The Whole Journey

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Night is drawing nigh.  How long the road is.  But, for all the time the journey has taken, how you have needed every second of it. 
~Dag Hammarskjöld

 

 

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It is easy to be grateful for the pretty times of life: those picture-perfect moments that end up on Christmas photo-cards and in detailed descriptions in holiday newsletters.  What we want others to see and what we wish to remember does not always reflect the experiences of the whole journey.  We are naturally programmed to concentrate on “The Best of…” rather than surveying the whole shebang, warts and all.

It isn’t all glorious sunsets, rainbows and happy endings.  We don’t usually take pictures of the potholes, or celebrate the obstacles and flat tires along the way. It is rare to acknowledge and honor the failing grade, the chronic illness, the rocky relationship, the mortifying mistake, the tragic accident.

Yet it is all a part of the journey, every second of it, even the moments we try hard to forget are worthy of our appreciation.  Even the difficult times move us a little closer to our destination, perhaps looking bruised and scraped, still making our way slowly, shakily yet surely.

How long the road is.  And night is coming.

How fortunate we are to be heading home.

 

 

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Awaiting His Arrival: From Trouble to Mystery

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The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary…”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Luke 1: 28-30, 38

 

…to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power –
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.

Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love –

but who was God.
~Denise Levertov from “The Annunciation”

 

This is the honest grace of her body:
that she is afraid, and in this moment does not
hide her fear.
Until in the cave of her body
she might feel without willing it a tenderness
begin to form. Like the small, ghostly
clover of the meadow; the deer hidden
in the hills. A tenderness like mourning.
The source of love, she thinks, is mourning.
…the child that will soon form
inside her body, this loss by which we come
to bend before the given, its arms that open
unexplained, and take us in.
~Laurie Sheck from “The Annunciation”

 

Still, the secret at her heart burns like
a sun rising. How to hold it in—
that which cannot be contained.

But then, part dazzled, part prescient—
she hugs her body, a pod with a seed
that will split her.
~Luci Shaw from “Mary Consider Her Situation”

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Listening to Lent — Shades of Life Falling

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I want Jesus to walk with me
I want Jesus to walk with me
All along my pilgrim journey
I want Jesus to walk with me

In my trial, Lord, walk with me
In my trials, Lord, walk with me
When the shades of life are falling
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me

In my sorrow, Lord walk with me
In my sorrows, Lord walk with me
When my heart is aching
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me

In my troubles, Lord walk with me
In my troubles, Lord walk with me
When my life becomes a burden,
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me

~Spiritual

What more can I hope for
than to never be alone
in my fears, my worries, my troubles, my burdens,
when my heart aches with the joy
that God is here, with me, for me,
and I am here, with Him, for Him,
because of Him.

Listening to Lent — Out of the Ashes

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It was the day the world went wrong
I screamed till my voice was gone
And watched through the tears
As everything came crashing down

Slowly panic turns to pain
As we awake to what remains
And sift through the ashes
That are left behind

But buried deep beneath all our broken dreams
We have this hope

Out of the ashes
Beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of these ashes
Beauty will rise
For we know joy is coming
In the morning

In the morning
Beauty will rise

So take another breath for now
And let the tears come washing down
And if you can’t believe
I will believe for you

‘Cause I have seen the signs of spring
Just watch and see

Out of these ashes,
Beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes

Out of this darkness
New life will shine
And we’ll know joy is coming in the morning

In the morning,
I can hear it in the distance
And it’s not too far away
It’s the music
And the laughter of a wedding and a feast

I can almost feel the hand of God
Reaching for my face to wipe the tears away
You say “It’s time to make everything new
Making it all new”

This is our hope
This is a promise
This is our hope
This is a promise

It will take our breath away
To see the beauty that’s been made
Out of the ashes
Out of the ashes

It will take our breath
To see the beauty that He’s made out of the ashes
Out of the ashes
Out of the ashes
~Steven Curtis Chapman

Three years ago today
the unthinkable happened
off the coast of Japan
the earth moved
and waters swelled
and swept thousands away.

Whole villages leveled
to nothing but rubble,
even a year later
as we stood within the foundations
of former homes filled with sand
and broken crockery
there could be no response
but tears.
Life interrupted.

When will beauty rise
out of the ashes of such trouble?
When will the joy return
with hope and promise?

The only answer:
it already has.
Out of the deepest trouble
and darkest night
came life.
Death interrupted.

Time to take another breath
and then another.