Sunday, March 30, 2014

a poem for a missed friend

Witman [a poem about "Spot"]
I wish I could say
I know not which direction
to place it on the wind
so it might
one day reach you
you left
the year we graduated
[& I blamed you not]
I could not blame you
I knew
why you had to
to get
as far from
the life you've been living
as you possibly could
I wished
that my own "life" could be escaped
so easily
no matter where I went
it traveled with me
imprisoning me
did I know then
that I would be found out
to be the warden
of this prison
So much harder
to set yourself Free
than to set another free
Yet free you were
we spoke
in delayed conversations
by post offices
our responses to each other
yet we tried anyway
while it did last
Then further apart
became our responses
I was to blame
and I miss you
your drawings
your art
anywhere you could leave
your mark
Such fun
all I have left
are spaces
by The Dead
U2 "stuff"
some old, saved papers
your art was sprawled across
I drive our VW
and wonder
where you have
off to

by b.e. noll 

a busy week ahead. Not sure if I'll be on much. If so, it will be in very small doses. Travel for "fractions" of days, work, meeting, class, & other things that must be done. So... have a great fun adventurous week. Maybe I'll post a photo of me with someone else this week. who knows?

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Saturday, March 29, 2014

perhaps the last of Lent

I wasn't sure where my words would take us. I had one other thing on this Lent idea. [well, maybe it would classify as two] So... here I go. 
Afterward, I believe I might try to do something that, for me, is unthinkable. In April, I'm going to try to do more on myself. Especially ...what I might call: "the Rest of Myself". Parts of my story might find it's way into it. Yet, I want to try to put other parts of my story in. It wasn't all dark. I'd kind of like to prove that. So here's the "last of Lent"

I have a challenge for those of you who are willing/ followers of Jesus.
#1. Whatever you've done. Stealing chewing gum from a relative, to bullying, to hurting someone. No matter what it is. No matter how long the list is...
on Good Friday imagine that you are in a court room. On trial for it. All of it. You're guilty. Everyone there knows it. Reasonable doubt, is a joke. It's a slam dunk. As if you were filmed by surveillance cameras. The guilty verdict comes. Just before the sentencing, though. Jesus walks in. Walks up to the railing. Politely asks to speak to the judge. After hushed words, He steps back. The sentence is read. However, you are told you are free to go. While the constable walks up to Jesus & puts on the handcuffs & walks him out to sentencing. Because that is what is really going on on Good Friday. The carrying out... of our sentence. 
I drew this once. You can try that also. I drew Jesus. A REALLY bad drawing of him. From the back. He's looking over his shoulder to me... & I used my pencil to carve into his back... everything. Things I've done... things that were done to me. He took it all on. I don't know if I posted this before or not. When I went to see The Passion of the Christ the first time... I prayed before I saw it. [I often do this with movies I "feel compelled to see"] During the whipping scene, I found myself saying, over & over again: [thankfully I said it inside my own head] "I. am. so. not. worth this."
It felt like Jesus had, at some point, walked into the theater & sat beside me to watch the film with me. as I said those words over & over inside my head. It felt like he put his arm around me. Gently drew me in close to him. And whispered calmly, lovingly: "Shut up Brian." -and I suddenly stopped. I had a similar experience when I went to the theater to see X-men 3: The Last Stand. I felt like Jesus & I watched the whole film together. Yet, the moment that stands out the loudest,was: When Jean Grey was standing on the mound of broken stuff. Re-bar, concrete, etc. & Wolverine walks up toward her. As she tears him apart with her mind. Seeming to separate his molecules from one another. He keeps walking up to her. Till he stands in front of her. She is so angry, she spits out: "You would die for them?!?" As tears run down what's left of his face, he looks into her eyes & says: "No Jean. Not for them. For you." It felt like Jesus was saying, into my mind, not the usual way we hear things. "This is us. You're Jean...& I'm Logan [Wolverine]" As this washed over me, it caused me to think of all the horrible things I've thought about myself. It's quite a long, & very imaginative list of terrible sentences to speak to one's self. Not to mention things I've said about me, "out loud". 
A frustrated bully: "brian, I hate you". My response: "Get to the back of the line, I was here first."
Funny, how you can be the sick, evil Warden...of your own prison. Population 1, you.
if you make a list, if you copy the drawing idea. When Easter comes...mutilate the list. Burn it safely, or shred it... render it unreadable, un-salvageable...utterly given over to destruction.

#2. The only other side I can think of. 
Whatever has been done to you: bullied, beaten [up or down], told you were "the problem"/no good/worthless, emotional, physical, sexual, and/or self abuse, shot, held prisoner, set on fire, cut...
Imagine Jesus walking in... perhaps into your heart, your mind...your memories... "that vault" where no one has access. Where you hide the "deal breakers" of your life. The things that: "if 'they' knew, they would drop you like a bad habit." Imagine him standing there. Looking at you. Slowly he raises his hand. Opens his palm, face up. In front of you... imagine yourself, placing ALL of those things into his hand. As you do you feel the hole in his hand, you see the rope marks on his wrist. [hopefully you don't really know what rope does to someone's wrist when they struggle] Then, you let him leave with it. All of it. 
Part of the beauty of Jesus is he came & experienced our pain. He lost someone [Lazarus]. He wept over Lazarus, before raising him to life again. He was beaten, humiliated, abused. In a conversation I had with someone shortly after they heard me tell them of the abuse I suffered. I believe it happened during Lent that year. I told them this:
"Jesus & I are similar. And we are very different.
We are similar. In that we were both abused. By people who should have loved us. It wasn't our fault. 
...& we are very different. least my Dad...didn't have to watch."

