a heart that yearns to learn more about Him without hesitance. I pray that He would consume me and lead me to drink from the well of life once more, to leave behind the things of this of world in exchange for the love of heaven. I want to be more like Him. I want to see people as he sees people. I want to love people as He loves people. Dear God, I want to be yours whole-heartedly without condition. I simply want to be yours.

Bittersweet farewell…for now.

Its been so long since I’ve written a post on this blog it almost feels as though I’m intruding on hallowed ground. In the beginning, the creation of this blog was to share the faith-based side of my life with other Christians or people of faith who were like-minded in their music, extracurricular activities, daily lives, etc. And well, I believe trying to separate the two were my first mistake. I’ve read a few blogs that actually do this quite well such as Food Loves Writing and The Merry Gourmet. I aspire to write as well as these ladies and you should swing by for some great recipes and stories.

I’ve been convicted in the last several months about my double-sided blog life, but I was separating the two because I was so insecure about how to approach them as one entity. My obsession and love for food with my passion to live my life for Christ. And if you were to overlook my other blog; you would see very little mentioning of my faith. Which brings me to write the post before you. Does this mean that I won’t return to Silence & Chaos? Well, of course not, but I am taking a hiatus to focus on developing my other blog, The Local Forkful, a blog about food, life and local. A blog that will cover my favorite recipes, things I’m working on in the kitchen, my few travels, stories of the wife and I, with a splash of faith throughout. But its a little bit of scary undertaking because I don’t know what it looks like. And as of lately, I can tell you that my faith has been shaky as I struggle with trying to figure out what God has in store for me. What doors I should be walking through and which doors I should be closing.

I’ve been marching to the beat of my own drum and the rhythm has been causing me nothing but angst and exhaustion. So here we are. My last post on Silence & Chaos until I have obtained the level of perfection I desire with The Local Forkful. I ask for your Prayers on this journey and hope you will come and visit. I bid you a sweet, À plus tard.

Beauty in Everything

Ever since I was young. I’ve been a daydreamer. I would constantly find myself in a gaze of bewilderment about the most random of things. Things that most of you normal people would never think about. But after all, what is normal? Who sets the criteria for these standards? And whose there to judge them to see if they qualify to make the rules. Maybe I’m over thinking this a little bit.

I remember my teachers would say. “Charles, you’re different.” And they were right. I am. But is that a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Who’s to know. I remember sitting on a hill during recess and watching everyone else play. And I was observing the way that people interacted with each other. The hand-pats on the back, fist bumps and awkward stares. The way the sun-rays made ones face wrinkle when piercing the eyes. As I grew older, I realized not very many people saw the world the way I see it. And that was okay. I’m different.

Sometimes I would sit in the yard and look at the different layers of life in the grass. Red eyes and a runny nose later, I observed another world that you only heard of in the science books. And it was beautiful. The blades of grass, all different heights, shapes and sizes. The dew that covered the blades, shiny and translucent. The bits of dirt that stuck to the dew, that adorned the blade, that came in all shapes and sizes. It was beautiful.

God is clearly an artist without boundaries. His brush strokes effortless and perfect. The emotion behind the colors he creates. Have you ever taken time to look at the palm of your hand? Probably not! because it sounds foolish. But the detail in that palm is worth more than earthly treasures. Every line dramatically reaching in towards the center. Look closely at the resemblance of your palm to the vein structure of a leaf. It’s a reminder that it is our flesh that is of this earth, not our spirits. We were beautifully designed for community and procreation to spread the Gospel.

I’ve always dreamt of a simple life in the middle of God’s Country. You know. Some picturesque cottage in the middle of the wilderness. A view of the mountains and the rustle of a nearby stream. I love nature and I adore the fact that it changes from coast to coast. Continent to continent. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the mind of an artist. If you take a second glance, it’s so easy to find beauty in everything.

Grocery Shopping = Relationships

It’s funny, this conversation was spawned by talking to a friend at work. I’ve always had a thing for getting involved in the lives of others, thinking that I had some advice to offer. I always felt I was calibrated to be a 45-year-old who man who sat on his front porch, singing old hymns, accompanied with a glass of lemonade awaiting locals to come down the gravel driveway seeking tutelage. Right now, you’re thinking, what a freak! But hey, here you get the truth and nothing but. But anyways something urged me to ask her about her dating life.

I’ve always found myself intrigued with the dating lives of others because I think it’s interesting. The format in which we choose our significant others. You know there’s always these stipulations, guidelines, and mother-says set of rules that we impose upon ourselves instead of using simple Prayer and waiting or our internal instincts. We don’t like to wait and I think it’s in those moments of impatience that we screw up our own lives. We don’t ask the right questions. We aren’t honest enough with one another. You didn’t meet the entire family…Oh! this is important my friends, you need to know what you’re getting into.

My favorite metaphor for this process is ‘grocery shopping’. It’s so simple and yet so eye-opening if you think of it in this way. First, everyone knows you shouldn’t go grocery shopping hungry. What happens? You end up with a cart full of everything from Oreos to frozen pizza and those things were never on your list. You’re allergic to nuts and find yourself with 2 lbs of bridge mix. Second, you never go grocery shopping exhausted. You aren’t thinking clearly. You don’t read the nutritional guides, you pick up fat-free instead of full of fat, and then you get home to realize you have nothing that you needed to create a complete meal.

