Tuesday, August 9, 2016

SANCTUARY HAIKU



Sanctuary, High Point, NC

The tall twin silos,
stand resolute and fearless,
a sanctuary.

The approaching storm,
alerts the hawk to danger,
flying to safety.

Lightning strikes nearby,
winds ground all birds of the air,
and sheets of rain fall.

The hawk knows no harm.
He is sheltered from the storm.
God has provided.

Prepare me also,
to be a sanctuary,
a living shelter.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED HAIKU


The Road Less Traveled, High Point, NC

Serendipity,
waits on the road less traveled,
when adventure calls.

The path is grassy,
and few folks have passed this way.
No footprints are seen.

Nothing leads the way.
GPS recalculates.
No road signs exist.

But as we travel,
road blocks become stepping stones,
and we find our bliss.

SANCTUARY



Seeking Sanctuary, High Point, NC

Seeking Shelter from the Storm
and Flying into the Sanctuary of the Silo.
We too have Sanctuaries from the Storms of Life.

Friday, August 5, 2016

WILLARD DAIRY BARN HAIKU


Weathered Willard Dairy Barn, High Point, NC

The old dairy barn,
braces itself for the storm,
as the sun withdraws.

Twin vine-wrapped silos,
stand resolute and fearless,
facing the dark clouds.

A hawk seeks shelter,
as he soars on the brisk wind,
and glides safely home.

Tall pasture grasses,
wave in synch as the wind gusts,
welcoming the rain.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

ELEVATOR ENCOUNTERS


Elevator Panel, Chicago, IL

I just returned from a couple of trips to Chicago and Kansas City where I briefly stayed in hotels with multiple levels which required elevators to ascend to my room and descend to the lobby. It occurred to me as I entered and exited these mechanical wonders of the world that we human beings can be very strange creatures in our encounters with each other.

On a number of occasions I started my vertical journey alone. But then the elevator stopped on another level and complete strangers entered my confined space. Silence ensued as the other humanoid quietly pressed a numbered button. As the doors closed on the two of us, the silence became deafening. The two of us were stoically staring intently at the flashing floor numbers that would ultimately hit the magic number we were so desperately seeking which would free us from such an uncomfortable situation. There really isn’t time to strike up a civil conversation. Sometimes folks are so desperate to escape from this “uncomfort zone” that they bolt off into the hallway when the elevator stops at a floor before their intended stop, without even realizing that it is not their destination until after the doors close behind them.

Realizing that most folks immediately find themselves out of their comfort zone once they enter the confined space of an elevator, I’ve adopted a couple of “ice breakers” to ease their anxiety. Sometimes I’ll stand by the floor selection buttons and ask the total stranger what floor they would like? Then I push the button for them and remark that “I’ve been interning on this job now for three weeks and I’ve almost learned all the routes!” That generally eases their anxiety, unless they take me seriously. Other times I just stand stoically at the back of the elevator and let the person enter and select their own floor. Then they silently stand by and nervously eye me with darting side glances to try to determine if they have just closed the door on a serial killer or someone who just triggered a bed check back at the home. I find a casual remark like “I’m wearing new socks today” generally communicates that I’m not a serious threat.

Elevators that become filled to capacity are another issue. Now you have unknown people, some with claustrophobic and dubious personal hygiene tendencies, physically invading your personal space and rubbing thighs and arms against one another. One of my favorite Gary Larson Far Side cartoons shows an elevator slammed full of people with the doors just beginning to close. One of his goofy characters has brought his pet lion on board and everything is in order with the exception of the lion’s tail which is still dangling outside the closing doors. The lion’s clueless owner is telling the wide-eyed riders,” Oh don’t worry. He’s never a problem as long as nothing surprises him.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

FRIENDS


Friends, Chicago, IL

The scripture reading of John 15:14-17 from the New Testament and the new covenant should give us all great solace to know that even though Jesus is Lord, he has chosen us all to be his friends. In the Old Testament reading of Exodus 33:7-11, Moses didn’t find favor with God because he was gifted, perfect or powerful. It was because God befriended Moses. Fellowship with God at the time was out of reach for the other Hebrews and it was a true privilege for Moses. But Jesus has made it possible for any of us to become his friends.

It may sound a bit trite to some but the universal truths in life don’t ever lose their luster and I know that God answers prayers and connects to us in ordinary people who come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Our lives take countless forks on the path to our final destinations and we have the great honor to interact with countless folks along the way. And every encounter adds another thread to the fabric of friendship that is inextricably woven into our very soul and character.

Thanks be to friends!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

THE FABRIC OF FRIENDSHIP


Spirit Line, Four Corners, NM

In memory of longtime friend Mike Ruggles who died July 21, 2016

Now that I’ve crossed over into the second half of life, I have the benefit of looking at my life in the rear view mirror. The recent loss and separation of old friends has prompted me to reflect on all the friendships and relationships of strangers and relatives that I’ve had the good fortune to experience. It may sound a bit trite to some but the universal truths in life don’t ever lose their luster and I know that the eternal weaver answers prayers and connects to us in ordinary people who come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Our lives take countless forks on the path to our final destinations and we have the great honor to interact with countless folks along the way. And every encounter adds another thread to the fabric of friendship that is inextricably woven into our very soul and character.

Sometimes those friendships don’t always end as we would have preferred once we’ve moved on, but I learned long ago to substitute the words “next time” whenever I find myself uttering the words “if only”. There are times when there is no going back, but there is always next time. And in the course of a life there are inevitable differing circumstances that leave us in a position to take opposing forks on the path and we drift apart. But that doesn’t alter the woven threads that are set in place within our fabric of friendship that will someday complete the tapestry.

I recently read a post challenging us to consider the use of the term "being blessed”. That can imply that you have found favor in a higher being and are being showered with good things and people. And it can begin to give us a feeling of entitlement and rewarded for good behavior. That may be the case in some instances, but I agree we have to be careful here. The author suggested substituting the words “being grateful” instead of “being blessed”. I think that being grateful for the people who have guided and shaped my life is a much better frame of mind. And we can always emulate those words and actions that we admire and do the opposite of those we don’t as others observe the language of our own lives.

I believe there is a plan for all of us, but we’ve been given the free will to either follow it or take a detour every so often as imperfect human beings. That also applies to all the people who enter and exit our lives over the years. Never-the-less, they all contribute to the colors and patterns they leave in our tapestry. I can honestly say that I’m grateful for all the friends that have participated in weaving the fabric of my life for a reason, a season and a lifetime.

My wife Karen and I enjoyed the adventure of traveling in the Southwest during our early years of marriage. One of those trips included a quest for woven Navajo blankets. We purchased a storm patterned piece on a drive through the four corners region one summer. We were a bit disenchanted with the blanket because we had noticed what we perceived to be a flaw in the lower right hand corner. It was only later that we discovered that the Navajo sometimes weave a “spirit line” into their creations so that the weaver’s spirit has a path to escape after the piece is taken off the loom. I’m perfectly at peace to know that my spirit stays inextricably woven into the fabric of friendship that has influenced my life.