Not really sure what to say next. I guess you can, maybe, see why this Jesus means so much to me. I knew Christ during the years I was abused. There were times where I felt like he was there. In the room. No...I wasn't sure what to make of it, either.  I'm still working on writing my story. Until this year, I wasn't sure why I would write it. Why anyone should be allowed to read it., having read Renee's book... I get it. Still scares me, but I get it. 

It rained here... all day. Supposed to tomorrow, also........
reminds me of a song, by Michael W. Smith. Healing Rain. [maybe one day I'll post a writing I did to this song]
Well... good night.
May His grace drip from your fingers,

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

seeing The 77's [a journal like post]

Tonight was such a nice evening. I went to Lancaster's Square Halo Gallery to see The 77's. I got more than I thought. My girl stayed home. [not being as familiar to The 77's repertoire as me] I got into them in the 90's. Albums like: 88, All fall down, ping pong over the abyss, pray naked, Drowning with land in sight. Only 2 members were there for this "go round". So Chris Taylor acted as the opening act. Really liked his humor, & his lyrics. They launched me into writing. So I have 2 poems here, from tonight. It was also unexpected because I sat down, & was greeted by a friend from LW. Which just made the evening even cooler. I sat wrote 2 poems & got lost in being there. Alive in the moment. Drawing when I wasn't scribbling furiously putting words down. I took some photos as well. Even got my picture taken with Michael Roe. [lead singer, guitar player, song writer]
Well, I should go for now...

Radically, Recklessly Loved
you'll never know
how loved you really are
there are no
in any language
to tell you
how deep this love goes
no matter
the dialect
it's so loud
you might miss it
and it
misses you
very much
it whispers
come home
to me
by b.e. noll

Lost in the Twilight
I'm lost here
bsking in the
lost here
camera at the ready
lost in the
wash of colors
as I sit here
it's as if my
will change everything
and I don't want
to ruin the magic
of this moment
I'm lost
in the art
of the sky
enraptured in
the artistry
the symphony
of colors
like seasoned singers
loving it all
for as long as
I can steal
I'm lost
in the twilight


May His grace drip from your fingers,

p.s. enjoy this, I don't do this very often. [posting pic's of me. should've done this with the photo I have of Renee & myself]

Michael Roe: "so, this isn't a selfie because there are two of us in it, right? it's an 'Us-ie'."
We laughed. [I was thinking the same thing]
Me: "actually it's a '3rd partie' because the person who took the picture isn't in it."

Friday, March 21, 2014

a new poem

[wrote this while sitting in my car. Listening to a great song]

Someone Wants You

I know
what he did
I know
the wounds
so deep
straight to your
steadily hollowing out core
his actions
like a jagged sword
cutting you there
the wound
develops this
eating away at
what's left of you
hollowing you out
are certain that
can't have any value
that no one
could possibly want you
someone does
more people
than you know
you do have value
you are one of a kind
are worth fighting for
are worth
the space you occupy
we aren't giving up
on you
join us
by b.e. noll

might be off line for a bit. Might not notice here. I've got a lot of things swirling in my head. I need to off load this stuff. Kind of a deep breath. There's so much inside of me. I just need to let it spill out. So I can relax. So my head feels lighter. So I can keep pushing forward. Growth can be painful. Yet, stagnation... is the death of never really living. Or... not living...anymore.

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Lent pt. 4 [or more of a journal of thoughts?]

[I wrote this as part of a splinter of writings for an ongoing lent series of posts. I'm not sure all of this really qualifies as "lent writings". -at lest to me. I hope you can gain something of value from them, anyway]

When I started telling a few people the darkest chapters in my story… well first off it was frightening. This was an “all about me” part of it. The root question was: “how am I gonna be effected?” Though it fleshed out as: Will they want anything to do with me? Will they tell anyone? Everyone? Will they feel the need to touch me? [since I tend to relive the abuse when I tell of it, I’m not very fond of direct skin contact with anyone. During, & for some time afterward.]

