Shadows

What’s in wonder?

Dilated pupils, squeals of glee and dropped jaws

What’s in beauty and grandeur?

What’s in adrenaline rushes, bouts of euphoria?

Save a mild view

Of the sum of you

Peeks into beauty unspeakable!

 

What’s in pain?

Rock bottom, anguish, betrayal, long suffering

What’s in strife except a thirst that draws us to the river of life?

What’s in brokenness except the cracks you seep through?

Even in pain, you tuck versions of yourself for us to find

What’s in pain

Except a chance to see how well broken hearts fit in your palm?

 

What’s in normalcy?

Again and again and again for years

Back and forth and forth and back

Familiar faces, familiar places

No progress, no regress

What’s in routine except the will to find you in the mundane?

 

Shadows

Versions of you all around

Cure our myopia!

One

Audiences

Silence; my eyes are fixed on you

A platter; my life a table for two

More beholding, less conforming

More belonging, less performing

Only one crowd to please

My act and my heart; Only His

 

Confidences

When my feet are on shaky ground

My life will show where my cores are found

I know you much in thinking

I know you more in speaking

I desire to know you in truth, in fire

When the crowd accuses and defense is dire

 

Ordinances

The Sabbath for me and not me for it

The cloth I wear, the food I eat

Unblock the haze that clogs my vision

From beholding you, the Light

And when am striving on your mission

Teach me ever to travel light

May all the shadows appear as such

A mere reflection of greater delight

Maybe We’ll Die

Maybe we’ll cry

Or the tears will stay inside

In the form of questions and pleas

‘My Lord, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

We’ll question our foundations

When they suddenly seem to crumble

In the heave of baseless arguments

Have I thrown myself into arms that cannot hold me?

Is all that I have believed a myth?

But we’ll choose to stay

Because our faith is unexplainable

Sometimes even to us the torch bearers

 

Maybe we’ll lie

Not much in speech but more in deed

Fruitless outcomes from priceless seed

We’ll lock the knowledge in our homes

And step out in disguise

Because the price of fitting is way smaller

And the knowledge sometimes asks too much

So we will hide

Like Eve and Adam

 

Maybe we’ll stop

Numbed by the constant failure

Paralyzed by fear of repetitive let down

So contrasting our sin against perfect God

We are sometimes drawn in

Other times the condemnation wins

Some days we want Him

Some days we only want to want Him

But still we show up

And even we weak ones, He lets in

 

Maybe we’ll die

By hanging, by hunger, by murder

Like some who went before

Long and brutal

Maybe short and painless

Our very own may suddenly become Sanhedrin

Charging us for the truth we profess

And then when all our talk has been falsified

They’ll leave us on a cross, crucified

Our hearts may stop

But Christ remains the hope of glory within us

 

Maybe he’ll find us

In a field planning for the next harvest

In our beds, dreaming about what could have been

On the road, right amid traffic

Or in cathedrals, hands lifted

On floors, seeking a sign

He will come like a thief in the night

Clad in Majesty, matchless knight

He will come

And straighten all our maybes

He will carry all our weights

He will sit with us on the floor and whisper, ‘No more’

And there all the suffering will cease

In the arms of the one who sees

So we wait!

Hope; In betweens

I greet you again in the name of hope

Seeds on the way to daisies

Seeds on the way to babies

Certainty unseen

Locked doors; waiting

Tired limbs; fainting

 

I greet you again with the tension

That holds the universe

Hope that knows no full stop

The currency of better tomorrows

The beat of one foot after another

The tap on the back of a brother

Again today, again tomorrow

We don’t know but still we’ll stay

The thin string between the pain and the gain

Hope is the hum of the victory song

When the back lays against the floor in battle

The oil that moistens tired limbs

The flutter of possibilities that tickles us back to belief

When reality wears away our strength

 

Slightly plagiarized from Nevender, whose transcendent hope I will forever admire!

Photo: Unsplash

Hope; weight

Hope deferred makes the heart sick

Not much the longing but the length of it

Not much the waiting but the hollow depth of the silence

Hope is the imaginary log I hold in darkness

Believing that it may feel the intensity of my need for light

And magically illuminate

Hoping is waiting with optimism

Hoping is building ladders on my ‘what ifs’

But waiting is weighting

And hoping is weary

When my reward is uncertain

And my desires are certainly loud

Waiting weakens my limbs

And hands them to hoping for repair

But as soon as my limbs are glued

My heart slips into despair

 

Musings #1

Uncertain but relieved. Good but not too good but not bad at the same time. Nonchalant and somber but a bit cool headed and almost almost almost happy but constantly hindered by the fear of the unknown.

