Friday, December 28, 2012

float

i was listening to a portion of a podcasted sermon this morning that made a reference and metaphor out of the dead sea.  i am about to do the same, but with a different metaphor out of this same reference.

first, some interesting facts about the dead sea.  it is a salt lake bordering jordon, located over 1300ft below sea level.  the jordon river is the principal source of water that flows into it and there are no outlet streams. it's high degree of salinity us the characteristic which allows people to be astoundingly buoyant when they enter it.

thoughts of the dead sea first led me to contemplate floating.  although i've never been to the dead sea, i imagine that stepping into it and floating in it would be a rather magical experience. it must feel like there are some unseen hands holding you up, you feel weightless and free, almost giddy in the loss of heaviness, because in most water you would sink more.  this led my over-analytical mind to thoughts of how different seasons of life are so heavy that you feel you might drowned. you feel you are sinking under the waves of all the trials of life, pain, struggle, woe.  yet, somehow, you stay afloat.  there are some unseen Hands holding you up, and, in hindsight, you marvel at how you made it through that season. you wonder how you didn't drown.

thoughts of the dead sea also cause me to think upon the of the notion foundation. some sources say that the dead sea is at the lowest land area on earth.  in this way it lays at the earth's foundation.  the foundation of each of us, as the Creator's creation, lays with God. He is what we fall back to when we have an identity crisis, and when we strip all way the outer layers of ourself, the foundation of each human is, essentially, a reflection of the Father.  we pile so many other things on top of our foundation, layers of sediment, but God is at the very core and basic level of who we are.

finally, thoughts of the dead sea led me to an analysis of salt.  the dead sea's salinity content hovers consistently around 30%, which makes it 8x as salty as the ocean.  in a very general understanding, salt has long been valued as a preservative, flavoring, and disinfectant.  symbolically salt was used as a covenant of friendship and  as a component of the ancient rituals of holy sacrifice or worship.  in the sermon on the mount, believers are referred to as 'the salt of the earth' and are warned about the ways in which salt can lose it's saltiness.  in other words, all the positive attributes and uses of salt are only possible if it is pure and uncontaminated. salt becomes less salty if other minerals contaminate it, and so to do be become  less of a reflection of God if we contaminate our hearts and thoughts with things that are not glorifying to Him.

i think too much. but i hope to float in that great salty sea someday.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

fever

all done in a fever
before you can think twice
spilling without permission
resignation will suffice

held behind clenched teeth
it rattles, pounds, quakes.
kept too long captive
by the fear of future mistakes.

vacant, speechless eyes
with lashes rhythmic'ly blinking,
wiping away the thoughts
you can't avoid thinking.

a cleansing. cathartic.
like tears too long restrained.
like a breath held underwater.
like a reflex, uncontained.

a language foreign
no ears to hear it uttered
stumbling along the path,
it's execution stuttered.

in aching memory,
resounding in a muted shout,
all done in a fever
without knowing what it's about.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

promise


you've grown anxious
for things promised
but 
that was all just inside your head.
the cloud of ambition passes
as you lie awake 
willing insomnia
because dreams have become
too dangerous to entertain.
but drowsy day dreams 
come haunting just the same
and you complain of the heart ache,
the sting of disillusionment,
the pang of hope grown cold,
dissolved, and dead.
you have fashioned this. 
you decided without consultation,
and wove your own woe
from threads of truths
you knew to be lies.
but greater things are in store
heard in the soul's whisperings
that you can't shun forever.
doubt is preferable
because you've wrapped yourself tight
in the wallowing of hopelessness.
someday vision will clear
you'll see just how much greater
the Outsider plan is
how shallow
your self-promises have always been
although you see them now
as gold
hold them as idols
but never speak of them so

