Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Car-Cleaning Angel

I've gotta admit I tensed up a bit when I saw him walking toward me. I don't live in the best neighborhood, and I feel kind of vulnerable with my car running, my door unlocked and nothing but a snow brush in my hand.

"How you like this snow?" he asks, watching me swipe my brush over the trunk of the car.
"It's pretty," I say, smiling a little, telling myself no need to worry.
"Now this is how you do it," he informs me, spreading his arms across the roof of my car, using his body to sideswipe my windows and doors.
"Wow, thanks!" I'm laughing now at this guy I don't even know getting himself completely covered in snow for me.
"Hey, look," he ribs me, "I'm all done and you're still working on your side." He's got snow all down his coat, down the front of his shirt where his coat hangs open.
"Thanks," I say again, speechless but smiling. He waves good-naturedly and wanders off toward the local liquor store.

Sometimes God tells me He loves me in funny ways. Like sending a car-cleaning angel my way.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

You Are Too

He was standing by the inner library door when I came in, a funny mixture of boyish eagerness and innocence on his adult face. “Go ahead, young lady,” he said, pulling the inner door open for me.

“Oh, just a minute,” I answered, dumping my returns in the dropbox, happy from the autumn wind outside and my walk downtown.

“Thanks,” I said, taking his gift of an open door with airy confidence.

“You’re beautiful,” he mumbled pleasantly as I passed, and for a minute, my knee-jerk reaction kicked in, and I brushed on by, not willing to meet his eye, seeking the inner sanctuary of the library and the anonymity of hidden rows. My creep sensors were on red-alert and flight was the key option.

I made my decision in about a millisecond, and a millisecond later I regretted it. He’s not a creep, my heart said. He’s a man whose simplicity lacks a filter. I had been beautiful, I thought, for a little while—the day had made me so and bright thoughts running up toward God and back from Him had made me so—but in that one millisecond I felt suddenly ugly.

What if I had looked that man in the eye, smiled, and received his gift? What if I had let him beautify me by his blessing, as God’s wind and colors had also gifted me with beauty this day? What if I finally understood that my beauty (such as it is!) is not a gift for me to enjoy, but for those around me? What if I had said, “You are too,” and returned the blessing on his head?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Canoe Song


Here on this water I collide with You.
I am clumsy and small.

I blink
And the world turns upside down:
Your deep water grips the prow of my boat.
Your wide sky pries my heart large.
Your thick clouds twist under like a rope.

You are here and something is happening.

The cellos are tuning, and
I am a child crept into the orchestra pit.
The trumpets are mighty!
The tympani rumbles its part!
Soon, the world will begin.

I am a child at the adult table.
They are speaking riddles and mysteries;
Words fly high around my ears,
Wisdom willy-nilly flashing here and there like lightening.

I have come upon You at work.
I am a spectator.
I hope I will not be asked to leave.


Now I hear You.
Down You come to me, down, down, wet drops down.
You are sending me Your song.

All my senses are flashing
Bright thoughts from You to me to You again!
You are making the air dance!
You have welcomed me in.
You have told me my secret name.
We are laughing together, You and I.
You are making me as tall as the sky!

I am not a child now, I am a friend!
I am a lover well-beloved!
I am a strong tree, well-tended, deeply loved.
My roots push deep, push deep, deep down.
I am crazy rich!
I am more beautiful than anyone!
I wear a crown, and my shoulders arch back.

I push deep, paint the water on the left, on the right.
I push deep, deep. Left-left. Right-right.
We are painting the water together.
I am steady and strong.


There are ducks on the water, ducks and geese.
Every feather fine, wings wide, necks arched.
There’s a white swan on the water, proud and royal.

We are two crowned beings, you and I, white swan.
Bend your proud neck down to see
How well-beloved my Well-beloved has made me.
Flash wide your white wings—once.

I dip deep, push deep, smooth sail by.

I am on my way, white swan.
I am on my way to where
God is wringing out the clouds.

There is no laughter like the laughter of God,
When you are caught deep, deep in His delight.
I am terrified by the beauty of God!
I am lured by His oboe melody,
Luring the wind through the trees,
Alluring my heart.
His love song is so inexorably sweet.

He is making the air dance!
He is making the water sing for me!

©2013 Deborah King

Read more poetry here

Sunday, May 12, 2013


They are familiar to me as your hands—
These dog-eared book backs stacked in rickrack lines—
Close-clutched around their edges as we begged
Another chapter read—sometimes you would.
Spring Saturdays your hands would rummage yard-
Sale tables seeking treasure buried between
Half-mildewed covers, or, sometimes you drove
Us to the air-condition aisles where
The books were piled shelves above my head.
Those flash cards (stubborn things!) grew dog-eared too;
You flipped them through so many times I knew
Each crinkle, crease, or stain—though not the answer.
Funny how the words of Aslan stuck
When twelve times two would not. Hot summer days
Your hands taught tomato vines to grow up stakes
And peas on chicken wire trellises—
I pulled up weeds and wished that I could curl
Up in a chair and read. Late autumn nights
Your finger pointed out the Pleiades
Or traced the craters of the moon. I soon
Discovered there were books for these things too—
For winter snowflakes captured on cold slides,
For bluebells springing by the creek in June,
For all the rhythms of my happy heart.
These friends—they stand like cedars in my mind:
Tall worlds of thought and wonder. You—who sowed
The seasons of my childhood—know how
Deep down they push their roots into me now.

©2000 Deborah King

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Color Psalm

You are more colors than my eye can see!

I sing you, but I cannot sing you true—

I sing you dark and dull and drab and gray.

I dance you, but my steps are pale and slow:

I dance you olive green and navy blue.

Give me peacock feet and scarlet song!

You are everything swift and wild and strong—

Everything delightful, merry, and free—

Azure rain and blinding, golden sun.

Oh, everything wise and awful—fill my tongue

Viridian and marigold and ocean,

So when I sing you, you are truly sung;

Then let my feet with laughter overflow,

And I will dance you amethyst and flame.

The midnight heavens rejoice at all you say,

The sea-green waters answer back the same—

Oh, everything brilliant, marvelous, and bright—

Open my eyes so I may see you right!

You were color before color came.

©2012 Deborah King

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Trust Psalm

You must—You must not be my Enemy! 
I will not have You for an enemy.

Bitterness is no excuse for that.

Envy I called Longing; Pride—Desire;

Jealousy was Thirst; and Lust was Fire.

Sometimes the sky seemed short, and heaven flat.

I do not have a good excuse for that.

But You—You must not be my Enemy!

Though You, You mixed the bitter in my cup.

Though out of all proportion seems to me

The bitterness that now I vomit up:

I will not have You for an Enemy.

Befriend me! Let Your good be strong for me!

Let Truth, like manna, break Hunger’s weak defense.

Let Light, like water, turn all Envy dry.

Let Beauty Himself shame Craving into silence.

I do not want You for my Enemy,

My most constant Friend. Let everyone know:

Write Your friendship across the open sky!

Take my hand in Yours, and I will go

Where terrible, beautiful friendship makes me go.

©2012 Deborah King

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Our Inconsolable Secret

“We do not want merely to see beauty …. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. … The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret. … [G]lory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgement, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.”
C.S. Lewis, ‘The Weight of Glory’

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The Only Way to Play

“I don’t play accurately—any one can play accurately—but I play with wonderful expression.”
Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Read more great quotes here.