I think you get what I’m saying? At least, I hope you do because I could really go on and on. Long story short, be selective when choosing your spouse. Seek God’s advice on who’s right for you. Listen in the silence and you will be amazed at what he can reveal. The things that you never would’ve heard in the chaos of your hunger and exhaustion.

Walk off the Edge

I’m so afraid of what God will do if I decide to let people in. So instead of  allowing people to invade my personal space I only give them the shallow surface. I keep them at bay with witty words and sarcastic humor that doesn’t cause for me to be transparent. I’ve become such an expert at this self-defense mechanism that I often don’t realize I’m doing it.

I was sitting in the mall today just reading a magazine and drinking lemonade. There was a woman sitting next to me and she appeared to be engaged in a heavy conversation. There was such emotion in her voice and worry painted on her brow. Well, given my earthly nature I began to eavesdrop on the conversation. Now, I’d like to tell you that I was only listening because we were sitting close, but that’s not the truth. I’m just nosy. Don’t Judge Me. She was talking a female friend or acquaintance out of committing suicide. Apparently, the individual had been dealing with a lot of emotional trauma in her life. Issues ranging from the lost of a parent in 911 and a friend enlisting in the army. I know ,it sounds storybook, but it’s what I heard. And what alarmed me is not once did I hear anything about the love of Christ.

Anyways, it reminded me of how I go daily without letting strangers, friends or family members know about God’s Love because I’m afraid of what it will do to my world. How  it will change the way I do life? I keep refusing to walk off the edge for my God because I don’t want it to interrupt my plans. But why do I have plans when I should let God be in control. In short, I was thinking, what if I could have been the one to lend a few kind words, a smile or an opening of a door. What if that suicidal girl sat across from me in Sunday School or on the bus. What if shes in the cubicle next to me or my cashier?   Why do we continue to look over the edge in fear as supposed to having faith that God already has a plan? Is this anyway to live your life for Christ?

Scripture References

Mark 16:15-16
1 Thessalonians 3:2 NIV

Imperfect when Light Comes

First things first. We recently moved into this new apartment complex with this awful 1970’s inspired tropical pastel wallpaper that my wife and I refuse to let live. So I spent the first two months replacing it in both bathrooms. Yes, two months, not two weeks! She still talks about it…But anyways this leads me to today’s discussion of  how light reveals our imperfections.

You’ve heard this sermon many times before and it never gets old. You know- the one about Christians being light in the darkness. And this hit home with me in the simplest of ways Thursday morning. I went to our guest restroom to utilize the facilities and in that moment of glimpsing at the wall. I realized that the sunlight that was permeating through the cracks of door and highlighted some areas of this wallpaper I hadn’t fully painted. Well, for a moment I wanted be furious because I worked so hard to put this nightmarish wallpaper up. And the completion of this task alone left me feeling as though I found a cure for cancer.But we know that’s not the case. It also left me thinking that it’s really that simple . It’s as simple as stepping outside of our comfort zones to lend a helping hand, to say a few kind words, to put aside that anger and find resolution in order to be light.

It’s so easy to get caught-up in taking the worldy approach to issues in this life that we forget to be light in a dark place.  Pastor Mike Glenn of Brentwood Baptist Church once said that, “The world is angry at us (Christians) because we are not differnt enough.” I work in the restaurant industry and it is so easy to fall prey to looking like everyone else in an attempt to not be cast in the role of Jesus Freak. But this is something that I’ve slowly over time have learned to hone in on. And God in his own timing has equipped me with the skills to stand against these temptaions to belong when I should be standing out. I realize that everyones perfect in the dark, there’s nothing to shine light on the imperfections. But the moment light permeates through the cracks of a bathroom door. We’re all the same.

In short, I am so far from being the person that I believe God wants me to be. But everyday I am willing to journey with Him. And I’m here to tell you that there are days when I don’t have any idea what that looks like or who that person is. But every now and again. In the silence, He gives me a little glimpse into his plan. And I am comforted knowing that God has a plan for me. I’m in Awe! when I think of it. And there are moments in my depravity where it breaks me down and I find myself crying because I know that I’m always falling short.

Passages of Scripture for reference:
Ephesians 5:7-14
Isaiah 50:10
Luke 11:33-35
Romans 13:12

Christianity in Silence

I often wonder what people think of me when I tell them I’m a Christian. I know that terminology to many any more is broad and generic. Almost to the point of meaning that ‘you’re religious’ or ‘protestant’ against everything under the sun.

I wonder what goes through their minds when I slip up and curse, or if I’m displaying something less than a smile on any given day. If I laugh at an off-colored joke or keep quiet when my faith is being poked at. When the word Jesus is used in jest or at the end of a punchline.

I find myself often convicted about these things on a regular basis and wonder how can I defend my faith without being defensive. I know we are supposed to kill them with kindness. ‘Them’ being the non-believers or secular world, but it doesnt often seem that easy. It seems as though when you take this ‘high road’ things become more complicated.

It seems as though we have a hard time with being labeled a ‘Jesus Freak’ when you’re simply standing up for what you believe to be right. But is that something we should concern ourselves with? I mean, we are supposed to look different from the rest of the world. Right?

What does one do when in this situation?