"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

~C.S. Lewis


Thursday, December 15, 2011

The wanderer's prayer

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

~J. R. R. Tolkien

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cantique de Noël: A direct translation of "O Holy Night"

This is a direct translation from French of the song, "O Holy Night." I love it this way... it is exquisitely beautiful.

Cantique de Noël

Midnight, Christians, it's the solemn hour,
When the God-man descended to us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of His Father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Savior.

People kneel down, wait for your deliverance.
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!

The ardent light of our Faith,
Guides us all to the cradle of the infant,
As in ancient times a brilliant star
Conducted the Magi there from the orient.
The King of kings was born in a humble manger;
O mighty ones of today, proud of your grandeur,

It is to your pride that God preaches.
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!

The Redeemer has overcome every obstacle:
The Earth is free, and Heaven is open.
He sees a brother where there was only a slave,
Love unites those that iron had chained.
Who will tell Him of our gratitude,
For all of us He is born, He suffers and dies.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The world of a dreamer

There is part of the world that is horrible and dark, but if you can look under that veil of blackness, it reveals a world of such utter beauty that, when you see it, you wonder if you have stepped into a fairy tale. Can life really be so full of joy?

People say, I don’t know what I want to do or be with my life. But you must! I know you feel—I know you love! Does this not tell you where you belong? What makes your heart sing and make you want to dance, and make you stop and stare at the world in wonder because it is just so wonderful and so glorious and so beautiful? Have you ever thought that maybe—just maybe—that is what you were meant to do?

That is such a hard concept for so many that I have talked to. I wonder if we have forgotten what it is to love life. We are so used to living so-so, to not following our glory, to thinking that being joyful and doing what we absolutely love is wrong, somehow. It could be, many times. Sometimes, you make choices that sets your life in a different direction. And that is okay. You did not fail. You just changed directions for now. Sometimes, you need to sacrifice.

But sometimes, you live—you live as you were meant to live—you live as you were created to live, before sin, before pain.

Maybe it doesn’t look like a specific job or major or task.Maybe it doesn’t look like anything the world has ever seen. All you know is that that vision—that place to where the world has not yet gone—you sense within your soul. You sometimes think of giving it up because you don’t know how to get there, but you never do, never quite, because that is the place where you are most full of glory, where your heart explodes with pure happiness and gratefulness at simply being allowed to live, where you feel maia, where you most reflect holiness.

I suppose this may be naïve. Perhaps some will read this and smile and shake their heads and say, that young girl, that silly girl, she has not yet been crushed by life. Someday she will understand how hard and how dark life is.

It is hard. It is dark. I know it is. But because it is so hard and it is so dark, that makes the glorious brightness underneath stand out all the more.

And yet, perhaps I still take it too far. But I cannot deny the excitement I feel about life; I cannot deny that I feel like I live in a fairy tale where magic is real and dreams do come true. Maybe it is all right that I have not yet been crushed and my dreams have not yet been shattered. Maybe, sometimes, the world needs the naïve. And maybe, sometimes, the world needs dreamers.

"No. I suppose that other world must be all a dream," [said Jill.]

"Yes. It is all a dream," said the Witch, always thrumming…

Puddleglum was still fighting hard. "I don't know rightly what you all mean by a world," he said, talking like a man who hasn't enough air. "But you can play that fiddle till your fingers drop off, and still you won't make me forget Narnia; and the whole Overworld too. We'll never see it again, I shouldn't wonder. You may have blotted it out and turned it dark like this, for all I know. Nothing more likely.
"But I know I was there once. I've seen the sky full of stars. I've seen the sun coming up out of the sea of a morning and sinking behind the mountains at night. And I've seen him up in the midday sky when I couldn't look at him for brightness..."

The Witch shook her head… "Come, all of you. Put away these childish tricks. I have work for you all in the real world. There is no Narnia, no Overworld, no sky, no sun, no Aslan. And now, to bed all. And let us begin a wiser life tomorrow..."

