Dying to Live


I thought a November walk in the woods would be less intriguing.  But then I stopped to acknowledge the dying around me.  And in the decay I smelled future life.  Fallen heros of the forest give there last offerings to the life of the woods. Lying in their beds of carpeted foliage, they testify to life sacrificing for the new growth struggling to be strong.  And always the bedrock holds the ground from generation to generation. 
These are the royalty of the woods, robed in moss and light, spreading life as they die.

How like my earthen wanderings – a royal member, commissioned to cultivate life as I die. 

But for me, my life is not lost to the new growth among which I die.  It is lost only in the source of the Life I lived.  My final death never comes.  When I am laid in my earthen bed, I’ll exchange this fleeting work on earth for the product of the eternal work of My Saviour.  And while I revel in the glory His work has created, I pray the fading evidence of my earthly days will fertilize His life in the generations to come.  Sigh 



"Do you remember me?" she asks as she stands before me face all smile and glowing health.  I recognize the face and know it doesn't belong here, in my personal life, at my brother's wedding.  But I flounder a moment as I try to place her, wishing I could remember her name.  Then, Oh!  Yes.  Just that morning her name called to me while placing name cards on the tables.  I dismissed it knowing it would take too long to recall who she was, and where I knew her from.  But now here she is, eager to reacquaint years after we saw each other regularly at the reception desk of the chemotherapy treatment clinic.  She was the patient, I was the clerk.  She brought her stuffed animals, I brought my frantic efforts to keep ahead of the work and an aching heart wanting to help, and we both brought our smiles.

"You were my favourite secretary!"  she exclaims.  "I was?" I ask, amazed.  I always hoped I was making a difference.  But I never knew if I did.  "You always smiled and were so friendly." she explains.  Wonder replaces my words.  I remember the stress of those days, the demanding work, the emotional havoc.  There was always so much paperwork to manage, appointments to juggle, distressing telephone calls to make, schedule changes to arrange, and patient after patient who exited this life and the cancer torment.  But she remembers my smiles.  I am reminded of her's too.  She was one of my favourite patients because she always smiled despite her looming treatments.  I should have told her that.  Thankfully she has received her reward for those days - health.  And now I received mine, the knowledge that my presence impacted her life.  What ecstatic joy this knowledge brings!  The wonder of God's grace is extended to me this day in an unexpected meeting.  It is a taste of heaven, and His smiles on my life.  I will live now so this experience is repeated some day when all sorrow is replaced with joy.  In eternity I want to discover that my faith has eternal impact.  I want to meet the fruit of my labours, to see the agony of now transformed in the joy of heaven's smiles.  sigh.


Onesided Oblivion

21st century cities don't sleep
Their independent occupants have lives to keep
When all is dark, the lights still shine
While some choose sleep, others pine

The shuttler of people targets each dwelling
With a caress from his spotlight to discern its numbering
In search of a rider whose face is their address
He creeps down the street with a stealth-like presence

A half block away one servant of the ill
Arrives for the night watch despite the air's chill
A return to the vehicle is of utmost importance
To retrieve the forgotten liquid stimulation

Across the road shadows trespass
The darkened lawn of a canine master
Alas the duty of owner to his fur friend
Is a midnight relief break while avoiding disturbance

In curious observance I sit in the window 
Of the sick one's prison
Amused that my presence is so unheeded
Yet joined to this community of nighttime motion

I resign my position in the night's activities
With a mental smile to the Keeper of all men's wanderings
Though we live our lives as to ourselves
He sees us all and all is well.


Softened Soles

Justified by the bumblebee spotted just two days ago, my whitened and softened bare feet dare explore the fresh grass once again.  Sensitivities so long clothed ignite, heightening the awareness of the cool softness seeping from my toes to my head.  Forgotten springtime pleasures entice me to stroll, across the yard and mindlessly onto the gravel cluttered asphalt.  The reward of carefree wanderings is quick and terrible:  searing inescapable pain, driving a hasty retreat.  I am reminded that mine are yet springtime feet.  Weeks of bare footed  roaming will be the task master to toughen my soles.  By summer's end I may be able to meander across stones with less agony.  But by then the pleasure of a grass carpeted stroll will be lost to the hardened soles of my feet.

The journey of my soul is also marked by seasons of protection and freedom.  Like my toes aching for some wiggle room in winter, too often my anxious soul wrestles for freedom from limitations and protection, ignorant of the the perils from which it is being kept.  In rebellion I seek to shed the layers clothing my soul and staving the harsh elements.  Should escape ever be obtained out of season, the result would be devastating and destructive.  Like bare feet on a winter trek, my soul would be headed for death.  Many hard learned lessens are proving the need of my soul for shelter, rest, and boundaries.  As I submit to closed doors, negative responses to prayer, silence of divine whispers, and authoritative reigning of my disobedience, my calloused soul is softened, prepared to again know the joys of spring.  Upon it's arrival, I revel in my soul's spring and summer joyous revelations of long unseen or uncomprehended truth.  Alas, my human preoccupation causes a neglect in the course of my journey and growing familiarity with new discoveries leads to indifference.
Eventually I find myself a calloused soul in autumn.  I may boast of my independence and ability to navigate stony paths in bare feet, but my Master knows my peril and graciously begins to surround me in protective clothes.  I struggle against the smothering and question the reason and timing.  I resent the shrinking range to wander, forgetting that these wanderings have long lost the fresh exuberance known in the spring.  Somehow I only remember the pain of the first attempts at crossing the stony way and have come to see my confident self sufficient marches across the same ways as growth and progress.  For my own good and even for my own pleasure, my Lord inflicts the limitations of winter upon me to ensure I will again know the wonder of spring through softened soul sensitivities.  This earthly life will harden me against the thrills of eternity unless I give myself over to the all knowing care of my Creator.

I am in a constant winter while traversing this earth.  My growth is not so much of gaining strength than it is of softening my soul for an eternal spring.  The short lived earthly spring and my softened soles here know pleasure and pain.  But my progressively softened soul will some day know only complete, uninterrupted, joy and wonder.  Pain will not be coupled with the pleasure and I will have no opportunities to forget the wonder I will forever be experiencing and discovering.  "[In my Saviour's presence] there [will be] pleasures for evermore" Psalm 16:11.  sigh


The Difference

Catastrophe pressures me to react
With Analysis, Cries for aid,
Gossip, and Passive observation
That leads to critiquing others' reactions.

Catastrophe causes me to wrestle
With human reactions & faith responses,
Calls me to loving, hopeful, war faring prayer
That doubt claims ineffective & insufficient.

Catastrophe tells me that I'm insignificant
And my efforts to care insufficient.
When the devastation is evident in the ruins
What prayer can I pray that will make any difference?

Jesus tells me faith's absolutely effective.
And so I pray for His redemption,
To flood the scenes of gross deprivation
And frustrate opportunities sought by His enemy.

Jesus shows me He's more than sufficient.
So along with my prayers I'll offer assistance,
That seeks to relieve the physical distress
And comfort the grief of a heart in duress.

For dormant faith's
Been paralyzed by attack,
Believing that actions won't impact
A suffering world with the gospel.

I declare that faith will work.
For it's efforts speak the hope
To a broken world,
That at Jesus' return, heaven will reign.

I believe responses in faith
Will never be hopelessly in vain.
For restorative efforts
Give a visual of redemption
That will always end with a hope for heaven.
- Sigh

(C) Eleanor Frey 2010