Love of My Life

The love of my life.

Honestly, I don’t know why,

I don’t know how

I didn’t realise or acknowledge it sooner.

Referring instead to college basketball,

which is one

of the great loves of my life;

yet its done nothing for me

and my feelings could change

as they have for the NFL and NBA.

My love for You will never change,

unless you count it growing stronger

each passing day.

I know Your love for me is unwavering,

deep,

the truest love I’ll ever know.

You’re my constant,

always to be relied upon,

never to let me down;

an ear that never fails to listen,

strong arms that cannot drop me

and a heart I know is genuine.

Your consistent character

means I always know where I stand.

Lies never come from your mouth,

empty words neither,

Your promises the sole ones that matter.

That’s why I’ve given You my heart,

it’s Yours to have

forever;

I know You won’t disrespect it,

discard it,

destroy it;

only nurture it,

protect it,

care for it;

take time to heal,

cleanse,

mould it.

You not only have my heart,

but You have all of me,

wanting to devote my life to You,

prove I’m worthy;

because You are perfection,

that’s no exaggeration,

while I’m tarnished,

not even worthy to be in Your presence.

In spite of this,

You still want me there with You;

giving your precious time

and care,

showering me with love unconditional.

I cannot wait to spend

my eternity with You,

finally gazing on the face

of the ultimate love of my life,

who saved me through grace and mercy,

continuously forgave me

and filled the heart

that had broken into pieces.

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Looking Back on The Corner

Earlier this year, I started on a journey of reading one of the most heart-wrenching, raw and powerful books I’ve ever picked up.  David Simon & Ed Burns’ The Corner had been on my reading list for a long while, but it was only this year that I finally lifted the cover and began turning the pages, taking me to the gritty corners of Baltimore.

This was a world that I was already familiar with after watching The Wire, which coincidentally was created by Simon and Burns.  The Wire is a show that has a special place in my heart and tugged at my heart-strings a number of times, so much so I’m surprised they didn’t come apart.  However, The Corner did so much more than that, because these were the lives of real people unfolding and unraveling in front of my eyes.

Reading this book was a process that took a whole lot of reflection, which was necessary after the completion of each part, because this book is seriously heavy.  I needed time to think over all of the situations that had been brought to my attention, consider the utter brokenness of the system and sometimes cry a little in despair or anger.

Anger was a common feeling while reading The Corner.  My anger was not only directed at the system, but also the members of society who look down on those who are caught up in this drug culture, without actually wanting to help or even accept that they are part of the problem.  This is a dangerous, heartbreaking culture that no one should have to be part of, but unfortunately many are and it is a cycle that is beyond difficult to break.

One of my stand out passages for The Corner reads:

“…We’re furious at the drugging and terrified by the shooting and unnerved at the notion that unless something is done, it won’t be contained, that this horror show will creep beyond the rotting cores of cities.  We have lost patience with the idea of our own culpability, with the corruptive message that accompanies the bribe.  For three decades, we bought them off with the small coinage of charity at the beginning of every month, telling them they were not necessary, that their nation could do without them.  Now, with that lesson of helplessness learned and learned well, we feel entitled to say that we can no longer avoid the coins.”

I began to realise that those on the corners are in a country of their own, ostracised from the United States and living by their own rules.  Their life is nothing like the lives of others and trying to get out of that life, off those corners, is like entering into foreign territory.  What I think broke my heart the most was reading about individuals trying to get clean or break free of the corner life, but finding themselves right back where they started, because being back in the “real” world was too difficult and complicated.

That isn’t helped by a government and the other powers that be who simply do not understand or have the best interests of these individuals stuck in the corner world at heart.  As I read the final parts today, this segment caused fierce anger to burn up inside of me:

“Just before Christmas, a few months after Fran had celebrated a full year of being clean, she was laid off — the result of a federal audit of the detox center.  It seemed that the grant money funding BRC required all counselors to be fully trained and qualified; to preserve its budget, the center was forced to let go of some of its best and most reliable staffers, men and women who had survived the corner and were now using that experience to great effect.  Fran, Antoinette, and about a dozen others were corner veterans on a hero’s journey, trying to salvage something of themselves, trying to give a little back.  The government, being the government, could not see it.”

You see, this paragraph – like the whole book – remains incredibly relevant today not only in the US, but also in the UK and many other countries in the world.  Problems surrounding the lower class continue to persist while those in power continue to thrive off it and act as if they are coming up with solutions, when it is blatant that their solutions do not work.  More and more of the same was a major issue in The Corner, and I’m sure that it is an issue that continues to persist today.  It genuinely makes me sick.

These are human beings and members of society who deserve to be treated as such – it was evident that many of them did not want to be in that corner life, but what other alternative did they have?  As I mentioned earlier, breaking away from the corner is no easy feat.  Getting an insight into their lives was honestly a privilege and it broke my heart to see the tragic endings for many of them, particularly for one individual who I was especially rooting for – I was tearing up by the end.

The Corner is honestly one of the most devastatingly, beautiful pieces of work I have had the opportunity to read.  It has vastly opened my mind and made me more adamant that we should not put labels on others, or judge others by the labels put on them.  We have no idea what life can be like for other individuals and we don’t know how we would act if we were in the same situation.

If you have not read this book already, I seriously suggest that you do, because it is something that we can all learn from.  I challenge you to be the same person you were before reading by the time you get to the end.

Your Favourite Line

“I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it.”

That’s your favourite line.

Sorry, I mean

That’s your favourite lie;

Recited over and over again

So that now,

Even you believe it.

I’m wondering though,

Do you actually believe it?

Cos the last time you said it,

Your eyes shifted,

Voice lowered,

Telling me you were lying

Even as you tired

To reassure me.

Your want to be seen as real,

Honest,

Different,

Reeked a little of desperation,

As you emphasised that your words were true,

You had nothing to hide,

When we both know that you do;

With the aloof answers,

Evading questions

And repetition of,

“I’ll tell you eventually.”

I granted you the benefit of the doubt,

At first,

Cos I’ve got a guard around me too,

Not sharing everything,

Keeping things in

Until I’m sure of you.

I thought we were one in the same,

Meaning I couldn’t stay mad at you,

But I began to see

There was more to it;

You weren’t being real with me.

With no words,

No explanation from you,

I question if you were ever real.

Were your feelings fake,

Your charm a charade,

Your sweetness a scheme

To try and seduce me?

You’ve left more questions than answers,

More confusion than clarity,

More uncertainty than closure,

But the one thing you’ve left me certain of,

Is that you would definitely say something

And not mean it.