Thursday, October 16, 2008


God is good.
Yet oft what greets the mortal eye
Shouts in blurred tones of gray.
The white is lost amid the black
While twilight lingers
Refusing to surrender to darkness,
Squelching all hope of the dawn.

Irreconcilability raises its head in defiance
Of trite words
Spoken under glass steeples.
He holds the power
To shatter the facade of security
Allowing hope to drain away
Through the cracks
Of an ill-formed foundation
Within trial-worn souls.

Resolve to trust
Slowly erodes
At the sound of pain
And the wrench of injustice –
Reality twisting hearts to shreds.

Beneath the paper-thin facade
Of completeness,
Every mind questions –
Loudly and silently
Waiting and demanding,
Cringing at anticipated response,
Screaming in agonized anger,
Pleading for reality to be different,
For God to be good.

Time has never changed divinity –
Only perceptions.
Beyond the veils of pretense
Clay-covered Hands wait
To massage fractured lives
Into wholeness.

The Master Artist wields pain,
Using blood-infused mediums of the world
To paint beauty over scarred canvas.

Looking with eyes of flesh and bone
Within fog-laden valleys
Yields self-infused range of vision.
Injustice reigns on stone turned hearts.

Yet constellations pierce the haze,
Revealing inexplicable sanctuary
To determined eyes
Finding sight beyond the fog.
Timeless love shifts reality.
Shards fill the mosaic.
Goodness finds a home.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


When it comes to spending the little bits of time known as our lives, what is real significance? John Piper wrote, “Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort of every pain.” Wise words. But how are they lived out? There are as many answers to this question as their are souls walking upon this earth. I've had my days of dreaming big... I still do. There is no limit to where an adventure in God's kingdom may lead. But the more days that pass, the more I come to realize that the significance I am really longing for is found in the smaller moments rather than the grandiose. When I reach the end of my life, I want to be remembered for who I was, not what I did. So much significance lies in the eyes that smile acceptance, the heart that instills value from one heart to another, the hands that quietly serve, the hugs that quench the tears. Perhaps the most significant acts are the ones that occur quietly within the ordinary. Their arrival is not heralded or even recorded, but their impact is written within the hearts of those who needed it the most.

My mother has touched so many lives in so many invisible ways, I know I will never be able to understand a fraction of them. I am incapable of even understanding her impact on my life alone. When I thought about significance I thought about her. I thought if I reach the end of my bit of time and my significance looks anything like hers, then my life will be well spent. These are my thoughts and musings written down in honor of her today. Happy Birthday Mother. The world may not recognize your significance the way they should, but I do, and the generations of children to follow will be changed by your life. I love you.

