50 Words: Mark 2

Paralyzed, perhaps discouraged
Lying on a mat, surrounded
By four friends resolved, determined.

No words we know this man had uttered
Just friends who carried, climbed and lowered
His bed to Jesus’ feet.

Healing came not through his profession
But with borrowed faith, expectation;
He walked away, his sins forgiven.


50 Words: Grief

The joy of knowing, of loving
The weight of absence
The treasure of friendship
The ache of longing
The comfort of heaven
The pain of separation
The sweetness of memory
The numbness of emotion
The confusion of guilt
The hope of eternity

Feeling everything and nothing in the same breath.

50 Words: Prayer

Creator of life, know me. When my soul desires the silent land, rescue me. Maker of man, heal me. When flesh fails, strengthen me. Mover of mountains, show me. When grass withers, make your word alive. Man of sorrows, comfort me. When I’m drowning in affliction, make your law delightful.

Their backyard

50 Words: Voices

You do not belong here, you should not impose. You bring distress as you depress your friends and your foes. Blades of green surrounding defiled tombs confounding; buried deep are dry bones. Escape, o’ prisoner, from this incessant death. You do not belong here, this place is not your home.

Image courtesy of Phil_Bird at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

50 Words: Will Silence Break?

They say I can be broken. Just speak and I am gone. But in speaking, I am shattered, scattered, forlorn. Words floating aimless, invisible yet seen, bursting at the slightest touch, exposed. Shamed. Believed? Try catching gently, don’t let them float on by. Tomorrow, perhaps. For today, I still hide.

50 Words: Will Silence Speak?


Image courtesy of kdshutterman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Listening Parties, Liner Notes, and The Burning Edge of Dawn

It is apparently not a thing to have a listening party. But tonight, I made it a thing. The first expectant listen of Andrew Peterson’s new album, which I would have happily done (over and over again) on my own, but decided to wait for the company of my sweet roommate, who thankfully loves AP but had never heard of a listening party. It was clear attendance wasn’t optional, and she joyfully obliged. Grab a pillow, my friend, let’s open these liner notes and soak it all in.

Does anyone read them anymore? The liner notes used to be my favorite part of getting a new album. I’d pull off the plastic, wrestle with that pesky jewel case sticker, pop in the disc, and sit for hours listening over and over and over. I’d look at the pictures, read the lyrics, and try to glean some insight into the stories and emotion behind the music.

It’s how I learned the words to all six verses of Don McLean’s “American Pie,” and how I ever figured out what they were saying in songs like “One Week.” It’s how I became captivated by the beauty of Andrew Peterson’s songwriting. It’s when I started caring about what instruments were being played, and it’s how I fell in love with the hammered dulcimer.

I’d notice who contributed to each song, who produced the album, what inspired the songwriter, and who did he thank. Cover to cover. I would read every bit of that tiny print.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done that.

In this age of streaming music and digital downloads, the liner notes are cast aside. A forgotten concept in the world of music technology. I find myself listening to music without really hearing it. I recognize more songs, but I know less about the artists who wrote them. I don’t know all the words. Sometimes I miss what I used to love about music. I miss the concerts and the stories. I miss holding the CD in my hand. I miss the liner notes.

Tonight I am reminded. I am reminded to pay attention. It’s easy to glide through life without noticing the fine print. Without stopping to appreciate what is happening and who you encounter and why it matters. Without asking questions, or seeing the beauty that is hidden everywhere, or being thankful for the simple things. I want to stop and notice.