Brad and Beth sent me “One Thousand Gifts,” and in their quiet Aussie way suggested I might like it.
It added a gentle half-inch to the pile of unread books by my recliner in the library.
Months later, Deborah wrote with simple Prophet frankness, telling me I needed to read it.
It added a very unwelcome bulging half inch to my computer bag on the next flight.
It was a long flight. There were the ever multiplying e-mails clamoring for a response, each representing a life, replete with shame and dignity, hopes and fears, joy and grief, seeking to find some seeds of life from my journey that might fit theirs.
I left your lives waiting while I dutifully dipped into the book, conflicted. It felt like a duty, but I complied with minimal expectancy.
Quickly I felt the low-grade shame fade away. I had felt guilty for not reading it sooner, then saw how the Master Craftsman had been meticulously preparing me to be able to engage with this message a different way than I would have six months ago.
It isn’t always about my mess ups.
I savored her artistry. A palette of 26 primary colors became a Prophet’s majestic adventure with ten thousand bold and subtle hues and shades.
As a diligent apprentice I sat appreciatively at the feet of a master feeling my own gifting unfold another petal under the bright light of her finely honed dominance of the art form.
Her topic is worthy of the medium.
God. Man. Life.
Who has the responsibility to infuse the chess game of life with the fragrance of God in the midst of the competition and carnage of a zero sum game?
“The liar defiantly scrawls his graffiti across God’s glory, and I heave to enjoy God . . . Satan strangles, and I whiten knuckles to grasp real Truth and fix that beast to the floor.”
“Twice I had stood in the same pew as John had, at the funerals of both his sons, and I turned and had seen for myself , how John stood with the congregation and sang it clear, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Twice John sang his lifelong favorite verse before the coffins of his sons. I can still see him brave through each line sung, the tears of faith streaming down his cheeks into his smile.
“My throat had swelled raw in this sad awe, and I had turned away, drowned in grief waters all my own.”
I marveled at the depth of a life lived with the rawness of “sad awe.”
And the kid who was legendary for staying up until 3:00 to finish every book begun, read two more pages of this one and stopped to ponder again.
Copyright November 2011, by Arthur Burk
Eastbound over the Pacific, in a really old bucket of bolts