Betwixt and Between

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The cross taken down

Lying empty as my heart

World’s light extinguished

All hope now gone.

Arise!

my soul pleads

As if knowing more than I,

Bathed in nothingness

Left chilled to the bone.

Who am I to beg?

Did I not condemn him there?

Abandoned to die…

Alone.

All

Alone.

 

-jody love

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Love

During a school screening in one of the villages after only a few days in South Sudan, I tried to soothe the children who waited, some a little uncertainly, as they sat upon benches to receive their wellness exams from the medical doctors. I only had so many words with which I could communicate in Juba Arabic, and I had already used most of those to take their arm and height measurements and get them to their seats; so I tried a universal language – song.

I understood that part of the reason for these children’s fears was because medical exams can be scary, even for adults. But these children also were not used to seeing “Khawaaja” – a word that technically means “foreigner” but they use for “white people” (who are recognizably foreign in the region of the very dark-skinned Southern Sudanese people). These children had displayed a realm of emotions about us being there – from open curiosity to unconcealed fear.

While sitting among these children, I began to sing “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” One of the teachers came up to the children with a big smile and assured them, “This is a good song.” In a world that sometimes acts otherwise, it’s one that has always comforted my heart. I wanted it to comfort theirs too.

This field trip into the bush also emphasized to me how very easy it is to love children, even when they do not/cannot always reciprocate that emotion. And that makes me understand how it must be so easy for Jesus to love us – because even when we are rejecting his love, or not reciprocating it, He still sees us as his children. We are precious in his sight.

Can you imagine the world in which we could live if we could all see one another through that same lens? What if we saw everyone through the lens that showed each person as a broken, hurting, fearful, precious child, in need of comfort and reassurance? Would we be so quick to dismiss others from our presence who weren’t like us, in any number of ways?

Amer, asfar, asuwed, abiyad,
We are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

So those are the thoughts that came to my mind when I read the Weekly Photo Challenge on One Love this week. And it caused me to take a little photo editing liberty to make my own “abiyad” as freakishly obvious in this portrait as it may sometimes appear to those little ones, while still portraying the contrasting oneness of a precious shared moment across the world.

Asuwed + Abiyad = One Love

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony

Even though I’ve learned a little Juba Arabic for communication purposes in South Sudan, these little ones don’t speak either that or English. They speak Kakwa. Regardless, that didn’t keep us from our own universal communication –

Living, laughing, and loving harmoniously…

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(Nor did it keep me from learning to mingle the posho!)

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(In response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge on Harmony)

Be a blessing & be blessed!

-jody

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: State of Mind

As I walked through the bush in an unforgiving heat during the end of the dry season in South Sudan this past week, the scorched brush bristled beneath my feet. Yet, I was reminded of how, even in the harshest of environments, beauty will always struggle to come forth and be seen.

Take notice around yourself today and see what hidden beauty can spring forth!

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This photo is in response to the DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge on State of Mind.

Be blessed!

-jody

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Life Imitates Art

Clandestine garden meetings among young lovers has long been the stuff of which art is made – whether in an historical romance, or a drawing or painting throughout various periods in history.

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Garden Gate etching found advertised on ebay

My Weekly Photo Challenge response is meant to capture that same enchanted spirit – perhaps not so covert, but with double the fun.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Time

Speaking of time…I’m about to run out of it on this challenge (that was posted last Friday).

My submission for this Weekly Photo Challenge is the Tower of David at the wall of Old Jerusalem. I took this photo a few years ago on a friend’s old borrowed digital camera. I was walking quickly in the rain under my hood around the outer wall (you can see the raindrops refracted in the light in the photo) when I looked up and realized how welcoming the warm yellow light appeared cast against the natural stone and its twilight setting. I couldn’t help but wonder how this same setting would’ve looked centuries ago, with dancing flames providing that same evening light.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Optimism

In the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge, we were challenged to reflect on Optimism.
Specifically, “How do you fuel the fires of optimism?”

The other night, as the winter day seemed particularly short and dreary, I climbed atop my bicycle in the warm indoors, attached to a trainer that allows me to travel no further than my imagination can take me this time of year. About 35 minutes into my ride, my brain became more complacent than my legs. I reached over to grab my iPhone, switched from the MapMyRide app that was faithfully ticking away with nothing more than time, likely anxious as to why it wasn’t being allowed to log a more interesting route of progress. After thumbing myself into boredom with a few other apps, I noticed a new email had popped up a few hours earlier in my special email account – the one that has, as of late, been reserved for receiving polite rejection letters on my finished novel, Rolling River. (Granted, I’m convinced there’s a steeper learning curve to writing query letters than the actual book, itself. Yet, I’m also determined to woman-up and keep at it for the sake of all my wonderful friends who continually encourage me to persist.)

Lo and behold, I had something completely unexpected and earth-shattering happen! I opened an email response to my query that began with, “Sounds intriguing!  Please send the full manuscript + synopsis as attachments to my direct email.  I look forward to reading your material.” By the second reading (the one where I realized this wasn’t just an encouraging “this isn’t quite right for me, but best wishes” response), I nearly toppled off my trainer! Seriously. I forgot I was clipped in, as I tried to climb off to greedily gobble up those delicious words again.

