A Samsung flat screen hangs dead black against the earth tone wall.  A couch and unused recliner cry in the quiet as kittens’ purr soft backbeat of no solace in the quiet all around.  A pilot light glows in the fireplace, artificial warmth at the push of a remote-control button followed by blue lick of natural gas flame between ceramic logs atop an iron grate.  This keyboard clicks words, re-types, deletes, spaces into a paragraphed emptiness. John Donne, a poet who intrigues me, comes to mind.  Himself ill and soon to die from stomach cancer, he wrote of parallels between his physical illness and his spiritual illness.  “For Godsake hold your tongue, and let me love…” begins one of his sonnets. He had 12 children – 5 died before maturing, then lost his wife in labor with a still born child. He went to Oxford at age 12, then on to Cambridge – no slouch in education. And by his late 20’s his world went dark, blossomed into blear poverty and dependence.  Such bleak types on these keys, the HP laptop named ‘Spectre’.

I think this kind of think emerges in its own way for all of us, the look at the dark side defying the Star Wars force.  At least for we of the senior generation, the social security/pension fund gang strung tightly by finance and the juggle to stay connected in a weird world that has literally passed us with rapidity of change.  I look only to see snow white recent blizzard and cold blanketed in fleeting daylight, the cloudless sky brilliantly red and orange in the west, but sullen in the creep of night.  We aimlessly amble into a forest vined with doldrums and a leeched with arthritic aches that hide God’s real life given to us.  Mary Sinton Leitch speaks to her “woods” in Silence and presents marvelous images.  She paints holly berries red, beds of violets, gauzy hummingbirds, scurrying insect-life, odors on the winds, carpets of pine needles and concludes:

“Oh dearly, dearly do I love these things!
And yet, of all, I love the silence best –
The silence of the wood –
That gently seems to nest
And nestle in the over-burdened heart;
Soft as the feathered breast
Of yonder thrush that hovers near her brood;
Silence that soothes the ache and pain and smart
Of life’s swift lash laid on the quivering soul.

God seemed to guide me to this poem as my writing becomes an ache on a page intended to bring much more, much different tidings.  Space denies including the poem’s entirety, lines so well worth the search and read.  I write often about God’s creation, its distilling nature if taken leaf by leaf and squishy step by crinkly step.  Its brew sates my mind and its journey strengthens when I free the budding daffodil or loose popping leaves of tulips.  Silence should not bring angst and the nasty winds bending memories hushed in tall Georgia pines.  The Holy Spirit offers so much, this third of the Trinity speaking and me hearing, responding as Leitch did:

That, when life’s clamor grows too harsh and rude,
I may steal forth to the great quietude;
That I may feel its healing waters pour
Over my tired soul and wash it clean
Of trivial things and mean!

In this home, Donne returns into the day-ending greys.  His verse, my favorite and oft quoted, The Good-Morrow brings the needed uplift.  “For love all love of other sights controls,/And makes one little room and everywhere.” As reminded last Sunday, no greater love rests on my everywhere than God’s, given in Christ, that protects the sheen of my life.

submitted by Dave Smith