Monday, September 30, 2013

Which Direction?

Another night when I should be going to bed but then I realize I have a post I can write...

From tweet to blog to link, I came across an article that has me remembering a moment that my mother found rather amusing. I was in one of the first few grades and had come home with a worksheet of a basic map with questions about where items were in the given picture. In my younger years I had a tendency to skip details that appeared extraneous so when the first question asked which direction Susie needed to go to get to the wagon I became confused. We'd been shown the compass rose in class, so that wasn't my problem. What was my problem was that no matter which way I turned my body to face wherever north was, the page had to turn with me, so that meant Susie's directions could be any which way. When I explained this problem to my mother, she had quite the laugh and pointed out the rose on the map - that was how to know in which direction things were. No turning required.

Fast forward to tonight, and this article addresses the confusion of directions when comparing standard western interpretations with those of meso-american. Whereas we pinpoint the absolute directions and then qualify the degrees between, many of these cultures mainly focus on the east-west direction as marked by the path of the sun. If anyone has actually paid attention to basic astronomy (completely different from astrology), then you will realize that the sun doesn't actually follow the exact same path throughout the year. According to the author's diagram, there is about a 50º variation in the east and west ranges, with the north and south filling in the left-over spaces. Many of these cultures find 'north' and 'south' so inconsequential that they don't even have direct translations for them. Ultimately, this means that at any given time of year, our ideas of the cardinal directions could actually vary greatly from those documented in various translations. (For Mormons, this could do much to illuminate directionality in the Book of Mormon.)

Such thoughts led me to two reflection points.

First, (the non-religious one) this should be yet another indicator of an issue I have posted on before this. When more than a single entity interacts, there will be different viewpoints and perspectives. If we enter that arena assuming all parties must see, understand, relate to all things as we do, we are setting ourselves up for failure. For a true meeting of minds and hearts to occur, there must be a common ground and this requires a willingness to consider, to see from, the other's perspective. If each party truly does this, then a true dialog can be entered into, whereas without - you tread into a minefield waiting to explode. This will require that the ego be set aside knowing that the world does not actually revolve around your particular world-view. This seems to be harder for some than others, but it critical in efforts to achieve compromise and therefore unity in whatever the endeavor.

Secondly, the article pointed out that it was not uncommon for many of the ancient cultures to determine, like the child me, that north must be whichever way you are facing, whichever way you decide it to be. Egypt chose to see north as the direction from which the Nile came to them. And the Hebrews, who also oriented themselves by facing the rising sun, denoted that direction as forward and west as behind, with north and south and left and right. This made me think of the scripture in one of my earliest posts:
Isaiah 52:12
For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward.
As light is a metaphor of the Savior and the sun is the great source of physical light in our eyes, then facing the sun(Son) clearly places His path as 'going before you' and ultimately guarding 'your rearward'. This requires you to put Him in the forefront of your life, however, as the guiding point as you choose your directions. Much as King Benjamin's people placed their tents that they might face the temple (Mosiah 2:6), or how Lot was warned to keep his face turned from Sodom (Genesis 19:17) while he fled, where we focus our attention will dictate our direction. Isaiah's verse shows us, however, that so long as we focus on the Savior and make Him our guiding star (don't forget that the sun is actually a star...) he will take care of the past behind us. If we choose to live in our past, our future will be lost, just as Lot's wife discovered. [Do you know how often the scriptures augment my sodium cravings?] So long as our path is straight, we have promise of His protection.

Friday, September 20, 2013

So the World's Falling Apart... Isn't Life Great?!

