Hope-enough

Hope-enough

Don’t hide, don’t turn away
You who sit apart
I praise you who are shields in the dark
Breathe, in the valley of death
Give your spirits, share your breath
Breathe on dead bones, sinews, and muscle
Paid for by the gavel
Where already stirs a Way

Heaven, the range awaits your dawn
For whom do you hold the door
The winds are your musical score
Your cleansing storms
In the day that forms
Uncover cruelty with care
And search for the cries that dare
To hope-enough on the bare concrete
Rain down, rain down your tears on the street
That show the lie of a beauty gone

See the clouds coming, dear clan
The soils thirst for gift and guide
With mouths open wide
They want through bar and brick as they lay
The grace that overflows the grey
The patter of drops on cold ground
Refreshed to bear a new sound
Though told they’re citizens no more
There echoes on the valley floor
Hope-enough 32 to a man

What good would it do, if they die
What good would it do, if they pass us by
Unheard by foe or friend
How then would we know the things they can mend
Does love hold promise only for the tomb
What of hope-enough given in the womb

Come then and breathe, awaited ones
Give your breath, your tears and sight
Teach on the trauma that causes your plight
Show the scars of punishment
Speak of the horror of banishment
That seeds in your sorrow
The lessons we must know
Share your savvy
Of journeys that carry
Hope-enough in the valley of sons

 

Reflection

A/ on the Wonder of hope in endorsement

1/ Reflect on an experience where you received a gracious love that overlooked a mistake you made?
2/ Reflect on the benefits of having received/known/seen such love. How did this experience make you feel about yourself?
3/ What gift/talent did this experience invigorate/show you in your life?

B/ on the Wisdom gained through difficulty

1/ Reflect on an experience where you did not overlook a slight, offense, or mistake (in yourself or by another)
2/ Reflect on the effect on you of not overlooking it, and how it made you feel about yourself?
3/ How did this experience help you grow in wisdom?

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The Breaking Out

The Breaking Out

Bud in dorm
Silently cold
In nature’s form
Within the fold
Of Winter’s girth
Without toil and sweat
Awaits the birth
Of Spring’s onset

From nature’s gown
The fetal crown
Inches out
The day to scout
Beauty from old
The new shoots climb
And start to thrive
The word foretold
What grows in time
Feels nature’s care
What we contrive
Its mournful stare

Foolish vaunts
Refills of wants
May win the heart
And dress the bait
Yet journeys start
In lives that wait
For new bursts
As through clear days
A hope that thirsts
To Gaze
Into the light
Away from judgment’s blight

Then, through the lover’s heart
Our tears will flow
To make us strong
And know
That we belong
To all who see with grace
Our hidden space
And cheer our renewed start

Dedication: I dedicate this poem-narration to our grandson, Emory Cameron Loys, born April 5th to Seth and Laurie de Fleuriot. Words escape us at the joy we all feel at the moment

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The Stillness of Hope

The Stillness of Hope

Have I missed what yearns
In the stillness of hope
To find love to cope
With doubt that learns
The faith of the bold?
Did desire awaken the sound
Even of sparrows in the cold
Where joy on the wing
Lingers, though life turns from Spring
To lay in the ground?

Do I draw away?
Why not have hope
That comes as a friend
Who looks for the day
As sweet scent on the wind
And breathes ‘come near, do not fear’;
Or, like the seed unpinned
As food for the year?
You don’t only hide in death
Yet hold still for me in the lee of the slope
So the storm in my soul can mend
In the love of our lover’s breath

Did the swell of first light
Rally the fields in their stems
As the turning earth tends
To the warmth of the breath that lifts
From dewy acres?
It too calls the watchers
To linger like friends
In the stillness of hope for a while
It gives us its gems
With the butterfly on the daisy it has found
And the sunflower with others in its aisle
With the oak rooted in the ground
It beckons grace to love’s gifts
And the new into sight

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Tears in the Sand

Tears in the Sand

The come and go of workers
with plans and dreams
Hopes and ventures,
Pushing spades in our dirt,
There hurries the expert
In the city’s work and play
His pace it seems
Drives the night and day

When the city’s best
Use profits for jest
They forget the Worker on the side
Who with tears in the sand
Daily sows her pride
To the city’s demand
Then new gusts of plights
Surge like smog over blinking lights
To shadow the city’s way
And trouble its night and day

Awaken the hour, you with sight
Chasten the zeal of goals that hurt
See the weeper under the city’s might;
Attune your song to the face
Of hope in grace
From the one next to you
Who thinks of those she must feed
She presides over the city’s need;
She leans on all that is due
And breathes on our spades in the dirt.
Her charge alone, in the end, must weigh
The city’s work and play

Dedicated to: Mary Jo Leddy, who taught me to go deeper to hear the voice of my neighbor in my city

Traveler

Traveler


Our hard trouble
Loads us double
With heavy sacks
On our backs
Morning till night
Till life’s twilight
From day to day
A pace to fray
In us the best
Of needed rest

Where is the grace
In life’s demand
That finds the stream
For those who turn their face
To make a stand
For their own dream?
What’s there to say
But that they’ve cast off for the day!

