Pied Piper

To follow a heart beat

A murmur

Of beauty

To live like there is a tomorrow

And a day after that

Forever

To cling to a hope

Incandescent

And fully

To realize a passion

That calls me back home

 

To discover perfection

And bask in its glory

Living a dream that comes not

From myself

Singing the tune

Without words

Yet a story

That’s been sung

By the Angels before time began

 

I find myself walking

A path much less taken

Following music

That no one can hear

Strangers, they stare

And mock at my dancing

Missing the beat of the drums

That do call

The righteous

Made pure by the blood of

Atonement

To be where we always belonged

 

And sorrows fall quiet

Pain silenced

Fear drowned

As light

Not from the sun

Warms my face

I am crowned

An heir to fulfillment

Of the thing only dreamed

In the world made of shadows

In the cool breath of night

Finally surfacing

Gleaming

And at last I have sight

Of the gift that was given

Of the thing in my grasp

And I hear music again

Different and deep:

A voice saying

“Well done

My good, faithful servant.

Well done.”

And I rest.

15 Minutes

I’ve got 15 minutes until the cupcake shop closes, and I’m kicked out.

You know what I think is amazing? That we don’t matter (No, not like that. Don’t be silly. Sheesh).

Our good works don’t matter. Us being perfect doesn’t matter.

Us making mistakes doesn’t matter.

It’s God. Our holiness and righteousness is completely and totally dependent on God, and He never fails. God, the one that makes us beautiful, righteous, unified and sanctified never fails. We rush about like so many little ants, moving our motes of dust around, and God is there saying, “I’ve got it. I can handle it. Relax. Trust me.”

I never have to worry about my righteousness, because it’s possessed by God, and He never fails. I’m never going to be trapped by sin, or left unable to pick myself up, because I’m walking hand in hand with God, and God never fails me. How many times do I have to say it.

It only hit me just this morning, praying for a friend who’s struggling with some sin in their life. I was interceding on their behalf, and it hit me in the gut like a sucker punch, but not unpleasantly. Their righteousness, my righteousness, is not dependent upon my piousness or spirituality. It’s dependent upon God, and He never fails me.

Oh, this is good.

 

 

Day 13 (Righteousness and self should not be found in the same word)

Oh dear; blank  spaces can provoke such feelings of.. diffidence .

Every time I am provided with some white space, I always wonder why my first compulsion is to fill it. Does it need to be filled, and with my words? What can I write that will justify it taking up its space? Where is the line between true discipline, and not taking yourself too seriously. Maybe one day I’ll discover it.

Yeah.

Do you ever notice how people like to feel superior? Actually, I think that might be the wrong word… like when someone says something you agree with, and you smile indulgently in agreement, and laugh over how anyone could think anything contrary? Christians are good at this. Atheists are good at it, too. Women are great at it. We all hate it when we can see the laughter in someone’s eyes directed at us, but we forget that as soon as we’re the one’s that have the platform, have something to say or listen to.  We love to be justified more than we appreciate being made to see a different way, or correction.

How many times have you honestly set someone straight, or offered them wisdom and Scripture, and after understanding the truth, realizing they were wrong, they gave the the biggest, most thankful grin you have ever seen? When has anyone really rejoiced at finding the truth through correction? I can only remember one time, for myself. The moment of my Salvation. Yep, that summarizes it.

Bam. Forgiven.

Forgiven of what?

Everything you have every committed that was contrary to My will.

Oh yeah? Let me see the list on that one.

Where can I tell him to back up?

What? Back up what?

That semi truck.

Huh?

The list. You asked for your list. Here it is. Well, most of it.

Oh.

And that fountain that runs red?

Yes?

That was for you. Because We love you.

And that was the end of the era of my utter incredulity.

I like how God works. Instead of replacing and tinkering with all my broken parts, He chucked the whole thing and made me completely new. Clean as a whistle, singing His tune.

