Thursday, October 29, 2009
I can't think of anything in nature more mysteriously beautiful than the metamorphosis of a butterfly. It is such a picture of hope and second chances.
Throughout the barren winter and in the dark of night,
on dismal days when color is unexposed by light,
an altered life abides its self-made shell
while the things that best could lift it from out of the abyss
expand, useless and crumpled inside the chrysalis.
Creature’s plight could be perceived as pitiful mischance,
restricted by its nature and blind by circumstance.
No future can prevail for one so dead.
Confounding recollections of a less than lustrous past
Transcend present existence by margin wide and vast.
Somehow, despite misgivings and elements endured
The creature feels a stirring, a tiny rip is heard.
Perhaps there is a future after all!
Then blinding rays invade the creature’s dank and dreary space
Enlarging and exposing a life within that place.
Although its whole existence hangs by a silken thread
New warmth floods in, surrounds it, reviving what was dead.
“Alive for what?” the situation begs.
And now it finds the number of its legs has been reduced.
By whose sad misadventure was this tragedy induced?
It’s now finished emerging from out its tight cocoon.
A tingling sensation spreads through its members soon.
Just what it means is more than one could guess.
Its wobbly legs are strengthened and fresh air unfurls its wings,
now swelling up with hope and fortitude that hoping brings.
For hours it sits immobile, yet quivers in the wind.
As transformation finishes, bold hues merge and blend.
Life-sustaining blood now surges through.
Translucent, dazzling wings spread outward with uncanny ease,
and hope, like butterfly is buoyed upon a lilting breeze.
Please take time to stop by Christina Banks' blog, WITH PEN IN HAND, for more Friday Fiction.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Thirty-five years ago this week, on October 19, 1974, John and I were married. It is one of the finest choices I have ever made. Our marriage has always been something we both nurture and treasure. John has a great sense of humor, and he is an excellent husband. He is also a great father to our three sons, and now revels in the title "Papa," which his grandchildren adoringly call him.
With thoughts focused on our marriage this week, I thought I would share a couple of poems. The first poem is "Forever Fall," which I wrote for John for this anniversary. If it's a little too mushy for you, then you might enjoy the second one, "All Shook Up At The Hop," which received an Editor's Choice award for the topic "embarrassed" on Faithwriters. It was written in John's "voice" (with his full approval), and it's basically the true story of one of our early dates.
When scarlet sumac fires raged,
fine feathery fronds of pampas waved.
Midst pumpkins, squash and bittersweet,
you held my hands and vowed to be
my life’s companion, ally, love;
the prince that I’d been dreaming of.
Cloudless evening’s crimson warning
beckoned glistening frost by morning.
Three decades and a half have flown.
Love, through each season past, has grown.
Now fall’s vibrant, leafy showers
blanket summer’s fading flowers.
Fair autumn scenes our senses fill.
Her breezes make us quiver still;
lift rapturous hearts in whirling dance;
stir memories and ignite romance.
All Shook Up at the Hop
I’d spoken to her many times.
We’d had a casual date.
Every time I saw that girl
my heart would palpitate.
She was a gorgeous cheerleader
and I was just Joe Schmuck.
I feared approaching her again
would really push my luck.
And yet here was my opening;
it seemed the perfect chance.
I offered to escort her to
our college “Fifties Dance.”
Great beads of perspiration
upon my brow arose.
Shrugging, she replied with
a resounding, “I suppose.”
My heart did several flip-flops.
I was thrilled beyond belief.
“Stay cool,” my ego whispered
as I trembled with relief.
A prize was being offered
for the couple dressed the best.
I found the perfect get-up.
I knew she’d be impressed.
Saddle shoes and poodle skirt
bedecked my Sally Jean,
plus a curve-enhancing sweater
and a scarf in kelly green.
She called my broken glasses
taped together with a wad
a crazy stroke of genius.
Whew! What an act of God!
With confidence and valor
I took her by the hand,
then turned and twirled and spun her
to the be-bop of the band.
My rhythm was atrocious.
I could not keep the beat;
so I tried to keep her moving
without stepping on her feet.”
We twisted, shook and shimmied
‘til the final song was played;
then caught our breath and waited
as the costumes were assayed.
“Eight finalists were chosen,”
said the judge who held the page.
I beamed at Sally Jean as
we were called up to the stage.
“The winner,” he continued,
is really quite a clown.
While he has been up dancing,
his zipper has been down.”
In haste my eyes averted.
How I prayed it wasn’t me!
Then I glimpsed my whitey-titeys.
What a grim catastrophe!
My trembling fingers fumbled.
The crowd –how it did roar!
I wished that I could disappear
or melt into the floor.
My blood was surging upward
in a retroactive rush.
It set my heart to pounding,
made my whole complexion flush.
At last my pants were fastened,
and I peered at Sally Jean.
She grabbed my hand and flashed the
biggest smile I’d ever seen.
“We won! We get two tickets
to the big concert next week!”
she squealed, and then she planted
a wet kiss upon my cheek.
Another date with Sally?
My head began to whirl.
I’d take being embarrassed
if it meant I got the girl.
Joe and Sally Jean (Johnson) Schmuck are celebrating thirty-five years of marriage this year. Although Joe’s sense of rhythm has not improved, his philosophy, “Keep her dancing, without stepping on her toes,” suits Sally just fine.
For more great fiction, please visit Lynn Squire's blog, FAITH, FICTION, FUN, AND FANCIFUL
Sunday, October 18, 2009
When I consider your
the work of your fingers
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in
what is man that you are
mindful of him
the son of man that you
care for him?
It has been a while since I've participated in Monday Manna. When I read the verse for this week, several of my photos came to mind, so I decided to illustrate the verse instead of expound on it. After all, "a picture is worth a thousand words," right?