Each new year grows
From hours spent
Untidy rows
Where shoots of hope
In grace resent
Earn the dime
That splits the trope
Of give and take
Lifts the loads in stories
And symphonies
Seen through the I and You
Carried by feet and time
That clears the view
Of earn and make
To leave us free
To love and do; to love and be

Mundane daily commutes may be moments easily missed under the brow of banality, and yet even fleeting encounters and hasty comings and goings have a glow of new hope.  In the routines lay the steady rhythms of a kind of essence—a vital community as it were. Over time, confidence and careful respect may work out the path of friendships born from a casual glance and ready smile.

Twice a week in the 6.15 pm Go train ‘accessibility’ coach we are carried by the stories of friends who meet their daily challenges with understated courage. Their steady resolve boldly paints a picture of Canadian diligence. Some brace the blizzards to earn their keep. Others endure the bustle of three-hour daily commutes. There is respect for the life that sets its face to earn its bread [“wai wai mo zenfants, fau.t travailler pour gagner son pain”—words that, among us, only Ibne and Fortuné would understand]. The daily ‘level ground’ does not despise even the wearisome toil borne with the hope of a better future.

Space does not allow me to tell the many stories of honest work and daily sacrifice moved by the need to care for their own. On the 6.15, it does not matter where we come from, or where we are going, but that we all got up this morning to do what we must do. Along the way, we may find others like us in the city’s bustle—a community on the tracks…

σωζεσθε
loys

Dedicated to Dan Riordon and the 2014 travelers on the 6.15pm Go train ‘accessibility’ coach

Les Fleurs et les Abeilles — L’espoir qui ne Manque Jamais

Les Fleurs et les Abeilles
l’espoir qui ne manque jamais

À travers le passage d’automne
Quand le froid qui grimpe attrape notre souffle
Et le vent sème
La chute de neige
Sur des arbres stériles,
Les fleurs reflètent un calme d’espoir

Et il reste encore des abeilles chargées
Qui, en travaillant, s’abritent
Comme un, devant la chaleur qui fuit
Contre ce qu’ils vont bientôt faire face
Bien que les oiseaux partent
Mais ceux-ci construisent toujours
À préparer leur ruches
Avec l’espoir q’instille le prochain
Pour que la vie puisse s’épanouir
À travers d’une joie dévoilée

Le travail honnête ne succombe jamais à la peur
Quand l’hiver se dresse dans le froid
Où la fête d’été a laissé ses miettes
Alors l’espoir qui anime vient
À chaque poussée
À peindre sa joie
Sur un canevas de glace

Sans être gêné par la scène glaciale
Elle façonne une telle main
Que le temps doit sevrer
Pour montrer nous tous
Avec qui nous vivons
Que nous puissions apprendre nos laboures
Et se tenir plus rempli de souffle
Notre marche rendue forte par la mort hivernale

Loys 180916

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The Human and the Ant — What is inspiring in us and them?

The Human and the Ant — What is inspiring in us and them? [continuation of series]

A friend had a vivid dream recently that unpacked the concept of the future for him (his eschatology). He saw a massive number of ants walking throughout the ages in lines extending seemingly forever and coming from places unknown. In his dream, he was one of those ants, and he was in the midst of other ants gouging and beating each other and trying to control their ‘world’ oblivious of their smallness in the grand scheme of things. In seeming support, ScientificAmerican.com reports the real problem of ant wars as a threat to human existence.

The trouble in the ant world comes through a small handful of invasive ant species whereas the majority of the more than 12,000 ant species are native. Native ants, in contrast to invasive ants, are beneficial to the environment. They till their soil and sow their seeds. My aim here is not to go into the social economy of ants and potential consequences for the world but to take up a discussion that identifies vital differentiating aspects of natural and spiritual actions. I use the ants here to help my argument for a deeper understanding of the relationship between the natural and the spiritual in humanity. I draw on the ant’s efficient natural functionality, to examine what best reflects human functionality.

Native Ants, we know, are the opposite of dysfunctional – they spend their entire lives busy with some task serving their natural goals. That said, the reasons for the imbalances in the ant world are not yet clear and form part of some research in the science of myrmecology.

As a forethought to what follows, picture if you will, the character of a being who creates a world of such beauty as ours.  Consider then, the anticipated hope enough of such a being for a hope-filled future for this beautifully diverse creation—here, as humans, animals, and the creation? In the interest of fair disclosure, my doctoral research has led me so far to take up the idea or belief that such beauty has a reconciliative (and not annihilative) ultimate purpose—an eternal future that I see as a unity-across-diversity for the sake of joy, happiness, and abounding blessings.

The ant, in its single-minded functionality, offers in this sense, a question to us: What can we learn from it for our purpose on earth? Although ants are almost physically blind (they communicate through chemical smell and stridulation), they teach us about consistency—they do not deviate from the paths set out by their scouts. Rightly, Solomon encourages us to take a lesson from them (I imagine here, Solomon considers their singlemindedness)

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” Proverbs 6:6-8

The scientific records abundantly document ant behavior. Ants use their differing skills, communication, and intelligence to build and protect their colonies or to acquire that of others. The estimate is they comprise 15-25% of the biomass of earth’s terrestrial animals (i.e., the ants make up to 25% of the total weight of all animal and insect life). They occupy every landmass on earth except Antarctica; Greenland; Iceland, and a few deserted islands. This ‘occupation’ is an outstanding feat of community building, largely the result of operating as associated entities.

La Fontaine’s fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper [La Cigale et la Fourmi], may be less about a discouraged grasshopper standing before a self-righteousness ant that sits cross-armed in front of its locked and loaded storeroom door, than about a fantastic ‘ant’ strategy, that of staying focused on its community’s building purposes. “Que faisiez-vous au temps chaud?” the ant asks [What were you doing when the weather was warm?]. To which the grasshopper replies, “Nuit et jour à tout venant je chantais, ne vous déplaise” [Night and day to all comers I sang, do not displease yourself] (Fables de la Fontaine, 2011, 4). The fable ends with the ant’s sarcastic remark to the grasshopper that its life had better be more than its singing.

However, the human species has a crucial advantage over the ants – a deeper understanding of spiritual things. Humans can imagine what they have never experienced. They can creatively implement resultant research into their present or future action. The ant has intelligence; social order, and even astounding physical abilities, but cannot rise cognitively and creatively to alter his natural drive. However, also, though this differentiated spiritual-creativity seemingly separates humans and animals, a similarity remains. Both respond spiritually as in the desire to act to extend life that is “like it.” 

So, we might then ask: what is the human’s further purpose? If I were to take up the idea of a spiritual-imaginative relational possibility— an analogia relationis as it were, a transcendent attribute emerges. To think on a spiritual-creative plane opens to the human the idea that life’s drive to unity-in-community. Here, humans, do not differentiate from the ants. Said philosophically in an Aristotelian sense, a unity-in-community is a life of “like” drawn to what is “like’ it”. However, living for “likeness” is only one half of a whole. I am proposing here that it takes the altitude of a deeper spiritual-creative view to show that the human must imagine life beyond what is “like it.” In the ant world, the “likeness” view results in turf wars which scientists tell us may in time threaten the globe. In contrast, a deeper spiritual-creative view invites a different view of what can sustain future peace—one of unity-across-diversity. I am taking up the charge here for a “tensioned” relationship between “unity” and “difference” that breaks the idea of a one-sided need for unity to replace it with a unity-across-difference. I am speaking here of a charge and purpose for the human that is a latent possibility. This potential co-inheres without coalescence. Here, all created life carries this potential for hope, for the future, for quest, for meaning, etc., without subsuming the other/s. The genetive sacred text describes this sui generis potential as an “image in the likeness of God.” It is this “image” that guides the cycles of collaborations in humanity and all creation. No doubt, intelligence shapes aspects of these relationships. The “image” pattern set out in the inceptive sacred texts is set in the backdrop of “binding” and “separating” of earth from firmaments, sky from earth, water from land, plants from animals, humans from dust, etc. This process of “binding” and “separating” suggests to us life lived in a tensional relationship of unity-across-diversity rather than in an Aristotelian sense, as in a drive for “likeness.” Slater’s logic of scarcity contemplates the annihilative possibility in the ants’ capacity to destroy one another in their drive for survival. I go beyond here in a negation of negation to a logic of affirmation. I see the pattern in the ants who build in interactive mutualisms, as an encouragement to build tensional relationships of unity-across-diversity.

Humans even have, to a greater degree than the ants, the ability to see and know and hope and understand the purpose of being meaningful and responsible. This greater spiritual ability also open the humans  to the misuse of their talents.

The thin line of “greater knowledge” that seemingly separates humans from the ants is also the line that joins them. Here too the “separating” and the “binding” carry a mutual responsibility, since we all participate in the history of creation. This line is not a preferred position. This line is not an advantage that can sustain disadvantaging the others in humanity and creation. This line, if viewed with the wisdom of a tensional unity-across-diversity takes up the use of our creative energies for the benefit of other created beings whose returned favor we may not understand until all things are made clear.

