Everyone has a story

September 14, 2009


It’s hard to change your thinking

When you are so sure you know

Look at your life with wisdom

Ask, “Is it working?”


Answer honestly

Be aware that death is real

It’s universal


Death deserves a good answer

One we must not be afraid

To consider all options

We only die once


Looking at my death

I found a window of hope

I have been surprised by life

I’m willing to share

With those who might just wonder

What information I have


Don’t assume you know

This is about life within

Be still and listen


Everyone has a story

I’ve learned something from each one

Thousands I have heard


You need someone to hear

How you travel in this life

Find someone who will listen

Who’s honest and cares


© Terry S. Smith

written June 20, 2009




There were feelings of no hope

I sank in despair

In silence I ceased striving

Be quiet, be still; love comes


Real truth is experienced

It cuts through to all levels

The mind, heart and soul reflected

Light breaks through darkness


There is a secret

Where a person does begin

The first step is just simply

Be responsible

For how you think and act

You will find the right questions


I have learned life is not fair

I have no control of you

I will decide who I’ll be

I choose to be kind


© Terry Smith

written August 31, 2009


look deeply

August 29, 2009

All of my heroes
Failed to give me any hope
At nineteen I fell
Feeling there was no escape
Empty and broken I cried
In me was a voice
I heard riveting my soul
Find out what is real
No easy answers
Honesty and my passion
To search and to find
What really matters for life
Decided to never give up
Find just a few good people
Honestly searching for life
Develop criteria
To test what is true
You’ll need your mind, heart, and soul
Engaged in the process
Examine your resources
You must look deeply
I have a criteria
To determine what is true
Ask and I’ll tell you
© Terry S. Smith
written January 14, 2009

voice of the children

August 6, 2009


Is anyone listening

To the voice of the children

They are broken tossed about

Searching for real hope


As a child I was confused

My parents I dearly loved

Failed at loving each other

Four children were lost


The child had no words

No one knew how to listen

The unconscious self arose

And helped me survive


The skills that I learned

And the love I did receive

Helped me find my way


There is wisdom in a child

They will respond to loving

When it’s real and authentic

My child remembers


Never under estimate

The wisdom that was given

Every child is amazing

Unique and beloved


I will fire that spark

Look deeply into the eyes

Ignite with a smile


I’ll learn to receive

When I look at a person

I will see the child


As a child I was drowning

The deep waters covered me

The neighbors rescued my life

I was their delight


A spacious place was given

They reached down and embraced me

And cared for me as their own

I remember well 

written August 6, 2009

Joy is discovered

July 23, 2009

It has been my experience
I have heard thousands whisper
Their deepest desperate hurts
Light came in the dark
I met love at the bottom
This is a strange paradox
Going down led me upward
A mystery found
Life’s pain is like a furnace
The soul is refined by fire
Hope is born in the process
Joy is discovered
Why do some understand
And other’s don’t seem to see
I think I have a clue
Please consider this
Choose to see that you are great
A joy to behold
written August 29, 2008

The Story

July 21, 2009


I look with wonder

At the story I live in

Looking back I see the pain

That I grew up in

I found a “larger story”

Of flawed and broken people


I found hope in their stories

I saw them living in grief

I saw their flawed lives arise

And find a deep peace


Is there hope for me

I said in my deep despair

I found in me a longing

To know what is true

So I studied a story

The one much larger than me


Focus and discipline worked

As I narrowed where I’d look

To find someone to address

Real issues of life


The story I discovered

Is hidden in sacred books

I found sixty-six of them

Books of the Bible


I just had one big question

If there is a God, “Who is he?”

I will let the writers speak

Each one their own way

They were consistent

One theme always held the sway

A persistent joy


One problem that I’m seeing

So many are distracted

Not looking for what is true

But trying to please


And when life stopped me

I decided I would look

At a story much larger

Big enough to learn

There is hope in our failure 


The Bible when used

By many as a “rule book”

Will wreck a man’s soul


I want to know the story

Told by the ones who lived it

I found a larger story 

That connects with mine


The connection a surprise

With integrity I searched

Looking for some good answers

I felt I could trust


written June 27, 2009

Inspired by article about Barbara Brown Taylor (in The Tennessean on June 27, 2009). 


July 11, 2009

Henri J.M. Nouwen is one of my favorite authors.
A poem from his book With Open Hands.
Hope means to keep living
Amid desperation
And to keep humming in the darkness.
Hope is knowing that there is love,
It is trust in tomorrow
It is falling asleep
And awaking again when the sun rises.
In the midst of a gale at sea,
It is to discover land.
In the eyes of another
It is to see that you are understood…
As long as there is hope
There will also be prayer…
And you will be held
In God’s hands.
from With Open Hands, Henri J. M. Nouwen

Internal Freedom

July 4, 2009


Liberty has come

Our country celebrates

Our freedom today


Finding this freedom

We think that it’s external

Let’s give it some thought


It’s more important

What I do in private space

Than in the public


I train to listen

To the inner voice of hope

Not trusting feelings


Feelings come and go

Controlled by circumstances

My life is bigger


Awareness and space

Are secret keys to my life

Gifts I give to me


When I do not choose

And act without thinking

I find I suffer

And those around me, also

Suffer in ways that are sad


Our forefathers suffered here

Inwardly they sought freedom

They searched their soul for answers

That rose from within


They followed their dream

We stand today in freedom

Because they had the courage 

To give up their lives


written July 4, 2009



wellspring of hope

July 2, 2009

I need a fresh drink
Each morning when I arise
Of eternal hope
In the night I am refreshed
With sleep and new beginning
There is an inner wellspring
I’ve learned to draw on
I find the hard work
Is to quieten my soul
And listen for truth
I must get outside of myself
And test the things that I hear
Be open to new learning
To challenge the fear
I have found a place to go
That is restful and certain
It is something I can’t give
Only point the way
My loving is not enough
It will fail at its best
But I will never give up
Seeking to improve
There is someone who loves me
I have learned “no matter what”
It’s not based on my feelings
They tend to deceive
When those I love are hurting
I feel helpless and so grieved
I have no way to fix it
I pray love comes soon
My eyes begin the searching
Looking for ways to survive
I finally found one thing
That gives me real hope.
written June 14, 2009

your cry is heard

June 24, 2009

When you are in the valley
Deep down in your greatest pain
Your cry is heard I promise
By the One who cares
There is something much higher
A love that is mysterious
It comes in my helplessness
Love larger than me
for those who are in their greatest pain
written October 8, 2008
You’re a work of art
This one thing I know is true
If you breathe and are alive
If you think and plan
My heart has soared with great joy
My mind is captured by love 
I experience wonder
An unspoken joy
Growing up is a process
I will never stop learning
Open to listen with care
To those who ring true
I cannot fix anything
But one thing I have learned
Provide a place of safety
And show up with love

I will listen with great care
The same care I was given
Believing in the person
Pointing to the love  (way)

A human being
Is marvelous and unique
There’s no one like you

I invite you to accept
The wonder of your own life
You must fight the lies

I have found the tools
A framework to capture
The most basic truths of life

The first one is essential
It’s the foundation you see
It’s basic understanding
You’re a work of art
written June 8, 2009

Be Bold

June 7, 2009

My tongue has Power
Power to hurt or to heal
I will make that choice
A gentle answer
Will cause the harsh words to cease
Anger can be stilled
What do I pursue
My decision is final
What matters is you
Relationships soar
When I want what’s best for you
You want what is best for me
Happy hearts bring cheer
Downcast hearts hurt those around
Help us be aware
Words spoken with care
Make safety for those who hear
Love is discovered
Timely words give hope
A healing tongue refreshes
The soul leaps for joy
Be Bold with your love
Be Bold in giving your patience
Give compassion reign
written August 15, 2008


June 2, 2009


Don’t be surprised

When the trouble comes your way

Everyone will get their turn

That you can count on


 It is just the way life is

 The question that must be asked

 Will I be ready


 The circumstances

 Will rob you of all your joy

 If you will let it


There’s a difference

 Between mind and the spirit

 When the mind rules things

 We only see half

 When mind and spirit combine

One has the power to see


I’ve had addictions

That have captured my mind here

Only by the Spirit’s love

Have I been able To overcome the deep hurt

Find power to love


There’s a process

Important to understand

In birthing real love


There’s transformation

 That takes place in the human

 When you engage the Spirit

 As well as the mind

 Adding determination

 To know what’s really the truth


 I want to know what it means

 To trust God with all my heart

 To surrender all of me

 Head, heart and the mind


~ My prayer today!

 Make me bold and stout hearted

Focused and fully present

With compassion and firmness

Led by your Spirit

(based on The Psalmist 138:3)

written May 28, 200


refreshes you

May 27, 2009


A friend hears your soul

Your grief and deepest longings

It refreshes you


These are the friends that I need

They always greet you with joy

They remind you of their love

They know my dark side


There is a strange paradox

One that I cannot explain

It’s a mystery of love

Modeled in a friend


Words are a doorway

To the mystery of soul

When spoken in their context

Understanding comes

Knowledge will become a bridge

I will take time to listen


A bridge over confusion

Higher than criticism

It’s big enough to carry

Providing safety


Rest is what I need

I’ve been searching for that place

Now I have found it


I can pass it on

To others when I listen

Not quick to give my answers

Understand their words

Silent but fully present

Giving them honor and love


I will wait for them to ask

If they want to hear a way

That I found through listening

In silence I hear


In silence I am aware

Of the air I am breathing

I then become so thankful

When I take a breath


I begin with thanksgiving

For the simple things of life

My eyes, my ears, my feelings

Wake me up to life


My mind then asks questions

That come to me at the time

Then I follow those questions

Process them with friends


There is one question

It is one I have pondered

What to do with death


When you are ready to look

Search with all your senses

Give yourself plenty of time

Truth will set you free


There are different 

Kinds of death to examine

One is physical

Another is relational

Relationships are hardest


It’s easy to die

It is much harder to live

I will be in discussion

On how to live well

In relationship with friends

And also my enemy


I am not afraid

I have learned that I can think

And process this life journey

Others have done it

So there’s no reason I can’t~

I will not die, I will live

And share the things I have learned

To those who want to listen

I will wait in peace


The doorway to rest

I have learned to be thankful

For the little things


One little thing that I heard

Was said to me by a friend

His words I’ll never forget

“Do not be afraid”


Friends were gifts in my despair

In the darkness of my soul

They came loving me gently

Giving me real hope


written May 24, 2009


a heartbeat

May 19, 2009

There is a heartbeat
That quietly speaks to me
Of a higher love
I have rhythm in my soul
A song to sing in the night
I discovered in darkness
That’s led me to joy
My circumstances were bleak
Relationship emptiness
People I love took their life
Where was I to go
As a child alone
There were no words to utter
The sounds of my soul
As I hear others groaning
I know I cannot save them
Or respond to all I hear
I can say there’s hope
I know relationships die
It’s happening all the time
The children are suffering
God help the children
If you are wise you will think
You’ll look for information
And not assume you have it
That is arrogant
Wisdom is what I’m seeking
Knowledge applied at right times
Looking at all the angles
Of situations