Saturday, April 15, 2017

Parable of the Pit

Once upon a time, a woman named Bertha found the entrance to the Strait and Narrow Way. It appeared to be much less crowded than the Broad Way she had been traveling, and she thought she'd like to try it. But the Narrow Way also looked rather steep, and her knees had been giving her some trouble lately. So she settled there at the crossroads, and enjoyed watching the people go by as she waited to become stronger.

As Bertha returned home one day, she noticed that a large sinkhole had appeared between the two roads. Alarmed, she stepped carefully around it, and safely reached her house. Later, though, she glanced out the front window, and saw a young woman fall into the pit. Bertha hurried outside.

“Help!” called the young woman. “Can you help me?”

Bertha peered down. “How did you fall in?”

“I didn't see the hole. Can you pull me out?”

Bertha reached in, but the pit was too deep. She could not reach the young woman's hand.

“Do you have a ladder, or a rope?” the young woman asked.

“No, I have nothing like that. I'm sorry, but I cannot help you.” Bertha left the disappointed young woman in the pit, and returned to her comfortable home.

Over the next few days, more people fell into the pit. A couple of teenaged boys dared each other to jump in, but could not jump back out. A girl was pushed in by a false friend who ran off, giggling. A scholarly-looking older man convinced his pupil that the only way to understand and solve the problem of the pit was to explore it fully, and they climbed in. Some rushed along the road without paying attention, and fell in. Others looked down, curiously, until the side seemed to give way, and they fell, too.

At first, Bertha worried about the fallen travelers. She advised them to climb the sides or boost each other out, but the pit was too deep, the sides too slick. Eventually she decided they must deserve to be down there, if they weren't going to pay attention or stay away from obvious danger. She began to smirk when she saw someone fall. Occasionally, she'd toss a casserole down to the victims. There really wasn't anything else she could do, was there?

One morning, Bertha heard the fallen ones calling for help, and looked outside. A new traveler approached the pit. He looked like one of those hippy types, with long hair and a beard. He leaned down and smiled at the people in the pit. Then he climbed right in. “That figures,” Bertha thought, but she went outside to see what else he would do.

The people in the pit were clamoring around the newcomer.

“We've been here so long. We've tried everything, but we can't get out. Can you help us? Please?”

“Yes,” he said. “I can.”

Bertha thought that was unlikely. He looked no taller or stronger than any of the others. But most of the people in the pit seemed to believe the stranger.

“I will lift you out,” he said, “but you'll need to do something for me.” He spoke to each victim quietly. The old scholar scoffed, but his pupil agreed wholeheartedly to whatever the stranger had asked. So did most of the others.

The young woman who had fallen first sat staring at the wall. She had given up asking for help some time before. The man took her hands. “Even you,” he said. “I can even save you.” Tears streamed from her eyes as he helped her stand. Then he crouched down next to her, offered his hands for her to step on, and lifted her out of the pit.

Bertha was amazed. Had the stranger stretched that far? Or had the hole shrunk? Both looked the same as before, but there was the young woman, backing away from the edge, smiling up into the sunlight. And soon others joined her. When the man had lifted out all who were willing, he climbed out, too.

Bertha thought they were a sorry-looking lot, all smudged and stained from their time in that muddy hole. But they all smiled, and called the man their Savior, and he smiled and put his arms around them.

Then he said, “Come,” and led the group to the entrance to the Strait and Narrow Way. As each went through the gate, the dirt on their clothes disappeared.

“Wait,” Bertha called as the gate began to close. “May I come, too?”

The bearded man turned and extended a hand toward her. “Come, follow me.”

Bertha tried to walk that way, but her feet would not move.

The man walked back toward her. “Would you like me to help you out of the pit?”

“I'm not in any hole,” she replied indignantly. “I knew better than to fall in there.”

“But did you warn your neighbors of its danger? Did you minister to those who had fallen?”

Bertha suddenly knew that her casseroles hadn't counted for very much. “Well, no.”

“Then you, too, have fallen into a trap.” Bertha saw that she was, indeed, surrounded by the tall, slick walls. “I will return, should you desire my help.” The man walked away.

When another woman fell into the hole, Bertha rushed to comfort her. When a young man peered cautiously over the edge, Bertha begged him to set up a sign, or a fence, to warn other travelers of the danger. She found her knees strengthened as she spent more time on them. And she waited patiently for the return of the only one who could rescue her from the pit.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  Isaiah 53:4-5

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

一目の月見 Hitome no Tsukimi



sneaking glances east
gold moon rising as I drive
sixty miles per hour




Thursday, December 1, 2016

Light the World



I love Christmas lights.  December days around here tend to be wet and dreary, and night falls all too soon.  But then the lights shine out, bringing hope and cheer.

The little electric lights are just a reminder, a dim imitation of the Light of the World, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Just like them, we can imitate Him to bring more light into the dreary world around us.

Join me in trying to lift some burdens this month.  Here you can find ideas to get you started.  Then observe, serve, and share in the joy of Christmas!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mothers' Day Boggle

Want to play?






My husband put this together for me, but I'm sure you can find some good messages, too.  Ready, set, go!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Landscape

How deep the snow,
how tall the trees
among whose tops we trod? 

How many waves
have washed the stones
that lie along the shore?
From sea level
to snow level,
the gulls and ferns and more--
He paints the canvas
where we walk,
a bounteous artist, God.





Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sheet Music Competition

I've been trying my hand at a different kind of composition, and I'm not alone.  My son and I have each entered a piece to the yearly Sacred Sheet Music Competition at Free LDS Sheet Music.  We both submitted arrangements of Christmas tunes.  There are many beautiful entries.  Check them out, and vote for all your favorites!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Wedding Gifts

Gift Box Wedding Cake by pinkcakebox


The plates have chipped,
the cups have cracked.
It's much too late
to take them back.

The quilts have ripped,
the towels are rough.
The toaster works--
one side's enough.

Two decades and
four thousand miles
are hard on dishes
and textiles.

The best gifts never
fade, you see:
of me for you,
and you for me.



For my dear husband







Friday, July 31, 2015

Perspective

Puget Sound Skyline, July 2015


smug skyscrapers swell,
full of human consequence--
dwarfed by lofty mount





Friday, June 12, 2015

On a Pedestal

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library

Leslie Jones Collection



When it gets too hot
in this town there's not a lot
of comfort one can get
in the form of something wet.

I climb in to get my kicks
and escape the baking bricks
and I whistle at the chicks
and ignore the tuts and tsks.

They say this bath is for the birds,
but it's good enough for me!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Clearing

Dragonfly by Rostislav Kralik

buttercup
foxglove
blue sky
blue dragonfly
bright rays break through
gray days
smiles soak up
the tears