Friday, February 12, 2010

Silence--after 9-11

It was a Wed. night as we sat in silent prayer in our sanctuary. The towers had just fallen in New York City and the Pentagon had been attacked. Wyatt and his family had just arrived at our church and had called this special prayer service as much for his own feelings of fear and loss as for his new congregation.
We were all visually shook and as we prayed fervently for those involved in the this tragedy, for our country and of course for ourselves we sat in lingering silence. In the back someone had come in and sat in a back pew. They had a small child and in the midst of this solemn time this child mumbled and chattered breaking the silence.
Having been in this situation with my own children, I knew how the parent must have felt. Before this parent could possibly consider taking the child out, Wyatt spoke up. I don’t remember now if he spoke in prayer to God or in a statement to us. I don’t remember his exact words but I will never forget what his words meant to me as I sat there in tears filled with emotion.
He made it clear that the sound of this child in this very sanctuary was the purpose and reason for this prayer service. More than that , this interruption in our silence was what freedom, and faith and love and family is all about.
We have recently noticed some breaks in our silence here at Cumberland Baptist. The recent increase in children in our Sunday worship has brought with it a certain amount of chaos and clamor. I will admit I broke down and cried a few Sunday’s ago when so many children came forward for Kevin’s children’s story. It certainly struck a cord in my heart and reminded me of past times when our church was larger. But more than that it reinstated hope that our church was going to survive and be here in the future to continue what we have started.
We can hope for an increase in the number of folk in our pews but with out children to teach and nourish and pass on a faithful legacy to, our church could not possibly dream of a future.
As a grandparent, I cherish the chaos my grandkids bring to my life. It gives new purpose for me as person and I can hardly imagine my life without them.. As a church we need to cherish the children we are so blessed to have in our midst and continue to cultivate our church life to always have a place that makes these children feel at home. Thank God for broken silence!
Stephen Jeffries

Other Self

Two faces stand before the door,
naked and vulnerable.
They plead, first softly than a scream
To be admitted and to admit.
Born into a world
that told me who to be,
Born into a world
that kept me locked inside.
I always felt the shadow,
the warm breath on my neck
invisable but ever present,ever near.
But still I kept him hidden, in the billows of my heart.
So easy to hide,.......... that otherself
,just close my eyes and be what they expect.
But now I know each moment
hidden In the fog
two faces escapes into the night.
Come out ture self, come out and join the journey.
Believe that those who meet you first,
will bring you home to stay.
I love you dear self,
I love you and I will protect.


Mother by Stephen J. Jeffries
She lay eye open,
one eye shut
almost awake......but not quite.
She knew me.
She clutched my hand.....almost tight
but not quite.
She knows it is her time,
and she is ready and not afraid of what is ahead.
She is dying as she lived, with dignity and strength
.......... one step at a time.
I felt her hand, warm soft
so glad to be held
and so glad to be holding.
As she lay there half asleep,........... half awake
....... I fought back my tears
It was all it could do
not to curl up on her bosam
like a newborn carresses his mother.
It was all I could do
not to grab her frail little body up into my arms,
cuddled and cradled
like a father caresses his child.
Each moment,,,,,each second,,,,each word became a monument.
The clock is sweeping my breath away with each toc,
The faith she willed me strength and assurance
that all is well.
I will cry. I will morn.
but today I will celebrate!!!
a woman,
a sister,
a mother,
................a friend.
Jackson's Poem
She called me her "sunshine" as I came into the room,
a little bit of light to fill a day of gloom..
She never failed to grab my hand
or say"I love you so."
I couldn't wait to kiss her cheek
and hug her to and fro.
She called me her "sunshine"
and I know it to be true
cause each time I saw great grandma
her eyes would really glow
Like the sun on summer days
they twinkle and they flash
I hope I filled her heart with light
to hold her to the last.

