Tag Archives: variety

A Poem of Praise

JuJoJan 14 January 2022.

The word for today is “freckled.” I thought of writing about my family, most of whom are freckled, but instead, a poem came to mind from my school days.

Pied Beauty 

BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS

Glory be to God for dappled things –
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                Praise him.

Source: Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985)

Gerard Manly Hopkins (1844 -1889) suffered from a depressive disorder which today might be labelled bipolar disorder or chronic unipolar depression. Yet he was able to write such a positive poem of praise to God. He could see the beauty in creation from a unique angle.

I thought about this today as we walked home from the caravan place where our motor-home was being sealed. God is a God of variety. He does not make identical or standard anything. We are all unique and He deals with each of us in a unique way. Sometimes the very inclusion of opposites adds depth to His creation.

St Paul understood the essence of this. He wrote,”

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NIV)

… and “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10b NIV)

When I got home, I noticed my petunias. Magnificent in their stripiness!

My Prayer

Father, I notice contradictions in myself. Please give me the grace to accept myself, contradictions and all, the way You accept me. Amen.

Box of Chocolates

JusJoJan 10 January 2022

This post is part of JusJoJan. The word for today is “chocolate.” So here goes.

Image by Pixabay

The thing that makes a box of chocolates special compared to a slab of chocolate is the variety and the surprise. Not everybody likes every chocolate in a mixed box. If I come across a coconut or a Turkish delight chocolate, I quickly look for somebody to hand it on to. Nevertheless, a box of chocolates to me is a symbol of abundance. (Did I mention I was a chocoholic?)

Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]” (John 10:10b Amplified Bible.)

Life is a gift. It consists of years, months, weeks, days. So, each day is a gift. Imagine the excitement we would feel if we regarded each day as a chocolate from a big box. Suppose we woke up each morning and there, on our bedside table, was an unlabeled chocolate wrapped in gold foil. Depending on our character, we’d unwrap it slowly and carefully or quickly with excitement. Then we’d bite into it and savour all the goodness of our gift.

Then we’d be able to say, with the Psalmist, “This is the day that the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 NIV)

My Prayer

Father God, may I not take my days for granted but recognise that each one is a special gift from You.

Zonkeys

We’ve just returned from a midweek break at Dube Private Game Lodge with the grandkids.

On the property, just outside the campsite, they keep a couple of donkeys. When the kids saw them, they noticed the strange stripes the animals had.

We decided they were a cross between zebras and donkeys and dubbed them “Zonkeys.”

Inspired by the unexpected Christmas Tea that the owners put on for all us campers, we began to feel that Christmas was really coming soon.

rpt

One evening, while drying and brushing the youngest’s long hair, I tried to distract her by making up a song to the tune of Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer. The kids joined in and this is our final copy.

I began to think about why we discriminate against people who are somehow different:- the deaf child, the boy with thick glasses, the dwarf, people in wheelchairs, people of other nationalities or cultures. What on earth makes us think we were all meant to be the same, (basically the same as us,) as if God made some kind of mistake when He created people with differences. This is a subject close to my heart and the main theme of my children’s book, The Saddest Little Sugar Bowl in the World.

Nelson Mandela coined the phrase The Rainbow Nation to describe South Africa. Every artist knows what happens if one takes all the colours and mixes them. The result is an uninteresting smudgy brown. A rainbow would have no beauty if each colour did not retain its individuality. Sure, there is some merging, like the green made in the transition between blue and yellow and the orange created between yellow and red.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

God created everything. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Gen 1:31 NIV)

As a bumper-sticker reads, “God made me and He don’t make no junk!” Let us never look down on any person made in God’s image just because they are different. Let us never be the villains who “used to laugh and call him names.”