Clarity (Guest Post)

Today’s Guest Post (Which is actually Protagonist’s View’s first GP!) is by Kohler King. I’m so thrilled to share his work with you all! 🙂

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“All I want is clarity, ’cause all of my heroes are frauds just like me.”

These words come from someone whom I highly respect. When I first heard them, I didn’t think too much of them. Only in the last month have I truly begun to understand the truth and depth behind them.

But the truth is, your heroes are frauds. You are a fraud. I am a fraud.

The search for truth has plagued mankind for thousands of years. In our desperate attempt to find the answer, we have ultimately found pleasure in the things we think are truth, namely hedonism. While there is nothing wrong with having a good time, we have idolized it. So much so that we have become self-absorbed with seeking pleasure. 

But wasn’t everything made by God and for God? Yes, but as some of my other friends put it, “when a good God gives good gifts, we generally tend to twist the list and take the good gifts that God tends to give and make general ‘gods’ out of gifts.”

I am a firm believer and a living testimony that one of God’s greatest gifts to us is music. Music can either glorify all our sinful desires (just turn on any pop radio station), or expose all our sinful desires and lead us to repentance. 

I have no desire to brag about myself , but I have every intention of being honest and transparent. Since 2011, I have been in love with Christian Hip-Hop (which will be referred to as CHH). I’m willing to bet you’ve heard of a man named Lecrae. His clique, or “brand” if you prefer to call it that, is 11Six, which comes from Romans 1:16, “For I am unashamed of the gospel…” God has really spoken to me through his music. Same with Andy Mineo. Same with Social Club Misfits. It has so impacted my love for Jesus that I would not be the man I am today if it weren’t for the music. 

Getting back to the main point. I’ve looked up to these guys for so long, I love how God is using them and how they’re (literally) being a light in dark places. But, as I mentioned, all our heroes are frauds.

Something people tend to forget is that these artists, as well as your pastors, are people just like you and I. They have the same demons and same sinful struggles as the rest of us. This is something that social media doesn’t seem to understand. “Fans” will trash their favorite artists the second they stumble. We have put these people on a pedestal and expect them to be perfect, but when they fall, there is no forgiveness. It’s worse when politics come into play. But we won’t go there. 

Sometimes I break and read these comments. They can be heartbreaking. Social media has given us way too much false confidence and narcissism. Everyone on social media is always right, no one is ever wrong. I often see various evangelical leaders post conflicting things, and it has made me question who is right and what to believe.

One can only take so much of that before they break. I echo the question made by Pilate over 2,000 years ago:

“What is truth?”

There is, of course, only one truth: Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Jesus as the truth fulfills the teachings of the Old Testament and reveals the true God. In other words, Jesus is the final and definitive revelation of God’s grace and truth. 

As I write this, Matthew 14:22-33 comes to mind. The disciples of Jesus were in a boat, in the middle of a big storm. They turned and saw Jesus walking on the water (in the storm). Peter, the disciple closest to Jesus, called out, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water (still in the storm) towards Jesus. But when Peter saw the winds of the storm, he became afraid and sank. He cried out for Jesus to save him, and He did. Jesus asked Peter why be doubted, then the disciples worshiped him

We often see Jesus in the midst of our storms. As we walk to Him, we get distracted through fear, idolatry, confusion, fill in the blank. We then begin to sink as a result. But at the end of the day, Jesus will pull us out of the water. 

There is a certain comfort and happiness that can only be found in Jesus. It’s a fulfillment none of your other “gods” can fulfill. 

If you’re confused in life, read the Word. Need guidance? Read the Word. 

This is a mistake I have made, and sometimes continue to make. I replace the Word with music. Music was never meant to be a replacement for the Word or prayer, but rather a supplement. When used correctly, it can be a good one too.

So let every man be a liar. Let only God be true. Because He is.

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Anchor

We often say that we never would have expected to be where we are today. In fact, I’ve literally never met anyone who IS exactly where they expected they would be in life. Our lives are planned, but we’re generally not let in on the plan ahead of time.

It’s hard for everyone, but for me as a writer, it’s particularly frustrating. Writing a story is looking at another (fictional) life and planning how it’s going to turn out. We writers know when our characters will be born, when the most defining moments of their lives will happen, when tragedies will touch them, and when their lives will end. And these characters are 100% clueless as to what will happen on the next page of their story.

Kind of like us.

