World Turned Upside Down

 

Backwards planet.
Is this how God planned it?
No love.  No forgiveness.
We continue to live this
Screwed-up existence.

The Lord’s premise-
Turn cheek.

The Lord’s promise-
Reward meek.

The Lord’s command-
Love enemies.

The Lord’s demand-
Child-like faith.

Enter into this holy place as a kid.
Kingdom come.
The least of these is the greatest.
Last shall be first.

In order to gain your life, you must lose it.
Immediately elusive.

Gifts from giving,
Strength from strife,
Honor from oppression,
From death to life,

Upside down.

The Lord’s Lament-
Oceans of tears cried,
For my only son,
Surrendered and died.
But the greatest sorrow?
The greatest pain?
How many people will die in vain?

His love for me is upside down.

I deserve to bleed and He covers me with His blood.
The most powerful being in the universe came as a baby.

Upside down.

He uses the most cruel symbol of death, the cross, to communicate to the world,
“Here is eternal life!”

Upside down.

He takes this world…my world and turns it upside down.

Thank God.

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Rainbows and Ice Cream

Photo credit: Guy Maggio


Thanks, Venice Avenue Creamery! After we stopped in for a dessert, we were treated to some actual rainbow sprinkles on the way out. It’s all sunshine, rainbows and ice cream down here in beautiful Florida. 🙂 Try the lemon sorbet. It’s lemon-ninny!

EAT!

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”
Said the man who blew his brains out.
Sorry if that seems course,
But Hemingway would understand.

Write?
Yes.
Hard and clear?
Yes.
What hurts?
Everything.

Isn’t that why you became a writer in the first place
Instead of blowing your brains out?

I’m far too sensitive to my environment to be a normal person.
I am:
Someone vulnerable to suicide.
Someone who writes and thinks about sunsets, and waves, and injustice.
Someone who wonders how the world was created.
Or why the world was created. Or who created the world.

I have to taste life twice because I can’t believe how rich it is.
I want to savor
The full-bodied flavor
Of life in its burgeoning flourish.

The blossoming zest and delicious zing.
The sour punch of even a sting.

To gorge on the layered palate/palette of artistry that is our living, breathing world,
Even bitterness,
Is a meal too sumptuous to refuse.
But I can understand why Ernest would want to push away from the table.

Growing Doubt

If you’re going to plant something, make it your:
Feet.
Humility.
Kindness.
Reliance on God.

Don’t plant doubt. Doubt is a weed.
Grows fast and takes over everything.
No fruit or flowers can grow
With doubt around.

Doubt will have your well-maintained yard of confidence
Looking like:
A Jungle. Chaos. Hell.
In no time.

Who’s the:
Constant Gardener?
Lily-tender?
Bird-feeder?
Weed-killer?

God
Jesus
Holy Spirit

Doubt is like poison ivy:
Invasive.
Creeping.
Starts an itch that can’t be satisfied.

Once doubt takes over, I can’t stop it.
I’d have to burn my whole house down
To the ground
To beat it.

Scorched earth.
Have no worth.
I steal my mirth
With a Confidence dearth.

I can’t keep this yard on my own. Ask for help.
I’m an inexperienced novice with no skills.
No one ever taught me how to be awesome.
Everyone only reminded me of fear and failure.

God’s been doing this since the beginning of time.
OG-Original Gardener.
So pay attention.
Leave intention.

Oh, Petal. Doubt has no place
In a garden of self-esteem and worth.
Stop tearing up this dirt, sweating over the hurt.
Stop watering negativity with tears, bitterness, and concern.

We were made to blossom and thrive, Buttercup.
Don’t worry, Late-Bloomer.
Every plant has its cycle. Be patient.
Sometimes, the most rare flowers take the longest.

My value and worth aren’t earned.
Or learned.
They. Are. Inherited.
Passed down from my Father.

Genetic. Kinetic. Poetic. Prophetic.

No one can take it away.
No one. Not even myself.
Unless I give permission.
So how can I doubt that, Tulip?

Deep Calls To Deep

I just read an article online about this verse:

Psalm 42:7
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

The article, which I won’t link to here because I’m about to disagree (LOL), states that this could be David lamenting about his troubles. Watching a waterfall spill on top of itself, churning up bad memories and events.

I disagree.

This verse calls to me. Calls to the deep. Are you deep?

Meaningful calls to meaningful. Intelligent calls to intelligent. Known calls to known. God calls to those who seek Him. And those who seek Him hear His voice.

At the beginning of the psalm, David is talking about his deep yearning, thirst, for God. Deep calls to deep as thirst calls to water. Connected. Deep connection. One must satisfy the other. God must satisfy our desire. You cannot slake thirst with anything but water. Deep calls FOR deep.

