Monday, January 28, 2013

Large Rocks

Joining with Amber ( on Mondays for concretewords, where we practice writing by communicating the abstract through concrete things – a chair, a tree, shoes – and today The Rock.

I first awoke to a great drawing breath of several drunk, Irish farmer's. I'd reached my post alone and after nearly two days of travel, I slid quickly into sleep. I was introduced to morning through a great cacophony of snores.

I had sea legs from the planes and any previous composure had been left in America. I booked a ride south and hastily made passage to the interior of the island, though I did not know where I was going.

When I arrived there, I realized that my anxieties had not been left behind. Those old familiar taunts had not even changed tone and were now shouting their accusations, to which I had no response. I succumbed, as always, and cried to a stranger in the general store that sounded like my aunt. I stopped and stared at a beautiful lady on a blanket and couldn't move. She seemed like she needed me as much as I her, and so we ate beets in their broth, and after sleep she drove me down the road in her car without a floor. She left me by the roadside and informed me that hitch-hiking was plenty safe.

The sun was nice that day and it seemed not too high in the sky. I'd assumed that rides would soon arrive, and that the centimeters on the old map would translate to a time of tea. I waited and I began to pray -- though I did not yet know to whom I was speaking.

Rides came and so did dusk. I arrived at that glowing hour. It was Passover and I celebrated it for the first time with two Israelis on holiday. I hardly slept and went to shoe horses in the morning.
The days thereafter broke and crumbled into a cinder-like path upon which I faltered; the contents extended to weeks, and within them I arrived at the Milford Sound, Fjordland National Park, New Zealand.

Our tour guide was a fabulous Jamaican named Scott. Within moments we were dunking our kayaks into the sea and bobbing into the sound which heralds "the most violent weather changes in the world."

We poked about and the winds picked up. Before long we were at the shore of the most monstrous and craggy rocks I'd seen -- coming out of the ocean. These beasts are at 8,000 feet and are singular rocks. They massed there like pebbles in a puddle and I wept.

My friend had taken his life three weeks earlier and I just didn't get it all. Where he was, who I was, and most terrifyingly, Who created such mysterious monstrosities whose dust could blot my life? I reeled. Seals had been following our school and I reached out to one. It let me touch it and it twirled beneath my fingers. It followed us most of the way back and tutored me some more. The clouds gathered thickly and cussed out their rain, and beyond them -- all amidst them were those ranges of rocks, those foreboding mountains that spoke to my lostness, and the knowledge of Him who seemed to have etched them with His finger.

I bowed that day in terror - not to the mountains, but to their Maker I did not yet know. He led me to Himself fully some days later, but that day implanted a yearning and a delight for Himself and mountains that will be with me all my days.

Monday, January 21, 2013

From the

As I consider a writer’s voice, I wonder how it is for you. If we all have one, I wonder about other things, other things that most of us have. Like your scale, for example. If voice is cadence and music and space, how you write out the matter in your life and the meaning it gives, what about your scale? It’s certainly different than mine. So how is it for you? — On Mondays I write out spirit by practicing a little with the concrete things in my life and maybe in a fictional life. If you want to join this small community with these prompts, send your readers this way, and link up below at any point this week. Practice writing, the craft; share it with us. Next week’s topic is Rock. Make sure to use #concretewords on twitter. Thank you always for coming here and walking with me.


I see scales, sometimes hung as a necklace -- heavy and binding, hemming and secure. Their weight is of consequence but despite their own function, their substance is incalculable. These weights, with their cups and their arms hang right above me, and pronounce either a sagging grace or an embattled truth.

We are told: "Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart." (Proverbs 3:3) And thus the scales are weighed. I imagine this life as a series of tracks upon which I walk, bridling my steps in moving aright; the reins of my soul being tugged, tightened or lost by the fingers of grace within. The grasp is kept beyond me, while the principle is ingested within. The life of the Spirit in me totters and tilts as I struggle to apply and maintain in equal parts these two seemingly paradoxical themes.

In the pictured scales rests a small blaze and a green leaf. I see life and death and the power of my tongue. I see a forest I can catch with one flash of hard-struck truth, an injustice I pass over as I am on holiday with grace -- or the weeping wound that might be cured with one collective cordial of equal parts both.

I see equilibrium in these scales, and the kindness of a God who grants stability. I see a remedy to the ailments I inflict, and a constant gauge about and within that strikes down, builds up or restrains all that restricts clear passage on this narrow way. These scales contain inexhaustible reserve of grace; one scale tips and the healing tonic of the other drips and fills until they hang there side by side.