Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

In the Beginning

IN THE BEGINNING

In memory of my precious Dad
(February 21, 1926 – March 4, 2002)

In the beginning
Dad fed me
Bathed me
Wiped my face
Changed my clothes

Sat with me until I slept
Chased away my bad dreams
Played music to soothe me
Listened to my heart needs
Held my hand

Breathed his strength into my frightened spirit
Protected me from the big bad bullies
Taught me to trust God in all things
All this – in the beginning.

But today, in the ending
I’m feeding him
Bathing his body
Wiping his face
Changing his clothes

Sitting beside him until he sleeps
Chasing away his bad dreams
Singing his music back into his heart
Listening to his heart needs
Holding his hand

Breathing my strength into his frail and frightened spirit
Reminding him to trust God in all things
All this – in the ending.

The nurse says
“He’s gone.”

I watch his body for any sign of life
I know she’s right,

For today in Dad’s life,
It’s the beginning.

Written by Ritchie D. Hale ©2002

A Piece of Driftwood

My Testimony - an original oil painting by Ritchie D. Hale

My Testimony – an original oil painting by Ritchie D. Hale

A  Piece of Driftwood
Hidden, discarded, tossed about, on the far-stretching, blinding sands,
A scene of desolation; not made by human hands.
Beyond the distant edge of sea, the green-blue waters still,
Beyond the heavens sun-lit rays, the tempestuous clouds to burst at will. 

Those restless waters closer by with troubled, white-capped surf,
Rolling endlessly to reach the shore of glistening, sandy, turf. 
A towering pine between the surf and I, – driftwood at its base,
Broken, bleached, and scarred by time – scars that nature can’t erase.

I viewed this gnarled starkness, seeing what God might see,
And knew that what I’d been before, no longer would I be. 
My life had been a raging surf, obtaining changing goals,
Joining each new larger wave, with constant, crashing, thrashing rolls.

My life was once a tempestuous cloud, with darkness and despair,
Which overflowed with ugliness, a life in reckless disrepair.
Most of all my life was like the driftwood by the sea,
Broken, gnarled, and scarred by sin, all hope gone out of me. 

But then I saw the sun-lit rays, and lifted up my face
And knew that God who made the world, could all my sin erase,
The raging surf and tempestuous clouds, and driftwood by the sea,
Had preached a mighty lesson on the plan of God for me, 

I knew that as I left those shores I had a brand new start.
And all that God had taught me there, had really changed my heart.

Written by Ritchie D. Hale 1972©

After the Sorrow – The Healing

             Today will be the funeral visitation for a dear friend, and we will experience sadness at his absence from our lives.  We as Christians have this hope that  according to scripture, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”  Without a doubt, Bro. RB was prepared to make this journey from a physical realm into his eternal spiritual home of heaven, but we who must continue the journey without him will experience sadness, and sometimes, great sorrow.
             Death is universal, and all of us will ultimately experience it.  We all deal differently to the circumstances that are a part of the dying of a loved one, but for us who have traveled the road already, we know, healing will come.  Healing for some is a short process, for others, it may take a very long time.  There is not a set time that is “the right amount of time.”  The experience is personal.  It just takes time.
             In September, 1995, my mother, while out walking, was struck by an on-coming car.  She died just a few hours later.  During my grief process, there were times I thought I could not survive the emotional pain, and so I journaled.  One day as I was looking back across my journal entries, I discovered my heart was healing.   There are days, like today, that my heart is touched again by grief…and I desire to reach out and remind my dear friends , you aren’t alone.  We are all walking this road alongside you.  God is faithful to bind up the brokenhearted, and to heal the broken hearts.  Healing will come.

The Healing

Sad Days…
Sad Days… Good Minutes.
Sad Days, Good Hours.
Sad Days… Good Days.
Good Days, Sad Hours.
Good Days, Sad Moments
Good Days,
Painful Memories
Good Days,
Precious Memories
Good Days…

Written by Ritchie D. Hale 1996©

Friendship

           While cleaning my flower garden the other day, I saw my garden stone, given to me by a dear friend many years ago.  She and I had worked together during a stressful time in both our lives, and God used that friendship to gird us up and better prepare us to face the rough seas.  Looking at that stone, I was reminded of the verses from Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
         I’ve been blessed by many precious friendships throughout my life and as I post this “Moment in Time”, my mind is actively calling up from the past, the many faces of those dear friends.  “As iron sharpens iron, so one [person] sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).  As I think of some of those friendships, I recognize that God sent them to me to make me become a better person.  One friendship from long ago was that of encouragement and understanding.  In 1987, I wrote of that friendship, “

Treasured Moments
Some here, some there
Along the journey of life,
Over a period of time –

Shared experiences,
 trials,
joys and sorrows 

These moments, when gathered together
Create a fragrant bouquet which we call –

Friendship. 

