Aslan’s Fire: Living Love

One of the most powerful and beautiful things about the love of God is how the impact of His love on us causes us to (a) see ourselves, and (b) react toward others.

Sometimes it is clearly evident that my life before Jesus was lived one way and now is completely different. Other times, it appears I’ve not changed one whit. For example, I used to have quite a temper and, even though I’m not always the most patient person, I’m much calmer now than I was then. I also unashamedly employed different, more scandalous words, and laughed uproariously at what now make me sad because it is either crude or demeaning to one whom God loves. I was more critical and put up with a lot less, often affronted by a perceived wrongdoing. Now I’m more aware that no person is a mistake and that God had a reason for creating each one of us, so I’m more easily able to forgive a hurt. And each year I walk with the Lord I find myself increasingly tender hearted, more easily brought to tears when made aware of the plight of my fellow man. That said, I don’t always thank God for all parts of my life. Instead, regretfully, sometimes I grumble about necessary tasks. Example: when we lived in the mountains, I loved the heat that came from our wood burning fireplace insert, but I wasn’t always happy that I had to continually (read: every 30-45 minutes) stoke the fire. So…sometimes I complained.

Why is that, do you think? How is it possible that I have, yet have not, completely changed? Because even though the love of God is shed abroad in my heart (Romans 5:5, King James Version), I’m still a work in progress and will continue to learn, grow, and improve until I go Home. And what impact does that have on the rest of my life? A great deal, especially when I remember that everyone else in the Family of God is experiencing the same thing: fully new, yet still incomplete.

My 1611 Edition of the Holy Bible, preserved for our delight and perusal in its original Middle English, reminds me I am forbidden to critique based upon what my eyes behold. Consider this beautiful statement of Paul’s as recorded in the New International Version: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation….” (2 Corinthians 5:17, New International Version). In the margin of the 1611 Edition it is rendered, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, let him be a new creation…” (italics mine).

Meaning what?

Meaning we need to allow others to learn and grow at their own pace. At the same time, we’re to come alongside, assist as necessary, and accept that another’s path may take them on a route that is different from our own. Here’s how Paul explained it to Grecian believers in Colossae: “Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Put up with one another. Stay together–no matter what! Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together. Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Liberator’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body), and be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15, The Voice).

It is my ongoing prayer that the living love of God be the deciding factor in everything I do.

All of Heaven’s best to you and yours,
Margret

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On Becoming

ImageSo what, and how, are we all doing as we travel the path laid before us? That is always my heart’s cry even though I only recognize the plaintive query at intermittent intervals.

My heart is full these days as I consider past stories of heart friends: new directions for their bread-and-butter worlds, possibilities of broadened horizons suddenly thrust upon them, opportunities for exploring the dreams landscaping their hearts.

Then I think of myself, always able to believe in the Lover of my soul but only infrequently able to believe in myself. At the same time, I ponder the advice I gave my brother: only in nurturing ourselves can we have sufficient overflow which enables us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Hmm. Am I worth that effort? The Word says I am. So I’ll consider the Highway of Holiness where, Isaiah tells us, it’s impossible to get lost. And that means I’m safe, totally safe, even on the days when I feel I cannot find my way.

So I’ll explore this life, enjoy the beauty I find, and trumpet the news of grace wherever I go. I am the traveler: not the being from Star Trek: The Next Generation but a person who delights in all the beauty of the world around her. With that heart, and the help of a beautiful Harley Davidson catalog provided by my Dad, in 1994 I wrote a wonderful poem followed 12 years later by two short stories.

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The Traveler

The joy of the traveler comes
from new horizons and
beauties discovered,
from weary limbs
& joy of heart,
from full-bodied wine
chunks of cheese &
homemade bread.

The joy of a traveler is embodied
in the heart of a dreamer
equally at home with
crackling fireplaces
windswept plains
& misty hills.

The joy in the traveler
is experienced in
the lure of a
highway
the bend of
a mountain road.

The traveler dreams.
The traveler is a romantic.
The traveler lives
in the world
of the poet.
He/She strides forth
in a full cape with a staff
or rides a horse
or sits astride
a Harley.

Sometimes the traveler never leaves
the confines of a wheelchair
& journeys just the same.

The traveler is me.
And you if you
can be free
enough
to try.

 

The Traveler 1542

Descending the slope, reins loosely looped in her still-gloved right hand and carrying her plumed hat in the other, her thoughts interrupted the view. Yet even she, the most popular Traveler of the times, couldn’t help but notice when the forest gave way to meadow and she stepped out into thigh-high wild flowers and grasses.

