Rescue Me

It’s been two years since I wrote this. I am no longer dissatisfied. My loved one initially progressed slowly but surely and distanced himself from the awful, rebuffed grave. Since then he is traveling fast and far from it — fully alive, healthy, safe, and journeying Earth with no end in sight. He has a hope and a future.

Cindi Gale

Depending on circumstances, different lyrics from this hymn assume prominence.

When I sense myself drifting, the following verse becomes my prayer:

Let that grace now like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee: Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it …

When I find myself in times of trouble, a different line serves as a distress call:

He to rescue me from danger …

For the sixth straight week, I have distilled this song and “The Lord’s Prayer” to short, simple prayers:

Rescue us from danger. Deliver us from evil.

This is a time when less is more, because a loved one had one foot, no two … no ALL of him in the grave. Before his fate could be finalized there, he was rescued — ever-so-delicately, ever-so-protectively, ever-so-tenderly — by the hands of our Father. He…

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To Have and to Hold

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. We are all familiar with this vow from Christian weddings.  

Most of us know people who have honored that vow. Couples who seem to have the best of luck, couples who seem to have the worst of luck — no matter what life throws at them, they endure it together.

We also know people who have not honored that vow. Couples who drift. Couples who are torn apart by life events, or infidelity or abuse by one or both partners. Couples who used to have “love is blind” vision of each other, whose casual comments warn of trouble:  “The way he chews his food grosses me out”; “She irritates the hell outta me” — those people don’t have the big issues to drive a wedge between them, so they resort to pettiness or imagination to justify their decision to leave.

But that’s people we’re talking about. Imperfect beings. Works in progress at best. I want to talk about God. Our Father. Our counselor. Our protector and caretaker. Our companion and confidant.

He is not an imperfect being. He is perfect. Stop right now if your subconscious projects onto him what you have experienced in humans. He is not human. He is God.

The common obstacle to believing his goodness, is the reality that all is not good on the Earth. Why are there landslides, earthquakes, droughts, starvation, murder, rape, theft? If he exists, why does God allow evil?

That I can’t answer. I’ve heard it explained that it began with Adam, but I don’t know that the origin of the fall of man explains it all for me. I don’t need to know the answer, because God’s spirit is accessible now; he is speaking and guiding, comforting and encouraging now. Today. I don’t want to compromise his presence available to me in the now, to pursue questions yet to be answered in all of time.

I don’t know so, so, so, so many things about this world we occupy, but I do know this:

God takes each person’s extended hand and holds it. Like people do in marriage. Or friendship. Or as a parent and child holds hands. As long as you are committed to him, he keeps holding on. If you push him away, or turn your back to him, he won’t push himself on you — he will honor your free will. But if you keep searching in the dark for his hand, you will find it. When you do, and cling to it, intending to hold it forever, know that in doing so you are in a covenant relationship with God.

Count on him to be faithful in all things. He makes that vow and will not break it. 

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, in death you need not part.  

 

I Will Lay Me Down

Cindi Gale

river strong current for blog, I will carry you. I will sustain you. I will rescue you.

” … I am he,
I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you
and I will carry you;
I will sustain you
and I will rescue you.”
Isaiah 46:4

For years I have been drawn to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”. Maybe it is his rich, deep voice. Maybe it is the sincerity in which he sings. I don’t hear Cash, I hear God speaking the lyrics to me. Listen. Hear his heart. Hear his promise. Believe it – He will do it.

“Bridge Over Troubled Water”

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When…

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Speak Life

Two years later, he continues to flourish.

Cindi Gale

I haven’t had much time to write recently. I may not have time for awhile. Most of the hours of my last two weeks have been spent in a teaching hospital, absorbing a barrage of information, flowing with the tides of emotion and complex medical crises I have had no control over.

Someone I love with all my heart is fighting for his life.

I remain ever-ready, often sleepless, doing all that has to be done.

It has not been all unwanted work. We are fortunate that time has been extended by the heroic efforts of an army of medical practitioners and support services. It has allowed me to hold the hand of this person I love. Feeling the warmth of his skin. Watching the beat of his heart. Valuing him. Treasuring him. Helping him with whatever he needs or wants.

ICU IV pumpsBecause we were told numerous times already his odds of…

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Those Who Wait

A year ago ago this decade-old geranium was near death. I didn’t have the heart to dispose of it, so I nursed it instead, giving it a new pot and fresh soil, proper watering, and the prime sunny spot in the garage for the winter.

It’s been on my porch all summer, but today I looked up from my reading and actually saw it. It has more blooms than ever before. Half facetiously, I anthropomorphized my geranium. I was happy for it in a way that a parent is glad to see their child who has struggled so terribly finally flourish.

But this isn’t about my awesome, resilient, over-achieving child geranium. Look closely at the picture above, and see what I finally noticed as I crouched with my camera, centering and getting the light just right. That’s my dog photo bombing my geranium’s fifteen seconds of fame.