So after telling someone. They called me one day & told me that they found out that my abuser was going to church now. They were upset. I accidentally slipped into therapist mode. “So… how does that make you feel?” This person said: “I don’t want Jesus to save them.” Me: “…awe, I’m so sorry. That’s not how this works.” “But it’s not fair. They hurt you. They should suffer. I so wish I could erase it. I want them to die.”
I began to pick these apart. Which, if you don’t mind I will now do here.
“But it’s not fair.”
Dying on a cross wasn’t fair, either. The one man, who never did anything wrong. Died, for all the rest of us. Who will never get it right. If life wasn’t fair to it’s author… what do you think your odds really are?? If life was fair… we should all, right now, pack up & go to hell. All at the same time. Each of us by ourselves. THAT would be “fair”. So it’s ok to say “life isn’t fair”. We should just say it with a little more enthusiasm. Because thank God life isn’t fair. I get to live with God, in his kingdom… & that’s… not fair. [to him. Thankfully, he’s not complaining]
As I’ve been sharing more about me, I’ll add one more to this part.
A friend of mine, from high school, we… we “had it out”. Knock down, drag out, hate your guts fight. Minus fists. Years later, we sat in my car. At the top of his parents’ driveway. “B, how can you forgive me? I was so cruel to you. I haven’t been there for you. I caused you so much pain. How can you forgive me?” As tears ran like twin rivers down his face. I said the first thing that came to mind…as my own tears joined his.
“I don’t know….tell you what. The next time you sit & pray. Ask Jesus how he can forgive me….when you get my answer, you’ll have yours.”
They hurt you. They should suffer.
If I had the power to resurrect people from the dead. I could kill & resurrect my abuser, for the sole purpose of killing him in every way known to man.
However…….  This would not make me feel any better. It would not take away what he did to me. How hurt I was. How damaged I felt [sometimes still feel].
Killing my abuser doesn’t fix anything. It does not heal anything. There. Is. No. redemption. In. This. Whatsoever. It erases nothing.
I told my friend this way. “what’s really gonna get you is this: Would I be the person you love… if I had not walked this path?”
Would I still care, so very deeply for others, if I had not been violated in this fashion?
Pain….. changes us. As much as I feel so weird about my story. The “heaven & hell” of it. I’m glad for it all. It’s helped me to listen to the things others don’t want to say. I have been able to let others “come out of their closet”. You would not believe how great it is… To. Just. Be. You. To let others just be themselves.
Thing is, I pushed down, I hid my abuse so well, I actually forgot it happened. On the surface, anyway. I hid who I was. What could possibly be helpful about that? I have great parents. I felt like I had no real story. So when one friend said to me: “my coming to faith in Christ is boring.” I could relate. [how weird is that?] Then, when I began to remember I told him. I worked up the nerve to loose him & then told him. For me, that’s what I had to do. Every person I told I thought: “This is the end. They won’t want me once they know.” I have been surprised at how wrong I was. It doesn’t make it easier. I could have told someone this year about it. Someone who could really relate, & I didn’t. And I drove home, an hour one way… partly sad & let down. Kicking myself for not waiting around for them to be done talking to other people so that I could talk to them. Really talk to them. And give them the chance to care. And I cannot get that back. I may not get the chance again. So that’s a “missed opportunity”. Yet, I got good ones too.
Ones where I got to listen.
To one person, when I was small. Tell me about an experience that I would later come to know as Emotional Abuse. “I wish my parents would just hit me, then I could get taken away from them.”
Another person, who said: “My Mom died 4 days before I turned 16. It was the best present she ever gave me.” She was emotionally & physically abused.
When I was a part of P.A.L.S. at school [PALS = Peers Aiding & Lending Support] a “peer counseling group”. I got to talk to someone, at lunch. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I just feel like I should, like I can. will you pray for me, B? I just found out I have cervical cancer.” A peer. A teen. A single teen. “I know why you told me. Can I ask my mother to pray for you? See. My Mom’s Mother died of ovarian cancer. When I was four. Her loss, her mourning, is my earliest memory. She will be able to pray in a way that I can’t.”
See? Your story helps my story. My story. Helps someone else’s story. Our stories belong together.
And Jesus’ story connects us all. He gives all of us, all of our stories value. He connects us all. Stories & all.
As great as those last sentences are. They are far easier to say, type, & post here….. than they are to live out. As I’ve read the book Purpose for the pain, I came to a scary conclusion for myself. This is one brave girl, letting others read some of her darkest thoughts/experiences. And. It. Helped. Me. Immensely. Now… I feel an understanding of why it might be important to write out my own story. To share my own “private hell”. I was asked on Pinterest: “If people know this of you why would they want to add anything more to an already troubled past??”
Me: “I'm not entirely sure I understand the question. No one MADE me read this book. I felt drawn to read it. [for years, actually.] Before I got it this January. I recently finished reading it. And have started over reading it again. I haven't even found a way to really describe what God has "done to/with/through me" as a result of reading this book. Sometimes reading a book like this. Watching a movie like Gimme Shelter or Short Term 12... [how do I convey this?] It's like needing dough. Massaging your soul. It takes the hard lump of clay & begins to make it pliable. So it can become more than it has thus far been. These stories don't "add darkness, or depression" to my "troubled past". They help me to let go of the "balloon" of that darkness so that it can float away. And, perhaps, one day my own dark story. Can release someone else. [scary as that feels to me right now] It's ok if this makes no sense what so ever.”
However. I think that one of the best reasons for watching/reading a hard story is best expressed by a story Jamie Tworkowski told once. He asked Renee Yohe why she wanted to watch Walk The Line. Her answer is priceless: “because if Johnny Cash can overcome addiction, than maybe I can too.”
This is what makes some stories worth the time. The courage of the character, can give me courage too.
Well, I’m going to post a poem here, & be off.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

lent pt 3

Jesus also said “The last will be first & the first will be last.”
Lucifer said: “I will climb God’s holy mountain. I will sit above him & reign.” [Isaiah 14:12-14].
Which is long winded for: “I will be first.”
Jesus was born in a barn, in a feed trough. Was homeless his whole time here. Died on someone else’s cross & buried in someone else’s tomb.
Basically, “I will be last.”
Three days later.
Behold. The last became the very first.
…and the first
has become
dead last.
I had a dream once. A brief one. All I remember of it was…
A great battle had just ended. Smoke was everywhere. A young looking king. Very athletic. Held, gently, loosely in his hand. What was left of the ruler of his opposition. Who was barely alive. Clothes tattered & dirty. I looked over the young king’s shoulder, & I quoted Yoda: “Over your rule is…& …not short enough it was.”
Oh. But the young king… as I knew somehow he would. He “one upped” me. He smiled back at me briefly. Then he said, again, something he has said before….
The Young King whispered: “It is finished.”
And our enemy…fell to dust & blew away.
And yes. As the saying goes: “& then I woke up.”

