Writer Spotlight: Glen Kemp
One of the best benefits to being a wedding officiant is the opportunity to meet and connect with new and exciting individuals. Not only do they share with me their love story but they often open the windows to whom they are as human beings as well.
He wrote a beautiful and moving piece for his wedding day. It was read by a dear friend and colleague during the ceremony. With his permission he has allowed me to share his copyrighted work with you on my site. Hope you enjoy his writing. Please contact the author through his Facebook page for permission before using any of his work.
In the Authors Words...I wanted to share this with my family, friends and anyone else who chooses to read this. It is my joy and pleasure to capture in words a glimpse of the human spirit. A tiny drop from the ocean of God's love, a brief glimmer of the light of the Holy Spirit, a moment of the divine.
THE TRUE NATURE OF BEAUTY
When I was a child, I thought that beauty was purely physical, confined solely to the outward appearance of people, sunsets, music, paintings, sculptures, buildings, and nature.
As I have grown older, I have come to recognize the true nature of beauty. Beauty shines outward from our souls every time we perform a loving, selfless act.
Beauty comes from where and when we least expect it. Beauty is a shadow that follows the light of a loving heart. Beauty enfolds all who seek love and to become loving.
Beauty’s source is God who created the universe of all things. It is the aura, the scent and the sound of all things beautiful that God created in the beginning. Beauty shimmers – it is a light so incredible that we not only see it, but feel it and embrace it. Beauty’s origin is the light of God that shines outwardly from the depths of our hearts and souls.
I often find myself saying that a song or photo is beautiful, but songs and photos are snapshots, having a semblance of beauty, but not possessing beauty as an attribute. People who possess good character are beautiful. People who are kind while others are not, who reach out to help those in need, who are compassionate, who weep for the plight of those who are unfortunate in their circumstances – all such people are beautiful. What is even more amazing is the realization that those who receive acts of kindness themselves become beautiful. So beauty is a gift we can give to others, who by receiving acts of kindness learn that not everyone is devoid of love. It is wisdom to realize that life is a great void, a giant empty hole that when filled with love becomes something worthwhile, something with substance, something worth living.
The secret of reality, of existence, is to realize that our lives are gifts from God – an opportunity to learn about the greatest principle, the most powerful force, the most awesome experience. Learning to love ourselves and others passionately and to care deeply about our families, our friends, and all of mankind is the only mission in life that matters. The process of loving others transforms us into spiritual beings whose souls will ultimately join with God and each other in heaven. While our bodies slowly degrade with age and become worn out, our hearts and souls grow ever stronger, wiser, and more beautiful. Those who embrace love and choose the path of love gradually transform into angelic beings. Beauty is not something that we can possess – it is not a commodity. Beauty is a state of being. So it is my prayer and the prayer of all who seek to understand the nature of love that we will become transformed into beautiful, completely loving souls before we cross the passage from this world and from life as we know it to our ultimate destiny. Life is a journey along whose path we come to learn why we are alive and what to do.
Beauty is the outward expression of a loving heart – it is the appearance of that most wonderful spiritual principle, that awesome state of love. Love is greater than the entire universe – its light can power a gazillion stars. Its attraction is more powerful than gravity or any other force. Love, like beauty, can be found in all things, in all people (if they will only choose to be loving), at all times and in all places. Love is an infinite ocean whose waves express the essence of beauty.
Faithfully and Always Yours,
Glen James Kemp
THE MYSTIC GLADE
He wandered slowly, aimlessly through the darkness of the
deep, ancient forest, his heart heavy with loss, his brow
furrowed with grief.
He was numb with pain and weary with hopelessness.
The darkness of his despair was only exceeded by the
eternal night of the forest.
Above him, the towering hardwoods intertwined their mighty
branches like chain-mail armor, forming an impenetrable
wall that nary a scant ray of light could pierce.
So he knew not whether it was night or day, nor did he
care, but onward he trudged, to an unknown destination.
