Thursday, December 17, 2009

When I Must Leave You

Many poems allude to the hope that loved ones separated now by death will not always live this way. As the poem below shows, poetry offers a hope, often due to belief in life after death in Heaven with God, a hope that separation will cease when the living also dies and joins the deceased in life eternal.

When I Must Leave You

"When I must leave you for a little while

Please do not grieve and shed wild tears

And hug your sorrow to you through the years.

But start out bravely with a gallant smile;

And for my sake and in my name

Live on and do all things the same,

Feed not your loneliness on empty days,

But fill each waking hour in useful ways,

Reach out your hand in comfort and in cheer

And I in turn will comfort you And hold you near;

And never, never be afraid to die,

For I am waiting for you in the sky!"

~Author Unknown

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

He Only Took My Hand

"Last night while I was trying to sleep,

My son's voice I did hear

I opened my eyes and looked around,

But he did not appear.

He said: "Mom you've got to listen,

You've got to understand

God didn't take me from you, mom

He only took my hand.

When I called out in pain that night,

The instant that I died,

He reached down and took my hand,

And pulled me to His side.

He pulled me up and saved me

From the misery and pain.

My body was hurt so badly inside,

I could never be the same.

My search is really over now,

I've found happiness within,

All the answers to my empty dreams

And all that might have been.

I love you all and miss you so,

And I'll always be nearby.

My body's gone forever,

But my spirit will never die!

And so, you must all go on now,

Live one day at a time.

Just understand-

God did not take me from you,

He only took my hand."

~Author Unknown

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Beyond The Sunset

While the first poem is written as though the deceased is sharing words with the living, this next poem is the living writing to his beloved deceased.

Beyond the Sunset

"Should you go first and I remain

to walk the road alone,

I'll live in memories garden dear,

with happy days we've known.

In spring I'll wait for roses red,

when faded, the lilacs blue.

In early fall when brown leaves fall,

I'll catch a glimpse of you.

Should you go first and I remain,

for battle to be fought.

Each thing you've touched along the way

will be a hallowed spot.

I'll hear your voice, I'll see your smile,

though blindly I may grope,

The memory of your helping hand

will buoy me on with hope.

Should you go first and I remain,

one thing I'll have you do:

Walk slowly down that long long path,

for soon I'll follow you.

I want to know each step you take,

so I may take the same.

For someday down that lonely road

you'll hear me call your name."

~Author Unknown

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Poem For Grieving

This poem is a source of conflict for many because while some attribute it to Mary Frye and think it was penned in 1932, others think it originated as an Native American poem. Regardless, it is one of the most reprinted and requested bereavement pieces in the English language.

A Poem for the Grieving

"Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn's rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there, I did not die..."

~Author Unknown

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Value of Bereavement Poetry

 Poetry about grief and death often hold lines that provide the following for the reader:

* Healing
* Comfort
* Hope
* Affirmation of love
* Beauty
* Forgiveness
* Assurance that the loved one is safe and free
* Certainty that in spite of death there will be reunion again

There are also countless poems to help those who are not in grief understand how to relate to those who are agonizing over the death of a loved one. Many of these strive to explain the aspects of grieving. There are also poems that just convey the sorrow felt when a loved one passes away.

Poems are often read at funerals and memorial services, along with eulogies.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

