Friday, May 31, 2024

Between the Living and the Dead


They flipped through the photo album like it was a holy book.

“I remember this phase,” he said. “You looked like death.”

“As did you,” she reminded him.

They laughed a lot and wept a little remembering the past. So many days wasted.

He turned the page.

“This is when the light came on in your eyes.”

She looked closely. It was. She could see it too.

He continued, “One day we were peas in a pod. The next day you were different.”

She nodded.

He was silent for quite some time, then asked, “Did I ever tell you about my dream?”

No. He hadn’t.

His voice cleared and he told it as if he’d been mulling it over for 34 years.

“You were in front of me, talking about something to do with your kitchen. Really. Just an ordinary day and ordinary words and a folded dish towel you put on the counter. It was sudden, but it wasn’t. Somehow in the dream I knew it wasn’t just you. It was this great cloud. You were gone. They were gone. I was standing alone in your kitchen looking at where you had been. I could see you in the sky, in a way, though you weren’t there either.”

She listened.

He went on, “You asked Jesus not to forget me.”

She was surprised, but not really.

“He didn’t forget me,” his voice cracked. “He froze everything. The sky. The people. You, even.”

“For how long?” She wanted details.

He smiled as he said, “Almost 80 years, the length of my lifetime. He waited for me.”

They wept as they remembered these things.

Friday, May 24, 2024

The Room of Many Gods


Her name meant many. She lived up to it. Many embraced the world and all that was in it. She had many friends from many places, multiples and others and more. She took it all in, the whole of existence, the things that are and those only dreamed to be. She filled her home and her heart with them. There was not one thing Many left outside her door. It was all welcome.

In the soul of her home, a small room in the center of it, Mary gathered the gods of the nations. She prided herself in their presence with her. Shelves held those she could not hold in her arms, great sculptures of this and that, twisted arms and gallant poses, proud faces. Her heart held the mighty, those who were tall or crouched and reaching far and wide, too wide for a shelf. Her floor was filled with them, idols who were idle, unmovable but fierce. She loved them all. They served her, as best they could, in that room, in that one place, without leaving it.

Friend visited her sometimes. Friend’s name meant, well, friend. She stood outside the room of gods but would not go in.

“What do they do?” Friend asked Many.

Many smiled. She didn’t really have an answer, but she liked having them there.

“They don’t have to do anything,” she explained. “I do everything for them.”

Many pulled a small mat from the room into another and offered it to Friend to sit on.

“I cannot,” said Friend with no explanation.

Many smiled again. She was happy with whatever was said to her. A yes or a no, it made no difference to her. She was her own joy and was fine with all else that was someone else’s. Many was like water. She flowed wherever the world took her.

“I was hoping you’d visit today,” she told Friend. “I have something to ask you.”

Friend was curious. She leaned in.

Many gathered herself. Motioning to her room of gods, she addressed Friend with the utmost sincerity.

“I would like a symbol of your god,” she said.

Friend was surprised. Astonished. If Many had known more about her God she would not have asked such a thing. Her God would eat up all the rest. There would be no other gods.

“A symbol,” was all Friend could think to say.

“Yes!” Many was excited, “A cross maybe? Or do you have a statue of Jesus?”

Friend gasped. She didn’t fully understand why that was her reaction, but she had the sense Many was asking for a ball of fire but had no idea. It wasn’t disrespect, but lack of knowledge. Jesus is more than a statue and Many did not know that. Friend had the sudden realization that she had not told these things to Many and so Many did not know.

“I cannot,” was all she could think to say.

“It doesn’t have to be elaborate,” Many offered. “Jesus was simple himself, right? A plain wooden cross, maybe? Small, not too big. I don’t want him blocking out the view of the others.”

Friend nodded. She understood, but Many did not. He would block out all the others. That is what He does.

She repeated, “I cannot.”

Many suggested she could make one herself and put it in the room.

Friend was still.

Unbothered, Many fashioned a small wooden cross out of some sticks from her mantle. Simple, like Jesus, unmoving like her other gods. She placed it in the middle of the room.

“See?” She said to Friend, “Like that. No big deal.”

She asked Friend to bless it.

“I cannot,” came the awkward reply.

Many, always eager to please, took no offense and merely offered to bless it herself.

She said simply, “Jesus…” and her voice trailed off.

She froze. Friend froze. The room changed.

“What has happened here?” She asked Friend.

Friend replied simply, “He’s different.”

Suddenly, Many understood.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Do you know birds?


just saw a little bird 

chase off a big bird (not Big Bird...ha ha).

A big bird.

The little bird won.

How did it do that?

Monday, May 20, 2024

Tast and See



tastes better

than doing it right the first time.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Be Like Helen Dawson


When I was a child my mom had a friend who took us to her bible study. I was about nine. I remember going and coming home in her van. I remember the presence of God with us. She didn't do anything memorable herself, but somehow her steadfast faith made an impression on me and I recall it all these years later. I am almost certain she prayed for me, then and probably for many years afterwards. I am certain of it, actually. She impacted my life.

I asked my mom about her this morning. Turns out, she was a teacher. She was the same teacher who confiscated candy from me one day in Jr. High and had it drug-tested just in case. She told my mom. They waited for the results. It was candy. I don't know why this story makes me smile so big now. I suspect she watched us kids with concern in those days and my friends' friends or a friend may have been on her radar, so she watched me too. That warms my heart today. It also reminds me that the Lord has been with me all along. 

Thank you, Helen Dawson, wherever you are.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

How does the Lord feel about you?


(Trouble me) disturb me with all your cares and your worries 

(Trouble me) on the days when you feel spent

Why let your shoulders bend 

Underneath this burden 

When my back is sturdy and strong? 

Trouble me

(Speak to me) don't mislead me 

The calm I feel means a storm is swelling 

(Speak to me) there's no telling where it starts or how it ends 

(Speak to me) why are you building this thick brick wall to defend me 

(Speak to me) when your silence is my greatest fear?

Why let your shoulders bend 

Underneath this burden 

When my back is sturdy and strong? 

Speak to me

(Let me) have a look inside these eyes while I'm learning 

(Let me) please don't hide them just because of tears 

(Let me) send you off to sleep with a 

"There, there, now stop your turning and tossing" 

(Let me) let me know where the hurt is and how to heal


Spare me 

Don't spare me anything 


(Trouble me) disturb me with all your cares and your worries 

(Speak to me) and let our words build a shelter from the storm 

(Let me) and lastly, let me know what I can mend

There's more, honestly 

Than my sweet friend, you can see 

Trust is what I'm offering 

If you trouble me

"Trouble Me" by Natalie Merchant, Dennis Drew, 10,000 Maniacs

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

End of War


The war ended that day. Suddenly, without warning, it stopped in its tracks. The tanks were recalled by the king, the plans rolled up and tossed away. It was finished. Lost or won. It stopped and we all looked up and forgave our enemies. Did we have enemies? Not really. The battle was between good and evil. We only chose sides. Then it was over and we went home. 

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Do You Want to be Carried?


“The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.”

Deuteronomy 1:30-31