My spirit is spent within me

When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain.
William Shakespeare

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( detail discarded tulip petal / Julie Cook / 2015)

I am a petal cast aside
tired and spent
My spirit rides low. . .
Gone is the supple newness and vibrant color
Life giving juices having long since dried
Wilted
Faded
Discarded

Until You reach for me
Gently
Tenderly
Softly
You lift me up
Picking me up from out of myself

A single tear trails down my face
Sorrow wells within my heart
Yet when you touch my cheek
Gently wiping away the tear
I know I am not forgotten. . .

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

Recollections

“Remembrance and reflection how allied!
What thin partitions Sense from Thought divide!”

― Alexander Pope

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(my mom’s little trio of antique carolers / Julie Cook / 2014)

It is at this particular time of year that our memories of times and loved ones long past, now seemingly forgotten, seem more clear and potent than at any other time.
Waves of melancholy collide into the crashing tides of joy leaving us with both tears and warm smiles mingling lightly upon the heart.
Recollections of the vignettes of a life once lived, a life which once seemed so far away, races rapidly now to the forefront of thought.

A tacky plastic ornament.
A cherished family heirloom.
A tattered and torn old card
A musty copy of A Christmas Carol
A fragile figurine
The sound of much beloved carols

Whether we are fortunate enough to be able to gather with those special and dear people of our lives
or merely recall their presence in our hearts, the often endless expanse of space and time miraculously narrows each year at Christmas.
No longer does death nor distance separate us–
For “God imparts to human hearts, the blessings of His Heaven”
As that which was, and that which is and that which is yet to be are sweetly
united and are “met in thee tonight”

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above your deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light,
The hopes and fears of all the years,
Are met in thee tonight.

O morning stars, together
Proclaim thy holy birth
And praises sing to God, the King,
And peace to men on earth.
For Christ is born of Mary,
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous Gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sins and enter in,
Be born to us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell:
Oh, come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!

Lewis Brooks and Lewis Redner
1868

A rose among thorns

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“O my Luve’s like a red, red rose That’s newly sprung in June; O my luve’s like the melodie That’s sweetly play’d in tune. As fair art thou, my bonie lass, So deep in luve am I; And I will luve thee still, my Dear, Till a’the seas gang dry. Till a’the seas gang dry, my Dear, And the rocks melt wi’ the sun: O I will love thee still, my Dear, While the sands o’ life shall run.”
– Robert Burns

Granted this is not a red rose, and I’m not in Scotland (unless I took the low road and you took the high road 🙂 ) but it is June and I thought it fitting that my single little wild primrose should find itself fortunate to be honored by the likes of Robbie Burns.

I actually spied this little beauty on a jaunt last Sunday out in the middle of nowhere….my husband is an avid outdoorsman and recreational hunter….I know, I know, I hear you– but you must understand that he is a rare bird—responsible and always a good steward of the land—he hunts what we can eat and only if it is of certain standards. I can’t help it—I’m the city girl who moved to the rural part of our state and married a country outdoorsman.

All of that being said we were actually down on some property in middle Georgia last weekend, surveying some land. This is a big hunting area in our state and he was there to explore this particular piece of property. On the side of an old dirt road I noticed a beautiful wild primrose bush growing, covering the side of the road like a giant canopy, climbing up trees and snaking along the edge of this particular dirt road. I always wonder how something so sweet and demure as a primrose wends up in such a barren place, void of any human habitation as this is big timber land—land owned by some of the country’s largest timber companies—but primroses seem to do best in these sorts of locals….

There was a section covered in blooms, most of them spent and fading quickly. As we ventured past the majority of the bush, there, in the middle of leaves and brush, was this lone small pink bloom. Blooming for no one in particular–not cultivated or cared for–no one to prune or fertilize and yet– there it was in all of it’s splendor.

Of course I had the stop and take the picture–something about it said “here I am, you may come share in this special moment of mine…” This little rose reminded me of my mom—before my mom had died, she had planted a small primrose bush on the edge of their carport. When she became sick, there was no one who thought to tend to the little bush. I remember how distraught my dad was after mom’s death when he noticed that her little rose bush looked as if it too would not be with us much longer—but low-n-behold, after Dad watered it a bit, the bush actually began to thrive.

27 years later that little bush is still growing and each season blooming in full regalia. That bush is a tangible link for my dad to my mom. He always points it out to me when I come home to visit…”look at Mom’s little rose bush, remember how it almost died…..” as his words trail off from the story, we both admire the little bush in silence.

I suppose we are all like the little primrose bush—we tend to pop up in all sorts of places–some of us struggle more so than others, but with just a little bit of attention, we tend to thrive. I need to be more mindful of this when I see people who may appear to be not like me, especially those who are elderly.

I am blessed in my life with friends and family–I have a support network very close to me—not all of us are as fortunate. I think often of those who are sick or those in nursing homes, the “shut ins” of our communities—those who are often put aside as their “worth” appears to be no longer viable as our’s is a society that values worth—worth of finance, worth of ability and worth of effort—when all of that worth seems to have waned, then our society seems to wish to toss those now “worth-less” ones aside.

Be it at church, the grocery store, a department store… when I see an elderly person, always alone, struggling a bit, I am reminded of the primrose bush. Alone and untended, these folks tend to fade, but the minute I speak, ask a question, offer assistance, smile in their direction, they perk up and quickly “blossom”—

Let us all remember those we see who are older and alone—as long as anyone on this planet has breath, they are “worthy” of human care and attention. God never discards any of us. He never decides we are past our “worth” and therefore expendable. To Him, we are all precious, up to our dying breath—it would behoove us to be more mindful of the same.

Always remember that among the thorns, the brush, bramble and barren land, often lies the beautiful flower, blooming for no one in particular—but maybe you will be the lucky one to find it. Even the single lone bloom is precious.