He wanted you to think he was tough,
and spoke his mind whether
anyone cared to listen or not.
Yet, beneath that armored exterior
lay a vulnerable soul simply desiring
and struggling to love and be loved;
but as afraid as the rest of us
that the immutable requirement
and byproduct of knowing
and truly being known
would somehow nullify that love.
He was as thirsty for grace as any of us
on our most parched days and,
likewise as susceptible
to its surprising and unbidden
overflowing on unpredictable occasions.
Cheers and thanks be to God
for those times and places,
people and spaces where
unassuming love shone through
between and around us, in spite of ourselves;
and especially for the way
our remembering the illuminating glow
of those lightning flashes,
to this day and into the future,
still lifts us above our own doubt
and self-loathing, up into
the merciful arms of hope.
© 2013 Todd Jenkins
In memory of Louis Strickland Roberts II