Friends in Flight

July 4, 2013


We are friends in flight

We’ll follow the lead pilot

Our gaze riveted


Our mission is clear

Being empowered by love

Filled with compassion

Flying in tight formation

We enter with confidence


With the speed of light

We penetrate the darkness

With hope and real joy

In the midst of suffering

We break the pain barrier


Our Lead models how

He shows us how to be real

This kingdom treasure

Has awakened me to joy

I choose to sell all to find


Courage needed now

In radical discipline

Encouraged by this love

To move with real faith

Beside wisdom in the darkness

Showing trust in his Presence


Freedom for the prisoners

Sight for those who are blinded

Good news for those who are poor

Release the oppressed


He will lead us in

To accomplish His mission

Light penetrating darkness

Healing the soul inside out

Available to all who come


This writing is dedicated to Larry Malone, retired Navy Captain who flew a A-6 Intruder off the USS Enterprise during the Viet Nam War.  Larry models for me the healing process of a deep soul wound.  He along with many gave himself to war for our country.  He came out with a deep soul wound as result of the “death transactions” he was called to participate in as a young man.  They equipped him to fight but he was not equipped to deal with the internal wound that he came out with.  His story tells the healing process through the years.  


He is now a “friend in flight.” We fly as wingmen to the Jesus our lead pilot.  On this day when people of this nation celebrate the freedom, I honor Larry and so many who gave their lives courageously.  Larry returned to fight a different war, a war of the soul.  He now is fighting for the young men and women who experienced this deep “soul wound” he understands.  


Thank you, Larry, my friend in flight.


My friend Genma also highlighted Larry on her blog and radio show: 

The Language of Tears

June 17, 2012


The voices that I hear

Are the ones who are not speaking

Their silence is screaming out

I do know their pain


Suffering is the teacher

It is one I did not choose

Desperation silenced me

I now have language


All along the way

People have arisen here

I did not know I needed

Their voices touched me

Their presence ignited me

A fire lit up my soul


Friendship sets me free

To listen to the heartbreak

And wait in silence

Compassion invites me in

Only my tears tell my heart


It is the language of tears

It is my deepest desire

To make real what is the truth

Extravagant love


Dedicated to Julie


Today I will remember
Those who have fallen so young
Because of the bad decisions
Of Adolf Hitler
Normandy and Omaha
On those beaches lay the dead
Of young men who were heroes
Who died for freedom
Each person has a story
That is known by very few
Each would say “ordinary”
If they only knew
Each life is special
A sacred gift to cherish
Remembering the sacrifice
A fresh spring of joy
Rivers of living water
Come pouring down on our lives
His living presence
Coming in the little things
Making us aware of love

I rise seeking God
Out my window it is dark
The breaking of dawn
Calls me to remember this
God is waiting to be praised

I will wait on God
I seek Him with all my heart
I ask His gracious Spirit
Make your words my joy
With my mind engaged I come
Help me be ready to act

The following comes from the reading of Luke 24:13-25 and Henri Nouwen’s reflections on Jesus meeting the two on the road to Emmaus.  Henri Nouwen structures the five movements in this conversation: loss, presence, invitation, communion and mission.  He identifies these as the five main aspects of the Eucharist celebration.

This is a movement 
“Resentment to gratitude”
“Hardened heart to grateful heart”
Invited to come
Experience and affirm
His living presence with us

I will celebrate 
This movement in my body
The temple of God
The miracle of God’s choice
To live and dwell in my soul

Jesus is walking by you
Just as he did on the road
They did not recognize Him
Open our eyes, Lord

Their eyes were downcast
He asked “What are you thinking?”
They spoke the truth they could see
Despair ruled their hearts
Their dream was shattered
When Jesus spoke their hearts burned
But still they could not see Him

They listened to history
He explained from the prophets
This story that they were in
And about Himself
He prayed and he broke the bread
God comes to us in prayer

I know I’m like them
Circumstances will dictate
Unless I learn this lesson
When I pray He comes
My eyes are opened with faith
I choose who I will believe

I come this morning
The dawn is breaking today
You know my story
And thankfully I know yours
Let the light of life shine through

I will go forth with a message
A friendship available
Given to all who believe
Help me make you known

I pray you all are aware today that God is near you, and that you receive the gift of His presence, just as the two on the road to Emmaus had their eyes opened.  When you pray, God will open your eyes.  You will remember how your hearts burned when He walked beside you, when you were unaware of the reality of His kind presence.

Merry Christmas, blessings and peace.
With love,
Terry and Charlotte
December 24, 2011
Dedicated to the Servants of Christ, Memphis, Tennessee
For “A Christmas Eve Story” from my past
 click here

Remembering 9/11

September 11, 2011


There are many stories of kindness and heroism rising out of the tragedy of September 11, 2001, but you don’t hear many stories about the dogs that helped in the search for survivors.  On a recent trip to New Hampshire for the Heartbeat Retreat, I met an impressive man, Gary M. Jobes.  Gary was one of the fireman called to help with the rescue efforts.  He told me a story about the search and rescue dogs looking for survivors in the wreckage.  His words touched my heart, and I wanted to share the story he told me with you. 


Rescue Dogs


The dogs moved through the Twin Towers, looking and searching.  They were trained to find living people.  The dogs were confused and disoriented because no living people were to be found;  they were only finding the dead.  The firemen quickly started hiding so that these highly trained dogs could be rewarded by finding someone alive. 


The dogs spent long hours searching, and their paws became cut and burned.  The firemen were approached by a shoemaker who offered to custom make leather boots for each dog to cover their injured paws so they could continue to search.  Each dog had its own fitted boots and a number so the shoemaker could make a new set as needed.  He created the protection the dogs needed to do their job.  The firefighters, dogs, and shoemaker worked together as a team to help our country on the tragic day when 2,974 hearts stopped beating. 


For the Hurting 

The shoemaker gave

A gift with no strings attached

An example to follow


His only desire

Was to give all that he had

To save the lost ones

And give the compassion needed

With appreciation to Gary M. Jobes for sharing this story.  (Used with permission.)  First posted September 11, 2009

Heard my Desperate Cry

July 24, 2011

I know you love me
You heard my desperate cry
My life has been changed
You gave a vision
There is hope in your story
For the wounded ones
Trouble and sorrow
I was born in that chaos
Light in the darkness
Illuminated a hope
I arose from the ashes
Compassion drew me
A gracious and tender life
Invited me to peace
Found a place to rest my soul
A mystery I have lived
My words will be few
(except on my blog)
My life will tell the story
The way I live speaks loudest
Actions speak truth
What I say and what I do
When aligned will bring joy
I know how to live
Love delivered me to joy
Death is defeated
Tears will no longer blind me
Desperation is in the past
I have made a vow
To live, love, and give myself
To being present
With people who are seeking
To define reality
Relationships are rich
Because I have been on this quest
Listening to my questions
Honestly searching
Always growing and learning
Solitude the secret
God is who He is
Silence raises awareness
Of a sacred space
God speaks loud in the quiet
Are you willing to listen
© Terry S. Smith
July 23, 2011
Written after meditating on Psalm 116.

Radiant Love

May 7, 2011

I was desperate
Lonely and afraid of death
Death is when no one sees you
Acknowledges you
Will look at you with kind eyes
Or speak your name with great love
I began to seek
The terror began to leave
I tasted freedom
My friends were fading away
I felt loneliness coming
This poor man called out for help
The Lord heard my cry
He rescued me from distress
Looking back I see angels
Attending in the darkness
I found sweet refuge
I tasted something
A mystery I explored
I found love seeking
A radiant love
Touched the core of my being
And introduced me to joy
I come in silence
I awake each day seeking
In awe and hungry to know
Joy’s at the center
Love is what’s radiated 
Peace is the result
Hope for the future is certain
Desire for the truth drives me
Fifty years of seeking
Sixty-nine years of living
One thing I know to be true
God loves all people
© Terry S. Smith
May 7, 2011
Reflections written after meditating on Psalms 31-34.

past wounds

April 9, 2011


Sue was my girlfriend

From the ninth grade to college

She was a princess


She lived in a huge mansion

Her chauffeur drove her to school

In her blue convertible

His name was “Shorty”


Life looked good on the outside

Sue was the oldest of five

Her father I rarely saw

Her mother stayed near


She was beautiful

But her world was sad as mine

Although hers appeared the best

Money hid the tragedy

It hid all of the emptiness

Suicide was the result


I thought we lived in two worlds

But later I saw the truth

We came from the same sad world

Relationships dark


We met in our woundedness

She was very kind to me

Our hearts were breaking with grief

With no words to speak


At eighteen we parted ways

Trying to hang on to love

She went to the Ivy League

I went to Ole Miss


Our letters were sweet

Our voices became distant

We could not sustain our love

It was not enough


My life fell apart

Despair became a doorway

Sue’s dad died by his own hand

We were both empty

My search led me to seek life

Her search led her to despair


Her depression led to her death

Sadness and grief crushed us all

Money could not fix the pain

Our hearts were broken

©Terry S. Smith   First posted February 20, 2010
 In memory of Sue, who died by suicide at age twenty-six.

The Hidden Treasure

April 8, 2011

In times of trouble
You have always heard my cry
You, O Lord, keep me safe
Looking back I see
The unseen love pursuing
Now seen and experienced
Looking back I see
Faces of those who loved me
And touched me with compassion
Her tender voice calls
Her gentleness and kindness
Holding me safely
In her arms with greatest joy
Childhood memory that runs deep
Her name is Ina Roseberry
The love in her eyes
Seeing me with compassion
Giving me courage
To hold onto the vision
Of the unspeakable joy
Her name is Sherrill Lynn “Mama Sherrill”
You gave me my heart’s desire
You have satisfied my soul
I hunger for righteousness
I will see your face
A promise given
The future is in the now
Your unseen presence
Unspeakable joy
My eyes are open to love
In silence I hear
Knowledge invites me to look
Faith provides the lens to see
© Terry S. Smith
April 5, 2011
Reflections written after reading Psalms 16-20 and Proverbs 4.

Your Beauty

March 23, 2011

Please cherish your life story
Your familiarity
Blinds you to your own beauty
You must look closer
It takes a paradigm shift
A change of lenses to see
Pain as being a part of
Beauty in your life
It is in the silent night
There is a whisper of love
Heard only in the stillness
A quiet thunder
The chaos was a great gift
Looking back I clearly see
The pain caused me to search out
Love searching for me
© Terry S. Smith
First posted July 16, 2009


March 16, 2011

I see your handprints
Looking back I sit in awe
Your gentle hand led
Me out of captivity
Into a world of freedom

In my anguish I cried out
There was no comfort for me
No one saw how desperate
How broken I was

I longed to find peace
To feel the presence of love
To find the understanding
Someone to listen 
My search born of emptiness
In the prison of my shame

A deep loneliness
A soul shattered by my guilt
With no one I could turn to
No language to speak
The years of abandonment
Unspeakable grief lingered

I felt like I was nothing
My failures condemned my soul
My heart confirmed my no hope
No one could help me

I remembered her
My grandmother on her knees
The joy of her love
Her delight when she saw me
The light of love in her eyes

The light I wondered
That twinkle of joyfulness
I knew God was real
I could feel him in her touch
I knew she deeply loved me

My struggle was to believe
That there was a higher love
My thirst to find out the truth
Find a way to live

She opened the door
Her kindness drew me to search
Knowledge is what I needed
My hunger increased
Something in me was driving
Something larger than my pain

I went to the mountain
Got a vision of the peace
Saw joy inviting
An invitation to love
To receive it and give it

My mom and dad were clueless
I did not know why they raged
Or why they could not see me
Now I understand

My search for insight
My longing to understand
My hunger to not repeat
Find a way to peace
Give my children faithful love
Created a great passion

This longing marked me
A fire to discover joy
A mystery ignited
Determination to know
How to be loved and to love

Meditations written after interacting with the thoughts in Psalm 77 and Proverbs 16.
© Terry S. Smith
March 16, 2011


March 3, 2011


Those I loved were gone

I sat in the darkest night

Afraid, not able to speak

Alone and helpless


At the darkest time

No hope on the horizon

Light broke in the dawn


To live was my decision

There was fire in my being

Mysterious energy

Coming from within


My search became real

The path began to open

The pain was universal

Everyone’s lot

All around there were others

Searching to find what was real


It is easy to escape

And medicate all the pain

That is what my parents did

And gave it to me


Was I to repeat

And give this to my children

I decided, “No!”