I definitely wouldn’t have expected to be where I am today. That doesn’t mean I had any definitive idea as to where I’d be, but at each point in my life I thought something different. Almost like certain choices – or things that happened beyond my own control – each threw me into a different parallel universe that eventually wound up here. And now each thing that happens to me in the present and future will continue to do the same thing. And I can’t control ANY OF IT.

I’ll be honest, that sometimes gets to me. And as strange as it sounds, I feel like the characters I create. Each page of my life turns, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. Will it be good or bad? Victory or defeat? Even life or death? Will it take me forward, set me back, leave me right where I am? I anxiously await every page turn will very little patience.

And it’s tiring.

It’s tiring because I have no control, yet I try to. I don’t know what the future holds, but I try to shape it. Whenever we try to take God’s place, we can’t handle it because, well, we’re not God. And in all honesty, despite my desire to control, I’m really grateful for that fact. That even though we want to control the future, we can’t. 

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” That’s the kind of God we’re dealing with. The one who loves. The one who has a plan for us, and that plan is good. No matter what comes in the middle of it – what kind of pain or sadness – His plan is still intact. Even when we take off on our own path and ignore His plan, when we come back to Him and repent, He will guide us in a way that uses all things for good. 

And that’s kind of the point of faith. One of my favorite verses (for obvious reasons) is Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” We have faith in a God who holds the future we don’t see, that He knows what He’s doing and has our best interest in mind with it all. That He will never leave or forsake us, even when we falter. That He loves us too much to leave us alone, or give us a future any less than His perfect plan. 

This world is imperfect. We are imperfect. Trust me, I know I’m imperfect! But our God isn’t. And His plans aren’t imperfect either. He has promised us “hope and a future,” because the two go hand in hand. Not only do we have a future designed by a Heavenly architect, but we also have that hope we need to get us there. Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul…” And I really love the imagery that verse gives. When we go through storms of sadness, pain, trials, and even just confusion and anxiety and everyday stress, we have an anchor that will keep us secure. That anchor is our hope, and that hope is found in our Savior. 

I have gotten too close to the line of losing my faith, but the one thing it’s taught me is that I never, ever want to even think of living my life without Him. Without His love, without His anchor. We are promised eternal life, but even though we’re still stuck in this imperfect world, we have the hope He has given us, and the promise that no matter what happens to us in this life, He will never leave us or forsake us. 

That’s the anchor we have, and the strength we can draw from in this crazy world. The kind that is never ending from our Heavenly Father. 

Transparency


We all have the same tendency to keep things to ourselves. It’s understandable, and necessary a lot of the time. But not as much as we tend to make it. We feel the need to remain on guard, to build up walls and put on a facade just to keep up the image we want of ourselves. In a sense, we’re afraid to share who we really are with the world. I know. I do it all the time.

It’s fear, really, that makes us keep things in. We’re afraid of showing weakness, of appearing vulnerable, or of changing what people think of us. We are afraid, so we keep everything that isn’t perfect or pleasant out of sight of the world. At all costs.

Where does that usually leave us? Never in a good place. Keeping the walls up and making sure no one has the slightest idea of what our weaknesses are is quite a chore. The longer we keep it up, the worse it becomes, and we feel that we can never let anything show.

As writers, our jobs, our mission, our purpose, is to take the stories we have been given and use them for God’s purpose. Sometimes His purpose is to strengthen, sometimes it’s to give a message or a reminder, and sometimes it’s just to simply share the gospel. But sometimes it’s for something else, something deep and personal. Sometimes the purpose is to heal, to show not only that God understands, but that others do as well. Sometimes the purpose is to bring hope by saying that someone else has done it too, and that God is there.

That’s not only personal; It’s vulnerable. How are we supposed to deliver such a powerful message that is way beyond what our fingers can type?

                                                                   Be transparent.

We can come up with stories, with plots and settings and characters and events. We can create a cool story that will excite readers, and create a fictional life and story for each made-up character, but no story, no matter how good it is, will be as powerful, as real, or as vulnerable and transparent as our own.

The most powerful story you can tell is your own.

And even as writers who spend our days and our lives writing stories, we are just as hesitant (if not more) to share our own. Because we suffer from the same fear as everyone else: What will people think? How will they react if they see who I really am? Even if our stories would be shared with people we have never met, we are afraid of what they will think of us.

That fear is what keeps the walls up, and what keeps us from ever being transparent.

