One Last Mountain

 

 painting by John McNaughton

painting by John McNaughton

I only recent conquered one
Not so distant past
But each peak now seems harder than
Was climbing up the last

I’m walking so much older now
Much slower than before
It’s time to lay some burdens down
And shoulder them no more

Perhaps I’m almost finished
My climber says I’m not
My will is not diminished
My body not quite shot

But one can hardly ever tell
When one’s nice trail will end
What waits beyond horizon’s hill
Or ’round next river bend

And there will be that one higher
More fright’ning to attempt
Looming there one last hard climb
Where no one is exempt

Daunting doubts I reckon
Uncertain and unknown
Cold airless shadows beckon
To scale it all alone

You fool you will not be alone
The trail well-marked and lit
The crags will have beginner’s holds
You surely will not slip

Up toward my final peak
The one on which I’ll stay
I’ll wait until He finally speaks
Then lifts my soul away

Thus will it be that in the end
I’ll rest there where He Is
In the beauty of the Endless Land
With Him and all of His
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Cold Without You – Song of Despair


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φ

Cold Without You

( Vaerse 1 )

What cold, hard stone where I lie,
What bitter womb is this ice,
Bears me down into despair,
The colder that you’re not here,
Don’t seem to be anywhere,
So . . lonely . . . cold.

( Chaurus )

Oh! Have I been a hope-struck fool,
To wait for you,
To make me whole,
Be everything,
To warm my soul,
Thaw my heart –
Make it sing?

2.

How hard the isolation,
I always thought that you’d come,
To take me into the sun,
Before my time is undone,
I can’t endure alone,
So . . broken . . . cold.

( Chaurus 2 )

Here I lay naked on this stone,
My tired bones,
Count all the loss,
Dark, empty cold,
Where have I gone?
What have I done?
Why won’t you come?

3.

Oh! Once I thought I had you.
Soul’s Joy! Just knew I had you,
Was close, but not the real you . . .
Left with nothing all too soon,
How I suffer without you.
So . . shattered . . . cold.

(Chaurus 3 )

I dream it’s warmer where you are,
Won’t you come take me there,
The real you,
The depth of you,
The joy of you,
The weight of you,
I’m . . fading . . . ( soon . . . . ).

4.

Where is the place that you are,
How sad I dream it’s not far,
I sometimes feel you are near,
Cry out, but you never hear,
I’m entrapped in frozen tears,
So . . stranded . . . cold.

( Chaurus 4 )

The warm, rich tapestry of you,
From Elven loom,
My grasp eludes,
Cold, mocking moon,
His chill exudes,
What aching doom,
Rescue . . me . . . soon . . . .

5.

How numbing is this north wind,
How cutting through my pale skin,
How sharp, it pierces my heart,
This winter gnaws me apart,
Once was light, all is now dark,
So dim . . .
So . . . cold . . .

( Chaurus )

Oh! Have I been a hope-struck fool,
To wait for you ,
To make me whole,
Be everything,
To warm my soul,
Thaw my heart –
Make it sing?

6.

Oh! Solitary misery,
This hungry wind devours me,
Your loss and lack I mourn,
All else I could have borne,
How thin my fabric has worn,
So . . deathly . . . cold

( Chaurus )

The warm, rich tapestry of you,
From Elven loom,
My grasp eludes,
Cold, mocking moon,
His chill exudes,
What aching doom,
Rescue . .
me . . .
soon . . . .

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© Len Snider, Gloryteller.com, 1-18-2014
All Rights Reserved

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What Does Your Heart Treasure? What Does It Hold?

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There is a chamber in every heart which is filled to overflowing with sorrow.
There is a larger chamber in every heart made to hold joy, but, unfortunately,
that vessel is oft-neglected, little used, only partially filled,
or sorrowfully empty.

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Metaphor Mountain

 

I “love” mountains and I “love” The Mountains.

