Reflections From Life Itself


Whoever would have thought that among all the possible means of expression it would be poetry that reached into my life to draw out those emotions and thoughts and fears and expressions of joy that remained otherwise inaccessible. To have suggested such a thing so many years ago would have seemed beyond reason and hopelessly ridiculous. Yet the undeniable truth is that poetry - even the amateurish scratchings of a novice such as I am - has been an instrument of healing and expression that has been used of God in my life and in the lives of others.

My friend, pastor and mentor, Brian Morgan, has stated well the case for poetry as a means of reaching the depths of the heart. In his work, Give Me An Authentic Voice, he states, "The power of the poem causes us to be still and allow musings and stirrings that have been brewing deep within our soul to surface, and then they find shape and form through memory and metaphor. In public recitation of the poem we can find eternal significance (spiritual integration with ourself, our God, and our community) as we pause along the journey."

Here I share some recent musings and stirrings.



Bride Of My Youth

The story of Abigail found in the 25th chapter of the book of First Samuel was our text for the week. Our assignment? To write a poem to (or for, or about) our wife, based on the person of Abigail. This instructive story tells of the wisdom, character, and beauty of Abigail, who by her quick action and wise ways averts David's destruction of Nabal, an event that would have had long lasting negative consequences for the anointed King of Israel, David, and by extension for all of Israel. This poem is my expression of thanksgiving to God for bringing Wanda into my life. She is my Abigail, speaking into my life with wisdom, character, and beauty at the right times and in the right ways.

Oh Lord my God
How your ways delight!
Your gifts, as fine wine
Poured freely in redemptive love,
Holy and pure, yet none surpass
The bride of my youth.

Oh Lord my God
How precious are your ways!
As gold refined, so my bride!
Gift of your hand for compassion and grace,
Two cords have become as one, merciful strength
Born of hell-fire upon hell-fire, saved by your grace;
And now what redemption is this but wisdom and peace,
Your glory divine;
She bringer of light and love,
Soft inviting hand reaches out, welcomes
All You draw near, yet even
To be nearer to You.

Oh Lord my God
Your ways are my delight!
Your perfect gift brings joy,
Completion, and rest;
My Redeemer, my God;
My delight is from your hand.

Steve Belton
April, 2011



The Lord Will Provide

Coming home from Liberia one cannot help but reevaluate many aspects of life: the very extreme level of poverty and the equally extreme breadth of poverty extant in the region we visited; the juxtaposition of this poverty with a widespread sense of joy and contentment seen in the nationals we encountered - the children, the adults in the neighborhood, and the adult teachers and other ministry leaders; and our ideas of a just and merciful God. Attempting to bring sense to all this resulted in the following poem.

O our heavenly Father
We praise your name;
Almighty, righteous
King of Kings,
Creator God,

O Lord of the heavenly host
We bow at your throne of grace,
We fall before Thee and
Marvel at Thy way,
Thy perfect way.

But the mystery is great
For we have seen with our eyes:
“Come and I will give you rest”
Yet see no rest;
“My yoke is easy”
Yet the way seems hard;
“My burden is light”
Yet see the heavy load.

O savior God
We lift plaintiff eyes to you
To see afresh, yes,
To see your perfect way afresh;
May memories never dim,
But be sharpened by you,
Quickened into us by you.

O Father our God
We join in the heavenly chorus;
Calling Hallelujah!
Faithful and True!
Blessed be the Lamb!
The Lord will provide!

Steve Belton
upon returning from Monrovia, Liberia
April, 2011



A Wintertime Visit to Sâmbăteni

Călin Ille, battling cancer for one year, was the focus of a January visit to Sâmbăteni, Romania. Brian Morgan and I traveled there to be with Călin and his family, to pray with them, to see him once again. In March his earthly body was transformed to his celestial body and there is no more pain or and no more tears for beloved Călin. He has awakened to a joy that knows no bounds.

This poem was written upon my return from Romania, prior to his death but with the knowledge that medical science had done about all it could hope to do for Călin. The images and emotions captured in this poem are personal ones - my first meeting with Călin; my late afternoon visit with Nelli to the cemetery in Sâmbăteni; our time of prayer and communion at the hospital with Călin and Diana and Violeta; the glorious singing of hymns in Jimmy Foster's kitchen with so many from the Ille clan present, including Călin by Skype.

My first meeting with Călin came in 2000, one year after Missy's death. We cried together at that time and later he used a photo of Missy's blue eyes to make a beautiful memorial collage that still today is displayed in our living room.

A Wintertime Visit To Sâmbăteni
Cu dragoste sfânta pentru Călin

When from the depth of foggy night
I woke to dreams of my delight:
those eyes clear blue, those shining eyes of old,
dear to me now as when first you gave,
dear as that summer day we met, and cried,
yes, cried...

Yet rose the sun this wintry day,
faithful traveler recalls His loving ways;
at last light cold windswept prayer,
Tata Mama and Cristi's peace, and tears fall
amid hope, and love, and fear,
yes, even fear...

But now comes the Bread, the passion's delight,
and here the Cup, our Savior's love bright;
gift of grace, we taste anew, fresh
tender tears once for all His touch is true;
Tata's sacred embrace, love wrapped tight,
sweet gift of Love's
everlasting light...

Then song stops time, while babies cry
and people sway, love in locked arms,
heaven sounds, and papa's gift of Psalm
gives voice, pure voice; O joy
in this moment's love, may it ever be:
hearts melt, eyes are clear, the hosts declare
the Savior is ever near.

Steve Belton
31 January 2011



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