Category Archives: poems

I don’t care what the weatherman says

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Driving through town

windscreen wipers on full pelt

hardly keeping up with the pouring rain.

Loud swing music in my car.

“I don’t care what the weatherman says,

when the weatherman says it’s raining,

you’ll never hear me complaining,

I’m sure the sun will shine.”

The traffic lights multiply a myriad times in the wet road

sparkling like Christmas tree lights.

My concentration is keen

to see clearly

to stop when I must stop

and go when I must go,

but to avoid those without cars

rushing across the road,

clasping soggy newspaper

in a futile attempt to cover their heads,

blinkering themselves inadvertently to the oncoming traffic.

Maybe they care what the weatherman says more than I do.

 

The gentle invitation

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Dappled sunlight

falling on my arm,

gentle breeze,

a glimpse of the mountain,

through glowing branches.

Birds cheerfully chirping in the trees,

the sound of water splashing in a fountain,

sun shining through the vine leaves above me

highlight the firey edges of autumn.

The smell of coffee and baking.

Here, in my happy place,

I tell you how I feel,

I choose honesty

over a stiff upper lip.

As I give up certain foods

I realise how much I turned to them for comfort.

I realise I’m stiff necked and slow

to turn to you for that comfort.

As I return to South Africa

I miss family and friends in the UK.

More time alone.

I realise how quickly I turn to people for comfort.

You invite me gently not to rush to fix the aloneness

but to look to you to be my constant companion.

Feels hard

Easier to pick up the phone.

As things seem uncertain and unfamiliar,

my things in cardboard boxes

both sides of the world;

living in a friend’s spare room, not my home;

a new season, not yet fully defined;

in this place, you invite me gently to turn to you

with certain hope and anticipation

that you are my rock and my certainty.

You remind me that wherever I am,

I can be ‘at home in your love’.*

As I struggle to articulate my life

and comparison knocks loudly at the door,

again you gently invite me to turn to you

knowing my significance, value and meaning

is rooted in you alone,

not in what people think of me

or whether I’m doing things

that I or others define as ‘significant’.

You tell me your word is a light to my feet.

Not a search light to see the whole road ahead

but a flickering candle in a lantern

only enough light for the very next step

and that step was to return.

You invite me to place my hand in yours

and I know it’s true

(even when it doesn’t feel true)

that it is safer than a known way.

I guess it’s true you have more patience with me

than I have with myself.

For a short while I live in lack

and tears come

not recognising the person

standing close by my side

who can meet me in every place of need.

Who can be my everything.

* John 15:9 “Make yourselves at home in my love.”

In between people

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Photograph Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2014
Following the post of my poem ‘In the Air’ some wise friends of mine commented that being ‘in-between’ is “probably what a lot of life is going to look like”, that “it seems like that is the way of Jesus”. That got me thinking. Recently I have read a few passages in the bible about that theme and have felt God whispering to me about it. While I was in the beautiful prayer room at La Motte Wine Estate (if you are in Cape Town do visit it, if you haven’t already) I was reading the passage below from Hebrews and then weeks later I read the passage below from John and its been buzzing around in my thoughts.
I’m like the wind*
He says.
No one knows where I’m from
or where I’m going
and neither do I really.
But it’s reassuring
that He says
it’s the same
for all who belong to Him
and are filled with His breath.
What’s it like to be like wind?
Surely wind can’t hold anything
can’t cling to anything
or any place.
the same choice remains
for the wind-like followers.
The in between people
The sojourners
The pilgrims from a long line of pilgrims
Abraham to Joseph, Moses to Ruth, Mary to Jesus himself.
Always passing through.
Even when I find a place, a precious place
where I feel at home
(or even a few)
even there
I am only ever a temporary resident.
For I’ll always be a stranger
a visitor
on this earth.
I am not of this world
just as the one I follow is not.
Our home
our true home
for which our heart longs
is more beautiful
more magnificent
than all we could imagine.
Our heavenly home
is where we’ll return to
and finally
feel fully ourselves
and fully at home
forever.
So no wonder I feel like a wanderer.
A stranger.
I must hold lightly
I’m only passing through.
(Having said all that, I do feel at home in Cape Town and am planning to come back!!)
Copyright 2014 © Hilary Murdoch. All rights reserved.
*No reference to Dirty Dancing or Patrick Swazye intended 😉
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
 –
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth…as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)
 –
“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” – Jesus (John 17:16)
 –
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20)
This song has also been a real blessing to me recently (click to open the video).
In the process,
in the waiting,
you’re making melodies over me.
Your presence
is the promise,
for I am a pilgrim on a journey.

