Tag Archive: Memory

I’ve started writing this out so many times that it actually hurts to think about it, again.
Words usually come so easily to me.  Almost like a switch that never needs to be turned off.
I would play the phrases like I dreamed of playing my horn, bluesy and improvisational.
Introspection and observation intertwined like playing 16 bars, opening up new sound.
Like a second sight that pierces through the ordinary to find divinity redeeming it.
Accents and internal monuments on the upbeats, standing out of an ordinary existence.
Yet, if I had only been a spectator, the journalist inside of me would have written it down.
Yeah, I’d have been proud of the insight and perspective that I now had.
Except, I didn’t just get to sit by and watch this unfold, like some television drama.
It was intercession, and it was availability.  It was time on knees, and it was resting on His shoulder.
Unbeknownest to me, I found myself invited in, and I stood with the Man behind the curtain.
In places that I didn’t really acknowledge that existed, I became torn down in the process.
Because grace reaches that far, and mercy fills the gaps in the story.
I watched the world unfold and cover my understanding, then shrink to the head of a pin.
All on the behalf of someone so loved, that even thinking about it hurts me.
So transformed is my own point of view now, that I no longer even accept it as my own.
Like my own rationale was cast away, adrift on the waves of uncommon sense.
But now, that which could be proved and substantiated, no longer is the rule.
Thus my words fail me at every turn to try and describe what my eyes saw and my heart felt.
It still trembles to speak about it for fear of it proving to be something made up inside my mind.
I suffer from what seems like endless heart attacks, as my chest is going to explode.
Just as it did so many times in the middle of the night, with the cold rivulets of sweat coating me.
In reflection, I wasn’t invited to see firsthand the incredible constructive redemption of grace.
It honestly was demanded of me to stand in the gap between God and His beloved.
There are scars that stand as tribute and testament to the power of merciful love, and I wear them.
No pride, no confidence, and no ego.  But, also no guilt, no blame, and no shame, either.
Unabashed was a word that I had used before but never had seen until 3am became regular to me.
In the midst of being overcome with fear, terror, aching, & anguish so real that eyes stopped crying,
I found the end of self, and hopefully the beginning of simple service to others.
Now, I sit here, writing about one of the few things in my world that have transformed everything.
Nothing is the same anymore, and the questions of “who” and “whose” don’t even make sense.
Because of the time last year, I am no longer able to intercede without knowing an instant matters. 
I cannot look in the mirror because I don’t recognise the person staring back at me.
I would have hoped that enlightenment would mean being smarter, and keep me from falling down.
But, I’m still a flesh and blood man, that saw a picture of the extent that God loves His beloved…
no matter how many times I try to write it all out, so I might gain some semblance of understanding,
I recognise that what I’ve seen has no words because humans have no concept of this.
Just being in the situation, my heart knows this is something that has no expression.
That, to someone who prides himself with the ability to write, is both terrifying and awesome.
Shown to me was how to embrace and consume someone with love and adoration.
Shown to me was how dominoes were made to fall perfectly to cause wonder and joy.
Shown to me was how love pervasive causes a heart to fall in love, over and over and over.
Yet, I live in the frustration that what I experienced is something that doesn’t seem to be replicated.
Because no matter how I try and try, the divine that God breathed into me doesn’t suffice.
Usually, the inability to share and describe would eat at my soul because of my pride.
But, my soul itches because I got to see a moment of brilliant orchestration.
It was an oeuvre, jazz-like and riffing that cannot ever happen the same way twice. 
I know He carefully placed each note, and the harmony of the dominoes falling echoes.
It had to be absolutely planned, a dichotomy with intent and experience.
Breathless in the moment, wordless in the aftermath, changed beyond imagination.
I am grateful that His beloved will never ever be the same again, reclaimed, renewed.
For now, I understand that truth that is unspoken, and love His beloved the same.
That is why I cannot write it out from beginning to end, note for note, dominoes falling.
It began before any beloved became, and will end after He will come again.
So how can words ever hope to contain a force so uncontainable or divine?
My questions always begin with wondering how such blessings and I intertwine.


10:16 am
24 February 2012

The Value of Soil

The ground is weary.  Dried and crumbling.  Each footstep upon it crackles and snaps, like breaking its bones.  It, disheartened and weak cannot stand against the neglect of a relentless sun day after day.  The dirt cries out in anguish, desperate and failing.  After years and years of prayers being unanswered, hopes and dreams disappearing like vapour, it starts to give up the ghost.  The spirit starts to leave the ground behind, and life seems to be waning without sustenance.

Someone comes along.  Her feet contributing to the decay, they stop.  She refuses to move forward and leave yet another set of footsteps through.  Unlike those before her, she does not move past leaving this to swelter and cry alone.  In her heart, she sees a mirror of her own life.  So much time has gone by.  Such rich and promising things could have been.  She too has cried out mercilessly weak and unable to change her lot.  Potential becoming a metaphor for failure.  Emptiness chosen over and over, replacing hope.

Now to look at either as places where fruit would grow is unthinkable.  The ground lain too long fallow is unworkable.  The person far too long set in their ways to ever change.  Untenable.  And so both have been written off, like so many times before.  Cast away, cast out.  Abandoned.  Forgotten.  Alone.

She realises that unless she does something, the ground will never be what it was supposed to be.  Generations and years will go by and the world would detrimentally and radically be different from what it should be if she didn’t do something.  Anything.  And she realises that every effort she makes with the soil she stands upon will be an effort of her own reclamation.

That’s what it is… reclamation.

God entered my mother’s heart and reclaimed something that was already His.  She, for many many years, had deliberately stayed outside His care and at arm’s length.  She felt abandoned, discarded, like there was nothing left of worth to come from her life.  By the time God reached in and broke through the walls keep Him at arm’s length, my mother was well into the latter 3rd of her life.  She never quite got the visual image of her world being dry, broken, crumbling and of no use out of her head.  It was a struggle that lasted until her last days.  

She struggled with the concept of nobility.  That she was what the scriptures said to her.  She was uniquely special, called by God, a royal priestess, God’s mouthpiece, and His arms and feet.  For most of us, those concepts are vagaries, but for mom, they were daily struggles.  She knew that deep down she was meant for so much more.  But like the land in the previous metaphor, the roots couldn’t grow in land so beaten about by the previous 50 something years.  She always saw herself as ignoble, for nothing more than common things.

Then she saw it.  In the words of a teacher, she saw it.  In the experiences related from a pastor, she saw it.  From the desperate pleas of a leader, she saw it.  Her eyes didn’t see the ground parched and pleading.  She saw the lush land with fruits and vegetables growing.  She saw the ground producing life-giving sustenance.  Her belief saw what could be and believed it would be.  It will be.  That’s what she didn’t get for so very long.  That the commonplace, the everyday:  the tilling of the soil, working it with your hands, watering it, and waiting expectantly for green shoots to push through the ground that once was a desert and dying.

As God opened up her eyes, that there was a ground desperate for care, she often would say that she had two arms and she could hug anyone and everyone that she could find.  She would provide nourishment in a place that had none before.  She did so because she was once that dry land.  Her heart and life was very much a wasteland.  As God poured His living waters out and they permeated the soil of her heart, she transformed.  No one really understood the depth to which she felt that.

She fell in love with this ground like she was rediscovering the beautiful child of Christ that she always has been.  For her it was the ultimate place.  Like it was created just for her.  Imagine finding yourself in a discarded place, in the midst of a crumbling reality.  Imagine seeing the beautiful sight that is seen through God’s eyes, not accepting the obvious.  Her whole life turned upside down, and she used up all of the rest of her life for what she saw in that image. 

Her land was in the hearts of those wonderful kids at Base Camp United Christian Federation.  An orphanage.  Hearts discarded because of loss, war, disease, death.  She saw such life and joy and promise.  While she was able, she tilled the weary soil, planted seeds, and yet she will not get a chance to see them bear fruit.  The work must still be done.  The soil is fertile for God’s love to be made manifest. 

My mother reveled in the opportunity to grow things when she moved to Kasese, Uganda.  She ended up having a place to grow fruit and vegetables just steps away from her living room.  I think she loved the simplicity of what it takes to grow things.  Everyday she had to pay attention to the crops.  Watering, seeds, tilling, and most especially enjoyably… harvesting and having the fruits of her labours.  She once sent me a message frantic from the other side of the world… it turned out that she has just harvested her first cucumber and tomato and pepper.  What a special example of nobility in purpose.  She was meant to work the land.

The harvest was rich, and as it turned out plentiful.  What a rich reminder not to get discouraged as the days stretch on.  What an amazing gift to have to reflect God’s gracious love for her.  Just like He rejoices with the investment of those extending love on His behalf. 

Each of us has been tended to for us to reach where we are.  Someone reached us when we were proverbial wastelands.  God wants to reclaim us, to restore us to be who we were created to be.

The ground is still weary.  The people are incredibly weary.  They both feel abandoned and broken.  We’re craving being taken care of, attention being paid to us, and hope for change.  We need to remember that the fields are in desperate need of healing.  Do not let us forget that.  The world around us is crumbling, dry and disheartened.  Be committed to the noblest effort, that of reconciling all of creation to He who created it. 

So… will you tend the soil in desperate need?  Will you step out and provide the thirsty ground what it needs?

%d bloggers like this: