Glow

The night is quiet less the shuffled sound of sandal turned desert rocks and labored breathing.

My hands grow increasingly numb with every step, backpack straps from the heavy pack full of all our worldly possessions restrict the blood flow to my arms, but we must keep going.

From the darkness an innocent voice asks, “What is that father?”

Vapor from our warm breath momentarily glows like a cloud, illuminated by the distant bright lights of the Kabul airport.

Without looking down, nor losing a step I respond, that’s hope my son, that’s hope”.

Word Count=94

Standing Alone, A poem By Raymond Roy. #Poetry

Image: Raymond Roy

Standing alone, I wonder why. No one is there to hear when I laugh, breathe, or sigh.

What have I done? Have I been cast aside? Is this my Ego’s fault, heavy laden with ugly pride?

I have a choice of self pity or self-reflect. A challenge to my psyche, knowing not what to expect.

Self Pity is an easy-out, casting blame with expectations never realized. On those that would dare disagree with me, whilst I judged and unfairly criticized.

Self-reflection leads to most precious of gifts, wisdom, balance, and peace of mind. Received through humility, love, and the courage of being kind.

Peace.

The image above was taken not far from my home on the day of our first frost. Seeing this tree reminded me of times in my life I have had to deal with being alone. I hope you enjoyed the poem. Peace.

Bella’s Elixir by Raymond Roy #fiction #shortstory

Chapter 1

“The Gift”

Mid August-The Perseids (meteor showers) were in full swing. Named The Perseids from the constellation Perseus (A Great Greek hero), slayer of monsters and most notably, the Gorgon Medusa.

High winds made for a clear night. 100 miles above Earth, a gamma ray infused meteor, ignited as it entered the the atmosphere. Evaporating layers of ice, rock and carbon, left a vapor trail streaming across the night sky. With a loud bubbling thud, the glowing meteor landed in a small pond located next to a scrap metal junkyard in rural US of A.

The impact of the space rock stirred a little dust in the makeshift den in the nearby scrapyard, a scrapped 69 Chevelle. A cob web broke free, shimmering in the sliver of white linen moonlight, floating for a moment, then landing onto the nose of a soft fluffy fur ball named Bella. Bella was solid black from head to toe. In dim light it was hard to make her out from a shadow. She found herself alone as her mother had left earlier that evening in search of food. She had been gone for what seemed an eternity.

Determined wind gusts swept through the junk yard, making Bella’s petaled ears perk up. As the night wore on, the wind calmed and with a deep sigh, she drifted off to sleep.

A loud roar of a front end loader’s diesel engine startled Bella awake. The rusted lime green shelter began to heave and vibrate, Bella bolted into the blinding morning sunlight and  sprinted  toward a gap in the chain link fence., CRASH!! Her den was no more. Photo Credit: butisitart In a flash, Bella raced through the fence leaving behind the smell of used oil and radiator fluid. Her large puppy head gave her a teetering stride as she ran into an open field. It was the first time she had felt grass beneath her tender paws. She ran until she was out of earshot of the clanking junkyard.

Bell’s long tongue darted in and out of her open mouth while saliva bubbles foamed along her burgundy gum line. Closing her mouth between breaths, she drew in the scent of nearby water. Near exhaustion, she willed her bow-legs forward in the direction of the yet unseen oasis.

Approaching the pond, Bella walked into the shallows. The cool water felt good on her delicate paws. Lapping up the cool water, her mind cleared. The meteor laced pond water was like nectar. She felt invigorated. As she walked onto the bank, she noticed that wherever her fire had gotten wet, her paws and down her chest, had changed from black to white, looking as if she had walked through a pan of white paint. Not thinking much about it, Bella followed the dirt road moving away from the junkyard and pond towards town..

The dirt road met a paved road where traffic was buzzing by. Suddenly through the blur of cars, she saw a bright red fox trapped on the median of the busy road, unexpectedly it darted across, towards her. Unsure what to do, Bella froze. BAM! A speeding car plowed into the fox. Time suddenly slowed down, as she watched the fox’s body vaulted into the air as if from a circus cannon. The crimson canine landed squarely in front of her paws.

