A Memory for Father's Day {flashback post}

A Memory for Father's Day {flashback post}

This is a poem from ’07, when I was going through some real dark days and was filled with pain and depression. I just wanted to share this with those who can relate to rough family life and broken parental relationships. I wanted you all to know that truly forgiveness is the first step to your own healing. I had a lot of neglected emotions and this poem was the first part of my therapy in dealing with those.
Since the writing of this poem, my life has changed so much and all for the better. I know that some will relate to its sadness, but hope none will repeat the dead-end anger that it expresses and learn to “let it go.” I have confronted my Father on many of the issues that I had with him. My strength from and faith in God has made me realize that I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and start allowing Jesus to change me. I know that I am, as we all are, a work in progress, but can’t repair if I am standing still. So as difficult as it has been to try again, it has been even more rewarding to find success and learn to work through disappointment. Praise God that my Father and I have since reconciled and he is trying to be an awesome Grandpa to Leila.

Thank you Lord for allowing my heart to repair and for forgiveness to come in.

A Memory for Father’s Day
by: Arman Jonathan Sheffey

I miss the man he was.

I miss the man he could be.

I miss when my life was loved,

cause that’s the way it should be

I miss it…

When I was born a dark child,

I broke from the womb with a smile.

1978, June 6 – gonna reminisce for a while

Back then, me and my kin, kickin’ it in Michigan

Ann Arbor where I got my start –

Had to leave and it broke my heart.

Then Lansing, Ypsilanti, Grand Rapids near my Grampy.

That was when my life was great, and that was when I was 8

Wait, I turned 7 when we moved to the Chi,

my Pops no more apple of my Mom’s eye.

But they tried and failed; and it all got derailed,

when I saw pops on the corner – started to cry.

Wanted to die, why – do we always say goodbye

To the ones we love? Mine had a bag at the stop for the Pace bus.

Route 109

Picture it all the time,

Cause that was the last time I saw a Dad I’d ever claim.

Don’t know who’s to blame,

but from that day on things were never the same, racking my brain –

To find a purpose – for why I hurt this bad.

What did I do to deserve this, Dad?

I didn’t throw your sh*t out in the street!

I didn’t say, “Pack your sh*t and leave!”

Why do I feel that the pain’s on me,

or are you hurting to? Feeling lonely

inside your soul? Vulnerable?

So build a brick wall and hide behind – find three more and a ceiling.

Put your heart to sleep. NO MORE feeling.

Decorate yourself with a new attitude.

A whole new persona and a whole new mood.

Change your name, or at least what they call you.

Erase the game and forget that they saw you!

NEVER LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN!

Distrust is a must my friend.

Bend, but NEVER break!

Lend, but never let them TAKE!

Cause you need the control to bottle up your soul’s pain,

to open your umbrella that stops the flow of the rain.

Well my Pop’s is alive, but don’t mean sh*t to me.

I barely know the man, so I’ll speak from memory.

He might say, “You should’ve said something!”

Could have, should have, but didn’t

It’s just written – down in my heart and now this pad with this pen.

Yo, Dad, Where you been?

Been so long, you even gettin’ my birthday wrong.

Maybe I’m just trippin’

So to wash the pain that left this stain

I go get the gin and just start sippin’.

Should’ve been different, but wasn’t.

And I guess I should be glad

For what you did to me, Dad,

Cause with-

Out the past, my life would be different.

Even with the strife and the bumps in my livin,

Would have no wife or children.

You know my lil girl, Leila,

The grand-daughter you met for the first time at the

Family reunion year past her birth.

Then you dropped off the face of the earth.

Til she turned 2, when you blew into view,

To buy us some lunch, I held back my punch, and you thought we were cool – You FOOL!

So delusional to think that buying me a drink,

without apology erases a decade plus of misery?

Oh but that was history – water under the bridge.

Well this one’s cracking and I hope you can’t swim,

Like me when I was three,

Almost had me drownin in a pool,

While you chattin wit your boys clownin, actin a fool

Then got the nerve to try and rescue me, – play the role of the hero.

Only knew I was drownin, When they yelled, “Where’s your three year old!”

Guess you always figured I was self sufficient.

Cause I adapted to no attention, became independent.

All the money you ever gave in one hand I could spend it.

The nice watch for Christmas, too hot from your trunk!

Wish I could say your on crack or a drunk,

But damn – NO EXCUSE, for the mental abuse,

That you put me through, how I wish that you knew

Still your clueless, selfish, can’t find where your wealth is,

Your worthless, no purpose and not just on the surface –

And yet sometimes flash me a glimmer

of that man I want to remember

So I’m not done yet, but it’s the final set!