Friday, December 21, 2012

dust


blinded by fading light,
momentarily mesmerized
by the delicate dance
of dust mites in sunbeams.
they float delicately
down to depths unseen,
to a place where you cannot follow,
to an enviable oblivion.
and this becomes the illustration
of a hallowed shout,
in a language grown too familiar
impelling you to articulate
fictional memories
rooted and disillusioned.
this narrative of the detailed shadow
sewn fast to your heart,
making a lament
of time ill-spent
of time irretrievable
of time gone by
with a foot print of bitter-sweetness:
a resonating sound
of a melody you never quite learned
you just hum off pitch.
tracing fingertips
over an old fading scar
as you dreamily drift
on a pensive shift in tide,
swept offshore
without oar or anchor
resigned to the waves
of an unknown sea,
with horizon unseen--
only blurred images.
but you walk in mock confidence,
fall into an easy stride,
because you must.
as the closeness becomes distance somehow
and confusion transforms itself
into a quilt of certainty,
you’re certain you know nothing
and know nothing for certain,
except for the sunbeams
and the dance of dust.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

gift

inspired by a recently published letter john steinbeck wrote in 1959, which served both as a convicting reminder but also as an echo of thoughts i've had for a while now, today i've been pondering the art of the gift giving...or the lack there of.

the Christmas season brings many things, one of the less admirable items being (at least in the united states) the gift-giving frenzy. now, i will be the first to admit, and anyone who knows me would not let me forget this, i am a enthusiast for gift giving (i get it from my mother).  i enjoy doing it, so it is largely selfish i suppose and i say this not as self-promotion but as a confession. there are typically two times a year that it is normal and permissible to give a gift to someone in your life, and Christmas is one of them, so i take advantage of that.

as steinbeck puts it, there are two types of Christmases.  one is discussed almost as an illness in america, characterized by gifts piled high, given with little meaning behind them, "because they (people in general) have nothing else to give."  he goes on to say, "if i wanted to destroy a nation, i would give it too much and would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick."  how much can we relate to that feeling? the burden and anxiety of buying? in short "having too many things" imprisons us to "spend...(our) hours and money on the couch searching for a soul." zing.

however, the true Christmas, as i believe it was intended to be celebrated, is found "in a house where there is a little and a present represents not only love but sacrifice...the one single package is opened with a slow wonder, almsot reverence."  images of tiny tim in dicken's a Christmas carol come to mind.

i'm not saying gift giving need by formulaic, limited to "only one" in all cases, but i do think that we (and i include myself in this) have lost sight of the true heart behind the holiday, and have discarded love as a key component in the act of gift giving.  when we put intent behind gift giving, thinking of something simple but full of meaning, and limiting it to less rather than more, the gift becomes...well a gift, rather than a bribe or a banner of our our benevolence. i've given the latter type unintentionally, but looking back i can see it was so, and i lament that. giving should not be giving for the sake of routine, nor should it be intended to prove oneself kind or thoughtful.

i truly love gift giving, and i know that many other americans do as well, but we get rather caught up in quantity and capital cost, rather than quality and sentimental value.  giving with a heart of simplicity and sincerity i believe honors Christ more (His birth is, after all, what we should be focusing on celebrating during this holiday, not wrapping paper and gifts under a tree).  to me, giving a gift on Christmas, is about honoring the gift He was to us, and that is lost if the gifts are piled high, if we are consumed in frantic anxiety about getting impressive presents for others.

Christ is a wonder, deserving reverence, and gift giving should reflect this too.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

chapter

clear your throat
hold your breath
a deep plunge
and you feel hopeless.
you must be brave
and learn to trust
one step at a time
and accept that as enough.
beginnings and endings
chapters flip past
uncovering new leaves
let the truth sink in.
pace quickens
heart beats harder
slow your breathing
the shadows linger longer.
insecurities echo
you feel walled in
the horizon still hazy
where to even begin?
darkness creeps in
but the light grows stronger
confidence in blindness
a threshold that hurts.
calm in a whirlwind
roots in a flood
anchor amongst waves
the journey's just begun.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

breathless

frosted windows
frame the reflections
of heartbeats shattering
your bittersweet recollections.

