Our Children

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How fast they grow leaving us behind
Dependent creatures with insatiable needs
Little bundles of joy crying at every whim
Now grown, mature, and independent
It was our original goal from the start
Sort of like wanting to go to heaven
Just not now
Life moves on and so do they
Taking our hearts leaving an empty chair
Sometimes detours got in the way
We tried our best not to get in their way.
Although we worked so very hard
Some will stay,
Needing our nurture and strength
Yet another day.
Whatever the outcome life moves on
Slowly leaving us behind to observe
With pride and joy the persons
They have become.
And… whether they go or stay
We love them anyway.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Distillation

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Distillation
What is spiritual rejuvenation, but a distillation?
Rising above the fray // Soul and spirit refreshed
Letting go the earthly // heart drawn to God
A soul cleansing bringing purity and wholeness

Distillation
Occurs over and over again throughout life
Lifted by the sunlight of God’s Love
Wrapped in the warmth of God’s Grace.
Restoration always comes with distillation

Distillation
When we come to the end our journey
Our final distillation complete…
Our spirit rises unencumbered
Pure and refreshed into the presence of God

***

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Shedding Our Bark

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The Willow trees in our back yard were only saplings when we moved here nine years ago. They are extremely fast-growing trees which are now at least thirty feet tall. As I sat in their shade, I observed the wide splits in the bark. The old years growth sheds away as the tree expands. Eventually it falls away back into the soil. We are like trees. Those who grow the most continue to shed things they no longer need; negative attitudes, hurts, ideas, stereotypes, resentment, and bitterness, etc. Some are trapped in their own bark unwilling to let go and change for the better. How are you at shedding your bark?

Growth brings expansion
Stretching us //sometimes to our limit
Breaking us out of our comfort zone.
Growth causes cracks in our perception
Finding, perhaps there are other ways
Of thinking or feeling that may be different.
Growth brings change
Change is often painful
Forcing us to cast off old ways of thinking;
To have growth, we will have to change.
With change comes new strength;
New strength moves us beyond the present;
Fulfills our dreams for today…
Knowing tomorrow, we will again
Expand, stretch, and shed our bark.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Shedding Religion… Finding God

The older I get the simpler life becomes
I feel sort of like a tree shedding it bark
End of life // is not too far in the future;
makes me stop and think…
“What is really important and true?”
The older I get
the more focused faith becomes;
Moving beyond religious trappings
guilt, fear, and control;
(Knowing those
were nailed to the cross for me.)
Understanding God’s grace in my life
brings me peace;
Knowing I am blessed
to have lived this long
in good health.
I let go of all those things
I once felt obligated to do;
Understanding that the metaphors,
taken so literally by some,
Are there to guide me along the way…
not to prove right or wrong.
I let go of “streets paved with gold”
and “mansions over the hilltop…”
knowing God is Spirit;
No need there
of physical things
we hold so dear.
I believe the image of God
is not flesh and blood
nor what I put on or take off,
but rather an attitude of spirit
that is loving and compassionate.
I came to the realization
that all those prayers I prayed
demanding results
never got past the ceiling.
I realize prayer is meant
to change me // not them
Prayer brings me closer to God,
as I focus on my needs
and the needs of others.
Infomercial religion has no appeal to me
…nor or to God…
There is no place for peddling the gospel
for personal gain…
nor to exert control over the faithful.
Hamster cage religion
leaves me frustrated
and going in circles;
Faith and action bring a feeling
of authenticity and connection.
Church should be uplifting…
an encouraging fellowship
full of good news
connecting us with God
showing us how to love as Jesus loved.
To me the Bible is my guide …
not my God…
words of truth to live by.

Photo:  Dwight L. Roth

Let Them Go

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Some phases of our life
die by our choosing…
hoping not to be resurrected!
Letting go of the past is not easy
Hurts and pain fit so nicely
In our backpack of memories
They seem to ride along with us
Like old trusted friends
Always there to make us feel
Superior to all those in our life
Who have wronged us
But those times and people
From our past need to be let go
Those memories are not our friends
They only weigh us down
Some phases of our life
need to die
By our own choosing

*************

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Connections (4-Haikus)

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National Handholding Day

Handholding day ends
I take my first steps // myself
Fall celebration

Handholding today
Touching her makes me tingle
Spring sap’s rising fast

Holding hands with you
Walking down the aisle // smiling
Summer flowers bloom

Holding hands with Mom
Winter’s chill // wrinkled hands cold
Sad to let her go

**************************************

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today is National Hand Holding Day. Lillian at de’verse asked us to write poetry that celebrates one of several events on this date. I chose Hand Holding Day because of the connection the touch of hands represents. There are so many ways holding hands communicates feelings from one to another.

Come join us at d’Verse: https://dversepoets.com

 

Surrounded

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After my mother’s death in 2007, I thought a lot about my own aging and what the next life might bring. The Bible gives us what the writers imagined the next life might be like. The writer of Hebrews had visions of  heaven with a renewal of Mount Zion with a throne of God where the saints who died are gathered around along with the angels. Hebrews chapter 12 spells out the details. I decided to condense it and paraphrase what was written.

