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Rain Drops

The
drops
of rain
cascading
down upon the
earth, making all
things shine like a
cluster of sparkling new
diamonds, and filling each
lake and stream and river,
and giving moist life to trees
and flowers and crops, are
so gladly welcomed by
inhabitants of
earth.

Inner Circle

As the crowd settles

Around the room

On chairs and steps,

In quiet corners

And on snatches of rugs

Chattering greetings to each other,

They barely notice

The group in the middle.

You settle into the inner circle

To tune yourselves one last time.

A quiet drum thump

Brings you to casual attention.

So in tune with each other

In tune with the Spirit

A quiet nod is all you need

To begin your worship

Through improvised perfection.

 

But I notice.

I feel like a tagalong.

I watch in admiration mingled with envy

You music-makers.

Following your hearts

You follow each other

From one song to the next

Leading us all in worship.

 

The Spirit reminds me

Through your music

That I am welcome here.

(We all are!)

There are no tagalongs

In the inner circle.

So I give what I have

To worship

And make my joyful noise.

I hold in my hand
The last of the lilies
That colored my yard all summer.
They grow along the sideyard
Where his grandmother planted them
Years ago
Before we even met.
Inspired by their beauty
I planted more
In tribute to her.
Orange and yellow
Bright as the sun
In a cobalt vase,
Bringing light to my table
Set for company soon to arrive
And enjoy the flavors of my garden.
Another bunch of deep red
Stands on the table near the couch
Where he and I
Spend many hours together
Talking and laughing,
Working the Sunday crossword,
And dreaming
While a warm breeze comes through the window.
One pink lily
Sits in a mug by my bed
A gift for me that he picked himself
To tell me he loves me.
What to do
With the last of the lilies
That marks the end of summer.
I stand in the sun
And think,
Then finally choose to wear it in my hair
And feel loved
For the rest of this lovely day.

 

Lily 3

 

Lily 2Lily 1

Retreat

This place is spring to me,

This holy ground.

Refreshing,

Giving me new life

To arise and worship

The Lord of Life.

Deep breath

Fill me with the Spirit

As I take in aromas

Of young grass

And mountain air

And sweet-smelling sacrifice.

Sounds of the valley –

Clucking hens and yipping pups,

The chatter of friendship –

Make me want to sing praise

To the Creator.

The food of fellowship

Strengthens me to serve

And makes me long for more

Communion.

The sun on my face

Is the warmth of His love.

No wonder

I am drawn to this high place,

This holy ground,

For more than scenery,

More than rest.

I can gaze upon God’s face

And relax in His arms.

Relief

Sitting in the heat

Waiting for the next breeze

To blow your way

You ignore all else:

The air that only seems to grow thicker

Draw closer

Until it nearly stifles your next breath,

The stickiness of your own skin,

Even the bead of sweat

Forming at the base of your neck

Right on the hairline

Though you know it will soon

Slowly

Crawl down your back.

 

You brush all that aside.

(At least your try.)

You focus your complete attention

On that breeze

That you know is coming.

You wait.

 

It comes

Softly

With no warning or fanfare

To deliver sweet relief,

Your reward for all the waiting,

Just as you begin a contented sigh

It goes.

It’s gone.

 

So you’re back to waiting

For that next breeze

The next bit of relief

That you know is coming.

It’s the knowing that gives you the strength

To endure the heat

Even as another sweat bead

Forms on your neck

And prepares to crawl.

Taste and See

Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.

I remember summers at Gull Lake in northern Minnesota. Far removed from any city – only Brainard was nearby – there was no pollution, no noise, no hurry. The air was cooler up there, perhaps because of the breeze off the lake. Or the tall pine trees that shaded the grounds of the small cabin resort where my family stayed for one lazy week out of each year.

Whatever the reason, the time we spent up there was wonderful. For me, there are special memories. The whole family, including grandparents, cousins, and my aunt and uncle gathered for some quality time, a good share of the usual bickering among the children, and some of the best fishing I can remember.

I used to love to catch sunnies – tender, tasty little panfish. For a ten-year-old girl, it’s a fairly easy catch. Grandpa taught all of us grandkids how to fish. We’d all head to the dock with our poles and buckets of worms, ready to catch a great Northern Pike. But first, we had to learn to bait the hook. Grandpa’s number one rule was that if we were going to fish, we had to put the worm on the hook ourselves. My little cousin Heidi’s fishing career was over then and there. Those worms wiggled and squirmed, but we got them on the hook, and we even caught a few fish.

As much as I enjoyed that, my favorite memory is of me and Grandpa alone on the boat. Everyone else was playing on the shore where my mom, aunt and Grandma were sunbathing. Grandpa and I were way out in the middle of the lake, ready to catch that evening’s dinner. Shh, quiet. When a fish nibbled the bait off the hook and got away, I would re-bait and start again. I enjoyed having Grandpa all to myself, even it if meant baking in the hot sun, cutting my hands on the hook, or feeling the ache that comes from sitting in the boat too long. But all the while, Grandpa offered plenty of praise and encouragement.

The best part came when we arrived back at the dock. We’d hold up our net full of fish, proud that we had provided dinner for the entire family. But instead of heading to the kitchen with our load, we made our way down a path to the fish house. This was basically a screened-in hut with a single counter built for the sole purpose of scaling and fileting fish. This was the tough part, because it was rather a gross process. The counter was permanently stained with blood, and the single trashcan was usually half full of fish remains. And the smell . . . well, you can imagine. But then, that’s where my “suffering” ended.

Grandpa, however, set himself to the task of cleaning the fish. (I always thought this was an odd term for something that seemed so dirty.) He pulled out his knife and deftly sliced open each fish and cut it down to the tasty meat. In only a few moments, he had a pile of shiny white pieces ready to be battered and fried.

By the time I was seated at the table, listening to someone say the blessing, I no longer felt my sunburn, or felt the ache in my hands, or smelled the odor of the fish house. I only knew that dinner was going to be good. Corn on the cob and tomatoes grown in Grandpa’s garden, Mom’s homemade fries, and the center of the banquet, the sunny filets. What a feast!

God invites us to taste of His goodness. But we can only do that if we trust. Out in the middle of the lake, with mosquitoes humming around me, I had to trust that it would be worth the wait, worth the trouble. I didn’t make a conscious effort to trust in the outcome; I knew it by instinct, and by past experience. And I knew that Grandpa had something good planned for me. And I think it is the same with our heavenly Father. He has so many blessings waiting for us, if we will only trust Him. Sometimes we must endure the uncomfortable, or downright painful, things in life; and it takes all we have to trust in the outcome. But over time, with a lot of experience, trust may become our automatic response to tough times. And we will eventually know deep in our hearts what we have been learning all along – that the good things in life will come to us in time, and will appreciate them so much the more when we have had to work and wait.

Grandpa and Me

Commencement

This is the beginning
Of all the things you dream
The beginning
Of the life you have longed for.
Smiles and tears
And slaps on the back.
A rose for Mother
And a handshake from Dad,
Pomp and pride
Hats in the air
Confetti celebration.

That is today.
Tomorrow is real.
Tomorrow is life.
You wonder what it will be like,
And you bravely begin . . .

Years from now
Flipping through albums
You will stare yourself in the face.
A young man
Clad in a varsity jacket
Smiling back at you.
Confident. Strong.
As attractive as youth itself.
And you will no longer wonder
But know in your heart
That life is wonderful
As bitter and sweet
As Commencement Day
When all the dreams begin.

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