Happy To Be Alive

It’s a sleepy morning,

all is still and quiet.

The air is cool, but warming,

as the sun rises slowly in the sky.

 

A bird chirps here and there in the distance.

But for that, one hears only

the sound of their own gentle breath—

rising and falling in measured cadence.

 

It is easy to forget oneself this morning—

the mind drifts outward among the towering trees,

climbs up into their canopy of leaves,

and floats between the branches.

 

But something is stirring,

rising, awakening—

an invisible flow is coming,

trailing vitality in its wake.

 

Awake! Dreamer!

It is no longer time for slumber—

Life is come, and has arrived,

make ready your eyes and see!

 

Feel your pulse quickening,

and your heart begin to race,

as the surrounding world bends,

sways, and starts to dance.

 

Fresh scents from a distant place

fill the air: salt from the sea,

and the fragrance of roses—

hints of honeysuckle and mint.

 

Shadows and shifting lights,

flicker, fall and rise,

as clouds march overhead—

the day begins to tantalize!

 

Our senses all aquiver,

fluttering and darting,

like birds upon the wind,

happy to be alive.

 

~FS

Keith (A Man of Silent Sacrifice)

At just nineteen he took possession of a mighty B-17,

The Army Air Corp’s durable workhorse

Continental Europe’s liberating air force

The bomber known as The Flying Fortress,

He signed his name on the dotted line, to pilot this war-machine.

 

No longer a boy in forty-three, he took to the skies in battle,

On December 5 to Paris and back

Then Kiel, Ludwigshafen and Osnabruck

Ringing in the New Year over Cognac,

Five missions into a long campaign, he’s a man not easily rattled.

 

A man of silent sacrifice

Of the special ones who fly

Young men who defend us

War eagles of the sky.

 

A modest spiral notebook logs the record of his tour,

In columns, names and dates and years

No embellishments or fanfare

Thirty missions in European air,

A marathon of horror that most men could not endure.

 

The logbook doesn’t tell the tale of the courage, fear and loss,

Friends like brothers gone too soon

Flak and Messerschmitts at noon

In dense fog the barrage balloons,

Nor does it mention his receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross.

 

A man of silent sacrifice

Of the special ones who fly

Humble warriors who protect us

Liberators of the skies.

 

His was the lead position, throughout life as in the war,

Husband, father, grandpapa

Honor, duty, fidelity

Service was his earthly call,

Giving all on every mission, and leaving nothing more.

 

Upon his final flight from earth, the stars bright in the sky,

The moon casting the fields aglow

Cultivated row upon row

Stars above and stripes below,

Our nation’s banner, as God’s creation, enfolds him in its glory.

 

A man of silent sacrifice

Of the special ones who die

Our fathers who watch over us

The sentinels of the sky.

 

~FS

Love is the Price of Admission

God invited me to His Grand Symphony…

 

Who is God, you say?

I’ll try to tell you;

I hope you’ll believe me.

 

God invites us into total immersion,

within His creation.

He is setting the stage;

and requesting our participation.

 

How do we know it is God?

How do we know…

What is the price of admission,

to experience His show?

 

God Himself says He is love,

but how do we know?

 

To know, we must love.

To know God, we must love God.

 

How do I love what I do not know?

If we refuse to love Him, we’ll never know.

 

I heard once the opening notes,

of a Beautiful Song,

and they moved me.

 

I glimpsed then,

beneath my ordinary vision,

that I had lived wrong.

 

This is the opening,

and I’m sorry to say,

(but I know it is true)

this is the attitude,

that carries us through,

and brings us along.

 

With hat in hand, then,

I went off in search of,

the rest of The Song.

 

How astounding!

He showed me—

I can look, but not see,

I can listen, but not hear—

though His Music is abounding,

if I won’t turn, and perceive.

 

Turn and perceive.

 

Turn from deception and anger,

from pointing the finger,

turn from impatience and slander,

from merciless banter.

 

Turn to goodness and mercy,

to forgiving our enemy,

turn to living for each other,

to becoming a peacemaker.

 

If we will live no longer to deceive,

we will begin to live to perceive.

 

What’s more!

By stilling the turmoil of our emotions,

our enflamed desires and distractions,

peace descends upon our heart and mind,

enabling us,

finally,

to realize the Holy and Divine.

 

~FS

Vacation!

That magical time when something surprising,

and amazing,

happens in the world—

 

the air is suddenly fresher and more invigorating,

everything smells so good,

and the sun shines brighter,

and time…

what happened to time?

