Daily Prompt: Overwhelmed

O kay, I can’t live like this–all this tweeting, and FBing, and

V blogging, as if I need to know

E very single inconsequential thing about your daily

R ituals, what you’re selling, what you’re pushing.

W hat I need is quiet–physical and mental–a

H iatus from personal and political rants and

E nd-of-the-world diatribes. If the world is

L ost, then let me at the very least live

M y last brief moments

E njoying the illusion that people really

D o love and respect each other–at least now and then.

Advertisements

Daily Prompt: Devastation

071-copy

D oom and gloom, sometimes of our own doing;

E ven if not, we can choose how

V aliantly or cowardly we respond.

A cceptance does not mean

S urrender.

T olerance does not mean

A ll points of view are true. But

T o live, thrive, and love

I n this crazy, reeling world is to

O nly and in all things hope,

N ot giving destruction and despair a soul-hold.

 

Daily Prompt: Uneven

I visited Virginia City, NV, a few years ago. The old part of town looked like it came out of a Hollywood western, complete with rustic building facades, saloons, and wooden sidewalks. Strolling along, you had to be careful where you planted your feet because probably like bygone days the  planked sidewalks were uneven. Sometimes where one board met another, there was a lip that could send the unwary sprawling.

Now in my town that would be an occasion to sue. But in days gone by, the assumption was that you watched where you walked and took charge of your own life. Though efforts were made to safeguard the community, it was assumed that life happened, so walker beware.

It seems that in this day, we want everyone to be aware for us and to be held accountable for any mishap–whether it be a physical situation or a misspoken word. Life is uneven–sometimes a result of our own choices and sometimes others’. To take responsibility for our actions and own the resulting consequences is a skillset that needs cultivating.

So yes, I am taking that Facebook post down right away!

Infinite

I ncreasing in time and distance, pushing back, back, back and forward                      again,

N ever finding a beginning or an ending. It is like the game I used to play                     as a kid,

F illing my mind with as much intentional emptiness as I could,                                                pushing, pushing to see

I f I could drive my way back to where there is

N othing.

I t never quite worked because somewhere in this exercise my brain would                               stop—just stop.

T oo full of thoughts to be empty, expanding space. Too busy and impatient                                               to persevere to the end of my self. Vanity. Human.

E ver seeking the end of things, the majesty where God lives and where He                         finds it in Himself to love even  me.

The Daily Prompt: Specific

Let me be SPECIFIC: I had hoped to FLOAT into the New Year with a new determination to daily respond to the Daily Prompt; however, it has been 3 days without posting, and I guess I was just TEMPTED by other things–photography edits, hiking, cookies, school corrections and lesson plans, and other engagements. It just had not CROSSED my mind that I was so late.

Now let me be SPECIFIC: Though I didn’t post on time for the others, I feel much assuaged in my guilt, having included 4 prompts in one.

See, I feel so much better.

Daily Prompt: Interior–The Eagle Version

2017-01-02 (60).png

(screenshot from live feed)

I have been watching the live feed from Florida of bald eagles and their eggs. One has hatched and is fed raw fish from a very conscientious mama (or perhaps daddy—hard to tell). The other egg’s hatching looks imminent. Mama sits on her nest, rearranging the twigs and grasses, protecting the hatchling and the one yet to come. The nest does not look particularly soft or comfortable, but obviously fits the bill for this little family. What makes this nest safe is not the materials of which it is made, but the presence of formidable parent-raptors who not only shelter the young but stand ready to fend off any foe.

The home my husband and I made for our kids is not very fancy. It is not filled with rich furnishings or decked out in ostentatious accessories. Granted, it is a bit more than twigs and grasses perched high in a tree, like my eagle friends, but it is warm, and hopefully welcoming in its simplicity—and with no more eggs to hatch!

I have visited immaculate homes with rich furnishings, but sometimes the décor does in no way compensate for the pain and dissatisfaction present in its inhabitants. I would prefer to invest in simplicity and a happy hearth for my home to one of cold perfection.

The same goes for an interior life, I suppose. I want my interior design to be straightforward and honest, not cluttered with the thoughts and arguments of someone on the run from themselves and truth, not decked out with the lies people tell themselves to keep guilt at bay. Not cold and aloof, fearing exposure, but open, honest, and welcoming.

As is my home, so I want my heart to be—hospitable to life. Simple, clean, and suited for the task.

Now back to my eagle live cam. It is not a great movie because the plot doesn’t move quickly, but the characters are awesome!

 

The Daily Prompt: Renewal with a Hitch

img_0702-copy

Renewal always sounds bright and shiny, like a beautifully restored vintage car or a vibrant blossom in the spring bursting from what had looked like a lifeless branch. But the problem with renewal is that something has decayed in order for it to require a new life. So restoration is a good thing. Right?

But renewal comes with a hitch. What is new is chained to what is old. When I walk in fresh ways, my past self is not dismissed like a cast-off piece of clothing. My past is the chain tied around my ankle, reminding me that whatever lies ahead, whatever bright, polished penny-of-life has brought new promise and vision, I am only separated from what has gone before by my willingness to step intentionally onto a new path.

