New poems


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2017.3

She will do what she will do

no matter what words

your lips form into love knots,

no matter how long you stand

with your arms wrapping her sorrow.

There is nothing she will not do,

nothing held back. She is quicksand

seeded with landmines.

You must not walk here. Run.

Don’t look back. You could never save her.

Merciful Jesus, won’t you

gather her up like broken bread?

There is more than enough

to feed a multitude.

LAE2017

 

 

2017.4

The miracle would be…

the miracle would be going back,

to before we did what we’ve done

to each other,

back to kindness, and loving

exactly how you came to me

raw and imperfect,

magic and raucous,

before I dreamed up all the ways

I might mold you

into something less mighty.

The miracle would be

waking up and discovering

heaviness dropped in the dark

and a wheel within a wheel, turning,

like a movie’s opening

repeating, repeating, repeating

the part where she

notices him, just briefly,

then carries on. The moment where

what happens next

is anyone’s guess.

LAE2017

Poetry Friday038


Sticker Family

Image by Lee Bennett via Flickr

Drive by

Did you have a choice —
Starbucks in one hand and
one hand on the wheel,
as he waddled over the centre line?

Did your foot hesitate, move
from gas to brake
or did you simply
drive on,

oblivious to his
small iridescent head,
caught between the paradise of one ditch
and the other?

Ironically, after writing this emotional and judgmental response to a real life situation, I experienced how difficult it is to do the right, sensitive, caring thing when it happens right in front of me. It’s just not that simple.

This morning I was able to stop for a family of ducks crossing the road by our school. Cars on one side of the road had already stopped when I saw a mother duck and 8 little ones heading toward my side. I put on my hazard lights, and prayed for traffic beside me to stop too. Then, with only 4 ducklings safely off the road and 4 more trying to hop up the curb, the traffic began to flow around me and I had no choice but to drive on.

Believe it or not, I cried as I drove away, and whispered a prayer that they would all be safe. I thought of jumping out of the car and ushering them to safety. But, logic took over, plus I was wearing my pj’s, and I realized that it’s so easy to judge when we don’t know all the facts, so easy to make blanket statements (or write poems) when we don’t know the entire situation.  I humbly stand corrected.

Obviously human,
LAE

Thursday, all day.


Its hard walking by faith, that daily struggle polarized by seeing with physical eyes and knowing there is more than meets the eye.

I want to see the path clearly laid out in front of me, the obstacles coming up, the views all around, how everything works together.  That’s what I’m used to and that’s what I’d prefer. I want to control “see” the end result.

I once prayed for God to ‘show me’ what he wanted me to do, specifically.  I wanted the answer and then I promised that would obediently act upon it.  I thought my heart was in the right place, that I was being Godly and good   and all that.  But, in this case and most other times, God did not show me the detailed picture, and that could be a purposeful thing.  Rather than looking for the one right answer (if there is indeed only one) I believe God would rather have me pay close attention to the particularities of my life, and then respond by making the best choice in a particular situation at a particular time.

My husband suggested to me that one needs to make decisions fully prepared to bear the outcome of those decisions… both good and bad. That is so hard to do.  Making a good and Godly decision can bring difficult things to me… offended feelings, no affirmation, silence from friends where words would have been better.  Being a people pleaser (wanting people to like me has always been an issue for me) in decisions, draws me to sometimes choose directions that will bring the most confirmation from the most people… which is really a lack of personal resolve.  It keeps me from choosing anything or choosing too many things at once.

I remember one difficult decisions I had to make alone.  We were looking for a new dog. After praying and searching I found a potential dog at the local SPCA.  I did my due diligence, brought him to the vet, brought him home to meet the family, had him for a sleep over, and now faced with… would he stay or would he go? I asked my husband for his input and he said this, “This decision is for you to make.  I’m ambivalent.” Man, that bugged me.  I wasn’t 100% sure.  I was nervous and wavering.  But I made the decision based on all the information I had at the time.  Yes, I kept the dog. You probably remember Buddy… I’ve written about him before.