(I’m using quotation marks because I’m trying to teach myself to use the words “love” and “hate” appropriately, that is to save them for situations in which their true meaning applies)

What I really mean to say is that I like mountains intensely.  In my book, one can only love living entities that one can have some sort of relationship with, like God (especially Him), a person, or perhaps a pet.  Of course the words love and hate can be used metaphorically and that’s the way they are most often used.  You hear it umpteen-zillion times a day. (Wink) I, myself, hate that.  Oops, I dislike that.  It is so common we don’t even notice the frequency of “I love it when”…., or, “I hate it when”. It’s annoying when I hear “I just love your hair, and that purse, I just love that, that’s to die for!”. We all do it, but how did we get so far from the true usage?   Love God with everything you’ve got.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  That’s a tall enough order for the word “love”. Hate the sin, love the sinner! Another mighty tall order, yet, in those two sentences are found the true meaning and usefulness of the words love and hate.

I’ve gotten slightly off the trail. Let’s get back on it: If there were inanimate objects I could love, however, they would be “the mountains”.  I have had, and am having, some wonderful real and metaphorical relationships with them, a few notable individual mountains in particular. If I had a “bucket list”, being in the mountains would be on it right after being with my people.

Mountains have real and metaphoric value in my life because they emphasize several opposing concepts:

Ascending and descending.
Higher and lower.
Danger and safety.
Climbing and falling.
Struggle and peace.
Beauty and desolation.
Heaven and Earth.
Spirit and flesh.
Good and evil.
And the awareness of the proximity of
life and death.

I could expand this list almost endlessly, but you get the point.

Recently, the subject of death has been on my mind. My post, https://gloryteller.com/2013/03/25/one-last-mountain/,  uses ascending a mountain as a metaphor for death.  Perhaps it will become more than a metaphor.  Perhaps I will “meet Death” on the slopes of a real mountain. Most likely it will be a metaphoric mountain that will claim my bodily life.

When I was transformed into a believer, my many and various fears were either taken away completely or were significantly diminished. My almost obsessive fear of death was one that was removed. All that is left is the natural, instinctive, compulsion to preserve my bodily life. Death, to me, is the necessary step I must take to reach Paradise, Heaven, and eternal life in the presence of my Lord and my Heavenly Father. Yet, it dawned on me that perhaps I’m taking death too lightly. Is it really a natural part of life? Is there nothing that can be done about it? If it is normal and natural, should anything be “done” about it?

I subscribe to the school of thought that death is a corruption thrust into a creation that was perfect before selfishness turned into sinfulness and spoiled the whole plan. I also believe that there is something that should be, and can be, done about death, and that is to believe, and believe in the Savior, who was sent to vanquish it. Death is the consequence of our sinful nature, but He accepted true death in our places, so that we would not have to face the permanent consequences of our selfishness. Jesus defeated selfishness with selflessness! Everything that should and could be done about the problem of death has already been done! Problem solved! Done! Over! Finished! But only for believers in the One who did it perfectly and died for it perfectly! (I’ll leave it to you to discern and comprehend the larger, more complex, concept of death beyond the relatively simple death of a body.)

So, that being said, perhaps I still don’t really know enough about death, nor the process through which it will take me. Perhaps when the moment comes, I’ll be unprepared and I might succumb to fear, or find out that everything I thought I knew was wrong. It only happens once, and, although there are those who claim to have returned to their bodies, or returned from Heaven or Hell after they died, I suspect that death is an individually unique occurrence to which the testimonies of others have little value. There is only one person I personally know who has returned from death – my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I only trust what He said about it. That is recorded in the New Testament.

To climb a mountain, it is vital to be prepared. It’s interesting that the word “vital” comes from Latin roots meaning “relating to life, or the quality of being alive”. In my case, it means being able to preserve my life and my ability to stay alive throughout the whole journey; until the adventure is completed. I must pack the essential food, water clothing, and first aid supplies. I must have a map of the area and the route to the top either in my “head” or in my pack. I must be in good physical condition. I must have a positive mental attitude. I must have skills and knowledge, and be able to use them wisely. I must read extensively about the subject. I also must know how to pray and talk to the only One who will be my companion all the way. There will be only one chance to “get it right”.

Preparing to summit a mountain is like anticipating both bodily and metaphysical death – knowledge about what will kill you, makes you stronger. The stronger you are, the more likely a good outcome. The Bible says every person will die, then live again in an eternal body. The only question is “ which of two eternal ‘places’ will a person exist in after that”. I choose life – abundant life – with God.

