June 28, 2007

A Taste of the Wild - Donna Fawcett

As published June 25, 2007

He flares his nostrils, tasting the air for all signs of predator. Nothing. And yet there is something. A faint wisp of current that whispers to him. Flee. Run. Chase the wind. Tossing his head, he challenges the silent voice with his own certainty. There is nothing there. The wind picks up in a burst of hot, dry air and swirls the dust through the field before settling once more to stillness. Picking up a striped hoof, he bats at the ground impatiently.

Another toss of black and white mane sends the ear gnats and deer flies dancing into the air only to settle back to their morbid feast upon his hide. He feels little of it. Ears flicker back and forth as though in command of their own fate. All is as it should be. He is still for a moment longer and then a spasm shudders through the great collection of bone, hide and bunched muscle and he bursts forth, lifting legs high, holding his head upright as he continues to sample the close atmosphere with alert senses. With the thunder of each hoof small clouds of dust are churned to life, scattering out behind him. The pull and stretch of muscle pushes him into the bright daylight at a terrific speed and his herd members lift their grazing heads in instantaneous alarm. He flees.

Leader of the herd. Mighty stallion. The call has been sounded and they must follow. The single patter of four hooves becomes the roaring drum of hundreds and the field transforms into a flowing river of browns and blacks and whites and roans. The small puffs of dust become huge columns that obscure the fleeing charge and as the great band of horses crest the distant hill and plunge beyond its horizon silence once more comes to the still afternoon.

June 25, 2007

God Doesn't Go "Poof" - Marcia

The other night I went to see the latest box office rage, Evan Almighty. I enjoyed the first film, Bruce Almighty, produced by Tom Shadyac, so decided to try the second. The comedy had some hilarious moments - like when God suddenly appears in the back seat of the main character’s vehicle and he screams in fear. God says, “Let it out, son, it’s the beginning of all wisdom.” And there were a couple of scenes that brought God’s truth to the wide screen.

Like the scene at a restaurant, when God shows up as the waiter. He chats with the wife of the man who would be Noah, and tells her (I’m relying on my memory here, so the words may not be exact) – “If a person prayed for patience, do you think God would just go “poof” and give her patience? Or do you think God would give her the circumstances in which to develop patience? And say a person had prayed that her family would draw closer together – do you think God would just magically make that happen or would He put that family in circumstances that gave them the opportunity to be closer?” The woman sees the wisdom of his words and goes back to her husband.

I’ve been thinking about the truth in that scene, in light of my own prayer requests lately. For instance, in light of my prayers for my writing, specifically my book – It’s not likely that God will go “poof” and make it an instant overnight success. But He will create the circumstances around that work that will lead me and teach me much. It will be an opportunity to learn and grow both in terms of the world of publishing, and in terms of my relationship with Him. It’s another example of how God is often not so much concerned with the end result as with the process.

And that brings me to the difference in our perspectives and the need for me to adjust
mine. I want to see my book on the best seller’s list. God wants to see it change lives. I want to become known as a writer. God wants me to know Him more.

I’m thankful for the reminder. And I’m thankful that I know God well enough to trust Him with the process. As he said to Evan – and to me through that crazy comedy – “I’m doing it because I love you.”

June 15, 2007

June Fire - Elsie Montgomery

Even this far north, the sky is normally dark at 2:30 in the morning. A bit foggy on my way to the washroom, I do notice light at the bedroom window, brighter than normal from the streetlight across the way. Much brighter. On my way back, I look.

Northeast, on a street higher than our home, flames leap skyward, higher than any house. My heart lurches. I call out and wake my husband. I stare at it and move so he can stare. I’m dazed and begin pacing, looking for the phone, dialing 911, finding out someone already called, pacing, looking, finding the binoculars, trying to know which house? Which family? I can’t watch. I can’t not watch.

My husband prays aloud. I join him. I can’t think. Heaviness in the chest, knots in my innards. Someone’s home, maybe their life, out of control. We can see a roof, some joists. Then they are gone. Not a sound. No fire trucks. The flames are a giant torch lighting the sky.

Finally, sirens. During the next three decades of minutes they come, one, then twos. In moments, three fountains arc into the flames. But no change, at least none for another decade.

Finally, steam. A good thing, yet the flames still shoot high.

Then a new blaze to the right. Another house? No, please, no.

More steam. The licking leaping slows, then disappears, at least beneath silhouette of black roof lines that block our full view. Yet it is close enough to fuel in me that familiar panic that fire feeds.

Panic has an acid taste. It smells like cold ashes, dead yet alive, and feels coarse and sandpaper rough in my pacing. The sound is a faint wailing from the back of my heart, plowing through, pulled by wild animals, pushed by screeching demons. It rises, up from my inner parts, screams through my esophagus, but is unable to pass through the narrowing tunnel of my throat. There it rolls into a ball and lumps, blocking my air ways, strangling rational thought, beating on me as if this fire is somehow my fault, and if I cannot be convinced, the fear and the fire, in its rage, determines to destroy something of me anyway.

But it is far enough away; our house is safe. We pray again. I lay down. Faith and sleep eventually decided for me that this fire was not my doing nor will be my undoing. The flames are conquered. The firemen are there. God is everywhere. Panic can only hiss and steam.

Morning brings sunshine, a few showers. We walked 5 minutes went to see the shell, actually just the basement walls are left and some rubble. The heat seared the face off the house next door. The home across the back had vinyl siding, as in past tense.

The house above the shell had been enormous, more like a hotel, three stories on a hill, under construction for the past five years, an annoyance to those who observed it every day. As we watched the firemen still there, and the smouldering lumps, another neighbor laughed and showed us pictures he took in the night.

“Best thing that could have happened. I think we will throw a block party.”

Eyebrows raised, we went home, glad no one was home and lost in that shell, and no one was home next door.

I walked farther. The house with the rippled vinyl had a car in the driveway. I wonder now, if not before, do they believe in answered prayer?

June 11, 2007

Everyday Dirt - Pamela Mytroen

From everyday dirt

from the ground beneath his feet, Lord,
the everyday path that he treads,
the wounded clay of my trampled soul,

Scoop my fingers,
broken, bruised,
but twitching still,
as dreams do

Gather fragments of faith,
reaching, weeping,
from filth

out of dust
Sift prayers choked
yet wheezing

Cradle this sigh of stone,
his everyday dirt,
my everyday pain,
in the warmth of your Hands

Spit on it.

Stir the virus of my loss,
into the lick of your life

Culture it in your palm
until it becomes the antidote for despair,
the sweet salve of healing,
the linament for blindness

Dab it on his eyes

Smear his death with Spirit-spore
Smudge my night with mercy-mire and
Make Light.

Pam Mytroen

Hi folks. The prayer above is inspired by Jesus making mud with his spit (oh my!) and giving sight to the blind man. He delights in taking the everyday dirt and pain beneath our feet and making miracles. The miracle I await, (some days not very patiently!) is for God's sight and enlightenment for my autistic son. Pam

Hi again! I thought I should clarify that my son is high functioning autistic. He's not the stereotypical autistic that you may associate with Dustin Hoffman in "Rainman". Trevor is 13 and his problems lie in the social/communicative areas. If you would like to know more, please see my blog for an upcoming post that will have more details. Thanks!