love never fails

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You found me oh so broken,

the shadow of a soul was all to hold.

But you saw me as a token,

something precious to be had and to behold.

But still I didn’t see you,

so obscure in this thing called love.

Revealing a mystery so profound it had to come from above.

Love…it never fails.

What is it inside of me,

that makes my heart want to run?

I’ve wrestled insecurities and disbelief ,

I’m undeserving of love.

But you broke me down to uncensored emotion,

where was I to hide?

Considering the sum of me and my desperate need,

just come on in, just come inside.

Love…it never fails.

Love…it never fails.

 

Copyright Fool for Now 2006

 

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story

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As soon as my eyes open, the storytelling begins.

I could probably narrate every inconsequential and incidental detail as I live it; I have lots of voices inside that read aloud to me. Sometimes even my best shorthand can’t transcribe it, though, for the sheer speed of life. But, mostly, it’s like a movie that I’m watching and acting simultaneously. 

Maybe I’m afraid of missing something. Maybe afraid of missing me in the midst of my one and only life. If I write it, it stands as a witness: it’s real, it happened. Maybe I need the validation of a sharp pinch in the arm to make me aware that this is me, and mine, and now, and no, I’m not asleep.

Maybe I’m a hoarder of experiences, and I can’t stash enough of them between two hard covers. I really don’t know why there’s a note-taker for fingernail clippings and raindrop skidding: there just is.  

I think all of us are storytellers, actually. Most of our lines are crashing into each others’ and it’s a chaotic collage of sorts. Sometimes it’s symphonic — other times, the screeching tires of collision. It can be difficult to stay in our own lanes with so many intersections and merges, but inside each centrifugal force, an individual story. The copyright and loyalties belong to each  of us. And while the audience may have some sway, ultimately we decide what we will record in a day. 

So, what tales are you telling today? 

eyes

My vision droops. Chin can feel like it carries all the weight of me in its pointed self. Then it’s clumsy naval-gazing as I bump into walls like a game of pinball. It’s no good, that view. It’s low. Pity-full. 

There’s so much little to see in a day: flashy things that offer little more than fool’s gold; disparaging things that offer no hope; disorienting things that offer up a whirlwind of nonsense. 

I’ve blood-shot the whites of my eyes on such nothingness. 

Drooled all over myself with despair. 

Ogled and slurped like I was entirely inept to believe otherwise.

It just creeps in, and the soul begins to curl up like a wilting leaf, or like an invalid into his hospital sheets. 

“Eyes on Jesus, babe.” 

Some of the best advice echoed to me from a sister-friend. Almost seems too few words to really matter. Too elementary an equation to solve every convoluted problem.

Why is it so hard to fix the gaze? To restrain the eyes? To behold beyond the bewilderment? 

These dozing-off dips with my neck slide that teetering book right off my head. Perspective and poise thud to the floor. My slouchy composure speaks of my vision, or lack thereof. 

Eyes…up!

Shoulders…back! 

Now, knock it off. 

A little tough love that grabs me by the arms, and shakes some good ole sense into my vain vista. 

How I want tenderness in my flailing around and sinking, but sometimes He comes with a loaded question that reveals all of my foolishness and faithlessness. 

“Why did you doubt?”

Well, because I am an idiot. And you clearly got the wrong girl. And the scary clouds…and shiny things…and…

Nevermind. I know…I know…

Eyes on You. 

waste

I pour the morning’s leftover milk from mason jars into the cat bowl, as a rare creamy treat for my felines.

Nothing wasted. 

I shake out leftover rice and turned greens into the chicken run, as eager birds wobble and gobble towards me.

Nothing wasted. 

I’ll scoop and shovel litter and poo into the compost bin that’s nearly overflowing now.

Nothing wasted. 

I finish off a half-eaten donut from a hurried child who just had to take one last bite before rushing off to school.

Nothing wasted. (Maybe shoulda wasted that)

I put on wrinkled clothes left on the bedroom floor the night before, because (sigh) laundry…

Nothing wasted.

I list items no longer needed on sale sites, in hopes of a small monetary exchange for the space they free up.

Nothing wasted. 

I’ll reheat leftover dinner as lunch and eat the things nobody else will belly up to again.

Nothing wasted. 

I pour half-empty water bottles into the potted plants and beds outside.

Nothing wasted.

I toss dead limbs and woody garden debri into the fire pit for a later time.

Nothing wasted.

I rehash words and hurts then glean and learn.

Nothing wasted.

I consider some lost sleep and a restless night, and how I purposed to fill it with twilight reflections.

Nothing wasted. 

I place yesterday’s idle words and moments into capable hands to work good and gain.

Nothing wasted. 

I bag up all my mistakes and failures and drop them like a donation before a wooden cross.