I Am A Submissive Woman

I am a submissive woman.
I find pleasure, joy, and fulfillment from being submissive to another in a loving relationship. I am not weak, or stupid.
I am a strong woman, with firm views and a clear concept of what I want out of my life.
I do not serve out of shame or weakness, but out of pride and strength.
I look to my loving Master for guidance and protection, for never am I more complete than when he is with me.
I know that he will protect my body, my mind, and my soul with his strength and wisdom.
He is everything to me, as I am everything to him. His touch awakens me and his thoughts free me.
Only in serving him do I find complete freedom and joy.
His punishments are harsh, but I accept them thankfully, knowing that he has my best interests always foremost in his mind.
If he desires my body for pleasure, I shall joyfully give it to him, and take pleasure myself from knowing that I have brought him happiness.
However, the pleasure of the flesh is but one facet of any relationship.
The love, the trust and sharing, the words spoken and felt, those are all parts of this relationship.
My body is his, and if he says I am beautiful, then I am.
No matter what I look like to others, I am beautiful in his eyes, and because of that I hold my head high...
for who can tell me that my Master is wrong in seeing the beauty in me?
If he says I am his princess, then I am that...regal and graceful.
And if I see laughter at me in the eyes of others, I do not recognize it, for who are they to call my Master wrong?
If he says I am his toy, his slut, his tramp, then I am wanton and dirty as he wants me to be, and if others do not see this, then it is they who are blind, not my Master.
My mind is his, to expand, to explore, to know as only he can. I have no secrets from him...for secrets are a thing that would keep me from being more perfectly his.
Secrets would put a wall up between my Master and myself...and I do not want walls.
His lessons are not always ones I would seek on my own, but they are lessons he has decided I need, and so I learn from him.
My soul is his, as bare to his touch as ever my skin could be when I kneel naked at his feet.
Never a moment goes by when I do not feel his presence, be he miles away or standing over me.
If I were to ever displease him, his displeasure would be a blow to my soul, worse punishment than any lashes could be.
The anguish of my soul that I feel when I disappoint him is harder to bear than the physical anguish I feel when his belt caresses me with fire.
I spend my days knowing that the energy and thought he puts into our relationship is as much for my benefit as for his, and look forward to each lovingly crafted scene that we do together.
His part is much harder than mine, and I know this and am grateful that he cares enough about me to spend his time and energy so freely on me.
I have the easier job: to feel, to experience, to let myself go and abandon everything to him.
I am his pleasure and his responsibility, and he takes both seriously.
I am a submissive woman. I am proud to call myself that.
My submission is a gift that I do not give lightly, and can only be given to one who can appreciate that gift and return it tenfold.
Only to he who has that strength will I give myself fully, because I am strong and proud.
I am a submissive woman.

author unknown

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An Internet Pornography Junkie Comes Clean

I immersed myself again and again, trying to wash off the insanity that was enveloping me. Then, from out of the sky, came salvation.

In light of a recent article on Internet pornography, I decided to come out of the closet - or in my case, the garage - by confessing my shameful personal nightmare, in the hope that my experience will help others escape their own cyberspace hells.

I can attest to Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi's assertion that the problem of Internet pornography is not limited to Jewish teenagers, and that "respectable" and frum [religious] adults like me are not immune to the temptations of nocturnal surfing. Probably like me, many of the Internet's victims never dreamed that they would fall into such a terrifying web of pollution and deceit. But this is exactly what happened, suddenly, after fifteen years of a happy marriage, in a modern Orthodox, New Jersey community, where I worked as a successful accountant.

It all started when the company I worked for ran into some financial problems and I was laid off. At first, I didn't panic. We had some money in the bank, and I looked at the layoff as a chance to catch up on some work in the yard and at the synagogue, where I had been serving as treasurer for the past several years. But when two months passed and I couldn't find a new job, I started feeling nervous and depressed. My wife complained that I was coming down on her with greater frequency. When she became fed up with my gloomy moods and outbursts, she decided to take the kids to her mother's for a few days.

Meaning that I was a bachelor, alone in the house, with a computer.

I guess that was all that my evil inclination needed. I was doing a job search in my makeshift home office in our two-car garage when some foolish whim flew into my brain and got me to type a dangerous word on the keyboard. I told myself I would just have a peek to see what it was all about. Of course, I had heard about the problem of pornography on the Internet, but I had never been drawn to it before. What can I say? I was startled. Amazed. Blown away by this exciting, forbidden world at my fingertips. With a racing heart, I typed in other words, and made more brazen searches. My forehead was sweating.

When the telephone rang, I almost fell off my chair in fright, as if I had been caught in the act. It was my ten-year-old daughter, calling to wish me goodnight. Did I ever feel like a bum. But I was hooked. I kept on, eyes glued to the screen, driven by some monstrous passion. The next thing I knew, it was four in the morning. I had been transfixed in my chair for six hours. Horrified, I shut down the computer, closing the lid on the Pandora's box that I had opened, hoping to trap the devilish genie inside.

A few hours later, the alarm clock woke me in time to make Shacharit prayers at the shul. But on my way to the car, the genie got me again. Laying my tefillin aside, I switched on the computer. With a terrible guilty feeling, I sat down at the screen and typed in words and phrases that I had never dared utter with my lips. I didn't eat. I didn't pray. With a racing heart, I stared and stared at the erotic images, knowing that I was doing something terribly wrong. But I was driven - unable to stop.

When the doorbell rang, I panicked. I sat frozen at the computer, feeling like a burglar in my own garage. Without breathing, without making a sound, I waited for the intruder to go away.

