Remind Me Again: A Lenten Poem

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Remind Me Again

Remind me once again
That facades hide reality
Deep behind a trompe l’oeil truth

That love melts frozen tundras
Of a winter weary soul
Taken to her bed, tired of it all

That invisible things mark,
Change and temper, unseen
Is Holy, Spirit moves through even now

That firm mattresses, hard wood and marble
Audi’s and big screens, gyms and gems
Lie about what they can do for man

Remind me, again that forgiveness heals
Like salt water on the back of a ruby red throat
What it is to be meek, humble and mild

Bathe me in a warm bath of humility
Wash me clean from pride and ego

Because truth be told
I am prone to wander, prone to forget
To stray to a place where pastures look green
But in fact are astro-turf
Wolves lie in wait for the lamb that is lost
Searching for food when plenty grows tall
Hiding the gifts
Show me eternal, again and again
And hide from my eyes the temporal,
Fleeting, the things that will die and lead
Me to the death of my soul

Because truth be told
I am prone to follow the mirage, the shiny, the glittery
Things of the world
On the desert road that leads to nowhere
And ends in the dark

And faith is a compass
With one true north

I was blind but now I see
You focus my eyes on the eye chart
The Big E was all I saw
Now the smallest line is in my
Plain view

You oh Lord, my strength and Redeemer
Turn down the volume of a noisy world
Let me sing the broken Hallelujah’s of my heart-song
Off key and shaky

And press pause and off and down
On the sounds
Of Diamonds Are Forever
And the false promises
Of the Cadillac commercials,  face-lift,
Cruise ship ads

Give me eyes to see
I am happy to remain with You, and
Ash Wednesday is not a hump day
And help me to remember

Oh Lord, I am prone to forget
Place my eyes back to heaven
And away from the green line
That leads to my retirement

Oh Lord remind me again
To ignore the likes, shares and follows
And to place my trust in You
Alone
Are Worthy

Remind me again
I give you myself
This Lent
Take me to the desert
And whisper sweet words of remembering
I am weary and I am not alone
Amen

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Joining Lyli, Emily and Jennifer

Stretch Me

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Stretch Me

It would not be a stretch
To say
There is a world of hurt
On the other side of the
Street
The table
The pew
The world
This screen
That page

Or that for centuries
We have mastered the fine art
Of turning away

So I
Stepped off the curb
And ran into a couple of hurting
Women
At church today
Touched the tip of the iceberg

And I swear for all the world
I want to get my Masters in the do-over

People there are organs needed
And prayers needed
And children in the middle
Who are scared to death
Of families split apart
People walking, dragging, seeking
Scared

And I want to go pray myself into a frenzy
Enter a convent
And make up for lost time
Praying

I waited in line today
For prayer
And the prayer
Weighed heavy
He knew my story
Served to bear my burden
Because it was his too
Strength in numbers
We need each other
Body of Christ
I am the root canal
You are the hip replacement

Somedays it is a heck of a lot easier
To hide
And hole up
Hide from the busted
Put a Hello-Kitty Band-Aid on it

But man we are needed our there
Warrior
Women
Warrior
Men

I am blown over by the gentle winds
Of conviction
And mercifully
Yes mercifully

Tomorrow I can wake up
Hit my knees
And get a do-over
Get in line
Again

Pray to be stretched

Pray to be moved to tears
Moved to action
Moved to see
Every hang nail, heart ache
Busted lip and broken leg

Stretched at two a.m. for a sister
Soul in need

Finally awake
At last
Fully alive

Stretching arms to heaven
Like the rattling riggings on the Mary-Elizabeth

Dry bones arise, dry bones awake
Dry bones, rejoice.

Quiet, Noticers At Work And At Play

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Flung is too harsh a word for the rush of the world. Blown is more like it, but blown by a generous, unending breath.

