Walking on Tip-Toe at 3:30 in the Morning on Valentine’s Day

Another morn; another nudge

From warm, delicate toes against the back of my ankle.

I rouse, but linger in the warmth of fleece and flannel,

Awaiting the next, more urgent, yet gentle, nudge.

Receiving it, I tread the cold wood to cold porcelain fixtures

Disturb their gleaming purity with her excellent chocolate cake,

And soap;

And toothpaste

And whiskers.

And I smell the coffee downstairs as I dress in silence,

And brace for my labors in the cold, cold world

Which awaits.

But that  frigid air

And  that frosty management

Become but mild distraction

As I tip-toe back in  the darkness

To kiss the perfect cheekbone

Of the one who is my Heart.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Stephen

A Walk in My October Sun (A Birthday Ode to Jennifer)

Darned if it’s not already her birthday again.  Time to write another poem.

It’s easy, though, as she is my sunshine; the Light of my life.  Often she even helps me find my glasses when I lose them.

Happy Birthday, darling………

October Smiles

 

Amazing face, how sweet that smile,

That calms the beast in me

It’s warmth consoles me, soothes me, while

I strive of worth to be.

 

This glow, this smile, this warmth I feel

When e’er your eyes  meet mine,

Does goodness in this earth reveal

Which I alone can’t find.

 

October’s sun, on radiant leaves

Which turn to red and gold

Can’t match the warmth that I receive

When your smile I behold.

 

And I’ll reside within your glow

As long as you can bear

This need for warmth that drives me so

This need for your face fair.

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Walking Tall With Jesus: A Tranformational Reflection on Romans 6:1-11

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In this reading, Paul instructs an audience complacent in its’ belief that merely adhering to ‘“the law” is sufficient for their justification in the eyes of God.  In his methodical, logical style, he gently chastises them with rhetorical questions.  Like many other parts of Romans, the depth of meaning increases with each reading.

In fact, in perusing my records, I note that I wrote a devotional on this selfsame passage three years ago.  In that piece, I noted Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross as being  symbolic of the death of our own sinful life, and his resurrection as being symbolic of our “new” selves, walking in His way.  Upon re-reading this year, I find meaning which, at least to me, is deeper.

I will be brief .  Since this is a popular reading, I will not resort to citations from the text.

The point of Paul’s message is not only that we should not persist in sin so “Grace can abound”, but, more importantly, that this symbolic death of sin is a transformation.   That is, however dead our sinful past, we are still flesh and blood, and, while hopefully abated, our sinfulness is still, due to no fault of our own, a persistent interruption to our existence.

The sins of Adam die hard.  While God’s Grace is free, it can only be for naught if we do not strive to live up to the ideals we profess, or have professed for us at our baptism, whether by water. or by the fire of our own reckless pasts.  This means work.  This means striving to keep our mortal bodies from occasionally being the instruments, (if not the seats) of sin.  This means prayer.

Paul’s conclusions are obvious.  Of course Grace will not abound by the persistence of sin.  But why?  Simply because liberty from sin is not license to sin.  Our transformation from our old, sinful selves which began with the crucifixion of Jesus is, for each of us, a work in progress.  Paul reminds us that we have to “think of” ourselves as living for God.   God can’t do that for us.  It takes effort and energy.  It is a lot to acknowledge, but with the Holy Spirit in play, we will always have the upper hand on the Devil.

“I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I wish to be. I am not what I hope to be. But by the cross of Jesus Christ, I am not what I was.”John Newton, Author, ‘Amazing Grace

(keep Mr. Newton’s tune in mind as you read the following):

A Metamorphosis in Grace.

My sins died on that ruddy cross

With our God’s only Son,

How strange that His death paid for sin,

When of sin he had none.

 

And as I ponder this sweet Grace

This priceless treasure pure

I find the strength and will to face

The next temptation’s lure.