He had lost the purpose in his life, and all he could see
before him was more misery.
Yet onward he sauntered, as if in an endless fall through
the blackness of outer space, in a region devoid of stars,
or any sign of life.
In his mind's eye, he relived the tragic scene over and
over again. It haunted him like a thousand ghoulish
spirits. From this life he could not escape - a life
sentence - damned for eternity.
At last he reached a soft bed of ferns that lured him into
a deep but troubled sleep.
The musty smell of the damp earth beneath him was vaguely
comforting, reminding him somehow of a time distant that
could not be relived.
His dreams took him slowly backward to the memory that he
so loathed, so feared.
Yet in his deep slumber, he could not awake, he could not
resist, as the mighty hand of Father Time drew him back,
It was a wonderful day, like the many he shared with his
beloved before, an endless succession of joyful bliss. His
beautiful wife and newborn son frolicked with him in the
mystical glade at the center of the ancient forest. Their
mirth lightened his soul, making him youthful, though he
knew he was old.
It was times like these that make life worth living; that
made each tomorrow a destination quite longed for. He would
treasure it always, he promised himself.
He was a lucky young buck, who had found his delightful
young doe. They shared their happiness like a fine wine
kept in the best bottle. He savored the cork of that wine
like a precious memory. This gave him purpose and desire to
rise each day as if the intention of that day would make it
the best yet.
Alas, it was for naught. That night, a fierce storm
descended on the ancient forest with the fury of a god
whose anger could not be quenched.
They cowered together in a cave, but the sounds of the
lightning burst around them, frightening his young son, who
bolted from the cave, venturing out into the demonic fury
of the raging storm.
His wife, ever protecting, bravely launched herself out of
the cave, desperately seeking her son.
It was darker than ever before, and the shrill and horrible
sound of thunder rolled through the forest like an
avalanche. He darted out of the cave in hot pursuit, but
find them he could not.
And then IT happened - a bolt brighter than the sun
suddenly struck a towering oak, splintering it into a
million pieces, showering swaths of fire on all below.
A mighty limb from the roasting giant fell with the force
of an earthquake.
He searched, endlessly, frantically through the night.
The storm had long since passed, but was replaced by a
danger far greater. A raging fire had tumultuously ravaged
the great and ancient forest, destroying all in its path
with the blasting furnace heat of the fires of Hell itself.
All who were in its path perished, mere cinders smoldering
in the rains of the next morning. And it rained, and
rained, and rained - a cold and fearful rain, a rain that
sapped all hope and joy.
Exhausted and wounded from falling branches and blazing
embers, he stumbled away from the remains of the great
So it was that he relived the nightmare of the last day of
his life, again and again, for he felt surely that he was
dead, or should be anyway.
Why go on? He had given up any hope of finding his beloved,
or the fruit of their loins. He wailed endlessly, his
bellows echoing in the dark and empty forest. All who
survived the horrible fire had long since fled, their
The next morning, he awoke with a start. He heard distant
voices, or so he thought. He painfully rose from his bed of
ferns, which no longer held the allure of sleep. And his
wounds had not healed - the deepest and gravest of which
were to his loving heart.
There - again - he heard the faintest sound of song. Not
the cries of pain that tormented him on that painful night,
nor the sounds of his own mourning over loved ones lost.
Something different - something vaguely familiar, yet new!
He started to follow the sound, at first, lumbering slowly,
his legs were tight with exertion. But then, he began to
trot, pacing himself as he often did, avoiding the chase of
His weary head became invigorated by his determination, the
steel of which was forged in the hottest fire, and hammered
into perfection on the hardest anvil. He galloped with the
wind, and the dark night was briefly forgotten. A spark of
desire drove him relentlessly onward, onward.
Suddenly, he could hear the faint gurgling of a brook, and
a smell of myriad flowers wafted through his keen nostrils.
