Thursday, March 29, 2007

113 Days, 6 Hours, and 11 Minutes....

Yes, the countdown is ON! It's actually been on for quite a while now in our household, but with the new cover art being released this week, we're all in a flurry.

What's it all about? Harry Potter, of course!

Yes, the Scholastic cover art for the seventh and last book was released this week. E has been hovering over, analyzing the details of the illustration as well as checking out the UK versions (both children and adult). All kinds of clues to the events of the seventh book abound: Why is Harry wandless? Is he in a coliseum/arena? Who is the creature on Harry's back with a dagger? Where is all the treasure located? What's the reflection in Harry's glasses? (Those last three stem from the UK cover art.)

E and I have gone around and around, guessing and surmising about the seventh book and what will happen. Will Voldemort be defeated? (YES!) Will Harry die? (Hope not, but how else will she avoid writing more HP books?) Will Hagrid die? Ron? Ginny? Hermione? (Not Hermione!!!) Will Snape turn out to be a good guy or is he as bad as he appears at the end of the sixth book? (I think he'll turn out good, much to my chagrin.) How will Dumbledore return? (I'm betting on the portrait or something to do with Fawkes, somehow.) Will Harry locate all the horcruxes? Will they return to Hogwarts at all? (Hope so, at least to visit Dumbledore's portrait.) What role will Draco play? Will he come over from the "dark side" and fight for what is right and good?

And I'm not even considering all the surmises and questions E haas related to me from Mugglenet....

The summer release of the Order of the Phoenix movie is thrilling, but it's the Deathly Hallows I can't wait for. After much debating, I've decided to let the speedier reader get the (already pre-ordered from B&N) book first. All I can say is that E had better read FAST (and keep her mouth shut!) until I can get my hands on it....

Also 'Tis the Season

Spring brings my favorite holyday, or should I say week?

I love Holy Week! After the contemplation (something I hope for but never quite attain with four children at home!) of Lent, the extra time in devotionals, prayer, confession, and God's Word, I'm ready (or as ready as I'm gonna be) to walk in Jesus' footsteps during Holy Week.

Palm Sunday isn't Palm Sunday without palms. Pastor Rollo started us off with palms about five years ago, and they've appeared most years. Before Rollo covered the aisle with palms, Palm Sunday was no different from any other Sunday, a fact that drove me crazy! So I'm hoping, even with Pastor Steve out of town, that someone will strew palm fronds around the auditorium. Fingers crossed and hoping hard....

On Wednesday, I hope to attend an instructional Passover Seder with Alpine Anglican. Last year we had one at Lake Murray that was tremendously well done, but this year our pastor and 15 other guys are on a missions trip to Idaho, so no Seder. Rollo had started us off with a Seder a few years ago, and I've found it has become an integral part of my Holy Week remembrances. The symbolism, the Scriptures, the connection between Old and New Covenants, it's all unbelievably memorable.

Maundy Thursday has always been a favorite Holy Week service. This will be the third time I've spent it with Alpine Anglican. The last time that Alpine Anglican had their lovely church building (which they lost when they left the San Diego Episcopal diocese), Father asked me to participate, and it was simply amazing to have my foot washed by the Bishop. I was in tears the whole time -- such a lovely, humble service, and exactly what our Lord commanded us to do. I'm looking forward to this service especially.

In the past, Good Friday has been an on-again, off-again thing at Lake Murray. Last year we had the Seder on Maundy Thursday and therefore no service for Good Friday except for the Biblical Stations of the Cross I set up. I will set up the Stations again this week, to be available Tuesday-Friday during Holy Week in the auditorium at Lake Murray. The year before that, we had a wonderful Good Friday service, complete with nailing our sins to a cross that Keith built; the reverberations of the hammer blows had almost everyone in tears as we heard and felt Jesus' suffering and death for US. Wow -- mindblowing! So last year and again this year, I'm planning on spending Good Friday with the Anglicans, perhaps even the noon ecumenical Stations of which Father Acker is in charge.

This year Lake Murray is having a Good Friday service at God's Extended Hand, the homeless shelter we serve at the first Friday of each month; they're also planning another nailing ceremony as well. But it's awfully far away -- over fifty miles. And I loved the Anglican service last year in Father Acker's dining room as we kissed the feet of the crucifix, remembering how Christ suffered and died for US. So humbling! Again, many tears here, but that's my specialty....

