Song of Hope

Come, gentle rain, come

Cleanse the earth of all sin

Brighten the world

With the color of blooms

Blossoming under your watchful eye

Drip, drop upon the soil

Soak deep into the dirt

Feed tiny creatures down below

Feed forgotten roots, long dry

Yearning for your magic touch

Watch, oh, kind heart

As rejoicing spreads

Across the world

Wild with unmatched hues

Breaking out in fervent song

As all sing of your glory

Sing of the gift of life

Praise renewal of the spirit

Knee-deep in exuberance

Smiling the smile of hope

Come, gentle rain, come

Drip, drop upon the soil

Watch, oh, kind heart

As all sing of your glory

Soapsuds

Soapsuds, please, scour away

The scalding tears searing

My pathetic, rapidly pounding heart

Erase the train-track rivulets

Tumbling terribly into the very

Fiber of my frivolous, fragile feelings

Blot out the blanketing pools

Pulsating through my pores

Preventing my pupils from seeking sight

My heart aches horribly

Heat burns through the hull with a

Heaviness that drags me into my private hell

I yearn for luminosity of light

The cleansing cacophony of children’s

Mesmerizing melodies of merriment

Refreshing refrains of unadulterated relief

To wipe away the weariness weighing down

On my overburdened shoulders

Comforting water, wash a cool calmness

Over me, obliterate this one source of pain

So that my open spirit may rise with the dawn

Bubbles babble at my unburdened feet

Boosting me into the blueness of sky

Freeing me to begin at the beginning

Before the pain blocked my peripheral view

I can see more clearly now, for the scrub

Has done me great good.

Thanks to God’s Helpers

God appears as a total stranger

When you least expect Him.

In the form of the woman

Who perilously stopped at the side

Of the road and ran to our rescue,

Terror crossing her face, thinking only

Of the safety of those tossed about

Expecting injured bodies,

Her cell phone in hand

And already calling for help.

In the shape of the dark-haired man

Who stopped on the shoulder of the road

And ran to our car

Wearing his EMT jacket and asking

Over and over, “Is anyone hurt?”

Who did not leave until he saw

Us safely back on the highway

And driving away.

In the face of the kind Army officer

Dressed in his snug winter khaki green

Uniform, face full of concern,

Who jumped from his own car and ran,

Thinking the baby inside might be hurt.

Then climbed behind the wheel and drove

So carefully out of the ditch

Then cautioned us to be careful and to

Return home to the safety of our loved ones.

Thanks to the truck driver who passed by first

After witnessing our zigzag route

Across the ice-encrusted road.

Who smiled when I climbed out uninjured

And honked in sympathy to let us know

That he had called for help.

Thanks to the snowplow driver

Who waved as he went by in the fast lane

A salute to the living

A salute to the blessed survivors

Who were able to get up and walk away.

Thanks to the countless others

Who took time from their busy lives

To care about total strangers

Stranded in a snow back,

Two women

And a child strapped into her seat

Cold, but safe from harm.

All these carried Jesus in their hearts

Opening themselves to the

Possibility of grace returned in equally measure.

God’s grace falling in the snow

Of redemption.

For all these things and many more

We bless the Lord this day

And grant them peace and serenity

All the days of their lives.

The Shell

Walking along the beach

I found a shell,

An ordinary shell.

Perfectly formed.

Six rows of ridges

Ruffles

Completely round

Except for where it joined

Its twin when still whole.

It felt surprisingly cool

And light

As it its soul’s mate

Disappeared long ago.

As I stare out at the Pacific Ocean

I wonder where this clam

Might have lived

And how it got to this spot

On this day

In time for me to pick it up.

Years ago my family moved

To California

A long journey.

I felt the hollowness

Of forced abandonment.

Like the clam

I was not in charge of my destiny

That power lay in my parent’s hands.

I was an ordinary teen

No great beauty

Smart, but lacking common sense

Or so I had been told,

So I had no say in the decision-making.

My parents picked the city,

The house, even the school

All I did was move in

Confined by their overarching rules

Until I went away to college.

For years I drifted through life

Swept by the tides

Working at one job, then another

Until marriage grounded me.

Now I stand with feet deep in sand

Rejoicing in the gifts given me.

Much like this simple shell

Held in my hand.

Love Me Tenderly

Love me with all your heart

Or bid me goodbye.

Very few have touched me

Even though many have tried.

My mind spins at cyclone speed

Even when asleep, and so

The challenge is complex.

Enough so that I stand alone.

No one by my side as I cry

Dear One, come to me

Each day, every night.

Reaching for that special person,

Looking for the light love,

Yearning for precious caught moments.

