the other side

“Nothing which implies contradiction falls under the omnipotence of God.”
Thomas Aquinas,
Summa Theologica,
5 Vols

O Lord, I cry to you for help; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Psalm 88:14


(a lone lily finds its way though to the “other side” of a worn fence /
Mackinac Island, MI / Julie Cook / 2017)

Turn to me and have pity on me, for I am left alone and in misery.
The sorrows of my heart have increased; bring me out of my troubles.
Look upon my adversity and misery and forgive me all my sin.

Psalm 25:88:1416-17

Anyone ever having had some sort of procedure or surgery has undoubtedly
heard that old wives tale, based either on conjecture or fact,
that the third day is always the hardest, the worst
or the day that frustratingly sees one falling backwards in the process
mending and healing….

This as we yearn to simply get to the other side—

To the other side of feeling better…
to the other side of upward
to the other side of recovered energy…
to that other side of both a positive sense and assured knowledge
that it’s all going to be okay.

I feel the same holds true for the healing of the heart.

Those sweeping emotions resulting from traumatic loss, which wash over
our best efforts of moving forward, which always seem harder and worse
on the third day.

The brave busy front begins to crack as the dam to the heart
no longer is able to hold back the deluge of sorrow.

All usually at about day 3

It is this cycle of our lives that is sometimes joyous
and sometimes sorrowful…
It is merely a byproduct to this thing we call life.

Yet no matter the cycle…God knows…
He knows the joy and the sorrow.
The pain and the suffering.
The triumph and the frustration.

Ever present,
ever near…
Be it in our joy of gladness or most
especially in our loneliness of sorrow…
He is near.

For it is in the darkness of our heaviness that
He draws even ever closer…
offering the single thread of hope…

For despite our feelings or those doubtful voices which scream to us
of the ‘otherwise’…
voices telling us that He is actually the furtherest away while we are
reeling in misery.

Or even worse…

that He is simply non-existent…

We know to the contrary…
that He is not only near—
He is actually exceedingly close…

His breath becoming our own.

A palpable sense of so much more and of that which is so much greater…

Coming from Himself to be by our side…
…as one

In that moment with each of us, carrying us from
sorrow and pain, to the other side of Healing and Grace…

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
that he was buried,
that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:3-5

safety

Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct.
Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates.

Alexander Hamilton


(a squadron of brown pelicans skirt the surf / Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 2017)

As the birds of similar feathers tend to flock together…
dare we assume that the perception of safety is therefore found in numbers?

Venturing even a bit further…
it appears we often equate this said numerical safety with a perceived
sense of security.

As we gather likeminded, following blindly,
snuggled warm within the bosom of both kith and kin…
we surge en masse, with a liberating notion of freedom,
found only in the security of our assumptions.

While we see those wrapped within their holy writ…
brandishing a label oft worn so comfortably and smugly…
with that label acting as a false badge of complacency.

Remember ye oh so comfortable ones,
you who move to the sounds of contrived safety…
The command was to go…
Venturing forth boldly in the freedom found only in the one pure Truth…

To offer….
To speak
To share
To spread
To rejoice
To revel
To embrace
To Love

When and where there is no guarantee of welcome…
nor of acceptance
or of security
or of safety
or of success

Not going to the confines of the people and places where that which is safe and secure..
Not to where open arms are found holding tightly to the covey of likeminded numbers…
Not to the places that are necessarily across treacherous seas nor over impassable mountains…
but rather going to those places merely across the street or even across the room.

Go, and go most oft alone,
where there is neither promise of complacent security nor safety…
Go where there may not be found a warm embrace or a welcomed chair…
But rather go to Him and Him alone….

For it is only in Him that your true rest will be finally found…
Only in Him will there be eternal safety and security…
No falsehoods,
no breeches in the walls,
no holes in the nets….

For in Him, and Him alone, is your portion and your all.
Found only in the number of One…

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,
but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Mark 16:15-16

Essential oneness

For what is Mysticism?
It is not the attempt to draw near to God, not by rites or ceremonies, but by inward disposition?
Is it not merely a hard word for ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within’?
Heaven is neither a place nor a time.

