In my War Room

woman wearing black tank top leaning on table

Photo by Engin Akyurt

 

As if at forced shutter speed all life  now is slow motion.

A stealthy enemy invades War Rooms with limited detection.

At what price can we buy peace of mind and human devotion?

This peripatetic killer cares not for education or station

and will only be stopped by God’s love of our Nation.

 

 

I am still right here my neighbor.

I will pray through this long dark night with you.

Let us lift up our pleas to the One who heals.

Let us be the ones called courageous and true.

I will, I will fight in my War Room for you.

 

Get the Kill Shot (based on a true story)

man in camouflage army uniform holding rifle

Photo by Kony Xyzx

 

She has been hiding here for almost three days…she is basically lying in a sewer. The smell and wetness don’t affect her anymore. To get the shot she must not move. The target is hiding out in a bombed out building. She didn’t eat, barely sipped enough water to stay alive and wore basically a diaper for urine. She has had very little solid food in her so her bowels did not move…she stayed hydrated and that is key but if the shot took much longer she would inevitably grow weaker. One time she stayed in a position for six days…recovery was rough. She would need intravenous fluids after this and a push of vitamins and electrolytes as well but she knew her body and she knew her window of time and the clock was running.
She is well camouflaged by a versatile cape that also provided some protection from rain and dampness. Her small frame is every inch muscle. She is tall and lean. Her rifle is wrapped in strips of burlap and tied down with yarn to ensure no reflection from the sun. To be a good sniper you simply must have common sense. It is a matter of fact. What is the distance to the target? How will gravity influence the bullet across its travel distance? What are the wind conditions? Is the target moving? Is the target getting too comfortable with his hiding place and becoming less vigilant? If the target is moving, how fast is his speed? Most people believe being a good sniper is all about control and having the best rifle but she begged to differ. She believed it all came down to what she believed about herself, about what she knows she is capable of, and what she is willing to do to get “the shot” the first time. She does “know” her rifle intimately however. It is like a part of her body. She knows the rifles scope like she knows her husband. She is precise about everything. Being the best sniper involves making decisions in the split of a millisecond and knowing it is the right decision without question. She is able to slow her mind. She thinks “I am one with this sewer, I am sound. By the time you hear it and try to process it, it’s too late because I am already gone.”
Yes she is a woman. She is a soldier. She is a Special Forces soldier. She is here to serve her country. She does not worry about PTSD or being raped by anyone. Those are the only subjects most of the world like to talk about when it comes to women in the military. She has never been disrespected by male soldiers and she has never disrespected a male soldier. Her calling is to be the best soldier she can be and she is a good one. She is an even better sniper. She will not hesitate to kill the enemy. She does not count her kills but she has never regretted even one of them. She has saved the lives of hundreds of soldiers by doing her job and being the best. She is a daughter, sister, wife, and mother. She is a woman. She is brave and she is one of the elite in her field. She is part of a controversy, not by her choice, in America regarding women in the military but she will carry on because her country needs her. She is paving the way for other smart determined women soldiers. She has counted the cost and is willing to pay the cost. She is an American hero…ahhh, here is the moment, the millisecond has arrived, and she takes the shot…it is done.

Fear and Faith

man walking on the empty street

Photo by Alex Fu

Even in the darkness I cannot hide from you…

When my fear whispers that I will not be able to cope

that I will never make it out of this hole…

Faith tells me my Father knows what I need

The Father who keeps filling me with his strength

and just in time He supplies all the Holy Light

that I need to battle through this dark night…

I raise my head from my prayer and I see Jesus kneeling there 

The Light of the world has prevailed and no earthly power can keep me from His care…

 

 

 

 

 

 

You said I have become a grown up girl

person standing in pathway

Photo by Lisa Fotios

 

I remember that sweet lavender dawn

                      you looked at me across the room

you were thinking I was still that little girl

                      who cried over all the pain and gloom

Ah yes that sweet little girl is still here

                      but she is not afraid and her heart is free

By God’s grace she has grown into a woman

                       and can face each path with eyes that clearly see…

 

 

We have traveled far, that little girl and I

                       We have danced and died, laughed and cried

We have known romance and reality

                       We remember and forget, we dream and sigh…

I love that little girl and the woman she became

                        she could always spot a faker and call a spade a spade

She is me and I am she woven and spun by God

                       We travel well together upon this earthly sod…

 

 

You said I had become a grown up girl

                        and what you say is true

This grown up girl is a woman now

                        and has no need of you…

 

 

And Christmas comes once more…

person holding flashlight in road

Photo by Simon Migaj

 

The crave for connection… As we approach the advent of the first coming of Christ I am reminded that in my sixty three years of life I have never observed a more isolated society even though communication avenues are more brilliant than ever. I love that we share the love of our families on Facebook as this is the most critical form of connection in the human race…though all of us cannot connect with blood family we still have a longing to belong.
There is much data out there now regarding anxiety and shame. I believe that most of us are still very uncomfortable with these very two unraveling entities. Shame unravels the deepest level of our ability to “connect” to anyone and Vulnerability, which causes anxiety,  comes with the extremely high RISK of being wounded. Connecting with another human being is that level that gives life meaning. To tell the true story of your whole heart tells who you are. Most of us guard that story due to past failures to be understood or to find ourselves left like a wounded soldier bleeding on the battlefield…while this may sound somewhat depressing I do not believe this is true…I have lived my life both ways. One, guarded from any and all who might hurt me or think me strange (which no doubt I am strange. Hal) On the other hand I have chosen to take the Vulnerable life path in my latter years and here is why…The most vulnerable person I have the deepest relationship with is Jesus Christ. He chose to be vulnerable in the hopes that those who believe in his sacrifice will always have Hope and Life…deep inside of us we all long for these two things above all else in my opinion… when I reflect on the Courage it takes to deny “shame” and embrace “vulnerability” it is mind boggling…I have messed up innumerable times attempting these two actions of life. The result is it leaves me victorious, humble, and often times “wounded” and at risk for “injury” deep down in my soul but oh my how WORTH it the victories, failures, and wounds have been! As I approach 64 years the end of the month I must say yes I have regrets and there are things I would do differently now but I do not regret one single day that God has allowed me to breathe the breath of an abundant life and to embrace the sweaty, difficult, messy parts as well as the fragrance of a rose or a daffodil in the Spring, the salty sea of Summertime, the woodsmoke smell of Fall, and the biting cold of Winter over and over again…
My Christmas wish is that I would continue to tell the story of my whole heart and that each of you would share yours too. It is the reason for those of us who believe in the Holy Birth of Jesus continue steady on…

