Hunkering Down, Holding On, and Wrapping Up

Today is Day 30. Thank you for being here for this series which ends tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a post of summary and surprise. Will you be here? There will be a bit of wrapping up. If you missed a post and would like to read the collective, it is here. Or click on the 31 Days Series 2012.

There is a bundling up on the horizon. These winds that blow, they howl.

There is a wind wailing, wind blustering.

And they gust and grasp, blistering with biting winds, swirling whirling, gusting blasts of artic, cold and cutting crisp.

The words huddle together and bundle up on the page. Shivering, shaking, trembling, quaking.

Cold, yet clustered in the sea of circumstance. The words still rattle and roll, knowing tomorrow comes, a conclusion, a closing an end in sight.

They perform a triage on the ones trumpeting the rallying cry, trumpeting their cause. And they choose for the day before the day of wrap up, circumstances and storms of life.

As the trees tremble, and as the world quivers and quakes, the storms of circumstance take their place in the series.

The natural life collides in the realm of the spiritual.

And the elements on the outside mirror the elements on the inside, of the life.

So we look to see how deep the roots have clung to the soil of Faith, the soul checks her face in the mirror and looks for signs of deep abiding.

Did we prepare for the storms of circumstance by resting in Him, abiding in Him, calling on Him, looking to Him?

All before the storms.

Did we fall on Him, lean on Him, learn of Him, read of Him, know of Him, cry out to Him, all before the storm?

And in the midst too. And right smack in the middle too. With a swirl and whirl and roar of the winds of challenge and change, are the roots clinging hard and fast in the soil. Is the soul rich in Him, in the nourishment and black rich soil of His hand. His offering.

Is the heart fixed on Praising in the midst and Praying in the middle, seeing in the circumstance the what is good and worthy of praise. That there was an element of saved from worse and saved from death.

That the giver of life gives sustenance in the storms, and the Light shines if even dim it shines, the Light of Grace. Mercy holds tight and fast to the soul feeling feint and weak.

Prayer whispered, prayer spoken, prayer humbled, quivering shaking from the lips of the wind blown traveller, they are the life-line, they tie the soul in the worst of it, the all of it. It is the language of the broken. It is the language of the healed.

Do the swells of the seas and bitter of the cold sting to a blistering or are we cupped in the hand and safe in the place of sheltering in the midst, in the middle, right in it?

Hunkering down and holding on, tethering to shore and tethering to a body, strong and bold holds us upright. Hunkering down in the warmth of the Christ-body, holding on to the Word and to the very hand of God, reaching down in the middle in the midst.

Wrapping up in Hope and Trust, bundling the soul in the expectancy of the calm after and the calming of His very breath and presence in the midst.

Don’t miss the very strengthening of the rocking soul in the seas of circumstance rolling in and down and on.

Don’t miss the strengthening of those who made it through and make it through and tell of stronger vessels for bracing and staying safe in all the turmoil, twisting and turning and spinning a soul.

There is safety in the harbor of Trust and Obey and it’s not a pollyanna children’s song. And its not a sugary simple served up platitude.

It is the very essence of the traveller in the storm. To huddle in the flock for warmth and safety, to stay where the Shepherd says to stay, to hear and follow the voice that guides and protects.

It is the body, when huddled and cradled and wrapped in Love and Encouragement that preserves its warmth and keeps the vital heat captured, fueling the life, fueling the heart and parts that beat and pulse, winds ahowling, winds awhipping all around.

And bending low while bowing the knee, the head to Him, calms her heart,  calms her spirit in the whirling wailing  blustering storm.

Was a heart prepared, is a heart preparing, does a heart prepare for all there is to come?

Nestled soundly in the arms, the warm embrace, of the Calmer of The Storms. The Lover of My Soul.

Oh to know the warmth in all He is and all He gives in the circumstances of  this life.

The buds are tight, holding expectancy and Hope.

And the blooms will burst on the limbs of tomorrow, in spite of the raging storms.

Hold on weary traveller.

Be strong pilgrim friend, look Heavenward trembling flock in the windswept tundras of this life.

The blooms are ripe and ready. The melting snow reveals the bloom.

The Christ is in this storm.


Joining Eileen and Jen.

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Horse, of Course

 

Days 26, 27, 28, 29. This writer’s creative license to catch up on the series. The collective may be found here. Or by clicking the 31 Days 2012 tab at the top of this home page.

Joining Amber and others for her abstract writing on a concrete word. She is here, at
The Run a Muck. Today is HORSE.

It is like a full head on train wreck of the senses.

Down in the deep it lays dormant but when it is given some air, water, fertilizer and freedom it bursts on the scene like a herd of wild horses.

There is power in a word. And we don’t always know how much.

Or we don’t know how much to give it, or allow it. Or release to it.

There is power in words and there is memory there too. You can let it out to graze and give it roaming privileges in the pasture, unharness the power, unleash it.

Let it rip, unbridled.

Loosen the girth. Loosen the grip.

I am young and leaning in the saddle, feeling the first passion of my youth. The challenges there in the ring, on the trail, in the stirrups, over the jumps.

Brushing the back and combing the mane, smelling the hay.

Learning to post and blistering up, bearing the pain on the boney knee, as a dancer on pointe feels it on the toes, and on balls, and in the ballet slipper. The pain of struggle. The passion mixed with pleasure.

The smells mingle in the air and they say that it is  the longest memory or is it the strongest memory. The smells , they linger in the heart.

The smells of childhood and all the senses’ memories, mixed in a toxic remembering of joy and loss. Blended in a batch of story, the narrative of your living. Rooted in early youth. A launching pointing, a jumping off.

The dirt and dust and leather. The blends of animal and barn. The grasses and hays and helmet, black velvet hard a smell like no other with sweat of brow blended in and staying.

We take all the pieces of a life. Don’t we.

And ride off into the grasses greener, grasses leaner and carry them in the saddle with us. The horse that was an elusive dream. The one I never owned. A longing of my childhood. Spending  hours at the barn. Longing for ownership. To name an animal, train it up. Call it mine.

And when my knight in shining armor rode in and swept me up, they came back again, the horses.

And later too, in a mid-stream season of intersecting with the hooved loves of my life.

And even just a few nights ago, they came racing back, trotting back in.

A blaze of happy memory. The wild ponies on the coast of my youth. The stories. A thread between the life of an old salty captain who crossed my path and smiled his toothless grin as he shared with me a co-mingling of memory. Captain Froggy, the Shrimp Boat Captain and I. And the horses.

(Captain Froggy and his guitar)

The wild ponies of the banks were a piece of me and a piece of him.

And these threads that run through a life, they can keep running if you watch carefully.

This thread of memory, the horse, of course.

The earliest memory of passion for getting on the back and being free, happy, brave and scared all together. Of breathing smells and waving manes. Of feeling strong and feeling the hearts beating in tandem, human and horse. Horse and human. Rocking in the leather, galloping through at break neck speed, taking a jump.

The rocking in the saddle, like a baby in the sea of uterine waves. Rocking. Like the baby in the cradle lulled to sleep by the slow pitch to and fro.

The holding on, steering the bit, to the left to the right in the ring and beyond. Guiding in love. And it was always the eyes. The deep piercing orbs that pierce the heart and poke into the soul.

A word can wield a lot of power.

And we take all the parts and pieces and they are living metaphors. Or are they life itself. Following the thread, woven and weaved. Seeing the messy and the missed, the beauty and the treasure. In the all.

And the horse is not through with me yet.

Joining Laura for Play Dates at The Wellspring

Chains – Shake, Rattle and Roll

Today I am joining Amber and a few others for a series on an abstraction on concrete words. Today is Day 23 in the Series. Cut yourself loose and go here to read the collective.. Today’s word is Chains.

The words line up like hungry children at Baskin Robbins taking a number and waiting their turn to indulge themselves. They hear there is a series here on words and they are ravenous mongrels eager to have their day.

They cry out in the night and creep in the dreams and state their case of why they are worthy for the time to shine, their day in the sun, their fifteen minutes.

I tell them there is no glory that’s not His and there is no fifteen minutes of fame and if anything its fifteen seconds.

But they shake rattle and roll around in my head and bring their resumes, these words all seem worthy. How do you pick. What’s a mother to do. We don’t play favorites or at least we always try to be even-steven around here.

But I am drawn like a bee on honey over here to this abstraction on chains and I drag my words with me. They aren’t heavy they are just full. They are ripe and ready to burst with their telling.

So I link them up like construction cut-outs glued with Elmer’s on the Christmas Tree in 1969. They are a chain but fragile. Made to lay on the branch, this tree, of life. And not weigh down.

There was a mighty trifecta brewing around like a meteorological nightmare on a Southern summer, hot, humid, and muggy. So they link-up, make a chain. Mercy, Forbearance and Long-suffering, with an extra link of patience.

They rumble around in the brain for days beating to get out and speak their mind. So I release them and let them breathe a bit on the white pages, release them out to have their day in court.

They are game-changers and mood-changers and life-changers. And they are worthy of being lifted up and they need more than a day they need a life-time.

The chains of picking up every single solitary offense is enough to wear a girl down. Learning to let them lie is freedom. The kind that you set off fire-works over. The kind that you stand outside the prison door and greet the captive set free from all those years in a dark cell. In when she could have been free. Languishing in the dark, when she could have been living in the light.

Mercifully released, finally, things are set right. The sunlight is bright, blindingly so.

She breathes deep the fresh air of freedom.

Mercifully mercy finds a place to settle in and settle down, patience works hard at being herself and brings peace and calm with her. And letting things roll off the back when things rolls off a tongue is delightfully different from picking up the offense and picking a fight.

Choosing to release the offense, not taking it up, letting it die on the vine. Letting it go.

Looking the other way, turning the other cheek, breaks chains that bind. And cuts the heavy metal links with the soft shears of His ways.

Chains get rusty when they get old, and clanking sounds grate on a life. Sometimes it doesn’t take a metal cutter to break them, but the soft and gentle trio of Trinity to bust it open and break it loose.

And isn’t it the truth that the more links you add to the chain, the stronger it becomes. You add Mercy linked with Forbearance and Long-suffering and your spirit and your soul gain strength in the beautiful chain of Patience.

Grace is the grease that oils the links and keeps them nimbly ebbing and flowing, bobbing and weaving. You can make a chain of the Good and the Gracious. And the chains keep the wheels rolling on the bike as you peddle down the Grace trail.

Dropping your chains of clover rather than wobbly chains of wrongs done, offenses picked up, hurts accumulated, accumulating dust and rust.

We’re just too busy being bound up in the chains that bind and bruise, hold us back and wrap us up in self and selfish.

They were right, this trio, to demand their day, to link hands and come play on the pages of this series. To bring their light and cheerful spirit with them.

Too long their counterparts have tried to rule greedy, hold emotions and circumstances up, hold us hostage, rule with the iron hand and lay claim to each transgression, offense, small and large. To feel the wound of every word and deed that delt the blow, broke the heart, intentional or not.

Pride and self-righteous indignation, the rule of the day. Elbowing their way into their place of power and authority. Staking a claim while staking the chain to the ground. Burying the life on a short chain of void and empty.

I click the leash and walk the dog, tethered briefly for a moment outside in the air. I can breathe. Ocean rumbles mighty in the dark morning air. I can breathe. I hear the roar and know the power of salt, the strength of water. It reminds me the soul can be refreshed, the chains can be broken, and the life does feel less heavy when we breathe deep the freedom.

I can pick up the promises of His, a chain of linked words and chapters, verses, the beautiful bound Book. Chain it to my heart. Chain it to my soul.

And I hear Aretha singing to my spirit, Chain of Fools, a tribute, an anthem to the old way of living.

And Amazing Grace drops down in the jukebox of my heart and I sing along to a new anthem of my life, a song of Unchained Melody. The sound of freedom.

The words do a victory march across the page, linking hands, making a chain of friendship.

Mercy, Forbearance and Patience.

A new chain, tying  me soft and loose to Freedom.

And angels of Mercy and her friends guard my heart, stand at the door to my soul, keeping watch, breaking the chains before they bind again.

Amens and amens and amens.

Grateful to be joining these wonderful writers today too at their place: Jen, Heather,and Eileen. And to Jennifer,Joy,  Ann and Emily

Dancing – Movement of the Heart (Day 5)


Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire.

Robert Frost

Dance – Movement of the Heart

Elizabeth W. Marshall

If only all would dance. Simply, a little more.
As shadows, sun’s rays, and white foam waves,
Their rhythmic breaking in and on the shore.
What a gentle teacher ocean is.
Of how to find your rhythm, how to learn to dance.
Water, foam and wave thrust on shelly sand.
The dance of wave on wave, eyes Beauty from the shore.

And we think far too often to save it for the feasts.
For man to do a pas de deux when woman dresses up for out.
But what of the dance of the everyday, the simple celebrations.
Of life and living, joy in the daily, movement becomes art.
And what of running fingers down the page, and letting words join in.
The dance of wordplay, phrase finds rhythm on the page,
Partners up with thought and steps from line to line, a dance.

What if words would partner with the heart, to do a dance of lyrical  along
The lines of prose, does it become poetic and more a jig with steps more
Light and gay, where space is left so eyes can linger, breathing soft and slow.
Creates a space for eyes and hearts to partner up with mind, and waltz and
Sway, no need to rush, the pace is slow, the soul can take her time.
The pace of living can slow and savor, seeking steps which linger,
Long and longer, sweet and merry, hurry left behind.

And do we long to dance, because so early on we did, swayed and rocked as babies
The motion taught so young, to drift and sway and rock and sing, why leave that
Back in childhood. Can’t every movement restore Dance, isn’t life worth dancing truly?
Find steps light and graceful, feasting on the now, with song, and grateful pairing up
As happy partners, loving life and dancing in the moment.
Learning from trees their limbs sway, the tails of dog, like metronome have rhythm.
If only all would simply dance, a little more when living.

(Thank you for joining me on this 31 Days – A Series of Words. This is the Part 5 in the series. Other posts have included Ordinary, Savor, Hope, and The Poetic if you would like to back travel and read. Grateful to have you journeying with this pilgrim.) Note, in crediting Robert Frost’s quote on dance and my subsequent piece, I have placed my name beside my writing. Please know this is for clarification simply and that I highly esteem Robert Frost’s work and feel humbled to even be on the same page. This was to give credit, no form of comparison. Please note this, and extend grace for any wrong association or comparison which was never intended. Thanks, for grace. –Elizabeth.