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.
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.
O our heavenly Father
We praise your name;
King of Kings,
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.
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,
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
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.
31 January 2011