Yes, that metaphoric mountain rises before me, and yes, evil will stalk me all the way up, but, before me, Jesus walked, and fell, and died, and lived again on that final mountain so that I would need to fear no evil; so that I would not have to fall, and break, and die before reaching the summit. His Spirit will accompany me and I will rely on His strength as I get weaker on my journey to the top, where He, Himself, awaits my arrival. From this land’s end until The Endless Land, I will trust God and believe in The Son of Man, and that not a moment too soon, for now, day breaks the gloom of night, and I can begin to see my humbling,        huge,        sobering,         mysterious,       towering,        massif on the horizon.

^^^

One Last Mountain

One Last Mountain

 painting by John McNaughton

painting by John McNaughton

Re-posted for R. L.,  a dedicated reader who liked the way this format “walks” across the page.
It’s actually a quirky glitch in the WordPress transposition of the way I really wanted it displayed. 🙂

I only recent conquered one
Not so distant past
But each peak now seems harder than
Was climbing up the last

           Perhaps I’m almost finished
My climber says I’m not
My will is not diminished
My body not quite shot

                      But one can hardly ever tell
When one’s nice trail will end
What waits beyond horizon’s hill
Or ’round next river bend

                                 And there will be that one higher
More fright’ning to attempt
Looming there one last hard climb
Where no one is exempt

                                              Daunting doubts I reckon
Uncertain and unknown
Cold airless shadows beckon
To scale it all alone

                                                          You fool you will not be alone
The trail well-marked and lit
The crags will have beginner’s holds
You surely will not slip

                                                                       Up toward my final peak
The one on which I’ll stay
I’ll wait until He finally speaks
Then lifts my soul away

                                                                                   Thus will it be that in the end
I’ll rest there where He Is
In the beauty of the Endless Land
With Him and all of His

                                                                                                                                                                                           

One Last Mountain

One Last Mountain

 painting by John McNaughton

painting by John McNaughton

I only recent conquered one
Not so distant past
But each peak now seems harder than
Was climbing up the last

I’m walking so much older now
Much slower than before
It’s time to lay some burdens down
And shoulder them no more

 Perhaps I’m almost finished
My climber says I’m not
My will is not diminished
My body not quite shot

 But one can hardly ever tell
When one’s nice trail will end
What waits beyond horizon’s hill
Or ’round next river bend

And there will be that one higher
More fright’ning to attempt
Looming there one last hard climb
Where no one is exempt

Daunting doubts I reckon
Uncertain and unknown
Cold airless shadows beckon
To scale it all alone

You fool you will not be alone
The trail well-marked and lit
The crags will have beginner’s holds
You surely will not slip

Up toward my final peak
The one on which I’ll stay
I’ll wait until He finally speaks
Then lifts my soul away

Thus will it be that in the end
I’ll rest there where He Is
In the beauty of the Endless Land
With Him and all of His

                                                                        

Writing Is

Writing Is

Writing is an outlet
Perhaps it’s electrical
Like plugging into joy and powering everything up
Sometimes just an opening to let things out
A passage for escape
A channel to drain frustration
A conduit for tears
A vent
For when the desperate cry needs a way out,
Or a place to go because it can’t stay here.

Writing is a conveyance
An express for expression
A quick delivery
A pleasant personal messenger
A slow train of thought
Running down the line
Turning on a phrase
A powerful vehicle, hauling harvests of words,
Heavy loads of thoughts,
Ideas that must get to market or rot in storage.

Writing is a wright’s den
A workshop, a sweatshop
Where ideas are whittled and turned
With sharpened tools
Woulds and mettles worked and tempered
Common prose peened and hammered
Poetic beauty buffed to a shine
Polished and finished, punctuated and grammar’d
Bible, book, a script, a play, a limerick, a joke,
A story, a note, or music made, all by a word-wright’s skill.

Writing is a window
That faces the world, transparent
Or looks at the writer’s soul
Exposing everything both ways
A mirror in which to see yourself
Reflected as a character
And sudden revelation
Like a bird slamming into the glass
Because it was uninformed
But now it knows more
Because solid truth is undeniable
When crafted, smithed, and wrighted plain
Or into metaphor and out again.

 

Of Light and Shadow

 

 

Of Light and Shadow

Our Heavenly Father is the “Father of Lights” who does not change nor cast a shifting shadow.   see James 1:17

For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.   see  1 Thessalonians 5:5

We, His children, are called to be “salt and light” to the world.  We are to let our light shine before others so that we may glorify Him.   see Matthew 5:13-16

I was thinking about the depth of the “light” metaphor when something occurred to me.  Better yet, something was revealed to me about Him, and that is this, a short phrase that is full of meaning:

“A light can have no shadow cast upon it.”

My Lord gave me this phrase!  It is amazing!  I hope to expand on it and develop it.

Some corollaries I can think of at the moment are these:

*Nothing can cast a shadow on a light that shines in all directions at once.

*Nothing can cast a shadow on The Source of all light.  Likewise, nothing can cast a shadow on His Children of Light.

*In a sense, only something that has no light of its own can cast a shadow, and have a shadow cast upon it, for example, a human body.

*In another sense, one’s spirit and soul can have shadow cast upon them or they can be a source of light, depending on who your father, your master, or your god is……

*Light and darkness can’t exist at the same time in the same place.  Where light is, darkness flees!

What is the deeper meaning of “true light”, and of “the shadow of darkness”?  This could get very deep, if it hasn’t already, but I will leave it here. For now.

Light and shadow.  Daylight and darkness.  Good and evil.  The Father of Light, and the  father of lies.  Metaphors given to us in great supply to enhance our understanding.  It was given to me, but this is for you, dear reader:

“A light can have no shadow cast upon it.”

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My Friend, There’s Someone I’d Like You To Meet

My Friend, There’s Someone I’d Like You To Meet

Early on, I saw him from afar.  He was ordinary and plain, dressed poorly in dirty clothing.   Yet, he carried himself with a certain dignity.  I moved on and forgot about him……

Until miles later when I met him in passing.  “Dirty feet,” I thought.  “Oily hair.  Calloused, grubby hands.  Still dresses shabbily.  Bad haircut and doesn’t shave.”   Yet, he looked confident as he spoke to the people he met.  I don’t think he noticed me as I passed with only a glance, saying nothing.  No-one to bother with…..

Until time flew, and the years became heavy, and I found myself wandering into the back alley of my life.  Losing myself.  Confused by myself. Stumbling in despair amidst garbage, and wreckage.  Holes in my worn-out walking shoes. Walking on cold, wet, well-traveled dirt, the way ever-narrowing between breath-stifling walls. Suddenly I slipped. I felt myself falling and sliding down the steep-sided pit of what must have been an old storm sewer.  After I landed, I sat and wept.  There was no way out.  It was getting hotter.  Darker.  I sat in the hot, sulfurous muck and wept.  The muck was rising.

Fear gripped my throat. “Helllllp.  Is anybody there?  Does anybody hear me?”

“I’m here.  I hear you.  Be still and all will be well.”  A candle was lit behind me, illuminating a face.

“It….It’s you……”

“It is I.  Always have been me,” he said, grinning. ” Don’t you remember how, early on, I waved at you from a distance, but you didn’t want to see?  Later we met in passing and I smiled, but you didn’t speak.  Many times I walked behind you, beside you, and before you, but you avoided, sidestepped, ignored, looked past, seemingly blind, deaf, and dumb.  Well, don’t feel bad.  I get that a lot. It happens to lots of folks.  You’d be surprised how many I’ve met for the first time in a pit like this one.  Why you deprive yourselves for so long kind of mystifies me. It’s a cryin’ shame and such a waste of good time, don’t you think?”

” I……I……sorry…..,” I looked away, embarrassed.  “Umm, this stinky stuff is rising……”

He was holding a strong stick with which he began poking and pounding a hole in the bottom of the filthy pit as he spoke some foreign-sounding words.  After awhile the muck began to drain out.

“Thanks.  How did you do that?”

“It’s not so hard if you know how to speak to it.”