"One word, Ma'am," Puddleglum said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one.
"And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a playworld which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia."
~C.S. Lewis (The Silver Chair)

The wind on my face

You would think I am on caffeine. I’m entertaining when I’m on caffeine. I get just purely sparklingly happy and start thinking about how the sun is so wonderful and the grass is so wonderful and buildings and houses and people and schoolwork and learning and ladybugs and horses and sunshine and chocolate and music and everything in life—absolutely everything—is so amazingly wonderful—so wonderful I just walk around with a smile on my face.

And then I start wondering why I am feeling so odd, and I remember that an hour ago I had coffee.

But right now, I’m not on coffee. It’s just one of those times when I look around me, and I close my eyes and breathe in, and I absolutely cannot believe how incredible life is. It’s not that I have everything I could ever want—or that there is nothing troubling me—or that there is no pain in my life—but that beyond those light afflictions there is such glory and beauty and joy such that I have only barely even tasted.

But it’s there, it’s real, it’s the reality behind every storybook and every fairy tale. Where do we get the ideas for those places, those lands, those adventures? It can’t just come within us, it must be rooted in reality, and we are searching for it with every breath we take. And we find it in our world, though dimly, though one day those who have lived in Christ’s glory will see it face to face.

Just because it is dimmer than it will one day be doesn’t mean it is dim. It is not just some sort of theoretical glory or joy. It is pure, absolute, glorious happiness. It is letting yourself laugh as hard as you can about jokes that make absolutely no sense and sing at the top of your lungs to The Lion King songs and dance around the room at the same time just because you can and eat three desserts in one night because you want to and have walking races with total strangers and talk to the birds who are screaming at you and because you just let life be so much fun.

It is looking at pictures of the most beautiful sunset, and knowing, that is real, I experienced that. And it is imagining riding my horse and realizing, that unbelievable power—that is real, that is part of life as I know it. And it is thinking of love, unimaginable self-sacrificing love, and understanding, that is as real as the wind on my face.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saving women a lot of trouble

"Instead [of a man in love necessarily] pursuing the woman and trying to get her alone... he needs to go alone himself, perhaps to a mountain cabin, for three months, write poetry, canoe down a river, and dream. That would save some women a lot of trouble."

~Robert Bly

When I first read it, this quote made me laugh out loud. But then, it caused me to think. Who says women should be the only dreamers? The more I talk with my fellow students at college, the more I seem to notice that it is the girls who more often dream the big, impossible dreams, and the men, less so.

I wonder if this is some sort of odd result of our culture's focus on empowering women over empowering men. As little girls, we are told from the beginning that we can do anything, be anything, go anywhere -- and yet, I wonder if we forget to tell the little boys the same thing.

Dreaming inspires us and shows us a world as it could be, and then, our deepest desire becomes to make it that way. That is true glory.

So, dream.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The great devotions

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

~Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Leap of faith

Sometimes, you feel like Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade. You are in one place, and you know you need to get to another, but it is impossible to get there. You are isolated, alone with your decision but for the infinite chasm in front of you.

You know you must get across; you know this. It has been made so clear to you, you are willing to risk your life for it. Heaven knows you’ve struggled with doubt and uncertainty before, but for now, for once, it is not a question of having an unclear goal or a blurred vision. It is not a question of being unwilling or unmotivated.

You just don’t know how to do it. You just don’t know. And so many doors have seemed to close so fast and so hard that all of the logical, sensible, options seem to have been suffocated. And you are left there, standing, looking down into that chasm that seems to extend down and down and down forever.

What do you do? You can’t go back. It is not an option to fail; you know you won’t, somehow. But that doesn’t lessen what you now have to do. How do you go forward into the impossible?

