Sorrow was beautiful, but his beauty was the beauty of the moonlight shining through the leafy branches of the trees in the woods. His gentle light made little pools of silver here and there on the soft green moss of the forest floor. And when he sang, his song was like the low, sweet calls of the nightingale, and in his eyes was the unexpectant gaze of someone who has ceased to look for coming gladness. He could weep in tender sympathy with those who weep, but to rejoice with those who rejoice was unknown to him.
Joy was beautiful, too, but hers was the radiant beauty of a summer morning. Her eyes still held the happy laughter of childhood, and her hair glistened with the sunshine’s kiss. When she sang, her voice soared upward like a skylark’s, and her steps were the march of a conqueror who has never known defeat. She could rejoice with anyone who rejoices, but to weep with those who weep was unknown to her.
Sorrow longingly said, “We can never be united as one.” “No, never,” responded Joy, with eyes misting as she spoke, “for my path lies through the sunlit meadows, the sweetest roses bloom when I arrive, and songbirds await my coming to sing their most joyous melodies.”
“Yes, and my path,” said Sorrow, turning slowly away, “leads through the dark forest, and moonflowers, which open only at night, will fill my hands. Yet, the sweetest of all earthly songs — the love song of the night — will be mine. So farewell, dear Joy, farewell.”
Yet even as Sorrow spoke, he and Joy became aware of someone standing beside them. In spite of the dim light, they sensed a Kingly Presence, and suddenly a great and holy awe overwhelmed them. They then sank to their knees before Him.
“I see Him as the King of Joy,” whispered Sorrow, ” for on His head are many crowns, and the nailprints in His hands and feet are the scars of great victory. And before Him all my sorrow is melting away into deathless love and gladness. I now give myself to Him forever.”
“No, Sorrow,” said Joy softly, “for I see Him as the King of Sorrow, and the crown on His head is a crown of thorns, and the nailprints in His hands and feet are the scars of terrible agony. I also give myself to Him forever, for sorrow with Him must be sweeter than any joy I have ever known.”
Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing – 2 Corinthians : 6 : 10
“Then we are one in Him,” they cried in gladness, “for no one but He could unite Joy and Sorrow.” Therefore they walked hand in hand into the world, to follow Him through storms and sunshine, through winter’s severe cold and warmth of summer’s gladness, and to be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”
Does Sorrow lay his hand upon your shoulders,
And walk with you in silence on life’s way,
While Joy, your bright companion once, grown colder,
Becomes to you more distant day by day?
Run not from the companionship of Sorrow,
He is the messenger of God to thee;
And you will thank Him in His great tomorrow —
For what you do not know now, you will then see;
He is God’s angel, clothed in veils of night,
With whom “we walk by faith” and “not by sight”
2 Corinthians : 5 : 7
δ β θ
δ β θ
Imagine getting the command from your Master, “Go out behind the barn.
Find the dunghill and bring Me back something acceptable, beautiful that
I can put upon My table to enjoy.”
“Oh just great,” you think to yourself as you leave the mansion.
“I’m in for it now!
I’ve seen that grimy old dunghill and beautiful doesn’t even come close
to describing it.”
Rounding the corner of the barn, you almost get knocked over by the smell
as the wind changes and starts blowing in your direction. As you get closer,
your eyes start to water. Trying to breath in short shallow breaths, you get
as close as you dare. There it is. That dreaded dunghill which has been filled
with all sorts of filth from your life. Lust sits festering as does greed, and envy.
Maggots of strife and contention feast happily among the rotting decay of all
things repugnant.Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, you realize
that as this pile rots, it generates an unnatural heat from within which causes
evil gas clouds of despair and hopelessness to bubble up to the surface and
hang in a fog of misery all around the area.
You think to yourself, “Why am I here???
I left this stuff long ago and now here it is again. If I didn’t know better, I’d
say that it has grown since I had last seen it. I can’t make something out of
this junk to put on my Master’s table. All of those who wait upon Him will
laugh me to scorn. The big angels at the door probably wouldn’t even let
me in and for good reason too!”
