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Lisa Neu Mar 2015
I know who I am
    what I remember
    how I felt
I know who I am

There is this mantle
    thrown over me
    hiding my truth
    for his benefit.

I keep throwing it off.
I am not that person.

He, most of all knows this,
    yet his mask continues
    to be painted on my face.
    Even as he is away.

This is my biggest fear:
    that I become the image
    transposed on me
    and not myself.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
People don't know it,
    but I'm subtly overthrowing the world.
I'm in the process of rewriting reality;
    of changing global paradigms.

Maybe people don't realize it,
     but the world changes every day,
     and so do they.

I'm a catalyst of that change;
I'm commissioned with vision;
I choose to follow.

People don't know it,
    but I'm subtly overthrowing the world
    with love.
September 4, 2003
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Sometimes I need to feel the pain --
Not as final judgement on the situation,
But as a way to move on to new life.
Because new life comes from death.

So, when I  am  sad, let me be sad.
When I'm in pain, let me hurt.

To disrupt this natural cycle is
to dishonor life.

Jesus' story teaches us --
death brings life transformed.
So then, as ironic as it  seems,
honoring life means embracing death.

To live fully is to give one's life away.
Written while working at St. Aug's or St. Mary's, 2008-2010?
  Feb 2015 Lisa Neu
Madeline Kapinos
“You are worth more than the marigolds”
I am assured by my loving mother as a child
I believe her because the beauty in everything flow’rs and flourishes
when you’re young
The world is yours to take, everyone is yours to meet, everything is yours to do;
and I believe her.

“You are worth more than the marigolds”
My first friend at school proclaims,
and I believe them.
We’ve tackled ***** training and preschool, now onto the playground and phonics!
We run and run together, taking the world like we’ve
whispered once before;
and I believe them.

“You are worth more than the marigolds”
The middle school test scores announce,
and I believe them.
Primary school is in the past and I’m ready for responsibility!
I put on makeup to feel pretty, care about my grades more than the teachers believe and flash my smile to the boys who spit “compliments” at my feet;
and I believe them.

“You are worth more than the marigolds”
but.. I don’t believe them anymore.
I’ve gained just enough confidence to smile at everyone in the halls in case they are having a bad day.
Suddenly my youthful euphoric vision is graffitied with hateful words and violence.
I run and constantly chase the innocence of the world,
being surrounded by darkness.
My self esteem has hit an all time low. Why is the world this way?
My friends and I chase what we used to believe and end up in deep holes;
and I don’t believe them anymore.

“You are worth more than the marigolds”
And it doesn’t matter.
I have lost all hope of finding that beauty.
My heart is an aching mess of “I love you”’s
But all I hear is “you are meaningless”
Slowly these phrases of deep hate sear into my soul
I hear them every day and every night
You are meaningless
You are not worthy
You could not possibly be good enough
Until I wake up one dismal morning to realize that I have been defined by the ones around me.

“You are worth more than the marigolds”
..and enough!
Because even my friends who say I’m worth something turn around and sneer at others like they can’t too be loved.
Because while the world screams “I hate people” I whisper
“but I don’t”.
But that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things
because we’ll find someone who loves us, right?
No.
Our words between just us mean nothing if we spin around and
spit in others’ faces.

And we know we hurt because we’ve been hurt but we don’t stop, none of us stop.

I dream of a world that screams a vulnerable
“I love you”
out into the world instead of a pulsing
“I hate you”
And a world that remembers that we are all worthy of love and not only the kind that makes you blush.

“You are worth more than the marigolds”
The phrase I’ve heard since I was in my mother’s gentle hold
can only mean so much when you think you’re crumpled.
Stashed away until you’re needed
always feeling so defeated
but the truth
not told enough
to our weakened souls
We are all worth more than the marigolds
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
I will no longer be named failure.
Failure was never my name.

I was sometimes exhausted
Sometimes sabotaged
Sometimes stretched too thin

But these things are not failure.

In the sharing of faith, to live authenticity is most important.

In my exhaustion I taught gentleness.
In my perseverance I taught strength.
In my stress I taught courage, patience, and faithfulness.

My name was never failure.

My curriculum was the act of living faith, of building trust, of relationships built in acceptance and care.

I was never a failure. I was important. I made a difference.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
You wanted me to make it bigger, brighter, more beautiful.

You thought noise would draw attention, keep energies focused.  Sometimes it does.

I was doing something different. Building strength in the quiet of routine, in small choices that create habits that become virtue.

I was creating spaces for people to be who they were, in authenticity, and then to know they were loved. Connecting the acceptance of the community with the love of their Creator.

I was creating opportunities for people to share themselves, those things they loved, and the pain. In the sharing: God's provision manifold. Apprenticing people in the mundane and exciting walk of faith.

I was empowering people to lead, because in the leading was also the learning, creating a people who knew how to sustain themselves in faith. And in sustaining themselves they passed on their faith.

I was building confidence in the people, God's people, because confidence combined with authentic human living is unbelievably attractive. We want to know people who live in fullness. Then we want what they want. And that wanting leads people to faith.

I was building depth, stability, sustainability, strength, apprenticeship and faith. And the fruits of my labors show a community more alive in faith because of my work.
Lisa Neu Feb 2015
Listening to redundancy is like
    wanting to run and being tied down
I hold my mind with my
    physical self like a balloon --
    still connected, but floating free
Listening, yet allowing openness
    Then I can be present
    while I am away.
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