Life, memoir, Stories

Revisiting Chapter 9 – Wearing Masks- “Who Are We Really?”

What hides behind the smiles and the vacant eyes? Aren’t we tired of wearing masks? — Mark Wayne, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry #Memoir #Grief #Healing #LifeAfter #Tramua https://amzn.to/3kdR49E

Chapter 9, Wearing Masks – “Who Are We Really?” is the beginning chapter of Part 2: Embracing the Present of my memoir Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry.

This chapter bounces from the recent present, to the fall of 2004 when my only child was born, and back to the summer of 1993 in the months following Luka’s death. The questions I pose throughout this chapter still remain to this day, although many have lost much of their roar and ferocity simply by the act of naming them and casting them out into the world through my memoir. And there is this…

Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. ~C.S. Lewis #Quote #WickedQuestions #UnanswerableQuestions

Life is filled with unanswered and unanswerable questions and life seems so random at times. But what if there was a purpose of something larger than ourselves. how would we then live? The questions that haunt our waking hours would slowly melt away and others might rise to take there place.

  • God, what are you up to in all of this?
  • What is my true role in all of this?
  • What is my impact on others?
  • How can I … (fill in the blank)

Just a few questions that I have pondered as I walk this path set before me. As opposed to the why me questions, that still pop up from time to time. Pulling on my boots and moving forward because sometimes when you can you should.

I plodded through my days, often feigning a reluctant acceptance because, you know, cowboys don’t cry; they just ride away.

CHAPTER 9, WEARING MASKS – “WHO ARE WE REALLY?” – PAGE 85, MARK W. SCHUTTER

Read my thoughts on Part 1 – Reconciling the Past and the first eight chapters of my memoir, links below.

God, Life, Writing

Death has always been a big deal!

Photo taken at Old West Village – Cody, Wyoming

Death has always been a big deal! #Grief #Trauma #LifeAfter

There are hundreds of bible verses about death, promising a blessed hope after this life. We joke, we ignore, and we trivialize death at every turn. If our physical death is inevitable for each of us why do we so often refuse to acknowledge it?

For centuries throughout history, death has always been a big deal… after a person has died. Ornate ceremonies and trappings to celebrate the life of the one who has died. Fancy carriages like the one above, now hearses, that carry the dead body towards a final resting place. Coffins that are spectacular in their craftmanship that only serve to rot in the ground or burn up in the fire.

  • And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. ~Ecclesiastes 12:7
  • For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. ~Romans 14:8
  • And everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? ~John 11:26
  • The last enemy to be destroyed is death. ~1 Corinthians 15:26
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. ~Matthew 5:4

These are only but a few of the many bible verses about death. It is coming for all of us. Do you believe in the one who conquered death?

The only one who died and rose again was and is Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16

Have you placed your trust and faith in him? Death is coming for us all, what then?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~John 14:6

memoir, Writing

What Keeps You Up At Night?

My latest email newsletter had dropped and below is a preview!

Happy 2022 and I need your help!

The free pdf I am offering below is a precursor to other resources I am
currently creating including different online courses related to grief and
healing. So my questions to you are:

  1. What thoughts related to grief, pain, loss and healing keep you up at
    night?
  2. What is the hardest thing you have had to navigate as it relates to your
    experience with grief, pain, loss, and healing?
  3. What do you really want as it relates to your own grief, pain, loss, and
    healing?
    Just hit reply to this email and let me know. Your responses will remain
    anonymous but will also inform the creation of resources that will help others.

Thanks!

Read the rest of the newsletter here and sign up to get the newsletter delivered directly to your email box and instant access to a free pdf.

Thanks and have a great day!

Stories, Writing

A Conversation – What is truth?

Sharing a piece of writing I did recently below, let me know what you think in the comments.

“What is truth?”

The words like honey slowly covered me in the air around me. He sat quietly, his eyes soft and inquiring. Simply waiting as if he had all the time in the world, which he did.

I averted his loving gaze as my feet scraped the linoleum floor beneath the table. I fidgeted in my seat and running my hand over my head and through my hair before looking back into his clear eyes. Eyes that carried so much emotion, strength and power. Like the ocean waves that never ceased washing up on shore it was hard to look away once our eyes locked. My upper teeth bit into my lower lip as it curled inward and I swallowed hard. I felt the lump in my throat like a huge wad of dry bed I could barely get down.

And still he waited his hands clasped in front of him, fingers intertwined, as they rested on the table top. I stared across the dark wood of the table and took a deep breath and exhaled loudly. His expression did not change. My voice trembled as I began to speak, the tone carried none of the sarcastic authority that I had intended.

