Why There Is Always A Back Story

“Say what you need to say,then leave.”

Seth Godin’s words today on his blog intigue me. A lot. His blog is wonderful. If you haven’t discovered it you should. Great insight, wisdom, and just plain good stuff there.

My heart crosses the concept of narrative and story often. I am reading “The Story Factor” by Annette Simmons, the full title of which is “Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling.”

In it is a stirring quote from Jim Harrison, “The answer is always in the entire story, not a piece of it.”

Yesterday’s sermon focused on Isaiah 40:21-31, our story, our life’s narrative. And God, He plays a major role too. As He thankfully does. And did in the sermon. Its a good thing, right. (There is already a back story raising its not-so-ugly-head here. You may want to go to the archives of the blog to read of my love for Him and some of my Christian “story”.)

So much to gnaw on. And I love stories. I seem to learn well when story is used as a tool.

I seem to remember events when there is a story woven like silken threads through a snapshot of life. Is that what story is? Isn’t that what Jesus did when he told parables. Very brief. Very powerful. Very important.

But what of the back story? The parts thinly veiled or left untold. What of the living that lead up to the event?

Are we left to wonder, to guess, to write a narrative around the unknown parts.

“Say what you need to say, then leave.” I love the one, two bunch of the brief. The potency and power in the short. In the very  intense, undiluted telling. The concentrated strength of the brief.

Is this why I love the poetic.

Is this the beauty of poetry? Isn’t this the beauty of poetry?

Can the backstory show up in poetry in a way unique to the poetry format.

There is a beautiful backstory to these pictures, of my daughter, taken by The Patient One.

I want to tell you the story.

I think I’ll write a poem. But knowing my bent toward longer forms, maybe I’ll go write a proem, entitled “Salt” because that is why the beautiful winged-one lit on the beautiful girl-child.

It was all because of the salt.

Have I been salt to someone today?

{Will you come back tomorrow to hear more on story, the beginning the middle and the glorious endings. It’s really our life narratives. And aren’t they beautiful?

My heart is about to burst wide open to tell a beautiful one of a man I know. Its his story. It is beautiful. And I will ask permission to tell it this week. What a glorious story he is having? How is your story going.}

Counting gifts with Ann at A Holy Experience dot com.

Today as I think of writing my “Salt” poem, being brief when I write (because your lives are busy and you may not have time to ready the longer posts), and as I dream of how to tell the story of my friend which my heart bends into because it is an adoption story. I have a particular fondness for adoption stories, did you know that?

….. I am counting gifts, quietly, because you may have places to go, people to see, and a story to live.

Go live it with an extra dash of “salt”. I hope I will see you tomorrow.

Linking with Laura at Laura Boggess dot com and Michele at Michelle DeRusha dot com

And L.L. Barkatfor In On And Around Mondays

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Shhhhh, Can I Whisper Something in Your Ear?

I will whisper because it is so tender and fragile, so the whisper of my heart is a quiet dignity for this and for them.

I will whisper about compassion and Compassion International for now. And the children.

But the cry of my heart is really to shout. And when you see and hear and bend the heart to know more, you may want to shout too. Will you walk over here with me, it means just click and we can go there.

To just pray.

This is what Mark Batterson says in his book “The Circle Maker” about prayer

The hard thing about praying hard is letting God do the heavy lifting. You have to trust the favor of God to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. You have to trust God to change hearts…

Thank you for going there to pray for these children. I will try not to shout. I like it when people speak softly to me too. I like to listen to the gentle.

I like the tender and the soft and the whispers from gentle places.

But the cry of my heart, well its all rumbly and loud. So I may need to ask forgiveness ahead of time for when I scream and yell and get quite loud with the cries of my heart.

Because when I went to choose my child, the one that I sponsor, I wanted to choose the one waiting the longest, and then I wanted to choose two and then I wanted to choose a boy and a girl but I chose a girl. And I wanted to choose the ones with especially special needs. And, well it was hard. But my friend Kris who played a role in bending and breaking my heart for Compassion, she said to me words that were full of grace. She told me to think of it this way, they all need a sponsor, so any one you choose will be right…..well you get the beautiful grace-filled words she spoke to me, in love.

But in the end I chose one little girl in Peru. And I pray that God in His holy math and in His holy name will multiply my smallness.

I am writing a prayer for myself for Compassion International. I will share it with you soon.

But your words and your prayers are much much better. They are your words and your prayers.

Counting my gifts in the quiet of my heart and linking with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience dot com. You can read about her Compassion trips there.

Linking with Finding Heaven Today dot com

And with Denise in Bloom

The Morning Art Gallery of Life, A Grand Opening

The Web of Life

She opens her gallery in morning bright light early

Displays God Art.

 First fruits offered in obedient love.

Weaving with legs strong graceful

Navigating  strength,symmetry

Strong small presence, centered

Delicate lovely home made art.

Like a prayer labyrinth she walks alone, in her, on her,

Home made strong, receptacle of nourishment

Quiet delicate web net of protection.

Quiet masterpiece holds fast in love

Holds strong in love.

And in woven winsome beauty, she makes her way through,like a maze.

She waits,  heartbeat holding watch.

Glimmering gleaming hopefilled web

Offering order in chaos,

Perfectly alligned with His will for her.

Perfectly imperfect, seeking Grace

She hangs in the net web,

Soul centered place of still waiting waving in the gentle spirit breeze,

Peace-filled knowing

Anchored here, anchored there.

No fear takes space, finds a space in the perfect web of peace.

No angry broom will knock down, rip down, tear down.

Grace for her, grace for all.

She and her God art catching the morning light.

Masterfully weaving this artful way through the life web.

Tied in obedience to the One who teaches  art of making the way

through a beautiful web maze, the story

that is her sparkling sticky, glistening fragile, light-catching, light-relfecting,

Hidden to some,

 Yet visible to the lover of Beauty, God Art

A Hopeful, graceful web.

Catching nourishment for the soul.

Counting Gifts and Linking with Ann at A Holy Experience dot com and with Michelle on this Monday.

And with Laura Barkat and Laura Boggess for In On and Around Mondays and  Playdates at the Wellspring.

*A lost cross purchased in New York, found this morning, a treasure found on the floor.

*Beautiful time with volleyball family, winning, losing, fellowshipping

*Long day in the creek after church, salt, sea, friends, The Patient One, counting the gifts of close finish-your-sentence friends and a day on the water and in it too.

*Encouragement coming in so many different forms, delivered sweetly in love

*New connection with old friend

*The Patient One giving gifts, a lawn cleaner and tidier and the gift of time lovingly spent together

*During woship, watching The Patient One sway in the breeze of praise, singing sweet the songs of worship

*Planning a Monday night family dinner- Joyfilled family meal, with hopes and dreams to play our High/Low game again. (naming the highes and lows of our day).

*Making plans for a trip to Haiti, and feeling the call in Peace and in Love.

*Receiving my Compassion International Packet in the mail with the precious picture and information on the sweet sweet girl I am privileged to sponsor. So hopeful about her future and a budding relationship.

Creating Wide Margins

(I am linking this post at Sarah Mae dot com. Though it was written several weeks ago, it is one of the most valuable things I have grown to know as true for me. More and more, I parent best, and partner in marriage best, and serve best and live my best life when my margins are place carefully and thoughtfully. The prayer of my heart is to look to Him to order my days.)

I remember placing the crisp white paper in the typewriter, rolling it through and setting the margins.

First. And then typing away. The words, the story, the black keys striking the paper void of anything. Waiting for the keys to dance along within the pre-set margins. To form a story. To make order of the narrative.

And at the end, rolling the paper through the metal machine and seeing words in black mounds, like a tower, resembling a city skyscraper, neatly stacked reaching up and out, while the white margins hemmed in the story.

The white wide margins, like white noise, creating calm on the page amid a sea of black marks made by the striking keys. White noise margins, buffering. White noise margins calming and hemming in.

Margins creating a place of calm. Where the eyes see peace on the page, where rest for the reader is found. For a moment at the turn. Slowing the pace.

Eyes move left to right, but find a calm tranquil sea of white waiting. White soothing. White cushioning the turn from the end of one line before beginning another.

Inspiration and restoration are found in the quiet moment, before rounding the corner.

Rest and respite are found in the cushioning soft places of nothing

The keys stop hammering and the bell rings sweet and soft, as the carriage rings and turns down to the next line of the story.

Recharged and re-energized by a second or two in the margin of the turn. A moment of calm in the ocean of clamoring noise and black chatting keys whipping white paper.

And so too, the margins of my life.

The setting of wide margins where possible, when called, to have space to reflect, rest awhile with Him and listen to the quiet. Listen to the whispers to my soul.

Whispers of His will, His desire for my story, that is my life.

The place where the heart beat slows and life wrestles rushing to the mat. Where the soul is at peace with no agenda, plans, or harried list delineating desired to do’s.

The places where poetry and art find a quiet birthplace. And creativity breathes into the dull and the mundane.

The moments where our soul finds balance and steadies the wobbling worrisome heart.

Moments in the margin where our soul catches up to our living. And catches its breath to go on, into the places of living loud with exuberance and passion.

Seeking a steadying of the soul in the wide margins of His grace. Where we feel anew His mercy because we are quiet and still long enough to feel at all. The margins of our lives where its quiet enough to calm a restless spirit in a moment of renewal. A life-affirming pause.

The found stillness where we are in communion with Him in prayer.

Where the still soothes the soul like a salve to the wounded spirt. And we can catch a whisper in the net of listening and savor the words.

Where quiet reflection births gratitude and a re-connection to the Giver of All Good Gifts. Where Jesus sits and speaks into the intentional moments of white noise calm reflection.

Right before and right after the hammering black keys of life go dancing along their page.

The margins, wide and wonderful, where possible, when created, communion with Him, the birthplace of thought, the place where a thought can both find a beginning and an end. The space where patience is restored and rediscovered.

And the soul finds a brief moment of peace.

And all the senses savor in unison the beauty of His creation.

Counting GIfts with Ann.

* New beginnings, a first day of a last year of the last year.

* The first movies in too many years to count in a theatre with The Patient One, sharing popcorn, a big diet Coke and a lot of laughs. Priceless. A treasure.

* The Patient One walking an elderly woman to her seat in church, grace-filled tender. He strong, she fragile.

*Sitting with a friend in a hot high school gym watching my daughter and her daughter play volleyball, and seeing her sweet spirit on the court, not just the motions of the game.

*Getting bloodwork back from the hospital. The calls to say all tests were negative. And my daughter feeling better. No diagnosis, but no words carrying worry.

*Working with a helpful guidance counselor at the High School. So grateful.

*An encouraging email.

*A trip to the bookstore with the Patient One, just us two. A treasured memory.

*A beautiful comment of encouragement.

*Hope for the school year and a helper.

Linking with Ann at A Holy Experience dot com for Multitudes on Mondays (on a Tuesday)

And joining these lovely communities this week too, a privilege and pleasure

Denise In Bloom dot com

Intentional Me, Thought Provoking Thursday and Always Alleluia