The Bear Affair

East of the Sun, West of the Moon, by Susan Campbell

In a quiet moment, into my mind wandered the thought of a bear hug – how nice it feels when arms enfold you with strength, determination, and love. Quietly the image of Bear slipped in. It was a warm and comforting thought, and I thought of Jesus – somehow – as a Bear. Immediately thoughts of Lewis’s admonitions in Letters to Malcolm came to mind – The moment you create an image of God, you must destroy it, for not being complete, it will be wrong. Realizing the danger, I said to myself, If it is alright for me to imagine Jesus as a Bear, then I’m going to need some signs. – It had seemed so beautiful! Still. Thoughts that are untested, even though beautiful, must not be trusted. Softly, I pushed the thought away, and set it back adrift on that sea that washes thoughts upon our shores. That is what I try to do with the thoughts I don’t know what to do with, or don’t know if they are right, or good. If you love something, set it free, right?

The days went by. Mother’s Day came, and it was a whirl of activity, putting together a dinner for the mothers in our lives. We had decided on a more complicated menu, and dinner was late. But with everyone’s help we managed to pull it off together, and we were able to bring our families together and show our appreciation for the beautiful women in our lives. We cleaned up, and tired, I gratefully climbed into bed. Then, a knock came at our door. It was my lovely daughter, with a little card and a paper sack in hand. The children had forgotten to present me with a card earlier, and she wanted to give it to me before I went to bed. Lights went on, and I read the precious notes from my children with a swelling heart. I reached into the paper sack, and out came a little white polar bear, with a red muffler. Tears came to my eyes.

Art by Marc Simmont

The next day – bears in mind – I began to do some research. I was curious to know if there had been any significant bears in mythologies or fairy tales, and my research brought me to a lovely little string of articles on Bears, Myth and Moor, by Terri Windling. It was just what I was looking for, and it had a beautiful collection of information on tales and myth on bears, and art, depicting bears, and a girl. – Thank you, Terri, for the lovely thread.

Art by Susan Beddon Boulet

My heart warmed as I read through instances of Bears in mythology from around the world, in her article called Following the Bear. Quoting from Women Who Run With the Wolves, she said,

In Women Who Run With the Wolves, psychologist and storyteller Clarissa Pinkola Estés notes the age-old connection of women and bears in the mythic traditions of many different lands. “To the ancients,” she writes, “bears symbolized resurrection. The creature goes to sleep for a long time, its heartbeat decreases to almost nothing. The male often impregnates the female right before hibernation, but miraculously, egg and sperm do not unite right away. They float separately in her uterine broth until much later. Near the end of hibernation, the egg and sperm unite and cell division begins, so that the cubs will be born in the spring when the mother is awakening, just in time to care for and teach her new offspring. Not only by reason of awakening from hibernation as though from death, but much more so because the she-bear awakens with new young, this creature is a profound metaphor for our lives, for return and increase coming from something that seemed deadened.

Interesting. Another article, Winter Poetry Challenge: Day 1,  said her theme for the day was Bears in Myth, Fairy Tales and Fantasy. At the top of her list of examples, was the white bear in East of the Sun, West of the Moon. That phrase jumped off the page – I had seen that before… Where had I just heard that? I searched my memory – I must have saved it somewhere (I like to save quotes that stand out and are meaningful to me). I looked through my little collection, and there it was:

Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate

And though I oft have passed them by

A day will come at last when I

Shall take the hidden paths that run

West of the Moon, East of the Sun.

—JRR Tolkien

Such a beautiful line, and somehow also poignant. It reminded me of something else I had saved, from a letter of CS Lewis:

“The pleasures of spring have been jawed about so often that I am rather shy of saying anything about the lovely weather that has succeeded to the snow here. Do you know what if feels like when you go out for the first time without an overcoat and feel all the nerves funny up the back of your legs and see the clouds blowing about a really blue sky? At the same I know the spring too well to really like her. She invariably makes you feel lonely & dissatisfied & long for

‘The land where I shall never be
The love that I shall never see.’

You know what I mean?”

~Letter from C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves, February 20, 1917

(The actual lines are these,

‘The love whom I shall never meet,
The land where I shall never be’

– Andrew Lang, History of English Literature, p. 579.)