Sure there are helps in people and programs. There is spiritual renewal that comes from the supernatural. But as long as I walk in this skin and bone, my whole story is part of me. Deaths, accidents, betrayals, and sufferings, both physical and mental, do not suddenly and totally disappear in the presence of some mysterious regeneration of self or circumstance. Glass-half-empty does not of its own accord morph into glass-half-full. Renewal is the gritty process of intentionally looking to what is ahead. It is the planting of one foot in front of the other, heading toward a brighter prospect. It is the recognition that what is really real will become actually real when faith becomes sight.

In faith, I may be a new creature and all things may become new in some spiritual sense; but in truth, renewal here requires the commitment to press on in weakness, not forgetting the other chapters of my story, but putting them in the grander perspective of the whole story.

“Now I know in part; then I shall fully know, even as I am fully known.” ~I Cor. 13:12b          

 

Dead Trees, Thorns, Elections, and Me

img_6894

There is an abbey up in the hills where I like to go to think, to photograph, and to seek moments of peace. A few weeks ago, I happened to go on a Sunday morning, and since there were masses scheduled, parking was limited; and I had to park quite a distance away from the reflecting pond. I did notice, however, as I was leaving there was an old, funky, dead tree across the field near where I had parked the car, and I determined the next time I came I would get closer and photograph it.

That next time was this week. After communing with the ducks and turtles and photographing the fall leaves and reflections in the water, I drove down to the edge of the field, grabbed my camera and headed across. The field was mostly sandy with tufts of weeds, but what kept me wary were the many holes I saw. I assumed they were gopher holes, but one can never tell. Up in the hills, we have Mojave green rattlesnakes, so I scanned the ground carefully as I walked so as not to be surprised by a very deadly snake.

I was barefoot in my Crocs, which was probably not the best choice for protective footwear, but I live in them because it is the next best thing to going totally barefoot! I started feeling little pinches and assumed some stickers were coming in through the holes as I walked, though I really didn’t see any thistles or thorns on the ground. I stopped by a small, flat rock and took one foot out and set it down there to rid my Croc of whatever had invaded. When I lifted my shoe up, I was horrified to see the whole bottom surface carpeted in goathead thorns. These are nasty, piercing, painful things! At my age, balance is not as sure a thing as when I was young; and realizing that I could not risk stepping down on the ground barefoot, I carefully emptied the shoe of the 2 bits of thorn and cautiously put my foot back inside.

My dilemma then was not whether or not to keep going, but whether to forget the picture and head back to the car. Of course, I took the picture. I would have liked to go closer and get shots from different angles, but I am not entirely crazy!

As I turned to make the careful trek back, I was aware—painfully aware—that the hundred or so steps back were to be done with utmost care. Part of me wanted to panic and run, but the sensible part gingerly took one step at a time. I pressed my feet hard against the plastic, scrunching my toes tight together, trying to ignore the bits of thorns that progressively invaded as I tried not to scuff.

When I finally made it to the car, I sat in the driver’s seat with my feet out and removed the shoes. Both soles were completely covered with thorns. There was no way I was going to be able to dislodge them, so I carefully put my Crocs on the floor mat of the passenger side and drove home barefoot.

My husband tried to clean them up for me, but very quickly came to the realization that he was not going to be able to get every part of the thorns out; so, they are destined for the trash bin!

I kept thinking that there had to be some kind of allegory or moral in all of this. So here it is.

Even though we head toward what we think is a worthy goal, and even though we think we know what dangers exist and are on the lookout, there are myriad little things we don’t see that become just as great a threat to our health and safety. In this election cycle, people have had different goals, different candidates, different passions and causes, different behaviors or evidence they were willing to overlook for a greater cause, and they have pushed full steam ahead in their desired directions. I had hoped that once the election was settled and a winner declared, tempers would cool and folks would go back to their respective corners to continue on with a semblance of orderly life. However, the thorns that were picked up on the way were not the big and obvious obstacles that all factions were maneuvering through. What has attached itself to our underbellies are all the cruel words, the bitternesess, the ideological divides that make it impossible to agree to disagree.

What has attached itself to our souls is the tension of otherness—an otherness that is supported by the studies and anecdotes and inflammatory rhetoric that each group trusts. People are virtuous in their own narratives, supported by their selective documentation and cited diatribes. Folks are indeed going to their respective corners, but not to cool off and gain perspective of the greater goals—the greater good. Folks are in their corners throwing rocks and gearing up for full scale attack.

People have stopped listening to each other.

People have stopped caring about what is best for their neighbor, more intent on winning a political and/or an ideological battle. If it means undermining the Constitution or throwing communities into disarray or pitting person against person, it becomes more about winning than about what is good for the country. These are the nasty, piercing, painful things, and I wonder if the nation will survive them.

As for me, I am not a citizen and cannot vote; but character counts for me, so I would not have voted for either candidate. My ultimate kingdom is a spiritual one, so whether America goes Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian in the long run does not matter to me. Well, maybe a little.

And yet, I live here, and the stress and at times near panic has been unsettling.

But the thorns in my life that keep my eyes off forever things,

the thorns in my life that pinch and keep me from loving as Christ loves,

are the ones that can do damage to my soul, and those I am endeavoring to throw in the trash.

img_6771-copy