The Chrysalis

Copyright Jeanne E Webster–All Rights Reserved

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He slumped into the snow and died
Alone, but for the snarling winds
Veiling his final words of life:
“Oh, Lord! My God!” he cried.

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Swaddled within the soft embrace
Of feathered, wispy crystals,
His body lay shrouded in a chrysalis:
He came to the end of his race.

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The boisterous winds became still,
The menacing clouds recoiled;
Stars shone with ethereal light:
It was his Father’s sovereign will.

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Aloft now, his soul began to roam,
Seeking to touch that holy hand
Of his waiting Lord and King:
“My son you’re welcome home!”

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Tis the story of how my dad
Met his lot on an icy road,
He lost control of his car:
Oh Lord, that wreck was bad!

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Dad was in the winter of life,
A slower glory-filled pace;
Ever a faithful man of God:
His grace bewails the fife.

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I miss my dad, mentor and friend,
Yet I know he’s home with God
Walking ’round with his loving smile
In that heavenly land of no end!
Shalom

(Fictional story of my Dad’s passing)

OH GOD!

© Jeanne E Webster- All Rights Reserved

Scene 1

Mary and Joseph lost track of their son, Jesus, a mere 12 year-old, on the way home from their temple visit in Jerusalem. Frantically searching for three days, they found him back in the temple in deep discourse with the rabbis. Quite distraught, they inquired why he had gone off on his own.

“…I must be about my Father’s business.” LUKE 2:49

Scene 2

While attending a wedding in Cana of Galilee, Jesus’ mother asked him to provide the guests with more wine before the barrel ran dry. “…mine hour is not yet come.” JOHN 2:4

Scene 3

Many years later, a Passover meal has been prepared in an upper room for Jesus and his disciples. Women possibly were present to facilitate the meal, including his mother. She had perhaps bid him “Shalom, my son” as he left the upper room, heading towards his destiny awaiting him in the garden of Gethsemane and later at Golgotha.
Did she remember his words as a child? “…I must be about my Father’s business.” Did she know to some extent what might lie ahead for her son? “…MINE HOUR IS NOT YET COME.” Is this his hour? Mary’s heart and spirit must have shuddered as she trudged home that evening.

Scene 4

A few hours later Jesus was standing before the high priest, arrested after being betrayed by Judas. His hour had come. LUKE 22:15-22, JOHN 18:1-14

Agonizing hours later, amongst the crowds, Mary catches a glimpse of a man struggling to carry a wooden beam that is strapped to his shoulders. This is surely a criminal off to his death on the hill called Golgotha. Surely.  No…wait!  THAT IS MY SON!

He is drenched with blood and sweat, glistening in the hot sun as it streaks down his brow, the remainder of his body one dark red mass. She frantically pushes and shoves those that separate them, but he is still far off. The din from the masses is deafening.

“Crucify him! Crucify him!” “We want Barabbas!”

Scene 5

Breathless and exhausted, Mary scrambles up the hill to the cross that holds her son with a mere three nails. Grabbing the cross to catch her balance, she looks up, trying to make eye contact with her son, one last time. HIS HOUR HAS COME!

The brutal leather-thronged whip has done its god-forsaken work on his head, shoulders and back. A torn mass of bleeding arteries and shredded muscles hang limply from that rugged cross. “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother…” JOHN 19:25

Scene 6

The trial was over, the long agonizing walk to Golgotha concluded, the torture of an innocent man, the Son of God, was almost finished. The King of the Jews had been dethroned. Naked, stripped of all his glory and lifted up for all to see, Jesus looked down, searching. Through blood streaked eyes and excruciating pain, he saw his mother standing by. When Jesus therefore saw her, He said “Woman, behold your Son!” JOHN 19:26

For a few moments, close your eyes and envision this event: a dying son gasping for a glimpse of his mother…a mother in tears and overwhelming heartbreak, peering through the snarled, bloodied hair of her son, trying desperately to make eye contact.

“It is finished.” Bowing his head he gave up the ghost. John 19:30
(jew)

A Wondering Day

 

 

© Jeanne E Webster – All Rights Reserved

Have you ever had “wondering” days
When you sit and reflect upon things?
Certain thoughts will linger and laze,
. . . before you know it, take wings.
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I’m wondering about Mary today,
The mother of Jesus, our Lord.
Lingering resolve to woefully stay,
This event of such tragic accord.
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Evil prevailed on that cross up high. . .
They mangled him then nailed him fast.
Judas betrayed this holy One. Why?
For silver that would never last.
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Mary tarried on that blood-soaked hill,
Weeping… needing to hold her boy.
Knowing that his body they did kill
But never could his spirit destroy.
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His ravaged flesh was taken off the tree;
Mary’s tears flowed with his blood.
She cradled him ever so lovingly
As the soil churned into red mud.
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His corpse was taken to a tomb quite near,
Wrapped up in spices and herbs.
Mary trudged home with Sabbath tears,
Her heavy heart greatly disturbed.
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Do you think underneath all that dirt,
This hill still preserves hallowed mud…
Evidence of Mary’s excruciating hurt-
Her tears mingled with Jesus’ blood?

Hey Judas!


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© Jeanne E Webster   All rights reserved

Envision this:

While going about your daily business two thousand years ago, a certain man ambled by and addressed you with sound authority. You had recently heard bits of rumors about him… he is a prophet, a great teacher, and a healer. He invited you to join him and his group of followers, and perhaps sensing something unique about him, you decided to follow him too.

You lived, ate, walked, talked, slept and pondered with him and his men. He told you about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the Ten Commandments. He explained some of the mysteries of scripture, cured diseases, resurrected people from the dead, and told you how to live a pleasing life for God.

How mesmerizing he was explaining how to love people and love God, warned you of false prophets, calmed your fears, forgave your sins and taught you how to pray. Gradually your admiration for this man grew into a secret desire for some of his power.

One day he called you and his other disciples around him and chose twelve to be his closest apostles. You were one of the twelve! What an honor! What glory! To be one of his inner circle! That’s a choice position! You must really be someone special!

Soon after this event, he gave you and the others real POWER: power to heal the sick, make the blind to see, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons and raise the dead. WOW! He told you to go to the cities where the Jews lived and tell them “the kingdom is at hand!

Repent!” Pretty heavy stuff here! Pretty heady too!

For three years, you and the other disciples performed miracles and followed this man. He took you and the others aside one day and asked, “Who do men say that I am?”

One of your group answered, “Elijah!”

“A great prophet!” said another.

“John the Baptist!” answered another.

Peter spoke up, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!”

The Messiah?! The Son of God?! Just think of that! You have seen, felt, and experienced the Messiah!

You saw him perform thousands of miracles, weep at the loss of a friend, have compassion on the poor, the children, and sinners. What honor, what pleasure, what glory and power and elation filled your spirit. You not only witnessed the Messiah and His works down here on earth, you were among His special disciples. That was something to write home about.

Then…now that your head is puffed way up out of proportion, and your heart is filled with pride…then…this Man says something that immediately bursts your bubble. The hot air is still hissing from your big balloon when he continued, “I must suffer many things in the days ahead…the elders and chief priests and scribes are going to reject me…I will be killed…and after three days I will rise again.”

Your mind spun out of control, the thoughts flashed by one after another with lightning speed. WHAT? He just said the elder, chief priests and scribes did not believe He is Messiah. They are going to kill Him? He will rise again in three days?

Peter spoke out, “Lord, You don’t have to go through all that. We’ll fight for You. I’ll lay down my life for You! Don’t say things like that!”You didn’t want to hear things like that either.

The Master rebuked Peter and called him, “Satan!” He continued, “Whoever saves his life will lose it but he who loses his life for My sake will save it. Don’t be ashamed of Me because if you do, I’ll be ashamed of you when I come again to judge you.”

Over the next few days or weeks He warned you of more things to come. “Don’t be deceived, for many will come in My name. There’ll be wars, earthquakes, famines and lots of trouble. You’ll be delivered up to councils, be beaten and brought up on trial before rulers and kings. You’ll be hated by all men because of Me. But endure, be faithful and you will be saved.”

Passover arrived. You joined the others in an upper room, had a good meal, good discussions and maybe got a little drowsy when you suddenly perked up at the voice of Jesus. “One of you is going to betray Me!”

That took your drowsiness away! “Betray You, Lord? Me?”

Jesus answered, “He that dips his hand in this dish with Me, that’s who it is. Woe to the man by whom I am betrayed! It’d been better if he would have never been born!”

You slowly rose from your resting place, walked over to Jesus and asked, “Master…is it I?”

He looked up at you and replied, “Yes, you have said it.”

You immediately left the room. Meeting with the chief priests and scribes later, you told them, “Jesus and His disciples will be in the garden of Gethsemane tonight. Go get Him! I’ll greet the prophet with a kiss.”

That evening you approached the garden, followed by the priests, scribes and soldiers from the temple. Walking over to Jesus you proclaimed, “Hail Master!” You leaned forward and kissed Him on His right cheek. He peered into your eyes and asked, “Friend, why did you come here?”

Later, after realizing your mistake, you had second thoughts about this event. You didn’t know it would go this far. You gave the money back. Jesus didn’t have to be crucified. “Why don’t they stop this awful nonsense?!” But it is out of your hands now.

Dejected, you found a rope, put a noose in it and prepared to end your misery. Seconds before you flung yourself off the tree branch, you vividly saw again your Master’s face and hear His last words to you, “Friend, why did you come here?” Thus was the fate of Judas Iscariot.

It might be that Jesus asks us that question today. “Friend, why do you come to Me?” Is it for the glory, the power, the esteem, the need to feel better than others? Or do our hearts reply, “Whoever saves his life will lose it but he who loses his life will save it.”

“Don’t be ashamed of me because if you do, I’ll be ashamed of you when I come again to judge you.”

Do we truly mean, as the old hymn so eloquently pleads:

Just as I am without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me;
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee
O Lamb of God…I come…I come.
Just as I am Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve.
Because Thy promise…I believe!
O Lamb of God…I come…I come.
(Just as I am, written by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871)

Dreams of a Little Girl

© Jeanne E Webster – All Rights Reserved

I am a perpetual dreamer. As a little girl, I believed in the little stories I read, the songs I sang, and the few movies I saw. I could vanish for a whole day in the words of . . .

“Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
My, oh my, what a wonderful day.
Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!

“Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder
It’s the truth, it’s actual!
Ev’rything is satisfactual!
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay,
Wonderful feeling, wonderful day, yes sir!”
~ by Ray Gilbert

and rematerialize with that bluebird on my shoulder. Every word etched its meaning into my spirit, and the sunshine did head my way. It’s the truth…it’s actual!

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Being a child was the grandest time of life. As little people we accepted things with simplicity and an anything goes attitude. If we could imagine it, then IT was real. Do you remember playing Cops and Robbers? Cowboys and Indians? (I must interject here that I was a true tomboy!) You could be Tonto or the Lone Ranger; you became Dick Tracy til you went to bed and woke up to a new identity. Or you became Silver and could run faster than any other horse. You even knew where to find the best sour grass in the whole world, that secret place out behind Grandpa’s barn.

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I think my favorite hero to play was Superman. There was this special field near my house that had a long narrow lay of the land, with a slight dip in the middle of it, perfect for lift-off. I’d start at one end of it and run for all it was worth til I reached the middle. There I would jump into the air, arms outstretched and nose to the clouds, believing with all my stubby legs that I really was IN THE AIR…only to set down a few seconds later on the dusty dry ground. But I kept trying and trying…and trying. Oh, what fun, acting as these imaginary people.

 

One song especially affected my young life:

Somewhere over the Rainbow
*composed by Harold Arlen and the lyrics by E.Y. Harburg.

When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around,
Heaven opens a magic lane
When all the clouds darken up the skyway,
There’s a rainbow highway to be found
Leading from your window pane
To a place behind the sun,
Just a step beyond the rain
Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can’t I?

I sang that song with my heart, thinking that if I truly believed, I could fly over that rainbow with those bluebirds. With childlike faith I DID fly over the rainbow. It launched me into an imagined escape from the very troubled world in which I actually lived, an escape I desperately needed.

I still dream…every time I read a book, a poem, watch a movie, attend a play, hear Handel’s Messiah at Christmas time, and more. Heaven does open, like the song trilled, to a place beyond the sun, just a step beyond the rain…to a whole new world that God calls heaven. The Bible states that a heavenly home waits for everyone that has drawn their life on the account of Jesus Christ. And it’s not a dream. It is reality. It’s signed, sealed and delivered…waiting for the nod of your head, the creaking open of the door to your heart, the throwing down of the ultimate freewill of one’s soul.

“Yes, Lord, I am yours.”

 

Hang on Tight ……..Aging in Process

 

I must confess:

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I’m getting older…and feeling it too.

I painted our dining room walls…only got halfway done.

I get up early in the morning…but still don’t finish my chores.

I walk miles on a treadmill…but still don’t lose enough pounds;

I ride a recumbent bike…that doesn’t help much either.

I have fun now with exercises for my brain…don’t even need a bike!

I cook most everything from scratch…keeping the sodium and calories down.

I vacuum the carpets and mop the floors…my hair drips with drops of sweat.

I start one project…then forget two others, or was it start two and forget one.

I make a grocery list…then leave it at home.

I need more time to think up a poem or story…so write it down quickly before I forget.

I wash and dry my clothes carefully…but they still shrink.

I could sew, crochet, knit, or craft all day…but rheumatoid arthritis is slowing me down.

I used to put on makeup—lipstick and eye stuff…but it doesn’t satisfy anymore.

I used to kneel in my bedroom to pray…the knees complain too much now.

I still do spring-cleaning in the house…but it takes all spring time to do it.

I had no problem with reading…now I need glasses and a good strong light.

I must have the house real cool for sleeping…hangover probably from the change of things.

I used to hear a whisper a mile away…now I go for the close-ups or repeats.

I used to love to hang out the wash…smelled great but hard on the hands.

I am noticing that technology is changing too fast…it takes me longer to grasp the knack.

I tremble at the closeness of the world today…too many people with no place to go.

I sense the undercurrent anger stewing in people…this breeds coldhearted characters.

I find myself reading the obits in the paper…even though I don’t know too many people here.

I find myself having to take pills everyday…never was a good swallower.

I find young people are looking too young…to be starting a family.

I find the list too long of my great-grandchildren…hard to remember all those birth dates.

I find myself more grateful I can still drive…I value my independence greatly.

I find aging to be a literal pain…and I will be kicking and screaming, but smiling all the way.

 

See you in another ten years for an update on this!

Jeanne

The Women Behind the Curtains

 

A weekend has crept upon us again. Where’d the week go? It’s snowing here; got about 3 inches out there. It’s so white outside, you could hang out your white linens and never find them again… till spring anyway.

Speaking of hanging clothes outside, remember the old ways of doing laundry… summer, fall, winter and spring? Some of us had wringer washers while others cooked their clothes in a huge pot.

Nevertheless, winter was the biggest challenge. The clothes would be hung out on the line till frozen stiff, sometimes with icicles, and then we’ve drag them into the kitchen near the old wood stove and hang them over chairs or racks or stood them in the corner till they dried, which sometimes took days. We’d put newspapers down to sop up the moisture and protect the hardwood floors.

When the laundry had finally dried, we began the grueling task of ironing. Generally, everything was ironed, from sheets and pillowcases to bib overalls and underwear.

Most labor intensive were the starched items. You had to fire up the stove and boil water, put it into a bowl and mix in some starch and stir it up real good. Then you gathered the items to be starched and sprinkled them with water, sprayed some starch on them then fired up the heavy old flat-iron and went to work. If you had no time to starch, you dampened the items, rolled them up in a wad and stuffed them in the icebox or fridge till you were ready for them. No wonder people stayed slimmer back then; ironing would work up a good sweat on most anyone. Wow, the old times were a challenge!

We’ve gotten the chores done already and don’t you know, it’s almost noon already. Half the day is gone, used up, spent, out the window. I tackled the laundry and got the bedding washed and put back on the beds, made a lemon meringue pie, put my face on and said good morning to the world. Seems like it’s taking longer to do that every day. If I rose earlier in the day, it perhaps wouldn’t be almost noon by the time I got chores done. However, if I did that, I would be tired from not having enough sleep. Guess it’s basically a wash. (Get it…a wash!)

Oh well, back to Saturday. For lunch we finished the fish chowder from last night’s supper, ate our little cups of yogurt, and had weight watcher fudge bars for dessert. We’ll starve until supper at five. Plan to have baked codfish with a large tossed salad and coleslaw on the side, lemon pie for dessert. Then it’s off to bed after some thrilling TV show about some women being ripped apart from the monster man, her body disemboweled, buried in a foil wrapper and stuffed into some charcoal burner in some national park somewhere in the United States of America. Makes me want to sleep really well, huh?

Why do movie or television writers frequently portray women as victims? Horrendous crimes are repetitively sprung upon them; must be a mental deficit and/or have hatred towards the opposite sex. Many times the plot is about a marriage gone badly; so the husband chooses death by strangling, poison, shooting, or stabbing versus a quickie divorce in Arizona! Hmmm. Why does the woman always have to be killed, tortured, maligned, or butchered? Are we that obnoxious to society?

Anyway, I have had my fill of watching programs that glorify, promote, or focus on cruelty towards women. You see advertisements against animal cruelty projecting sad-looking faces of dogs and cats peering through the bars of cage after cage, all looking for a forever home. They’ve been through the mill, beaten, starved, bred out, gamed, or thoroughly stomped on. Yes, it gets to my heart but not as much as knowing that there are women out there getting nearly the same treatment. Maybe we could advertise; have women’s faces behind living room windows, looking disheveled, beaten, black-eyed, thoroughly stomped on, with pleading eyes staring blankly at the camera, begging for love, compassion, or kindness of some kind, looking for a forever home. Would that help? Hmmm.

Well, gotta go. The sun has come out, the snowy scenery looks bright, and the plow truck went by. How’s that for a good Saturday? Have a great day. See you tomorrow…