Alex Boye

I actually was thinking about this post last night and debated writing it first, but then I realized the last post was actually a good set-up for this one, so they are coming to you out of the order in which they came to me. Like tonight, last night was one that had me up past one, but last night I was listening to the song above on repeat rather than writing. It has been some time since I last had a song which made my hopes for the future soar like no other. When I was trapped at home, it was the song "Bound for the Promised Land" as sung by the MoTab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir is somewhat unwieldy...) and after leaving home but still a bit disconnected to the idea of having any real role in this world it was "Could It Be Me?" by Charlie Daniels. (Yes, it's a shocker - I actually have a country music CD!) The progression has apparently stepped on to Alex Boye's new "I Am Gold". (Read the article in the link - background on what it means and why I've tried to insert the music video for your listening while you read.)

As I closed my last post, my weather app on my phone includes news headlines and I've mostly stopped reading them because they're all about people doing horrible things that only seem possible if they've lost all feeling for the humanity we all share. From what I've seen on the other Christian accounts on twitter as well as conversations with people, Christians in general (not just Mormons) see this time as the final period before Christ comes when the world begins trying to tear itself apart. In earnest. (Sorry, Oscar Wilde, in this case, being earnest is the last thing we want to be important...) 'Perilous times shall be' and 'men's hearts shall fail them' because of fear. Something of a gloomy prospect, no? Natural disasters abound, wars threaten in every direction, corruption is old news, and people who should be friends turn on each other for foolish reasons. I'd say turn off the TV, but I still don't have an antenna, so I can't actually watch it. (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. starts next week, though, so I'm working on it!)

This month, Salt Lake City, Utah had its first ever ComicCon, breaking the standing record with 50,000 tickets sold for a first time event. I didn't go, but I did read a few articles about it as well as the comments (I like to do that, remember?). A couple of pertinent themes were: one - the idea that anyone interested in the hero genre is a geek; and two - that America has been growing ever more attuned to the hero genre (witness the predominant box-office theme of late).

If finding value in the stories that give hope makes one a geek, then apparently I am a geek. News to me... That modern America would respond to stories of cataclysm confronted, survived, and overcome is no surprise, however. It is the idea of optimism and the willingness to face what comes to the best of our abilities that lets so many find the hope, the good even when the world is so dark. It is the Christian's knowing that Christ will come and restore peace and balance and sanity to the world that lets us look beyond to better days. And in seeing the Gold at the end of the effort, we find the evidence of the good things to come even as everyone else thinks we've lost our marbles. :)
Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Smeagol vs Gollum; Merlin vs Morgana

You know those projects that you just stare at because the thought of starting them is so overwhelming? Well, I had this thought that if I put in the next Lord of the Rings movie (Two Towers - my favorite!), I might find it an easier prospect. [Transferring the mosaic laid out on cardboard to a board with the cement glue... It's my first one, so I'm nervous I'll mess it up with how small I made the pieces... Memo for next time - use bigger pieces...] I started the first disc and ate my dinner after realizing I'd get too confused if I tried to expand the size/gaps in between the pieces and found myself pondering a completely different topic and ignoring the mosaic. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it's another one of those multiple sources and thoughts converging into one. I took notes of my thoughts in my phone, didn't bother to watch the second disc yet (I wouldn't want to be distracted during the humor of Legolas and Gimli, after all!) and came to the computer where family history distracted me again. But here I am now, phone at the ready and a web of ideas to lay out for you.

The thoughts started as a combining of random sources bringing to mind the role of agency - how our choices determine our destinies inasmuch as the paths we take determine our ultimate destinations. The more wisdom and care we apply when making our choices will do much to indicate where we end up. With that in the background, I found myself considering Gollum in a different way. I'd always been a bit disturbed (still am, truth be told) by Sam's blatant antagonism of Gollum and how dear, sweet, wise Sam couldn't see that Frodo's anxiousness that Gollum could be redeemed was really his own concern that he would/was falling to the evil ring's power. This pity is even more brought forward as we watch the split-personality of Smeagol begin to fight off the wicked drivings of Gollum. But then I recalled something that I don't think is well known. Most are aware, I believe, that split-personalities tends to indicate past trauma in the individual's life, but being an uncommon situation, I think many don't realize that the person consciously seeks the splitting as a way to cope. It's a choice. (At least for the initial split. I haven't thought to ask beyond that...)

As Gollum taunts Smeagol about how he will be betrayed, that 'they'll cheat you, hurt you, lie to you' finally ending with 'nobody likes you', I found myself wondering what caused the split. What was the trauma that Smeagol couldn't handle on his own? The third movie makes it clear that he was ostracized because his greed caused him to murder his friend, so to say he'd been horribly wronged doesn't really fit. But then I remembered Loki and Thor and The Avengers. Loki hadn't been wronged and yet, in his mind, his actions were perfectly justified because of how he chose to interpret events. It is also how my family chose to see me as the source of all problems even as I was in relative form a house-elf. So, returning to the 'cheating, hurting, lying', this seems the basis for Gollum's hatred and anger self-justification. Ownership of the ring and citizenship in the Shire were both his right in his mind, so to be banished from the latter because he killed for the former would twist into being cheated. Also, he'd see Bilbo's winning of the ring as a cheat. Smeagol then had a hard life in the course of the consequences of his banishment with the most recent torture at the hands of Sauron's minions seeking the ring. Hence the 'hurt you'. Finally, the one who chooses to turn to anger and hate has no patience of compassion for the frailties of others or circumstances which interfere with stated intentions. He has no inclinations to forgive any perceived slight to himself and so it all becomes 'lies'.

In the stories I know of split personalities, there is usually a weak, protected, identity, and a strong protector identity. This translates to Smeagol as the weak one and Gollum as the protector. The thing is, Gollum as protector is like an abuser/victim relationship where the weak one can't imagine life being possible without what little support, abusive though it may be, the abuser provides. And since Smeagol is by no means an innocent, this gives the Gollum identity more to use in posing for strength over Smeagol. I suppose one could go into a discussion of id, ego, super-ego and say that Smeagol was lacking in the super-ego conscience factor, but I only know a couple split-stories and neither of them follow that pattern. What it does suggest to me, however, is the nature of the bully-coward, happy to hide behind the stronger entity as an easy excuse for their actions. That like the war-criminals seeking to claim that they were only following orders.

The good news is that in Smeagol's turning to Frodo (pre-Faramir), it proves that there is hope for the good to be found even in a long-mired soul. Smeagol had many opportunities to kill Frodo but saved his life more than once. I tried to consider that it could just be he didn't think he could get away with anything with Sam there (as Sam, himself, would see it) but that fails to take into account how Smeagol also showed joy and gave the gift of food and acted on trust when Frodo called to him. The good was there if he would choose to act on it even if things got rough. Sadly, he didn't. The bully has a weak spirit and when circumstances made him hurt, Gollum was quick to return and call it a lie. Rather than accept that more was going on, even when he later had the proof of it, he chose to remain Gollum and full of hate and malice.

It has always troubled me when I come across a character who has been wounded by life and chooses to turn dark for it. I remember a multi-page journal entry after watching The Phantom of the Opera the first time being so upset that a boy abused and set free was not then nurtured into healthy patterns, but left alone to develop in as twisted a manner as his outward form. Quasimodo is proof that the story could have been different. But then, it simply proves the point of Gollum and Smeagol. We choose our attitudes, our responses, our motivations, our destinations. White Collar's Neal Caffrey doesn't need coddled to turn his life as a con-man around, he just needs the Frodo opportunity. Nor does he need to be condemned forever as would the Samwise response. He just needs the chance and to make the choice.

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been watching BBC's Merlin. Morgana (read Morgan leFay) is Merlin's nemesis and the story has to hold to that, but in this version, she starts out as friend and good person. But then she learns she has magic (an automatic death-warrant if King Uther finds out) and in her fear, she turns to hate. She becomes Gollum. At one point Merlin, himself magical, points out to his one confidant that he actually has someone to guide and help him where she, the king's ward, sees herself as having no one. And yet Merlin is the Quasimodo to prove her twisting hatred wrong. While he can't tell her his secret, he does tell her that she can choose to use her powers for good, even being in such danger. But she has no desire to listen for she has chosen how she will see things. She has chosen to look to pride and seek vengeance against a reality she doesn't like rather than considering how to work within a flawed reality for the good of all. And, ultimately, she falls because of it.

Merlin, who is good of heart and in just as much danger as Prince Arthur's servant, is constantly using his forbidden gifts to follow his conscience while repeatedly saving those who would kill him with the very powers for which they would kill him. Many project their own natures on him, accusing him of intending to use his powers/position to gain power and influence for himself, but he is not ruled by pride. He is willing to accept that sometimes things go wrong and sometimes that means the innocent suffers. Rather than lashing out in hatred, he seeks to find the best way through for all involved.

The news is full of such stories that I'm frequently reminding of 2 Timothy 3 (perilous times shall be - good old seminary scripture mastery rhymes!) and D&C 88:91.
 91 And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.
The news feed on my weather app is full of stories of people choosing to be Gollums and Morganas. But that is not the only choice. It's not often the easiest road, but there is such much more dignity in being the Merlin. And the most dignified part about Merlin is how his choices enable dignity for others as well. Let us all be Merlin.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Biggest Fears

The years just before and after my mom died were the most stressful and difficult in my life. It often got to the point where I would stay out talking after stake institute classes (one-night-a-week church study classes for college-age students - for any non-Mormon readers) for hours with anyone who would stay with me because it was the closest I could get to actually relaxing. One guy in the single's group would stay out talking with me the longest each week. I confess that I was oblivious, due to already stated stress levels, to any deeper intentions on his end. I was just grateful for an excuse not to go home where the tension needed something much more heavy-duty than a mere knife...

One night, we got talking about facing the hard things in life and he said that he believes we will all ultimately have to face our biggest fears. He supported it by listing a couple big ones he'd already lived through. He then said that having done so, he did not find many things worth fearing anymore. While there were a number of things about this guy that I could not agree with, I have often reflected on this insight of his and find it valid in my own life.

In seminary (similar week-day classes for high-school age students) we had a get-to-know you activity at the beginning of one semester. As part of it, we were to give our greatest fear. It wasn't long for me to land on what was mine and so I waited patiently, listening as the question was answered around the room. There were plenty of spiders for girls (and even a guy or two). I think someone said they were afraid of a family member dying. Dying, themselves. Public speaking. Common things that aren't surprising. When it came to be my turn, I stood and said simply, "My greatest fear is that no-one will care about me." One of my classmates had a look of horror on his face at the thought of having no-one care about him. I guess people with good family relations and friends don't think of such things.

I think of the years after that where I would go to my classes, work, church, and manage everything for home and there are periods of time, sometimes months on end, where that 'fear' was reality. I'm sure some of you are thinking, 'Of course people cared about you. You probably just didn't realize it.' I would ask you if there is no evidence of the caring, such that the person is left looking at the world and their burdens alone, how does that 'caring' = caring? Much like the idea that 'faith without works is dead', a 'feeling' stated but not acted upon makes it an empty word. Does a player (male or female) who tells everyone they date 'I love you' actually love those they say it to? Or is it just a tool of manipulation with no intrinsic value? Or if it still has a seed of value, is that seed given enough nourishment to grow to anything sustainable?

I have faced finding my mother dead. I faced financial difficulties. I have faced some pretty difficult health problems. I have faced betrayal, rejection, and scorn. And I have faced the devastating effects that decades of abuse leaves behind. I considered the parking-lot friend's words valid when he spoke them, but I have come to recognize their truth through continuing experience.

Why can I say that? I can because each time a person faces something so much bigger than them and refuses to be defeated they come to realize they were not so small to begin with. Because even when something is more than you can handle yourself, there are the few you can go to for a breather of help. You just have to be willing to look, to ask. I suppose my church membership may be seen as an advantage that others do not have, but I will tell you now - if you need help, look up the local bishop and give him a call. You don't have to be a member, you don't have to listen to missionary discussions. We are here to help anyone in need.

And in those instances where the people around you really just can't understand, consider that God does and that He's there to help you. For any atheist readers, consider that we are all part of the human race and as members in the same race, the same respect we can see applying to others we can apply to ourselves. We are worth fighting through the hard times even if it seems no one else thinks so. Think on how many have suffered such great things and pulled out the brighter and the stronger for it! Every one of us can do the same.

I have faced a lot. Some I had thought to fear and some that had not occurred to me to fear before they appeared. Ultimately, I have found that fear is not a very helpful emotion. It is a human emotion, though, and I tend to be most vulnerable to it when I am particularly stressed or tired. Despite the way my dad viewed them, emotions are not bad or the evidence of a weak person. Having survived so many things already, I have come to realize that each 'crises'  is really just the next puzzle, adventure, dilemma, challenge to overcome. It may not be easy, and it may stretch me farther than I imagined possible, but we humans are resilient creatures. And I know I can do it as I have already done so before. So really, what is there to fear?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pray for Peace, People Everywhere!

So today is a day of prayer and even fasting (by those who are medically able) as called by the new Pope Francis. I'll readily admit my understanding of Catholicism is limited. (The most my mom told me about her time in Catholic school was that they served cinnamon and sugar on the rice at lunch time - a tradition that she carried through for us...) I know small bits from some history classes and historical fictions I have read and my strongest visual images of the Vatican come from The Scarlet and The Black and Angels and Demons. (So disappointed in the end! Especially after the build-up right before!)

That really is beside the point, however, when it comes to uniting hearts in prayer around the world in a call for peace. While most religious people feel their religion has the ultimate truth, one of the best lessons I had in 10th grade World Civ was that if God is God of all and a loving God of all, then whether the child is of the 'right' religion or not, can we really think He'd only hear the sincere prayers of said 'right' religion? (Yes, it was at school, but I'm not telling you the teacher's name so you can't sue him - it was a good lesson worth teaching.)

I have always been that person who gets excited for Christmas by the time summer has hit its swing. You know the one - you all groan as soon as you hear someone's already listening to Christmas music and state quite strongly that it shouldn't be brought out until AFTER Thanksgiving, and preferably not even until December 1st. I learned at a young age that I cannot safely speak for others in a large range of topics as I tend to come from the flip side of the coin, so I won't try to here. I will say that the reason I have such a strong love for Christmas was that where my home was one of anxiety and fear and stress, the Christmas season was the constant counter to those feelings. When the world in general opens their hearts to goodness, kindness, charity, love, and peace, God is able to pour out His spirit in greater abundance and it is felt in the true Christmas spirit. Since it came from the outside, it was strong enough to counter, for those couple of months, the harder things of home.

I've long wished for those feelings of peace and hope and love and light to be there all year round and have even been confused at why that doesn't happen. I came to realize that people tend to be more preoccupied with their own lives during the rest of the year which is why it tends to only show up on the big occasions when people are united. There is great power in unity and that unity should be able to transcend the separating boundaries of different denominations.

I'm remembering the months after 9/11 when we were all still in so much shock and wondering if it would mean war, if it should mean war. I remember waiting to see what the position of the church would be and the sense of peace when President Hinckley said that while we do not recommend war, we will accept the country's call to fight if it decides to as our due diligence to the nation which is our home. Looking back, I think most of us have a sense that it might well have been better if some of the courses taken had been left alone, and I think this is why so many are uncomfortable with the thought of going into Syria with guns blazing. At the same time, there is also something of a WWII/Holocaust echo and the wondering of when it is right to step in to protect those who are being hurt. It is a sticky situation and I do not know the answer.

But I can pray for peace. I can pray that God's/Allah's/Jehovah/s spirit is with all involved insofar as they will allow it to be so that peace can be restored to that battered land. I can pray that there will be enough donations from around the world to help those who have lost everything in the conflict. I can pray that we will be more aware of our neighbors and better able to give assistance even before it comes to crisis. (This civil war has been going on for over a year-and-a-half, yet when I first mentioned it to a friend in spring of last year, she had no awareness of it.) I can pray that we can find strength and stability in our own lives and spheres such that we will be in a position to offer needed assistance. And I can pray that we will let the commercialism and politics of life be a simple side-note to the things that really matter, no matter what the time of year: Charity, patience, peace, kindness, hope, faith, healing, tolerance from all parties, unity.

Finally, I conclude with a paragraph about the writers of the Christmas song, "Do You Hear What I Hear?", from wikipedia (I tried to go to the original source, but the LATimes wanted me to pay for an account to view the archives...)
Regney was inspired to write the lyrics "Said the night wind to the little lamb, 'Do you see what I see?' " and "Pray for peace, people everywhere," after watching babies being pushed in strollers on the sidewalks of New York City.[1] Shayne stated in an interview years later that neither could personally perform the entire song at the time they wrote it because of the emotions surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis.[1] "Our little song broke us up. You must realize there was a threat of nuclear war at the time."[1]
 And the lyrics to the song:
Said the night wind to the little lamb,
Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite,
With a tail as big as a kite.
Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the night, shepherd boy,
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song, high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea,
With a voice as big as the sea. 
Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king
Do you know what I know?
A child, a child, shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
Let us bring him silver and gold. 
Said the king to the people everywhere,
Listen to what I say
Pray for peace, people everywhere,
Listen to what I say
A child, a child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Sky Above

The sky above
Is filled with stars
And space and things unknown - 
With other worlds
And other lives
And things we've never known.

Different people
With different homes
And different lives to lead - 
Other chances
Abilities too
With the same living need.

Songs we'd exchange
And stories too
If future meant we met - 
The histories
And tragedies
The ways our lives are set.

What would they say?
What could we tell?
What would we come to know -  
How life combines
All living things
To live and learn and grow.

(Junior High writings)

Monday, September 2, 2013


I think I am naturally something of a reflective person and I often consider why I respond as I do to various situations and even how that compares to the reactions of others. I'd wonder why something that had a great impact on me would leave no mark on others while things that had little meaning to me would be so disturbing someone else. I finally came to the conclusion that it comes down to the issue of resonance.

Scientifically speaking, resonance is defined by the World English Dictionary (see as:
The condition of a body or system when it is subjected to a periodic disturbance of the same frequency as the natural frequency of the body or system. At this frequency the system displays an enhanced oscillation or vibration.
In human terms, we all have a core identity complete with beliefs and motivations central to said identity. I came to realize that the things that resonate with us are the things that touch on some part of what we already hold to.

On a superficial level, consider that the reason I found Jericho, the TV series about a post-apocalyptic America, so intriguing is because it mirrors the fall of the Nephite civilization in the Book of Mormon on certain levels and also reflects parts of my personal expectations of the state of the nation in general prior to the Savior's second coming. Someone who does not anticipate (in the literal definition of expecting something will be rather than necessarily 'hoping' for it to be) the same things will not find the same resonating effect.

Or consider King Uther from the BBC Merlin (strong competition for my new favorite series). When he came to Camelot, he was witness to and champion against the extreme misuses of magic in the kingdom. His reign was built upon correcting a gross imbalance of power. Then, when his wife (this version strays on a number of points from the original Mabinogion, and even later Le'morte d'Arthur) died at childbirth from a backlash of magic, his honest distrust and natural antagonism were magnified into outright hatred and brutality. Rather than being able to recognize that not all those who practiced magic did so to the detriment of others, he could only see those who used it for wickedness and therefore condemned everyone.

I have seen it at work on many levels in my own life. For one example, my natural desire to travel, my innate wanderlust, has been augmented by experiences of the inconstancy of my particular family and certain 'friends' which emphasized in my own mind the value of moving on and leaving the negative behind. New starts and change feel like fresh air to me rather than the hated terror of change that others seem to perceive.

I can hear someone asking, "This is all very interesting, but what value does it give?" Consider the wisdom of the ages (attributed to multiple cultures and individuals) to 'Know Thyself'. The more a person can recognize the truth of who and what and why they are, the more control they have over their actions and lives. A person who has an intrinsic understanding of what makes them tick is far less vulnerable to the machinations and manipulations of others, be they man or 'demon' (for those readers of the Christian variety). It gives the person a much stronger foundation upon which to stand lending towards a greater confidence in self and life. And should an honest survey of self turn up something unpleasant, that person then has the wherewithal to make adjustments and counter the negatives found. It is a process that has helped preserve my sanity coming from an abusive home and one I recommend my readers seriously consider employing in their own lives.


Tired muscles, strength all but gone,
Yet we must all still travel on,
Mountains ahead that we must breach,
And then beyond, a goal to reach.

A goal for which our loved ones lost,
A goal for which we've paid all costs,
Dreams and goals that we won't forget,
Dreams and goals that will be met.

Handcarts rolling through mud and sand,
Obstacles all along the land,
A winding path, a beaten trail,
We must go on, we cannot fail.

Nights are colder, days are shorter,
We have yet to reach the border,
We greet each day with faith anew,
With dreams and lives to weave when through.

(Junior High writings)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pharaoh's Heart

The Pharaoh's heart was hardened -
But not by God back when
His servant, Moses came and prayed
The Hebrews be free men
To go and worship God above
Short three days journey hence -
The Pharaoh chose the tyrant's role
Despite the evidence
That God Above was speaking
And fair was the request
But wicked man will not allow
His enemy be blessed.
For thus fault is admitted:
Great fault had Egypt done
When Pharaoh's father ordered death
To each Hebrew newborn son.
And this to cover further ill
As oppressors always fear
The beaten ones might just lash back
If freedom's call they hear.
So he thought to leave them weakened,
Bloodied, docile, broken
Hoping he could make it so
Despite all God had spoken
Pharaoh did not understand
That God cannot be thwarted
So even as he sought control
His strength had been aborted.
Plea by plea ignored, revenged
Then answered in return
By God above who'll not allow
His children be left to spurn
By those who will not heed His voice
But kick against the pricks
Until even Pharaoh's son
And all firstborn fell sick.
Finally Pharaoh chose to think
The Hebrew price too steep
And paid to see them go away
Their neighbors' gems to keep.
Yet even then he saw the work
Of slaves now freed forsaken
And burned inside with anger
At the slight to the Egyptian.
Calling forth his mighty men
They raced to head the hated
All down to the water's edge
Where choice became the fated.
Moses' staff struck down 'mid cries
The water was  held off
The Hebrews fled, Pharaoh's men drowned -
The ultimate price for scoff.
Against the mighty God above
A hardened heart is given choice
To heed or scorn, to hate or hear
The chance held in His voice.
But should one take the Pharaoh's path
Beware what lies ahead
Once hardened heart is set in stone,
Eternal hope's found dead.
Do not leave God's only course
To have you home once more
Be found in soft'ning fires of trial
'Til you hear Him at the door.
Rather let your heart be soft
Be quick to hear His call
You'll find He's there to raise you up
Should Pharaoh seek your fall.

(Started March '12, finally completed today.)

An Eye for an Eye

Trials come and trials go,
People scream and then throw blows,
One cheek smitten, the other turned:
That's a lesson that still needs learned.

Violence will occur, and people will fight,
But we know what to do, and we know what's right.
'An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind',
When one cheek's smitten, please keep that in mind.

(from my junior high collection)