Wednesday, October 4, 2017

These Are The Times That Try Men's Souls

In the midst of the commotion of living in the middle of America in it's disintegration period, I find myself frequently shaking my head. When the news blares and the tears fall for strangers who were alive last week and dead now- that would be as strange still were it not for their famous and brutal demise, I wonder what my great grand parents would have thought. The tragedies of their day were all they knew, new to them as a Twin Tower or a Vegas are for me. Their tears fell and their hearts reached out from their chests in a wish to somehow comfort those who fell in their days. They too shook their heads and wondered what the world was coming to. They wondered how the world could get any worse and if there would be a world to wake up to for their children and grandchildren.
    I don't know what the future holds nor would I deign to ask anyone but God. So far, He doesn't seem to think to necessary to fret about, just prepare for. This I do know, that these are the times that try men's souls. So was it designed to be. The challenges of our time are perhaps unlike any other, but so too are the blessings unlike any other. The opportunity to reach out to God and allow His mercy in our lives has never been greater. We have at our fingertips a relationship with Jesus Christ that is unlike any other relationship that we have experienced. His grace is there for us at every moment. In the midst of commotion there is a sweet peace that can fill the heavens and and our hearts- one as easily as the other. There cannot be anyone else responsible for it but ourselves. This experience cannot be given by virtue of another's sincerity, dedication or determination- only our own soul can ask and receive. So please ask, please pray, please insist until the answers come that you seek. Get real and be serious with God- there is no substitute. And when He answers, accept it. There have been times that I asked sincerely and then was tempted to reject the answer because it was not what I expected, was harder than I anticipated and required more commitment than I thought I was capable of giving. There have been times I have been unsure where the answers were going, when I couldn't see the destination and I wondered which train I had boarded and if perhaps I had been standing in the wrong station to begin with. Take heart, God intends to give you more than you asked for. He cannot bless you enough- though at times we might feel stretched beyond what we feel is necessary, He intends to give you greater blessings than your imagination can conjure. There is hope in this world of darkness and pain and it doesn't come from legislation, social reform, news broadcasters or even a hurting people who come together in times of need. Those who come together in times of need are a symptom of the hope that is in us through Christ Jesus. We have brought with us to this Earth a love for our fellow man that Christ showed us is stronger than any force.
If you never have, take some time to quiet your mind and ask for God to speak to you, to give you peace, to fill your soul and answer your heart's questions. If you have before, perhaps many times before, take the time again to invite peace for yourself and in behalf of others. This world will be a better place.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Healed

Wallowing in despair,
  I cried.
My burden and my heart
 So heavy.
"There is only grief
  No rest for me
Oh help me, now,
 Oh Lord" I sighed.

My sister came
  Her lamp in hand
Her tender voice spoke
  Love and friendship.
She offered light,
  It warmed my heart
And filled my eyes with hope.

But she could not stay,
  She must away, to family and home
They called.
  And all too soon,
The light, it dimmed
 And left my rooms so cold.

My brother too, he came
  On errand from The Lord.
To share words,
  Of comfort , faith and love.
But with his parting,
  'Er his shadow left my door
The voice of darkness
  Spoke once more;

"The light, it cannot save you
     It leaves you hopeless, yearning..
I'm always here, you're not enough
Despair is all
 You have in store
Change is hopeless,
 Your efforts,
     Puny
         Worthless
You'll always be alone."

"This Jesus
That they speak of,
  Who is he?
 Where is he now?
Oh? He can? But will he save you? How?"
  The voice drones on,
Together with
  My stomach churning.

I cried out
  "Liar! It can't  be true,
I've felt it in my heart
  The warmth, the light, the burning!"

The laughter from the darkness rang
  Rasping in my ears
The voice reviewed my sins
 And faults,
My weaknesses,
  My fears
And I , ashamed,
  Sat hopeless, lost
And all my thoughts just turning, turning,

Until a tiny voice,
 A thought
Swam upward from the pile.
It pushed gently to the front
 And said,
 Without pretense or guile
"What if, what if you tried?
       What if you asked and He replied?"
What if this bully in your mind
  Is only that? A bully and a cipher?
Disembodied and feeding on your flame, your fire?"

