Awakening to Love

July 4, 2011

My soul in the dust
Your words can revive me
Teach me your ways
Create in me a hunger
To know you and follow you
Let me grasp your real presence
Meditate on your wonder
My grief is overwhelming
I sit in despair
No one seems to care
An obstacle many face
Where are my friends
Is there anyone to see
The brokenness of my soul
I have found there’s only one
Who sees me and knows me well
A mysterious treasure
Let your love break through
Your law has become my joy
It reveals deliverance
It is sweet like the honey
On the honeycomb
Jesus fulfilled the law
Entered the depth of my pain
Made it possible to see
The heart of my God
He sends the Holy Spirit
To comfort in my weakness
Give power when I’m afraid
Renew the Father’s love
Hold me when I cannot move
Speak for me when I cannot speak
Secure me in my deepest place
Just be still, let go
A decision I can make
When I sit in unbelief
I can choose to believe him
One who chose to love
Remember the times
Meditate on his story
Consider his love
It is personal to you
Just come to him as you are
I’ll run to your commands
For they have set my heart free
“I bind myself to do your will”
I will choose your love
© Terry S. Smith
June 28, 2011
The line in quotations is from The Abbey Psalter of Psalm 119:25-32.
Written after meditating on Psalm 119.


November 22, 2010

Who is this God, my Father
He is mighty in power
No limit to His insight
His understanding
He heals the brokenhearted
And He binds up the wounded
He knows the number of stars
Each of them by name
Listening and gentleness
Understanding your story
Then focusing on God’s story
You’ll find peace and hope
Come out of the pit
Open my eyes to what’s true
The unfailing love of God
Will be my delight
It’s where I place my hope
Lead me to those who are seeking
Each person is free to decide
But He will sustain the humble
I have chosen to listen
Focus on true love
I need wisdom & insight
I seek it with all my heart
I’ll define myself
By the one who gives me life
Who demonstrated His love
© Terry S. Smith
October 30, 2010
Reflections written after mediating on Psalm 145-147.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3

Love demonstrated

April 22, 2010


I see the wounded

Many trapped by guilt and shame

My heart breaks for them


There are so many

Where can they go for comfort

Those who look will find


I want to be a light

Hold the candlestick of joy

High above circumstances

Look them in the eye

Remind them how great they are

Proclaim they are the beloved


The storm became a whisper

The waves lay still and quiet

The human heart was rested

With unfailing love


I was at “wits end”

I cried out in my distress

I was calmed by love


The mystery seen

The unseen becoming real

You need real knowledge


Love makes sense to me

Hatred will only destroy

Joy’s the fruit of love


Love seen in action

Is what I’ve been looking for

Demonstrated care


People are precious

To be treated with respect

With no strings attached


Reflections from Psalm 107 and Proverbs 22

© Terry S. Smith, April 22, 2010


The Calm

April 13, 2010

Looking back I see
Devastating decisions
That were destructive

My own and others
Forgiveness is what’s needed
Who is willing to give

Can my tears be seen
Are the cries of my heart heard
Looking back I know
In the stillness of the night
I heard a gentle whisper

“You are forgiven”
These words were sweet to my ears
Rooted in reality
There’s a place of rest
Where I found joy in the storm
The calm that brings certainty
©Terry S. Smith
April 8, 2010
I’m looking for direction
I’m waiting at the doorway
I’m listening for your voice
The voice of wisdom
Where can I find this wisdom
It is a search each must take
Your life will depend on it
Decide what you want
I know I desire to live
Love and joy at the center
Where relationships flourish
I know what I want
Since I made the decision
To look outside my feelings
Get input from wiser souls
My life is enriched
Want only good for others
Is the first piece of advice
Start with being kind to self
Decide you’re worth it
There is a book of wisdom
Penned three thousand years ago
It’s called the book of Proverbs
I read it daily
© Terry S. Smith
March 8, 2010
Written after meditating on Proverbs 8, and Psalm 37.

A flourishing life

February 22, 2010

What is it you want
Give language to your desires
Plan accordingly
I have learned to dream
Bring discipline to my plan
Seek, listen, write and respond
I’ll pay attention
Choose your mentors well
Make them the best that you know
Then do what they do
I have learned to ask for help
Before I act, not after
Decide to do good
Back that goodness with knowledge
Aim at self-control
Perseverance is a must
Look with wonder at your world
Be kind to those you meet
In the presence of others
Give your utmost respect
It is sacred ground
After kindness give your love
If you will practice these things
You will discover real life
Relationships flourish
© Terry S. Smith
February 13, 2010
For my grandson Peter, on his fifth birthday.

Life Dance

January 31, 2010

I want to narrow my life
And be clear of my focus
Know exactly why I’m here
Be faithful to love
There is a rhythm of joy
A dance of life I will find
It has beautiful movements
Lovely to behold
Pay attention to detail
I will practice the basics
Concentrate on the movement
Until natural
All people can learn this dance
There are four steps you must learn
Awareness and intention
Will go along way
Add on to that attention
Then focus on attitude
Study these words carefully
And practice daily
Terry S. Smith
January 16, 2010


January 13, 2010

Heritage – a striking word
Is something that we all have
Others will ponder
My children reflect
They know the good and the bad
When I am gone they will see
Remember the truth
Of the way I live my life
Inspires me to wise choices
Do not speak rashly
Those words will cut the heart out
Of the little ones
Trustworthy envoys
Will bring healing to the soul
Joy to the hurting
Emotional, Spiritual
Consider these three
Process with integrity
This relationship journey
Seeking truth on every front
Do not be afraid
Thinking, feeling and loving
Integrate all three of these
With those living close to you
You’ll discover joy
Loneliness can be a gift
I’ll surface the heavy rocks
That are weighing down my soul
Direction can come
Do not be afraid
To ask the real hard questions
You were built for joy
Those of us who know the pain
Who still live in it today
Can listen and understand
And offer you hope
© Terry S. Smith
January 13, 2010
Written after meditating on Proverbs 13,  Psalms 61-65, and My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers.


January 11, 2010

A steadfast spirit
I seek on this life journey
What does that look like?
I think of kindness
And respect for others
Those nearest me
I’ll look to refresh
Learn what it means to love them
Consider their needs
I am in training
To learn a foreign language
The language of love
Give respect to all
Because they are human beings
Just because they are
We all make a decision
What is the basis of love?
How I will treat you
Will be determined by me
Not by how you treat me
I learned this from my teacher
Who modeled living in joy~
Love that is larger than life
Peace that is deeper than pain
Joy that is overflowing
A discovery

It’s outside the box
A treasure to be found
By those who are seeking
© Terry S. Smith
January 11, 2010

Be still

January 8, 2010

We all need a hiding place
To be quiet and be still
Where safety is all around
And you hear a song
The song is a song of hope
Of deliverance and peace
My soul leaps for joy
My heart overflows
A different beat
Rooted in the joy of love
That’s larger than life
Why can’t I hear it
The distractions are many
The voices are just too loud
I’ll learn to be still
I will train to listen well
I will choose the voice of truth
The snare comes in pleasing men
Giving others the power
Expecting them to give me
The life that I want
I’ll not live in deception
I’ll not live my parent’s way
They lost their relationship
And we all suffered
It’s never too late
To start all over again
You are forgiven
Terry S. Smith
January 7, 2010

Gentle in failure

December 26, 2009


I’m always learning

I will be mindful of you

Of the things you say


It will be my intention

To pay attention to you

To maintain an attitude

Of love and kindness


My focus is important

On what holds life together

What motivates me each day

On what matters most


I’ll be gentle in failure

With you and all those around

I have learned a basic truth

You get what you give


© Terry S. Smith

December 26, 2009

A Christmas Story

December 24, 2009

This picture and article appeared on the front page of the Burlington Daily Times on December 24, 1985, in metropolitan Boston.  My mother died in the year 2000, at the age seventy-seven connected in the heart, soul, and mind with the joy of His peace.


A Christmas Story

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 six 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 relatiionships.  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.


joy defines the soul

December 14, 2009

As wax melts before the fire
As smoke is blown by wind
As light exposes darkness
Joy defines the soul
I will give thought to my ways
I’ll pursue paths of freedom
How I think is important
I will think clearly
A heart of peace gives me life
My body becomes rested
I am ready to be kind
To those who’re in need
I’m in relationship
With myself and with others
Joy with skin on it
Maintaining the joy
Is a secret I have learned
It’s larger than death
It still takes my best thinking
When I arise each morning
I’m quiet and reflective
A simple practice
I always take space
To consider what is true
Then relax and celebrate
A much larger love
Big enough to face trouble
That’s in me and in you
I’m always learning
Seeking new information
How to live in joy
© Terry S. Smith
December 14, 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.

Live well

November 29, 2009

Love, a narrow road
Few people choose to take it
Those who do find joy
Forgiveness is a mountain
Disciplined thinking will help
Overcoming distractions
Rooted in the pain
The fruit of unforgiveness
Is poisonous and deadly
It robs the soul of joy
There is no relief
I have found a way
To look at myself with love
If I can forgive myself
I can forgive you
© Terry S. Smith
November 22, 2009