post again? write again? rhyme again?
Stay tuned for a long-overdue answer.
In the meantime . . .
Is this guy for real? What does he think he’s accomplishing? I mean, really. Go get a job. Or something. Anything. Go feed the homeless, maybe. I dunno. But I’ll bet that that’s what Jesus would want you to do. Not . . . this.
Writing Camp, Summer 2014
My favorite professor in college used to tell a story. As a young man, he’d been in a jazz band and then the army. He’d traveled solo around the world, dreamed of being a pilot, gone to flight school. After receiving his pilot’s license, however, he couldn’t find work. Times were desperate; money, scarce. One day, in a moment of frustration, he cried out, “Lord, please . . . What do you want me to do?!” Continue reading
From darkness I came,
to darkness I went,
and wondered, inane,
how my days were spent.
As there in my grave,
in coffin so cool,
regret was a wave:
“Had I been a fool?”
My days had been good,
my days had been bad,
The life that I led,
was all that I had.
But what had I thought?
How far did I think?
Had I seen it not —
this critical kink?
See, money was mine,
and power and fame.
And all was a sign,
I’d much to acclaim!
And if I lacked love,
I wasn’t to blame.
That came from above,
was God’s little game! Continue reading
Image by Nathan Gray*
The truth is: I don’t like writing posts like my last one — at all. Say what? you might ask. Why?
Why? Because this blog isn’t about me.
This blog isn’t about me just like life isn’t about me — just like it’s not about you or him or her or them or those. This life isn’t about any of us; rather, it’s about all of us. There is nothing I detest more than a braggart. People who are either too full of themselves or too insecure to acknowledge the strength and beauty in others make me sick. After all, it is the intrinsic value of all of us that makes this world a beautiful place. Without that . . .
And so if my last post came across at all boastful, my friends, please forgive me. Truth be told, I am anything but. I recognize my strengths but am acutely aware of my weaknesses — in every way. I think this life is about the collective — about each and every one of us pushing ourselves to be the best we can be, and about encouraging and helping others along the way — and not about placing people on pedestals. We are all of us human. Let’s keep it that way.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”— Picasso
*My friend Nathan shares his gift through photography. You can find more of his amazing work here.
The wild wind blows
in caverns – slows
the beating of my heart.
In darkness deep,
where creepers creep,
I dream of days, depart —
To summer sun
where rivers run,
and all the world’s an art —
And all of love,
a perfect glove,
and you, the perfect part.
The wild wind blows,
a blanket, snows,
alone, I’m miles apart —
And as by day the sun doth shine,
by night, oh moon, you are but mine.
For whilst the world around me sleep,
I walk alone and you doth keep.......
.. Image: Google
And what is beauty, anyway?
And how do we decide?
If we look around the world,
it changes with the tide.
And what about the history books?
Do they all agree?
From days of yore to evermore,
not from what I see!
And so it is that beauty lies
somewhere down, deep inside.
Our differences are beautiful
and not to be denied.
My dad with his dad, 1956.
We start out mere mortals,
’til “Father” turns son.
It’s then our potential
“forever” is won.
We live through our children,
and they on through theirs.
So what will we show them?
How say, “Daddy cares”?
Dad’s love for the water started early. (Dad, right, with his brother Verlin in their backyard in Riverside, late 1950s.)
Lub-dub. Lub-dub. Two kids in a tub.
It’s here I’m no expert,
but look to the best.
And he to his own dad—
they both passed the test!
With love and compassion,
through fire and through ice,
they gave with devotion,
and never thought twice: Continue reading
There are so many things I want to write about right now. I have a long list of recent experiences to share, not to mention wanting to get back to things related to my time in Asia. But, sometimes, life gets in the way. We wish life was all sunshine and roses, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Last December, my family lost our grandfather on my mom’s side. He was a gruff man who built his legacy on a tow yard. I wrote about the experience here. Now, it looks like we may be losing my grandmother, “Nana,” too. Nana has spent more time in the hospital than out of it since my grandfather’s death, and just recently everything has gone downhill. Presently doctors are trying to keep her comfortable at a hospital in Ohio. We’re not sure how much more time she has to live.
Upon hearing the news last night, my brother Derek, who is himself a talented writer, sat down and penned (with a few minor edits) the following thoughts:
On Death and Living Life to the Fullest
By Derek Cyphers
Whatever happened to passing peacefully in one’s sleep? Is one of the few drawbacks to advancements in medicine that we can now prolong life further than it was meant to, ultimately leading to more suffering over time? At least for our family, this has probably been the hardest part. My first exposure to this came with our paternal grandmother, who fought cancer bravely, and painfully, for nine years before finally succumbing in 2003. More recently, it was our grandfather on our mom’s side, who was a shell of his true self due to mental and physical decline by the time he passed this last December. Continue reading
Alone I sit and contemplate
this thing that we call life:
Desires we cannot satiate,
the struggles and the strife.