Following the trail, I looked up the fairy tale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon. As it turns out, it is a version of the story of Cupid and Psyche, which Andrew Lang included in his Blue Fairy Book. – Not only does the road go ever on, but apparently it also spirals upward, and round and round, it seems. As I was reviewing what I was writing and thinking at that time, I realized that I had been brought full circle back to where I began my journey for this year; with a new reading of CS Lewis’s Till We Have Faces —which is a re-telling of the story of Cupid and Phsyche — and the words You also shall be Psyche, ringing in my ears. As my year comes to a close, it seemed the road really had brought me back again, to revisit the thought from a new vantage point.

Art by Liga Klavina

The idea of god has always taken on strange shapes for man, and pictures of a god that is like the sun, or like an eagle are plentiful throughout history. It could be that we, like the Six Blind Men, stretching our hands out in the dark to find God, find him like an eagle, or like a bear. Perhaps an animal creates a natural image of God for us from our particular and current point of view, in that he is such that we cannot immediately or fully comprehend, and in that he cannot communicate so clearly with us, due to our present undeveloped nature. Images like a lion (as in Narnia), or a bear carry a sense of otherness, strangeness, of a gap in communication, and of a being that is very obviously different and other-natured than we are – even dangerous, to our present sensibilities.

Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.

C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Of course, God is higher than we are, and so it is actually we who are the animal comparatively speaking, and He is the full grown “human,” in the fullest sense possible. We are more like the mewling cub that is born into the world full of animal instincts and nature, who must be educated and brought higher up into the Godly nature. But because we are in our story, and not in his, and He remains seemingly silent, large and looming, perhaps the image of an animal fits our current vision of that dynamic somehow. For now. Perhaps one day we shall wake to find that it was really we who were bewitched all along (like Prince Rilian of The Silver Chair), and waking we will see the spell for what it was, and see that it was we who were beasts all along. Perhaps, like the blind men of lore, we will find one day that all the pieces actually go together, and make a beautiful whole – each picture a piece of the image of who and what God really is.

I went outside, bears still in mind, for a swim, and I looked up into the starry sky to find the Big Dipper. There was Ursa Major, her stars arching over my house. More Greek bear mythology there. So the bears have it, as far as I’m concerned. Or perhaps Bear just got me, and that’s alright.

 

– Beth

If you’re a bear, I’m a bear.

Art by Susan Beddon Boulet

 

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The Sighing of the Shell

GMD Sig

“Listen, darling, and tell to me

What the murmurer says to thee,

Murmuring ‘twixt a song and a moan,

Changing neither tune nor tone.”

 

“Yes, I hear it, far and faint,

Like thin-drawn prayer of drowsy saint;

Like the falling of sleep on a weary brain,

When the fevered heart is quiet again.”

 

“By smiling lip and fixed eye,

You are hearing more than song or sigh:

The wrinkled thing has curious ways –

I want to know the words it says.”

 

“I hear a wind on a boatless main

Sigh like the last of a vanishing pain;

On the dreaming waters dreams the moon,

But I hear no words in their murmured tune.”

 

“If it does not say that I love thee well,

‘Tis a senseless, ill-curved, worn-out shell;

If it is not of love, why sigh or sing?

‘Tis a common, mechanical, useless thing.”

 

“It whispers of love – ’tis a prophet-shell –

Of a peace that comes, and all shall be well;

It speaks not a word of your love to me,

But it tells me to love you eternally.”

 

George MacDonald

The Whole of Christianity

We were considering the Christian idea of ‘putting on Christ’… What I want to make clear is that this is not one among many jobs a Christian has to do… It is the whole of Christianity.

— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

The Hunger

From deep inside, a hunger,

A longing raging blind,

It gnaws, it flows, it seeks

Its very heart to find

A something not yet seen,

A someone not yet found,

A piece felt missing – core,

Through all the fabric wound.

 

My eyes, they long to see thee –

But wherefore art thou – love?

They scan the beauty in the oceans,

And glorious skies above

For things that can be traced,

By eye – its outline make,

Yet these soul leaves, scattered,

In its blinded searching wake.

 

Full of beauty, to be sure,

Perfection? In every line!

And though they fill my heart,

This lovely fruit and wine

Yet looks for more my heart,

The fresh turns into brine

Is it still not enough?

Lassitude creeping, comes in.

 

Mind seeks out the secrets,

Mysteries wonder-filled,

That soar so high, then plunge,

Encompass all the world

Hungrily I read – consume it,

This knowledge free to take,

I revel in the open space,

These perfect idylls make.

 

This burning fire and hunger,

An endless search for bliss,

End of all my searching,

Of all consuming – still this

A fire that burns on the inside,

Worries the edges and frets

Dissatisfied – hungry, rumbles,

How hide from close regrets?

