March came in like a proverbial lamb;
and she quickly began picking up steam.
The first few days were sunny, mild, and calm;
then snow brought by Winter's battering ram
escorted an annual Easter Squall
as cool weather squatted a few more days.
Another warm-up brought daffodils tall,
thunderstorms, tornadic torrential flays,
rooftops off homes, powerlines ripped from poles,
trees uprooted, homes and vehicles flipped,
damage for miles in corporate locales
where lives have been marred, heartstrings are now ripped.
From the anchoring strengths of hearth and home
where rebuilding takes time, tilling the loam
must be completed to stimulate phloem.
Lives must be rebuilt in this worldly realm
while another, still being ripped apart,
cannot ponder whence the 'morrow's dire helm
will position them. Those who leave home port,
praying for a reprieve, can have no thought
or hopes quite bold as news from home is told
and the days flow forth. Homeland hopes for bought
or borrowed time as loved ones lives unfold,
then refold when words not sharing their pain
rip hearts asunder -- tell home's not the same.
Faces turn ashen as their colors drain,
emotions rage for lost hopes they can't claim.
Now, as the month begins its final wrap,
it is preparing to give us a slap
when leaving us with a severe storm snap.
March 2022 — In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lion
So, this says The Old Folks Saying Rings True.
It certainly does this year for me and for you!
We tend to not give much thought to God’s character traits, His personal strengths, even His weaknesses. Perhaps we should take a few days to look at these aspects of God and Jesus. We might, then, understand the two of them a bit more.
A few of the words that come to mind when I think of God are compassion, strength, godliness, cleanliness, love, honour, devotion, and fortitude. While each of these are important–and we will look in depth at each–I think the word “fortitude” describes so many facets of both God the Father and God the Son.
When God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in the Garden of Eden in which He had planted every good and beautiful tree and trees with fruit for them to eat. He formed a river which ran out of Eden by which He watered the garden.
8 — “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.”
9 — “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
10 — “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted and became into four heads.”
Genesis 2:8-10–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)“
“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.'”
Genesis 2:18–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)“
21 — “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;”
22 — “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.”
23 — “And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.'”
24 — “‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.'”
25 — “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
Genesis 2:21-25–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)“
How difficult it must have been for God when Adam and Eve committed the first sin–eating of the forbidden fruit. He had provided much good food for their consumption. Yet, they gave in to temptation and ate the fruit of the one tree from which He had forbidden them to eat. How heartbroken He must have been when He went to the garden for their daily walk together and could not find them.
7 — “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.”
8 — “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.”
9 — “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, ‘Where art thou?‘”
10 — “And he said, ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.'”
11 — “And He said, ‘Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?'”
12 — “And the man said, ‘The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.'”
13 — “And the Lord God said unto the woman, ‘What is this that thou hast done?‘ And the woman said, ‘The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.'”
14 — “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, ‘Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:'”
15 — “‘And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.'”
16 — “Unto the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.'”
17 — “And unto Adam He said, ‘Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee saying, ‘Thou shalt not eat of it:’ cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;'”
18 — “‘Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;'”
19 — “‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'”
20 — “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”
21 — “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them.”
22 — “And the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever.'”
23 — “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken.”
24 — “So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
Genesis 3:7-24–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)“
Much like we as parents must deal with disobedient children, God had to deal with a disobedient creation. Then, each pointed the finger of blame toward another before admitting personal guilt as well. The man and woman who were made after His own image, were cast from the garden due to their disobedient acts.
When God entered the garden looking for Adam and Eve and was unable to find them, He knew something was amiss. How many of us, as parents, would have similar hunches upon being unable to find our children? When He called for them, and Adam responded with fear due to them being ashamed because they were naked, God knew of their disobedience already. Putting a disobedient child out to fend for him-/her- self is one of the most difficult tasks a parent must face. The fact that God had to walk in these shoes first with His own creation tells us it is due to the child’s choices these steps had to be taken. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God; so, He had to put them out of their beautiful garden He created just for them. From that day forth, they were to fend for themselves. Pain, sweat, and death would be served as punishment for their disobedience.
This took “fortitude” for God to take this stand with Adam and Eve. In this one sequence of events, we can see the strength, the courage, the bravery it took for God to stand up to Adam and Eve with a love that did not cast them away from Him–rather it cast them out of the luxurious life He had created for them.
Thus, when you are tempted to ask, “How can a loving God be so cruel as to punish us when we have done wrong?” remember, it was Adam and Eve who punished you. As their seed, we reaped the consequences of their actions along with them. This is why we now have the New Testament plan of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord–God’s Son. This is why we have full freedom to choose to be a recipient of this salvation, or we can choose to ignore it and experience life separate and apart from God. It is not God who punishes us! It is our choice; therefore, it is “we” who punish ourselves.
16 — “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
17 — “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.”
18 — “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
19 — “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
John 3:16-19–“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)”
Midst all the grieving and lamenting
with such intensity the heart doth ache.
Whom can I trust? The pain, the not feeling
is more than this old, feeble soul can take.
One disaster hits, and then another.
Before I can stand up straight, I smother
the screams of anguish inside, and I hide
the pain because my neighbor cannot find
half of her belongings. How can I scream?
I need to be strong and help mend the seam
the storm ripped open before something else
renders it irreparable. Immense
are the threats to my survival, but I
am not important right now, and I sigh--
deeply, longingly--and look to the sky.
There is death and dying all around me.
