Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Simcha and the Mist


Simcha lived near the mountain people but kept a kind distance. He watched them with a smile in his heart and serene love. They worked well together, eager to stay out of the world below and concentrate on life above, in the mountains and hills. He loved being there, to feel the protective covering of the mist surrounding them in the heights. He was of the lowlands originally, the only one willing to climb above and live among the settled clouds and mysterious hill dwellers.


The people of the lowlands feared those above. All manner of conjuring and magic lived in the hills, as the myths went. From one generation to the next the stories were told. The people who lived among the mist of the mountains were to be avoided. They had a mysterious power among them, able to turn people to stone and bring forth wild animals to devour their foes. They would snatch you away, in a second, if you went too far up the mountain, too many  steps to the east, or if you thought about them with any great contemplation. 

Simcha tried to tell his friends in the lowlands that these people just wanted to be left alone. They were simple, peaceful souls. There were no supernatural powers, no mysterious goings-on, nothing to fear from up high. But there was no undoing years and years of stories told one to another.

The mist wrapped around Simcha like a warm wool coat. He felt something had called him here, as if his place were no longer with the familiar. He went eagerly, touching the sky with his hope and prevailing against the gravity that would hold him to the low places.

The people of the mist welcomed him warmly as if he were an old friend. His heart was full. His eyes loved the mountains and his soul loved the mist, its people, and the breath of life he felt so close to with them. 

He was a sure man, silent usually, but wise. His voice sang out in his paintings, a whisper with the impact of a scream. He was delighted, often, and most of his time was spent in the sheer bliss of joy. He was a happy man, content and at peace with his surroundings.

But the time came when the lowlands prepared for war. Tired of living in fear, they would join together to banish the people of their nightmares. They would destroy the fortresses of the mountains that hung over their heads. Simcha was warned by his family below who expected him to flee for safety. 

He was devastated. The mist was just a fog and could not really protect these people, he thought. They were simple, quaint villagers with no weapons and little suspicion. They would be no match for their fierce enemies. The stories of old would not come to their aid. They had no powers or secret abilities. Simcha resigned himself to fate, but he would not leave. These people had become his people and he would not run. He would try to save them.

With great urgency Simcha told everyone he could find about the impending danger from below. He implored them to fashion weapons and take up positions. But to no avail. The people of the mist neither feared nor fretted. There was no word for panic in their language and, though they knew what he meant, steadfastly refused to prepare. Instead, each man, woman, and child went about their usual day-to-day routine as if nothing were coming, no monsters in the distance, no great terror, and nothing to fear.

Simcha was consumed, worried for their safety. He began to pray for a way to tell them, in words they would take to heart, that they must do something. But the more he prayed the fewer words he had for them, as if the Almighty were silencing him, snipping away his warning speech one word at a time.

Cooking pots hung above outdoor fires, children played nearby, and the farmers went about plowing and sowing. The sun sat in the sky. The clouds parted slightly then rejoined. And all the while, Simcha raced to and fro, trying to stop the oncoming slaughter. He tried in vain.

The first arrow struck a stone by Simcha’s house. The second, third, and fourth landed in the dirt, imbedded with such strength only the ends were visible. As the first wave of the attack continued, the people of the mist did not seem to notice. They neither looked up from their work, nor turned to the sounds of arrows splitting the air.

Simcha watched them with disbelief, but his spirit watched them with recognition. As the second wave began, the enemy warriors now close enough to see, the mist moved in to surround the people, forming a barrier between the advancing army and the simple inhabitants of the hills. Though transparent and faint, this mist had the effect of a towering wall, an impenetrable blockade. It was immovable, though it was to the naked eye nearly invisible.

Weapons of every kind were fired. Soldiers and brave men, warriors and infantry of all manner struck the mist, climbed it, pushed, leaned, dug under, and attempted to penetrate it. But it remained unmoved. And the people within went about their work in peace, oblivious to the turmoil surrounding them and the terror at every side. Simcha observed, though one could see in clearly, the people of the mist could not see out. 

After many hours, the army, wounded by their efforts against the protective barrier, exhausted and broken, gave up. Some headed back down the mountain. Others slumped where they were and waited for their strength to return. 

It was then that the mist parted and the people within saw the defeated army in their midst. Hapless and helpless, the warriors were depleted and ashamed. They had come to win, certain of their abilities, but were slowed, stopped, and defeated before their adversaries had fired one shot.

