Winter Dreams

You feel it coming with the new morning darkness:

summer is ending,

summer friends are fading,

and the dreams neglected under the sun

are awakening.

 

They rise and run through the fresh, cool air,

They fall with the altering leaves-

our souls and dreams,

as they step from their graves

into the rhythm of a new season.

 

With the wind, the Spirit is stirring,

and winter is coming,

but the present human spirit is anything but cold.

If anything it's aflame with vision-

like a flooded night sky,

ablaze with stars and hope.

 

Winter's purpose is clear:

it's time again for man to dream.

 

To the one looking for a sign,

and the one quietly waiting for their chance:
 

These are the days you've been awaiting.

These are the days you dreamed would come.

These are the days you'll look back on when everything changed. 

 

If you too, sense in the night

your day soon approaching-

let this be your sign:

The times burn with destiny.

You'll see it first in the leaves.

 

With those who are willing,

the Spirit is ready to move.

Shed Skin

 

It's hard at times, opening your mouth;

Believing you have something to say worth hearing.

Remembering we need each other,

And that at times, others even need you.

     

       I often wrestle under these thoughts.  And in my searching beneath them, I frequently return to my favorite song by Volcano Choir, called Almanac, for guidance. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-wcu3kfTcY) My favorite part is the end of the bridge, when the tension compiling throughout the album climaxes and crumbles in four words, as he sings the towering line: "Shed skin… for kin." 

     It gets me every time. 

     As does the memory of the interview I once watched of Justin Vernon (the writer and vocalist of Almanac) explaining his take on humanity- and how he believes, "nothing is stronger than us, together.”

     I think it's true.  And I believe he depicts this idea beautifully in this song.  His words remind me that the strength he speaks of is only reached when I, and all of humanity, do what we often find most terrifying- of what he further expresses in the axiom of the second line:

"Shed skin... with kin." 

      Nothing is more terrifying.  And nothing will require more from us. But nothing is more fulfilling than what awaits us on the other side of allowing our skin to fall to the ground into the open arms of another.

 

///

 

These lines.

The shedding of skin. The shedding of skin with each other,

is everything. 

 

It's writing and art,

truth and love, 

brotherhood and family,

sobriety and belonging,

the crucifixion and the gospel:
 

"Shed skin, for kin.

Shed skin, with kin." 
 

      It's intimacy, above all.    

      The struggle, though, with coming closer, is the shedding of skin is painfully uncomfortable.  It's vulnerable and terrifying, but for the sake of intimacy, and our longing to be together- hiding must be forsaken, and acceptance must be held tightly for all man, by all men.
     We should accept no other way then together.  We should choose that there is no other way than to shed skin, and accept whatever is found, within each other.  For true, untamed intimacy is reached only when we choose to shed our masks and layers, altogether, and lean into the belief that nothing is stronger than us together.

     So, in writing and in love, in life's joys and amidst my confusion and pain, my fear and insecurity, my sin, shame, and desire to help- I try.

I try to take these words and live them, and when I least feel to the most- to be vulnerable.  I force myself to:
 

"Shed skin...

for kin.
 

Shed skin...

With kin."

 

Because we're strongest together. 
 

 

----////----

 

Remember, we need each other.

Remember, someone needs you.

 

 

Shed skin. 

Sky & Ember

image.jpg

The pain stung like sky and ember.
The rising altitude bruised with emptiness.
The loss of breath was like drowning under snow.

You miss it, badly:
Finding your end.

The exhaustion,
The mental suffocation,
Even the pull of black sleep.

What comes next is the best part.
      When the pain starts to sing a little louder between your knees, down your empty lungs, and through your frozen ribs. When it becomes so unbearable you want to give up, but then you remember- this is why you're here.
           The pain, the emptiness, it's all a part of it. The mountaintop is only a bonus.
           So you continue moving forward.  And you take another step. And then another. And countless more into the pain, for as long as it takes, and despite what you feel- for you came to get an answer.  You came to hear the mountain approve of your worth- that you're more than you were, when you first stepped on the mountain.
            And now, thanks to the pain and the misery, again, you have purpose. You have a form of meaning to hold onto. You have something to fight for.



------

Again, the end is calling.
You hear it.
And you miss it, badly, -
Pain, agony, and all.

But truly, you know what lies beneath.
Truly, you know what you miss the most:

The serenity of finding what you're made of.

THE MAN I LONG TO BE.

The truth is something I avidly desire, 

the one thing I would give if I had the opportunity to inspire. 

It's everything, the only thing, that I wish to be;

all I would wish for a young man to see.
 

For a man who is pure in word and action,

and honest and sincere regardless of his fear,

rare is this man that I long to see;

and rarer is the man that I long to be-

a man who without hesitation,

lives untamed in who he is.
 


And as for me,

I have no desire to take part in the normality,

in the growing expectation within my society,

for me to become another fictitious, empty man.

For I crave honesty and purity,

the truth, alone;

for the true and pure men are the only free men I know.

 

So you can take your money, and take your fame-

the drinks, and take me from the girls,

there’s no price on what I wish to be. 

 

For all I wish is to find that I,

as a man, am enough.

