Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Eyes of Christ

It was the eyes of Christ, those magnificent eyes that-
Watched a blessed wedding celebration and made sure that the joy of the event would continue.
It was the eyes of Christ-
That looked upon a mass of humanity and recognized individual souls,
talking to them about life in His coming kingdom.
It was the eyes of Christ-
That looked into the heart of a great religious teacher and created a thirst for eternal life.
It was the eyes of Christ-
That looked past a life filled with failure and sin worthy of death,
and by His gaze and words her soul found freedom and a purpose
for living far greater than chains of this world.
It was the eyes of Christ-
That looked with powerful compassion on a man whose home was a field of bones and stones.
The man whose only friends were the fiends that haunted his every second, minute, hour.
That looked past the evil that was evident and focused on the soul
that was hidden by rag and ruin.
Those magnificent eyes of Christ.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Sweet Return

Five generations together in a room, soon to experience a glimpse of eternity.
The saint of the family, the matriarch, is breathing her last air of confinement.
She has shared her heart, her life and her last words with each.
Her white hair is a simple reflection of her soul, pure and unspoiled.
Her body bears the evidence of her years, yet her spirit bears the richness of life lived.
Life filled with children and chores, wonderment and worry.
Life full of images etched on every soul in that room.
Life of berry picking and shortcake, jumping grasshoppers and wild raspberries.
Children laughing and playing in the bathtub on a Saturday night,
in Sunday school the next morning, singing Jesus Loves Me This I Know For The Bible Tells Me So. Words sung a thousand times by the gathered in the room,
witnessed so many countless times by the life and love and sacrifice of the saint
soon to meet her God.
It is easy to notice her skin, thin as tissue paper, causes a hesitation to hug as firmly as deserved.
The scars are evident on her knees, of a trait passed on.
All mortal signs of life's days and years soon to be replaced by immortal
glory filled instruments of praise.
God's saint has been ready for this day for a long time, even yearning for its arrival.
As the months became years and frailty became reality, her spirit looked past the stars more and more, seeing the unseen.
For some around her now life changed for a season.
A few short months of helping in the mundane requirements of everyday living.
Not work to be endured or a burden to bear, but an expression of love,
not ever to come close to filling up what was poured out for them.
Her breathing is very slow and shallow now, a sense of rest and contentment seems
to be filling the small room.
As she sleeps on her side, as she always did, her lungs are no longer filled
with the paltry air of the earth,
but with the celestial air of the heavens and her frail hand is held
by the One she so loved and longed to see.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bitter Old Man

The old man is lying on a dirty old metal bed, the sheets unchanged for weeks.
He lies on his side with his knees drawn up, like he did 80 years ago.
The gray on his head is matched by the gray of his life.
He has been alone now for years, abandoned by all, left to his bed and bitterness.
Life is hard and that is exactly what he taught everybody around him.
His wife, stoop shouldered by the burdens and his words, crumbled under his care.
For years she tried to please him, her efforts only gained more scorn and weight on her shoulders.
Children now gone, haven't seen the old man in years.

His son, his namesake, pledged to never see or speak to him, never to enter the house until it was funeral time.
A daughter, broken by suspicion and cursing, still lives broken, trying to make her daddy happy, five or six times since she saw him last.
He knew they needed to know that the world is cruel and the best a man could do was to work all of his waking hours.
Home, he expected all to understand his life and be content that he put food on the table and a roof over their heads.
His words, never from a warm spirit, only the ones that needed to be said, the food is cold, the chores are undone, the wood needs carrin-in.
He expects respect and obedience, cares not to know what troubles live in his home.
All homes have trouble, life is hard and you just put up with it.

On his bed his hands are shriveling and gnarled, evidence of years of toil, toil he thought so unappreciated, work ignored, sweat unnoticed.
Unaware of the words of a mother to her children, words of work by their father, toil to provide food and shelter, long hard days spent on the end of a shovel.
He looks down at his hands and realizes his heart and soul is just as bent and gnarled as they are.
He mumbles in a voice no one can understand, words that seem garbled, "God what did I do wrong?" Life is hard and they had to learn, the world is cruel and unloving. I did what was best.
A message begins to move deep in his soul, he feels uncomfortable, struggles on the hard rusted metal frame bed.

His stomach churns and his legs move to curb the pain.
A voice very clearly and quietly speaks it's message of unwelcome truth.
Today you are alone, alone on your bed, waiting to die, where are your children?
You are choking on the weeds you planted most of your life.
It is now time for you to realize what you have done, and live and die with it.
Even though you lie here abandoned and scared, yes I will be with you.
I will try and help them understand your life and keep them from your pain.
If only you would have tried to reach me, tried a small amount of kindness.
Soon all your pain and ugliness will end.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Forest of Pines

Rain drops hang off long slender needles, made a brilliant green by droplets no longer clinging to cloud.
The earth beneath the living statues is soft and covered in a blanket of brown needles.
Thousands, millions, the blanket has no pattern to the eye, to the giver they tell of history, of storms and snow, of wind and sun, passing days and months, years and generations.
The scent that rises from the moist blanket mingles with needles and bark that is living, the fragrance cannot be described, only experienced.
Breathe deeply and fill your soul with peace and tranquility as almost blinding rays of sunlight reach you through branch, limb and needle.
Steam seems to escape from hidden rooms beneath the blanket as the sun warms the earth below.
Lay your tired body down on the blanket, go ahead, multitudes of creatures have already felt the comfort.
The blanket is thick and soft, your hand presses down and the blanket gives to your desire.
Lay back and sense the blanket give and move to your weariness.
The scent, the warmth, the moisture, they approach and beckon to lay with you.
Soon you are wrapped in a comfort that fills your very soul, yea, every cell.
From your repose, looking up, the living statues reach into and then become part of the heavens.
Sleep overtakes and you dream of heaven, a land of pines and smells and sweet comfort.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Barn

I sit watching the rain splatter on the wooden deck, a Blue Bird seems to skim by the rail as if impervious to the descending droplets. He heads for the grainery and beyond. The massive barn, all 70+ feet is starring at me. A sense of melancholy rises up in my soul as I think of leaving Genesis Farm. How many hundreds of times did I go into that old barn? School children would come to pick apples and I would get them the big old pickers bags, some would hang down to the ankles of the eager little pickers. After picking I would go back to the barn and get them draw string bags to put their perfect apples in, Ida Reds, Jersey Macs, Empires, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Johnathan, Granny Smiths all were perfect in the wondering eyes of a child.

During one of our first winters Tony the Pony, his real name, stayed in his stall next to Donna's really dumb sheep. Early in the morning as his feed was brought in his nostrils would puff out billows of warm air. The sheep would try and jump up on the rail, knowing that i wouldn't feed Tony and not them.

The gray vertical boards of the barn have seen a hundred years and recorded the history of the first homesteaders and the family that planted the orchard. Countless names and faces have come and gone over the years, but the old barn still stands. Winds from the west have tried to bring the post and beam giant down. Winds from the east coming off of Lake Huron, like a monster, failed as well. The giant hand hewn timbers have stood up to every test. Some day I know the monument to hard toil and sweat will come down.

I will not be here to see it happen and in a way I guess I'm glad.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Old Piano

The old upright piano seems nestled, she wouldn't say it that way, in the debris on the side of the village street. Her top and keyboard were covered in dust and soot from diesel engines. Missing cobblestones attempt to embarrass her as one of her legs is tipping towards the rubble at her feet.

The dust and dirt on her top looks streaked as though tears ran down the angled top. Her many fingers, once bright and clean, now covered in dust try to hide the missing ivory caps on five of her fingers. Fingers that could sense the spirit of the musician even before his long and excellently manicured fingers touched hers, now they are silent.

The genius of Mozart and Bach, Chopin and Beethoven had given life to her beauty of wood and wire. The beauty and flow of the wood fibers would come alive, like the breath of divinity giving life to wood that yielded itself to the saw many years before. Now in her humiliation she gives up this life, like so many strewn around her. Will anyone mourn her passing?

This piece was the result of a photograph from WWII taken from a French village.