The simple townsfolk gathered the food from their cooking pots, the bread of the storehouses, and the bounty of vegetables from the land. They stepped through the now fading mist to feed the hungry men and bandage their careless wounds. 

The soldiers were stunned. But Simcha was not. He watched with great joy in his heart and sudden understanding. It changed him forever.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Behold


But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!

Luke 2:10-11

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Sign

A sign in front of a church said Restoration. We were on the way to a Christmas parade with my neice, her husband, and their new baby. We've had a lot of separation in our family, for years, that my Dad tried to remedy, though he was mystified by it. When he passed we all starting talking again because it somehow opened the door between us and, honestly, we had to. So here we are a little over two years later, talking, living, going to parades. I was really happy to see that sign.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Become


Don't give up
It will be good
Wait and see
What she will become



“For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.”

Isaiah 61:11


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Wave


A wave
Comes, making right what was wrong
Not with a flood
This one fulfills
Saturates
Softens dry ground
So what was planted can grow
It will be different
Wonderful
Can you imagine?
You won't have to try 
To see
For long
It's happening right now
We'll all see it


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fire


The Word melts 

hardness in our hearts. 

Psalm 147:18

Exodus 14:14


The Lord 
will fight 
for you, 
and you 
shall hold 
your peace 
and 
remain at rest.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cold


I am walking in Siberia, a long way from home. It is cold, icy, beautiful in springtime, they say. An open field stands between the precipice I am on and all the others. It is full of flowers. They break through the ice and the springtime as if they were the same thing. There is no warmth and no cold to these flowers. They bloom regardless. Sometimes they are angry, or hurt, wounded, but still they bloom. They are like fire on stalks, swaying in the breeze, igniting everything around them. 

I am walking and Siberia is changing. It is getting warmer.

I pray as I walk because Siberia's hope comes from God. As I walk, I run into another's prayer. It meets me here, this prayer, said a hundred years ago or more by someone chained like me. Someone devastated. And our prayers meet here. Here, where prisoners were once sent, but now people come with purpose. They save and strive and work to come here to live free, where the ice has melted and fire blooms on the earth.

I listen to the prayer. Before I hear it I know. I know this is a prayer for someone's enemy. A forgiveness prayer. Lord, bless them and keep them. Make your face to shine upon them and give them peace. I take it as mine, because I am cold, and I want to be warm.



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Let Me Help



She: And you don't want to talk about it? Why? Did you do something wrong? Are you afraid of something? Whatever it is, let me help. 

He: Let me help. A hundred years or so from now, I believe, a famous novelist will write a classic using that theme. He'll recommend those three words even over, "I love you."

Let me help.

It's easy to be the helper. It's hard to let someone help. For one thing, what if they don't want to? What if no one wants to and you are left all alone? What if no one cares about you and no one says, "Let me help." But what if they do?

If you know me, you know everything is Star Trek. I love the stories, the way aliens can tell us about ourselves, how good humanity is, how wonderfully inventive, surprising, and pure of heart. We travel to the stars and do the right thing. Always. Humans are doing the right thing in space.

Let me help.

There is a line from a song: a friend is someone who lets you help. It's probably a famous saying too, older than the song. 

I want to help, to always be the superhero. It doesn't always work that way. Sometimes I need. Sometimes you do. I don't know why it's like that. But "let me help" is a promising phrase. It gives me hope in our broken world that these are the words people might want to say. Not just in TV shows, in real life, in the real world right here. 

What are your three words?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Forgiveness Dream



It was just a dream. An old friend came from a war torn place across the ocean where now there is tense peace. There is still suspicion, and she pays bribes to keep the enemy at bay, but life goes on. It's not perfect. It could be, but no one is willing to demand it. They accept the good enough because no one has the strength to believe for the best. Kinda familiar. 

She came without the twenty years since she was here last. It was a surprise to see her. I didn't know she was coming. When she arrived, we were about to join a military regiment. In a dream everything makes sense, but that didn't. Still, we eagerly signed up to take tests, tests that would reveal important things, things that people need to know about themselves. They would tell us what we are made of.

