I have a favorite poet; several actually. But my favorite favorite has a verse that so nails many days, weeks and years of my life. Let me know how it lands for you.

  “Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins

that may buy you just a moment of pleasure,

        But then drag you for days

             Like a broken man

          Behind a farting camel.”

Yeah, I know, rather crude. Holy crap my heart and mind were branded by his words. Many days, blurred into many years, into decades of being drug like a broken man. Understand though that ‘broken’ for this man meant arrogant, angry, and being a stubborn bully. Yet somehow believing it could be cloaked behind a facade and somehow show up in the world as ‘nice’ guy, pastor, street ministry dude, devoted husband and father, Christian musician…Nope, I was truly broken. The camels gastric distress choking the breath of life out of me; the dust, and dung caked in layers so deep nothing could penetrate the cocoon of pain.

For me and many I’ve come to know well, the counterfeit coins come wrapped in very seductive tantalizing, “I’ve gotta get me some” packages. In fact they are sought after by most everyone in our culture so it’s not as though I am ‘special’ or unique. I see the accumulation of dust and dried camel dung crusted over many a man and woman desperate to keep hold of just a few coins. I catch a whiff  of the camels ‘exhale’ pressed into the clothing of passers-by and I know we share the same sense of WTF, what the hell am I doing? And then the frightening yet invading question…what the hell will happen if I just let go? I can’t go on and I am so f@#king scared to let go to find a more authentic way.

The coins are presented to us, force fed to us. It’s like my mind has an economy, our culture has an economy; they are selling me shit and I’m ALWAYS willing to buy it. They, the coins, are flashed across our TV and movie screens. They pop up on Facebook. I sit with you at a dinner or the bar and espouse the rhetoric of their immense value.They promise me shortcuts to prosperity, happiness and ‘unlimited potential’. Damn I buy them. Don’t you? But the exchange rate truly blows chunks. I listen to the talking heads and implement the ‘latest hack’ for my time, my body, my relationships and my loves.

Goddamit, I’M LETTING GO!!! Not sure exactly what’s next……Join me?