Posts Tagged With: refugees

Strangers, Foreigners, Refugees

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Why welcome the stranger?

Are you afraid you don’t have enough

Resources for yourself?

Your family?

Your nation?

Not enough jobs?

Did you forget the story?

How did two fish and five loaves

Become enough to feed thousands?

 

They would have stayed 2 + 5,

If they were not given up and over

To the One

Who holds it all together

Who taught us the new math

Of sowing and reaping

Of trusting and love.

 

We need reminding

In these times of distress

Times of anxiety:

When we hold our fists

Closed tightly around our resources,

Our love, our humanity

It all turns to dust.

 

When we open our hands:

The Holy Wind blows

The seeds to good soil

Landing, planting, producing.

Holding fists tightly

Stops the river of blessing

Coming our way.

 

The stranger show us

The face of God

In a way we do not know.

Our dimensions become wider

New concepts expand our minds

Love expands our hearts.

We become more fully human

More like the One who formed us

And gave us all that we are

All that we have.

© Julie Clark 2017

 

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Categories: Faith, growth, Hospitality, Life, Love, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Musings of a Mother

 

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Musings of a Mother (Revised for Advent 2015)

 

He’s a puzzle, a mystery, a riddle

This person I know so well yet not at all

I only see a part not the whole

I can’t get inside his head or his heart

I don’t know why he does this or that

Says it that way instead of this way

He could avoid a lot of conflict

if he said things a little differently

or not at all

 

I admit I am perplexed and mystified

I even wonder at times if his mind is overloaded

Some what imbalanced

He always has so many people

clamoring about him

he doesn’t take care of himself

What’s a mother to do?

 

Yet, he is the one the angel

called me to bear

The one we have been waiting for

I know

I said yes, and I did what I was asked

I was not ashamed

I knew where he came from

 

But what kind of deliverer will he be?

How is he going to save us from our enemies?

He says we should love them!

He is so gentle and kind

This babe I once wrapped in rags

Where were the angels when I wreathed in pain

like every other woman?

I heard later they were off singing to some shepherds

sending them to us

They worshipped him and

mentioned peace on earth

I wish I could have heard the angels sing

 

The angels did come again

Just in time to warn us to get out of Bethlehem

before Harod’s treachery

A terrorist slaughter of babes

Then we were refugees in Egypt

until the angels came again to send us back to Israel

 

Those were somewhat ordinary times

under the heel of Rome in Nazareth

We lost our precious Joseph in those years

broke our hearts

We made it somehow

until the day cousin John by the river

pointed to the Lamb of God

 

I will continue my daily watch

Pack up and move with him

as any mother would

He is so weary and spent

He may need me again

Before this day is through

 

 

Categories: Advent, Faith, God, Hope, Love, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Small Taste of Needing Hospitality

 

It seemed like a normal day. Then it started raining after a sunny morning. Rain is normal for the Northwest but, we were going up to Bellingham in the afternoon to trade in our car for another one. Trading in a 03 VW Passat that was nickle and diming us, for 02 Toyota Prius with low milage and running well. Our margins were shrinking for getting up there in a timely fashion when my husband came in the door looking distraught.  The Passat looked like it’s radiator was bone dry.  It turned out it still had some fluid in there and filled up pretty fast when we added more antifreeze.  We had to stop and get some more, just in case.  Then we got out of town, but we found out on the way as we drove through Everett that the car dealer was closing at 5 not 5:30 and if we wanted to get the car that day we needed to be there by 4:45 at the latest.  That wasn’t going to happen. We looked at each other, not the best thing to do when you’re speeding down the freeway! So we had to decide as we headed north if we would turn around or go anyways and see if our friends we were having dinner with would take us in for the night. We struggled with the decision, knowing they really did not have room for us.  Fortunately, we were able to get a hold of him and he said just come on up, we’ll figure something. Their house is wonderful, but small.  No guest room. We tried calling another friend we have stayed with, but found out her grandson was staying with her.  Anyways, we kept driving in hope we would have somewhere to lay our heads that night, even if we didn’t have a toothbrush, change of clothes or Archie, our dog.  Quickly I sent a text to my son and daughter-in-law to ask them to visit Archie, our dog and let him out for a bit.  They happily agreed.

 

Just as we were almost to Bellingham our car started flashing signs at us. Stop!!! Oil!  Don’t drive anymore! Pull over immediately!!! Something like that. Well, we were on the freeway and on a curvy part going over a small pass through the hills. Ugh.  My husband safely pulled way over and we had a little bit of oil that we were able to pour in.  How did the oil dry up so fast?  We checked the dipstick.  It still had oil.  We were confused but kept going.  The signs stopped flashing for a little while, about 1 mile from our friends house it started again.  We kept going, but we were pretty frazzled by the time we showed up.  They had sent us a text that we didn’t get to meet at a brewery.  We had to turn Bill’s phone off to save battery since we didn’t bring our chargers thinking we’d be home the same night.

 

Our dear friends graciously invited us in and finished their dinner preparations to take along to the brewery we were going to.  She is an amazing cook, like you would not believe.  She had made a beautiful salad with olives and cranberries and tomatoes, with an exquisite dressing and amazing stuffed peppers.  Yum!  For dessert knowing I can’t tolerate much gluten she made coconut macaroons sprinkled with almonds and chocolate.  The funny thing was in my frazzled state when we got to their house and saw this beautiful food and that we were going out, I thought the food was for someone else.  My friend straightened me out and said “No, this is for us! The brewery doesn’t serve food only beer and live music.  We can bring food or order it from a truck outside.”  Wow!  I felt like there is a God in heaven.  Everything was falling into place again.  We had a lovely dinner, as you can imagine, and the most delicious beer ever.  All listening to a great bluegrass band that kept our feet tapping. Our friends didn’t mind us staying the night, in fact they fixed up their camper van that we had borrowed 2 summers ago for camping in the San Juans.  We had a cozy night listening to the rain and felt so comfortable remembering our fun camping trip.  They basically treated us as if Jesus himself had needed a place to lay his head. 

 

The next day we traded in our car and drove home without drama. One thing that stands out to me in my real life story is that there is something in me that doesn’t want to make a bother or a fuss.  I feel embarrassed and ashamed. I am wired not to ask for help! I guess it is something I sucked in from my culture and family as an independent American.  “Do it yourself and for heaven’s sake don’t bother anyone else.” Fortunately, our friends were so gracious that my awkward feelings quickly disappeared as they made us feel welcomed and loved.  My mind more than once thought of the refugees making their way across the sea to Greece and then further up the European continent.  They are fleeing for their safety and lives.  How do they feel?  How are they treated?  How are we doing with treating the foreigners in our midst as if they were Jesus himself?  Are we shaming them for needing us? Remember the parable:  “As you have done to the least of these you have done to me”? May God help us all to see His face in the face of the one who needs our help and hospitality.

Categories: Faith, God, Hospitality, Life, Love, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Troubled

Troubled Sky

Troubled

Woke up to an empty house

Troubles in this world

troubling my soul

Down by the water

should cheer me up

I’m searching for those messages

Flowers planted along Sunset Drive

Some still holding summer’s smile

others faded and shrivelled

I wish the eagles would come and chase away

my melancholy

Container ship passing by

What will it take to wean us from some of our comforts

so that others would be less poor?

Just giving up a cup of coffee causes major

upheaval in my head and heart

A tree is cut down

apparently because the roots are pulling up the sidewalk

Why don’t they just move the sidewalk?

They do in India

Inconvenient, yes, but spares the life of a tree

What is life worth to us anyways?

I feel we are mixed up about that question

I remember a wise man once said

“one’s life does not consist

in the abundance of his possessions”

He was warning us about greed

It’s a time in history again

where we need to be inconvenienced

stretched and changed

It is a time to value life and protect it

Desperate refugees

Unborn children

Trees

Our very planet

What will we do?

Will we listen to the voices of the wise

or close our ears and hearts

and hope it will all go away?

Oh, it will all go away

Quickly if we don’t do something

about our destructive ways

Life is fragile

delicate as

a butterfly’s wings

yet resilient

able to heal and restore

Let’s not push things beyond

the limit here

We still have time

© 2015 Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, Hope, Life, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry, Seasons, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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