Saturday, October 14, 2017

Waiting for Rain

Tuesday, 5 September 2017
     The air is so thick with acidic smoke that a couple deep breaths could make me sick to my stomach. A layer of ash covers my car; the sun is the ominous, radioactive-red glow I've imagined it to be in Ray Bradbury's "August 2026: There Shall Come Soft Rains". Our sky is obscured by thick, grey-yellow clouds which drift down with the ash as a haze. Even as all eyes are on Houston, and our hearts are with the displaced, homeless, and hurting in Texas, the West Coast is burning.

     If I drove toward our newest, earth-razing flames, it would take me less than an hour. I was supposed to go hiking this morning, but all my favorite spots are being turned to charcoal. When one steps outside, all is still; no birds sing.

     Suddenly, the utter destruction of fire is very real, as it begins to touch individuals on the fringe of my awareness. Coworkers of my brothers, extended family of friends, even unnamed faces with whom I've shared a smile when grabbing ice cream after a hike, or making a coffee stop en route to a friend's home.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017
     At night, the man in the moon cries, his cloudy, orange face burning tragically. Even as the starless world cools, the air remains thick, sticking to my skin like sunscreen. 

Thursday, 7 September 2017
     The smell of smoke is nearly gone, but the haze remains. Fires still burn. Rain - besides a few rallying droplets - has not come. Reports say the fire is 5% contained. 5% of 30,000 acres of one of my favorite pieces of land in the world. I don't mean to be dramatic, but this is my home being ravaged. 

     And yet, even as I pray desperately for rain, for the lives of these brave firefighters, for the people displaced, the animals running - even as I pray for relief, I am keenly aware of how spoiled we are, because we have hope. This is the Northwest. Rain is most assuredly on the way - be it today, tomorrow, the next day. We wait for rain. We know it will come.

~~~~~~~

     Over a month ago, during Memorial Day weekend, a gigantic fire was started which would burn well over 40,000 acres within an hour's drive of my house. It is still burning, not projected to be put out until the end of next month. It's funny how the danger and ruin of a thing can be known yet unknown until one actually experiences it. We hear of California's fires, we smell hints of smoke from Canada's burnings, but I have never realized how hopeless one feels as fires grow, and multiply, despite man's greatest efforts. Even still, I have no idea of it's total potential: I have not had to worry about my friends, or what it would be like to be rendered homeless. 

     Still, as I wrote last month, I have been struck with the differences in the degree of helplessness we felt, compared to places like California, where rain is so much more rare. Washington isn't the Evergreen State for nothing (with, you know, Oregon as our twin) - rain is as much a given as sunshine. Or more so, depending on the time of year. We asked "When will it rain?" but it wasn't with a hopeless tone in our voice. We prayed for rain, holding in our hearts no doubt that it was well on the way.

     And the metaphor was not lost on me. It seemed last month as though each morning brought news of new disasters - hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis. Lives lost, homes destroyed, families torn apart. Yet, as Christians, we know this chaos is not our end. Amidst wars, and rumors of wars, we have a sure and certain hope: the redemption and coming of Him who will set all things right. Like the weather in Washington, we have no doubt that this relief will soon flood our hearts. As our world burns ever toward condemnation, we reach hands to our King who "will come to us like the rain."

     May the fire end and our King come soon.


Friday, October 6, 2017

To Reach a Goal

It was my goal, beginning in mid-September, to start blogging consistently.

To exercise regularly.

To memorize Scripture habitually.

It was my goal, after this last school year ended, to start reading profusely.

To study my own determined subjects diligently.

To save thriftily.

Some of these goals have succeeded, others are a daily struggle. Why is it that as soon as we determine to do a thing, we suddenly lose the will to do it?

The other day, someone told me that "Your habits will always be stronger than your goals," and the truth of this statement overwhelmed me.

Is it my goal to save money? Frequent coffee stops will have to end. To read and study more? Time to cut Netflix and Instagram. To exercise more frequently? No more sleeping late. To memorize? Stop thinking "kinda" is good enough. 

Of course, one can never turn from one thing without turning toward another. In order to abandon or put aside poor habits, healthy ones must be built. With purpose, having the end goal in mind, a rhythm must be set to one's days and weeks. Set the tempo, know the songs, live the God-given melodies.

The perfectionist in me needs a daily reminder of G.K. Chesterton's quote in this endeavor: "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly." 

Badly begun or not, action is requited. Paths must be laid. Habits, practiced. 

Average, every-day beginnings are rarely exemplary, but where they lead very well might be.

So here it is, my first blog post in a campaign to form a habit of writing weekly. Stay tuned, Fridays, we have a goal to reach.

Photo Credit: ADriel_m. Path. 7 January 2012. Flickr Creative Commons

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

{Almost}


My hand cramps, refusing
To open and accept the gift.
Instead I hold, stubborn, 
On what I know to be worthless,

And from my tight, clenched fist, 
The offering slips through my grasp
And leaves mere skeletons
Of pleasure between my fingers -

Bare bones sucked dry of life, 
Like guilt. Frantically, I open
My hands to remedy
The moment, but find I must wait
For another. 


Photo Credit: Shin, Crom. dandelion. 20 May 2016. Flickr Creative Commons.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What Today Could Be


     "Dreary," I muttered, as I rolled over in bed this morning. After a long weekend of sunshine, late nights, and memories, I awoke to my busiest, back-to-real-life day of the week with a sky full of grey. Rain trickled down in spurts - not the exhilarating, pouring, mega-drops, but halfhearted, puny drizzles: too pathetic to turn on the windshield wipers, but just wet enough to keep you flicking them on and off, on and off, on and off.

     "Pathetic," my heart whispered, as I worked through my morning routine and left for school. Time with God was abbreviated and peppered with yawns. Tardy to-dos descended in thick torrents: emails to write, phone calls to make, lessons to schedule, homework to finish, recital prep to tackle. My coffee tasted like water run through a filter which at one time may have looked at a picture of a coffee bean. I was late.

     "Bored," my soul slumped, flipping through radio stations in the car, trying to find something besides investment and jewelry ads to listen to as I trailed long lines of irrationally bad traffic. "What a Jonah day."

     "Just think," a radio preacher's words contradicted, leaping into my consciousness, "Today could be the day.

     "Hope," the Holy Spirit boomed, as every dreary aspect of my morning melted into meaninglessness. Clouds or clear sky - what did it matter when both could be rolled away at any moment to reveal the Person for whom my heart aches? Drizzles or sunshine - either will look colorless and dull compared to the brilliance of what today we might see. This morning I could see my Savior? This afternoon I could go home? This evening could be my last earthly sunset? My window still says it's a cold, wet day in May, but my spirit is ready, waiting, expecting -

     Because, after all, today could be the day.


Photo Credit Maeda, Hiroaki. raindrops. 5 May 2009. Flickr Creative Commons.

Monday, April 17, 2017


It's awful how easily
A soul can slit the fragile veil
And slip from time-bound space
To all there is beyond
Unnoticed.

While families sit for dinner,
And women shop for evening gowns
And couples argue
And babies nap
Oblivious.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Full



 If it's better to carve and build lives for ourselves,
Than to build tir'lessly, just to share -
If it's better to win recognition than scorn -
If "one's duty" is just grasping air -
If it's better to soak in life's pleasures,
Than to live, martyr-like, full of cares -
Then of all men we're most to be pitied,
For they're needless, these burdens we bear.

If the wellspring of kindness is deep within self -
If the source of all mercy is "me" -
If the total compassion we bring to the world,
Is summ'd up in what our hearts can be -
If it's only from what we can gather within,
That we're able to give gen'rously -
Then of all men, those 'round us are ruined,
For we're riddled with depravity.

But if purpose and love are not measured from man -
If a source exists, far beyond "I"-
If we find grander meaning in losing ourselves,
Than in having a name we're known by - 
If, on earth, all deemed worthy is proved to be naught,
And those knowing their sin are proved right -
Then of all men we're most to be envied,
For eternity's lived in our sight.


Photo Credit. Sunter, Craig. Full Time !. 28 September 2014. Flickr Creative Commons