Tag Archives: doors

Of Revival, Poetry and Fridge Cleaning

IMG_4520I feel like I’m becoming alive again.

How can I tell? Because the poetry is alive in my brain again. There’s more color in the sky, in the grass, in the mountains. And not just because of the rain.

After the brain fog and brutal heat of March, April and May and the ridiculous intensity of our work schedule, there was no longer any poetry bubbling in my brain. There was only dragging myself out of bed in the morning, forcing myself to eat something so I would have energy for the day, and then at the end of an exhausting day weighing myself and discovering I had lost yet another 2 pounds.  If there had been poetry, it would have gone like this:

It’s so so hot/ I feel like meat/ Left out of the fridge/ In all this heat/ Like boiled cabbage/ And leftover peas/ That’s what I feel like/ (groaaaannn…. more water, please)

And that’s actually not poetry. It rhymes. But its not real poetry.

But now there’s poetry bubbling again and not just my own. One of these days I would love to sit down and trace back through all the poems that have shaped my life. Poetry that opened doors and windows to a new way of seeing the world through the beauty of words that capture life in crystal clear images. Poetry that thrilled me and inspired me. Poetry that made me laugh. Poetry that captured that feeling inside of you that you yourself didn’t even know existed until that aha moment when it was put into words. And then you think to yourself, “That’s exactly how I feel about it, but I never knew I felt that way.”

Late last night as I defrosted our poor neglected fridge, threw away rotten fried rice and tomatoes and eggs, and debated whether to keep last year’s chocolate or throw it away, I thought poetry and listened to it. And tried to ignore the smell that reeked from the fridge. I listened to Robert Frost and dreamed of someday stopping by woods again on a snowy evening. Oh the pure delight of doing that again! I listened about his road diverging into a wood and said, “I know exactly how you felt.” I listened to Rudyard Kipling’s “East is East and West is West and Never the Twain Shall Meet.”  I was curious and felt a little disturbed. Then I listened to Carl Sandburg’s “Fog” and remembered a dear  little first grader with honey -blonde hair in front of an audience reciting “Fog” on the last day of school. And I felt pangs of homesickness and pastsickness.( pastsickness: a longing for the past,  to relive memories that are sweet after time has washed away all the pain.)

But the poem I like the most of all the evening was this one. After washing out of the fridge thoroughly of all its putrid odors and feeling like it was on its way back to recovery like I was, it was raining once again and I listened to Longfellow’s “The Day is Done.” However much poetry might be bubbling in my brain, my soul is still tinged with tiredness, and this poem echoed the thoughts of my spirit. Sometimes we long for the simple words of some normal human being to soothe our restless spirits, instead of weighty words of theology and religion.

The day is done, and the darkness
      Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
      From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village
      Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
      That my soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing,
      That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
      As the mist resembles the rain.
Come, read to me some poem,
      Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
      And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters,
      Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
      Through the corridors of Time.
For, like strains of martial music,
      Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
      And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet,
      Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
      Or tears from the eyelids start;
Who, through long days of labor,
      And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
      Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet
      The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
      That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume
      The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
      The beauty of thy voice.
And the night shall be filled with music,
      And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
      And as silently steal away.


And now, because it is almost midnight, I must fold up my tent and steal away on the road less traveled that leads to bed since I have gone many miles since I  have slept and my bed is oh so lovely and dark, yet, I fear not very deep, because East has not yet met West in the making of mattresses. And we will pray that the neighbor’s cats do not come on their little cat feet and fight on my roof.




God, I just want to live.

Right now, I feel like I am living in one of the best times of my life. Or what could be the best time of my life. I’m living out a dream, a God-given one, in another country, learning to speak another language and interacting with people I love.

I live with a native family. I love them to pieces and they love me back in more pieces.

I get to teach English to two delightful Catholic nuns 3 times a week at an HIV orphanage.

I have a pet monkey.

I get to walk beside new believers and see their faces light up at learning the simple, yet amazing truths of God’s Word.

I get to tell the story of Jesus to those who don’t know him.

I get to watch the passion of native evangelists as they seek to bring their own people back to their Creator.

I get to watch the potential of young children being unlocked and blossoming.

There is so much joy in every day.

Opportunities abound. It seems like no door is left unopened. Except one. So many others are open that I find it difficult to know which door  to walk through.

The one door I want to walk through the most leads to deeper freedom.




Freedom from a tangled, messed up belief system that is self-focused, confused, forgetful and ungrateful, fearful, carrying guilt and expectations and “shoulds.”

Not the kind of belief system that a follower of Jesus should have.

Sometimes I wonder if in this journey of seeking and searching for a deeper communion with my Father, if God might want me to stay in  this bondage so that I continue to thirst so badly for Him, because I know I didn’t used to be like this.

And yet, God never wants us in bondage. It is for freedom that He has set us free.

It is His passionate desire that we can experience that freedom.

Freedom from doubt.

Freedom from past mistakes and regrets.

Freedom from double- mindedness.

Freedom from anything that strangles or smothers or suffocates that connection with the God Himself who created the world.

Just think- the God of the universe wants you and I to be free, and free, not just for the sake of freedom, but that we would be trees of righteousness that He might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)

God, I just want to live.