12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. - Colossians 3:12-14
I was an angry young man. There was a "great sadness" inside of me that I attempted to cover up with a facade. Any attempts to get past the mask that held my fragile emotions were met with coldness. I would close my lips leaving a small opening to blow out a quick breath, like blowing out a candle. This act meant someone was getting too near the barricade surrounding my heart and they needed to be expunged from my life lest the levy would be breached like what happened when Katrina hit New Orleans. I guarded my heart at all costs and NEVER let anyone in (that is, until I met Helen Marie...those chapters were still in the future, just beyond the "great sadness" that consumed my early adulthood).
As a youth, I was the biggest anti-marriage person to walk the planet. The sting of my parents divorce and bankruptcy bruised my inner soul and I put walls up to make sure I would not get hurt. When one of my closest buddies asked me to be his best man, I challenged him to leave this path of destruction. He wanted to punch me but I was relentless with my words and my anger spewed like Mt. Vesuvius. At the end of the conversation, he convinced me that his marriage would last forever and I agreed to stand with him as his best man.
In my early twenties, one of my tennis students introduced me to her daughter. She had a magical way of seeing through me while at the same time keeping her own guard up. She was the first person to see my soul. She was involved in a rocky relationship during the time I knew her so our friendship never crossed over into anything serious. She left me with one gift, hope. Her acts of kindness paved the way for me to eventually come out of my fortress and live my life with passion.
During the time that I knew this young lady, I wrote my first poem. That was over twenty five years ago. I gave her the only copy and forgot about it. This morning, the words returned to me. Perhaps it has to do with reliving experiences in my mind as I release my life's chapters into my first book...
by Mike Mulligan
Yesterday, I looked into my heart,
I could not see past the high walls that surrounded it,
My heart was a fortress,
it's gate was locked shut,
Your kindness was the key that unlocked the gate
and freed the spirit that lives inside,
Today, I look into my heart,
the high walls that once surrounded it are gone,
A troubled spirit is all that remains,
it searches for the key to your gate,
to free the spirit that lives inside you.