We talk a lot about “our stories”, the fictional stories the Lord has inspired us to write. We say that they need to be told, and we work and struggle to get them there. But as much as these are our stories, the ones that God has given us to tell, the truest story that will ever be yours is your own. Your story is the most broken, the most vulnerable, and the most beautiful.

Yes, we’re broken.

And our stories aren’t anything that would be on the NYT bestseller’s list. They’re messed up and embarrassing, and something that would make an editor cringe. And your story is probably the last thing you would ever want to share with the world.

I felt this way for a long, long time. There are still places where my walls are up, and it’s going to take some work to knock them down. But in time, I have gone from completely hidden to someone willing to share pieces of who I really am. Whether they’re weaknesses, quirks, hobbies, or pieces of my past, one by one I have started to let them out. And you know what?

It’s hard.

Every time I let even the smallest piece of myself out there, I’m afraid. I’m nervous. I wonder if people will look at me differently, if I’ll lose credibility, or if I let too much of myself out, I’ll regret it. I fear that if someone learns who I really am inside, they’ll walk away. But I still do it, and even when it’s frightening, it’s exhilarating. And it’s freeing. And it’s right.

Because we are meant to be transparent. Because the broken, ugly pieces of us are the ones that tell a story: a story of salvation. The most broken parts of us are the most beautiful, because Christ has made them that way.

In Ephesians it says that “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” And one of the most frequented verses is from Ezekiel: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

You are beautiful.

And your story is the most powerful, beautiful, wonderful thing you could ever tell. If our stories are kept behind our walls, then the stories of our transformation, of how God has forgiven us and made us beautiful, and of how He can do the same for every person will be locked behind the walls with them. The world will never get to hear the most beautiful story you could ever tell.

I’m broken. I’m hopelessly broken, flawed, and a complete mess. But I want that mess to show. A little bit at a time, I want to share that mess with the world. Because that is my testimony. That is my story. And that is the story of how God can take the most messed-up person and make them beautiful in His eyes.

And somebody needs to hear that.

Not only my story, but yours. There’s somebody out there who’s just as broken and messed up as you, who needs to hear that there’s a God who loves them anyway. That someone else’s story is just like theirs, and that they too can receive salvation.

If we’re transparent, despite our fears, despite how some people may think, or what we may think of ourselves, our stories could be what God uses to change somebody’s life. And only because we let our walls fall, and let God tell – through our mess – the greatest story we could ever tell.

Love

I don’t exactly have the best track record with love. Then again, I don’t think any of us really do. We’ve all felt pain, all been hurt, and all hurt others at some point in our lives. It kind of levels the field. It means we’re human.

But in today’s society (well, in any society), love is a complicated word. There’s the adage that says, “You love your dog. You love your wife. You love your friend. You love your favorite food.” And none of them mean the same thing. There are different levels, and sometimes it’s just finding that level that’s the hardest thing. We blur the lines, we misread and misunderstand just what someone means when they say “I love you.” We’re hesitant to use the word because its definition is so complicated. But even though I’m not an expert in most of those types of love, I just want to share my experience with the subject in general.

My whole life up until about 8 months ago, I found it almost impossible to love. Sure, I liked people. I loved my family in the sense that I would die for them. I always thought that’s what love was: if you’re willing to die for someone, you must love them. But it’s way more than that, as I’ve come to find, on all levels. After truly letting the Lord into my heart, not just my head, a whole new world opened up to me, one I didn’t realize existed.

They say you can’t truly love until you’ve been loved. I believe that 110%. We can do all we can in our limited abilities and experiences to try to love another person, but until we’ve felt an absolutely perfect, unfailing, reckless love, we don’t know the first thing about the topic at all.

Because Jesus is love. And without Jesus, there’s no real love.

I changed 8 months ago because that’s when I recognized God’s love for me. I realized that all the time I felt unworthy or undeserving, I was right. But it didn’t matter. He loved me despite my scars, my sins, my mistakes I continue to make every single day. None of that matters, because His love is so perfect that even though I’m unworthy, He says I’m worthy.

And He loves me anyway.

When you realize that, everything pretty much changes right there. You spend less time focusing on your shortcomings, and more time focusing on how He makes up for them. And when you can finally be free enough to do that, something else incredible happens.

Your eyes open.

And you see that you aren’t the only one who feels that way.

You aren’t the only one who’s hurting, who’s ashamed, who feels unworthy. You aren’t the only one who doesn’t know how to love until you are loved. There are endless people we pass by every day who are hurting and silently begging for someone to show them a love that gives them a reason for living. I came to this realization only after recognizing God’s love enough to step outside myself. And when I finally did, I realized something else more incredible.