Ash and charred wood, far as the eye can see
and I wonder, how will it ever be
the same; and I just want to run, to flee
and forget the loss stretching, engulfing
all. No home, no business, no feeling
to express the emptiness entrenching
the dried riverbed; ash coating, drifiting
between the stones--gray, forlorn, seemingly
afraid to hope for better day. Achingly
eyeing the chard remains, desperately
This is not a scene one would ever want
to revisit. Even new growth could not
erase the scars, the memories so scant.
As I contemplated the losses our country
and my fellow-citizens have experienced this week--
from fires and storms,
I grieved with them--for them;
and I penned these words
as an expression of my condolences.
To those not suffering loss at this time,
if you are ever in the path of such powerful forces,
Leave hearth and home!
No material belongings are worth your lives!
This cannot be stressed too much.
The country, the world is already reeling
from unfathomable loss,
and the grieving process has begun.
The five stages of grief:
No two persons experience them in the same order
or to the same depth.
Oftentimes more than one can be seen at the same time.
no two countries will experience them the same.
Denial is not yet past--for us--
here in America!
The Anger has begun,
mostly in the form of rioting,
focusing on other areas
rather than the death and dying
all around us
directly related to coronavirus--
in our families
and in society.
So, the Denial has not passed.
It is still going on
along with the Anger,
and some Bargaining.
Expressions of Anger are being blamed
on events not truly related
to society's loss from the pandemic.
It is hard to separate personal loss
from societal loss.
Is that even possible?
I don't think so.
Be strong enough to feel--more than the anger!
Be strong enough to heal--more, more than yourself!
It will take introspection refueled
to collectively grieve and to rebuild.
Photo Above: by Dylan Nolte @Unsplash.com.
Source: Kubler-Ross, M.D. and D Kessler. (August 2014). “On grief & grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss.” Scribner. New York. (16 September 2020).
12 September 2020 — Soft words spoken, when harsh words are expected, are often visibly appreciated. The look of surprise alone can be fuel to continue using soft words rather than berating the offender. I have always been one to readily forgive an offence. It just was not typically worth the effort or the time it took to argue the issue. Now, I am not always the best of persons when it comes to my words of offense. There have been times when I argued the point to the nth degree, but mostly I have always tended to allow the other person his or her view on the topic.
One day, I was reading in Proverbs and came across some scripture to support this approach. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” (NKJV). It is so true. I thought on the times when I had argued the point. Either I or the other person left the discussion upset. Untended anger can be a detriment to health. It can cause elevated blood pressure, which in turn can cause myriad other problems if it is a frequent occurrence.
On the other hand, Proverbs 16:24 says, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones,” (NKJV). When I read these scriptures, I began making a conscious effort to not get angry without a truly just reason, and I began checking myself to ensure I replied with pleasant words. This scripture prompted a more in-depth study of problems associated with off-the-cuff comments and the unbridled tongue in general. One can create so many problems for self and others simply because the tongue is left unchecked. If a wholesome tongue is “a tree of life,” I wonder that this lesson is not taught more often.
Needless to say, these and other scriptures have taught me the importance of “thinking before I speak.” The good news is I do not have to make amends by apologizing for an errant tongue as often as before. This is a “major blessing” because I am so ashamed when I have to atone for this or that pain caused by my mouth. Also, others are not angry with me when I speak with pleasant words. Earlier in the week, I wrote about “gossip” and the harm done by it. Have you ever dealt with this in yourself or someone else? If so, would you please comment below and let us know how you approached the situation?
Just some food for thought as social distancing continues, and we are inside with family more.
Have a Blessed Day!
Scriptures above are from the Holy Bible — New King James Version (NKJV).
I cannot imagine what it must be like
to be in his position, having lost so much . . .
How does one rebuild after such devastation?
. . . after seeing so much suffering and misery?
. . . after opening eyes to the cruelest of cruel
and the most surreal of the most beautiful?
The pain in his facial expression, his eyes,
brings tears to mine that won't blink back.
So much planning! Will it be enough
to bring life to a town so marred by death?
Can any amount of planning or effort
to jumpstart life -- after so much death --
ever diminish or take away the pain?
The stress of shouldering so much responsibility
must overwhelm even the strongest of men at times.
One must respect, if not admire, the tenacity
of those in public office, muddling through the mire
that life has suddenly wrought -- with no warning --
no time to prepare for the insurmountable struggles
faced by all during these uncharted times.
These are the times when I look to the scriptures
for guidance and for resolution within myself.
Many specific passages come to the front of my mind,
but for this day, one can take comfort in the message
meted out in the thirteenth chapter of Romans (NKJV).
To those in positions of power during this time
of foreboding, each is to be subject and to give honor.
He or she has been burdened with the greatest load
any leader has ever known. Even war does not
wreak the havoc, pain and loss of incurable illness.
In the end, each of us, whether stricken or not,
whether impoverished or not, must answer
for deeds directed toward those in power --
for each is appointed that power by the Lord God.
Let me never forget, if characteristics needed
to address the burdens of the time were mine,
I would be there; but, I do not have what it takes
to meet today's challenges head-on --
most of us do not . . ..
Thus, I must respect those whom God deems
able to fill whatever needs arise on this day,
and on every day throughout this time of trial.
May God Bless and Keep Each of Them,
and May He Be Their Strength and Refuge!
Source Referenced: The Holy Bible (NKJV) — the New King James Version
Life is bittersweet . . . With everything you gain, you lose something . . . With everything you lose, you gain something . . . Until this is learned, life is fraught with unnecessary pain. Only in learning to accept the losses in life will we ever truly experience the blessings that we gain.