Well-Worn Washings
By Danielle Metcalf... for my mother

Her hand fumbled in the dark recesses of the closet, groping for the well worn handle, while attempting to recall when last it was put to use. Four… five days? Could it have already been a week? What ever the span of time it was too long. The dusty footprints trailing through the kitchen and remnant spots by the stove of dinner a few days past were evidence of this fact, their defiant existence taunting her sense of self-esteem.
Her hand finally grasped the handle and tugged the mop out of the closet. It came with a touch of reluctance, snagging on the door hinge as if to savor one last moment of idleness. With an escaping sigh she paused as well and shared the moment. Each leant upon the other in silent commiseration. The woman often felt like the mop: dirty, ragged, overused. The worn bare spot on the handle reflected something within her own soul. They both faced a thankless task. Contented accomplishment paid his visits briefly at best and often skipped the engagement altogether. It was a task that insisted on being performed time after time, and it presented itself again now.
A small splash broke the silence of the reverie as both drudgerists dipped into their work with resigned determination. As the dusty footprints disappeared beneath streaks of water, the woman’s thoughts slowly turned from self-pity to contemplation. How many times had little feet raced across this laminated floor? Images invaded. Frolicsome games of chase filled with laughter. Fearful, evasive steps dreading the consequences of defiance. Dirty tear-stained cheeks searching for a source of comfort. This floor was the immovable substance beneath the feet of her home throughout good days and bad.
Her children were not the only ones it served. She thought of countless other pairs of feet that had graced and tromped over its surface: neighbors, friends, the postal carrier, sisters, cousins, the occasional stray dog, associates from her husband’s work, uncles, children, grandmothers and so many more. Tennis shoes, work boots, stilettos, slippers, rollerblades, sandals, dress shoes, and barefoot toes: they had all traversed the floor she was mopping. Did any of them even notice her efforts, the ones she wrought with callused hands and an aching back? Probably not. No one ever takes the time to notice a well-mopped floor. Its existence is accepted without thought or thanks. The only time the floor is noticed is when it hasn’t been swept clean. Hours and days of left-over debris suddenly make it visible. Only then is something said.
So why was she still mopping this floor? Why continue performing a task that never ends and no one seems to appreciate? Why not get rid of the mop? It sits in a dark corner of a closet buried by coats and jackets and the occasional cobweb. It doesn’t come out for show and make its presence known in the world. What would keep it from slipping into oblivion unnoticed?
The woman finishes the last few strokes and reaches to rinse the grime from the ragged end of the mop that has scraped an immeasurable amount of filth off of the floor beneath her feet. Some of its stains will never come clean. No one takes time to thank the mop for its efforts, for absorbing the grime that no one else wants to absorb so that little barefoot toes can tread with security across the laminated floor without bearing the marks of what should not be there. Yet despite its thankless existence the mop keeps mopping. Outside of its moments of silent commiseration it doesn’t dare to stop. Too much is at stake.
A child cries from somewhere in the house. The woman sets the mop back within the recessed corner of the closet and turns to face another set of demands. She stoops to absorb what no else will absorb and scrape away what should not be there as little arms reach for her outstretched hands. Though few may notice and fewer still will speak about her task, she dare not stop for the sake of those around her. The mop understands their shared significance. The rest of the world would too if her presence ever slipped into oblivion. Without the well-worn washings of her touch over our lives, the laminated surface of the earth would leave our barefoot toes caught in a built up, sticky mess.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

thoughts about a mountain

Majestically she stands, holding her regal head higher than the world of humanity. She is the air of confidence itself, the rocky foundations of her throne refusing to shift. Immovable they have remained since the great flood fashioned the contour of her form thousands of years precedent. She reigns, watching over the earth from lofty, cloud-kissed heights. At the base she wraps herself in a cloak of forested green fir, mothering the creatures of the wood to nest within its folds. Yet higher she climbs, to bare her heart and soul to the world, at an elevation where trees cease to breathe. Her peak wears thin between realms, providing a temple where earth reaches for heaven and pierces diaphanous skies ablaze with glory. Her presence draws the sojourner, challenging and inviting man to crest her utmost heights, to encounter God face to face. She rewards the arduous climber, gifting a vision worth every moment of strenuous pain required to scale her rocky pinnacle. There, content graces her head as a crown, invoking a sigh of satisfaction from each mortal man abiding in her company. Long she has been a student of Majesty, timeless, strong, wise. Long she will teach man of what is great, to any ear and eye poised to listen.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Every soul has a sound...

Every soul has a sound, a single note, resounding throughout one lifetime. It rises from the instrument of life to its climatic moment of articulation before fading from the ear of the world forever. Some notes are heard more distinctly than others, their fortissimo volume bringing their sound to the forefront of the drama. Other notes are softer, pianissimo, calm: gently caressing the senses with their nearly inaudible echo. Some notes last barely a moment, the mark of staccato jerking them away as soon as they materialize. Others hang on past their time, the fermata savoring and drawing out the duration till the very last moment. Between them lies a score of notes passing through the meter with regimented rhythm. They are heard, and then they are heard no more. Each note alone is insignificant. It cannot carry a melody. It cannot establish a rhythm. It cannot evoke an emotional response from the listening crowd. But let one note join with another… and another. Groups can waft melodies; nations create harmonies. Hundreds and thousands, millions of pitches can join together within the same time and meter to create a symphony, a masterpiece of creativity full of dissonance and resolution. Beauty is heard. The audience sighs. The conductor is pleased.

Every soul has a sound. Every life sounds one note. Millions of lives can create a symphony, wafting towards the heavens to the glorification of the Master Composer.