Tis The Season

I’ve been away for a while.

Adapting, 

Folding my life into neater sections.

Amending, 

Transforming block lettered hope into calligraphic reality.

Adjusting, 

Retiring from the snug warmth of what was

To reside in the tingly shiver of what may be…

…and what will be…

…and what is.

The final quarter of 2014 was a dramatic experience. 

A reminder of a few things.

Of God’s love.

His provision.

Most especially, His faithfulness. 

A season is changing.

Preparing for 2015. 


“Look, the winter is past,
    and the rains are over and gone.
The flowers are springing up,
    the season of singing birds has come,
    and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.
The fig trees are forming young fruit,
    and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.”

-Song of Solomon 2:11-13

Advertisements

Playtime

Sarah’s chubby fingers gripped the crooks of her folded arms.

Her usually cherubic face contorted into a grimace.

Her eyes became chocolate tongues of fire as she watched me collect the remaining cards.

In a crystalline 4-year-old aria, she sang,

“I don’t want to play any more.”

Now, the game was her idea.

She had bounced with excitement as I set up the board, arranged the cards, and gave her a game piece.

But Sarah stomped her Stride Rite sneakered feet in displeasure when she began to lose some of her gold tokens.

Something shifted when she realized that losing was a possibility.

I don’t want to play any more.

We can feel the same way at times in life.

We are granted moments that make us float with thrill and encounters that simmer into syrupy joy.

It is when these occasions threaten to persist

When they hint at continuance

That give us pause.

Because we know that floating too high can make you fall

And simmering can ease into a slow burn

And injury to our person

Our heart

Is imaginable.

The risk gets real.

And we don’t want to play any more.

But stopping the game means cutting a journey short.

Ending the happy

And closing the door to a win.

Yeah, painful defeat is conceivable.

So is exhilarating triumph.

Let’s see what’s next.

Stay in the game.  

And keep playing.

The Wall

Growing up, there was nothing more magical to me than a department store.

As soon as my mother’s glossy mauve fingertips loosened on my wrist, I was off to explore this grand kingdom.

The circular clothing racks would transform into miniature weeping willows.

I’d part them to carefully settle into a hidden cave, a cozy and dark hideway specially carved for me.

My fantastical trek was always cut short when my mother’s voice reached through the colorful trees and beckoned me to the register.

Or as I’d call it, “The Wall.”

To a short 6 year old, the register counter was a particularly annoying presence.

Sullenly teasing me with its height, shrouding what was behind it in wallpapered mystery.

Balancing on the tips of my Keds with ballerina concentration offered no real revelation.

Just slivers of possibles.

Flashes of dollar bills in metal drawers.

Peeks of logoed paper bags.

Views of glass merchandise on clear shelves.

I’d catch only drops of what was there before I crashed back on my heels.

Back into frustrating cluelessness.

We always wonder

Always ponder

What is next.

What awaits us in the next chapters of our lives. 

But all remains hidden by the wall of time and our limited understanding. 

We can breathe easy in knowing that our Heavenly Father is far bigger than we are.

He sees and controls what lies behind

and beyond

the wall.

Jesus stands beside us at the counter

Smiling reassuredly as we see saw between our toes and heels

He sees what we don’t. 

And we can trust Him.


 

I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord;

I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands…

Psalm 31:14-15a (AMP) 

Fizzle

Poor Wile E. Coyote.

It’s been 50 years since he’s been trying to catch the Roadrunner.

His ingenuity and tenacity notwithstanding, none of his tactics have been successful. 

Especially his rocket launchers.

After assembling a formidable amount of dynamite sticks, he’d mount the T.N.T. bundle, ready himself for launch, and light the wick.

The flame would hungrily eat the strand, making its way up to the dynamite for its triumphant eruption.

But every time it got close to detonating, the flame fizzled.

He never went anywhere.

A promising start died right where it began.

I’ve had a couple of those fizzles. 

False starts.

Like the light tickling of champagne, the potential is effervescent.

The possibility dances in the air. 

It brushes against your cheekbone and pops before your eyes. 

It’s there.

And then it goes flat.

