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The Evening and the Morning

The evening and the morning!
The darkness and the light.
The pinnacle of innocence–
Subtle beauty of the night.

Hear the call to rise and cavort
‘Neath the kisses of the sun,
And radiance be thy closest friend
Until gilt day is done.

For the moon with purest ice veil,
Clothes the world in silver rays–
Woos the Mystery of the nighttime
To traverse high and solemn ways.

Call forth a maid of midnight hair!
Call forth a maid of tresses gold–
Call forth the strength of copper sun!
Call forth the strength of tales untold.

Wilt choose then, the gemmy palate
Of the evening’s soft black silk?
Or wilt choose the azure canvas,
Graced with clouds of iv’ry milk?

Wilt thou choose the Morn’s fair wishes
As she stands at hand with purest pride?
Or wilt choose the Night’s true kisses
As she swiftly runs to laugh and hide?

Of shining Day and silver Night,
Two stars there are, and twain they be–
Look well to see thine own hid heart,
For these lights shine not the same to thee.

The evening and the morning!
The darkness and the light.
The pinnacle of innocence–
Subtle beauty of the night.

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Posts!

Hello! I hope your Christmas season is going well.

The past few months have been crazy for me, but I hope to start posting on a more regular basis.

I’ll begin by putting back the poems I pulled off the site.

Farewell

Farewell.

 

To say goodbye is everyone’s wish at the end,” he said, “but never granted. It is time, Keturah.”

~~~Martine Leavitt, Keturah and Lord Death.

 

 

I wrote out a numbered schedule, hit an enter key to shoot it off to my friend 555-some miles away from me. Both of us can see thoughts in milliseconds, through G-chatting.

I’d just come back from a teaching job, and numbered out ideas and plans. Because checking something off of a to-do list brings a high all of its own.

1. Have a cup of hot tea.

 2. Sit down and memorize a few chapters…give a couple hours for that….

 3. (I should put piano practice in this slot….) Piano practice.

 4. Write! Or read! A lot!

 The two of us smiled at my reluctance to tickle the keys, and then fell silent. (Considering an instant message conversation’s only noises are little key-board clicks.)I began to read, then noticed that the little icon signalling her online presence was gray.

Two possibilities.

 “Didst leave?” (enter-key)

“Or is your computer giving you trouble?” (enter-key)

 ” I hope it is the latter…..Because we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.”

The page turn for my 21st chapter happened a week ago, today. Twenty-one….India’s coming of age, as opposed to 18 in America.
Goals and dreams….there’s ongoing targets from previous years, and some new ones that bode an interesting journey for this Arrow.
My twenty-first bids me say goodbye.

 It struck me first as a fifteen-year-old, sitting in a living room packed 20-some relatives full….
Why do we wait until those we love are gone to share the memories, to praise and bless, to thank?
“Without her there in that spot, this room feels so empty!” an aunt exclaimed. Her bracelets made a quiet song as she gestured to a spot on the couch nobody thought to occupy. Yes, the room was empty, though people filled it. And though the sharing and unity was sweet, it was unshared with the one who should have had it.

 

 We express love, we hold each other just a little closer, take a little time to look at a person– to truly gaze and let souls touch for a moment– when we say goodbye. We give thanks to let them know their goodness was not taken for granted…that it was known and appreciated. In goodbye is our chance to encourage, to leave behind solid blocks of ivory, and radiant yards of silk with which they might build and beautify and remember.

But we rarely do say goodbye.

It has been said that  “To say goodbye is everyone’s wish….but never granted.”

Never granted, for it was never thought of. Naively we trust in all the time in the world and do not think that farewell is a thief in the night, who in a moment wraps in his embrace, and in another is too far for words to catch.

Why, oh why do we tarry till too late to say goodbye! One rose given in life means more than bouquets over a coffin.

Why will we not live the love, while we can love the life?


My twenty-first bids me say farewell to those I love…for now might be my last chance.

 

 

 

~~I’m an empty page
I’m an open book
Write Your story on my heart
Come on and make Your mark

Author of my hope
Maker of the stars
Let me be Your work of art
Won’t You write Your story on my heart?~~~

~~~Francesca Battisteli, “Write Your Story

Tears, and he didn’t even know all that lay behind them.