It’s not really that you’re afraid. You don’t have to be, not when you know where you are is right. And it’s not that you’re unhappy, exactly; you know blessing and adventure awaits. And it’s not even that you’re entirely confused, for although you’ve just been told to do the unattainable, it’s clear that you’ve been told. And you never consider saying no.

So you hesitate. Do you literally just step across? Could it be that simple and that complex? It must be. Because perhaps it takes the closing of every other door and every other option and every other logical, reasonable, sensible, educated solution to make obvious to you the one, single, simplest, clearest, easiest, and hardest option of all.

That perhaps, you are just supposed to step across.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The separation of souls

People ask, “How are you doing?”

How am I doing.

It’s not so much that there is endless stabbing grief. I know she’s not dead. I know I am blessed to be able to communicate with her as often as I do—an e-mail a week, perhaps more, perhaps less. I know she is in the embrace of my glorious Almighty Father of Light. Those are great blessings.

But my sister is gone.

And it’s not so much that life can’t go on without her. It’s that it’s hard to let it.

In a sense, as she warned me herself, it is like she has died, yet without all of the sharp black chasms of grief. There was no black-clad funeral, no rosy-tinted eulogy, no cut off of all communication this side of heaven. Instead, perhaps it is like she passed one or two or five years ago. The grief is sweeter, sadder, more hushed, and even sometimes forgotten for a day.

Instead, it’s the sort of grief that comes unpredictably, unexpectedly, like a chilling wind that sweeps bitterly out of a radiant blue sky—it’s when you hear a certain song or see a certain picture or open a certain box, and suddenly, all the memories come flooding in to submerge your soul with images and smells and words and memories… exploring the woods in your cloaks while enacting silly romantic stories or watching that one movie until you could quote every line (and just make up the rest) or weaving nonsense stories for hours on end while doing your endless farm chores on cold and rainy days or decorating the Christmas tree in that certain way you always do because it’s more fun that way… Suddenly, you remember everything. And it’s not so much that you are torn with grief right now, but that you are wishing you could go back to then. Just for a day.

Just to re-live that life again.

Because it’s hard to live it now. Now, nothing is different, but everything has changed. When glory is falling in place and the dreams you two shared and are now coming true—you can’t share them with her even though she was the one with whom you wove them; you can’t hear her laugh and see her eyes dance and listen to her whisper, “We knew it would work.”.

Or when it’s late and life looks bleak because you don’t know what to do and suddenly her whispered-echoed words remind you what to do, and you turn to tell her how grateful you are for them and you stop short—because you are speaking to nothing, to no one.

Or you hurt and you go to talk to her for hours because she’s the only one with your soul inside her, too, and you stop, and realize you are crying alone, because she isn’t there and can’t be there and won’t be there, not now, not for years, and you start crying again, but now for a different reason.

And it’s not that I think no one has had to endure this before, and it’s certainly not that I think it could not be any worse. It could be. It could be much, much worse.

But I do not need my soul ripped in shreds to know that even having it ripped in two still hurts.

And when you realize that, you begin to cry all over again, because you realize one more thing.

Another person, on the other side of the world, is going through the exact same thing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fare thee well

Farewell, my sister, fare thee well.
The elements be kind to thee, and make
Thy spirits all of comfort: fare thee well.

~William Shakespeare


Thursday, October 6, 2011


I’m sitting in my room, alone. My window is open and I hear the crickets and the wind and the leaves of the trees talking to each other. The night is so incredibly beautiful. It’s calling… calling so hard I could cry—or dance—or laugh—or just lean out the window and feel the breeze in my face and my hair and my soul.

It is on nights like these I wonder what would happen if I just got in my car and drove—and drove—and drove. To see the world and to meet so many wonderful people, to seek out new experiences and new places. To move and run and drive and travel, going nowhere and leaving nowhere, and yet being everywhere and doing everything.