I loved them too.

Which, from someone who spent most of their life seemingly incapable of this emotion, was crazy. How could I love someone I barely knew or had never even met? Someone who I’d only chatted with online, or that I’d only spoken to once in person. Maybe someone I just saw from across a room and felt that they were hurting. I feel compassion and love for them. My heart breaks for them.

Because I know how it feels.

And I mess it up sometimes too. Sometimes I feel such deep love that I misread it as something other than simply loving like Jesus. I’m human. I make mistakes. Sometimes I’m not as loving as I should be. I’m selfish and say things I wish I didn’t. I focus more on wanting others to love me than I do on loving them. I’m a Work in Progress, but then again, aren’t we all? That’s what makes a testimony so great. The best stories of God’s mercies, love, and miracles often come from the most broken people, the “lost causes”. And I 100% believe that is intentional. Because by this, God shows us that there is nothing too great for Him and no one too unworthy or too far gone.

And that’s His love right there. The love that He wants to show through us to a broken world. The love so strong that we weak humans can’t handle it without Him. A love that serves, that is selfless. A love that forgives, that accepts, that doesn’t stop no matter what. A reckless love that is beyond compare. A love that makes the world turn their head and wonder where you got it from. That’s a testimony. That’s love.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

Trust Issues

Trust is a hard thing. I’ve often heard the saying that it takes years to build, seconds to break, and a lifetime to rebuild. That isn’t all untrue. It’s crazy to realize just how fragile we are. No matter how strong, confident, or capable we may look or even feel, it often takes nothing more than one broken promise, one betrayal, a few words, and we can be shattered. We’re really just a bunch of glass figurines on the edge of a shelf.

But one of the strangest things is that we really don’t realize how much trust we have to have on a daily basis, with EVERYTHING. If you look at nearly every element of our lives, we’re putting our trust in something or someone. We go to the grocery store and buy food trusting that the manufacturer and retailer made and maintained it well enough for it to be safe enough to eat. We get into our cars trusting the makers built them to the standards they claim, and that something isn’t going to break off three miles down the road. We have relationships and friendships where we have to put our trust in someone whose mind we can’t read, and whose intentions we can’t predict. 

We do a lot of trusting.

And we don’t think about a lot of it.

But trusting is a scary thing, especially when it gets broken. Our trust is broken in every area I mentioned above, and more. Food gets recalled. Cars break down. Friends betray us. Loved ones hurt us. That pure trust we have gets tainted, and we’re left with scars that take a “lifetime” to heal.

And then what are we supposed to do?

I guess we have a couple of options. To stop trusting altogether seems like a pretty easy one. If we don’t trust, we don’t get hurt, right? Sounds simple. But is it? If a food product we buy gets recalled because of salmonella, do we stop buying food? Do we stop eating because we could get sick from it? Of course not! If our car breaks down, do we stop driving cars and walk everywhere? I mean, we could, but I’m willing to bet we won’t. Because even if our trust is broken, we need to move on and live.

That’s easy to say about things we need to live on a daily basis, especially if we don’t have a choice. But what about when we’re talking about more painful things, like broken trust in relationships and friendships? What options are there when our trust in someone we care about is broken? Just “moving on” is a lot easier when replacing a car, but not a person. And learning to trust anyone is hard, especially when you’ve been hurt.

We could take the opposite approach and not trust anyone. I’ve known people who do that. I’ve done it more than I care to admit. It’s actually the easiest and least painful option. If we never put our trust in anyone, we’ll never get hurt. We’re protecting ourselves from pain by avoiding it before it’s even an option. We’re playing it safe, because we’re never going to really know what people will do to us. We can’t trust anyone.

But when we’re playing it safe, what else are we doing? We’re closing ourselves off. We’re shutting ourselves away from everything. Our fear of pain leads us to our exiting life. We may avoid the hurt, but we’re also missing out on the joy of letting ourselves live, love, and yes, trust.

Jesus said to us, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” It isn’t His will that we should live in fear of what may happen. It isn’t His will that we should shut ourselves away from the world, from those who may need us – or those who we may need ourselves. His instructions for us are to go into the world and share His gospel fearlessly. To love as He loves us. But we can’t do that if we are afraid to trust anyone enough to let them into our lives. And I guess that’s where the true answer comes in:

Trust Him.

