February 20, 2009

A Boat is a Boat, but a Mystery Box could be Anything

Life has a very different flavor when you don’t sleep at all…
After about 24 hours of life I was happy beyond all reason. I had perspective! My work was done and the sunrise was spectacular! After 25 hours and one biology class, happiness gave way to wasted-ness. I fumbled my way across campus and dumped onto my mattress. I was tripping on air.

Thus I was only slightly surprised when I instantly found myself in a dark room late at night. I woke up to the sound of the dorm intercom blaring, “ALL RESIDENTS OF NORTH HALL, R.H.A. HAS A SURPRISE FOR YOU IN THE THIRD FLOOR LOBBY.”

Fortunately I didn’t care what lame thing they were doing so I stayed in bed.
The End.

Okay. So maybe I am a sucker for surprises. The room was full when I got there and the surprise... flavor tripping.
That’s what I said, flavor tripping. A tablet that you put in your mouth that messes over your taste buds so that everything tastes sweet. Vinegar, pineapple, potato chips, grass, it all tastes sweet! Or so I am told. It was only a preview for a flavor tripping party (oh silly Christian college) so only five people got to try it.

The five were not crowd pleasers. They stood around a table in front of fifty people and delicately sampled the array of food, making quiet comments. COME ON! I’m Hungry! The least you could do is throw in some good old fashion exclamation:
“Jumpin’ Jehosephat, tis like ice cream!”
“Sweet nectar of the gods!”
But no, they just quietly let their minds flip out inside their heads.

In case you're wondering...
here's how it works.

February 17, 2009

The Death of Africa: Part 2

...A continuation of The Death of Africa: Part 1

The dream-clouds around us seemed to tighten and turn black: The cell phone stayed off.

Panic welled inside me; I threw the phone to its grave and knelt beside Africa. Her convulsions slowed until she lay motionless on the dry grass. I racked my brains for something I could do to save her for her stillness was even more frightening than her seizure. After a few seconds I recalled a “fix-it-all herb” which, supposedly, could cure any ailments.

My dream seemed to know what I wanted and its swirling fog produced an herb garden not two feet away from us. The dark clouds scooped me up and deposited me directly in front of the herb. It was as if time had slowed. I leisurely chose three of the best sprigs off the plant. When I came to her, she still lay quietly on her bed of dead grass, gasping for breath through the blood and froth.

I reached down to rip a piece off my shirt but paused when I saw that this was my favorite and most expensive blouse. Instead, I threw my shoe down with the cell phone and pulled off my sock. Cradling her head on my lap I wiped away the foam around her mouth with my sock. The dreamy mist came nearer as her eyes fluttered open for the last time. I crooned gently to her as I fed her the herbs, “Everything will turn out ok. It always does. Just eat one more and you will feel better. It’s alright now.”

Everything did not improve; Africa wouldn’t eat one more. I did not notice her inflamed skin touching mine. I did not notice the lice crawling on me. I did not even notice that now she had just two clingy rags left. I only noticed her breathing. It had stopped. My eyes closed as despair surged up from my toes and ripped each thought apart, shoving panic to the passenger seat. Africa had died.

Pushing aside any caution concerning my favorite blouse, I immediately started CPR. Not remembering the correct organization of pumps and breaths, I settled with five breaths then fifteen pumps to her chest. It took five minutes of repeating that process to snap my last thread of hope. I flopped down beside her still form, weeping uncontrollably; I had failed.

A deep voice echoed from the dreamy haze, “My child, why do you weep?” Still weeping, I croaked, “Lord, Lord I am weeping for the one I could not save!” “You could not save?” He gently inquired, “Child, please tell me what you did to save Africa.” “Lord God Almighty, I called for a doctor, but my phone was dead. I fed her some herbs but she wouldn’t eat them all.” I paused, “Then, when she stopped breathing, I performed CPR as well as I could remember.” My tears wet her cold face in despair. My Lord asked, “Did you not turn to Me for help?” Another flood of tears fell when I whispered, “No.” He aggrievedly whispered back, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46) The only escape from death is through My Son” I only wept harder. Then He spoke in such a comforting way that I could almost imagine His arm around my shoulders, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.” (Luke 8:52b)

His still small voice cut off my doubt, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.” (Luke 8:50b) “But Lord, shouldn’t...” God’s voice boomed like thunder, “Child, do you still not believe? Am I to be subject to your doubts?” He quieted, “Child, knowledge has been your downfall today; do not let the knowledge I have bestowed upon you be used again without My wisdom.

