When I was a kid, every summer I attended a church camp for a few weeks in the summer and a week in the winter. It was like nothing I have experianced in life since, and I think in part that may be because the church (which means the people who attest they are Christians) has changed, the world has changed, and that magic sort of dissappated in a way with the traveling evangelist that guest preached each year.
One of the things that was part of the experiance of camp was winning different prizes for accomplishments like doing the obstacle course the fastest, memorizing the most Bible verses from a page, going the longest without a mosquito bite, being the first to get a leach on you from the pond... you know... fun stuff :)
All those years there was a joke about the 3 shortest Bible verses, and how only 1 of them was on the list most likely because it was the shortest, John 11:35 Jesus Wept.
The verse is set in a story where a man died and Jesus traveled back to where he had been entombed and raised the man from the dead. The story is so much more than that- but even still not until adulthood and reading the Bible for 40 years did it become my favorite verse.
You see, Jesus was away a 3 day journey so when Lazarus had died, everything was done and the tomb was closed. Jesus, being the Christ of-course would have know that he had died, but he did not rush his business at hand as it was close to passover.... well- Jesus comes back into town and was met by his friends and Lazarus’s sister, who loved Jesus very much- and who was very loved by Jesus. The sister pleaded in her grief “Oh LORD if you had been here, my brother would not have died!” Again... these were people who followed the son of man’s 3 year ministry, they watched him perform many miracles and knew he was God in the flesh... Jesus could have just blinked and made Lazarus whole, alive, and standing there before them; but he didn’t. Instead... he cried. He knew he could fix it, he knew he would fix it, he knew there was no need for sorrow... but still he cried... and not for the death of his own dear friend Lazarus- but because of the grief someone he loved was feeling. He knew all of our emotions... ALL of them, even empathy. This would be the miracle that solidified him being put to death. "He left Lazarus to die according to God's will so that his resurrection would confirm and point to the future fulfilment of Messianic prophecy. So Jesus just told the dead one to walk and the dead one obeyed. Therefore the movements of a brain death patient are called "Lazarus sign"."
The Bible says that we are to suffer like Christ... but that does not mean what he went through physically, I am not even sure that would be possible for any other human. It means we are to experience things like sorrow, depression, anxiety, empathy, joy, love... how does it feel to have a friend turn on you? Judas. How does it feel to be lied to? Peter
How does it feel to have anxiety? Jesus prayed in a garden before allowing himself to die a horrible death so hard he sweat blood and called out to God ‘please don’t make me do this,m but if you do... I will’ he also lived 33 years KNOWING exactly what was going to happen to him; if that would not cause anxiety and fear and sadness I am not sure I would believe the whole story. Clearly however, he did.
John 11:35 Jesus Wept. The shortest verse in the Bible and the deepest, richest of treasures knowing that when we hurt, he hurts, too.
If you read this long I will throw in a bonus that when Jesus decided to bring his friend back from the grave, he told someone to roll away the tomb stone of Lazarus away, his sister spoke up and said ‘But LORD it’s been a few days he stinks!’ :) There is a reason for every word to be in the Bible and the more you know how to study it, the more meaningful and powerful those words become.
when I needed it
Most recently, today the entry to this challenge by @JesseEngel which came my way just as I needed to read it.
love not erotic
My most precious love,
I cherish your letters, and ask with great humility that you allow me time to read them over and over again, each opening of the paper giving me feeling alive as if for the first.
I fear the longer in wait I stand to see you, the heavier the air becomes; the greater the sorrow for simply not being in your presence.
Where else could I find such a love as this? My gratitude pours over, and you continue to fill my cup. How could I be so lucky to be loved so? How could my heart long for heaven to be anything more than your smile and embrace?
I have searched my soul daily to find any piece of me withheld from your grace, kindness, and unwavering love.
Should the ocean show me in waves that change the landscape the definition of your favor? Shall I climb to great heights only to look out upon a vastness that is as expansive as the inside of a thimble when measured against your devotion? Would it be worth nothing to even attempt to fill canyons with tears I have cried- manifested by your love?
Your beauty is left with me like an ember in my heart, when I close my eyes to see your face... instead I feel a fire in my soul of overwhelming hubris I only find in knowing you.
My heart longs to walk millions of miles of paths together, even if just to be in your shadow.
How have I deserved such richest of affection and consuming gifts of joy you freely give?
I rise each morning as if it will be the day I get to embrace you, and it never feels like I am taking fraudulent means upon my heart; this is how I wait for you.
Life has no pain greater than the pleasure within me just to know your name!
Grief has no hold upon my heart which could even attempt to for a second keep you from my mind.
My life belongs to you; more precious are your words than anything tangible I have encountered. Your countenance is the only reflection I see in the mirror, in the stream, in the field at sunset, and wrapped around the mountains at sunrise!
Please my love, stay with me in heart, in mind, in soul. May my every deed please you, and my heart show you my devotion as it grows stronger with every drop of blood that passes through.
Food has no taste, wine has no effect, but your words the fill me and your spirit is an intoxication of which I still through all these years can neither understand nor grow tolerant to.
Each night I will pray to dream of you, each day touch and read your letters until memorized. When we are together again, I will wrap my arms around you and forever be sustained.
God children laughter tears smiles friends fellowship animals art creativity learning conversation history grief compassion kindness water nature invention theory hurt food experience hope fear celebration quietness color music movement accomplishment time words dreams memories anniversaries colin noah al rebecca imogene shane betty vicky blood piano guitar “I love you”.
Hands thrown up in protest and accomplishment- a scream that made my soul crack open in such delight! Twice I got to feel it, once in 1998 again in 2000.
the worse place i have ever lived
the worst place i ever lived, i can not help but revisit
it is hard to get away from our old haunts
no matter how miserable isn’t it?
each time i show back up, everything is different
the rooms are uncomfortable
and when there, i never feel quite with it
i hate when i find myself in that awful place
the way it feels, the grief the loss, the blankness
in every familiar and yet unfamiliar face
the idea of being there brings me such anxiety
i hate it
especially the time
it seems to be an hour a second-
in that place in my mind
most times, someone invites me there
unknowingly and on purpose
i hate the way the foundation feels
and the texture of every surface
i could be so happy
if i never had to visit
what is the key to just moving far away
to go as far away as possible- is that it?
there is just one small space
that feels comfortable in those Halls,
a tiny area, all my own
in that awful, draining place
i don’t want to feel this way
about where i should be at least somewhat safe
but no one there remembers me
even less when I beg to be seen in haste
it is my childhood, my adolescence, and adulthood
once for a short time it was not all bad-
there used to be so much good
my past, present.... and future
now i realize
where i fall everytime i stop feeling
present, wanted, safe, or alive
it’s in that place now,
the only time i wish i could be dead
the place i hate to be the most-
my own rotting head
we may have five senses
but within the workings of just one
from just a simple essence...
a powder, light in the air
sits in my heart; love- the measure of a ton
Este Lauder - Youth Dew
four generations of us -struck down
the very whisp of it intoxicating joy
in it’s presence, not even grief can be found
it has a hint of dust to it-
in it’s purest form
and maybe a bit of the chemistry
when on her skin was worn
Never over powering
how delicate it must have been applied
it’s fragrance still now lingers
as if she were still alive
her children loved it
and their’s did too
all the great-grandchildren
in common we all have -
the scent of Youth Dew
It fills me with memories
the smell- warms my soul
her last box & puff, I have-
wrapped secure, as if of gold
Sometimes I will open the lid
not lean in too close
let the silky powder free
to find it’s way to my nose
It smells like love and tenderness-
like holidays and joy
it smells like kindness,
through the nose- right to the heart
lingering on all the grandkids
the girls and the boys
It is a scent that wakes your brain
one that will never leave me
charming and old fashioned
she wore the scent since 1953
Side car to this, showed up in a Google question
What does Estée Lauder Youth Dew smell like?
If you do know Youth Dew, you know that it smells viciously balsamic, almost like sweet motor oil — not a scent you might associate with cookies, knitting, & other traditionally grandmotherly pursuits
My Gram was entirely unlike all other traditional grandmothers, so that made me especially happy after missing her so.
on friendship in the ‘new’ world
Not all friendships are mean to be life long- it's a friendship or it is an aquaintence; those words really are not interchangable if both can not be true at the same time.
If you are lucky enough to have a life long friend, or real, true friendships- keep stoking those fires, cherish those ties, and be able to recognize without excuse the two.
The difference between the two can truley be life or death, or your sucess v your failure. Use the word friend the correct way in your life and save yourself heartache, general hurt, and possibly your very belief systems.
Ollie Ollie Oxen Free
The older I get, the more I realize that I actually may be able to have the life I missed out on in more than crumbs- and that is something I have NEVER thought would be possible in my life.
I think I have been playing with writing here a bit over a year maybe... and still have not learned how it works, what means what, ect....
I do think it would be neat if there was a way folks could volunteer to go into a pool of other and 2 random selected writers are connected to do a challenge. Would be a good way to meet other writers and see what happens.
It would also be really cool to have a monthly group chat of sorts, I never get to find new writers unless they are connected to something I write or challenges I respond to.