But trying to be obedient, you grudgingly take up some of the horrible
material and think what you can do to make it fit for the Master’s table.
No amount of perfume could help kill the smell and the stuff crawling
around and in it gives a macabre impression of the entire dunghill
breathing with a life of its own.
So you kneel down and in vain try to shape it and make something useful.
No matter how much perfume you use it only serves to make the whole
ugly mess even worse.
Just then you hear Him behind you. “Child, what are you doing?”
Now the tears start streaming down your cheeks freely as you know that
there is nothing you can do but tell the truth.
“I can’t do it. Nothing I try works. Everything I do only makes it worse…”
Your own sobs cut off what was about to be a long drawn out explanation.
Gently, He tells you, “Put that back.”
So you throw the evil mess you were working with back onto the pile and
just stand there staring at the epitome of sin’s futility. You watch as the
Master takes His mighty hand and using His finger, He creates a God
shaped hole right into the heart of the horrible mess before you. Your own
soul feels what He has done and it takes your breath away.
Turning towards you He holds out His hand and shows you what looks
to be a seed of some sort. With a gentle smile He asks, “May I?”
You are confused.
Not knowing what is about to happen, you reply, “What is that?”
His response sends waves of terror into your heart, “This is My life.
I want to put it into the hole I just created. May I?”
You recoil in fear at the thought of His life going into the worst you
have to offer.
You want to scream ‘No!’ but you don’t dare.
Deep within your heart, you long to have Him do it, but it just doesn’t
seem fair that He should put His best into the worst areas of your life.
But the Master has never made a mistake and you know that even
this can only work out for good.
Half-heartedly, mumbling under your breath you say, “Yes, go ahead…,”
and the tears flow once more.
Gently the Master places His Seed within the God shaped hole His finger
had made. With loving kindness He covers it over and starts to walk away.
Turning back to look at you, He once again commands, “From this dunghill,
bring Me back something acceptable, beautiful that I can put upon My
table to enjoy.” With that He walks away.
For a long, long while you just stand there staring at the horrible mess
before you. Nothing has appeared to change and you feel as though the
Master has left you in the same predicament as when you had first arrived.
But then you see it.
A small bump in the dunghill started slowly rising up to the surface.
Looking closely you are sure that there is something green breaking out
from the very heart of your worst nightmares.
During the rest of the day you watch this little plant grow.
By day, you tend and give it water from the eternal spring of life.
By night, you sleep near it, afraid that something might happen to this
precious little life. It is not a very comfortable rest, trying to sleep on the
ground next to a dunghill, but even though you don’t know what your
Master has done, you are determined to see it through to the end.
For three days and nights you tend and guard this little seedling.
You notice that as the plant gets bigger, the dunghill gets smaller.
It appears that the plant is taking all of the evil smelling corruption and
using it to grow. Then on the morning of the third day, as the sun rises
in the distance, you awaken to see that the tiny plant has now grown
into a sizable young shrub.
But something is happening.
As the sun’s light starts to warm its leaves, you see the most beautiful
blood red roses starting to open up right before your eyes!
Hundreds and hundreds of bright red roses unfold sending out an aroma
that instantly blots out the horrible stench of the dunghill!
You stand staring for a time in total awe at the sight of these beautiful
roses which move in unison to the rhythm of a holy wind.
Each petal is shining and glistening in radiance as the sun rises higher
and higher into the morning sky.
Then you hear His voice in the distance, “My child, I AM waiting…”
The sound of His gentle thunder reminds you of your original task, to get
something from this dunghill that will be both beautiful and acceptable
for His table.
Carefully you pick twelve of the very biggest and best flowers you can
find and arrange them in your hand. Yes there are thorns, but you don’t
even seem to notice them as you look at what the Lord has done.
