Brave

I feel very brave posting this.  Three and a half years of blogging here and I have been careful not to show pictures of myself straight on.  In fact, you’ll only find two.  Yet, here I am sharing a video of myself.

Why?  Right now, I’m really not sure!  A video of me reciting one of my poems with no makeup and no video touchup software?  (That would have to be some pretty awesome touchup software…)

But… there is something to be said about showing your wounds…

Being a Christian isn’t about standing on a soapbox yelling out quotes from Scripture or pointing at people “in sin” and warning them that they better change their ways.  Christianity is about Christ – and Christ is about love.  Christ is love incarnate.  So, if I want to share Christ with others, then I must not only love them in my heart and my actions, but also share with them my love – which includes my suffering.

When St. Thomas doubted the Resurrection, Christ came before him and showed him his wounds, let him put his fingers right into them.  We all have wounds.  We all have sufferings.  And we shouldn’t be afraid of them or even ashamed of them.  I am not proud of my defective gene (you won’t see me in any kind of SMA pride parade or whatever) but I am not ashamed to have a defective gene – or to even call part of me defective.  For that is the truth.

By sharing the truth of who I am – all of me – I hope that you may come to better know my love and, through that love, to know Christ.  God doesn’t make junk.  Everybody is sacred – every body is sacred.  And, sometimes, it is through our wounds that the glory of who we are is made known.

Now, remember mercy…

© 2017 Christina Chase

Redemptive Suffering

The womb that cannot bear new life

is, instead, bearing pain.

Seemingly meaningless and devoid of promise,

for the hard grip – twisted deformed rocks –

makes it unrecognized as gift…

The fruit of love conceived

in union with the Pierced Heart

shedding blood, suffering,

giving of oneself for the other…

The womb that cannot carry

feels the weight of souls.

© 2017 Christina Chase

quote on suffering Saint Faustina

Gathering Stars

Wishing everyone a Blessed Christmas and offering you this poem from decades ago.

May you be filled with the wonder of God Among Us – for the Word of God, the Lord of the Universe, was made Flesh for each and every one of you, for your healing redemption and eternal joy…

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

Gathering Stars

My mother gathers stars.  Continue reading

The Atheistic Questions: Genesis

Saw this classic on a preview for a TV sitcom:

“If God made Adam and Eve and they had Cain and Abel, then where did Cain and Abel’s wives come from?”

Genesis Roelandt-Savery

The little girl preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation seems to have bewildered and flustered her “very Catholic” mother with this question. But, any “very Catholic” person should know the answer… Continue reading

My Mother

My mother and father are not only good parents, they are excellent parents because they have been greatly tried and are continuing to be tried. Having a severely disabled and dependent child makes their lives difficult and abnormal. (Will they even get to go out and celebrate their anniversary?) Their lives are not what they hoped for or planned, because their youngest daughter is not what they hoped for or planned. And yet… and yet they are beautiful people living a joyful life.

They didn’t try to find a way to be like everyone else even though their lives weren’t like everyone else’s – they chose to sacrifice, to give of themselves selflessly and generously. Therein lies their greatness, their excellence – and their beauty and joy. I can never thank them enough. I can never repay them. But, that’s why they are so great – because their love is so completely unconditional.

As we have just passed the celebration of Mother’s Day here in the United States and my parents’ wedding anniversary is coming soon, I’m sharing some of my own poetry dedicated to motherhood, and, most specifically, my mother. I love you, Mom and Dad!

Francine & Christina

Mama

Within her hands, now rough and worn,

A little girl once held the morn,

Once swept the stars and shook the tree,

And played with possibility.

Then, clutching fists could only pray

When hopeful dreamings slipped away,

And learn to beat and dig and tear,

To toughen skin and smother care.

And yet, within her hands I find

The strength to live outside my mind;

The world she formed with blood and pain

Has housed a little girl again,

Misshapen, yes, and less than planned,

But never lost within her hand.

 Virtue

 I learned from my Mother
forgiveness and forbearance…
even in the deep of dark,
before my eyes could see or ears could hear,
she was putting up with the difficulties
of my life in hers, in
Faith and Hope
that all things work together for the good
and pain can bring forth joy…
In the giving of herself always,
my mother’s gift to me
is the lesson and fruit of
generous and self-giving
Love.

© 2016 Christina Chase

 

In Short Measures

DSCN9408

Life is composed of small moments in time.

How many times have we heard something like this said or read something similar on a Facebook meme? But, what does it mean, really? To answer that question, I’m turning to more of my favorite poetry (like last week’s post.) There are two reasons for this. (1) I’m finishing up my 30 poems in 30 days to meet the contest deadline, which means that I’m busy writing, editing, and aggravating. (2) The truly great poets can explain, in short measures, better than I can.

First, we will turn to one of my all-time favorites (and not just because she was a reclusive spinster with a vivid imagination, who only gained popular fame after she died.) That’s right, Emily Dickinson. She was a master of saying big things well, within her small experience, in just a few, quirky lines. This poem speaks to the eternal weight of each small decision that we make in what we think is just a tiny moment of time:

by

Emily Dickinson

Soul, Wilt thou toss again?
By just such a hazard
Hundreds have lost indeed—
But tens have won an all—

Angel’s breathless ballot
Lingers to record thee—
Imps in eager Caucus
Raffle for my Soul!

 

Now, we will turn to Ben Johnson (yes, again, if you read last week’s post) whose harsh and tender lines tell beautifully of the human experience of both time and meaning.

After reading both of these poems, think well, my dear readers, about the little things that you do each day and the little ones that you pass on the way of your life. What is your life, but a Symphony of single sounds, a Masterpiece of singular brushstrokes?

 

by

Ben Johnson

It is not growing like a tree
In bulk doth make Man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
A lily of a day Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night—
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.

 

Original content © 2016 Christina Chase

  photo © 2016  Dan Chase, (of my hand) “Before I Click”

First poem taken from

Emily Dickinson, Complete Poems, 1924,

also found here:

http://www.bartleby.com/113/1003.html

Ben Johnson’s poem found in

A Treasury of Great Poems, compiled by Louis Untermeyer, 1994 edition,

also found here:

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/it-is-not-growing-like-a-tree/

Made by Fools like Me

April is the month in which I was birthed into the world. It is also, I found out this year, National Poetry Writing Month. And I, much to my disbelief, entered a poetry contest for #NaPoWriMo through Local Gems Poetry Press. 30 poems on a theme in 30 days, the winner gets his or her “chapbook” published – I’m actually pretty excited. Not because I’m confident that I’ll win, but because I’m being forced to be productive and to compile and edit a manuscript by a deadline. I hate deadlines. But… they are exactly what a procrastinator needs – what I need. And, if I don’t win the contest, I will self publish the poetry as an e-book. I wrote it, so hold me to it! It’s time to take a bigger risk than blogging.

So, since I’m busy trying to write poetry that’s at least halfway good, I’m sharing some of my favorite poetry, which is truly good, for this week’s post. The first poem is one that you probably know and the second will probably remind you of someone that you know. Number three is, I think, my very first favorite poem from middle school days and the last bit of verse that I’m sharing says just about everything to me in just a few lines. Without further ado, I defer to the true poets:

Trees

by

Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

 

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

 

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

 

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

 

“Still to be neat, still to be dressed”

by

Ben Johnson

Still to be neat, still to be dressed,

As you were going to a feast;

Still to be powdered, still perfumed;

Lady, it is to be presumed,

Though art’s hid causes are not found,

All is not sweet, all is not sound.

 

Give me a look, give me a face,

That makes simplicity a grace;

Robes loosely flowing, hair as free;

Such sweet neglect more taketh me

Than all th’adulteries of art.

They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

 

There Will Come Soft Rains

by

Sara Teasdale

(War Time)

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,

And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

 

And frogs in the pools singing at night,

And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

 

Robins will wear their feathery fire

Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

 

And not one will know of the war, not one

Will care at last when it is done.

 

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree

If mankind perished utterly;

 

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,

Would scarcely know that we were gone.

 

from Auguries of Innocence

by

William Blake

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

 


Featured Image: Me, at eight years old, dressed up as an old-fashioned girl and pretending to write with a “quill”