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Photo Journey

Photo journey is my story in pictures and song. I chose the music because of the mood it sets. Because the trip was odd, I also liked that I can understand some of the language and some of it is still a mystery to me. Love is always a mystery. These photos are not about photography but about a mood landscape if you will.

 

Presence, the Red Lamp

jrobinwhitleynet

Presence, the Red Lamp is from Robin’s poetry book “More Than Knowing”

dsc08543

In early morning light, I see
red glowing up the hill,
shiny bright light glows in the brown of the wood,
shining eternal light of God down the mountain to my home?
I look closer to see sunlight
flow through red water-food for hummingbirds.
I remember the homeless poem
I promised to write.

homeless-pixabay-cc0-public-domain Public Domain by Leroy Skalstad

How the homeless haunt me;
the man sitting in the rain in a park in Charlotte.
He was an attorney who lost his family someone said.
Rain fell a sheet of gray wetness one morning
as he sat on the bench in the park
beside of my office.
The morning was cold,
I took him my rainbow-colored umbrella.
Large canopy of color in my hand,
I said, “Here this is for you,” and he looked blankly
at me, but took…

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Presence, the Red Lamp

Presence, the Red Lamp is from Robin’s poetry book “More Than Knowing”

dsc08543

In early morning light, I see
red glowing up the hill,
shiny bright light glows in the brown of the wood,
shining eternal light of God down the mountain to my home?
I look closer to see sunlight
flow through red water-food for hummingbirds.
I remember the homeless poem
I promised to write.

homeless-pixabay-cc0-public-domain
Public Domain by Leroy Skalstad

How the homeless haunt me;
the man sitting in the rain in a park in Charlotte.
He was an attorney who lost his family someone said.
Rain fell a sheet of gray wetness one morning
as he sat on the bench in the park
beside of my office.
The morning was cold,
I took him my rainbow-colored umbrella.
Large canopy of color in my hand,
I said, “Here this is for you,” and he looked blankly
at me, but took the umbrella.
“Don’t give them money,” the dictum of all city dwellers.
Instead, I gave him my umbrella
little comfort to me.
What happened to him? To his family? What gray day destroyed him?
At the end of the day,
when the rain had stopped and the sun began to shine,
outside my office door leaned the umbrella gently in a corner.
The homeless man nowhere to be seen.
A colorful yet silent thankfulness
dripping wet in the corner.

The homeless are nameless birds
roosting on our corners,
sleeping on park benches, streets, sidewalks, warm doorways.
Relatives by loss and often mental illness,
they are connected by a cardboard sign
and some same black magic marker.
Who gives the marker?
Odd questions always come at the wrong time.

homless-woman-pixabay-cc0-public-domain-leroy-skalstad
Public Domain by Leroy Skalstad

Once I knew her name, for she lived on my street
or nearby in the woods where rapes happened.
She had multiple personalities
that she argued with as she walked by my cozy house.
Once, after a stint in jail,
she was lucid and clearly intelligent.
She was forced to take her meds there.
The officer said she would be fine
if she could just stay on her meds,
but they are expensive and
how do the homeless get prescription cards?
The last I saw her she was arguing with her other personality,
the one who was belligerent,
“Why didn’t you take that sandwich she offered? I’m hungry!”
“I asked for money and I want money!”
One Christmas I gave her a small token gift,
wrapped in pretty paper with a bow.
As I write, I know it was more for me than her.
She still was gracious and kindly thanked me.
As she walked into the dark woods,
she celebrated the shiny bow
as precious.

Beauty,
a gift given in nature
by light, trees, water.
We celebrate these beautiful things,
these places that are the wild
where our homeless live.

In Columbia, South Carolina,
there once was a river city of homeless.
Their cardboard houses were constantly taken down.
The average homeless person walks ten miles a day.
Nobody wants them.
Keep them out of the neighborhood
away from the rivers and bridges.
That is not my daughter, sister, mother.
Not my brother, son, father.

©JRobin Whitley

Mother Teresa said that when we look in another’s face,
we see Christ.
Presence.
The red lamp in the church is
about the presence of God
shining light into our dark places.
We always have hope.
Even if we are Christ of the homeless,
Christ’s face is homeless.

light-in-darkness

You
too could be homeless
or light.
You are the light of presence.
Red light shining down
love,
kindness, a meal.
Bread of life.
Tabernacle of the holy.
Feed the birds.
Shine your light.
The hope is you.


As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Luke 9:57-58 NRSV

Trust

“We all want to be the one who knows. But if we decide we “know” something, we are not open to other possibilities anymore.” ~Zenkei Blanche Hartman

Faith always comes first, but trust is never guaranteed. It is a willful choice, a deliberate action, and can only grow out of your faith.

~Henry M. Morris IV

In Morris’ article, he states that Faith is a noun and trust a verb. Makes sense upon a first reading because trust requires action or non-action from us. Of course, many would say that the non-action part of the word makes it a noun.  Trust can be grounded like a rock. We often like to say that dependable people are dsc08639“solid as a rock”. Just like the rocks in the river, a dependable person or concept, can’t be washed away by the current of life. Perhaps saying the ever-changing currents of life is a better way to put it.

What is trust to you? For me, it is scary as hell. It is scary because it means opening my heart to hurt. Possibly trust can even mean trusting one’s livelihood to loss and pain. The thing about trust is that one never knows if the thing or the person trusted is a pebble or a boulder. There is a difference don’t you think?

Of course, my original question is about noun versus verb. Even in the waiting, it feels that trust is a verb to me. Why? Because when one trusts God or trusts another, it requires waiting. The inaction itself is active because it is a withholding of energy or a redirection of energy to a different place. As a worrier, it means working hard to keep my hands off of a topic, thought, action, and have faith that God is in control. I reach for a problem and then remember I must take my hands back and “let it be.”

As I think of how we talk about faith, we do talk about it as a noun when we say, “…have faith.” To say, “Trust in the Lord” or “trust your instincts” however is a verb, an action. Faith implies the waiting, the suspense, the not-knowing. That’s the thing that is hard about faith and trust for me; the not-knowing. Yet, it is in the not-knowing that faith grows. We are then faced with a dilemma; do we take the risk involved in having faith or trusting?cross-illusion-os2

We all want to be the one who knows. But if we decide we “know” something, we are not open to other possibilities anymore.

Zenkei Blanche Hartman in The Zen of Not Knowing JUL 21, 2015

 As I consider Hartman’s quote about not-knowing, I can see that trust is about being open to possibilities. That waiting can mean both the challenging possibilities and the rewarding possibilities. We all want possibilities that will bring rewards, happiness, love, sometimes riches. Life brings what it will. It’s one of the reasons I love watching rivers and creeks.

Of course, rivers and creeks are not always tranquil and not always full. We have no control over how they run or flow. It’s why rivers do make for great metaphors of life. I’m listening to Arvo Part’s music on YouTube. The music meanders like a stream. Sometimes it moves

to where your mind thinks it will resolve. Yet sometimes the composition surprises you and goes to an unexpected place.

As I looked for a photo of chimes for this blog, I found one of my favorite tree against the flowing cloudy sky. There is movement and tranquility. The tree stands and trusts the ground beneath its feet. The wind blows overhead. A stream runs below, much farther down the road. The tree is the example of faith and trust I need this morning. As changes occur, it allows things to happen around and nearby trusting that life continues. It worries not about the outcome or the “possibilities”. The tree remains rooted in the goodness of earth.fall-2009-012

 Perhaps trust is about remaining rooted in the ground of our own goodness. Whatever happens in life will happen. Of course, unlike the tree or the river, we have the option of changing course of our own free will.