My daily life with God is a lot like that.  I don’t know 100% what God wants me to do.  I don’t hear the audible voice of God very often, and I struggle with the many voices of influence in my life.  But, I recognize that God is providing me with all the information I need to make good decisions.  Some of it is very obvious stuff related to my age and stage of life and the priorities attached to that.  Some is based upon an understanding of how he has made me, gifted me, and empowered me to live. And some is based upon my limited knowledge of God himself, his character, his purposes for me and for this world I live in.

At times my indecision is because I’m preoccupied with internal conversations of should I do this… what if I did that… or what about this… Like the conversation between the author and God in ‘Conversion Diary‘, a blog I follow, all the ‘dithering’ drags me down, tires me out, and takes the passion right out of me. I get caught up in the whirlpool in my mind, complicating things, rationalizing, arguing, rather than keeping my eyes on God and what he’s already up to all around me.

God will place opportunities in front of me every day, if only I would see them. He’s busy everywhere… it’s not that difficult. And what he wants me to do isnt’ that difficult either. God isn’t causing the confusion, I am.  God isn’t causing the procrastination, the double-guessing, the inaction, I am.

Yet, I don’t believe God wants to fix me. I do believe he wants me to keep looking to him for all I need, rather than inside myself where I get lost and messed up. This person who he created me to be is complex, raw, and a slow learner.  I will probably continue to have times of confusion and lack of focus in my life, because that’s who I am.  But baggage and all, He simply wants me to show up every day ready for action.

The Bible says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”  1 Corinthians 13:11-13

That partially obscured glimmer of God, is enough to give me forward momentum most days. It keeps me curiously expectant of what is coming next, keeps me waiting wide-eyed, for the unique God planned opportunities to present themselves.

And I pray that they will.

Lesley-Anne,

Sol Deo Gloria

Mid-week random ramble 006


Jesse uses the Word of God

Image via Wikipedia

1. The family is together again, all 5 of us,… feels good. Now we have extended family with us… feels good too. A great opportunity for Grandparents and Grandchildren to bond for a few days before school starts.

2. My son’s wallet and backpack were stolen after he inadvertently left them on the ground in a small park near our house. He lost all of his money that he made blackberry picking this summer. He’s taking it pretty hard. I’m trying to not have judgement thoughts toward the individual who did this, and it’s not going very well. I’m hoping that I’ll be driving along some day and I’ll spot someone wearing Malcolm’s backpack. Then I’ll leap out of my vehicle and… what? Precisely… don’t think it would go well for anyone involved.

3. Went shopping with my hubby today, looking at various ideas for our upcoming bathroom project in the basement. Met him in my car at a plumbing store, then continued shopping with him until we arrived home a couple of hours later. Problem being that my car was still parked in front of the first store!

4. What is it about skin that is such a touchy subject? Words like rash and fungus and condition make me feel ashamed. Why not feel ashamed when I have a hangnail or a stomach ache? What is it about my skin that makes me feel so uncomfortable? I brought home a skin condition from Cancun Mexico when I worked there at an animal sterilization clinic last April. Prescriptions make it better for a little while, and then it comes back again. Makes me want to hide. Bob says, “Get over it!” In a loving kind of way, of course. I wish I could. Could it be… ringworm eczema? Could it be … contagious? Will I have to wear gloves? Why won’t that prescription cream work? And, why on earth am I telling you about it?

5. A theological question that I’m pondering… is this scripture in the gospel of John, chapter 1, verse ? that says,In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…” And I’m wondering why is the word ‘Word’ used here in the text? The Bible doesn’t say, “In the beginning was a spiritual being, or a force, or a thought or anything else… but ‘Word’… and then I’m thinking about how God spoke the world into existence, by his word… and how words are so important to God, his word, The Bible, being what we stand upon as truth and what directs our lives as Christians. And so I’m thinking about this and how words are also so important to us as humans, the source of much conflict but the source of much blessing/encouragement as well. And how writing words is such an incredible process for me personally, how it somehow fulfills me and to create with words is in me and who I am and who I was meant to be. How the creator and creativity and the creation are interlinked. And all this in a 24 hour period… any thoughts?

