tales2apoint

…stories and poetry to touch, teach, & turn the heart toward truth.


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Your Favorites…

Dear Reader…that means you…I have a question for you:

Out of the content you have read at tales2apoint thus far, what style of content would you like to more regularly see? More POETRY? Rhyming or random? More STORIES? Short stories or chapters of larger works? Anything else?

I would like to thank you with DEEP SINCERITY for your readership, likes, comments, and your own quality writings.

Blessings, Clayton from tales2apoint (with my son, due in October!)

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A recent ultrasound revealed that my wife and I are expecting a little BOY in October.


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Story of Hope, Chapter 3 – part 1

Jamin smiled with a confidence even he didn’t expect. Before today–about twenty minutes ago in fact–it would have been more confidence than he had, but things had changed. It was her. She’d changed everything, and hadn’t even spoken a word to him. Her eyes still pierced him, even in her absence. The things she had said about him with one fleeting, eternal glance spoke more about who he could be than he’d ever dreamed. From today forward he was going to be someone new. He knew it. It was like he’d met the real him for the first time!

*

Since the day he’d taken his father into his own hands and thrown him out of the house, Jamin had been untouchable. He knew he’d only been able to do it because of the dizzying effect his father’s drunkenness had caused, but it had still been a defining moment in his life. He’d finally learned his lesson about trust. No one could be trusted; no one deserved anything from him. His role in life became to protect his mother and himself from that man–and anyone else who thought they could taken advantage of what was his.

Despite the turmoil Jamin had known as a boy, growing up under the wrath of an alcoholic father, he’d always been a much clearer reflection of his mother’s gentleness than his father’s volatility. Enough was enough, though, and the boy became a man at the age of fifteen. Now Jamin was seventeen, and had learned more about life than most knew by thirty.

He’d become the main provider for his home the day after he’d showed his father the door. He and his mother had moved to the country, where he now worked for a farmer in exchange for rent and a small wage. The farmer was a childhood friend of his mother and had taken them in as family, but Jamin’s heart was in such turmoil that he was unable to speak to anyone but his mother for over a year. The depression that had plagued him was more than any could bear alone, and he was drowned by it daily. Even still, his mother’s prayers floated up to his ears each night as he drifted to sleep in the small loft of their shanty, and it was those words of love that first sparked a flame of hope in his heart.

Twenty days before Jamin’s seventeenth birthday, he’d worked up the nerve to ask his mother how she lived with such peace and hope. Tears flooded her eyes as she told him about a word he would never forget–forgiveness. It was more than a word. Until then, it was a concept he couldn’t bring himself to consider, but after a year and a half of listening to his mother pray with love for the man who had harmed her indefinably, Jamin knew he would have to change. He admitted to himself that the longer he hated his father the more of his father he saw in himself. That was the last thing he wanted.

Quietly, Jamin’s mother explained to him that forgiveness is bigger than human heartache–that it is stronger than hate. “Forgiveness is love in action,” she’d explained, “and love is the most powerful thing in the universe.”

It hadn’t come to him instantly. The thought of loving his father was more than he could stomach. It wasn’t until he’d come back a week later that she explained to him how love was possible. “Love comes from God,” she continued with a glow in her eyes. “We cannot love on our own. That’s why you don’t understand how I can love your father. What I’ve never told you is that I hated your father for more years than I loved him. I wasn’t able to forgive your father for what he’d done until I realized, like you have, that my hate was destroying me. I knew God when I was a girl, but I left Him when I fell in love with your father. That was my biggest mistake. I made your father more important to me than anyone, and–as I should have expected–he disappointed me more than I knew was possible.”

Jamin’s eyes had clouded over with anger when she’d said that. He would never understand how his father could hurt this woman. He still wanted to see his father pay for what he’d done to them. His absence wasn’t justice enough.

“I know what you’re thinking, son.” His mother drew him in with her eyes. “No one can excuse what he’s done and that’s true. Your father will need to come a long way before he can see himself though God’s eyes, but there is hope even for him, if he should ever choose to accept it. That is between him and his Maker. It’s a choice we must all make, and it’s a choice that is standing right in front of you, too.”

Jamin wasn’t used to his mother speaking this forwardly, but he loved to hear the confidence in her voice.

“I haven’t ever been the mother I wanted to be for you, but I hope you know that I love you more than I can ever express.” Both of their eyes were filled with tears, and Jamin had felt the bitterness inside him begin to melt as he’d felt his mother’s love wash over him.

“I know that,” he’d replied, as a sob escaped his throat, surging up from his heart. “I know.”

They’d stayed there, clinging to each other as the hurt of so many years washed over them, then slowly drifted off into the air.

