Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

God Is Near

Cottony clouds and lullabies,
Seagulls wings and loud crow cries,
Blustery winds and rustling leaves —
Wondrous — and a joy are these.

Birds a-flockin’, squirrels a mockin’,
Kitten cries and puppy sighs,
People, ‘spite their sins and lies —
Glory, though appearance belies.

Storm and calm, a laugh and tear,
Worry, confidence, faith and fear.
Things aren’t always as they appear.
Through it all, God must be near.

Fighting, conflict, violence,
Riots, mayhem, anarchists.

Someday, our world, the light will see;
But children cry, and Jesus weeps.

Those things he said; can’t let them go.
I won’t forgive; my hate will grow.

Someday, our world, the light will see;
But spouses cry, and Jesus weeps.

Can’t see beyond their shade of skin,
I’ll just dismiss their good within.

Someday, our world, the light will see;
But races cry, and Jesus weeps.

My parents were such selfish jerks,
Though they did give me many perks.

Someday, our world, the light will see;
But parents cry, and Jesus weeps.

That kid at school, he’s such a fool.
I’ll beat him up; he isn’t cool.

Someday, our world, the light will see;
But school kids cry, and Jesus weeps.

That church they go to, can it be?
My church is better; don’t they see?

Someday, our world, the light will see;
But Christians cry, and Jesus weeps.

A desperate woman doesn’t know
Abortion’s not the way to go.

Someday, our world, the light will see;
But angels cry, and Jesus weeps.

Lord, you made every human being in Your image.
Each person, no matter their color, economic status, or anything else,
Is precious in Your eyes.
Each person contains within them a spark of the divine.
Yet, we fail to see this.  We fail miserably.
Many of those in power do not share their power,
Sometimes the rich do not share their wealth.
Or, even “good people” are unaware of the suffering of others.
The poor and the weak often despise themselves,
Not realizing their great value and worth.

Our nation is deeply wounded.
The wound is hundreds of years old.
Anger and frustration boil beneath the surface.
And yet, and yet,
When You change hearts, something new can happen.

Give us new eyes, new hearts.
If we have material wealth, let us share it with others.
If we have gifts of encouragement, of education,
Let us use them to lift others up.
If we are poor, weak, or feel powerless,
Let us not succumb to fear, discouragement, or despair.

Let us see others with Your eyes,
Not the eyes of corrupted man,
Who looks only at ways to bolster his weak ego.
Not the eyes that look only at the surface,
At outward appearance, possessions, or achievements,
But eyes that see Your beauty and goodness in each person.

Give us the courage to reach out to those who seem different from us,
And to accept their friendly overtures.
Heal our fears, worries, anxieties.
Challenge our prejudices, faulty beliefs, and hatreds.

Let those who stir up hatred of people be thwarted.
Let those who have been injured find the grace to eventually forgive,
For an unforgiving heart injures only itself.
Let justice be done for them.

We thank you for Your mercy to fallen mankind.
For without Your mercy, there is no hope.

Amen.

Wondrous Soap!

What a wondrous thing is soap;
Without it, much harder to cope.
Semmelweis and then Lister,
Two docs in the mixture –
Their ideas now medical fixture.

Our doctors must be antiseptic,
For the rest of us, too, it’s effective.
Wash off those darn germs,
The doctors affirm –
It kills viruses; we can confirm.

Viruses, bacteria – invisible;
Unseen enemies — incorrigible.
But don’t panic or fear,
Solutions are near.
Let us hope for horizons to clear.

To Dwell in a Garden

In wounded places, I sometimes dwell;
But yet, in a garden, I find all is well.

A man and a woman, a long time ago,
With God there beside them, in a garden did stroll.

Much later, our Savior, in deep agony,
Prayed — sweating blood — under a garden’s tree.

But, wonder of wonders, from death, did He not
Appear to a maiden? — “A gardener!” she thought.

Is heaven a garden?  My heart seems to tell,
Such sweet heaven for me, in a garden to dwell.

Behind Your Mask

Written during the pandemic quarantine

——————————

Behind your mask
Is there a smile?
Won’t you sit down
And stay a while?

I wear a mask
For your protection.
Simultaneously,
I escape detection.

