You Could Have Saved Yourself

•March 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

jesus-on-the-cross1

One word from your majestic lips
That’s all it would have taken
In one breath, you could have flipped the script
and shown them all they were mistaken

You didn’t have to close your eyes
When you chose to pay the price

You could have saved yourself
Let the world go to hell
You could have saved yourself
You saved me

What if you’d spoken the Father’s name
and summoned twelve angelic legions
With your accusers on their knees in shame
You shook the Earth out from beneath them

That’s how the story could have gone
Instead you took our burdens on

You could have saved yourself
Let the world go to hell
You could have saved yourself
You saved me

They stripped you, they crowned you
They laughed and danced around you
They struck you, they mocked you
They spat on you and flogged you

You bore it all, you held your tongue
You said, “they know not what they’ve done”
You chose to die, love that endures
When you said, “Not my will, but yours”

You could have saved yourself
Let the world go to hell
You could have saved yourself
You saved me

© 2013 Marcus Rowe

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The View From the Back Forty

•November 14, 2012 • 1 Comment
2 Days Old

Two Days Old

40 found me today.  I guess my dad was right.  He told me a long time ago that the older you get, the faster the days fly by.  He’s 71 now, but I’ll bet he remembers turning 40 like it was yesterday.  I still remember the first time I really started to grasp how quickly time passes, and how helpless we are to stop it.  It was my 10th birthday.  Thirty years ago today.  I can still hear, word for word, someone (I can’t remember who) saying, “Just think, Marcus – No more single digits!”  It was a simple, well-intended comment, but it saddened me for a few minutes – to the point of tears.  My childhood was slipping away…  and then there was cake and gifts and the rest is a blissful blur.

I remember 11 and 12.  Junior High.  I met my best friend for years to come, Dave Miller.  Dave introduced me to

Almost Five

Almost Five

U2 (we’re talking The Unforgettable Fire) and we eventually lived out high school around an eclectic mix of that great band and others like UB40 (an ironic name considering this post), The Style Council, Sinead O’Connor, Erasure, Yaz, Bob Marley, and Icicle Works.  We also learned a lot about life from that great philosopher, John Cusack.  The Sure Thing and Say Anything can be quoted from start to finish.

I remember 13-17 like it was yesterday.  High School.  Good, good times.  Here is where I literally found my voice, thriving in the musical and dramatic arts and evolving into the singer/songwriter I thought the world would know and love.  I found my first love and spent more than two years in the relationship that I thought would last a lifetime, but it was my own naiveté that broke her heart (and eventually mine).  At 13 to 17 years

7th Grade?

7th Grade?

old, you think you’re immortal.  You believe that any decision you make can simply be corrected if wrong, and that consequences are irrelevant.  For the most part, these beliefs held true until after High School.

18 to 21 was tricky.  College out-of-state, 600 miles from home.  Free to make my own decisions, for better or worse.  It was during this time that I learned the hard way that some decisions can’t be reversed and will affect the rest of your life.  You can only hurt some people so many times before they decide not to take you back.  “Elective surgery” will come back to haunt you.  It destroyed my singing voice and whatever shot I had at becoming a recording artist (a real one according to my vocal coach).  Consequences became not only

High School Graduation

High School Graduation

relevant, but very real and lasting.  This is a conversation I will be having early and often with my kids.

My twenties are a little fuzzy.  The aforementioned consequences and circumstances shattered my self-confidence and brought about depression.  I got married partly because I had convinced myself in the Summer of 1994 that I was ready to get married – even though I wasn’t dating anyone at the time.  The next person through the doors eventually became my wife.  We did ok for several years, but in my heart I knew that something was amiss.

College (Fabio Phase)

College (Fabio Phase)

And then there were my thirties.  It would become a decade of tumultuous and lasting change.  My amazing Sam and Sophia were born the year I turned 30.  My divorce was final before they were 4, the same year I would later meet my partner and soul mate for life, Missi, and my equally amazing step-daughter, Liv.  It was Missi’s uncanny ability to make anyone feel as if they have been friends their whole lives that drew me in.  Her drama-free prospective on life and grace drew me and my battered self-esteem out into the light, and I literally felt like an adult for the first time in my life.  At 36, Missi and I were married beneath a Willow tree beside a peaceful pond.  At 38, I dove head-first into self employment with my company, Nectar Media.  Yes, these have been huge tectonic shifts in the landscape of my life – all for the better.

