Tag Archives: delight

Fog

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Suddenly I plunged into it. Up and upward I climbed, deeper into the heart of the mist. The echo of the Chinese tourists’ jabber faded and nothing remained but the winding road, the forest and the fog. I was alone in the world. Curve after curve we went, the fickle fog wisping in the hollows and around the mossy tree trunks, now fleeing in fear, now advancing recklessly, reaching around my hands, my neck, my arms, chilling me with welcome numbness. We climbed up  and then bounced down, my motorbike and I, through rutted tracks and mud, deeper and deeper into this alien world. When I stopped at the lookout to pull my camera from my backpack and turned off my bike, the silence hit me with a shout. Only the wind spoke its emptiness in the treetops, like a December breeze in a muffled midnight snow. Beneath me the fog rolled out in an fathomless ocean. I thrilled. I was alone in a world of fog. Alone.

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Hurry

Hurry has no poetry.

It only rushes, muttering, grumbling.

Dashing here. Dashing there.

Nibbling. Never tasting.

Dabbling. Never diving.

Skittering on the surface.

No, hurry has no poetry.

 

For poetry lives in the soul of the rain,

That slowly comes, murmuring,

Mysteriously through the night;

Whispering, never shouting,

Trickling, never pounding,

Soaking to the heart of the earth.

For poetry lives in the heart of the rain.

August 19, 2016

I’m Alive

Today is rich.

Green is the color of life and today is full of it.

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Photo- July 2015, Chiang Dao, Thailand. Photo credit, Lori Hershberger

 

This Saturday morning I ride my motorbike up Doi Kham mountain, through some of the greenest foliage I have ever seen in my life to one of my favorite spots in Chiang Mai, Doi Kham Horseback Riding.

We ride through the thick green landscape, rich, rich, rich in all its greenness where two months ago it was a dry dusty brown. The green feeds my soul, my dry dusty soul.

Afterwards we sip coffee in a little cafe surrounded by rice fields in a small valley. Mountains rise on the side and light glints off the top of a temple spire built on the tip of the mountain. My coffee is perfect, not too strong with lots of milk. The sky has cleared from its early morning storminess, and color like I have not seen in a long time splashes the world with its life-giving vibrance. I savor the gift of friendship, the gift of coffee, the gift of being able to speak a language that 2 years ago was foreign, the gift of resting my mind from the daily challenges of work.

The day passes and the gifts keep coming. Sunflowers- yellow, brown and green- from a friend, cookies, summer sounds,  tall, tall thunderheads towering in a brilliantly blue sky. Green grass in the shadow of palm trees with light shafting and glinting and dancing. I long for a camera since words cannot do justice. It seems like every waking moment is full of color. Why? Was it not there before? Or has God simply allowed my soul to see again? All through these sights and all through the day, two words keep on running through my mind.

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Photo– July 2015, Chiang Dao, Thailand. Photo credit– Lori Hershberger

I’m alive.

Later rain torrents down from the thunderheads that now pour out their fury on the world. I am on my bike heading to the airport to meet a friend when it comes, and it is the worst rain I have ever driven in on a motorbike. But it brings a glory of its own— the challenge of driving in the rain with wind lashing and water coming up to mid tire at times. I feel at one with the rain at times like this. It seems to embody the human spirit— a lashing out at the sadness and evil of the world.

But the one most precious gift of the day keeps on coming back to me as I drive home late at night from a friend’s house. It is words that I keep on puzzling on, over and over again. This morning as we sat on the balcony of the cafe after our ride, drinking coffee, my Thai Buddhist  friend says of his 14 year old son, “Chawin ok gab Pra Jao laao.” Literally translated  he says, “Chawin is ok with God.”

I keep on mulling over these words, wishing I knew exactly what he meant. Chawin goes to a Christian school, and as I look back at memories of conversations about religion when he was present, I remember the look of understanding and empathy in his bright eyes as we talked about Jesus and Christianity. But does he mean that he believes in God? Does he mean that he has found peace with God?

