Sometimes beauty is found in the most unlikely places.
Where Ireland’s green
Continue reading Anyway (a poem)
Meets ocean’s blue
In jagged cliffs
With sweeping views
I walked until
The thick grass ended
Down onto the
Down where wild
Wind and sea
Play tug of war
John the Baptist was dead. Beheaded. It was unjust, brutal, and senseless. On hearing the news, Jesus left what he was doing and went with his disciples to a solitary place. He must have wanted to mourn, and pray, away from the crowds. But when he arrived, there was no solitude: somehow, word had spread about where he was going, and now a large crowd was waiting for him. Matthew records that Jesus didn’t send them away or throw himself a pity party—“he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” They were suffering, too.
As the day wore on, Jesus’ disciples began to be concerned: what would these people eat for dinner, out there in the middle of nowhere? No one had planned logistics for a gathering like this. Taking stock of the situation, they made a practical suggestion that Jesus send the crowd away so that they could get to the villages and buy food for themselves. Jesus replied: “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
I’ve heard people say that “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I don’t think that’s true. Look at the job he gave his disciples: “you give them something to eat.”
Continue reading More Than You Can Handle
When we moved from America to Ireland fourteen years ago, one of the first things we noticed was the architecture. The buildings in Ireland are quite different from the ones we grew up in, all the way up from the thick concrete (or stone) walls to the slate tiles (or rarely, thatch) on the roofs. The unique climate, resources, history, and culture have all helped to shape these buildings. And they have shaped not only the individual buildings, but also the way the buildings relate to each other and the spaces around them. For example, it makes sense that our village is compact enough to walk everywhere when you consider that it was built hundreds of years before cars were invented. We have cars now, but that’s still a great feature—I love being able to walk easily to any building in town. But one of my favourite features of Irish design is not a building at all. It’s not a structure of any kind, and it doesn’t take a degree in architecture or urban planning to understand it, imagine it, or built it. It’s just a bit of grass, and it’s known as “the green.”
Continue reading The Green
“It’s all who you know,” they say. If you want to get ahead, it really helps to know the right people in the right places. People on the inside, in the inner circle of influence. If they know you, they’ll be more likely to use their positions to help you. If they like you, or if you’ve done something for them, that’s even better.
Continue reading The Inner Circle
“Pictures or it didn’t happen!”
Believe me, it did. Or don’t believe me—it still happened. Every moment doesn’t have to be pictured to be real. Every picture doesn’t have to be shared to be precious. My camera roll is bigger than what I share online, and my life is bigger than my camera roll. And I’m happy to keep it that way. Usually.
Continue reading Don’t Miss The Moment For A Picture
Two weeks ago I wrote about how easily I can go blind to the world around me, forgetting to look at the familiar things I see every day. Sometimes it takes effort to really look at what I’m seeing, but the effort is worth it. I have found that the tangible world around me can often help me regain a proper perspective on my life. The ocean reminds me that my worries are smaller than they feel. The flowers remind me of God’s provision, the birds remind me of his care (Luke 12:22-31). In the following two poems, I tried to capture what a ruined wall behind our village and the couch in our sitting room reminded me of:
Continue reading The Last Wall
If you want to be thoroughly dissatisfied with your life, you can do it quickly in one easy step:
Compare yourself to others.
There will always be someone who is more successful or talented or good-looking or clever or confident or has more of whatever it is you want. Guaranteed. You might measure up pretty well against some people (as long as you’re careful to measure the right things), but eventually you’re bound to find someone who surpasses you at the very strengths you take pride in. The world is a big place. That’s how it goes.
Continue reading How To Quit The Comparison Game
We had some friends visiting last week who had never been to Ireland, and we got to show them why this place is called the Emerald Isle. The beautiful postcards tell the beautiful truth. And the castles, churches, and monastic ruins dotted across the countryside add a layer of historic mystery to the impossibly green landscape. We have a castle in our own village, and the patchwork fields beyond it eventually lead down to the rocky coast. You could hardly go anywhere on this island without seeing something historic or naturally magnificent. Welcome to Ireland. Let me show you around…
Or will you show me?
Continue reading Slowly Going Blind
On the first Easter week, Pilate, governor of Jerusalem, handed down a sentence that Jesus should die. He had nothing against Jesus of Nazareth. He wasn’t the one who hunted him down, arrested him at night, or hired Judas to betray him. In fact, Pilate tried multiple times to release Jesus. He told everyone Jesus was innocent and didn’t deserve the death sentence the crowd was shouting for.
But he still had Jesus crucified.
Continue reading Interrupted By Jesus
Richard Baxter lived 400 years ago, but he still was able to help me recently with some good advice. He wrote that God’s people should “take one walk every day in the New Jerusalem.” He meant that we should intentionally remember God’s promises, and live right now in the light of them. But I love the way he said it, and that’s where this poem came from:
Continue reading Walking Home