Click on the image below. It leads to my website:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fire Glory All Around

Crazy heights. Nutty hunger. Leaves and pecan nuts and squirrels and shadows splotchy over wood fence. I can see everything here without even looking around. It’s all shadow imaged. Even squirrel jumping branches just now. Shadow jump.

Leaf spins twirl. Shadow falls down wood fence. Leaf strokes pool water and fall swims. Water ripples slight and I see it better in shadow on fence than in pool. Rippley strings. Harmonious shadows play there as if plucked for song.

And why not? All is spinning, twirling, leaping, chattering, feasting…praising. I had hoped for this in August heat. And here it is. Autumn. Another picture of faith and trust and hope come together at the same time. Pisteuo.

Yes, faith is evidence of things hoped for, and I can see it right here clear as all color exploding out, trees flaming bright fire yellow, orange, red. Leaves flying off. Like sparks. And pecans hitting the ground, pop-pop-popping in autumn flame.

I see it in the fire that tries it. Glory fire. Somehow I walk by it. And how on earth does that work? How do I walk by faith and not by sight if faith is itself evidence of what is not seen?

And why do I see better the song played in shadow on fence than in pool where it’s happening? Something backward about this.

And what is the song? What song fits both praise and fire?

I puzzle over this as steam rises from my coffee cup. Even this is in the shadow. I close my fingers around it’s warmth in autumn fire.

And soul fire. What about that fire? I felt it earlier on the staircase when morning sun shot flame through upstairs window and ran down the stairs and skidded gold across the wood floor. Sparks splayed there and I stood in them brave. I felt them glance off glass frame photos on wall.

Because they are wedding day photos.

And because it’s oldest son tall and suited and with a smile unlike any other I’ve ever seen him wear. And because it’s bride photo. And because it’s brother with brother photo, one a groom and one with his girl. And because it’s her photo, too. Delight caught in her eyes and tossed bridal bouquet caught in her hands. 

Because it’s bouquet of faith for marriage hopes and because I know that fire glory.

I squint against the glass frames sparking.

Today I do feel singe. I won’t say I don’t. But here in autumn flame and staircase spark, “If this is how You treat Your friends, it is no wonder You have so few” moan is gone. St. Theresa of Avila said it. Saints do moan sometimes. But today the likes of me isn’t. Today it’s, “You must love me a lot to keep me in the flame so long” fire-glory.

I don’t recognize myself in what I just said.

I’m being changed somehow in this fire.

Silversmith over autumn fire means to see His image in mine.

I hope for it. I burn for it. I endure for it.

It’s just hope plain and simple. Splotchy except for the shadow strings strumming harmonious across wood fence and soul wall. I can’t hear the music. It’s shadow to me. But God can. It’s glory to Him.

And why do I keep looking at hope when I should be touching faith? It’s there. It’s here. I remember I’m standing in it. It’s in squirrel stuffing its cheeks with pecan and pumpkin. Perched alert and breathing on branch and leaping to the next, feasting full on fall. Its own actions evidence of what it cannot see. Winter.

And how much are my actions evidence of what I cannot see? A heavenly country. A flood. A birth. A resurrection. Or a better testimony. I can’t touch these any more than I can touch shadow.

But faith is substance and I can touch that.

There are so many hope-shadows moving across my soul wall. “Show me faith and, Jesus, help me get this straight!”

He does. “Look around you.”

I do. And I start to get it. “I’m standing in faith. In it. I’m standing in faith!” I laugh and I admit it’s tinged with “unbelievable!”

“You’re surrounded by it,” God laughs too.

“This is habit forming!” I throw up my hands and take it all in for a moment.

I approach the wall. The temptation to touch hope, even though I can’t hold it, is strong. “What about this?” I nod toward my hand at the shadow lying in my palm. It looks different, distorted, when I hold it.

“Look around you,” is all He has to say about that.

“Ok. But still, what about this?” I close my fingers over hope. But now it’s even more distorted over bumpy knuckles.

Look around you,” third time insisting. He has my attention.

“Look around you and see through it to Me.”

I look down at hope-shadow broken over my knuckles. I look up at what surrounds me. At what I’m still standing in. And I face the evidence, back to the wall and covered in hope cast all over me.
I access God and grace here. Faith is my entrance. I enter the crazy heights and nutty hunger praise loud, here. I enter autumn flame here. Rejoicing bright.
And can I enter my own fires soulical with same joy and hunger and praise? Can I rejoice here? I know I’m told to. “Let us also be full of joy now.” And “Let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God” (Romans 5:2-3, Amp.).But can I? Do I know how?

I am trying to see His face through flames. Trying to rejoice at this entrance. And what about when the flames become a wall of fire? What then? Now? And when I try to hold onto hope alone, and it distorts? Dissipates?
“What did You say again?” I am amnesic.

“Look around you and see through it to Me,” He is patient.

What am I standing in the midst of? Oh yeah, faith. Funny, wise really, how He didn’t say “Look around you and walk in faith.” Not here. Now, it’s enough to look and just stand here looking. Trying to see. Just to see.
Grace. Here. In the front-facing forward look. Back to the wall, yes.
Why do I see better the song played in shadow on fence than in pool where it’s happening? And why don’t I know what song fits both praise and fire?
Because I’ve been facing the wrong way. That's why.
I don’t see and I don’t know because grace is not in looking away from the flame and fire. I struggle, still, to keep my hand from grasping hope that will disappoint. To keep from closing my fingers around whatever image of hope cast there that my soul wants to see. Hard not to grab for hope, even lesser hope, when engulfed. These hopes dance across soul wall. Flicker there. And I am disappointed when I try to hold them. I know. I’ve tried.

It’s hard to get it straight. Hard to stand open handed. Very so hard to endure. To face the right way and let the flame cast enduring hope all over me. Ah, yes, enduring hope. Cast all over me. It’s what I want. Need. But so hard.

Hard to look around intent on seeing through it to God.

But it’s entrance to rejoicing. Entrance to hope that does not disappoint. It’s faith and hope, pisteuo entrance. And God’s love has poured out grace in my heart. His love has. Grace-love poured out in my heart that controls the flames refining it. Me. And grace to endure.

Grace to practice endurance. Over and over. To practice facing the right way. To practice forward and not backward. To practice standing in faith and knowing the love of God. To practice until it’s more than giddy habit backward but habit, formed, forward.

Habit of joyful hope. Confident hope. Hope of eternal salvation over that of temporal assurance because it’s not assuring at all. I’ve been deluded too many times by it and it dissipates whenever I reach to hold it. Every time. No. Not this habit but the one joyful, confident hope of lasting hope.

I’m practicing. It’s either that or have no real hope. And that is unthinkable. I will die practicing.

How long have I been standing out here anyway? My coffee isn’t steaming anymore.

Muddy dog sprints by. Grinning. Squirrel crazed. And I really want to paint squirrel. Morning tribute to faith.

I spread newspaper over kitchen table and around freckle-nosed cat. She complains. Paint brushes, paper, water in spare aluminum cat dish and paw the color of pumpkin dips cautious in water dish, splashes gentle, and she sits on tracing paper, pounced on pencils, bats brushes and how do I paint squirrel?

By opening the kitchen window where she chatters her teeth at squirrel sitting on branch just beyond reach. That's how!
written by: Carolyn Roehrig





No comments:

Post a Comment