Tag Archives: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

LIGHTS OUT #2

“The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary…”

It has been one of those winters. Cold – dark – dreary – and – sigh upon sigh – rain, rain and more rain. As I pulled a candle out of the window tonight, I looked out into the darkness. There are only two candles left and on Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Pancake Day, I will pack that last Light of Advent away until late Fall of 2019.

How time flies.

“My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast…”

Yesterday was a beautiful Spring-like day. I dug in the soil. Got my hands dirty. Moved a couple big rocks and pulled a muscle (which – btw – still hurts – hence the whining). Laughed with my Grands as they tried to follow the birds fighting over their place at the feeders. Picked at the flower beds a little here – a little there. And tonight? Not a star in sight. Even the neighbor’s security lights were dimmed in the heaviness of heaven’s tears. And…I sighed again as I turned off the candle’s light.

Just then – as I was beginning to write – that memorable line popped into my head…”Into each life some rain must fall…”

“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.”~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Rainy Day

I remember memorizing this poem in grade school. We memorized many poems back in the day. Have no idea why or what teachers required them; I just know we did it. Often the lines of those poems will pop up in my head. I never seem to remember the whole, but I remember in part. Luckily, we have search engines, and I don’t have to dig through a pile of books trying to find an obscure line in a poem that I might or might not have on my dusty shelves.

We also read Bible stories, memorized Bible verses, sang hymns/carols and prayed. These tend to be a little more in-focus, but it seems I can never – ever remember the book or the chapter or the number of those verses. (Is that whining again?)  I remember in part but never the whole.

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.”~Ps 103:8

Not sure where this going.I started out with one idea in my head, and now, here I am walking in faith with my words. I’ll blame it on this amazing teacher/preacher, Jason Brown, former NFL player turned farmer, who spoke at our church today. I may have extinguished another candle in my home, but Mr. Brown’s sermon is still lighting up my soul with thoughts about faith and how we need to walk through this life with faith. I love it when the Holy Spirit moves me to think and re-think understandings of His WORD.

Better than candles in the window. Better than a man-made light on a rainy night. I have the Living Light of His WORD for this new Lenten season. I needed this reminder today. Come to think of it – I need it everyday. I needed it everyday while I was growing up. I needed it everyday when I was in open rebellion of His WORD. I need it everyday now. When the pain of an aging body gets me down; when I let that ever youthful rebellion surface; when the whining turns into a sarcastic pout, or when I just plain don’t walk in the confidence of faithfulness to His WORD.

“And Yeshua spoke again with them and he said: “I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Light of the world. Whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall find the Light of ife.”~Jn 8:12 (Aramaic translation)

Abba is “Behind the clouds…the sun still shining.” Waiting for us to look up. Waiting for us to get tired of the rain – of the darkness – and look behind the clouds where the Son is still shining. Shining bright enough for us to see the next step. Shining bright enough to dry our tears. Shining bright enough to shed Grace over our heavy hearts and grant us peace.

It is the season to reflect. A season of to wonder – to ponder. A season to choose Light over darkness once again. A season to “…go and sin no more.”

“Then Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Now go and sin no more.”~Jn 8:10-11 Forgiven [Greg Olsen artwork]

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #90

I am not thankful that I am only 10 days away from finishing my 1942 Ration booklet. I’ve pushed myself for 90 days to be consistent in my devotions and writing – which for a retired, I-want-to-play-all-the-time-with-my-Grands, free-spirited Gemini is not my normal way. However, every day I find myself looking forward to the quiet typing of the new days’ Ration – the rhythm of the old King James language whispering in my ears as they find shape on the computer screen – and the inner blessing that once again blossoms through the Spirit and through my fingers.

‘It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’
I don’t like watching add-filled TV or listening to the radio these days – my mind has been filled to the brim with worldly things and the hunger for things beyond my ken. A breath of angel’s wings in my face. An expectation – of – something. A holding-the-breath-second before the note sounds clear and strong in my voice and rings forth.
“And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Christmas songs came out early this year. Much more peaceful. Such a reminder. A crutch to get me through the next few days – months – years. Our country has been through tough times before. Our history-biographies-journals are full of stories where the people struggled. I just never truly understood how faith and wisdom can grow exponentially when we are out of our comfort zone.
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”~H.W. Longfellow, Dec 25, 1864, ‘I Heard the Bells’
H.W. Longfellow’s poetry always touches a spot in me that reverberates – even long before I understood rhyme, meter and thematic devices. He suffered – the loss of a wife – a son severely wounded in war – he questioned – he wondered. He lived in a country that was also wounded and suffering and wondering . He lifted his head and waited. That expectation of something beyond himself. That breath that was not his own – carrying him until he could stand again.
That Breath of Life which carries us all beyond our comfort zone – until we can stand in the Light of righteousness once again. And for that – I am – oh – so very thankful.
1942 Daily Ration: “His disciples prayed him, saying, ‘Master, eat.’ But he said unto them, ‘I have meat to eat that ye know not of.” Therefore said the disciples one to another, ‘Hath any man brought him aught to eat?’ Jesus saith unto them, ‘My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true. One soweth, and another reapeth,. I sent you to reap that and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour; other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.’~John 4:31-38

“You say that you tried reading the Bible and ran into so many difficulties that you gave it up. I do not wonder at that. The Bible is a library rather than a book. It is more than a thousand years of a people’s seeking after God, compressed into more than one thousand close-printed pages. The Bible is a long road indeed to travel, but the first steps are not taken on page 1. The first steps begin with knowing Christ, and for that we go to the Gospels. They are not like fiction which you rush through to learn the outcome- – -and then forget. They are eyewitness accounts of the Life which caused the witnesses to become followers.” [google images]