She was waiting for me to throw a toy, as I frequently do from the advantaged, elevated level of the porch. She’s a border collie, a herding dog, bred to stay with livestock for hours and days on end. Patience is her virtue. Even her slinky posture as she waits is due to her breed: often cat-like, poised for speedy reaction.

I guess she was there in the yard, waiting in that position, for up to thirty minutes before I spotted her through my camera’s viewfinder. When I’d first noticed the geranium and stood to take its photo, at my feet was another of her Frisbees. She had obviously deposited it there before assuming her post in the yard.

She does this “waiting” both outdoors and in, anticipating my propulsion of any number of gnawed balls or discs. I oblige for awhile, then inevitably busy myself with chores or projects. An hour later when I finish my task, she is still there. Waiting. Focussed. Expectant.

Ponder this:  She’s waiting for me, not another person. So I respond to her. I throw the Frisbee, kick the ball, let her in, let her out, take her for a run when she’s fidgety from inactivity. If she took up her post at the periphery of our yard for passersby to notice, to come play, to engage with her, I would respond differently. I wouldn’t stop to attend to her, I’d keep on keeping on with my own thing.

If she put distance between us and had her back to me, searching for someone other than me to respond to her, it would be futile for me to attempt interaction. If she were oblivious to my existence, it would be pointless for me to attempt engagement; I would be throwing my efforts to the wind. She would be heedless to my affection, devotion, love, direction, caution, discipline, or teaching. If she was looking anywhere and to anyone besides me, I would have no reasonable choice but to continue my day independent of her.

But she doesn’t do that. She waits for me.

Because she waits for me, I take notice of her expectations. What does she want from me? What does she need? She’s looking to me to engage with her, meet her desires and needs … so it is I who responds.

It is I who studies her face and body language. It is I who learns her idiosyncrasies, her behaviors, the constants about who she is. It is I who steps in to keep her safe, to redirect her bad habits, to train her. It is I who has a plan in place to guide her to her potential.

It would be a shame for her, and a shame for those who will share her life with her, if I were to turn away when she looked to me.

I have “the sky’s the limit” in mind for her potential. She’s only a year old, so she’s far, far from that now, but I don’t expect her to be there yet. She can’t be there yet. She still has much developmental maturation ahead. I only expect her to progress, at the pace she can, toward her full potential.

I also don’t expect her to get there by herself. She can’t get there by herself. She needs my commitment to her, my patience, direction, repetition and consistent expectations. She needs me to provide opportunities to challenge her. She needs me to set her up for success. She needs me to understand that incremental successes rejuvenate, encourage, and motivate to take on the next challenge. She needs me to understand that too many failures will convince her “the ground is the limit” instead of “the sky is the limit”.

I am pleased to act on behalf of my dog who looks to me, who waits for me. I am committed to her for the long haul, for her lifetime.

How much more, then, would our Father commit to people? I include every person on Earth — we are all his if we look to him, if we turn from having our backs to him to having our faces to him.

If we have all our lives thought him “fictional”, but one day decide to consider him as “real”, and if we genuinely look to him to respond, he will. He may require us to wait a bit, to separate those who are sincere from those who are disingenuous, but he will respond at least in proportion to our degree of expectation.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV):  13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

If we give him more and more of our concerns and issues to address, he’ll respond even more — he is there to help as much as we expect him to.

If we give him all of ourselves to love, direct, caution, discipline, teach, transform, heal, rejuvenate, motivate, and fulfill, then he will respond beyond what we ask or imagine. With God, his hope and expectation for each of us is, “the sky’s the limit.” But we need him to get us there.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV):  11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Isaiah 64:4 (NIV):  Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

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The Road

“Life is difficult for those who have the daring to first set out on an unknown road. The avant-garde always has a bad time of it.” – Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, 1889

Those who trust enough to travel unknown roads sacrifice much. The road never-before-traveled is often isolating, desolate, and ensconced in darkness. Commitment to the road requires every ounce of available courage, perseverance, grit, restraint, fortitude, and faithfulness.

dark forest for blog

On the seemingly endless, trial-filled journey, depletion is inevitable. There comes a day when you find yourself flat on your face in the dirt, aware of the ruins of your life because of the road.

One more step is impossible. It’s then that you look up and see … light? aid? rest? No, a mountain where the path had been level.

And always, always there comes from nowhere a reason to peel yourself off the hard, cold ground and begrudgingly, resentfully, tearfully resolve to climb that damned mountain.

And so it goes on the unknown road until, finally, one day a flash of light reaches through the dense canopy. A few more steps puts the valley of darkness behind, and there before you … a destination not possible had you chosen the easy road.
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Sun. Hope. A river of life. An endless sky. A spacious horizon. Unobstructed footing.
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It is peacetime. Harvest time. Stake your claim on this, your promised land. Your capacity to cherish it is uncanny. Because of the terrible journey behind, you are well-equipped to manage your abundance. With gratitude. Patience. Tenderness. Generosity. Forthrightness. And wisdom.
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All because you dared to first set out on an unknown road.

DSCN1892, open horizon for blog