 

My soul so longs to feel thee;

A friend, a soul – a heart

Longs to be seen deeply –

Craves touch to the inward part,

My heart – it longs to love thee,

A you it cannot find,

Find? Not so – how find – 

How “see,” when to thee I am blind?

 

And yet, perhaps – could be,

This blind heart yet may find

Not by sight, or touch, or sound,

But by a secret sense

A sense called forth by another –

A secret larger still,

Could be – eyes closing to “all” around,

Soul finds a deeper thrill

 

That looking past the flowers,

A Gardener there I’ll see

And shifting sight beyond

The presents, find The GiverHe

Perhaps the threads were beautifully

Woven, as words within a tome,

Maybe another, softly waiting,

Made all the trails lead Home.

 

Maybe my eyes thus shifted,

To new sight from inside,

Can learn to hold focus,

On The Man, although he hide

Through all the splendors ’round me,

May I learn to see Thee

A Man, a Giver, fount of Love,

Who gives things thus to me.

 

Such lovely birds and roses,

Delights that soar and peal

But I, fool – child, forget, I

Leave Man for cart and wheel

And then I wonder why,

My heart and soul are wasted,

Feel tired at end of day –

I played with toys, and pasted.

 

And The Giver walked away.

Oh, gentle gardener – how alone

Must feel thy heart; when for

Thy roses’ beauty we moan

Yet our heart’s lonely too,

Forgets so that secret part

-That spirit sense that calls

Us in to All Thou Art.

 

Thou’lt not leave us alone,

Dear maker, thy thread runs deep

Through all our fibers woven

A hunger for life, thine – keep

Thou art within, art without –

Our deepest longing see;

Thou wilt not leave us i’ the dark,

Unless thou cans’t save, and free.

 

~Beth Frances

Love is Enough

https://followingastar.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/img_4146.jpg?w=1197&h=627

Love is enough for the loving, love without self’s alloy,

Its mighty breast enfolding the flame of a secret joy.

Love is enough for the loving as pure of envy and strife,

It is poured as a fiery torrent from the brimming urns of Life.

Love is no money-changer, to weigh the return as gold,

Love is not weak nor selfish, nor faileth, nor groweth old,

Love is as strong as death, his wings to the stars unfurled,

His feet in the deepest places of the chambered underworld.

Though the frowns and smiles of the loved be as fights that are lost and won,

Though the cry on the lips of thousands be light to the praise of one,

Though the light of our life that kindleth be set in another’s eyes,

Love doth not die in the darkness or wander away in the sighs.

Love is a crown to the loving, a mystical shrine untrod,

A secret lent to the spirit by the breath of the living God.

He stands in the innermost temple, and often in hours unsought

We hear the might of his stirring through the roar of the lovers of thought.

He rings with a lingering glory the dusky shapes we see

That move in a twilight chamber in the haunts of memory.

Love is no jester and courtier, no trifler in folly and guile,

To sing at rosèd casement and watch for a wanton’s smile.

Love is an earnest spirit, so patient and lonely and strong,

And the woe of his lips is silent, and the time of his torture is long.

His hope is high and distant, his path is steep and hard,

He giveth his all and watcheth, till God shall relieve his guard.

Keep we the might of his presence, a flash of the light of the Lord,

A breath of the mighty nature that shaketh its good abroad

That so we may be as the angels and rise to the loftiest lot

Of him who is highest of all things that he giveth and asketh not,

Who giveth a self and a will and a place in the ordered plan

Gives also the love of a God for the half-hearted worship of man,

As the awful eyes that are watching and the silent lips that bless

Are turned on the ways of his thousands in a great unconsciousness.

Love is enough for the loving, and let it suffice unto me,

As the golden eve is sinking on darkening wood and lea,

As the sun streams out in glory and floods the course of the spheres,

As the humblest rose breaks out from the earth in a simple trust

So shall the gifts of the loving be the crown of a living dust,

No spot on the earth of God can take what it never gave,

None, but bounds of Hell, and the rotting space of the Grave.

~ GK Chesterton

The feeling I had after reading this poem was Where has this poem been all my life? And two,  How does he understand love so clearly? As happens so often, I had just been thinking I need to learn more about love – Lord, help me to learn more about love. The following day I discovered a book of Chesterton’s poetry on my husband’s book shelf. That poem was the first, and it leapt off the page into my heart. How I love the mind (and insight) of Chesterton – I don’t think I will ever get tired of reading him. As I read through the stanzas, the things I had been telling myself about love melted under the scorching light.