In the air

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Cardboard boxes

Rolls and rolls of brown tape

Stuff of life contained

Packed away

Paused

Held.

To be reclaimed

one day

timing to be confirmed

hopefully not too far away.

Unpacked into a new season.

Connections re-established

Life resumed.

So much stuff.

How much does one really need?

Very little if we’re honest.

But we keep it

as a security blanket.

There’s a freedom and lightness in simplicity

but I’m rarely brave enough

to shed enough

to experience it.

In the air

literally

between places

between lives

and yet living my life

in this moment.

I’m not alone

flying with my constant companion.

Knowing I’m loved and known

held in hearts

in both places I call home.

Copyright © 2014 Hilary Murdoch. All rights reserved.

Plane over Cape Town image: Reuters

Maybe

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overcoming-fear-taking-action dooyah.com
What am I afraid of?
Truly
under it all?
What’s the worst that can happen
and is it really that bad?
 –
Maybe I’m afraid of loss,
losing what’s good
places, relationships, opportunities.
But what if I have to let go of the good
in order to receive the better?
I can only be ready to receive
if my hands are empty.
In loss there is thankfulness
an acute awareness of the good of whats past.
In loss there is a clear headedness
a lightness in spirit.
Ready for whats next.
 –
Maybe I’m afraid of what people think,
much less than before.
If people are disappointed in me
If people don’t think well of me
what then?
Will my world come to an end
or is there something more secure, more robust within?
Trying to please others
always leads to a closed space
being boxed in
trapped.
But going with the quiet inner voice
above the loud outer voices
leads to the wide open spaces.
Flying free.
Maybe I’m afraid of the unknown
my path not within my power.
But that place of unknowing
can be a place of excitement and freedom
holy anticipation
if I choose to make it so.
The place where trust is not optional
but the only lifeline.
The only anchor
on churning seas.
 –
Then
if all this is so
maybe
just maybe
I am not subject to fear
but it is subject to me.

Two options

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Excitement

Curiosity

Anticipation

or

Anxiety

Frustration

Hopelessness.

It’s my choice.

It doesn’t feel like it

but it is my choice.

Two options.

Two possible reactions.

To the same situation

of current unknowing.

A place of uncertainty

Not knowing what the future will hold

Things that seem stable shake

Many things unresolved

Many questions unanswered

Where will I be?

What will I do?

My natural reaction:

anxiety and frustration,

attempts to control and fix the situation into certainty.

But those reactions are based on the premise

that it’s my responsibility to resolve this.

To tie it down.

To bring security to myself.

But what if that premise is false?

Not suppressing my feelings

but challenging them to align

with what I know

and have experienced

to be true.

And taking time to receive that truth

in my heart as well as my head.

What if my premise changes?

What if the premise is that I stand on the only rock

and that rock is a person

who loves me

is trustworthy

knows the end from the beginning

is with me always, even through hard times

will bring good out of even what was meant for harm

who has good plans for me

that He will bring about.

Looking back

as I retell my own stories to myself,

my experience back that up

in remarkable ways in fact.

So then if that’s the premise,

maybe I can take my hands off

and wait.

Not passive waiting

but alert,

receptive to what He’s doing,

willing to participate and step out

when He prompts me to.

If that’s the case

maybe

just maybe

radical and illogical as it seems right now

I could wait

with excitement, curiosity and anticipation.

That feels profoundly different.

I wonder what He will do?

———————-

 

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures for ever.” Psalm 138:8

A rock amidst sinking sands

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rock in sinking sand

A tricky question.

How to find peace

with no certainty.

Or with almost no certainty

in location, occupation, residence.

So much up in the air at once.

Just as I feel I am regaining my footing and peace

another thing falls away into uncertainty.

But I guess

the peace

comes from the only certainty.

His presence is His promise.

The challenge

that digs deep into my bones

is to let that be enough.

Can it really be enough?

Back to the old chalkboard

to learn it deeper this time.

Dependence.

Everything. 

He really has to be my only rock now

as everything else

is truly sinking sands.

A hard and painful lesson to learn.

Gut wrenching.

But maybe this is the very lesson I’ll need

for the adventures ahead.

Attempting to seek his face,

not just his hand.

Gazing at Him

is the safest place to be.

———–

Psalm 62:1-2

My soul finds rest in God ALONE, my salvation comes from him.

He ALONE is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken.