Once Upon a Life…

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C.S. Lewis

I have always loved pretend stories. Fairy tales, tall tales, folklore, mythology, fables; they have enchanted me since I was little. As I have aged, like many others who share this love of fairy stories, I have seen grains of truth and life lessons inside these tales. Many, like Aesop’s Fables, have morals and lessons woven into their fabric. Other tales are presumably told for the love of storytelling. As we go through life, however, we learn that every story has a moral. Sometimes we see actions to emulate; and other times we might witness perils to avoid.

Our own lives are filled at times with goblins, enchanted forests, vile sorcerers, shining heroes, and the rest. What we can take away from this is that, unlike a pre-written tale where the actors have no say about its many twists and turns, our stories are peopled with those we happen upon as well as those we choose. Our actions have much to do with our ultimate conclusion, so much more than our initial story’s setting. We can all be working toward our “happily everafter”. The farther you have to go to reach this end, the greater the accomplishment, the more inspiring and harrowing your life’s tale will be. Who wants to read a story that goes from “once upon a time” to “happily everafter” with nothing in between or after? (Happily everafter takes some work.)

Many of the most popular stories have a great opening.  “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.” – C.S. Lewis, The Hobbit.   “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” – John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath  “Call me Ishmael.” – Herman Melville, Moby Dick. The very best tales, however, have a good ending.

Does not wisdom call out?

Does not understanding raise her voice?

At the highest point along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
beside the gate leading into the city,
at the entrance, she cries aloud:
To you, O people, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.
You who are simple, gain prudence;
you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.
Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.
My mouth speaks what is true,
for my lips detest wickedness.
All the words of my mouth are just;
none of them is crooked or perverse.
To the discerning all of them are right;
they are upright to those who have found knowledge.
Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.”  Proverbs 8:1-11



New Every Morning

“That is one good thing about this world. . .there are always sure to be more springs.”

Lucy Maud Montgomery (Canadian writer of Anne of Green Gables 1874-1942)

Just like in the song, there is a time for everything. If you have come to some sort of an acceptance that bad things will, most assuredly, come your way, you need to ALSO realize that good things will also, eventually come your way. Another way to look at it is this: there is always a dawn after a long, dark night, and after every winter comes a spring.

I don’t know what you may be going through, but we all share times of hardship and times of celebration while we walk on this earth. Keep in mind that even though things may seem like it, hard times will not last forever. There is nothing more valuable that I can share with you today. Even I have my struggles. 🙂

“I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.” ~ Lamentations 3:19-26 

My Favorite Things

Poetry is a projection across silence of cadences arranged to break that silence with definite intentions of echoes, syllables, wave lengths.

Poetry is a journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly the air.

Poetry is a series of explanations of life, fading off into horizons too swift for explanations.

Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at barriers of the unknown and the unknowable.

Poetry is a theorem of a yellow-silk handkerchief knotted with riddles, sealed in a balloon tied to the tail of a kite flying in a white wind against a blue sky in spring.

Poetry is the silence and speech between a wet struggling root of a flower and a sunlit blossom of that flower.

Poetry is the harnessing of the paradox of earth cradling life and then entombing it.

Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.

Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.

Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during a moment.

(Ten Definitions of Poetry) Carl Sandburg

Most of my favorite things have to do with people. For example, the poem above reminds me of a teacher/friend I had when I was 16. She took me on a day trip on horseback and we had poetry and tea and a memory that will last a lifetime. Now, I know next to nothing about horses. I’m not sure where they keep their withers or their pastern or much else except that you have to remember to clean out their hooves. I do love to see movie scenes where horses run, like Hidalgo or The Man From Snowy River. I don’t have to understand them to appreciate their beauty or the fact that even today they are incredibly valuable and useful animals all over the world. Sometimes we love things without being able to explain why.

I love going to the river to swim and taking along a picnic, preferably in a nice big ice chest. I love camping and going to camp. I love music festivals and county fairs. I love to dig my feet into the sand at the beach, dry or wet. I love yogurt and granola. I love Willow Ware china. I love making people laugh until milk shoots out their noses. I love to listen to birds chirping outside. I love the narrative voices of James Earl Jones, Charleton Heston, and Burt Lancaster. I love pretty much anything Jim Henson, pretty much.

Storytellers have always been special to me, like the school librarian, Mrs. Schramel, when I was in second grade. She read Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and the Peanut Butter Sandwich and many many others to my class. I credit her a great deal for my continued love of books and literature, especially children’s literature. Adult fantasy is so often cruel, tawdry, and scandalous instead of fun, inspiring, and heart-warming. I have enough ick in my real life and past. I don’t need it in my entertainment, thank you.

Recently, I was also reminded of my longtime love of the Anne of Green Gables movies and books. (I even found the soundtrack on YouTube.) All of these things that I enjoy so much are connected in some way with people that have been or are in my life. Of course you can’t always carry all these things around with you like a junk man with an overflowing cart. Things can serve to remind us, but they cannot be an end in themselves.

I think maybe the people featured on the show Hoarders are just getting it backwards. They long to have the memories, but think that they must hold on to all the things as well. Our minds can hold many more relationships and memories than our houses can hold things. What do we want with so many things anyway? That is a lot to take care of all the time! Is it not so much easier to hold onto the people in our lives, and carry them with us in our hearts, where they will never grow old or die? Hoard your memories, my friends, but never your things. There are always more than enough good reasons to give them away.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew  6 : 19-21

Making Peace With Frankenstein

“Oh! no mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch. I had gazed on him while unfinished; he was ugly then; but when those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived.” Mary Shelly, Frankenstein

Frankenstein is a character that is familiar to many of us, even if we have not actually read the original story (it’s in my to-read list on my Nook) ; and we have come to recognize the many variations this creature has taken over the years. We see the stitched forehead, the bolts in the sides of the neck, the stiff posture, and we immediately recognize who is being portrayed. Many things have been written and filmed about this creature. Sometimes, Frankenstein is misunderstood, sometimes feared. Oftentimes, Frankenstein is hunted with the goal to destroy this aberration, this perversion of nature.

For the many people who have seen this as a sad story, the reactions are different; compassion, regret, sorrow, and pity may move us to wish the story ended differently for the creature, and he had been given another chance, or a different beginning. Perhaps, we feel sympathy, because we see a little bit of this creature in ourselves. After all, we have an innate ability to goof things up; and in all likelihood, life has encouraged the tendency in us to be less than wonderful. We lost our temper that one time…We let an opportunity pass us by…We let that person slip out of our lives…We messed up…We got it wrong…We failed.

BUT!! It doesn’t have to be the end of the world! We are ALL that we are, but we are ONLY what we are. We have the potential to be amazing OR disappointing. Human beings have to accept the good and the bad, because that’s what it is. The amazing thing is that we don’t have to go it alone and stump along incomplete for the rest of our lives. We can be restored to wholeness and soundness. There is Someone who stands with His arms open, waiting to receive us in all our deformed awkwardness. All we have to do is to run to Him and fall into those arms. He loves us. He cherishes us. He longs for us to receive this amazing, shocking, undeserved love that He freely gives.

This person is Jesus, who died for us, and rose again. His act of love echoes through all of time, losing none of its power as each generation faces the choice to accept Him or reject Him.

You and I are Frankenstein; but we need to accept the fact of our brokenness and need before we can be healed.

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:5-17