Just Win (The Super Bowl), Baby

Three years ago, I wrote a blog post concerning my Oakland Raiders and the fact that they stunk so much that I was hoping for them to get even one, lone win that season. It’s amazing how quickly the Raiders have turned around, last season becoming a post-season team for the first time in 13 years, and this season, being looked at by many as a Super Bowl contender. This represents quite the change for the Raiders, who for many years were the joke of the NFL.

So what happened? They put in the work.

And by that I mean that the Raiders are a well-managed team now. Their GM, Reggie McKenzie, has done a much better job in recent years of signing free agents and drafting new players out of college. Add to that the spectacular job head coach Jack Del Rio has done in instilling confidence in the team as well as a winning attitude, and it’s not hard to see that luck had nothing to do with the Raiders’ return to excellence.

Leading this return is a QB, Derek Carr, who would rather give all the glory to God and to his teammates and coaches than to himself. He’s a humble young man, and I’d have no one else in that QB spot. Carr’s exactly the type of man who I want to see on this team, and that’s saying a lot since there was a time when the Raiders were the bad boys of football and proud of it.

Derek Carr, as he’s willing to admit, was wild in his college years. That is, until someone special to him said, “You’re not the person I thought you were.” Coming from the right woman at the right time, those words were exactly what Carr needed to hear to turn his life around. He straightened himself up and began walking on the path of Jesus with that special lady who would become his wife. Today, Carr will tell you that he’s had many experiences that have convinced him that God is working in his life. In fact, if you want to hear him for yourself, please follow this link to a recent podcast interview in which he explained his faith, how he came to it, and how he uses it to help others. That portion of the interview begins at the 12:48 mark.

This is the man I’m thankful is leading my Oakland Raiders. I love him. He’s a wonderful young man with a great attitude and a strong dedication to his belief, to his wife, to his kids, and to making the Raiders a Super Bowl-winning team. I may not be a man of faith, but I’m grateful that he is. Carr has had such a positive impact on the Raiders organization and the fans, the Raider Nation, as well. And who knows? Maybe in a couple of years, when the Raiders move to Las Vegas, we’ll find out that Carr is exactly the angel that Sin City needs. I wouldn’t bet on Vegas changing one bit, but then again, faith doesn’t rely on luck. 🙂

Oakland Raiders - Derek Carr

There And Here (Beyond)

What do I feel?
I don’t know.

What does that mean?
Is love not there?
Is love not here?

And in the absence of love,
what fills me,
if anything fills me
at all?

God is love,
so where is God?

Where is meaning?
Is faith not there?
Is faith not here?

And in the absence of faith,
can I fear
what isolates my soul
from life?

God is hope,
so where is hope?

Or am I beyond hope?
Am I beyond faith?
Am I beyond love
or the capacity to love?

What do I mean?
I don’t know.

Am I beyond knowing?

Or is it all there,
floating before me?

Is it beyond my reach?
Is it all brushing my fingertips
as I strain and struggle for it?

Will it not all come to me
while my silence screams need?

Or am I beyond need?

Will God not come to me?
Is this why the Devil hates God?

If God is love,
is the Devil hate?
Or is the Devil simply…

…there?

Recession

I’d cry if I could be sad,
shout if I could be mad,
expect something different
if different wasn’t always
the same.

I’d sing a tearful song,
hold a note just as long
as I can hold a smile
that means nothing to me
or you.

When the day comes ‘round
light is no longer found
in a world where darkness
sits atop its frozen throne
and calms,

That is when this gaze will find
another soul of like mind
and prove wrong the notion
that the end of all time is
too late.

If A Me Falls…

When I’m alone
and I talk,
with no one around
to hear,
am I really talking?
Am I saying anything?
Do my words exist?
Or are my utterances
forever lost
to a climb into a sky
that only grows colder
the more it concedes
to a natural vacuum?

Observing The Same Cratered Moon

I see in the mirror
a bizarre broken half,
bizarrely split
in smooth, silk glass

We reflect a touch
yet deflect the spell
wishing to break us
from our personal Hell

For if Heaven sent
a beauty to be
in mind and spirit
to set us free

We should rejoice,
welcome chance,
live for the day
and elusive dance

While all focus
holds firm on thee:
a glint, a smile
for limits set free

As every star
in eternity’s embrace
shines its light
in honor of your grace

In mind’s eye
an evanescent dream
seeks to demise
a heart in scream

I’ve only seen
love go horrible and sour,
become one-sided
or neither-sided and cower

So your hesitance reflects
my mirror of you
or your mirror of me,
of that I confuse

However we sit
in what’s real and not,
our hope resides
in the lack of rot

Is this truly why
our distance remains,
to be sure love stays
an everlasting domain?

Generations On Notice Everywhere

When God truly tires
of our travesties
spitting in the face of Love

The wars.
The deceit
The starving
in the street.
The pain
we inflict
to profit
from the sick.

Ignoring need.
Inexhaustible greed.
The laughter
while others die.
Indifference shown
to those who weep
as they say
goodbye.

When God truly tires

Those selfish first
will be taken last.
Extravagant parties
will be long past.
Expensive garb
tear and shred
as repentance mires
in burning beds.

But the rest will not rejoice,
celebrate ruin,
or take pleasure
in pain reeking of sin,
for only evil is evil
and only evil
commits evil
against their sleeping fellows.

When God truly tires,
then will unleash
another flood,
and all will be wiped
from existence,
for this time
there will be no warning.

Pursuit

Why is a dream but a vision
others wish me not to see?
Why do I feel plots hatching
as if I’m the farthest enemy?
Why must I sink
for you to rise?
A restless desire
for my demise.
This trial by fire
knows me in ways
you can never expect
and certainly don’t praise.

Once dark becomes my cloud,
and I travel in secret shroud
and count on inevitable
tearing of unlike souls,
accustomed to small measures
containing vast treasures
of fortunes only spoken of
in dreams,
only then will you perceive
what it is that I see.
Will you then find your heart
in resolve to preserve me?

Those Below

I stand here wondering
if life is a choice.
And I wonder what else is a choice.
I wonder why people behave
as if what they choose
is not a choice.
Why does a person practice a religion
that hurts others
as if it is not a choice?
Why does a person practice politics
that hurt others
as if it is not a choice?
Why do people look upon
a suicidal person
as if what they wish to do
as if the end of life they crave
is a choice?
Why is the end of our own lives
a choice
but not the end of others’ lives?
Why is hurting ourselves not right
but hurting others is right?
What makes us right?
What makes me wrong?

I stand here wondering
if life is a choice.
And I see a beetle cross my wood floor
lost
confused
not knowing where it is
not knowing which direction
it is headed
so it scuttles in any direction.
I bend to one knee
then descend to the other
and extend my hand
onto which the beetle hesitantly crawls.
I stand
and walk out the door
the dawn greeting me.
I step
down each gravelly step
to the ground floor
to the grass beside the walkway.
Lowering my hand to the damp grass
I allow the beetle to crawl excitedly
from my hand and onto the grass
where it feels more natural.
Walking back up the steps
I think of what I could have done
how I could have smashed it dead
rather than going out of my way
helping it
back to familiar ground.
Is life a choice?
What makes me so wrong?

Sleepless In…

Midnight rain drizzles
into puddles filling cracks in the pavement,
ripples dispersing lights reflected in them
as if colors are dancing in tribute
to the moon they will not see
until they tire and become still.

As déjà vu strikes another fiery soul
for a purpose no one knows,
not even the soul in repetition,
shut your eyes for fear of being blinded
by the scorching of dark
and tearing of sky’s fabric.

Remember what was said, for when
the same words must again be spoken
against the biting resistance,
these same words will be needed
but not as appreciated, as these same words
will have fallen from their meaning.

Is this the reason the shapes above
form and break and break and form
so to never be exact for too long?
Is this why the lights are thankful
their reflections are so effortlessly kept
so wildly unpredictable?

Perhaps normal would not be unwelcome
if the downpour was the sun,
or perhaps the sun has lost its meaning
in its quest to be far too reliable.
Truly, it is the unpredictable that is special
when it returns to grace us,

whenever this happens to be…