6. So, I’m sitting at the computer… just sat down and wrote #4, 5 and started 6, when the following conversation takes place from one side of the house to where I am…”Where’s the putty, Mom?” “It’s in the bag from General Paint, in the laundry room.” “It’s not here.” “Well, it should be there… I bought some and the man put it into the bag.” “Well, there’s a brush and 2 drop sheets and some paint chips and a big can of paint and a stir stick but no putty.” “Well then, I guess the man didn’t put it into the bag.” “I’M WRITING… CAN”T YOU SEE I’M TAKING A SHORT BREAK AFTER MAKING SUPPER AND CLEANING UP.” Brief interlude while Claire goes downstairs to ask Malcolm if he’s seen the putty. She comes back upstairs. “Oh, Malcolm says he has it in his room” “Oh, Good!” and I keep on typing and trying to focus on something other than family dynamics and lost items for another 5 minutes. Hang on, now why do you think Claire needs putty?????????

7. Time to take the dog for a run or she’ll never settle down for the evening. Did I say 5 minutes… well, maybe 2.

Peace, out!!!

LAE

Poetry Friday016


The Complexity of being Human

Good mousers can smell a trail
long gone cold, and will
Persist with haunches quivering
Tail erect and short inhalations
More like snorts, noses
Pressed down into wet, mouldy tunnels
With enough memory of mouse to illicit
Pavlovian response and anticipation of
Warm bodies, scratching, scrambling chase, blood letting.

On the other hand, desire leads down rabbit trails of
Mysterious occurrences, confusion and disappointment
Forks of indecision where one trail leads to ecstasy
The other, a cold grave.
Blood-warmed bodies become comfortable in their skin
Numb. Complacency is a dead end trail.

Yet, sometimes, on a sleepy Sunday morning
With the house shifting and creaking and ticking a lullaby
Stirring possibility presses its’ timid nose to the ground
In search of the scent that remains.

Lesley-Anne Evans

February 14, 2010

‘Sol Deo Gloria’

Poetry Friday006


I’ve got relationships on the brain at the moment… complicated, fickle, and utterly transcendent as they are.  So I’ve dug up some poems that echo with the universal experience of living with and among other humans. Enjoy.


Words 1

Today
I have grown weary of utterances
both yours and mine
spoken, heard, yet
not sinking in
words ripple out to
the horizon
… gone…

Yesterday’s words return like echoes across
a darkly organic lake
alive with possibilities of leaping trout
and pan fried filets for supper

The Day After

He drove you to the airport, came home,
sat on the couch, looked into my eyes, and said
“Thank you for everything”.

I had to wonder if I had done anything at all
other than hold my tongue at the appropriate moment,
serve another coffee, another hot supper,
engage in another verbal volley to offset your negative remarks,
or say ‘uh-huh’ in response to your rhetorical babbling.
Did I really do anything?

OK, I did stifle resentment and disbelief just below the surface,
like when I dressed for Christmas dinner, my vision of ‘festive femininity’,
and was greeted with your, “Are you going somewhere?”
rather than an affirmation or even a small compliment, man to woman.
“Jeez! Did you just fricken say that?” I thought, but didn’t voice,
instead letting the hurt pool in my eyes while
I mashed potatoes, basted the fowl one last time in 350 degree hot oil.
Did you have an inkling of what constricted my heart —
the desire to lash out, wound you as deeply as you wounded me?
And there were times when I did… sort of. Did you hear that bit of sarcasm when
I let it leak? But that would take some emotional intelligence on your part.

So no, I don’t feel like I deserve any thanks —
nor do I want any.
I’d rather take a stiff chalk brush and wipe your most recent scribblings
from the blackboard of my familial life.

By now your plane has deposited you far enough away.
Here I am searching for normal,
…the day after.

Wonder

In my ordinary life:  divine favour.

How your dark lashes veil a sure and tested sounding
And, how loon crying, echoes the call of dawn on Okanagan Lake.

How a breath of Claire’s freshly washed hair somehow expands my lungs
And, how my lips feel, against your unshaven cheek.

How the backyard lilac opening, diffuses a heady spring
And, summer breaks, under my tongue, with chocolate bits of a dipped DQ cone.

And the way I feel,
stepping wet from the shower, into your waiting eyes.

Forgiveness isn’t natural


A few days ago a friendly reader left a question in my comment box that has stuck with me, and inspired me to respond in a more studied way than I might usually do. Because the topic is so important and so foundational to who I am and what I profess, I want to be very careful how I approach it, and what I say.

Problem is, I haven’t said anything yet! Well, here goes.

As I begin writing on forgiveness I have to wonder whether this makes good blog or not? I’ve always experienced blogging to be something like a flood… a bit less constraining and more personal than well edited writing. Yet with this topic I feel the need to research, study, mull over, substantiate what I will say, rather than follow intuitive leadings. I want to dig in and unearth truth.  And, because the reader was looking for biblical examples, I will go to my Bible. This will take some time, so I’ve decided to being to write a series that will not just be off the top of my head. So I hope that’s all good.

I trust that you will continue to ask challenging questions, as that’s healthy for everyone and stimulates good dialogue.

First, the question;

Posted by Suzan on the blog, There’s just something about canceled debt.

“The debt of guilt! Now there’s a concept… I have to say guilt can really rule my life at times. I think more often than not guilt stems from our inability to forgive ourselves rather than someone else. I think for many people it’s the hardest forgiveness to achieve. Are there any stories in the bible that address this?

While the immediate question appears to have a straight forward yes or no answer, related questions require a deeper look at things. Questions like, “Can we forgive ourselves?” And even bigger, “Can we forgive God?”

The topic of forgiveness is HUGE! More questions pour into my mind. What does forgiveness mean? Is forgiveness necessary? Why is it so hard to do? What if we don’t forgive? What does the bible say on the topic? And, what do we do with that? What do I do with that?

Thankfully I will not be alone in unpacking the topic, but will be partnering with a friend and fellow blogger who is currently digging into forgiveness too. More on this future guest blogger later though, as today’s post is simply a starting place.

Who hasn’t struggled with forgiveness? I know I certainly have, and continue to do so almost on a daily basis. And anyone with children will be familiar with the need to teach this concept to them at a young age, because they don’t know how to do it on their own, nor do they naturally want to do it.

In our family the foundation of forgiveness is based on our faith. As God has forgiven us, so we forgive one another. The Lord’s prayer is a familiar place to find this bible concept where it says, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” For us, the ultimate expression of forgiveness is God’s forgiveness of our sins through the substitutionary death of his son Jesus, as I wrote about in ‘There’s just something about canceled debt’. This is what we hold out as our example and obligation when we consider who and what we are to forgive as God’s kids.

Just the other night I overheard our teens resolving a disagreement… and I heard these familiar words, ‘Please forgive me for ______”, followed by, “I forgive you.” Now they probably don’t always mean what they say at the time, but we’ve taught them that this is what they must say to one another. And, we’ve taught them to ask forgiveness of God for what they have done. While they’ve done something that hurt their relationship with one another, their actions have hurt their relationship with God. They need to make it right with him.

Sounds pretty simple and maybe even like a formula, but it’s not. Because asking of, and granting forgiveness to, another human being means a couple of pretty profound things… like thinking outside the universe of ‘me’ and humbling myself, accepting my mistake, and my responsibility, and my blame, and asking for something I don’t deserve from the other person. Similarly, asking for and receiving forgiveness from God is also profound, in that it requires me to admit that it’s not all about me, accept that I’m ultimately responsible to God, admit my sin (anything that goes against his ways), admit my need of his forgiveness even though I don’t deserve it.

And, in our human relationships, both the recipient and the giver of forgiveness find restored relationship after forgiveness is granted. Again, this might be much later, after the anger has subsided and the rational mind has thought things through. Then, it’s gone. For the most part it’s a fresh start. In perfect forgiveness there is no more blame, no feelings of lingering bitterness or resentment because it’s been dealt with right up front. In our experience, the feelings of forgiveness always follow the words and the choice to forgive.

With God it’s the same. The relationship is fully restored because of forgiveness. Bible says, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

I’m just scraping the surface here. I haven’t begun to answer the question yet, but I believe there’s a lot of ground to cover first. Please bear with me.

My point is simply, forgiveness does not appear to come naturally to any of us. It goes against our human nature. Faith and forgiveness go hand in hand for me, for my family. The more I read and write and think on it, the more I’m convinced that forgiveness is a God thing, not a human thing at all.

I think that’s all for today. Next postings will look at the definition of the word, and what stories we can find in the Bible that exemplify it, as well as what God has to say about it.

And, I can hardly wait to introduce my blogging partner to you!

Please forgive me that today is not Poetry Friday003. Next week I’ll be back on track again.

Digging in,

Lesley-Anne

Living in the tension


I came across a couple of things today that stood out, a poem and a song. I was reminded again of how often difficult, even horrific life circumstances and hope can coexist for us as humans.  You know, that spirit of overcoming, of withstanding, of bouyancy. And this seems so unexplainable, contrary to logic, and completely unexpected. Like Anna Zizi’s story yesterday, there are many stories that we hear, read in the headlines, or see in documentaries and movies. Stories that leave us wondering how that can be? Asking if I am capable of that too?

One such story, or stories (details vary) that I came across, surrounds a poem that was found by allied troops in 1945, on a basement wall in Cologne, Germany.  The poem is anonymous, yet attributed to someone hiding from the Gestapo.  In it’s simple language is a profound message of hope and faith in a time of horror and adversity.

Even When God Is Silent

I believe in the sun even when it is not shining.

I believe in love even when feeling it not.

I believe in God even when God is silent.

And I recognized that a life of faith, whether new or maturing, requires a lot of us. It asks us to live in the tension of experiencing one thing and believing in another. Like so many things in my life, the tension is constant and is sometimes hard to bear. But in the end it comes down to one thing, BELIEVING. Hope is really all about BELIEVING too.

The poem, “Even When God is Silent,” inspired BarlowGirl, an American Christian Rock group of three sisters, to write their song, ‘I believe in Love.”

I Believe in Love

How long will my prayers seem unanswered?
Is there still faith in me to reach the end?
I’m feeling doubt I’m losing faith
But giving up would cost me everything
So I’ll stand in the pain and silence
And I’ll speak to the dark night

I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining
I believe in love even when I don’t feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent
And I, I believe

Though I can’t see my stories ending
That doesn’t mean the dark night has no end
It’s only here that I find faith
And learn to trust the one who writes my days
So I’ll stand in the pain and silence
And I’ll speak to the dark night

I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining
I believe in love even when I don’t feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent
And I, I believe
No dark can consume Light
No death greater than this life
We are not forgotten
Hope is found when we say
Even when He is silent

I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining
I believe in love even when I don’t feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent
And I, I believe.

What about superficial hope?


My hope quotient can be increased by things like sunlight, fresh air, and good news. Does that make me superficial, or even fickle?

My hopes are dashed when a series of negative events pile up and I feel that I can no longer shoulder the load. Does that make me weak?

My hope in the future, even my eternal perspective, can be overshadowed by the cares of today, the needs of the moment, the unknowns of tomorrow. Does that make me faithless, or just human?

And my mood, being the complicated spaghetti mess that that it is with so many twists and turns, can over-ride hope, or smother it. So does that mean my hormones rule?

I don’t think there are any clear answers to these questions. I ask them in the desire to draw you into this conversation on hope, and to let you know that I don’t pretend to be an expert on it. I have lots of questions, just like you probably do.

Yet, I also have hope. I have the kind of hope that’s like a roller-coaster, up and down and upside down, in dark of tunnels, screaming down steep inclines, almost losing my lunch on the bends, but it NEVER leaves the track. The coaster rattles and squeaks and it feels like it’s going to fly off, or throw me off anyway, but somehow, miracle of miracles and gravity, I stick. God’s got to be the chief engineer on this ride… if not, then who? ‘Cause I should have fallen off a long time ago.

How about you?

Lesley-Anne

Hope for the future…