Saturday, July 28, 2012

I have a dream!

My three cages
Caged from both the outside and within, the faces of the crowd, gather, stare, and grin, to watch me struggle, cry, and fight throughout both the day and into the starless night.

Sleep deprived, I weep until the mercy of rest has at last arrived, taking me into a dreamless sleep, caging me yet again which now makes it three.

Being awoken by piece of fruit thrown at my face, I still lay in my cage and stare back into the starless space.  “What a fool!” a child from the crowd yells, rallying others to cast me down into hell.

The cage I rest in is lifted up and thrown to the ground and miraculously so is the one over my heart, giving the strength the triumphantly sound.  “I will not be broken or destroyed.  I am no fool nor a man with whom will be toyed!” 

I bend the bars of the cage of the outside and storm towards the crowd, causing them to fear me and hide.  All have scattered except for the rallying child.  He just has an expression that is shockingly meek and mild.

With two cages destroyed, the one that guards the third is this little boy.  He awoke me from my dreamless sleep, reminding me that it is my dreams that he does keep.

Although he appears meek and mild, he is the devil’s boy and child who will cage, destroy, and crucify any that oppose and attempt to dream and fly.

No longer will he stand there.  No longer will he guard my dreams, for they are meant for me, myself, and only me.  With a raise of my fist, he shutters and backs away, lightening my night and brightening this epic day.

He throws the key of my dreams at my right foot, knowing that he lost his fight and the victory I took.  A simple thing is all we need, to stand courageous and be ready to do the deed.

I turn around to walk my victorious walk when I am hit to the ground, putting me to a sudden stop.  I am face down with the devil’s boy on my back and one by one, the bodies of the crowd on top of me he does stack.

I struggle and fight with useless might and the day around me again darkens into the night.  The cackle of the boy is dark and dim as the cage over my heart is again placed within.

“I told you that he was a fool.  He is one who thought with me he could duel.  His victorious moment was short and brief and now forever will he live within sorrow and grief.”

The devil’s boy then places me back into the second cage, all the while, his eyes filled with malice and rage.  He reaches for the key of my dreams, but as he touches it, his hand burns and his voice curses and screams.

I can’t help but chuckle at this sight.  Although I am caged, I still have some fight.  “My dreams are mine and mine alone.” I say, and as I do, the night quickly turns back into the day.

Grabbing my key and opening the cage, I step outside to smother his rage.  The one within falls yet again, this time allowing me to be the one who grins.

“Fine!”  The devil’s child speaks.  “I’ll just find another who is feeble and oh so weak.”  He turns to the crowd and finds his next victim, places them into a cage and starts the process over again.

-Mikey D. B.-


            John Mayer once said that “bad news never had good timing” (John Mayer, “The Heart of Life”).  Now I don’t care how reputable he is for getting high or drunk before every concert or if he strips down naked for inspiration of his latest album, truth is truth no matter who says it.  Bad news does not necessarily mean tragic, but rather it could mean unplanned or unexpected.  Many good things can come from an unexpected situation that, on the surface, can appear as a sliver of wood in our foot.  In fact, it is rare to find convenience in a cause that is just and admirable because of the opposition that will inevitably oppose it.  It is almost comical how much we fret over the lack of good timing in our lives.  Because of this, the lack of convenience and good timing, all too often we hold ourselves back.  We cripple ourselves from a fear of the unknown and the things no one has ever tried because of doubt, and frankly a lack of imagination.

            Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being patient for the right time.  Some things, only time can heal and a good idea can be obliterated with a hot-headed, little man syndrome induced individual.  However, do we use patience as a crutch?  I feel that at times we have a distorted and poor definition of what it truly is.  “Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf “Continue in Patience” General Conference April 2010).

            There is nothing wrong with making a stand.  Yes, don’t be so stubborn that you won’t admit it when you have made a mistake, but when you know something to be true and divine, believe it.  Follow it.  Live it.  Don’t let others determine what your dreams are and if they try to, make a stand.  Don’t stand idly by, waiting for the perfect time to arrive for you to act.  Risk something, take back what's yours.  Say something that you know they might attack you for” (Linkin Park “Hands Held High”).  Make a difference and do it now for the time we have is but a limited amount.  Open your eyes to the world that we live in.  We all see it, the cruelty and sorrow that evil brings and what are we doing about it?  I can only echo what Martin Luther King Jr. said concerning the time that has been given to us.  Time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood” (A letter from Birmingham Jail).

            Pioneers and revolutionaries have given us the freedoms we have and enjoy and unless we use our time wisely, we are merely spitting on the graves of these honorable ancestors of ours.  Honor those who have sacrificed much, even unto death, by doing something with our lives.  By making something of ourselves, we show gratitude and appreciation that we are aware of them and the righteous deeds they have performed, not for glory and honor, but for us, their future posterity.  We have an obligation to put a stop to corruption and malicious actions if we see them.  If we don’t, evil will find its next victim, placing them into a cage and starting the process all over again.  Let us make a difference in action and with the werds we say.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Our Inner Batman

The door less window and the window less door

In a room nearby, a proper boy sits and dreams of the day that he will see the outside.

With four walls surrounding and a door less window above, the boy lies down and is encompassed by this imagined love.

Some clouds form just elegant swirls while others are in the shapes of all the pretty girls.

The clarity of the blue sky accents this special view and perfect frame, until the boy remembers it, causing the giddy dream to fade away.

Looking to his left he sees the one door, the only thing here he detests and abhors.

Up above, his perspective is clear and pure, but waiting behind that window less door he is anything but sure.

“What if a monstrous troll waits for me there?  One with a big nose, big hands, and nasty, slimy hair.”

