America

Grey sky reflects in a grey lake with a leafless tree along the shore.

Heartbroken

Unspoken

Words to share.

Do you care?

When I fear

You won’t hear,

Where to go?

I don’t know.

So alone.

I feel alone.

Five Minute Friday: Connect

(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: Connect

Go.

The road, one of the main ways in and out of town, slinks along between the river and a hill. On a good day, driving it involves an effort to ignore the patched places where the road started to slip off into the water and to overlook the pebbly places where the hill has shifted and scattered itself onto the pavement.

Now and then, the hill loses larger chunks of itself and the road must be closed until crews can scrape it out of the way and clear the lanes.

To be honest, even on days when we are allowed to drive along that road, I worry about it.

But it’s the shortest route and so I play along with the willing suspension of disbelief and drive on through, holding my breath, telling myself, “not today…it won’t come crashing down today.”

This week the road is closed, so I must seek out new connections to where I need to be.

Needing new connections so early in the new year.

Perhaps it’s a sign.

Stop.

 Screen shot of a Twitter post from highways, showing that a rock slide has closed a major roadway.

 

 

Through, Over, Around, Onward

A red light hangs over a trio of signs that all announce, "ROAD CLOSED."

Lost jobs.

Lost elections.

Racism.

Classism.

Homophobia.

Hatred.

Addiction.

Bullies.

Illness.

Debt.

Thoughts of suicide.

Somedays there are horrible things blocking our path.

We wake up and there they are.

Or maybe they’ve been there awhile and we just don’t see a way past them.

We can’t see past those things in our way.

But look up from the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other Everyday.

The path does continue.

There is a path and a journey beyond what seems to be in our way.

A rail trail path is blocked by a fallen tree, but you can see beyond the tree where the path continues.

We can move what is blocking the path, climb over it, or go around it.

But the path beckons.

It calls us forward.

As I write this, a New Year invites us to look beyond the present.

Look beyond current challenges, disappoints, or worries.

Life will go on beyond today’s blocked paths.

Move onward.

The journey continues.

A hiker and his dog go around a rock blocking the path and continue their journey.

 

Making Room

A living room rearranged to make room for a Christmas tree.

The tree waited patiently on the porch while we strategized how to make room.

We shoved the small TV-on-a-roller-cart out of its corner near one of our five overly-stuffed five-foot-tall wooden bookcases and over in front of a seldom-used-but-still-for-some-reason-there stereo.

We pivoted the couch over in front of the front window and slid it down the wall toward the corner vacated by the little TV.

We flipped the little dog leash and harness container from one side of the front door to the other.

Our stuff? Moved.

The tree? Welcomed in.

We made room.

This beautiful tree with plenty of branches, a nice traditional Christmas tree shape, and a refreshing natural pine scent instantly dominated the room.

It became the focus of the room, even before lights and ornaments; before tinsel and gifts.

Our stuff was still there…sure…but no longer the center of attention.

That got me to thinking…

We made room in our house for the Christmas tree, but have I made room in my heart for the Christ child?

Let’s face it. My heart is already fairly full with lots of stuff.

My stuff has staked its claim.

Christ waits patiently as I strategize about making room for him.

Perhaps I could pivot my pride over into the corner near my overflowing shelf of selfishness.

Perhaps I could reduce my collection of anger and resentment, sprawled across my heart and blocking the entrance.

What to do with the dusty knick-knacks of fear?

Which of these things can I (re)move to welcome Christ in?

How can I allow Christ to dominate my heart and be the focus of my soul?

My stuff will still be here…sure…but how can I make Christ the center of attention?

Perhaps I can ponder these questions while sitting on our shoved-down-the-wall couch in the glow of the calming lights of our beautiful tree…

“Joy to the World!

The Lord is come;

Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare him room,

And heaven and nature sing.”

Christmas tree lights form patterns on the carpet.

Watch

Black and white photo of a nearly leafless tree against a grey morning sky.

November ended with a cacophony of caws calling to the drizzly, pasty-gray sky and a hundred or more black birds launching themselves from the leafless branches of the tree where they watched and waited for some sort of signal only they perceived.

They scattered on the waves of the wind, their wings silhouetted against a neighbor’s holiday light display, itself a simple sign that the season of watching and waiting held promise.

Surrender

Emojis showing anger and fear.

The terrorists are laughing.

They’ve won the day, you see.

They got us hating on each other

Fearing diversity.

 

“Let’s make America great again,”

The cowards shouted loudly.

America collapsed in on itself.

The terrorists looked on proudly.

 

They didn’t need to build their bombs

Or infiltrate our ranks.

They didn’t need a bunch of arsenals

Or submarines, or tanks.

 

They only needed to set the bait

And watch our nation bite.

We freely surrendered our best true selves.

We collapsed without a fight.

 

The very things we feared we’d lose

Our values true and dear

We betrayed and gave them each the boot

As traitors fueled by fear.

 

The terrorists are laughing.

America’s in trouble.

We’ve done it to ourselves, my friend.

We’ve created our own rubble.

Formed

White lettering on black background says "Formed."

What form shall we take upon ourselves?

What shape to give our lives?

A uniform?

All the same?

Our differences deny?


Shall we perform to expectations?

Conform to norm as asked?

To deform?

To malform?

Chloroform “self” as tasked?


Are there better ways for each of us?

Can we boldly form new molds?

To inform?

To reform?

Transform ourselves, unsold?


I’ve struggled in recent months to find the time and energy to write. A group of writers proposed writing something every day for the month of October, based on a one word prompt, and writing in just five minutes – no worrying about perfect grammar or always being poignant or well-polished. I gave it a go in an effort to jump start my writing. For the one word prompts, I followed along with The Upper Room’s Sight Psalms. They put out a picture a day and apply one word and a short reflection. I am pleased and encouraged that I met my goal of writing every day this past month. If you are reading this, thanks for accompanying me for this experiment in motivation and discipline.