Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Walk In the Park by Susan L.

  I went for a walk in the park Sunday afternoon. It was a lovely day although the breeze was a bit chilly. Most of the paths were clear except for a few patches of icy snow left in amongst the cedar grove and the pine plantation. The ground doesn't get much sun there.
  I chanced upon a Great Blue Heron. I don't know who was more startled, it or me. It didn't take off right away because my presence was camouflaged by some branches. They are shy birds and rarely do I get this close to one. We stood there for a few moments studying each other then with a couple of energetic wing flaps it was aloft and heading across the lake. It amazed me how quickly and gracefully it rose up in the air. They are big birds.
  The Canada Geese were another story. They've begun pairing off and claiming real estate along the banks. Woe to the trespasser on their claim. Human or otherwise is warned off by loud honking and aggressive neck sticking out and hisses.
  Parts of the lake and river are still covered in ice. The edges are slushy and easily broken. The geese would swim away from me as long as the water was flowing then their webbed feet would keep breaking through the thinning ice. It was a difficult scramble to stand up on it. Once up, it was like watching someone with two left feet trying to do a dance routine from Swan Lake or should I say Goose Lake. Wet, webbed feet have no traction so the geese would slip and slide as they struggled to walk on the frozen water. I found it absolutely hilarious to watch! It leaves me wondering how their featherless feet can stand the bitterly cold water.
  The bare trees revealed their own treasures. Their swelling buds hint at growth to come. Last year's bird nests were everywhere but mostly lining the river. I guess momma birds like having something to look at while they patiently wait for their eggs to hatch.
  I found myself smiling as I came across a particularly wet and slippery patch of ice on the path. My own feet slipped and skidded in their own directions. At least I have arms to help me regain my balance and poise. I'm doubly thankful there was no one around to see my goose imitation.
  Its amazing how many footprints are clearly outlined in the drying mud. There were plenty of dog and human but also racoon, rabbit and deer prints. So much goes on in the conservation area that I never see. There's so much life that hides itself away.
  "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." Mat 6:6

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Mortal Coil by Susan L.

  After typing in yesterday about shrugging off this mortal coil, I began thinking about its meaning. I looked it up this morning to find out where it came from. My high school English teacher would be pleased that some remnants of Shakespeare remains in my mind. The phrase is from Hamlet, "Shuffle off this mortal coil." It's in his "to be or not to be" soliloquy.
  The image of a human figure wrapped in barbed wire came to mind to represent the coil of existence. Its sharpened barbs would prick and jab which, for me, represents all the trials in this ole world.
  Barbed wire is nasty stuff to work with. My hands bear a couple of scars from farm fence repairs. It's so nasty that one of the local townships banned the use of it on line fencing; the fences that border roads and neighbour's properties. I believe a landowner got sued by a trespasser who hurt themselves on the barbed wire as they climbed over onto private property. It's a backwards world sometimes.
  It helped keep the cows, goats and horses in their pasture. But guess what? It didn't work for sheep. Their thick fleeces protected them from the thorny barbs. As they passed under or over the barbed wire, their wool would snag on the tines rendering them useless. The wire fence ended up dotted with little balls of fleece.
  The same thing happened with an electric fence. Their thick fleece protected them from the charge running through the wire as they ducked beneath it. The wool would wrap around the wire insulating it for the goats who merrily followed the sheep out of the paddock into the back yard of the house. I gave up trying to keep them in. As long as they weren't on the road, no harm done.
  The swallows and song sparrows liked it. It gave them wonderfully warm nesting material once they'd unwrapped a few strands from the barbs and wire.
  It just goes to show you: a sheep cannot be contained.
  "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. " Lk 12:32

Monday, 30 March 2015

Lazarus by Susan L.

  I've been thinking about Lazarus lately. How had he felt when he died? Did he despair? I don't know much about Jewish beliefs in the afterlife. Jesus has given us Christians hope for what lay beyond death, for an eternity with Him when we shrug off this mortal coil.
  Jesus called Lazarus to life after he was dead for four days. Scripture says he was bound in grave cloths. Did he come out looking like a mummy wrapped head to toe in white linen strips? Did he stumble because his legs were bound and his muscles unused for days? I believe his face was covered so he wouldn't have been able to see much. The linens would have been covered in dust from the tomb so breathing through the fabric must have been difficult. Did the people gathered to witness this miracle recoil in horror at the sight, fearing what lay beneath? Is that why Jesus commanded them to remove the wrappings?
  I've visited this story many times. Like the linen wrappings, it's a healing story of many layers. I know why I am here again. It's the same reason the Lord asked me to join the worship team at church. My insecurities and self doubt are rooted in the past, in the tomb the Lord called me from. And yes, fear is a huge part of this. It's about remaining a victim instead of moving forward with confidence into the life Jesus called me to live in the fullest.
  I'll need help to let go of the ghosts that hold me back, my own grave cloths, that stop me from living without fear. It's about letting go of the spectre of PTSD that would steal my future and stop me from growing into something more than I am. Even if the symptoms flare up or a trigger derails me, it would only be like looking into the tomb. Besides, a triggered response is another way to know what to hold up to the light so more healing can take place. I no longer have to live there.
  As I spoke with the worship team leader on Sunday about joining the team, not only did I mention the organist/pianist ability but also, much to my surprise, that I play the flute although it's been many years. Practice would surely bring that up to snuff. I also offered my voice because it's not half bad either but like the flute, it's a bit rusty.
  The linens fell away.
  Thank You, Lord, for Your forgiveness and grace. Thank You for calling me out of the tomb. Thank You for placing people in my life who continue to help unwrap the person You made me to be at the dawn of time.
  I'll never know what I am capable of without stepping outside my comfort zone. Involvement with the team will be challenging but in a good way.There's much to learn and re-learn. It will be wonderful sharing my deep love of music with like minds. It'll be even more wonderful playing or singing for the Lord as part of His body.
  I pray against the spirits of overwhelm and anxiety and self-doubt. In Jesus most precious name.
  Those dusty wrappings are not needed any more. Hoooyah!
  "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise." Heb 10:35