The article did hit on one detail. They talked about the metaphor of water. The bible talks about water many times. The flood of Noah. The punishment of Egypt and the salvation and ransom of Israel with the parting of the Red Sea. The direction of Jonah. The baptism of Christ. Jacob’s well-the well at which Jesus met the woman. The spring of eternal life bubbling up inside. The thirst that is quenched with the words of God. Jesus as the fisher of men. The boat saved. The storm stilled. Water was used over and over in the bible as a cleansing, a washing away of sin and fear. Life-giving, life-changing water.

The article said that the use of water in this instance is a mighty force. Yes. I agree.

That force here is God. IMO. Deep calls to deep. God calls to holy? He calls us. The roar of your waterfall. The fall of your grace down upon our sin and it is washed away. Your mighty power pounds away at the rock of sin. And we don’t sink. We bubble up and float away with the hope of a full and deep river. All your waves and breakers have swept over me.

If you’ve ever been in the ocean, just at the shore, the waves crash and agitate relentlessly. The water is constantly churning the sand and shells to break over and over on land. It’s a washing machine of sorts. And so is our daily-renewed relationship with the Spirit. Grinding down the broken pieces. Smoothing out the rough edges.

The tide of the Spirit comes in and offers up treasures and fruits of the sea. Shells of patience. Drops of love. Foamy, soft breakers of joy. Rolling push-pull of generosity. Sweeping kindness. Salty spray of endurance. Permanence of self-control.

Yes. Water. God is powerful. His waves and breakers have swept over me. He calls to me. Softens me. Renews me.

His love is deep. Deep calls to deep. Love calls to love. It is not trouble I picture. It is mighty power sweeping over, overwhelming my sin. Rescuing me from trouble. Calling me above my weakness. Raising my sunken body from the floor, floating to the top of good. Calling me close. Calling to my depth. Bringing hope to the dark, still bottom that nothing but Water can reach.

Trouble and sin cannot exist where the Water and Light can touch. He has swept away trouble with His power.

His “…power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Or–His function is used in our shortcomings. Does that make sense?

These are just my thoughts. I’m no theologian. But I love this verse and it means so much to me. God calls to my inmost being. The person he created and knew before my parents gave birth. He calls to my soul. He knows me. He has power over me. He rights my wrongs. He is my help. He is within me. And I am made from Him. Deep calls to deep. Kind calls to kind. And I have been swept clean by His mighty force. I have been refined by Your constant loving water.

 

Paterfamilias

That’s a snap of my dad. I’m the little red-hooded halfling almost cropped out, just behind him. Nice jean jacket, Dad.


My dad didn’t give me much. What he did give me though is everything. A sense of humor. Learning to laugh at yourself is so important. When you have nothing else, e.g. talent, ability, grace or aptitude; if you have a sense of humor, you can endure all things.

My dad used to say things like, “I work my country ass off!” And, “Give me hell, I’m the devil.” LOL

One day, in a mood of silliness, my dad tied two brightly-colored balloons to his ears. They floated high above his bald head as he walked out of Wal-mart, greeting each new customer, “Thank you for shopping at Wal-mart.” I was humiliated on the outside, but inside, I was screaming, “Yeah, my dad’s a fuggin’ freak and that’s friggin’ awesome! Let your freak flag fly, Daddy!” LOL I wish I had been brave enough to show him my approval. It might have comforted him to know that he wasn’t alone.

My dad was also abusive. Verbally, emotionally and sometimes, very rarely, physically. I forgive him for that. I have forgiven him for a long time. I remember the abuse, but I choose to focus on the positive things; the love he gave, the tenderness he showed, the loyalty he displayed.

Another memory that I will never forget is the day my father showed me the greatest amount of tenderness. I asked if I go could run an errand with him in the old Ford pickup we used around the farm. Typically, he begrudgingly allowed me to tag along, but sometimes not at all. But this day, he was excited to have me.

I hopped up in the cab with him and he laid his giant hand on the well-worn bench seat. “Are you my pardner?” I grabbed his meaty paw and said lovingly, “Yeah, Dad.”

We didn’t say much else. Just smiles and camaraderie.

No other memory of him was as meaningful and sustaining. He’s gone. 27 years he’s been gone. He’s been gone for longer than I had him in my life. But his closeness is nearer than ever before. I hope that he looks down on me with approval, but the truth is, I’m sure he’s too busy enjoying paradise.

I love you, Dad! Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for my sense of humor.


And Happy Father’s Day to the best dad I know, Guy Maggio. You’re an amazing example of love, grace and acceptance. Even if you don’t always know what to say or do, you’re here, you care and whatta sense of humor! You make life more than bearable. You make it exciting. Worth living. Love you. Thank you for being my baby-daddy.

By His Wounds

Jesus is the Physician that came to heal the sick,
Not the well.

Jesus is the Lover that came to embrace the hateful/hated,
Not the pretenders.

Jesus is the Savior that came to rescue the sinners,
Not the saints.

Jesus is the Redeemer that came to raise the dead.
To sound the alarm and resurrect the lost.

He left the 99
To find the 1.

Get found.


Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Amen.