Monday, April 30, 2012

give

give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back
~luke 6:30~

give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow
~matthew 5:42~

a friend brought these bits of scripture up in discussion. i think this to be an instruction of great importance, but one i don't often think about.  we are to give to everyone that asks, not just those that are easy to give to, not just to those we think will give back to us in some way.   we are never to deny someone in need.  not even when we are in a hurry, short of time or money, or just not in the mood.

now, this doesn't always mean we give someone exactly what they ask for.  if a child asks for matches to play with, we clearly don't do this because it could cause them harm.  but the child isn't really asking for matches. the deeper gift he needs is something to play with, or someone.  so we should not simply deny the child matches, but find a way to give to his need in some way that would benefit him, a ball or crayons to color with, for example.

as we discussed this a bit as a group, i realized that if we were truly looking, there are so many opportunities daily to give to those that are asking.  when people ask directly, verbally, the need to give becomes more obvious and hence easier to respond to.  what is the greater, but arguably the more beautiful, challenge of giving, is hearing the asking unspoken.  there is a silent language of asking that is only comprehensible to those looking at others through the Father's eyes, intentionally searching for need, developing a heart eager to give of yourself in love.

giving in true love is achieved by investing in each others lives, knowing how to read when another is asking without speaking, needing without admitting the need.  and it is personal.  part of the joy of giving is discovering what type of gift will individually communicate love.  what may be interpreted as a act of love, a true gift, by one person may not be received that way by another, or not as much as another form of gift.  a gift is not limited to the store bought (clearly), in fact that is really the smallest category of gifts.  gifts are more commonly things like an encouraging letter, washing dishes, time given to listen to the non-notable details of another's day, volunteering to help a friend move, holding a door open for a stranger, or simple wordless smile to a passerby.

the only thing universal of all sincere gifts, store bought or not, is that they must be given with the intent to communicate love and must cost us something.

we make a living by what we get. we make a life by what we give.
~winston churchill~

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

thirtieth


Three decades of two lives
Woven seamlessly together
The threads have held, steadfast
Through every type of weather

The tapestry of two as one
Has provided a picnic place
For the feast of life running smooth
Thanks to God’s provision, grace

A thick, substantial quilt
To warm away sudden chills
Of trials painful, unanticipated
Testing the union of two wills

A simple funeral shroud
Some brightness to the loss of life
Comfort in mourning, sorrow
A requiem of aid to strife

A full down-comforter
When love was simply needed
No questions asked, just supplied
Silent embraces instantly heeded

Linen when wounded spirits
Needed a place of recovery, rest
Providing healing, salve
Passing each ailment’s test

A sheet to squelch flames
When emotions ran too high
To smother all size of argument
River of devotion never dry

A token of security
For a childlike need of assurance
Proof of support, faith, loyalty
In “until-death-do-us-part” endurance

Bedding both beautiful and essential
To form the ‘home’ foundation
Proved effective through thirty-years
And for future decades of celebration

Monday, April 23, 2012

match

something quiet
snuffed out inside my chest.
like a match blown out:
a brightness gone to rest.

i cannot grasp,
try as i might,
the smoke that dances
in the fading twilight.

it waltzes (elusive)
sashays away,
leaving a retina-imprint
of a flame short-to-stay.

its twisting pattern rises,
dissolves into the sky,
snakelike in curvature:
elongated wave goodbye.

warmth savored briefly,
 shadow of forgotten glow,
sweetly imagined memory,
bewitching burial echo.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

dew


it's nothing new
we can’t preserve
the drops of dew
none in reserve.
no precious few

they do not stay
the dust that dance
in sun's ray
taken at a glance.
 all kept at bay.

we feel alone
with quaking leaves
no way to own
the shifting breeze.
and we’ve known.

we can’t contain
the wafting scent
of birch and grain
the rain has lent.
seeking strain.

no way to hold  
the sound of streams
not in the fold
of our hidden dreams.
all grown cold.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

storm


contemplate
try to concentrate
on the things unseen
the subtitles
shrouded mysteries
like a storm out over the sea

separate
seek to eradicate
all that is of me
the wrestling
the constant struggling
to rid these thorns from me

celebrate
live to reverberate
that grace is all I need
growing (still)
merging with Your will
until Your reflection is all I be

Monday, April 2, 2012

requiem

he goes to the cemetery. everyone has left but there is a newly dug grave.  "which goes to show you," he concludes, "that you can't really miss a funeral. only the living you can miss."
~cup of coffee with my interrogator, ludvík vaculík~

funerals always make one pensive.  you're enveloped in a haze of memories, confused emotions, and the shock of mortality.  death has a way of making you re-access life. it shakes you, sobers you, and causes you to question your priorities in life.

funerals function as a gathering for people to honor the deceased: a memorial composed of the living.  we exchange stories of the cherished memories shared with the individual, give meticulous planned or spontaneous speeches, exchange kind words in cards or letters, photo albums are dusted off and looked through, all in remembrance of the best bits of the loved one now gone.

why do we wait for death to celebrate a life?

it is always at a funeral that we think to ourselves, "if only i could see them one last time i'd tell them..." 
why do we delay until it is too late, until a person is gone to remember and honor all the good bits, treasured memories, that they embodied? why do we hold back until we can no longer tell them how we feel about them? to say 'i love you' and mean it.  to say 'i love you' at all.  what are we so afraid of?  what could we possibly regret by making ourselves vulnerable in sharing true emotions?  pride or fear are not worth such a cost.

for lack of better words, death usually comes with gifts in disguise.  they have a way of healing old wounds, and bringing people together who forgot or lost track of the fact that there are those they care about but have not taken the time so invest in.  they make you grateful for life. make you conscious that time is precious and opportunities few.  they can make you bold in love.

as an unexpected and ironic blessing, funerals become collaged requiems of intentional living