Flowers for December 

Part 3
Room 669 

A lot can be behind a door. I thought about the numbers. The math. The crowd of people in the room downstairs. 

The last time I saw Lauren. This time. Lauren came walking out with her cane. Her hair pulled back into a tail. She didn’t look old to me. She looked tired but not old. Sometimes I think we look at each other through memories. 

Sometimes I think we would be better off not remembering anything. 

“What is it? You have that look you always have when something is troubling you, Sean. The wolves are at the door, and we have all night and no fire.” 

I sat down. Opened my notes and watched her. I remember standing on the bridge and her lips. She looked at me and told me she was leaving. She had to. We could have been great together. But, we were better apart.”

“What are you going to tell them? Lauren. You haven’t found a cure have you?”

She laughed. “A cure! Ha! There is no such thing as a cure. We are all dying. Every one of us. It started when we were born. Life is death. Every form of medicine is just prolonged death.There is no such thing as a cure. If I had one. I wouldn’t give it to them. No.”

“What would you do?”

“Keep it for myself. They don’t deserve it.” 

I looked around the room. “You don’t mean that Lauren.” 

Lauren pulled on her uniform coat. 

” I’ve spent my life,working , and now I don’t know what to do. Leukemia, maybe three months. I’m dying….there’s not enough time. I don’t think I can stop this, even if I had the resources.” 

“What about medical schools? Surely there is something…”

“No. students today…I tried. They raise hands and trust textbooks they’ve paid a lifetime held ransom for. They won’t question what they read or what I find they’re obedient little soldiers. But not good scientists.  You can’t stop this spread. Not with that. I need critical thinkers. Someone who won’t even trust me. Science is our integrity. Not my degree or pay check or emotions. I don’t care that I’m dying! Get me results.” 

Lauren closed her notes. Packing them into her binder. Looked at me, asked.

“How’s journalism? Is it everything you dreamed? Don’t you ever want to go back? Do things differently? You haven’t exactly gotten your nobel prize. Have you.”

I sighed. Scratching my arm. I was frustrated. Frustrated with this whole thing. Newspapers are broke. They can’t afford journalists. They’re simply three page thought pieces. Cut into the bone marrow for budgets and no profit. No one gets a story. They get an opinion from a guy behind a YouTube camera who couldn’t even make it to the actual story. What could go wrong. 

We are drowning in a culture of mass media. Not a lack of information, it’s not even hidden, it’s in excess, too much. Anyone with a web address could post a story. An now we were paying for it. Everyone has a news forum to back up and support their worldview. 

I took my parents fortune and used it to travel in an effort to give the whole story. Without opinion. I’m one of the only journalists  who will be seen at government conferences. Not because they don’t want us there. Because no one can afford the ticket. Or salary. 

“I wouldn’t change anything. Lauren. I like what I’m doing. What are you going to tell them?”

She turned towards me. 

“I’m going to tell them the truth. That we had a good run. But our time is up.”

“You can’t say that, you have to give them hope . These people will respond to hope. It’s human nature.”

Lauren laughed. 

“That’s what the Golden Arches of McDonald’s are for.”

“Ehh I’m more of a Cheesecake Factory and yoga on Sundays.”

Lauren just stared at me.

“If you want to give them hope. Tell them we had a golden era where science, like God, Told disease it couldn’t take anymore lives. But then we got too comfortable, we didn’t suffer, we couldn’t remember, and we took down our barricade. And now the Reaper is coming to call. And there is nothing I can do.”

I ran my hand through my hair.

“Lauren, you’re the last scientist. No one is going to listen to you.”

“Soon I’ll be dead. And then so will they.”

She stepped into the elevator. 

The doors closing 

“I love you,you’re insufferable. But you have a nice ass. If I had more time.”

I watched as she stepped onto that podium. Opening her notes, to this crowd of faceless strangers. Staring into their phones. Assuming this too will pass. Like the war they unfollowed and the other viruses or flu seasons…it always goes away. 

I watched as she stepped up with her cane. And looked over the room. This woman I somehow still loved. She would open her notes and see two tickets.  One way.  To the mountains. Maybe I couldn’t  fix this,buy a scientist or a cure, but I could give solitude, and we could be together for just a little while. 

She looked at me. 

And for just a moment 

It was just us in that room 

And we were back in college 
Arguing over drinks. And I could see the future. And it was good.

