Sunday, October 19, 2014

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?

 (Encore post from my archives)

  In this self-centered society in which we live, with its insulation from one another because of social networking sites online where everyone pursues his own high-tech individual pursuits, it would seem that we don’t have time or occasion to know our neighbors face to face. People who live in high-rise beehive apartments in urban areas put multiple locks and chains on their doors and often don’t speak to people who live down the hall in their own “cells” behind closed doors. Fear of strangers often pulls them into seclusion.

Even when people live, as I do, in a more relaxed suburban development of quiet, five-acre wooded lots on a cul-du-sac, we might be hard pressed to name the people who live within sight of our own driveway. If we walk for exercise, as I do, we may know the canines and felines who live behind fences or electrified borders of well-manicured lawns. However, we may know little about the needs and problems of the people who own the pets.

We are all so busy in the particular orbit of our routine lives that knowing our neighbors doesn’t even make it to our list of priorities. Until an emergency vehicle speeds by, and then we may wonder to whose house it is headed. As it did last week.

In my private prayer each morning I ask God, "This day bring into my life everything and everyone whomever You choose--in person, by letter, e-mail, phone call, thought, impression, prayer, event, or in the course of my responsibilities or circumstances for today. Since they are filtered through Your perfect will, help me recognize such encounters, interruptions, and changes as not accidental or incidental. They are my opportunities and Your appointments for me this day."

People may come into our lives for a season but always for a reason. I've tried to live by the principal that when God brings someone into my life, however briefly, it is either to contribute something good to me, or that I may build something good into his or her life.

One of my neighbors down the block came to my door unexpectedly one morning. We had a few contacts through the years but we really knew each other only casually. On a few occasions we met on our exercise walk along our quiet street. I was surprised to see her when she rang my doorbell. She asked if she could talk to me and of course I welcomed her warmly. 

She was a deeply troubled woman with serious emotional problems coupled with some traumatic but not life-threatening physical challenges which had thrown her into dark depression. A beautiful woman with a professional career, she despaired that she had nothing to live for. I asked if I might pray with her and she consented. We hugged and shared some tears, but I sensed some unseen barrier, some seemingly insurmountable struggle that I couldn't penetrate. I assured her that I was there for her and suggested we talk again soon.

I had a busy week or two and didn't follow up on our encounter, although I remembered to pray for her, my neighbor. One day while working at my computer, I was startled to see through the window several rescue emergency vehicles speeding by. Where could they be headed?

An hour later I received a phone call. My neighbor had taken her own life!

In the throes of my own deep emotional shock, I took it personally. I went over and over a roster of "what ifs" and "I should haves." I was blindsided by this turn of events and now it was too late. I admit that I beat myself up about the tragic choice my neighbor made. No, I didn't turn her away in her time of need, but neither did I follow through and reach out further to her.

Her choice was so, so sad, but I have to accept that it was ultimately her choice. I have to leave her to God and trust Him and pray for her immortal soul. I believe that God's incredibly generous mercy and forgiving love covers such happenings when a person's reason is clouded by depression. God knew her heart. I must realize that to focus on "I could have done more" is not always amenable to rational argument.

But where did I miss God's guidance? Or did I? I can't go there. I can't turn back the clock. Perhaps I needed to lay it all out and now I have to lay it all down at the foot of Jesus' cross. I must move on and pray henceforth to become more sensitive, more discerning, and let God show me "Who is my neighbor?" and what He would have me do and say and pray.
               

Saturday, October 18, 2014

OCTOBER IN TRANSIT




 OCTOBER IN TRANSIT

Leona Choy

Temperamental days
bluffing me, mocking me
with teasing, wistful
coquettish ways:
Late October.

Lingering memories
of high July
blazing sun
and summer fun
are tossed on the run
but mixed with
frosty ecstasies.

Reminiscing time
that casts a chill
as winter steals
with cold appeals
slipping finally
into 
November's
 prime.

Friday, October 17, 2014

AUTUMN'S POMPOSITY

Autumn’s Pomposity
Leona Choy

Please stay—just one more day—
it’s a long time 'til spring!

The lash of latter rains
conspire with whipping winds
to chase her off stage
but autumn splendor lingers
reluctant to retreat
without a final flourish.