I wonder why we do it now,
I wonder why we try.
I wonder why we carry on,
why not lay down and die?
I guess there’s hope—
the future, see?
Our dreams, they are
a mystery . . .
It’s been all these years:
He’ll not return to me.
(He’s God’s, can’t you see?)
I wonder why I do it now,
I wonder why I cry.
I wonder why I can’t let go,
for him, alone, I’ll die.
Unworthy . . .
(God judge me.)
He doesn’t mourn for me.
Note: I feel badly. This poem is not about death (at least not in the traditional sense), though it could easily be read that way. Please, dear readers, do not mourn for me. I did not mean to mislead you or look for sympathy.
Dragons are the most exalted “animal” in Chinese culture.
I was struck by its colors. Bright red and yellow and blue and green . . .
But then it was gone. Nick* was driving too fast. But, oh wait! There was another one. This one looked similar, only it was bigger. Rainbow-colored dragons with yellow spines leaped from its peaks. Black-bearded men holding whips perched nearby. I was agog.
But then it was gone.
“Would you slow down?” I wanted to punch Nick.
“You want to see temples?”
I said nothing. Continue reading
A few posts back, I talked about the missing piece from my rock-climbing story. I was raised Christian and went to small Christian schools all my life, including college. When I had my accident, the entire student body at the university I was attending prayed for me. Both people I knew and people I’d never met watched as I went from nearly dying to fully recovering—a miracle they attested to the power of prayer.
I’ve already talked about how this incident affected me—how I slept through it all and came out an incredibly sick girl on the other side.
But there certainly are spiritual implications to my story. I cannot deny that prayer is what brought me through (it certainly was no power of my own): to say otherwise would be a slap in the face to both God and my dear friends . . . This is true even if I don’t really know what God looks like.
So . . . the missing piece is you. The people who were most impacted were you. The people who saw the miracle was you.
I asked a few friends if they’d write down their remembrances, so anyone interested could hear my story from a different perspective. Here are two of their stories. Chad Stuart and Hilda Thordarson-Scott, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Chad Stuart was the student chaplain at Southern when I had my accident. Today, he is a pastor in Visalia, California. Here he is pictured with his wife and two of their three sons.
PRAYERS FOR JESSICA
It was late on Saturday night, January 25th when I first received news that one of our students had fallen while rock climbing. That was all I heard—no name, no details. Just that an accident had happened. I said a quick prayer, but other than that didn’t give it much thought. I was in Ohio visiting my parents for the weekend. There really wasn’t much I could do.
The next day, around noon, I turned on my phone and saw several messages. The messages were from the student deans and our secretary at school. They were all updating me about what I now realized was a very dire situation. Continue reading
A long time ago…
I have a confession. I really, really, really wanted to lie to you in my last post.
I wanted to tell you my dad was a plumber. Or a roofer. Or a trash collector. Anything, anything but a doctor.
Why? you might ask. Are you ashamed of what your parents do?
Absolutely not. I am incredibly proud of both of my parents. My dad is known around town as one of the best docs in the area. Neither one of my parents came from money. They worked hard to get where they are. And they still work hard. My dad gets up between 4 and 5 a.m. and works 14 to 16 hours almost every day.
He has my entire life.
But I’ve always hated the connotation of being a “doctor’s kid.” Continue reading
Ten years ago today (January 25, 2003), I fell 80 feet (24 meters) while rock climbing at T-Wall, a popular climbing site in Tennessee. The doctors said I might not live; when I did, they said I’d never be the same again. Today, not only am I “normal,” most people don’t even know this incident ever happened. This is part four of my story. (To read parts one, two, or three, click here, here, or here.)
THE MISSING PIECE
For an audio recording, click here:
There’s a piece of my story that’s missing —
the piece that is all about you.
It’s the piece that I’ve struggled the most with —
the piece so many assume true.
I recovered from my accident eventually.
My rehab is on the next page.
But what of my soul, of “God‘s purpose”?
What is it that I owe — to you?
Something that has been hard to explain is the disconnect I feel from what happened to me during those weeks in the hospital. When I woke up in the ICU three and a half weeks after I fell, I was a little girl. A sick little girl. And that was all. Continue reading
The old woman lay dozing. Mussy hair framed her pale face; the hair was white, like snow. IVs pumping clear liquid ran between needles in her wrists and plastic bags beside her bed. She was tall, and very, very thin.
“Hello, Mrs. Andrews? Are you awake?”
Wide eyes opened, alarmed. The eyes were brown.
“Didn’t mean to startle you,” said my dad. “I’m Dr. Cyphers and [motioning to me] this is my daughter, Jessica. We came to wish you a Merry Christmas.” Continue reading