He couldn’t have known the hideous struggles I’ve had with certain secret sins…he couldn’t have known that, after almost twenty years, I’d finally put a name to one of them. Too horrible, and I’d had to close my eyes when typing it on my computer journal. The past few days had been wretched, but really, there were months of wretchedness building. And the man sitting in flannel PJs, under the covers of the bed I was sprawled over, didn’t know about the couple hours I’d spent trying to pour out my despair and hopelessness on a word document the previous night.

What he did know was that I doubted and feared. Something I’d trusted in had been kicked out from under me, and something I treasured dearly was on the verge of shattering.

Black hair flowing down into the same black-prickly beard and moustache  that framed the same roguish smile I’d known my whole life.  My father’s. My Appa’s.

What was meant to be a basic question turned into that question… and doubts…fears…and tears.

He held up his hand.
“Before you get carried away…there are going to be people all through life who are intellectual giants. And next to them, yes, you will feel like a bumbler…a dunderhead. And they have the high, philosophical complex way of explaining God. But do they really know Him? What really matters? Much of these theories and philosophies are false. The Gospel is a simple thing, and Christ calls us to come to Him as little children. And that is why you will never intellectually argue a person into the Kingdom of Heaven. That is why you can never convert a person. Only Christ can.  What really matters is knowing the Lord and believing on His name.

All these people, all their high knowledge….are they all going to Heaven? Not all, unfortunately.” He raised his arm, shrugged his shoulders and felt the tragedy of the statement. I waited for the finger to point down, indicating the other location. And it did, but not how I expected….

“The rich man, all his wealth and glory…and in Hell he lifted up his eyes and asked Lazarus to take his finger and put one drop of water on his tongue.” He gestured with his finger, and I could almost see that one drop of Living Water, which will be all-most-important when everything is said and done, and which, really, IS all-most-important now in the unsaid and undone. 

It was all that that rich man finally longed for.

I’d just been teaching some girls this truth the other day…that all the knowledge in the world is NOTHING if you don’t have Christ. Christ is the True Word, and yet we keep losing sight of Him in a clutter of words. Frustrated with working a camera’s settings, we never look up from buttons to really see the mountains. I’d told the girls this. Funny how the mind and heart sometimes don’t connect. Or perhaps the heart forgets.

“And there was a quote…” he turned sideways, as though trying to reach for a book that wasn’t in the room. “I don’t remember if it was by Ray Comfort…but he said,  ‘ Take a fish and ask it to climb a tree, or to walk on dry ground. That’s stupid, but put it in the water, and there is the true beauty of the fish.’ Don’t compare yourself or feel that in some way they are better than you. What has been given to you, what has been given to them, is from God. The question is, are you glorifying God with your gift, your beauty? The Jews required a sign, and the Greeks, those intellectual giants, thought it was foolishness. But unto us which are saved…” He looked up, and his eyes met mine and went even further. “…unto us which are saved, it is the power of God!

He was done. And suddenly, my pain and fears from the past few months fell away like rattly shells, broken off and blown away.  I’ve known and loved superheroes….but never one whose love fearlessly brings The Light the way my father does.

“There in the darkest night of the soul,

There in the sweetest songs of victory

Your grace finds me

Yes, Your grace finds me”

                               ~~ Matt Redman, “Your Grace Finds Me”

Christmas Gift

They say that this time of year can be hard. That darkness slinks in, smoke-like, fills all the little areas that aren’t twinkling with lights.
And I wouldn’t have given much thought to that calamity except it happened to me.
The following just landed in my inbox and I’m still blinking at the “concidence”……
At the gift.

I pray that no matter how your season is going…your hearts will be blessed and cheered by this.

http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/12/what-to-do-when-you-have-no-idea-how-get-ready-in-time-for-christmas/

 

Refuge

It’s been rough. That’s what I might tell you about the past couple of days.

