The Towering Flower and the Gardener Divine

A towering flower, like a tree in beauty but emanating strangeness –
A gaseous expanse of green and black, with purple hues.
Vines sprung from that hulky shoot,
Springing like ringing bells proclaiming a claim on the territory of the land.
God’s sovereign hand handled that plant – a careful garden-tender,
Tenderly effecting affection from its leaves to its rooty depths and meaty core.

Boring was never the word of life,
For the birds of strife pecked and bit, flapped and hit,
Hinting at the fragility of the flower.
But showers were glinting, nourishing despite the birds’ agility,
And happily the roots crept out their crawling claws,
Sprawling and clawing up for themselves the life-giving fluid with hottest pursuit.

Renewed, the plant’s vines sprang into action,
A million ropes flying in every direction,
Attacking and defending against the feathery onslaught.
And just at the point when weakness was fraught,
Strength was frothier and hope so bold,
Nobly to fight in the heat of the cold.
And coldness ceased to be,
Being borne out by the sun’s divine rays –
Divine by nature of that Divinity
Which without delay commanded them to be.

Yet victory one day did not change the past.
And the past did not help the present bent of toil,
Nor sway uncertainties of what was to come.
Interlocking logs of torment,
Burrowing deep into the vast earthen soil –
That’s what the towering flower’s roots had become –
A cumbersome, burdensome, somber reminder
Of the plant’s persistent requirement of food.
What time was there to eat?
What time to rest from the pressures
Poundingly surging, endlessly burning away
Every ebbing ounce of life from the frail flower’s heart?

Yet it was this draining of the heart – a directed release –
That the Gardener desired – that excellent Divinity.
It was every sporadic cell,
Squirming and coursing the flower’s massive hull,
That He desperately wanted to have for Himself –
And He solely.

So He started a mission,
A vision of change,
Inciting a failure
And thickening pain,
That pain may prove sensible,
Stirring the mind,
Just like a mixture
That mixes to find
A new identity,
A cause once thought lost –
The tables turned
And the Jordan crossed.

That pain imposed on the flower was great,
But greatness was worth the immeasurable drain,
And painful thoughts paved the way
For resplendent riches on the final day.
Not only that, but daily gain,
A life renewed, newly saved –
Not saved from hell but from hell’s subtle grip,
A grip on the mind, a grip on the neck,
Thoughts so logical, thoughts seemingly true,
But only excuses why not to pursue
The perfection held by the Gardener’s pure hands,
A love sincere, love without demands,
Unexpected turns, unforeseeable plans,
All told, and retold
(O unhearing ears!)
All told, and retold,
Until finally,
The flower heard
And learned to be bold.

Do not despise failures,
For they are the seeds of change.


February 5th, 2011 – The Day Life Made Sense

Coming to your wit’s end is a terrible thing. But terror doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. I have grown up as one who values logic and reasoning. And I still do. Right now I am involved in a philosphy class which is really cool, learning about Socrates and Plato and Epicurus and all these philosophical people. But I learned something recently: (I’ve had hints of this thought throughout my life, but something about last night and today really made it click.) You don’t have to have logic for everything.

Now, some people are wired for logic, and they may think I’m insane (and they would be right). I love logic, too, but I have found out that I am not wired to use logic in every area of my life. I’ve tried – for a good 90% or so of my life – and it has done nothing but cause me pain and hinder blessings from other people. See, the way my brain works is I have a free-spirited side and a logical side. I’ll conjure up some idea and I’ll either A) act on it (my free-spirited side), or B) think about it (my logical side). The free-spirited part of my brain wants to step out into adventure and do whatever “feels right” as if by some innate sixth sense. But the logical part of my brain wants to dissect each thought and think about it sideways and backwards and upside-down to work all the kinks out of it – to make sure there are no sharks before I step in the water.

In the past, the logical part of my brain would practically always win – it’s just the way I was. I figured I might as well be certain about things before I do them. After all, what was the harm in that? Surely it could only make me more certain to success, right? But what would happen is logic would never lead me to do good things; it would only rationalize my ill behavior. It would tell me how ridiculous and impossible my good thoughts were and how comfortable and blessed it was to reamin in the status quo – to stay inside my head. I never fully noticed this until essentially today and last night, though it has certainly also been a gradual awakening. I realized I was falling prey to the devil’s trap for me (or it might as well have been!) – the demon of logic.

Now I must stop and pause. I don’t at all mean to say that you can master your life by thinking or not thinking, for through this all it has been God’s hand at work in me. This time in my life has had the most Bible-reading and prayer than any other time in my life, I would dare say. I don’t mean that to say that I am anything but that God has been my everything; that in my weakness He has made me strong. Now I’ve heard that a million times, and a million times it has seemed to fail me. But all I can say is that God will make things clear to you, if you seek after Him with everything you’ve got – above family, above friends, above self, above money, above power, above fame, above all.

As Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” And Matthew 10:37-39, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” We’ve got to be willing to give up everything for the great pursuit of knowing Jesus Christ! For in giving up everything, we will find that we have more than we ever could have dreamed to have before.

And I have many more thoughts that have been sustaining me. To that storehouse of thoughts God continually adds new treasures of wisdom and reminds me of old gems. But I cannot speak of everything. In passing, though, don’t be afraid to become invested in God – with your time, with your emotions, with your body. Think about these things. Rejoice in God. Don’t confine yourself to rejoicing only internally, but if God has truly made you happy as the things of this life can make you happy (the sight of an old friend, a pay-raise in your job, a kind word, a triumph in a sport or game, etc.) – if you are really happy and joyous because of God, you might as well show it: let a smile light upon your face, let a kind word be spoken to a friend (or an enemy), let your thoughts be of triumphal delight and victory in Christ. Let your hands raise in praise to our God, let your knees bow before His awesome presense.

I do not say these things as a command, but as a frightening (yet possibly freeing) suggestion. For our minds and our bodies are more closely connected than we may like to think. I have thought in the past that if things aren’t logical, like emotions or feelings, then they have no part (or at most but a carefully monitored part) in my life. Yet not everyone can live that way, for God has shaped us all differently, and I am such a one – one of the free-spirited ones. Give me logic and I will thank you, but when it comes to living out my life, sometimes you don’t have to know the ins and outs of why you feel as you feel or why you think as you think. There are the thinkers, and there are the dancers. The thinkers work out their plans and with caution plan each step, and somehow beyond my understanding they do so with great success. But the dancers think and move and breathe in tune with some mystical gut feeling beyond what they can logically discern, and logical discernment in the heat of the moment will only mess up their flow and stifle their lives. I love deep thinking, but when it comes to living out my life…

I am a dancer.

So it is that today is February 5th, 2011, the day life made sense.