Tuesday, September 25, 2018

She Is Not Afraid of the Snow

 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

In the contour of her face I see her character. Spirited eyes above cheekbones wink with a vivacious view of a life meant to be caught. The line of her mouth can temper the emotion of an entire room with a mere upturn or frown. A resilient tenacity dares anyone to cross her and is set in the silhouette of her jawline and neck.  

Raspberry drizzled cheesecake on white china reminds me of another so dear to my primal heart. I close my eyes in the dim light and and smile as I ever so faintly hear the warm memory of her laugh. My soul is warmed to a shiver as I realize that the universe has placed the best parts of my beloved Mammaw deep in the being of my daughter.

A calm peace covers my mind as the chaos and noise that often dominate my thoughts ware gone as if covered by a thick blanket of freshly fallen snow. The crimson of the raspberry sauce fills my tastes and covers my senses. This moment is sealed in memory as one of those eternally captured snow-globe panoramas of reminiscence.

Reaching back in my mind I see a snow covered day with my Mammaw Ruth filled with a plastic disc sled, a bounding golden retriever, a risky road-trip adventure to Wendy's and the warmth of loving what the day could offer with her. She opened my eyes to the beauty found in the every day of living. She covered the mundane bleakness of life with crashing waves of fierce crimson, dished out as drizzled cheesecake, laughter, and kisses.

I look up to the face of my daughter, Aleks. I am amazed by her ability to laugh and find beauty in all circumstances. I watch her movements as candles reflect on her face. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the times to come. 

I nearly weep with the realization that my life is so richly blessed by these two women of virtue. 

Proverbs 31: 21 and 25.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Calling Back the Past

Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God calls back the past.

In the darkness I write with rain falling against the glass. This week has been life and death, promise and despair, both shadow and sunlight. I've basked in the light and I've asked the darkness to hide me.

I've prayed bold prayers, felt immediate assurance, and seen impossible solutions. A happenstance meeting on a street corner resulting in a prayer with a desolate despondent who became rescued and loved.

I have of late stared at the enemy of all things good as he leers at me from across the chasm. I remember the day when I realized that the enemy of souls took note of me. It was terrifying. Sure, evil has always pursued me, but I was part of a more general target. 

As part of a local task force I've been able to reach into some of the most devastated lives in the county and spread real hope. We've seen miracles. We've lost more lives than we've seen changed, but every changed life is exponential with hope. 

There is no fair in warfare. The enemy of my soul has failed against my savior, and so he prowls over those things that are still within his reach, and most precious to me. From all that I've seen lost on the streets, I've learned to hold my family all that much closer.

Too many lives that I've crossed began with a happy little family that became destroyed by a choice or a series of choices. We are all so weak. There are none of us who are as strong as we think we are. And so this humility and recognition of vulnerability must result in a self-less abandonment of status quo, replaced by an all-out yield to the way of my creator.

There is nothing that is too big, no chasm too wide, no wandered path that is too far. As Moses said to the people, God is not so far that He must somehow be retrieved, rather He abides in our mouths and hearts. He is our God and we are His people.

And so each day is a renewal of the mind as I freshly abandon the things of self: pride, anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, lust, and take on those things of His Spirit: the true, the noble, the authentic, the reputable, the compelling, the beautiful, and in an attitude of thankfulness.

Surely what I have already been saved from is far greater than those things I fear in the darkness. There is a light that shines in the darkness and it illuminates today, burning out the shadows of past and painting the horizon of tomorrow.

And so with the fierce brow of a father protecting his children I return that stare across the chasm into the face of the destroyer and I say, "Not here. Not now. Not today. The One who fills me makes me strong enough to withstand. 

I know who I am and I call back the past... all the way to the beginning when the One spoke out light, truth, and life to place everything into being. 

And on my knees I find strength.