             Today as I reflect upon the journey of life, I pause to thank God for the many blessings God has sent me in the form of friends.  In every church where my husband and I have served, we’ve established life-long friends.  We have dear friends who have made their homes in foreign lands for the purpose of serving the Lord as full-time missionaries.  Precious friendships have been established in neighborhoods where we’ve lived, in the schools where I’ve taught, in our RV Park, in jobs where God has placed us.  Though we seldom see many of these friends, they are ever near to our hearts.
            Acquaintances come and go throughout our lives, but friendships – they are the fragrant bouquet that enriches our lives forever.  Sometimes a friend is given to us as a gift for a season, sometimes for a lifetime, but all are treasures, and gifts from God. I thank God today, for you, my dear friends.

July 21 A Piece of Driftwood

A PIECE OF DRIFTWOOD

As seen at Marco Island, Florida 1972

Hidden, discarded, tossed about, on the far-stretching, blinding sands,
A scene of desolation; not made by human hands.
Beyond the distant edge of sea, the green-blue waters still,
Beyond the heavens sun-lit rays, the tempestuous clouds to burst at will.

Those restless waters closer by with troubled, white-capped surf,
Rolling endlessly to reach the shore of glistening, sandy, turf.

A towering pine between the surf and I, – driftwood at its base,
Broken, bleached, and scarred by time – scars that nature can’t erase.
I viewed this gnarled starkness, seeing what God might see,
And knew that what I’d been before, no longer would I be.

My life had been a raging surf, obtaining changing goals,
Joining each new larger wave, with constant, crashing, thrashing rolls.
My life was once a tempestuous cloud, with darkness and despair,
Which overflowed with ugliness, a life in reckless disrepair.
Most of all my life was like the driftwood by the sea,
Broken, gnarled, and scarred by sin, all hope gone out of me.

But then I saw the sun-lit rays, and lifted up my face
And knew that God who made the world, could all my sin erase,
The raging surf and tempestuous clouds, and driftwood by the sea,
Had preached a mighty lesson on the plan of God for me,
I knew that as I left those shores I had a brand new start.
And all that God had taught me there, had really changed my heart.

Brighten the Corner

WILLISTON CROSSINGS RV RESORT
By Ritchie Hale 2010
from my camper window – a monthly column of Willison Crossings RV Resort Park

     The other night we had guests stay over at our camper.  Just as they were about to go to bed, we lost electrical power and were plunged into instant darkness.  Feeling my way around in the dark, I located the flashlight and with a joke told my guest to “Go, brighten the corner where you are.”  Later as I lay in my snug and warm bed, I reflected over those simple words.  My memory danced backward in time to a childhood song, “brighten the corner where you are, brighten the corner where you are.  Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar, brighten the corner where you are.”

     When my son was sailing along the Miami shoreline, lights across the harbor were his friend lest he get caught on sand bars, or coral reefs.  When my nephew had cancer and he was fighting for his life, the slogan, “better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”, became a new truth for us to depend upon.

     Today the song of my memory from the lips of my mother more than 40 years ago seems applicable as we enter yet another new year.  “Brighten the corner, where you are.”

     St Francis of Assisi in the 12th Century said it like this:

 “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;  it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Grandma’s Porch Swing

Though the picture is blurry, it is indeed the actual porch where Grandmommie planted thousands of seeds each year and enjoyed a colorful harvest growing all around that ol' porch swing.

GRANDMA’S PORCH SWING
Sitting on the porch swing down at Grandma’s house,
We push off from those old weathered floorboards.
High we go,
higher and higher my sis and I, till almost
our toes touch the ceiling.
Then back down, to push off once more.

The rusty hinge on the porch screen door squeaks out its raspy voice,
the spring twanging, like a taut bow as it releases an arrow.
We are on instant alert about approaching peril.
A grown-up will chide us and run us off the porch,
so we drag our feet, till the swing barely moves.

Grandma’s anxious face peers around the corner.
“Thought I heard a commotion out here. Ya’ll okay?
“We’re fine, Grandmommie.”
“Well, don’t ya’ll be taking that ol’ swing too high.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” we reply in perfect unison.

In that quiet lull as we sway back and forth, swatting an occasional sweat bee,
swinging like old people after a hard days work,
half-dozen or so hummingbirds appear
among the morning glories on the lattice at the edge of the porch.
We don’t move a muscle; we don’t even scratch our noses.
We stare unblinkingly at this great mystery of aviation.

The rusty hinge speaks out again.
The old screen door slams,
– a signal.
The hummingbirds move on,
and we, my sis and I
one more time
push off from those old weathered floorboards.

 

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