Sunday, July 25, 2010


I probably should have phoned in sick and dropped my drowsy head back onto my pillow. But I didn’t. I crawled out of bed, made myself look alive and drove to the restaurant. It was a busy Saturday. I hurried around coffeeing cups and seating people. A long line of costumers were adding up at the counter, so I ran to the register and turned to the first customer
“How was everything?”
“Do you really want to know?” he threatened.
I knew I didn‘t. but I couldn’t think of a proper stall. So I reluctantly answered,
He leaned over the counter and snarled,
“Well, my wife wanted to do a simple substitution and the waitress wouldn’t let her. Then the waitress got my order wrong. And she didn’t even come back to fill our water glasses even once.”
Usually I let it roll off my back. But just then my emotional stamina was thinner than tissue paper. My mind felt thick and heavy like mud. I was exhausted. I ached. At his words, my heart just sank and shriveled. I didn’t have the energy to respond, so I mumbled something about being sorry and it’s busy this morning. And he turned away muttering something about leaving reviews on internet sights.

Feeling like a fly zinged by an electric zapper, I cautiously glanced up into the eyes of the next customer. Before I could even open my mouth, he blurted out:
“Everything was fine!”
Something revived. I counted out his change and from the very bottom of my heart replied, “Thank you!”
And the next customer stepped up and answered, grinning:
“It was perfect.”

A well written antidote should stand on it’s own feet, unhampered by a sappy moral at the end. But if I were going to add anything, I’d merely comment on how nice it is when a whole line of open-eyed people see beyond the job someone is working and recognize a real person. And I’d probably remark on what a happy difference observant people can make in an ordinary somebody’s day.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


What could I,
But press my palm against my trembling lip?
And clench my tongue between my teeth lest slip
Accusing words, and angry whys
Hiccupped between hot tears.

Why beat a brick
Wall, as if my fist could break it?
Back of my tears I could not shake
Knowledge of a gentle Builder,
Who lays harsh stones with
Careful mercy.

If not beat,
Then yield, thought I. Let another
Reap from my sorrow. Let some boon
Seep from my tears - what though
The gain be His who pressed, not mine
Who bore?

Though tears,
My heart ached still to live and longed
To give to Him. To Him who had begun
All that was receding from my grasping. And I cried,
“Then break me!
Only let your glory shine through my breaking!
The fruit that swells and blushes on the bush
Watered by my tears; the years spent bent
Above the whistling flame; the first-fruits of my pain
Are Yours.”

So said I.
And struggle done, and thinking the gain from each
Pin-poke of my pain His, I turned to live a hundred
Long tomorrows. I didn’t know that I had wrestled out
My peace. While weeping, hot tears had cleansed. Pressed beneath
His thumb, I could not wriggle from His gaze. Prayer, wrung
From my reluctant soul, wove a ladder to the face of
God Himself.

His, perhaps, the glory-harvest.
But through spring’s slow season, no fruit shows. Yet
My soul breathes in fragrance oozing from sweet,
Fresh-burst blossom. My eyes drink the pink and white
Sight of bloom.
My peace has sprung.

Friday, May 21, 2010


“Shall I say this morning, yet again, The prayer I prayed through last night’s falling rain?
The first ‘I love You so’
-said some hundred million words ago-
Said again, silent and slow,
Because You already know.
I wonder if, dim and dull from use, You tire of hearing
the chant - predictable; a plod
Of well-worn boots that beat the clod
Of well-worn, time-worn paths.”


I walked at sun’s rising: another clear, fair dawn.
And heard again the sweet, the familiar,
The ruddy-breasted robin call
To a bird in birches, white and tall,
Clean in the young summer sun.
A bold, warm, climbing sun,
Dazzling the dew drops, each one
A diamond. And grass, green and bright
Catching soft, yellow light.

I walked a midnight-path, the hundredth time,
Bewitched by the moon-trance,
Gaze at the star dance,
Brushed by a cool, dry breeze
That rustled through trees
Which cast dark lines
Across the grey ground.
And like each midnight, every hundred misted-midnights that I’d walked before,
I sighed. Delighted.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Why the center?
Why the very core?
Where all the fibers of my being thread to a crossing;
Where hopes meet joys, meet abilities, meet heart.
Where I set my soul’s finger when pointing to very me -
Why strike there?

Why strike there,
Yet still so gently?
Not a gushing wound or stab of knife,
But a pluck of pain, an ache, a tear drop, a sigh.
Constant, no flee from, no fly from, no dream away.
A steady sorrow.

Could, could it be
You go beyond?
Beyond my satisfaction, my sanctifying, beyond my soul?
Could it be that mirrored off me, my tears, Your glory glows brighter?
Your glory?

Why? Why glory
Through broken pieces?
Does not an artist make a new, a noble, a whole, a bright?
Does not a maker create, combine, protect, let live?
Then why do You tear down?

Through broke down wall,
Of stacked stone,
Sun streams, bright beams, bright gleams, and warmth.
Does Your Light shine through my brokenness clearer than me whole?
Then break me.

But only if in breaking,
You keep.
Not like flame quenched, shattered glass, discarded toy.
But like pink bud burst from pruned branches,
Or sun shone sweeter through cut-glass window.
Let Your glory shine
Through my breaking.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Pitter-patter, gloomy-grey,
Wiling-wind, wet-dreary day,
But why, my Heart, why the dismay?

Wind-tug tree-twigs tumble toss
Scatter leaves the road across,
But Heart, why pressed at so light loss?

Worry, wonder-wishing-why,
Weakens soul with sagging sigh,
Be strong, my Heart, make no reply.

World washed clear by winter rain
Springs up fresh-green grass again.
So faith unfolds in flinch of pain.

Earth and Heaven yield rich boon:
Plod white path plum-blossom strewn;
Hold silent-sleeping, silk cocoon;
Finger sea-shell, wave-whipped-hewn;
Trace bright silver ring ‘round moon;
Warm summer sun, my Heart, dawns soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Have you seen the mirth of the raucous surf pounding out a salty sting?
Or glimpsed the sight of the pelican flight on the air in graceful wing?
Have you heard the breeze on a seagull tease it’s call to a faint, wisp string?
Or the wind as it bends the brown sea-grass ends, to a murmuring, gentle sing?