Love doth not die in the darkness or wander away in the sighs.

In retrospect, I actually can’t remember what I was telling myself about this. But I think it was something along the lines of “If I am not loved, I cannot love; my love will fade away, until all that is left is a small dark ember, which will only come back to life in the warmth of another’s love.” Through the eyes of Love is Enough, I see love as a bigger thing – and a stronger, than I (currently) am.

Love is an earnest spirit, so patient and lonely and strong,

And the woe of his lips is silent, and the time of his torture is long.

His hope is high and distant, his path is steep and hard,

He giveth his all and watcheth, till God shall relieve his guard.

I think I had an impression of love as seen through the image of a mother, feminine, soft, and yet somehow persevering. I guess I had ideas about love as being soft & feminine, and yet on the other side somehow also strong. This picture of love still includes all that I see in the ideal of a mother, yet it is somehow a different picture of that strength, and more rock-solid than I had pictured it before. It now seems more masculine – masculine in the sense that it originates, it puts into motion, it drives, it seeks, it gives, it goes on, and on and on, and never stops. Sigh. – We are indeed the lesser children ofgreater sires. It is a picture so beautiful, so right, so pure. How can I not love it – want it for my own, see my lack in that space, and want to be more like that? Ah love – come in to me; inhabit me, possess me. But there is no “magic pill” to be had. I cannot get love inside merely by desiring to, or by hoping I will “catch” the bug if I get close enough. (Although that is part of it too.) I must grow my love – grow in love, practice love, and shape my love, that it may look like its original at last. Thankfully we have a wonderful teacher to follow.

Love is as strong as death, his wings to the stars unfurled,

His feet in the deepest places of the chambered underworld.

This – wings in the stars, and feet in the deepest places of the underworld, reminded me of CS Lewis’s picture of the diver.

One has a picture of someone going right down and dredging the sea bottom. One has a picture of a strong man trying to lift a very big, complicated burden. He stoops down and gets himself right under it so that he himself disappears; and then he straightens his back and moves off with the whole thing swaying on his shoulders.

Or else one has the picture of a diver, stripping off garment after garment, making himself naked, then flashing for a moment in the air, and then down through the green, and warm, and sunlit water into the pitch-black, cold, freezing water, down into the mud and slime, then up again, his lungs almost bursting, back again to the green and warm and sunlit water, and then at last out into the sunshine, holding in his hand the dripping thing he went down to get. This thing is human nature; but, associated with it, all Nature, the new universe.

“If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.”

Wouldn’t that make a beautiful painting?

I thought I should make a list, to clarify the thoughts put forth about what love is, and isn’t.

Love Is:

⁃    Enough for the loving
⁃    Without self’s alloy
⁃    Flame of a secret joy
⁃    Pure of envy and strife
⁃    A fiery torrent from the brimming urns of life
⁃    Strong as death
⁃    A crown to the loving
⁃    A mystical shrine untrod
⁃    A secret lent to the spirit by the breath of the living God.
⁃    Rings with a lingering glory the dusky shapes we see
⁃    Love is an earnest spirit
⁃    Patient, lonely and strong
⁃    The woe of his lips is silent
⁃    The time of his torture is long
⁃    His hope is high and distant
⁃    His path is steep and hard
⁃    He giveth his all and watcheth, till God shall relieve his guard
⁃    A flash of the light of the Lord
⁃    A breath of the mighty nature that shaketh its good abroad
⁃    He giveth and asketh not
⁃    Giveth a self and a will
⁃    Gives the love of a God for the half-hearted worship of man
⁃    Eyes that are watching
⁃    Silent lips that bless

Love is Not:

⁃    No money changer
⁃    Does not weigh the return as gold
⁃    Does not die in the darkness
⁃    Does not wander away in the sighs
⁃    Love is no jester and courtier
⁃    No trifler in folly and guile

~Watergirl

Summoning Joy

File:Winged Victory Side.jpg

 

Do you have the strength to summon joy? Gratitude – sure; that is doable. But joy? A smile in the face of all the darkness? To choose laughter in the face of tears? And yet, it is joy that lifts our spirits to the clouds, when the tendrils of despair would drag us down into the mire, and suffocate us there…

He does all things well – by which I mean, he chooses to do the right thing, in the right way, every time. Do we have the strength to follow? To put ourselves in remembrance, again and again, that this all shall pass, and that he that does the will of the father lives forever? To choose joy, when our hearts would faint and despair? To choose to be strong and conquer, where we would naturally react, give up, break down and cry?

