glorious rain. somewhere, somehow, some forest, tree, plant and herb are joyously soaking up the rain, and tomorrow mud puddles may form for wild boar to roll in. and at the same time, somehow, somewhere, homeless persons could be drenched, or huddled together in a cramped shelter, unable to sleep and possibly developing a cold tomorrow. and i, i rest safely as usual on this bed, safe from the thunder and the storm, imagining a world outside that i’ve never known, falling asleep to the sound of glorious rain.
The forest breathes –
calm, lilting waves of air,
pushing through its green.
Little clusters of green;
little clusters of olive;
what are your names, O shades of green?
It rises as the wind passes through
and rests before it is taken up again.
And I, standing to watch
Share in this movement of the air
through the trees
and I take some into my body:
Calm, lilting waves of air
pushing through my chest, my lungs
filling me up and giving me
And I give back to the air what it has given to me –
a different kind of air that dissipates, dissolves into the night.
And around me,
the forest breathes.
An ancient air.
An air as new as it is ancient.
A breeze that has passed along the strands of time.
But never old.
Fresh, life-giving, never-changing;
But never old.
As I sobbed into a pillow, not knowing what else I could do as my head pummelled itself into a dull, dreary pain, and my stomach threw bouts of sea sickness, my turbulent emotions were slowly soothed by the comforting assurance of His presence.
It was such a long day. I had awoken a few times in the night to finish an assignment and was lacking proper rest. Then the rest of the day was just filled with all kinds of tasks that required both my cognitive and emotive functioning. As clouds of memories from the day filled my mind, again I cried, diffusing the bottled up energy within me. The pressure at school, the sorrows of a friend, all the demands that I simply could not meet, everything that I could not control, the flaws which imploded within me – they drained away together with my tears.
As I lay curled up on the sofa, it dawned on me that all I have needed in my life was that still, calm assurance that God was close by, the faithful friend who stood by me in all my times of darkness. I needed no toy, no animal, not even a loved one to cling to. Indeed all these things have only failed me when I needed them. If there was one thing steadier than everything combined, it was this invisible God I had come to trust. If there was anything surer to me, it was the intangible, invisible God who would come to me in my quiet moments to sit and be present with me.
All-knowing, there is no need for me to explain myself, except to say all that needs to be said – in a sigh, a word, or a phrase.
All-powerful, He releases peace like no one and nothing else can.
All-present, He enters into my pain.
I suppose all this about experiential faith is a huge debate and a cause of contention among many. But experiencing what He says of Himself has locked me in, and there is no turning back. He has given me too much, leaping out from the pages of my favourite Book, to be my real comforter, Prince of Peace, friend, counsellor. In times of trouble, I have never clung on to His mere claims of His faithfulness – I have seen it myself and my life depends on it.
Perhaps I lack proxies of God in my life. I really do. But in times like these, there is no other habit that I could be more thankful, than this grace to be able to cling to and draw from my invisible God.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
My path led me to the mouth of a thick shroud of woods
It was a dark glade of green so sinister I trembled at its sheen
As the path twisted on around the woods, I knew I had a choice
To enter into danger or walk merrily away
Instinctively I backed away from the enchantment to go about my safe way
I’d be a fool to put myself in so dangerous an endeavour
As I turned my back on the darkness, my heart implored me to stay
There is something in that jungle for you to fight and win
Inside that jungle are the hidden, unspoken things of the heart
Things no one knew and no one could ever understand
The jungle is the overgrowth of the tears you have cried
It is the garden that grew as a thousand deaths you died
It’s time to put right the things that have gone wrong
It’s time to kill the demons that have tortured your soul
It’s time to climb in to do what you must
For you will never walk in peace until you have this done
I knew within me that my heart is right
It knew its own deceit, and it wanted to be made right
Alas as I went in, I was bringing in too much –
I couldn’t climb between the thick
with the pile things I had
And so I purged my belongings of inconsequential things
What was left was the sword, the belt, the helmet
Breastplate and sandals
A torch, a bottle of living water
And a loaf of the living bread
With a quivering heart, I stepped into the thick
And although I entered the dead silence, somehow
A light filled my heart.