Doubled by wonder – G.K. Chesterton

thanks

From the Ground Up: The Lessons of the Trees

Their roots are tangled, twisted,
knotty with age–
and with strength!
carving through soil and stone with power.
Inside the dappled land,
they loop together,
as if the trees were holding hands.

Their trunks a senseless-seeming maze
No wrong turns,
no blockades, except the ones
the earth has made.
Broad and defiant,
they stand,
proud, unmoving and
united in diversity.
Under the stars
they are as they are–

until they break.
Their branches sway,
supple and alive.
They are expression
barren to the sky,
Caretakers of the screech owl
and the robin
alike.

Their leaves are fragile,
victims of the wind,
but lovely.
Spinning, life-filled art of earth,
diffusing sunlight to the world:
They will bear the seeds–
The lessons of the trees.

trees 1

The Traveler – A Fall Poem

Most people wouldn’t notice him
Or it.
But he noticed
and therefore
did I.

It–swirling, spinning,
dipping, ducking, dancing–
it fluttered to the earth:
A paper-thin, delicate, dried-out thing
its curling corners
browning with age.

So was he!
Intricately wrinkled,
but in the best of ways.
You could see the smile lines
crinkling at the corners of his eyes–
those eyes!
Crystal and alive,
sharp and twinkling,
daringly saying,
“I may be old,
but I’m not dead yet!”
I wondered at those eyes.

Limber, he stooped,
and picked up the leaf–
careful not to let it crumble
as he shielded it from the breeze that had spurred
its flight to earth–
and stuck it in his hat.
It was jaunty and precarious.

Then off he strode,
that wrinkled traveler–
whistling!
And I remained,
swinging in the trees
(who were whispering)
and I not realizing
what it was I’d seen.

fall 6

It’s NOT fair

Someone explained to me the concept of stewardship vs. ownership this way: When you own something, and you let someone borrow it, you tend to be pretty clear that sure, you can use it, but DON’T FORGET IT’S MINE. (Don’t laugh, you know it’s true.) And God, he’s the same way. Not in a petty way, but in a this-is-a-gift-from-the-King-of-the-Universe kind of way. Don’t forget it’s his. “Ownership” is the false perception that you’re in control; stewardship is recognizing who really is.

2 Corinthians 8:1-9 talks about not just giving to God out of the extra. Because that’s what we tend to do, isn’t it? But if we really set our eyes on the end goal here, if we really believe that this world is not our home, then isn’t it true that whatever successes to which we lay claim, whatever secret treasures we tuck away, whatever castles we build are really all just made of sand?

But that’s hard though, right? Because this world, well, we can say we’re strangers in a strange land, that this isn’t our final destination or our true home, but…it’s all we can see. All we feel like we’ve ever known. Maybe that’s why, in the everyday miracles of life, God gives us a glimpse of eternity.

It’s in the bride and groom, smiling into each other’s eyes and seeing only beauty and joy as they are united as one.

It’s in the father telling his son “I love watching you play,” after every game, win or lose.

It’s in the fact that even when all seems lost, the sun is still going to rise tomorrow morning, and it’s never too late to start over.

It’s in the sisters who argue over shower time, but when it comes down to it will always defend each other.

It’s in the phosphatase of your cells, just one of the millions of enzymes, each one without which your cells couldn’t live.

It’s in the best-selling, under-read book that secretes truth that cleaves between heart and soul, bone and marrow, and that gives a foundation of rock in a sinking-sand world.

It’s in the things we overlook, the everyday, mundane miracles, the little hidden messages of God, saying, I’m here.

Because sometimes, it’s so easy to forget. Because I feel sometimes like I’m drowning, under the weight of the expectations, demands, standards, responsibilities, pressures, choices, decisions–the heaviness of it all threatens to crush me and I want to complain that I don’t deserve this but the fact that I have the option to choose these things puts me in a really, really privileged place.

And you know what? Sometimes life isn’t fair. But this world is not our home.

In closing, I wanted to share a poem I wrote last April bemoaning my frustrations when it connected that you know, my frustration and exhaustion and overwhelm and indecision and demands really do suck, but there’s a whole lot of things that really suck a lot more, and probably don’t have half as much volume. And maybe, just maybe, despite how worn and fed up and irritated and exhausted and wanting-to-scream-into-a-pillow-feeling I am, the real question should honestly be, how much more can I give? Because in reality, this world is NOT my home, and all these castles, they’re made of sand, and will be worn away with a single wave unless I find for myself a foundation of stone.

 

It’s not fair
That I try till I cry
and I’m never recognized
It’s not fair
that I’m putting all my time into this
and still expected to live
up to everything else.
It’s not fair
the expectations and standards, requirements and demands
the time I don’t have;
I’m struggling to stand and
It’s not fair
that kids are abused
and women are used
and some are refused
respect
based on the color of their skin
It’s not fair
that the world we’re in’s
so full of sin
that no one can win
It’s not fair
that children in Africa are forced to drink
the same water that killed their mothers
because they have no other option
It’s not fair
that we live in a world of illusion
absorbed in self-delusion
and all are refusing
to listen
to the cries
of the invisible broken.
We’re all human together!
We can stare at the stars
or stand in the dark
or just watch from afar
and ignore the suffering of our brothers
We made it to the moon, but somehow
we still can’t reach each other.
We’ll never find justice, till we stand with one another
and say
and shout
and sing aloud
with one voice:
This.
Is.
Who.
We.
Are.