Of All the Rooms…

rain of snow in town painting

Photo by Lisa Fotios 

 

This snow takes me back to Memphis.

A little girl with a crooked smile.

Oh how magical that Christmas was.

Boot prints of Santa on a snowy blue lawn.

 

So secure in the dreams of that gospel mile.

Daddy was my hero, such warm and simple times.

Of all the rooms my life has passed through,

Memphis was the sweetest time I ever knew.

 

The Shell Seeker

 

 

brown sand

Photo by Miri

Standing on the highest sand dune people moved back and forth on the ground below.  She no longer has their youthfulness of an unlined face but she knew she finally possessed the joy of ageless Grace. The pilgrimage called her to this beautiful place. The wind and the sun an old friend on her face.

Now she is the shell seeker in the wide brimmed hat, as a child playing in the sun she’d laughed at people like that. She remembers younger  days when she grew weary but now the days of peace are what linger here.  Emotions don’t obey the rules they are the heartbeat in being human.  Like waves reaching the shore emotions can be kept for a moment but are better when given away.

The shell seeker’ s eye remains clear and adept while watching the children play. She knows that life is not going back but more of giving it away. The Truth is, life consists in learning and loving well with Grace underneath God’s sun.  To remain whole in the midst of life’s ups and downs, to surrender all secrets and lies is anointing oil to the soul. To shed insincerity and live in the present, the waves echo behind her now compelling her to go on.

Jesus Knows…

woman lying on rock

Photo by Eternal Happiness

 

As I lay down my head in week six of this catastrophe I just want to say if you can fall asleep but not stay asleep that is okay. If a myriad of emotions and logic are surfing on your brain waves it’s ok. If you fall asleep and wake on a couch or a child’s room it’s ok. If you are praying more it’s ok. If you cannot find the words to pray it’s okay. If you are a conqueror one minute and not so brave the next minute it’s ok. If there are a hundred thoughts and feelings lying under the five you speak it’s ok. If you mourn for the dead and grieve for our globe it’s ok. These are where the avenues of grief and change and loss take us. It is ok. If you are active in politico or have turned all media completely off it’s okay. For it is not strength to pretend you are thriving in uncertainty and that you struggle with doubt and fear. It is in our weaknesses and doubts that God comes near. He is not limited not tethered to a cosmic heavenly throne. He is right here with us in our fragility and we are not alone. Jesus knows every cell of human bondage. He knows of courage being one heartbeat away from fear. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us and He is with us now. So rest your weary head in his comfort when you can. I have seen His beauty and have tasted His goodness and it is a healing balm. Lay down your head and rest my friends for tomorrow we will try again. There is victory in His power over things we can’t understand. I have seen His Salvation in life and in death and He has never forgotten not one of His own since before the foundation of the world. Shalom tonight dear world. As for me I have tasted and have seen the goodness of the Lord and He is more than we can fathom and so if today you fell apart it’s okay because He never will…

The Angels Have Not Grown Older

man with wings standing on brown mountain peak

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad

 

The Angels have not grown older.

I always see them over my shoulder;

gentle, yet piercing mighty eyes.

Always checking the road maps and signs.

 

I have grown much older;

my dreams like nets all thrown.

Some  I’ve known have wished me well;

a couple of them said “go to hell.”

 

Words, just words without caring.

Words, just words both wrong and right.

Still, I journey on toward His Holy Light.

Still, the Angels lie down beside me each night…

I journey on.

Inner City Poet

photography of person walking on road

Photo by Leo Cardelli

I heard a story ’bout a poet who gave himself away

The inner city was his canvas with no color in his dreams

He was a wanderin’ grifter but no one knows for sure

It is said he still wanders ’round downtown at local bars

 

This City is a hard place and it stings when North winds blow

It shows no mercy to the poor child with no where else to go

I heard a story ’bout a poet who sang his songs for all the lost

Then he set himself on fire to warm them from the chillin’ frost

 

The  children who roam the Night Streets tell the story of a man

called the Inner City Poet who comes each night to tuck them in

Inside their cardboard boxes they lay there heads upon the ground

and the wanderer sings them lullabies ’til morning comes around

The River of Mercy (the infinite flow of God’s Grace)

woman on body of water

Photo by Daria Sannikova

We lost all of the image of God when we were found  outside of His Holiness. We are born rationalizers, barterers and liars.   Yes we are all created in His image just as he says but Sin’s first act shattered that mirror image inside of us, at least until such a time as we receive the Power of the Cross of Jesus to regenerate us, to rebirth us from our darkness into His perfect light!

It doesn’t take much to look around us and see these powerful tools of the deception of Sin.

  • Rationalizing our need for redemption and need for God By using our intellectual achievement or even our good morals or religion.
  • Bartering  with The Holy as if He could be bought with our arrogant rhetoric of being self-sufficient, mantras of our feeble idolatry of self love, celebrity, money, or even good deeds.
  • Liars- we are all in darkness and deceived by our own Sin some even professing a form of godliness but do not Honor God as our Lord, not do we give Him thanks.

 

Sounds bleak doesn’t it? However, we have been given The Good News. We have been given infinite Grace flowing in the River of Mercy so that we might repent and obey to be Reborn into the Image of God in all His Goodness and power!

I am learning that the River gets deeper not shallow the further down stream I go. I am depending and counting on the fact I have been born again by the Blood of Jesus Christ and I have nothing to offer Him and  never did but here is the beauty of the Truth of God’s plan to bring us back to Him in every way… The beauty of The Gospel is this: His love and Grace and all that implies is freely given to all who will receive it.

 

I have seen the River of Life and Mercy

A crystal clear river flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb

All who come to this river will be clean and whole

All burdens washed away, no more sorrows, tears, or death…

Revelation 22

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.