Poetry

Now when I had mastered the language of this water and had come to know every trifling feature that bordered the great river as familiarly as I knew the letters of the alphabet, I had made a valuable acquisition. But I had lost something, too. I had lost something which could never be restored to me while I lived. All the grace, the beauty, the poetry had gone out of the majestic river!

Twain, Mark. Life on the Mississippi (AmazonClassics Edition) (p. 74). Kindle Edition.

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My hunger for knowledge about God,
my obsession with doing what was right,
what would leave me blameless
before any accuser,
even God himself
(myself another Job),
all but devoured my chance,
my only chance,
to experience ‘the grace,
the beauty, the poetry’
of the Majestic River
of Life.

I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.
Revelation 2:3-4

Harper Bibles. NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Kindle Locations 88055-88057). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Grace and peace to you…
dw

Copyright © 2020, becomingflame.com

 

Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?
This cup, just for me, appointed for me.
Chosen for me.

I could say No, not this cup.
Father, give me another;
I don’t want the one you chose for me.

I could say No cups for me,
thank you very much.
But one day I would wake up:
There, at my lips, sour, bitter,
would be the cup of my own making.

Every moment is another cup,
A cup I will drink to get to the following moment.

Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?
This cup, just for me, appointed for me?
Chosen for me?

 

dw

Copyright © 2020, becomingflame.com

 

If I do not hope in His love for me, I will never really know Christ. I hear of Him by faith. But I do not achieve the contact that knows Him, and thereby knows the Father in Him, until my faith in Him is completed by hope and charity: hope that grasps His love for me and charity that pays Him the return of love I owe.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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Faith without hope
is light without sight
warmth too far away to feel
music that can’t be heard
over the dry, drafty doctrine
that being correct is a higher calling
than simply being loved.

dw

p.s. I’ve written about this before with similar sentiment. I wish I had learned this lesson much earlier in my life.

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

So in the room called Remember it is possible to find peace – the peace that comes from looking back and remembering to remember that though most of the time we failed to see it, we were never really alone.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “A Room Called Remember”

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The voice didn’t say
You are utterly alone:
I would have heard the lie for what it was.

No, it said
You will always feel this alone;
You will always be misunderstood;
You will never have what you are longing for.
All is dark and there is no remedy.

And so, I felt that alone,
that misunderstood;
I felt the aching longing,
the hopelessness.
I felt the desolation of that voice.
I felt it as long as I listened,
many years.

“Show us a sign,” the people said.
“What sign shall I give to a people who don’t listen?” he said,
“There are signs all around you.
Wake up, pay attention, and see.
I am at hand, right here with you.”

The children could see –
the mouths of babes proclaimed it,
and still do.

What woke me from the desolating dream?
Grace, I’m sure;
the nearness of children;
the weariness of being weary;
giving up on giving up;
becoming aware the voice was just a voice;

Reaching out to touch the hem of His garment –
if I just touch it, I will be healed.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Hope seeks not only God in Himself, not only the means to reach Him, but it seeks, finally and beyond all else, God’s glory revealed in ourselves. This will be the final manifestation of His infinite mercy, and this is what we pray for when we say “Thy Kingdom come.”

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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Ask for Me, and receive
that I have received you.
Seek Me, and find
that I have found you.
Knock and enter, knowing
that I knock and wait to enter.

You already have what you truly hope for:
the Giver of Life
asking, seeking, knocking
to give you Life.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

The very essence of hope is freely to expect all the graces necessary for salvation as free gifts from God.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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Freely to expect –
when was the last time
I was free to expect
anything at all
when some sort of pain
or payment wasn’t expected,
quid pro quo,
in return?
We learn,
young enough,
we better shape up
or shut up
or figure out how not to be
– yes, not to be –
too much of a bother,
so we can fit in
be accepted
be liked
be safe
at least for the moment.
But we can’t keep it up.
Can’t keep in line enough.
Can’t be good enough
to earn all the graces necessary
for acceptance
for being safe.
Can’t be good enough for hope.

We are the ones God saves.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Then at last we see what hope is and where it comes from, hope as the driving power and outermost edge of faith. Hope stands up to its knees in the past and keeps its eyes on the future…shall is the verb of hope.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “A Room Called Remember”

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Sometimes it’s not just the knees.
Sometimes the past is waist deep
or swirling about the neck.
Sometimes hope is desperate,
sucking in great, choking drafts of history,
over it’s head, swept along
in rapids intent on burying it,
knocking it out on some jag of rock.

Hope knows, though;
it knows the past has
to settle out
to a stretch where strokes count,
where there is footing,
where there is a landing,
and a choice to get out
and take a path.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com