Modern Day Me

Modern Day Me

And so, even if the good Lord blesses me with a long life of 80 years or more, I am half way there.  None of us knows the date and time, of course.  For all I know, I could die tonight and this post would become a posthumous summary of my years on Earth.  So, I stand here and gaze out upon the unexplored, undeveloped “back 40” acres of my life with great anticipation and curiosity.  It will not be without its challenges and heartache.  Of that I have no doubt.  The Lord has so richly blessed me – so much more than I deserve.  It is my sincerest hope and prayer that my life, in return, will be a lasting blessing to others.  “For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required.” — Luke 12:48.  I hope and pray that I am becoming a better role model for all three of my kids, and that over this next decade – including all of their teenage years – my relationship with each of them individually will establish deep roots for life.  I can’t wait to spend whatever amount of time we have left with my beautiful wife.  I’m not sure she understands that this is the real reason I want her to quit her job.  I want to be with her as much as possible.  I want to be a generous and cheerful giver, even when it’s hard to let go of what God has given us.  I want to honor my mother and father as they require more and more care themselves.  I want to chill the heck out and try not to get so worked up over things that are beyond my control.  I want to try to be a problem solver instead of a complainer.  And when it is my time to go, I want to leave my kids just a little gift of money (as opposed to a ticket to easy street) and a wealth of memories, wisdom, and love.

Thank you, precious Lord and Savior, for forty years of living and loving and learning.  All because of You, I am.

My Mother’s Only Son

•October 2, 2012 • 3 Comments

Hello, My Name is MarckusI am my mother’s only son.  I’m also “the baby” – the youngest of three children.  My older sisters have almost certainly referred to me as “The Anointed One” somewhere along the line.  Right smack in the middle of the quarter year that started yesterday, I will turn 40 years old.  That’s 40 years of being my mother’s favorite son.

A couple of months ago, Mom, now 69, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  While this did not come as a total shock to anyone in our family, as there have been subtly increasing memory issues for quite some time now, it was the first time that a doctor had specifically used “the A-word.”  This was particularly devastating for my dad, who “looked like he’d gotten the wind knocked out of him” according to my sister, who was in the room at the time.

For me, the decline of Mom’s memory has been less obvious than for the rest of my family.  You see, I live 600 miles away from “home”, and am lucky to see my parents twice a year.  Over the past few years, when I have been able to spend any time with her, part of it has always been spent trying to stealthily analyze where she stands.  It’s been at least a year since I prepped my kids about what to do when Grandma asks you the same question more than once.  “Just answer the question again.”

Reality hit me the hardest when I went home over Labor Day Weekend.  We were at my parents’ church on Sunday morning.  Dad was introducing me to someone.  As the small talk ensued, I could see Mom as I looked between Dad and his friend, about 15 feet behind them.  She was standing at the name tag table and she looked confused.  As she caught my eye, being the sarcastic, always-ready-with-a-joke kind of guy that I am, I said (rather loudly), “It’s spelled M-a-r-c-u-s!”  No response.  When I made my way over to the name tag table to help her, what I saw nearly crushed me.  Mom truly was confused about the spelling of my name.  The name that she had given me 40 years ago.  The name that she had called out so many times over the years (often along with my middle name, for emphasis), when I had misbehaved.

The name tag looked a lot like the image on this page.  I will never know which was her first instinct – a “c” or a “k” – but she had tried it both ways.  It was then that I realized what a long and trying road lies ahead.

We spent part of that weekend watching old home movies from the late ’60s and early ’70s.  Dad had recently had them transferred from Super 8 to DVD.  Mom was rattling off names of neighbors from 40 years ago like they still lived right down the street.  That was encouraging.  But the little daily details would soon fail her, and she often can’t tell you what day it is.

She cried when I hugged and kissed her at the airport.  It’s not the first time she’s done that, but something was different.  She held me a little tighter and a little longer.  I think she knows that a part of her is slipping away – that a part of her world is slipping away.  I truly hate that for her, and for me.

I love you, Mom.  I pray, of course, for many, many more years of life with you.  I hope you will see my kids graduate from high school.  And college.  I hope you get to hear yourself referred to as “Great Grandma.”  I just want to thank you now, while I’m almost certain that you truly hear me.  I don’t care how you spell my name.  My name isn’t who I am.  Who I am, and always will be, is your son.

I’d Write A Song

•May 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

My Mysterious Muse

I’d Write A Song (for my amazing bride)

I’d write a song for every girl I had a crush on
They’d melt like butter when I sang them their own love song
But I knew this was different from the moment that we met
I just haven’t found a way to say it yet

If I thought the words existed to describe the way I feel
Or a tune that makes my heart dance like you do
I would sing to all the world about how much I love you girl
If there was a way to capture love this strong
I’d write a song

We make each other CD love song compilations
Search high and low for the perfect combination
But no one’s ever sung about such a convoluted love
All the world sees is a diamond in the rough

If I thought the words existed to describe the way I feel
Or a tune that makes my heart dance like you do
I would sing to all the world about how much I love you girl
If there was a way to capture love this strong
I’d write a song