The difference lies in holding on to the knowledge that this time of difficulty and darkness will pass. It lies in remembering that if we are in it, we can win it. And it lies in keeping close to our hearts the knowledge that our father loves us. And that while we are called to task and enrolled in the school of life, he will not allow one straw more than we can bear – that every challenge and disappointment, every stone seemingly thrown our way, if taken the right way, can be used as another building block, another step upon which to rise higher. The challenges are meant to be medicinal – a medicine that is not given where not needed, and that when required, will bring us to fuller health, to deeper strength, to greater sanity, and in the end, to joy.

So let us fight on, and may God grant us that mystery of the laughter of Christian men, that has “Roared through a thousand tales…” May we also stand with the giants of the ages – those “Kings and clowns in a merry plight,” and learn from them how to take ourselves and the difficult situations around us lightly – that like the angels, we too may learn to fly. And in the face of dark and uncertain days, may we “Follow the star that lives and leaps… Follow the fire unfurled For riseth up against realm and rod, a thing forgotten, a thing downtrod, the last lost giant, even God…”

 

 

And the earth shook and the King stood still
Under the greenwood bough,
And the smoking cake lay at his feet
And the blow was on his brow.

 

Then Alfred laughed out suddenly,
Like thunder in the spring,
Till shook aloud the lintel-beams,
And the squirrels stirred in dusty dreams,
And the startled birds went up in streams,
For the laughter of the King.

 

And the beasts of the earth and the birds looked down,
In a wild solemnity,
On a stranger sight than a sylph or elf,
On one man laughing at himself
Under the greenwood tree—

 

The giant laughter of Christian men
That roars through a thousand tales,
Where greed is an ape and pride is an ass,
And Jack’s away with his master’s lass,
And the miser is banged with all his brass,
The farmer with all his flails;

 

Tales that tumble and tales that trick,
Yet end not all in scorning—
Of kings and clowns in a merry plight,
And the clock gone wrong and the world gone right,
That the mummers sing upon Christmas night
And Christmas Day in the morning.

 

Follow the star that lives and leaps,
Follow the sword that sings,
For we go gathering heathen men,
A terrible harvest, ten by ten,
As the wrath of the last red autumn—then
When Christ reaps down the kings.

 

Follow a light that leaps and spins,
Follow the fire unfurled!
For riseth up against realm and rod,
A thing forgotten, a thing downtrod,
The last lost giant, even God,
Is risen against the world.

 

~ The Ballad of the White Horse

 

 

And Colan’s eyes with mystery
And iron laughter stirred,
And he spoke aloud, but lightly
Not labouring to be heard.

 

“Oh, truly we be broken hearts,
For that cause, it is said,
We light our candles to that Lord
That broke Himself for bread.

 

~ The Ballad of the White Horse

 

But some see God like Guthrum,
Crowned, with a great beard curled,
But I see God like a good giant,
That, labouring, lifts the world.

 

~ The Ballad of the White Horse

 

Atlas by Artus Quellinus (1)

 

~Watergirl 

Children of the Fall

We are of the fall, my love,
Born beneath a waning moon
A fateful star o’er hung, my love,
And song soon lost its tune

Darkness fell o’er all, my love,
A gloom o’er me and you
Blindly go we all, my love,
In search of sweet perfume

Sadly go we all, my love,
Through cities and through fields
Crying through the streets, my love,
In walking shoes and heels

But though the skies be dark, my love,
Let us still seek out the trail;
Although the light seems far, my love,
Strength, dear hearts – prevail!

Wandering through – not lost, my love,
Though road seem tiresome long;
That leads to Eden’s gate, my love,
Whence drifts to hearts a song

That opens up our eyes, my love,
To all that has been wrong;
Says: “Let us join our hands in love,”
— So follow we along

Let us wander patient, love
Seeking pathways through the night;
Let us find that grace, my love,
That shines o’er all a light

Let us find that place, my love,
Where chant the words more fair;
Let us find that garden, love,
That shimmers light through air,

Where broken spells re-cast, my love,
Obtain once more their reign;
Where broken pieces mend, my love,
And hearts their courage gain

A summer midnight’s eve, my love,
Where Ass is king again,
A place where hearts begin, my love,
To melt the snow to rain

And if the door is barred, my love,
To humans such as we,
Then let us find the shade, my love,
That falls from Eden’s Tree

