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Gossamer Nation

We came down and just like that…there they were- the airborne arthropods with gossamer wings, the butterflies- or gossamers as they were called in these parts. They fluttered and whizzed by like tiny leaves blown about unseen currents of force, flapping their multi-colored wings against the winds.

As soon as we had crossed the boundary of the Mountain, there they were. Though, there was no physical barrier, no tangible reason for them to not traverse the nations, minus the rule of thumb… magic- there they stayed in the country known to the world as The Gossamer Commonwealth. In reality, no magic held them inside the nation they were named after. They stayed because Gossamer was the one place with absolutely perfect conditions for them to thrive in.

Not many places were left for them to grow in after The Destruction. The wars that almost annihilated the human race took with them many species of beauty. So much was lost after that dark day. The day fire flew from the sky and even the rains became toxic, washing the skin and meat off your bones as if it were a muddied layer of dirt.

Those days are long past now. Though, in some nations the acid rains still come, even now. Yet, when all that was said and done, mankind had never quite fully recovered even after rebuilding a civilization- but how does one recover from that level of destruction? How do you become uncontaminated when everything else around and inside of you is tainted?

That was the toxic rain that started it all, the one inside mankind, beating in their chests like war drums. Still, despite the devastation the delicate gossamers lived. Even when everything else was turning to ash, they heard life calling and followed its bellows.

The-Powers-That-Be knew the gossamers would need a place and called to them- the Papilionidae, to each family, genus, and species they called. So amid the poisoned atmospheres, the Butterflies were drawn in search of a land where they could flourish. By clusters of millions and billions they flew and died. They braved the acid rains, the fire torrents of hell, and flew for life.

Though the carnage was great, the remaining species finally found the promised land and came to rest here: where the grasses run tall, the food plenty; where the sun is bright, and a fixture of cool mornings abide. Not many of their predators made it this far into wild country. Some, but just enough that the butterflies could multiply and their presence never could diminish.

This place, this magical looking land was once called Nadir, like the lowest point of an arc, and the opposite of Zennith in Astronomy- The Nadir Commonwealth. This land was Nadir because it was the exact opposite of what mankind held as beautiful, as the pinnacle of advancement and civilization. It was backward.

As the remaining humans left the poisoned places of earth in search of their own Eden, they found Nadir and settled amid the gossamers. The beauty of it and the vast volume of butterflies that inhabited the place led to many stories among the Nations, legends even. In the stories it was always called the place of the Gossamers. Well, in time the name stuck…and the rest is history, as it is said.

Though it’s a beauty, a place of wonder and lushness, do not mistake it for a soft place. It’s a wild place, where only the most fierce can survive, gossamer and human alike. And that is why we’ve come. Gossamer is the vastest nation on the continent but also one of the most uninhabited. So we’ve come to test ourselves. We’ve come to see how the inhabitants of Zennith Nation can get on in the abandoned places of earth where no wires, no lights, no communication happens except the kind that is achieved by hand and foot and mind.

Zennith Nation, the peak of human achievement complete with flying clunks of metal, machines on wheels zooming by at light speeds, phones in hand that do everything for us human beings so we don’t have to lift a finger. Everywhere you turn there are wires galore, wires to make communication, power, and everything in between possible. The Zennith where wires are a way of life and life is, itself, as synthetic as they are.

But in Gossamer there are no wires. There are no lights, save the distant evening fires of the neighbors miles off. Here, in the quiet recesses of the wild no man-made noise protruds.

We came, a product of our nation, high tech, in our Rover- the four-wheeled metal Beast that could outrun any beasts of the field. We stopped at the bottom of Lion Mountain and took in the sights. We took in the grandeur of Gossamer and watched mesmerized as the butterflies traversed the open spaces in front of us. One or two, perhaps in clusters of three, they passed every few seconds, and then large sheets of them in multi-colored swaths every few minutes. Every color and kind were there. They lived and flew together.

And so we went. Into the unknown wilds, we went, to find adventure and our courage. As it is said in the old stories, courage is only found in the unknown where the unfamiliar grows. So hand in hand we traveled through dangers and beauties alike until we returned to Zennith and were never the same for we, too, had heard The-Powers-That-Be whisper in the wind and try as we might, we always yearned to hear them again, always drawn to return to that place once more, like the gossamers to open flames.

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Winds, Birds

Winds weeping

Birds rejoicing.

Unseen currents of force,

some gentle some roar

Tiny creatures of sky,

each unique according to its kind.

Winds, unsettled travelers of life

weeping as they flow past

each sacred place,

rustling through the crannies of earth.

Birds clinging tight

in war torn trees,

each calling out its feeble song

to the Master’s ears.

Winds rush and go, never to return again.

