Stand

Bone deep weariness

Drags at me.

Gravity sings sweet, soft, songs

Of welcome rest

If I just lay down,

Lay down my sword and shield,

Lay down my helm and armor

And lay down my body.

Just for a moment.

One little moment.

“What can happen in a moment?”

I can hear the whisper.

“Really, how many could get through the gate,

If you just stopped for a moment?”

“You’ve earned a moment, surely.”

 

 

I was told to stand.

This is my gate,

My place to hold,

My place to defend.

To every side another gate

And in each gate another defender.

I never stand alone

But this is my gate.

 

 

I’m never weary in the battles.

Lassitude drags at me in the pauses between the fights.

“It’s just one gate,

One tiny gate,

Of a thousand like it.

No-one is watching.

Relax

Just for a moment.”

 

 

When the whispers come

And the weariness grows

I know the enemy is coming.

 

 

Deeper than the subtle whisper

I can hear the voice of the one who gave me my charge.

“Stand firm,

And after you have done everything,

Stand.”

So…

 

I stand.

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Little Roads

As a passenger on the interstate I noticed a road beside the Road.  Small, often dirt or even grass, occasionally vanishing into a low swampy place, this little road followed along the interstate highway.  I never saw a single traveler on that little parallel road.  We (I was a passenger so of course we) were whizzing by other cars and having other cars whiz by us and I was struck with an image of a little boy in overalls with a piece of straw between his teeth strolling down the slow road.  I was overcome momentarily with the urge to be that little boy.  Heck, I think I was that little boy long ago and far away.

Sailing down the highway the scenery blurred by, indistinct and then gone before it could really be seen.  I was moving fast but I never actually was anywhere.  I think that little boy was exactly where he was.  I think he could see and smell and hear everything around him from the heat of the day on his skin to the pebbles under his feet to the breeze helping to dry the sweat on his forehead to the smell of summer grass nearby to the sound of the cars blurring by on the big road.

A thing I realized is that if I’m always going to somewhere then I’m never actually where I want to be.  I think the little boy, even though he was going somewhere, was still somewhere he wanted to be.

We’re always traveling.  Even sitting still is traveling though you’re not picking the direction if you’re sitting still.  We can’t stay in the same place because every moment is a different place.

But…

However….

Perhaps….

We could remember that every step is a place to be and that if we hurry so much to the big destinations we miss being in all the little places in between.

Maybe that’s just me.

Secure hearts (prose version)

The heart of a man is not made for nine to five.  A soul is not made for boundaries, fences, borders, or coloring inside the lines.  I was not forged… Forged…in the blazing heart of creation to live ruled by fear and trembling trepidation. My pulse quickens at the sights yet unseen, the view beyond the hill and across the water.  My true self is engineered, designed, planned meticulously, for fearless, selfless freedom. (True freedom is selfless, always selfless. Fear is the heart of selfishness. We only build walls to guard the things we fear might be destroyed.)  I’m crafted for leaping, running,  bounding, sailing, soaring and for helping others to do the same.  The original lie, the very first one, is the tempting promise of unassailable security. “you will be like God”

I can tell you how to find absolute security.  Dig a hole, sixty by sixty.  Build a box of concrete and steel with walls ten feet thick, airtight and light-tight.  Climb inside and close the door and have the dirt piled high on top.  Wait until the air runs out. Voila,  Security.

Here is my hope and desire, for me and for you, that should I find myself on the crest of a cliff, and looking down, see the snarling faces and bristling spears of enemies bent on my destruction,  that I (and you in the same position) would leap without thought and with a laugh,  and watch them try to scatter, too late to escape me.

True security rests in a heart that has broken the chains of fear and been broken at the hands of the Smith to be forged anew.  I know who guards my heart and under that guard it is unassailable.

Secure hearts

The heart of a man

Is not made for nine to five.

A soul is not made for boundaries,

Fences,

Borders,

Or coloring inside the lines.

I was not forged…

 

Forged…

 

In the blazing heart of creation

To live ruled by fear and trembling trepidation.

My pulse quickens

At the sights yet unseen,

The view beyond the hill

And across the water.

 

My true self is engineered,

Designed,

Planned meticulously,

For fearless, selfless freedom.

(True freedom is selfless,

Always selfless.

Fear is the heart of selfishness.

We only build walls to guard the things we fear might be destroyed)

I’m crafted for leaping,

Running,

Bounding,

Sailing,

Soaring

And for helping others to do the same.

 

 

The original lie,

The very first one,

Is the tempting promise of unassailable security.

“you will be like God”

I can tell you how to find absolute security.

Dig a hole, sixty by sixty.

Build a box of concrete and steel

With walls ten feet thick, airtight and light-tight.

Climb inside and close the door and have the dirt piled high on top.

Wait until the air runs out.

Voila,

Security.

 

 

Here is my hope and desire,

For me and for you,

That should I find myself on the crest of a cliff,

And looking down, see the snarling faces

And bristling spears of enemies bent on my destruction,

That I

(and you in the same position)

Would leap without thought

And with a laugh,

Watching them try to scatter,

Too late

To escape me.

 

 

True security

Rests

In a heart that has broken the chains of fear

And been broken at the hands of the Smith

To be forged anew.

I know who guards my heart

And under that guard

It is unassailable.

Tomorrow’s Sunrise

The sun rose this morning.  It was a lovely thing.  I’m surrounded by trees and the early light is gold tinted faintly with green as it settles down past the leaves.  The sun rose and the day began and I moved on through it.  I laughed and I ate and I sang (a little) and I enjoyed the company of others that I care about.  I played and I strained and I worked and I was neglectful and I had bursts of temper.  I was lazy and I was diligent and I was helpful and I was callous. The sun rose and the day began and it was a day like most other days.  It’s the end of the day and I’ve made plans for tomorrow, things I want to get done and things I don’t want to do but have to anyway and things that will happen around me that I’ll have to enjoy or deal with one way or the other, because I think the sun will rise again tomorrow and it will be a day like most other days.

What if it doesn’t, though?  What if, despite my plans, the sun doesn’t rise tomorrow, green tinted through the leaves of my woods and swamp?  What if it’s all done?  As scientists, logicians, and stock brokers will always carefully say, past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Just because the sun has always risen doesn’t mean it always will.  So, if it doesn’t, what should I have done differently today?  Where could I have been kinder or more patient?  Where could I have been less hesitant or less fearful?  When should I have said “I love you” one more time?  What things did I brush past waiting for the always impending tomorrow?

It’s a little sad and sobering to think like this and that’s why I don’t think like this all the time.  I need my tomorrow to make up for my today.  Tomorrow I’ll be looking for the next tomorrow to do better than tomorrow’s day.  Since I have had the time tonight to think like this, though, maybe tomorrow I can do a little better than I did today.  Maybe I can be a little kinder and a little bolder and a little better all the way around.  And maybe, the day after, I can do a little better yet. That’s the gift, promise and threat of tomorrow.  Every tomorrow brings a new chance to do better with each sunrise.

The Conversation

I was walking yesterday and I saw an old man leaning casually against a streetlight.  His head was bowed and he seemed almost asleep.  When I approached he glanced up.  His gold-brown eyes were alert but hooded.

I spoke.

“Hey, man, whatcha doin?”

“Letting heartbeats go by.”

“Why?”

“They go by anyway.  I’m just not fighting ‘em right now.”

“Is that a good thing or bad thing?”

“Depends.  I’m not worried or stressed like some are.  But I’m not getting anything done either.”

“Is that a good thing or bad thing?”

“Depends again.  Sometimes folks do things they shouldn’t have done, and sometimes folks do things and don’t really get anything done and sometimes folks do things and it’s the thing that had to be done.  And sometimes folks don’t do things cause they’re lazy or cause they’re scared but sometimes they don’t do things cause it’s the right time to not do anything.”

“How do you know?’

“Most times you don’t know until you’re looking back to see.  Sometimes not even then.  From time to time, if you remember to pay attention to the right thing you can figure out which is which while it’s happening.  That’s when the right thing happens.”

“What’s the right thing to pay attention to?”

“Well…depends.  I’d say maybe you should pay attention to your heartbeats going by.”

“Is that what you’re doin?”

“I’m just keeping an eye on life and letting life keep an eye on me.”

He bowed his head again.  I walked on.