My heart is in my stomach. I’ve got lead in my veins. I step in the shower and try to scrub away all the painful thoughts. Scrub my head so hard my scalp is raw. Rub my body down until my arms are sore. Let the water rain down my face and I don’t even mind. Sit down, I’m panicking, elbow on my knees, I can’t even weep. Turn the water off. Dry my body off. Send a message, short and to the point, try to walk in love and not in fear or anger. I get so shaky I can’t stop my legs from breaking my balance. I lay down. Shake more violently, pray to God for some inner peace. Feel so alone and no one can see. Reaching out feels desperate, but I need it. Turn to my notes in my phone to write because it’s easy, but it can’t give me a hug now. It can’t talk me down. It can’t give me council, but it’s half past 1 in the morning and I feel like nothing is working. My heart rate is slowing to normal, my eyes grow heavier and God let’s me know he has me when I feel cold. He has me when I feel old. He has me when I think I should be farther along then I am. He has me when I’m desperately holding onto all that I know. He’s always faithful, always stable. He is The rock on which I stand.
*I wrote this because I needed to. I share it to remind you when you feel alone, you can know (if only in your head) that you’re not.
Lord, why do I feel like I’m all alone; like the progress I’ve made was all for not? Why do I strive and fail? Why do all of my ambitions feel fruitless? I’m walking up stream. A moment passes when I feel I’ve prospered, but I find my foot crushed by a stone. One moment, I feel I’ve made headway and the next, I am knocked down. I float down stream. There is no trace left in the ground beneath me to prove I’d gone anywhere. Do the trees have eyes to back me up? Do the mountain peaks stand up in my defense to vouch when I’m seen striving in the place I’ve already been for seasons that have come and went?
Why does it feel like I stand alone? I feel that I’m following the plans set before me and when I’m doing well people notice me, but they do not join me. When I’m starving and isolated and even in my dreams, don’t find relief, I’m left alone to sink.
In the high times of my life, I find rest in you, Jesus, and joy in the moments I spend with you. In my confident moments, I still hear your voice of pleasure, your peace when everything around me seems to be anywhere from building to crumbling, because I know you are with me. In my joyful days, my humor and laughter is uncontainable. In my persistent days, nothing on earth or beneath can stop me from following through with bringing the wonder in my mind to the world in the unique way only I could do.
But in my despair, the days I have reason to feel alive, I feel empty. One moment I can hear truth and put on the face I feel people want to see, and the moment I’m alone, my hope leaves as if I hadn’t heard a thing. The things that normally feel rejuvenating feel exhausting and even the littlest lie from any of my enemies can throw me into a spiral of self loathing. I find myself drained, lying in my underwear in the middle of the day, trying to find motivation through music or the Bible or anything. In the process, I usually find myself asleep.
These aren’t the places I strive to be or the mindsets I ever want to be having. In a few hours or even by the time I’m finished writing, I may have mental clarity. Hope will eventually arise along with energy and redemption of the waisted moments in sin or self pity.
We do not deserve whatever hellish conditions we put ourselves through when we’re held in a chokehold by the devil’s schemes, others lies and selfish tendencies, or the evil we can be to ourselves when our flesh proves to be weak.
Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy, but I will push through, learn what only my weaknesses can teach me, and force myself to bring others in with me that I know have my back. These are the hardest times to do it, but the most crucial times to get through it.
As a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, do not give up or disqualify yourself when your weak. Get reinforcement from one who is willing to be close enough as you reconstruct, build you up, and hold your ground. That’s what I surely need now.
There is a longing beyond myself. It pulls me most forcefully when I read or watch or hear a story of adventure and passion and mystery. The longing is not for something imaginary, but rather truer then the life I am currently living. I am pulled into something that isn’t, and maybe in this current reality could not be, but that doesn’t deter me from closing my eyes and feeling free, content in a dream.
If it be the new Spiderman movie or the musical “Once” or a concert or hearing someones dreams, I cannot leave without inspiration flowing through my veins and into every vessel inside of me. I’m inspired in spite of the fiction, that it is not currently true, because it reminds me that even in fantasy, we are awakened to greater things then living, working and dying. There is beauty in the wondering; how I long to live an adventure. My lungs feel stuffed up when clogged with practicality.
It is important for a person to dream, even if that dream never comes true. To dream is to create. Sharing that creation with another is a more beautiful picture of faith then any lecture could ever portray.
There’s a time to swing back into reality. There’s a time to schedule, plan and critique, but when do we schedule a time to dream? For to dream is to step into hope of greater things.
Story, fiction, and passion are each portals to the truth that this life is not all we’ve been made for. There is truth beyond the cubicles or fork lifts or house calls or stacks of paper. There is life beyond the plans and five steps to success, beyond the meetings and desks, beyond the 9 to 5 and books and tests.