Slowly, but surely, the path that lay before him became
ever so lighter. He could see a faint hint that the sun
still rose into the heavens.
The cacophony of exotic birds became a harmonious chorus,
rising into the heavens and filling his ears with music
beyond description. It was a symphony that lifted his weary
soul. The smells became rich with variety - yes, he was
approaching something very different!
As he emerged from the ancient wood, a vast and shimmering
vista appeared before him - the colors that filled his eyes
were the essence of life itself! The panorama that filled
his mind was like a vast sea casting off glinting light of
every hue. The waves of that sea were flowers and plants
like none he had ever beheld.
Before him lay the gurgling brook that lured him to this
paradise. He stooped his mighty head, and drank deeply of
the virgin, spring-fed waters. The taste of the Water of
Life energized his very being, reawakened his palate, and
rekindled his hunger.
Having quenched his mortal being with the mystical waters
of the River of Life, he raised his head. A movement from
just across the bank caught his eye. Just there he beheld a
presence so angelic that his hope soared - and his soul was
She nodded her head in instant recognition, and her eyes
became filled with a tidal wave of love. Their love joined
hands like a bridge eternal across the River of Life, the
brook across which he leapt with the strength of youth, the
river across which he forged with the wisdom of age. For he
was sure, yes he was very certain, that finally now and at
long last, he was with his beloved, in Paradise.
Glen James Kemp
SLOW WALK DOWN A LONG COUNTRY LANE
Before he passed away, Dad would often say that we should take a walk down the winding
country lane that passed in front on Mom and Dad's home. There was so much he wanted to
share with me about the past, and I am certain, he had wise words of advice for me. You can't
live 82 years and not have learned a thing or two about making decisions. Choices are like
markers that point out the direction you are heading- where you are going if your turn one way or
the other, or simply go straight on ahead.
We never did take that walk, one that I wish we had, if for no other reason than for the cherished
memory of it. Two weekends ago he called me, before he made his final trip to the hospital.
He had something to say to me, but I did not have the time to return his call -like always, I was
too busy to notice that this call was very important. The night after he passed into God's loving
hands, I was exhausted. I went to bed far earlier than normal, and slept so very soundly. I dreamt
about Dad's unreturned phone call, and imagined the walk that never was. I heard Dad's voice,
and he said "Let's have that walk- I'll meet you around the bend". This was all that I remembered,
so the next day I wandered down the country lane called Bridge Road, because a small bridge
crosses a creek bed leading up to Mom and Dad's house. I looked for the bend, but could not see
it that day.
That night I slept deeply again - I was weary and needed the rest. Dad once again spoke to
me, this time urging me to take a nighttime walk. I rose from bed, and like so many dreams,
was already dressed and out the door I went. The cool night air was refreshing and invigorated
me, I was inspired to walk and explore Bridge Road by moonlight. This time it was like
walking through a shadow world - the beautiful trees were dark and shrouded in a misty fog.
After walking what seemed like a couple of miles, an intersection appeared in front of me. At
first the road sign was not visible, but as I approached it, the names were clear. On my right
was "Heaven's Way", which was a steep path upward that rose up out of the ground fog. On
my left was "Nowhere Circle", which descended gradually into the mist- destination unknown.
Straight ahead was "Detour to Bridge Road". Feeling lost, I chose the familiar path – Bridge
Road. I do not remember how I meandered off - I must have been distracted by the moonlit
scenery, and became confused and disoriented.
The next morning I awoke with a start. The memory of what occurred the night before was
vivid and fresh as if I had just gone to bed, but I was not dressed, nor was there any evidence of
the midnight stroll. Determined to prove that my dream was real, I ventured out into the sunlit
morning to find the intersection of Heaven's Way and Nowhere Circle. After walking for miles, I
could not find it. I had lost my sense of direction in the dark mist, and vowed that I would buy a
compass. I was determined to find the mysterious intersection in my own way.
