Beyond our control

The most exciting happiness is the happiness generated by forces beyond your control.
Ogden Nash

DSC00372
(a tulip expectantly waits to open / Julie Cook / 2015

Is there rhyme and reason to every season?
Is there thought and design within this thing called time?
Is there marvelous and mystery in the earth’s ancient history?

Is it just a mere bud readying itself for blooming?
Is it merely the parting of the clouds, allowing for a long hidden sun to appear?
Is it a tempestuous season full of decay, finally waning, making room for the season of birth?
Is it a world full of random occurrences, all of which just seem to happen on a whim?
Is it merely the rotation of celestial bodies which in turn give way to cyclical change?

Is there more to the random,
the happenstance,
the seasonal,
the cyclical,
the gravitational. . .

“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
Where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things,
and so they came into being?”
declares the Lord.
“These are the ones I look on with favor:
those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
and who tremble at my word.”

Psalm 66: 1-2

DSC00585

DSC00370

O Lord, I need to laugh. . .

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

3ac7a52236953c5512a53cb7ac9ace7d
(image courtesy the web)

With the weight of winter crushing down on this weary mind and body, as our schools are closed once again for a snow day with nary a white flake on the ground, ok maybe there’s a patch of black ice or two here and there, what with the nightly news doling out ominous warnings upon grim and dire global stories. . . it has dawned on me that I am in desperate need of a good dose of humor, laughter, joy!!!

Some people wrongly believe that God is without a funny bone—that He sits about playing, well, God, exacting punishments while issuing the squadrons of the “serious police” as He sends them down to nip any and all fun, humor or even joy in the bud. . .I for one know that is far from the truth.

Now I’m not talking about vile, malicious, sick or twisted humor that comes at the expense of any one of us—as I find much of the “humor” that our entertainment industry rolls around on the ground over as sophomoric, stupid and belittling–possessing no redeeming value.

So this morning as I dutifully journeyed to the dark, cold, cavernous basement in order to engage in my hour of servitude , I mean healthy regime of weights and bobbing up and down on the elliptical, I found myself pondering the need for some laughter. . .

As if standing before some imaginary crowd, I found myself raising my hand, with the childlike exuberance of “pick me, pick me” as I have volunteered, taking one for the team, as I to try find you and I a little something to, if not laugh over, at least enjoy a good chuckle, guffaw or chortle.

I picked my brain over what we could laugh about.
As humans, our usual go to area of prosaic conversation, when we find nothing at hand to actually discuss, is of course the weather–but truly, I think we are all certainly over the weather. . .

I then moved on to current events—again, over that. . .

We could discuss health. . .that’s a topic we all tend to like to discuss especially as we age. . .as in my 86 year old dad seems to relish in telling me things that scream of TMI–too much, way too much, information. . .with me wailing “Daaaaaaddddddd, please!!!”

And whereas I don’t think I really want to chat about IBS, sinuses, osteoporosis, hormone replacement therapy, or any other malady plaguing this aging body of mine. . .I continued to pick my brain in search of the elusive idea of humor on this wearisome cold, grey winters day.

Looking around, taking in my duty-drudge filled “workout” area of the basement, I decide I’ve finally hit upon something of interest.
I have decided that compression tights are what we shall discuss today as they are now my go to in the wardrobe department.
“What?”
Yes, compression tights.

Nike-Element-Shield-Womens-Running-Tights-381052_013_A_PREM
(image courtesy Nike)

Please note that this is not, I repeat, not my body—only in my dreams. . .

You know, the black things people put on to run or work out in. . .
But why should we stop there. . .at merely something to put on during exercise and physical activity?!
Forget spanx or other “suck um up” undies, compression tights are where it’s at.

I can remember as a little girl seeing my mom’s girdle sitting on the bathroom counter wondering as to what in the world this torturesque contraption was that my mom counted as part of her daily dressing ritual. Was I too to look forward to donning a girdle one day, I fretted as I imagined myself passing from childhood to training bras, eventually to girdles. . .As the idea of women forcing tight contraptions onto their bodies, or actually forcing their bodies into said contraptions, as in a need to suck up, reign in, tighten up and conceal, seemed to be a centuries old issue and quest that was now sadly staring at my 8 year old self.

1960-girdles
(vintage Montgomery ward advertisement)

Fast forwarding back to the current moment at hand, I now faced my own issue of sucking up and sucking in, as I stared at my tights. My mind suddenly racing back to the scene in Gone With the Wind with Mammy cinching up Scarlett’s corset as Scarlett was bound and determined to sport that girlish 17 inch waist of hers both before and after pregnancy.

corsets-gwtw
(before said pregnancy)

greenvelvetrobe1
(after said pregnancy)

Now mind you, I don’t ever recall having a 17 inch waist. . . but my thighs, well, they’re a different story. . .And sadly I fear, these thighs of mine are certainly bigger than 2 of Scarlett’s waists put together, or so it feels. . .hence this new love of tights of mine.

Have you ever put on a pair of compression tights?
These are not your run of the mill average pair of hose, stockings or tights. . .these are serious when it comes to compression–meaning a decrease in volume. . .as in the volume of my thighs. . .

You start by putting on one leg in at a time, because that’s certainly all you’ll have strength to lift up, one leg at a time. . .
Working the tights up over the ankles is a piece of cake, the calves are also fairly easy. . it’s just past the knee cap where the trouble begins.

Twisting, contorting, hopping, jumping, falling over, pulling up while pushing fat down–precariously placing the second leg in the 2 inch opening. How can a 36(which in now more like a 38), 26 (which is now more like a 30), 36 (which by God better still be a 36) fit into a 2 opening? Have you ever found yourself falling over, half naked onto the cold bathroom floor, with your legs hopelessly trapped in the confines of a pair of tights–tights that were made for the likes of either Twiggy or a Barbie doll?! You find yourself hoping that you don’t suddenly die so as to ensure that no one should ever come home finding you dead, with your bare bottom exposed pointing upward as your head is plastered on the cold tile floor while both legs resemble a large black pretzel. Somehow I’m thinking a 55 year old woman is not meant to contort her body in this sort of fashion.

Now pulling up with all of ones strength, doing good not to hear any sort of tearing or popping, you begin attempting to get your butt pushed down, while continuing lifting the tights upward. Up and over your bottom, squeezing and wiggling while you now work to squeeze your stomach into the ever shrinking black spandex on steroids fabric.

Once in, you proceed to push and pull, adjusting the areas that are now pinching every ounce of said body fat. Not one to ever think thong underwear was a good idea, I get a sudden uncomfortable feeling that the crotch area of the tights is now going places it is not normally meant to travel. Pulling and adjusting a bit more, I finally think I’m all in as nothing has split, burst or popped open.
WHEW! I now attempt to breathe.

There!
I am heard to triumphantly exclaim to both cats as if I have just accomplished some miraculous feat. Somehow their blank expressions do not match my feeling of jubilation.
Pausing to look in the mirror, I joyously think that I am now a lean, mean, slim and svelte fighting machine. Take that Scarlett O’Hara!

6b88eeb84e45e883b77ef3b00ad6c9b9

Which now leaves one question begging to be answered. . .were does it go? The fat. I mean, where does all that excessive me go, where is it pushed and squished off to???
This lingering thought as I suddenly wonder if I’m not looking a bit more buxom than before—hummmm.
Then as if a ton of bricks, it hits me, the urgent calling to the loo. . . I think I need to go the bathroom otherwise I’ll be wetting these freshly pulled on tights of mine.
UGH!
Remember women of a certain age have less than trustworthy bladders. . .one allergy ridden sneeze, one croupish cough and me and these tights are one wet mess!

Which brings me back to the thought of our needing a good laugh- – -at this point, it may not be advisable for me to offer up said laugh as I wish to remain dry as I am now poured into these tights—which means, our quest for laughter may have to come later, as I am once again reminded of those immortal words of Scarlett O’Hara, tomorrow is another day. . .

scarlet-ohara

Will it or won’t it ?? Oh, and a happy anniversary to us. . .

A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.
Mahatma Gandhi

DSC00570
(the ominous forming of icicles / Julie Cook / 2015)

Perhaps it derives from a sense of solidarity with our northern kinsmen—
Those hearty New Englanders who are currently burdened, as well as heavy ladened, by the 9 foot and growing mountain of snow which has beset misery and woe upon our northern brethren in oh so many weeks.

Perhaps it is because of the still painful memory of the debacle of Atlanta’s SnowJam 2014 with
visions of the interstates as frozen parking lots and children camping out in their frozen-in-place school buses. . .

Perhaps it is because we are simply tired of the abundance of cold dreary rain and are, by sheer force, willing this miserable liquid to be something different. . .

Today marks the 3rd day in recent weeks that our school systems, at the behest of the Governor, have canceled school due to snow. . .might I add that there has been no snow.

This being a cancellation of anticipation.
Hummmmm. . .
Have you ever had a snow day without any snow?

Our weather woes and worries have become a much ado about nothing sort of affair. . .as in we have been warned for days and days in advance that calamity is soon to be riding in on the snow packed Northerly winds as the southern streaming Gulf moisture rides up to meet it. . .a scenario for the perfect Winter Snowstorm meeting in the middle—it’s just that nothing really seems to ever meet in order to materialize. . . other than up in the north Georgia Mountains where such happenings are expected.

As mere mortals, we are constantly trying our utmost best to corral the fickled wiles of Mother Nature. We study radar and charts, we compare highs and lows, we listen, we watch, we probe, we dig, we explore, we enlist the myriad of satellites circling the earth like lonely buzzards over head in search of calamity and catastrophe. We pat ourselves on the back when, by chance, we actually hit the forecasting nail on the head and then are quick to point fingers, while casting blame, when we’re caught by surprise.

So on this day of standing on the periphery of will it or won’t it, while I mindlessly join the masses who are making the dutiful pilgrimage to the grocery stores in search of the vastly fleeting and survival necessary bread and milk, as once again we stay glued to the windows in search of the elusive snowflake, I want to take a moment to wish both you and I a warm and loving Happy Anniversary. . .

Anniversary you ask?
Yes, yours and mine, as in ours. . .
Two years ago on the 25th of February 2013 you and I began this little blog journey–together.
Well actually I started the journey relatively alone and by myself–as in I ventured out into the unknown blogoshpere not even knowing what a blogoshpere was. . .

But two blessed years and 859 posts later here we are. . .you and I. . .together!
What a Blessing. . . and I wouldn’t have it any other way!!

You bring me joy daily as you allow me to wax and wane, grouse and sing, vent and create. . .we support one another and we share. . .
We share the ups and downs of life–of which none of us are exempt. . .
And so it is on this 2nd anniversary of this journey we call Life, as visited via the blogoshpere, I thank you for walking by my side—it always makes a journey so much more meaningful, bearable, fun as well as magical walking side by side don’t you think. . .so thank you for taking this journey with me, by my side. . .

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’

Numbers 6:24-26

DSC00578

DSC00579

DSC00577

Nice things and remembrances

Kind hearts are the gardens,
Kind thoughts are the roots,
Kind words are the blossoms,
Kind deeds are the fruits.

~19th century rhyme used in primary schools

vibaward

First of all I want remind those of you who know Natalie, over on Sacred Touches (http://sacredtouches.com)—Natalie is set to get a new knee Thursday. It has been a long and painful journey for Natalie as she longed for this new chance of painless mobility— I ask that you join with me in offering a collective prayer of good wishes, ease of procedure and recovery and for a healing balm to wash over both Natalie and her family during the worry of surgery and arduous recovery. . .
As we may offer up prayers for others who may be under the heavy blanket of pain and worry this day. . .

Now those of you who know me, already know that I am a reluctant recipient of awards, accolades and honors. I tend to eschew such as I never quite figure I’m a deserving soul. . .there are far more deserving folks out there who certainly do a better job than I do at whatever it is the honor is to be recognizing. I’m not one who enjoys blowing my own horn. . .

As fate would have it, I was actually nominated for a little blogging award this morning–The Inspiring Blogging Award.
I was nominated for this honor by Stuart M Perkins over on Storyshucker
(https://storyshucker.wordpress.com)
If you are not familiar with Stuart and his writings on Storyshucker–I highly recommend that you take a look.
Stuart, not a writer by trade, paints beautiful folksy southern narratives of both his childhood growing up in Virginia as well as from his day to day observations. There is a bit of Faulkner hiding in Stuart and I have greatly enjoyed reading his sage tales.