End

Light

  

I don’t have to  tell you 

All the boys 

bought condoms 

And all the girls 

Bought rape whistles and pepper spray 

I don’t have to tell you 

About biting your tongue

And holding back

Or censoring yourself

I don’t have to tell you 

About waking up next to someone 

And it’s not the best part of your day

I don’t have to tell you…

And that is why 

this is

For you 

Because you’ve been there 

You’ve walked those floors 
But

now 

you stand on your own 

And the thoughts of those 

Who don’t know you 

Can’t touch you 

And the light 

That shines in the darkness 

Is from you 

And 

You are worth coming home to

One step 

At a time 

You’re building your future 
There is 

A light 

That will not go out 

There is a light 

Inside of you 

There is also this crazy idea 

That 

You are worth 

Openness 

You are worth the great leap 

You are worth 

Stability 

You are worth 

Companionship 

And freedom 

You are worth 

Great 

Amazing sex 

You are 

You 

And no one 

No one else 

Can bring 

What you have 

To the table 

Only 

You 

And that 

Is 

your power 

Just let it come down over me

For every whispered lullaby
And all the castles in the sky
For every word I’ll ever need
And all my friends about to leave
For all the times I fell in love
And when my love was not enough
And for the future I don’t see
Just let it come down over me
For every whispered lullaby
And all the castles in the sky
For every word I’ll ever need
Just let it come down over me
Just let it come down over me

– Noel Gallagher

20140319-070519.jpg

Is this serenity or something else?

Sometimes I wonder what leadership is

Sometimes I wonder what holiness is

Sometimes I wonder….

Is it enough to pull at all the loose ends?

is getting myself together all that salvation demands?

a managed  life in the end?

Does God forgive, no matter what, because that’s just what he does?

– wait a minute ? isn’t that legalism –  salvation by works? as in ” God loves you because you have pulled yourself together and are trying to live a good and disciplined life”

when we see things that make us uncomfortable but see no need to sacrifice our safety  to stand up to them…..I wonder just what our narcotic is.

Or is is it just Formalism?

Sometimes I wonder about ethics , character , courage ,  leadership, compassion, conviction and passion ….

I just wonder…what  America was like and what we were  intended to BE .

America was intended to BE a shining city on a hill . Unlike anything before .

What a calling and opportunity for us to step up for the hour ….but this isn’t the case..so I wonder .

“The complexity of our times hinders the rise of leadership.

Perhaps we have become too analytical to take decisive action . 
We are being pulled in so many different directions that it’s almost impossible to unite behind a leader .” 

– John Maxwell

cheap grace ” – a non – costly love from a non-holy God who just loves and accepts us as we are . That will never change anyone’s life . 

-Timothy J. Keller

is there another way to go?

One where we fight for right and speak out against evil

one where salvation comes in like spring fresh and new , and men are changed

one where we live in the light  with courage and  a boldness which is not our own…

“We are saved by faith alone – but not a faith which is alone” 

– Luther

” Silence in the face of evil is itself  evil ; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak . Not to act is to act. ” 

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.”

Psalm 27

The psalmist says ” In spite of this I shall be confident ”

and I believe

I believe that we all don’t see things the way a “majority elite ” would have us to

I believe that even when voices tell us to let policies and procedure go unquestioned

That detail and information is none of our concern

I believe that when these voices tell us to be afraid of these things

We will question …without fear

Because these voices don’t speak for the rest of us

I believe

We will pray with conviction

We will hear the call and meet the hour – with a standard

as long as there is a sunrise over America …I believe as  Jonathan in the Bible when  he took the philistine camp  …

“perhaps the LORD will work for us, for the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few.”

– 1 Samuel 14:6

I still believe in us , you and I .

in the words of  President Reagan in his first inaugural address ;

I believe we, the Americans of today, are ready to act worthy of ourselves, ready to do what must be done to ensure happiness and liberty for ourselves, our children and our children’s children.And as we renew ourselves here in our own land, we will be seen as having greater strength throughout the world. We will again be the exemplar of freedom and a beacon of hope for those who do not now have freedom. The crisis we are facing today requires  our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And, after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans. God bless you, and thank you .

District 11

He sits in the corner at the back of the bus

Dreading the cold rain outside

a tv in the corner flashes static

some Political add

isn’t strange everyone wants your vote

everyone says you’re important

but no one cares to get to know you

he’s worked for the District  most of his life

occupying a small apartment

he’s been more or less a shadow used to track down those who leave ….

but who can blame them

he’s getting tired

he’s feeling – feeling

old

Tonight they’ll cut the power ….for 42 minutes…raid a few buildings

ship off the ones that don’t belong…

those that have fled from less desirable  – harsher – districts

funny how no one seems to miss them when the lights come up

good at what he does

he takes pride in it

if he gets you

it’s as if you were never born

swiped from the system

But tonight here on this mold eaten drafty bus

head resting against the window

he watches the rain beat down this depressing city

he feels old, and very alone

the bus lurches ,  a shift in the gravity

this is his stop

all  the lights go down  as he steps off

pulling  his collar  up against the driving rain

he begins what he does best…..