I began to notice that he was clean, in spite of the surrounding filth. I was the smelly, dirty, oily, grubby, and shabby one. It was, indeed, a crying shame.

“Let’s get you outa here,…… that is, unless you’d rather stay.”

“Nooo!” I cried desperately, “This is horrible! I want out! But……but……I don’t see any way out! There’s no way ouuuut!” It was like hearing someone who’s going hysterical, only it was my own panicked voice. I waited for the counteracting slap in the face that always came in the old movies…….

“Be still, my friend, be still. I am your way out. Do you believe me? Look at me……”

I looked. “Yes……. it’s strange, but, but, yes I do believe you. Please get me out of here.”

With that, he smiled, held the candle up, and looked toward the impossibly high rim of the pit.

“When I say the word, you climb this rope, okay?” With a gesture, he indicated his whole slender self. I stared, thinking a whole series of negative thoughts, then nodded in the affirmative.

He then stuck the candle into the loose side of the pit and in one continuous motion, ran three steps across the floor and two steps up the side, gave a determined yell, stretched his full length upward, grabbed the rim firmly with his fingers, and kicked his toes into the wall.

“I’m ready. Climb swiftly now!”

My first jump missed. His feet were well above my head, so I took a run and caught my fingers inside the backs of his shoes. They should have pulled off his feet, but they were miraculously tight. I scrambled and dug furiously with my feet until I could grab his clothing and pull myself up, hand over hand.

“That’s right, pull up until you can get your feet on my calves.”

I finally got my hands over his shoulders and my feet on his calves. That had to hurt him, but he didn’t make a sound.

“Now use your feet and knees to get any purchase you can on my back. Persevere, my friend.”

I was already panting. Exhausted. But then he did an amazing thing. Reaching back with his right hand, he grasped my right wrist and pulled upward. My shoes scraped his back cruelly. I hurt for him as he put my right hand on the rough rim of the pit. He reached down around my back and used my belt to pull me up farther while hanging onto the rim with only his left hand. This man was strong! I straightened my left arm above his left shoulder, then placed my knee on his right one.

“Are you all right?” I gasped.

“I endure,” he breathed. “Keep climbing.”

I managed to get my foot on his left shoulder. Pulling with my arms, I then placed my other foot on his right shoulder and stood. The side of his face was pressed against the wall. I moaned at the pain I must be causing him as I swung one leg, then the other, over the edge and rolled to safety. As I moved to help him, I heard his feet scrambling and saw him press with his arms and pull himself up until his arms were straight. Then he swung a foot up, pushed, and rolled over beside me.

“Thank You,” I heard him whisper.

“What? Thank you, Man!” I gasped, relieved.

At that, he stood and grinned down at me. He reached down and helped me stand on wobbly legs.

“There were probably a dozen easier ways to do that, but I wanted to make a point. Surely you see the metaphoric value in what just happened.”

“ Metaphor? Stinking hot pit….. Wait. Who are you. What’s your name?” I asked with hesitation.

“It would be better if I showed you. You will have to close your eyes to see. Hold my face in your hands and don’t let go.”

His image began to resolve before me. I saw his feet. Grimy, stained with dried blood, a deep wound in each. I shuddered as I heard words enter my mind. “These are the feet that walk into the light. The ones that carry the Truth, the Word of Peace. These pierced feet were made to carry you to safety. You needed but ask it.

His hands were closed, but I could see that the backs had wounds like his feet. I began to be alarmed and tried to let go of his face and open my eyes, but they wouldn’t open and I felt his strong, gentle hands hold my own hands to his cheeks. “It’s all right. Be at peace. Pierced for you, these are the hands that can lift you. Heal you. Help you. Hold you close and safe forever. You need but ask it. As his hands turned over and opened, I was amazed to see that my name was written in red across his right palm. His left palm contained a single word in red.  Forgiven.

I wanted to comment, but my mouth wouldn’t open. Just as well. It contained only foolish words. What I had thought was myth and legend and Christian delusion was being revealed to me as real truth. Boy, had I been wrong……again…….