However, I have never attended a Saturday Vigil, and may attend this service with the Anglicans as well. On Easter morning, I would LOVE to attend both Alpine Anglican AND Lake Murray. As there's no Sunday School at Lake Murray, it's perfectly do-able, if Keith agrees. I would love to experience the different ways the Resurrection is celebrated in both churches, liturgical and evangelical. After all, it IS the best celebration in the Church Year, so let's truly CELEBRATE, for He is risen indeed!

Aah, Holy Week! The high point of the Christian Year!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

'Tis the Season...

For dancing!

Yes, the new season of "Dancing with the Stars" is underway, and E and I, as always, find ourselves spellbound by these non-dancers who become so good so quickly. This season, E has a new appreciation of their hard work as she has been taking ballroom lessons through the California Junior Cotillion since last October where she learned the waltz and the East Coast Swing.

If the women's dresses were a bit more modest, it would be the perfect show. Of course, the rub comes when the results show runs at the same time as our all-time favorite, "House M.D." So "Dancing" was recorded but not watched last night, and this morning, to our horror, we found that Paulina was voted off. Now, E and I really liked her. Admittedly, she was a bit "stiff and starchy" as Len, the head judge, stated, but she was so lovely and had much more potential than Clyde or Billy Ray, neither of whom should last long, in my humble opinion.

My favorite is Apolo; his speedskating doesn't necessarily translate well into dancing, but he's got great rhythm and style. Right now he's in third place in the judge's voting, and I think he'll move up. E's favorite is Heather, whom she admires for dancing with a definite disability; I think the back walkover really impressed her this week.

Now that Cotillion is finished until next fall, I suppose I should find my girl some more ballroom classes. Google, here I come....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Time for Resting on the Rock

This past weekend was our church's women's retreat, held here at the Bible Camp in our small town. So a goodly number of our church women came trooping up the mountain, ready for anything. My friend Sheri, who lives here in town, came for the second year. Our speaker, Judith, is a dear friend of mine and also a resident of our town.

It was a lovely time -- so lovely, in fact, that words seem absolutely inadequate. My favorite part, besides being enthralled by our very gifted speaker, was spending four hours alone, writing in my journal, catching up on my devotionals, reading and responding to an excerpt from my Lenten devotional by Julian of Norwich. Becoming slightly sunburned as the sun warmed my face, I relaxed in my aged striped beach chair, bare toes snuggling into the green lawn, writing desk (courtesy of dear Kitty) on my lap, ink and dip pen balanced perfectly as I wrote.

It's so seldom that I get time to write like that ... uninterrupted by small people who need me or who need a referee for a quarrel. That's heaven on earth to me right now: silence and solitude. Not that I didn't thoroughly enjoy our fellowship: we laughed and yelled over Catch Phrase; we acted out Bible stories in charades; we cried together as we worshiped; we sang hymns and praise songs with passion and devotion. It was the perfect balance of fun and fellowship, of silence and laughter, of exhortation and practical jokes.

Now if only I could do so once a month....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

E's Last Dance

E just finished her six-month course with the California Junior Cotillion with a "Sock-Hop" style Spring Dance. Learning the "East Coast Swing" has been both fun and challenging, with different moves like the outside-inside turn, the crossover turn, the transfer, the "slide" and finally the "washing machine." Here she's dancing again with Travis, the same guy whom we pictured from the Winter Ball. He's one of the better dancers and is tall enough for E to dance with easily.

E is wearing one of my mother's formals from the late '50s; it runs a little short on E as she's a few inches taller than my mother, but Mom was glad to lend it to her for the occasion. I'm sure glad we keep formal dresses in this family! The other girls were mostly wearing poodle skirts and looked straight out of "Grease." But E was a step above, and made a lovely picture as she twirled and swirled around the 1920s-era ballroom at the San Diego Women's Club, the very club to which her great-great-great grandmother belonged.

History repeats itself more often than we know....

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Another Gardening Day...

These two weeks of 80-degree weather have spoiled me completely. Usually March sends our small mountain town our deepest snowfalls. But this March has me outside almost every day, watering my garden and trying to get what's left of out poor beleagured lawn to green up.