Two friends together can overcome all, but our tests were in separate places. She went one way and I went another. I was in a shadowy, dark, and dusty office building with many rooms and, somehow, this was the location of our finding out important things. It wasn't grand or magnificent. The tests couldn't be so great. What could a simple location like this tell us? You spend ordinary days in an office building. What could ordinary days teach us?

My first test took place at a small cliff in a small room. It was manmade, but treacherous nonetheless. There were several of us, each tasked with figuring out how to get down from a great height. One girl in my group threw caution aside and jumped with no preparation whatsoever. She shattered like glass when she hit the ground, but she was like a video game character who would reappear later to take the test again. I watched this and decided to kick something over to break my fall. There were stacks of items just to the side and clearly visible. I kicked. It worked. 

I was feeling pretty smart and my next test was similar, as was the one after that. But the next was forming something out of clay. I failed. Just like the glass girl, I reappeared later to retake the test and passed it the second time. I learned.

My fifth test was forgiveness. 

I could see a young woman who had been treated badly. She was a dark sketch of a broken, harmed figure, immense woe and pain hanging on her. She couldn't shake it off. It literally held her down. She had something to forgive. Something real. I somehow knew her story in the dream and it was horrific. I can't even put it into words, but she was crushed, wounded, and despondent. It was my job to "be" the young woman and forgive her tormentors in order to set her free.

But how do you forgive? Everyone talks about it. People say it. People do it, someone somewhere, I think. It sounds impossible, feels impossible. How do you lift the weight and throw it off? They. Did. Wrong. I can't erase that! How can I give up their guilt? Forgiveness makes no sense!

If you've ever been the one forgiven you feel it. Sudden lightness. The heavy presence of astonishment and gratitude. Humility, though it is embarrassing to admit. Peace, a word used so much we can forget how good it tastes. 

But how do you do it?

In the dream I knew how! I was going to pray for the people who had caused her pain. It's maddening to write that, even though I have seen it work. (Pray for them?! They don't deserve that! Pride tries to rise up in my throat and choke my words.) I was going to pray for them and bless them, or at least pray for blessings for them. I knew it would work and the girl would be free. Honestly, forgiveness was not what I wanted to do to them, but I knew it was the right thing to do because it would work and she would be free. So that's what I purposed to do. Despite what I felt like, I would do it.


That's when I woke up. I had passed the test.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Tall Flat White


Yeah...no dot, but a flat white is a flat white. Kind of like messing up chocolate cake. Can't be done. My new favorite coffee is this majestic tall, flat white. It's milk and coffee in a paper cup that costs $4.26.

Other things to love that are totally free:

Dreams
Prayers, spoken and heard

Studying students at the next table talking about antigens. I hope they are becoming doctors and -right next to me at Starbuck's- are sitting the two people with the future cure for (whispering) Cancer.

Jesus. If you don't know why I say that, I hope you find out.

Ice skating, which is actually pricey because I live in the South and can't do it just anywhere. Maybe if I lived in Russia...

I'm encouraged that there is a revival starting in America. You may think we have everything. You may have everything. But our country has been in need spiritually for many years. There is a bleakness that is parting. Light is seeping in. It's hard to squeeze it into words. Imagine chains laying on a floor, but no one knows where they came from or how they got there. We were wearing them and we didn't even know it. When they fell off and we had to step over them we did not recognize them. What are these? That's the kind of revival I mean, a sudden awareness of freedom and a total loss of recognition of the darkness. What is that?

Do you feel it?


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Well

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Amos 9:15

“I will plant them on their land,
and they shall never again be uprooted
out of the land that I have given them,”
says the Lord your God.”

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Moon



The moon sang its familiar tune, always the same, never changing. It howled into the night and cried out during the day. No one could hear it in those days and, even if they had, no one would have understood because they didn’t want to. The moon speaks its own language.

The shadow crept closer to the village. Everyone understood it because it spoke the common language. If anyone had spoken another tongue, the shadow would have learned it. It communicated in the ways the people liked and, because it was often the only voice anyone listened to, was believed. But the shadow lied, always, even when the truth would have worked better. It liked to lie. It liked to deceive. It liked to trap.

Petal was small, simple, blue and pale blue. She hung on the edge of a flower and danced in the breeze. She didn’t have much to do. She lived to be beautiful, to be delightful, adored. She longed to fly, but petals only fly when they are dying and blowing away.

