Over the tops of the trees floats a royal blue kite,
suspended by the robust breeze
(upheld and uplifted).
Its bones flex and stretch with the call of the wind-
a group of birds ebbs and flows in the sun filled sky.
There are no clouds, only vibrant hues of blue.
Leaves flutter an evening melody.
The kite- still suspended-
then soars with an unexpected gust.
A man’s voice is heard over the top of the melody
urging his son to hold on tight.
The son knows, with confidence,
that what he holds is valuable.
He won’t let it get away,
for there will
be another royal blue kite
just like the one already in his hands.
The thing about a writer
She sees beauty in everything:
There’s a man who helps a cane-dependent woman down a step. Empathy.
There’s a tree whose roots grow outward, then turn back on itself. A forgiven lover.
A growing apple begs its tempting golden-rouge hues to be plucked. Life.
In the hand of this great responsibility lies great tragedy:
The cane-crooked woman is about to die from cancer.
The trees roots can no longer expand.
The apple will fall, rot.
From dust to dust,
beauty and tragedy intertwined
in the Creator’s hands.
Life, at the lowest of lows, can only go up. A penny in your path, brilliantly glinting in the moonlight, can bring no more misfortune than that which is already upon you.
But, when life at its highest of highs -as high as the moon- is finally redeemed, the risk to lose it all with a naive move is too great.
And so, you step over the penny with confident expectation that the next person will see it and ponder, “Well, life can only go up from here. Here’s to nothing, and everything at the same time,” as they tuck the penny safely into trusting fingers.
My dog loves when my mom comes into town to visit. A visit from “Grandma” (yes, my dog calls my mom “Grandma”) means extra dog treats and lots of extra walks while I am away at work.
My mom has always loved flowers and gardening, just as her mother did. My mom loves the fragrance of peonies (her favorite), lilacs, and magnolias the best. Ever since we visited Hawaii seven years ago she has worn a beautiful Hawaiian magnolia-scented lotion, because it “takes her back” each time she puts it on her skin. The fragrance is sweet, but light. It’s noticeable, but not overbearing.
After one of my mom’s visits I took my dog out for a run. I grabbed her leash and my keys, turned on my music, and off we went. Wait, was that a Magnolia tree I smelled? No trees were in sight. A few minutes into the run I itched a particular itchy itch on my nose. Suddenly I thought I was running past another Magnolia tree. I finally realized that my mom had applied her Hawaiian lotion before walking my dog, therefore leaving the scent behind on her leash.
I couldn’t help but think of the type of fragrance I leave behind as a Christian. Is it that of fruit? (The fruits of the spirit.) Or is it that of trash? (Sin and mess and uncleanliness.) We each have an aroma, a fragrance of the heart. What do you smell like?
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things.” Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
“God…uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (NIV)
When people ask how I’m doing, I usually respond with, “I’m blessed.”
I am blessed, or at least I feel blessed, but perhaps I’m really trying to communicate that I’m blessed. Perhaps it’s a cover-up for trying to shift my mind to a humble/thankful perspective. I don’t do it intentionally or even pridefully, I just respond with “I’m blessed” because that’s how I feel. How am I blessed? I’m alive, have a job, have a roof over my head, transportation at my disposal, friends with whom I laugh, food in my belly, and a few extra dollars every now and then. That makes me “blessed,” right?
Nowhere in the Bible does God promise worldly comfort and ease as blessings.
If we take a look at Matthew chapter 5 we will see what actually makes us blessed.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…”
I want to be “blessed” according to God, not according to this world.
Father let us be blessed according to your word, so that we might be a living testimony of your love and faithfulness. Help us be thankful for the worldly comforts we have and not take them for granted, but let us not get caught up in idolatry. We need you to help us renew our minds so that we can keep our focus on you. In your holy name, Amen.
Feeding the Hungry
Working in the food industry has surely given me an amplified perspective on people and hunger, as well as the necessity of food and nourishment in life.
It may be a surprise to some that even in 2014, people around the globe go to bed hungry at night. I’m grateful and blessed to work for a company that works ardently to feed people around the world and cut down on the problem of world hunger.
It’s not news that the word of God is considered “food” and that as we read the Bible, go to church, or listen to sermons we are nourished and fed.
So we do those things and check the box and our spiritual bellies are full, but what are we doing to feed others? If those in our circle of influence were to sit at a proverbial banquet table, would they, too, be fed? Or would they be starved?
Let’s invite them to have a seat with us at the banquet table of Christ.
We should be inviting, encouraging, uplifting, loving, and giving to others, feeding them with the everlasting nourishment of Jesus Christ.
“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14 NIV)
“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38 NIV)
There is a solid appropriateness of “Nothing Gold Can Stay” in the echo of my heart.
“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs 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.”