Monday, April 21, 2014

Adventures In Storage

As one who has moved a number of times over the years, I occasionally must plow my way through old packed boxes of papers and things that have become permanently “stored away.”  Last week I was doing this, looking for something I needed for the Lenten gatherings at church, when I happened across a booklet of poems I wrote when I was in college.  Of course, not only had I forgotten these poems, but it is strange to think I ever wrote poems at all.  As I perused these ancient writings, one stood out from the rest and took me back in my mind to the very day and scene that inspired it.  I was working for the electric utility in Wichita, it was summer time, and I was on a lunch break.  The day shift lunches were an hour long, so I was walking through a park along the Arkansas (in Kansas, it is pronounced “Ar-kansas,”) River when I noticed a very sad looking young woman sitting on a bench.  She was staring at a water fountain by the river.  When I returned to work, I couldn’t get her sad look out of my mind, so I wrote the following poem about what may have been going on in her thoughts.

She sat quietly for a long time
    watching the fountain,
    watching the fountain spray and flow
    while nearby the River ran deep.
Many people hurried across the plaza.
    They did not want to be late
    for work, or for an appointment.
But she watched the fountain.
It helped her to think
    about things
    that she would like
    in her life.
Things which maybe could ease
    her longing,
    her loneliness,
    her wish to be more real,
    and more honest.
But no one notices.
No one really knows her.
Oh, for Someone to share her longing!
    But they all just hurry
    and no one stops.
She just keeps watching,
    watching the fountain
    while nearby the River ran deep.
Hoping, wanting, praying
    that Someone will come,
    and make it all good.

There are so many people like I imagined this woman to be: isolated and lonely, yet still hoping that somehow her life could become meaningful and worthwhile.  In this poem I capitalized “Someone” to emphasize that only an encounter with God could bring the “good” that she was seeking.  We all stare at “fountains” in some form or measure.  And like this woman, we sometimes miss the abundance of God's love nearby, like the deep running river next to the fountain.  We are all looking for a person or an event that will give us a sense that life is truly good.   Only Christ can do this, and this is what the Easter message is all about:  that God has taken “notice” of us, has “stopped by,” and spoken to us words of love and affirmation. 

If this life-giving encounter is what you long for, then I invite you to immerse yourself in the love of God that comes to you in Jesus the Anointed One.  God's love in Christ knows no limits and is beyond all bounds.  God wants to touch your life and make it all good!

In Christ’s Peace,