Beauty in the Pause

The storm paused just long enough to take a picture

He knocked and came in. A weary smile and hello. 12 years of caring for his wife with a declining mind. I noticed that the snow had just begun to fall. The storm was coming. Softly and gently at first with memory slipping just like the falling snow when I glanced out the window. How innocent comes a storm sometimes.

We talked for a couple hours, mostly covering smatterings of the last 12 years interspersed with memorial preparations in the making. The snow outside had the makings of a storm coming and going. She whom we were remembering had thick slices of good times at first, very thin and meager slices of connection with her husband near the end. Every good time now deemed worthy of a memory token, beautiful and now treasured beyond measure

The storm was picking up speed but acting like an old car stuttering and grinding gears with a driver new to using a clutch. Her brain was like that, often disconnected with life, stuttering, charging and stranded in the next intersection. Oh the good times were really good, but shorter and shorter like camera shots, until all that was left at the end were a couple squeezes of the hand before hugging Jesus. He seemed at peace with much weight off his whole being but his sorrow brutal. A couple as “one” who Loved Jesus and each other fiercely, now an alone “one”

The storm was harsh as he left. “Drive safe” was my warning as he disappeared with his car into the storm. His storm has changed I thought. He is in the eye of the storm seeing the peace and beauty and reliving a life well lived. As soon as he left our drive our storm outside hit a hole in the clouds for a small while. I had seen the weather radar and the hole in the storm was predicted. The wind died and the lighting was an odd beauty not seen often. I stepped outside and snapped a couple of pictures, tokens for a memory. Beauty in the pause that tipped it’s hat to a life well lived here and received there.

His storm will start again when he is alone. he has a standard offer to call or drive over any time. Just come. It’s what Jesus does for all of us. Just come. Come in the storm or in the pause. Just come.

The storm quickly came again and would last into the middle of the night. I put on some layers, stepped out onto the deck and took a picture of the storm. a memory token of another kind. A token of his storm, my storm and yours. The token of the cross, a slain perfect lamb for a forever pause, forever beauty, forever connected to our creator after grinding gears in our storms here. Jesus says “Come, as you are, anytime”

“Just Come” Jesus

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

In memory of Kim. We are here for you Dennis

Gary

Ponderings lost, Deep In

Thought

I’m the smartest person in the room. It was obvious to me but the look on everyone’s face puzzled me. So I pontificated more. It was a great moment.

Years later as I was fondly remembering that highlight in my life when I suddenly came to another realization. I was the dumbest person in the room. Now that I know so much now. I digress.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

Have you ever?

Gary

I KNOW

Looking through the bars of life his whisper came “I KNOW” All the things I’ve covered up and yet I hear “I KNOW” I’ve bested life, I’m gaming strife, burned memories of “I KNOW” Perhaps the times, could be my rhymes, I really think I know.

Again I heard, unsettled word, A dream I knew “I KNOW” I still have pawns, I move my king, position beats “I KNOW” I’m still ahead, remorse is dead, fend off the great “I KNOW” I heard it said I’ll join the grave, once dead that’s all, I know

It ambushed me, warm child’s voice that called aloud “I KNOW” Filled with rage, a stumbled sage, dethroned yet heard “I KNOW” Mocked my life in cancers sneer, I understood “I KNOW” Beneath the cross in rubbles gown, submit to this “I KNOW”

BY GARY FULTZ

Remembering my uncle who built an empire all his life. He had it all. Played professional sports, became a lawyer for a fortune 500 company, hobnobbed with the elite in Washington DC and retired wealthy. Cancer and bitterness set in and no one could point him past his anger toward God. No one until a little niece, whom he loved, had an older brother dial the phone (yes, very young) and call him. She simply said ” I just wanted to ask you one question. Have you accepted Jesus into your heart? Jesus loves you!”

Uncle went into a rage demanding who would make a child play a dirty trick on him like that! His niece then convinced her parents to drive 24+ hours to see him before he died. She convinced uncle that no one had put her up to it and he needed to know Jesus loved him very much. Uncle was led by a small child to a last minute relationship with Jesus before he died.

“I KNOW” haunted me when I was young. I did something wrong “I KNOW” I hid my wrongs “I KNOW” I pushed that voice beyond memory only to surface in dreams I KNOW” I confessed my sins “I KNOW” When I was afraid and I clung to my savior in hard times. He answered “I KNOW”

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Corinthians 13:12

Do you know Jesus? He loves you very much.

Gary

Thread Pullers

My mother used to say “Don’t pull on a loose thread”, meaning; our sock that she knitted would unravel or our bed quilt would start coming apart.