And there’s just something about looking in the mirror and allowing yourself a few moments to ponder the fact that your righteous was paid at a price, and sustained by the blood and faith. Sometimes I get this feeling where I become unimpressed or exasperated by how much I am ‘suppose’ to owe Christ, about how it’s a little overwhelming how much I am suppose to adore Him.

Oh man. Really?

I can’t…I can’t even find words right now. I am so undeserving, yet I possess that which I do not deserve because it was given without regard to my merit, only according to the capacity of His love. And that self righteousness I was talking about before? It grows strangely dim in the light of that glory and grace.

It’s happened

Some of you might not understand what I’m feeling, I think. Not at all to say that I’m unique, or that I’m set apart in my experiences and perspective. No.

I think I feel like I’ve joined the ranks.

Sometimes when I lie in my bed, in the dark, I start to remember faces and people, places where special things happened. I remember the sensation when you finally look someone in the face, and you understand them, and you like who they are; that singularly rare moment when your reservations about a person cease to matter. I suppose you might call it respect, or regard, but it goes deeper. For me it’s crossing over to joyfully putting them first, because their friendship is more important to you than being right.  And then those relationships grow and build into something that affects who you are, and they start changing you, moulding you, and you begin to change from what you were into something better.

I have a loyal heart, curse the touched thing. I know myself well enough to say that with complete freedom. I try to keep it from remembering all that has happened the past two years, because when it does it begins to ache, and I can barely stand it. Sometimes I am beside myself by how much it can hurt. I, the stoic, grounded, administrative young woman, who is flying off and leaving everything behind for what’s beyond the fence, am sentimental. There was a day this summer when all I could do was go to my bed, and curl up on it until my heart had it’s way, and pushed out its fill of tears.

And the thing is sometimes I feel like I’d rather they be tears of pain, because at least those are the kinds that can be dried.

I know what it is. As young as I am, I know understand how it feels to look back at all the glorious, beautiful moments in your life, and to know that they will never be back. I know what it is to miss someone, or something, or some place so intensely that something in your chest tightens unyielding and hard. The ‘vanity of life,’ and the brevity of our existence dilemma. The cosmos is crying out to its maker to make it well again, and I know that what my God has in store is far greater, and it’s perfectness far more vast than I can even imagine. But right now I can only know the good I have experienced and seen, and, quite frankly, it takes my breath away.

I have tasted a portion of God’s goodness, and it has brought me to my knees; I cannot fathom how I will be able to stand it all unpolluted in eternity.

So that’s what I think about when I turn out all the lights, and I lie in the dark alone, trapped in my reality of the life I can live in this body. I can only trust that all good things He put in my life were not in vain, and that He has something better. I know it sound silly, but the last time I felt this way was when my childhood cat died, and I knew I would never see him ever again. People, I was told, go to Heaven. But the placement of a pet’s soul is a tenuous subject that never offered me an answer. And that is what I fear now. That all those memories have died and are gone forever, and I will never have them back. In the blink of an eye my life will pass away.

But, after all is said and done, I thank my Lord with all my heart. That He has placed people in my life who provoked all these wistful feelings makes me feel blessed beyond measure. Every time I open a door, and the people on the other side exclaim, “Lucy!” I am torn between sincere joy , and bafflement at God’s goodness to me.

So there it all is. I hope all the people who have made me feel this way these past few months have a chance to read this, because I think they will know who they are in my story.

I can only hope that others can know what I feel, for themselves.

 

I post in which I first start waiting eagerly for something else.

I’ve had a quote running through my mind for the past few days:

“The region where there is only life, and all that is not music is silence.”

I was pondering this to my self on a walk home, letting it roll off of my tongue a times (I often I forget that people can, and do, see me when I talk to myself in public areas). I was wondering is that sentence could be true.

