Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Dare Not Write It

I don’t want to write it
Because then it will stick.

I don’t want it to stick,
to stay,
to find a permanent home in words.
I want it to pass.
I will behold it in the moment of its birth
its death.
Let it be…
For pity’s sake,
Not this one.
Not now.
That I could hold without capturing.
That I could feed freedom daily to thought,
                                                               to beauty,
                                                                              to keep it as my pet...
Let it be.

I love you.
It’s true.
I adore how unique you are.
The way the light shines in
and casts a glitter of dust across the room.
Just now.
I hear the buzzing
Electric air
It doesn’t empty you of this:
A knowing embrace of here and now.

But I don’t want to write it.
I want to leave you where you are,
A wild creature
for me to see with my eye,
For my mind
to fill in the airy spaces with thought,
                                                                                      things known.
And now,
in this way, I never really see you
for how you are
                       …which seems sad.
But it is a gift to me
when my Creator spins the world this way
for me to see it
this way…
a gift.
I cannot share it
I cannot keep it
I dare not write it.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Telephone Pole in Alaska

She walked in stiff heavy steps toward the telephone pole.  The air was completely still, even the ever persistent cry of the crows was noticeably absent.  It was as though all of time was frozen, nature standing in awe-filled respect for this moment.

Her boots crunched under the frozen gravel, and she hugged her arms to her chest to fight off the chill.  The heavy ache that taken permanent residence in her heart became even more palpable, nearly unbearable.

Why did she come out here today? She wondered.

She stopped just a few feet short of the pole and took a few deep breaths.  She had died here with her brother just a year ago.  His body was gone, but hers had somehow kept breathing and waking and living every day.

She took a few more steps forward, removed the glove from her left hand and gently touched the pole.  It was weather worn and splintered.  She was both repulsed and fascinated with this roughly hewn beam.  It held a power line, live wires.  How ironic that it also held the power to kill.

She let her mind wander back to that morning… He had been tense and late, sleeping through his alarm.  His usual cheerful demeanor was gone, and instead he furiously gathered his things in frustration.  She hung back, observing quietly. She adored him.  Six years her senior, she had watched him grow into an adult with such ease and joy.  He had taken her on as an apprentice of his life, showing her how he had taught himself to fix his car, laughing as he failed miserably at playing the guitar, and gently quietly listening with committed attention to her often immature and under developed thoughts. 

He had adored her, too.

That morning, he had snapped at her to hurry up, then paused and intentionally stilled himself to look at her.  His brow furrowed, he closed his eyes, let out a long breath, and when he had reopened his eyes, a strained peace came over him.

“Sorry, Rael,” he said with some effort.

She gave him a weak smile.  He flashed a giant one back, and she immediately felt a wave of relief.  They chatted happily as he drove through the early morning light to her school.  She was rattling off all of the classes she was going to have next year as a freshman, when the car suddenly hit a patch of black ice.

Rael shook her head as snapshots of the accident flew through her mind, somewhat out of order, missing pieces.  It showered her mind quickly, but then stopped on the one moment that changed her life.

Again, she was looking at the pole but now it had blood on it, dented with dark red streaks.  Her mind wanted to stay there and not turn her head, not see with such clarity the broken body of her brother lying on the hood of his car (he had just changed the oil last weekend, was the thought that had oddly flown into her head at that moment).  Bleeding.  So much blood.

She knew instantly he was gone.  And like a dam that had held back the rest of the universe, waters came rushing into her soul, threatening to drown her. 
After that day, she had struggled, fighting to keep her head above the waves.  Anders had been her world, an unshakeable thing.  She had never been afraid or felt unsafe.

But all of that died right here.

She ran her fingers over the dent.

How had a year passed already? 

Against all reason, she smiled.  Ander’s life and love had shaped her.  He had nurtured her, taught her how to learn, strengthened her bones with the confidence he placed in her, in who she was, and in her ability. 

But it wasn’t until he died, that she began living.  It had taken her the full year to realize that even his death was a gift.  She cringed to acknowledge that truth, and more than anything she wanted him back.

But she couldn’t deny how just like this telephone pole in the countryside of Alaska, his death held power, it fed into her life, and lit up places of her soul that she couldn’t have seen before.