It makes me want to dance and sing. It makes me want to go out on the island and walk through the waves and draw pictures in the sand. It makes me want to balance on top of an old moss-covered wall and weave a flower crown out of the fading late-summer flowers and roll down a hill in the autumn-bright leaves. It makes me want to lie in a meadow and count the shooting stars for hours and then fall asleep in the dry, warm grass. It makes me want to take a friend by the hand and smile and laugh and dance and drag them with me on this great, wild adventure.

Can you feel it? Can you feel your heart racing? Can you feel the excitement welling up in you like a wild song aching to be free? Can you feel your restlessness and your hopes and your dreams?

I know you can.

So come with me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Courage, dear heart

Lucy leant her head on the edge of the fighting top and whispered, "Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now..."

Lucy looked along the beam and presently saw [the albatross.] But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, "Courage, dear heart," and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan's…

~The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Escaping the prison words

Gold-light water and sun-emblazoned sky. I have escaped the brick-and-stone prison and slipped by a cloak’s concealment out the rearmost door, a door few use—and so it is not yet tired.

It isn’t. But I am. I don’t want to think anymore. I am too tired. And I know this.

I found that out, last night, when I entered one of the kindest parts of my day, when I would rest for a moment just before I slept. In those precious minutes, I would recklessly allow my mind to do nothing—think nothing—decide nothing. I would scorn decisions, push aside worry, mocking them, saying, you can wait—you will wait—you have no power now. I would rest.

I need such rest now, and it serves to warn about how I am living. Always moving, always choosing, always striving—never a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light. Self-imposed restrictions, self-constricting chains, I stab myself with dagger-words:

Need. Should. Have. Must.

Prison words.

But I escape.

I escape because as soon as I let go of my hand-clutched hold on the locks, the chains fall free, crumpling in relief around my sandaled feet, gasping for breath once released from my strangling hold. Jesus does not say should and must and have and need. He says love and justice and holiness and grace. They are different; they are worlds apart. Both require endless action and whole-life dedication in even a single moment, but one consumes with guilt; the other consumes with glory. One is full of expectations; the other is full of freedom. In one, you have lists and measurements and anguished decisions, but, in the other, you see whole worlds open and a hundred paths of righteousness and truth.

Isn’t that beautiful?

I walk to the island, alone. I stay on the grass. It seems less harsh than the broken pavement. For a moment, my mind tells me, I should have some great revelation out here, on the island’s ancient wooden bridge, something that would change me.

Should. There it is again. I gag inside. I push those thoughts away, for I need learn nothing; I don’t have to do anything; I can just be. I can simply enjoy this glorious light and worship the heavenly Son. The rest from expectations and self-judgment that I seek just before sleep—and that I’ve let myself have now—that is my glory at all times, if I will take it.

“I do not judge myself”… “Only one thing is needed”… “The entire law is summed up in a single command”…

Maybe this is the meaning of shalom. Not just a peaceful life, but a restful life. A hard life, but not a draining life.

Things are so often simpler than I think.

I have been standing on the bridge for a long time now. I turn to go back, not having set foot on the island—not today, anyway. I have not quite escaped—not yet. I know I will pick up my chains again and a moment later throw them back down in disgust. It will take time. But, I am closer—I am on the bridge—and, someday, I will let Jesus rip those chains off my soul and burn them at the cross.

And then I will step freely onto my new island home, leaving the prison words behind.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The danger of safety and being sickened by nice

When I tell people, I don't think they know the depth of what I am saying. All they know is that they are shocked. When I tell others that I have considered being military, or police, it is utterly unfathomable to most of them.

“What, you?”

Yes, me.

Is that so hard to believe?

My heart still turns back to that sort of life despite my leaving it for a very different one. I still am drawn to its call; somehow, that is why—though I don’t know why—I haven’t unsubscribed from the National Guard e-mail list and why I still look at internships with the CIA and why my eyes still linger on that military recruitment office next to Kohls. I have come so close e-mailing a recruiter—to starting the process—but I never quite do. It is never quite time, it is never quite right. It simply does not seem to be a place where I can go at the moment without tying my hands from other, greater passions with which the Lord has blessed me.