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

a thought today

Sometimes things just come gushing out. I'm hoping to pick up Gimme Shelter when it comes out on DVD. 
I liked it because of the people who come into Apple's [the main character's] life.
Today I was thinking of when her mother [June] visits her at the shelter. When June thinks no one is watching she begins berating Apple. Then she begins hitting her. Mostly just slapping her. Apple leaves the room & when June goes after her, the woman who runs the shelter, gets between them. "No. No. have to leave now. You should go. I've called the cops. If you don't want to go to jail, you should leave now." The woman, after closing the door & locking it, goes over to Apple. Who has started crying & slid to the floor. "It's ok now. I got you."

It's ok now. I'm here. I've got you. I'm not going to let anything happen to you.

This does not mean that nothing bad will ever happen to you again. It does not mean that you will never get hurt again. No.
The beauty of these statements is this: You will not have to go through stuff like this alone again. Because I'm going to go through it with you.  This is what love is. It's not a guarantee that you will never face darkness again. It's that you won't face it ALONE. It’s “having backup”. It's someone sitting in it with you. Someone willing to hurt… simply because they know you do. Someone choosing to hurt when you hurt.
This is good. …& it’s scary. We sometimes think that when we do something [say something, think something], we are only hurting ourselves. However, when someone loves us, we are hurting them too. Even if we “get away with it”. Even if no one saw it/knows we did it [said it/thought it]. This is a scary thing. This “being loved”. It means that eventually I need to take care of myself. I need to love myself. As odd as it may seem [as hypocritical as I feel writing this. I don’t do this very well, so I’m kind of writing this to me as much as I am allowing you to read it] As odd as it may seem, a part of loving God is healthily loving myself. I need to do it for Him, for my wife, for my parents, for my wife’s family, for my church, for my friends…
I don’t know what “this” [me being healthy] looks like for you.
For me? It means three squares a day [at least most days]. It means sleep. Good sleep, regular sleep. It means tunes. It means long walks roughly once a week. It means writing, Cnctema, cooking, & photography. It means people. It means hugs. [As I think of my “brothers” from group. Who first had to get me used to receiving them again. Then had to get used to me actually seeking them out to get one.]

You have to learn what your list is. This is mine. I think this is complete. Maybe it’ll change. I don’t know. I just know these things work. I have reminders all around me. Conversations, emails, some folks telling me what I write on here [& twitter, pinterest, tumblr, facebook] means something. Which is nice. I never know what to say back. I got an email that said about “bringing my creative self” somewhere. I thought I was creative, yet, as soon as I read that I recoil. “Am I really?” Now, they probably wouldn’t have said it if they didn’t mean it.
I’m going to stop here, for now at least. And I’m going to end with an excerpt from the Story: To Write Love On Her Arms. [thanks Jamie]
"We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be simple but more and more, I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love. …

We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home."
– Jamie Tworkowski

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Monday, March 17, 2014

an improv day [& sarcasm is my friend]

So glad to have a day like today. Might have to create more of these. Mick & I went to see Veronica Mars the movie. Owings Mills, Md. Crazy...those who know me aren't surprised. She got me into watching the show on TV. I like humor like that in Veronica Mars & Gilmore Girls. If you liked the show, you'll like the movie. You don't really need to watch any old episodes to get the film. The whole cast is in this.
I loved this partly because during our long drive we got to just randomly talk. Which is just so nice. Varying topics, subjects, etc. We were like two kids, just hanging out. Enjoying it all. Making some of the day up as we went along. Spontaneous days can be so freeing. I plan my days. Not down to the second, mind you. Yet, very few days are a total improv day. So it was nice. 

We went back over humorous lines from the show & the movie.
[from the film, yet gives nothing away] At a bar, after being hit on too many times. Random guy: "So, you got a boyfriend?" Veronica: "Yeah. He's a hit man. He kills people for money. Can I have your business card?" Guy walks away, nervously.

from the show.
Principle: “Logan, can I have a word?”
Logan: “Anthropomorphic. It’s all yours, big guy.”
Principle: “Ha, yes. Your Dad donated a pair of his boots for the auction.”
Logan: “Not the ones made for walking? Gosh…I love those boots.”

 [2 "cheeky" jokes]
Veronica: [to Logan] "Yeah. Ha Ha. My last name is Mars, my Dad bought me a Saturn [the SUV], & I go to Neptune High. Hysterical. Now move Uranus."
and an inside joke between Mick & I:
Veronica: [to best friend, Mac. while watching their boyfriends walk away] [she sighs] "Ya hate letting 'em go, but ya love watchin' em leave."

