Friday, November 26, 2010


To launch--a universe, with constellations, planets, life, people.
At the launching pad, a Creator?  Or Nothing? 
From inanimate to animate by Mystery?  Or Science?
Eons later, still trying to figure it out.

To launch--a baby, a new-born life with heart beating, blood circulating, limbs moving.
At the launching pad, parents.
Everyone, watching in wonder.

To launch--a poem, with a dance of the imagination and the strong beat of a feeling heart.
At the launching pad, a truth-seeker, a language lover, a burden-bearer.
A few, observing, pondering, responding.

To launch--a world, a life, a poem, a story, a ship, anything.
Purpose-driven, with unknown destinations.
With unknown consequence.

To launch a book--one with much thought, hard questions, and currents of gratitude:
Talking with God...
At the launching pad, a God-seeker.
Holding to the light on Thanksgiving Day before family and friends
a volume of prayers and reflections and meditations.
Purpose-driven, with unknown destinations.
Its consequence known only to God.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Confession: my life is not a constant litany of praise.
For some of us have more than others, and when I look
at those whose burdens look much larger than their blessings,
I feel they need my prayer more than you need my praise
for all that’s good and right with me.
Then my moments of grateful adoration often turn into
contending with a God of inequalities.
It’s the all-night struggle at the Jabbok that still engages
me more than the green pastures where sheep do safely graze.
Serenity eludes me in a world where beasts of prey
transform green pastures into bloody killing fields.

Dear Lord, I want to revel more
in all that’s good and Godly and gracious,
even when I smell the sewers
and see the fissures of this broken world.

                                                                  -from Talking with God...

Monday, November 15, 2010


I'm neither tall nor short.
I'm average.

I'm neither brilliant nor dumb.
Maybe, though, I was born in Wobegon.

I'm neither a leftist nor a rightist.
But I wonder: is the middle of the road a good place?

I'm neither an optimist nor a pessimist.
Yes, of course: a realist...I think.

I'm neither an idealist nor a cynic.
Just keeping hope alive.

I'm neither always merry nor a constant scowler.
Just trying to smile more.

Is anyone?

Sometimes there's the echo of a voice from the past:

"I will drink life to the lees.
...this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star... purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset...
Made weak by time...but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find...."

Ulysses: he was not average.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When and Where?

Think of this at the end of the day:
25,000 children under the age of five died from hunger and hunger-related causes
over one billion people will go to bed hungry
over one billion people will have lacked access to safe and clean drinking water
nearly 5000 children died because of water-borne disease
over 40 million people are displaced from their homes and lands
over 14 million children are orphaned by HIV/AIDS
5500 people will have died that day of AIDS
thousands of children will have died of malaria.

When, Lord, and where, Lord, did we see you?

Monday, November 8, 2010


as Mildred Zylstra put it in her “Autumn” poem:

            The lily bulb is buried deep in earth.
            Onion-layered skins, brown-tissue thin,
            Will crumple off.
            Green shoot emerge, tall stem,
            White bell will ring out joyfully
            In blue spring sky
            With tongues of gold.

            This fragile sheath of skin,
            Brown-spotted, wrinkled flesh,
            Will shrivel up.
            What flower, with what form
            Will blossom forth in unknown joy
            In new spring sky
            Only the Gardener knows.

                                                        -from Talking with God

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why can't I

I know a man of 80 who biked from one ocean to the other.
He pedaled up steep mountain grades, mile after mile.
He pedaled into winds strong enough to make trees sway.
He pedaled when the pelting rain lashed his cheeks and nearly took his sight away.
He pedaled when the summer sun shimmered on the desert and parched his tongue.
He pedaled when the rising sun painted the sky in
He pedaled, all the way, from coast to coast.
Why can't I?

I know a man who learned to carve in his retirement.
Birds at first, and horses.
But later, with finer tools and more creative skill, a Beethoven bust.
And Mozart playing the violin, and a whole nativity set....
Each so finely detail-crafted that it takes your breath away.
Why can't I?

I know a man who writes three books at once.
Words keep gushing from the deep wells of imagination.
No parching droughts or lengthy rewrites.
Award-winning, compelling reading--all of them.
Why can't I?

Well, yes, at last I have a book.
But it's a "different" book.
Talking with God it's called.
It seems that Enoch did that easily.
And so did Tevya.
Why can't I?

Someone said, "Be perfect."
Why can't I?
Because my wife would have none of it?
Because we know of only one who could?
I think so, yes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

in the making

There's bad weather in the making this morning--tornado watch, warnings of damaging winds, and heavy thunderstorms.
Life's in the making too, all the time.  And we're part of it.
But there's also my book that is in the making, and that's pre-occupying.
My brother's book is made; I picked up 20 copies from the local printer yesterday, my eyes being the first to behold the final product that had been in the making for a long time.
Yes, I checked out my three stories in "Through Dark Places" first.
In a few weeks I'll be holding my own "baby" in hand.
All that He made was good.
All that we make is not.
But we try, as our life continues to be "in the making."