ASHES TO ASHES

By Lisa Huddleston

Where have all the fall flowers gone,

Where are the mounds of oranges and reds,

The musty wet piles that covered our heads,

From which we erupted then remade our beds,

Where are the colors today?

 

I used to say that fall showed us how beautiful dying could be,

But now I fear I’m wrong.

This year the leaves drop without color,

Ashy gray skirts lie around empty trunks,

No beauty to the dying,

Just ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

Where have all the flowers gone?

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

Happy birthday to the best unconditionally loving husband and father I know!

 

 

By Lisa Huddleston

 

 

 

 

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

CONDITIONAL LOVE

CONDITIONS OF LOVE

TERMS AND AGREEMENTS

FOR RELATIONSHIPS THAT

LAST FOREVER

FOR SOMETIME

FOR TODAY

FOR THIS MOMENT

 

RELATIONSHIPS SHOULD LAST

ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT COME FIRST

MOTHER AND BABY

FATHER AND SON

SISTER AND BROTHER

 

BUT HUMAN LOVE IS NOT

UNCONDITIONAL

 

WE ALL WANT WHAT WE CAN GET

APPLAUSE, APPROVAL, ALLOWANCES

FOR OUR SELFISH MISTAKES

 

FOR NOW

FOR TOMORROW

FOR ETERNITY

 

UNCONDITIONALLY LOVING FOREVER

PNEUMA

 

 

 

By Lisa Huddleston

 

Lying on the space of rubber mat

Feet to the left and to the right

Both hands open at my sides

 

I breathe in His name

Keeper of my soul

Hold and absorb

He is the keeper of my soul

He does not need my help

 

Breathing out in prayer

I exhale

Help me to let go

 

Filling the the mercy seat between my cherubim hands and feet

 

Keeper of my soul

Help me to let go

Keeper of my soul

Help me to let go

 

Breathing in the physics of his name

Exhaling the disease of my lies

Treatments given by the Great Physician

 

Clear pneuma, no monia

Healthy breath, spirit, and soul

 

Namaste

TALK ABOUT SUFFERING HERE BELOW …

By Lisa Huddleston

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10)

Relationships can be hard. Truth.

And it can be especially hard when a relationship has trouble, and you find yourself with the inability to do anything about what’s causing the difficulty. At a time like this, I am thankful to have a Heavenly Father who knows my heart, sees my tears, and responds to my hurt with encouragement and good promises on which I can rest my weary head.

As you know, Chuck and I live on a fifth-generation family farm in Middle Tennessee with our mothers, cattle, cats, dogs, goats, ducks, and chickens. Besides our moms, other human family is often here as well, and we all benefit from the lessons that surround us in this nurturing place.

In the past few weeks, we have introduced 2 new goats and 4 new chickens to the menagerie. And although you often hear that “birds of a feather flock together,” it can take time for peace to be restored when newbies arrive. The lil’ girls are still running to hide from the mean old biddies who are used to ruling the roost, and the lil’ fellas in the goat field are taking a lot of pushing around from the bossy older guy they are now living with. Relationships can be rough.

Naturally, Chuck and I do our best to smooth the ruffled feathers when we are there, but the truth is that all we and the newbies can do is give it time and let the pecking order fall into place. As we know from bringing in others in the past, cats and dogs will find their own ways, and the same is true for new chickens and new goats. Time will do its good work. We can only wait.

I don’t know about you, but I find waiting to be one of the hardest things to do (or NOT do). I want to fix relationships that are broken. I holler at Blaise when he head butts the boys, and I run to rescue the lil’ girls when I hear squawking and see feathers fly. Do Blaise and the big girls care what I do? Heck no!

And the same is sometimes true for humans. When I see difficulties for others or especially when I feel that I am on the business side of a head butt, it is nearly impossible for me to sit down and wait for God to do his work. But He is reminding me that He is on the job, and I can trust Him even with the most heartrending relationship struggles. He will work all things together for good. He does hear my cries and see my tears. He will restore,  confirm, strengthen, and establish me. I have not been forgotten nor do I need to defend myself. At the proper time, He will exalt me from this humbling, and I can safely and confidently cast my cares on Him.

Thank you, Father, for squawking hens, for pushy goats, for words that salve a broken heart, and for your never-ending faithfulness.

So shall it be. Amen.

OF ALL BUT LOVE

Gripping tightly to invisible ropes leaves burns on sweating palms when all is finally let go

And by all I foolishly pretend to know the pain of such slippery surrender

But I have not lost a husband

I have not lost a home

I have not lost a faith

I have lost neither hope nor love

 

Yes there are days and weeks and months which feel as though I may

Grown children scatter making ways into unknown worlds

And because the bonds of love are strong they come

To remember grandfathers

To visit grandmothers

To share the burdens of graying parents and to help rearrange the furniture one more time

To eat the favorite foods, to walk the family farm,  and to sleep in familiar beds

 

But in time all will be released

Mothers and fathers

Husbands and wives

Children and children’s children

Some sooner and some later

Some with understanding and others through reasons never to be known

Our hands will let go, our grips will fail

 

And these three will remain:

Faith, Hope, and Love

And the greatest will always be Love

 

CORPORATE PRAYER

By Lisa Huddleston

For burning fires, for drowning floods
For washing sins away in blood
For sicknesses and hope for health
For joblessness and enough wealth
For aching sadness, for despair
For brokenness and for repair
For all these hopes and
All these things …

“Now let us stand and
Continue to sing”

 

(This idea popped into my head Sunday morning, October 15, 2017,  as both our curate and our worship leader used the same phrase following our time of congregational prayer: “Now let us stand and continue to sing.”  I thought of how difficult it is to sing in times of trouble, but how miraculous it is that as believers we can still do it! “By the rivers of Babylon … how shall we sing the Lord’s songs in a strange land?”)

 

TWO DEATHS AND DEGREES OF SEPARATION

By Lisa Huddleston

 

I held his hand for hours the day my father-in-law died

Not continuously but anytime others left that spot on the side of the bed empty

I jumped up to fill it

I hated for him to open his eyes and not see two eyes looking back

Understanding and showing compassion, giving honor to his final day of hard work

They said he wasn’t aware, but when I said, “I love you,”

He patted my hand

Releasing his still-strong calloused grip long enough to pat, pat, pat

He heard me and

He knew

 

 

When my father died I was not there

He lived two states away and the distance between us was great

When I did visit we made bawdy jokes and laughed with wide-open mouths and teary eyes, coughing and gasping and spitting out our love, trying to breathe

But in the end I could not talk on the phone

Not understanding his mumbled words, not knowing what to say, or how to bridge the gap

So when she begged me to call I didn’t

I wrote instead sending my final words by email for her to read to him in another voice

I could not go, I could not call, and I would not be there when he died

I hope he knew