 

For I’m forgiven, but not free

From Satan’s clever ways

And I must live so God can see

His Son in all my days.

 

I must be steady; strong and brave

I must not His Grace test.

And I refuse to be a slave

To sin He put to rest.

 

Though I’m not what I wish I was

Nor what I ought to be,

I live my life in hope, because

I’m not who I used to be.

Walking The Lanes in Dreamsville, Ohio (An Anniversary Re-Lease)

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It seems like just last month or so I posted my last anniversary honorarium to the woman I love.   It is hard to believe that another year has come and gone and that the leaves on the huge silver maple in the back yard are beginning their change to autumn’s glory.

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And, as I sit in wonder and awe over the rapid elapsing of another year, it dawns on me that, like a roller-coaster ride, or a long, slow dance to a favorite ballad, the celerity of my existence is due to the joy I partake of daily in being in and around my home.  My Jennifer,  as noted last year, has made this home that place on ‘God’s Little Acre‘ known as Dreamsville, Ohio.

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However small your plot of land, however quickly you can walk from the ‘north forty’ to the ‘south forty’, what is essential is your signature on the scenery.  Beauty, and obvious care and attention to the landscaping, can both beautify the neighborhood, and,…when striking enough to the eye of the casual passer-by, can evoke a respect for and appreciation of the tenants that no fence can afford.  The time I spend on the swing in the back yard; the reading I do on the front porch; even  the chore of mowing the grass, is a comfort and a joy because of the love she puts into this estate.

I write these annual missives for our anniversary and for her birthday for her love.  What I sometimes fail to appreciate is that her labor; time and attention to our home is done, at least in part, out of her love for me.  I pray that I can continue to merit its’ splendor.

A Lease Renewed.

 

They married one October day

Their souls united,

They began their way

The moon was honey,

And their laughter gay

Their bond was based in Love.  

 

 

Through times of trouble,

And times of bliss

Their constant strength,  a nightly kiss.

To rise each new day

To hit or miss,

Their strength was in their Love.

 

 

Life is just

A lease on God’s time

Only His Grace can renew.

And while it runs, the key’s to share

The rent; the work,….the view.

 

 

And as they go through

The blur of years  

And share their sorrows; hopes and fears

They share their laughter, and they share their tears.

They do it out of Love.

God smiles on their True Love.

 

Happy 17th Anniversary, Darling.

I will always love you.

Stephen.

 

 

Well, my work here is done.  My time this afternoon and evening before leaving for my overnight shift tonight will be walking the lanes of  our palatial estate in Dreamsville, Ohio…….where the women are strong; the men are good-looking, and the bowling scores are all above-average.

 

 

Walking the Aisles, Living the ‘Moments’…. With My “Perfect Valentine”

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Her Love’s the only reason

That I ever smiled again,

She’s made my life a blissful dream,

Which waking does not end.

 

I’ve shared my deepest secrets,

Laid my sorrows at her door,

She showed me how to feel again,

She’s all that I adore.

 

Should my life end tomorrow

And from this world I part,

I will live on, forever young

For her breast holds my heart.

 

Perfect, is she…. an angel fine.

I could not ask for more…

She’s sweet, and pure,  and beautiful,

And owns a Hallmark store.

 

 

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Walking the Eons With Jennifer (A Birthday Wish Eternal)

Ode to Eternity…

Fret not that one more year has passed;

Ignore the hair that grays…

Count not the months and years elapsed;

Long not for “younger” days.

 

For Time is but the pawn of Space;

A soulless metronome;

And ‘Matter’, can affect its’ pace,

And change the path it roams.

 

Rest easy…heed the surety

That true Love knows no “time”

But lends eternal purity

To our Spirits’ bond sublime.

 

“Eternal”, then, our wedded bliss,

Immeasurable our Joy.

A warm embrace; a smile….a kiss…

Can Times’ constraints destroy.

