delightful you…Elaine

Birch bark

Birch bark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

unexpectedly you arrived

drawing me out of myself

to the far reaches of the mountain peaks

to the very tip of the purple clad  birchbark  twigs

removing layers of self-doubt, peeling away like the paper of the tree

your reaffirming gentle being drove me into the depth of my being

teeteering on the precipice of love

ocean tossed  waves cresting upon the shore

dancing delightfully in your charm

your every word brought new light into my inner sanctuary

burning burgundy red sunset deep

i hungered for more

ethereal YOU

Your Heart Takes a Lot of Sorrow

Oil Painting by Jane H Johann 1979

Be true to your heart

Live in the love of God

John speaks to us in verse 21,

“Beloved if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.”

***

Jesus, I do not think you died for our sins…I think you died because of our sins…

Our inability to take responsibility for our own choices…caused your death.

You became the scapegoat.

I realize that I will have many theologians on my case because of what I write.

However, reflecting upon the Old Testament and remembering that God stopped Abraham from killing his one and only son, Isaac…and telling Abraham that he did NOT want human sacrifices…why would he change that, and demand this His own Son be sacrificed?

It does not make sense to me, since according to Scripture, God does not will the death of anyone.

I can believe that Jesus died because OF our sinfulness.  However, I do not believe the God willed the death of His Son or that Jesus had to die for our sins.

I do believe that it takes greater faith to live the Resurrected Jesus than the Crucified Jesus.

I do believe that by taking responsibility for our own choices and when exercising our personal freedom, we are becoming more Jesus-like…we more fully live Jesus to and for one another, which is what Jesus asked us to do.

Sentinel at the Railway Tracks

English: November snow in the Nicolet National...

English: November snow in the Nicolet National Forest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sentinel at the Railway Tracks

It was time for the 4 o’clock train to pull in. Bud was standing alone at the railway tracks, patiently awaiting his younger brother’s arrival on the train. Snow was falling and the northern Canadian wind blew down the barren streets of Eagle River. The cold nimbostratus clouds hung  over the town, while at the same time occluding the sun’s warm rays.

There was not much happening in town today—deader than a doornail—just the usual two or three cars this Monday afternoon. A few people were bustling in and out of Trigg’s Supermarket, dodging the cold, while Bud  stared resolutely down the tracks. His mind drifted back to when he was eight years old and John, the brother he was anticipating, walked him to kindergarten.

Though John was a year younger than Bud, he was in first grade and said kindergarten was as easy as eating a slice of blueberry pie! Bud was terrified of going to school, but everyday John would walk him a block closer and explain to him how exciting it was going to be. The kindergarten had swings outside and inside was Ms. Macy, who had been there longer than the fir trees in the forest. She was a sweet, grandmotherly type teacher, who loved the younger children.  Often she would bake homemade chocolate chip cookies for the kids!  Bud  smiled thinking about the cookies.  How he wished he had one of those crunchy cookies now!

In the far distance, if he stretched his ear, he could hear the faint sound of the Chicago & North Western’s whistle penetrate the stillness of the day. With the air carrying ice chips on its tongue and the atmosphere so crisp you felt you could bite it, the lonesome yet steady song of the whistle could be heard, though it was still forty miles away. Soon John would be home! He couldn’t wait!

Maybe John would take him out on the snowmobile track just as he had two years ago, before he left for the Army.  Bud didn’t have many friends, but John always included him and treated him just like one of the guys.  Bud was twenty-two but could not think like a twenty-two year old. His Baptismal name was Robert and he was sometimes called Bob, while his parents affectionately referred to him as the “Golden Boy,” because he always wore a smile on his face that glowed like the sun while John called him, “Bud”—because he and Bud  were best buddies.

Yup, he and John were Buds!  The last time they were snowmobiling they ended up going through the thin sheet of ice on Deer Skin Creek!  Yeah, Mom and Dad were not too happy about that!  Even though their sheep-furred lined boots were laced with ice and their socks were as stiff as hard nails, they had a glorious time, traveling 55 miles per hour through Nicolet National Forest.  The spotted a few deer along the way, and John said that when he returned from the Army he was going to teach Bud how to hunt.

“Just imagine!” thought Bud to  himself, “I’ll be a real deer hunter.”

Bud had been standing at the tracks since early morning. He had heard his parents whispering in the kitchen that John would be arriving on the 4 o’clock train. He was so anxious now knowing that John was coming home, that he left the house without a word to anyone and went straight to the railway tracks!