“What is truth?”

He continued to stare, his eyes softening a little at my remark causing my anger to rise and leaning forward I spat out the words.

“You quote those words back at me like I am the villain here? You have no idea what I have been through. How hard this is.”

I sat back in my chair as shame washed over me as soon as the words had let my mouth and hung in the air between us. And yet his loving gaze never changed. My mind swirled and I felt myself feeling light headed. I grasped the edge of the table to steady myself before softly saying.

“I don’t know what you want from me.”

He only stared, as small smile played at the corners of his lips. We sat staring at each other for several seconds, his eyes never leaving my face before he said in a soft voice.

“You can trust me. You know that don’t you?”

I swallowed hard again my throat was dry. I reached for the glass of water on the table and before I could reach it, he swiftly reached out his hand and gently pushed it towards me. I smiled through clenched lips and nodded a thank you as my fingers closed around the cold glass. Bring it to my lips I drank deeply the cool clear water cascading down my throat like a waterfall over the edge of a cliff.

I set the glass down heavily back on the table with a loud thud as it slipped from my grasp. I quickly glanced up at him in surprise at the sharp clack of the glass with the wooden table top. His expression still did not change and as our eyes met, he said.

“You have not answered my question.”

I feigned what I hoped was a surprised ignorance and spoke in a voice that I hoped conveyed a non-interest, “What question is that?”

“I did not come here to play games with you. Time is short and there is much to do.”

His response was immediate and pointed his voice rising only barely from the soft-spoken words of earlier. Although, I could feel the emphasis that emanated from his comment. I hesitated knowing he deserved an answer to his question but afraid of my own response. He sat back in the chair and continued to speak and although subtle his tone seemed a shade softer.

“You remember the stories I have told?” He questioned, continuing not waiting for me to reply.

“I use them to communicate truth. I know, I know we are back to the beginning now. What is truth? Right? The age-old question that has haunted man, driven him to seek, and even caused him to go against his very nature at times in the quest for truth. There truly is no depth of depravity for the truly wicked. But that is not what we are here to discuss. So, I let’s get back on topic, shall we?”

He paused for a moment staring intently at me. I nodded slowly, my throat was now dry again and I glanced quickly at the now empty glass on the table top, licking my lips as I did so. He continued to stare at me and if his gaze had not been so unobtrusive it would have been unnerving but rather it felt oddly comforting.

“I am, and all I am asking if for you to believe and if you trust me.”

I felt the swell of anger explode like a volcano spewing lava and clouds of ash into the air as I grabbed the table edge hard with my hands and shouted.

“What is truth? Do you trust me? Why the questions, why the damn questions! I am so tired, tired of trying and yet, I don’t know what else to do. I am seeking this truth you mention and also trying to trust. I least I think I am but it gets me nowhere. So, I ask you who do I trust? If I trust you are there others also? What then? What then!”

“Is it too much to ask that I find some solace and answers to my questions. Living in this dungeon of mystery is almost too much. The darkness seems overwhelming and suffocating. I wander through the days each no different from the one before and on and on it goes.”

“You say trust me, what then? You are the only one I trust and still… it seems to get me nowhere. You see that don’t you? How could you not understand? How could you sit there just staring like it doesn’t matter? What is wrong with you? I always believed you cared, I always wanted to believe that you cared. Now it seems I don’t matter? What am I supposed to do with that?”

“Every inspirational Hallmark card couldn’t make this better nor fix things. It is what it is.”

My voice trailed off as I shrunk back in my chair exhausted from my outburst my eyes averting his gaze. Finally, after several seconds of silence I slowly looked up and the love and concern emanating from his eyes overwhelmed me. The strength of his gaze would have knocked me to the ground if I had not been sitting in the chair. As it was, I felt my back press tighter against the wooden slates behind me.

“I only ask that you trust me. The rest is often irrelevant and often inconsequential to this story. Your story. For you see you can only read a book one page at time, on word and one sentence at a time. This also applies to your life. For it is only lived forward, not backwards and not all at once. One step, or one page at a time. And we don’t see what is on the next page until we get there.”

He smiled and I felt the warmth of his love wash over me. I nodded suddenly so weary it was all I could do to hold my head up and keep his gaze. Leaning forward he reached a tanned arm across the table and gently took my hand in his. It was warm and comforting, soft and rugged at the same time. I bowed my head, my chin to my chest as the tears began quickly rolling down my cheeks and falling onto my leg causing dark blue spots on my jeans.