Almost standing on her back paws, Bella’s back tightened, body twisted, as she tried to get away. Bella’s senses were overwhelmed by the scent was of musk and dog urine. The foxes’ body convulsed as if it were choking on a chicken bone, their eyes met.  The foxes amber eyes froze, not blinking, it’s body convulsed and lay still.

Bella’s stood over the dead fox, her ears were ringing as if in a sound tunnel. As she closed her mouth to take in a curiosity driven whiff of her fellow canine, a drop of drool fell from her tongue landing squarely on the fox’s nose. Immediately the foxes’ pupils dilated, It blinked, began to breathe, pounced to its feet, took one look at Bella and jetted off in the direction of the junkyard.

This is my first attempt at a chapter book. I hope you enjoy it and come back for the next installment. Thank you for reading and your comments are much appreciated.

Peace-Goroyboy

“We Are Here” by Raymond Roy #sundayphotofiction

“We Are Here” by Raymond Roy

You sat on the other side of the classroom next to the clanging radiator. Heat emanating, distorting the blinding winter sunlight. I would blush beet red when the teacher would call on me, catching me day-dreaming about you. Another sleepless night hugging my pillow. Swearing tomorrow would be the day I summon the courage to talk to you. I make a secret pact with God himself, once I held you in my arms it would be forever.

That day came, and it hasn’t been the words spoken over our many years together that defined our love. It was kissing you, spooning you, warming you with my body on wintry nights. It was knowing that when those that we thought were friends turned on us, no less in the name of God, this only made us remember our love was not dependent on others.

Today I affirm the promise of being with you always.

You are dying.

Once again my body warms yours. You dreamed of warm tropical waters. I whisper “We are here”.

Fish darting at my feet. A warm tropical breeze gently lifts your hair toward heaven. Forever in my arms walking out to sea.

Word Count-200

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction click here to read other stories based on this photo Sunday Photo Fiction © Photo Credit Eric Wicklund

“Gratitude” by Raymond Roy

Gratitude                                  For all that brings joy and for the challenges that shape me.

Gratitude connects me to the best life has to offer..

To my family, friend and foe alike, I wish you peace this day. Amen

-Goroyboy

“Capture the day” Photo by Raymond Roy

“Biggest Kid on the Block”, guest blogger, USMC combat Veteran. 

I am humbled to to have my first guest writer on my blog. Even more so, I am honored that he is a fellow Marine, willing to share his point of view. A point of view from a vantage point of view, few can say they have experienced. To fully appreciate his perspective, approximately 7% of the US population have served in the Military. Around .08% of that is in the US Marines. One final statistic, The Marine Corps (including the Reserves) make up only 10 percent of the total Dept. of Defense force, experience 23 percent of the combat related deaths. Myself, I am a Aviation “In the rear with the Gear” Marine Veteran with much respect to my Marine Brother. 

As a nation we are in an uproar if someone takes a knee or burns a flag. Want to give back to a Vet? Here is your chance, take a few moments and listen. In return he would love to hear your thoughts as well. Semper Fi Brother. -Goroyboy 

It is hard for us to look at ourselves. As people, we don’t always get along with everyone, and it’s generally their fault. Trying to look at our situation from the outside is unnatural – we made these decisions, how could they be wrong? How could I be the source of my interpersonal issues?
The same issues apply to our country. How can we see from the perspective of others? How do we get in the shoes of a Pakistani citizen observing the war in Afghanistan? The North Korean civilian who was born there, and wants to live peacefully? How do we really understand the perspective of those directly involved but not on our side, or indirectly involved and observing? Being a nation with an understanding of others and empathy will not only reduce the world’s issues with us, it will provide our children the role model that they need. Enemies become friends, or at least associates.

This is even more difficult than looking at our people issues described in the first paragraph. In international affairs, we don’t know the other parties involved, and there are many self-proclaimed “experts” who have an agenda, and want to sway the masses. Statistics and “facts” are provided to sway us, causing uninformed or poorly informed decisions to feel well researched and thought out.

