Tag Archives: Faith

Dwelling

"A Cocoon", 2004, Painting, oil on panel. Nikolay Sazhin.

How quickly the empty house began to decay
Without a soul to breathe within

Standing water around its foundation revealed
Decades of lonely tears

Crippled walls crash in and that timeworn
Way groans out in agony

The burrow vanquished, in its place
Will rise a new home

Oh, but the razing is neither death nor destruction
To a hollow, broken facade

The suffering is metamorphosis, beloved
You are being reborn

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Consider the Bird

That good son was talking
to the worry
while I was standing in the
backyard hanging cold,
wet sheets on the
line
look at those birds
consider their lot
they skip around nipping
at the ground, eating seeds
gifted by the grass of St. Augustine
I could be
featherless
pulling out plumes
while writing a song
for the grieving
those who heard it would say
it was sorrowful
although they couldn’t comprehend
a word
but
Rabbi knew what I was
thinking
unfortunately and fortunately
he always does
love replaces worry, child
he said it was so,
it must be so
however my heart turns to
clay
whenever I spot a tiny bird
slump from exhaustion
straight to the
ground
skinny from lack because
there are larger
beaks
its eyes look to the end
open and calm
time
decided by the begetter–
I want to steal the rest
of that dying bird’s faith
because I’m without
my feathers are scattered
my hope almost gone
but while struggling out
with an egg tooth
every moment
nigh to the grave
this fearless forager
believed
and I,
loved even more than–
have never lacked
in doubt.

Study in Watercolor I by Heather Eure

Study in Watercolor I
by Heather Eure

A Man’s Work

How does a man sort out his purpose on this earth?
With his hands and his work.
How does he sort out his Monday morning,
when he hears it’s the economy, it’s politics, it’s the devil, it’s God.
He looks at the big, strong hands of a man meant to use them.
It is what his father did.
It is what his father’s father did. His father’s
Father never really knew his dad so I suppose
he looked upon the puzzle
of those big, strong hands and worked out his salvation with
turning soil and planting rows, straight to heaven.
The toil, the sweat, the callouses were called good. The ache reminded
him of a reason to be here.
There is no fame or accolades in the labor of every day.
But to him it is enough.
When there is no rain, when there is too much rain, he prays
to the Most High
not asking for wealth or prosperity. He gets on his broken-down
knees and pleads
for continued purpose. He wants to keep his big, strong hands.
When the harvest is good, he is perplexed.
For what is work without challenge?
Without disaster nipping the heels? Comfort and ease are unnatural.
So what does a man do when there is no work?
A man gazes on the legacy of big, strong
hands with no cuts, no callouses, and no ache that defines purpose.
It wrecks his soul.
He prays to the Most High on broken-down knees, unsure if it’ll reach.
He prays for his hands.
This man, who wants to work, gets up and mails another resume.
A handprint.

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The Hem

In weakened state, I cannot walk, be dignified, or keep up with everyone, but
I crawl to Him.
The crowds may press in, step on my fingers, look over and through me, but
I will get close to Him.
Desperation has brought me here, I am weary, draining away, spilling.
If I can just touch the hem, His robe.
At the bottom of life, the ground close, even the swirling dust is above me.
Everything else says give up.
Frailty gathers all the strength it can borrow, I reach out my trembling hand,
He will heal me.
He knows, felt power move. Don’t be afraid. Be courageous and speak.
He bids me to come to Him.
Falling at His feet, I’ve never been worthy of such tender mercy.
He picks me up.
He calls me strengthened daughter. Faith is reaching out to touch mystery.
Suffering is over. Go in peace.
He has made me well.

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Gratitude Like Squash

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Summery yellow crooks mark the hot days.
Keep picking daily or surely they will
grow enormous. Too large to eat.
Of course, the plant doesn’t know that.
But having the faith of a child is a
tender thing, and these young golden
squash are just that.
The prickly, itchy plants give us their
best. Again and again. And I gather.
And gather. Soon, I grow weary of
the sameness.
What is it about these summer squash
that makes me crave them and tire of
them all in one season? The plant shows
gratitude by giving its best.
The generosity of bloom, pollen, and plenty.
I scratch my irritated hands that have
stooped and reached under happy plants
that live in thanks.
Under the hot sun I realize, I am nothing
like the squash.
But I am hungry for it.