One of my biggest areas  of growth, and struggle, has been with my tongue. Knowing that my heart is revealed by my tongue terrified me. Terrifies me. At times I’ve felt words slip out of my throat like cockroaches through a splintered, shadowed and parched ground. I felt ugly, and I was ugly, and I was making the world around me ugly. One word, a suggestion of a word, has been the shovel of my pit. I’ve set words free from my heart that I immediately have tried to pull back, but seed of those kind always find a home and germinate. I have so many regrets and so many fears every day that I walk this earth. And the only way I can cope it to not speak, but pray first. It is only after speaking to the one who created my mouth that I find peace. I hate my mouth. I hate my tongue.

Back to the walk, and the quote.

I could barely imagine. The Tongue, something that has failed to be controlled or bridled since the birth of man, producing music. The quote is speaking of Heaven, of course. Walking home that day, I imagined a world were everything that came out of my mouth was good and pure and righteous and music. And everything that isn’t those things is silent.

Silent.

Everything that would come from my lips would be God glorifying, perfect, necessary and worth hearing. I would not need to fear opening my mouth, because I would have no fear of regret.

And it was in this small moment of contemplation that I grew more excited than I ever have been. for Heaven. For Home. Of course I didn’t understand it in so many words as I have presented now. But truth can be known and experienced in the briefest of moments, and I had mine. I want to go to Heaven.

I want to sing.

What I like to call a ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ moment.

I love this comic. Growing up I collected almost all the books, and I rationed them out to my siblings carefully so as not to lose track of them. Here I offer you a strip:

Anyone who has ever ready the comic is familiar with the Calvin’s father’s dry conveyance of the phrase “It builds character.”

When I was a kid, I didn’t quite understand or appreciate the meaning of the word ‘character.’ All I knew was my dad made me work hard, too, but I griped and complained far less than Calvin, if ever. My dad never allowed us the indulgence of whining in his presence, and we couldn’t exactly hold it against him because he was always working just as hard and harder.

When it comes to things like work, whether it’s weeding, washing dishes, taking an order from a rude customer, taking out the bulging garbage that no one else notices, stacking mounds of firewood, whatever, I’m good. I never developed the habit of having a bad attitude, so it’s not my first reaction to fall back on.

All this to say, sure, I’ve developed some character over the years that a good portion of the population lacks.

I went running today. I usually skip out on running when it rains, but today I finally realized it always rains on the Oregon coast, so I might as well buck up and go at it.

The left side of my body is smaller than the other. When I tell people this, they almost always casually dismiss the information by saying everyone’s bodies are like that, it’s a common fact, and that their own feet are half a size different from each other, and that it’s normal for your dominant side to be stronger. I usually just nod, and refrain from pleading my case any further. Growing up I often strove to keep up with other kids as I hopped through a pile of fire wood, walked across a log, standing on one leg. I still remember the remark my cousin made concerning my poor balance when I was struggling with a playground structure with a moving base.

Running tonight, I could feel my gait’s lopsidedness. I had a very difficult time of making smooth strokes with my legs, and it seemed every step was a struggle. Half way through my route, I noticed my right shin and calf had grown tight and hard, the muscles on that side having to make up for the lack of height and strength on the left side. The right side of my back was, and is, cramped for the same reason from lifting dishes at work. I could feel my right leg working it’s share and more, compensating for it’s smaller half. Muscle cramps have been a constant companion all my life. My left side cramps because it’s weak and unused to hard work, and my right side cramps because it has to do more work than it was designed for. Often times they cramp at the same time. It’s like a terrible tug of war with my body. I remember a time when I was 5, and I had curled up in a fetal position on the kitchen rug, sobbing, while  my mother got asprin because my legs were burning.

It sucked. As I felt my body warring with itself, not reaching it’s full potential, I had enough of it.

And that’s it. I realized today, while running in the wind and rain, that I had a choice. I could ditch all of it and stop. It would be easy. I could just not continue in anything I found physically demanding, and I would have a perfectly good reason to do so. And everyone would understand, for the most part. I had an excuse.