So this afternoon I planted my herb garden around my bird bath: sage, lavender, peppermint and spearmint, English thyme, French rosemary, and plain parsley (cilantro). The curled parsley I planted two years ago keeps popping back up, and it's doing nicely now, as is a large patch of thyme and a few other kinds of lavender. I also planted a few perenial flowers to create a little color as well.

As I drove through town on my way to visit Judith and pick up a library book, I saw so many people out in their yards pruning, sweeping, gardening, or at least doing something to their yards.

It's definitely that kind of weather. Even the daffodils are yielding to real springtime.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I Hate Loving Literature

I become so affected by the literature I read. I get a gut-wrenching emotional reaction to some books such that I become almost physically ill while reading them -- that's why I possess no Stephen King or other horror literature (besides Poe). Two books have caused me special grief: George Eliot's Mill on the Floss and William Golding's Lord of the Flies.

I was reading Eliot's story of Maggie, a wonderful character, while vacationing in Hawaii. My parents took Keith and me to Waikiki with them to celebrate our fifth anniversary. It was the summer between my first and second years of graduate school, and as I hadn't read anything by George Eliot, it seemed like a good time to fill in that gap. (Little did I know I would be subjected to Middlemarch the next year, nicknamed by my class as Middlecrawl.) Anyway, I was reading along, enjoying the book and sympathizing with Maggie all the way. Finally, love seemed just around the corner for her as I came to the final pages. And then George Eliot wrote the unthinkable: on the second-to-the-last page, she KILLED OFF Maggie -- MY character drowns in a flood, of all things. In hysteric tears at 3 AM, I threw the book across the room where it collided with the closet door and slumped to the floor, waking my husband as I dissolved into tears of anger. "How could she?!" I cried into his shoulder. "How could Eliot kill off Maggie like that?!" My husband forbade all but the tamest mysteries for the rest of the trip.

Then there's the kicker. I read Lord of the Flies once in high school, and I was sure that was enough. I hated the book, and my high school English teacher pulled a few stunts that made me remember the book in all its ugly "glory" for years afterward. Then, horror of horrors, it was assigned again in my college English novel course. I remember sobbing as I read it, hating every word that slid beneath my eyes. When I finished the horrid thing, I tore the paperback in half and the next afternoon I handed the two halves to Dr. De Saegher, declaring, "I will never, ever, ever, EVER read this book AGAIN."

Famous last words.

Fast forward twenty years. Last fall, I received the reading list for the Slingshot, the high school English subscription I write for Brave Writer. Each issue contains dictation passages from a short story or occasional novel (two novels per year), plus a poetry section and a writing idea. Imagine my shock in seeing Lord of the Flies slated for April. I wrote the owner, Julie, mock-complaining about having to teach that terrible book, and she offered to do it if I really couldn't handle it. I assured her that I could manage, and the school year proceeded as usual.

Until this week, that is. On Tuesday I checked out a copy of the book and started reading it. By the third and fourth pages, I was beginning to feel queasy. I felt increasingly more sick at heart with each page I turned. Before I reached the end of the first chapter, I had slammed the book shut, in tears. WHY? Because I have three boys in the age bracket of the boys in the novel? Partly. Because I have a faint remembrance of the awful things that will happen in this book? Partly. Because I hate what this book says? Mostly.

I e-mailed Julie, again in tears, asking if her husband could possibly write the novel portion of the Slingshot as the deadline was two weeks away. She replied that she didn't have time (which I knew -- writing a Master's thesis is hard work!) and that her husband didn't know the format. Could I please write the subscription without rereading the book? She was very understanding about literature putting those of us who love and study it in knots. Meanwhile, I was feeling guilty for backing out of my assignment, something I just never do.

So I'll try to do this. I will try to write and teach on a book I despise without rereading it, without making myself ill over it, without revealing to the subscribers how I really feel. It definitely won't be my best work, but it will have to do. I just hate how much I get involved in the world of literature. It makes me appreciate Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series even more than I usually do; in his books, the literature is REALLY REAL.

Which makes a load of sense to me.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mountain Spring

Yes, it's SPRING! Here are my daffodils for proof:

That lovely poem by ee cummings always sings in my heart during this time of year:

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful....