There’s freedom in the open air, adventure in decisions that cause you to risk, joy in the unknown. When you go for that thing that everyone says will not pay out without the proper certificate or experience or training, ask yourself the question, “are these opinions a help or a hindrance to me fulfilling the dreams that pull at my heart strings?”
Write down the stories or passions you hold in your heart. Jot down a reality if you had all you needed. re-read it. Don’t let your imagination be flooded with what ifs; fight for potential beyond what is in plain sight! The stories of justice and fighting for truth ,where good conquers evil when evil seems like it cannot loose are stories for fighters like you. dream. Forge through.
Ps. If you feel like this is for someone else, this likewise is for you. You too, dream. Forge through.
The question is not of who won or who lost. The question is why did the cancer have to be such a sore looser? My friend, Trevor is home with Jesus.
It’s easy to say clichés like heaven couldn’t spend another minute without him or he’s in a better place and we’ll see him again one day. It’s easy because they’re true, but it doesn’t make the ache any softer for a wife who finds herself missing her best friend and her lover; her some much more then I could ever ponder. I know the little I knew him in comparison leaves an ache in my chest and tears in my eyes. My wishes to spend more time, write music and sing with him like we planned before the his voice was, for those dreams, silenced. But heaven and hell both know that his voice could not be silenced! He climbed higher then Everest, and reached father then the coast and around the world with his smile, his passion, his joyful exuberance. His faith was stronger than anything I’d ever seen and his gentleness was to the atomic level, only to be rivaled by his compassion like the ocean and his love vibrant and present as color itself. He thought deeply, dreamed wildly, followed his dreams so rigidly and tenaciously, he would push through steadily until the task was complete.
And though I struggle at moments to breath, I can’t imagine the chest of his Family who’s breath can only be replaced as the cries of sadness and grief are retracted forcefully to be followed by silence or tears or choking over the next emotion unable to be predicted or seen. Their family member who’s life on earth was not left unlived has been cut shorter then they would have ever imagined or expected. But his legacy and memories will never fade. He will never cease to be missed. They will know laughter again. They will breath easier, but he will always be a part of them. Grief will never become past tense, but the tension of that grief will loosen its grip for most days.
The thing of it is, we do not want to forget. The future is mourned not because he’s not with this moment, but because tomorrow’s reality is the same as today’s. The dreams made with him are now ours to trail blaze. In his memory, we gaze into what our friend would have done if he had even one more day. We must not waist our precious days in fear of what might happen. What if the things we set our minds to don’t turn out as sweet as we wished them to.
But what will happen when we look at ourselves, years later, in awe of a man who lived his life as closely to Jesus as he ever could, at that’s all we do? Will we not be moved to live more beautifully, love more purely, fight more passionately, and dream more wildly?
Or will we let ourselves return only wishing, but never being?
Trevor has changed my life. The hours I’ve spent with him have been few and far between, but they were rich in beauty, vibrantly refreshing, enlightening and full of permission to dream. I met him in 2015 and I say goodbye on the 24th day of June in 2019.
It has not fully set in, and I can’t begin to think I could scratch the surface of how special he is, but this is my account of Trevor David Heinrich:
He greeted me with sincerity, shared moments intentionally, exchanged art and encouragement mutually and humbly. He dreamed and encouraged me to dream with faith I hadn’t seen, laughed uncontrollably. He rock climbed skillfully and never gave up, pulling me to become better, even before his dream to climb to Everest’s peak. He let me crash on his couch, sat down with me to have coffee, mid hike accross the US as he raised money. He shared his friends in a Bible study and sat with me, embraced me, and affirmed me in the man I was and was to be. We watched a play at Sight and Sound before he would work there. We climbed some more after he had been going more head on towards his Everest dreams. I sat with him after I got him ice cream. We ate it together. It was peanut butter cup. It was supposed to be dairy free, but that accident became his cheat in his week. We laughed so hard, after he said, “This is so good! I can’t believe it’s dairy free!” We looked at the package, noticed my mistake and lost it. I felt bad as his laughter was interrupted by pain and coughing, but these are some of the moments I never want to release. I saw him marry the woman of his dreams. The light in his eyes could have challenged the sun as she walked towards him; when she took his name. I cut his hair, and spent time with him and his wife. He showed me the things that he was still passionately doing. A gift he was making for his beauty. The Kombucha bottle anticlimactically did not explode, but surely made a mess. Stella and him alike encouraged me and showed me true love and sacrifice. I prayed for him as I followed his story. He never let himself get bitter. He never lost his smile; that smile no one can forget. His heart was the purest. I wish I could have spent more time with him. I wish I could go back and play the times we did have, but my times with him are only a sliver his story that show how amazing he is. His legacy will not quickly fade, and his impact will surely never be counted or measured; it will continue to grow day by day.
The cancer took his life on earth, but it did not take his spirit. Trevor won the race. He is healed. He is whole.
