ancient oaks arch,
call to worship
cathedral of green grace
Photograph by Maddie Parker, August 17, Reno, NV
all day, leaves chatter,
wave in bright sunlight
by night they fade and whisper
Maddie’s photograph helped me think about the way we look at things, and the choices we have about the way we see and remember.. C. S. Lewis wrote in The Magician’s nephew “What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
“I had been told how the old-time weavers, all the while they were making their beautiful and intricate patterns, saw no more than the backs of their shawls. Nothing was visible to them but a tangle of colored threads. They never saw the design they were creating until they took the finished fabric from their looms.
The parallel to the mortal lot is plain. Human experience appears to us – as the shawls did to the weavers – to be no more than incomprehensible tangles of colored threads, whereas in fact life represents the ordered threads in a great design – the design being woven daily on the loom of eternity.”
Source: Ernest Gordon, Miracle on the River Kwai
Three years ago, I posted thoughts about thresholds. I did not know in early January 2015 that before the year ended we would be getting ready to sell that home and move to share a home with our youngest son and his wife and daughter. And none of us knew then that a baby boy would soon join us in our new home. That post can be viewed in the link at the bottom of this page.
We have been in our new home for a year and a half now. I photographed doorways in this house. When I compared them to the post in 2015, I smiled (OK, a tear as well) because of the similarities. Our favorite art hangs on new walls. Our family photos grace a new spot, with a new family member included. I realized that I can say the same words with confidence today, Epiphany, January 6, 2018. .
The day of Epiphany is the 12th day of Christmas, a day for remembering the visit of the Magi to the home of Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus. This was a time of discovery, a time of finding what they had been seeking. Although we are not told how they lived out their discovery, only that they returned by a different way, I like to believe that part of that “different” way was not only to avoid Herod, but because they were beginning a new journey of change. They had come to, and crossed a threshold.
As I enter the new year, I, too, am crossing a threshold. I am moving from one place in my life to another. I do not always know where my steps take me, but I can trust that light will be given me for the way.
Blessing the Threshold
has been waiting for you
for a long time.
While you have been
making your way here
this blessing has been
biding its time
This blessing has been
polishing the door
oiling the hinges
sweeping the steps
in the windows.
This blessing has been
setting the table
as it hums a tune
from an old song
a spiraling road
All this time
it has kept an eye
on the horizon,
hardly aware of how
it was leaning itself
in your direction.
And now that
you are here
can hardly believe
its good fortune
that you have finally arrived,
that it can drop everything
to fling its arms wide
to you, crying
– Jan Richardson
Jan L. Richardson is an artist, writer, and ordained minister in the United Methodist Church.
Link to January 6, 2015 post:
Recently I found this large bald cypress bathed in morning sunlight. Every ferny leaf seemed to glow. I wanted to capture that luminous image before the light changed. It is a birthday week for me so I have spent time considering what I have learned in these 77 years and ways I want to spend the time ahead.
I am grateful for light and the ways it touches and changes. I thank God each morning for the new light another day brings. I am grateful for being able to see this, grateful for grace to know that as light changes, new ways of finding and seeing it will remain.
“Defend me against the chances and changes of this life, not that I may escape them but that I may meet them with firm resolve; not that I may be saved from them but that I may come unscathed through them.
Defend me from discouragement in difficulty and from despair in failure, from pride in success, and from forgetting you in the day of prosperity.
Help me to remember that there is no time when you will fail me and no moment when I do not need you.
Grant me this desire: that guided by your light and defended by your grace, I may come in safety and bring honor to my journey’s end…” ~ Norman Shawchuck
I did not take this photograph; I do not know where it was taken. It found me. I kept returning to it to think of its story. How many hymns were sung by the faithful in this country chapel? How many wedding vows repeated as families began? How does the color of the glass glow when lit from inside at twilight?
I am grateful for those stories, the message of endurance told by weathered wood and stained glass.
Globe Amaranth, Gomphrena
This flower is small but you almost never see just one or two plants. They have visual impact because they are usually seen massed together in a flower bed. That could be because there are so many seeds in a bloom not much bigger than the end of my thumb. Every petal becomes a seed. I once had Joe stop by a road for me to collect a couple of flower heads because that particular patch was a variety called Strawberry Fields – bright red pom poms waving in the sun.
It may be a stretch, but as I held this flower my granddaughter picked, an odd comparison floated up in my mind. I recently read in a morning quiet time the phrase “sturdy faith.” The words stuck and I have frequently considered what it means to have that quality, so necessary in a world of confusion and uncertainty.
Thrives in heat and does not need pampering.
Blooms nearly nonstop
Good for cutting and drying to share in many ways.
Attracts butterflies, adding to our garden’s beauty.
Harvesting promotes flower production.
this hurricane is the worst ever they say
Nora calls the rising water “the ocean”
forever my picture of the storm
will be my son taking his daughter’s hand
as they hold umbrellas high
facing this together
Hurricane Harvey made landfall late on August 26, 2017, spinning and spewing and stopping over Houston and surrounding areas, including our home in Fort Bend County. Four days later, we have clear skies and sunshine for the first time. Our home is dry inside although thousands of homes are not and many thousands of people are displaced, rescued, evacuated. Businesses and hospitals are closed. Many roads are impassable. And here in our community, the Brazos river is flooding to crest 2 feet beyond its record. In the days to come, there will be more massive flooding. There is peace in this storm. There is this picture of tender love and protection. There is togetherness.
This print of an original artwork by David Arms hangs in the dining room of our home. It is rich with symbolism, as is all of David’s art. On this Saturday that is called silent because Christ has been crucified but not yet risen, I stand and consider the meaning portrayed by the artist and more importantly, the meaning and mystery of all that Christians celebrate in their remembering during Lent, the week called Holy, and this time when we wait in vigil and anticipation of Resurrection. I am Eastering. Each year that passes (now 76 for me) I am more aware of all that I do not know yet all that I know that I have been given. The name of this painting is The Last Supper.*
*This is the story of the Last Supper portrayed symbolically. The sparrow is the most common and lowly of man. The blackbird represents sin. The nest with the three eggs (home in heaven with the trinity) is where this scene is leading. The floating table meaning God is in control. And most importantly, the white dove is Jesus.