Rough. Late-hours-and-not-enough-sleep rough. Company-and-hosting rough. Classes-that-go-on-too-long rough, not to mention the ever-haunting “remember-all-these-future-obligations!” rough.

There’s been a plethora of graces and gifts that I haven’t written down for lack of time, and then there’s been gifts, falling into palms I’m learning to keep open, which I have no clue what to do with. Like the children of Israel, gathering up manna for the first time and wondering “what is it?”, I’m finding myself squinting at grace-gifts that burn, distress and confuse. I’m looking through narrowed eyes at these gifts and wondering “Really? A gift, a grace…..really? Why this….Why and how is this a gift?”

If my soul’s an ocean, lately it feels as though there’s some ill winds blowing. Winds to churn up filthy foam, to batter against ships and afford no rest to those upon them.
And I come home to try and relax. I feel like eviscerating somebody instead.
I listen to an audio of the Bible and the words fall on my ear….. “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”
                               My refuge…my refuge in time of trouble. And yet I had not been seeking it, not as I should have been.  The rough hours should have had me opening my hands more, more, even more to life-giving grace, to gifts sent with Love…yes, even the hard gifts. I was running, senselessly, into the ravage of the storm and not towards my refuge. I am closing my hands and cutting off my air supply.
So, a few devotionals and a couple of Psalms later, nothing’s changed. (Weren’t expecting that, were you?) The class still went on too long, there’s still future obligations, and I could use some coffee, chocolate and a nap–though with enough of those first two, I might dispense with the last. 🙂 I’m not ready to hear a detailed discourse of various historical dictators (courtesy of my brother), and I still feel like a yowling, hissing cat when somebody calls me.
And yet, everything’s changed. Ann Voskamp says “Peace isn’t the absence of the dark. Peace is the assurance of God’s Presence in the dark.”
And so it’s time to stop battling these rough hours on my own…it is time to stop battling, and to rest in the Refuge. My Beloved is calling me to rise up and come away.
Gladly then, I shall……..

My Refuge may not keep away the pain or the fatigue…after all, He is the Refuge IN time of trouble. And His presence will sometimes be IN the darkness….

But now, now there are powerful arms wrapped around in a fierce embrace, keeping me warm and loved.
And I would challenge all the forces of Hell to try and break through those arms.

Chain link

I don’t have time for this.

That’s what I’m thinking, that’s what I know as I sit down at the keys to hastily write.

But truth is, I do have time. I must have time. Time for this grace.

The challenge swirls around like a circling shark and I don’t know why I’m not terribly overwhelmed, distressed, morose and grim. The challenge–

A cluttered, messy house that is not ready for guests. And the first guest is arriving in less than twenty-four hours.

I’m no stranger to this challenge. The giant of unorganized chaos has taken up residence in my home for years. It became worse when the “Year of the Moves” hit us. My mother’s servant heart somehow found its calling in helping with  moves…a divorcing couple, a church in the midst of a makeover, the old pastor and his wife seeking new housing near their son,  a family of five taking off to the other end of the country.
And my mother, she was there for each one. And each one left a small inheritance of the miscellaneous, giving her charge to dispose of it as she saw fit.

As the now-famous line goes, “Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!”

And so the giant lived and grew and flourished in our home. There was too much else to give our attention to him…too many classes, too many needs…too many reasons to put off the devastating effect that waging all out war on him would bring on us.

And yet, once a year, we must wage war…really, we must wage compromising parley to try and contain his devastations, to hide it away. And that once a year event…sometimes twice a year event…is called the arrival of company.

It is that war that faces us this evening, and I know what it means. All-nighters. Stress. Anger. Weariness. And barely satisfactory results.

A wonder then, that I am not in straits of misery!

But a miracle has entered my life recently, a book by name “One Thousand Gifts”, and to tell you fully of it would take a flurry of posts. Which I shall save for another time.

Suffice to say that it has opened my eyes to the never ending rain of grace, of gifts from God, that rain on us continually. Those gifts that would quench and heal our bitter, shriveled souls if we would only open our hands to receive it.