 

A look through Space via your brown eyes

Transports my soul on wings

And to your Grace my Spirit flies

And to its’ music sings.

 

This Love, unbound by mortal coils

Swiss precision cannot ‘time’;

All temporal concepts this love foils;

No matter how defined.

 

Not eons; seconds; pace;…. or beat;

Not each ensuing morn ;

Could change the hour that saw us meet……..

The hour we both were born.    

                                                                                                                                                     

Happy Birthday to my Love with the faraway eyes……      

                                                                                                                                                          

Walking in Search of My Lenore

As I weekly visit my aging mother and tend to her yard, I continue to marvel at her certitude, indeed her satisfaction in noting my many (admitted) shortcomings.

There  has long been welling up inside me a desire to, finally, address the issues that have long made our relationship “complicated”.

The details are not so important as the angst over my inability to overcome her refusal to address them.  To her, I am the blackest of “black sheep”, a “Wednesdays’ Child” predestined to disappoint and vex her.  “Just like your father”, says she.  (“Just like your mother” said he).

In this most basic; most visceral…most complicated of human relationships, I suppose I should not be surprised that,  in middle age, it has grown, rather than diminished in its’ influence on my sensibilities and relationships to a point at which it has to be expressed somehow; someway; someday.

 

That day has come upon me and, I can only match the depth of the sorrow I’ve been feeling lately over it through the grief and sorrow of the lyric poetry of E. A. Poe.  While I’m certain she will never read, nor even hear of this exorcism of my sadness and guilt, its’ complexity and length at least begin to match the feelings purged therein.

 

 

 

 

 

Once again the dreams had started, of an innocence departed,                                                                          

Which from his childish fingers’s grasp did a craven demon wrest,

And he woke to heartbeat throbbing, drenched with sweat, his spirit sobbing,

And his fears about him mobbing, tearing at his tortured breast-

” ‘Tis a nightmare”,  he had muttered, which had marred his fitful rest –

Just a fear made manifest.

 

But the memories were vivid, of a rage so stark and livid,

That they filled his quaking conscience with a dreadful, crimson tide.

From no bottle could he borrow, an elixir for his sorrow,

And he longed to greet the morrow..morrows’ light might help him hide-

The guilt and craven evil which he felt extant deep inside-

Which his acts of ‘Grace ‘ belied.

 

But lo, the passing darkness gave way to a light of starkness,

Illuminating  faults and flaws, all blemishes made plain.

And from its’ glare retreating, he recoiled and hid, repeating

“Cannot God hear my entreating for excision of this stain?”-

“Can it be I do not merit the alleiving of this pain?” –

“Must I in this Hell remain”?

 

Sweet Innocence! Long lost, and faded, this Babe has by life been jaded,

No peals of laughter nor sweet acts of kindness can be wrought

From one in misery drowning, ever fitful, ever frowning

Under Hellish clouds surrounding, for Eternity distraught-

Resigned to never finding the redemption he once sought-

All his ‘good’ deeds done for naught.

 

The revelation cursed him, of  the Mother who had nursed him,

Who had in a pristine journal proudly strove to document

The suckling of her first-born and the special blouse she had worn

But lo, the page had been torn and her sweet joy became lament-

The Babe had bitten cruelly so, she sensed a foul intent.

Evermore would she resent.

 

And, years later, its’ blank pages, spoke mute narrative of rages-                                                                                                    

He had gasped as he had found it on a corner cellar floor

Though only  twelve, he cruelly learned that he must have really earned

The enmity which burned, and the resentment that she bore-

The milk of human kindness from the breast of this Lenore-

To emanate nevermore.

 

Long this guilt within residing, with great effort kept in hiding,

This loathsome ‘mark of Cain’ that he with difficulty bore 

Constantly his spirit sapping,  hellish waters ’round him lapping,

And this Fate his soul entrapping, finally, could he fight no more.

He would take his destined place, on that desolate Stygian shore-

There to reign for evermore.