Now what you should know is that there is always a sort of passing of the torch when one receives a blogging award. One is to usually answer a few questions about ones self, which I suppose helps the “reader” to glean a bit of insight into said author. The honoree is to also, in turn, nominate a fellow blogger who is deemed equally as deserving. . .
And in keeping with the tradition, I begin my foray into life of the honored. . .

Here are the rules for the award:

Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
List the rules and display the award.
Share seven facts about yourself.
Nominate 15 other blogs you enjoy, then comment on their posts to let them know that you have nominated them.

1. I’m a retired high school art teacher who seems to prefer writing to painting
2. Despite being adopted and claiming to the be the long lost love child of Sophia Loren, I am Southern born and bred (don’t tell Ms. Loren, she has no idea)
3. I am a deeply spiritual Christian committed to my faith–no apologies there
4. I adore watching college football, especially cheering on my beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs—GO DAWGS
5. I’m actually rather shy in unfamiliar settings preferring a quite evening to anything “social”
6. I love to travel as I find nothing helps us to better understand those we share this planet with than a visit elsewhere as we develop a deeper empathy and understanding of folks other than ourselves
7. I love to cook and I posses an unhealthy, in so many ways, obsession with the real deal BUTTER

Here are the bloggers I wish to pass the torch of honor to–give or take 15 and in no particular order. . .

1. my friend and most talented wood-master and cook, Michael–his work is amazing
https://michaelswoodcraft.wordpress.com

2. my very busy yet very kind brother-in-Christ and wistful seaman David over on Ebs and Flows
https://nwelford.wordpress.com

3. dear sweet Natalie of Scared Touches
http://sacredtouches.com

4. My new found friend and true champion of Christ, Melissa
http://workforthecausenottheapplause.com

5. My misplaced English friend who is forging a life in Italy, Pecora Nera (black sheep) who provides a healthy dose of truly needed humor whilst sharing what it’s like to be an Englishman married to and Italian while dealing with life in Italy—as the Italians, mind you, go about life a bit differently than the rest of us. . .
http://englishmaninitaly.org

6. To Melanie Jean Juneau–the inspiring French Canadian mother of 9 and author who devoutly shares her Catholic faith with others
https://melaniejeanjuneau.wordpress.com

7.To Father Hugh—my most favorite Australian monk living in a monastery in England who shares his faith and tells it like it is–again with Christ, there are no apologies
https://hughosb.wordpress.com

8. To Nicodemas, another bold lion ad brother in Christ over on Color Storm
https://thenakedtruth2.wordpress.com

9. To Laura over on What’s the Good Word–who offers calming peace as she paints daily images through word and image of God’s endless grace
https://lljostes.wordpress.com

10. To Deborah Ann over on CHRISTian Poetry whose daily sticky notes provide a reminder and inspiration to all who trudge their way through life that God is indeed Great
https://poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com

The rallying cry of St Crispin

“Be Not Afraid! Open up, no; swing wide the gates to Christ. Open up to his saving power the confines of the State, open up economic and political systems, the vast empires of culture, civilization and development… Be not afraid!”
Pope John Paul II / taken from his address to the world following his election as pope 1978)

“They themselves do not see the world of light as we do, but our shapes cast shadows in their minds, which only the noon sun destroys.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Bossche_Saints_Crispin_and_Crispinian_(detail)_14
(detail of the Martyrdom of Crispin and Crispinian /Aert van den Bossche / 1494

“Oh no, don’t come up. . .there’s danger out there. . .”
This always being the response from my Dad when I tell him I’m coming up for a visit.
I live an hour away from Atlanta, from where I grew up, but one would think after hearing Dad, I was traversing a long harrowing journey over enemy territory and dangerous minefields.
“There’s danger on the roads and Atlanta is a war zone. . .”
“Dad,I don’t think I’d call Atlanta a war zone. Not to worry, I’ll be careful and I’ll be fine.”

