Whispered Words

My prayers are but whispered words
From a yearning, desperate, fallible heart.

Mist between tall hills.
Breath between pangs.

Yet any power they possess
Does not rest on my small human capacity.

They are gathered by an eternal hand
That has raised mountains and stirred oceans.

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Burn it

Some days
I wish the past

Was a shed out back
Falling-down shabby shack
Barn-like amnesiac
Full-blown 4-alarm panic attack

Packed full of every bad time.

I’d burn it down
Raze it to the ground
Not an ash to be found
My mind unbound

Flames call to this firebrand
Set matches to this misused land
Jump on chance and take your stand
But. On the other hand…

You’d burn with it
Forget it

King of the Hill

Crispy Christmas Moon,
Crowning above this crowd of clouds,
Light our winter solstice play
With blinding joy the coldness shrouds

Silvery slivers of sled rail trails
The last of the riders wander home
I alone on this silent hill enthroned
Witness your brilliant-white soft dome

Bright as day
So glad you chose to come this way
I pray you’ll stay
But dream of you when we turn gray

 

Dream House

So. One Christmas. Can’t remember how old I was. Some age below puberty. I wanted a Barbie Dream Cottage. The one with the elevator.

My mom had made a dollhouse years ago out of cardboard and leftover scraps. It was amazing! It had furniture and everything. It wasn’t very big, but the time and effort she put into it was much appreciated. We wore it out and tore it up.

But now. A few years later. I wanted a big-girl Barbie Dream Cottage. The real deal. And she got it.

She put it in her closet. In plain sight. The box was so big that you could just walk in their room and see the bright-white box gleaming from the closet shelf. Even if she would have wrapped it, I would have known what I was getting. Subtlety had been
prison-stabbed a long time ago in this family.

So. I saw it. Probably a week or more before Christmas. When I saw it, I immediately started begging my mother to let me open it early.

Please, please, please. *Heavy breathing and groaning*

I just had this deep, deep anxiety, anticipation, worry, eagerness. If I didn’t get the cottage now, I will have wasted all of this Christmas vacation play time.

Kids have several days off before Christmas. Sitting at home. Waiting for Christmas to arrive. Swallowing their excitement over and over like big gulps of air until they hyperventilate on Christmas. It’s completely and totally insane.

While adults are preparing the food, and the tree, and the food, and the presents, the food and the food, and the nog, and the food. Kids are watching TV, filling their gobs with bon-bons, hopefully running in and out of the snow and shaking presents like Polaroid pictures.

What did she expect? From me? Slobberbox McWhiny-Pants?

Please. Please. Pleeeeease.

She relinquished.

I could tell she was upset and very disappointed. Frustrated. Mad. She hated my lack of self-control in that moment. I know she did.

But she left me have it. (LOL, oh boy, did she left me have it) On one condition. No, and I mean no, help in putting it together.

Crap!

I ran to the closet. I tore that box open like a box of Twinkies. Laid out all the parts and started assembling. I looked at the instructions briefly, but intuitively knew what went where. Mostly. I got to a point where something had to be screwed.

Crap!

I knew where the screwdriver was and I ran to get it. I started screwing that Barbie cottage up. Royally.

Something went wrong and I put the wrong screw in the wrong hole or screwed it too far or something. I warped the heavy plastic on the roof and it turned a lighter shade of orange. Some parts had to be taped. Scotch tape. But I put it together.

I was mildly disappointed. But at the same time thrilled and slightly proud of myself for wrestling my mother into a rarely-achieved coup, putting together a complex gift, and to be immediately playing with my new toy before Christmas. I was the only one with a gift! Ha!

That pride and newness quickly waned. When Christmas finally arrived, I had lost any thrill and was jealous of those receiving presents and I had none to open.

Crap!

I learned a hard lesson that day. One that my mother was willing to teach me. Best to wait. Wait for help. Wait for others. Enjoy each moment, with or without a gift. Wait for joy. It’s better when you wait. Or! Joy is not in receiving a gift, joy is found in obedience, patience and self-control. Restraint is its own reward.

But I had that Barbie Dream Cottage until I was 15? I hadn’t played with it for years, but I held on to it. It was the most expensive thing I owned, to that point. Ha. Then I gave it to another little girl.

Merry Christmas.

Gifted

It has been famously said, by many people, “Life is a gift.” In many ways, with many words.

My dear Christians. Are you still living your life as if it were a gift? That you inherently received grace or life because God knew how awesome you were going to be and you don’t have to do anything with your gift? You just sit and enjoy merely breathing? Staring at your present under the tree and never taking it out of the box?

Everyone on the planet takes their life for granted, at one point or another. People throw their gift on the fire because they lose the wonder of love.

Jesus is the gift.

Your life?

Your life is meant to be the offering.

Empty boxes after Christmas are lives unlived. Unwrapped.

Jesus is the salvation of the world. We are the gold, frankincense and myrrh brought to the foot of the cross by our sacrifice and honor and glorification of God. Our actions, thoughts and faith are the offering. We must be conscious of that every second.

Our existence is not to be brought gifts or to be thanked or to be served. Or to be rewarded or acknowledged for breathing in and out. Our life is to do the will of God.

And when we don’t?

We are not Christians. We are merely people thankful to be alive. Surviving one more day in this crazy, messed up world. That’s the human condition and Jesus is the medicine.

So. Give gifts. Give the gift of love and kindness. Not things. And don’t wait around for Christmas. Make offerings, every day, for love.

Hope Breaks These Clouds

God is close to the broken-hearted
Mercy is where his grace has started
Carved-out justice of rock he made
Starve the devil on blood-soaked pearls once paid
Love falls down in chunks of fluff
All-time sacrifice was more than enough
Undeserved.
Sacred word
Hope rises on this cloud-breaking bird

Broken-hearted

Heart broken
Sad beyond words
Despair and anger
Pick at me like birds

I lay in the ashes
Mixed with tears and spit
Swirled dirt and blood
This is where I quit

You left me here
Alone in the world
To drown in this whirling
Pool that you purled

Where’s your spirit
Where’s your strength
Where’s your promise
Past arm’s length

You’re dead
You only live in me
But if I’m numb
What good will there be

I’m at a loss
To know what to do
If something’s done
It’s gotta be you

You’re the only reason for living
So how can I exist
When you’re not here
My fingers crumble from a fist
My head remains unkissed
Erased from some list
What’s the point in this

Copland Clouds

Aaron Copland clouds
Violin-flavored skies
Trumpets and strings
Brilliant blue with wings
Plucked from the scores of paradise

Rose gold rays, long-tall days
This is where even devil prays
Brass beds, brass bands
Grass-fed. Prairieland.
Worry and fear are always my strays

Green as far as the sun can swing
No fence to stop a living thing
Rolling hills, sunlight spills
From the top of the world, I sing

Yellow fields sway
Harps of angels play
Blue blazes
Horse grazes
Cowboy gazes

And I dream that these ghosts will stay.