Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I've been especially enamored with solo piano music and poetry these days. It seems I've been following an unmarked path that keeps opening to me, and shedding bright rays on my steps. I read of an artist that spoke of his creations as rooms within a house, and each embellishment as his arm chair, couch, or tapestry. With each stroke he leads us through the home that resides in his heart. His love is shed abroad through his music, and emotion imbued through each hammer's touch; I suppose I am coming to resound with him more deeply with each passing day, and this blog finds its dawning for satisfaction of this want. Created in the image of my Maker, it is most natural to create, and my heart desires ever so deeply to connect with my fellow man in this pain-stricken and God-forsaken world. I endeavor to navigate the paper thin walls that envelop my heart, and perhaps touch on the shades of another. I yearn to give voice to the human ache for the divine. I cry out to be satisfied by the only One who can, and I cry out loud for all who want to hear. "O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water." (Ps. 63:1)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Listen to the water mill,
through the livelong day;
How the clicking of the wheel
wears the hours away.
Languidly the autumn wind
stirs the withered leaves;
on the field the reapers sing,
binding up the sheaves;
and a proverb haunts my mind,
and as a spell is cast,
"the mill will never grind
with the water that has passed"

Autumn winds revive no more
leaves strewn o'er the earth and main.
The sickle never more shall reap
the yellow, garnered grain;
and the rippling stream flows on
tranquil, deep and still,
never gliding back again
to the water mill.
Truly speaks the proverb old,
with a meaning vast:
"The mill will never grind
with the water that has passed."

Take the lesson to thyself,
loving heart and true;
golden years are fleeting by,
youth is passing, too.
Learn to make the most of life,
lose no happy day!
Time will ne'er return again-
sweet chances thrown away.
Leave no tender word unsaid,
but love while love shall last:
"the mill will never grind
with the water that has passed."

Work, while yet the sun does shine,
men of strength and will!
Never does the streamlet glide"
useless by the mill.
Wait not till tomorrow's sun
beams brightly on thy way;
all that thou canst call thine own
lies in this word: "Today!"
Power, intellect, and health
will not always last:
"The mill will never grind
with the water that has passed."

O, the wasted hours of life
that have swiftly drifted by!
O, the good we might have done,
Gone, lost without a sigh!
Love that we might once have saved
by a single kindly word;
thoughts conceived, but ne'er expressed,
perishing unpenned, unheard.
Take the proverb to thy soul!
Take, and clasp it fast:
"The mill will never grind
with the water that has passed."

O, love thy God and fellow man,
thyself consider last;
for come it will when thou must scan
dark errors of the past.
And when the fight of life is o'er
and earth recedes from view.
And heaven in all its glory shines.
Midst the good, the pure, the true,
then you will see more clearly
the proverb, deep and vast:
"The mill will never grind
with the water that has passed."

Friday, December 18, 2009

On another subject, today 21 years ago, my dear friend Angela Grubb came into this world. Ecclesiastes 1:11 says, "There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow." I agree with this verse in most all cases, but Angela is one whose impression is more deeply felt. I am convinced that generations to come (if I am permitted to bear children) will know of her faith, love, and zeal towards God. Angie is sugar and pepper, as there is no gall to her, but sweetness and fire. She has a keen mind and feisty wit; a strong will with a submissive and sustained heart, and she is a gift in every way. I thank God for you, Angie.
I don't really know how to blog, or what one writes on a blog, so I'm just going to let loose. I have big plans of explaining myself someday, as to why an insignificant creature such as I would hope to express myself... but tonight is not the time. Other thoughts are coursing about my mind, and compulsion has it that they must come out.
I worked a double tonight, and in between shifts I exercised, which increased my levels exponentially so that, when I returned I was abuzz with all the glitter and joy of Christmas. I was reading the "Pursuit of God" on the bike, and reading about removing the veil of self in our lives... I was ashamed of my short-sightedness, and of my tendencies to be "always learning, and never coming to a knowledge of the truth," and that my abiding is less than desired. I took to the rowing machine and closed my eyes and pumped with all the vigor this vessel possesses. I thought of the all the pretense of Christmas, and I resolved that I would burst if I did not inform everyone of the meaning of it. I pulled again, and reminded myself (deeply) of the meaning of Christmas, and preached that blessed good news to my needy soul, and headed down to shift two.
A frail old woman had her face to the fire and her eyes were glossy with age. She had a swirl in her hair and wore a red wool blazer upon her withered frame. She couldn't quite hear, and her gaze spoke straight through the room. All that her eyes have seen, and I couldn't quite help but wonder if her wordless glances spoke "vanity, vanity, all is vanity!" Her young family seemed to forbear with her inabilities and I couldn't help but stare, miss my grandmother, and think of how foolish we must look to the elderly--or to anyone with wisdom. I think often of these things and they can vex my spirit. I also think we might gain a lot if we stopped to listen. Joan Baez had a song about this, here's a stanza:
"You know old trees just grow stronger,
old rivers grow wider everyday,
but old people they just grow lonesome
waiting for someone to say, hello in there, hello."
So that's an admonition, but I'm not done. Oh do I encourage us all to take several steps back! To contemplate, to be laid bare, to be made humble. We are a noonday shadow, a passing cloud, a teetering toddler ... And to whom do these elements receive their a. light b. moisture c. steps? Each comes, and is gone before reckoned with. Consider these things for more of this [mono]logue is sure to come.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What to say of winter?
I thought this as I passed
The three tall trees beside me
Standing leafless on the grass

Their succession lighted my eyes
As the maple cast its gold,
The middle long remained,
While the oak clung fast in cold.

Her deadened leaves descended
Some time beyond the rest
And still she stands there grasping
At what was once her best.

I couldn’t help but wonder
As summer blew in fall
And cold is now upon me,
How ought I think this all?

For if the days are written
Before the man is born,
How then can we question,
The proceedings of his form?

I do say much of winter,
And welcome in her cold
For like the tall oak tree,
My strength is in repose
"The simplicity of winter has a deep moral.
The return of nature, after such a career
of splendor and prodigality, to habits so
simple and austere, is not lost upon either
the head or the heart. It is the philosopher
coming back from the banquet and the wine to
a cup of water and a crust of bread."
John Burroughs
"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both
satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am
painfully conscious of my need of further grace.
I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune
God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with
longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may
know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work
of love within me. Say to my soul, "Rise up, my
love, my fair one, and come away." Then give me
grace to rise and follow Thee up from the misty
lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus' name."
A.W. Tozer

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A. E. Housman

LOVELIEST of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
The curtains close on yet another room
The heart’s stage sullied in further gloom
Why we wrestle, and furrow our brows
Where pardon is present and liberty avowed

The clang of our fetters, our despondent consolation
For mercy’s too costly; an offense’s remuneration
Foolish we are, to sample such gall
And waste in our chamber the joys of our call

Speak to me of the profit of holding a grievance,
Or calculating the suffering of another’s contrivance?
My heart has dabbled in all such malevolence
And has concluded thus, that its rest is benevolence

An easier road, you will surely find
For the heart, by nature, is bent in decline
And deceit, her capricious counterpart
Will steal all the riches that endurance imparts

So, pilgrim, I speak to my heart and yours,
To bind up the burden we choose to endure
And seek for the One with whom we have appeal
And trust Him for the grace to love beyond what we feel