The meadow outside our gate is green and glowing. The daffs are beautiful in their profusion (the above photo doesn't quite do them justice), and the roses are sending out baby red leaves. The pansies are growing back a bit after the rabbits' foraging, and I'm watering the dirt, hoping (most likely in vain) for a lawn -- or at least something green -- to grow back after the ravages of construction and a very hot autumn.

I've been outside nearly every chance I get lately -- who can resist temperatures in the 80s in mid-March?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Movie Day

This afternoon, E and I met up with the Alpine Anglican crowd at the mall to see the film Amazing Grace. The story of William Wilberforce, the man responsible for abolishing the slave trade in Great Britain around 1800, it was superbly acted by a stellar cast, including Ioan Gruffuld of Fantastic Four fame, Michael Gambon who plays Dumbledore in the latest Harry Potter films, Albert Finney as John Newton, Ciaran Hinds, Rufus Sewell, and other stellar actors. The story was touching, so touching that I was in tears by the end (not uncommon, mind you). What a lovely film about faith, hope, and love -- and truly, the greatest of these is love.

Tonight, Keith, E and I settled down and watched our Netflix selection, The Illusionist, which included Rufus Sewell from the above movie. Keith had it figured out well before the revealing point, and I didn't figure it out until just before. It was a lovely movie, set in 1900 Vienna, about illusion, love, and power. The ending is a triumph.

I watch so few movies that watching two in one day is quite a feat, plus I believe that today's theatre film is the fifth of 2007 -- more than I've seen in the theatre over the past two years combined.

Both movies are highly recommended -- and do NOT miss Amazing Grace. It's everything a movie should be. (I'm watching Ferris Bueller on TV as I type this, so I know what I'm talking about!)

Friday, March 9, 2007

A Pianeee

Yes, today I bought a piano. For a hundred bucks. Thanks to our small town rumor mill, the boys' piano teacher mentioned yesterday that the Bible Camp across the meadow (two miles away) was selling the pianos in their conference rooms in order to purchase keyboards instead. Well, the boys are definitely outgrowing their borrowed keyboard in their lessons, but I only had my BraveWriter paycheck. I didn't want to spend all $225, if at all possible.

Sheri came over to the camp with me since their piano is unplayable, and we were told that we could have any of the eight pianos for a $100 donation. We fist checked out the ones where our church usually holds the women's retreat (Joan, our church pianist, will be quite upset to see the large piano in Windfield Hall go as she always makes it sing for us -- loud and strong). The small room next to Winfield has a small Wurltizer, shiny black and compact. The other pianos were all huge -- I loved the looks but couldn't really fit them into our living room. So after a quick call to Keith, I wrote a check and we'll pick it up on Monday. So, we now have our own piano for the first time! The other piano we had for ten years was borrowed, and the owner asked for it back just as we were moving to the mountains, so the timing to give it back was perfect. Sheri's husband will go look at the pianos tonight or tomorrow and see which one he wants since he's the musician of their family.

So now the boys have a full set of keys to play, and I have further motivation to learn myself as I much prefer pianos over electronic keyboards. How I wish I had more hours in a day to do all I want to do and learn!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Lenten Reflections

As I was reading my book for Lent, Devotional Classics edited by Richard Foster, I was again impressed and encouraged by the passage by St. John of the Cross. He lived from 1542 - 1551 and was on the cutting edge of reform within the Catholic Church. His most famous work, The Dark Night of the Soul is one I wish to read in its entirety.

In this excerpt, St. John of the Cross claims that as God draws certain persons from a "beginning stage to a more advanced stage" of spiritual depth, "such souls will likely experience what is called 'the dark night of the soul.' The 'dark night' is when those persons lose all the pleasure that they once experienced in their devotional life. This happens because God wants to purify them and move them on to greater heights."

Why would God do this, I ask? St. John gives several reasons: secret pride in their diligence in their devotions; spiritual greed in being attached to the feelings they get from their devotional life rather than being attached to God; spiritual luxury which is caused by physical pleasure, the devil, or fear of impure thoughts (I don't really understand this one fully); spiritual wrath in not being transformed immediately by the devotional life (not becoming "saints in a day,"); spiritual gluttony in which people become addicted to devotions and strive to obtain more and more of it; spiritual envy in others being praised for their "holiness" more than themselves; and finally, spiritual sloth in which once the "dark night" begins and the person, receiving no pleasure from the devotional life, loses interest in both their devotions and in God Himself.

