Tuesday, December 7, 2021

In. . .


In all of my inadequacy
I stand,
Eyes cast down,
chin quavering,
salt trails glistening

In all of my paucity
of soul I come,
Weak-willed,
straining to have what I want
and to do what You want

In all of my scarcity
of mind
that streaks my days
with fear and grasping,
I hide from the world

In all of my insufficiency
I kneel,
with downcast eyes
and open hands,
letting go my weak will

Lift up your heads
ye mighty gates!
Be opened,
ye ancient doors!
The King of Glory enters in!

In all of His sufficiency
He stands;
In all of His humility 
He comes,
Emmanuel, God enfleshed

In the fullness of time
He brings love,
filling empty hands
and hearts and minds—
including mine

In my empty
He enters, a seed in the
dark womb, burgeoning 
life, growing light—
the Eternal Dayspring

In the first light of day
He is the spark
divine, disgorging the rich,
feeding goodness to the
starving, my soul included

In Him my soul, too,
rejoices—
In my lonely places,
In the unbearable waiting,
He enters in. . .



Wednesday, October 27, 2021

An October World



“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. . . Look at these maple branches. Don’t they give you a thrill—several thrills? I’m going to decorate my room with them.”
—Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables



Yes, Anne... They give me several thrills, friend. I have delighted in this maple tree outside of my office turning aflame with autumn glory in the last week or so. A stiff wind and some chilly rain are likely denuding it this evening, but I'm thankful to have caught both this morning's glory (above) and a late afternoon burst of gold over the weekend (below).




How right Robert Frost was when he said, "Nothing gold can stay."

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

— R. F.



October has been marked by ephemeral gold, amber, and crimson leaves. By a Harry Potter songlist played over and over, and by a full moon, huge and shrouded by misty clouds. By hikes in autumn air and walks under the stars. By blueberry wine and questions about verbing out one's name, one's self. By nights watching the Anne films with Tosha, Lynnette, and David. By eating far more pumpkin and apple things than I should have. And by the reading of Emily of New Moon.

 


But in my quieter moments—though those have been too few—October has marked 14 years since Summit Semester and our fabulous Farvest Hall. Fourteen years since Amadeus in Denver, the Cheesecake Factory, and a visit to The Tattered Cover. Fourteen years since I began forging a deeper bond with Aaron, Reese, Chels, and Stephen. Sometimes in the autumn the grief hits hard, but this year the weeks have been full of friends visiting, of small group nights, of evenings talking with Nick, of films or reading or trying to catch up correspondence. 

This autumn has been happy, which has surprised me again and again. For so long I didn't expect to ever again be fully glad that it doesn't seem possible. Of course, there are sad things, hard things, even ugly things. But they feel small right now. The shadow is a passing thing and light and high beauty are beyond its reach. 

Granted, the days used to seem longer, always with room to write letters or e-mails... And now they seem ever-too-short, but the people are there in the days—real, present. No more being long-distanced from everyone (though I'm still long-distanced from too many!), now I live in a place where I have graciously been gifted a good, thoughtful, loving community—at work, at church, and with various friends.  I want to share that community as I can and as I should. And I long to hold on to quiet space and room for pouring my heart out to the Lord...and for listening to Him. It is a balance, especially when my mind is so full from each day and each week. 

I hold all of these things—beauty, community, words, gladness, truth—loosely in my slightly curled hand. Fourteen years ago life was nearly perfect, too...and then came dark, dark days. And years later, deep, dark nights for my aching soul. Seasons ebb and flow, rise and fall. There are no guarantees that either the good times or the hard times will last forever. So, I am thankful for the love, beauty, and safety I have experienced this year. 

Not knowing what any future moments or days hold, I receive the now as gift, trying to learn not to grasp (and in so doing, strangle out the life of the beautiful things God has granted). As I have just journeyed through the wilderness, the precipice injury (and many other places on the way to the High Places with Much Afraid and her companions, Sorrow and Suffering), I find that I am still trying to learn the very first letter in the Alphabet of Love: Acceptance with joy. Still, many more years down the road from the first time I read the book. Why am I still at letter one? I don't know, but it's where I find myself. So, there I will continue to try to open-handedly accept with joy, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Nothing gold can stay...not yet, anyway. But one day, the New Kingdom will come down and marry earth. And then, perhaps, we will have an everlasting autumn (with sunflowers and daffodils, too) where gold can stay. It sounds like an October world to me, which is a deep delight to my soul!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Borrowed Magic!

It's out, it's out! I just received my real[ly beautiful] copy of Borrowed Magic by Ava Reese. Let's be real, you know you want one... You should probably sign up for Miss Reese's delightfully funny and quirky newsletter, too. She shared a ghost story that made me laugh in the most recent edition.



Also, just look at that delicious cover! All I need now is a mug of hot cider and an October afternoon all to myself...

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A Gust of August

[August] is the cruellest month...but this year it has been much kinder. Still pretty hot, but I've managed to get to small group almost every week, which is so very life-giving.

There was Ben and Claire's wedding to kick off the month—such a Beautiful celebration of the love of God and the love between a husband and wife. Their first act as husband and wife was not to kiss but the receive and then offer the Eucharist. As Ben sobbed, "Jody, this is the body of Christ...broken because He...Loves you so much" tears coursed down my own cheeks. Here indeed is love in my eyes and in my hands, on my tongue, burning my throat. And here is joy—the marriage of Heaven and Earth, the Bridegroom and Bride, and my two dear friends. ❤



Image Credit: Natasha Smith (NAS Focus)


There was a fun date with Nick (no photos, alas!)... Thai food eaten on his truck's tailgate whilst watching the sunset over the Peak... Playing "Never have I ever" while we ate and walked more miles than I should have in those shoes.