I saw his chest rising and falling. Laboring for breath. And inside it, he revealed his innermost heart. I must tell you that words are inadequate to describe it. Even the small portion that he thought I could handle. This pierced heart is the “place” where he keeps the care, the concern, the immense love he has for me. It was overwhelming to comprehend. My own heart struggled with the hugeness of it, yet I felt it being expanded in order to partially accommodate and understand such wonder and beauty. “Yes, it’s beyond all your understanding, but one day you will be given comprehension, if you but ask. My heart has spoken to yours many times, but you did not know its language. Do you recall? Do you know me yet?”

“You must be the One my family and friends have called The Savior, The Christ. Of course you are! You just revealed that beyond a doubt! You’re Jesus. They call you Son of God and Son of Man, right? The One who was born on Christmas and died on Easter!” I’ve seen you on TV……. Sorry, that was lame…….. They don’t do you justice………….

“Well, you’re on the right track. Look at me once more!”

I looked at His face. His torn, bleeding, tortured face. On his brow was a cruel crown. I somehow knew that it was the crown of my wickedness. Of my sin. And it was heavy. And painful. And the horrible weight of it was pressing down unbearably on Him but He was not crushed.

“Whyyy,” I moaned as he removed my hands from His face and let my eyes open. When my eyes were fully opened, I saw Him differently. He was whole. He was radiant. He was bright with majestic splendor! And now, there was no crushing headpiece, but on His head He wore a brilliant Crown of Glory. If I fell to my knees in awe, He must have lifted me up then…….

“Why? Because you couldn’t. You would have been crushed and destroyed under it. Like what happened in this pit, only I can deliver you from the “great death” and by “great” I don’t mean good, I mean enormously bad. The price of your reckless spending had to be paid, but you were broke. You bought what the enemy was selling on credit until your debt was outrageous. He can collect anytime, you know. We abhor the thought of that happening to you, so I bought your debt and paid it myself, in hopes that you would someday turn toward me and against the enemy. Toward Truth and against lies. To be given a new heart. A heart filled with joy. And to be transformed back into the person you were always intended to be. Yes, We paid it all in the hope that you would merely want to pay it back. You, could never settle that kind of debt, of course, so We make it free. A “wash sale”, in the hope that you will turn around, believe in me, say yes, choose life, and follow Us……..

Speaking of “wash”, no offense, but you smell quite bad. Hahahahahaaaa. You must be thirsty as well. Let’s leave this place and find some water to take care of that. We’ll greet the morning together and you can tell Me what you’ve decided about your life……..

I’ll never forget the huge hug he gave me as we left that alley. His cheek left a film of sweat on mine that stayed cool as it evaporated away and I walked with Him into the peaceful warmth of a new sunrise, a new heart, a new hope, and a brand-new life……..

Of course, I said yes! Once I said yes to Him, He asked something of me. He wants me to make introductions. Everywhere. In any and every way I can think of. I said yes to that as well. Gladly!

That’s why I wait at the edge of the deep pit. I stand at the entrance to the alley of death. I walk the mean streets and frequent the black markets hoping to find you there because there’s someone I’d like you to meet. And when I do find you there, my greatest hope is that you will come with me a short way to where He is so that I can say “Lord Jesus, I’d like you to meet My Friend, and, My Friend, meet Jesus, my Savior-Lord and my King!” He will say “I’m most pleased to meet you.” What will you say, My Friend?

About The Music Links Below

I don't own, and have no claim on, these music videos. The following are simply links inside my website pointing back to the original locations of the videos. The names of the creators of these videos are cited wherever possible, and only "embedding-enabled" selections are used.

The Basic Christian Library

"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. This is fundamentally what Christianity is all about.

"The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. Another converted atheist presents His compelling case for believing in Jesus.

"Left To Tell" by Imaculee Ilibagiza. This profound work is her own extraordinary story of endurance, discovery of the Holy Spirit, grace, healing, and an astonishingly compelling account of the necessity for forgiveness.

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

"The Circle" 4-book series by Ted Dekker.
A man is the bridge between two very different worlds. Sound familiar? Can he save both? This T.D. work is brilliant in my book.

"This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness" by Frank E. Peretti. Tales of spiritual warfare from a unique perspective. Stirred a small controversy, but sold millions. What are we Christians afraid of? Hey, it's fiction!

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