Africa stirred in my arms and her eyes fluttered open. I smiled. She wearily sat up and smiled back. The Great Physician’s words reverberated inside my head: The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.

Luke 8:50 “But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, ‘Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.’”

Luke 8:52b [Jesus said] …“Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.”

Luke 6:31-32b [Jesus said] … “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”

Luke 6:46 [Jesus said] …“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

Luke 18:27

“But He said, ‘The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”

February 5, 2009

Why I Must Write

Ephesians 5.8-10 “...for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”

When I try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord in my life, I feel a strong impression on my heart that it is pleasing to Him when I write, when I raise my son in thinking, feeling God-centeredness, when I support my Husband in unity, and when I pray, work, and write on behalf of the children slain each day. This season, this moment, this is how I walk as a child of light. Do I fail? Every day. But you see, I am already a child of light, He sees me cloaked in Jesus' light, and His grace covers me beyond (another word should follow beyond... beyond what... I know not what, I simply know His grace covers beyond).

How do you walk as a child of light this season?

Ephesians 5.15-17 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

"Days", nasty little imps with dark sunglasses and a bushy mustaches are running, and as each runs it picks up speed. In spite of "days", this verse presses with a sense of joyful urgency. Urgency, because time passes relentlessly, and my days on earth are numbered. Joyful urgency, because this verse encourages my heart that I can understand the will of the Lord.

Do your "days" wear dark sunglasses too?

1 Corinthians 9.9-10 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

I am not worthy of His affection, yet I receive it. God's grace in my life is not in vain. Here, I am what I am. What a releasing phrase. In God's grace, I am what I am. This thought does not deflate me to stagnant apathy. It releases me to heart-bending, exuberant worship. I am what I am, and I praise his grace through writing.

Through his grace, you are who you are too.

1 Corinthians 15:56-58 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

- girl 1

by R.P.E.
© 2008
All Rights Reserved

February 2, 2009

The Death of Africa: Part 1

Somehow the very atmosphere of my dream reeked with the undeniable fact that she was African. The air whispered that she was Africa. I dreamed I stood on the edge of a clearing filled with tall, dead grass. The clearing was about one acre and squatting in the center was Africa: a wrinkled old lady.

Looking closer, I saw she wore not more than four or five scanty rags. The rags clung to her diseased body in a half-hearted way. I flinched and stepped back though I could not tear my eyes from her hunched form. Her thin body was covered in some horrible disease’s handiwork that decorated her skin with splotches of purple and red flesh. My stomach heaved but could not give one drop to the parched grass between my toes.

It was not because I was ashamed at her conditions that my stomach heaved, but because I was ashamed at my conditions that could have changed hers. I have at least nine sets of clothing and consistently buy more. I have immediate medical help of any kind to use any time I so desire. I spent seventeen dollars on a cute top that I could have spent saving her. As I berated my past actions and wealth, she twitched with the start of a seizure. Then, I stood, helpless as she violently convulsed in pain and fell writhing on her face.

The winds of my dream carried my screaming doubts to and fro: I am no doctor! What should I do? My First Aid class was more than ten years ago! I ran to her side. Her three teeth repeatedly gashed her gums as her arms and legs flailed through the dream’s fog. I wrung my hands as I struggled to think clearly. I had to save her, but how?! I fumbled through my pockets as foam began to bubble out her mouth.

When I felt a cold, hard rectangle in my back pocket I shrieked my relief; now I could call an ambulance! Africa would be saved, and I would be her savior! Not wavering a bit, I pressed the “ON” button.