That little house
So cozy and warm
It wasn’t a palace
But it surely was home
I’d stand on the heater vent
Placed in the floor’s corner
Until my shoes’ rubber soles
Got warmer and warmer
Though the air could be chilly
There was still welcome comfort
A place of safe haven
From the world’s disorder
Of course, I remember
The times of great sadness
Of arguments, conflict
And even some madness
But because of that little house
I still like to dream
Of warmth and of closeness
With loved ones esteemed
What’s God’s dream for me, for you?
To go beyond this earthly realm?
To stand before a starship’s helm?
Or rather be an earthbound soul,
To till and dig the crusty soil?
To do those many tasks mundane,
The dishes washed, the diapers changed,
To scrub the floors, wipe dirty cheeks,
To fix the faucets, find pipes that leak?
To work with hands, or with the brain?
Or maybe both – a skill explain?
Will you be famous, or not well-known,
To popularity, or scorn be prone?
Will you be rich or destitute –
What will be your life’s pursuit?
God has a dream He can fulfill –
If only you will trust Him still.
You woo me in the quiet places;
It’s there you fill me with Your graces.
I long for silence, to still the voices
That tempt me onto errant courses.
The noise of living makes me weary
(Though noise of loved ones can be cheery!).
The “noise” of nature, by contrast,
Brings calm and peace, or makes us wary.
When list’ning for Your mighty plan,
I calmly sit, or kneel, or stand,
Or even on a quiet walk –
By grace, or chance, I’ll hear You talk.
Grant me, O Lord, that blesséd grace –
No matter what the time or place –
In noise or quiet, at work or rest,
By Your sweet voice to then be blessed.
The cough that kept me up all night,
The speeding car that gave me fright,
The baby crying in the night –
But, somehow, I’m still breathing.
The wrenching pain I thought would kill me,
The choking air that tried to still me,
The people shouting words that sting me –
Yet, somehow, I’m still breathing.
The hurts I thought I couldn’t survive,
The illnesses, the loves I tried,
The wretched times that drove me wild –
Yet, somehow, I’m still breathing.
I’m thinking, now, whatever happens,
I’ll still exist, I still will matter.
My dreams and schemes, although they shatter –
My soul will still be breathing.
All things must pass;
Not many things last.
Let go of regrets;
Let go of the past.
As for the present,
Just live it well.
Seek first God’s heaven;
Don’t foster hell.
As for the future,
It’s a blank slate.
Trust it to God;
He knows your fate.
Into God’s hands,
Why fret or worry? –
Won’t accomplish a thing.
Easy to say —
I worry, too.
But I just want to wish you
A year that is new!
A creeping vine
Comes through a window.
Torn screens are seen
The walls are marked,
Ready for the wrecking crew.
Beautiful French doors
Opening to a room, long unused.
It will all be gone soon.
The oak floors,
So meticulously crafted,
And an attic — did children play there?
What dusty memories dwell in the cobwebs?
Who lived inside these walls?
Were children born here?
Did someone die here?
Was there laughter; were there tears?
The stairs of redwood,
The old laundry and kitchen,
With built-in ironing board.
The back steps, all overgrown —
And the old bathroom.
It will soon be gone,
Too costly to repair;
The land’s so expensive —
Let’s build four new houses there!
Things always change;
Nothing stays the same.
How long is forever?
Begin now to prepare.
Make sure all your endeavors
Don’t holy goals impair.
Each day must draw you closer
To destiny’s writ scroll.
Another dawn may not be sure –
The funeral bells may toll.
No one knows the answer
To when life’s course will end.
Few or many moments –
How goes the time you spend?
Will all your riches bring you
True happiness and joy?
Or do you need to look within
And search for something more?
We don’t live in the wilderness
Plenty of creatures entertain us
‘Round ‘bout my house
Seagulls and crows –
Didn’t think they’d mix
But they’re up to tricks
Like picking our roof apart
They congregate in noisy flocks
They roost in the ash and redwood trees
They wheel and turn in the chill, clear sky
(Once when the wind was rising
In the California summer
And fires began to rage in the distance
The crows wheeled ominously above
With loud and raucous screeching)
Squirrels add their voice to the chorus
With angry squawking at my cat
Or spiraling up (or down) the trees,
Chasing each other
Butterflies bring silent rest notes
To the symphony
I hear a hum – nothing less
Than a hummingbird
Doing acrobatic dips and swirls
And in summer
The fence lizard skitters shyly away
The animal chorus –
Perhaps out of tune,
But welcome in the silence
What’s the best gift to be given?
Not money, shoes, or clothes –
(Except for those with few of those.)
Not boats or cars, maybe a star?
Not gadgets, nor widgets,
Nor books, nor cosmetic looks,
Not TVs or DVDs –
Though they do entertain.
The gifts so needed
(Repeat as needed)
Are loving looks, and kind replies,
And holding tongues that want to curse
Or say the worst.
Not criticism, cynicism,
Ingratitude, nor attitude.
Just humbly listening
When you’ve heard that story 100 times.
Do I have to be first?
I must go to the end of the line.
When my parents were World War II refugees, they lived in various Displaced Persons camps run by the U.S. and other Allies. Sometimes it would be so cold that there was frost on the INSIDE walls of their “accommodations”. (I don’t know exactly what their living quarters were like,) At some point in there, my older brother (a baby!), one paternal uncle, and my paternal grandmother also lived in the same camp(s). At least they had shelter! Traumatic as it all was, thank you Allies (and, ultimately, God), for keeping my family alive! Others, as you know, suffered considerably more: in concentration camps, in battles on land, sea, and sky, and elsewhere.
LIFE IS A GIFT! And, I’m so grateful to live in a home with heat and hot water.
Corrie ten Boom was in a concentration camp during World War II, because her family had hidden Jews in their home. She decided to take seriously the Scripture, “… give thanks in all circumstances …” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), so she gave thanks for the fleas in her barracks. Sooner or later, she learned that the guards would avoid her barracks as much as possible, because of the fleas. In that way they did not get as much abuse as they might have. Perhaps most of us are not as faith-filled as Corrie ten Boom, but there is certainly a lesson to learn from her.
War is probably horrific for everyone touched by it, but perhaps it’s appropriate to also remember the positives.
Why do some (or perhaps all of us) encounter great trials and tribulations? I propose a few reasons here, several or all of which could occur together:
- We are being tested by God. It can be an opportunity for growth, to trust in Him more.
- We are being chastised by God. ” … for the Lord disciplines those whom He loves, and chastises every child whom He accepts.” (Hebrews 12:6). This is a good thing, because it shows that God loves us enough to correct us.
- We are suffering for our own or other people’s poor choices. We make bad decisions, or others take out their frustrations on us.
- It’s just part of the fallen human condition. Because of original sin, we all suffer consequences such as illness, accidents, death, etc.
No matter the reason, we must trust that God is with us through these difficulties. I don’t see any other reason to hope.