But I still wonder, why. Why, somehow, do I feel like a life like that has such an element of going home? Going home—touching maia—such a feeling means I need to learn something and I have been missing something. It means this every single time. What part of me longs to be fulfilled in that life and it is starving for it here, in this life? What are those longings trying to say? For they are speaking, and when they speak to my heart, I am learning to listen with my soul.

I have prayed about this a great deal, lately, and I think, perhaps, it has to do with being safe. I enjoy attending my college, but there is one part of it that almost caused me to not attend. There is one element that has proven to be one of my greatest disappointments and yet I knew would come.

People are too nice.

I am too nice.

And we are all much, much too safe.

Such sickening niceness is like living in lukewarm water, with nothing ever slapping you in the face and forcing you to come to terms and no one telling you to shut up and do it and never seeing a fighting passion in a person. It is choking down raw dough because you are afraid of the fire that will bake it to bread. It is saying you would die for Christ and then living in such drowning niceness that you won’t even speak up for what you believe about Him. It is always starting every sentence with, "I feel..." or "It seems..." or "Perhaps..." instead of, "I know..." or "I believe." We become so compartmentalized we don’t even understand what it is to have rock-hard rules and unbreakable standards; we are so horrified by a single swear word we cannot see behind it to admire a passionate life.

Instead we live slowly. We live so slowly.

It sickens me. I want to see anger and heat and fire and argument. We hem and haw, shuffle around, don’t want to be seen and don’t want to be heard. We never want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or push anyone past a place they don’t want to go. We all go down to the lowest common denominator instead of pushing up to the highest one.

And it's not just about us. We are so terrified of offending that we live in a box where we are sure everyone around us can feel absolutely safe. If I lived around many of these people my whole life I would never get a strong word, never get a reprimand, and never be forced to do anything hard that wrenched my very being.

In other words, I would never live.

I want to stop feeling safe. And maybe I want it so much from others because I want it in myself. When people cannot believe I could ever want to enter the military, I fear for myself. Am I so passive, so full of deathly niceness, that they see no fight and passion in me at all? I feel so horribly passive so often. I am nice and smile and nod, and it’s not that I don’t believe in solid truth and things worth fighting for. I do. I do with all my heart. But sometimes I feel so lost and shackled by nice that I almost can’t stand myself.

And I think that is what I admire—rightly or wrongly, whether from a romanticized view or not, I don’t know—about the military, about defense, about that sort of life. It seems like a place where there is still right and wrong and people still live it. It seems like a place where people will still tell you no and people will still raise their voice and people will still use force and people will still pour out endless passion and where rules and deadlines mean something and where excellence hasn't been dragged down to the lowest common denominator. It’s a place where you may not feel safe—because you were not safe.

Maybe I’m wrong. But I hope I’m not.

I do not want to be safe. Not for myself. And not for others. In fact, I believe that one of the greatest disservices I can do to another is to be too nice—to never push, never correct, never help, never change—to leave them alone forever.

It is not that I do not want to have values, and standards, and hope, and morality, and love. I want to be good. But no one ever said being good meant you had to be safe.

In fact, it seems that being good is quite the opposite.

[Mrs. Beaver replied,]“If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
"Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
~The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

Friday, August 26, 2011

Moving among the worlds

To return this night to my small corner of the teeming anthill, my cliff-dwelling cave, I would turn right. Logic extends her hand and asks me to follow her there; she seeks to show me the people and the buildings, the manicured paths and the sculptured fountain. The doors watch me with their deep, mahogany eyes, beckoning.

To the right lies reality. But to the left lies home.