This place had been home to her ever since she realized there was no going back because (a) she knew so little of her past and (b) no one would answer her questions. Someday she would make that journey and try to figure it out for herself. But not until all the villages understood the importance of caring about right and wrong. It always encouraged her to know that keeping alive the stories from long, long ago strengthened the will and firmed the resolve of another group of villages. Past vignettes, parables, lessons couched in the flowery language of fables, all showed how to make wise decisions now and in the future. It was her choice, much more, her passion; because she wanted as many people safe, healthy, and happy as possible.

Smiling, Shea looked around, seeing as if for the first time the well-cared-for fields, smooth roads, quietly grazing animals. Swallows danced on the afternoon breeze, finches swayed on the tall stalks of wild grasses, mockingbirds sang from nests by tree-lined city walls.

Despite her eagerness, Shea determined not to hurry. Thankfully, she was able to relax here, even let down her guard. She walked slowly so Chica, her flaxen chestnut friend, could keep up while favoring her lame hoof. Once again, Shea was grateful Chica had not been hurt at the beginning of their journey. That would have been disastrous — they both might be dead. Injured just the day before, these forested hills provided safety because none would enter who did not belong. True, they were a day late, but Chica was not just her mode of transportation: she was also a faithful, beloved companion. “Tonight dear friend, you get a bucket of oats and warm mash. I’ll also give you a really good rub down. Maybe that’ll get your mind off the doctor, who has to be sure nothing is seriously wrong. And me? Immediately after leaving the stable I’m heading for the inn. Gotta get these boots, if not off my feet, at least propped up by a fire. Then I’ll have that long-awaited goblet of wine.”

Chica nickered as Shea’s voice ran down. Absentmindedly, Shea tweaked Chica’s forelock even while her thoughts leapt to the following day. She wasn’t sure which would be more fun: guest teaching at the Travelers College or shopping for her new cape. It was wonderful to know so many others understood the importance of the job and willingly devoted time and risked safety to prepare future Travelers. Once every person understood the dangers confronting them, grasped that the words of the enemy had always differed from the reality of his plans, more people would get involved. And once his lies and many weaknesses were exposed, the villagers could relax and so could the Travelers — until they were needed once more.

 

The Traveler 2042

“Woo hoo, Grandma! A motorcycle! I can’t believe you bought it for me!” Sheila spun around the box, in her excitement narrowly missing cabinets and scaring the cats back indoors.

Laughing, and all the while dancing her toes out of harm’s way, Sharane said, “But darling, you had to have it. It’s tradition in our family, written in the will of your great-grandmother Shea 22 times removed. Surely you remember: ‘Provision will forever be made for’ – and Sheila chimed in, laughing – ‘each generation of children. The best transportation will always be available, so those who want to wear the mantle of Traveler may do their work care-free and safely.’ ”

Watching her granddaughter scoot around in the carriage house, another old-fashioned building still in use and, of course, lovingly restored by the family to its former glory, Sharane could sense the excitement yet unease in this, her favorite grandchild. Immediately her thoughts flashed on ’Sabel: so much promise but no stamina. Shaking her head, Sharane continued, “Between you and me, I don’t care what your mother said. What with her molly coddling, fretting, and lack of vision I’m surprised she’s done this well with her life. And she’s still scared…don’t know where she got it from…certainly not me!” Smiling brightly at Sheila, she said, “If you want to concentrate on your persuasive writing, I can certainly pass along not just the wonderful stories but also the wealth handed down to me by my very financially astute father.

“Now, stop hiding behind your need-to-know-everything-before-you-move-forward. You probably have it figured out already. I’ve seen you poring over the catalogs; I know by your notes and sketches which ones you love — and which you can handle. I’ve even heard you mutter about the possibilities of balance and lift, and where you’d keep your Bible, laptop, camera, and phone. The only thing I had to do was select one from your list and, my dear, I selfishly chose one whose lines reminded me of the old-fashioned motorcycles of my youth.”

Sheila smiled nervously at her grandmother, then realized the strength and love of life she saw in the seasoned woman before her coursed through her own veins. She was already a survivor. Now, thanks to this beautiful gift, she had the awesome opportunity of answering the call on her life.

Carefully breaking open the carton, Sheila stopped and stared, then whispered, “They said it couldn’t be done, even though it’s been in the realm of possibility for years. That once-upon-a-dream, gone forever I thought, is now mine.” Moving forward and slowly releasing the clasps and clamps, Sheila’s heart clenched and she wept for joy. “Oh, Grandma….” Hugging the woman she loved so much, as they both watched the major components hover just above the box, she said, “With saddle bags attaching over my chair parts, and controls mounted on the handle bars, for the first time since the accident three years ago I’ll look like any other kid on an air bike.

“Oh Grandma, how can I ever thank you?”