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Saturday, March 15, 2014

lent pt 2

[so here is another of the posts on lent. Hope you get something worth while out of this. It's kind of more journal entry like.]

I previously said: “…[Jesus] said. “he who seeks to save his life will loose it. He who looses his life, for my sake, will keep it for eternity.” [Luke 9:24] Jesus lived this out. I think it’s partly why he still has the scars. Only partly why, though….”
So, here’s my attempt to explain the other part of why……
I used to wonder why he took my scars away, & kept his.
Let me unpack, just briefly, some of my scars.
The abuse I suffered left many scars on my body. Thankfully none of them stayed. It took time, yet they all faded.
As I mentioned before, there was the time I almost got electrocuted. I had a pink line from the middle of my chin up the left side of my face to my side burn where it “hooked a left” & tore almost the whole way through my earlobe. [a wire that is]
Then there were the innumerable cuts, mostly to my hands. A few burn marks that haven't faded [at least not yet]
The laser burn mark on my foot. [another story I might tell one day. You know it’s gonna be weird when the doctor asks you: “Do you know what burning flesh smells like?” before a procedure. Briefly. They will NOT be making a Yankee Candle outta THAT smell any time soon. Just sayin’. Oh, for those of you who still can’t quite get your head around my lack of coat wearing in winter. It was FREEZING. Yeah, me, cold. It does happen. There was then & my first trip to France. Top of Le Mont Blanc, which is actually in Switzerland.]
Just so you know. The only scars I actually visibly still have, are on my hands. The most notable one is when I shattered the tip of my finger. Some day I’ll do my own version of Kat Dennings’ story telling on Letterman. I’ll say for now, it was so nice to have someone else tell a story like I tell stories. Thank you Kat Dennings.
I can tell you a story in all seriousness about 20 times. Then it slowly “migrates” to sounding like a story told by Jim Carry or Robin Williams. I’m not legally allowed in the same venue as either of them. This is for your safety. You can only laugh so much before serious injury occurs. [some of which could be permanent] Thus the restraining order.
So much for being serious.
To reel things back in.

I used to wonder about why Jesus kept his scars, yet erased most of mine. I think that part of the reason is so I will always know just how far he went so we can be together. Just how deep his love really goes. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that he could create someone better than me to love. Yet, it is an amazing thing… that he chooses not to. That he chose me.
So I think the other reason he kept his scars…
Is so he could say “I love you. Do you hear me now? Do you believe me? Because I don’t think I can say it any louder.”
[from my mother’s bible]
Love talked about, is easily cast aside.
Love demonstrated, cannot be denied.

Friday, March 14, 2014


This just came to me today. Out of the blue. Wished I could have said this to someone a long time ago.

In the Company of Tears

My dear
Your eyes
Have cried
Enough tears
For one lifetime
Cannot guarantee
You will cry no more
All I can guarantee
Your tears
Neither fall alone
Nor unnoticed. 
b.e. noll

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I put this up everywhere else so why not here

Hello. I've asked for prayer for The Guatemala short term missions trip every February. In my multiple places of social media. [I am currently on: facebook, twitter: @bought_as_is, pinterest: B.E. Noll, & tumblr: bought as is.  &... of course here] So I posted links everywhere but here.
Thanks to Megan McDermott for making this video. [I hope I'm not making things difficult for anyone.]
It IS long 17 min.
If you ever wondered about the trip, watch this video.
I hope to go some year with my Dad.
May His grace drip from your fingers,

Monday, March 10, 2014

continuing onward

I'm not sure I can just post on lent the whole 40 days. So, in between, I'll sometimes be posting "other stuff".

I’d like to write about how I’m not on the “inside” of every little thing. So, with St. Patrick’s Day closing in, I’d like to tell you that the most Irish I am is:
I like U2, Van Morrison, don’t know if you’d consider these other 2 to have an “Irish connection” or not: Mumford & Sons & Iona. I like the color green a lot. Shamrock shakes, Annnnddd yes, this IS very lame. Thanks for noticing. I can’t be on the inside of everything. Sometimes as I post I just feel like there’s this “B’s from everywhere, experienced everything, had to deal with everything…” Don’t buy that for a second. There are a lot of things I don’t know. A lot of experiences that I never had. I’m an only child. So I have no real knowledge of siblings. However, since God is not bound by the things we are, he can “get away with” things that we can be blessed by. Even if they aren’t the “normal” way we would like to have them. There really were times when I wished I had siblings. God has most graciously given me “siblings”. I lived close to several of my cousins for quite a while. Betsy, & Lori were my first “sisters”. Doug was like a “brother”. When I got married, I got sisters [-in-law]. Which was a new, & fun experience. Now, through LWCC, I have quite a few “siblings”. Though, I must confess, the thought never occurred to me that having sisters would mean that I would one day be called “Uncle Brian”. When I see Jamie Tworkowski post photos of his nephew, I can’t help but want to tell him: “you think you enjoy him now? Wait’ll he runs up, hugs your thigh, & says ‘Hi Uncle Jamie’ ‘Love you Uncle Jamie” That’ll really get you. One of those “can’t wipe the smile off your face so don’t even try” moments. I’ve enjoyed mine [& still do].
I’m going to try to post short posts & long ones. As well as brush off my somewhat hidden comedy & sprinkle it in here & there. I used to be quite the comedian to some folks. Much more so than I have been in recent years. This is just another of the parts of me that I don’t seem to understand. I’ve been called a good listener, yet I’ve also been told that I’m quite the “funny guy”. Does that make sense to you? [I kind of hope not. Then I won’t feel so on the outside by myself]
So welcome to this odd season of posting. Hope you can enjoy some of them.

