Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Two Poems - Patrick Lowry

This is Patrick's first submission to the Fire Bowl.  Patrick writes poetry and essays, can be seen about town on his trusty bicycle and loves to reminisce about his time as a surfer in the 60's and his awesome childhood in Morocco.  Welcome, Patrick!


Joy doesn't count it's hours out loud
Or brag about it's girth
It claims neither color or weight
Joy is not proud
Yet it can make whole the broken
And break the door of Hell

My #1 Buddy in the 4th Grade

You might not even notice him at first
He's kind of quiet
And not very tall
On the shy side
He'll never make the team
Or be cool
But he can fix broken stuff
And he knows the way home

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Joy, I got nothin'! - Beth Morgan

I've been trying to think about this subject of “joy” for a few weeks now and felt like “I got nothin'!”. I'm pretty sure that one of the ideas behind this communal blog is for each contributor to be inspired by the offerings of another and, fortunately this week, James' post found itself a part of a stream of nudges from God; in my own present search for peace, hope and a dose of renewed faith, his words encouraged me that these are attainable in those moments when you feel that they are not. In those moments, I am not even thinking about pursuing joy, but, as I reflect on God's promises, I see how silly it is to NOT invite joy along. God's presence IS our joy; our strength IS the joy of the Lord; His joy is complete in us.

You know those times when you know truths like these in your head, but you're not sure how capable you are of taking them to heart in the present moment? Thank God for grace that still speaks through with these nudges through the words of others, or through song lyrics happened upon on the radio. Then you at least get to a place where you have enough “something” to get yourself to speak the truths out: God, you are trustworthy and I believe it. And to a place where you can pray beside others: God, you are faithful. I believe you are faithful. We believe you are faithful. You will guide, you will provide just like every time before. My faith is small right now, but you are the same.

Once a month I have the privilege of leading worship at my church and this Sunday, as another attempt of speaking out His promises in faith, I chose to do this little ditty, “The Joy of the Lord”.
When I am weak, He is strong and I can lean on Him.
No need to fear, I will have faith and I will shout for joy.
And when I stumble, He picks me up and I'm gonna jump for joy.
The Joy of the Lord is my strength.
Interesting that this song was taught to me years ago by Chris; hence, another roundabout way of being inspired and encouraged by someone connected to this blog.

Someone recorded the song with an iPod, so here's a humble offering of poor video and sound quality, but an invitation to Joy nonetheless.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bring 'em On - Aaron Alford

His back ached. It had been a long day, and the sun was relaxing by the hills in the west. 

Shadows lengthened on the dirt the children ran on. He was drawing in the sand with a little girl whose name he couldn’t quite pronounce. He drew a smiling face, and she echoed it back. 

He adjusted his feet and felt the discomforting tingle of his right foot waking up. He cringed a little as his back made a slight ‘pop’. It was exactly then that he was landed on. A stocky little boy of about six had jumped squarely upon his shoulders, laughing, oblivious to the pain he was inflicting. 

He stood warily, the boy still balancing on his shoulders, still feeling the rush of blood to his foot and the weight of his passenger. Two more boys tackled him from the front and he was quickly on the ground again, now part of a large pile of relentless, giggling kids. 

 “No-no-no!!!” he laughed as they continued their attack. Even his sweet little drawing partner was in on it now. Somewhere out of the chaos, he felt a blinding “whap” to his head. 

“OW!” he laughed. It actually hurt much more than he showed, and he felt his eyes watering slightly. The stocky six-year-old stood there laughing, his weapon dangling incriminatingly from his hand. It’s remarkable how effective a small leather shoe can be. 

He gave the kid a comedically dirty look. “What the heck is that thing made of??” he said as he rubbed his head. 

Chubby eyes smiled with delighted guilt. 

Two more children came running from their mother’s arms to continue the attack, and in a moment, he was on his back in the dirt, being beaten like that man in his story about the Samaritan. 

Finally one of his friends spoke up, silencing the laughter with a tone of authority. “Alright! Alright. Kids, that’s enough. Moms, can you please take your children? The teacher is tired. Time to go.” 

But the teacher protested. “No, no, no!” he said. “I’m fine! Don’t send them off. This is heaven, Peter. Really. They’re giving us heaven right here if you let yourself see it. Let them come! Bring ‘em on!” 

Peter huffed a little, and smiled in spite of himself. “You’re the boss,” he said, and shook his head. 

The teacher wiped his brow and looked into the eyes of his assailants. He rose from the dirt, raised his arms, and launched an offensive attack on the undersized army. He sent them screaming and laughing, and the late afternoon sun set their little faces aglow with glory. 

His back ached even more than it did five minutes ago; his head pulsed with pain. And he was never more alive.

You can read more of Aaron's work at his website aaronalford.net