Thursday, January 24, 2013

memorize

i've never been one much for memorization of...well...really anything.  perhaps it is because i see greater value in internalizing the bigger picture, the meaning of things rather than the details of things, but most of it is undeniably due to my ineptitude at memorizing things.  in fact, i find it quite anxiety provoking to be put on the spot to remember something specific or minute: sweaty palms, increased heart rate, the whole gamut.

however, due to a recent visitation of the concept of memorizing scripture in the Bible study i attend, i've had a change of heart. not a complete conversion mind you, i still value meaning over memorizing, but i think memorizing has it's place and a great value and is at least in part and on occasion quite necessary.

memorizing something is internalizing it in a way that can be done by no other method.  i listened to a radio broadcast regarding memorizing poetry in which the interviewee said that memorizing a poem "means you take the poem right into yourself...it becomes part of you...so, it's something that lives with you forever."  how true that is.  yes: memorizing can just be a mantra, robotic repetition initially, but the words stick with you just the same, and if you meditate upon the words, make them live in your repetitions of them, they become a part of you some how.

we memorized a bit of scripture at our Bible study as an exercise to illustrate the need to internally transform our hearts and minds as a first step in changing the way be act and treat one another.  i don't think that i, or any Christian, need to memorize loads of scripture. but i do think we each need to memorize some.  the essence of scripture is most important, but by memorizing certain passages, they become more easy to recall to mind when we find ourselves in particularly trying times or in situations that need immediate action.

the other valuable lesson i gleaned from that exercise, is that i have not fully appreciated the beauty of the rhetoric of much of the Bible. the passage we memorized was, essentially, a verbal portrait of Christ, concisely but beautifully put.  i'm a self-professed bibliophile and lover of words, but i so often overlook the mastery of language found in scripture.  i typically gloss over scripture, don't internalize it, and certainly don't fully absorb the aesthetics of the words used.  memorizing scripture forces you to do so, compels you to contemplate each word and form a sort of rhythm to the combination of them all in that verse(s) chosen.

memorizing scripture makes words come to life somehow, and by coming to life they have the propensity to influence your thoughts and heart more than they would do otherwise.  i often think that i 'live in words' because i read so much, but by memorizing verses words can come to live in me, which is something not to be avoided, but instead is something to be embraced.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

fear

part of a conversation with a group of friends touched upon the topic of fear. i lump fear in with anxiety, and worry...they all, more or less, leave the same-shaped wake in their passing.

when we fear anything, we pay respect to it.  biblically speaking we are called to 'fear the Lord' because we are to respect God the Father and His omnipotent and omniscient power.  that is a good sort of fear. but with most things we fear, we give it respect in the way that we allow it to control our thoughts and actions. we allow it to direct, redirect, misdirect our lives.  it becomes our master.

fear cripples our ability to go forth in the plan God has for us, what He calls us to, what He has designed us for. this is because fear kills trust: trust in our own abilities, yes, but trust in God's provision more than anything.

when i was thinking about fear, it seems to me i experience it most in two capacities. first, fear becomes a kind of blindness.  what ever the thing is that is causing my worry or anxious state of mind, it clouds all i see.  everything else becomes at best hazy at at worst completely invisible, and this includes God.  in a sort of tunnel vision, all that lays in my mind's eye is the object of my fear, and in most cases, this doesn't in any way help me prepare to solve the issue, i just sit fixated on the object of my torture, without aiding myself in my current circumstances in the slightest.

i also experience fear as a sort of fever.  worry and anxiety tend to be so powerful, that it numbs my other senses, mutes rationality, and rots each of the Spiritual fruits we are to cultivate in our lives.  instead of accepting the elusive nature of some things (like how we celebrate the intangibility and invisibility of the wind as simply part of its nature), with most things we fear, we fan the flames of a mental frenzy of needing to control our circumstances and needing to know the answers to our ever-piling-lists of "whys?"  but there are many things, if not most things, in life that we are not permitted to have control over, now allowed to have knowledge of, because it is in our best interest (even if we can't see that at the time), and it becomes like grasping at sand: we can't possibly ever hope to hold it all in our hands.