In the work place I retired from recently, a common phrase from the CEO was “pull on the loose thread”, meaning; investigate fully if something seems not quite right with the product, a tool or the process. If you think for a second something could be wrong, follow that thought through even if you have to shut down the line. Quality is everything! Be a superhero, pull the loose threads till you find out what is wrong! (Do check out Peragon Truck Bed Covers…I’m probably still in a couple old videos somewhere)

Looking back at the life spans of various empires and civilizations we seem to be repeating history in the unraveling of our society. It’s one thing to pull on loose threads and expose flaws in each other and our systems but quite another to bring a scissor to the party and start snipping away.

We lie (snip), we report one side of the story (snip), we black out a story (snip), we create skewed polls (snip), we report and pass on made up scenarios as fact (snip), we watch our preferred news outlet (snip, snip) and in all this we label our relationship with God as nonessential (who brought the chainsaw to the party?). Enough, you got the picture long before I ended the thought.

How well do you know the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The threads of the gospel are throughout scripture with no loose ends. Now, don’t confuse all those smart people with lots of theology degrees with their ideas of the Gospel and the Gospel itself. People have loose threads, God does not. He wants his threads to be woven into the tapestry of our lives till we become like him. Yes, there will be some or a lot of painful unraveling in our lives for that to happen. Personal revival isn’t pain free. I fear that covid 19 (the disease and the dismantling of lives by shutdown) may look like child’s play for national revival to happen. The God of no loose ends is the ultimate thread puller.

Jesus is the only hope for our society getting better. Revival is not a Christian sound byte. Revival is only found in a person who has met and been radically changed by Jesus Christ. They have love, joy, peace and a host of other new qualities of character with no pretense. They love God and they love people period. They have a hunger to know Jesus more and more. They know what intimacy with their Savior and Lord feels like.

Revival. Yes our nation needs it, but do I need it? Those who have this peace, joy and love are more infectious than covid. Those who have it “practice the presence of Jesus“. Those who have it have experienced and keep experiencing what scripture says “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Could we ever get to one nation under God? And he is before all things, and by him all things are held together. Colossians 1:17

Gary

Garden Hose Readiness

Our trails turned white. It snows on the good and the bad! winter doesn’t care!

It’s still autumn. How dare winter pay a visit so early. It’s a bit like the bank assessing your property a few weeks early before they auction off your farm. It’s 25 degrees Fahrenheit today for a high and the garden hose hooked to the house is now ice (and a hundred other things now under snow). I’m not ready. Foul, I cry. “Ha”, says winter “I’m gonna win”, and it will. Maybe fall will make a comeback but winter will win, then spring, then summer, then autumn will get a turn again, then winter will wreck another garden hose.

Dare you to shake the tree!
Whoops, missed picking some apples.
The ground is still warm enough to melt roadways but the forecast isn’t friendly
I hear the raspberry’s cry “it’s still Autumn…Bad winter. Bad!”

I can almost hear Jesus saying “ready or not, here I come” Then it will be the season of the Lord’s final victory. It makes me wonder how many of life’s garden hoses (trivial and the urgent overshadowing the important) are still keeping me too busy. How many apples (neighbors) are neglected and lonely? How warm is my heart under this rough exterior to melt the cold storms of life?

I know, I know. I’m all over the place on symbolism and illustration but so was (is) the snow!! Sadly, I have a lot of putting away of our things to prepare for the oncoming snows and really cold weather. I know of two neighbors that are not able to put up firewood for the winter. I should be in shape here so I can be fruitful there. That is the real lesson I should be learning here. The need is real and very large out there and God’s issue with my un-readiness is way beyond the scope of a garden hose

Gary

Bad Investment

Life’s stakes are high. Daryl Maddens Poem hits it well.

Two voices in your head
Struggle for control
The loud voice of the ego
The whisper of the soul….. Read more here at Daryl’s blog

 It’s so human to buy a lot of ego stock for the short term and hold, sometimes into eternity, as if we can control the dividends

This morning I saw and captured a whole garden in a dew drop. Think what God can make of us when we trust Him

Instead, Invest here:Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6

Think of the solid foundation from which we speak. If you believe and know Jesus, you have been forgiven, made whole, and have been made absolutely perfect (way more than a dew drop) before God. “For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” 2corinthians 5:21

Long Term Thinking: Eternity (see you there?)

Running with the Steers

I got run over by a 800 lb steer this Monday (it’s true). Not as glamorous a story as Grandma and the reindeer but this steer was 5 times as big as any reindeer. I’m quite sure no song will come of it either. I’m OK, thanks for asking. The hooves missed me after a good head butt to knock me down.

Ya, not wise

I had agreed to drive two hours to bring a steer to market for a brother. Just drive the rig, back up the trailer and let the steer out into the chute. Two experienced professionals took it from there. I was an innocent bystander at the end of the closed gate until the big steer with quite an attitude (yes, I distinctly remember smoke coming out his nostrils) charged at one of the attendants, hit the side of the chute and made an opening at the end of the gate (of course). The steer saw the opening, lowered his head and charged through the opening, tossing me forward into a half gainer, akin to a belly flop off the diving board onto the driveway. Then he ran over me.. Thankfully no hooves mashed me. I’m f.f.f.fine.

My body is sore in places where I didn’t even know I had them places. Some odd memories are coming to me that may have been a nano-second long but the telling may take a few minutes longer. One memory was very strange as I was flying through the air and yet the beast was upon me-pushing me down to the ground with it’s chest. The thought racing inside my skull in circles over and over was “I’m never traveling to Pamplona to run with the bulls”.

I’m ashamed. I should have been praying or something. I could have been asking God to watch over my wife and kids after my trampling, but nooo…I’m judging a certain class of risk-takers to be blooming idiots while it’s me landing on my head. Yes, it’s me, landing on my ego and that was trampled.

We have all been there. life’s sunsets mean a new day will come

Some changes have taken place. mostly in my heart and mind. living, dying, accidents or just an odd happening can happen instantly. The last couple of days I’ve been shying away from parts of my morning prayer, mostly where I pray “well Lord, what do you have for me today?” I am very open to praying differently if you have other ideas.

I’ve also tackled a couple of difficult conversations that were overdue. Why wait? What’s the worst that could happen? Okay, I’m not ready to answer that till I gear up (you know…helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit etc)

Gary

(Added this morning): thanks Homer for your prayer idea in the comments section.

For Reasons. Some Unknown

Today, I will pack up the rest of the house to move 5 hours away to a foreign familiar land. The place where I grew up and lived over half of my life. The last couple months of this transition I have taken to heart Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is truewhatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  

I turned off the news, I quit reading several blogs and am terribly behind on many, I pray more and go out of my way to really connect with relational starving people.  I had asked God for some type of sign that I really should move back home and begrudgingly put the house up for sale. 48 hours later it was sold. It’s hard to do 2 out of 3 on that one but I wanted another sign..”God would you go ahead of us and help us to follow?” was our household prayer.

On one of my moving expeditions with a huge trailor, a rainbow double was beside the truck for an hour. I stopped at a side road and took this picture. Iroically, when we had moved with the company I worked for almost 7 years ago, a rainbow was arched over the building I would call my work place. I guess we have had several rainbows (literally) in our decision making life (God to angels” if you want Gary to make up his mind. Put out a rainbow).

roads end rainbow eml

“Ok Lord, you got this..um, why isn’t the road paved??” (God to angels “you should not have had that old road graded…it’s too nice).

I resonated deeply with G.W’s post. It’s very much worth the read. https://collinsgw.com/2020/06/20/amazed-a-haiku/

I suspect life will change a lot as I haven’t seen around the next corner of life. 

Neither have you

Jesus has gone ahead. Lets follow. He summons.

Signiture

I Noticed

I saw it coming out of the wind and rain. A sign. An opening in the clouds appeared.

A ray. Slim, tentative, gathering other rays. to speak through the opening. Speak to me?

Just a word for the dark, rainy, windy, angry day. Just a word for the good, bad, sometimes great, beautiful, gloomy, nearing the end game of life.

Just a word gathering past the finale coming from the sun. Just a word coming from the Son. God cares. He really does you know. When you notice, you can feel it inside. It’s bone deep and heart felt.

HOPE

sunlight through clouds 2eml
Picture taken as the storm seemed to be abating this afternoon by GaryFultz

Big storm, small Rays, big sun (Son)

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed 2Corinthians 4:7-9

 Sometimes we need the storm to notice the Son. May your clouds part, if only for a small a ray of hope. Remember where those rays come from!

Signiture

So Much….Continued

Several people asked me for the music to the lyrics of the last blog (“Story of the song So Much”)so I have posted a YouTube video link here and the words under. Don’t let the strange looking old guy fool you…I’m playing the keys

SO MUCH

  • I remember a time, when I was so close to you

We’d sit and talk for hours upon end

And I remember thinking how you must love me

SO Much

  • I remember all the things we did together

I never went anywhere without you

And I remember thinking how I loved you

So Much

  • I remember when my friends got tired of listening to me

Cause all I ever talked about was you.

And I remember telling you, I love you

So Much

Chorus) But here I am, I’ve drifted away

I’m so sorry I must say, I’ve been living without you.

Here I am, I left long ago, and I’m out on my own

Yet I know that you love me,

So Much

  • Just the other day, I heard a little knock on my door

I said, go away I want to be alone.

I thought I heard a little voice whisper “I Love You

SO Much

Bridge: I listen to the echos in the chambers of my heart

Oh the emptiness that lives in my soul

I see the hollow eyes watching me from the mirror

These eyes need love again…they need you again

Repeat Chorus

End: Oh- I know that you love me

Yes I know that you love me

So Much

Words and music by Gary Fultz