having coffee

I see lives fly apart from silent explosions

behind slammed doors;

Sanctuaries of sadness

hiding pieces of people.

They are not whole, not single;

Jagged halves with jaded hearts;

Flapping, flailing and fragmented;

Restless and ringless,

Just having coffee and words

about the mindless mayhem

that can’t become a memory.

Hey, who’s the old guy

I saw an old man walking across the street.  To me he is just an old man, and to the drivers waiting for him to cross.

To someone else perhaps he is Bill or George, or husband, or daddy.  Probably grandfather.

 Someday I will be just an old man to some impatient young person whose path I’ve impeded. I almost made it thus for myself, just being another old man.

In fact, presently I am to no one a someone special. My actions isolated me, but the intent was to be more needed by someone than I’d ever been.

God’s irony is still sweet.

He has helped me get isolated from what I sought to possess.

He has freed me from clinging to what I could not keep by clinging.

Now I can be just an old man and it doesn’t matter at all.  And now I can become daddy to my children and give to them without needing anything from them. I can become granddaddy to their children and they can love me while I teach them how to be free.

The way to love is to be free to love.

And I can be loved by God and I can love Him without being compelled.

I can be “child of God,” even if I’m just an old man.

finding friends

Under a rock? Not elusive, but hidden. I’m speaking of myself as the potential companion here, at a local Panera. So off on a fact-finding mission.

And the mission began in the autumn of life, right after the unexpected but welcomed brick wall. Never mind which brick wall. It’s just a good way for one to end up under at least one rock.

Let’s face it (I had to), if I had to count my friends on one hand, I could cut off two or three fingers and have enough left over. So why so rare?

If I’ve learned anything here in my autumn it’s that friendship is a relationship made of communication, even though it sounds clinically cool, like a nurse intern’s brand new stethoscope. As soon as I realized that, it was easy cutting off those extra fingers and valuing the ones left over.

Three people come to mind- Kenneth, Tony and Tim. It would be helpful to have transcripts of those rare moments of dialogue with them and see through now’s eyes the thing engendered.

But even without them, it’s the forever impression that the dialogue then made that has begun to scatter this season of my life with such beauty. That is, after the stars cleared from that now welcomed brick wall.

The term “dialogue” doesn’t exactly evoke the same sentiment as do autumn leaves, at least not for me. Not until I have found myself engaged in it again, like a mid-October stroll down Benefit Street in Providence, warmed by a lowering New England sun. It doesn’t matter what it’s called.

Just as clearly as the vibrant and varied colors of my favorite season warm my soul, so has the heart been awakened by mere words exchanged in hues of true friendship. Out from under the rock. At last.

I think I might make a pretty good friend.

not to write

what if i wanted to write something

a poem that rhymes or doesn’t

about someone or no one

with or without God

what if i wanted to talk about love

what it is or isn’t

who I’ve loved or haven’t

if anyone

what if it were a poem that nobody

ever read anyway

then I could say

whatever I thought

what if I’d rather be quiet

and hear the symphony

of noises that make up silence

including my breathing

Careful care

Many a thought flutters around in my head, whether I’m thought about by anyone at all. Jesus gave a warning that the cares of this life can cause us to miss how simply a lily or a bird lives by how complicatedly we sometimes do.

And those cares, according to Oswald Chambers, can be either having money or not having money, having friends or not having them. I can be careful (full of care) over the financial condition in which I find myself at this point in life. Being single also has a socially isolating effect as well.

But what Jesus says makes me think; what is it that lilies and birds know that I don’t know? The attention paid by both says a lot, e.g., they concentrate on living, they are unconscious of what they are.

Watch a little sparrow, how endlessly they jerk their little heads and hop about so erratically. They concentrate their efforts on surviving, yes. But more so on being a bird, looking for what the hand of God has left for them to find.

Lilies, as far as I know, have no brains or nerves or eyes, and yet they follow the warmth of the sunlit day from horizon to horizon, drinking in what makes them live and what makes them lilies.

Yet we may rightly contend that the sparrow and the lily are quite unaware of what they are doing by being what they are being. Lilies, after all, are mostly underground, mostly entombed.

They do best when planted deeply, and rarely produce flowers until the second year. The  significance of the bloom owes to the insignificance of the bulb.

I may want to remember that perhaps most days are necessarily as unseen as the lily’s bulb and as mundane brown as feathers on a sparrow. And as carefully cared for.

Ordinary grace days

I’ve decided to blog. Now to a subject. I guess most blogs would be about the blogger. And the blogger would need to be living in a story. Most of my life has been a non-story I think.
But since mid-2009, the story has changed. Or should I say, it has begun. Like a movie, I guess a blog should pick up wherever the character’s story finds him. For me, that would be in the arms of grace.
The thing about the arms of grace is that grace affects every event of life somehow. Any day, every day, can be grace-filled, at least grace-influenced. All of which means that I could write about ordinary days. But not every day, because I won’t blog everyday.
Recently the idea of one way love has been on my mind and I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that I just finished reading a book by that title by Tullian Tchividjian.
I’ve always believed, but more so in recent years, that there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and there’s nothing I can do to make Him stop loving me. But what about God’s side of it? He expects nothing. That’s hard to understand.
We humans are made to merit what we get, even love. You can’t get something for nothing. But God does exactly that. He gets us to give ourselves, who are nothing, to Him, and He wants to make a something out of us. And He can. This is what He is up to in the ordinary days.

Approaching life inside out