Leftward, onward, quiet grace of columns sweep heavenward while deep tapestry rugs keep my feet; I feel them through soft leather-thin shoes—a sister’s gift. They take me softly across the floor, for in dancer’s lightness I wish to be neither seen nor heard. Let no one find me, let this place be at peace. I give a returning grace to the greeting of the prayer chapel, decades my senior, watching me with age-old eyes. Lost in a world where what is real is bent and what I know may change, I turn a corner, floating in medieval Italy, entranced in a story of love and of pain, whispering the words of star-crossed lovers. I myself seek to move across the stars.

I start; before me lies someone not in my world, or, perhaps, I am no longer in hers. She sits—I stand—two worlds. The Bard’s words die in my throat like the lovers about whom they speak. I smile, I nod, greetings exchanged, eyes soften; she returns to her land and I slip pass, eager to return to mine.

Almost home—almost free—I lean my weight into the towering deep wood doors, both small hands pressing against huge wood-carvings a thousand more have touched. I look up and up to the ceiling high ahead, hearing the creak-wood groan under my grasp and wonder—is this is how Aragorn felt when he threw open the doors and announced the coming of war?

But I am not going to war, not now, not yet, at least. Someday. Perhaps, in this place of age and beauty, of weddings and poems, of prayers and peace, this will contain enough magic to bring me through. The kindly door, deep dark with calm, lets me through, and I step outside into the fresh air. Will this be the time I step through the wardrobe? I hear the beckoning horn.


Not Narnia, not now, but yet still Aslan’s world. I smile, step out, skirt swinging, eyes dancing. This is a night from heaven.

The flowers are blooming—daylilies, daffodils, yellow, pink, red, so many I do not know the names of. I should ask my grandmother. Their petals cascade over one another, each vying for the chance to give beauty. I wish to be such as they.

The descending stairs of stone lift me up with quiet hands, accompanying my journey down to the crystal lake turned red by the dying fire-sun. I step down them, faster and faster, steps cascading onto each other, and I will myself to be free and fly. I am drawn by this blood-red water—life blood—water of life. The shoes—off. The bag—dropped to the ground. Close now to the water, the breeze shyly says hello and my wind-blown curls return the greeting. Hello. I’m glad you’re here, too.

I sink down into the grass and close my eyes, and the glory of this evening lets me be nothing but be filled with shalom of the kingdom. It is bittersweet; I long to share it with someone who could understand and who could see and who could know my soul’s perfect bliss-glory in this moment without my having to breathe a word. There is one. But she is in her own home of windswept waters and bright-beauty flowers, in a land across the sea.

And I am alone.

I move among my worlds. Now in ancient Italy on a balcony—now here in America by a lake—now there in Narnia before a throne. Now speaking verse, now staying quiet, willing time to slow.

But it doesn’t. For every minute that passes, a golden leaf drifts to the ground, decorating the outdoor carpet with autumn tinsel. I must go back. My time here has ended. I pick up my shoes and move through the grass, yet an unashamed rebellion rises in my veins: I will not walk on the black-souled concrete, I will not step into the city’s land. Instead, I skirt the curb and walk barefoot among the wildflowers, feet wet with evening’s dewy kiss, skirt blowing softly in its own dance.

I pass a friend. “You look beautiful,” she says.

I hope so.

Moving forward, passing on, seeing people, coming back as in time-travel to the land I left minutes and decades ago. I come to the edge of the grassy road and look back at the crystal sea. I will go back, I know I will, for that is home. I will go back when I am called, just as I was this evening.

For if I listen closely, quietly, I hear the horn’s quiet summons fading into the approaching night.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"She Walks in Beauty"

I heard about this poem only just this evening, when my friend mentioned it by name. With a name like that, I thought, it simply had to be wonderful.

And I was right.

"She Walks in Beauty"
By Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Nightway": A Navajo Prayer

In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
Beautifully will I possess again.
Beautifully birds . . .
Beautifully joyful birds . . .

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.
With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me may I walk.
With beauty behind me may I walk.
With beauty above me may I walk.
With beauty all around me may I walk.
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty,
lively may I walk.
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty,
living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.