We’ve all met people that have nothing to prove to anyone. Walking away from an unnecessary confrontation is easy for them. They don’t need to show you that they’re tough or smart or kind – they’re just going to live how they do, and let others form decisions on their character based upon their actions. I believe our nation should conduct itself in the same way. We should never puff our chest out – we don’t need to. We have a booming economy, limitless food, a powerful military, and countless other programs and advantages. Why are we the guy that has everything going for him, and still has everything to prove? We are the biggest guy at the party, but still can’t back down from a fight if it’s offered. What does a fight do for the people?

The Korean Conflict ended (kind of), and we stayed there with thousands of Army troops. WWII ended, and we left troops in Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, and many other stations. Again, get in their shoes…how would we feel if other troops were in our land? If Japan had a military base in Norfolk, VA? Or if Germany had a massive base just across the border in Canada, and did combat drills on our border? We have highly deadly warriors in South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia…I don’t know about Australia and Antarctica, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Is this necessary? Do we need the option to conduct quick strikes all around the world? Is this a job that we could leave to NATO troops? Would reducing our worldwide presence reduce us as a worldwide target? I know we think we’re protecting everyone and doing everything we do with nothing but altruistic motives…are we sure?

As a US Marine veteran of multiple deployments to theaters of combat, I can tell you first hand that armed conflict is a bad thing. There is a time for it – when diplomacy has FAILED. If you are always the first to strike, then maybe it’s time to ask yourself if you are the aggressor or the protector. I want our military to be known as a sleeping giant, not a bully. I want to see us develop fair international policies, and apply them to ourselves in the same way we apply them to others. If we are willing to kill people in other nations due to our perception of events taking place in the world, we must see that other nations will view that as acceptable to do unto us. I want our nation’s kids to grow up without fear of an attack for which we blame others, but which others view as a strike to protect themselves. My idea of patriotism differs from most of my friends and colleagues these days. Patriotism is creating the right future for our next generation, not dominating economically and militarily.

Even if you disagree, thank you for taking a few minutes to be in my shoes and hear my perspective. If yours is different, tell me, and I will listen. I will not know going into it that I’m right and you’re wrong. I will listen, and maybe change. I hope we can all do the same. 

“It’s Been Awhile” by Raymond Roy


It’s been a while since I was on my knees….

Just as I thought the world is only getting colder,
Bowing my head, I felt the weight of the world off my shoulders. 

It reminded me humility waits patiently, but opens the door on bended knee,

as thankfulness, comes naturally. 
Clasped hands pressed together in this place

Reminded me to seek, a state of grace. 
As I finished, 

I had a stubborn smile as I remembered, it had been a while……..It’s been a while since I was on my knees. 

Peace. 

Pastor David:A Tribute

Contemplating my next post which are typically comprised of those who have shaped my outlook on life, none have yet to be my junior. Pastor David O’Toole is the exception. I can only tell  my story and will not give mention to those of a contrary opinion as this is not a pity party but rather a tribute to a good man.

Over 10 years ago I sat in the back of our local church praying for my one of my three sons to find a path to peace. Zachary as many 14 year olds was an angry you man trying to find his way. Zach recently had moved in with my wife and me in our small Ohio town. A glimmer of solace was listening to Zachary teaching himself guitar. It never dawned on me that God was about to answer my prayer.

David had been hired as a youth minster but also played in the worship band. He seemed preoccupied with his teen group and committed to his duties. I can remember we were in the church gym when I had the opportunity to talk to David about Zachary. I explained some of his struggles and his interest in guitar. David took Zachary under his wing and as any mentor, Zach was not always happy with David and probably vice versa but the relationship was genuine and grew strong to this day.I had the privilege of watching the band Strength Within, a Hard Core Christian band perform in which David was the lead singer and Zach eventually would play guitar in. I appreciated the edginess and the youth that attended the performances. It opened my eyes to a Christ worshipping raw subculture that did not tolerate hypocrisy. I was impressed.