Again that night as I fell into a deep sleep, I found myself waiting for my Dad's voice. This time
though, it sounded like he was far away, calling out to me from where he already was. "I'll meet
you around the bend- I am waiting for you". This time I had the presence of mind to take the
night vision compass that I had bought the day before. I was prepared, and nothing would keep
me from finding my father - not darkness, nor mist, nor lack of direction. I found myself walking
at a brisk pace, my handy compass at my side. As the ground mist began to rise and shimmer in
the moonlight, I noticed that the compass began to glow. I was confident that I would not lose
my way. Once again I arrived at the intersection of Heaven's Way and Nowhere Circle. This time
I heard Dad's voice echoing above me to the right, and knew that this was the path that I should
take, if I wanted to find him. "Come up this way, my son, I am just around the bend". I started
to climb the steep path, and noticed that my com pass was glowing brighter than ever before, a
confirmation that I was headed in the right direction. Yet the harder and faster I climbed, I could
not find the bend around which was my waiting father. Physically exhausted, I sat down to catch
my breath. I then remembered what my Dad once told me- he said "You can't do anything in life
on your own that is truly worthwhile. You must rely on others for help, especially God". Though
I surely remember the words, I never fully grasped their meaning. I had always thought that self-
reliance is a virtue, and that to depend upon the assistance of others was to admit personal defeat
and was a sign of weakness. Yet, I prayed for God's assistance, so determined was I to find my
father and take that stroll down memory lane.
I was on higher ground than before, and the path was much clearer. Looking around me, I
spotted a stout hardwood branch that felt solid and heavy in my hands. I crawled over to it and
used it to rise to my feet. My legs were stiff and my feet were sore, but being more determined
than ever, I started working my way up that steep and narrow path called Heaven's Way. It
seemed as if an eternity had passed before I arrived at the bend in the road. A familiar figure
emerged from behind a tree. His smile was an instant solace and I forgot how tired I felt when
I recognized my father. He beckoned to me to walk beside him. There was a relatively flat
meadow behind the tree line and we created a new path together as we traversed it. He shared
several stories about people and places he remembered- family members and events long
forgotten. He then said "Son, you rarely would listen to me when you were a teenager. I knew
you would soon become a young adult, and your ears would become deaf to what I wanted so
much to share with you." I nodded my head in agreement and asked him to please continue. It
was such a good feeling to finally have that walk together in the moonlit meadow near Heaven's
He imparted pearls of wisdom that only a parent could give a child, words that were gifts from
a father's loving heart. He told me that "No matter how many bad choices you have made in my
life, that they all brought you to where you are right now, and this is not so bad, is it?" Walking
beside my father on this most precious of nights was something so sacred and dear to me that I
did not want the experience to end. I urged him to please continue, for what I wanted to avoid so
often before was what I now wanted more than anything in life.
He said to me "I see you brought a compass" and I looked down at what was strapped to my
belt and was amazed, for it was not a com pass at all, but was a Bible. He then said to me " ...
and you found a staff most worth of carrying, for it will not only carry you, but you must carry
it". Again I looked down at what I was holding in my hands, and it was not a walking stick, but
was a cross. I fell to my knees and wept tears of joy and astonishment, as I felt a great burden
lifted from my heart, and wounds hidden from myself for so long began to heal. He then asked
me a question, his hand gently resting on my shoulder. "Can I ask you why you did not take this
path before when you were looking for me?". I instantly realized what he meant- for what I was
seeking was not so much my Dad, though I will always hold him dear in my heart, but Heaven's
This was the joyous message - the greatest of gifts my father has given me. It became a gift only
when I recognized what he was trying to give me all those years. It became a gift only when I
chose to receive and embrace it. This gift I cherish above all others, for everything else pales by
comparison. With this gift I forgive all harms - real or imagined. With this gift, I am forgiven all
In Loving Memory to Dad
Glen James Kemp
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