Fiddler

wood music classic sound

Photo by Pixabay 

 

Part of me just won’t show  

what she needs or what she knows

The anger lies beneath the wind

the fury stirs it up again

 

What did I think would happen

what do I have to lose?

Turn my mourning into dancing

 I put on my high-heeled shoes

 

I can’t drown my sorrow

breathe through the smoky haze

I don’t want to work tomorrow 

but the Fiddler must be paid.

 

 

 

 

Jars of Clay…we were enemies of God

blur broken ceramic clay

Photo by Fancycrave.com 

 

The heavy burden of baggage, the relentlessness of clocks. No none likes to see something break. It would not be normal if we liked to see something or someone break yet we are all broken. The day we are born we begin the journey into decay. Some see this as morbid. I see it as part of the “fall” or disobedience. The brokenness that had to be reconciled. The healing that had to happen in such an earth shattering, heaven and hell kind of way. Complete light and complete darkness collide and God’s light wins.

Everything about us, our appearance, the miraculous functioning of our bodies and brains are designed. Some of us dress plainly. Some wear costumes of bright plumage. Some of us are Primary clay. Some of us are transformed by miles of rain, wind, and ice.

I was once broken but have been transformed into his marvelous light.

 

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of  your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.  Colossians 1:24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Night Heron

grey heron reflection on body of water

Photo by Leigh Jeffreys

She said what she first noticed was that images were spinning around her frontal lobe like those old 1950 children’s lamp shade night lights. As the lamp would spin around different nursery rhyme stories would glow in the dark. This is what she noticed first.

These scenes of life from childhood to ancient-hood would spin in her mind but then she would immediately forget what she saw. She said it was tremendously frightening at first.

She said with in a few months the the children started coming more often. Telling her what she should do more often. She just smiled and ignored them and worked in her garden. She managed dozens and dozens of tulips and daffodils around her large home built with field stones.  A beautiful home that once was in a country meadow but with human progress was now in the middle of a large city neighborhood. She said she loved to prune the bulbs and separate them each year. She used her little garden mat for her creaky knees and wore the hat which was her Mother’s. She said her Mother bought the hat in China where her family were missionaries until the Communist kicked them all out of the country.  The hat was perfect for long days in the Texas summer and was constructed so well that it looked as good as new instead of forty years old.

I would drive by her house every day on my way to work or to the market and everyday she could be found in her garden. I often stopped to chat.

One day we were talking and she said, “you know children can never know their parents young. That is why it is so hard for them to understand them as adults. They have never seen me run a relay race like a gazelle or fight with my sister. They have never seen me with skinned knees and pigtails. They surely cannot picture me as a lovely teenage girl going on her first date much less enjoying a healthy sex life at least until they were born! I also think they have forgotten that their Father always brought me tulips and daffodils our wholes lives together.”

As fall approached I would see her out there tending the bulb garden with her head bent over and her knees on her mat. It gave me a sense of comfort I think.  Then, of course, that inevitable day came when I did not see her for a week or so but had been too busy to stop by. The next week I saw a for sale sign in the front yard and stopped.

I was surprised when a nurse aid let me in and I knew this must be a bad sign but she was actually looking quite spry. I noticed when she stood up that her back was a tiny bit bent like trees whey they finally wear the shape of the wind. We sat together in some worn but comfortable chintz chairs by the front window. The gray-blue light of winter slanted through the stillness. She said, “Death’s cruel pluck is coming.” She was right.

By spring she was gone. By summer the children sold her house and the lot behind it. The new construction destroyed every single tulip and daffodil. All the lot taken up by a McMansion. They didn’t tear down the beautiful stone house but to me tearing up the garden was the cruelest act. I wonder if the children had no idea what it meant to her. I wondered why they did not see the hours she labored and loved in that garden. I wondered a lot of things.

The last time I saw her she talked about how the night Heron with it’s silver soft plumage was the most beautiful in all the marsh. She said she that the Heron had been visiting her each evening in the shadows of dusk. She said she was stuck in a memory of growing up on the Bayou of Houston and couldn’t remember a lot of things about being an adult.  The last thing she said to me with a gentle smile on her face was, ” thanks for coming to visit me Mama. I will see you soon for good.”  I just smiled and told her goodbye and thanked her for the beautiful tulip and daffodil garden.  She waved and I was gone. She was gone too.