Basically, St. John states that "... the feelings we receive from our devotional life are the least of its benefits. The invisible and unfelt grace of God is much greater, and is beyond our comprehension.... For true spirituality consists in perseverance, patience, and humility." For those of us (and I include myself) who do our devotions for our sake (pleasure) than for His sake (true worship), "[t]he Lord heals such souls through the aridity of the dark night."

God is urging us to "grow up" spiritually. St. John concludes this section by saying, "Through the dark night pride becomes humility, greed becomes simplicity, wrath becomes contentment, luxury becomes peace, gluttony becomes moderation, envy becomes joy, and sloth becomes strength. No soul will ever grow deep in the spiritual life unless God works passively in that soul by means of the dark night" (emphasis mine).

As I read this, I perhaps see now why my life sems to allow so little time for devotions. I AM indeed pursuing my own pleasure, my own consolation, my own peace, rather than worshiping the Lord as He so richly deserves. I'm doing it for ME, rather than for Him. And while I pine for more time for devotions, perhaps I'm desiring the devotions for the wrong motivations. I can't say I'm going through a "dark night" (I have in the past), but I must say that if "a dark night of the soul" will mature me spiritually, then "Thy will be done."

Monday, March 5, 2007

Spring Is Springing...

It's one of those priceless days: when spring first peeks her head around the corner of the house and winks mischievously. Yes, last week we had two inches of snow on the ground, and today is was just over 70 degrees, with the first warm, lush breeze of growth in the air.

I looked out the window as we were schooling today, and the meadow outside our back fence is green with promise. Most of the year it is either brown or purple or white; now it is the first shy green we see in early March.

Sheri presented me with a fragrant pink hyacinth today, in honor of my birthday (and a single-soze bottle of merlot, but that's for later enjoyment), and it's sweetness is another promise of spring. I walked around holding the small potted flower, breathing in its scent with almost every breath. I finally watered it and laid it on the window sill. I know the perfect place to plant it when it's spent all its glory.

The warmth of the day demanded a watering of the flowers. Although I inwardly curse the wascally wabbits who so enjoy my hard work, I see red beginning to peep out of my tulip leaves. I still need to cut back two roses (put that on this week's list!), and much weeding needs to be done, but the primroses are spreading out across the beds as planned and hoped for. The lavender and thyme that I hacked back a few weeks ago are showing promise of new growth. The roses aren't forthcoming yet, nor are the lilacs or the irises, but my first daffodil is blooming in the back garden, and all the rest are ripe and ready to open this week. The yellow is showing through the pale green, and they look plump and ready to pop -- almost like a woman in her ninth month. And Keith will plant our peach tree tonight.

The first day of open windows .... The first daffodil .... The scent of hyacinth in my living room where the sun is streaming in, warming the bones and the heart ....

This is what spring is about.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

A Gem of a Blackadder Moment....

Last weekend the kids and I watched Blackadder: Back and Forth which E and I had seen at Vera's over the summer. The gist is that the modern-day Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson) has Baldrick build a fake time machine from Da Vinci's plans to con his friends by betting on whether he could bring back certain items form the past (from his very full basement, for which there is a trapdoor under the so-called machine. Well, the machine actually works, and Blackadder and Baldrick go back in time to visit some of the high points of British history, including running into Shakespeare (played by Colin Firth, one of my favorite actors). E and I slowed down the DVD and I made a transcript of the scene for your enjoyment and mine.

[Blackadder and Shakespeare collide in a hallway; Shakespeare's papers fly everywhere, and Blackadder helps him collect them. Blackadder then holds up a piece of paper on which "The Tragedie of Macbeth" is written. As both men come to their feet.....]

[Blackadder punches Shakespeare HARD in the face; Shakespeare falls to the floor.]

Blackadder: And that's for every schoolboy and schoolgirl for the next 400 years! have you any idea of how much suffering you are going to cause? Hours spent at school desks trying to find a single joke in A Midsummer's Night's Dream? Years wearing stupid tights in school plays and saying things like "What ho, my lord" and "Oh, look, here comes a fellow talking total crap as usual...."

