Totally Bent

One step closer,

nothing to prove,

one step closer,

to you, Lord.

One step farther,

away from this world,

one step further,

towards you, Lord.

I’ve done what they wanted,

and what they required,

from all that I’m totally through.

Now Lord, I’m coming to you.

Oh, your night smells so sweet,

though my days were well spent,

but its time now to put up my feet—

towards heaven I’m totally bent.

I’m happy to shed all the things I have gathered,

so happy to give them all up,

the duties and all of the ways I have labored,

all fade as You gather me up.

Gather me up Lord, yes please, gather me up,

I’ve nothing to prove here, its true.

Everything vanishes from view,

Each step, I take closer to You.

~FS

Peace So Elusive

Spinning, spinning,

round and round,

a dog chasing his tail,

is no way to be,

no way to find it.

Hiding, hiding,

its all around,

a blind man wails,

no light to see,

no light to find it.

Falling, falling,

down and down,

a nature so frail,

no hope in us,

God help us find it!

Stopping, stopping,

slowing down,

a corrupt mind assailed,

no thought is free,

no thought can find it.

Breathing, breathing,

turning round,

a world to bewail,

no longer to agree,

unwillingness to find it.

Praying, praying,

bowing down,

a Savior to hail,

in Him is peace,

The Way to find it—

Peace so elusive.

~FS

Keep Seeking

It is better to seek,

even if we do not find,

than to never seek at all.

It is better to keep seeking,

even though we do not find,

than to give up the search entirely.

It is better to wait upon the Truth,

than to grow impatient and then,

to populate our mind with illusions.

It is better to keep waiting,

and to exercise our hope,

than to grow indolent upon deceptions.

Even if our soul were to indulge a thousand years upon the fat of this land—

Still, it would languish and fall faint, for lack of spiritual nourishment.

Though our seeking may appear fruitless, and our waiting unfulfilled—

Seeking and waiting reveal their inner mysteries, and by these we are continually renewed.

~FS

Mantlepiece Theater Episode 2: The Isle of Virtue

In this episode we will explore the exquisite gift of enduring love. This is the story of an elderly couple who have lived and loved, their entire existence within a remote area of Southeast Alaska. Within this harsh environment they built a life together, they raised a family, and now, in their golden years, together they share intimate and simple joys in the midst of their stark yet majestic surroundings. Here, we are invited to join them, for a brief time, in their warm and easy relationship together, as we are given a window into their daily routines; of fishing, felling trees, cultivating vegetables and sharing meals together. However, there are still some surprises in store for the old couple, and for us as well!  What is it that they suddenly discover after all those years of living in that one location? And how is it that they have never been aware of it before? If you are curious to find out, then sit back and enjoy the story, as we take you now on a journey of love in the wildest of places…

Treasure Worth Praying

God gives everything to those who pray,

To them who pray in spirit and in truth,

Who ask for Him, before all other things,

He gives to them everything they ask.

He gives them eyes to see what they couldn’t see,

And ears to hear the things they couldn’t hear,

He shows freedom to the one who yearns for progress,

And He speaks stability for those who value tradition.

He is all things, for all people, in all times,

He satisfies every need in the midst of needs,

And at the end of times, He is the source of all,

God is the peace that eludes the world.

~FS

‘No’ is a Key to Independence

I can like a parade; if I must. If someone else’s enjoyment requires me to go along, and they need, or want me to co-sign on that experience with them; I can do it. But I don’t like parades. Crowds make me uncomfortable. Loud noises annoy me. So much stimulation gives me a headache.

But we put up with these things, for others. Life teaches us to sacrifice, and we learn to think of others in addition to, or more than we think of ourselves. We grow up, we become adults, and we gain maturity. Sacrificing for others is one of the hallmarks of maturity. At first we may not like it. As children, our parents may make us consider a sibling’s feelings over our own; or as young adults we may be called upon to consider those less fortunate than us and to give of our surplus. We start off sacrificing through clenched teeth, grimacing; and we begin giving with clenched fists. Our conscience slowly prying our fingers open, as we continue to give and become mature.

Eventually, hopefully, we learn to give graciously, and we learn to enjoy it. We give joyfully. For instance, I can smile at a parade now; and most of the time I’m not even faking it. I’ve learned to overlook all of my discomforts and find joy in the things I like: focusing upon the happy children all about, the cute pets at my feet, the classic sports cars all in line, the silly costumes, and the candy. I can be pleasant at a parade; if I must.

Learning this kind of maturity is good. It helps us ‘play well with others’. But it isn’t without its dangers. I’ve met plenty of people who can get along and be a good neighbor, but who haven’t the foggiest idea what they really think, or what they really like. They know what they’re supposed to like, and they can say all the things they believe they should think. But the critical internal processes that lead a person to character traits like integrity and courage have become lost along the way. For many of us, this path to maturity has led us also into a befuddled confusion. We know how to get along with others, but we can’t get along with ourselves.

Knowing how to live with others takes maturity. Knowing how to live with ourselves takes wisdom.

I suspect we all know on some level, that in this process of ‘growing up’ we’ve lost something vital. Perhaps this is at the root of the widespread narcissism we see in our world today. Folks are desperately trying to find ‘their truth’, and live ‘their best lives’ although we haven’t the faintest idea what makes for truth, or a quality life. Furthermore, folks attempt to make others bend to their own desires, in hopes of living a good life.

We have gained maturity by learning to say ‘No’ to our selfishness, in favor of what others want (our parents would be proud). Now, I suspect we can gain wisdom by the same process.  By saying ‘No’ to the selfishness that is all around us, by saying ‘No’ to everything that would reduce us down to a means of fulfilling the desires of someone else, we find freedom. In this way, we can extricate ourselves from the web of confusion all around us, and we can discover truths that dwell deep within us. We grow independent of this greedy and manipulative world.   

We must say ‘No’ to simply being consumers, or becoming ‘brands’, for we are humans not corporations. We must say ‘No’ to having our spiritual humanity reduced to material commodities and economic units. We should say ‘No’ even to our friends and family members when they want to manipulate us, simply to satisfy their own desires, which may not be in our best interest.

At the root, maturity and wisdom both require discernment. ‘No’ is the excellent path to knowing. Saying ‘No’ builds inner strength and courage. Witnessing the external results which follow from saying ‘No’, helps us to gain discernment and attain wisdom. It is good to be mature, but it is excellent to be wise. Freedom and independence depend upon a healthy, discerning ability to say ‘No’!

~FS