Both Landlord and Tenant

snail1

 

The frugal snail, with forecast of repose,    
Carries his house with him where’er he goes;    
Peeps out,—and if there comes a shower of rain,    
Retreats to his small domicile again.    
Touch but a tip of him, a horn, – ’tis well, –           
He curls up in his sanctuary shell.    
He’s his own landlord, his own tenant; stay    
Long as he will, he dreads no Quarter Day.    
Himself he boards and lodges; both invites    
And feasts himself; sleeps with himself o’ nights.        
He spares the upholsterer trouble to procure    
Chattels; himself is his own furniture,    
And his sole riches. Wheresoe’er he roam, –   
Knock when you will, – he ’s sure to be at home.
~Charles Lamb  — “The Housekeeper”

 

snail2

 

I like to think of myself as carefully self-contained and safe from whatever threatens  – not dependent on others, able to bear my own burdens, completely sufficient unto today.

The reality is far different.  As sturdy and solid as I may seem on the outside, I’m nothing but soft and a bit mushy on the inside. And I have a tendency to retreat and hide inside my shell when the going gets rough.

Yet even shells can and will be broken.  I know it’s my home only for a little while.
So knock when you will:  I’ll be here.

 

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.  Hebrews 13:14

 

snailshell

 

 

broken

Snail’s Eye

snail2

…who still has a controlled sense of wonder before the universal mystery,
whether it hides in a snail’s eye
or within the light that impinges on that delicate organ.
~Loren Eiseley

snail1

“James gave the huffle of a snail in danger. And nobody heard him at all.”
~A.A.Milne  “When We Were Very Young”

snailshell

A gastropod brave enough
to cross a busy sidewalk
appears in no particular rush~

no hurry toward the grassy expanse
on the other side.
The lawn will still be there
whether an hour from now
or tomorrow.

Its waving little snail eyes
see and smell the future.

To assure it would not be crushed underfoot
I decide to intervene in history
and give it a lift
as Someone did for me
when I felt irrevocably broken.

So today I came,
I saw a snail in danger
and barely heard its huffle.
I didn’t need to hear it cry
to do the right thing.

 

broken

The Twinges of this World

sunflower8162

sunflower

butterflygarden5

Under a canopy of leaves,
the irises, bountiful,
the calico butterfly flashing

and this one golden head
of a dazzling sunflower grasping
its cowled neck,

outweighing its stalk

in order to turn,
full bonneted,
to the absolute light.

What wonders these are:
things struggling
filament by filament,

birds twittering in a laughter
that could be weeping,
barely feeling the twinges of this world,

where the weak get stronger
or snailish with cracks

a day at a time.
~Judith Harris “Recovery”

webleash

sunflower816

“Be patient and without bitterness, and realize that the least we can do is to make coming into existence no more difficult for Him than the earth does for spring when it wants to come.”
Rainier Marie Rilke

We feel the twinges of struggling to live broken in difficult times; indeed all our days are difficult times. We won’t get out of this predicament alive.

Whether we care or not about what happens next does not alter the fact Christ dwells with us; our heavy heads bow, turning to the absolute light. The coming of spring will not be stopped by a slumbering disinterested earth.

Like Mary, we must say:  “Let it be”, not “no, not me, not now.”

We are transformed, simply by accepting He has come on our behalf:
an oh so difficult faith that connects us like a filament to heaven,
like a shoot breaking through the crust of frozen earth to reach the sun in order to bloom,
like the butterfly emerging from its cracked chrysalis to try its wings,
like the snail shell abandoned because we will no longer fit inside its broken walls.

snail2

broken

 

A Snail’s Huffle

snail2

…who has a controlled sense of wonder before the universal mystery,
whether it hides in a snail’s eye
or within the light that impinges on that delicate organ.
~Loren Eiseley

 

A gastropod brave enough
to cross a busy sidewalk
appeared in no particular rush,
no hurry toward the grassy expanse
on the other side.

The lawn will still be there
whether an hour from now
or tomorrow.
Its waving little snail eyes
see and smell the universal mystery
of the future.

To assure it will not be crushed underfoot
I decided to intervene in history
and gave it a lift
as Someone did for me.

I came, I saw a snail in danger
and barely heard it huffle.
I didn’t need to hear it~
I only needed to see
to do the right thing.

“James gave the huffle of a snail in danger. And nobody heard him at all.”
~A.A.Milne  “When We Were Very Young”

 

snail1

Broken Things

broken

God uses broken things.
It takes broken soil to produce a crop,
broken clouds to give rain,
broken grain to give bread,
broken bread to give strength.
It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume.
~Vance Havner

 

And I might add:
a snail wandering into sidewalk foot traffic,
crushed, cracked and dying, clinging to the pavement,
its broken shell a gift of metaphor
of our own leaking brokenness.

A Snail’s Eye

snail1

 

…who still has a controlled sense of wonder before the universal mystery,
whether it hides in a snail’s eye
or within the light that impinges on that delicate organ.
~Loren Eiseley

A gastropod brave enough
to cross a busy sidewalk
appears in no particular rush,
no hurry toward the grassy expanse
on the other side.
The lawn will still be there
whether an hour from now
or tomorrow.
Its waving little snail eyes
see and smell the future.
To assure it will not be crushed underfoot
I decide to intervene in history
and give it a lift
as Someone did for me.

I came, I saw a snail in danger
and barely heard it huffle.
I didn’t need to hear
to do the right thing.

“James gave the huffle of a snail in danger. And nobody heard him at all.”
~A.A.Milne  “When We Were Very Young”

snail2