The water rushed by. It saw its friend Petal each day. They called out to one another and waved. Once in a while, Water would puddle up at the base of Petal’s flower and sit a while. The two old friends would talk about the goings on in the world around them, which usually meant a few pleasantries and a lot of woes. The days were growing darker. Everyone could see that. The shadow was everywhere, cropping up even in places no shadow had ever been seen before.

Petal recognized the lies. Water, too. They were astonished at how quickly the forest had changed around them. One day they were lilting in the sunshine, or roaring over the falls in Water’s case, and then the next, the forest told them lilting was no longer allowed and the falls were dry. What had become of their world?

“It’s the prophecy,” said Bird. “It says things will get dark and then we should hide.”

But Petal knew that wasn’t what it said. The prophecy did not say hide.

Everyone was hidden anyway. They thought it was the right thing to do. After all, things were horrible or about to be horrible. There was no hope. They repeated it to themselves and one another, “Give up.” And most of them did.

The shadow knew this too. He honestly was surprised they were so easily fooled. Hide, he thought, and laughed. He knew if they fought him they would win. So, he continued tirelessly in his plan, each tiny success merely encouraging him on to the next. If he could put himself between them and the sun, or them and the moon, or them and each other, well, he would be all they had. The petal and the darkness, the water and the dry ground, the moon and the misunderstanding people, the bird who cowers, that was all that would be left. He looked forward to it. All he wanted was to make the forest into his image, because he loved himself and hated them.

Petal was at rest most, all, of her days. She hung on a flower. She didn’t have much to do. Her purpose was to be beautiful, to enjoy life, to live and be. But as Petal hung there in the flickering sunlight, she realized she would soon be being beautiful in total darkness. Then no one could see her and why would she be there at all? She had to do something. She had to get the moon to speak clearly, get the sun to shine, get Bird to see--- just see. But Bird had stored up his supplies and locked his door and taken to hiding under his nest to await the prophesied doom. He would be of no help.

“Water,” said Petal. “It’s you and me.”

Water didn’t know what that mean. Neither did Petal.

They had an idea. It was remote and feeble and probably impossible. They would teach the moon to speak. Not just shine and hope for the best. Not just mumble or shout or sing in that mysterious jumbled language. They would teach the moon to say, to raise its voice, to be understood. But how can a Petal reach the moon? Or water for that matter?

Petal strained. She tried to pull herself free from the flower and float high up on the breeze to reach the sky. It was a good idea, well, good enough. But it wasn’t her time to be released from the stem and so she was not. She only moved to and fro, slightly, and beautifully. She could not leave the confines of her existence. She could not be a messenger to the moon any more than she could be water or sky or bird.

Bird.

Water thought of it first. He breathed a heavy sigh before mentioning it to Petal. She sighed right back, because to be honest, she believed one of the shadow’s delicious lies. Bird can be of no help. He doesn’t even fly. He has stored up everything he will need and is cowering until the day of doom. We won’t even be able to get him to come out.

Water didn’t believe that. He remembered when Bird was young. He would play at the edge of Water. He sang, like the moon, and looked up into the sky. He was preparing to fly, thinking about it at least. He had the idea he could fly. In fact, he had even flown a little when his shell was first cracked. He had been free for a bit before the shadow’s lie convinced him he could not fly, could not be that, could not, could not, could not.

Water thought Bird could be inspired.

Petal sighed, the lie now heavier in her heart. But Water reassured her and, so, she was willing to try.
Water rapped on Bird’s door with a slosh. He was ignored at first, but continued anyway, repeatedly striking and pounding on the door. Bird came out from under his nest and from behind his piles of dried goods to admonish water and tell him to hide.

“Don’t you know what’s coming?” Bird demanded.

Water could do no more. He could get the door open, but he did not know how to convince Bird to help. Petal tried. She waved in the breeze, her beauty now almost completely covered by the encroaching shadow. Suddenly, an idea came to her.

“Bird,” she said. “Don’t give up! What if we can stop it?”

Stop doom? Bird was shocked. Water, too. Up until then he was certain doom was coming and they could not even delay it. Petal thought they could stop it. Or at least try. Out of the box thinking, he marveled.

Bird was explosive, forceful, enraged at the thought that someone could stop the day of doom or even put off the prophesied suffering that was coming on all of them. Couldn’t she see the shadow? Vile words came from him, some he’d never even heard before, all about how Petal couldn’t stop it, Water couldn’t stop it, and he couldn’t stop it. Doom was coming and they should hide.