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Sunday, March 9, 2014

on lent pt. 1 [of?]

I don’t want to alienate anyone who reads this blog. I don’t want to “convert” anyone either. At the same time I want to be my authentic self. This means I believe in the God of the Bible. This also means I worship him. Perhaps not the way you are used to someone you know [or you yourself] worships him. Yet, I have come to a quite definitive conclusion that he not only exists, wants & loves me, he also has a purpose for me. I don’t know if I can put into words what on Earth that purpose is. Or even that I would know at this point. However, I am thoroughly convinced that he has one. Considering that as I write out my story I see how many times I could have & probably should have died & yet I did not. It is a sobering thing to have a medical doctor tell you: “Well, if you believe in God, then you should go home & thank him. Because he’s the only reason I can come up with that you are still alive. Medically, scientifically, you should have died today. Your being alive is against the laws of physics. Electricity does not behave this way. At least not normally.” In all of my days of being called a smart “a”/ “quick witted” person, this was a time I was quite speechless. What’s a snappy comeback for that? I had plenty of time to be reminded of this near to death experience. Since for a long time I had a pink burn mark up the side of my face. [I honestly don’t remember how many months it took before it went away.] However, I’m not posting here to tell the story of when I bled from my ear & went from being conscious standing in one place to being conscious four feet away sitting on the floor. Perhaps another time.
I’m going to post about Jesus. Lent is a time we think of his sacrifice for us. What it means to us. I don’t know if you’re ready for this. I’m not sure I am, either.
I have found it to be a sort of miracle that no one speaks of. At his trial, Jesus says very little. Jesus is God. We are told this quite definitively. He displayed this to great & dramatic effect. …so, this means that the same voice that spoke: “let there be light” & there was light. Said nothing to his own defense. You & I speak so carelessly with words. Often not realizing the weight of our words. The power of our words. The destruction our words can cause. The healing our words can bring. Jesus also said very little during his crucifixion. As I look at this truth. It speaks of how great Jesus is. His power & his wisdom & constraint. How much power you have is not nearly as important as how you wield it. You do realize, that at any point. He could have just said: “go to Hell”. The difference between him saying this, & you & I saying it, is that he would have been alone in minutes. Because when he says things, even the elements obey him. Can you imagine the restraint he HAD to have? All that power. And he just let them do that to him. For us. For you. For me. This leads me to 2 things he said. “he who seeks to save his life will loose it. He who looses his life, for my sake, will keep it for eternity.” [Luke 9:24] Jesus lived this out. I think it’s partly why he still has the scars. Only partly why, though. He became nothing, to be our everything. I’ve spent years wondering why the most important man ever kept his scars…& removed many of mine. [I do have a few left]

I’ll post the other thing he said in a few days/weeks. I’ve begun to write out a series here. So “stay tuned”. I’ll also speak of the other reason he kept his scars later.
[you have no idea how many different things I’ve thought of doing here over the next days/ weeks/ month. Wish me luck –or pray for me. As I figure out what to say/ share.]

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Friday, March 7, 2014

on loss [& songs of]

My thoughts go out to a friend tonight. He was pretty sure this would happen before the week ended. His mother died. This again takes me back to my earliest memory. My Mother loosing her Mom. When I was 4. Back to the Red Velvet Cake that is part of my only vague memory of her. [she made it for my birthday. And, in a little over a month, I'll have some for my b-day again] I'm not really sad. I am, however, pretty gone. I got 1 1/2 hours of sleep last night. So, after this I will be acting out a band name: "sleeping at last".
I've thought of writing on loss lately. So I think I'll do that a bit tonight. As I so enjoy music... I have music that speaks to me on loss. So I'll post them here.
While I do, I'll think of two people from/ connected to TWLOHA who lost a very close important friend over a year ago. I pray for them, on the 14th of each month, lately. Think of them... ask God to... "hug them for me". Maybe this post could comfort them. [they love music like me]
[kind of afraid to share this. Don't know if any of my family read this anymore.]
When I was 21... I lost a cousin, Heather. She was 17. Car accident. For whatever reason, songs from The Choir's Circle Slide disc seem to remind me of it...
Blue skies
Merciful Eyes Fav lines: "...Heaven come near, whisper the answer. did a dead man arise when she entered the room? did I smell love decaying, & call it perfume? Can a justified man, know the grave from the womb?..... Baby come close, sorry words spoken, Would the spirit of truth, make a liar understand. If I reach for the blue with my face in the sand. Can a justified slave call himself a free man? When I turn from your face, render mercy & grace, red blood rain, from the sky, God have merciful eyes..."
Restore My Soul
I call to you
With one lung exploded
From breathing the dust of the earth
With my tongue eroded
From licking the crust of the earth
A tear away from reconciled
A prayer away from whole
Restore my soul...

I cry to you
With two eardrums blistered
From laughing with preachers of night
With my vertebrae twisted
From dancing with creatures of night
A day away from sanctified
A breath away from whole
Restore my soul...