Every time I drive by the property I go through a run of emotion from anger at her children for what seems carelessness to realizing I am not their judge. I feel sad that the beautiful tulips and daffodils no longer dance there in the breeze. I remember her smile and think of the Night Heron. I picture her in heaven with her Chinese hat on bent down on her knees with her mat working in God’s garden.

You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of the aged, and you shall revere your God. Leviticus 19-32

 

I like stillness best…

turned on grey table lamp

Photo by Dorran

 

It is the end of the day and evening twilight has gone. It is that time when quiet lay like a mantle of fresh snow over my world. It is that moment when I seek rest for my mind and soul and prayers of thanks for this day are said. Of all the wonder this life brings as I grow older I have come to love “Stillness” best. Stillness when I rock my grandson to sleep or one of them tells me in child like whispers of faith an imaginary story or how they see the world. Stillness when my husband lay beside me and we read our books and hold hands. Stillness where I collect my thoughts, my dreams, my joy, and my sadness and I string them like beautiful pearls and give them back to God. In stillness I feel His peace and protection over my daughters and their families and dear loved ones in my life. Stillness where I let grief and hope arise together like an entwined tapestry and lay them at the feet of Jesus, the One in whom I put all my trust. Yes, I believe it is fair to say that in getting older of all the wonderful sounds of life I have begun to love “stillness” best.

the mourning is in the small connections to ordinary things

adult affection baby casual

Photo by Pixabay

The mourning is in the small connections to ordinary things. The smell of her hand cream and her talcum powder…

The crinkle of his skin in the corner of his gray-blue eyes when he smiles. The silly songs he  sang to wake me up each morning and the silly nicknames he called us to show His love…

The struggle, the grief, the mourning  is not between ourselves and others. It is within ourselves and lay between the longing in our souls and that which is ordained by God himself…

Between the body and its desire and between the mind and its necessary vital need of renewal…

These connections are learned at a very young age, as a babe already knows the scent of his mother and the lower tones in  her father’s  voice …So it is that these ordinary simple connections… are in reality the sound of Joy’s voice  like a warm spring rain…

These are the gentle paths of mourning that ease us into grief. There is no fear in mourning for it is a connection to our Maker…there is no fear or reason to “get rid” of grief.  For without the mourning there is no comfort. Without the sorrow there is no relationship and without grief there is no Joy.

 

 

 

The Lover of My Soul…a tribute to my sweet Mother who has gone to be with the Lord…this is what she taught me all of my life…I love you Mom and will see you again in God’s perfect timing…

 

cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-70847.jpeg

Photo by Pixabay

I lift my eyes
from all that is broken
from the ashes of idols
from lies that are spoken

I lift my eyes 
from this earthen vessel
from unanswered questions
from the unfulfilling morsels

I lift my eyes
the window of my soul
to the heaven’s Creator
to The One who has control

I lift my eyes
where my Faith will be made sight
at His appearing I will see
The Defender and Lover of my soul
has His eyes on me

“I got my meanness from the gutter and my kindness from God…

people-peoples-homeless-male.jpg

He said, “I get my meanness from the gutter and I get my kindness from God.” I sat down under the bridge with him and I said, “I think I could say the same.” He looked at me square in the eyes and I could see he was surprised by my response. He said, “You don’t look like you know much about the gutter.”

I smiled and said “looks can be deceiving don’t ya know?” Then he laughed. The sound of his laughter was one that made me smile. His laughter was like a nine month old baby’s belly laugh. The kind of laughter where nothing is held back and a sweetness of joy rings from it. I told him I had not laughed like that in ages and he said, “Oh you can only laugh like that when Fury and Thunder have cracked your soul and all the dark places have been opened up and cleaned out and all the pieces are strewn about and you cannot put them back together by yourself. I call it reconcilable purity. This laughter only occurs when you have lost your life to save it and when you were first but now you are last…”

I sat there in sober silence but something inside of me begin to tremble. “Who are you?” I whispered. He said, “I am just an old man who has been given a new heart and all day long I just like to go around and give my heart and life away to whoever might need it for a minute or two so that they can go about their day with some pure laughter…” The gorged veined, brown spotted hands palmed my face and the old man looked me in the eye and he said, “Go and be, not do. Go laugh and cry. Go and give your life away for someone else and you will see. You will laugh the laugh of “reconcilable purity.”