this discussion led us to musing over 'leaps of faith.'  in any sort of extreme sport (surfing maverick's,  sky diving, free climbing), there is an inherent amount of risk. life is filled with an inherent amount of risk. and fear is a natural part of that process. but we have to come to terms with the reality that many things are beyond our control, we have to give them up to God in trust, and then commit to the "ride"/ "fall"/ "climb" that lay before us, knowing God is by our side, and even if we should meet the worst case scenario, we aren't alone in it, and this life is not our final destination, so what have we to fear?

anyways, streams of consciousness here, but fear has been something that has far too often dominated my thought life, and become a sort of paralysis in my desire to serve God more fully. and it is something i think we all need to be more prayerful about, myself especially, because it is such a effective and all-consuming tool of the enemy.  faith is built upon trusting blindly, giving over control when we can't see the way.  so, when we face fear, instead of giving into the fever, wrapping ourselves in the blindness, we should see it instead as an opportunity to build up our faith, and embrace the inherent risks of life.

whenever i am afraid
i will trust in You
in God (i will praise His word),
in God i have put my trust;
i will not fear.
what can flesh do to me?
psalm 56:3-4



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

blaze

this blaze is blinding,
a scar upon my retina
that watermarks all i see.
bright may it's glory be.
a consuming
sear against self-obsession
& a wound upon my vanity.
caught staring at my own reflection
i flinch at the shattering shine
of what was behind me,
from what i had momentarily
lost sight of.
unrelenting
& cursed in the moment
from the sort of pain
that brings healing:
this flame i cannot flee,
because it is all i long to be.
why do i resist
being totally transformed
into fire?
the cleansing heat
radiates
as the sun peaks
over my hazy horizon.
that luminous glow
fills my vision
making shadow of the rest.


Friday, January 4, 2013

bloodied

the bloodied lip speaks for itself.
accidentally bit,
and soon swollen
but left proudly blue.
it is remembrance.
it is tangibility.
it is feeling.
and it is left alone.
the craved-for distraction
to bide time,
to make time fly by,
remains evasive & absent.
while the gentle facet drip
and stifled clock tick
and rhythmic breathing
makes preoccupation king.
like a wound reopened,
time stands still,
funneling all thoughts
on the inevitable forthcoming.
the plan's over-brewed
expired and over-used
and you know it.
and you deny it yet.
running in place
becomes the heart's stain
from the bloodied lip
that speaks for itself.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

impression

as echoes resound
like fossils newly found
creating footprints in damp ground:
you have clung.

as fingerprints stain
like ripples from the rain
making scars that remain:
you've just begun.

as a bruise is a shroud
like a memory voiced aloud
making consequence crowd:
you have haunted me.

as flashbacks sing
like an affect's hollowed sting
making ash of the spring:
you've colored what i see.

as residue spoils taste
like bones slow to waste
causing a burn from thoughtless haste:
you have left me bereft.

as salt from tears dry
like the aftertaste of a failed try
growing into an ache of a muted cry:
you've become what's left.




Tuesday, January 1, 2013

stormset




there is something irresistibly captivating in sightings of light coming through darkness, or light shrouded in shadow, light hidden by dusk and grey.  perhaps this is just because i have an affinity for gloomy weather, but there is great beauty in a storm-set (a sunset during or at the brink of a coming storm).  i mean this literally and figuratively. we don't appreciate light as much as when it is receding, returning, or peaking through some sort of darkness. we don't value blessings and joy quite as much as when we are suffering or just regaining a sense of hope after a long (or steeply short) mountain of trial.




amber and ash compliment each other perfectly; each one gives a platform for the beauty of the other.  they were almost designed for each other.  storms give proper framing for the comfort of light.




when you walk through the storm
hold your head up high
and don't be afraid of the dark
at the end of the storm
there's a golden sky
and the sweet silver song of the lark