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim At Tinker Creek

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Intimacy

It was at the end
Or was it the beginning
Blurred are the lines between the two
They left
Parted ways
Rode off into the sunset
By way of the waves
And left us there
He and I
To stare at the ending time of day
Or maybe the start of eveningtide
Quickly the quiet quenched
All that a parched soul
Longed for
Intimacy entangled
And the waves rocked the two
Shed of distraction clothed in the salt
The sea
And all He gave
Creation clothed them in itself

elizabeth w. marshall/writer/poet/noticer

Today is day 5. May your soul rejoice in quiet noticing. The praying mantis on my kitchen window earlier this week was a guidepost. His fragile silhouette, eyes wide open, arms bent with a knowing. He, a  gentle nudge, a subtle reminder to bow in quiet reverence. A mantis  marked my morning with the mention of prayer, a posture of quietly communing. Listen, can you hear the day calling you, inviting you. The art of noticing surely says come play and see. Come as you are and bow and give thanks for the God-beauty slipped into the cracks and crevices of an unfolding day.

The series is here if you’d like to read the earlier parts of this journey. And please hear the invitation to subscribe, follow on twitter and facebook or just show up when you feel lead. You are welcome here. Under the shade of this place is an old wicker rocking chair with pillows piped in cotton ticking. I’m pouring sweet tea with lemon slices and cold water over mountains of crushed ice. I will be here while you go off to notice. But I am going out for awhile to do some searching and seeking, to look and to listen for surprises in my day. They are calling me to come look, like child. And listen with an ear bent for beauty. Ready, set, go notice.

The sea pronounces something over and over, in a hoarse whisper; I cannot quite make it out.

Annie Dillard

And I Heard Be Still

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I heard you arrive. Your breathes, some rushed and hurried. Some slow and halting. You stepped across the threshold to this place. And when you came you brought yourself. As you are today. In this moment now. Let’s capture this day together. It must be an art, no science, this noticing. It must be practiced and possibly never perfected. But there is joy in the practice. Ready, set, go notice.

Aren’t we all archeologists digging in the soil of our very lives. Chipping through the rock and rubble looking, even longing for the shiny. The diamonds in the rough and rocky. Ah but there is beauty in the rusty patina places. The layers of living leave their beautiful marks. They paint strokes of story and telling, leaving whispers, shouts even of what has happened here. Don’t we long to know what lies just below the surface. The untold story. The unseen beauty, hidden art, waiting glory, buried treasures of extravagant grace.

We the curious seek a soul knowing. Early on we toddled around touched everything, put everything to our lips and in our mouths to answer the question what is it. Why do we slow down in our discovery. Halted by age, slowed by a deliriously jadded heart. Frozen by complacency. Settling for the whatever.

Seeing past the very surface, the cliches, the what is clearly showing brings joy and gratitude. I saw the spanish moss last night, dripping in all its grey glory, majestic like cashmere scarves thrown over the shoulders and limbs of the oaks. And I saw God’s creative wonder, His very intricate design. And I said yes to His world, anew again.

I was in the Presence of The Living God. In a world watermarked by the wispy strokes of His creative hand.

I am dancing in a place of quiet searching. I am looking with a hungry heart. I am slowing down to see and listening to the whisper of be still.

We prayed last night to the sound of crickets and cicadas. Our little village bible study. Our first night. Doors wide open. Fall sneaking in to still our frenzied hearts. We struggled with our calendars to make a schedule for our group. Oh the irony. We are studying simplicity and are calendars do not want to bend into the schedule of twelve weary travelers.

But the chorus of night’s choir calmed. And a  soliloquy of sudden singing soothed us while we prayed. And I heard be still.

Listen with me, see with me, in the middle of the messy living. Cry out with me, pray with me in the still of the fallen night. Look with me into the deep crevices of wonder. Find with me the lyrical and the lapping rhythms of the day. See with me past the surface, into the God places slightly hidden from view. Wonder with me at the treasure trove of buried beauty. Excavate the layered living. And mine the God Beauty of this day.

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Push it. Examine all things intensely and relentlessly.  — Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

(This is day three. Are you following daily. Let’s notice together. Visit me on facebook, on twitter, or subscribe to this journey. Click here to read all posts in this 31 day series. Did you notice I said how grateful I am to have you here. I am grateful you are here. Truly.)