Now granted I’m no fan of driving along the Atlanta interstates, as not a day passes without some sort of catastrophic accident or wreck, but I’ve yet to notice that the moment I pass into the jurisdiction of the city I come under the hail of gunfire–thank goodness. . .

My 86 year old dad stays glued to the news and the news does have a way of painting life in Atlanta, or any large global city for that matter, as violent, dangerous and grim.
Locally there are robberies, shootings, killings, rapes, drug dealings, kidnappings and globally there is the grim visions of terrorism, all of which seems to greet any and all tuning in for the latest local and world update. You should have heard his response to my throwing out there the possibility of an adventure across the proverbial pond later in the year. . .there was great wailing and gnashing of teeth.
“Oh my gosh, noooo. . .can’t you just stay at home?!
Why do you have to insist on traveling.
It’s simply too dangerous to fly.
Planes crash.
Don’t you know that terrorists are out there waiting!!???
It’s all so dangerous. . .just stay home. . .watch things on television . . .keep your head down”
This litany of the warnings of safety is usually said as he tucks his own head down between his shoulders as if we were hunkered down in a bunker in some long forgotten war zone as the enemy begun a round of shelling overhead.
Ugh.

So perhaps it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I have my own deeply rooted, irrational sense of fear, dread and foreboding, all of which raise their ugly heads from time to time–as all of this is come by rather honestly having been raised by a “henny penny the sky is falling” doomsday’s calling, overtly cautious, dread filled dad whose own sense of irrationality sadly has had a tendency of rubbing off.

I can remember when my son was born 26 years ago, of which sometimes feels like only yesterday. He came in to this world with an ulcerated esophagus. How and why he had this issue, I never gleaned— It wasn’t until he was 5 weeks old that we knew something terribly wrong was unfolding. He was prone to throwing up any and all sustenance that would go in and hopefully down. So much so that when he’d throw up, there would often times be blood. And any baby who throws up everything that goes in, does not tend to thrive, let alone gain weight, as he hung around the lower end of the growth charts.

In those early worried filled and sleep deprived days, I would wander back to bed in the wee hours after having unsuccessfully attempted to feed only to then spend forever cleaning up redelivered formula— exhausted, worried and delusional. In the place in between waking and sleep I would find my mind racing to dread filled visions of our new son and his precarious health. . .Of which in turn caused me great worry, dread and angst over a possible prognosis as my subconscious played out dire dreams.

Three months in, a litany of meds and finally one revealing endoscopy later, it was determined that he would need a specially formulated, and none too easily procured formula, thickened with powdered oatmeal. I often wonder if this was not the begining of his often eclectic and expensive tastes. . .

I was a wreck early on in motherhood as I constantly feared the worst. I think this was in part due to the fact that my dad and I had, 3 years earlier, watched my mom wage a fatal, albeit brief, battle with lung cancer. An incident that seemed to cement in him, as it also sucked me in, to if bad or worse can happen—then so it shall. . .

Any ache or ailment and my dad will have you good and ready for the undertaker. A cold will be Typhoid and God forbid you have a fever or cough–Consumption for sure. Your time drawing nigh.

This Eeyoreesque, the glass is always half empty approach to life of my dad has always driven me nuts. I, from all outward appearances, possess the demeanor of the perpetual positive.
No Pollyanna mind you, but positive nonetheless. As all the while the negative beats of the gloom and doom drums reverberate within my own head- —this as I cheer on any and all in need of predicted success and glorious hopeful outcomes.

All of this thought of fearfulness comes to mind as I find myself sadly being taken in by the frighteningly real warnings and calls for vigilance in light of the latest terror warnings regarding attacks on shopping centers in the US, the UK as well as Canada. Only as the world slowly regains some semblance of composure following the Charlie Hebdo attack as well as the attacks to Jewish sites of interests in Paris and throughout France as well as sadly in Denmark.

If it’s not due to the prospect that we will all eventually come down with some form of dreaded cancer, ebola, superbug or disease, we then will in turn fall victim no doubt to some crazed group of Islamic terrorists vowing to destroy any and all who stand in their way toward perceived world domination. Certainly not the most positive prospects greeting anyone turning into the nightly news or staring mindlessly into a daily newspaper.

I am, however, happily reminded and bolstered by the thoughts of those individuals who have gone before us in their own time of bleak outlooks, warnings and turmoil who, although they may have been afraid, as they stood before a massively numbered and heavily armed foe, as they set their jaw while squaring their shoulders, marching forward just the same.

And on those days I find myself feeling fearful and downtrodden, as I look out across the world’s perilous horizon, I recall the moving speech and rallying cry offered by King Henry V at the onset of the Battle of Agincourt, also known as the speech of the Battle of St Crispin’s Day.

Saints Crispin and Crispinian were 3rd century twin Roman brothers who were cobblers by trade and followers of Christ by devoted choice. Fleeing persecution in Rome, traveling northward, repairing shoes and preaching their faith, they were eventually martyred for their faith by the Gauls. Their feast day falls on October 25th. It was on this fateful feast day in 1451 that Henry V led his poorly outnumbered rag tag troops into battle against a heavily fortified French Army.
Miraculously Henry V and his men were the victors on this particular St Crispin’s day. . .

Now I’m not saying that I advocate fighting, taking to arms, wars or marching off willy nilly into any sort of battle, but I do find that at times I need a rallying cry.
I need to be reminded that, as some days it is indeed a life of battles and the enemy does most often appear so much larger than I. . .that I need to be reminded and prodded that I have been given my marching orders. . .
That I am to, as Pope John Paul II so boldly proclaimed. . .BE NOT AFRAID!!

The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Henry V St Crispin Speech, William Shakespeare

Prayer of the Afflicted

“Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces.”
Matthew Henry

“The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door of our heart upon the black horse of affliction.”
Charles H. Spurgeon

DSC00567

DSC00565
(quince blooms dying on the branch due to the bitter cold / Julie Cook / 2015)

How long O Lord am I to stay
Troubled
Burdened
Broken?

Do you not see or hear me as I lay in misery?
Can you not see that I am afflicted of both mind and body?
I sit in the mire and I need You, desperately
Yet I fear Your silence.

My soul wrestles deep within me
It twists and turns in anguished pain
My body is consumed by the searing heat
as my soul withers in silent torment
Do not forsake me O Lord. . .

Have You turned your back on me?
Have You forgotten your servant?
My mind aches to make sense of this
Yet my soul finds nothing but emptiness
The tormenters mock and scoff at my pleas

What have I done?
What haven’t I done?
You take no delight in burnt offerings or sacrifice
All I have to give to You is a withering body
and an anguished mind–
Up until now that is all I thought I could offer You. . .

Just as I am broken of body and broken mind,
there, however, remains a seemingly impenetrable fortress
The last barrier separating me from all that Is and all that Will Be. . .

My will, which is the last defense of self. . .
Tearing down the unseen walls of ego and pride
Truly giving to You all that I am. . .
Abandoning
Forsaking
Relinquishing
Not only the brokeness of a physical body and brooding mind,
but the final brokeness of self

That I may yield to You O Lord
That I may not fight what happens. . .
As I have truly no control of the unseen events. . .
Rather that I may let go,
The I may truly give it all to You with no looking back
That I may trust
That I may rest
For in my brokeness, I find only wholeness in. . .
You

Who is the Watchman

“For he hears the lambs innocent call.
And he hears the ewes tender reply.
He is watchful while they are in peace.
For they know when their Shepherd is nigh.”

William Blake

We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.
Thomas Merton

DSC00546
( a threesome of crows / Julie Cook / 2015)

Chasing dreams or chasing demons
In the darkened night of silence we slumber

Are we cautious sleeping with one eye open
Or do we rest free of worry and dread

Who is charged with the midnight watch
Who stands ready to sound the warning

Danger bays at the gate
While Trouble lurks in the shadows

Wickedness waits ready to strike
Will the Watchman see the signs

When fatigue deadens the senses
Precarious security wraps up the weary

As the winds rustle through the tress
The enemy circles the camp

Remember the Master stands ready to return
Will the enemy route his arrival

Be mindful you who slumber
Be cautious of demons masquerading as dreams

Where is thy peace
How may we rest

Listen all you who have ears to hear. . .
Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.
Ezekiel 33:7