And in that blessed shade, my love,
Let us play, and talk, and read,
And wander not from place, my love,
That genders noble deed

For though we hear not clear, my love,
Yet golden ray may fall,
On hearts that seek a trace, my love,
Of wonders beyond the wall

Our hearts may hear a whisper, love,
That washes and that mends,
A note sublime to trace, my love,
Though with pencils and with pens

But though we draw not right, my love,
The first lines with our pen,
Yet form may come through time, my love,
By tracing over, and again

First slow may be our track, my love,
For tracing music thus,
But if that is all we have, my love,
Then try we both for us

May be a gentle god, my love,
Will spy us sitting there,
With pen in hand, and ear to sky, my love,
For notes floating fair

And if that door be closed, my love,
And open not till dawn,
Perhaps we’ll bother not, my love,
By sitting on the lawn.

May be he’ll send for us, my love,
A dove to sing aright,
The notes thus scratched by us, my love,
Through meager means and night

Perhaps a magic will befall, my love,
And as we sit so near,
That gentle wind will come, my love,
And whisper in our ear

That we may live like them, my love,
Though standing out the wall
Because we look for notes, my love
And follow dove’s pure call

Mayhap a piece of heaven, love,
Might come to those who pray,
Though dark the night – and cold, my love,
And long the wait till day.

~ Beth Frances

The Silver Cord

 

Lord, let me chain myself to thee, that I might not stray!

Through thoughts of chains, a word, — No chain – but a silver cord. 

In that simple thought I see, thou higher art than me

Foolish are we men – our thoughts are small, and low, and hard we call,

Twisting, driving, hoping thus our fellow man by force to sway.

 

We see not thy higher ways from these, our earthen dusty jars

Our imagined modes and mediums unenlightened are — are but tediums.

When through our own small eyes we see, we mar and bind that endless “Thee;”

The Truth, The Life, The Way,  — Who Art; Lord, these things we cannot chart,

But glimmering above we see from afar, the glow of the dancing stars.

 

 

But thou who art thyself The Life, and Light, and Heart of all;

Working from within a man thy thread, on secret tracks runs on ahead.

Thou wilt not force free hands, nor tie them up with bands,

Until a man,  free, will come, patient thy cord will hum,

For time and space are thine, my Lord, and thou knowest their secret call.

 

The hearts of man thou wilt not chain — not chained, as men would see,

From thee a cord; and more — a ray, a light, that shines by night and day.

A Love that outwards reaches, inwards flows, fibers humming, it warmly glows,

That thy child may find it, in darkness lost, through swirling mists and frost.

No need have I, my Lord, for chains — for thou hast bound thyself to me.

 

Father, thou art bound to me — I thank you! — help I pray with this:

I am weak, and small, my cords to bind are fragile, feeble things.

When my ties to thee lose hold, when my memory grows old,

If my heart should lose its zeal, if thy will should seem unreal,

Let thy love around me stronger grow, that my small love hear, and up, and go.

 

~ Beth Frances

Help Me This Day to Be Thy Humble Sheep

I see a door, a multitude near by,

In creed and quarrel, sure disciples all!

Gladly they would, they say, enter the hall,

But cannot, the stone threshold is so high.

From unseen hand, full many a feeding crumb,

Slow dropping o’er the threshold high doth come:

They gather and eat, with much disputing hum.

 

Still and anon, a loud clear voice doth call—

“Make your feet clean, and enter so the hall.”

They hear, they stoop, they gather each a crumb.

Oh the deaf people! would they were also dumb!

Hear how they talk, and lack of Christ deplore,

Stamping with muddy feet about the door,

And will not wipe them clean to walk upon his floor!

 

But see, one comes; he listens to the voice;

Careful he wipes his weary dusty feet!

The voice hath spoken—to him is left no choice;

He hurries to obey—that only is meet.

Low sinks the threshold, levelled with the ground;

The man leaps in—to liberty he’s bound.

The rest go talking, walking, picking round.

 

If I, thus writing, rebuke my neighbour dull,

And talk, and write, and enter not the door,

Than all the rest I wrong Christ tenfold more,

Making his gift of vision void and null.

Help me this day to be thy humble sheep,

Eating thy grass, and following, thou before;

From wolfish lies my life, O Shepherd, keep.

 

~George MacDonald

The Diary of an Old Soul; April 16-19

Source: Help Me This Day to Be Thy Humble Sheep

Thinking With GKC


There is only one really startling thing to be done with the ideal, and that is to do it.

– GK Chesterton