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

The Stairs

I love Amber C. Haines’ writing. And she is inviting us to write with her on a concrete word prompt. Today its stairs. You may recall The Necklace. You will want to go read Amber—she has a truly lovely way with words. Her voice is distinctive and full. You won’t want to miss the words she weaves; art. Pure. Simple. Art. Her words. I write in good company when I write in community with Amber.

You could mark a life
by the number you choose. And by the speed
pace, rate,
like a heart rate.
The rate you take
the sairs.

The child me chose
to ride a bicycle down.
Child me
thought
it sounded
like a good
idea
at the time.

Grown me, well
they never grow
tired of telling
the tale.
It has a life
of its own.

What child rides
a bicycle down
a staircase?

The one who is
child full
of life
and child
full of wonder
wondering what
joy lies
in going down
a different
way. Not the
route
all the others
took.

And two’s and three’s
at a time
mark youth
she skips many
unnecessary steps
tedious boredom
in going a
decidedly predictable
way.
Life has much
to offer.
Why waste time
going up slowly
when you can
run down three-by-three.

The first
time he said I love you
there on a flight
of fancy stairs
frozen there
on them
frozen
by the words
Numb in love
The Patient One
held me
captive
in and on the
stairs.
Caught in a word web
of love.
The bridal portrait
tells a story
hanging from a nail
in the well of the
stairs.
She said I do
He did too.
Months later
bride me
portrait
speaks
to words
said in love on
the stairs
before the three
steps to the altar.
After that
its two by two tandem
taking the
stairs
together
for life.
Taking the stairs
A baby
In tow.
More babies
In tow.

They measure the heart rate.
After all. They mark
they measure
they record.

And after a new hip
Older me practices the
drill
in the stairwell
at the hospital
You can’t go
home until
you can climb the
stairs.
I am 52 with a body part
man made, not God-made.
My first prosthetic.
She climbed with a limp
for awhile.
She climbed
with pain
for a season.
She left her limp
behind.

They measure like a
metronome.
They measure speed and rate
Like rings of a tree, telling
age
They tell the narrative
of the life.

Up, down,
slow
fast
alone
well
sick
whole
scared
hopeful
tired
lonely
in love.

The steps on the steps and the stairs hold secrets to a life, lived ascending and decending,

The stairs.

Measuring marking a life, like breath.

Writing the story with every step taken,
a page turns.

the

stairs.

until she’s climbing a stairway

to
heaven.

the

end.

Counting gifts with Ann. Grateful for

*A crisp cool air in the warm deep South, peeks of a change, her name is Autumn

*A walk and a talk with a friend

*Such sweet new friends through the blog

*Such generous and kind friends through twitter

*Restored faith in social media for the good it can be when used rightly

*More and more a passion for writing and more and more grateful for God allowing me to see, use, and steward the gift

*A glimpse into the hope-filled future for a child and his college plans. God is good in revealing daily, that there is a hope, always. Hope for good things. Trusting Him to show us His plan.

*A long heart to heart with a friend. We sat in the dark at church after the last light had been turned off and dove into parenting with our hearts and our words. Grateful for this friend. Grateful for common ground on parenting daughters.

And linking with Ann today at A Holy Experience dot com.

And with Laura