I crawl to you
With ten fingers smoking
From turning the pages of sin
With my spirit choking
From earning the wages of sin
A bridge away from justified
A step away from whole
Restore my soul... 

I remember when my Great Grandmother died as well. If she had lived another 3 weeks she would have been 106 yrs old. She spent the last week of her life in the hospital, her very first time in there, ever. It was a Sat. Mom read her favorite Bible verses to her. She then asked Mom: "I don't know what to do. Should I stay, or should I go?" Mom: "You should ask Jesus what he wants you to do. If he wants you to go home, then go home. If he wants you to stay, then you need to stay & do whatever he wants you to." We drove home from [Lititz?] the hospital... & there was a message for us from them. After listening to it I told Mom, "I guess Great Grandma beat us home."
One thing I remember when she would visit. After she was 101, she began to say, every time I saw her: "You know, this might be the last time you see me." Being myself, I get tired of saying the same things after a while, or hearing the same things. Over & over. So I finally replied: "Why do you say that? You DO believe in God, in Jesus & what he did for us...right? You believe you're going to heaven, right?" she  said yes. "...then we will ALWAYS see each other again. The only question is... how long will it be, between this time... & the next time." She totally loved this.
Sting - Why Should I cry for You? fav. lines: "...sometimes I see your face, stars seem to loose their place, ....why should I cry for you? why would you want me to? what would it mean to say: I have loved you in my fashion..."

When my Dad's Mother died it was hard. We got the sickening "opportunity" to decide when & what she died from. Let her go soon [i.e. less painful], or hold on & let her die a very painful way. So our choices were: sucks vs sucks even worse. Wow you shouldn't have. No. Seriously. Please don't ever do that again. If I want to feel that way again, I'll go into my kitchen, grab a knife & stab myself. It's faster.
We decide to go with "option #1",  by the way. It was either with Grandma Noll or Great Grandma that I began to no longer say good bye. I replaced that with: "I'll see you soon...sooner for you than for me, I'm afraid." When I would go to the funeral, I would thank God...for giving me the gift of a relationship with the one lost.
U2 - One Tree Hill "...I'll see you again, when the stars fall from the sky, & the moon has turned red, over one tree hill...  rainin' rainin' in your heart rainin' in your sea."
U2 - Where the streets have no name "...I wanna run. I want to hide. I wanna tear down the walls, that hold me inside. I wanna reach out, & touch the flame. Where the Streets Have No Name.....[from the live version on Rattle & Hum, the movie] Oh darlin' ...oh now darlin'... i wanna go there with you, yeah." [too many lyric lines to post all my fav parts]
U2 are four men who really have no idea how much they have meant to me. Just by writing & releasing songs. I carry their songs like a favorite blanket or stuffed animal. Or... a sword & a shield to do battle...often with myself. ["...I can't fight you anymore, it's you I'm fighting for..."] They help me to cry, & not be afraid or embarrassed to do so. Bono can break my heart with his voice. Vocal chords plucking heart strings. [not that they read this] Thanks guys. two small words to cover a dictionary of emotions, & thoughts.

Then, of course, there was the loss of Mare's twins. Mackenzie is 9 as of yesterday. [my oldest niece] That means that my nephews would have been 9 this year also.
Mom cried when I told her. And said: "My Momma will enjoy them till Mare gets there."
This where I am most thankful for U2. Mare had a tough year. So Walk On became my "song to her". [never really told her that] I've sang this one at the top of my lungs though a veil of tears so many times I've lost count. It's rare I get through it without some tears, honestly. I still remember 2 friends from church telling me "it's ok if you're mad at God." I told them: "I know God too well to be mad at him, but not well enough to know what he's doing." So it was cool last summer to have someone from Growth Group play a song by JJ Heller that seemed to be written from this quote of mine. I went back through all the previous songs during this time. I took long walks alone. Silence ...inside & out. There just weren't words that worked. Just some songs....
U2 - Walk On
"...and love, is not the easy thing, the only baggage, that you can bring, love, is not the easy thing, the only baggage you can bring, is, all that you can't, leave behind...[the "gets me every time" part:] and. if. your. glass. heart. should. crack. or for. a second. you turn back, oh no, be strong, oh, walk on, walk on, what you got, they can't deny it, can't sell it, or buy it, walk on, walk on...STAY SAFE TONIGHT. and I know it aches. & your. heart it breaks. you can only take. so much. walk on..."
JJ Heller - Who You Are "...sometimes life doesn't make any sense, full of wars & pain & accidents, we keep praying I don't know, I don't know, what your doing...but I know who you are. You have a father's heart, & a love that's wild...and you know what it's like, to loose....what it's like to loose a child...."

May you be comforted... when you feel like the world is either falling apart or trying to beat you down. Hold tight to those who will sit in your hell with you. Those who will bring "light into dark places, when all other lights, go out."
Sometimes you can't make it on your own
So for Jay...[and a few others, who, if they read this. will know who they are...j&r]
after all this, there's only one thing left to say...
May His grace drip from your fingers,

Thursday, March 6, 2014

another journal post channel surfing thing [enjoy...or don't]

Let me begin by saying this post will have a bit of a channel surfing quality to it. Just to warn you ahead of time.

