poetry


REST

Compulsion.

Frenzy.

If only I can get one more thing done.

Dishes piling in the sink.

Pictures needing to be edited.

Piles of clothing looking to be washed.

Chaotic dance.

Noisy activity.

I hear  screams of “be productive!!”

I should exercise.

I should return phone calls and emails.

I should…I should…I should…

I was made to work, was I not?

Finishing…accomplishing feels good.

It drives me to squeeze all I can out of the moment.

But it squeezes out my vitality too.

Until my body shuts down and says “no”.

In infirmity I hear deeper music.

No…it is the same chaotic tune

Only I have forgotten to sing the repetitive chorus.

For its pace slows and says “REST…REST…REST”

“Cease striving and know I am God…”

“In quietness and trust is your strength…”

“Remember the Sabbath and keep it…”

“Trust Me…I am God!”

But I find myself arguing with the Almighty.

If I can only use my time to get things done…(wait, Whose time??)

If I can just cross off a few more items on the list, then I can sit and be still.

But The List is a prolific breeding machine

Until my desk overflows with “just one more thing”.

So I choose to trust Him

And not the twin idols of efficiency and productivity.

To gaze upon my God,

To remember He holds the cosmos together…not me,

To learn to “waste time” with Him,

To obey,

To know the rest of God.

Thinking about men and women, especially within the church.  Thinking about some new friends we have just met.  Thinking about how we interact with one another.  Thinking about marriage today and what an amazing man I am married to… these words dripped down my pencil and begged to be written:

beauty

Beauty is elusive.

She is a timid little soul…reticent to come out of her safe places.

She is a creature that takes time to draw out from her carefully constructed enclosures and fear filled anxieties.

She does not come out into a clearing too quickly,

Nor does she respond to impatience or quick movements.

*****

The one who would wish to see beauty must sit repetitively and quietly.

He must risk extending a hand to her- into her darkness – knowing he will be bitten.

He must be willing to bear the scars of beauty’s teeth and not pull back into his own hurt.

His gaze focuses kindly upon eyes that stare back at him through the dark undergrowth – in fear, distrust, and self-protection.

This one must speak in hushed tones

with gentle but strong words.

Because beauty knows falseness and withdraws from it.

So this beauty whisperer must always speak truth but within the cadence of love.

*****

For beauty is afraid to come out into the open

-she is afraid of others

-she is afraid of laughter

-she is afraid of being crushed

-but most of all she is afraid of herself

of her strength, passion, and blinding brilliance

Beauty finds it easier to hide and live in shadows because she does not need to come face to face with her glory!

And the one who would call beauty out must also not be afraid of that glory or her power.

Oh no!  He comes with a strength all his own, knowing he will protect her and her strength will become synergistic with his.

THIS is why he is patient

THIS is why he calls

Because he sees her, fully glorious, though she hides,

And knows he is made complete with her emerging.

PossibleLoveOT copy 2

On the back of my car I have a sticker that says “Love Wins”.  I put it there because it is the phrase I want to live by.  Love won me over and I am watching Love transform a few around me whom many thought were un-transformable.  Even when hate and distrust and contempt seem to be the prevailing story, I want to cling to the truth that “Love Wins”.  I want to remember that I stand on this side of the cross and the resurrection – where Love won its decisive victory.  Now I want to be an agent of that powerful, unstoppable Love.

“My Lord is the source of Love; I the river’s course.

Let God’s love flow through me.  I will not obstruct it.

Irrigation ditches can water but a portion of the field;

the great Yangtze River can water a thousand acres.

Expand my heart, O Lord, that I may love yet more people.

The waters of love can water vast tracts,

nothing will be lost to me.

The greater the outward flow, the greater the returning tide.

If I am not linked to Love’s source, I will dry up.

If I dam the waters of Love, they will stagnate.

Can I compare my heart to the boundless seas?

But abandon not the measure of my heart, O Lord.

Let the waves of your love still billow there!”

-Wang Walton

pray

I have been reading (and enjoying) a book called The Mystic Way of Evangelism by Elaine A. Heath.  In it, she proposes that the church – in the 21st century West – is in a “dark night of the soul” and that the mystics have much to say to us as we try to navigate this season.  Though I don’t always land where she does, the book prompted me to think and challenged me once again about the power of God’s love.

Here is a poem she wrote at the end of the book that I thought was just beautiful:

I emerge from the tomb of my slumber

Loose the attachments

That bound me for so long

No one guessed at my beauty

I leave the stifling night of my confinement

Slide into the cool baptismal waters

Suspended in the breaking of the dawn

Stroke on stroke

Stroke on stroke

I glide

Suspended in mercy

Now I emerge

Now I breathe

Now I sing

Now I live

Your redemption

Life has been FULL…guests at our house, end of the year projects, performances and parties, a trip to Arizona and editing photos.  I know that the Spirit is churning in me and brewing some new pictures and metaphors to be written about at a later date.  As we approach Pentecost, I am reminded of His (the Spirit’s) moving and working.  Here is a poem I wrote:

_MG_8538 copy

WildFire

He comes
a gentle breeze
making music through the tree branches
loosening the feeble grip of the folliage

He comes
a small flicker
bringing light and warmth within His flame
consuming each wick He finds

He comes
a mighty wind current
raising dust from the dead into a swirling funnel
lifting and dropping the soaring bird

He comes
a wide-hearthed fire
frolicking upon logs and scorching stone
crackling with whispers of untamed flame

He comes
wind and fire
combining into unstoppable Force
crossing the landscape in a dance un-containable

He comes
a rushing wind, a tongue of fire
covering the planet in searing wildfire
gathering a people who play among the Flames

He is here
Spirit
Bold, tender, dangerous, unpredictable
The wildest member of the Trinity