Not much longer can I wait, for you to clean the slate,

Til then you won’t see me, I’ll be just a memory –

Like your face – through the tinted window as the Pace rolled away,

Dad it’s so hard to watch as you slowly fade away.

One day – turned to weeks – to months – to years.

Now we speak at weddings and funerals between tears,

And reunions – where you put me on display,

As your trophy son – but I should just say,

“The father, the teacher, the man I am

Was not molded by you, who struggled to lend a hand!”

Where’s my tuition?

Guess I’ll use my intuition and won’t get wishin’

For somethin’ I won’t get – and no remorse no regret.

Won’t feel pain unless I let –

It in and hold it in til it gets cold.

Like a dream deferred this dream explodes,

But that days’ not here yet –

Fear keeps me here, where I can hide in the words that I write,

But despite – all the pain, anger, and misery

All the times that I waited alone and lonely

For this disguise – you made me phony

I forgive,

But wait this hate still it lives

And breathes life into me day in and out

And inevitably has directed my route,

109 – back home to SoHo

Where the Southern Dutch, become brothers smokin’ dutches,

Like Cheech tryin’ to reach out to what they had.

So I quietly reach out to you Dad.

But guess my pain’s way too subtle,

Cause not once do you give a rebuttal,

Or apologize, or decide

To show the wolf ‘neath the sheep’s disguise.

Why? That question echoes..echoes..

Like your face when I l
ook in the mirror.

It pains to see YOU each day getting clearer!

I can not become that from which I run!

The opposite of you is what I want in my view!

But that ultimately makes me see,

I don’t really miss the man, I miss the memory.

My Dad, my bros, and two of my cousins
My Dad and Auntie Kathy
younger POPs
The Enthusiasm of Unity

The Enthusiasm of Unity

A few months back we had the distinct pleasure of of an absolutely awesome day with one of our oldest and dearest friends. We hadn’t had an opportunity to spend much time with her since her recent marriage and move to Madison, Wisconsin.Without inundating you with all the day’s details, let me just say that the weather was perfect, fall leaves were gently blowing; it was truly the best day to experience downtown Madison with loved ones. The most memorable moment and reason for discussing that day was related to the University of Wisconsin homecoming game. We didn’t go to the game since I am a rival U of M fan and not very interested in supporting Big Red. Turns out that going to the game was not even a requirement to support the team this weekend.

We drove down the street adjacent to the stadium and were immediately met by a growing mob of fans and band geeks (said with affection as a former band geek myself) as they poured out of the stadium and stopped traffic for an impromptu victory parade. As we inched through the traffic on our way away from downtown and toward the zoo, An ocean of red overflowed in all directions across Madison. I couldn’t help but feel a little like Moses parting the red sea, but as we moved through the business zone my eyes were widened even greater by the masses of fans crammed like sardines into beer gardens, pubs, and restaurant chanting fight songs, sharing high fives, and body bumping their way through the afternoon buzz. Even the residential area was hopping as hatchbacks flew open, garages wheeled their way up, and grills were a blaze.The whole town of Madison was out in full force with enthusiasm.  A city united was such a beautiful sight to witness. And it got a vision inside of me burning brighter than ever. Imagine the possibilities of such a large and diverse group of people supporting one cause. A mass of people loving life and teeming with enthusiasm.

Real enthusiasm is what this world needs. What if we were united by Enthusiasm?  What if there was one singular cause that we could come together, stand behind, and champion with all of our energy. The word enthusiasm comes from the Greek adjective, “entheos.” En – “in, within” and theos – God.  God within!!! Enthusiasm at its root is to have God within or to be inspired by God. As a Christian, I know this truth as the Holy Spirit, which resides in and empowers all believers. This gift of Jesus’ ascension brings us to my point. Jesus and all that He was, is and will be is more than enough to inspire. Now we as believers need to do all that we have been called to do. Unity is one of those major callings.
Jesus makes a prayer request regarding us that I hope can drive us throughout this new decade.

In John 17, Jesus prays for our unity:
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

 
This prayer in the garden before Jesus’ death has been burning in my heart for a while now. I hope that you catch the vision and amp up your work towards unity as well.

-We need to unite families like 4 quarters of football can.
-We need to bring people together like three periods on ice can.
-What if we were all united in heart, hopes, and focus like when the ball hangs suspended over the rim as the buzzer sounds.

Every weekend should be homecoming weekend. As droves of displaced, professing Christians return to worship in spirit and in truth with their whole lives.
Everyday we should be waves washing over our neighborhood, our city, our nation, our world, in a sea of love.

