Miraculous decisions

December 29, 2009

I climbed a tree at seven
Alone, sitting nauseous
Confused, no language to speak
The horror I saw
Mother with another man
Drinking, talking unaware
Of the blow she was giving
To a little boy
The decision in the tree
Was to disassociate
Distant emotionally
From the pain inside
My world unraveled
Significant relationships
Shattered before me
Looking back I see darkness
Outwardly my world was dark
Inwardly I searched out
Looking for the light
A mystery discovered
I am larger than my pain
In weakness I found
A child has hidden strength
Unseen by the human eye
When he’s traumatized by life
Receives certain gifts
A decision to seek truth
At any cost know what’s real
A miracle decision
That will bear great fruit
Each day’s decision
To live life genuinely
Responding to truth
Will bring surprising rewards
A joy to be discovered
It takes discipline
Understanding and wisdom
Listening to all the facts
Before deciding what’s true
The truth sets you free
In ways I cannot explain
Looking back I celebrate
Not afraid to speak
I’ll be bold as a lion
With courage I’ll go forward
Miraculous decisions
Looking back I can see
Moments of healing
© Terry S. Smith
 December 28, 2009

the way to joy

December 11, 2009

A gentle hand touches me

A loving smile embraces

I respond with gratitude

Overwhelmed with joy

Each day is a mystery

Who can know what it will bring

I will begin with laughter

Peace comes in the pain

The journey is hard

Easy answers do not work

The trouble is real

My parents failed me

They did not love each other

Home, not a safe place

Their parents failed them also

The cycle must be broken

It’s time to stop the death run

I will start with me

Somebody needs to live it

To reveal the way to joy

Forgiveness stops the cycle

Love will overcome

I’ll be a victim no more

By decisions of others

Responsibility’s mine

Which way I will go

© Terry S. Smith
December 11, 2009
Dedicated to my grandson Preston, who is 6 today.

rising from desperation

October 24, 2009


There’s a world within

A place that never leaves me

How do I deal with the pain

Brokenness abounds

Looking at my inner world

I seek answers for my life


There’s a world without

A place that I can’t escape

Pressures and expectations

Calling me each day

Looking at my outer world

Living becomes a challenge   


There’s quiet desperation

A reality for many

Masks hide the deep despair

The lonely cry out


So sad and lonely

I rose from desperation

Crying out in the darkness

Looking for some light

I found a friend listening

One who had the time to hear


I am larger than my pain

In solitude I found space

How to think and to detach

Discovered new things



© Terry S. Smith

written October 24, 2009


your response

September 23, 2009


No one escapes the trouble

We all “get it in the neck”

The big question to be asked

Is: “What do I do?”


Victor Frankl speaks to this

From a concentration camp

Everyone taken from him

During World War II


His family was destroyed

His wife and children killed

He chose not to be bitter

Surrender his mind


Hatred would have destroyed him

A choice he could have made

In searching he found a way

And he was set free 


Man’s Search for Meaning

The book he wrote in Response

Tells the story well


We all have a choice

Each one is responsible

It’s my decision

What I will do with my life

I am larger than my pain


© Terry S. Smith

written September 16, 2009


Remembering a friend

September 7, 2009

His brother gave him the flask
Water to throw on the fire
Bob was only two years old
It changed his whole life
It was kerosene instead
Bob was burned very severely
Immeasurable pain was his
Both then and ahead
How did he survive?
Pain, grief, guilt, unspeakable
New journey for his family
I met him at twenty-one
He was angry and bitter
He had no friends to speak of
He let me be one
Bob became my great teacher
He let me walk beside him
He opened his heart and his thoughts
He became my friend
His last nine years:
My friend Bob Nelson
Died at the age of thirty
At the end he joked
He taught me to live
He numbered his days by one
Love led him to joy
What was his secret?
There was peace in his presence
Because love found him
This is a love for all
A treasure found in stillness
A voice I have heard
Where can this love be found?
Love is looking to find you
Raise your awareness
In Memory of Bob Nelson
© Terry S. Smith
written August 2008

my parents

August 14, 2009

They were too young to marry
Nineteen and sixteen
With so little direction
Stuck adolescents
No tools to navigate life
No compass to guide them well
No awareness of the sail
Tossed on open seas
When the storms of life hit hard
Bad decisions sunk the ship
The children thrown overboard
Confused and alone
The mother was lost at sea
The father stayed close to help
Giving all he had to care
Relatives helped with love
Survival became my way
Tossing on the sea of pain
With no words to speak the shame
Desperate for love
Looking back I see the light
Of God’s love surrounding me
Meeting every need
Keeping me safe and secure
Helping me survive the storm
written January 19, 2009

Extravagant love

August 5, 2009

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
© Terry S. Smith
written August 1, 2009

Undying passion

July 27, 2009

God defines His love
It came through His beloved
His compassion lives
I know His story
I know my story of pain
His story gives life
He walks with kindness
He is filled with tenderness 
His name is Jesus                  
Jesus speaks of love
He modeled it for us all
Where else can I go?
He suffered for me
He also suffered for you
I can’t comprehend
He is in pursuit
Love always wins when you see
Undying passion
written Fall 2008

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). 

Your beauty

July 16, 2009

Your story is wonderful
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
August 29, 2008

I am not afraid

July 8, 2009


Written while in the Emergency Room.


Death may come today

It’s real and I can touch it

I am not afraid


My blood pressure was too high

They said it was dangerous

These kinds of things will kill you

I’m being tested


It is just a reminder

This body is wearing out

Death is one thing that happens

To male and female


I like who I am

That has not always been so

I’ve learned to forgive


It’s not easy to forgive

Yourself and all the others

Changing points of reference

Has opened my eyes


l thought I that I knew

Then I knew I did not know

I knew I was lost

Then someone found me searching

Eager to teach me real love


There is rest in real silence

I found it in the hallway

Waiting in the hospital

Listening to the sounds


Doctors, nurses giving tests

Explaining to me the risks

If I die I know the reason

Why I am not here


They do it with smiles

Taking the right precautions

Being kind and thoughtful

They are the real thing


My eyes are being opened  

Finding love pursuing me

It is a constant living truth

I cannot deny


July 6-7, 2009

an examined life

July 6, 2009


I awake with a vision

Of who I will be today

I see the vision then go

Into the valley


It is a valley of tears

Of my own and the others

But with the tears there’s laughter

With vision there’s joy


Some think love is a feeling

Certainly it is a part

A flower brings a feeling

But the roots give life


The vision must be rooted

Like the roses of sharon

I found my roots in searching

For what is the truth


I found a person

Whose thinking I have trusted

He is my teacher


An examined life

I discovered a wonder

Of pain and surprise

Of pain because of evil

Of love rooted in a joy


Why do so few find this joy

Where are the people seeking

What really matters the most

There you’ll find freedom


Having the question matters

How can I love and be loved

Seeing life through love’s lenses

This has been my quest


You must want to know

With all of your heart and soul

What is the real truth


Answers will come, I promise

Take responsibility

For what it is that you believe

What you hold sacred


Today’s a good day

It depends on how you think

Not the circumstance

 written July 6, 2009 


path of hope

July 3, 2009

I see pain and rejection
I see fear and loneliness
Is there anyone hearing
These were my thoughts

I couldn’t trust the “many”
The voices who claim to know
The answers to my trouble
I began to search

Believing I could find out
Which direction I could take
To keep from repeating
What was given me
I decided honesty
With myself and those with me
Is the only way to find
A path I could trust

There’s something about
Just making a decision
Not to repeat history
This decision worked
Set me on a path of hope
Believing that I could think

It makes life interesting
When you find the fire in you
That is larger than your pain
Looking for what is real
written June 15, 2008

every morning

July 1, 2009


Every morning I arise

And confront the dark places

When I focus they arrive

Challenging the Peace


I’ve found that these feelings

I awake with each morning

Were falsely handed to me

From generations


Anxiety leads the way

Based on the fears that I have

My desperation hidden

In a secret place


These feelings are masked well here

Behind my pride, lust and greed

I know these are all true

About me and maybe you


I have learned this truth

Train to daily rest

Under stress my feelings rule

I know what they are


Naming my fears has helped me

Writing them down is better

Being honest with myself

I am powerless


When I was age twelve

I had figured out my world

How to survive and succeed 

It worked for a while


Be a “good boy” all around

“Perform to please the others”

“Be strong and show no weakness”

Then things will go well


These are the lies I believed 

My feelings are based on these

The voices that are in me

Are rooted in these


They will never go away

This one thing I have learned well

They’ve created a false self

That hurts me and you


So I meet them each morning

Allow their voices to speak

I am kind and forgiving

Then put them to sleep


A twelve year old will not rule

Who I will be in this day

When the stress arrives

The voice of love will speak


written June 30, 2009