To do today:
in her words
and telling her so.
(For this month’s theme at T.S. Poetry: “Angels.” See the T.S. Poetry Press Facebook page for more!)
Waters gathered from some repeated precipitation
(whether steady snowmelt or fly-by rainstorm)
caused a depression, a canyon’s precursor,
this rut running the length of her
trail, a rut she tried to circumvent by aiming
the soles of her Asics beside it or leaping over
to the other side where the ground was still
the same—fallow and in desperate need
of breaking, made arid by long afternoons
of scorching, self-centered heat.
stresses that make her plead with the regular
cadence of her strides, “Don’t let me give up,
don’t let me give up.” And then, two men
on mountain bikes (whether Specialized
or Cannondale or Gary Fisher, she’ll never
know) came down—it was God’s kind way
of answering—for the man on the bike who came
down first encouraged, almost fiercely, “Good job!”
So the woman kept running and wondered if angels
went mountain biking down Centennial trail.
One of my dark days loomed (the kind
of dark that makes time vague
and turns an hour into an age)
when the phone rang—a friend
asking after me, checking in
like a mother who leaves
the night-light on, and I knew,
after we hung up, the dark
was averted. How long
did that phone call last?
I checked the phone log:
under two minutes. So she held
me up, helped me dodge another era
and to think
it only took a minute
Father, how could I encourage someone today? Is there a phone call I should make, a note to pen, an email to send? What power could You pour into something in less than two minutes?
If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.
(This week Ann Voskamp hosts a community of those who share about The Practice of New Habits. Click on the Holy Experience badge below to read more community posts on New Habits!)
I’ve been meaning to tell you about my guest post at The Chronicles of Church Fellowship, where I tell of friends who helped me bring starvation to…
(Read the post here.)
At the end of that post is a quote with the attribution missing! I would be remiss not to clarify that the quote is by John Henry Jowett.
Now they come at four dimes
and four pennies apiece
in neat sheets, like pages
out of a history volume boasting
of our own, our own brush strokes
and space probes and man around the globe.
They come like syncopated
rhythms of modern bards’ music,
lively bits of conversation
between strings and brass brought
from a mix of New Orleans and Africa
and isles nearby, improvised and styled.
They come like a billboard
listing simple steps saying
how to save the earth and go green.
They come separated by wavy lines
to simulate the old perforations,
like a monument remembering
the way they used to be.
They always come in Love.
I’ve received them that way
and that is how I send them,
a letter on paper, ink from a pen
guided by my own hand
For the poetry prompt to write about something I got for less than a buck.
When was the last time you picked up a pen and wrote a letter or note of encouragement? There’s something about getting an envelope in the mailbox, the address written by a loved one’s hand, instantly recognizable…
I met Kathy in the autumn of 2005, when I was new to our church and feeling a bit friendless. It was Easter 2006, so I had only known Kathy for a few months. We were chatting about our Easter-meal plans. I think I was planning on making a ham, but I don’t remember. Kathy’s mother, Charlotte, was flying over for the holiday. Others in her family were coming, too (I think—my memory is fuzzy on that). I do remember very clearly that Kathy ordered a ham from Honeybaked. I drooled when she told me.
“Oooh!” I said, still drooling. “Are you going to make split-pea soup with the ham bone?” I loved making split-pea soup from ham bones. I imagined how ham stock made with a Honeybaked Ham would taste.
“Nah, I’m not into that,” Kathy answered.
Several days later, after Easter, I was doing this or that in the kitchen when my doorbell rang. My doorbell never rings unless it’s a solicitor, so I approached the front door with my guard up.
Sock-footed, I walked stealthily to the door and looked through the peephole. Immediately my guard went down; it was Kathy! The furrowed-brow wrinkles above my eyes migrated and turned into smiling crow’s feet at the sides of my eyes. I opened the door. In her hands was something in a plastic bag, the kind you get from Safeway or King Soopers.
The first words out of her mouth: “I brought you a ham bone!”
Wide-eyed and wordless, I took the bag.
“I even left quite a bit of the meat on it, too,” Kathy explained.
I never knew how much a picked-over ham bone would mean to me. It meant she was listening. It meant that one day, in her own kitchen, cleaning after a big family Easter dinner, she thought of me. It meant she remembered I liked ham bones for split pea soup. It meant I was a friend.
I often don’t realize who I am or how God has blessed or gifted me until someone else recognizes it and expresses the recognition in real actions.
Then Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David with cedar trees and carpenters and stonemasons; and they built a house for David. And David realized that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.
(1 Samuel 5:11-12)
What Hiram did was a form of encouragement. I have friends like this, friends who have helped me see who I am, what I should be doing, what I am to them. Friends who send me cedar trees (or ham bones). Thank God.
What cedar tree could I send? Whom should I be encouraging in this way?
Lord, I have received it. How can I give it? To whom?
This Thursday Bonnie Gray hosts a community of those who share about the power of encouragement. Click on the FaithBarista badge below to read more posts on encouragement!