But the lady
At the pharmacy
Still recognized me.
Oh joy, another face to see!

We Cannot Wander

Written during the pandemic quarantine.

——————————————–

We cannot wander, as we were wont,
Nor visit with our brother,
Nor sisters far, embrace in arms,
For fear of causing them much harm.

Some journeys far, we cannot take,
And many meetings must forsake,
Just through a screen we sometimes meet,
When togetherness we seek.

Or walking in our neighborhood,
Six feet apart; we’re told we should.
Some friend of ours, perchance we meet,
With joy afar, we then do greet.

But what a gift we still do have,
Imagination is at hand,
All o’er the earth, and far beyond,
Imagination is our bond.

By rushing streams, we still can wander,
And mountain vales, both near and yonder,
And air so clear, takes breath away;
Still smell a wildflower bouquet.

Those friends and family that we miss,
For them we offer prayer, and kiss.
We think of them and offer prayers,
And hope that well go their affairs.

Let memory of all that’s good,
Bring us some joy, as so it should.
And bring to mind those happy times
That will return in sunnier climes.

Pandemic

When all the darkness fades away
And light begins to dawn,
Will we remember all the pain
Ourselves and others bore?

Will we remember kindnesses
Both given and received?
Will we remember comfort found
From those who saw us grieve?

Will we remember others’ pain,
Or only just our own?
Just time will tell, remember well,
How much through this we’ve grown.

We are not merely material,
A blend of blood and bones,
Of skin and sinew.

We need a higher Wisdom,
A Being who knows us all,
Someone Who helps us when we fall.

To go beyond our little selves,
To see a broader vista,
To see what angels see.

Though we can think
And feel and do, and make;
Still, we are creatures —
Limited and finite.

As if there were a central Fire,
And we but points on a ball around it –
We each have a unique perspective.

But the Fire can see us all.

The Campground from Hell

Early in our marriage, my husband Tom and I decided to go on a camping trip in northern California.  I was pregnant with our first child.

On arrival at the campground, the person registering us asked, “Do you want to be in the adult or family section?”  Tom and I looked at each other, as if to say, “Huh? This is a campground!”  We finally blurted out, “Family section.”

Once we had gotten our tent up, I was puttering around, and I think Tom was getting ready to make dinner.  I had brought along a small “candle lantern.”  While checking it out, I unthinkingly touched a forearm to the heated metal, and burned my arm so that there was a 2-inch by 3-inch brown spot on it.  It was bad enough to need ice, so we made a quick trip to a local grocery and bought a bag of ice.

After dinner and clean up, we probably stayed out at the picnic table at least until dark, and may have been watching for stars.  Then we crawled into our sleeping bags, perhaps around nine or ten o’clock.  There had been some thumping noises in the camp, but we couldn’t see who was making them or what caused the noises.

As I attempted to sleep on my back, because of my pregnant tummy, while holding a bag of ice against my burn, we increasingly noticed the loud thumping noises.  From the voices and sounds, we surmised that a group of college men were throwing rocks or heavy pieces of wood at some big logs; at least, that was our theory.  This went on for two or three hours.  We finally heard a car come into the camp (later we learned it was a police car), and the noise abated.

“Now we’ll be able to sleep,” I thought.  But a noise we hadn’t noticed before made itself known.  It was a radio from another camp, loud enough to keep us awake.  By this time it was somewhere between one and three a.m.  Finally, I said to Tom, “Look, you don’t have to do this, but if you feel particularly brave, could you go over and ask that person to turn off their radio?”  Tom decided he was brave, left the tent, and I heard him walking towards the noise of the radio.

I may have prayed, not knowing what would happen, “Please, Lord, don’t let some angry person attack my husband!”  After a few minutes, the sound from the radio ceased.  Soon I heard the approach of footsteps, and Tom came back into the tent.

“Well, what happened?” I asked.

“I found the camp where the radio was playing.  A man was sprawled, sleeping, in his Volkswagen van, with the door open and the radio playing.  His campfire was still going.  I tried to speak to him softly, but there was no response.  So I gently reached into the van, turned the radio off, and then came back here.”

I really thought that was a brave act, and told Tom as much.  We did fall asleep shortly, even though we felt it was … the campground from hell.

 

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