I’m desperate

moon over the sea

By Taylor Smith

I’m desperate.

I’m desperate because
it feels like every day
I hear news of
hatred and
violence and

and I take it personally,

because I’m human

and in my humanness I feel
the intensity
of the pain and suffering
of my brothers and sisters in this world,

because we will all face heartache,

and it can break

Gihembe 2

I’m desperate for

I’m desperate for
someone to step out and say,
“This isn’t how it was supposed to be.”

I’m desperate for
people to see
we’ve gone too far —
gone too far away from
who we are,
who we were created to be,
what we were born to do –
serve others, love others, love God.

I’m desperate for
a taste of civility.

I’m desperate for
people to be people of their promises.

I’m desperate to see
communities bound together in commitment to one another
and to the community that is
this world.

I’m desperate for people
to take off their crowns
and trade them for ashes,
to get off their pedestals
and get on their knees,
to take their dictionaries and degrees
and cast them aside
to hear real people
with real stories.

Gihembe 1

I’m desperate for
families and strangers to gather around the table,
even if it gets awkward.

I’m desperate to see time stop,
for an hour,
or even just a few minutes,
for bread to be broken,
for plates to be passed,
for grace to be shared,
for hands to be held.

I’m desperate for
so we can be reminded that
we were not given this opportunity of life so it could be easy for us,
but for it to be real,
and messy,
and vulnerable.

I’m desperate for
leaders to kneel on a foundation of
dignity and respect.

I’m desperate
for fathers to guide with wisdom and conviction,
for mothers to lead with strength in their hearts and in their voices,
for siblings to wrap their arms around each other and say,
“We may be different, but I’m going to love you, always.”

I’m desperate for
us to give it all away
to love just one person well.

I’m desperate for
genuine and meaningful conversations.

I’m desperate for
heart-level truth and friends who hold one another accountable.

I’m desperate for
so that when we’re hurting, when there’s a problem,
we can rise to the occasion
and meet chaos with compassion.

I’m desperate for

I’m wholly desperate for
Holy Forgiveness.

I’m desperate for these things because
the only way I can make it through a single day on this earth is the security of knowing that
I’m wrapped in
and Love.

I’m desperate for
an identity check.

Taylor Boneza 2016

Taylor Smith gets in touch with her inner child, with preschool children in Boneza, a rural village in western Rwanda.

I’m desperate for
people to put down their magazines and television remotes and cell phones,
desperate for people to erase their titles, their resumes, their bucket lists,
desperate for people to see who they were when they were born into this world
– fragile, tender, beautiful JOY –
a baby born with no ideas of murder, or discrimination, or fear,
but a baby who smiled when her face first pressed against her mother’s warm skin,
a baby who snuggled into folds of safety and protection,
a baby who only wanted to be loved, for that is
the only way to live,
to survive,
to grow.

It may sound like I’m desperate for a lot of things –
a lot of big, complicated things.

But truth be told,
I don’t believe it’s that complicated,
if we only took the time to look at where we come from,
how we came here,
why we are here.

In the end,
I’m desperate to believe in the goodness that is at the core of each one of us,
simply because
we’re human

— and I’m unwilling to compromise this belief,
no matter what happens.

Moon over the sea photograph: Armin Grewe, Pictures from the Isle of Islay, Scotland.

<a href=”http://www.islay.org.uk/” title=”Islay Pictures – Pictures from the Isle of Islay, Scotland”>Islay Pictures Photoblog</a>

Taylor Smith is a tree huggin’, deep-conversation lovin’ Oregonian with a passion for listening to people’s stories. Taylor works (but it’s really her passion!) as the community and development manager for These Numbers Have Faces, a Portland-based nonprofit focused on rising up the next generation of leaders in East Africa. 


Editor’s note: I met Taylor when she was a reporter and I was the opinion editor at the Hillsboro Argus, a suburban newspaper/website owned by the Oregonian Media Group. I’ve always admired her zest for life and compassion for people. She originally wrote this piece on the eve of the Umpqua Community College shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, on October 1, 2015.

Tomorrow: Lakshmi Jagannathan, The lady and the lotus

6 thoughts on “I’m desperate

  1. Wow! You wrote that on the EVE of the Roseburg shootings? That’s spooky. Yes, I feel the same way. There’s always a choice to be better people, make better choices, appreciate, celebrate and share what we have, which is always more than we think we do.

  2. I like what you say about erasing bucket lists. I’ve always found that a little meaningless – you tick things off your bucket list and then the reward for that is…. you kick the bucket. Much better to do deep into the moment we have. We don’t have the past or the future, but usually that’s where we are usually. Children teach us a lot since their ego walls are not up yet. So nice you are working with them and in Rwanda. I was there last year – a beautiful country

  3. Oh Taylor … I love how you write and expose yourself so naked to the world. I love that you participate in VOA so once a year I can say, hey, I “know” that person … isn’t she amazing? You have so much heart. Thank you.

  4. Beautiful way to describe the desperation felt. Off pedestals and on knees: I’ll second that. Or even on pedestals AND on knees; Then maybe more of the pedestaling would make sense.

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