The cold, winter wind streamed down the tracks rather briskly, as Bud tightened the knitted scarf around his neck and pulled the cap with flapping earlids around his head.

He remembered John leaving on the train two years ago. The army had sent him to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for his basic training and after six months, he was sent to Vietnam.  He had gone though basic training without a hitch.  His down-to-earth experience living Up North, fishing and camping, and not to mention, his great aim, prepared him for the worst of boot camp.  The winter nights camping out in Missouri were nothing to him and he survived the training nights with dignity, unlike the city boys, who were unaccustomed to sleeping on the ground or preparing food without a McDonalds or Dairy Queen nearby. On the first night, John was able to snag fish in the stream and hit a deer with precision.  He was the hero of the night!  Fresh venison and fish!  Camper’s delight!

John’s entire life changed the day the US Army recruiters had come to the local high school, encouraging the young men and women to serve their country.

The young recruiters with their smartly starched, impeccable uniforms began their speech:  “You are being asked to represent your country,” the recruiter confidently and proudly spoke to the willing ears. “You are being given a chance to help others enjoy the freedom and life that we have here in the United States. We need strong, young people like you to help those in the world who do not have the freedom you have.  You are being given a chance of a lifetime.  You are offering others freedom. Can you imagine, in places like Vietnam, kids like you can’t even go to school!  The Communists kill those who are educated and do not allow them to even read a book. Just think what you will be doing if you join the service and help ensure freedom for these young people, like yourselves. Also, when you have completed your time in the military, you will be eligible for the G.I. bill that will give you money to go to college.  We will also give you a $500.00 sign-on bonus that you can keep for tuition or whatever you need.”

It was partly the glory of being a hero, going off to a foreign country, and offering those poor, unfortunate souls democracy, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness, but more so, the promise of tuition and adventure that persuaded John to join. He would give those Commies holy hell! He recalled when he was younger and he and Bud would find some old 2×4’s, take the saw, and carve themselves some wooden guns and then head for the woods to kill the Nazis! Now he would be doing the real thing!

John came home that evening, proud and pumped up.  He had enlisted!  He was eighteen and signed the papers.

His parents were very supportive of John’s decision, especially since living in the North did not seem to offer many opportunities for employment at the time.  The economy was in the ditch and many people were out of work. The locals spent their time in the corner grocery store playing cards, while their wives worked either as nurses in the only hospital caring for the sick or establishing themselves as beauticians in the porches of their home beauty parlors to add to the glamour of the town’s faces.

“Better to devote yourself to something worthwhile—like helping others gain their freedom—than sitting around doing nothing,” his Dad offered.

His Mom, however, secretly cried at the thought of her young son leaving home when the summer months rolled around. She knew that he would be going off to another country—another world.  She would not be there to protect him.  Bud cried when his Mom cried, but John was thinking of adventure and leaving the forest of the North for sheer excitement.

Bud’s mind reverted back to an earlier time when John came home from school with two trophies he had received in basketball for his outstanding performance!  John shared one with Bud, and said if Bud had not been in the stands cheering him on, he never would have won it! Bud was so proud of the golden trophy on his shelf.

He and his brother were connected like the wind and the river…one gently pushing the other forward—always going forward.  John said, “Buddy, together we can do anything!”

Bud loved his brother John as much as any brother could.

Then Bud’s thoughts drifted back to the present and he was becoming anxious.  The train should be here soon. What would John look like?”  Would he have even bigger muscles than before?  Would he have a beard?  Would he have medals on his chest?  Bud had seen photos of his uncles from World War II.  They had all kinds of bright shiny metals on their jackets! He wished he had one!  He and John had done everything together forever, it seemed.  But when John joined the army, Bud was not allowed to. “Why?” He thought.  He was tall, strong, and fast but he had difficulty speaking and putting his thoughts together to form a sentence.

Often he was told, “Golden Boy, you have a good heart but no common sense?”  “What is common sense?” he thought to himself. “Whatever it is, it doesn’t appear to be that common, because I don’t see much of it around!” John was there to help him so it didn’t matter.  It was good that John was coming home now. Bud continued to peer down the tracks…waiting…waiting.

It was now almost 4p.m.  The whistle was getting closer.  It had to be past Crandon by now. Only another thirty miles after that and it would be pulling into the station.  Bud’s stomach was in knots; he was extremely anxious.  He recalled the time he had tried to be helpful on the farm, feeling badly that the pigs were all penned up, that he opened the gate and gave them their freedom.  Their Dad was a bit upset as it was time for butchering and now it would be delayed until all the pigs were caught! John gave up going to the movies and a date to help Bud gather the pigs together.  They had to walk over five miles before they caught every last pig. He was a great brother, indeed!

The shrill of the whistle was nearer but the sky was becoming more dismal.  Black clouds loomed over the town and the wind seemed to pick up speed. Then, around the bend, came the train! At last!

Bud ran as close as he could to the tracks, peering into the windows of the train, as it traveled past him, hoping to catch a glimpse of his brother.

Soon the train came to a halt.  The people filed off of the train.  Bud watched with eager anticipation, stretching his neck to find John.

Meanwhile, at the far corner of town, Bud’s parents were stopping at different stores looking for Bud.  They had been looking for him all day.  First they searched the barn, calling his name, and then with no response, scoured the nearby woods and creek.  Still…no Bud.  Finally, they drove to town.

Suddenly the last person had departed from the train.  Where was John?  Bud was quite nervous now and in a panic began shouting his name, “John!  John!  John!”

Around the corner, his parents appeared while at the same instance some men were lifting a rectangular box out of the cargo coach of the train.  Bud saw his Mom run to the box and throw herself on it, with her husband close behind, trying to calm her.  Bud was confused.  He ran to them.

“Mom!  Dad! Why are you here?  What is going on?  Why are you crying, Mom?  Dad?”

“Bud, “ his father spoke to him somberly, “Bud, we have been looking for you all day.  We did not mean for you to find out this way.  Bud, this is not going to be easy for you. We were aiming to tell you this morning, but we couldn’t find you. Your brother, John, was killed in Vietnam. This is his body. He threw himself over a hand grenade to save a young Vietnamese boy.”

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Ten years have now past since that November day.  The sky shifts from sunlight to clouds and back to the sun again…from spring to summer to fall and then the dreaded cold winter.  Time continues.  However, for Bud, life stood still that one winter day and has never been the same since.  Each morning he walks to the train track…waiting.  After the 4 o’clock train leaves, he somberly walks to his home, in silence and stunned.  He thinks that perhaps one day, his presence will change the outcome …one day John will bound off the train and together they will once again fish, swim and snowmobile through the northern woods. He is the lone soldier of the railroad tracks, standing vigil in remembrance of one who gave his life for another.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This story is part fictional and partly true. In Eagle River, when the railroad track was still present, there was a young man who would go to the railroad tracks everyday to wait for his brother to come home from Vietnam. Sadly, his brother was killed in that war.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Jane H. Johann and johannisthinking.wordpress.com, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jane H. Johann and johannisthinking.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

fringe of discord

this one says to that one

why do they leave me

this one says to that one

I can’t stand her

this one says to that one

I need someone

this one says to that one

what an idiot

this one says to that one

she is a whore

**

and we wonder WHY there is loneliness in this world?

the romance of the leaves

Lady from Russia, 2011 Photo Credit: Judy Mayer

Lady from Russia, 2011
Photo Credit: Judy Mayer

At first I was saddened by the thought

that scientific discovery made known the fact that the leaves did not change their color in the Fall

that the colors that appear  were there all the time…

the romance of the metamorphosis was taken from me…

the fact was  that the chlorophyll — the energy producing catalyst for the photosynthesis — was being consumed–

and as it was used to give life to the tree—the greenness lessened  in the leaf…

then my thoughts turned inward

and I realized that the concept was not as tragic as it seemed…

the lesson taught me the leaf was much like we humans…

deep beauty lies within each of us…

radiance and truth are at the very core of our being…

a hint of it so evident in the purity of the child

the delight and wonder we see in their eyes…

then as we drink in  life

we struggle for our individuality

while at the same time attempting to blend in with others…

we are green with freshness

we are green with growth

we are green with ideas

then as we age and mature

our greenness…our naivety of life…

transforms into a  beautiful palette of color

…thus when I see the old woman before me…

I do not see death…I see depth

I see the beauty in each wrinkle

I see wonder in the deepness of her eyes

I feel the gentleness of her spirit

I feel she has discovered her true beauty

and it is revealed to us

the Chinook of Edmonton

"Mother & Daughter" Silicone  by Elaine Lawrence

“Mother & Daughter” Silicone by Elaine Lawrence

the intricate weavings of the heart

encircle the gratitude of love

as the chance openness of another

travels into your life

the universe sends the goodness to you

lifting you up and out into the unknown

once again beckoning you to life

drawing you out of your inner line of demarcation

love seeks you and reaches for you

not wanting you to be lost

for the most gentle of all souls…Susan McIntyre…Hummingbird

Remembering a kind and gentle person who  welcomed everyone.

