Poems, Personals, and Commentary

Suffering Servant

Weighed down
By our sin and suffering,
You sweated blood.
How did you persevere?

Knowing the evil within us,
You still loved us.

Having mercy,
You forgave.
You healed.

Confronting evil,
You were crucified.

Freely laying down your life,
You took it up again.

Savior of the world,
Save us!

Jesus my redeemer,
Healer of all wounds,
Strength amidst our weakness,
Defense against our doom.

Breath that brings refreshment,
Song that calms the soul,
Heart that brings forgiveness,
Words that make us whole.

Teaching us Your wisdom,
Holy Spirit’s gift —
Sacrificed all for us,
From hell our souls does lift.

Victor over evil,
Vanquished Satan’s power,
Present in our suffering,
In our darkest hour.

Evil has no power
When you present are.
Help us to remember
Your presence every hour.

Days in the Doldrums

Days in the doldrums —
No breath of air —
Heat hanging like limp hair.

Is this our fate?
To sit paralyzed by hate,
Unable to move?

Or will we let the Spirit’s breath,
Like freshening breeze,
Cool hearts oppressed by dread dis-ease,
And so bring deepening love?

How can we move
Without His power?
The darkest hour
Is brightened by
The Spirit’s power.

In Dust and Rain

You lifted me up, for a while.
I flew like a butterfly on weightless wings,
But I had to come down to earth.

I am a worm now, crawling in the mud.
But worms make way for growing things,
For trees, and flowers, and birds that sing.

It’s all the same,
In dust and rain,
In joy or pain.

Love has to hurt —
So life gives birth,
And pain gives way to joy.

The Spirit of God

Moves over deep waters.

Always, He is hidden.

Always, He is quiet,

Whispering in the wind.

Can you hear Him?

 

God sometimes hides from me.

(I believe the phrase
“Light so bright that it’s dark”
is an idea from St. John of the Cross.
We must have faith that all will be well.)
 

Don’t know why I continue existing –
So much is so incomprehensible.
Can’t seem to see my purpose –

Nothing I see ever sensible.

 Perhaps I’ll only learn
My reason for being on earth
If I should enter heaven –

Then light will shine on my birth.

My childhood seems so alien —
Can’t really believe that was me.
Why was I born in that time, that place?

Where was the shining sunbeam?

Why have I floundered through densest fog?
Why merely muddled along?
Why did I amble so aimlessly?

That solitary sojourn so long?

So much is so incomprehensible —
No clarity of sight.
But maybe,
God wants me to trust Him –
Through light so bright that it’s dark.

The Winter Has Passed

(At least in the northern hemisphere!)

 

The winter has passed.
On many days we see the sun –
At last!

Aft’ freezing rain,
Aft’ icy wind,
Our hearts can open up again.

No longer do I cringe
Against the wind.

Not much fasting now –
More feasting.
Not much bleakness now –
With color is our world endowed.

The warmth of the sun –
Let hearts be open to it now.

You Planted the Seed

An allegory of God’s Love

 

You planted the seed of Love in my heart
You watered it
You waited patiently

One day I broke through the ground
You sent the sun and rain

You watched over me
I continued to grow

Flowers appeared
You sent the bees and bugs to pollinate

Sometimes I fell ill
You tended me until I mended

You fertilized the barren soil of my heart

Fruit began to show
You fertilized my heart again

When the fruit was ripe
Others picked it
It was sweet and refreshing

Sometimes you would prune me
At first I was angry —
How could you hurt me that way?
But then I noticed:
After the pruning, I would bear more fruit

I grew older
There was less fruit now
But still good

Sometimes there was bad fruit
You returned it to the earth
To be transformed and to nourish other plants

Sometimes fruit fell to the ground
To begin new plants

I am old now
Dry and shriveled
Soon I will return to the earth

But the seeds that fell
Will continue to grow
Watered by Your Love

Asking of God

Has He healed you?

Has He loved you?

Then act like it.

Has He comforted you?

Has He forgiven you?

Then act like it.

Tell your story;

Give Him glory.

If you don’t know Him – ask.

If you can’t trust Him – ask.

If you want to be closer – ask.

Have men betrayed you?

Have harsh words slayed you?

Has hate unmade you?

Then ask –

And you will receive.

All you need, not all you want.

Not what you dreamed, but more.

When my grandmother died in 1986, she was cremated and the ashes brought to my parents home. For some unknown reason, my parents did not have her ashes buried, and they sat in a box, sometimes not even in the house but in their garage, for nearly 26 years. This is how she was finally laid to rest:

In 2008, my sister Mary’s younger son, Brian, through his college, had a semester abroad in Hungary, specifically the city of Budapest. Hungary happens to be our place of ancestry, as our parents, and my grandmother, were born there. My parents came to the U.S., along with my older brother, in about 1949 and Grandma Anna came in about 1951. So Mary and her husband decided to visit Brian that April, and to combine that trip with a visit to our relatives there.

Mary had never been to Hungary and it was a thrill for her to meet many family members and to visit places of family history. One relative she met was my Aunt Rozsi (the “zs” is pronounced like the “s” in the English word closure), later to play a part in this story.

On their return, my husband Tom and I were infected with Mary’s excitement about her visit to Hungary. We decided that we would also go, along with our children. It sounded like a good time to introduce the children (not to mention Tom) to my background, while they were both still at home. So we made our plans to visit that very same year.

Meanwhile, Mary had the brilliant idea that we should take Grandma’s ashes to Hungary and perhaps we’d be able to have her buried in the land of her birth. I researched the laws online regarding carrying human ashes on an airplane, but the question of legality was a bit unclear. It did not seem, however, that any serious trouble would occur. We did have the official paper stating that the box contained human remains. Still, I was unsure and decided to keep the ashes in my checked-in luggage so that during carry-on inspection, it would not become an issue.

Well, we did get through without any incident, and arrived in Hungary with the ashes still in my suitcase. We had let the relatives in Budapest know ahead of time that we might bring Grandma’s ashes. When we got to Budapest and met my Aunt Rozsi, we told her about the ashes. She enthusiastically agreed to see what she could do about arranging a burial.

My Aunt Rozsi is an incredible woman. In her late sixties or early seventies, she was still full of energy and did not hesitate to be out at night in the city of Budapest, moving about easily on public transportation. She is a short little woman who takes copious pictures of people, sometimes to their annoyance, but she is totally lovable.

So, while we were out touring the city one day, Aunt Rozsi spent the entire day arranging for a pre-ceremony, for the burial, and for a church service to follow. This involved a lot of bureaucracy, because my Grandma’s ex-husband, next to whom she would be buried, had a special cemetery plot, apparently protected by the writer’s union to which he had belonged. Not only that, but to coordinate the many people involved, official and unofficial, was a momentous task.

Well, she pulled it off! If I recall correctly, it was the next day or two days later that the funeral was scheduled! At least 10 or 15 relatives came, one from perhaps 50 miles away. It was a beautiful time, followed by a luncheon attended by everyone in Hungary who could participate.

We owe a great debt to Aunt Rozsi. Grandma was finally laid to rest, after 26 years. Rest in peace, Grandma.

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