Sunday, February 16, 2014

Poem - At the End of the Day

Photograph taken at St. Andrew Church by Rita Bourland © 2012



At the End of the Day

At the end of the day
Love remains,

It resides in the deepest
Parts of the soul
Where the truths we know
Are most pure,

And there it will stay,
Even at the end of the day
When the person we love
So much
Has gone away,

Even then,
Love remains.


Written in memory of Patti (Pardi) Passen

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Poem - A Butterfly Spoke - Thanksgiving 2013

Photograph of collage and poetry by Rita Bourland © 2013


A Butterfly Spoke

A butterfly spoke to an ancient stone arch saying,

“Surely you’re stronger than I.”



In a lumbering voice, the arch did reply,

“Yet, you are the one who can fly.”



Strength lies deep within each of us –

uniquely ours - for days we need to soar

and days we need to stand firmly upon the ground.





Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pondering Faith - Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

Photo from PBS NewsHour - November 11, 2013




Pondering Faith

Taken out of context this is just a photo of a girl reading a book, but in truth she is reading while sitting on a pile of rubble in the city of Tacloban in the Philippines, three days after Typhoon Haiyan flattened her city.  Angus Walker, an ITV correspondent reporting for PBS NewHour, was narrating this story while his cameraman panned across scenes of death and destruction – that’s when the picture of the young girl came onto the television screen.  Mr. Walker made a passing mention of how even in the midst of tragedy people hang onto their faith.

With my remote in hand, I rewound the report and paused on the frame of the girl.  I walked closer to the television until I could read the title of the book:  Be Patient, God Isn’t Finished With Me Yet! Everyday Wisdom to Help You Become the Person God Intended You to BeI took a picture of the frame with the camera on my phone.

So many feelings welled up in me as I pondered this image.  I was astounded at the calm focus she seemed to have, seemingly oblivious to the horrors surrounding her.  But, of course, I knew that couldn’t be true. After all, she had survived Typhoon Haiyan with its 200 mph winds and the massive waves that washed large ships into the heart of her neighborhood while stripping people of their lives and livelihoods.  She had seen dead people lying in the streets, houses reduced to splintered wood and had smelled the unfamiliar but undeniable stench of death.  Yet, there she sat reading a book about God’s plan for her life.

I purchased the book, written and compiled by Vicki Kuyper, and finished reading it this afternoon.  While there were chapters I found helpful for my personal life, I couldn't imagine that any of the examples would speak to the girl's immediate circumstances - circumstances that would test even the deepest faith.  But then the power of faith is a mysterious thing.  

When everything you own is gone, when you’ve lost loved ones, when even the basic necessities of life are unavailable, then faith in a higher being may be the only thing that allows hope to stir and fear to abate.  

In truth, I can’t quit thinking about her.  I wish I could have a conversation with her and find out about her family.  Did they survive?  Where did she find the book?  What meaning did she derive from it?  What will she do now?  What does she ask for when she prays?

I will never get my questions answered but I will keep thinking about her and be thankful that I witnessed this small moment of grace in the midst of unthinkable tragedy.  

We are joined by our humanity. It is the empathy we feel that transfers into practical help, giving the people of the Philippines a small glimmer of hope that they might survive.  May God bless that young girl and her family and all the people in the Philippines and may their faith give them strength to go on.

Photo from Google images

Monday, October 21, 2013

Poem - A Ghost for a Day (repost from 2011)



A Ghost for a Day

A ghost for a day – oh, what a delight,
I’ll strike up a plan then schedule my flight,
I don’t think I’ll haunt or scare in the night,
I think I’ll just float in the air like a kite,

I might think again when I look down below
And see all the heartache, worry and woe,
I’ll slip through a wall and under a door,
I’ll do some good works, then maybe some more,

I’ll bring a fine meal to someone in need
Then follow that up with another good deed
I’ll offer a blanket to someone who’s cold,
Then comfort a lady who’s lonely and old,

Imagine the good that nice ghosts could do,
Forsaking the haunting and often said BOO,
Kind of like angels these nice ghosts could be,
Delivering love and a cup of hot tea,

It sounds like a job for you or for me,
As long as the job is just temp
I’ll agree.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Poem - It's Easy to Miss a Miracle

Maine - 2012

It’s Easy to Miss a Miracle

It’s easy to miss
a miracle,

like a moment
of unbidden grace
it arrives unannounced,

dropping into your life
like soft, spring rain,
brushing your cheek with
a tender kiss,

not asking to be
the star,

just a miracle so quiet
you might miss
it altogether
save for the subtle shift
in the air suddenly imbued
with a taste so sublime
you might think
 it was spiced
with nectar from the heavens,

that taste, that moment
so rare,
is a miracle just for you.