Deficient in Grace

(if you are viewing this via email, the website has a recording of this poem and commentary; click the title above)

Susan tells me I was troubled by my dreams last night. I already knew that. My dreams centered around an inability to get something right. It was some coding that was supposed to automatically update verbiage in one paragraph as verbiage in another paragraph changed. Basically, if I said something positive “here,” it should have resulted in positive words “there.” But it just wasn’t working.

Then I awoke, and one of my first thoughts was—I know this is weird—how Ross Hay, my High School band director, used to mock things that were not up to his high standards. Specifically, this morning, I recalled how he’d mock songs that rely on tired old rhymes about “June,” and “moon,” and “spoon.” Did Ross Hay write poetry? I doubt it. But he still affects my poetry writing half a century later.

That sounds good, right? NO. Here’s the problem: my beloved band director, like many other influencers, was teaching me not only to be discerning, but to be judgmental. He was teaching me not only to aspire to excellence but to look down on those who don’t achieve it. He was teaching me to not have grace.

A lifetime of troubled dreams later, I still pay the price for that early influence. It affects how I think of myself, and how I treat others.

I’m deficient in grace.

— Brad Hepp, 4/11/2023

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