Remembering a Friend

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When there is the shock of loss–a sudden departure–and

you feel like you need to do something to fix things and to take the sting away; and yet,

there is nothing to be done in this shattered moment, but

you feel guilty doing anything else, all the  mundane things we do over and over in our life without remembering

that we are living on this fragile edge.

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As deep cries out to deep . . .

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Blessed Christmas–

a time to remember how the present God became an intensified presence, donning our flesh to be one of us. The depths of my despair, loss, and dysfunction cry out to the depths of his love, accessibility, and resource and

that deep crying to deep is answered in Jesus.

Hallelujah.

In You, O Lord (Lilly’s Amplified)

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In You, O Lord, do I take refuge;
I run to You when the darkness closes in, when chaos comes, and
my own best ideas about shelter fail.
let me never be put to shame;
let me not be disappointed in You because I am all in;
let me not place my disappointment in others and myself
onto the constancy of Your love.
In Your righteousness,
not in my abilities or my determination, but
in the pure and solid goodness of Your character,
deliver me!
Incline Your ear to me;
listen to my words;
but just as much, hear the twisting and groanings of my soul,
prayers that have no sounds but wet sighs.
rescue me speedily,
because I do not wait well, and
my desperation would crush my spirit.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a place to hide, to rest, to feel safe enough to heal.
a strong fortress to save me!
I need saving from those without and
my weak and worn self.

Psalm 31:1-2

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And this is love . . . (Lilly’s Amplified)

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My dear brothers and sisters,
you, me, everyone,
take note of this:
Are you listening?
Pay close attention!
Everyone should be quick to listen,
to the reasons, the evidence, and the
pain
on all sides,
slow to speak,
not jumping to conclusions,
not demanding center stage in the discussion,
and slow to become angry,
irritated, condemning, and disrespectful,
adjudicating without regard for each person’s
inestimable worth.

~~James 1:19

And Yet

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I am sure,
confident in my banked experience,
my accurate perception, and
in my ability to determine how what I see and hear interconnects with all the memories,
retained,
recalled, and
relied on to make sense of my world.
I am certain,
not arrogant, but
certain in a way that leaves no doubt that I see better than those who disagree.
And yet . . .
There are those edges, bent and distorted that don’t quite fit the narrative—
yours or mine.
There are those blurred horizons that should be clear and stable, yet they aren’t, and so
I focus on what is in front of me. I cling to what I really really know.
And yet.
There is this growing feeling that my right-side-up thinking, so contrary to yours, might not be as faultless as I think.
There is this rising conviction that my perceptions that seem so fixed, yet so apt to divide, may be more fragmented than I know, and
I may not even know what I do not know.
I see clearly, and yet . . .
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“For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face.
Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God].”
I Corinthians 13:12 (Amplified)

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My Book of Uncommon Prayers: Have Mercy

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A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

Oh, Lord of the broken and heartsick,
of the world weary and tumult tossed,
have mercy.
Oh, Lord of the fractured and failing,
of the wounded and flailing,
have mercy on us.

May our beliefs align with Your truths,
and may our weakness not hinder Your kingdom work
here in this battleground
between earth and heaven,
between the cross and the crown.

Oh, Lord of the blind and beleaguered,
the willing but wanting,
have mercy on us here below.

May our hearts break for the living lost
and our hands be quick to holy tasks
here on this hallowed ground
between world and wonder,
between sacrifice and song.

Oh, Lord, have mercy on us here below we pray.

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My Book of Uncommon Prayers: Once Again

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These witchy trees, bare and lifeless, cold and leafless:
One might wonder where life has gone and if all hope is gone,
receded into the dark earth. But
in one moment, that gifted second,
a nub of green sprouts, a speck of promise appears, and the sleeper rises,
stretches to the sky. Renewal happens once again—
from death to life.
That these dormant praises in me would rise again, unchained.
That these sleeping sermons once more would reach my mouth that I may speak of Your wonder,
once again.

 

My Book of Uncommon Prayers: Have Mercy

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Oh, Lord of the broken and heartsick,
of the world weary and tumult tossed,
have mercy.
Oh, Lord of the fractured and failing,
of the wounded and flailing,
have mercy on us.

May our beliefs align with Your truths,
and may our weakness not hinder Your kingdom work
here in this battleground
between earth and heaven,
between the cross and the crown.

Oh, Lord of the blind and beleaguered,
the willing but wanting,
have mercy on us here below.

May our hearts break for the living lost
and our hands be quick to holy tasks
here on this hallowed ground
between world and wonder,
between sacrifice and song.

Oh, Lord, have mercy on us here below, we pray.

 

Upside-down World

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When what was and now is not happens in a wisp of a moment,
when friends become foes, exchanging their trust for biting and isolating words,

then it is plain to see that we are living in an upside-down world.

When conversations meant to break down barriers instead erect the worst kind of walls,
when what I see and what you see suddenly are
oddly at odds
to the vision once shared,

then it is pain to see that we are as much a part of this upside-down world as everyone we have observed from afar. Tut, tut, what a shame it was. And is.
We are in it, of it, and yearning for all to be made right.

What makes it worse is that the reflection is somewhat like what we hope for; but
in its rippling distortion and ever-changing color, what’s hoped for seems like some cruel illusion.

Far off, unattainable, yet present enough to hunger the soul.
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Proverbs 13:12 (NLT)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.

 

These Carnal Threads

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I look down at my hands and know that within those tissues and cells, blood is coursing,
coming from,
going to,
minute after minute, circuit upon circuit. But where is my soul in this pink, freckled flesh? Where is my spirit in this troubled, pondering life?

Is the soul hitching a ride on red blood cells as they careen by the white?
Is my spirit holed up in one of my vital organs? My brain, maybe? Concentrated in a command center, overseeing all my worldly cognition.
Perhaps soul and spirit share space, intertwined in the four chambers of my pulsing heart.

But when the soul is gone, the hands are still there, and even the blood; but what stops really when we say life is gone? As the flesh cools, lying motionless, is the me-part that is really me immediately absent,

or hovering, waiting for further instructions?

It is said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, but I am wondering when the absent happens. What changes in that one fragile second to another when what was thought alive is now

dead
and these carnal threads release their hold?