Keep On

I don’t know who wrote this poem but it seems appropriate for this season. I get a little down when summer is gone and autumn is starting to fade away, too.  I hate to see the daylight hours dwindle, the evenings get so dark so soon, the winds blowing strong day after day.

I don’t know about you, but I’m hit by a lot more more blue moods in fall and winter. So I find it’s good to have a verse like this memorized for times when my ooomph has deflated and I’m feeling there isn’t much hope for improvement.

KEEP ON

You’ve tried and failed and down you tumble.
Your get-up’s gone; you sit and grumble.
The path of life’s just curves and hills;
the weather brings you coughs and chills.
But keep on trekking and you’ll get
to valleys full of sunshine yet.

Hiker + quote

HOPE: Our Life’s Anchor

Fandango’s one-word  prompt yesterday was ANCHOR.

When I saw that word I sat down and let my mind — and fingers  — contemplate the subject. I came up with this writing before we left for church, thinking I’d have time to post it sometime during the day — but then our day turned out quite full. Anyway, here are my thoughts.

And now I can work in Fandango’s latest one-word prompt: FRAGILE,
An anchor cannot be a fragile thing. It hooks among the seabed rocks close to the shore and holds on for dear life. The anchor, and the line that holds it to the ship, are responsible for the lives of all those on board. Anchors and ropes are tested to be sure they’ll stand the strain.

When I saw the word ANCHOR, I immediately thought of that line in the old hymn, Whispering Hope.
“Hope, as an anchor so steadfast….”

Isn’t that the truth! Often the quality of our life is wrapped around HOPE:
the sick live with the hope of better days ahead,
the depressed carry on in the hope of brighter times to come
the poor live in hope of finding financial stability
the destitute live in hopes of a home, or at least a safe location
those who believe in a merciful Creator hope for an eternal reward
the grieving embrace the hope that their loved ones are in a better world now, or at least no longer suffer
and almost everyone lives in hope of finding and maintaining love, friendships, family ties.

Like an anchor keeps a ship from drifting off course in a storm, so hope keeps us heading in the direction of our life-goal, keeps us from being blown off course by gales of circumstance.

Hope anchors most of our actions; without it our days turn into a pointless, emotion-driven meander. Should our hope be a fragile thing, should it break as soon as adversity comes, courage usually fails and our ship might be tossed on a wild sea before we land in a quite spot again.

In extreme cases depressed people curl up in a fetal position and die. Mentally, people crawl into a shell when they’ve lost hope. Physically they cease to take care of their bodies and often fall into substance abuse.

An ANCHOR we need in this turbulent world
— and HOPE is a vital part of that anchor.

When Jesus walked this earth, He offered this promise: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls…” (Matt 12:29) He knew that finding this “rest for your souls” — peace of mind, freedom from guilt and fear — is one of humanity’s greatest needs. One of the best anchors in life.

He didn’t come to offer a guilt-riddled set of rules. (For some reason we humans naturally tend to gravitate towards religious systems that offer heaps of Dos and Don’ts.) Neither did He come to promote the freedom to do whatever we want, without conscience, using and stomping on other people to fulfill our own desires.

On second thought, He did give us some rules:
Turn the other cheek. Go the second mile. Forgive. Don’t hold grudges. Freely give. Respect your elders. Show kindness to the widows, orphans, and strangers among you. Don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t make rules for other people that you can’t even keep yourselves.

Most people seem to know that these are good rules. that they’ll give folks a happy, stress-free life such as we all hope for.

One more thing about HOPE: It’s one of those beautiful “multiplying” qualities: a person can freely offer their hope to others without diminishing their own supply.

Has someone shared HOPE with you lately? Have you shared yours?

Poetry That’s OPEN

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today is OPEN

For some reason this started my mind down the trail toward the meaning of poems. You know how some poems are so open, it’s easy to follow the writer’s thinking? These are called ACCESSIBLE poems — I suppose because the reader can access the poet’s meaning.

Which, in my mind, is a great idea!

Once in awhile I come across a poem I simply can’t make heads or tails of. (Okay. That’s a cliché. I’m old-school.) I’d read the words over a few times and they seemed so random, like the poet jotted down whatever phrases came into his head re: a certain topic. They say this gives ample room for the reader’s interpretation, but I’m lazy that way. I don’t want to have to interpret — I want to understand. To each his own, I guess. (Another cliché?)

Anyway, I set out to write an example of an inaccessible poem, I fear I’ve failed? What do you think? Can you access the meaning in this poem?

Seagulls shrieking, swooping
above the sun-washed sands
where we stand awhile
dreaming among the swells
too bright, too bright.

This spot we claim today,
hope to see our future roll in—
with riches from a far land—
but the bank shifts beneath our feet
like the gulls can’t be restrained,
nor tamed, but drifts away
too soon, too soon!

Scores of scavengers hover,
searching out the debris
we leave behind when we go,
fragments exposed by erosion
we break and are broken on,
too sad, too sad!

The endless breakers wash over
the footprints we leave behind,
still we hurry through this world
of foamy dreams — this beach
we’re tossed upon but once —
too naive, too naive!

The Golden Chance

by Edgar Guest

There is in life this golden chance
for every valiant soul,
the un-penned poem or romance—
the undiscovered goal.

Beyond the sum of all we know
and all that man has done,
life holds a never-ending row
of glories to be won.

Still waits the canvas for the paint,
the paper for the pen;
still searches Faith to find a saint
among the ranks of men.

Though man, it seems, has traveled far
along achievement’s way,
his conquests and his triumphs are
but splendors for a day.

In all that is of paint and print,
and marvels which we see,
life gives us but the faintest hint
of splendors yet to be.

On still untraveled roads of fame
the feet of men shall climb,
far nobler goals than ours to claim
from the rich lap of time.

Unreckoned genius yet unborn
undreamed-of deeds shall do.
Night ends the old; with every morn
life bids us start the new.

From the Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

A Man Who Can

One summer my daughter and I found a nice “pick-your-own” strawberry patch and came home with half a dozen baskets of berries to put in the freezer. For some reason shasta daisies were blooming among the strawberry plants; when we loaded up our loot, my daughter picked a couple of these and tossed them in with our berries.

Once home we were soon occupied with stemming and preserving strawberries and the flowers were forgotten until the evening; by then they looked pretty limp. My first thought was to toss them out, but I decided to trim the ends, put them in water, and see if they would revive. An hour or so later I checked them and was pleased to see them looking “fresh as a daisy” again.

I thought of the song that says, “I can’t take a heart that’s broken, make it over again, but I know a Man Who can.”*

Do you sometimes feel as limp, neglected, and unwanted as a trampled flower? Here’s some great news: the Lord can restore people as well as flowers. And this isn’t just a temporary boost, where we droop and die again later. When we put ourselves into His hands, He promises to be a flowing well of water in our lives:

“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water (from Jacob’s well) shall thirst again:  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 4:13-14

Not only singly, but in twos and threes as well—in fact, He gives special attention to family groups. Relations between husband and wife, parents and children, former friends, in-laws, all can be revived and rebuilt by a better plan. “I know a Man Who can!”

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. — Matthew 19:26

(*Song written by Jack Campbell and Jimmy Davis)