Contentment is not found in the “one day”, it’s found in the flowers along the highway. It’s found in the secret place where solitude leads to breakthrough. It’s in the break time at noon, but also the sweat that drips from your brow when your working harder then you need to because you know it’s a joy to be able to give yourself fully into what you do.
The sun is out and the sky is blue, yet even if it was raining, it’s alright too, because the flowers along the highway would not have bloomed if it wasn’t for the rain.
I will not push what is to come, because right now is the sweetest place to be. It’s painful at moments, but that pain is worth it every time I come out on the other side wiser and stronger, more aware of the purpose of that painful moment.
I love the days that are purely happy! They give us hope that pain is temporary, but I don’t want to live a day discontent because things hadn’t gone my way.
May my life be a banner of joy, laughter, humor and awe. Would steadfastness be my anchor, love be my compass, compassion, my rudder, and faithful be the name of my ship I sail through this life.
Jesus is the wind in my sails and the builder of my craft, so may he be truly glorified. I do not boast in who I am, but boast in him. I don’t want to stand alone (and I know I don’t) admired for who I’ve become. I want to encourage every person along into their own destiny, fully known and dependent on the author the wind, unwatered by the waves that will come their way.
If I’m looked at as a great person and people aren’t encouraged to live a life greater than mine, may I decrease so that God’s grace is lifted high. Humble my heart God, so your truth can come through, that people don’t see just me, but see you shining through.
I dream to join a fleet that joins together, each uniquely and securely trusting in the purposes God has set before them. There are many among me, and many to join along. would our flags bare the cross of Christ no matter if it is trampled, mocked or or weathered. It is the only kingdom that brings freedom in surrender and will surely last forever. Join me.
When your shoulder no longer feels like a safe place to land; When you still give your heart, but you can’t give a hand; When your mouth wants to speak, but you know the words won’t stand; Is there anything to do when your love is like sand?
When your grace feels abrasive, and your peace feels like distance; When your love leaves a bitter aftertaste, Is there any way to comfort their soul?
When what you gave was at one time able to be taken and used like gasoline and now it’s as good as water in a gas tank, is all hope lost?
When a friend, or lover or family member is no longer able to see you like they used to, you must let another love them altogether. You must let go of the tether. It’s no longer held in their hand, it’s around their neck. To hold on is to cause them pain, no matter how much you’re trying to help, you’re stopping the flow of oxygen to their brain.
Love like a lighthouse. If they sail away, may they find another beacon to guide them, but stay steadfast in who you are. Shine brighter and brighter. Fuel your light, grow stronger in who you are. If they let you in again, you will both be better. If they move along, pray them onward.
You can’t hold them to you, let go of their anchor. Pray as they go. Show love when they let you. Don’t stop living, don’t stop growing. Please let them go, stop fighting and groping. You’re stunting their growth, you won’t bring them healing. Just let them go, you’re no longer shelter. Let them get clear of the storm, the waves are unbearable, let go, let go, LET GO!
And as you finally let them drift away, the sky might not clear. They might not cross over the horizon like you feared, but if they do, they’re out of your grasp, and there’s no longer a thing you can do.
Sometimes to love is to let go; if it’s your grasp today and your heart later, so be it. If your heart never stops singing for the one you’re releasing, may it be a song as free as the breeze, with your heart beyond a fantasy of what could be and into a realm where love transcends feelings.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Today, I hugged a lady that, last time I saw her, yelled at me for something so silly, I couldn’t even believe. Her face was red then, but it was also red today. Last time, it was from rage, and today from pain, because her husband has now two months been in the grave, almost to the day.
I had a chorus teacher in high school who was known for excellence, her grit, and for making students cry or at least want to quit any activity she would lead. I also know that before she passed onto the other side, she flourished in a place she didn’t choose to show often; in compassion. I saw her become love out loud and as her body withered down and the cancer tried to drown her out, her joy through the pain would grow stronger and stronger, even to her last day.
One time, I lost my dog. Before this happened, I would have privately mocked someone who blubbered over such a thing. I almost had him a year when I heard he was hit by a car. I cried so hard, screamed so loud, and could not speak; when I would try, I would only wheeze. I never felt that way before that day. I was broken. I could not alter what had happened. My heart has broken since through the death of friends, the moving away of my twin, and relationships that would finish.
And isn’t it interesting how in the darkest hours and seasons of grieving, that the ugliness in us takes a season of receding? Our eyes are open to greater things if we recognize that life is so much shorter then we like to credit it for, and eternity is so much grater then holding onto pain.
Understanding trumps rage, compassion smacks power in the face, and taking on someone’s pain as your pain is no kin to mockery.
A hug beat a fist, a listening ear can save a life, and a hand can hold someone’s world from crashing down.
Let the things that seem to break you down hold weight in your freedom and don’t loose it when you’re on the other side.
Let it lead you to a life that remembers pain is not permanent, but love and time are, in fact, the only things that can really heal that.