Posts tagged ‘street poetry’

August 7, 2013

Recovery and Integration

During recovery counseling, we often encourage clients to separate the bad things they do from themselves. We talk of “the addiction” or “the urge to steal” or whatever it is. And as the client regains balance, “the addiction” loses power and shrinks. And at some point, we encourage integration once again, the recognition that “the addiction” is within them and part of them. Eventually they can use that knowledge to be stronger and to be just exactly who they are.
This poem was written by a client in recovery with 12 steps, who was recently baptized, and who attends church and small groups regularly. This poem is about his “shadow self”–a dark part of himself that has driven the self-destructive behavior in his live for many years. He writes about what the shadow-self wants in order to gain power over if and to be free from it. While it’s dark, look at the consequences of knowing this! With knowledge and submission and humility, this client is free from sin and free to follow Christ! 
As you read this dark poem, remember that is is written in first person from the perspective of the thing within that wants to harm. The words of “the shadow” are full of desperate lies, hoping to gain control of what is not rightfully his. This client is free! And he knows the words are untrue! May it be so for all who seek recovery.
Shadow Mission
The thief in the night that stole my life
in an enemy’s grip that chokes the light.
Bending the soul, he buried the knife.
The blackness came in a bloody fight.
He said, “Here are the tools. Take what you want
from family and friends. Then you can flaunt
an arrogance that will make them blush,
while they speak of you in a quiet hush.
You don’t need them. You just need me.
No need to love touch and see.
How quickly and quietly their hearts will flee.
No need for salvation, a lord and savior.
You can run around in bad behavior.
The illusion of freedom I give to you
until I take everything, even your shoes.
Walk around the world your head stuck in glue.
Reach out for anyone, and no one is there.
The embrace of your loved ones becomes a blank stare.
Your hands always dirty with knots in your hair.
You’ve given up everything, the ability to care.
A cage in a cage with a side order of chains.
You hold me, your enemy, as I blow out your brains.
No keys can free you, I made you a slave.
Your only serenity becomes an unmarked grave.
You live as a coward, and envy the brave.
Your mine for eternity , unable to save.
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June 5, 2009

Knocking or Running Away?

I spent the morning with “Jacob”, a young man in his mid twenties man who lives on the street. He has invited me into conversations about Jesus before, but this morning he was obvious. And we talked at great length.

Jacob is a street poet. He finds little joy in anything else. He imagines that if he had money, he would engage in all sorts of activities that would make him happy. (Intriguingly, they were all activities which are dangerous and thrilling, just like the street like he currently lives.) I guided him to continue to explore the poet and entertainer that lives inside him. (You’ll find a rare quotation that “Jacob” shared with me by permission at the end of this article that I think is simply beautiful!)
Jacob was a foster kid, like so many kids of the street. He did prison time for a felony starting as a teenager, like so many others as well. He is very unusual in that his foster mom is a preacher. He was encouraged to go to Bible college and did.
So what does he need to talk with me about? Jacob came to doubt the Bible during his studies. He finds many inconsistencies in the Bible. He is able to debate with a fine, sharp point all kinds of issues. And he is also able to apply the Bible to the churches he sees and find many flaws. To him, these inconsistencies (in the Bible and between the ideal church and the modern church) have become a license to create his own religion and love is own God. He finds comfort in this, rather than viewing it as idolatry that it is. I know many who take this same position, both on the street and many living in homes.
I was happy that Jacob came to talk. I shared with him that belief in the Bible starts first with meeting the very real Jesus in person. After that, faith builds and you simply know that the Bible is true. For me and for most, there is no magic moment when it all makes sense. Often we’re not sure how to understand or apply some particular part of the Bible, but by walking with Jesus we simply know, feel, and observe it’s truth. Over time, the simple value and weight of the whole become allies in balancing those parts which we have difficulties to grasp.
Jacob’s heart was not instantly melted by our conversation. However, he was refreshed by a non-judgemental chance to talk about his concerns. And I was overjoyed to have the privilege of looking after him for a day. It was hard to decide if Jacob was knocking on the door today, or if he was running away. It’s likely he’s doing both. May he soon come face to face with Jesus as his personal savior and truly find what can make him complete and happy! Amen.
A quote from Jacob’s street poetry. He writes many dark lines about his experiences, his yearning for honestly and openness. This is one of his beautiful lines. I wish I could find him a publicist or an agent. If you’d like that, contact me.
“Tell me that you think I’m beautiful
not in spite of my flaws,
but tell me that you think I’m beautiful
because of my flaws.”
Jesus does look down on Jacob and say, “I love you just the way you are, Jacob. Come home to me.”