Category Archives: Faith

Dienstag Dictung XXI

Instruments (2)

Hold me against the dark: I am afraid.
Circle me with your arms. I am made
So tiny and my atoms so unstable
That at any moment I may explode. I am unable
To contain myself in unity. My outlines shiver
With the shock of living. I endeavor
To hold the I as one only for the cloud
Of which I am a fragment, yet to which I’m vowed
To be responsible. Its light against my face
Reveals the witness of the stars, each in its place
Singing, each compassed by the rest,
The many joined to one, the mightiest to the least.
It is so great a thing to be an infinitesimal part
of this immeasurable orchestra the music bursts the heart,
And from this tiny plosion all the fragments join:
Joy orders the disunity until the song is one.

–Madeleine L’Engle

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Dienstag Dictung XX

Song of the Waiting Dead
With us there is no gray fearing,
With us no aching for lack!
For the morn it is always nearing,
And the night is at our back.
At times a song will fall dumb,
A thought-bell burst in a sigh,
But no one says, “He will not come!”
She says, “He is almost nigh!” 
The thing you call a sorrow
Is our delight on its way:
We know that the coming morrow
Comes on the wheels of to-day!
Our Past is a child asleep;
Delay is ripening the kiss;
The rising tear we will not weep
Until it flow for bliss.
— George MacDonald

Dienstag Dictung XIX

You know you’ve done enough when every bone is sore
You know you’ve prayed enough when you don’t ask any more
You know you’re coming to some kind of understanding
When every dream you’ve dreamed has passed and you’re still standing
Mama says God tends to every little skinny sheep
So count your ribs and say your prayers and get to sleep
Nothing is louder to God’s ears than a poor mans sorrow
Daddy is poor today and he will be poor tomorrow

Hey that’s the poor man’s house
Everybody get a look at the poor man’s house
Everywhere they went before must have turned them out
And now they’re living in a poor man’s house

There’s nothing like poverty to get you into heaven
They got a lot of wine and fish up there and the bread’s unleavened
They got a lot of ears that heard a whip go crack
Lots of missing toes and fingers and scars upon their backs
Daddy’s been working too much for days and days he doesn’t eat
He never says much but I think this time it’s got him beat
It isn’t that he isn’t strong or kind or clever
Your daddy’s poor today and he will be poor forever

Hey that’s the poor man’s house
Those kids are living in a poor man’s house
They walk to school with the soles of their shoes worn out
And come home in the evening to the poor man’s house

What are you chopping that wood for
Why are you growing that corn
Mama’s sewing a brand new shirt and
You’re wearing the one that’s torn
I guess it’s for some one else’s kid who wasn’t born
In a poor man’s house

Hey take a look at that house
Everybody we’re living in a poor man’s house
Seems like everywhere we go they find us out
Find out that we’ve been living in a poor man’s house

— Patty Griffin

Dienstag Dictung XV

dying is fine)but Death

dying is fine)but Death

?o
baby
i

wouldn’t like

Death if Death
were
good:for

when(instead of stopping to think)you

begin to feel of it,dying
‘s miraculous
why?be

cause dying is

perfectly natural;perfectly
putting
it mildly lively(but

Death

is strictly
scientific
& artificial &

evil and legal)

we thank thee
god
almighty for dying
(forgive us,o life!the sin of Death

–e.e.cummings

Dienstag Dictung XIV

Llama de Amor Viva

     ¡Oh llama de amor viva
que tiernamente hieres
de mi alma en el más profundo centro!
Pues ya no eres esquiva
acaba ya si quieres,

¡rompe la tela de este dulce encuentro!
     ¡Oh cauterio süave!
¡Oh regalada llaga!
¡Oh mano blanda! ¡Oh toque delicado
que a vida eterna sabe
y toda deuda paga!
Matando, muerte en vida has trocado.
     ¡Oh lámparas de fuego
en cuyos resplandores
las profundas cavernas del sentido,
que estaba oscuro y ciego,
con estraños primores
color y luz dan junto a su querido!
     ¡Cuán manso y amoroso
recuerdas en mi seno
donde secretamente solo moras,
y en tu aspirar sabroso
de bien y gloria lleno,
cuán delicadamente me enamoras!
–San Juan de la Cruz

Operation Spokane; Post 4: What Won’t Kill You…

What won’t kill you will…

1) Get you through Oregon without a ticket.

2) Teach you the appreciation for the little things in life.

3) Earn you two weeks of bed rest.

4) Get you to take a good nap.

We’re here in Spokane. The internet guy came yesterday along with the AFB truck full of our belongings. The weather is beautiful; brisk in the shade, tingling hot in the sun, breeze brushing the overgrowth against the windows. A steady flow of traffic grumbles down 29th street, big trucks, Subarus, every now and then a caravan of Kindergarteners in swim gear parading down the street to the public pool, following some adults like wide-eyed ducklings.

1) The drive to Spokane was long. And quite boring. Jess rode with Numi in the CRV while I followed in the Tacoma, packed to the gills with the remainder of our things from Roseville. Not much to report aside from the bleak, wooded wilderness of central Oregon, our first camp-over at a KOA above Redmond (they had internet and DVD rentals!), some glances at my Russian grammar book (Где водка?), and that quiet commute/prayer/listening meditation I’ve come to love. Some 800 miles later we get to 106 E. 29th Ave, Spokane, Washington 99203.

2) Then the real challenge began. The house is a craftsman, which means full of fun architectural quirks… and that it’s a partial dump: floors haven’t been cleaned since the Depression and the spider monopoly on ceiling property is egregious. Still, Kath and Terry have taught us the fine skill of working crazy hard and so we set to scrubbing, washing, spraying, weeding, hacking, painting, and vacuuming. We sleep on the floor on our camping gear, eat our Pizza Rita’s pizza on the floor, watch Independence Day with Spanish subtitles for the third time from the comfort of the floor, and then realize that the floor is not all that comfortable. Who knew? Now that our furniture is pouring in we tearfully praise our Maker for the beauty of the chair, the table, and above all the Ikea bed. It’s the little things.

3) As if new town, no furniture, and dirty house weren’t enough the first day proved to be testing in such an unexpected way. There we are, one hour after our arrival, scouring the kitchen (the previous owner must have enjoyed his spaghetti) when we hear a terrible barking coming from our neighbors. Yes, Numi had escaped our small back yard and gone on a little adventure, skewering himself on a curved metal stake through the arm. Blood. Neighbor Jean calling 911. Tears (mine). Finally pulling the shepherd’s-crook-shaped pole off his bone and out from under his torn skin (think half eaten chicken leg, people). Animal hospital. More tears (still mine). Medical bill (damn!). And now a steady diet of bed rest and T-shirts to discourage licking.

I am astounded that Numi let me approach him when he was writhing in such pain. Even more so that he let me grab him. He just sat there and panted when I came. It’s a mysterious thing, this thin line of trust between humans and animals. Wonderful to see a glimmer of Edenic communion.

4) And here we are. The bedroom is our haven of sanity, painted a beautiful blue, our bed a bastion of elegance amid the strife. It’s completely appropriate that today is the third anniversary of Jessica and my wedding. Look where we’ve come. What we could not have imagined.

*  *  *

                     If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.

Dienstag Dictung XIII

Through Storm

Love cannot always ride a pleasant sea,
     Lulled by soft breezes o’er caressing blue;
     Life’s frigate, packed with eager thoughts for crew,
Wherein affianced souls sail gloriously
On time’s wide ocean toward their desting,
     Shuns not the tempest, though its wrath may strew
     Drear shores with wreckage of the fair and true,
Or whelm all longings in eternity:

But God, I thank thee for the might of storm
     To toss and buffet love and test its power,
That when the splendid sun’s refulgent form
     Bursts through the sullen clouds that darkly lower,
The evanescent arch of light will shine,–
Token of everlasting love divine.

–Charles Keeler