Trust Him enough to let go of the fear. Yes, there are those who will hurt us. But there are also those who won’t. And just that factor alone is enough to make even the smallest – or maybe the largest – part of our hearts want to try again. To try loving and trusting, all the wile knowing that when we step outside ourselves despite our fears and bad experiences, we are actually trusting Him enough to be with us along the way. So that no matter what happens, we know that He’s with us. And we know that He’s got the future in His hands. 

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Worth It

Today a man took his life. He was successful, he was well known and loved. He had a family who is now left behind. A few days ago a woman did the same thing. She, too, was well-known, very successful, and married, but she took her own life. Last week, a man my Dad works with committed the same act, jumping from a thirteenth-story building and ending his life in front of a couple hundred people, including children.

This happens every day. Middle school students. Parents with young children. Celebrities. Nobodies. Black and white, male and female. People are taking their own lives.

I won’t claim to know what these and the thousands of other suicide statistics had on their mind, or in their hearts, when they did it. Maybe many of them did not mean to die, but they did. And as someone who has met many who considered, and even attempted, suicide, and as someone who contemplated it myself for a brief moment in my life, I have a little experience. It is not enough to judge the intent or situations of those who are no longer with us, but I believe it is enough to say that I think I know the common denominator between them all – the famous, the unknown, the lonely, and the ones who left loved ones behind.

They lost hope.

They found themselves in a corner they saw no way out of. They looked at themselves in a mirror for the last time and felt they could not live another minute. Whether they did it out of guilt or shame, of sorrow or hurt, of anger or fear, they did it. They snuffed out the candle of their own lives and ended everything they could have been, because they ran out of hope.

And hope is what keeps us alive.

When Jesus said that “man does not live by bread alone,” He was right. I mean, He’s always right, but let’s just think about this one. These people were eating. They had money. They had a house to come home to and people around them. They had all they needed to stay alive, but nothing to go on living. Because without hope, it’s all meaningless. No matter how much or little we have, how many or few people we have around us, or how purposeful our life seems to be, hope is the one thing standing between us and the despair so deep it would drive a person to end their own existence on this planet.

I’ve thought a lot about this, and a lot more about it very recently. For the longest time, I didn’t value my life. I didn’t feel I offered anything to this world that another person couldn’t easily do if I wasn’t here. I saw nothing but my shortcomings and the bad things about where I was in life. I had no hope for tomorrow, no hope of anything. And I feel this has to be a lot of what’s going on in the minds of those who go through with it. And with those who still have the scars of an attempt they survived.

I get it.

But I also get what’s on the other end. Somewhere in this world is a little boy who’s going to grow up without a Dad. Somewhere there’s a spouse who is now alone. Somewhere there are friends and coworkers shaken, or a witness who will never be the same. And somewhere there’s somebody who may have needed that one person at some point in their lives. That one person who would understand another’s struggles and give them hope. A life that could have had little moments that would change things, or huge moments that would impact an entire world.

And now it’s lost.

Every single one of us is guilty of forgetting who we are and what we’re worth. We tell ourselves we aren’t special, we aren’t needed, and we aren’t worth it. But that is the biggest, most destructive lie that could ever be told. We weren’t accidents. We didn’t just show up. We were created intricately, by the Hand of a God who loves us individually. Before we were formed He knew who we were and had our entire life as a picture before Him. We are made in His image, which basically means we hold the spirit and the image of the God of the universe inside us. And we each have a purpose for our time on this earth.

The day we choose to end our lives is the day we stop believing that. Because even if we don’t end our physical lives, we end the one He had planned. When we convince ourselves we don’t have a purpose, we stop living and start existing. And when we start existing, we think we’ve proven that we aren’t needed. And that’s when the Enemy tells us we don’t even need to be here anymore.

It’s deadly.

And the only thing that can give us the only hope strong enough to combat this evil force is Jesus. We don’t realize how much we’re worth until we realize what we are worth to Him. Jesus, the Son of the Creator, looks at each one of us every day, when we’re alone, when we’re sad, when we’re angry or afraid or lost, and He says with no uncertainty “You are worth it.” You were worth is when He marched up to Calvary and died. You were worth it when He breathed His last breath so that you could live for eternity – an eternity that doesn’t start when we die, but when we’re born again into His love. When we discover that limitless hope that can fill every hole in us and erase any doubts about our worth. In the moment when we could end everything He has planned for us, we should instead stop.

STOP.