His imagination continues to infest the thoughts in his head as he frets over vampires and werewolves and of the living dead.

“The window provides sunlight and clouds,” he justifies to himself.  “But not grass and wind,” a girl says who has appeared on a random shelf.

Bewildered by the sudden appearance and her cute demeanor, he is captivated and can’t help but fancy her.

“You know I’m right,” she says to him with one of the most innocent and beautiful grins.

Remembering his paradox and blinking his eyes twice, he tries to be direct and yet charming and nice.

“But behind that door, nobody knows what awaits.  There could be your doom and my tragic fate.”

Shaking her head, she hops from off of the shelf to pace back and forth.  “Have it your way then.  Just stay here and be a coward and proper dork.”

She throws the door open and is out before you can say ‘quick-n-slight’.  The boy tries to peer outside but is only blinded by the bright, white light.

He waits to see if a vampire or ghoul appears.  Instead he hears shouts and screams and even cheers.

Shrugging his shoulders he asks, “What the hell?” as he steps forward thinking all is well.

-Mikey D. B.-

I want to tell you of an experience I had about a year ago, and I’m sorry mom if it scares you.  Just know that it has a happy ending.  Last summer, I and some of my friends took a trip up into a canyon.  It was late, midnight or so, but we went up to a park to star gaze and sing kumbaya like the hippies do.  A few days prior to this day, some drama between a guy and a girl in our group of friends occurred.  For storytelling sakes, we’ll call the guy Eric and the girl Jill.  Obviously, there is really only one type of drama that exists between a guy and girl in college.  It’s silly, but yes, that drama is love.  To make a long story short, Jill broke up with Eric because she didn’t like his personality anymore and naturally, Eric didn’t like that reasoning.  Now keep in mind, Eric played rugby and was not a small guy.  He was solid.  He was athletic in almost every aspect and could take a beating.  To top it all off, he had charm and girls skills that caught Jill’s attention when they first met.  He was a muscular Abercrombie & Fitch model.

Okay, fast forward back into the story.  Jill was in our kumbaya group and people were thinking about asking Eric to join us, but because of the potential for drama, nobody did.  So we were sitting in the canyon, enjoying life, when we saw this massive Eric-like figure walking around the park and lo and behold, it was Eric.  We were a bit surprised and nervous that he found us, but we decided to invite him over anyway.  When he joined our group, immediately, I had this uncomfortable and uneasy feeling.  He was cordial at first, but that quickly changed.  He felt betrayed and hurt and I wouldn’t have been surprised if he turned green and started shouting “ERIC ANGRY!”  He started throwing punches all over the place.  He pushed people aside trying to get to those he felt betrayed him the most.  He tackled one of my friends to the ground and I myself got popped in the jaw when I pulled Eric off of my friend.  Eric was out of control, and if it wasn’t for some heavy persuasion, blood literally could’ve been spilt that night. 

We were all a little freaked out, even more so when we found out that a gun and some blades almost got involved in this confrontation.  The drive back to our apartments was a long, quiet one.  All the while, I couldn’t help but feeling like a coward because of the fear I felt about what just happened.  My jaw was sore.  I was disappointed in myself for shaking from the adrenaline that surged through my veins and don’t laugh, but I remember thinking that Batman never would’ve felt like this.  After all, super heroes never feel fear.  When talking to my friend about it afterwards, he told me something that I never will forget.  He said, “It’s okay to feel fear.  That doesn’t mean we’re a coward.  It’s how we react when feeling that fear that determines our bravery.”  In the end, Batman did in fact feel fear, but fought against it and eventually harnessed it, which in turn, made him stronger.         

In light of this past Independence Day, naturally, it caused me to ponder on the significance of the events that took place that day, 236 years ago.  Surely the founding fathers had their fears, their doubts that made them question from time to time as to whether or not the cause they were pursuing was just.  Surely the patriots of that time quivered at the sight and sound of the Royal British Army making advances on the battle fields.  Surely people were tempted to abandon the cause of liberty and their people from the overwhelming emotion of fear encompassing them during this time of revolution.  But I ask you, did they cave in?  Did they abandon their cause?  Did those icons before us hold themselves back because of the unknown future that was in front of them?  No, they did not.  They endured and they rose above those fears and doubts that I’m sure they felt constantly.

I can only imagine the emotions Martin Luther King Jr. felt when pursuing his cause and demanding equality for him and his people.  Yes, we see and read about his courageous and bold actions.  From his I had a Dream speech to his Letter from Birmingham Jail, we are moved by his charisma and bravery, but honestly, anyone pursuing a cause with as great a caliber as he or the founding fathers, will feel anxiety and fear.  That’s not what’s important; it’s what you do when facing such an opposition.  All who live to see times of despair, trial, and sorrow wish that they weren’t around for them, but as Gandalf told Frodo, “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.  All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us.”  (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring).

“There is a war going on for your mind” (The Flobots: Fight with Tools).  We live in a world where the bells of Hell ring in our ears every time we seek to do good, but I like what Brigham Young said when hearing the complaints about those very bells: “I want to hear them ring again” (Brigham Young JD 8:355-356).  Desire is where it all starts.  What is your motivation to face that windowless door?  Is it a girl?  Is it your family or friends?  Is it yourself?  In my opinion, whatever it is that makes you face your fears can’t be bad, for fears only hold us back from truly excelling in our potential to make a difference.  If we just stay back, not entering into the unknown, we confine ourselves to a room with a finite, door less perspective.  In the werds of Anthony Hopkins: “You don’t live if you never try” (film: Meet Joe Black).