During one of the youth summer trips David asked me to do all the cooking and it was then I saw his talent for organizing events. “Ray” he said, “there are three key factors that make or break a youth trip, the food, the location and the activities.” I still chuckle to day thinking about. “on that last day I want some much food, like a half chicken each for the kids,,,snacks at 11,” ….Good memories.

Once I had the honor of speaking to a recover group in which I whole heartily gave my testimony of my experience as the child of and addict. I mean I felt like I had given part of my soul away. The next day I was riding with David to lunch and I was explaining how I felt. He called it an “Emotional Hangover” , where you so much of yourself away that the next day you can physically and mentally feel the effects. This gave me a small glimpse of what pastors must experience on Monday mornings.

I could go on about others that I know David has effected positively but as for me I am forever grateful that God used Pastor David O’Toole to deliver my son who is now, Pastor Zach Roy, to us so many years ago.

Thank you David O’Toole and May God Bless you.

Otooles and roys
Hailey Roy, Celeste O’Toole, Pastor David O’Toole and Pastor Zach Roy

Cherry Pie

Cherry Pie                         

Funny how a taste or smell of certain food can open a floodgate of memories. Recently, after a long enjoyable afternoon of fellowship at church, I sat down, with a piece of cherry pie. As I took my first bite, I was transported back to October 1972. I was still living in Ontario Canada with my two older siblings and our Dad. There is truth to the saying that still waters run deep. In our case the more things seem to have stabilized the more the foundation was actually crumbling. At times it was like living in a rain cloud. You couldn’t see far ahead and knew it was just a matter of time that the next storm would arrive. At this point Dad was either cold turkey heroin sick or slipping in and out of heroin induced coma. He might wake up just long enough to promise a fishing trip that never happened or to take us running down the street in a paranoid state terrified of one of his many demons. It was never a dull moment, as my siblings Danny 12, Lorraine 10 myself 9, taking our Dads word for it that we could go fishing after he was shaved…… With Dad passing out again on the couch and daylight burning, (I smile inside remembering) Lorraine and I lathering him up and with Danny being the eldest, he was in charge of the razor. Lorraine and I pulled Dads head back to tighten the skin just as we had watched him do countless times over the bathroom sink. Eventually daylight, exhausted, Dad woke up, puzzled why his face was dotted with blood clotted toilet paper where we had nicked him with the razor. Needless to say, no fish were caught that day.

It wasn’t unusual for us to be pulled out of or having to change schools. By the 4th grade I had already attended 6 different schools. But this time it was different, we weren’t on the run, or going to a foster home, but rather we had all our belongings and seem to be making the rounds to Dad’s family in Ontario for a visit as if to say goodbye. For all we knew we were moving back to BC (British Columbia). Hearing my father speak primarily in French to my grandmother as he often did when things were serious, gave me sense that something was going on. At that particular moment, we were all together, that’s all that really mattered. 

We boarded the bus in Sudbury, Ontario at night. The heated bus air was a mixture of diesel exhaust, damp air and cigarette smoke. Unfortunately I was one of those kids that got car sick. The next four days in the bus were somewhat of a nauseous blur. “Hey Porky”(my nickname) wake up, we are at the next stop”, my Dad would say. And there it was, in every bus stop from Manitoba to Vancouver, day or night, like a beacon in the night, behind the glass case…”Porky, what do you want to eat”? “Just some cherry pie please”… On the fifth day on the road, we arrived in BC. It was around 6 in the morning and only then did we find out we were coming to “visit” my Mum. It had been 3 years since we had last seen her. Regardless of society’s view of our Dad, he was our world and all was right with the world, as long as us four were together. The bus stopped in Abbottsford, BC (being a felon, Dad couldn’t easily cross the border)> We did not want to get off. We stood at the base of the steps. I looked to Danny and Lorraine as I always did for reassurance or direction. Danny stood there as he always (and still does) quiet, strong as not to upset us. In the cold morning air Lorraine’s tears glistened in the light from the bus stop waiting room. Like so many times before, I held on to my Dads leg, pleading for him not to leave. 