I found a community

Of people wanting to know

Seeking knowledge and insights

How to be human


Searching is the key

Being honest and fearless

Not afraid to ask questions

Even about death

We’re at different places

But at one in our seeking


© Terry S. Smith  ~ First posted March 3, 2010


A Place of Peace

December 30, 2010


 My parents failed me
They did not know how to love
Their lives were broken 
Not able to trust people
They made decisions that hurt

I’m also flawed and broken
I’ve harmed others with actions
Unintentionally caused pain
Guilt imprisoned me
A love much higher found me
Forgave and renewed my soul

When I’m confronted
With the wrongs that I have done
I look through other’s eyes
I see my selfish ways
I could not bear to see it
If mercy was not with me

It became mine to search out
What was true and what was not
How to have relationships
With myself and others 

Two things I cherish
Wisdom and understanding
They are paths to peace
Patience is the fruit
For those who will learn to wait
From a place of peace
Seeing marvelous things
Learning the rhythm of time
I’ve learned to reverence life
I arise to meet the day
I found rest and contentment
Untouched by trouble
Then I gain knowledge
Of how to love another
To see the world through their eyes
Understand their world
To look with great compassion
Accept and forgive with love
© Terry S. Smith
December 25, 2010
Reflections written as I read through Proverbs 19 and John 15, (Jesus final words to his friends before he died).

I searched out a way to love.




An unspoken dream
That is in everyone
A longing within
This dream articulated
In universal language


I had a dream as a child
I wanted a home with peace
An atmosphere of loving care
To celebrate life


Moments of oneness
I remember them so well
Laughter and playing
Learning a rhythm of joy
Experienced in the child


I got a glimpse of it
The first seven years of life
Playing ball with the neighbors
Being held with love


Children need a holding place
Of personal tender care
Where they feel safe and secure
Untouched by trouble


The home is the place
Where joy is at the center
Laughter the result
Forgiveness reigns all around
The freedom to discover


I will tell the world
That peace is within their reach
What you need first is desire
Then a clear vision
If it is there you will find it
Relationships that flourish


I’ll never give up
Living peace and sharing it
It is my great joy


Those who want to know
Who are searching with their heart
Will certainly find
It will take your best thinking
Then faith and courage to act


It is in practicing
The things that you know are true
You’ll discover more


There are daily practices
I’ve discovered on the way
That are essential to me
For living in joy


I awoke from a dream this morning, with my heart going out to the children who long to be held, and to experience home as a safe place.  I felt that safety as a little child, although my parents as teenagers did not know how to provide it.  There was extended family, (and neighbors) who provided this safety until  my family unit fell apart.  I believe there is a longing in everyone to find a place of peace where joy sits at the center.  I want to be a part of pointing the way to this authentic life that is available to all.  These reflections came out of my dream last night, and after meditating on Proverbs 20 and John 15.

© Terry S. Smith



The following article and picture appeared on the front page of the Burlington Daily Times on December 24, 1985, in metropolitan Boston, Massachusetts. 


A Christmas Story – December 24, 1985


A man painfully remembers: years of confusion, guilt, and learning to survive in a world where hate and fear consumed his childhood.

When he was seven years old, his mother stood on the hood of the car, kicked the windshield in and cursed the boy’s father to hell.

When the boy was eight, divorce and alcoholism robbed him of his mother.  The parent’s failure, anger, and hate tore the relationship apart and another family unit fragmented.

This is a story about a mother and son coming together after eighteen years, and about the One who stirred their hearts into a love that brought healing and hope to a once broken relationship.


Carol, Sid, Mama, Robert and Terry


I had always wondered about her.  She was beautiful, but many of my memories were painful, reinforced by my father’s hatred for her.  While I was growing up, he cut me off from anyone who cared about her.

Then during my last year of graduate school, I found where she lived, discovering that in a city of 600,000 people, I was driving past her house daily.

Should I go see her?  What would she be like now?  She would be forty-five years old.  Could I understand this woman who left four young children, never again to be involved in their childhood?

She didn’t know who I was when my wife and I knocked on her door in October of 1968.  But a new journey began.

Her story was hard.  She had married at sixteen, had three children before age twenty-one.  She married five times, was an alcoholic, and currently was living with a man who was not her husband.

She hated herself.  She had attempted suicide by cutting her throat, jumping out of a car going eighty miles an hour, and by putting a gun to her head and pulling the trigger.

But, the gun misfired.  It fell on the floor, blowing a hole in the wall.  She lived!

The reunion with her son helped her to realize she could start over again.  She began to fight!  But it was like trying to climb a greased slide.  My family — a wife and two babies — now included this woman, my mother, who, after wanting to die all these years, now had a desire to live.

The failure I experienced in my childhood caused me to pursue the field of counseling to learn how to live in relationships, and not make the same mistakes my parents made.   There had to be a way to live in this world and not be victimized by failure, anger, insecurity and guilt.

People can come back together and healing can take place in relationships.  But how?  How could this woman ever have forgiven herself for leaving her children?  How could the children have ever forgiven her for abandoning them?

As a family counselor in Burlington, I have chosen, for a model, one person in history who knew how to love and treat human beings.  I find very few people who have read his life.  Not many are willing to give and extend mercy toward those who hurt them.  Not many are willing to say: “I am wrong!”; “I am sorry!”; “Forgive me!”

The little baby whose birthday the world celebrates at this time of the year grew up to be a man.  He met a woman at the well who had been married five times and was living with a man not her husband.  The man at the well treated the woman with dignity, respect, consideration, and compassion.   It changed her life.

The angels announced at his birth that he has come to bring good tidings of great joy.  The woman at the well experienced it the day she met him.  I have tested it on the streets of the twentieth century and it holds today.  My mother found hope, forgiveness, and new beginnings because this man’s evaluation of human worth represented by the heart of the God and Father of us all.

Our challenge at this season is to look past the commercialism of Christmas.  To look beyond the religious ritual, and to sense the mystery of the One who came among us to demonstrate and to give a new quality of life.

I’ve just returned from a family wedding.  It was the first time in thirty-five years the family was together.  My mother flew back with us, and will celebrate her first New England Christmas with me and my family.  We realize that we owe this reunion to the One whose perspective on life continues to bring into a dark world hope and light.

Our hearts are full of thanksgiving as we celebrate the reality of his presence.


My mother died in the year 2000, at the age seventy-seven.  She experienced in her heart, soul, and mind, the joy of God’s peace.


Cry of My Heart

December 6, 2010

I grew up in fear
My parent’s relationship
Was broken and dark
They were ill prepared to love
Hostility and hate came
Home – not a place of safety
Home – not a place where peace dwelled
Home – not a place where joy filled
A longing deferred
Fear was realized
Love was shattered by these two
Four children suffered
All around were broken hearts
Could the cycle be broken
Was there a way to find peace
Could there be love in marriage
And how does that work
I found a way to find life
I listened to my longing
Imagined family
Where there was great peace
Love and peace the atmosphere
I could see it in my mind
Then I set on my journey
Fifty years ago
My dream compelled me
Determined not to repeat
The story of my childhood
For my children’s life
They are grown now and can tell
The cycle has been broken
There are certain things
I have learned to hold sacred
And practice each day
Beliefs that refresh my soul
And give to others great joy
Seeking peace was a secret
It gave me the right questions
Then I practiced what I found
Voices I could trust
For my father and mother
Who were unable to give
I discovered larger loves
Who’ve been my teachers
I have learned to wait
To be strong and take heart
I discovered the goodness
And focus on truth
The cry of my heart 
Was heard by a higher love
I cannot explain
But in practicing his thoughts
I found my self comforted
My heart leaps for joy
Unexplainable friendship
That’s larger than death
Has given me confidence
To see what matters most
His words breathe life into me
My focus intentional
Introduces me to joy
His truth restores
© Terry S. Smith
December 6, 2010
Reflections written early in the morning after meditating on Psalms 26-29; John 15.