Petal was almost convinced.

Water sort of believed the lie and “sort of” was enough to stop him in his tracks. Listening to Bird, he was becoming a puddle. Petal was hearing it too, and wilting, slowly. If she did not look away from Bird, he would die and so would she. Then the obvious occurred to her. Just say it, plainly, to Bird, to Water, to the whole forest, the village, and the moon itself.

“It’s a lie,” said Petal.

Petal who could only hang on a flower and wait for her time to be up so she could fly, who could only be beautiful and delightful, with nothing much to do, Petal could speak.

“A lie,” Bird repeated.

“We aren’t supposed to cower,” shouted Water as he caught on. “We are supposed to fight!”

He was breathless as he turned from a puddle back into water and then grew stronger. Petal was encouraged, and she needed every bit of encouragement by then.

Bird was not convinced.

“But I have these supplies,” he said, proudly, then added, “And I won’t share them with you if you’re wrong!”

Water sighed, but not in disbelief or wrong belief or in fear of doom like before, now water sighed because he was fed up. He roared like he was going over the falls. He reared up. He was inspired. And water flooded into Bird’s safe abode, crushing his hiding place, diluting the supplies, decimating every false thing Bird was willing to hide behind. The whole place came down in an instant because, to be honest, it wasn’t very stable to begin with.

Bird shrieked. He was devastated. He was alarmed. He was furious with Water. But Bird was not yet angry with the lie.

“Now I have to rebuild my hiding place,” he said, his voice tinged with manipulative self-pity that was supposed to control any further outbursts from Water and Petal.

But Petal sighed then, drawing the wind up within her, and exhaled onto Bird. He was annoyed at first. Water joined in the fight, rising also, until Bird had very little space to stand.

“You two,” He squealed. He was distraught. But he blamed his friends, not the lie. Not yet anyway.

“Fly away,” said Water.

“You can,” prophesied Petal.

But Bird repeated the lies in quick secession. I can’t fly. We have to hide. It’s not safe. I need supplies!

And the Water rose. The wind blew.

Bird was slowly lifted from his feet and forced to fly.

He was amazed. He really had not thought it possible. He had believed the lies fully, without question. He had no concept that he could be wrong. He could fly!

Bird flew higher. And higher, until he was eye to eye with the great, mighty, shining moon. Its light embraced him. Bird could hear it. The moon was singing, the same song as always, the same measured and consistent words, never changing, always the same. But now Bird understood every word. The moon was speaking his language and he realized it always had.

It said, simply, “Don’t be afraid.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Solitary

God sets the solitary in families...
Psalm 68:6


It really says that. Wow. Amazing. 
That's what He did for me. 
But, still, I was surprised to see it.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Mary's Song

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”  
Luke 1:46-55

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Simcha and the Angel

My feet touched ground high in the Rif Mountains. My body is made entirely of gold and quiet landings are impossible. I met the ground with a thunderous shake, jolting the calmness and shocking the earth. For a moment everything stopped, as if pausing to sense my presence. It is difficult for me to sneak up on anyone. Though few see spiritual beings, most are innately aware of us. 

I stood near the top of a steep hill, overlooking a tiny village with white walls and brilliant azure doors. The entire town seemed painted with ice cream. I loved this part of the world and took a few moments to rest and take it all in. Leaning against an old, abandoned house of worship, I inhaled life and simplicity. From this tiny town in the mountains many prayers arose. They clamored at the gates of heaven, affecting the heart of God. 

He sent me here to Simcha the Jew, a man of much prayer and little patience. He was an artist and I loved his work. If he made even the slightest flaw in a stroke or pinprick of color Simcha would tear it down from his easel and throw it into the fire. Each of those paintings came to me. I displayed them all over Heaven and Simcha the Jew was admired there. He did two things. He painted and he prayed. He no longer went to see friends. He no longer wrote, read, or taught as he’d done for many years. He was focused on the task at hand.

I folded my wings into the specially made flaps on my jacket. I would never get used to wearing human clothes. They were stifling and ridiculous, like a costume. My hands hid in gloves, but my face shone, gleaming like yellow fire. The Lord told me to ignore it. The sons of man would pay no attention to true gold; it was fools’ gold they loved. I believed Him, of course, but I could see the light of my features so sharply against the darkness of the earth. I felt conspicuous and awkward. Maybe Simcha would paint me a human face to complete the disguise.