I could fill the pages of a million books
With tales of every love that’s ever been
You tell me all I need to know with just one look
It’s a story that I know will never end

If I thought the words existed to describe the way I feel
Or a tune that makes my heart dance like you do
I would sing to all the world about how much I love you girl
If there was a way to capture love this strong
I’d write a song

© 2012 Marcus Rowe

Pun Intended, The Sequel

•April 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

When chemists die, they barium.
Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid.  He says he can stop any time.
How does Moses make his tea?  Hebrews it.
I stayed up all night to see where the sun went.  Then it dawned on me.
This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.
I’m reading a book about anti-gravity.  I just can’t put it down.
I did a theatrical performance about puns.  It was a play on words.
They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Type-O.
PMS jokes aren’t funny; period.
Why were the Indians here first?  They had reservations.
We’re going on a class trip to the Coca-Cola factory.  I hope there’s no pop quiz.
I didn’t like my beard at first.  Then it grew on me.
Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
When you get a bladder infection urine trouble.
Broken pencils are pointless.
I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.
What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.
All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen.  The police have nothing to go on.
I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
Haunted French pancakes give me the crêpes.
Velcro — what a rip off!
A cartoonist was found dead in his home.  Details are sketchy.
Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!
The earthquake in Washington D.C. was obviously the government’s fault.
Be kind to your dentist.  He has fillings, too.

As with all of my “keepers”, I did not write this.  I simply found it to be worthy of sharing.

Moved By The Mountain

•April 26, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Five hundred twenty-two days.  Or, 1 year, 5 months, and 5 days.  This was the length of the most recent – and perhaps the most challenging – trial I have faced in my nearly 40 years of life.  It’s still not 100% officially behind me, but God willing, I believe it may be over.  I would like to believe that I am not the same person I was before it.  I believe that I have gained a new perspective on life, on faith, on patience, and perseverance.

I have never literally climbed a mountain, but it isn’t too hard to imagine some aspects of what it must be like.  Obviously, by the time you’ve made it all the way to the summit and back down again, you are both physically and mentally exhausted.  That I can relate to.  I imagine you also learn a lot along the way – new, more effective ways to analyze, interpret, and overcome the challenges laid out before you.  Also, although your muscles would surely ache for days and days, in truth, you would come down that mountain physically stronger than you were at the start of your ascent.  I envision an intriguing juxtaposition of humility – given the scale, power, and majesty of nature compared to just one person – and new-found confidence – given the fact that you have just conquered said power and majesty.

It has, in all, been a very humbling experience for me.  My successes and victories have come not by my own strength, as they might when climbing a mountain, but solely by grace, mercy, and unmerited favor from above.  I have come out on top in spite of myself, evaluated not on the merits of my decisions or actions, but by the generally pure intentions and motivations of my heart.  Of course I desire success and everything that comes with it – respect, admiration, financial freedom – but my desire to honor God, and to display the fruit of the Spirit in my life, has become more important to me.  The challenges of my mountain have shown me what is really important in life.

At my lowest point, I clung to the fact that no matter what the outcome – and there were potentially dire, life-changing consequences – nothing could change the love of my family or my Lord.  I learned to rest in that.

Looking at the picture above, which is one of my favorites, the only thing I can’t directly relate to is this:  That man, having climbed to the highest peak of that mountain, must truly feel a huge sense of accomplishment.  While I do feel some of that, what I feel is much, much more a sense of gratitude.  For the path that led me up and over this mountain – the steps that led me around the falling rocks on my ascent – the hand that would not provide a foothold for my oppressors – none of it was of my doing.  Every door that opened, and every hand that reached down to help me up and over the next ledge, was the hand of God.

The mountains in your life will change you, if you let them.  And if you accept the physical concept of heaven being “up” toward the sky, then they will both literally and spiritually do what every soul truly desires deep down inside – they will bring you closer to your Creator.

My Heart Will Know Your Name

•April 9, 2012 • 3 Comments

My Heart Will Know Your Name

When the days we’ve yet to spend together
Number fewer than the ones we’ve lived
And the hands of time won’t stop their turning
Though there’s nothing that we wouldn’t give
Should a lifetime full of memories fade
Like castles made of sand in tide and wind
When my mind can’t do the same
My heart will know your name

When our dreams of long and distant journeys
Turn to hand-held walks beside a stream
I will always be your dancing jester
Living to bring laughter to my queen
But if wit and humor leave me
‘Neath the weight of facing mysteries unseen
When my lips can’t say the same
My heart will know your name

When we sit a while in timeless comfort
Peaceful just to be, side by side
When the laughter fades to knowing silence
And all the tears have dried
If my countenance is empty
Never doubt the fiery love that burns inside
When my eyes have lost the flame
My heart will know your name

© 2011 Marcus Rowe

 
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