Continuing to hold my hand he said nothing. I cried, the tears flowing easily and effortlessly and I let them come. It was cathartic and if I had wanted to, I don’t know if I could have stopped them. After a few minutes the tears ceased to flow and I lifted my head to see his eyes still staring at me with the same look of compassion and love. I heard the sound through the open window of the last autumn leaves rustling in the trees. It was a melodic wind chime sound of nature. For a moment I was transported.

The meadow in front of me was vast, the tall golden grasses waving in the breeze. On the far side of the meadow was a stand of aspen trees. Their leaves were still in full glory and they flashed as golden coins suspended at the end of each small whiteish branch. The sky overhead was a canvas of blue as the sun was sinking behind the mountain range far to the west. I scanned the scene reveling in the solitude and quiet. Nothing here that troubled me mattered and all was as it should be. I felt the last rays of the sun’s warmth on my arms and I relished the embrace. I stood motionless listening to the soft rustling of the grasses. It felt like home, or at least what I imagined home to be like, for I had never known what a real home was.

Warm, comforting, and inviting.  Most of safe, a place where one could go to retreat to escape to and also to move forward. My soul yearned for just such a place and I felt the warm tear roll down my check before it touched my lips and I tasted the salt on my tongue. The voice came from nowhere and everywhere at once. It surrounded me and held me fast in an embrace.

“Do you trust me?”

I slowly nodded my head as and heard the shriek. Quickly glancing up into the sky I saw the red-tailed hawk soaring high overhead across the meadow. He circled once before flying off towards the aspen grove and disappearing over the tree tops.

“If you want to know, what truth is you must trust me.”

My eyes shot open and he was still staring at me with love and concern. As I stared into his eyes, I would have sworn I saw a hint of sadness there also.

God, Life, Writing

In the End

In the end do not become someone who you never were. #Quote #Poetry #Encouragement #Motivation

Be you, for if you are not no one else could be.

A recent experience led me towards becoming someone who I am not. Through the grace and mercy of Yah and my beautiful wife I have been comforted by Holy Spirit in gentle correction from the lies I was allowing myself to believe.

Now I am holding on the truth of who I was created to be and my destiny. I am claiming the blood of Yeshua over my heart and actions, purposing to follow and live my dreams moving forward.

Now I encourage you to believe in the one who came so that we may have life abundantly. Now go and ⬇️

God, Grief, Life, Writing

Though He Slay Me…

Though he slay me, I will hope in him. ~Job 13:14 #Encouragement #Faith #Motivation

It has been a rough last few weeks. Truth be told it’s been a rough past few months and even the whole year of 2020. I am not even talking about COVID-19, stay at home orders, social distancing, fears of infection from the virus, racial and civil unrest or even the current chaos of our political system.

Simply said my family has watched a beloved member’s health slowly decline. So much so that in the end it is hard to see who they once were. Illness and disease can do that to you.

Yet we can still hold hope, for ourselves and others, of better days ahead. As Job’s faith stayed fast even during his trials, I pray that we can all do the same.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Stay the course, live your dreams, and just believe, hope lives.

God, Life, Poetry

The Truth is We All Need Saving

Only you can save my soul.
Only You Can Save My Soul.

Only you can save my soul and drive my demons away. The only truth that can save a wretch like me. #Poetry #Quote #Writing #Faith #JustBelieve

With the lock downs and stay at home orders over the recent months it has been a while since my family has actually attended a live church service. This little poem is an attempt to capture the false sense of security we seek within the church that can only be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

It is not in a great worship band, the music and lights, dynamic preaching, or even the fellowship we find in connecting with others. All good things no doubt but they can also lead us to put our faith and trust in “the sweet poison of the false infinite” to quote C.S. Lewis.

We need more than that for our broken hearts and to slake the longing within our souls. The church with all it’s good intentions can often be a place that unfortunately hurts us and alienates us even further from God.

We do not need slick presentations and entertainment we need truth. The truth is we need him now more than ever to save us from ourselves and we all need him to save us.

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople

Sometimes there is no justice only mercy. (James 2:13) #Truth #Faith #Believe

Life, Writing

Be You – Motivation Monday!

Stop!

Trying to be who you are not that.

Trying to be who others want you to be.

Trying to be someone you are not.

BE YOU!

You were created for a special purpose and only you can fulfill that role.

#YouMatter #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople

STOP! Trying to be who you are not that. Trying to be who others want you to be. Trying to be someone you are not. BE YOU! #YouMatter #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople http://www.markschutter.com