Thinking about how Jesus is the bread of life and digging the paradox therein. Bread is what I aspire for and yet bread is what I achieve as the fruit of my toil and thinking how Jesus is who I oughta aspire for and yet Jesus is still who I will be rewarded with! Following that thought however, why do I worry then? Also, does it not say that perfect love is inversely proportional to fear? So, what am I so afraid of then? But nice as it is to know, knowing isn’t all it takes!

Broken a little. By biting more hope than I could chew and choking on the realization half way through chewing an insanely ridiculous chunk. Opening my eyes in the middle of a dream and realizing that LIFE is LIFE and LIFE she is so damn real and perfect is God but perfect is not life and perfect is not people and weakness is strength when imperfect man wraps himself in Perfect God and gets infected by that Perfect love.

Ebenezering the heck away! Wondering how I got here. How I have endured… (or not) but gotten here anyway, pinching myself a little each day. Digging GOD so much and unapologetically acknowledging that it is by His grace!!! Closing my eyes and imagining God winking cheesily and saying, ’Just Enjoy Me’ and then opening my eyes to find my cheeks had turned blue black. Listening to Blessings by Lacrae every day on my morning commute and Counting it Up with teary eyes. He is a good! This God, He is so good!

Fazing out of the crisis that made me wanna cry sis! Coming out of ‘what to do with all these closed doors’ and learning to break dance in the corridor instead! Being real G with the Big G and devouring whatever he serves me for dinner without grumbling. Heck I even do the dishes after while humming ‘Desert song’ to hold my head in shape lest the thoughts start to ‘childish grumblino’.

Digging how at the end of the day, LOVE WINS!

Eli ‘abs’

When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Here he is! God’s anointed!”But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”

Of David and Eliab with the abs and the disreputable nature of appearances-a short overly plagiarized story!

If abs were the qualifier, if lips like Kardashians or hips like Shakira were the qualifier, woe unto us. Samuel looked at Eliab and said surely this is it, the one with the abs has got to be God’s anointed one but shock on him in fact shock on us who think that outer appearances qualify us!

God looks at the heart. The heart is where His focus is, not in countless hours of growing abs while pacing around the church on Sunday morning or in the endless recited prayers at midnight without any real heart to it.

David had a certain demeanor, short guy, handsome but not noticeable, strong but not outstanding, eyes that sparkled (perhaps to symbolize his forthcoming stardom) but not enough to lock you in his gaze. He spent his free time tending sheep while Eliab with the abs was on King Saul’s front line slaying Philistines and growing handsomer by the battle.

Funny how when Samuel asked Jesse for his sons, he brought seven of them and when none of them was chosen by God, Jesse signed out because he thought to himself, surely David cannot be the man for this job. Little did he know, David had been battling lions and fighting bears in secret. David’s sole ambition in this training may have been to make it to the fancy frontline of King Saul and his well-built generals. To his surprise, God was training him to be the KING OF ISRAEL!

I am thinking of David, with the eyes that sparkle and Eliab with the abs and then I remembered this line from Brooke Fraser,

Yo dripping with gold, mine is more interior, yours is sinking you’

Picture Goliath with his armory which weighed more than 60kgs and David with his sling that probably weighed less than 5kgs and his unbeatable confidence.

Our God enjoys irony, surprises, redesigning stereotypes. He gets the least desirable things and puts them at the top. When Israel thought the messiah would come on a silver horse flying down from heaven, he came in a manger!

What would you rather be? David, the one after God’s own heart or Eliab with the ‘abs’

What Did We Do Right?

What do we do with all the life that we have at our disposal when those we loved and had have suddenly passed by us? What do we do with daylight and grace and oxygen and dreams and weather and food? What do we do with feelings?

What did we do right to deserve a second longer than those long gone before us?

They were and then they weren’t!

They lived and then they didn’t. They set appointments that they couldn’t meet, they invested in knowledge that they didn’t harness. What do we do with the questions that loom dark above the atmospheres they can no longer occupy?

What did we do right? Do we deserve our next breath any more than they did?