But too much air…

Not enough space…

Something invisible.

Visible.

Spoken.

Unspoken.

Something.

Something melts the explosive start into a fizzle before it even takes off. 

And perhaps that’s for the best.

Something that can end so easily wasn’t built to last anyway.

 

Onomatopoeia

Bang.

Boom.

Pop.

It’s cool how we’ve created words to describe certain sounds.

The vibrato that defines a cat’s purr.

The hyper motion in a splash of water.

And the thin sharp taps of rapid raindrops

We can use such terms to describe relationships.

Maybe it’s because the dynamics,

the emotion,

the atmosphere,

the experience cannot be completely understood by anyone else except those in it.

The short crispness of a sound can sum up a connection neatly with little to no explanation needed.

 

Hourglass

My sand is gray

Cigarette smoke colored and fine as sifted flour

Soft enough to cushion me when I lay down, face up, my pedicured toes pressed against the glass

I tilt my chin up to watch the sand shower

Not slowly

Not quickly

But steadily

All over me

It coats my skin and hair

Falls directly into my pupils and nose

As I lay there

Unmoving

I don’t know how I got inside

The hourglass never seemed to have an opening before

But somehow, I’m here

Reclining on yesteryears and former months as the present dusts my entire being

I collapsed after entering the hourglass

The truth of time’s delicacy and the recognition of what I’d done with it made my knees buckle

How could I stand after wasting so much of it?

And how could I begin to handle however much I have left?

Gratefully, such wisdom comes from the Keeper of the hourglasses

Through Him, we can learn how to shape and mold the sand He gives us

So that after the last grit of sand has fallen, the structures we’ve built from them remain

My sand is gray

Cigarette smoke colored and fine as sifted flour

Dusting myself off and asking the Keeper what to do with it

____________________________________________________________

Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom

-Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

Bitter Batter

“He is no good.”

Freida’s brown eyes narrowed as she folded her arms and leaned back against the couch cushion.

I had said only a few words before she rapidly declared her judgment.

I tried to begin again but was cut off.

“But—“

“He is no good. What do you expect?”

Her voluminous conclusions drowned out my further facts and details.

“He’s trifling.”

“That’s what they all do.”

“He’s needs to be ashamed of himself.”

“I’m so sick of all of them.”

Eventually, I settled into silence as she preached the tainted sermon to her own choir.

As she spoke, I could almost see the words as they exited her mouth.

Each letter blackened with toxins and spiked with pain.

So heavy with hurt that entire sentences crashed into me.

Causing me to inch away from them…and from her.

I think Freida makes her batter each morning.

Her bitter batter.

Furiously stirs it in a large ceramic bowl.

The thick ooze poured into 3×4 muffin tins.

Baked at 500 degrees.

Each morsel slowly eaten until the tongue absorbs the flavor.

The bowl and spoon are licked and washed clean.

Until the next day.

When a fresh batch is made.

The ingredients came into Freida’s life 7 years ago.

She’d been dealt a heavy blow: Her 17-year marriage was ending.

Her ex-husband inarguably was the cause of the demise and had soon remarried.

Which made Freida’s recovery that much tougher.

And though it appeared from all outside appearances that she was rebounding quite nicely, any conversation with her proved that assumption wrong.

This daily dining on bitterness has become dangerous for Freida.

Its aroma repels those around her.

Its flavor colors everything she says and thinks.

And her emotions are gaining weight.

Added pounds that sadly will only make her sink.

We all have or will encounter situations that damage our spirit and make us look at life scornfully.

And left to ourselves, it is an easy opening for satan to convince us to stir the batter.

Bitterness will never let us heal.

But forgiveness does.

It is always difficult to forgive the source of our pain.

And sometimes it’s even harder to forgive ourselves for getting entwined in the first place.

But by praying for that person and asking Jesus to help us to release the grudge, the flow of bitterness will begin to slow and eventually cease.

Jesus, the Ultimate and Constant Forgiver, can completely heal the broken heart.

And only He can make the broken heart forgive.

Praying for Freida and for all who have bitter batter in a bowl.

____________________

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Colossians 3:13