Jesus tells us:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
~John 15:5

Let’s all get connected, stay connected, and bear ridiculous amounts of fruit in Jesus’ name. Let’s Unite and stop putting up walls built by the devil’s hands. Let us break these walls, put down our traditions and bickering, pick up the cross and embrace our savior, our reason for ENTHUSIASM!
Sent or Just Going: A Believer's Dilemma

Sent or Just Going: A Believer's Dilemma

As a child we learn some of the greatest principles of life. This is probably why scripture tells us that we need faith like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven.

“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
Luke 18:17; Mark 10:15 (NKJV)

My daughter in many cases shows me the truth of this. However, she also sheds light on a problem that we carry into adulthood.

With a wife that is in the travel industry, we have gone on several vacations and have been blessed with visiting her family internationally on more than one occasion. I say this not to brag, actually I have become a bit spoiled about it, and have no longer been filled with joy when trips are planned. I digress. The point is that we travel. When we do, there are usually several bags involved, and not always enough hands to guide Leila through the airport as I would like. My solution has been very simple. We have created a protocol for airport travel. Maybe a slight misuse of the word, but it sounded good at the time. I actually was imagining that ridiculous Goldie Hawn film from the 80’s. Our plan of attack was: Lariza, my wife, with a suitcase on wheels in one hand, walks out front as our travel guru with passports and boarding passes at the ready in the other hand. Leila with her Dora carry-on rolls right in line behind Mama. Then I bring up the rear, supervising these maneuvers to ensure we all get where we have planned: our gate.

In route to the preplanned destination, something frustrating and insightful happens. Leila manages to get out in front of Mama. For many different reasons, such as wanting to show she knew the way, wanting to get there first or speed things up, etc, she just struggled with sticking to the plan. As the overseer, I would have to often give her a loud verbal cue, “Protocol!” Upon hearing this she would relocate her Mama and fall in line. Her youthful impatience, didn’t anticipate a stop to examine a map, or a restroom visit along the way, or maybe braking to pick up a snack. These detours were only visible to her when she was following the plan, in her place in line. Otherwise, she would hear the cue and have to backtrack to her position.

How many times do we follow Jesus like my Leila in the airport. We start off with the intention of being obedient and even enjoy following the leader. Then distractions arise, impatience sets in, pride or arrogance take over. Whatever the case may be, we often find ourselves many feet from the path and needing yet another cue, “Protocol!” Sometimes this cue is a small voice in our spirit, sometimes a wise correction from a friend, sometimes hitting brick walls by way of rough circumstances. These all can be used to bring back to mind that we are not in line with Jesus’ protocol.
We as believers know that His word gives us the clearest picture of our path, but there are smaller details of our choices on a daily basis that take the power of the Holy Spirit to wisely maneuver through life. This is the area that I have been guilty of failing miserably. I feel it is also a commonly neglected central concept of our faith:

God is in us too.
Good Thing Vs. God Thing
One area that I have been most guilty of neglecting to acknowledge the Holy Spirit, was in my service in the church. Right now you might be thinking that I needed to get more active and use the Spirit to energize my activity. Nothing could be more wrong for me. I had been active in every ministry that would have me. I like to call this sin “Out-working the Spirit.” I was attempting to do everything that I could for God, foolishly and subconsciously envisioning that if I didn’t do it, it would not get done. The funny thing is: if it is a God idea and a God sanctioned activity, it will get done with or without me.

I heard one way to cure yourself of feeling like you are more vital to God’s plan than you really are is to put your hand in a bucket and fill it up with water. Imagine your hand in this bucket is your activity for God. What impact would your inactivity have on God’s plan? Quickly take your hand out of the water. The space that your absence leaves is your answer. This is not to say that we are not important. God’s miracles happen through us on earth. The Bible is filled with people who became heroes, but only because they were subject to God’s power, not because they were so great. We are nothing without Him.

The key is to not work for the Spirit, but cooperate with Him. There are so many things that God has willed to get done. This why He made so many different people, with so many different gift sets. You can do all things, but are not gifted to do all the best, and are not called to do everything. Why is it that we as Christians get wrapped up into that “do all” spirit? I believe it is simply because we have been trained with the can do attitude. This is a great c
ure to laziness, but God works most consistently through the dependent on Him attitude, the broken and pleading attitude. Our workaholic tendencies say, “If something needs to get done, I’m going to step up and do it.” However, if we are always just stepping up, are we leaving opportunity for someone better equipped and gifted to step into their calling?