In the meantime, this line is a remind of our daily responsibilities to live with the wisdom we have for the sake of the other/s—as a turn to the other/s that benefits all, including us. This line is not a new Totalitarian or Unified solution, but an opening through the idea of our collaborative mutualness to be willing to serve for the sake of a love for the other/s—for the different, for the multi-diverse world.

I see such a love in the example of the One who was willing to respond to human cruelty with a transcendent love at the cross. This One shows that a love for other/s exists that cannot be extinguished, but continues today to nurture humanity and creation toward the Final Reconciliation of all life—human and creational.

Loys 180911

2011 © Victory Fields

(The beliefs, conclusions, or opinions expressed within this article are entirely those of the author of this article. It is not our intention to suggest either that the authors/writers quoted, in any way agree with what we have written, or that we are expressing their full view on any of the subjects covered)

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The Whisper in my Ear

The Whisper in my Ear
170727

O heart don’t lead me astray
See the trees that line the gardener’s way
Their view is the sun and soil
Along with our common toil

O heart don’t lead me away
See the birds flying south
As ribbons in the wind
Together they brace for the rain
Pushing and pulling their train

O heart don’t lead me today
To the cold only with the spruce for cover
Hidden from my lover’s keep
From the warmth of his breath
Together with other
Away from the fall.
The whisper in my ear
That awakens from sleep
The wonder of love in the far and near,
Is one who sees beyond death
Who learns grace in joyful play
Who sees wonder in it all through the love of all
Who lights up with delight for the grace
Of wisdom in our earthly space

The Children’s Angels

The Children’s Angels
160528

The angels
as evening lulls
close to the child’s embrace,
their given grace
of nightly rounds;
of thoughts              and dreams;
the sounds
of heaven’s streams.
Their measured breaths
where hope is plunged            to depths,
the call
to all,
for what                                                       there is to give
that flows                              out of the Lover’s heart;
comes to live
within the hope that strokes can never thwart

.

The days they sow
makes bright
its gifts                         to wearied bow
that lives                              under such light.
This buoys the scales of deeds
to clear the cherished space                           that carries seeds
to the care of songs                                  stored
where stands the Lord
on guard
with his reward

.

   The wondrous scene
of wide-eyed awe
that glories draw,
frees the sight                  to light;
first sight
from sight unseen,
whispers in          the human ear
the score unheard              of places near;
as symphonies pause;
to still the time and space                   within the panoply
beneath                                           the whirring sea
all astir                   before the divine post
of heaven’s host

.

For those made true,
to whom            each cup
freshens
the glow of faith                      within,
renewed sight                             beckons
up
their hope                                         into
the skin
of love-filled stays;
of God’s abounding days.

Dedication:  for Puddy

An embrace of the world

The idea of embrace within a theology of the cross takes a pivotal turn in the 20th Century from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s writings in prison. Bonhoeffer’s sacrifice at the hands of the Nazis, and of countless others also among Jews and others who were brutally killed, stands as a theological transitory point for the 20th Century [1]. Bonhoeffer, in his later theology, foreshadows the Christological elements of a theology of embrace evident in Moltmann and Volf’s theology of the cross. In a letter he wrote on July 21st, 1944 (about one month before his execution), Bonhoeffer affirms the extent of that embrace of the world for all called through the cross of Christ to a relevant and public faith. He writes (my emphasis), “[it is] only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. … In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world – watching with Christ in Gethsemane” [2].

This “watching with Christ” is the call to embrace Christ’s sufferings, but how is this effected today? Does the example of the church in contemporary society agree with the redemptive possibility of this kind of public and total surrender to the ‘other’? Bonhoeffer also asked, “How are we to reconcile the obscurity of the cross of Christ with the light that shines? Ought not the Christian life to be as obscure as the cross itself? [3]

Loys

[1] Eberhard Bethge, Bonhoeffer: Exile and Martyr (London, UK: Collins, 1975), 164-166.
[2] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, ed. Eberhard Bethge (New York, NY: The Macmillan Company, 1967), 369-370.
[3] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (London, UK: SCM/Canterbury Press, 2001), 107.

Answers

Answers
21st March 2016

At last the songs
Righting the wrongs
Anew array
The night and day
And fears that come
To hope succumb

“Welcome” I hear
“Shed all your fear
And take instead
All that I bled
To heal your soul
And make you whole
A self in space
Brought near to grace”

Broken Blame

Broken Blame

Be done with fuss
For all the maimed
That God’s not blamed
Nor us

Love is the price
Of payment made
By one who came
Into the game
With faith that will suffice
The unstained hearts
To form the brave
Called from the grave:
The Divine Aid
That answers shame
To lift the lame;
To give new starts
And save
All that earth gave