in Just-spring

By E. E. Cummings 1894–1962

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman
whistles          far          and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring
when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
it’s
spring
and
         the
                  goat-footed
balloonMan          whistles
far
and
wee

 

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When I first heard this poem by ee cummings I was so struck by the imagery of it, I never forgot it. I don’t remember what class I was sitting in or what teacher it was that made it come alive when they read it aloud but I do remember feeling like he got it just right.

I remember walking home from school in February or March after a cold spring rain, walking through puddles and seeing daffodils and tulips bowing under the weight of the water, and then how vibrant and alive the world turned when the sun came out. Each time, I would remember this poem, and the little lame balloon man. In my mind I could see him part walking, part listing from side to side with his big bunch of balloons for sale.

Good poetry, like good art or good music wakes us up, stuns us with the beauty of the world.  That’s because it is God inspired. Great music….great art…..great poetry or writing,  has the power to lift us beyond ourselves. If it is truly good, it makes us better. 

It’s why people gasp and fall silent when they first see a true Masterpiece in an art gallery. Like nature, it wiggles you down to the core……takes your breath away and makes the world stop for just a moment.

Because just for an instant you almost believe you’ve found God’s pulse.

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Seeds…….

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This morning was one of those mornings I woke up about 2 hours before I actually had to get up. It was 2 AM when I looked at the clock. When I stirred, my little white cat came up as he usually does to snuggle and fitted himself like a furry spoon into my chest. His purr was the only sound in the room. The morning commute hadn’t yet started.

As I lay there in the dark, in the quiet, a thought dropped silently like a pin on carpet.

Sometimes writing is like throwing seeds up in the wind……….

You never really know if your words will hit good ground, or any ground at all for that matter. There is only one reason to write, and that is because you must. Writing is a writer’s way of making sense out of the world around. It is our magnifying glass and it is not always so gratifying. We pour our hearts out and think, this will really resonate with someone. And sometimes it does, but not always. And that’s okay.

The truth is, writing hurts sometimes. It’s like cutting yourself and waiting for someone else to staunch the flow but no one’s running up with a roll of gauze so you have to go get it yourself.

Other times it rewards you greatly. When that happens you feel on top of the world. You know you’re doing the thing that God meant for you to do.

Sometimes you actually get to see the flowers resulting from the seeds you threw up months, even years ago.

Other times you feel like the words are scattered to the four winds as soon as they hit the page. And sometimes you question why you keep doing it because you start to feel like an abused spouse going back to the abuser.  

But no matter, we will keep going back whatever the outcome.

Because the little everyday moments of life are too important to miss.

And because it’s what we do.

When you need to find your way home

Food for the soul

Sometimes it is very easy to get lost amidst all the traffic online. Being engaged in social media can be a good thing, but it can also make you feel lost in a crowd. You look around and all of a sudden you are in a dark forest full of words and soup and you feel like yours disappear as soon as you hit.

Publish.

You remember when there was light on the path, sunlight filtering through the trees. You were encased in warmth of community, of comfort. You were there once, but you aren’t so much now and you are not even sure how it happened.

You didn’t notice at first just when the sun went behind the clouds. It all got to be confusing and noisy and you noticed less and less peace and more and more pressure.

But there is always a way to get home.

As a writer, as a person, as a believer.

To me, that is the best thing about what we believe. With God, there is always another chance to get home. Every moment, every day. We just need to be reminded how easy it is. How easy to remember that we are already wearing the ruby slippers.

My three taps……..

Getting alone with God in a quiet place.

Remembering who I am writing for, and why I am writing.

Open the pages of the Words He wrote to light the path again.

And really, the truth is, we are all daily prodigals aren’t we? Every day we confess our failings and once more He cleanses our hearts, clears the way for progress, and we get strong enough to go on.

He is just over there in fact, standing right beyond that thick stand of trees you can’t see around. It’s amazing just how close He was all along. “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17:28

When I lift my gratitude and focus back to Him, I realize that,  like Dorothy, I had everything I needed all along. All I had to do was remember.

And just like that……. I am on a hillside sitting in the Narnian sun with my arm around my Aslan.

Home once more.

Aslanlucyreunition

Taking back my joy

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Lately I have noticed I have stopped doing things I enjoyed last year. Somewhere along the line I started listening to a voice telling me I didn’t deserve it, that what I was doing wasn’t good enough to warrant the joy. I became my own worst critic. Life does that sometimes. It just saps your strength until all the joy is pressed out. I used to come to my own blog for comfort, and lately I just see the things I want to change in it. I have fallen into the pit of comparing myself to others again.

There is a problem with that kind of thinking though. All it leads to is a distorted view of ourselves and others around us. The Bible warns us about comparing ourselves to others:

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

So I am done with that, as of today. I am permitting myself the joy of creating again. No matter what. I may never take my camera off the automatic settings, but who cares? I give myself the freedom and permission to enjoy it anyway.

Yesterday, I remembered a time not so long ago when I danced around with my camera, capturing every sunset, every sunrise, chasing the light. I remembered the joy and freedom I felt and it almost made me cry. I miss that me. I am taking that me back. As of now.

I am carving out my home again on this blog too. I miss my old blogger platform, but I am committed to making this one the best it can be, for you and for me. I will write in such a way that is honest and in such a way that it lets His light shine through,  and I will lift up praise to my God, because He is worthy.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

Clay jar or crystal pitcher?

Why I write

 

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I remember when I first learned about the magic of words. It was in first grade reading circle that I discovered that they had the power to carry me to another world.

In that same first grade class where I leaned the magic of words, I struggled with 9 minus 2. I remember one particular day struggling with a math paper at my desk when Kathy Kawamura sidled by and said with a smirk…….”You aren’t done yet?” I can still see the expression on her face, and I can still feel the burning humiliation of that moment.

Learning in general has never been easy for me. I struggle with comprehension. Sometimes I have to read a paragraph or a concept over and over again until it starts to click in my brain. And math……Math and I have a long and tortuous history. Best to skip over that one.

But stringing words together? That was my salvation. Still is.

In sixth grade I learned that not only could I transport myself to another place by reading, I could transport someone else to another place with my own words. In high school, all my hopes and dreams, crushes and angst were chronicled in a little black book.  

It was a release for me then, and it’s a release for me now.

I believe God gives each of us at least one thing we don’t have to struggle with, one thing that comes effortless, that gives us peace. Writing has been that thing for me. It’s like a perfectly fitting glove for my soul. It doesn’t matter if I am any good at it, I just know I have to do it. Like breathing.

And if not a soul except God ever sees it? I’ll still do it. It’s my way of making sense out of the world around me. Somehow it’s always been important to me to make sure that moments are not lost, because every moment matters.

It occurs to me that not everyone feels the need to chronicle a walk they just went on, but I always have. That compulsion alone is what makes me a writer.

Not because I am any good at it.

Not because hundreds of people will read it.

Not because I will gain any notoriety because of it.

I write simply because I am doing what God made me to do.

Capturing what I see and feel, what I think about God, and everything He’s made, what He whispers in my ear is a form of worship. I believe God has given us all at least one gift, one thing that comes easy, because He knows how hard the rest will be.

Our highest calling is to do that one thing for His glory.

And never ever stop no matter what anyone tells you.