October 31, 2017

Abt Vogler

Would that the structure brave, the manifold music I build,
Bidding my organ obey, calling its keys to their work,
Claiming each slave of the sound, at a touch, as when Solomon willed
Armies of angels that soar, legions of demons that lurk,
Man, brute, reptile, fly,—alien of end and of aim,
Adverse, each from the other heaven-high, hell-deep removed,—
Should rush into sight at once as he named the ineffable Name,
And pile him a palace straight, to pleasure the princess he loved!

Would it might tarry like his, the beautiful building of mine,
This which my keys in a crowd pressed and importuned to raise!
Ah, one and all, how they helped, would dispart now and now combine,
Zealous to hasten the work, heighten their master his praise!
And one would bury his brow with a blind plunge down to hell,
Burrow awhile and build, broad on the roots of things,
Then up again swim into sight, having based me my palace well,
Founded it, fearless of flame, flat on the nether springs.

And another would mount and march, like the excellent minion he was,
Ay, another and yet another, one crowd but with many a crest,
Raising my rampired walls of gold as transparent as glass,
Eager to do and die, yield each his place to the rest:
For higher still and higher (as a runner tips with fire,
When a great illumination surprises a festal night—
Outlining round and round Rome's dome from space to spire)
Up, the pinnacled glory reached, and the pride of my soul was in sight.

In sight? Not half! for it seemed, it was certain, to match man's birth,
Nature in turn conceived, obeying an impulse as I;
And the emulous heaven yearned down, made effort to reach the earth,
As the earth had done her best, in my passion, to scale the sky:
Novel splendours burst forth, grew familiar and dwelt with mine,
Not a point nor peak but found and fixed its wandering star;
Meteor-moons, balls of blaze: and they did not pale nor pine,
For earth had attained to heaven, there was no more near nor far.

Nay more; for there wanted not who walked in the glare and glow,
Presences plain in the place; or, fresh from the Protoplast,
Furnished for ages to come, when a kindlier wind should blow,
Lured now to begin and live, in a house to their liking at last;
Or else the wonderful Dead who have passed through the body and gone,
But were back once more to breathe in an old world worth their new:
What never had been, was now; what was, as it shall be anon;
And what is,—shall I say, matched both? for I was made perfect too.

All through my keys that gave their sounds to a wish of my soul,
All through my soul that praised as its wish flowed visibly forth,
All through music and me! For think, had I painted the whole,
Why, there it had stood, to see, nor the process so wonder-worth:
Had I written the same, made verse—still, effect proceeds from cause,
Ye know why the forms are fair, ye hear how the tale is told;
It is all triumphant art, but art in obedience to laws,
Painter and poet are proud in the artist-list enrolled:—

But here is the finger of God, a flash of the will that can,
Existent behind all laws, that made them and, lo, they are!
And I know not if, save in this, such gift be allowed to man,
That out of three sounds he frame, not a fourth sound, but a star.
Consider it well: each tone of our scale in itself is nought;
It is everywhere in the world—loud, soft, and all is said:
Give it to me to use! I mix it with two in my thought:
And, there! Ye have heard and seen: consider and bow the head!

Well, it is gone at last, the palace of music I reared;
Gone! and the good tears start, the praises that come too slow;
For one is assured at first, one scarce can say that he feared,
That he even gave it a thought, the gone thing was to go.
Never to be again! But many more of the kind
As good, nay, better, perchance: is this your comfort to me?
To me, who must be saved because I cling with my mind
To the same, same self, same love, same God: ay, what was, shall be.

Therefore to whom turn I but to thee, the ineffable Name?
Builder and maker, thou, of houses not made with hands!
What, have fear of change from thee who art ever the same?
Doubt that thy power can fill the heart that thy power expands?
There shall never be one lost good! What was, shall live as before;
The evil is null, is nought, is silence implying sound;
What was good shall be good, with, for evil, so much good more;
On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven, a perfect round.

All we have willed or hoped or dreamed of good shall exist;
Not its semblance, but itself; no beauty, nor good, nor power
Whose voice has gone forth, but each survives for the melodist
When eternity affirms the conception of an hour.
The high that proved too high, the heroic for earth too hard,
The passion that left the ground to lose itself in the sky,
Are music sent up to God by the lover and the bard;
Enough that he heard it once: we shall hear it by and by.

And what is our failure here but a triumph's evidence
For the fulness of the days? Have we withered or agonized?
Why else was the pause prolonged but that singing might issue thence?
Why rushed the discords in, but that harmony should be prized?
Sorrow is hard to bear, and doubt is slow to clear,
Each sufferer says his say, his scheme of the weal and woe:
But God has a few of us whom he whispers in the ear;
The rest may reason and welcome; 'tis we musicians know.

Well, it is earth with me; silence resumes her reign:
I will be patient and proud, and soberly acquiesce.
Give me the keys. I feel for the common chord again,
Sliding by semitones till I sink to the minor,—yes,
And I blunt it into a ninth, and I stand on alien ground,
Surveying awhile the heights I rolled from into the deep;
Which, hark, I have dared and done, for my resting-place is found,
The C Major of this life: so, now I will try to sleep.

—by Robert Browning



October 10, 2017

Cranky Old Man

Got this poem from Joanna Davidson Politano's website

It's a poem that recites with first person point-of-view about an old manor just what he thinks of himself, and what other people are thinking of him, that way.

The poem was found after he'd died in a nursing home.

Perhaps this poem could also touch someone like you, or us.


