touch: seeking to pay attention to God’s touch on our lives

hand touching a wheat field - touch - @poetryjoy.com

Each day we receive a touch from heaven above and intimations of God’s love. We discover shades of glory and grace pervading the everyday. We are wrapped in holy wonder as we live and move and have our being. And yet we might fail to notice it because we get too caught up in our difficulties and the daily minutiae.

Why don’t you take a few moments now to pause and be still? Let your soul breathe. Open your eyes to the wonder already hiding in plain sight. It is revealed in seemingly ordinary things that take on a holy significance as we focus and give thanks for them.

The relationships we have with the people in our lives can add a special touch and opportunity for joy. And physical touch itself is something we all need to some extent or other, especially from those we love.

It may come as an arm around your shoulder to say sorry or gently ask how you are. The hand stroking yours that gives comfort and reassurance. Fingers lightly brushing your cheek or lips joining together. The hugs that speak volumes. They are all markers of grace and moments of wonder in their own right.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ― Leo F. Buscaglia

In the poem below I am sharing thoughts from my memories and history, about the first date I had with my husband. It’s a tanka sequence poem that speaks about the power of touch to a human soul and what a difference it makes to know we are loved.

“Touch has a memory.” ― John Keats

silvery moon - touch - benediction poem image @poetryjoy.com

Benediction

illuminate
moonlight strokes lightly over glass
like an artist
painting her joy with colours
music of the mind and heart

I receive it
my soul is hungry for light
I feel it
marking me inwardly
a soul lover’s caress

this glow
emanating from night’s depths
touches me
more than a mere glimpse reveals
it causes an awakening

thoughts stir
memories of past years
when I took
a moonlight walk with my beloved
sauntering by the riverside

water lapped
licking at roots of weeping willow
bowed low
like the shy maiden I was
barely lifting her head up

boats chugged
drifting with winter tides
our love
was but a new, tender shoot
fragile and easily bruised

I hesitated
uncertain about his feelings then
we held hands
warmth infused my cold fingers
it was enough to sustain us

we smiled
grateful for each slow touch
it ignited
hope, with sparks of wonder, trust
this fledgling love would grow and last

and now
I look outside my window
watch the moon
still shining on our small world
slivers of silver unfurled

I smile
no hesitation in my mind
this life
full of holy benediction
will always be his and mine
© joylenton

silvery moon - trees - touch - benediction poem excerpt (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

It feels good to be back here again after my break! 🙂 Though it took me more than five minutes to write, I am linking my poem with the fabulous five-minute-friday crew who are sharing their thoughts on this week’s prompt of “touch.” Now let us praise the One who touches us with His glory and grace and gives us the power to love and touch other lives for good.

fireworks: an opportunity to experience wonder firsthand – snapshot #2

fireworks: an opportunity to experience wonder firsthand - snapshot #2

Our local Lord Mayor’s Procession in July concludes spectacularly, with a brief but rather wonderful firework display. The best thing?  We have a direct view of the free light show it provides from our back garden, even if I have to try to balance on the rockery to see it properly.  🙂

Thankfully, there’s a pretty good view to be had from the front of the house as well. No gymnastics required! Several people line the street to ooh and ahh their way through the firework display. I often try to capture some of it on my phone, with mixed results.

Using a firework mode involves trying to hold the phone steady for the few seconds it takes to create the image. Patience is required. As it is for the best things in life. Though I can miss quite a bit by seeking to secure a memory.

Writing about an experience, especially when I pen the poetic, enables me to recover the magic and savour the joy for a bit longer. I actually took the firework images here and was so gratified by the way they turned out!

Fireworks appeal to all age groups. We enjoy the anticipation and delight that ensues. With showers of coloured light appearing out of nowhere. All of us love to experience a bit of wonder in our lives, especially when it’s unexpected and flares like neon in the dark.

God loves to give us unexpected blessings and graces. His hand on the minutiae of our lives is nothing short of miraculous and can often feel magical. Sometimes we see Him in fireworks. Sometimes He’s the quiet voice sitting by the fire with us.

Fireworks

night squiggles
neon bright, flaring sharp
colour dances
a ballet in the dark
we watch closely, entranced
© joylenton

fireworks tanka poem (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

When you need help starting over again

starting over - PJ

What if we could start over again? What would it look like to wipe the slate clean, rewind time and take out the flaws and failings of our lives?

Sadly, we would soon discover that the fault lies within. A flawed heart means faulty choices and actions. An unredeemed mind leads us into toxic thinking and bad behaviour.

And only God can fully address humanity’s needs and offer us a fresh start when we place our faith in Jesus Christ. We can begin again by God’s grace.

Then each day becomes opportunity for starting over. Each hour breathes out potential of the barely begun.

When I reflected on this season, it became clear that I’ve been stuck in a ditch of discouragement for several weeks. Led by my feelings and fast losing any joy I had before.