 

It no longer presses so hard upon us….

instead, it meanders,

like a path stumbled upon;

and we happily lose ourselves in this moment.

 

We are vacationing!

 

We are accomplishing nothing,

and yet,

we are satisfied in this,

more than anything.

 

This is the time, more than ever,

when we thrust open the windows of our mind,

and let the wind blow through our heart…

softening it,

gentleizing us,

and making us human again,

now more than ever—

 

we smile more,

give more,

forgive more,

and become more.

 

Vacation is a taste of paradise,

when we can feel the earth’s embrace,

and imagine heaven’s promise…

when we shine a little brighter.

 

~FS

A Perfect Morning

Christ is risen from the dead,

trampling down death by death.

And upon those in the tombs,

bestowing life!

 

He has healed the fragmented world,

torn asunder through sin.

He has restored the unity of creation,

and closed the breach caused by deception.

 

Christ is risen from the dead,

causing all to sing for joy,

brightening the newborn day,

with hope!

 

This is the day that the Lord has made,

it is a day which shall never end!

Let us rejoice and be glad in this,

for creation is created anew!

 

Christ is risen from the dead,

giving fallen man new birth,

casting out the dark of sin,

bringing paradise to earth!

 

Let peace and mercy dwell together,

our hearts be the dwelling place of love.

Christ has risen from the dead,

let us live in faith and hope!

 

Christ is risen from the dead,

this is the perfect morning!

Beginning of the brand new day,

and Light that is never-ending!

 

~FS

The Praying Mouse

Little mouse, little creature,

I saw you suffering in a wide field.

Forlorn and forsaken (you appeared to me),

head low, with back arched against the formidable sky.

The weight of emptiness seeming to bear you down,

your tiny body nearly invisible beneath the world’s expanse.

 

Little creature, little friend,

I recognized in your pain the throes of death—

your shallow, labored breathing,

your eyes tight against the waning light—

would that I could raise you when you die,

instead, I raised you on my finger.

 

And finding a safer shelter for your final slumber,

I lowered you again to earth,

and tucked you in, amidst the fallen leaves.

You lifted your head as if in gratitude, or in hope?

Do not hope in me dear one,

I am just like you, powerless and small.

 

Little comfort could I give, but I gave,

a whispered, gentle prayer for you and me,

while stroking your soft fur to soothe you.

And saying my farewell,

with one final touch upon your brow,

I left you alone there, returning home.

 

I brought you with me, yet, in my mind,

the icon of your helpless body,

fated to be gobbled up by death.

This image terrorized and numbed me,

disturbed my thoughts, and stirring up despair,

made me frantic to understand and know…

 

Is innocence meant thus to suffer so alone?

Why can’t life beyond the grave be truly known?

When hope and faith seem so misplaced,

while staring death straight in the face,

what spark is there,

to make them kindle, and to grow?

 

I made myself as you, little mouse, with head hung low,

I hunched down to the earth, and prayed to God with tears.

It was the Lord who soothed my deathly fears,

and calmed my troubled, despairing mind.

It is the Comforter Who touched me on my brow,

and it is He who filled my aching heart.

 

Foolishly I had looked, but hadn’t seen,

the Breath of Life which enlivens you and me.

The Holy Spirit giving comfort from within,

perceived through the eyes of contrition.

 

Little creatures, you and I, so small and lowly,

yet through our suffering we are raised, and then made holy.

Giver of life, come and abide in us, I pray,

save our souls, as we await Your eternal day.

 

~FS

Faith’s Beautiful Garments

Faith was beheaded and disembodied,

to an anthem of “Faith alone!” they cried.

Faith was removed far from human action,

in the name of God for our protection.

 

Now faith is a word and an idea alone,

faith’s garment for grace we now must bemoan;

is no longer clothed by works of loving,

her beauty no longer manifesting.

 

The demons laughing uproariously,

witnessing faith embodied take a knee:

Her potency now denied!

Her ontology now decried!

 

Without the fight for our divinity,

faith by necessity will atrophy.

Labors of love and ascetic action,

are our pathway with grace to salvation.

 

What human ever loved without doing;

what madness instead calls this condemning?

Man no longer desiring divinely,

directs his love to everything worldly.

 

Listen to the words of the Lord intoned:

“I love those who by My commands they do,”

but we who by our words of faith alone,

reveal us as the ones He never knew.

 

~FS