I am often reminded of this verse when I am out experiencing God's creation. It fills me with a sense of awe, as well as thankfulness that I can boldly approach the throne of our great God, creator of the universe, knowing that He knows and loves me intimately. Why does He love me? Because of who He is, not because of anything I could ever do! Simply incomprehensible!
For more thoughts on this verse, visit Joanne's blog, An Open Book.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
One solitary drop of water landed on an outstretched tongue. Until that very moment, the soul was unaware of its thirst. Now its open mouth reached heavenward in great expectation.
How long since I last drank?
With eyes and awareness now heightened, the soul saw nothing but desert stretched out ahead. No life apparent here, only bones…eerie predictors of the soul’s own fate.
How did I come to this dry and desolate place?
When the soul began its journey it had waded waist-deep in the stream of living water, drinking deeply and frequently. Memory supplied the missing snapshots.
“Do you know much about this water?” the confident fellow on the shore had inquired. “Do you know where it comes from, what it is made of, what lives in it, where it will end?”
No. I haven’t thought about those things. I’m just enjoying the water.
“A common mistake,” the fellow had laughed, “and a sure sign of immaturity, as well. You need to walk out here until you know more about it.”
I’m getting very thirsty. I think I’ll go back in the water.
“That would be a big mistake. What you need is food. Here, eat this steak. Then we will have some bread.”
The bread and steak are wonderful, but I’m so thirsty. I really need some water.
“Only the weak return to the water. See how foolish the others look, splashing and frolicking like children?”
I wish I was in the water with them.
“You don’t know what you’re missing. Mature souls crave food. Follow me.”
Long rows of tables stretched across a dining hall. Heads bowed over heaping plates. The diners ate in silence except for the chewing and smacking sounds that occasionally escaped their lips. The soul felt thin and frail compared to the overall plumpness of this group. They motioned toward a chair at one of the tables spread with an amazing array of various foods.
Oh! Thank you! The food looks delicious, but could I please have a drink of water?
At this the other diners stopped, mid-bite, and stared. The meaning behind their blank expressions could not be discerned, but the soul flashed its best smile, grabbed a fork, and began to eat, instructing itself not to ask the same question again.
Life centered on the preparation, presentation, and consumption of extravagant meals. Little else mattered. As promised, knowledge about water was gained, and the soul became convinced that the knowledge was a logical, if not wholly satisfying, substitute for the real thing. The soul found itself gaining poundage and looking very much like the other diners. It felt smug and superior when the occasional frail soul wandered in.
But over time the number of diners had dwindled. Those who ventured outside the dining hall rarely returned. One day the soul left the dining hall, promising to return with young souls that needed filling.
Now, one drop of water had rekindled the soul’s desire, yet all that could be seen for miles around were dry, dead bones.
How could I have forgotten how much I need the water?
With thirst renewed, the soul fell to its knees in the scorching sand. A prayer emanated from its parched lips.
Jesus, I have wandered far from You, the Living Water. Foolishly I denied the thirst you created within me. I am fat, but empty; full, but very, very thirsty. I have lost my way. Help me return to the stream and drink deeply of You.
The sky opened, raining on the grateful soul. The soul drank. It laughed, and sang and danced. Turning around, the soul could now see the path it had taken…the path that had led it far from the life-giving stream. Now it returned, running back along the same path, filled with new purpose and anticipation.
As the exultant soul ran past the dining hall a few diners pressed their noses to the windows and watched, uncomprehending. Then, shaking their heads and clucking their tongues, they returned to their tables and prepared for yet another meal without anything to drink.
If you found yourself identifying with the soul in this allegory, I pray that you have already found your way back to the Living Water. If not, perhaps this allegory has renewed your thirst.
Sara is hosting Fiction Friday this week on her blog, Fiction Fusion. Please stop by and follow the links to more great fiction.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Based on the book of Ruth
Because of you, wee one, who coos in the crook of my withered arm; because of you I know my God remembers.
Hunger banished my family from our home. Refugees we were, beset by weariness and suppressed by loneliness in a strange, distant land. Discouragement and fear stalked us. Death overtook us. God dealt with me so bitterly I was certain I’d been forgotten. But all is well, wee one. I know my God remembers.
Because of you, precious one, who curls tiny fingers around my gnarled, arthritic one; because of you I know my God redeems.
What overwhelming loss I experienced! Your devoted grandfather and our two beloved sons were snatched from me. Who would comfort me? Who would further my family? Who even cared if I lived or died? Too old to marry, and too poor to support your mother, I begged her to leave me and return to her mother and father. She refused, fierce in her loyalty to me. Although I had nothing to offer her, she left the country of her birth. She was better to me than seven sons. Her humble, honorable actions caught your papa’s eye. Your papa, my husband’s kinsman, took pity on us. He has become our deliverer; our rescuer. I know my God redeems.
Because of you, little one, whose breath is warm and sweet against my wrinkled cheek; because of you I know my God rewards.
Hope had dispersed like chaff in the wind. Dreams had dissolved into tears. The outlook was dismal and bleak. This day, this moment, this fulfillment of hopes and dreams I dared not believe in or even wish for. But God smiled on me; smiled upon your mother; blessed His humble servants. I know my God rewards.
Because of you, cherished one, whose curious eyes quicken my aged heart and lighten my faltering steps; because of you, I know my God restores.
My home, my family, my lineage will endure. I am called blessed among Bethlehem’s women. If my sons, Mahlon and Chilion, had lived and fathered many children, none would hold as much promise as you -my delightful grandson, Obed. You are my fulfillment, my future, my renewer of hopes and dreams. My nights are restful, my days filled with purpose, because of you. I know my God restores.
Karlene Jacobsen is the new hostess of Friday Fiction at Homespun Expressions. Visit her blog for links to more great fiction.