And there was a long sunset drive to think and pray one weekend.



There was a lovely 8 mile tromp with Lyndi and her Katie-sister (who is, by default, my Katie-sister, too) around sparkling blue waters and a rushing creek...past a bridge and slender stands of aspen. 

I'm thankful for the new slant of the sun and the nip in the night air. The changing of seasons whispers in these last days of the month. I'm looking forward to September, though it holds its own sorrows, I pray it also holds joy.


Friday, July 30, 2021

Happy Summer


A photo collage of July life...


 Easter lilies (in July!) as tall as my shoulder! 




Baseball game with my small group...



...and Nick =]





Lonesome Lake with Tosha...



...and Lynnette!





Dawn's birthday! I love these women. :)


I'm missing a few things... Loads of Bible Project podcasts... Dinner conversations and a hike with Matt when he was in town... Lemonade and front-porch sittin' with Jack... Small group gatherings at the Henderson's home... Hugs at church and tea with my Lauren-neighbour... Lots of conversations on the tailgate of a FedEx truck... And way too many hours inside my office/basement—though some were with Elli, and she makes office hours enjoyable, even in the basement. ;)


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Prayer





Lord, help me...save me from the world outside of me, trying to crush me and push me into its mold.

But Lord, I have swallowed the world and it is inside of me. Save me, too, from the world within... The world that burns, that eviscerates, that kills like an ever-spreading cancer. Save me from being eaten alive, emaciated, and gutted. Save me from being drowned by the lies swimming in the channels of my mind and heart. . .


You say: 

Take heart, I have overcome the worldThe world outside you. . .and the world inside you. The Hell to come, and the Hell you let burn within. I have overcome that like the light overcomes the darkness. Like life overcomes death. 

I am the Resurrection and the Life. 
                        I will lead you to the Father. 
                                  My Spirit will guide you into all Truth. 
                                                      And the Truth will set you free.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Once upon a time it was my birthday...

And for my birthday, I got a Max-friend! There were a lot of dinosaurs involved in the making of this fabulous week...


The dinosaur is the one on the left


Look what I found to get me to work!


I made a friend named Cera


She posed better with Max better, however


Look out Max, there's an incoming carnotaurus!
And also a Lyndi-friend, but she's safe...
...in spite of that look she's giving the camera. ;)




What? We are perfectly normal...



See...normal!




All dressed up for the Cliff House!
Dinner was delectable and the classical
guitarist (Wayne) made the evening 'specially lovely!




Magical snow!
I believe I was dusting Max with a snowball here...




And then I got 'eated' by a great white shark,
in the land-locked state of Colorado. ;)
The end!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Name-Friend

Bloody hands drip crimson
with ache and regret,
I broke the very thing
I tried so hard to protect

Flood after salty flood
cannot wash away
this guilt and all my shame,
these shards opening a vein

Dripping drops of love
that should be treasured,
yet now are spattered
about, given unmeasured

But whoever measured love?
Who taught it to go by rule?
Who said it wasn't messy?
No one—no one but a fool

A different fool am I,
who aches for doing right
and crushing joy
in the heart of a broken boy


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Ash Wilderness












No ashes smudged my brow,
no fellow pilgrims gathered 'round,
no bread was pressed into my hand,
there was no wine for parch├ęd tongue
no taste of Christ's body or His blood

Instead, white flakes upon my crown
Ash-like, they blanketed the ground,
My empty home was filled
with candle glow and a beating heart
a chamber of blood for the body of Christ

Empty space became hallowed
my knees pressed in, head bowed;
Desolate darkness filled with little flames,
the silent void invaded by a chant
breaking forth from the Body of Christ

In this season of sadness bright
the valleys become hollows to catch light,
the negatives show up outlined clear—
Our Lent has been a year-long affair
sustained with only the Body of Christ

We who see the edges of dark
find the contrast stark 
between Advent's rising Sun and its setting,
where we befriend lament and night,
swallowing deep the body of Christ

'No ashes' leaves an empty space
where I learn to receive a crown of grace
for expectations unmet and things lost—
And a single heart is not alone
when it is part of the Body of Christ

Hollowed hands are a channel of
opportunity to be offered in love,
to be raised in repentance, 
and lifted in worship, open to be
the physical signs of Christ's body. . .


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tears

















The candles are crying waxen tears
        from their unseeing eyes—
Their little frames have 
        no hearts to break
no wound to bleed like mine


My own grief pools red and hot,
        or cools upon my cheek,
my waxen heart cannot feel
        unless it is this emptiness—
My loneliness none dares to break


Candles burn bright and
         candles burn low—
Grief and loneliness don't fill me
         they hollow out my feeling,
stealing life, their appetites grow


What can fill grief and sorrow,
          loneliness and death?
Their hunger growls and I diminish,
          their ache digs deep
to ravage my every breath—


Breath! Spirit of God poured out
           like melting wax—
Unlike water in the wilderness
           the Spirit is not swallowed—
He fills and heals each crack


Cracks in my soul that run
            deep and hungry ache,
He finds the bottom and
            fills the deep wells
making a pool of Beauty—a lake


A lake of salty tears
            that now reflects
the Light, the stars, the silver moon—
            and bathes the travellers' weary feet,
a gift, a healing they did not expect.