Rael let her hand fall to her side as she looked up into the grey sky.  Her heart was still heavy, her boots  iron weights on her feet.  But inside she felt the humming of a deathly power, filling her both with fear and awe. 

She saw his smile in her mind.  He lived there now.  And she was light.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

draw your own polished conclusions

No one really talks about it. We love to debate the appendix or the tonsils.  Perhaps it is because we are so keenly familiar with our fingernails that we give them a free pass.  We wouldn’t want to question their apparent purposelessness  into admitted uselessness.

No, instead we care for them with great detail.  Though some of us are juvenilely attached to the chewing vice they can offer, we usually take time to measure them out in neat little lines against our fingers.

We cut, file, moisturize, and even paint them.
In fact, walking into any nearby drug store in America will reveal our deep affection for dressing up our nails. Colors from any shade or hue you can think of.  Add some sparkle or iridescence, too!  We even have clear polish for the classy and subtle girl. 

It’s a whole industry.  Nail polish, cuticle pushers, nail files, nail clippers, varying degrees of layering for the truly dedicated. 

It is though God gave us tiny little canvases on the ends of our most used and tactilely sensitive body parts.  Paint on dots, stripes, animals, flowers, words, patterns.  I’m amazed by how huge life is and yet how diligently we can focus on our nails. 

Detail should never surprise or elude us. 

I am ever impressed with how our time is spent in such dedication for a thing so temporary and even more so fragile.  Anyone who washes dishes daily or does any labor intensive job runs the immediate risk of destroying the art upon her fingers. 

What I find mildly entertaining is that one chip in the beautifying coat renders the work fairly ruined and overwhelmingly reduces the impression and quality of the appearance.

One chip.

How often have you judged someone by one chip?

The effort is dismissed and attention is drawn to a flaw instead of a flare. 

Is it better then to have never painted at all?

Monday, April 7, 2014

For What It's Worth

I build up these momentary victories...
idealize them in my mind.
Then tear them down for being what they are: momentary.

I wish for something lasting, longer than a breath or a passing day.
What hope is there in something to be born… only to die so soon?
To put forth time and force upon a thing so frail and needy...

For what?
Do I act for glory upon the act?
Do I yearn for the attention it gathers?
For a moment, a bright shining sun!
… but the next, darker than before.

Perhaps instead I do wish for a slow simmering.
A thing that lasts and lasts.
I would breathe its familiar scent and know it like my own soul.
Not to boil.
Neither to be stagnant.

Yet… I cannot quiet the eager expectation of more.
To think, to settle, to have the comfort of consistent…
It is a greater loss.
For even though the pain of falling from the highest height surely inflicts wounds,
Might I smile and tell the story of a scar that changed my eyesight,
And find hearts that reach for a knowing look of shared pain.

If climbing for a momentary victory means falling…
And losing that which I strive for...
 (which is a deeper pain than not having it at all)
 Let me lose all then and gain the heart of another friend.
For a heart will grow and live beyond these momentary days.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Your Creation Speaks

Why did you make me?
Not with hard heart do I query…
Not with fearful anxiety do I beg…
I am at Your Feet, Almighty God…
Your creation speaks.
She wants to know what You had in mind… before she existed.

I am blown away by You.
You made me.
The statement that rocked my existence in 2000. That stilled the screaming agony of hopelessness in my head, heart, and body.
I could deny many things… but that.
It saved my life.
Now it guides my life.
It is not just a neat trinket I found on the floor… to put on the shelf.
It is my sail, my rudder, my wheel, my map, my wind.

I don’t even know myself.
Not even a little compared to how completely You know me.
So show me more, Lord.
Open the windows, flood my life with light, fill the rooms of my soul with love… knowing (and now seeing in retrospect) how painful it is to see myself so clearly. 
This is pain worth suffering… to know who You made me to be.  To not close my eyes to what You are showing me.
So gently… so patiently…  so deliberately.
Steadfastly dedicated to me being who You made me to be.
And I, being so unaware…
Allowing fear to sway me, anxiety to cloud my sight. 
I let my painful memories live in the future… I so fiercely guard myself from any possible threat.
But wherever I am going, you will take me there.
Whatever I face, you have prepared for it.
You have always drawn me in … at the right times.
And pushed me out… at the right times.
You’ve whispered such quiet, yet blood stirring things without my prompting.
I receive from You… as You will.
My actions do not control Your behavior towards me.
Here is freedom.
From my Maker.
My Father.
A life… deliberated already.
A life.. always on a path prepared for me.

