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Not If, But When

ONE ...
It’s not a question of IF
But of WHEN.

Clouds cover the sun.
Things are gray and it’s hard to see
The glow of joy above my head.

But clouds move.
Sometimes they are stubborn.
Sometimes it takes a while.
But they move.

And when they do
I will see His radiant smile again
His warm palms on my cheeks,
Light so bright you just
Close your eyes and smile
Into it.

TWO ...
Look at my fireplace.
Unrecognizable wood
Charred and chapped
As a homeless dude’s lips.
Ashes gray and dry as
Powdered bone.

That is how I feel.
Like my cold, dark fireplace
Cracked and charred
On the inside.

Won’t be long, though.
Before that first snow arrives.
I will put on my filthy Carhart suit,
My wife will groan at its return.
I will chop wood in the slicing cold air,
Crumple paper, and ignite a hearty blaze
The glow of fire warmth
And heat that draws us in,
My wife and kids,
To sit up close,
But not too close
With our hot drinks.

It’s not a matter of IF
But of WHEN.

Things change.
Feelings fluctuate
From bad to good.
Sense of purpose
Sense of His presence
In and out like a flickering signal
Static, snippets of meaning
And more static.

The question is not
How soon can I feel good again.
How soon can I feel
His warmth renewed
How soon will the cold recede
So I can feel my fingers and toes
Again. That’s not the question.

The question is
What did I do
With the cold days
In between? The mundane
Days of faithfulness?

Did I walk away from the mirror
And promptly forget
Who I am? Who He is?

Did I actually believe
That maybe the darkness
Is forever this time?

Or did I rather
Clutch His promises against me
Holding fast, the discipline
Of holding fast even when
The thing you are holding
Seems as dry and cold
And dead as you are.

The Word of God
Is like a seed.

A seed.
A tiny, hard little thing.
Bite it, it will not nourish you.
It will not give you shade.
Gaze hard upon its
Unloveliness. Hardly
More than a pebble.

But what happens
When you pull back the soil
And bury it deep.
And just let it be
There, silent,
For a season.

Green is a gradual color.
It does not come in a burst
Of shouts and cymbals.
It’s a slow color -- furtive,
It peeps a tiny head.

But in due time, my friend,

It will astound you.

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