Tough Words

When your dream becomes a reality

you will believe, with some certainty

all your hard work was worth the effort

now earning you well-deserved comfort.

The sky is the limit, some will say

and encourage you to not delay

the constant climb for the cherished prize.

Only then will there be no surprise.

The path is rutted and deadly steep,

filled with boulders and crevices deep.

Yet each small step leads toward success.

You have to focus, with faithfulness.

Dreams are supposed to inspire us, true.

Failure and struggles will challenge you,

orchestrating real disharmony.

Though the reason is still unclear to me.

A Humbled Man

Things have been rough this year.

My wife died giving birth to a stillborn child.

I lost my job to a younger man.

The earth shook and things went wild.

Alcohol became my best friend

Keeping me warm on cold winter nights.

Teeth fell out and tongue turned brown

And vagrants challenged me to fights.

One rainy night, down on my luck,

No nickel to my tarnished name,

I stumbled into an empty house

Where I could hide in shame.

I searched through cabinets covered in dust

And looked under every loose board

Hoping to find a morsel to eat,

A blanket, a shirt, anything to add to my hoard.

Upstairs in what was a little boy’s room

A magical things I did find.

Buried beneath a pile of rags,

A book to challenge my mind.

A stubble of candle sat on a shelf

And so I quickly lit it with glee.

By the flickering light I eagerly read.

A realization soon came to me.

The story spoke of a man long ago

Who owned very little but love.

He roamed his world bringing peace,

Goodwill, a message from God above.

I am like He, I began to think,

With nothing to lose nor fear.

Resolved to act I fell asleep

Like a child, both loved and dear.

When the new sun brightened the world

I stumbled, confusedly, into the hall.

For there surrounded in unearthly glow

Hovered the Man to whom I did fall.

“My Lord, forgive this humble man

who long ago fell out out of Your grace.

Today I beg you, I am renewed

And ready to take my place.”

A breeze arose, tore off my rags

And dried the tears from my eyes.

Gentle fingers brushed my cheek

And lifted away my cries.

That was the day when I took control

And rejoined the human race.

From that day forward I was His man

And walked with smiling face.

I now believe that my wife and child

Truly did not die in vain,

For their sacrifice brought me back to God

And to feel His love again.

Missing Him

           

I wonder where my dad is now?

What country or what town?

Do the people even know he’s there?

And care about his men?

I wonder what he’s thinking of?

While I stare at the clouds?

Does he see the same sky that I see?

And smile at the bright sun?

I wonder if he questions

What the war is all about?

Does it make a difference what he does?

And how will it all come out?

I wonder when he does come home

Whom he will smile at first?

Do you think he’ll even recognize me?

And know that I’m his son?

I wonder if he wonders

What I’m thinking of today?

Does he pray for me on bended knee?

And whisper I love you?

Talk to Me About God

Let’s not argue about God.

Whether you believe in a He

     or a She,

Buddha, Yahweh, Christ,

or the words of Kahlil Gibran,

or maybe no god at all other

than the inner workings

of your soul,

matters not.

Why waste our time discussing

the merits of one or the other,

when all speak a common

language?

Tranquility, peace, love,

care for humankind,

trust, giving from the heart,

faithfulness

and honesty,

are more important than

whose “god” is holier.

It makes no difference if you are

born again, or

newly discovered,

a long-time believer,

or a thinking-about-it

skeptic,

for we all approach faith

in our own way,

in our own time.

Tell me about your God,

for I truly want to know.

Show me, not with words,

but with actions,

what it means to follow

His/Her way.

I’ll listen, with open mind

and heart,

for who’s to say

which way of believing

is better?

Not me.

God’s Face

Desolate cliffs stand at the place

Where first I gazed upon God’s face

No shrubs or grass to brighten here

No rabbits, birds or white-tipped deer

Sadness reigned throughout my being

Blocked the sunshine from me seeing

Clouds above, below and within

Blackness covered every inch of skin

Upon the edge I placed my feet

Willingly admitted defeat

Dreamt of freedom’s staccato beat

Thought of God whom I soon would meet

When birds did fly into the scene

I wondered what it all might mean

Did He expect me to believe

Relief would help me not to grieve?

As icing on my private cake

A rainbow appeared that did remake

Lifeless soil into softened down

As comfort for my furrowed frown

With crash of waves upon the shore

I realized that I wanted more

Than living life like troubled boar

Whose blackened heart on shoulders wore

The sun burst forth upon a wave

Strode to my heart; pierced with a stave

Releasing sadness, doubt and fear

Then my savior, God, did appear

Now rabbits, birds and white-tipped deer

Frequently to this place appear

Marvelous cliffs to mark the place

Where first I gazed upon God’s face.