River walk.

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The water it can teach you, if you linger so
Tell you of the secrets it learned so long ago.
Tell you how in flowing, rough rocks it wears away,
How to surf the rapids like a child within at play.
It does not try to force its way when stones obscure its course
It flows around, soft yielding, born from a humble source.
First born in the creation, preceding even light
It’s learnt in all its flowing not to put up a fight.
Transformed and recreated, cleansed and born afresh
It’s cycle oft repeated, it journeys on at rest.
T’was there at the creation, still it with us bides,
A glorious acquisition with all its waves and tides.
It dwells also within us, within each living thing
It cleans, refreshes, binds us, to all the earth as kin.
So listen to God’s waters, as they play a soothing tune,
And yield to higher purpose, of earth and man and moon.

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Excess of joy or sorrow.

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I was born while the “stiff upper lip” brand of English was still in evidence. I learned from a child to be strong and keep my emotions on a tight leash. There is something to be said for this early training. I could never have survived and successfully brought up my kids alone without it. You set your feelings aside for the sake of others in order to deal with whatever crisis may arise.
Only in my senior years have I felt able to give my tears free range and I’ve come to realise, for me the things that bring tears most readily are intense joy, beauty and the moving of God’s spirit. It’s very seldom they come from sadness, perhaps my early training precludes much of this, or perhaps I just have a blessed life.
We are often embarrassed when tears come in public, (I still always try to quench them – tears are humbling lol!). However, if I examine my reaction to tears in others they bring feelings of compassion, empathy, and camaraderie.We feel close to those that cry for whatever reason. I don’t mean those self-seeking sorts that cry buckets for attention and think the world revolves around them, but rather those who humbly allow others this glimpse into their inner being, their joy and their sorrow.

“This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.”

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Why would we choose darkness? Because we have something to hide? We all have something to hide. Light exposes every wrinkle, every blemish, every imperfection, our flawed, secret self.

Ask yourself, could I stand naked in front of a room full of people, not strangers, people I interact with? The answer for most of us is no. Then think, could I be entirely naked before someone I love and who I know loves me, just as I am warts and all?

This is the secret of embracing the light. Knowing  God loves us with such perfect love He sees past our imperfections, we can yield ourselves in total, naked, honesty. Not because we feel we are perfect or beautiful, but because we trust totally in His limitless love for us. This is true humility and only in this way can we embrace the light.

When life freezes over.

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As days grow colder, the trees gradually drop the gaudy garlands of leaves masking their true strength and beauty. Even so do we, as adversity’s chilling winds efface the sunshine in our lives, drop our masks, revealing our inner nakedness and humility. Others watching marvel, overwhelmed by our true beauty. As distresses fall, like freezing snow, upon our boughs we become ever more beautiful to the beholding eye. Old dead branches fall away and our inner soul is strengthened.

Love Humbles.

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To really love and be loved by someone we have to lay down our guard, trusting them not to stomp all over our fragile inner being (and they sometimes do). Most of all we have to lay aside our pride, love is always humbling, or it isn’t love.

Gayle Erwin (one of my favourite pastor/ comedians) coins the term “falling in lust” to describe the initial attraction a man and woman may feel for each other. Sadly this type of relationship is often portrayed as love in movies etc. but while physical attraction and sex generally forms a large part of romantic relationships, there has to be more, much more, or it will explode in glorious colour but then fizzle like a firework, leaving you with ashes.

Sometimes we want to be loved for our attributes, our looks, our strength, our intelligence, but real love cannot be founded on any of these (even being a kind/good person). We all mess up sometimes and one of the most important things we can learn in life is to come to terms with our own fallibility. Love founded on looks will die with age; an accident can take away strength and sickness our intelligence. I love the movie “The Ugly Truth”. I’m not sure why, perhaps I identify with the romantically inept female lead. Most of all, I love the end where he says he’s in love with her and baffled she asks why. He replies something to the effect of, “Hell, I don’t know why. I just am!” That’s how love is, it doesn’t love “because” it just loves, unconditionally, no matter what, warts and all. To receive this kind of love is humbling, it is undeserved.

I think this generation have it far harder than mine. The promotion of a cool image, of pride and independence makes it much harder to dare to expose your vulnerability, the inner you. However it’s impossible to form a love bond of any sort unless both parties drop the social masks and reveal their inner selves, and that’s humbling, more than that, it’s terrifying for some. Yet to be without these bonds of love whether romantic, parental, sibling, or friendship, is to live a life lacking the vibrant colour love brings.

Ode to youth.

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I use to be so arrogant, so wholly stuffed with pride,
When looking in the mirror my concept of me lied.
Others were beneath me, I only knew the way,
Little was I knowing the falls I’d take one day.
Decked in all illusions I briskly trod along
Not seeing all around me the places I’d gone wrong.
Until one day it happened, illusion stripped away,
With horror I acknowledged my inner self that day.
When stripped of all my vaunting, how shriveled up inside,
My inner soul was reeking with the awful stench of pride.
From then a humbler being, I walked within the realm,
My acid thoughts undoing, no more beneath prides spell.
A wiser, fuller creature I hope from that day on
To give to others glory and echo in their song.
A song of love, and heartfelt, admission of my ills
As love rose up within me, as understanding thrills.
I see now all my folly I wrought within those days,
I hope now I am wiser and walk within God’s ways.