And that I, whether in solitude or crowd,

am secure in and loyal to who I am.

And that I may have the freedom in knowing

and seeing everyday in the mirror 

a true man, 

a free man-

a man who without hesitation

lives untamed in who he is.

 

Thus is the reason I crave honesty and purity,

the truth alone;

for the true and pure men

are the only free men I know.

 

And about this true man I long to see,

I promise you,

one day,

this man will be me. 

 

 

Shasta // 6.18.16

I turned over my shoulder to look behind me at the miles and miles and miles of forest and rolling hills and cities in the distance, to find that they'd become nothing more than mere specks under the sky. And then I turned back around and looked before me at the mountain, and over the cliff-faces looking down upon me, on what appeared to be mountains upon a mountain- with cliffs upon its cliffs, and raging canyons and sneering ridges, too, stacked upon themselves atop this seemingly endless mass of rising rock and formation of land. In awe and wonder, I felt so infinitely small and weak.

     And then it hit me. From the emptiness in my legs to the pull of the darkness and fatigue calling out to me, begging for me to collapse and close my eyes in rest, if but only for a second- I could feel it. The reality that the Maker and Mover of everything I was standing upon and everything I now looked over, and everything I've climbed today and had still yet to climb, is with me. Every day. And every step. And that He is infinitely more fierce and more peaceful than I'd ever imagined.

     For though my body was screaming, and the mountain raging, and the canyons roaring, everything was quiet, and everything was pure. Exactly like the Maker of everything I see, and the Father who forever walks beside me, with me, until my end. And then I realized, though I am small and weak, I have nothing, ever, to fear. For what is fear when we truly know who walks beside us... the Maker of the seas and the Mover of Mountains; He is the one we call Abba. He is the one we call Father. And He is with us both now and forever more, until the end...

Oh, what a creation he has made, and to think- I have seen only the beginning.

- THE PROLOGUE OF JOURNEYS WITHIN -

A journal excerpt from January 16th, 2016:

        Amidst my merriment in hiking through the snow and splendor in watching the flurries fall through the fog like a thousand glistening feathers, a familiar array of questions began to surface.
          While hiking I often wonder what it is I’m chasing, and why I continuously wish to be outside hiking and pushing up a mountain- especially when the conditions are as cold and wet as today.  Is it the mountains I crave or is it something more?  Maybe, I am chasing mountains?   Or maybe, I’m chasing something within- a lingering hunger that my daily life back home has failed to satisfy?  I believe it’s both.
        There are few things in life that I’ve found more fulfilling than a successful mountain trek.  There’s something alluring about outlasting the unexpected and surviving the flood of emotions that a mountain forces upon you- the pains from blisters and cold hands, the displeasure of wet socks and slushy boots, the unavoidable failures, unexpected changes, and the strange bliss of going lost.  It's the cycle of surviving the wild and returning- the opportunity to repeatedly see how much more my body and soul can endure that makes the wilderness such a horrifically invigorating and addictive place.  This longing to be tested and the opportunity to fight for something is why I'm out here again today.

        I believe those who regularly return to the outdoors realize they desperately need the very discomforts, pains, risks, and sudden changes that so many try to avoid in the western world.  In the wilderness you can’t run from change and hardship.  You face them, whether you want to or not.  And in facing your fears and pain, you discover everything you’ve longed for.  The wilderness, like the soul, holds secrets and treasures that are only found by those who pass through and endure further than they believed possible.  I wonder what humanity would be if all emotions and needed experiences were as unavoidable as they are out here?
            I’ve found the wilderness’ most treasured endowments hide in the violent feelings and impetuous situations that it forces onto us.  I appreciate that there’s never an immediate escape out here.  No one is hiding.  No one is seeking instant gratification.  There’s no alcohol to momentarily numb pain, women to divert us from loneliness, and screens to distract us from what we could find in the silence. That’s what makes the wilderness so invigorating- it forces you to feel.  And I’ve learned the further I allow myself to feel my pains and fears, exert myself physically, and push through them, the more deeply I feel alive and free; and the greater I appreciate my experiences in the end.
       For too long I ran from situations that could lead to pain and discomfort, and failed to realize that the life I longed for could only be found in traveling through the things I was running from.  The wilderness has shown me that freedom often lies on the other side of pain, the significance and success I look for rises in overcoming failure, and the desire to feel untamed waits for me beyond the edge of my comfort.
        Therefore, I don’t come out here to run or escape.  I come out here to feel alive.  I come out here to find myself.  I come out here to repeatedly test and push myself against the wilderness both around me and within me, because I’ve learned that I need both equally to continue to grow and evolve, and most importantly, to feel alive. 

There’s no questioning in these woods- I’m awakened.
In these mountains and pushing through my pains and exhaustion, I grow.
And on this trail,
I feel free.

That is why I return.
 

 

Home is fatal,

And staying in my comforts, a poison.

I’m jumping over my fences,

I'm running into the woods.


 

///

I wish to find myself lost in a wilderness.

I long to get out, but I know not how,

And I know not where to begin; though

 I would guess my journey probably starts within...

