Sparks (or not)
Emitted from the fire, their tiny illumination endures for the briefest of moments…then, they are gone

Jul
12

Deliberately made with a purpose in mind.

Even if your parents didn’t exactly plan on you
in a careless moment of passion.
Even if you came to be  in the squalor of the slum
or the plush comfort of the privileged.
Even if you believe your existence is merely
a random roll of the dice on the crap table of the universe.
You were planned.
Even if horrible things still happen in this world
and even if by your own choices or the choices of others
you never fulfill your potential…
you never find your purpose…
you never make a mark in this world…
you are not a mistake.

Life on earth is but a vapor.
You have an eternity available to discover the depths of God’s love.
Like the mountain brook seeks the sea, love seeks an object.
The ultimate lover had an object in mind,
a landing point for that love…

…and that would be you.

Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
And the Lord said, “I will cause all of my goodness to pass in front of you and I will proclaim my name in your presence…the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin..”
Exodus 33, 34

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” 1John 3:1

Kim Walker video

Jul
10

One with nature
stalking silently, prepared to kill
and thank the Creator for another day’s or week’s provision
Somewhere deep in my bones
the young Brave still shivers at the lurking, lusting eyes of the wildcat.

Ancient and Asian
steeped in centuries of tradition
yet life is but a daily ritual of fish and rice…fish and rice…
The very cells of my being hearken to another rising sun
upon an eternal eastern sea.

Out of the rut of safety
we go to find new worlds
Salty air, briny main,  polar winds
our companions along the way
The blood of Norsemen courses even now through my veins.

Stamped with a destiny
before the foundations of the world
to serve my neighbor – and conquer Hell
…and love the lover of my soul
A divine nature lies deep beneath this shell

A patchwork cloth
of many hues and textures
in pleasure and pain sewn together
And in the chilly winds of Fall
it shall become my shroud and swaddler

This is who I am

May
01

Solomon’s proverbs from the Hebrew bible are some of my favorite readings. Not only are they poetic and piercing, they are strikingly efficient – getting their point across using a minimum of verbiage. They follow a pattern of admonition rather than doctrinal teaching. And they provide a foundation for moral living.

As king,  Solomon hoped to guide his people in an upstanding lifestyle which he instinctively knew would benefit his nation. This in itself was wisdom. He advised his subjects in the ways of decency much as a diligent father would instruct his children.

One who reads the proverbs of Solomon might  quickly envision a kind patriarch, serious about his message yet with a bit of a twinkle in the eye.

Here are some examples of the “lighter side of Solomon”:

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!  It has no         commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” (common sense lessons from nature)

“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful  woman who shows no discretion.” (’nuff said)

“Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his folly. (Stay away from a fool.  Stay far away…)

”  ‘Its no good! Its no good!’  says the buyer; then off he goes to boast about his purchase.”  (perspective is everything)

“Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house. Too much of you, and he will hate you.” (a worn-out welcome?)

“Better to live in a corner of the attic than in a w-i-d-e house with a quarrelsome wife. (ahem…)

“Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, the undeserved curse does not come to rest.” (feel better now..?)

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”

“As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed.” (visualize)

“Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.” (it will surely devolve into fangs and fur..)

Others:

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.”

“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

“Death and Destruction are never satisfied…and neither are the eyes of  man.”

Solomon’s words, though written millenia ago, are truly proverbial and timeless in their relevance – to both high and low among men.  I have found a regular dose is akin to a spiritual elixir.

Note: The Book of Proverbs ends with a profound tribute to the very essence of womanhood. Let the reader pursue that one on his own, if interested.


Mar
08

Something about this seemingly ordinary photograph caught my attention. The subjects are the legendary basketball coach Nolan Richardson and disgraced former sprint sensation, Marion Jones.

Richardson has followed along a path of success as a coach at Tulsa University, the University of Arkansas and presently, the Tulsa Shock, a new women’s professional basketball franchise.

Banned forever from Track and Field, Jones is trying to make a new start in life, returning to a former discipline in which she once  excelled.  She played point guard on the University of North Carolina basketball team which won the national title –  before she achieved her real fame in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

She asked Nolan for a tryout.

Knowing this little bit of background gives the photo so much more meaning to me.

There is a certain comfort level, at least on the part of Jones, allowing her to sit casually at Richardson’s feet. The teacher seems to be stressing a point, using his index finger for emphasis. He has the student’s rapt attention.

One can almost see the contrition on the face of Jones, having been sufficiently humbled by her former acts of cheating – and then lying.

Obviously, it’s  a private moment between the two and the camera embarrassingly makes  the viewer  feel as an intruder.

Still, the look on Jones’ face conveys remorse… and I find I want to give her another chance.

I hope the workout went well and Jones is invited back.

Funny…all the things captured in a frozen visual moment in time.

~ * ~

Update: (3/11/10)  Apparently coach Richardson liked Jones’ workout. She was just signed to a contract with the Shock.

Update: (8/29/10) Though the Shock finished the season in last place, Jones is firmly entrenched in her second-chance career.

Update: (!0/25/10) Jones’ book and a documentary are due out this week.

Dec
29

Pigtails,
I saw you once.
Whether it was yesterday or tomorrow I’m not certain.
So smug…so secure, you sat on Papa’s knee.
No care,  no burden
Just you and him through that hazy curtain.

Pigtails,
from your harbored perch
you cast off  pain, need, heaviness and fear and with a wave of your hand as a scepter of light
you blessed your brothers dear.
Then, just to please his little girl, your Papa called us near
.

Dec
27

Funny how some seemingly insignificant moment from the past will stick with a person their whole life.

“Your the bestest mom in the whole wide world!” was my excited response to Mom’s affirmative nod and smile. My brothers and I had just asked her if we could walk to Holbrook’s Pond for an afternoon swim.

The funny part is that I remember all the details of that moment – Mom in the kitchen, us boys rushing out the door wearing only our cut-offs and towels, me turning back to give Mom a hug and my gleeful exclamation – rather than remembering any details of our first swim without parental supervision.

It was a big deal. It was the beginning of a yearly summer ritual for my brothers and me all through our growing-up years. It was a liberating moment for us boys and I suppose, for our parents too.

Holbrook’s Pond was for all intents and purposes the neighborhood swimmin’ hole. Mel Holbrook was a logger and owned his very own bulldozer. In a time before restrictive land-use regulations, he excavated a huge crater across Ewe Creek and dammed up the lower end. The resulting reservoir formed the perfect centerpiece for a backyard playground. Mel’s wife Mary had a flair for the aesthetic and under the shade of oak and madrone trees, she cultivated lush grass and flowers.

In time, cattail, bullrush and willow lined the water’s edge. Mel stocked the pond with bluegill and catfish. Frogs just naturally seemed to find their way to the summer oasis. Picnic tables and an outhouse completed the park-like setting.

My folks and others who lived on Ewe Creek Road were good friends with the Holbrooks. Our families gathered there often for a picnic and a swim. When the sun began to fade in the evening, we would typically paddle our tubes upstream on an imaginary jungle cruise as the grown-ups sipped their drinks and fidgeted with their poker chips.

My brothers and I learned to swim at Holbrook’s Pond. Whether by design or coincidence, the pond was laid out perfectly. The far side offered a shallow and gradual entry, good for beginners and splashers. It even featured a series of tree stumps, progressing upward in height, for novice divers.

The near side was steep and deep – with a real diving platform. It was reserved for the older and bolder. Looking back, I find it a bit nostalgic to recall how each one of us progressed through the summers from wading, to the stumps, to the platform. All of us eventually became strong swimmers and graceful divers – and at quite a young age at that!

So Mom was not naive and careless when she gave us that nod and smile of approval. It was an “eagles nest” moment. It was as if she knew the question was coming and she – and we – were ready.  Still, I marvel that Mom was able to trust God and three little boys to walk barefoot the mile-and-a-half to Holbrook’s Pond for an afternoon of swimming.

For that moment, which contributed to one of the great chapters of my youth, I once again declare “You’re the bestest mom in the whole wide world!”

Dec
19

Once upon a time Goldilocks lived happily ever after.

Dec
15

When darkness falls
and a chill sweeps in
with it’s
fear
doubt
despair…

When a presence near
of clammy skin
slithers close,
death
fills
the air.

Surrounding me,  creeping things
crouching, wing-ed beasts.
Talons, teeth
beyond belief.
My God! This isn’t fair.

My eyes see only doom and gloom.
A wretched stench ascends.
My last – my end
Does this portend
of my bones in evil’s lair?

Suddenly… a shout I hear
“Open his eyes to see!”
Is another door
not seen before
hidden from earthly stare?

Horses! Riders! Chariots of fire!
on the ridges, hills and mounts.
And leading the way
to rout their prey
I see Michael and Gabriel there.

How quickly does the battle turn
when I lift my eyes to see
the legion hordes
with flaming swords
and a Captain who really cares.

~  ~  ~

Darkness makes a showy scene.
Light reposes ‘neath a veil.
Yet more are those who fight for us
than those who’d have us fail.

refer:  2 Kings 6: 15-17

Nov
28

I wait, rehearsing the steps in my mind
At the end of the runway – the bar, as a taunting rival – silently stands
even daring to touch the object of my dreams
I lift my eyes to the deep blue beckoning of my tantalizing partner

The music begins…

Like a charger-mounted knight I raise the lance
Fair Lady waits with a wink of romance
If strength and form come together perchance
the sky and the rider will embrace in the dance

Planting the pole, it bends like a hickory bow
I lay back, thrusting feet upward at the bow’s release
Straight as an arrow, into a handstand I twist – six meters high
Then, as a jackknife closing, over the bar

Releasing the pole, on my partner entranced
I pass over my rival with nary a glance

When the aerie Lady and I join hands
for the briefest of moments
, ours is the dance

The music fades…

As if torn from a lover, I fall back to earth
The lingering fragrance, the fading notes sustain my joy a little longer
Then, the cheers remind me: the crowd sees only the jilted rival
They know nothing of the sky dance.  Just as well…

Secrecy only sweetens its beauty.

Nov
07

You meet a person.
Immediately, you are drawn to that person and want to be close to that person.
Time passes and the lustre begins to fade.
Eventually, it is clear the attraction has turned to revulsion.

A friend talks you into hearing a favorite song.
Reluctantly you endure, rejecting all but the catchy bridge.
Privately you listen once again, discovering a brilliant bass line.
Another hearing uncovers a moving guitar solo and background vocal.
Before long, the song becomes for you, a winner.

What happened in the two examples above?
Time elapsed.
The image evolved.
A clearer picture developed.

Did truth change?
Or is truth fixed and immutable, only allowing us to see tiny bits of itself?
Or is it something else altogether?

The stimulus which confronts our senses is often perceived as truth.
If we can taste it, see it, hear it, smell it or feel it, it must be true.

Jesus before Pilate

Pontius Pilate once asked the question “what is truth?”
Was it simply a rhetorical question or a serious inquiry, considering his company?

Through the ages, the concept of truth has been praised, preached, defended and died for.
Such a valiant and valued entity should at least be defined.

So now, with only a smidgen of playful intent, I ask you:
what is truth?

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