A life… to be received, not taken.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Jealous Kind

I wish you weren’t so out of my grasp. 

But you bless me with a taste here… a peek there… and I see you, or what I perceive is You, for a moment.  A slight, beautiful oh too quick moment.

We all long to be filled with that chest clenching, heart wrenching feeling.  An overwhelming over-filling of You, love for You, love from You.  We seek that day in and day out.  We forget the Source.  We try to imitate it. 

It’s not in my coffee cup.

It’s not in my marriage.

It’s not in the sunrise.

Where are You, Oh God!  I ache for knowing you better… but I can rest here knowing someday I will know You forever. 

Until then, forgive me Father… because I cheat daily.  I seek my own desires.  I complain because I don’t have the attention I want.  I worship… but it’s not You.  And inside my soul, I break a little.  And I get mad.

These momentary pleasures.  Faux love.  Imitation joy.  Saturating my skin with dirt.  And I scrub and scrub and jump back in the mud.

Yet, you are faithful.  Why?

When the thing I seek in all the wrong places comes perfectly from You.  But I don’t recognize it.  It’s too pure.  Too clean.  Too much.  I’m always ready to settle for less.  And then whine about it.

Let my spirit sleep.

Let my mind be sharpened against your will.

Let my heart know.

Let my body sense Your presence.

Because I need it. Desperately.  Second by second. I am too weak.  I am too blind.  I need you to help me see You.

I wish there were a song that were enough to express.

Words are empty before You and are dry coming off my tongue.

I have nothing to bring You, my Savior… but my willingness to be completely Yours.  Even that is irrepressibly flawed.

But it’s what you ask of me.  Such a small thing. God, help me bring this small thing to you every chance there is.

Because I have tasted.  I have seen a glimpse.  And just a crumb of Your love is enough to fill me.

Oh fill me with You! That there is room for nothing else!

Friday, November 16, 2012

In the Morning

Father, your beauty is all I see this morning.  I desire to desire you.  I just want to want you because I know that all that you offer is more than any small pleasure here.  In my selfish pursuits, I feel how lacking in satisfaction everything is.  But just a taste of you…. Oh, and I just want more.

And it’s endless and soul-filling. It’s body-filling and heart-mending.  My eyes are satisfied in you.  My feet want to dance for you.  In you I feel complete acceptance and love.  No insecurity or worry or loss or fear. 

Why do I look anywhere else?  Abba, why do I stray from your arms to look for temporary, selfish, inadequate arms?  When I KNOW with all of who I am that YOU are more than enough… so much more than enough.

And you forgive me.  And you keep your arms open.  And you chase me down when I stray too far.  And you don’t hold it against me. When I’m without words, when my heart loves other things, when I turn away from your arms, when I ignore your Spirit in my soul, you still love me unchangingly.

How can any of this be true? How can I know it so well?  How can I believe it with all my being?  …and still wander… still sin… still tune out your voice. 

I love you, my good Father… My gracious Savior.  My Rescuer.  My Everything. 

I am never proven wrong to trust you.  I am never let down by your grace and mercy. 

And I know I can’t fabricate this love.  I cannot even make myself come before you.  

I can’t let go of myself to grab hold of You.  I am powerless.  Without breath or blood of my own.  You draw me.  You pull me.  You stop me.  You sing me awake from my self-induced sin-filled slumber. 

I do nothing good on my own.

I don’t even seek to do good on my own.

It is all you, Lord.  And I praise you and thank you for that.  That I am under your protection.  Your control.  Your goodness sustains me alone.  I am dirt until You.  I am bones until You. 

On this moment, I sit and praise you.  Only in this one.  This moment you have given me.  You have brought me once again to your feet.  That I am beckoned by the King is such an honor, unimaginably so. 

I am blessed beyond measure.  And I praise you with all that I am able.