Tag Archives: spring

Like Spring [Poem by Mom]

Georgia vines cover our backyard like love covers a multitude of sins. At least that is the natural order of things—with the vines, as well as with true love.

We are slowly learning about southern biology. My wife’s daily devotional times are suffering thanks to the babbling birds boldly blaring their boom boxes behind our brick abode. I’m noticing—I think, I hope—that Georgia grass grows just a bit more gradually than Iowa varieties.

I might be wrong. Either way, I know that my love should look more like Iowa grass and Georgia vines, and that forgiveness should grow more quickly in wounds of my heart.

Mom talks about these things in the poem she shares this month. If you are struggling to forgive, or surprised by your own capacity to hate, then may her words give you fresh courage.

Mom’s poem is old—first written when I was only eight. (I recall the geological events she describes from the time, but was blissfully unaware as a boy of the concurrent ecclesiological disruptions motivating her poem.) Mom has written a new introduction to her old poem. But first, here is the poem. Enjoy!


Photo Credit: Dainis Matisons via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Dainis Matisons via Compfight cc

LIKE SPRING

How persistent Spring is,
Untiring in her zeal
To carpet all that’s barren,
To beautify and heal.

Even into gashes
That man has blasted out,
Peninsulas are greening
And tiny islands sprout.

How forgiving Spring is
Of winter’s wasting shocks;
Ferns trail her every footstep
And moss adorns the rocks.

Oh, if man would mellow,
Forgive as joyously,
And seek to heal old wound scars
As conscientiously.

—Elaine Gingrich, January 1982/1985. Published in Ontario Informer, 1985.


Ken and I have been marking Bible courses for prison inmates for over twenty years. The very first lesson in the first Gospel Echoes Team course asks the student to name the most forgiving person that he knows other than God. Another question I marked last night: “What have you observed in Jesus’ relationships that could help you get along better with others?” The inmate responded with “Forgiveness is key.”

Forgiveness! This theme appears again and again in the inmates’ responses and comments and prayer requests. “Pray that my family, my wife, my children will forgive me.” “ Pray that I can forgive myself.” “I am finding it easier to forgive those who have hurt me.” “Studying these courses is helping me to forgive others.”

One student had wanted his life to end but reading the Bible showed him that he could turn his life around. He asked forgiveness of God and his loved ones and was finally able to forgive his girlfriend who left him while he was in jail. Forgiveness is transformative.

We all know forgiveness is not essential only for prison inmates. The scars that I write about in this poem have nothing to do with crime or incarceration. Sadly many Christians live imprisoned far too long in the grips of unforgiveness and bitterness. No wonder the epistles command us over and over to be tenderhearted, to forgive as Christ forgave us, and to return good for evil.

“Like Spring” was written after a discouraging season in church life. Differing opinions on church affiliation had caused our beloved pastor to move on. A few members moved away. Ken wondered why he was building our new home. The images for the poem grew out of the road construction occurring that summer past our property. The cottage trail winding between the northern lakes was redirected, blasted through the rocky hill between our circle drive. Several times rock-drilling and blasting sent us out of our trailer home to safety, and the dust and rumble of huge dump trucks and power shovels entertained my three young sons who had a front rock seat to all the action.

It was the next spring, as I walked and prayed, that I was amazed to see how soon the barren disturbed patches of earth and crevices in the rocks were again sprouting with new growth and green beauty. But then, of course, Christ is the giver of life, of new life, in nature and in human hearts. And God is love and has called us to love and forgive as He does, to join Him in the ministry of reconciliation. I think of a simple poem I wrote in my teens: “Hating Those Who Hate.”

HATING THOSE WHO HATE

The times when I most see the need
To love mankind,
I feel like driving this great truth
Into man’s mind.

The passion of this growing lack
Of love grips me.
I see it is our foremost great
Necessity.

And yet the times my being throbs
With pain at hate
Is when my heart most tends to hate
Those men who hate.

You cannot hope to help someone
You do not love—
The only answer to this need
Comes from above.

Yes, God’s way and nature’s way is better.

—Elaine Gingrich, May 26, 2016


For the rest of the poems in this monthly series, see here.

And if you enjoyed this poem, leave a comment here for Mom, or send her an email at MomsEmailAddressImage.php.  Thanks!


