Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Advent

What will become of us?

What will become of us?
Even the Supreme Court
Can’t fix this sickness unto death
Leaking through our doors
Streaming through our apps
Insinuating itself into every
Pore of our nation’s unchecked
Pandemic failure to thrive

Tomorrow the Electoral College
Does its business not once for all
But as an unintended trigger of
Anger, elation, false dreams and fake news
Now available 24/7 on demand
Minus warnings that lies and innuendo
Are more than dangerous to our
Collective health and welfare

This past year has been an exercise in bleakness. Which reminds me that Advent is about despair, fear, unjust rulers and religious leaders, sickness, and sorrow. In the bleak mid-winter.

When I hear people talk about “getting back to normal,” I cringe. Our track record when dealing with the aftermath of national crises, including unjust realities, isn’t great. Even the birth of Jesus of Nazareth didn’t solve everything.

We keep hearing that Covid-19 vaccines will make things better. Perhaps. Nonetheless, I’ll do what I can to support changes that matter for the good. I’ll also celebrate when we manage to get something right and just. It does happen every now and then, along with painful failures.

Between now and the end of this year, I’ll post as I’m able. Praying each of you is taking daily time to rest, meditate, and consider the impact of 2020 on your life and the lives of others.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 13 December 2020
Image found at christianity.com

This isn’t what I expected

I wrote the free-verse poem below last night after writing a long journal entry about the current state of my life. The poem is an open letter to my Creator. An attempt to lay it out just as it is, given unexpected health events of the last few years that seem to have hemmed me in.

This isn’t what I expected
This endless run of days and nights
Wondering why this and not that

Retirement was a golden orb
A sparkling promise that kept me going
Until I couldn’t go any longer

There’s so much to love about it
That it feels like betrayal to say this:
I don’t feel retired; I feel disappeared.

Disappeared from what’s happening
Disappeared from minds and memories
Disappeared from action, whatever it is today

I wake each morning wondering
What will be the meaning of this day?
What will it add up to when the sun goes down?

Writing is a gift and blessing I gladly receive
Not going to work each day is also a blessing
Until I no longer have any ‘real work’

No need to be somewhere at a certain time
No collaboration about things that make a difference
Or participation in discussion about things that matter

And there’s the rub—this strange reality of just being
Instead of measuring myself by what I do
Or how many people are counting on me to ‘be there’

Is it really enough to take care of this tired old body
With its growing list of limitations and special needs?
Is this the meaning of my life at this time?

Please advise.
Elouise

P.S. to my Dear Readers: I’m grateful beyond words for your presence in my life. Blogging is my lifeline. I can’t imagine the last several years without it. Thank you for being here—many of you from the beginning. I pray you’re finding hope and peace this Advent season, no matter what your current circumstances may be.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 December 2017
Image found at rccbonsecours.com

Abide with me

From the moment I saw the daily prompt, I couldn’t get it out of my mind: Abide.   One of those old-fashioned words I learned early in life. Not in school, but from singing a beloved old hymn over and over, “Abide with me.”

Stay with me. Dwell with me. Don’t leave me alone. I need your presence, especially now.

Is it my age? Possibly. But it’s more than that.

It’s Advent. I can’t get out of my mind the image of Jesus coming to abide then and now with us as human beings. Especially in times of distress, change and upheaval. A baby comes to abide with a family he didn’t choose and never met before birth. As a young man he gathers a group of children, women and men, perhaps hoping they’ll abide with him until he meets his end. Indeed, one of them promises never to leave him. And yet….

It isn’t just that I feel better when someone abides with me. It’s that I don’t want to be abandoned in this life. At any point along the way, and especially at the end. Anyone will do. Anyone who will abide with me, even for a little while. Jesus understands this longing, this need for other people willing to be present, to remind us physically that we’re not alone. Especially, but not only during hard times.

And so this old hymn resonates for me. There’s One who is already there for me up to and beyond my farewell to this earth. My head knows this. My heart yearns to see what I cannot see. Touch what I cannot touch. And so I sing….

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day,
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away,
Change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need thy presence every passing hour;
What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee:
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Amen.

Words: H. F. Lyte, 1847
Music (Eventide): W. H. Monk, 1861

Text copied from The Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of American, published by The Church Pension Fund 1940, 1943

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 10 December 2016
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Abide

To fill a Gap —

Here a short poem from Emily Dickinson. Appropriate, I think, for the second Sunday in Advent. My personal response follows.

To fill a Gap
Insert the Thing that caused it –
Block it up
With Other – and ‘twill yawn the more –
You cannot solder an Abyss
With Air.

c. 1862

Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995

Irreplaceable loss. The Gap can’t be disguised, no matter how hard you try. Denial magnifies gaping emptiness, draws attention to it. The missing Thing is one of a kind, Irreplaceable.

Emily’s poem reminds me of my vain attempts to ‘make it better.’ Or worse, Read the rest of this entry »

A terror-haunted wold | From an Old Soul

A “wold” is a hilly, elevated, somewhat wild stretch of land found especially in Great Britain. Often unsuitable for human habitation. Often windy, with unpredictable weather and dark nights. Prone to terrors like those Read the rest of this entry »

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