~Navajo Prayer -- "Nightway"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Repost: "Wild Magic"

This is a really neat post by a friend of mine -- other people have the same sense of magic...

Wild Magic by the blogger happyamateurstoryteller.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The lost fairyland

"There is such a place as fairyland - but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."

~L.M. Montgomery (The Story Girl)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"The Road Goes Ever On"

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

~J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Music of the magic

"The Magic"
By Fiona Wight
Listen to it here: http://www.myspace.com/fionawight/music/recent
If you believe in the Magic,
find all the wonder you see,
Break that dark spell that you’re under.
Come follow me, follow me.

If you would swim with the dolphins,
fly with the eagles, be free,
slip through the eye of the maiden,
Come follow me, follow me.

I am the dream. I am the love you will be.
And it will set you free.
Come follow me, follow me.

How can I smile when you're crying?
How can I dance when you cry?
I’ll give you wings when you're falling,
Come follow me, follow me.

I am the dream. I am the love you will be.
And I will set you free.
Look in your heart and you’ll see...

That I am your dream. I am the light you will be.
And I will set you free.
Come follow me, follow me.

If you believe in the Magic,
Nothing can stand in your way.
Open your heart to the wonder.
Just let it take you away...

I am the dream. I am the love you will be.
And I will set you free.
Look in your heart and you’ll see:
That I your the dream. I am the light you will be.

And I will set you free.
Look in your heart and you'll see...
Come follow me, follow me.

Come follow me, follow me.

Friday, July 1, 2011

"What do you fear, my lady?"

Aragorn: You have some skill with a blade.
Eowyn: The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain.
Aragorn: What do you fear, my lady?
Eowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Living a life of "yes"

Why don’t we live adventurously? I wonder about that, sometimes. There are all these things we say we want to do—dreams we want to live—places we want to go—and yet we are conditioned to do none of them. If it’s not usually done, it must be wrong. We begin assuming the word “unusual” means “impossible.”

Traveling—learning new skills—doing something exciting—we have so much life we want to live and yet never consider we could perhaps do it if we actually tried. Having a “bucket list” becomes a silly stage in life, rather than life itself; it becomes yet another to-do list, and not an entire perspective.

But what if we were to live adventurously—to live in a state of “yes”—of, “let’s make that happen”—and not “I wish.” What a life! To use a horse term, we’d be “freed up,” our motivation there, our hands and feet and lives in total willingness. It seems it would be a key in traveling light and in living without baggage—in living in surrender.

It is in that life that miracles would become real, because we would be looking for them.

Monday, May 30, 2011

On Memorial Day: Covenant Service to America

Today, on Memorial Day, the word “service” can become overused. We think of something over and done, given away and forgotten about, offered and then, somehow, completed. Perhaps, for a few, that is the way it is. Service is simply a contract, to be made and broken off like any other.

Yet for so many people, it is more than that: it is a covenant. It’s their commitment to America before the uniform is ever worn and before anyone even knows; it’s the sacrifice of changing everything in order to keep the greatest things the same; it’s the understanding that an individual can make a difference among the mass of a thousand. Such covenants are not broken; once made, these men and women serve America for the rest of their lives, long after the uniform has been hung up for the last time.

They have a vision, perhaps clearer than ours, of the glory of a greater land, a heavenly country, a city on a hill, and their longing for such a land is the fire that burns within them. Their covenant is an unconditional dedication that remains no matter how it is rejected and is an undying hope that lifts up when all else fails, because it is based on something deeper: an inherent knowledge within every human soul of honor, of hope, and of glory.

So, today, to my grandfather and my grandmother and to all in covenant service to America—thank you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

C.S. Lewis: Longing for beauty and searching for home

"What more, you may ask, do we want? … We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most...The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing...to find the place where all the beauty came from.

“At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of the morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

~C.S. Lewis
The Weight of Glory