Florence Nightingale

DSCN1682
(morning light at an inlet harbor near Sligo, County Donegal, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

The desired oneness of the created bound to the Creator.
A bridging of the here to the there.
A crossing of the chasm between You and me…

Beyond the noise, beyond the distractions, beyond the life of this world…
He is there…as I am here.
Yet it is in the stillness and the silence within…as well as without,
where He waits…

Pulled and torn from this and that, I struggle to work my way towards Him…
It shouldn’t have to be this difficult, this hard…
but the world won’t allow anything other than her own desires…

It has become a life’s quest…
A fractured journey which consists of splinters and pieces…
The longing of wholeness found in the joy of One…

Knit

“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth,
Knit my heart to you that I may fear your Name…”

Psalm 86:11

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(spinning wheel located at the Glencolmcille Folk Museum, Glencolmcille, Co Donegal, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Kint—to bind and join together… by use of a single thread…
The weaving and the woven…
Of two separate pieces,
bound to one another…
the binding and joining together of two by use of a single spun thread…
in order to make two, one…

If the seamstress is really talented, the casual observer will not even notice a seam —
Two separate entities embraced, seamless and whole.
Unaware that there was ever anything but one….
To become inseparable…

How close do you believe you are to the One who has claimed you…
long before you ever came into being?
He who knit you, fashioned you, formed you in your mother’s womb?
Whose breath is your very own…

He who has marked you as His own.

For you have been never separate…
Never a lost single piece of cloth…
Never alone nor forgotten…
Contrary to what the world would have you believe…
or you believe of yourself

Yet rather…
You are…

bound
joined
woven
knit…

to Another…
Forever…

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
Romans 7:4

DSCN1790

DSCN1799
(Glencolmcille Folk Museum / Glencolmcille, Co Donegal, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

The absurdity of uncertainty found in the Omniscience

…I can inform thee of nothing…”
excerpt from a prayer by A. W. Tozer

DSCN0379
(a stream flows though Gleanlough National Park, County Wicklow, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Did you read that?

I can inform Thee of nothing…”

As in absolutely zero…the absence of anything and everything…

As in….
What can be said that is not previously known?
What single thought can be pondered that has not been previously revealed?
What emotion can be felt that has not already been felt?
What “oh by the way, I meant to tell you _____”
with the blank having long been filled in eons before one even learned to speak…?

No “by the ways”
No “I meant to say”
No slipped out “my bad”….
has ever passed without a prior knowing long before it was ever first thought or uttered…

Wrapping thoughts and minds around everything ever done and all things ever said, thought or felt…
knowing that all that was and is and will be…has already been seen and is known now and always by one and only One…

No secrets
Nothing hidden
Nothing private

For the One who has always been.. is that close…to you

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Psalm 139:1-6

Well seasoned

“Accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.”

― Kahlil Gibran

“What an abundant harvest has been collected in autumn! The earth has now fulfilled its design for this year, and is going to repose for a short time. Thus nature is continually employed during the greatest part of the year: even in her rest she is active: and in silence prepares a new creation.”
― Christoph Christian Sturm

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(bits of the remains of a farm in Teileann, County Donegal, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

There is a rhythm and certain cadence to life,
as well as to living that life.
Divided amongst the four seasons…
A time to reap and a time to sow
A time to make merry and a time to grow…

In December, the weather is to be cold.
The trees, both twiggy and dormant, are to stand as Winter’s lone sentinels.
Yet what an odd sight when those sleeping trees, which are to wake up and bud in March, are alarmingly budding now.
Odder still…a single remaining tomato plant continues to persevere offering up small ripening fruit.

Where are the freezing temps, the chilly days and colder nights?
Forthcoming they say…
Why do the crickets still sing at dusk,
when they should be fast asleep for the winter?
Ode to our seasons being out of sync and out of step.

For we are rhythmic beings.
Our bodies
Our seasons
Our time
Our earth
Our universe

We have been created to live a seasonal and rhythmic life.
Our very breath rises and falls as our heart beats rhythmically along—both in sync
Any glitch, such as an illness or accident, creates havoc to life’s ebb and flow.
And when one component of our being falls out of tempo with the rest, everything within and without, seems to follow suit.

Disruption
Distraction
Disjunction
Disconnection
Disorder…

We are also spiritual beings.
Who are inextricably linked to the One who set all that is into motion…
Linked endlessly to the One who has given us our being, our rhythm, our life.
Yet long ago, having chosen disobedience over obedience, chaos over order, darkness over light, we placed into jeopardy the very essence of that rhythmic relationship.
The harmony of Life’s seasons was turned upside down and despite our best efforts, remains hopelessly out of sync and out of balance to this day.

So as we find ourselves in the waning days of yet another year,
in the midst the final season of a time which was…
A time of transition…
from cool to cold,
from colorful to bland,
from bright to bleak,
from life to death,
from light to dark….
a time and a season of longing and expectation…
A time that has us wondering, watching, waiting…

A time that is to offer renewing Light…
As in a living Light.
A Light which will bring life giving warmth as it banishes the darkness of colorless death…

There will be those who we will long for this light…
as there will be others who will remain unaware, dismissive and stubbornly unaccepting.
Yet this living Light thankfully comes regardless of the wants and whims of man…
It comes despite the poor choices and refusals…
It comes to offer both Hope and Redemption for any and all…as it will finally set the captives free, as the blind will finally see and those who have been silenced will find their long awaited song.
The Light which will restore the very cadence and rhythm…
to our relationship of One…