Let’s be clear. I understand that, as of this moment, this doesn’t mean my book will be published. But this event is still magnanimous, as I won’t ever forget the literary agent who gave me that gift of optimism. (I may surely share her name at some point in the future, but I won’t put that pressure on her today.) She will always be my first non-rejection hopeful response – the person (beyond those who already loved me) to say that my project had enough value to earn her attention. It was a mountain-top experience, to be certain!

And I surely yearn for mountain-top experiences. Admittedly, I’ve had some colder-weather ones lately; but this photo from Grandfather Mountain this past July (in near 100-degree heat) best brings the appropriate words to mind when it comes to climbing on toward your challenge:

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So how have your fires of optimism been fueled lately?

Extraordinary Sunrise: Fire on the Mountain

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “(Extra)ordinary.”

I’ll admit it. When I step out onto my front porch each morning, I have a beautiful view. It’s the main amenity that drew me to this home. And I know when I look to my right each and every early morning, I’m going to see the sun crest over the dip in the foothills in some form or another. In that respect, it’s an ordinary, daily event in my life.

Yet some glorious mornings, Mr. Sun wishes to attract my undivided attention more intensely than others. On this particular morning, I have to say, his show was stop-in-my-tracks spectacular. He truly dazzled me.

Fire on the Mountain

Fire on the Mountain

What extraordinary thing (or person) managed to catch your eye today that (who) you might otherwise have missed?

The New Personalization of Depersonalization

As a young healthcare professional of a couple of decades ago, one of the earliest lessons given to me in the clinical setting was to never depersonalize my patient. Rather than “the possible ankle fracture in Waiting area 2,” I was to reference “Mr. Jones, who will be receiving an x-ray of his ankle.” Someone would’ve escorted Mr. Jones (likely by wheelchair) to my department’s waiting area, where he would be – you guessed it – waiting for me to come out, call him by full name for identification purposes, introduce myself as I addressed Mr. Jones by his formal name (which would likely make him uncomfortable because he wasn’t used to being addressed as Mr. Jones), and then I would wheel him back to the room as we chit-chatted about anything from pets to pet-peeves (his, not mine, mind you).

Fast forward to today.

I took my son for a CT scan this afternoon. (CT is short for ‘x-ray on steroids’). He was called by his name only once – at registration in the confines of a corner-concealed cubicle – and it was by last name first (apparently to confuse anyone else in the vicinity who was in excruciating pain but might otherwise wish to eavesdrop and be in need of an additional x-ray for a broken HIPAA regulation). As we were directed from the open, airy, sun-filled waiting room toward the dank, dark recesses of radiology, I began to wonder if my son had been transformed into “he who must not be named.” (By ‘directed,’ I mean we were told to go to radiology, followed by some vague instructions that didn’t work the first time – probably because the director wasn’t sure if he could speak the name of the floor or department aloud, lest a HIPAA dementor be floating by to suck the life out of him. Wait. Too late.)


Arriving at the Radiology desk, my son’s papers were quickly snatched from his hand, where he was instructed that he would no longer be referred to by his name there. Rather, he was handed a number, as apparently had been every other person in the bat cave.

Forgive the blurriness - but I took this with my secret i-sphy-phone when I thought no one was looking.

Forgive the blurriness – but I took this with my secret i-spy-phone when I thought no one was looking.

I wasn’t sure if I was even allowed to glance around the room. I mean, were I to recognize someone, how appropriate would it be to say, “Well, hello there, Double-Oh-Seven. Why, I haven’t seen you around since you stole a kiss from me in that coat closet while we were still in single digits. You know, back when we all still called you Jimmy. Me? You want my number? Oh, you mean that number. No, I don’t have one of those little slips like….” I figured secret service agents might rush in and pull me out about then. So I kept my eyes to the floor – or to my iPhone. Close enough. Doesn’t HIPAA realize that’s why no one would’ve noticed anyone in there anyway? Unless someone was bold enough to check in on Facebook, I guess.

I digress.

My point to this story, you ask? Take a look at the nomenclature assigned to this number:  “Your Personal Number.” Good thing it was personal, meaning, I guess, that my son didn’t have to share it with anyone else. Can you imagine another 233 standing when his personal number was called? How embarrassing to be the wrong Number 233 – especially if you replied for the Barium Enema when you were there for the CT of your ribs. Even Mr. Jones might not have gotten that kind of guarantee.

Woe be it to the patient who loses that slip of paper and forgets the secret code number though. If you thought SOB was an offensive diagnosis, see how you feel about being SOL.

HIPAA-crits.

So why can’t you choose your number to help your memory along? Couldn’t a trucker be 10-4? A smart cop would insist on 10-43. Of course, Usain Bolt would always insist on being number 1. Marilyn Manson would probably ask for 666 every single time he came for his annual colonoscopy. (I guess his day would really be ruined if the anti-Christ showed up first.) And what about the prima donna who wants to be seen before everyone else, so she opts for a high-pitched 911? OK, I see the problem with my twist on this idea now. Best to keep us all as generic as Mr. Jones.

A century of nonsensical reflections later…

I’m wondering if my son is going to return to me with some secret identity. Didn’t Spidey have some radiation-related incident? If he comes out, powers up his Droid (that I’m sure he’ll be Jones-ing for), and wastes no time jumping on the Web, I’ll know to be logarithmically suspicious.