Thank God; nothing wasted. 

I spend myself, and time and energy, discovering the recycled gold in it all. All thoughtfully thrown out, and making their way resourcefully back to me .

It is the very best waste of my life, and it is never ever ever wasted. 

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pruning

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As I assess the garden, I find myself eager to cut it back. The fruit bushes look ratchet and hungover, but there’s still life there; it’s not time yet. I resign myself to watching it fall fast asleep yet another fall/winter.

As a garden keeper I understand the basic principles, like when to sow, reap, and prune. When it comes to pruning, there is a critical window in which to do it. That window is vital to the forthcoming production and harvest.

My grapevines can’t be cut until late winter, after the threat of deep freeze has passed. This ensures they are entirely done weeping. What merciful design, to delay pruning until it’s fully grieved its fruit and gone into dormancy. I find it intriguing that living things are put to sleep before being cut. We count backwards until we slowly lose consciousness, and then awaken to amputation. But that’s how we grow: from roots and stumps, to shoots and vines.

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I’ve endured some deep pruning in my own life. In fact, the more fruitful one is, the more pruning to be had. It’s the secret to health, this whacking back of dead and dried up things. When they have served their purpose, they’re to be discarded. There is no merit in holding on to expired things; they impede the work of new things to come.

There is an allotted season for everything, especially the severe mercy that is pruning. It will always be die to live; there is no other or better way. 

one another

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I live in a “one-anothering” town. I didn’t even know places like this existed until I moved here from southeast Michigan twenty-two years ago. I remember my first impressions, fresh out of high school.

“What is this place?”

It felt a bit Mayberry but I truly didn’t mind, even as a teenager. I welcomed the new start for a dozen different reasons. Lord knows I needed a clean slate. 

Fast forward two decades and the community has only grown richer and brighter. I am certainly one of Siloam Springs biggest fans, and find any drawbacks significantly dwarfed by the benefits. It’s the quintessential sweet small town: the kind you return to after leaving, to start and raise a family; or the kind you call home, no matter where your feet lead you off to. 

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What makes it sweet? 

The people do. 

It’s the neighbors who leave goodies on your doorstep, and keep watch over your house while you’re out of town; who wave at you coming and going; who carpool and make possible the heavy traffic of life; who oversee kiddos in yards and send smiles when they see them. These are our neighbors. These are the people who know the schedules and rhythms of our daily lives. We share our waking ups and turning ins. We crossover each other’s lives and it’s a good thing, this one-anothering.

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Thirteen years ago we purchased an old house with good bones on a main street. It was more than enough house for our growing family. We purchased the home at a steal of a deal, which was exactly what we needed at that time. She still needs a lot of TLC but it’s a process, as most things are. In the midst of that process we’ve labored through three childbirths in this home, with one child delivered on the living room floor. I have given much of myself to this house, and it’s given back to me a million memorable moments. The land has given me food and provisions of many sorts. It’s yielded to me a patch of Eden, in the heart of the town I am so fond of. I love my home, my space, and my neighbors. It has not been without issue, however.

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Our little square of community is facing a big (unwanted) change. The lot and home north of us are requesting a rezoning, to accommodate multi-family housing. Nine units, to be specific. I can’t begin to tell you how grievous this is to our hearts, but here I go.

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Firstly, the current and long-standing tenants have unquestionably challenged the grace and patience of all whom surround. It’s difficult to one-another when only considering oneself. Common good must be what we have in common. Unfortunately, this has not been the case here. I have secretly wished a dozen different scenarios and outcomes for that property, but none like what is being proposed. I project it will only add to the issues our neighborhood already battles: noise, heavy traffic, narrow roads, unkempt property, safety, and privacy. Inside each of these issues can be sited a handful of examples supporting such. Our little city block is not okay with the proposed change. We do not feel it benefits all, but rather one, and to the detriment of those who have established lives and family nearby. We do not live exclusive to each other. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way, mostly. I want to do better.

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As affected residents, we have been encouraged to voice our concerns, and have done so unapologetically. It’s been quite a rally already, with city meetings and neighborhood efforts. We are all each others’ keepers, even if we do it weakly. I hope to do a better job of this as I mature. I bet we all can grow in this: as a block, as a community, as a city, as a people. I don’t think I even realized how fiercely I felt for my neighborhood until it was put at risk of more struggle. We have purposed to tow the line and not back down, believing in the greater and common good of all. 

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If there is truly power in numbers, I think we are pretty mighty, and I’m proud to be a part of those who are standing for and with each other. It really has been a beautiful effort, and I suppose I am richer for the wear. No matter the outcome, I am confident of this: Siloam Springs has incredible human beings doing life within it, and I’m blessed to know so many. 

tru

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Well, it seems summer is hanging on like an ex this week, so it’s my noise-makin’, wonder-filled chatterbox and I, and a low creek all to ourselves. She noticed it was Girls Night Out Thursday night downtown, and asked why we were not out. I promptly offered her a rain check for Friday night since we had an away game. She insisted the creek was calling our names. I’m doing something right.

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I squat a minute and watch water skeeters skimming the glassy creek top, and from my angle it looks like raindrops pinging a reflective slab. There’s dozen of coffee-mug rings rippling out, and I’m thinking coffee sounds good about now.

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She is more curious than a cat and spooks just as easily. I watch her lean in to inspect caterpillars and crawdads, only to shriek and giggle nervously. She’s fascinated and fearful, both. I so honestly relate to her. She lives in the tension, and kudos to her for doing so. 

We point out the bank she stood crying at earlier this summer. All the kids were taking big leaps into the much higher waters then. She stood frozen there at least 20 minutes as we all cheered her on. She wanted to jump so badly, but terror… We faced it together and made a compromise of an effort off a much lower edge. I remember feeling exasperated by her want-to but can’t-do. Again, with the amens to this little girl. 

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In the midst of her incessant chatter, I interrupt to say, “Nature is where we go to listen…not talk.”

But all for not. This rattler is entirely oblivious to listening to nature; she’s demanding it all listen to her. 

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She whips rocks at the catfish and squawks at the dragonflies. I drift off in a trance watching minnows with iridescent bellies flashing silver as they bob at fuzzy rocks below — but not for long. I snap back to big arms and a deep voice as she’s belting out some sort of symphonic piece with a faint resemblance to Carol of the Bells. Yes, my child is the mistral and the movement, all in herself. 

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She’s one of my favorite muses, that Tru Evelyn. She’s both protagonist and hero, and isn’t that just true to life? 

Tis Tru….

come now

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Come now. 

Softly. 

Delicately. 

Drape yourself like a bedsheet.

Lightly. 

Weightless.

Cast yourself like a shadow. 

Do not carry a single thing — simple or complicated. 

Nothing that bears weight shall you hold.

You are being now.

Not doing.

No furrowed forehead or drawn jaw. 

Release. 

Drop. 

Open up. 

Shoulders sinking.

Head resting. 

Heart cupped and held. 

Fingers grazing amongst placidity. 

Eyes beholding swelling light that has come to canvas you. 

Amenity to abide with you. 

Good will for your lame will. 

All your inwards, puddling outwards, wetting parched landscapes.

Let it go. 

Let it be. 

Watch and see. 

What happens when you just come? 

Ever so intently. 

Ever so honestly.

Ever so tenderly. 

Ever being an eternal being. 

haunted

I woke up as dreary as the morning.

I feel like a murderer.

Every day, for a lot of days, I purposed to killed anything that moved. If it showed signs of life, it had to die. I choked out many things, to the point of death. Some I just put a gun to and blew far far away. And my heart…what a horrid crime scene. Every assault imaginable, I inflicted, in hopes that it would cease to beat. But that vile and lovely thing wouldn’t die so easily. Maybe I have not the power to kill something that lives for another realm. 

I’ve raged with fevered anger that could burn down houses. Maybe a city block, even. And I burned myself right down to charred stubble — a heap of remains only suitable for haunts. They echo from beneath torched floorboards. 

Damn that raven and his protagonist reels! I’ll kill him, too, if I can find where he taunts me from. 

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But there’s another ghost here, and he haunts me harder than any embodied terror. And no matter where I attempt to hide myself, he’s ever before me. I’m now the hounded, and I fear there is no escape for me. He is relentless in his soul stalking. The hotter I burn, the nearer he draws. He’s like water to my flame, and the more I thrash and gnash, the thicker he hovers. I blow smoke at him, but he only sees me more clearly. 

How do I kill something without a body? How do I strangle this force that renders my grip limp and lifeless? Maybe I’m the dead one. Maybe he’s more alive than all my anguish and hatred is. I just know he won’t let me be, no matter my scare tactics. He’s simpyly not afraid of me, and that terrifies me the most. 

Now I’m just a little one, in a big burned house, hiding between blackened beams that do not conceal me. And that ghost comes closer than my skin and whispers words that disarm my dagger hands. He pierces me instead, and out flows all the pain and fear and bad blood. It hurts for just a moment, but then it soothes me. I’m emptied of all the elements that once fueled my fight. Just as quickly as it ebbs out, he fills me right back full of something different. Something better. Things that are useful and hopeful. Holy things that don’t turn on themselves or others. Loving things that don’t kill or destroy. And I just let him because I’m no match for this immortal spirit. Nothing I spew will deter him. Now I’m the house he haunts, forevermore.