patience

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This poem brought to you by spending a day in our modern air transit system.
by Jeff Rainwater, 31 March 2017, Denver International Airport

A
fragile
resource
doomed ever
to encounter
inexhaustible
demand.
Wait
for
it…

the strongest

For my dad, Carrol Rainwater. This past January he turned 80 years old. Today, I turned 47. He is still my hero and role model. Thank you, Dad, for everything!

By Jeff Rainwater, 25 March 2017, Cheyenne, WY

When I was young
I believed my dad
was the strongest man
I ever knew.
The arms that would
lift me up
from every fall
surely could also
move mountains
and thoughtful words
guiding a son
into adulthood
must have power to
shape the world.

Yet Old Age is
a demanding
companion.
Wisdom exacts a
high price for
its company…
might and speed
and sometimes
even memory.
His once strong back
now bowed.
A body shaped
by his love and
Mom’s wheelchair.

Yet the Gatekeeper
Time has not
taken everything.
His best endures!
Determination undiminished.
Integrity unblemished.
Devotion to beloved and child
burning brightly
as a morning star.
When I was young
I believed my dad
was the strongest man
I ever knew.

I still do.

Photo by Feldore McHugh (https://www.flickr.com/photos/feldore/4854163335)

shoreline behind you

by Jeff Rainwater, 12 March 2017, Cheyenne, WY

Only when we leave behind
the shorelines we know by heart
can we ever sail over deep waters.
Life’s wisdom the soul craves
rarely is found in the shallows.
Will you dare to let the night sky
be your guide and leviathan
your companion courageous
traveller?

the deep

Sally sells sea shells
by the seashore.
Yet more beautiful
they would remain
half buried in the sand
than in my pocket.
The lesson here:
Never wander far
from your ocean.
The world is large
and wild and waiting
to be explored
but you know
where the waters
reside which brighten
and sustain your soul.
Where is the Deep
calling you?

Image from Honeyhype.

On Steve Jobs, Providence and the Need To Trust

Yesterday we learned that Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple.  It’s almost as if he has died.  There are praises this morning on the internet worthy of obituaries.  Twitter is abuzz with grief.  I wonder what Steve Jobs has to think about this reaction.  Perhaps touched by the outpouring of those who admire and respect him.  Maybe a little annoyed that everyone thinks he is “done.”  Being an Apple addict myself, I very much hope neither he nor Apple are done, but it’s still not a bad thing to reflect on a remarkable life and some lessons to be learned.

This morning I ran across Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement address at Stanford University.  A wonderful speech with some wonderful theology.  Here is the link to hear it  directly (www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc).  In his address, Steve shares three stories of his life.  In the first, Steve describes how dropping out of college and dropping into a calligraphy course changed his destiny and maybe even the destiny of computers today.  Then he says…

 “It was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very clear looking backwards 10 years later.  Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust in something.. your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever… because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference.”

I instantly thought of the story of Joseph and the understanding of Providence.  Joseph, too, had no idea that all the events that were transpiring in his life — dreams, brothers selling him into slavery, Potiphar’s wife seducing him and then accusing him, meeting a baker in prison, all of that — were all each dots that were leading him to a place where he could save his family and even the entire nation of Egypt from a great famine.

One thought: who really connects the dots?  If Steve had no idea that calligraphy class was so important to his future, why did he go?  He says curiosity and the call of his heart.  I aim a little higher.  The amazing way the Bible tells the story of Joseph is that God is so rarely mentioned yet always so very present in the wonderful yet subtle ways Joseph’s life is formed and shaped.

Another thought: What makes the great ones great?   Steve Jobs is one of the great ones and I think it is because he is uniquely gifted by God with vision for what he loves and what he does.  But what he chose to share with those Stanford graduates is not rocket science.  Nor is it beyond the reach of anyone.  “You have to trust in something…”  How much of what has made Steve Jobs into the innovator he is is nothing more than dogged trust in the vision he has for his life’s work.  Might we even say vocation?  Calling?  Faith… unswerving, unwavering, uncompromising faith.

In my college years, I learned a lot about calling.  Some I learned from my campus pastor who was instrumental in helping me see how I was called.  But I learned a lot from her forester husband.  He was very good at what he did.  He told us once, “I was called to be a forester.  It is who I am.”  Faith… unswerving, unwavering, uncompromising.

I hope Steve Jobs all the best in his new position at Apple and his new position in life.  I pray good health for him and that he has many more years to share lessons about design, vision and life with us.  Technology, and life, would be duller without him.