Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

Archive for August, 2021

I Long to Dwell

[This one’s a work in progress. Might need to tweak it some. Suggestions welcome.]

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I long to dwell in a gentle place

Where acceptance doesn’t depend on race.

Where sins are forgiven, each person driven

By self-knowledge of culpability.

I long to dwell where people smile;

They say to me, “Sit down a while.”

They listen quietly, as do I;

We nod our heads understandingly.

I long to dwell where children are safe

No longer victims of hate or rape.

No longer killed inside the womb

Nor victims of parents’ inconsistency.

I long to dwell with an inner peace,

Having confessed my anger and grief,

No longer concerned what others think —

Open to growth and flexibility.

I long to love as Jesus loves,

To fly like an eagle or a dove,

To have a purpose that fits like a glove,

And live the joy of humility.

Confession

Whether you confess to a priest, a minister, a trusted friend, and/or privately to God, repentance and confession are powerful things. The Bible references confession, including “When you realize your guilt in any of these, you shall confess the sin that you have committed.” (Leviticus 5:5), “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a), and ‘”[Jesus] … breathed on [his disciples] and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”’ (John 20:22-23). Stating our sins explicitly brings them out in the open, into the light. I believe Jesus knew that unconfessed sin was like an untreated wound; if not exposed and cleansed, it would fester.

Once, when I confessed resentment at being hurt or misunderstood, the priest advised, “Think of the hurt like a knife in your heart. You pull out the knife. Now you have a choice. You can keep dwelling on the hurt and/or stab the other person, or you can say to Jesus, “Jesus, I give you this knife and my hurt. You take it. I ask You to handle this because I cannot.”

I don’t always get such helpful advice when I confess, nor do I always have a dramatic experience as some do (for example, a radical experience of cleansing), but I trust that Jesus IS cleansing me and granting me the grace to grow in love for Him and for others.

[Perhaps I should add that wounds from others, or from our own sins, should not be ignored, but neither should we wallow in self-pity. Sometimes the wounds are so deep that we might need counseling from others, or serious therapy. But learning to let Jesus heal our wounds is a big step.]

Don’t be afraid to confess! Unlike with people at times, God will take you back, and all you confess and repent of will be forgotten in the ocean of His mercy.

There Is a God

There is a God, unfath’mable,
Whom many do not know.
Dark forces work continually 
So that our faith won’t grow.


They work on unsuspecting minds
And turn our thoughts away
From heavenly things, from angel’s wings;
Mankind’s their greatest prey.


There is a God Whose love is deep,
Who knows our ev’ry care.
He woos us with a perfect love;
His love is everywhere.


He never lies; nor does he cheat,
Nor practice any foul deceit.
He will not force His ways on us,
But waits in patience so discreet.


A love that’s forced can never be;
A real love must be free choice.
For freely chosen love’s the way
We’ll enter heaven and rejoice.

Every Place

Every place

Has its ups and downs —

The smiles and the frowns,

The spooks and the clowns,

Disgraces or crowns.

You’ll find

Snakes or bugs,

Scorpions or slugs,

Crows or eagles,

Mosquitos or seagulls.

Every place

Has climate and weather,

The storms and the thunder,

Hurricanes or earthquakes,

Humidity or drought.

Every place

Has interesting neighbors

Who do you kind favors,

They help with their labors,

And pick up your papers.

Every place

Has frowning faces —

Won’t give you the time,

To judgment inclined,

Won’t lend you a dime.

Every place

Has pleasures and dangers —

Or are they both one?

Pleasure can be danger

If overdone.

Every life

Has its moments

Of goodness and closeness,

Of fear or of faith,

Of love or of hate.

O Lord,

Give me hope,

So with life I can cope —

To keep a deep peace

As my faith You increase.

What is Freedom?

Freedom is the grace to make good decisions, the power to do good. Freedom is being able to express your beliefs, while respecting others beliefs. Freedom is to receive forgiveness, to be released by the grace of God from the guilt of my wrongdoing, and to offer forgiveness to others. Freedom is receiving the grace to forgive my enemies, instead of living a life of resentment and blame. Freedom is letting go of the past, and having hope for the future. Freedom is appreciating those who have helped you have freedom. Gratitude increases freedom. Freedom is a great gift, and a great responsibility. Thank you, God, for the great gift of freedom.

Written July 3, 2021

The Confiteor

Some of you may be familiar with the prayer called “The Confiteor” (“I confess”). The form of this prayer that I’m most familiar with is:

“I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, (And, striking their breast, they say) through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.”

Some time ago, I realized something new about the Confiteor. When we say the words, “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault,” it’s not about me beating myself up and blaming myself for everything, it’s more about the fact that, compared to God, I am an extremely faulty creature, and in His great mercy, He has made a way for me to be saved.

When I compare myself to others (or focus on myself), it creates misery, but when I compare myself to God, who is all Perfection, it creates humility and gratitude.

If Not for the Bird Songs

If not for the bird songs

My mind would be lost

With all the changes

With all the strangeness 

If not for the fairy fireflies

I would have lost the wonder

My mind torn asunder

I would have gone under

If not for the thunder

I would make the blunder 

Of sinking in sadness

Being blind to the gladness 

If not for your smile

I would have dwelt a long while

In a pit of despair

Might have torn out my hair 

If not for your kindness

I’d live only in blindness

A desert of dryness

So listless and lifeless

If not for God’s comfort

My life would be forfeit

My joy would be dormant

My thoughts tending morbid 

O, the greatness of God

Who lifts up the lowly 

Who brightens our story

Let us give Him the glory!

ON MOVING TO THE MIDWEST IN SUMMER

A distant cloud, with flashing light. 

A soundless thunder, a sense of wonder. 

Fireflies flirting; the sidewalk skirting. 

The air hangs heavy, hot and wet; 

I wipe away the beads of sweat. 

The bugs are biting; a little frightening. 

Imagining fairies riding fireflies, 

In evening silence, their dance delighting. 

For quite some time, I forget the biting. 

Until I wake at 3 a.m.; the itching has begun again. 

My long-gone mother comes to mind. 

She prayed for me; her heart was kind. 

So many changes; can’t keep track.

Need to recall– God’s got my back.

He comes to fill what I now lack.

Exhaustion is my current test;

In God I need to take my rest.

His plan for me must be the best.

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