Now I shall borrow from Inigo Montoya: "Let me esplain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up"
I began this blog to help me learn to speak. Learn to communicate better. To be honest with at least myself, if not with anyone else. I told myself I wasn't going to care if anyone read this or not. Commented or not. I wanted to be up front with the idea that I am not perfect. That I am broken. So, in case... well, in case you read it I wanted a "heads up" for you: "This is a flawed person you are reading about." I was kind of hoping to have a "devil may care" attitude about this. It was a nice thought. Turns out I did care whether anyone read it. For a while it was kind of disappointing that there were no comments.
I didn't want to let those things be the driving force behind my writing.
For me at least,
"Writing is the healthiest way to bleed."
Writing is my therapy. It unlocks the prison I locked myself in.
So with much of this in mind I decided to call this thing, this "adventure" Bought "as is".
At the time my thought was: "If I ever got a tattoo of words on my body, that would be it. Because you should know "up front" that I am damaged goods. However, as I journeyed with this. Sat with those three words. I realized that Jesus bought me, knowing full well, that "there was something wrong". So it began to be changed. As I wrote it became freeing. At times confessing. This journey has lead me to this point where I'm going to try to talk about an event many of us know about. The difference is... I'm going to tell you my thoughts on it. Which might require some understanding of where I was when some of the thoughts occurred. This will be the tricky part.

Now for some things from my journal.
Striped Hat [revisited]
we come
at last
to the
striped hat
and the wounded
beneath it
she could still
fly free
she just needs
to heal her wings
little bird
hide no more
soar free
share your
broken wing story
sing it
on the wind
that it might
with strangers
so more
will come out of hiding
and join the chorus
adding their own
to a grand
ongoing story
of redemption
[and how possible it is]
b.e. noll
[1 of many poems written while reading Purpose for the Pain, by Renee Yohe]

[entry yesterday]
...I think that those who have experienced deep pain have been taken to a place where they see the world from a very rare, unique vantage point. They [we?] can help the world to see itself in a way, from a perspective, that it cannot see otherwise. We have to find a way to out live the darkness that threatens to keep us outside the world. Trapped inside ourselves by the enemy of us all. We need to unite against him with the architect of all that is.
We CAN out live the enemy.

The Middle
I sit here in the middle
of wonderful forward movements
I need them all
Yet I stumble & fall
into "park"
my breaks put on
when all I want to do
is keep rolling forward
give up
I will keep struggling forward
I will get back to "having"
so I can give
I want to give again
I'm gonna
I'm going to live
     -to thrive again
and this time NOTHING
will take it from me
am a fighter
a survivor
I survived abuse
horrible abuse
I      will      live      well
THIS story
will not end in dust!
I will leave
this middle ground
and climb higher
higher than thorns
to your garden

b.e. noll

Eugene Peterson spoke of story. How we begin a book knowing it will have an end. We look forward to the resolution of the story. We believe that even if the middle of the book seems hopelessly lost, the resolution will be satisfying. As he spoke he made me think of the times I wanted to die. To end my story myself.
"...The last chapter, we are confident, will demonstrate the meaning that was continuous through the novel. We believe that the story will satisfyingly end, not arbitrarily stop."
I just am stuck on this statement. I'm glad I didn't cause my story to "arbitrarily stop". It's a bit sobering to type that. Yet, I'm glad I can. It is good to see light at the end of the tunnel.
a "suite" of songs about being you
 Englishman in New York - Sting
She's too good for me - Sting
Nothing 'bout me - Sting

Annnnnnd now I don't know how to stop this train & get off.

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

a more journal like entry

I had a nice walk Sat. meditative, slowing down time to just breathe. Which I so very much need from time to time. Clearing out clutter at home. Small steps, with big results. Reading poems [a nice surprise in the back of a book I'm reading] then writing my own. Some poets just "nudge" me to write. As if their writing stirs writings in me. "reminds my hands" to put words down that were there, I just didn't know it or forgot. I'm still trying to put to words what I might say over Lent. Finding that elusive line between sharing enough & too much. So my journey continues. As I am pulled in so many directions. I've got a lot of poems to look through. I swirl around tonight. I find myself turning from one thing to another. writing for this, poems, listening to songs [running the gambit. from the Beatles to King Crimson to Queen to Ryan Adams to Gungor to The Mars Volta] I'm turning an old dial on a radio. A friend gave inspiration to this poem... I don't know if it turned out the way I wanted. Sometimes my writing takes on a mind of it's own.

With The poet
I want my breath
To be in your rhythm
My heart
To beat in time
With yours
My voice
My words
To be harmonious
With all you’ve ever said
My eyes to see whatever you have
To show me
My ears to hear your voice
Even though
It comes from a thousand mouths
A millions different ways
In a million different places
Help my lens
To capture
The views you wish to bless me with
Saving memories of our time
My pen
To write out & let go
Of the poison I have kept for so long
To write rescues to others
To light the way
To you
My fingers
What I type
Might be
What ever you can dream up
Whatever you like
An escape route
A path
To a brighter day
An anchor
In a hurricane
A harbor
A stirring
To courage
As only you can
May all that I do
Help me
As wellby b.e. noll

perhaps I'm the victim of too many fastnachts today.
Well... I "shall take my leave of you now". I need to pull myself to a quieter place if I'm going to sleep at all tonight.

May His grace drip from your fingers,