I wondered why joy was so elusive, where God was in the midst of my distress, why I couldn’t seem to get out of this cycle.

There were no pat answers. But God gently urged me to write a bit about joy, little snippets He whispered during my prayer times.

It seems joy is like a bright light glimpsed in the distance and we often miss the fact it’s also shining in us.

It felt elusive until I realised it doesn’t depend on my feelings at all. Because joy is a gift of grace weaving through our painful circumstances and giving us hope in dark places.

Once we realise how joy is always hovering close by, then we can start to discover it in numerous ways, such as: a slow unfolding realisation of its presence, a heart’s gratitude, an attitude of praise, a smile from a loved one, laughter bubbling up, a beautiful view, hearing God speak comfort into our weary souls.

How have you discovered or rediscovered joy hiding in plain sight? I’d love you to share in the comments below.

I’ve found that joy is a choice. As we read God’s word, receive and believe it, we start to notice how the life of faith is a series of conscious decisions we make every day. And we can waken to that hope with each new dawn.

Friends, I’m sorry for being missing here for a while. Too much life slowed me to a standstill. Thank you for your grace and patience. ❤

dawn beach tanka poem pin

Where we see holes

holes ~ tankaHow do you see your life?

Maybe, like mine, it’s full of holes.

Areas of unfulfilled plans, uncertainty, pain and turmoil sit side by side with love, laughter and joy from above.

And those messed up places look like empty, wasted spaces in what could be a full and flourishing patch.

Garden grown crazy, weed-ridden. Can’t see the wood for the trees.

Only.. Light has a way of seeping through, turning fallowed into hallowed ground.

Bringing beauty out of ashes. Joy from despair.

Grace-occupied space is never wasted.

Here lies hope, potential, holy ground.

New life to come from the old.

A making way for growth and harvest in due time.

Let’s see it and believe it. Trust our days and ways to God.

Look for colour and brightness in the darkest of spaces.

See its fronds filtering through. Realise there is purpose in the midst of pain. New life is springing forth.

Promise poking through those holey places, held fast by the glue of His grace.

Bringing transformation, change and healing.

holes ~ tanka poem pin 2

 

Vibrancy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Within the darkest recess of soil life stirs.

It cannot be held back for ever.

There is seed bursting forth. New growth appears. Fruit will come.

Arid, dry desert places give way to lush green, verdant growth.

In the Winter of our souls,  entombed hearts awaken to Life. Resurrection. Gasp of freedom.

Sense hope rising and faith stirring.

Vibrancy in the air; pulsation of purpose.

An awakening.

Call to rise up.

A new season has begun.

Yesterday’s mistakes, pain and problems can be laid aside, cast at the Saviour’s feet.

Grace calls us forward, upward and onward. Readies us for change.

The old is left behind as we welcome and embrace this day, this moment, this gift of new beginnings.

Gratitude grows strong in hearts ready to receive God’s best.

geranium leaf ~ vibrancy tanka poem pin 2

 

The road less travelled

We tread a familiar pathway in this season of hope and renewal.

Walk through the Easter story with a weight of wonder.

Marvel anew at all our Lord went through as He trod the sand-blown, palm-strewn, hosanna-resounding, hostility-riven, nail-driven path to Calvary.

Our dark valleys and nights of the soul pale into insignificance beside Christ’s ordeal at Gethsemane.

Begging for the cup of suffering and sorrow to pass Him by.

Heart and soul in dread.

Sweating ruby-red from furrowed forehead.

Agonised at the thought of torment to come.

Never more fully human and fully God than in these heart-wrenching, lonely, decisive moments in history.

Friends slept oblivious as He waged war internally for our souls’ sake.

Faced being pinioned to a cross. Ready to accept all sin and loss.

Held captive so we could walk free in glorious grace-filled liberty.

Beating a path toward freedom as nails bite into torn, flailed flesh.

Thorns pierce deep and pain sears all senses.

crown of thorns file image

 

Here lies Love ~  unconditional and immeasurable ~ greater than anything we will ever know.

He took the road less travelled and takes us with Him too.

Ponder His Passion.

Poured out wine of His royal blood Divine.

Pursue the pathway.

Be taken to the cross.

Meet with glory.

Live to tell this eternal story.

cross image ~ You take me tanka poem pin

Calling for hush

There’s a signal, a flow.

A day moves forward.

Earth slows.

Cease from hurry and rush.

Light fades and dies.

We breathe out.

A silent sigh.

Holy hush..

dusk ~ toward evening tanka poem pin

 

And we listen.

Hear more than eyes can see.

Make space for a greater reality.

God calls time on our day.

No matter what has taken place, we can be thankful for His blessings.

Be awed by His unlimited, unconditional love, His unmerited, undeserved favour ~ poured out freely.

Rest from our labours and prepare to face a new tomorrow.

Receive manna and grace to begin again.