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

 

Snowflakes

snow flakes

I saw a snowflake the other day.

Not just a dollop of white cool.

Or a flicker of a crystal.

But a real live snowflake.

With sophisticated arcs and patterns

Chiseled peaks and valleys

Soft ice carved into order

I watched it for a moment as it landed on my coat sleeve.

It kinda tickled me.

This thin piece of art coming from the air.

A light wind made it flutter for a bit but it stuck there.

Until it melted.

Beautiful slivers of ice that cascade

Float

Dance

Fall from the sky

Only to melt.

Something so stunning just to be strangled by the atmosphere.

This beautiful thing created only to melt.

We want good things to last forever.

Snowflakes to be preserved in sub zero sculpture galleries

The glitter of life to sparkle on for years, decades, millennia.

But they don’t.

They can’t.

For since the fall, the nature of earthly life is to end.

Just like the nature of snow is to melt.

And knowing its lifespan would be short, the snowflake was still made a dazzling beautiful thing.

Because God wanted it to…be.

So while we’re here for however long we have,

every time our faces are warmed by a new day’s sun

we are to love

praise

cherish

enjoy

and to be.

Live, you beautiful thing, you.

It’s what you were created to do.

______________________________________

“After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present….”

-Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 (The Message)

 

Performance

“At this point many of His disciples turned away and deserted Him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”

 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know You are the Holy One of God.”

I was searching for this Scripture from John 6 when I came across this piece. As a struggling legalism survivor, I can relate to losing sight of God behind the curtain of performance.

Excellent reminder that His love eliminated the law.

http://www.gracefortheheart.org/whereelsecouldwego.html

War of Words

Coral’s nails rapidly pounded against the ceramic mug.

 The thin taps pinged in the air as I tried to reassure her.

Coral was worried.

In her lap was her performance review and she was terrified of reading it.

Still frantically tapping her fingers, Coral breathed a shuddering sigh.

“I am so worried about he’s going to say.”

Looking at ourselves through the lens of someone else can be crippling.

When another describes who you are, bombastically in a crowd, whispered in a half empty room, or written in a confidential email, we take it with absolute legitimacy.

Because if they are able to give voice to it, then it must not be made up.

It must be true; I am that.  

And as a result, our strides regress to crawls.

Stutters start to distort our speech.

And the heart becomes a hostage of hesitancy.

We become afraid to move.

Which is why God wants us to trust Him.

Jesus put value, esteem, and purpose in every single one of us.

We are not just His children or His creation.

We are His masterpiece.

Works of beauty that are cherished more than we will ever know.

Important souls who have much to offer, much to enjoy, and much to do.

Too much joy is found in the existence that God gives.

Which is why the devil uses man’s opinions to keep us from fully living.  

You are not that.

You are not what they say.

You are who He says.

The words of people can be louder than the Word of God.

But the Word of God lasts longer and is stronger than the words of people.

In the war of words, the truth always wins out.

Trust the truth; toss the opinion.

__________________________________

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.

-Proverbs 29:25

Tune out

What happens when optimism fizzles like flat soda?

When encouragement coos turn into resigning buzzes?

When prayers for your ache to end seem to cease altogether?

When conversations are shaded with sympathy for something that hasn’t died?

What happens when the one who was always in your corner doesn’t believe anymore?

Should I join the mourning?

Throw in the towel?

Should I mask the pain?

Soak my responses in simple syrup to ease awkward askers?

Or should I continue to believe for myself?

Yes, I think I’ll do just that.

Tuning out the world and tuning in God is the greatest choice. 

_____________

“This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises. 

-Romans 4:17-20

The Humble Princess

They spent their days in lowly places.

Faithfully, they worked.

One thoroughly washed soiled linen and dusty windows.

The other diligently toiled for hours, gathering discarded food for her household.

They spent their days in lowly places.

One in an unfamiliar country.

The other in an unloving home.

With little complaint and much dedication,

they spent each day in a lowly place.

It would be so simple to say they deserved to be beneath.

The orphaned daughter to slave for her family.

The foreign widow to leave her birthplace for a foreign land and a new God.

But the lowly place was not the result of a lousy lot in life.  

Rather, it served as a reflection of each woman’s nature.

In their eponymous books, Ruth and Cinderella unselfishly work for the good of those around them.

In particular, Ruth’s sacrificial acts revealed incredible kindness and amazed all who heard. 

Ruth’s pedestrian duties didn’t prevent what was coming.

The sparkling elevation already decided by the Author.

Instead, her life became a demonstration in humility.

A princess with the heart of a servant. 

________________

When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.

-Philippians 2:3-4

In Remembrance

The gunshots faintly echo in my ears.

My punched lip is still tender.

I remember it well.

My hands are rough from the bitter wild.

My head has a dull ache from the lie hangover.

I remember it well.

My heart still beats erratically from the overdose on fear.

I remember it well.

Very well.

2013 was traumatic and left marks that have not yet faded.

But along with the scars came unexpected strength.

Sudden focus.

Unanticipated faith.

So I remember it well.

And will continue to run.

With my crown on my head.

And the King helping me along.

I remember it well

And will continue to run

With purpose

in every single step. 

___________________________

-Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 

I Corinthians 9:24-26