What do we do with the dreams they told us about and this life of ours that has exceeded their ability to dream?

They were and then they weren’t. In a flash, in a heartbeat, without a warning, they left us here.

Should we be glad that we still have life? Should we be jealous that they get to decipher the mysteries of the afterlife before us? Should we be guilty that those wiser and nicer than us left us with all this life and we don’t know what to do with all this daylight and wind and oxygen and routine? Should we be proud that we are managing strength despite the heavy ache that will not leave us alone? What do we do with their social media, the permanent reminders of things that mattered to them?

What do we do that we can do often enough until the answers come? What do we do that will sometime lull the pain? If we can’t bring them back, can we at least know what to do with the gray days and the bad taste of death that we must breathe in everyday with the cold air?

Answers we would love some. Meaning we would like some.

How do I reconcile the fear of the unknown tomorrow and the knowledge of the truth that I like to brush back although fate won’t stop reminding me that,

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

What do we do with sunrises and deep breaths and phone calls and the smell of freshly mowed grass and sunsets and cups of coffee and fights with siblings? What do we do with all this life, all this purpose, all this time?

But even if He does not

‘Sometimes you sing because you believe, sometimes you sing UNTIL you believe. Sometimes you declare because you know, sometimes you declare until you know.

Sometimes you mumble prayers because you are too afraid to say them out loud and risk getting ‘No’ for an answer. Sometimes the will of God is too painful to embrace and the work of God is too bizarre to comprehend. Sometimes we hold back because we are uncertain what giving in will cost us.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew this too well;

King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

We hope we never make it to the furnace. We hope that Nabuchadnezzer will somehow erase our punishment and life will return to serene normalcy. No body enjoys sitting in a furnace and God gets that. But sometimes, it’s only through your moments in the furnace that the image of Christ glows brightest for others to see.

My six favorite words lately are, ’But even if He does not…’ I know many who would say Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not exercising faith when they said those words. I know so many furnace encounters where those six words are the ultimate mark of faith.

It’s good to believe for a thing but it’s important to remember the one whom we believe. Am pretty sure if the Israelites would have their own way, they would prefer that God offered them another route through a certain undiscovered forest or desert out of Egypt but God knew the Red Sea was the only route out and He knew what His plan was even though His people fainted with hopelessness.

Treasure the words,’….. but even if He does not….’ because even when it seems like He is not according to your terms, He is up to so much good without a shadow of a doubt.

The problem (or is it a problem) we have is the God we serve is so very limitless! You cannot limit him to one path, one method, one product. He is spontaneous and unpredictable and sometimes we just need to lean in, cooperate and wait!

THINGS

If there’s one thing things do well, its fall apart and rip our hearts open with pain, want and needless desire. Things are entitled and a little too self-confident, they ambitiously desire to occupy parts of our hearts we have not invited them to and even when they overstay their welcome (if there was one), they never pay attention to eviction notices.

So sometimes am at loss of words when I look at the mess things have made of me.

What shall I say then to these things? If God is for me, who can be against me?

Things: Tasks– They have a strong voice, they speak so loudly of my inadequacy and although I plead with them to whisper so my dirty linen is hidden from the public eye, they won’t listen. I have tried bribing these things, disapproving them, fighting with them but they won’t listen so am done listening.

Things fall apart and I see tasks for what they truly are; testimonies in the pipeline that I must fight to preserve.

Things: Tangible gods-they sit so beautifully before me, they entice me with effortless charm, they make my heart skip a beat a few times, they dazzle me with their lure and my jaw unknowingly drops as I respond to their signals. They come in and sit in and they take over me, ruling me with their gruesome possession, passing pleasure rules me and I am subjected to her self-appointed leadership.

Things fall apart before me and I finally see them for what they truly are, passing pleasure, fickle

Things: Superficial ideals– they present themselves as the preferable perfection, the less complicated alternative, the more suitable piece of the equation. They are a good picture, a perfect dream but they are not reality, they are a feign imagination that may never be. They have a secret grudge with reality and they fight to take my soul away from the here and now.

Things fall apart and I see them for what they truly are, robbers of joy, draining my ability to live fully in the now and C.S Lewis agrees with me;

‘For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy (God) has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present—either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.’

So, am shifting my focus to more profitable things,

‘Finally brethren, fill your minds with things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.’ These ladies and gentlemen are my new type of things!