“Come on, let’s go meet your Mum”.The bus stop waiting room was illuminated with concession machines. In front of the lights were silhouettes of two woman. . As I walked closer ,they each looked similar and familiar. One was my mum but I wasn’t sure which one she was. The second woman was Mums sister, Sharon. Up until this point I had only visited Mum, twice in my 9 years. I wrapped my arms around the quilt stitched dark blue coat. As I hugged my mum around the waist, I could feel the cold fabric against my cheek as an unfamiliar hand stroked my besheffeled hair. We piled into the white leather backseat of a blue thunderbird. Patsy Cline’s “walking after midnight” played on the 8-track and through the vapor of our warm breath we could see lights of the greyhound bus station fade in the distance. I looked at Danny and Lorraine, as many times before, when the only known was the unknown.

Tbird

Later in life I heard reasoning of why we were finally brought to Mum. One line of discussion was that we were in danger as some of Dad’s unruly dealings had left him as a marked man. Whether this was a part of his paranoia or truth, makes no different to me. Another reason was that my sister was coming of age and needed a Mum. That went without saying. Regardless of the reason, one truth I have no doubt about is the fact that my father saw the value of a stable family environment which no matter how hard he had tried, he could not provide. Today I am a father of five. And yes, I love taking my kids fishing and at times I may over promise and under deliver which reminds me of my Dad’s good intentions, but as God is my witness I strive to harvest the seed my Dad planted by putting his kids first.  A seed planted at a bus station early one October day back in 1972. For this I am truly thankful. RIP GJR.

 

2nd Eldest Zachary 2nd Eldest Zachary
Eldest Son Ty with a blue cat Eldest Son Ty with a blue cat

 

“In The Clench”

Image
Growing up with an older brother in the 70s meant I came to experience  a phenomenon called, “The Clench”.
It was the privilege of being cornered and subjected to a series machine gun punches in the stomach while he yelled,”Muhammad Ali, Frasier”, “In The Clench”… For dessert a few breadbasket and head shots…I could not escape.

Over the years I discovered “The Clench” had taken up new residence. Looking down at my own hand,  There it was, A  tightly clenched fist. White knuckled with stress, anxiety, anger, worry,  A five fingered barometer of silent storms raging inside. Such is life, internal storms, wrought with an intense feeling of wanting revenge on those who had hurt, abused or neglected me.
I could not escape….

When I was 16, while my Dad drove truck, I would ride shotgun. I remember his tattooed hand resting on the gear shifter, his last two digits permanently curved. His fingers had been damaged as a result of smashing his hand through a drivers side car window during one of his many altercations. He chose to fight. His closed fist meant he wasn’t open to a discussion.
Given his life story, it was not surprising

Historically an open hand was a sign of peace. When you approached an unknown, showing and raising an open hand demonstrated that you bore no weapon and meant no harm.

Even Christs’ open hands as decpicted in Byzantine art, with the thumb and first two fingers open and last two digits  just slightly closed emerged as the sign of a blessing.

Look down at your hand. Is your fist tight? Deep down is your spirit silently screaming “I’ve had enough “?

May I propose that an open hand can not only symbolize peace but also a willingness to surrender.

Surrender my friend. Surrender all the burdens that weigh you down

Breathe in slowly. Breathe out.

Surrender. Take a moment and drop your weapon and open your hands and experience a moment of peace.
Take a moment to know that no matter what is going on in your life, you are alive and worthy of love.

An open hand is a sign of acceptance of reality. It doesn’t mean you have to like the circumstances. It simply means you are willing to deal with them.

As a believer in the teachings of Christ , I’ve found the simple act of opening my hands and raising them during worship, creates a conduit which allows the stresses of the world to escape. When I open my hands, I open my mind and eventually perhaps symbolically open my  heart to experience Gods Holy Spirit of Love for which I beieve we were created.

Be still and know He is God. Psalm 46:10
.