Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The day of small things

I awoke this morning after several sets of strange, vivid dreams. Seperate, and yet somehow connected, the first was set on a steep, grassy hillside somewhere in Pennsylvania. The location seems as real as life, but I've never really seen it. Its occurence has resurfaced several times, but I'm not sure if it's merely the culmination of all that delights me in those rolling hills, or really some captive memory I can't quite recall.

The steep hillside was carved and soft. There were rutted pathways running parallel along the slope, and scattered in these waving lines were women and men with old, broad-brimmed hats and flapping garments. The weather was as I picture Ireland, and it seems that was why each person was scuttling along with a perceptible haste. Each woman seemed to possess a handful of flowers, and it was obvious a funeral was to be had.

Juxtaposed in this little reverie came the thought of an old-known soul. He lost his way a bit back, and has since destructively made his way through woman after woman in hopes of re-collecting his spilled hope. I know not whether the funeral was for this man, or some other unrelated. I woke stirred, and laid there for quite some time considering this crooked sphere upon which we've all landed.

A friend spoke last night out of Zechariah 4:10, which says "despise not the day of small things." I ate those words, and apparently as I slept, they were digested into a great, sobering mass of nutrement.

Our lives consist of "small days," and while my eyes perceive my days as most insignificant, this is not so. Everything great comes first in small, seemingly unrelated spasms of hope, and if we hold out long enough, temples are built, great evils collide, and great good is wrought. I want to know this; to press it in and down, and birth it daily in my life. I desire this with every drifting tendril of my fraying soul, and I desire this for all.

I decided last week to forego my grad school ambitions, and take to the relishing of my small days. I am hoping to embark on a little bit of a writing adventure. Thanks to my wonderfully encouraging friends, and the recommendation long ago from Deb Cory, I will be endeavoring to record a memoir of sorts, detailing some of the cracked paths that have brought me here. I think of nothing but words, Him, His Creation, people, and sewing these together in some redeeming work of His love. I know not the shape, length, or gravity of such a foolish endeavor, but I can't think of anything more impractical to which I'd pour out my life! I thought I'd share this with you all...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"I'll lock the vagrant winter out, and bolt my wandering in"

I'd like to call the winter in, and bolt the summer out,
but the season it grows fervent still, and leaves fall--
their sun-scorched boughs hang languid long
and I am about them, with a sweaty brow

I have the urge for going, and I play these songs
to subdue their call -- for frosty mornings, snow
and all, that accompanies the shifting tide --
the turning times, and the death that brings forth life
"Urge for Going" -- Joni Mitchell

I awoke today and found the frost perched on the town
It hovered in a frozen sky, then it gobbled summer down
When the sun turns traitor cold
And all the trees are shivering in a naked row
I get the urge for going but I never seem to go

I get the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown
Summertime is falling down and winter's closing in

I had me a man in summertime
He had summer-colored skin
and not another girl in town
My darling's heart could win
But when the leaves fell on the ground, and
Bully winds came around, pushed them face down in the snow
He got the urge for going
and I had to let him go

Now the warriors of winter they gave a cold triumphant shout
and all that stays is fying, all that lives is getting out
See the geese in chevron flight flapping and a-racing on before the snow
They've got the urge for going, and they've got the wings so they can go

I'll play the fire with kindling now, I'll pull the blankets up to my chin
I'll lock the vagrant winter out and bolt my wandering in
I'd like to call back summertime and have her stay for just another month or so
But she's got the urge for going and I guess she'll have to go

She gets the urge for going when the meadow grass is turning brown
and all her empire's falling down.

Joni Mitchell-California (BBC)

Monday, July 11, 2011

It has been, of late, as if I've been carrying around a tremendous weight, which is as a smoothed, round stone, placed upon my shoulders. The straps have dug in, the weight pressed down, and the slow grinding of my hips has all but wearied me. Without thinking of the blessing beyond the burden, the weight steals, tricks, and skirts about a man with a nagging tenacity. Glimpses of glory entreat him to lean in and learn of this pressing, but as it is, the flesh wants relief more than wisdom. It is the glory of God to withhold relief, and it is the goodness of God to show Himself in these squeezed little conduits where grace flows and heals, and where the buckled man is smoothed and resigned.

As paper gives when wet, this weight has slipped and split, and as gems are buried in veins of earth and rock, so these jewels have been tucked in me unaware. Pain has been seeping and spreading, and with it, my mind has darted and latched onto fear and anxiety. Couple pain with years of waiting, and little revelation, and you've got yourself despair soup with little prep. I forget how guarded I must be, and last week, that figurative stake that'd been driving into my spine suddenly brought life, and with it, the realization that the Lord was so gracious to press me so...

I'd begun listening to sermons on pain, suffering, and the discipline of the Lord, and as those choice words landed and lodged in my heart, my soul began to be restored. Hebrews 12 was the text for the three sermons, and those known texts became so beautiful and dread, that I had to stop, often. It is great shame that such time is wasted in believing lies. Unfortunately, greater shame comes from the actions that flow from our cracked perspectives... Nevertheless, grace shows us a better way, and enables us to turn and walk upon it.

Grief, sorrow, and loss seem never to stay at their sequestered lots. They lament, droop, and come out to browse all those around them. The browsing could be enough, but this soul voyeurism is treachery, and treason is trailing right behind. Sorrow tempts and assails us with irrationality, and it is brittle ground upon which to stand and assess the God of our circumstances. Undoubtedly it is vexing to consider the seemingly random events that daily unfold all about us, and indeed, this is precisely why Truth must be the filter through which we view everything, and especially in our vulnerability.

It seems we like formulas, and for this reason, our looking onto the lives of other's tricks us unknowingly, and assessments are formed that become to us as solid as stone. Little doubts take root, which began as imprints -- like crow's feet on sand -- and in little time, these sprouts sprawl, and the dropped seeds divert the streams which contain life. The living Word finds little unoccupied territory, and thus the Truth is squelched and choked, and finds soil only where lies have not yet prospered.

To be continued...

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Without questioning God's sovereign dealing in our world, how do we reconcile in our lives, and in our daily conduct, the suffering, sorrow, and brokenness all about us? How do we celebrate our own joys without living for them? If we really are to be living life for our Maker, why does it look still so much like we're living for ourselves?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I long for the words to fill in the gaps
as lightning flashes and thunder claps

Hushed aspens quake at the eve's prelude
And wind lifts the weather to suit the mood

Breezes catch blooms tossed by the trees
And place them about the path and my feet

The crickets glad choir reminds of a noise;
Whiteness as silence with fullness of voice

The oak trees hang, and touch down on ends;
Their long arms flex, and sway when they bend.

Small observations; life infused at the core
One lie replaced, and the truth to restore

Silence then breaks down the drone of the day;
It whispers and hems the tatters and fray

It leads me to stillness apart from mere rest
It moores and it anchors, it hangs and it tests

For truth then is seen, when activity is nil
And the eyes of the One upon me are still

No variation, no shadow in Him; all Light --
His blaze breaks my mind; terrorizes my nights,

Until I turn, His justice must be satisfied,
For a sinner as I looks only to be gratified --

Until His grace breaks open the sod,
Lands living seeds which no man can trod.

I am doomed but by what He brought --
Full grace and truth, no more the onslought

Of a prisoner's wage and a bastard's lot,
But now the free passage of the Son He begot.

I stand in this grace, as only by Him,
Rejoicing that I too can be free from my sin.