Lent 15 ~ Hold On A While


Hold On A While

by Amos Russel Wells

When all the sky is very black
And all the earth is blue,
And all the fiends are on your track
And howling after you;

When courage falls and hope decays
And fair ambition dies,
And all your dreamland is ablaze
Beneath the ebon skies;

When you would fain renounce the goal,
Nor plod another mile,
Oh, straighten up your drooping soul,
And—just—hold on—a while!

Hold on a while! the darkest night
May bring the fairest day.
Hold on a while! the good, the right,
Will always find a way.

Hold on! for is Jehovah dead?
His love an empty song?
Hold on! have heaven’s armies fled
Before the hosts of wrong?

Hold on! for still some strength remains,
Nor yield you till you must;
A newer life may flood your veins;
Born of a larger trust.

A newer life—hold on for that!
A lily from the mud!
The greening peak of Ararat
Emerging from the flood!

The clouds are shattered by the sun;
The earth is all aglow;
Away the howling devils run,
And back to hell they go!

Hold on for that! Do what you can,
Nor prove a craven elf;
For heaven never helped a man
Until he helped himself.

And when your fondest hopes are dead
And fate has ceased to smile.
‘Tis then it pays to lift your head
And—just—hold on a-while.







Lent 8 ~ Endure for a While


So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.   ~  1 Peter 1: 6


          This morning, part of this verse appeared in Susan Branch’s Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead

          I had been seeking Jesus’ answer for something important to our family, and to read that verse right at that moment did me a world of good.

          So, I understandably drooped when I saw the rest of the verse,

…even though you must endure many trials for a little while

          It’s just not in me to love my trials, patience and endurance one of my many sticking points. But I grudgingly admit that joy is sweetened only by trials endured in the right spirit.

          I saw this demonstrated in a small way some years back. Most of us had been so involved in various endeavours to eject the ruling party in our country. We took our politicians’ campaigns into hostile and indifferent heartlands, working feverishly, doing whatever we could to win every vote. And when we finally won, the joy we experienced was indescribable. For the first time, we were united as a country, ecstatic in finally sharing a single bloodline of true brotherhood.

          But one of my colleagues had little to do with that struggle. She had always had a weakness for gossip and news that singed the ear, and in the tense weeks in the lead up to the election, instead of trying to do something meaningful, however small, she took it upon herself to dig up nuggets of unsavoury, empty news about the townspeople’s political affiliations. While it didn’t detract from our efforts, it did nothing to help either. Yet, despite seeing the work that was being done and how much was still left to be done, it didn’t move her to try and contribute in a more positive way.

          When the sun finally rose for this land, beyond a polite smile, I found I could shared none of my joy with her. None of the excited analysis, not a single victory anecdote – simply because it felt flat to do so with someone who had not really been a part of your struggle. We couldn’t talk statistics or political demographics – her eyes would glaze over, waiting for me to stop, to bring in some yellow angle.

          Somehow, she got to know of the big dinner I managed to cook for the family as a celebration. Eager not to be left out, she went out with some other likeminded friends of hers for a celebration dinner, and the next day, proceeded to inform me about it. But there was no masking it for either of us. The emptiness of it was evident. Not having worked for it, she could barely scratch the surface of the national jubilance.

          That victory did so much for so many of us. Although many returned to old prisons and old problems after that night of joy, we did so with the fire of hope burning fiercely within us. We loved better and we forgave easily. That fire changed the way we worked and lived, because we knew that even if there was none yet in some of our homesteads, there was wonderful joy ahead.

          For eschewing the call of the struggle and preferring the languid ease of a ringside seat, my friend, sadly, was a stranger to that glorious fire of hope. Hence, in a very short while, she returned to her bitter and vicious roots, caught up once more in pettiness and trivialities.

          Tomorrow is a momentous day for our family – and for thousands of others across the country. Thinking about my friend and what she lost out on by staking her claim on joy without earning it, the second half of the verse – you must endure many trials for a little while – loses its tiny sting. Because my heart now knows that joy is sweetened only by trials endured in the spirit of hope and faith.

          I may be a woman of little faith, but I’m not worried, for God has enough for me. By His grace, I will reach that summit of wonderful joy.










I Give You Everything


Our Lord loves you and wishes to see you advance with great speed in the way of His love, however crucifying to nature. Therefore, do not bargain with Him, but give Him all, and you will find all in His divine Heart.   ~   St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

          Thanks to a fellow blogger, I think I’ve fallen in love with Switzerland, Mürren especially. It’s a car free Alpine village and it’s gorgeous. I think that with the need to walk (since we don’t have cars there), the sheer loveliness around and quietness of the place, I’d be thin in no time.

          And it would be easier to be good!

          There are times when we need all the help we can get just to be good and kind. Beautiful flowers everywhere, crisp, clean air, decent people around you – can do wonders for me. But God’s not going to create a Mürren for me so that making sacrifices comes easily, or that prayer just springs from the heart instead of having to go and dig for it, and then to lash my will to it.

          God is not going to make me a Mürren to make anger management easier either. Life doesn’t work that way, at least not for me. So, so often, I ask myself, Where has my young heart gone to?

Where is the spirit that used to quicken at the pink and orange blush of the dying evening skies?

Where is the girl who used to awaken at nights just to enjoy the sound of the winds singing among darkened boughs?

          And there is no answer save that of, She is gone.

          For years now, I’ve looked high and low for her, this person whose spirit is primed to settle into the deeps of the smallest cups of loveliness. Sometimes, I think I have glimpsed her, but when I reach deep within to hold on to her, to stop her from running away again, I come up against emptiness, as if she was never there.

          I feel the bite of tears for the girl I once was, rising quickly in hope and light after every fall and push, but to cry is to hold on to what has gone – for that young one is no longer there. I am no longer that girl, I’ve grown old; but my soul is likely still young – immature, petty, unsteady. In a perpetual wobble. Never learning well enough the many lessons God has taught me over and over, I flounder in the breech between the past and the present.

          I am tired. Tired of this life, so very, very tired. Unlike many, I have so much to live for, yet, today, I can barely see each gift. It is not for want of trying though;

My eyes are dimmed with sorrow,

worn out because of all my foes   ~   Psalm 6:8

Today, as the hot evening motherwinds try with all their might to sing me their strength, nothing slips past the door of my spirit.

          Our Lord loves you and wishes to see you advance with great speed in the way of His love, however crucifying to nature. Therefore, do not bargain with Him, but give Him all, and you will find all in His divine Heart.

          This was God’s word to me yesterday. I see the word, crucifying, and I flail against it. Oh, how right my priest was when he looked deep into my eyes and read my soul right, Patience, you need patience. But soul loved by God himself, the priest did not leave me bereft of hope. The miracle you seek will come, he has assured me gently. It will come, but not in the violent wind, not in the fire, nor in the earthquake. It will come in a quiet and gentle unfolding.

          The tears come then, and this time, I do not dam the stream, pretending a fortitude I do not possess. I have given my all today. There’s nothing left in me. No hope, no excitement even for the future. It is as if all has died. Nothing left to be of use to God, my cup of offering is dry.

          Patience, you need patience

          Then, give me Yours, Lord, I pray in deep weariness, for I have none left in me.

…do not bargain with Him, but give Him all…

          How can I give what is no longer there?

…do not bargain with Him, but give Him all…

          I give you everything, Lord. What is there and not there. What is seen and unseen. I give you everything, Lord.

          I am moving on empty now. Somehow, I clean the house, teach the younger ones their lessons.

 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.