Eager to please
autumn struts proudly
on mountain and meadow
pompously waving
her leafy scarlet scarves
like victory banners
defying frost and fading foliage
laughing with careless abandon
stunning my summer senses
with her breathtaking beauty.

Stay, autumn—just one more day
PLEASE?
before winter disrobes you
to naked, shivering branches
reaching for mercy to the melancholy sky
while chilly gusts sting
your flushed face... 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

BLUE LINE REVERIE


Blue Line Reverie
Leona Choy

Crispy, frosty mornings cycle again
in a season of reflection, pensive nostalgia
granting me permission
to stroll the back roads of my mind
while wading ankle-deep in the paint-splashed carpet
kicking up waves of oak and hickory leaves
inhaling the musty mulch beneath my feet
while munching the wet crunch
and tart taste of a freshly picked Jonathan.

Here I can smell peace, forget schedules
concentrate on important things
like scampering squirrels
scurrying to stash acorns for winter larder.
I filter out all but the traffic noise
of wing-flapping, honking geese
heading South in the fast lane
while I take the exit ramp
to a blue line country lane
deliberately dragging my feet
trying to slow down my speeding life
that always seems to be
running a marathon
 ahead of me.




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GOD TRIPPED ON A MOUNTAIN


God Tripped on a Mountain
Leona Choy

God outdid Himself again!
First He daubed His ruby brush
only on emerald maple tops
teasing them to shyly blush
then rouged their hues
with bolder strokes of scarlet bright
against the autumn cerulean blue
applying saffron-yellow
to catch the lingering rays
before the season’s early wrap
of a frigid starry night.

Suddenly this morning
all nature flamed aglow!
God must have tripped on a mountain
and dropped His palette below:
blazing gold and crimson
splashed on bush and tree
blotching lanes and lawns
spattering his paint recklessly.

Can a painter capture on canvas
such Divine display?
Or I, with feeble words of verse
His magnificence portray?
Creator-Artist-God
is without a peer
each season He paints
an original masterpiece
better than last year!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This week--my poetry Interlude

This week I offer one of my autumn poems each day until next week when I resume more fantasy/fables to complete my forthcoming book:  GOTHIC ARCHIE and OTHER IMAGINEERINGS: Fables of God's Kingdom for Grown-ups.
 
AWAITING THE AUTUMN DAWN
Leona Choy
 
I wait in pre-dawn darkness
watching for the sun's first ray while
blue and gray overlay the achromic horizon.
Silently a blushing tint of anticipation
steals from beyond the tree line
to lighten the purple shadows.

I begin to see the frosted fence rails
hidden by the unlit night
green pines stand motionless
revealed now in stark silhouette.
An eagle in flight sails slow-motion across
the powder-blue canopy of sky while
golden streaks dispel dusky apparitions.

The eerie scene begins to assume
familiar friendly features while
mist still hugs bronzed tree tops
shorn of autumn brilliance.
An eagle circles and returns...
or is it his mate seeking him?

Frost has aerosoled late October grass
turning the meadow into an albescent carpet.
For a moment dark clouds threaten to hide
the sunrise as I wait, scarce breathing:
Will I miss the main feature after all?

No! I rise to my feet in worship!
Burnt-gold leaps boldly upward
thrusting aside the indigo mass
showering me with warmth and brilliance.


The blazing sun catapults into view
as from a celestial launching pad
into the space of a fresh, new day
blushing the shy white clouds crimson.
I cannot bear to gaze upon this spectacle:
I shade my eyes at the flaming finale.

A fog blanket still shrouds the valley below
but God begins to paint powder-blue across
the vast sky canvas with a wide brush
until a daytime dome appears overhead
paling deep hues into muted pastels.

An alarm clock jangles by some distant bedside
forcing me reluctantly back to mortal thoughts
by the intrusiveness of prosaic human routine.
But I have been an awed and adoring spectator
privileged to stand on nature's sacred ground
to view the miracle of an autumn dawn.

I stand transfixed in silent worship
not of created sun and nature's video display
but of the Creator of heaven and earth.
The memory of God's enchanting wake-up call
lingers through my day's mundane routine
reminding me that He is over all
of ordered nature, seasons, space, and time
and human endeavors—
including mine!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

THE LOVE PLANT

 Master Gardener generously gave two people a miniature but precious and rare Love Plant to tend from His own Special Garden.
 