Birds travel on, settling for a bit, then continue on.

Each one a wonderer of its own merit,

but one full of song and one without a tune.

Each with a purpose,

both unseen.

“The world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross behind me,
No turning back, no turning back.”

 

So the question at hand may be why did I go to Haiti on for 6 days? The answer to which is: to defend the orphan. Some may reason that nothing of value can truly happen in 6 days. My arrival won’t make any lasting change happen. Maybe not. Except it did. I’m changed forever beyond those 6 mere days that don’t really hold a candle on the grand scheme of my life. 


I stated in my last post that a song arose on this trip to undo me. I cried over it for days. (See my previous post to read about it.) Haiti is the poorest 3rd world nation in the Western hemisphere. In fact it was only a 2 and a half hour plane ride to get there from Miami International Airport. Its heartbreaking to know and see a place so close by, so beautiful, that is so far removed from the kind of life we know in the USA. 


Yet, despite Haiti’s poverty and shanty town appearance, it’s a bright and cheerful place. The buildings are painted bright colors. The people smile and wave. Neighbors help each other. Community spirit is large and wide despite 98 percent of people not having running water or electricity or any real modern conveniences, like toilet paper.

 

So how did this whole orphan business come about? Two years ago, as the story goes, a simple pastor named Emil(above), put together a kids club at his church for the children in town, Maissade. He discovered that quite a few of them were orphaned from some natural disasters that had ravaged Haiti. Many of the kids had no home, no consistent meals. They were dirty and injured and alone in the wide world.

 

Pastor Emil’s church had a small house on property that was used to house pastors and missionaries that passed through and so he put the 40 orphans in the little house. Pastor Emil didn’t have much, but what he had, he gave. He knew of an orphanage in the town of Gonaieves, some 6 hours away by car and he reached out for help, seeing how he’d gathered 40 kids he needed help to feed and house them. Coreluv, an amazing organization that is about defending the Orphan, came on board to help feed them. Though, pastor Emil didn’t know how much Coreluv would be able to help, he was determined to provide for the kids in his town. Coreluv, unable to take the kids at the time, began providing financially to help care for the 40’s needs.

 

Being an excellent negotiator Pastor Emil was able to get food at a reduced cost and from the extra money he saved, he was able to buy some land and wanted to build an orphanage. My church Westover Hills Assembly of God had just joined Coreluv in their mission and when they heard pastor Emil’s heart and determination they partnered with him to build a home for the 40 at Maissade.

 

What is amazing  is that Pastor Emil had once also decided to follow Jesus and God led him down this path. The path to 40 kid’s hearts. I don’t know his story. I don’t know what made him choose Jesus over Voodoo or atheism or any thing else. But it occurred to me that since that day he decided for Jesus, he could not turn back and that led him down the path of being used by God to provide for 40 orphaned children. And even if the world was against him, he fixed his gaze on the cross before him and went forward toward the goal. He would walk the line, even if he had no money to care for the 40, even if he had little space, even if some may have thought he was crazy. And because of his obedience to God, he was able to save 40 kids. To give them a future and a hope. Hope of Jesus, hope for eternal life.

 

Not only that, but God used the obedience of one man to bring to knowledge the beauty, the lives, the destinies of 40 kids. He brought them into my life. He brought them into the lives of all the other 3 or 4 teams that have gone through Maissade in the last 2 years. These beautiful children with hearts filled to the brim with joy and love, who despite having nothing, least of all parents run around open space giggling, holding out pudgy hands for hugs, and smiling like they own a goldmine. God made them known to us, to me. Someone whose life is so far removed from that little country town in the Caribbean, who would have never know the beauties of that land called Haiti and its people, who never would have laughed driving down unpaved roads as naked kids from villages would run up waving and shouting “Blah…” meaning white or foreigner, jumping up and down as if the Royals had invaded town. God brought me there to intersect with those lives, that land. 

 

That’s what God offers all of us. He offers us each a chance to be His hands and feet in a world whose hearts are starved of love, of hope. He has plans for us. Not just a plan. But plans. That means despite all the opportunities we’ve missed, we’ve been blind to, we’ve been to afraid to step into, God still has a back-up plan to use. He has a back-up for the back-up and so on. He will never give up on calling us to Himself. Never giving up in allowing us o be a part of His work, His mind boggling plan that we only see one small puzzle piece of, but when it comes together is a masterpiece of vast proportions.

Let us decide. Let us be used. Let us follow with Jesus before us and everything else behind us…

 

History: Haiti pt.2

Dead Things

dandelion-meadow-macro-fluff-161506Death, dead things. They are grotesque to us. So disturbing is the idea of a dead rotting thing. Dreams are no better when they die. They hurt us, haunt us. Their stench in our nostrils, revolting inside us. They break us in ways that no one can know, in places that never have seen the light of day. They burrow their sorrow where the sun cannot reach and their tendrils coiling ’round us, even when we don’t want them to- even when we can’t admit them to anyone, least of all ourselves.

But here is one thing I know. The death of our deepest most vibrant dreams is not the end. Not when God is on the throne and last time I checked, He hadn’t abdicated. This is a new season for me. A season to experience the goodness of God in a whole new light. After all He is the ‘God who brings dead things to life’ and my deadness is just one of His exploits. No not in the context of spiritual salvation. I walked that road long ago, and chose to follow the Fisher of Men. But in the context of my dreams, those longing desires I never revealed to another living soul for fear of hearing the truth: I would never be enough, not if I ever wanted to be on the winning side of my dreams. I knew that was the truth, still, a dream burned within and it never went away. Funny thing is I never thought it was from God. I thought the dream was me, born of my own greed to be recognized. Yet, it wasn’t. 

 

I grew up in church. I know the whole shebang on who God is supposed to be; loving, kind, merciful, a healer, the good father, the God who brings dead things to life. Like Lazarus. Only Lazarus was a big deal, he was not insignificant. What I never realized in the many years of being a Jesus-follower was that God also brings those insignificant dead things to life, not just the ones that are big and significant. But just in the last year I have understood that after 28 years of life and following Jesus, I don’t actually know God. The depths of His unfathomable wonder are so far beyond what I thought possible, what I have ever conceived about Him.

pexels-photo-206469

You see, in the long run, in the grand scheme of things, my meager dreams mean nothing. They are insignificant. But they are not insignificant to me. Thus, because I am significant to God so are my dreams. So are your dreams.

 

In this new season, I am looking back and understanding that in the depths of my despair, God was making a way where there was no way. Where I saw only a dead end, He was carving a path out of stone, like water eroding the banks that contain it. He is bringing my deepest longings, my dreams to fruition. Those dreams I long thought dead. And so I buried them, because that’s what you do with grotesque rotting dead things. You burry them in the earth until only their dry skeletons remain. I mourned the dead dreams and moved on looking for new fertile ground, unwilling to spend my life crying over spilled milk. Only to have God say ‘it’s not over yet- watch and I will bring those dead bones to life.’

 

Yet, here I am, 7 years after the death of a dream, finding myself in the unfathomable places of God, where like in Ezekiel in the valley of bones, He is bringing dead things, my dreams- my deepest darkest longings, to life. I’m learning that God has a back up plan and a backup for the backup. When I miss the mark, am too afraid to trust, am paralyzed by pain and grief and fear of life, He still has another way. He is not limited by our limits. And He will fulfill those things that burn within our hearts because He’s put them there.

 

Yet, this is just barely the shoreline. In 20 years, I’ll probably be saying the same thing still, because there will be so much more to dive into even then. He is the God who brings the broken dead things to life.

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Ezekiel 37:5-6, 12-14

 This is what the Lord God says to these bones:

I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. 

I will put tendons on you, make flesh grow on you,

and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you

so that you come to life. Then you will KNOW

that I am Yahweh.”…

This is what the Lord God says: I am going to

open your graves and bring you up from them,

 My people, and lead you into the land of Israel.

 13 You will know that I am Yahweh, My people,

when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 

14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you will live,

and I will settle you in your own land.

Then you will know that I am Yahweh.

I have spoken, and I will do it.” 

This is the declaration of the Lord.

 

 

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A Writer’s Prayer

Waterman Perspective Fountain Pen in Black

The Writer                                                                                                                       

                1                                                                              2

     I am a writer                                                        I write to give life

You have made me so.                                         to hidden glories untold,

   I am not an author                                            to bring up, encourage

             (of yet)                                                        to free the captives that

          not a poet                                                      cannot write clean their souls

        not a lyricist                                                    in iron clad confessions

      nor a song writer

 

3

Help me, O Lord

to bear well this

gift of might,

the iron pen,

with a true heart

and noble spirit.

Let me not write

curses of death

unto others, but life

abundant in all

experiences.

 

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Living Inspired

I have been inspired for the last 8 years or so from random images that bring a thought into fruition. It’s my favorite game to play with a magazine. A random picture of a chest drawer turns into a commentary about how each of us has too many drawers, drawers we never open, and drawers that are full of pain, secrets, and lead us into depression, destruction, and the like. Deep. Deeply disturbing that I can come up with all that from a  boring furniture sales mag. Seriously? Yep. That’s me. That’s how I operate. And thats usually the process i create art. Whether it’s a greeting card, a multimedia canvas piece, or random things i put together, it’s usually inspired by a t-shirt i saw in passing, a snipet of sunset, a magazine pic, or something random.