Where Charity stands watching
And Faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks,
And Christmas comes once more.

Magen veLo Yera’e (Defender that shall not be seen.)

switched beige table lamp

Photo by 祝 鹤槐

Like silver liquid the moonlight poured over my head spilling down my back renewing my eyes and my mind…

I had stepped outside the hospital to get a breath of fresh air. It had been a long shift and my body, mind, and spirit had grown weary…

As often happens to nurses, I often received words, tokens and notes of thanks and appreciation throughout my career from patients and families, and each one is so very meaningful…

Loss is hopefully made a bit more endurable by compassion and kindness. It is perhaps the truest calling of a nurse, for inside of me lives “Magen veLo Yera’e” which in Hebrew means “Defender that shall not be seen.” Of course, that Defender is not me but the Spirit of Jesus abiding in me. For there is no one good but God as Jesus said, so I know it isn’t me doing it, but I digress…

As I look back over the past forty years my memory runs to the many wonderful people, I have had the privilege to care for and their families. For some there is a reluctance to embrace the future and losing meaning of the past. For some they linger in the pre-dawn haze digesting an outcome they perhaps always knew was coming.

The greatest gift these people have given me is the privilege and opportunity to see that God’s design of our longing to live is not a fragile thing. It is in fact the very strongest thing about us. Yes, our physical bodies wear out with time or disease. Ah, but the soul, the spirit of a person, it fights for life! We were designed for life not death and that is why the “Unseen One who defends us” is the Holy Spirit who lives within those who believe.

Jesus told his follower that He would send us the exact essence of himself in the person of the Holy Spirit to comfort us, to guide, and teach us about Him. It is the transforming phase of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that He sent us the Holy Spirit, who is unseen but defends us all the way into eternal life.

This is one of the many gifts that nursing has been to me for I have seen, I have witnessed the presence of the Magen veLo Yera’e. He is faithful. He is comfort. He is Peace. He is Jesus the Christ, the presence of the Holy God himself. Jesus is the gift of eternal life and the forever Defender of our Faith and there is a day coming for each of us when we will see Him face to face and we will know Him in Spirit and in Truth. So, when the night is long and dark and grief comes and hope seems so silent I remember the “thank you” from my patients, other human beings just like me with whom I am allowed to care for, hold a hand, say a prayer, shed a tear, and talk of our loved ones we will miss and already miss. Oh yes, there is much physical  technical data in taking of lab work, blood pressures, procedures, surgeries, and various myriads of daily physical care. But the expressions of “thank you” and the bittersweet outcomes are more than a gift.  I have been gifted with the precious sight of a Child of God being carried home in the arms of the Magen veLo Yera’e, the unseen shield, the Holy Defender of God’s precious people.

Seven months ago, my own Mother who was not acutely ill but was called home from this body while all alone was in fact not alone at all,  the unseen defender was present to the very end.
In this season of giving gifts I am like the little drummer boy…I have no gift to bring before my King but the thanksgiving of letting me know some of His children in this intimate way and being an eye witness to the presence of Magen veLo Yera’e, The unseen miraculous presence of The Holy.
So, you see there is much more to our Christmas celebration of the Jesus Child for with Him he brought all we need for life and godliness.

Truth, like the wind, slips through the smallest cracks

abandoned ancient antique architecture

Photo by Pixabay 

 

Truth,  like the wind, slips through the smallest cracks

invading the rules of order

Truth seeps through the cloistered religious dust

annihilating that which splits us asunder

Rumour and counter rumour that Grace is truly free

 

The darkness of the lie gives way to Hope

Challenging clear-cut rules that divides

Our Salvation is clearly ours to receive

Showing  us the way to the path of brilliant  light

 

The emptiness of my conceit and arrogance…

photo of river during daytime

Photo by Ionut Cerchia

 

As I sat in the still and In the mess

In the emptiness of my own conceit and arrogance

The old man with white hair said,

“these are your thorns to bear…”

 

When the only free person in the room

Is the one who is in chains

Then it is time to look at what man calls “justice”

Pontius Pilate could not deny his claims

 

It is in vulnerability that God’s Grace comes

It is in the mourning that the Grief is fulfilled

It is in the freedom of Truth that I want to run

It is in humility that true courage is spilled

 

 

The Legend of Annie Bell

 

grayscale photo of woman having breakfast

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood 

She never scoured with tears

Not her face, not her life, not her floor

She was as strong as the Mississippi’s speed

And tougher than the man who made her bleed

 

Relentless in love, quiet and strong was her way

Not hardened but not taking back her living

Until one day she took that shotgun round

The shot that rang out put him in the ground

 

She did not scour herself with tears

She washed herself clean in the blood

She held her head high for her children

That man would never make anyone else bleed again