Then, I remembered that the computer saves everything, so I frantically started to trash all of the endless lists of embarrassing internet history files that I had created. What would be, I thought, if my wife suddenly came home and caught me in this adulterous sin? But when the evidence was erased, I started up once again. All that day and night. I am not sure if I even ate. I know I didn't sleep.

When my wife got home, she found me crashed out in bed in my clothes. I told her I was feeling sick. I was unable to look at her, as if I had truly committed some terrible sin.

That's how it was for the next several months. I lived the life of an adulterer, hiding my horrible secret, hardly able to look my wife in the eyes, ashamed to face my kids.

But the burning shame didn't stop me. Every opportunity I had, I was back in the garage. I told my wife I was searching for a job on the Internet, tracking down all possible openings. During the day, I would go for a drive to get out of the house, telling my wife that I was going to job interviews. I felt like a chronic gambler, sneaking off to make an illicit bet; like an alcoholic with a hidden bottle. I hated myself for lying to her, but what could I do? I didn't know how to stop. As far as I knew, there wasn't an Alcoholics Anonymous for Adult-Site Surfers like me. I would run away from the house to get away from the madness, but the minute I came home, I was back in the garage. My children complained that I was hogging the computer, so I went out and bought them one of their own, to keep them away from mine.

Believing I was suffering from depression, my wife begged me to find work, any work, before I went out of my mind. She even suggested I speak with a shrink. Our intimacies ceased. I felt so low and loathsome, I couldn't bring myself to be with her when my mind was filled with so many haunting images.

There is no point in prolonging the story. On the Sabbath, I had a break from my madness, but come Motzei Shabbat, I was back in the garage.

One night, I turned around and was shocked to see my fourteen-year-old son staring at me in wonder.

"Damn!" I screamed. "Look what popped up on the screen!"

Wildly, I smashed at the keyboard, trying to wipe out the image. Finally, I yanked out the plug. "Now you know why I don't want you on the Internet," I yelled, leading him back into the house, as if he had done something wrong, not me. The boy was speechless. He started to cry.

My God, what am I doing to my family, I thought?

"You wouldn't believe the pornography that popped up on the Internet," I told my wife, to provide myself with an alibi before my son told her. "We have got to get a server with a censorship device to protect the kids."

I guess that's when I hit rock bottom. I felt so ensconced in impurity that I wanted to jump into a mikvah [ritual bath]. But the mikvah in our community is only opened on Fridays for men, and that was five days away. So, I got in my car and drove out of town to a small forest lake.

"Please, God," I begged. "Help me to get out of this mess."

It was close to midnight when I parked by a secluded edge of the lake, stripped off my clothes to total nudity, as is custom when going to the mikvah, and dove into the water. I immersed myself again and again, trying to wash off the insanity that was enveloping me. Then, from out of the sky came salvation.

When I got back to shore, my clothes weren't there. Back and forth, I ran along the beach, searching and searching, but nothing was there. The only thing the thief had left behind was my cellphone. Standing there naked, without clothes, without wallet or identity, I knew that it was from God. I knew with a soul-shaking shudder that the horror and humiliation I felt had come to cleanse me, to make me understand how far I had fallen.

I had no choice but to phone my wife. I told her I had gone for a swim. That a thief had stolen my clothes and the car. I huddled alone, like Adam, shivering, hiding naked in the bushes, until she arrived. She gazed at me like I was crazy. What could I say? We drove back home in silence. Her eyes were filled with tears. That's when I made the decision to stop.

The next day, I went to the rabbi and told him my tale. Like an alcoholic at an AA meeting, I came totally clean. I told the whole story. For the first time in months, I felt a sense of relief. He didn't give me a sermon. He didn't have to. He told me to come every morning for Shacharit prayers and invited me to learn Torah with him for a half-hour each day. By the next day, he had found me a job with a very good firm. He never said a word about the computer, as if it never happened.

It has been over a year now since I broke the habit. I go to the synagogue every morning and learn Torah for a half-hour with a friend. In the evenings, I learn Torah with my son, and three times a week with a neighbor. For now, the evil genie is back in the bottle. To be sure he stays there, I switched to a porn-free server. I can't say that the temptation has left me completely, but knowing that I have to face the rabbi in the morning keeps me out of trouble. And things, thank God, are good again at home.

So that's my story. I am sure there are many others like it. I was lucky. God answered my prayers. This Hebrew month of Elul [the month of repentance preceding the Rosh HaShanah holiday], if you are one of the anonymous victims of the Internet, may He answer all of your prayers, too.