And I am counting, and I am recording in a little green-flowered journal, those gifts I was blind to. And in the naming, I see not just the gifts, but the face and the love of the God who gives them.

Twenty minutes ago, a load of clean laundry was whisked off of the line and into the dryer…the cue to string more wet clothes in their place.
And my father called, and I walked out in bare feet to the backyard.

Not even our outdoors has been protected from this giant. A pile of scrap wood awaits future use on one side. A tangle of tomato-cages, peeled wood-finish and PVC pipe lay in garish glory above the pile.
And as I walked out to hang up the clothes, I saw a flash of movement in it.
A mouse? A rabbit?

I froze and turned my head.
A chipmunk? Not here in the city, surely….

Of course not. It is a sparrow. A little she-sparrow, sitting in the frame of jumbled wood. And I’m captivated.
I haven’t taken the time to write down any Heaven-gifts today, opting instead to trust it to my memory in hopes of jotting it down later.
And I add to today’s list now.

“Number..two-hundred and something…A little sparrow in the wood.

Number two-hundred and something else…the gorgeous pattern of color and feather on her back.”

I watched the little bird hop out of the wood-pile and onto our back porch. I look at her feet. Tiny little feet and legs, and without glasses they’re just little dark lines from where I stand. How I wish for my glasses…so I could see each line of her little toes.
“Number two-hundred and yet something else…sparrow legs and toes.”

From there she makes a little flying hop right into one of the diamonds of our chain-link fence. The diamond’s width is barely large enough for my hand to fit through, and yet it is just the right size to afford her a perch. Her whole little brown body fits in the diamond.
And she just sits there.
And I just stare. I have laundry to hang and a room to prepare. Why is life such an emergency? Why do we rush from one event to the other in a frantic scramble that never ends? I won’t. I won’t give up the gift of the moment. The sparrow stands there, and so do I.
And just then, the little sparrow stands up high (however a sparrow does that) and peeks over her shoulder at me. Her little face, in profile, framed in the next higher diamond of the fence.
Number….something. Sparrow peeking over her shoulder at me, in the frame of fence.
Why is she sitting there, I suddenly wonder. What is she waiting for? What do sparrows think of? Does she have plans for the evening?
A smile splits my face at a new and happy thought. Do sparrows, the very birds that Christ keeps His eye on, count gifts? Do they count Heaven-blessings? As I hear the voice of God pointing out the bird and whispering, “Would you look at that sparrow, just standing there and looking at you?”, perhaps she’s hearing the same voice saying, “Would you look at that human, just standing there and looking at you?”
I smile. A birdie with a blessings book. I wonder what number I’d be listed as.

My father comes out, laundry basket in hand, and phlumpfs the load onto the porch. He catches sight of me just standing there.
“What’s the matter?”

I smile, full of joy. “Look. Over there.”
He looks. The sparrow stays just a moment, and when he turns away, the movement launches her into flight, a blur of tan leaving me. A moment later, and the fence is empty.
We turn to hang up clothes. The air is cool and crisp with the bite of Autumn. Just a few days ago we saw several inches of snow, now all gone. The ground is cold too, under my bare feet. The cold travels up my soles in a dull, not unpleasant ache. I lift my head in time to see the gliding, smooth flight of four blackbirds, their wings making a silhouetted scallop pattern against the sky. And I count gifts.
Pleasant cold-ache. Bite of Autumn. Blackbirds ornamenting the sky.
 
A burst of unpleasant words break out behind me. Irritation over pants that shouldn’t have been washed again so soon. Anger underlying the sentences. Yet another soul tearing into soul…over nothing.
I shake my head. This grace-gift of mine, this awareness of the need to see that grace and those gifts raining all around me is new. It has been, and is continuing to be, life-changing.
But they haven’t had eyes opened to it yet, haven’t seen the rain that could flood away the unnecessary hurts, the anger, the bitterness, the petty squabbles that grate on souls. Not so petty, after all….
It is alright. And I console myself with the knowledge that the eye-opening can come to them, that God can bring it to them. All is not lost, and there is still joy.

And I remember a sparrow, peeking back at me over her shoulder.