Poems, Personals, and Commentary

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.

Some People

Some people don’t have it together.
Their home is a mess,
Things everywhere —
Do they not care?

Some people don’t have a car.
They walk everywhere,
Or maybe on bike,
Or the bus not on strike.

Some people don’t have a living.
They’re tired of giving
All of their energy.
They need a strategy.

Some people still haven’t learned,
They often are spurned,
They don’t have a life,
Their life full of strife.

Some people need so much hope.
They don’t need the dope.
They need Jesus Christ,
Who alone can give life.

I love the humble gardener,
His hair unkempt,
Holes in his shirt,
So down to earth.

[I say, “How have you been?”
He answers, “Just trying to survive.”]

I had an uncle,
His teeth stained, some missing,
From smoking too much.
At least he was real —
Are we real?

The little people,
Struggling to survive,
Just to keep alive.

Do we know them?

Paradoxes

I swallowed the bitter pill,
And it became sweet in my mouth.

I lowered myself,
And I was exalted.

I forgave my prison warden
(from the prison that I and others had built for me),
And I was liberated.

I cried tears of grief,
And God put a new song in my mouth.

So painful when we misunderstand each other.
Different ways of seeing things;
We grew up in different worlds.

I’d like to listen to your pain,
But it hurts too much
To add another pain to my own.

Education helps –
Exposed to different perspectives.
But can I keep my identity
And still cherish yours?

——————-

I used to think that
When we disagreed,
You didn’t love me.

——————–

Are you a liberal or conservative?
I’ve decided that I’m a libative.

——————

There is One who knows all our pain —
Yours and mine –
But do we know His?

     (All temperatures are Fahrenheit.) Our heater was repaired last week, after about five days of non-operation. I was so happy that I cried from gratitude. It’s not that we’re experiencing frigid weather — I was able to warm the house up to a high of 66 degrees each day, by opening any curtains where the sun could stream in. Perhaps I’m a “climate wimp”. But, I had thought of how things might have been different — it could have been 32 degrees outside, it could have been a longer period of time, and so on.  I thought of homeless people, people who can’t pay their heating bills, and about refugees and migrants who suffer through miserable weather. And I was so grateful for the friendly repairman who promptly came, once the needed part for our 30-year-old heater had been obtained.  Not to mention, grateful that we could pay the bill.

This brought to mind another story, which happened around 1947, told to me by my mother. My parents and older brother had immigrated to the U.S., after being World War II refugees (displaced persons) in Europe for several years. They had been sponsored by my mother’s cousin, who had immigrated to the U.S. before World War II, perhaps being admitted on the strength of being a scientist. My mother’s cousin helped my parents to get a house. When they sat down to their first dinner there, they started to cry.  Why? The dinner consisted of hot dogs and perhaps some other items. They had never had anything as good as hot dogs in the refugee camp, and they realized that others like them were still suffering deprivation.

After 70 years, somehow I’m still reliving my parents’ story. So whenever I eat hot dogs, or my heater is working, I’m grateful.

Silent Hours

The streets silent and still.
Families away: spring holiday –
Or is it a resurrection?

No shouting voices,
Nor school buses.
No parents patiently waiting
For school to get out.

I meet more people
Out for walks.
Perhaps they’ll
Take the time
To smell the flowers.

How healing
Are the flowers
And the silent hours.

Beyond the hills,
I sense the ocean,
Miles away.

Fish frolic in rolling waves,
Sun glances off glassy waters,
Seagulls wheel recklessly in cyan skies.

How do the mermaids feel?
Are they free as the wind,
Though beneath it?

Deep, deep down,
There are no waves –
Maybe God is like that –
Unruffled by the world
Above / below Him.

Woman at the Well

No one else could make me see,
My faults, my failings,
Without embarrassing me.

I suddenly
Came face to face
With my selfishness.

I still don’t know
If I see it all.

Tag Cloud