And then my words tore through the air like cannon fire…

As a Christian I don’t have a very good track record.  Apparently the ten commandments are a, ‘NOT to do’ list, and not so much a ‘to do’ list.  I look back on the last 40 years, and realize, that evil in all of its twisted forms, is something that is done by me, to someone else.  I am supposed to value others, and not hurt them.  When I find myself in a verbal volley with an adversary, my instinct is to inflict as much verbal damage as possible.  Our exchange mimics the ancient sea battles with wooden ships, and belching cannons.  What is the cost behind words?  You have to judge, (aim) then hate, (load gunpowder) and not care about the hurt you are about to inflict on someone else, (fire!).  The handle side of the weapon often feels less pain than the bloodied recipient.  Words are weapons.   Who’s side do I fight for?  As a burning ship sinks, why do I find joy?  Does taking something away from someone with criticism and lies help make me better?  No, it simply shows I am worse.

Every human on this Earth has a backstory, a history, a perspective, and a soul.  If I truly care about them, and who made them, then why don’t my words reflect that?  Do my words take something away, with my witty observation of physical defects, and social choices?  Or do my words offer hope, with my perspective of their value, to me, to the world, to God?  To immerse myself with the struggles of another person, will silence my gaping cannon of my mouth, leaving me only whispers while talking to them. Then maybe I can tell the true tale of their value to God, and will only leave encouragement and support to saturate the air.

This reflection, is to remind myself, that there is nothing wrong with being a chatty extrovert.  But, I do need to do a better job seeing people, and loving them.  To be more ears, and less mouth.  My words are loaded in my guts where evil in all its forms writhes in a ready cauldron.  In the storeroom down there, there can be light, and hope.  Scripted musing of the wonderful things of people, and the world.  How will I stock the latter? The choice becomes mine, to pillage conversations, and wound listeners.  A Christian should know the tale of God, and the undeniable value of people.  Before I am silenced, and planted in the cold ground, perhaps I will leave behind words, hanging soft in the invisible air, that let you know, there are many great things I see in you.

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert



Perhaps only a woman may know…


(The Bereavement of Sweetness. Oil on canvas  17x12in)

by Shannon Soldner

Perhaps only a woman may know…

Her vast emotions, live safe,

in a fortified city, their cherished relationship.

For years, nestled warm under his heart.


In a painful moment,

her life is besieged by green fire.

Her man, her love, that saboteur,

reveals his villainous tale.

Stories bite bitterly into burning ears,

while her throat swells shut,

Rhythmic heavy words ripple the air,

shaking the foundation, of her heart,

causing a mighty pressure in her chest.

Her breath becomes rapid, hot tears stream,

trust is leveled in seconds, like a wounded building.

Choking gray dust and crushing heavy concrete,

pummel her soul, and entomb her heart,

in rhythmic cruelty.

Her emotions pop like a blister,

under the jagged cut of his news.

Yet, a reddish glow, a rhythmic pulse,

warms the deep rubble.

Her heart is lost,

in love, though wounded, its lives,

in the ice cold silence.

She hates him, and loves him,

within the same heartbeat.

She condemns him, and forgives him,

in the same breath.

In this moment,

she will endure,

and she will be lost.

His fate, their fate,

rests within the moment.

The relationship;

Will it be sewn up with black stitches?

A love enduring under thick scars?

Or buried in the cold brown dirt, cried for,

then forever.

a burden to be forgotten?

Perhaps only a woman may know.


Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert

I wounded my Pony, helping my girls

Rocks rattled and clacked under a big black plastic square attached to a mobile basketball hoop that I was dragging.  February in Colorado offers varied weather on a whim.  Today, there was no need for coats, and the air was still.  My oldest daughter joined her first basketball team this year.  She and her third grade buddies seem to be enjoying it.  They are 1-1.  At the last game you would have thought it was a NBA playoff.  8-9 final score, it was one of the best games I have ever been to.  Yeah, I am that dad.  I have a voice loud as thunder, I am 6’4″ (194 cm) tall, and love my daughters with a vibrant energy.  I love them so much, daily, it makes my heart tremble.

Since I do shift work, I get weekends and weekdays mixed up.  I say things like, “This is my Saturday,” even though for the rest of the world it is Monday.  I made the mistake of telling my middle daughter that we would hit the local gym to shoot some hoops on Monday night, because I thought it was Saturday.  I drive into Denver on Monday’s for college.  My middle daughter wants to play basketball too, and she was heart broken.  She was about to cry and I saw her face crumple and her lips tremble.

I sat her down, and told her I was sorry, and that I would set up our hoop at home, in the garage so that they could shoot around even if its cold outside.  When I drug the basketball stand from the back yard to the garage, it didn’t fit by a matter of inches (many cm’s).  So I decided I would put it out at the end of the driveway.  I had pulled my beautiful black pony (Mustang) out of the garage and I had it parked on the street.  I drug the basketball goal out of the garage, and set it at the base of our sloped driveway, to survey some rocks I would have to move to anchor the goal.  In that moment, the mountain air picked up, and the mast of the top heavy basketball goal, began to tremble.

Many years of my adult life has been spent working in industry.  Safety is drilled into my brain.  The statement of “If it falls, don’t try and catch it!”  This applies to “T” heads on industrial printers, carts of glass sheets, motors on hoists, and super sacs on forklifts.  The basketball goal began to fall right behind me.  Like a mighty tree, whose roots has let loose their tight grip of the earth.  I saw it out of the corner of my eye.  It was headed right for my mustang.  All I could do was, say, “No, no…”  It hit my hood in a crash, and slid off the front of the car.  My fists began to tremble.


I went into the house, feeling angry and stupid.  I knew, I just knew, if I made a big deal about this, I would sour my girls hearts about anything and everything basketball.  I love my girls more, much more than my car.  I went to find my wife, she helps a lot in these moments.  When I found her, I said, “Guess what the basketball goal fell on?”  She quickly responded, “Are you ok!?!”  I said, “No, not me, it fell on my car.”  More fear gripped her face, as if to imply, ‘if it hits my husband, he can take a hit.  If it hit his car, there is going to be trouble’.  She quickly said, “Oh no!”  I said, “Don’t worry, I really want the girls to have fun ‘Hoopin’ it up’.  Everything will be ok.  Her warm smile began to tremble.

When my girls got home from school, they dropped their backpacks and ran outside to start shooting around in the street.  New girls sized basketballs, one with pink stripes and the other with blue stripes.  A new net, and an anchored basketball hoop.  I looked at the scarred hood of my sports car.  I felt like Mad Max, with a chewed up black V8 interceptor.  I was the conquering daddy.  The wasteland of disappointment and anger, was conquered.  I watched my girls laughing and shooting baskets, my dark mood lost its hold of my heart.  The trembling of the day, was gone.


Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert