Archive for October, 2013

A Lightweight Laments

I wrote this piece after several agonizing months, during which I arrived at a momentous decision – to quit church leadership (after 37 years). The factors involved in that decision were numerous, but the over-riding sense was I needed to ‘survive’, even if that meant leaving behind a clear call and the life-style connected with that call. I knew that many would never understand, including family members and close colleagues, but the strain of continuing was far more than I could cope with, and more than I had grace for !

I am still alive, experiencing MERCY every day, and have found trust in God and His people graciously restored. For those who pass through similar dark valleys, I can only express deep sympathy, and pray that you, too will experience the “SHOOB” of the GOOD SHEPHERD (*** see endnote)

So, 7 years on, I have re-visited & re-worked the piece.


Life-changing choice moons ago

thrusts on unfamiliar course

Emptied out, sabotaged dreams,

long-term associates fast withdrawn

Performance ineffective, all endorsement gone,

any vision of change eviscerated.

Integrity in tatters brings

final straw to break this camel’s back


Distress: confided to trusted friends,

Disquiets raised, deep forebodings.

Daily desperation to survive,

self-preservation instinct: escape such

high-demanding, unsustainable lifestyle.

Faulty character, limited resources

priorities consciously shifting away

from a yearning to fulfil divine intent


Veering onto unknown trajectory,

plan “A” abandoned, plan “B” not countenanced

Humanness intact, at such high price

attesting to deep, deep flaws within.

Immersed in legitimate pursuits

yet bereft of confidence and purpose

Haunted at unsuspecting moments by a

cascading sadness – well-laid bandit’s ambush


Knowing no circuitous route remains,

through desert wanderings, resigned,

waiting unknown aftermath of decision:

repercussions, temporal and eternal.

Thrown upon unfailing grace,

knowing he will meet face to face,

resorts to offer simple, heartfelt prayer

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”


What will history record henceforth?

“Failure” some may say – a trifle harsh !

More accurately “Lightweight”: hauling

load unbearable, mission impossible

falling exhausted, steam-less, far from goal.

Peradventure this tale has educed in you

a negative response, do spare a thought

utter a prayer, and let compassion reign


(***) SHOOB is the HEBREW word translated “HE RESTORES” in Psalm 23:3


Fretful Spirit

Profile of a vicious human malaise


Tenaciously I go about my dastardly mission,

its purpose to torment unsuspecting souls

With subterfuge, distortions of reality,

and even outright, unveiled deception.

I lodge in crevices of the mind,  initiating

febrile activity in over-wrought brains

My victims encased in Bastille-like prisons.


My vice-like grip, plain for all to see

in trembling hands, tortured eyes,

in visage deeply etched with misery,

heard too, from incoherent lips.

No earthly, natural remedy exists

relieving those I terrorize —  save for

the kiss and garrison of Prince’s peace


Ethereal Glow

Captured this morning …

Mist over meadow

pink, ethereal glow.

Sun’s regal entrance

Heralded below


Hebrew Blessings

A Blessing for One Who is Exhausted

By John O’Donohue

(I’m delighted to post this wonderful work, by such a gifted poet)


When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,

Time takes on the strain until it breaks;

Then all the unattended stress falls in

On the mind like an endless, increasing weight


The light in the mind becomes dim

Things you could take in your stride before

Now become labour-some events of will.


Weariness invades your spirit.

Gravity begins falling inside you,

Dragging down every bone.


The tide you never valued has gone out.

And you are marooned on unsure ground.

Something within you has closed down;

And you cannot push yourself back to life.


You have been forced to enter empty time.

The desire that drove you has relinquished.

There is nothing else to do now but rest

And patiently learn to receive the self

You have forsaken for the race of days.


At first your thinking will darken

And sadness take over like listless weather.

The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have travelled too fast over false ground;

Now your soul has come to take you back.


Take refuge in your senses, open up

To all the small miracles you rushed through

Become inclined to watch the way of rain

When it falls slow and free.


Imitate the habit of twilight,

Taking time to open the well of colour

That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone

Until its calmness can claim you.

Be excessively gentle with yourself.


Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.

Learn to linger around someone of ease

Who feels they have all the time in the world.


Gradually, you will return to yourself,

Having learned a new respect for your heart

And the joy that dwells far within slow time.