I wish I knew. I wish I had asked.

But for now I am grateful at least this. Chawin is ok with God, whatever it  means. And perhaps one day his father will be too.

Thank you, Jesus.

 

 

Delight

Life has a way of surprising you in delightful ways every now and then, and then sometimes not so delightfully.

I am of the firm belief that too many of us rush through our life with our eyes focused only on where we are going and forget to delight in the beauty and awe of the path we are traveling, however rugged and rough it might be.

Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I still revel in the awe that I am on the other side of the world. I have lived on this side of the world for a total of about a year and a half, and I still delight every now and then in the fact that the world is round and it is possible to be on this side of it and live life and not fall off the edge! I knew that all before I came here (dear me, of course I did!), but I still lie in bed sometimes and just marvel at the fact that the world is so big and I am so little.

And sometimes on my bike on the way to the market, or to meet with some friends, I look around at all the different faces traveling down the crowded little street and wonder who all those people are, and what their lives are like and where they are going and what kind of personalities they have. And usually I say a prayer for them, silently, so that I don’t need to open my mouth and breathe in more smog belched out by those noisy little tuk-tuks than I need to.

I think God delights when we delight in what he has created, and in what life holds for us. I love showing something to a friend that I know they will enjoy, simply for the joy it brings to me.

For me, delight is a part of survival. I need to delight in life, or its imagined drudgery would claim me as its victim.

Part of it is being willing to laugh at myself when things don’t quite go as they should. Like the other day at work, when I walked into the bathroom and came upon the striking sight of flower petals in the toilet.

At least I am quite sure they were flower petals, but I had not seen any flowers anywhere close in the general vicinity. I flushed them into the great unknown of the belly of the toilet, and then I went out in and in my best Thai I exclaimed to my co-worker that there were flowers in the toilet.

She looked at me sideways as if to say, “Do you know what you’re talking about?”

I said it again and she only said, “Really!” I could see she was trying to remember the phone number of the nearest mental hospital.

I just laughed, and to assuage her fears, I said, “I’m not sure.”

Which was a lie. There were flowers in the toilet!

Sometimes God calls us to delight at strange times of the night. This morning I woke up at 2:30 and couldn’t sleep. After a while, I went out onto the porch and delighted in the silence of the night. I was still there when the neighbor man came home, and from the looks of him, he had been out delighting in the late Saturday night life. But I imagine that it wasn’t to the glory of God. Especially when a few minutes later I heard the unappetizing noise of what sounded like someone expelling the intake of a Saturday night revelry. I betook myself inside to delight in the stillness inside, only to have the noise come through my window.

I am still trying to find the balance of how much to delight in what is going on around me and how much to just focus on where I am going and how I am going to get there, whether it is in balancing my finances or trying to figure out if I really should buy cereal and milk, when rice and noodles would be cheaper.

Or sometimes the need to finding to find this balance of delighting comes home in very practical ways.

Like on the way to church this morning. As I went, I glanced down the street and saw a man coming toward me. I remember thinking about the neighbor man’s Sunday morning habits and wondering if this man seemed like an honest character or not and wondering where he was going, when I suddenly realized the need to watch where I was going. But it was a little too late.  I swerved in time to keep from hitting squarely a large crate beside the little house that guards the entrance to the neighborhood, or koolpunt, as it is called. As it was, we made a grinding noise together for what seemed a long time.

Quite embarrassed, but relieved it wasn’t worse, I came off and talked with the guard about paying for damages, since I broke off a slat or too. He called his superior over and he glanced at it and they laughed discreetly, or not so discreetly, and waved me on.

Later on my way back, I nodded at a guard and a delighted grin came over his face. It was not just a “hi, how- are- you, welcome- to- the- koolpunt” kind of smile.

It was a “oh, there- goes- that- lady- again- who- doesn’t-  look- where- she- is –going- and- crashes- into –crates” kind of smile.

I am quite sure it was one of the guards that helped me.  And I am quite sure I made his day.

I am so glad he could delight in that.