If I Die Tomarrow for My Mother

If I Die Tomorrow as written for Marie Jeffries by her loving son Stephen
If I to die tomorrow,
I would be happy.
Not happy to die,
but so very happy…
to have lived.
To have loved.
To have been loved.
If I to die tomorrow,
My life would be complete.
Not finished,
No I would never be finished with
and loving
And caring.
I will surly take that task with me to the grave,
And beyond.
If I die tomorrow,
I leave no gold or silver.
My only gift to you is
My strong will
My determination
My unwavering love for God.
And my constant love for my family.
If I die tomorrow
It’s OK to cry,
because I’ll miss you too.
But the day will come to stop crying
So stop crying and get on with life.
When you do stop crying
I won’t be far away.
Cause I plan on living in your hearts
As long as you live and breath and laugh.
Oh I’ll be with Jesus
But the Jesus I believe in also
lives in your heart.
If I die tomorrow
I’ll be somewhere between your heart and the golden streets of heaven…
The ultimate commute .
If I die tomorrow..
Don’t be afraid to look for me
If you don’t feel me in your heart….
Look for me in the faces of my grandchildren
Or in the ocean breeze
Or in the church
Or in the melody of that song you’re humming.
Find your own place to look
Cause chances are if you are there
I’ll be there also.
If I die tomorrow……..
I love you.
I love You
I love you.


Hope S Jeffries
I saw a tear roll down God's cheek today
as safe in her father's arms a child did lay.
Pushing and stretching to hold on to dear life,
we share her plight, each day each dark night.
When one falls victum to life's mundane tragadies
we all feel the pain of what our lot could be.
Hold up your brothers, your sisters in love
screams to be the message from God above.
Our stories are the same, we all have the chance.
Give reason to hope, give reason to dance.
A nurse's soft touch, a doctor's sheer smile
gives reason to hope,if for just a little while.
Give reason to hope, give reason to dance.
We all hold the power to heal in our hands.
Death can not conquer, it can not kill
The hope that is present ,in hearts that fill.


Through the misty pain of tears,
I call his name. God oh God.
You fill my heart, you overflow in to my very being
Just being. I’m filled with your warmth
Flowing into my breast, I know you are there,
I feel, I feel you , in my choked up throat
In the depths of my stomach.
I am engulfted in the sunlite of your loving heart.
In the breeze of this day, I can faintly smell the
sweat and persperasion on your brow.
Holding up the weighted past and future generations
only to be ignored or forgotton in the midst of
life and turmoil can only bend your arms low.
But you stand tall, like a beacon on a cold dark night.
You stand firm like the mountains lifting me up and shielding
me from the winds of life.
You blow through our lives like a wind, lifiting us above.
God,the creator, creating love in a loveless world
Asking only that we guard and guide His creation
for now and for eternity.
God you are like my mother, creating life and soul from within
your very being.
I call you father, oh father because that is where life has led me.
Whatever name I call you, whatever picture I paint of you in
my minds eye, is worth nothing unless I allow you live within
my soul.
The pain I feel, is your pain, The love I yearn for is your love
The spirit I treasure is your spirit
God oh God,
God oh god
God oh God.

Christmas 1970 Viet Nam

Christmas in Viet Nam 1970
Thirty Nine Christmas's ago, I woke up like many other Christmas mornings to a bright sunlite day. The sky seemed especially blue today and the sun especially bright. I knew I did not need to put on my winter clothes and that there was not a single chance of hoping for a "white Christmas". No, for me the reality of the day was that it was just another work day on the calender and any idea of a Hallmark Christmas was not a possiblity.
But even though this day was much the same as any day I had spent at Phu Cat Air Base in the Republic of Viet Nam, I felt differant. I felt differant from my smile all the way down to my belly. The feelings in the belly could have been the stale fudge I had snuck a bite of on Christmas Eve. Even though the world around me said business as usual, in my heart I felt that today was a very special day.
My job in the Air Force was administrative assistant to the squadron commander. I processed new people in and out of our squadron and prepared their awards and commendations. I was in charge of a room full of M-16 rifles and in the event they were required would be the one to distribute them to my fellow airman.
Christmas in Viet Nam, as well as any holiday for that matter, was always threatened with a motar or air attach. It seemed the enemy knew these were special American days and chose those days to sture things up. This day was no differant but I could not put a damper on how I felt inside.
I grew up with a pretty tradtional idea of what Christmas was to be like. I had a alluminum tree in my office but no tree in my room. I had received a care package of goodies from home. Usually when any food arrived it was tossed and thrown so much it was mostly crumbs. I will always remember the birthday cake Joyce tried to send to me. It gave new meaning to upside down cake. Joyce and mom had wraped up soap and fudge and I can not remember what else, but I saved them to open symbolically as my Christmas.
I spent the day looking forward to going to the Christmas night chapel service. Without the strong chapel program that we were blessed with the year I spent in Viet Nam would have been totally unbearable. But as it was I have many cherished memories of people and moments sitting in the A framed chapel celebrating God's love.
When the time finally came, a peace came over me and filled me with joy. Sitting in that pew, singing familar Christmas songs listening to the chaplins sermon became my moment of "Christmas" I knew than that I would never look at Christmas the same again. I knew that Christmas was not a time or a day or a place but something that arrives in your heart. It is a feeling, a joy, a moment of truth and clarity. We as indivdules and as a nation and probalby as a world put so much pressure on one solitary day, a solitary moment. We decorate, we cook, we shop, we party in a journey to a single moment in our lives. One little snag or family issue or even unexpected tradgedy can make that one single moment explode into a lifetime of pain. Christmas is about being reborn and new and full of God's love, as the baby Christ must have been on that first Christmas. But the baby Jesus must grow up and so must we. The moment of Christmas must fill our hearts on the day after Christmas as well as each moment in our lives. A former pastor called us The Christmas People. If we can become the people of Christmas, our lives would be complete and the purpose of Christmas would be fulfilled.
I will always remember that Christmas in Viet Nam not so much for what it was but for what it showed me about myself and the meaning of Christmas.


ByStephen J. Jeffries

Like a tiny seed,
gently pressed beneath the rich black earth,
we lie patiently waiting for the chance to touch the sunlight;
waiting to be the beautiful child of God's imagination.
Seeping silently into each pour and fibur of our soul,
you touch us , gently at first,
like a father carresses his babies brow,
than tighter to reassure our worth and
force our bud to sprout into the sky,
reaching for our potiential
reaching above the relm of possibilities.
We are born into beauty .
But beauty ceases to exist without
the eye's reflection proclaiming to our soul
"you are beautiful"
The rules of beauty only help to
color and coat that reflection
causing us to soon forget our worth,
soon blossoms fall and wither to the ground,
forgetting what it meant to be loved and to love.
Recall our everchanging beauty, proclaim it!
Declare it with word and deed ! So that we
may continue to sprout and blossom toward
the sacred sunlite and someday reach the heart of God.

A Bushel and a Peck and a Hug around the Neck

I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck .
Written for Khloe to her Great Grandma Marie
That …was the claim she made as I said good by to the
old lady in the wheel chair. Each time she struggled
to awkwardly hold me tight to her chest and kiss me
on the forhead, I could only guess how much love was
in a bushel and a peck. I knew she was special. I
knew she made me feel special. I didn’t know really
who she was. They called her mom and grandma and
great grandmother. I just knew she was the old
woman in the wheel chair.
Someday I hope I remember her. Someday I hope I
will know how much love is in a bushel and a peck. I
want to know why she loved me. I want to know why
she loved me so I can learn to love that much. I want
to know why she loved me so I can completely love
myself . I want to know why she loved me so I can
learn to love even more than a bushel and a peck and a
hug around the neck. I just hope I don’t have to wait
until I am “the old woman in the wheel chair“.

The great grand daughter