I shared a link to a blog post on Tinywords here. Below is the poem I posted to the site. They were seeking a short poem inspired by a posted photograph.
The view from the top was grand!
For me, however
There was such a thrill
In the climb!
Is there a higher peak?
By Martha L Shaw – © 6-17-2013
The perfect life . . . perfect home . . . perfect job . . . perfect husband . . . and on the list can go. But what is perfect? Oh, there are so many with larger and more glittery possessions than I have. They have more money in the bank, newer cars and one might assume they have fewer worries and thus blissful sleep. Oddly enough, it seems to never be the case. They have often seemed to be less at peace than I am and that used to puzzle me.
Perfect life, peaceful spirit, and money and what it can buy seem to be entirely disconnected. Actually, money in abundance seems to be a source of displeasure more often than not. Oh, does this mean my part-time job which pays minimum wage is the answer? It is an answer, but is not the answer. Does it mean that I would turn down great provision offered to me? No, not at all. It does, though, give me a new reality in the way I define great provision, the way I seek peace, and the path I choose to take to acquire that “perfect life.” Maurice Chevalier says:
If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved.
So, where do we go from here? Do we give up? Not me. For me, I know the path I have chosen. I have chosen the one in which Jesus walks beside me. Obstacles come along, pain happens, testing, training, battles . . . but I’m not alone and with His hand in mine I am safe in all this. I may feel fear, being human, but I don’t need to let it stop me. With faith in Him mountains can not only be climbed, but moved! Perfect? It is achievable – it all depends on where you place your faith and trust and to whom you give you heart. I have given Him mine and He gave me His. My race is won – He won it for me!
Copyright 2003-2013 Martha L Shaw
Photograph taken by the artist, Martha L Shaw, Copyright 10-15-2002
Location: Blue Ridge Parkway, WV USA
We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.
– Pema Chodron –
The above quote caught my eye not because of its wisdom but because of its hopeful optimism and its utterly unrealistic claim. I wonder, as you read my words just now, how you initially responded? Have you clicked “escape” and gone onto another blog? Do you think, though, that maybe I am onto something?
You see, I agree with Pema that we do spend much time and energy focusing on what other people are doing, but honestly, whether it can be admitted or not, perhaps in our secret hearts we know that it is not always our intent to ponder how our actions can affect their hearts. In our own secret hearts, we all too often are comparing ourselves, our circumstances, our achievements, our gifts, our possessions, and more to theirs and perhaps some of you might secretly agree that to many of us this becomes not inspiration to be a positive influence but in actuality causes us to feel we don’t measure up. We want the shiny car, we think we deserve that undefinable something more, and we often spend far too many hours, days, or years seeking a prize that we do not ever find. Oh, we can get the shiny car if we save enough money, and if we study hard, we can get a fancy ribbon . . . if we practice long and hard, we can get the award for our shelf. “Now they’ll see!” The problem is, as long as our motivation is to get these things to satisfy what we lack, we will never be satisfied. These are not what’s missing . . .
Where are we going? Are we almost there? Do we have the right map to get there?
Those questions need to be answered before we can have a chance of “getting there” at all. They cannot be answered by looking out the window. They can only be answered by looking deep within. What we find there is what truly has the power to make a difference in others, in ourselves, in the world.
The greyhound chasing the rabbit . . . does he ever really catch what he chases? If he catches the rabbit, what then? Was it worth the effort? Yet, he keeps chasing . . . and so do we. I checked the map I carried. It wasn’t the one I needed. So, my life is on a new path from the original one. I have been on it a while and I”m not there yet, but oh the journey is like nothing else has ever been!
7 How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
Gosh, mountain tops are amazing! So beautiful, so quiet, so peaceful, so close to God. Thinking about it gives me that rush I love so much.
We can’t remain there though. There’s life down below which must be lived. What would have become of us if Jesus and His chosen ones stayed in that quiet place away from all the drama?
So, I take leave of my mountain top, or find myself transported from it. Sad for a time, I change my focus outward and find joy there . . . though I am at the edge of darkness, I can still find joy there, for it is at the edge of the darkness where we discover the Light still shines . . .