I found this post on the blog, Commit to be Fit:

“Adversity can play a big role in teaching a person to appreciate the things they have in life. I mean, how can you take pride in your accomplishments if you never struggled to achieve anything… (On biking to work) It wasn’t anything I’d call pleasant. I had a 20 mph head wind blowing into my face for my entire ride out to Good Thunder the other day, plus I had to deal with my fair share of horizontal rain while biking up the River Hills Mall area later in the week. I won’t lie: I probably directed an obscenity or two toward Mother Nature when the biking got tough.

But I made it to where I needed to go. And because I had to endure the elements to get there, I had a much deeper appreciation for the destination than I would have had I simply driven there in a car.”

And in the pouring rain, while me body cried out, the Holy Spirit started working a change in my heart.

There’s a lot you can be a good sport about on the outside. I have character, yes, but there’s a place in the heart that God pays special attention to. You can put on a good face, but bitterness or ungratefulness has a way of seeping in, of taking root, and God always know when and where to find it. And then, to Him, the outside ceases to matter.

I realized my frustration and excuses were only holding me back from what I could be. I know that I can be a runner, and reaching that goal would be at last twice as satisfying as it would be to someone with a body that functioned perfectly. Like the widow who only gave a mite, but she gave of everything she had. And you know what? That was enough for the God I serve. He doesn’t care if I can run a marathon, only as long as I give what I know is my best. The day that I put limitation on what I can do, is the day where I stop being an effective example of Christ.

I began to ask myself, would you rather have no legs at all? No. Well, I guess there’s nothing to complain about. hrmp. Well.

And I knew that voice was right. I remembered that I could walk, that I could run, and that my left side didn’t stay paralysed in that hospital bed all those years ago. I remembered that my life was a gift. Not something I deserved, but something that was given to me in stewardship, and God was letting me do with it as I pleased. It’s very much up to me to decide what I could and could not do. The eyes of the world are watching me, and I don’t want to sell the faithfulness of my God short.

So I kept running, despite the pain. And I will keep running.

Because I can.

The Insignificant Dilemma

Midnight run to Safeway with Ms. Kerber, after watching the incredible Hal Jordan in Green Lantern. Once again it was brought to mind the fact that we cling desperately to the constructs of good and evil, and how everyone agrees without much thought that they do exist. Go and Google “Green Lantern’s Oath,” and you’ll know what I’m getting at. Not only are we talking about simple good and bad, but good and evil. A term people are none to fond of unless directed somewhere away from themselves.

But this isn’t what I’m trying to get at.

The story I’m trying to get at started when I stood in the checkout line in the grocery store. I love peanut butter cups. I almost left the house at 11 pm to go get some. It didn’t happen, though, because, apparently, deep down inside, I’m just to sensible. So that leaves me staring at the orange Reese’s package, deliberating while my food travels towards the cashier on the conveyor belt. I almost reach for it, tempted more than a little. Then a familiar voice tells me, “You know why that chocolate is so inexpensive. You know the real price of that attractive product.”

Reese’s is is a Hershey brand, and Hershey is one of the major cocoa manufacturing companies that has not committed to making sure it’s product is Fair Trade, which means slave-labour free.

You might think that I’m being a tad over dramatic. It’s just a candy bar. And what can I really do about it, anyway? It’s not like I can make a difference, and it’s better to be a slave harvesting cocoa than being a slave chained to a bed.

At least that’s what the Accuser wants us to think.

As I stood there, trying to decide, it took me all of five seconds to make up my mind. The moment I compromise, I realized, will be the moment the wedge will be driven between my resolve to do what I know to be right and apathy.

Battles are not always impressive, and not everyone, most of the time hardly anyone, notices. But I only need the right One to notice. Be faithful in the small things, the Holy Spirit said. Satan wants us to believe that simple, minute details like this can’t truly matter. But it is the sum of all these little moments in our lives that makes who we are as we stand before God.

You don’t believe it can make a difference? You don’t believe it will change anything? Well, that’s true, because most of the people out there feel the same way, and they’re not doing anything either. Imagine a giant chain that is linked to social justice. The activist are the ones pulling, being dragged through the mud to the dark pit at the center, trying to keep it from falling, and you’re sitting and watching, along with most everyone else, believing it doesn’t matter at all.