Sue saw no human barriers–she did not flinch from those who were downtrodden or with the last dollar in their pocket.  She would treat each person as a gift from God.  She gave of her heart completely. Sue has left us far too soon.

February 9, 1949 – November 9, 2012

Rainbow

Sue McIntyre

Red Orange Yellow Green Blue  Indigo Violet

colors lightly dancing  through her life

to the beat of the native drum

quick to help, to solve, to offer

to all that to her would come

a keen eye for justice

an open hand she always shared

her love for everyone

…no one  she ever spared

her smile was effervescent…

a gentleness too kind for this world…

possessing a heart so soft

perhaps too caring for the cruelty sometimes hurled

Hummingbird would harken

if a poor homeless person a conversation needed

listening to her or his story

to human openness she heeded

perhaps she gave too much

some would say that she did

perhaps she needed more than we could give

so who is the lesser now that only we do live

perhaps she meant to tell us

to always love and forgive

perhaps that is the difference between saint and sinner

the ones who hold back and the ones who share their dinner

quickly her smile would be on her face…

a little giggle that was all her own

as she would run her fingers through her hair

like a finely grooming comb

akin to the hummingbird she was

quick-paced, flight to and fro

always seeking new ways

to love, to laugh, to grow

her red truck was a symbol

her bold determination

proudly proclaiming  her stance

not fearing condemnation

more guts than most of us

a lesbian she was…a woman proud

she did not hide her truth

behind an ominous cloud

                                                                            her blazing red truck

had every equality banner it could bear

the prism of rainbow color

was her badge of flare

she accepted herself as she was

it took courage to be “out”

she accepted her womanhood

it took courage amid the hateful shouts

she opened up the world to many

took no flight from the fight

she stood for honesty and truth

and for everyone their rights

her camera’s inner eye

felt the subtleties of life

the red barn on the hillside

the hummingbird’s fife

the curious little kitten

who braved the crack in the fence

the abandoned truck in the field

the barn silo guarding it intense

the turtles crossing unforgiven

the log of life, moment by moment, one by one

the seagull with its own reflection

in the blue ocean woven, its solo song sung

the rising of the sun

so gold and strong

the setting of the night

to her alone belonged

she endured

the rejection from her own

…she continued

  looking for a home

yet in her darkest moment

she was alone

she forgot we were there

she did not reach for the phone

what shielded you from that love of ours

what dark force took hold of you those final hours

now I am left here

with remorse of what I could have should have done

now I am left here with a heart so broken, many  words unspoken

 run and find her so she would not feel shunned

Hummingbird was her chosen name…

her mind was as quick as its wings

her heart so genuine and true…

now her spirit sings

once her heart was close to mine

…once I held her to myself

and now she left for the great beyond

and my love sits on the shelf

Sue was who she was

who knew how delicate she was inside

she made no apologies

who understood the fears that did abide

who took the time to be by her side

perhaps her honesty was too much

a threat to reality for the rest of us

afraid to go beyond the human touch

why are we  so slow to love?

now I feel her loneliness and pain..

why couldn’t we give her what she needed?

but I will never see her face again

the tears cascade

pain wrenches my heart

…for you i want to race…

oh my God, oh why, did we have to part

the rising of the sun

so strong

the setting of the night

with her there was no wrong

LOVE you have taken her home to yourself

with YOU she is at peace in the great above

we remain here on Earth

to continue with her love

***

we remain here to be the Hummingbird to others

we can only honor her by becoming …

…more open

…more receiving

…more listening

…more mindful

of how we affect one another

you ask us to be ready to be there… for someone might need us

Sue, you are now with God…basking in Her LOVE

I know light and peace surround you…

help us here on Earth to be the LIGHT you were to many

I miss you

and my heart grieves at your absence…

it is your birthday today…and today i found that you left us

so we celebrate you…we honor you…

help us to be as good to others as you always were…

goodbye my dear friend…adieu

I will seek you out in the morning dew…

your Spirit I pray shall make me new