Sunday, April 21, 2013

Peace Rose Offering for Nicholas

Spring: when buds turn to blossoms.We expect that; It is the order of things. But then life happens and turns predictable patterns on end.

Vibrant colors and beauty still surround us, even on the fraying hem of a week that quickly came unraveled by bombings and unexpected events in our nation--and more private grief and loss this weekend among dear friends that the news feeds would never pick up--and we still move forward. We inch toward a new day, "...inch by inch, row by row" in  "Garden Song":  nice and slow.

Sometimes there's no other way.

We press on because we have to, because there is no going back.

Pullin' weeds and pickin' stones
We are made of dreams and bones
Need a place to call my own
'Cause the time is close at hand

Sometimes in the garden of life--somewhere between the dreaming and the coming true--those dreams collide. We face the hard reality of the dry bones portion of life and too many abrupt endings.

While some friends are grieving tonight, others are rejoicing with loved ones, anticipating weddings and births to come in a matter of days, and giving thanks for joys shared today. How can it be that we learn to live well with the point-counterpoint of birth and death, marriage and divorce, joy and sorrow? It is the nature of the rhythm of life, we are told.

We carry these two seemingly-opposite loads of joy and pain as though in invisible twin water urns lashed to ends of a pole on our backs. Sort of a Libra-meets-Gemini as we remember the constellations without attaching any unintended weight to astrology. The two are held in tension always, and we learn to live with the ever-changing contents of the loads we bear.

We  manage pretty well if we can keep life's tempo and stay in step. But when the music stops and we are left standing, or when we falter under the unbearable weight of loss and become set off balance by the load, we unravel quickly.

When we risk coming apart a bit ourselves and opening our hemmed-in lives to share the load of others, we can help bear--even if ever so slightly--the cares of another.

So we roll up our sleeves.

We get on with the business of being a friend, of loving and serving with abandon, of risking becoming disheveled and tear-stained. Because there is no other way to share a heavy load on a long road with many a winding turn.

I believe two truths to be bedrock: God is good, and Life is hard. They do not cancel each other out. They do not render each other null and void by operation of law. They are both true. At the same time.

And it is in giving thanks for the goodness of God, experiencing the Presence of God, in the midst of the searing white-hot edge of life that cuts us to the quick, that we find the grace and strength to move forward. Inch by inch.

God hears and answers those who call out to Him in distress:
“I relieved his shoulder from the burden; his hands were freed from carrying the basket. You called out in distress, and I rescued you; I answered you from the thundercloud.” (Psalm 81:6-7a).

 No distress is too big for God to handle.

Brother, let me be your servant.
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.

We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I'll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we've known together
Of Christ's love and agony.

Brother, let me be your servant.
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.

Written by Richard Gillard, 1977, Servant Song

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