Even the Wind and Waves

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Swept up into an unexpected storm. The wind, the wind.
It howled, shrieked, laughed into my face. It slammed into
me, invisible. Any good thoughts I had were quickly blown
away by that horrible force. Now waves. Vicious, angry
swells rose above me, mocking my sense of self. The
waves stood overhead, towering with hands-on-hips
confidence. As each wave began to crash down upon me,
I swear it looked into my soul, and then gave me a lips-curled,
snarling grin. Hit after hit I endured, focused only on the next
attack from the cruel torrent. Any good in my life was quickly
forgotten, even to the point of why I stepped into this boat.
This boat, filling with water. A torturous symphony of
screaming wind. Percussive pounding marked the waves. The
weight of water nearly undid me. Sinking. Dark, foaming, swirling
water pulls. Downward. In a final cry out of anger, I ask God
if He is even aware what is happening to me? My life is in
turmoil! Is this when you choose to sleep? While I drown? Where
is Your help? And then I hear Peace. Peace to the fierce
storm of your wandering heart. To the anxiousness that keeps
you awake, peace. To the doubts that weigh you down, peace.
Peace to the rumination that spins and swirls. To the depressive
thoughts that try and pull you under, peace. To your frantic eyes
that cannot see ahead, peace. Peace to your mistrust, and to the
past that has caused you to fear, and peace to your home.
It is not sinking.

Where is your faith, my love?

Darkness Within Faith, Part 2

“Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.”
— Mother Teresa to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet, September 1979

The great silence of God I was experiencing drove me to pursue Him more. My disciplines improved, with the exception of prayer. Interceding for family and friends wasn’t hard, I figured He’d still hear those prayers said in behalf of others. But would He hear the distraught pleas from me, about me?  If He wasn’t speaking, He might not be listening, either. Slowly, I sank into a depression. His silence felt like death.

In his absence, I fear the attack of Satan. I’m not certain of my ability to fight him off. Clearly, I am not able. Will Jesus be there to fight for me? Will I hear the scuffle in the darkness of my King doing battle with the enemy?

Or will I be alone, with the only weapon I have? Standing armed with my can of Spiritual bear mace, the Word of God. Speaking in faith that His promises are true.

Just before Palm Sunday, a family member became gravely ill. Visiting her, and relatives at the hospital left me feeling empty and helpless. I could not even pray words of comfort over my loved ones. She died a few hours later.

After the funeral, sitting around the kitchen table, my sister-in-law talked about attending to her Mother, and watching her final breath. In that moment, it was as if God unleashed a flood on me. Words, images, promises, truth, and life overwhelmed my heart. God spoke. And through blurry, tear-filled eyes of gratitude, I wrote it down.

Holy Week was an amazing time of experiencing His Presence and enjoying His company in a new and fresh way. It was a rekindled romance. Then as quickly as He returned, He backed out of the room, and I watched Him go. It is quiet once again. This was what I feared most, and expressed to my pastor, “What if God goes silent again?”  It’s more frightening to consider it, to anticipate it. It’s not as scary to be in the throes of it again. Not at this moment, anyway. It’s familiar. Perhaps there’s calm because I’m expecting my Lord to burst in the door at any moment, smiling, holding two coffees. Ready to sit and have a long, loving conversation with me.

Despite the pain of this silence, there are some things I know to be true. God’s silence is proof that nothing can be enjoyed fully without His Presence. It is a purification for the stubbornest of wills. In this case, mine.  God quietly purges the soul of self in the darkness. I also shouldn’t feel responsible for affecting it, hard as it may be. And last, feeling Jesus is not the only proof of His being there. I think that craving His presence is clearly a sign of His presence, hidden. A call to dig deeper. A spiritual free dive of faith, if you will. Into darkness.