Saturday, January 12, 2019

That's Me in the Corner

Every whisper
Of every waking hour
I'm choosing my confessions
Trying to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool, fool

That's me in the corner... Lord know's I've been in the corner before. You've heard of of the proverbial dunce cap and stool? Mrs. Willis, my Fifth Grade Teacher actually brought them in just for me. She wasn't fond of my tendency to get up and run around the room at unexpected times. 

She retired that year.

I really haven't changed all that much... and, Aspire knows exactly where to put me. Yes, that's me in the corner. My reputation precedes me here. I worked for the company twenty years ago. My direct report from then is now a corporate VP and the therapist who I roasted (while wearing a dress and heels) is now the CEO.

She met me in front of my orientation group on day two and told them all about it. Apparently, it is on VHS in company archives and is the stuff of company lore. 

That's me in the spotlight...

Losing my religion? Nah, not so much. I have learned that I will be initiated by the executive management at a meeting this coming Friday. After I endure whatever baptism they've planned, I am expected to tell them my story. I am thrilled!

When I share my story, I share my faith. I'm ready.

That's me in the corner office and that's me in the spotlight choosing my confessions. I'm a hurt, lost, and blinded fool who has yielded life to the One who stands in my corner.

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; 
I have called you by name, you are mine. 
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; 
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; 
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, 
and the flame shall not consume you. 
For I am the Lord you God, 
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. 

-Isaiah 43:1-3

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Above Thy Deep and Dreamless Sleep

It is in places of great sorrow where God and humanity collapse. Miracles happen in those places where the Divine meets our tears. It is good to be torn by what we have lost and to be consumed by the silence. Deep and dreamless sleep is elusive from our God-scorched soul shadows. His image burned into our flesh and His passion bleeding from our veins. Great love meets unbearable pain and the beauty drowns out the sky.

Madness sieges the minds of the sane through the weapon of streaming consciousness. Neon lights from the upscale strip mall outside my window invade my space to compete under a timeless sky with Rachel of old weeping for her lost child, King Herod drenching the land with the blood of a thousand infants, and angels that pierce through the darkness in a land called Bethlehem.

The moonlight beckons deeper as I ponder [head on pillow] tonight with streaming consciousness in a new land, with reflections of: Rachel, Herod, Bethlehem, Carmel, 1874, and 1974. They are all snapshots of places and times of loss and hope. I am a Shepherd under silent stars.

I am a Shepherd under silent stars.

I turn my head from this vantage, scanning a new horizon with familiarity. Another time I was in this place... it was me that stood here then, but I am someone different as I hold this ground today. A new city, a new job, new schools, a new roof covers my head. The promise is true that each morning can be new. 

Coincidental parallels flash as beacons to illuminate truths. My father was born in this land. My grandfather who once prayed over me is memorialized as repeat play each moment I think of the name of this town... Carmel. His first prayers covered me in 1974. This town was founded 100 years earlier... 1874. 

"In a hunnert [hundred] years, nobody'll know the difference." He said that whenever I'd help him build. We built decks, fences, and houses. I know now that he was building so much more. He was building me... and that has made all the difference. 

There are no coincidences here. 

This is a place of a violent collision of sorrow and unimaginable hope. This is Bethlehem. A land of great hope that has been birthed from great loss. I am so grateful. So very grateful. Above Thy deep and dreamless sleep, above time, above the face of the darkness... through the water and through the blood... there is nothing but peace. 

Qoheleth knew it... God whispered in his ear under dark skies and empty streets, "The end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments..."

When the shattered pieces disturb the dust of the earth, and the desolation consumes the light... there is still God in the darkness, resting deep in dreamless imaginings... ready to create. I never walk in darkness. Even the thickest of darkness is filled, He dwells there. 

I tremble in the darkness, but it is not the darkness that fills me with fear. His deep and dreamless presence is above, below, to all the aspirations of the compass. I tremble because He whispers to me in the darkest of places. I cannot escape Him and I tremble with fear, with relief, and with an incomparable thankful, bleeding, and beating heart.

I am not worthy to be here. But I know that I am placed here by the one who fills the darkness with a burning light. And so I rest here. I lay down my weapons. I yield to this landscape. I breath deep the cutting night air and I lean in to the sounds of angels. He has set me in this place. 

And in this place I will keep my watch.