After walking back to the mansion, you find a vase in the kitchen and
arrange the flowers with silent joy. What at first looked to be impossible
now has become a work of living art.
As you make your way towards the main dining hall, some people stop
to admire the roses you have in your vase.
“My but they are beautiful!” says one well meaning person.
“You sure are one fine gardener!”
Without any hesitation, you humbly reply, “It’s not me, it was all the
You hurry off, not wanting to answer any more questions such as,
“Where did you get them.”
You enter the main hall and set the roses upon the Master’s table.
You want to smile, but you can’t because you know from where
these roses have come.
You silently pray that nobody will ever find out.
Your mission accomplished, you turn to leave, but you see your
Master standing in the doorway.
You swallow hard as you glance back at the arrangement of flowers
you have just left on His table.
Your eyes once again fill with water as you stare at the floor,
unable to look at Him.
You know the truth of where you got the roses. But what is far worse
is that you know that He knows from where you have gotten them!
The thought of the dunghill breaks your heart with shame and remorse.
Gently placing His hand under your chin, He lifts your head, moving
your gaze upward so that you are now looking right into His loving eyes.
The tears stream down your face as your Lord and Master carefully
wipes away each and every one of them.
He smiles and says, “They are beautiful!
Well done, My good and faithful servant. Won’t you join Me for
I would just like to sit and talk a while with you My dear and
♥ ♥ ♥
♣ ♣ ♣
*Author Unknown by all but God*
There once was an oyster
whose story I tell,
Who found that some sand
had got into his shell.
It was only a grain,
but it gave him great pain.
For oysters have feelings
although they’re so plain.
Now, did he berate
the harsh workings of fate
That had brought him
to such a deplorable state?
Did he curse at the government,
cry for election,
And claim that the sea should
have given him protection?
‘No,’ he said to himself
as he lay on a shell,
Since I cannot remove it,
I shall try to improve it.
Now the years have rolled around,
as the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate
And the small grain of sand
that had bothered him so
was a beautiful pearl
all richly aglow.
Now the tale has a moral,
for isn’t it grand
What an oyster can do
with a morsel of sand?
What couldn’t we do
if we’d only begin
With some of the things
that get under our skin.
♥ ♥ ♥
In the seeing eye …
We stand in awe by the colorful splendor of God’s rainbows.
We are spellbound and breathless with the beauty of God’s sunsets
♥ ♥ ♥
In the hearing ear …
We resonate with the majestic crashing waves against the shore.
We lull and soothe to the sweet refrains of the melodious harp
♥ ♥ ♥
With the tasting mouth …
We are satisfied with palatable food; given as a gift from God above.
We are understood from the words put forth in honesty and kindness.
♥ ♥ ♥
In the feeling of the hand …
We feel the textures of the earth and the clear power of water.
We touch with the give and take from the expressions of love.
♥ ♥ ♥
From the smelling of the nose …
We gravitate towards the aroma of succulent food and juicy fruits.
We are intoxicated with the perfumed notes of flowers in a bottle.
♥ ♥ ♥
Do not take these for granted, for our five vital senses are deemed the utmost precious gifts,
for one cannot do without the other.
It should be counted and prized the highest or else if one is handicapped;
it’s deemed as one momentous casualty.
© keziah boey 12th August, 2008
*Life is all about ROWING*
My grandfather was a man who lived a rich life. A shipbuilder by trade,
he was one of 11 children born in rural Nova Scotia. Grandfather was a
quiet man, a deeply religious man and, perhaps most of all, a person of
significant character. Once when I was in high school, my grandfather
invited me to go on a rowing trip with him. He loved the sea and told me
that this particular evening promised a glorious sunset.
“Would you be interested in going on a rowing trip with me to visit a
tiny cove I’m sure you’ve not seen?” he inquired.
Looking outside, wiping the sweat from my teenaged forehead,
I suggested that 95 degrees was not the perfect time for a long rowing
trip and said another time would be better.