My confidence,
 It drew deep breath
And taking heart, I spoke.
I told Him all, as with a friend,
 My hardest, deepest
    Pain.
I told of childhood fears and monsters, haunting still,
  Of words I spoke and actions done ,
 in shame
   I emptied out deep wells of darkness
Confusing,
      unexplained.

Looking on with kindness,
 His face so calm and still,
  He asked if I would give it all
I quickly said
    "I will....but how?"

"I cannot, will not steal from you,
     These things you've suffered through,
  You've learned and felt, through
 This darkness, chosen
    But freedom is my gift to you."

"There is no other way to learn,
         And yet,
     To choose to live
 You'll give me the burden and the guilt,
         I'll take them,
  Turn them light
               With this Gift I freely
           Give!"

I looked inside
   And in my heart
I saw the life, the lessons
        I had gained
The precious truths
   so hardly won,
 the pain and purpose now explained.

The laughter from the jeering
  dark had turned to gnashing teeth
       and anger stark
and yet,
        with my gratitude it calmed,
the storm no longer lingered on
   the gift erased my hatred,
all of my fears
  now gone.

There reigned in space and time
  amazement, love and joy-
 replacing darkness with the light
healing my soul with grace divine.
 


     *I feel humbled and very inadequate to try and describe the depth of love and gratitude I feel to Jesus Christ, my Savior. My efforts feel somewhat like a cross between Dr. Suess and a large Victorian lady who imagines herself a great poet and will prove it over tea and her relatives better judgement but express it I must, despite my shortcomings. I hope the feeling triumphs over the spelling and punctuation errors. Glory to God and the credit for the mistakes to me.

I've Got This Beautiful Friend

This wonderful friend of mine is sad, with haunted eyes. She lost a child and life will never be the same. Would she want it any different?
Let me explain. Of course I assume she wants it all back, the companionship of her family and the joy of his presence. She wants the sweetness of every good memory and she would maybe even take back the bad times, the hard times and the sadness just to have him, just to have the chance for things to get better, to allow time to swing the pendulum back to the good. If life were to be happy would that mean she didn't care, didn't miss him? Would that mean that he was really gone....if she weren't sad?
   Does her heart cry out to God, "Why do you hate me?! How could you do this to me."
"Why couldn't I love him enough? Enough to keep him safe?" Or maybe "Enough to give me peace, knowing that no matter what, he knew I loved him."
  Perhaps she walks alone in a world full of people who have no idea of the heartache and sorrow that she drags behind her like a Grand Canyon suitcase. She smiles at those she meets but it's always there, a chasm big enough to see from space. It's full of memories of the tiny boy who first held her heart and then her finger and then her every waking moment. Of the boy that held her breath as he rode his bike like he would never crash when she knew better. It's full of his crazy smile and great love of the outdoors and all the heartache when he struggled with math and choices and friends and girls and more choices. It's full of every time she wished she could take away the pain and agony and every time she wished you could still spank him even when he's taller than you.
  And maybe sometimes, for just a moment, when she opens her eyes in the morning after a beautiful dream she can still feel him there and she forgets that he's gone and the world feels right again.

I see you, my friend. I see that Canyon behind you. Some days it's hovering in the distance and some days it's under your feet. Some days you fear a misstep will allow it to swallow you. And I don't know what to say- it's a private canyon and sacred. I don't share it, I don't know it like you do. I don't really understand and I don't know how to tell you I can feel it and see it around you. And sometimes I'm afraid that if I say it aloud you'll think I'm crazy. But please know that you aren't really alone, the walls of pain and darkness that divide us from each other cloud our minds and we believe the lies that no one cares, no one understands. I may not fully understand but by dang, I sure want to try.

*i woke this morning with one particular friend on my mind and could not go back to sleep but as I contemplated on what I wished I could say to her I realized that the list of friends, family, loved ones and acquaintances who also carry this same burden of sorrow and worry for the living and the dead is too long to even comprehend. My love goes out to you in your own sorrow that the eye can't see.