Sent to Do = Meant to Do

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
~Isaiah 26:9 NIV

Wherever you go, be sure that the Lord has sent you there. If he didn’t then you are wasting your time, because He will only send you to places that will aid you in completing his vision for your life. Seek his guidance in all you do. You may be doing great things, and still missing the mark for the “God thing” that you were created to do. Dr. Martin Luther King would have been highly praised, had he dedicated his days to building an orphanage and caring for orphaned youth. That would have been a great thing. But that would not have been the “God thing” that was set aside for his future. He was meant to impact greatly global and national racial equality and civil rights.


Look at what you are doing on a daily basis, in your church, at work, in the community.

Is he sending you out into that field, or are you just going?

Many of us get like Martha and just get to workin and workin, but never stop to examine what things we are working at. We just know they need to get done. This is why were are called the body of  Christ, let the hands heal and the feet walk. You could travel on your hands, but that would be so much harder.  Do what you were sent to do. That is what you were meant to do.

The only way to appropriately serve the King is to listen to Him. Stop trying to serve Him filet mignon, when all he is asking you for is chicken breast. He is constantly trying to direct and redirect us, but we too often have our end planned and forget to check with the pilot, the navigator for route updates. The urges that He plants within us through the Holy Spirit keep us from wasting time and energy on our way to the gate. We must simply listen to His urges, test that they are from Him by aligning them to His word, and praying through them for revelation.  Listen for those whispers from God. He wants to lead you to the gate. He has stops planned along the way, so plan on patiently following. 

Good Times: Re-define Living

Good Times: Re-define Living

Hello all,

This is my first official blog. I have been writing, it seems like for all of my life. I have recently decided to dedicate my musings to the creative genius who planned this whole thing: God. Jesus took a broken sinner and saved him. I was living the “life” of fast times, fleeting fun, and fierce sin. I slowly faded back to dust and slid into a pit deeper and darker than my brilliance could rescue me from. Thankfully I was not alone. Jesus was always riding shotgun. After such poor steering, I have now determined to let Him drive. I now try to stay in the back seat and enjoy the ride. This poem is my first blog entry, because it was the first serious thing that God placed on my heart after my rescue: Do all you can to keep others from the same destruction. Don’t let life wreck you before you realize that you were never qualified to be behind the wheel.
Good Times  

05-02-09

 

 

 

 

 

 

I remember not long ago my thoughts were filled with self destruction, but I knew it as GOOD TIMES.

Good times, rolled up tight as I hid from myself. Put the blanket of fear around my wealth.
The pleasure in hiding from pain turned to self pity and disgust as the smoke cleared…
I loved it! Did it love me back, as my daughter’s words fell on distorted ears?

Good times, bottled and poured out over ice, as I put on my mask…
Drowning my wisdom, sippin’ new regrets by the glass.
Oh so sweet the dizzying flavor that became bitter…
Waking in strange arms again painfully sweating out the night’s gin and sin,
What could be better?
As my wife’s lonely angry call steers me home.

Good Times? Says Who?
Says the child… hurt from so many early broken trusts that he is done giving up that part of himself.
Says the teen… drained from steering through a wet wicked world and trying unsuccessfully to stay dry.
Says the man…dying for a break from keeping his faults in check and always doing the right thing.
Says the broken spirit…that has heard too many times that they have failed again.

Good Times?
God Says…You are beautiful and He wants you to come to him the way you are. He wants you to love yourself like he does, despite your faults and rebelling spirit.

God Says…He can hold you tighter than anything you could roll. He won’t take advantage of your trusting embrace. He will destroy what you know as ugly and erase your disgrace. Your plea cried out to him, know that he can hear it

Good Times?
God Says…He knew you before you were in the womb. Put away the mask Halloween was YESTERDAY You can’t hide from God. His eye is on the sparrow, but You are his prize possession. He will never leave you alone.

God Says…Don’t drown your wisdom. Wisdom is supreme, a shelter; it’s sweet to your soul. Wisdom is sweeter than the flavor your lips want to hold. Can’t you hear the Lord calling you home?

Good Times is what the Lord offers you, eternally, with NO COVER CHARGE
You said,“Gimme the light?” His light can get you higher than the heavenly stars.

Get drunk on his grace and mercy without the hangover.
Gettin’ tipsy on his blessings but still happy and sober.

You’ve quit so many things before.
Why is this so hard?
‘Cause it’s scary admitting no control,
but worse living in the dark.
It’s hard to trust again I know,
but the Lord makes no mistakes.
He died for you, so you could live.

Don’t let Good Times go to waste.