"It is a gift of My love for you and meant to teach you deep lessons of the meaning of My words, 'As I have loved you, so love one another.' Plant it in fertile soil and take good care of it. Cultivate it to become a fruit-bearing plant. I will come again and check on it."

He gave them further instructions: "Provide it with boundaries to train it upward. It is a tender plant. Watch out for 'the little foxes' that may attack the plant. Take care that its growth is not spurious, grown too quickly with roots too shallow, lest the noonday heat wilt it. Be patient and let it develop naturally. Slow but steady growth is best. I have implanted deep within its seed the intrinsic nature of spontaneous growth. Don’t be afraid to prune it. Sunshine and rain, shade and storm, all are beneficial for hardy growth. In time there will be blossoms, then fruit. I remind you again, do not rush the tender plant!"

Master Gardener was not sure that the two were even listening. They seemed preoccupied with The Plant and eager to get on with its cultivation. To insure that His instructions would be followed, if not heard, He gave them A Garden Book. "Consult this daily because I Myself have written it so that you can compare the Love Plant against My perfect intention for it."

The two joyfully made a good start. As days went by they found great delight in The Master Gardener’s gift. It was beyond all their expectations. They discovered that it was a rare Plant indeed and inclined to grow rapidly. But they neglected pulling the weeds springing up around it, choking its freedom to develop straight upward.

Nor did they take proper care to set its limits, not wishing to restrain its natural inclinations. They simply couldn’t bear to prune it. What a pity to hurt The Plant's own expression!

Growing impatient for fruit, they attempted to force open the lovely, early buds before their proper season. Less and less frequently did they compare its growth with the pictures in The Garden Book. Since it was now their Plant, they felt they knew best how to raise it.

One day Master Gardener paid a surprise visit. "Take me to your Love Plant and bring The Garden Book with you." They had to search awhile before they found The Book and blew off the dust.
They led Him to a grotesque, ungainly plant with wild shoots nearly choking the main stem. Premature shriveled fruit hung sparsely here and there among the withered leaves. The eyes of Master Gardener reflected disappointment. Suddenly, as if with newly opened eyes, they realized that their Love Plant was nothing like the full color picture in The Garden Book.

Gently, Master Gardener pointed out place after place in The Book where they had neglected to follow His instructions. He did not scold them, as they had feared. He did not punish them, although they deserved it. He did not expose them to the ridicule of the other plant growers. And, mercy of mercies, He did not take away their Plant and banish them from His Garden.

"It is late, but not too late to revive The Plant and cultivate it aright," He said.

In His love for the two, He committed it to them again with firm words: "Children, be careful with this Love Plant! Don't forget that it was I who gave it to you to illustrate the meaning of Divine Love—and human love too. I have a special plan for your Plant. When the time comes for it to bear fruit, it will far surpass your dreams and desires.

"But you must prune it! Wild shoots will sap its strength. You will not destroy The Plant if you cut them off and direct the main growth upward. Only thus can it bear more fruit and then much fruit. Don't be tempted to pick its fruit prematurely. Be patient. I will tell you when it is ripe.

"Hour by hour, day by day, be diligent to compare it with My Book. Although you have made many mistakes, I will multiply both your delight and My glory if you conform fully to My plan for your Love Plant."

Overwhelmed by His patience, lovingkindness, and confidence toward them, this time they set about to diligently obey the wishes of the Master Gardener. And lo, it was even as He said. Day by day their delight was greater and His glory magnified. In the fullness of time, Master Gardener came again, and they excitedly showed Him the luscious, ripe first fruits on the carefully cultivated mature Plant.

“Now it is time to enjoy the fruit!” He said.

They shared the abundant fruit with Master Gardener, and the three of them ate together with great joy and satisfaction.
****
From THE RESOURCE BOOK

"Yet I planted you a choice vine, a completely faithful seed. How then have you turned yourself before Me into the degenerate shoots of a wild vine?" Jeremiah. 2:21
"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, 
that it may bear more fruit." John 15:2
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom.”
 Song of Solomon 2:15
"...May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits...." Song of Solomon 4:16b
"...If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him, and will dine with him, 
and he with Me."  Revelation 3:20