It is because I cannot to everything that I try with all my heart to do what I can.

I am thankful for…

After a quick trip back home to see my family for a few days, I was headed back to the beach. I’ve taken the trip countless times, and it has become overwhelmingly tedious. Mostly because of women, old, or tourist drivers who feel compelled to drive at least 10 to 15 miles under the speed limit…

But that’s not what this is about.

I had begun a study through the book of 1 & 2 Thessalonians by Michael Pearl. Towards the middlish end, he professes that giving thanks in all things doesn’t exactly mean “God, thank you that I just lost my job,” or “God, thanks! I really needed to lose that thumb while driving in the nail to my cat’s coffin.”

No sir. He explained it a different way. God isn’t at work through all things. Some instances Satan gets to take the credit. But God always has a way of turning everything out for good, and a thankful heart, thankful for the good you have, not the bad that has happened, is what pleases Him.

Being capable and willing to see the good through the bad truly is an art. It’s easy to preform a pithy prayer listing all your hurts and  grievances. But when you can push all the dirt aside and find the pearls, then you have something special.

It wasn’t until I stumbled upon what I’m about to show you that I finally understood exactly what Michael was talking about.

You see, I can complain that people drive too slow because I have a car. I’m driving because I have some place to be. I have some place to be because I am needed.

Hmm.

by Nancie J. Carmody

…the mess to clean up after a party
because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
…the taxes I pay
because it means that I’m employed.
…the clothes that fit a little too snug
because it means I have enough to eat.
…my shadow who watches me work
because it means I am out in the sunshine.
…the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot
because it means I am capable of walking.
…all the complaining I hear about our government
because it means we have freedom of speech.
…that lady behind me in church who sings off key
because it means that I can hear.
…lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing
because it means I have a home.
…my huge heating bill
because it means that I am warm.
…weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day
because it means that I have been productive.
…the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours
because it means that I am alive.

Remember

A sliver thread

Of thoughts

that runs through souls.

Why am I here,

they whisper,

and why are you?

For what purpose do we breath

and laugh

and cry?

Others would think that

Chance is the god to be served.

That Chance is what gave us souls

and a mind to exercise

a will.

Chance is what makes us

question why we are here.

Why we are.

I look into the eye of Chance,

an empty chalice of

man’s wisdoms,

our greatest minds,

and I see nothing.

Nothing but the keen of

a mother who has lost her only child.

Nothing but an empty vessel

to crawl inside and

beat the walls of.

The god Chance stares bleakly past me,

ignoring my questions,

my pleadings,

my demands for answers

for why I cannot see

beyond the reach of my fingers,

and why I cannot know

the secrets of the present that

I used to call my future;

I weep at its feet.

Why do you speak to that stone

as if it will answer?

I raise my face,

seeking a voice in my head.

I am its servant, I gasp,

it is my lord. 

My world is in shadow

by the breadth of a great eagle

blocking the sun. It cries

and I cry,

clutching my ears.

Feathers run through my vision,

and I no longer

see what I was serving.

Wings envelope me,

pull me close.

Daughter, 

are you listening?

I do not answer.

Daughter! The voice thunders

in my head,

in my heart.

Do you believe that 

I am capable? 

Or do you wish 

to  sit at the feet 

of this thing you made 

in place of me? 

—-

The noise of questions,

the cacophony of will

and doubt

subsides into a

soft hum.

An ultimatum.

And I listen.

Do you believe that I 

am competent

to make the life created

by my hands

worth living? 

Do you believe I will not

forget?

That you will never

be small enough to slip

through my fingers?

Am I faithful? 

And

in that stillness of His right arm

I ponder two answers.

And I know then that

there is only one.

I release my whip

and reigns

I have used to direct,

from my cramped hands.

I can no longer find my stone God.

I can no longer hear it

whispering of fear,

or uncertainty.

I close my eyes as I feel

a stirring

in my throat.

With my freed palms

I reach up and

remember

how to sing.