[Blackadder kicks the still-down Shakespeare]

Blackadder: And THAT is for Ken Branagh's endless uncut four-hour version of Hamlet.

Shakespeare: [still sitting on floor, replies dazedly] Who is Ken Branagh?

Blackadder: I'll tell him you said that. And I think he'll be very hurt.

Obviously it's much more enjoyable to watch it, but the lines are so keen. I am a fan of all three: Blackadder, Shakespeare, Colin Firth, and Kenneth Branagh. Wait, that's four ... ah, well.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

A Small Grrrr...

A couple of weeks ago, I planted some frost-resistant flowers in my garden: lots of pansies, stocks, tulips, etc. Today, after a week of rain and snow (we now are experiencing VERY high winds, the kind that shake the house and keep us awake all night), I went out to see how my pretties are doing.

I have one word to say: RABBITS.

The cute little fluffy things with their adorable white fluffy cotton tails have been feasting BOUNTIFULLY on my little garden efforts. Most of the pansies now have naked stems sticking up where purple and yellow blooms used to be. The pale pink stocks -- my favorite scented flower -- are now nude stems, devoid of all leaves and flowers. I didn't dare peep into the back garden, where I am planning to work a bit tomorrow, because I am terrified to see how the lavender is doing. Fortunately, the daffodils and tulips have not bloomed yet, although from their looks, I'll be seeing pale yellow daffs sometime next week.

I love my garden, but the critters frustrate me! Cute and cuddly they appear, but WATCH OUT! They are simply waiting for my back to turn so they can dine sumptuously on my lovely blooms. The gardener's BANE (besides aphids, moles, and weeds) must be those cute little white tails I saw in the swing of our headlights as they scattered across the lawn last night.

What can a gardener do? (Besides getting out a BB gun, I mean....)

Today Is My Birthday (da da da-da da)

Today I turned 41. I woke up to birthday hugs from the boys and my girl, to handmade cards and sweet gifts from them: a dip pen and ink set from B&N from the boys and a necklace/earring set from E. Margo gave me a bouquet of yellow daffs and rosemary yesterday, along with cards from her, Judith, Denise (who shares my birthday), along with more cards from family and friends, including one from a very special friend in Australia. I also was wished a Happy Birthday from the LampPost, a very cool Internet community.

I took the boys to Healing Service at Alpine Anglican with me, then dropped them at the office to do school with Keith and E. I then ran an errand and popped over to my dear friend Kitty's house, and we went to lunch at the Village Garden in La Mesa Village. We had such a lovely time, talking literature, family, relationships, past work experience, etc. She may even have convinced me to read Shaffer's Equus. She gave me a writing desk and encouragement to keep on writing; it's perfect for storing the calligraphy inks and pens the kids gave me this morning.

After lunch, I headed to Barnes and Noble and the adjoining Starbucks, where I spent a pleasant two hours ALONE with Foster's Devotional Classics, my journals, and Judges 21 and Ruth 1 for Bible Study. What a precious time alone with Jesus! I came home to find several birthday cards in my e-mail box and a nice birthday card from my pastor, and Keith brought home flowers and a card as well.

Keith, E, and I looked for a digital camera at Circuit City; they no longer carry the one Keith wants to get me in store; we'll have to order it. We saw Music and Lyrics, which was a sweet romantic comedy and then had a late dinner at Chili's, where I splurged on barbecued ribs and a chocolate shake for dessert.

I had a lovely birthday -- simply wonderful.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

A Meditation

In poetry form -- a freewrite:

Swirls of gold
light the darkened room,
flickering against white walls.
Folding my hands properly,
my gaze lights on
an image, colorful against the plain wall.
Pure white robes flowing about Him,
He descends into Hades,
grasps the hands of the
first Man and first Woman
with saving Grace.
God's Creation, so sinful
so selfish, so blind --
rescued by Him who
is, was, and ever will be
pure, selfless, and perfect.
The relief etches into Adam and Eve's faces
as He reaches down to them in their despair,
as He destroys the gates of hell and
crushes Death under His feet --
determination folds His face as He draws them upward
into light and hope.
And relief pours into me
as I, this cracked, empty vessel
with broken handle and crazed enamel
am filled with His presence
in the golden light of a single candle.


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