///

 

Take the passage yourself in my new book, Journeys Within:

 

Journeys Within Update #2

Man, it’s a crazy feeling holding a copy of your own book in your hands... It’s surprisingly heavy. Not so much the book, though, but the moment, the words. It feels like you’re holding a part of your own soul in your hands. It feels like finished dreams.

I can’t express how relieving it is being done, and to see that it's everything I envisioned it would be and more. That I can read through the pages and still feel as if all the work, hours, and late nights that I put into this were worth it; to know there’s nothing left I can give... and that I can genuinely say it’s the best work I can produce, art I can create, and art I believe in.

I’m excited to share this one.

The book is set to be launched on March 23rd and pre-orders are available today on my website @ www.joshhuth.com/journeyswithin. I’m waiting for the first shipment of books to come in now, and if they arrive earlier than they’re projected to (which I think they will) I’ll send the pre-orders out as soon as they arrive.

(…..oh man. this is getting real. and a bit terrifying. here we go…)

Journeys Within Update #1

Finally, the editing process of Journeys Within is finished, the final proof copy has been ordered, and the book will (hopefully) be completely finished and available sometime within the next three to four weeks... I can’t wait to share this book with you all.

If my last book was for the dreamer waiting for his chance and the son waiting on his promise… I would say this one is for those seeking a fight, who long to feel untamed and tested, are hungry to grow, and aren’t afraid to chase after the person they were made to be. For anyone to reach their potential, I believe they need a journey. And every meaningful journey requires a wilderness- something to test yourself up against, with pains, trials, darkness, and failures to overcome and push through. It's the cost you pay to grow & learn- to live out who you are. It doesn’t come free and it can’t come easy.

My hope is that this book will help lead other people who too, are on their own journeys, the way it did for me. And that along the way it would it unsettle, test, and inspire you as you chase after the person you were created to be.


A Kingdom Come

It’s been over ten days since I left, and I’m still trying to piece together what visiting Lake Tahoe  inspired in me.  The three days I spent at the lake were surprisingly, emotionally perplexing, due to the contrast of losing myself in the awe and wonder of the crystal shores and sapphire waters and being completely overcome by the realization of my youth as I stood among such an ancient formation of land and water.

Lake Tahoe is over two million years old, holds waters deeper than 1,600 feet, and is surrounded by mountains over 10,000 ft. tall.  And me, I'm 6’4”, twenty-three years old- only human. 

I remember driving through the mountains on our way to hike down to Emerald Bay and feeling unbearably small as I looked over the lake.  It was clear these mountains and waters had been here, together, for a very long time.

I hoped I wasn't intruding.

 

 

 

 

------/////------

 

That was also when the thought of leaving in a couple days became convicting.

I was bummed about going back to my normal “day-to-day” life so soon.  And even worse, I was troubled, because it felt as if the mountains were watching me and knew my next step before I did.  They knew it, because I’m human. And that's what us humans do: we come and we leave.  We take and take and take, and then soon pass away, without even realizing how fleeting we are. Rarely do we learn from what we’ve seen and rarely do we sow and invest in the places we go, and use our time on things that matterThe mountains know this of us.  They’ve watched us for a long time.  Thankfully, they still have sympathy.

As we drove under Mount Tallac and along the cliff sides that overlooked the lake, specifically Emerald Bay, that was when I knew that I too, like most of humanity, was guilty of thinking far too highly myself and the time I have been given.  That was when I saw, compared to these mountains, how fleeting both I and the rest of humanity is upon this earth; and how immature my ways of thinking were; and how quickly I would soon pass by. 

For the mountains, they’ve seen thousands, if not millions, of winters come and go. Their next winter is guaranteed, but for me, tomorrow is not even promised.

I wondered how well I was using my time and the life I’ve been given. 

 

 

------/////------

 

If I only have so much time here, I want it to matter.

Jesus said, "A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows…” We all have time and we’re all sowing it into something, night and day, week after week, month after month, whether we realize it or not. The question is, what are we sowing our time into and from an eternal standpoint, do these things even matter?

For me, I want every day to matter.  And in order to do so, I have to know what heaven values and adjust my lifestyle accordingly.  

Obviously, not everything passes into eternity with us.  But if I truly believed this wouldn’t I be prioritizing my time, money, and possessions differently?  

 

------/////------

 

Although Tahoe will see more days on this earth than me, I have an eternity before me that this land will never see.  

So I remind myself… 

My days are for a Kingdom come.

My days are nothing but seed.

 

------/////------

 

"the Kingdom of God is like... a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on the earth.  Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants…"

 

------/////------

 

-  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

- "But whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him...” - Philippians 3:7-8

- "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us… to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:3- 


Nothing But Seed

Thoughts of the past make me wonder,

how do I make my days matter?

 

I feel the weight in seeing and

knowing

that everything I've ever done

today, 

yesterday,

and everyday before that

is gone

 

///

 

what time I had

has already faded

and what time I have left

is already preparing to pass me by.

 

time is temporary,

a constant vanishing.

but when sown properly,

it reaps an eternity. 

 

///

 

so I remind myself...

my days are for a kingdom come.

my days are nothing but seed.