After a time, his mother finally broke the stillness. She’d stood him up to face her with both hands around his arms. “Jamin, you will never be able to forgive your father until you ask the Lord to forgive you. That is as simple as I can put it.” Her eyes were searching his, as she’d continued. “God is more powerful than either of us can know, and if anyone can forgive your father, it’s Him. You will never know any peace in life until you choose to make things right with God and ask Him to give you the power to forgive your father and start living the life you were made for. I don’t want this life for you, and I know you don’t either. You have too much life to live to be moping around this farm lost in your hurt and pain. If I could take it away I would, but the only way you will know hope, my child, is if you find it in God–plain and simple.”

With that, Jamin’s mother had hugged him and told him she was taking a walk so he could have some time alone with God. The impending confrontation had terrified him.


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Unamerican

Why is it so unamerican to be generous? Why do so many people throw their money away on useless things, when the people on the other side of town, or even next door, can’t afford the gas to pick their kid from their dad’s?

Yesterday, my wife and I were enjoying lunch with a pleasant couple from our church. During our discussion, they shared that they are needing to move. They expressed that they have no shortage of funds to be able to go out and buy 10 acres of prime farm land and build themselves a dream home, but they aren’t sure where to build. The clincher? They are both in their twenties. Granted, there is nothing inherently wrong with what they are planning to do. If I had the cash, I would probably be very motivated to do the same. Not many get to live out their “american dream” like that, and I’m fairly certain we all would love to have the opportunity to build our dream home, someday.

Today, however, I received a call from a lady in her thirties who literally needed someone to give her enough money to drive two towns over to pick up her son from his dad’s and then drive to the food pantry so that she could feed her family. Cost? $45.

This is a problem.

First of all, why has no one been helping this lady already so that she didn’t get herself to this point? For example, she has a monthly income of $697 and spends $630 of it on rent, not including utilities. She has a friend who helps her pay for extra expenses, but the longer I think about her need, the more I wonder why she doesn’t seek out a less expensive place to live? I spend $450 a month on rent, and live in a three bedroom house!* Has anyone who knows how to be thrifty with finances even met with her and helped her differentiate between needs and wants? Has anyone helped her map out a way that she can actually afford to live on less than $1000 a month? Where are all those people who could do this without a second thought?

Why is it that I am the one who ended up helping this lady, and not my friend who could buy my house five times and be fine? Why does the idea of going out of the way to help those who legitimately need it not eat away at wealthy people who go to church and call themselves Christians, but spend their money on expensive things they don’t even come close to needing? Why couldn’t my friend have said to me yesterday over lunch, “Hey, if you know of anyone in need, please let me be the first to know so that I can share with them what the Lord has seen fit to bless me with?” Why did I not even think of any of this before I received this call today?

Going back to the whole “unamerican” thing, why is it that most people don’t consider their community to be as much their own responsibility as their own home? Why do we think other people’s poverty is not of our concern? Why do I go out and spend $30 on a meal of junk food, but cringe at someone’s legitimate need for $45 in gas?

Though I could continue, for now, these are all my questions. I hope you will comment and get some interesting discussions going. My purpose with this post is not to bad-mouth anyone or stereotype the rich, the poor, the Christian, the unbelieving. I just want to reassess why we do what we do as Americans from my own small-town perspective. Your thoughts?

*NOTE: I realize my example of rent expense is not a normal circumstance. Most people aren’t as blessed as my wife and I to have such low living expenses, but it is possible where we live. We don’t make much, so we know the Lord has provided according to our needs, but we lack for nothing; therefore, it was my privilege to help out someone in need, and will continue to be.


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I ask:

Don’t you know

Oh my soul

Who you’re messing with?

Don’t you know

The power He holds

To grant life or allow death?

Why do you demand

Oh my soul

To have your own way?

Why do you hurt me

Even when you don’t ask my permission?

There is a God

Who rules and loves

And requires my submission.

There is a God,

Your final judge

Oh my soul.

Why do you insist on defying Him?

Do you want me to suffer?

Do you want me to die?

What are you thinking?

Turn this thing around!

When do I get to step in?

Isn’t it my life

My time

My chance

My rhyme?

Shouldn’t I be the one calling the shots?

My soul replies:

Don’t you know

Oh fool

Where your problem lies?

Why are you blaming me

When you are the one who is sinning?

Your problem does not come from me

I am clean.

I have been surrendered.

Eternal.

You’ve taken the first step.

It is your own mind that is not thinking.

You are the one .

You choose.

You have turned your head.

Be careful

Oh fool

That you don’t turn your heart.

Be cautious

Oh fool

That you have not deceived yourself.

When the great judgement comes

You will be responsible.

You need to be transformed

in your mind

in your thoughts

to match the condition

of your justified heart.

Don’t you know

Oh fool

You don’t have to stay this way?

Stop trying to call the shots.

Let Him.