And realize what we’re doing. We’re looking back at the One who says we are worth it, and we’re telling Him He isn’t worth it to us. There are struggles that others are going through that I can’t begin to fathom or relate to or even comprehend, but I know that God is bigger than all of it. I believe this. And His love, His priceless love, is worth it. Jesus is worth it. He is worth it because He said we are worth it, even if no one else thinks that about you, even if you don’t think that about yourself. You are worth it to the God of Heaven, and He is worth living for. It’s not just a cliché. It’s not just something cute that doesn’t apply in those moments when we’re alone and petrified of living another day.

No, that’s when we need Him the most. And that is when He will always be there.

So to anyone who has ever questioned their worth, and to anyone who has ever even considered ending this life, I want to tell you today that you are worth it. And your life is priceless in the eyes of your Father. So if you think you have no reason to live, just know that there’s someone standing there right now with nail marks in His hands who’s asking you to give it another shot and tell Him He’s worth it to you.

Because He’s got a plan for your life beyond anything you could ever imagine. And because you are worth it.

Against the Wall – Memorial Day

Today, as we celebrate Memorial day with long weekends and, like me, nothing due for school, everyone always says to take a minute and remember our fallen soldiers. I’ve always been sort of preoccupied by it. I couldn’t begin to fathom what it must be like to be out there, in a war, a battlefield, or any place where you’re constantly aware that you could lose your life. I also can’t imagine what it’s like to be the spouse, parent, child, or sibling of that person. I have tremendous admiration for all of them.

So to honor those who have given their lives, those who survived, and the families of them all, I’m sharing this. I actually wrote it about five years ago and tried to publish it, but it was never accepted. So I’ve decided not to wait anymore, and I’m sharing it with you guys. One of the few poems I’ve ever written, “Against the Wall.”

Two men stood against the wall,

Knowing either one could fall,

Weapons loaded, Eyes front,

Watched gunfire in the setting sun.

Long had these two known each other,

Not just friends, these two were brothers,

They stood on duty here once more,

As they had many times before.

Dressed in full fatigue were they,

Had stayed there all that tiring day,

But neither left the post they held,

Though fear they had could not be concealed.

The cannons’ roar echoed ahead,

They knew that many would fall dead,

And they knew the closer the cannons’ sound,

The closer it was to where they stood ground.

 

Here bravery was not a word,

Nor heroism a concern,

But to see the rising sun next day,

To survive the attack that the enemy lay.

Minutes passed and hours loomed,

As did the fear of potential doom,

 

One turned and looked at the man beside,

Said, “If one of us make it out alive,

And the other one of us must die,

The one must press on and still fight,

And know that the other one awaits,

On the other side of Heaven’s gates.”

The other turned and watched the sky,

Above gunfire heard a raven’s cry,

He hesitated, did not reply,

For the indescribable fear inside.

 

The First one paused for a moment’s time,

Then spoke the thoughts that came to mind,

“This battle,” he continued then,

“Whether we lose or whether we win,

Means nothing, even if we survive,

If we have no hope of the other side.”

The other, though shaken by his fear,

His faith in God felt a slight more near,

He said, “In a desperate time like this,

One’s tested of the faith that’s his,

Fear of death and trust in God,

On this battlefield so broad,

Is a war all of its own,

In every man out there alone.

The first one stared at the darkening sky,

Said, “That battle’s felt inside of I,

A struggle that grips one’s very soul,

Like a dark, consuming, unending hole.”

 

Close came the sound of the enemy’s guns,

Neither of them thought once to run,

A presence was suddenly felt by them,

As they sent fervent prayers to Heaven,

Comfort filled their desperate souls,

As they were then filled with the Holy Ghost,

For a third man stood by the wall,

And though not seen, was felt by all,

No enemy fire could shake this light,

Nor fear of death overcome the night,

For an angel stood right by their sides,

To protect them through the battle nigh.

 

Two men stood against the wall,

In the night to come one of them would fall,

The other one would come to find,

Of his friend’s sudden demise,

And in his grief he would recall,

What they had said against the wall,

Though fateful was that very night,

The angel had stayed by their sides,

And carried his friend, that brave young man,

To a hero’s seat at the gate of Heaven.

 

In a cemetery in their hometown,

A fresh grave dug into the ground,

A flag above a stone that did bear,

The name of a man no longer there,

And his friend knelt, his eyes closed,

Though couldn’t stop the tears that flowed,

Felt the angel, as on that night,

And knew his friend was still alive,

He stared up at the crisp blue sky,

And said, “I’ll see you on the other side.”