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Spring Leaves in Rain [Poem by Mom]

Mom’s poem this month is too good to miss, even if I’ve left it for the last day of the month. The poem grows from the image of “spring leaves in rain.” So I’ll surround it with photos of life outside our Iowa windows on this rainy spring day.

cowsdeck

“If haply…

cowbackground

they might feel after him,…

cowleaves

and find him,…

playset

though he be not far from every one of us.”
—Acts 17:27 (KJV)


SPRING LEAVES IN RAIN
(
Acts 17:27 KJV, Prov. 11:28 NLT)

Spring leaves in rain nourish me—
More skin than paper
They hang in soft folds
Of translucent baby green—
The colour of hope,
Draped like a lady’s delicate fan
From the old maple’s branches
Waiting to catch the breeze.
Pulsing with the potential
Of butterfly wings emerging
Flawless and limp
The doeskin softness fits with ease,
An almost transparent glove
Over my hand.
I trace the flow of life:
Liquid-sunshine slips
Through yellow-green veins
From stiff stem to tender leaf tips,
Through sturdy midrib lanes
To fragile feathering netted threads,
To waiting capillaries in weathered skin
To the deep veins feeding my hungry heart,
Blending with my warm blood life-red
To visit every cell that craves a reason to live.

Spring leaves in rain comfort me—
The softness is something I can grow into—
The feel of hope,
A kid-leather glove
Hiding my scarred skin
With a layer as vulnerable as love.
I would hold life as a pale young leaf,
As tender and unguarded,
As knowing as they are, as free of grief—
Fearing neither tear nor fall,
Knowing next year’s leaf already waits—
Winter bud of determination,
The Creator’s caring provision
For life’s scars and seasons.
I too can survive and reappear
Soft as a baby’s cheek,
Demanding no reasons;
Feeling after Him,
And finding Him, not far away, but near;
Tracing the abiding flow of life-sap—
The Sonshine in my veins—
From source to need,
As godly as a growing leaf.
             

—Elaine Gingrich, June 10, 2013/ February 2015


roadcorner

“The godly flourish…

wetleaves

like leaves in spring.”
—Proverbs 11:28 (NLT)


For the rest of the poems in this monthly series, see here.

And if you enjoyed this poem, leave a comment here for Mom, or send her an email at MomsEmailAddressImage.php.  Thanks!


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Life Thirst: L’Chaim [Poem by Mom]

Spring is almost here, bursting with new life and old longings, and I have a poem to match the season. Are you thirsty? Then read on…

(See here for an introduction to this monthly series from Mom.)

I think this poem will sing most powerfully if takes your ears by ambush. So, first the poem, then some reflections from Mom.


LIFE THIRST: L’CHAIM

How thirsty you are in the spring,
Earth with your thousand mouths.
Everywhere orifices open
Gaping for trickle,
Stream and torrent.
“A drink please,” you whisper,
“Please, more water, please.”
Mounds of snow you demolish,
Water that travels for miles to slake your thirst.
Cracked skin softens to mud,
Leaves compost, soil moistens,
Thirsty for more, for the future, for life.
Woodlands and roadsides chorus
With the trickle,
Rush,
Thunder of running water,
Gulping faster,
Gasping for breath,
Eyes closed,
All mouth,
Lifting your glass–“To life! To life!”

How thirsty you are in the spring,
Earth with your millions of mouths,
Recalling a dry, dusty hill
In a sun-scorched Judean town
Where the thirst of a thousand generations
Whispering for water–“Please, a drink.”–
Culminated in one agonizing cry
From One lifted up–“I thirst!”
And the parched world drank
As His blood trickled,
Gushed,
Flowed–
A strange, salty drink to satisfy the thirst of the millennia!
Everywhere you hold high
Crystal goblet, plastic tumbler,
Tin cup,
Gasping for life,
Gulping faster,
All mouth,
Belly overflowing with Living Water.
Lifting your glass to Him who calls–“To life! To life!”

–Elaine Gingrich, March 2004


Life Thirst - Spring Runoff


Reflections from Mom

My husband and I raised our four children in Georgian Bay country in Ontario, where the rocks, lakes and trees cry out God’s grandeur. This poem began with a spring walk, listening to the exuberant sounds of rushing water. I can still see the icy rock cuts with rivulets of water running down into the gurgling ditches on Blue Lake Road. The thirsty earth drinking in new life triggered the image of celebrating Jews in Fiddler on the Roof, thirsty for life and hope, lifting their glasses in the Hebrew toast “L’chaim!”–“To life!” The whole earth is toasting life in springtime. An even deeper thirst draws us to lift our glass to Christ who lifted His voice and then His dying body in the ultimate celebration of life. What a price He paid to give us the water of life! We honour Him today when we drink the cup of communion, remembering His blood that flowed one spring day about 2000 years ago.


If you enjoyed this poem, leave a comment here for Mom, or send her an email at MomsEmailAddressImage.php.  Thanks!


Photo Credit: D-A-O via Compfight cc


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