More Than Fine


TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real !   Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o’erhead !

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

The Psalm of Life – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

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Sometimes we need a reboot. There are situations and circumstances that bring us down. People will disappoint us. We will fail. In life, we have to know there will be good with the bad. It’s all wrapped up together in the package called LIFE. As we adjust ourselves, recuperate, and pick up the pieces, we learn, improve our understanding, and grow. As many people have experienced first-hand in the last few years, financial troubles can lead to desperation, despair, and giving up on dreams once held dear. It’s not that we can’t undergo trials without falling completely to pieces. There are times, however, when the road we attempt to take on the way to our dreams actually leads us nowhere. We actually need these detours to lead us to the places we need to go in order to be ready for the grand dreams we all hold in our hearts.

Maybe you’ve forgotten your dreams, or laid them down due to outside pressure or difficulty. Perhaps you’ve come to the conclusion that real life has no place for your dreams, or maybe even gotten the mistaken idea that the magical fantasy land of your dreams holds no place for you! I need to let you know right now that as long as there is life, there is also hope.

You are not finished. You are not defeated. Every moment is another chance, another choice. Don’t give up. You can do this!

“Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?— and treat your servants with kindness for a change. Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we’ll skip and dance all the day long. Make up for the bad times with some good times; we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime. Let your servants see what you’re best at— the ways you rule and bless your children. And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!”

Psalm 90:11-13 (The Message)

The Dawn of Hope


Hope being born reflects on someone’s countenance. They are alight, aglow, they have a look of fulsome expectation. Hope is like a child, tiny and hidden, growing safely within its mother’s womb. The mother feels it growing, knows when it kicks, feels the little jumps and tumbles, sees the changes in her body. There is a joy that settles on her that makes her radiant. New life is on its way. Dreams to dream, plans to plan, so much to do before the special arrival. Such a special guest deserves for life to be turned on its end and redone completely. Even the grout around the tub has to be “just so”. Hope lives in the womb of the heart. Sometimes the ache of happiness is so great it makes the tears come, the appetite fail. It’s very much like being madly in love.

For long stretches we wait, and toil, our dreams held captive in our barren daily lives and rituals. We feel like something has died inside of us. Our hope withers, our cheeks no longer bloom. The one day, there is an inkling, a hint, a chance that maybe, possibly, our life will change, our dreams can be realized at last. There is a tiny flame that ignites inside of us, a twinkle, like a smile being born for the first time after much sorrow.

I have known this feeling a precious number of times in my life. Each of my children were like this for me. My husband coming into my life after years of struggling as a single mom was very much the same kind of hope. Love in bloom is a wonder to behold. It makes us young again, gives wings to our hearts and heels, and sets our minds reeling. Hope in bloom is a wonder of a similar kind. We can dare to dream, outrageously, ostentatiously, and sometimes obnoxiously. As anyone who has has the experience of being around two sweethearts during their courtship will testify, it can be frankly noisome for those who aren’t included in the mad, infatuating rush.

Thankfully, the kind of hope I’m talking about is open to anyone with breath in their body. God has giddy plans for each one of us. He knows the number of hairs on our heads,  the unique personality, the songs our hearts sing. Even when the blaring, glaring life with its thorns and razors and cuffs around the ears have all but silenced our hearts’ song, He knows it by heart and is singing it to us all the while. Everyday of our lives, He sings over us this song born in His heart and planted in ours.

This song speaks of Salvation, certainly; but it also speaks of a Lover taking the hands of His bride to lead her to the dance floor. He sings all day long, in the caress of rain on the windowpane and down our cheeks, if we venture out. His notes can be seen in the flock of birds that rise before us as we walk along, and heard in the sigh of the sunset as the sky blushes over us in the evening. Tiny discrete bouquets of flowers around a bend in the road, carpets of riotous color across entire hillsides, shape-shifting clouds that flirt with our imaginations as they fly overhead, the roar of waterfalls, the chitter of birds; all of these are merely notes in His unending love song. From the day we are born until the day we breathe our last, the notes reverberate; and He waits.

I always imagined that Heaven was like an immense choir, orchestra, and band all combined. Everyone there has a specific, individual part, and it all worked in harmony. Finally, here we get the chance to sing His song back to Him, and the words are the stories of our lives and the great and amazing things He has done in us and through us and to us and for us. He loves us all, yes, but He loves EACH one of us, separately and completely. He waits for us because of this mad exuberant love He has for each and every one of us. He longs for us to join the dance.

So the question I have for you today is this: What is the song of your heart? Can you even remember its notes? Do you recall its rhythm? Does your body sway softly, now and then, when you hear the notes playing faintly? What sets you on fire because you know, without a doubt, that this song is yours and your alone? He is waiting for you to join in His dance. How long will you make Him wait?

My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves  is heard in our land.The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. Song of Songs 2:10-14