shake it off.
the daydream's grown stale,
yet remains ever appetizing:
an enchantment without fail.

the thoughts of it grow small
in your open-book eyes,
stored away somewhere,
but never quite dies.

that maddening smile:
a silent narration
to the reviving shadow
of the consuming desperation.

a breathless haunting,
too long sustained
has become comforting, somehow,
and you cannot explain.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

absolutes

in the land of absolutely
absolutes rule the realm
things are always never
but never always will overwhelm

in the land of absolutely
absolutes accent the air
you hate to love anything
and love to hate what's unfair

in the land of absolutely
absolutes shadow the scene
of your bests becoming worsts
and worst best caught in between

in the land of absolutely
absolutes fly on a whim
you are certain of forever
and forever certain it is dim

in the land of absolutely
absolutes control each step
you are least of the most likely
to mostly think least of the prep

in the land of absolutely
absolutes hover in a cloud
the final end of each passing emotion
is in the end finally spoken aloud

in the land of absolutely
absolutes carry no weight
the impossible becomes possible,
the possible is always impossibly late


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

doxology

growing pains.
the stretches
and strains,
that You know i need.
the remolding.
the gentle reshaping,
with Your plan unfolding,
at just the right speed.

hazy sight.
uprooted life:
horizon of midnight,
but Your hand's right there.
past and future war,
the present fights back,
i seek the hidden door,
of Your, not my, answer to prayer.

i must let go
lean upon
and grow
accept Your timing as best.
listen, not speak,
wait patiently,
accept what's weak,
to find Your peace, and rest.

despite distraction
procrastination
and over reaction
and the constant obsessing
i celebrate confusion
praise temporarily hurt
give glory to the intrusion
of my blindness blessing


Thursday, November 15, 2012

bits


it shadows like
stray issues of magazines unread
rows of potted plants grown dead
a hung calendar expired and blank
the glass of water no one drank

it hovers like
dust thick on picture frames
a fireplace without flames
spider webs on a window sills
cabinet full of long-expired pills

it feels like
coins lost inside the couch
a stretch after a long-held crouch
a undeveloped film roll, forgotten
a bowl of fruit, shriveled, rotten

it speaks like
half written love letters, unsent
a room coated in a musty accent
candles burned down to the wick
three coughdrops left from the sick

it echoes like
an empty locket
a single penny in a pocket
the last leaf that falls
a "you have no missed calls"   

it remains like
forgotten bobby pin, lone on the tiled floor
weathered t-shirt, hung on the bathroom door
the squeak of a rusty hinge
a sweater with a moth-eaten fringe

it haunts like
dog-eared, yellowed pages
empty bird cages
a rusted engagement ring
baking soda for a bee sting

it is like
a light bulb burnt out
a dripping leak from a spout
all those books left unread
the tone of the line gone dead

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

rest


stolen.
borrowed time that
none can borrow,
with the silent intensity
of the foreboding morrow

lost.
much to much time
in wind-blown pensivity:
waves of murmurs,
ceaseless activity.

parched.
the shelved water jar
recalled, but lukewarm,
amplifies the thirst
for being reborn.

worn.
wounds become scars
from the bleeding
from the prolonged denial
of deepening needing

recognition.
the voice never lost,
but never quite found,
that whispers
in a most familiar sound

breathless.
silent heartbeats
felt from cold finger tips,
cheeks winter-rosy
as rain slowly drips.

cold.
breath like smoke.
hands pulled inside sleeves.
fearing guilt and regret,
which are ever thick as thieves.

anxious.
horizons shrouded
in fog-blurreed sight,
ground feels unstable
until dawn’s early light.

comfort.
be present. be still.
with knees pulled to the chest
listen. wait. remember.
trust and be at rest

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

autumn


every seed must die before it grows
-thrice-



autumn.  it always arrives slowly, giving small foreshadowings of itself as the summer sunshine blazes own, sadly (well sadly for me at least) keeping all clouds at bay. then one morning, you wake up and the air has a scent to it.  a sort of pleasant weight, like a down blanket.  it envelopes you in an internal sort of warmth that can only come when there is a back-bite in the breeze: the chill is warming, one of nature’s paradoxes.

the subtle difference in the day is confusing and cloaked in your own disbelief, until late afternoon, when you find yourself in an embrace of amber, a mesmerizing display of shadows accenting every angle of any view.  the light looks delicious, how you long to drink it in.

now breathing has a taste.  your lungs are both filled with crispness and a delicate brush of spices (perhaps it is just the anticipation of pumpkin pie?).  every changing leaf, slowly drained of life, becomes like a spring flower, a returning promise of the beauty our Creator provides to our every moment.

clouds hang around longer, they don’t flee with the dawn.  sometimes they stay all day, giving cause to look up, giving an accent to the sun’s molten hues.  the wind is a consistent feature, smoothing out the earthy scents and bringing with it a velvet touch as it traces its path, across your face, through the branches of the trees.  the leaves dance upon the hints of coming winter.

if you are a melancholy soul (ahem), you find that you are finally home.  perhaps you thought the season of melancholy was winter…not the case.  it is the promise of coming leafless trees, the slow transformation of vibrancy going into hibernation, that is the true seasonal-language of the melancholy.

the fading light of the autumn day, seems to hum a somber tune.  it lays thick in a fuzzy, comforting way, as a last burning ember of a campfire soon to be snuffed out. autumn provides a flood of such examples that there are gifts and great beauty at every stage of existence, even at the dusk of life.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

compliment

let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers
-epheisans 4:29-

recently, a random woman i've never seen before and will likely never see again stopped to pay me a compliment (3 times, same compliment actually, perhaps to fully drive the point home?).  it disarmed me both because i did not know her and because she had no obligation to say anything kind to me at all.

i am sure she didn't think anything of it.  she was just giving her opinion and then our paths parted, and her thoughts on the matter likely dissolved in a sea of more important cognitive matters.  she didn't think anything of paying a compliment, but then how often do i not think anything of not paying someone a compliment when i could?

there must be dozens of observations i make daily when some kind bit of commentary passes through my brain waves, but i keep it silently tucked away in the folds of my thoughts.  mostly because i think "it sounds foolish" or "they might think i'm weird" or "it might be taken the wrong way" or "they might not care if i said it."  how little faith i have in God to do great things through small mediums.

sure, a compliment is not akin to moving mountains, parting the ocean, or calming a storm.  they won't heal cancer, raise the dead, or produce money from the air. but they just might warm one second of one person's day. you don't know what kind of day anyone is having, because you don't live in their head.  but God does...and maybe the kind word of encouragements that surfaces for reasons unknown in your own mind is God's small way of lifting that person's spirit..friend, foe, or complete stranger.

Monday, September 24, 2012

scars


a heaviness, a weight
we stew, over-contemplate
unnecessarily, we complicate
long exhausted in this flurried state

a fog, clouded sight
this seemingly eternal night
we agonize over wrong? right?
lungs full of shadowed plight

and it stings, wears, and burns
through the many twists and turns
in predictable yet alien patterns
through a whirlpool of our concerns

there we demonized uncertainty
rather than seeing it as a necessity
to obtain truest clarity
on the path to opportunity

looking for the hidden horizon line
we stretch, yearn, and pine
for some sort of direction sign
to the goal we struggle to define

we are told to wait, pause, trust
but we feel our thoughts about to bust
but in a soothing, peaceful gust
whispers soothe our hope-wanderlust

once we let go of the wheel
submit our proclaimed ideal
we come to see that with grace each ordeal
has left scars to reminder that we can heal