If automobiles come with an owner’s manual, surely there must be one for me. No responsible manufacturer would slap a human together without an owner’s manual. Let’s see. Here’s what’s listed in the Quick Reference for my Ford Escape.
Instrument panel/vehicle display … For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. ~ I Corinthians 13:12
Steering … While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” ~ Matthew 17:5
Navigation … Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God, ~ Jeremiah 11:4
Sync with my cellular … But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ~ Matthew 6:6.
Remote Key entry/ AKA “intelligent access” … But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, ~ John 1:12
Windshield Wipers … He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”~ Revelation 21:4
Spare tire and tools … In this life you will have trouble I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” ~ John 16:33
“Comfort settings” … Comfort my people, Israel Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. ~ Isaiah 40:1
Fuel/Refueling/Transmission … God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. ~ Gen 1:29
Temperature/climate control … Do not let the sun set on your anger. ~ Eph 4:26
Lighting/Interior Lights/High Beams … I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, the eyes of your heart so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints. ~ Ephesians 1:17-18
Safety restraints … Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. ~ Psalm 139:7-10
Brakes/ Traction control … I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. ~ Psalm 16:8
Towing/Carrying a load … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:30
Roadside Emergencies … Call to me and I will answer you. ~ Jeremiah 33:3
Vehicle care and maintenance … You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12:30-31
Extended Warranties … Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5
Cruise control … I can’t find this one in the manual. Perhaps the manufacturer intended for me to keep my eyes on the road and my mind alert for break lights ahead, lane closures or construction zones. “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. ~ Matthew 16:24
Ironic, isn’t it, that after a basic driver’s ed course and a few hours behind the wheel, we just step on the gas and learn how to break in order to take the curves without crashing.
What if we read The Manual?
Journalism reports yesterday’s news.
Like the weather,
it needs no re-cap.
No sense keeping that around.
Fiction tells a good story.
Entertaining, but unless
those characters make a home with us,
one and done.
Poetry bears telling and re-telling,
reading and re-reading.
Poems speak newness,
reading into us, as we are new.
The one we are (the me who reads)
is new, with each reading.
holds no sway over today’s me.
Perhaps, a look and see
at how it affected me.
How I landed there. then.
But today lifts off into a new wind,
under new weather conditions.
Today the poem is a completely new flight.
New flight plan, same pilot.
There is no quenching living words,
they continue to speak:
to draw the heart out
to fill the soul up
to still, no activate, no ignite, no…
distill … can’t make up my own mind,
must let it make itself.
These are powerful words that propel me:
to places I’d never go otherwise,
with people I’d never meet otherwise,
that I came to the poem,
and it met me there
but didn’t leave me there,
didn’t leave me at all.
What is a poet
but one who lives a life that speaks?
Your life speaks.
as you write it —
see how it changes you,
as you write
as they read.
Fear hovers like fog.
It gathers, hesitates, stays.
We read what confirms.
See, I am right to be afraid;
I have reason to fear.
Pulling up our covers, to
our hideout, our cocoon, our tent.
if not self imposed,
Punch holes in what frightens you.
Not with fists,
but with learning,
by conversation with a trusted confidante.
Pepper your fears with puncture.
Then, look through them
to what they’ve been hiding:
the life God imagines for you.
Step into it.