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.