Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Certitude


another from the archives
Somewhere beyond despair, I quietly wait
The gift not received, the tide to turn;
Upon that blessed hope I rest my pain,
My certitude possessing what I yearn.

Somewhere beyond this silence, there is song.
Somewhere above these clouds shines light so bright ...
Beyond this desolation - love, all love,
Eternal cherishing, and whole delight.

Bleak shores and storm-wracked seas. Take heart, lift sail!
There blows a wind that never blew before,
To take me through that tempest - dreadful place,
To haven-home, sun-lovely evermore.

Somewhere beyond the conflict, perfect peace!
Hands, which I cannot feel, are holding me;
And, underneath, the everlasting arms,
I am secure for all eternity!

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Secure

This is a real oldie from the archives. I was only 19 or 20 when I wrote this!


How shall I step outside His love
Who am so firmly bound?
For His great mercy, like a cloak,
Wraps me around.

Covering all my shamefulness
With His own garment of delight.
Dazzling my soul with what He gives,
Wondrously bright!

Yes, I shall cleave me unto Him,
And unto Him alone:
For he has bought me with a price,
I am His own!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Learning to Die


It is beyond any logic to imagine that man could teach God anything, but in a sense, a terrible, world-reversing sense, that is exactly what happened. And, of course, the rest of the story is so much greater, for God in turn taught and showed man so much more than we could ever dream or imagine, and gave back to the human race far more than our wildest imagination could ever have conceived. But before all the wonder and glory came to be, man had to teach God the experience of death, and then God had to teach man how to rightly die …

He was in anguish, and his wounds were beyond counting – the thorn cuts on his head, the agony of each nail that had been driven through his limbs, the deep lacerations of the Roman scourge that had been laid on his back more times than he could count in such extremity, and now were abraded into new pain by the rub of the rough wood upon his back. Every breath was torture; it was a terrible way to die.

But there was more. God knew, far more clearly than any finite, sin-encumbered human brain possibly could, the exact, hideous nature of sin and death. But he had never experienced them till now: the abject desolation and existential aloneness of being cut off from life and love, the choking terror of despair. God had to learn to die.

But it was God who had to show man how to deal with death. Later he would reveal something even more wonderful, that death had been defeated and now was only a dark shadow which must be walked through to glory, not an all-devouring monster. But today was for the dying. What is mortal man to do in the face of the last enemy?

He forgives. He shows compassion. He takes thought for the needs of others. He is honest about the raging thirsts of his body and soul. These are all part of the process.  But there is something deeper to address.  How does a man face the annihilation of everything he is, of the only self he has ever known? How does a man say goodbye to love and pleasure and every good and beautiful thing he has ever known? How does a man let go of the air in his lungs and the rhythm of his heartbeat? In that emptiest of places, how does he keep on believing? How can he know? Courage can take you so far, gritted faith may take you further, but there is a terrible unknowing which soaks them up that soaks them up like the desert soaks up rain.

But he has shown them a way to die that keeps courage and faith when you no longer have the strength to lift them up. “Into your hands I commit my spirit!” There is the answer, right in the eye of the tornado of mortal dread.  There is so much we cannot know on this side of death and dying, but it doesn’t matter. Our trust is not to be placed in theological formulae. Our trust is to be placed into the hands of the Father who has loved us utterly from all eternity. We have no map for that journey, except that we know that the only bridge is a cross. It doesn’t matter. He will carry us. He will carry us through the things no earthly metaphor can capture and bring us to himself. He has made us and he will bear the burden. He will carry us and bring us to safety. He will bring us home to himself.

Marsh-Chrysalis

Another from the archives. I wish I could remember what led me to write this


Beyond the ever-drifting banks
Where stagnant waters, weed-locked, lie,
I flow into a quieter place
With my own tears my lullaby.

Here drinks the morning from the hills;
Here the first clouds in stillness blush.
Here waits the spear-straight, silvered grass,
Too pale and pristine to be lush.

And here I wait, newborn, alone;
Skin-less until my skin shall grow
To bear the agony of light,
And greet the waters’ ebb and flow.

And then (perhaps?) the dearer thing
My storm-drowned heart so longs to find:
A hand, a voice, a welcoming;
The human touch of my own kind.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Sing not to me ..

another from the archives, one of my dealing-with-abuse poems

Sing not to me of summer seas
Lulled lapless neath a silver moon;
For mighty waves, and bitter winds,
And cloud-torn storms have been my tune.

Sing not to me of palm-nursed isles
Where perfumed air enfolds the breath;
For I through lunar-scapes have walked,
Where airlessness crept close to death.

Sing not to me of family love,
And warmth and safety found at home:
That was where vultures lit on me,
And terror came in monochrome.

But sing to me of Life so strong
The grave cannot annihilate;
And sing to me of Faith that holds
Through whirlwind, till all storms abate.

And sing to me, ah sing to me,
Of Love that suffers by my side,
And of the glory waiting there:
The Father’s arms stretched open wide.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Prodigal's Return


 another from the archives

Soft, kindly waiting, reaching forth to me;
All of His patience waits for my return;
To fold me in His love, replenish me,
And soothe the aching needs that toss and burn.

Why am I then so slow to turn to Him?
Knowing His love, my folly runs away!
All richness dwells in Him, all plenitude;
Yet, from His liberality I stray!

The deserts of my painful emptiness,
The dreary desolation of the heart
Adrift from God, sin's mocking loneliness,
Are things in which the wise man has no part.

I will have done with husks! My Father's love
Is all my true desire. His pastures green
Have a dear beauty. I will rise and go,
Returning where I should have always been.

I will confess my sorriness and sin;
Before my Father's throne speak out my shame.
Oh, how I long His doorkeeper to be;
His slave, His servant, dare I make such claim?

His love forestalls me! Ah, His grace! His grace!
The warmth of His embrace for such as I,
Who fled His love so long! The robe! The ring!
For me, the fatted calf led forth to die!


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Being Triggered

There are many types of abuse, and many types of victims. Some have been totally shattered by what they went through, but there are so many others who carry their pain on the inside, and the world knows little about it


In the dreadful place of greyness
Some far dungeon of the soul
Where we lock away the memories
Never spoken, never whole.

In that place the body carries
Terrors which it cannot name
And we feel ourselves grow tighter
With old helplessness and shame.

Shadows on the mind’s projection
Out of focus, oddly clear,
The deep waters of rejection
Where our monsters reappear.

Where the flesh, made taut, remembers
Every pain the mind can’t hold.
Carries, like a cup of acid,
Wounds untended, fear controlled.

Never speaking, never showing
Primal dread that roils inside:
Half ignored, half overwhelming,
But we tamp it down with pride.

We are legion, walking wounded,
Sisters, brothers, lovers, friends,
Pilgrims to the heart of mercy,
The grace-place where torment ends.