                      I Am Surrounded

Hebrews 12 –  My Paraphrase From the NIV

                   Vs.9-18-04 & 9-1-11

I am surrounded by the Saints gone before

By the angels in heaven and God on His Throne

By His holy son Jesus and the ancients of old

I am surrounded in His praise ever more

 

I’ll throw off what hinders… the sins that drag me down

Run the race set before me… I’ll endure for the crown

I’ll fix my eyes on Jesus… the source of my faith

I’ll see how He suffered… how He took my place

 

I will not grow weary… I know I must not lose heart

For Jesus my Savior… I’ll gladly do my part

Now I’ve come to Mount Zion… City of the Living God

To the Church of the First Born… To be cleansed by His blood

 

I’m happy in Jesus… by His grace I am free

His spirit lives in me… Awesome power I see

When my life here has ended… To that City I’ll rise

To sing with the angels… in that heavenly choir

 

(For) I am surrounded by the Saints gone before

By the angels in heaven and God on His Throne

By His holy son Jesus and the ancients of old

I am surrounded in His praise ever more

*******************************************************

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Originally written as a song…

Waiting…

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Waiting to Die 

Becoming obsolete is one of life’s most difficult burdens

It is not something that comes on quickly

But rather happens over a few years

When things once held dear are no longer valued by the next generation

It raises a turmoil of the soul that at first kicks and screams

But gradually subsides into a churning rumble

Only to be followed by a great dull ache

Becoming physically challenged only adds to the burden

Our bodies slow down // wear out // won’t co-operate // get repaired

Bounce back at times // only to slowly head back down the slippery slope of time

That waits for no one // but seems to careen wildly toward the cliff

This too raises the turmoil of the soul //that at first kicks and screams

But gradually subsides into that churning rumble

Only to be followed by a great dull ache// and a swell of physical pain

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Becoming physically and/or mentally disabled increases the burden even more

When one can no longer care for himself

Or has the strength to move about

Losing the memory to recall life’s joys and sorrows

Or that unwanted friend and companion, arthritis, moves in and out

One begins to wonder why he continues to go on living

Now it’s just a long dull ache // for the inner kicking and screaming now subsides

Becoming totally dependent //sometimes unable to speak or function

Is probably the biggest burden of all.

Long hours of little change of position or surroundings 

Struggling for life with each difficult breath

Simply sitting or lying, waiting day after day

For the edge of the cliff to appear

Must make one wonder why some leave this world like the drop of a hat

While others continue on and on simply waiting to die

* 

But what of heaven and the future life to come

Surely that should make it all better

Surely that should ease the pain of separation and loss

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When all you know is the life you are living // and the pain you are feeling

It is difficult to focus on what will come

In the present suffering one may understand what lies in store

But only feels the last pains of separation

From this earthly body into an immortal one

Safe in the arms of God

 

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Photos of Mother’s Flowers: Dwight L. Roth

My mother-in-law loved raising flowers. She had a green thumb as you can see. She died of a brain tumor in 2013. I wrote this poem while we were waiting at the end.

Today is open link night at d’Verse. Come join us and post a poem of your own choice.

https://dversepoets.com/

 

 

Reignite the Flame

Hot coals

Love Lights the Flame

Hot coals of love burn down to ashes

Glowing in the white powder of life

Smoldering in pain and suffering

Red-orange and glowing embers of what once was

The story of our life reduced to ashes

Hard clinkers of melted molten anger

Igneous chunks of hate and despair

No life // no fire // no will to rise anymore.

But then… shaken and stirred

They fall through the grate

Giving breath and life to remaining embers

Letting go of despair // shedding the pain

Finding forgiveness // reigniting the flame.

Breath of love makes hot coals glow red

Choking dust of life shaken free

Only embers of love remain

Rising up // a rekindled flame

Continues to burn

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

I was going to use this poem for the d’Verse prompt the other day, but then realized that the quadrille was only 44 words, so I saved it for another day. So, here is my poem of Love rekindled.

Attics

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Why do we store away the traumatic events of our life? For some, they are just memories of past events. Others store their injuries and pain like treasures in the attic. They no longer have any useful purpose in life, but the lack of forgiveness keeps them alive and tender. It becomes our personal Pandora’s box that no one wants to open. We all know it will only be a review of past pain, that no one but a psychiatrist wants to hear. Time to clean out the attic and let go of things that continue to haunt us. Forgiveness doesn’t take away the memory or the hurt, but it takes away the necessity of reliving it over and over again.

Attics

Dwelling on collections of the past

Memories never moving for many years

Stuck, reliving events that won’t go away

Collecting dust of regrets

Stimulating coughs and sneezes

In anyone who dares stir

Attics for old treasures long remembered

For some, treasures of hurt and pain

Treasured to nurse pity and sorrow

Dusty old treasures of the mind

Blade twisting each time

Pandora’s box

Avoided by all

Only to be opened after death

Some better left for ashes