“Ah,” he said, “another time is for young men. Let’s do it now.”
With that clarity of perspective, off we went on what would turn out
to be a nonstop row of more than an hour. Given that he was in his
seventies and I a mere fifteen, the rowing naturally fell on my shoulders.
All during our trip to that cove, he was chiding me to go faster else we
miss the promised sunset.
“Chop, chop,” he piped up.
Sweating profusely, I diligently rowed until more than an hour had passed
and we turned a corner beyond a tiny point of land and into the promised
cove. Moments later, the sky burst into an orange-purple blaze.
My grandfather was right, the cove and the sunset were both breathtaking.
The scene is one I will never forget.
We were there, however, for no more than a couple of minutes when my
grandfather said, “Well, let’s head back now.”
Incredulous, I protested. “Granddad, you were right, it is beautiful here.
But look at me, I’m dying – let’s stay for a while.”
“No,” he said, “they’ll have made dinner for us and we’re already late.
We ought to think of others, not just ourselves. Besides, we’ve seen it
and this beautiful sunset will follow us home.”
Hands on the oars, I began the journey back. With each pull I renewed
my complaining: “It was nice, but not worth all that rowing…
This boat is too old and needs new oars… The current’s too strong today…
You’re the big shipbuilder – why don’t you take a turn rowing?”
On and on I went.
My grandfather merely sat quietly, enjoying the sunset.
Finally, after about thirty minutes he gazed at me and quietly said,
“John, put the oars down, would you?”
With the oars in the boat he stared me in the face: “I want to tell you
something today, something I very much hope you will remember.
John, most of life is rowing and if you don’t learn to be good at –
and enjoy – the rowing, you will grow up to be a very unhappy man.
Now put your hands on the wood and take me home.”
I would love to tell you that the scales fell from my eyes in that moment
and my life was lived differently from then until now.
But that would not be true.
At the time, those words seemed like the babblings of an old shipbuilder
about to make his last sail. But thirty years have passed and I know
now what he meant.
Life is mostly rowing.
There are, of course, moments of ecstasy, but most of life is made up of
A walk on the beach,
a glancing view of a beautiful cornfield out an airplane window,
the first time you see your child steal a base,
a conversation where you know your words helped a friend,
lying in a tent by a river with the few people you love most,
the good feeling at the end of a hard day at work when you
know your efforts were not in vain.
It is precisely our ability to be present and enjoy those moments that
makes life worth living. We can spend our entire lives trying to get
from one big sunset to the next and miss a whole lot of great living
Sure those great sunsets are wonderful, but they are the icing, not the cake.
And it is not the big things that determine our success in the many realms
of our life.
Marriages are not built on the big anniversary trip to Hawaii or the special
gift that marks a date. It is in the rowing that marriages are made and broken,
in the daily honoring of life together.
Parents do not raise children well because of the camping trip taken once
each year to provide “quality time.” Rather it is in the rowing moments,
simple exchanges that occur thousands of times over the years that our
children learn the lessons they will need to live a life uncommon.
Leaders do not earn their stripes at the annual meeting when they give
a rousing speech that inspires the masses, but in the daily way their rowing
inspires a sense of pride and respect among those whom they lead.
But how do we begin to get better at the rowing and to appreciate the
simpler pleasures it has to offer?
How do we reclaim the innocence, faith and wonder with which we were
graced when we came into the world?
It seems to me that it begins with realizing that life is not about where we
are going as much as it is about being where we are.
How much of our lives are lived with the future as our focus – saving for
retirement, waiting for the weekend, counting the days until vacation,
looking forward to graduation, the next promotion.
We seem destined to believe life will be better when we finally get there.
When we choose to believe that each moment, however simple, offers
as much to us as the great shining moment of ecstasy, we begin to
experience our lives in a different way.
What part of the rowing must you pay more attention to?
Are you enjoying the moments of your life fully or waiting
for some future sunset when life will be what you desire it to be?
By John Izzo, Ph.D.