Today, I choose to believe in you,
the you God fashioned, not the you I need you to be;
the you with unique traits, quirks, gifts, treasures,
history, dreams, and potential that make you special.
I will not hold you accountable to be some other you;
I will seek to know the real you. And if you forget,
if you wander, if you lose your center, if you can’t find home,
even if you say you don’t know me and hurt me unintentionally
with your words or actions, I will look inside and see your light.
And I will raise up a banner today, and every day
for the world, and for you, to see –
a banner inscribed with your name.
“Thank you God. Thank you.”
Again and again my mind said
“Thank you, God.”
Then came the peace,
apart from me, yet in me.
From mind to heart and back again,
From this well then flowed
compassion like I’ve never known.
Felt first for those nearby,
it moved, unbounded then, to all.
He had the whole world in His hands
and let me hold on, too.
In this love stream were no impediments,
no sin-shoals of the self
to block the flow.
With all I became one,
held close in a great big
Grandma’s hug of Grace.
Something about this –
perhaps the spindly black fingers,
curved and angled pairings pointing upward,
some splaying into petals,
all rising from a hand dipping downward
into winter’s milky gray draught –
something about this
must look like God.
If we could connect and maintain contact
with that deep part of ourselves
that would long to gently hold and comfort
a lost or abandoned child, and if we could learn
to humbly recognize that part of ourselves as God,
then the world would more likely become
a Peaceable Kingdom ruled by Love.
have loved me,
have given me reproof
and have guarded my coming and going.
These hands have lifted and taught,
have held me in the morning and at days’ end.
These hands had folded, fisted in my mind
as I ran down that path away from myself,
looking for myself, yet finding only dust.
I hoped for these hands in the poor dark days,
through the night vigil of the soul’s near-death.
In a distant window they appeared –
holding lights, clasped for prayer, in my mind’s eye.
Turning toward home, I felt them open to receive me,
their living warmth upon my face, always needing me;
then sounds of swine and the stench of reality
stamped my spirit down to a depth of dead things.
Eating from the trough of wasted life and drinking mud
my suffocated soul, stretched thin on the cord
of its final breath, summoned some imparted energy –
rising life of the last dark day – and turned toward home
to a flicker from the lamp of cupped hands
in a chamber room; light leading life down a long road.
Nothing is left but this. Take me. Take me.
From the mud and dust of this path I looked up. The hill,
the hands stretched out. The sight of the Father
flowing, pouring, running down the road for me
drew out this entombed heart for him to hold –
a child, arms extended – arching over space and time.
Dust. Breath. Innocence. Beginning. Life.
My face feels the fabric of his robe – true love’s weave.
Arms embracing. Tears anointing.
Hands receiving, pardon granting.
Giving grace in this forever of today.
Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt van Rijn
(Image credit – http://www.rembrandtpainting.net)
Hope is a very beautiful thing – resurrected each day through reflecting on blessings received and mercies given, in the Light that is revealed even in times of darkness, in seeing the kindness and goodness God placed at the very heart of creation, and the purposes and promises set in motion at the beginning and continuing to work themselves out in our present reality through the power of Love. And there is such joy in sharing this hope, in singing the song we have been given to sing – the song that sweetens in the sharing, and sings itself above all the suffering we will ever face. Thank you, God, for hope. #gratitude
May we see much remaining
where the world says, “all is gone,”
beauty in the unaccounted,
breath-stopping sunrises in cloudy-eyed mornings,
clear young life stretching still
down overgrown paths of the old,
dancing shoes at rockers’ feet,
fresh ink signatures of grace
on tear-stained pages of the past,
color splashing from wells we thought had gone dry –
and know that life’s imparted gift
cannot any wise be made less
than undeniable, incomprehensible,
(For #caregivers, those with #dementia and #alzheimers and all who love their #elders)
(Art created by a person with Alzheimer’s disease participating in the “Bringing Art to Life” program from Cognitive Dynamics Foundation and the University of Alabama Honors College)