***

Cranky Old Man

What do you see, Nurses? ... What do you see?
What are you thinking ...       when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, ...              not very wise,
Uncertain of habit ...              with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food ...        and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice ...         ’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice ...    the things that you do.
And forever is losing ...          A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not ...          lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding ...   The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking? ...          Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse ...            you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am ...           As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, ...       as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten ...       with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters ...              who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen ...       with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now ...     a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty ...     my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows ...      that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now ...           I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide ...         And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty ...       My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other ...             With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons ...      have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me ...          to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, ...            Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children ...    My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me ...       My wife is now dead.
I look at the future ...               I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing ...          young of their own.
And I think of the years ...       And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man ...             and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age ...      look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles ...         grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone ...           where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass ... A young man still dwells,
And now and again ...                         my battered heart swells
I remember the joys ...           I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living ...              life over again.
I think of the years, all too few ...       gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact ...                that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people ...              open and see.
Not a cranky old man.
Look closer ... see ...                           ME!!



My wife's grandpa who passed away last month












(See also about Nicholas Winton)

Hattie May Wiatt

Kisah nyata ini terjadi pada akhir tahun 1800-an di Philadelphia, Amerika. Ada seorang gadis kecil bernama Hattie May Wiatt berdiri terisak di dekat pintu masuk sebuah gereja yang tidak terlalu besar, dia tidak diperkenankan masuk ke gereja tersebut karena sudah terlalu penuh.

Pdt. Russell H. Conwell yang kebetulan lewat menanyakan mengapa dia menangis.

“Aku tidak bisa ke Sekolah Minggu,” jawab Hattie.

Melihat penampilan Hattie yang acak-acakan dan tidak terurus, sang pendeta segera mengerti dan bisa menduga sebabnya dia tidak disambut masuk ke Sekolah Minggu. Hattie bersama kedua orangtuanya tinggal di daerah kumuh karena mereka tergolong keluarga miskin. Segera dituntunnya Hattie masuk ke ruang Sekolah Minggu dan mencarikan tempat duduk yang masih kosong untuk Hattie.

Hattie begitu tergugah perasaannya, sehingga sebelum tidur di malam itu ia sempat memikirkan anak-anak lain yang senasib dengan dirinya, yang tidak mempunyai kesempatan untuk ikut Sekolah Minggu.

Ketika ia menceritakan pengalamannya itu kepada orangtuanya, sang ibu menghiburnya bahwa dia masih beruntung mendapatkan pertolongan dari bapak pendeta yang baik hati. Sejak saat itu, Hattie bersahabat dengan Pdt. Conwell.

Dua tahun kemudian, Hattie meninggal…

Orangtuanya meminta bantuan Pdt. Conwell untuk memimpin ibadah pemakaman yang sangat sederhana. Saat pemakaman selesai dan tempat tidur Hattie dirapikan, ditemukan sebuah dompet usang, kumal, dan sudah sobek di beberapa bagian.

Di dalam dompet tersebut terdapat uang receh sebesar 57 sen dan secarik kertas tulisan tangan Hattie yang isinya sebagai berikut:

Uang ini untuk membantu pembangunan gereja kecil agar gereja itu bisa diperluas supaya lebih banyak anak yang bisa datang Sekolah Minggu.”





Kakak PA


Kemarin membuka-buka Alkitab di rumah, menemukan secarik kertas mungil merah berisikan tulisan singkat berikut ini.

Mungkin yang menulis adalah seorang anak kecil murid Sekolah Minggu. Dengan sedikit penekanan tambahan pada jumlah berapa kali dia memintanya, dari 120 saya ubah menjadi 153.


***

Tuhan, sudah 153 kali aku minta pada-Mu
agar Tuhan mengirim kakak PA (pendalaman Alkitab) bagiku.

Jangan kirim padaku
seorang kakak PA yang tidak siap.
Jangan kirim padaku
seorang kakak PA yang sering terlambat.
Jangan kirim padaku
seorang kakak PA yang ketus & galak.
Jangan kirim padaku
seorang kakak PA yang tidak sayang padaku.

Tapi
kirimkan padaku seorang kakak PA
yang baik s'perti Engkau.
tidak usah indah suaranya, asal ramah senyumnya
tidak mesti cakap parasnya, namun menarik pribadinya
tidak usah tegap badannya, asal lembut hatinya
tidak mesti bagus pakaiannya, namun rendah hatinya
tidak usah bagus ceritanya, asal Kristus hidup di hidupnya

Agar...
ketika aku sedih, aku dapat menangis di depannya
saat aku gembira, aku bisa tertawa bersamanya
kalau papa mama berselisih paham, aku mau berdoa dengannya

Tuhan,
aku ingin kakak PA yang baik seperti-Mu.

~ sine nomine

***

 "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Reinhold Niebuhr


Image courtesy of margaretfeinberg.com



October 6, 2017

I watched a potter at work

I watched a potter at work today–choosing a marl of bluish-grey,
Ugly and dirty, unpromising stuff; he took it, and washed it till he’d got enough
To finish the task he’d set for the day.

His foot was steady, his hands were firm, I saw the wheel begin to turn–
Faster and faster, it spun on its way, then–all of a sudden he threw the clay.
How many years did it take to learn?

With love and patience those hands so skilled, shape up the pot that he has willed.
So long ago, before he began, he had in his mind his own special plan
And now at last it’s being fulfilled.

He slows down the wheel, and with fingers neat he places his pot in the infinite heat
Of the oven, so hot that it tempers the pot
Until tested and tried his work is complete.

Does the pot he now holds bring him pleasure? Will it always be something to treasure?
You and I are God’s clay–will we let Him today
Mould us to give Him this joy beyond measure? 


~ Cilla Watkins


Hidup yang Diperbaharui


One day at a time

One day at a time, sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking from You
Just give me the strength to do everyday
What I have to do
Yesterday's gone, sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Lord, help me today, show me the way
One day at a time


(by Marijohn Wilkin)



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