I arrived at his doorstep, a towering nine foot giant with a hunched back of folded wings and a face like a bonfire. I thought my appearance would frighten him. But he seemed to be expecting an odd looking stranger and even invited me in with a smile.

He was full of questions, but never asked who I was or why I was there. He already seemed to know. We sat and had hot apple tea in tiny glass cups. I asked him if he had any questions about Heaven. 

The wise man thought for a moment and asked, “Do people have hair and fingernails in Heaven?”

He explained, “They are made of dead cells and there is no death there.”

I smiled. What a question! I told him the answer, of course, but he didn’t believe me.

I had questions for Simcha too. Why did he paint the subjects he chose? How did he select the colors? Why did he paint in the first place? What made him choose this art over all of the others? His answer was simple. He said he didn’t know; he just did it. We were fast friends, this man and I, like we’d known each other through many trials. 

At last, what I hoped for happened. Simcha offered to paint me. He’d never before seen an angel with his eyes, though many of us had visited him in secret over the years. But Simcha could not paint what he felt, only what he saw. Now he could finally paint me.

He said it would be his first, and only, perfect work. But I wanted flaws, sharp edges, and imperfection! I think this is something wondrous about mankind. I am deeply moved by you, how in all of your imperfection you can accomplish divine work. That is not possible with perfect beings, only with man. I love that you desire yourselves to be moved and transformed by God. 

I begged Simcha to cover my golden face. 

“Make me brown,” I pleaded, “The color of the earth and coffee and cocoa.”

He refused, saying gold was a better color and, “Why would you want to be the color of ordinary things?”

I felt like I was slamming my head against a rock. Didn’t he know how beautiful those things were to me?

Simcha’s heart sought only the perfect and pristine. But he was a kind soul, so he agreed to paint me as I wished. He said he would cover my face, but in return would have to paint him. He smiled and I could not refuse, so eager was his grin and so innocent his request. 

My gleaming face was soon covered, dark and beautiful, the color of rich cake. I caught my reflection in Simcha’s tea and could not stop myself from dancing and twirling around the room. My artist was unimpressed with his work, but quite happily watching me. 

When I settled down a bit Simcha handed me the brush. He led me to the canvas, his eyes full of anticipation for at last- at last- he would see a perfect painting! He was so certain of my abilities, because I was angelic and golden. I hated to disappoint him, but I knew what was going to happen. 

Thirty thousand strokes and eleven colors later, my work was complete. I had created a scene of a simple house high in the Rif Mountains, surrounded by colors rarely seen by human eyes, made up of hues they knew well and a little bit of Heaven itself. It should have been charming and serene. It should have been a spectacle of awe. But it was abysmal, the ugliest work of art ever.

Simcha stepped back to get a better view. He shouldn’t have. It was even worse from a distance. He chuckled a bit. 

“Well,” he said. “That is quite awful.”

I laughed deeply, uproariously, and Simcha reluctantly joined me.

“You see,” I explained. “I am not a creator. I admire.”

Simcha understood, more than I thought he would. His grin remained, ear to ear as if he’d seen something most intriguing. He nodded knowingly as I tore my work down from the easel, balling it up and throwing it into the fire. But to our shared surprise, the flames did not destroy the imperfect work. They seemed to embrace it and devour it, though it was only changed, not burned. It seemed to rise from the ashes, transformed by the fire into a breathtaking and brilliant work of perfection. It glowed with my golden ferocity and Simcha’s passion. 

The fire had changed it not to ashes, but to a wrenching scene of two figures on a mountain. One was tall and knowing; the other wise and small and through it all the startling intensity of true gold.

I have to say, it was beautiful even though it was perfect.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Beloved


Do you know
you
are
accepted?

To the praise of the glory of his grace, 
wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 

Ephesians 1:6



Monday, August 15, 2016

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Joy

These things I have spoken to you, 
that my joy may be in you, 
and that your joy may be full. 


John 15:11

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Nehemiah 8:10

Nehemiah said, 
“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, 
and send some to those who have nothing prepared. 
This day is holy to our Lord. 
Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”