Beginning of Wisdom

gray concrete post tunnel

Photo by James Wheeler

I am a ruin, only pieces of me stand.

I was a fool and knew only nonsense

yet he levels the mountains before me

and cuts through my chains.

 

He make fools of false teachers

and keeps His promises.

His foundation is laid, it is His Son.

 

In my secret place He stores his riches

and gives me a name of honor.

Rejoice in the ruin that stand restored.

 

Inspired by the prophet Isaiah

I dance on the ledge that is way too high…

woman standing by one foot and holding flare stick near trees

Photo by Wellington Cunhao

When I wanted to dance on that ledge that was way to high

when I was a foolish naive woman child

You did not judge me rather you told me to try

when the summer storm cleared the sky I cried

 

I cried because I made mistakes and had deep wounds to show

I cried because I grieved the things that had ravaged my soul

I cried because I am grateful that you never let me go

You said whenever you are ready I will take you home…

and never more will you cry…

 

I still dance on high ledges because life is a thrill

I cherish my wisdom and my fine woman skills

I gladly now bow to you my Lord and King

So whenever you are ready my heart will take wing…

and I will be home with you…

 

The Lillies of the field sing for me

The waves of the sea are my dance

The stars in the heavens are my guiding light

As I dance on the ledge that is way too high!

 

 

 

“The human affair requires a miraculous solution…” (my nursing memories)

 

abandoned architecture auschwitz auschwitz concentration camp

Photo by Pixabay

She said, “the “human affair” requires a miraculous solution.  She shared how her mind would grow wings and soar in the great blue beyond. That is how she knew she was different…her mind would discover life’s secrets as it dipped and glided on the winds and over the Milky Way.  She said “I just never knew that most people did not seem to care to go where their mind would take them if they let it…”

She knew in order to please others her mind must stay tethered to her body but it seldom obeyed itself in this endeavor. She said,  “when people judged her she simply put them away like old worn out shoes because they could not help that they were worn out and would most likely never be able to take wings and fly with her.  It is a choice we each must make.  Most people think it childish to soar above the Milky Way or ride upon a raindrop.”  She said her fondest memory was when she made snow angels in her own snow globe because Winter was her favorite season and she like to remember the angels…

She spent two years in a German concentration camp when she was eighteen years old and she never saw her family again. She would watch the birds fly overhead mingling with the ashes of the dead and let her mind  go with the birds so that she would not become the ashes. Many years after the war she came to America and stayed with a distant Aunt who had also survived. She was put through many psychiatric test and told she was what we now call Bipolar but she never believed the doctors. She wrote beautiful poetry that lifted people up among the hopelessness of the aftermath of such a devastating time in human history. She had a tattoo on her arm and a limp due to a hip fracture she received in a beating in the camp because she did not stand up fast enough for one of the guards.

One evening as I was preparing her for bed I asked her if she believed in God. She looked at me without speaking for a minute or two and then she said with her chocolate brown eyes glimmering with tears, “who do you think let my mind grow wings and soar and still does? Who do you think slept by me every night in that camp and protected me from rape and disease and starvation? Who do you think I rode to the Milky Way with?”

“Oh child, she whispered, our God is bigger than all the evil, the most heinous deed man can dream up.”  As she lay her head upon her pillow and I tucked her in for the night she said calmly, “tomorrow I will be going beyond and will never be tethered to this old body again and when I go please don’t let anyone try to bring me back. I have waited long enough to meet my poet. It is God who writes the poetry of our lives and no one can take that away from you.”

I turned out the overhead light of her hospital room and I walked out into the night air and I stared up at the Milky Way and I cried. I cried and smiled at the same time. I knew I had been given a great gift. I would never forget that the “human affair” requires a miraculous solution and The Holy God is the poet of that solution. 

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
 If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

Psalm 139: 7-12