Monthly Archives: June 2014

What Profit?

“Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of thyself.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wanted to give a gift to someone. Nothing particularly fancy, but getting it involved a lot of personal effort, and finding something appropriate required a lot of thought. Having selected what I felt would be a good token, I waited for the right moment to give it. I had planned to give the gift without any wrapping paper or other covering, but on the spur of the moment, just seconds before giving it, I changed my mind and decided I wanted to cover it. I used what I knew I had available: a facial tissue paper. I probably would have been better off to stick with my original plan. The moment came that I presented my gift, with a customary greeting for the occasion.

Nothing in my history of giving gifts could have prepared me for what happened next. She looked at my poorly packaged gift and after a moment of silence said, “I don’t think I want your gift.” Hurt, enough that I could have cried had I not been in a relatively public place, I said, “Okay.” I thrust my extended hand into my pocket, dropped the gift in, and withdrew my hand. Calm as a balmy summer day, a trembling puppy frightened by thunder, I walked away. It took all the focus I had to not run, not cry, not look back. I turned a corner, and put on a façade of normalcy as I interacted with those in the vicinity. Returning the gift to the place it was obtained would be impossible, so I put it where it would be available but out of sight.

When I was in junior high, an object lesson was taught using a slice of cake to represent the gospel of Jesus Christ. The cake was shown to the class, and the question was asked, “Who would like a piece of cake?” Several hands went up; one was selected. The person selected went to the front of the class to get their slice of cake. However, before they were given the cake, it was mashed up until it looked like leftovers retrieved from the garbage. The analogy made was that you might have a wonderful gift, such as the good news of the atonement of Jesus Christ, but if you present it poorly, the person you are giving it to may reject it. Thus, you need to take care that your life and your presentation of the gift match the wondrous quality of the gift, to reduce the likelihood that the gift will be rejected. Perhaps she was rejecting my gift because of how poorly it was presented.

There is another possibility. “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:33) Did the presentation of the gift matter at all, or was she really rejecting me? If I was on the other end of such an exchange, I would at least receive the gift, and if I didn’t like it or didn’t want it, I’d throw or give it away. But I have forgiven the rejection and the rejector.

And now I think of all the times God offers His mercy to us, and we reject it, either by refusing to apply the atonement to our lives, or by choosing to apply it for a time only to backslide our way to rejection of the gift. I think of how sorrowful He must be at our rejection of Him. His hand is extended in mercy, ready to deliver us from all the chains that bind us captive; it is extended all the day long, and yet we do not listen. And unlike imperfect me, who ran from rejection of the gift or of me on account of emotional pain, He feels but stands as before, His outstretched hand yet offering the gift. His gift is no apology for a gift, but the truest gift of all: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” — John 15:13.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore

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My Weakness, My Strength

I am weak; it takes but touch to draw me along.
But the siren song is not so strong
That I cannot resist its charm.
I can withstand, do your best, you’ll do me no harm.

But take me by the hand,
Put your finger to your lips
To silence questions in the sand
As I ask where we’re headed on this trip;

My weak knees will obey,
And my heart will not delay.
But this weakness, it is no concern,
On it’s head you’ll see it turn.

Most of the double-x chromosomes
Want one with a y, enticed by sweet honeycomb,
To be the instigator,
Or it’s “see you later”.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore

Asylum

Je veux—je veux faire,
Je veux mais c’est défendu.
Je veux mais je ne comprend pas le langue,
Et je ne sais pas le culture.

C’est mon veste droite.
Les puissances de l’enfer
M’ont donné les opportunités
Mais Dieu m’a refusé la savoir-faire.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore

The Southern Claw and St. Elmo’s Fire

The big dipper scoops the horizon
While Venus observes, trailing behind.
Do my eyes see better with egg on my face?
I see more stars tonight than I’ve seen in a while.

The Southern Claw is drawn by St. Elmo’s Fire,
Is drawn to Castor and Pollux.
With their touch the pull is strongest,
But touch they must or nothing will start.

Touch they do, and the Southern Claw is moved,
Moved nearly out of its place in the sky.
But the planets misaligned,
The omen of St. Elmo’s Fire misread.

The Southern Claw is forbidden,
Promises to never draw so near to Castor again.
This forbidding if held to brings foreboding;
An auspicious ending to the beginning.

Another misalignment of planets,
The Southern Claw tries to hold St. Elmo’s Fire.
But a claw can’t hold plasma,
So an offering is made.

But the effort and thought and distance are masked:
Poor presentation, or did Pollux instead
Reject the Claw? Offering rejected,
The Southern Claw examines the planets again.

Twice misaligned, twice misunderstood,
Two times the yolk dripping down my face.
It seems the Southern Claw and Pollux
Are separated by a gulf in the sky.

I stare bewildered at what happened,
Befuddled on the horizon.
Could it be I’ve been reading
The map upside down?

© 2014 H.K. Longmore

The Anonymous Burden

If you determine in your heart
To carry out an anonymous act
Designed to bring happiness
Or a smile to the recipient,

You must be prepared for the part:
Fully accept the burden of facts
Known to you and God—and security cameras—the madness
Of the temptation to tell, to take credit, your new companions persistent.

If you would walk the unidentified way,
You must quench the thirst for recognition,
Bury deep the desire to reap rewards; in sadness,
Leave not fully formed the hunger incipient.

When others comment, your tongue you’ll stay.
For leaving no clues you’d better have a knack;
Wipe that smile off your face at their gladness.
And it’s best to not write about what you’ve brought to fruition.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore

Link

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Some people have learned to forgive, even in situations where all natural instincts say not to. And that’s a sweet, sweet thing, worth making sure all 67 of my followers have the opportunity to hear about. Check out http://gma.yahoo.com/mother-embraces-daughters-killer-court-121328069–abc-news-topstories.html?vp=1 for the story.

Summer Party RSVP – Regrets

I wrote this one just for fun in an email to HR to RSVP my regrets for my employer’s summer party, as a commitment I made in September conflicts with the party.

I must now with heavy heart
Inform you that at Sugarhouse Park
This year you’ll not see me dart
Around the trees or touch the bark.

Nine moons ago,
I made a commitment
That demands I forgo
The Onyx summer merriment.

Though I’ll miss all the fun
I’ll be sure to think of you all—
Each and every one—
And hope you have a ball!

Copyright © 2014 H.K. Longmore

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Independence

Independence

An 89-year old D-Day veteran was told by care home staff that he could not travel to Normandy. He did it anyway. 🙂

Aside

Today I celebrate the passing of the 365th day since my last auto accident. Yay! Hopefully, I can avoid what the image below intimates. Related Posts: My last auto accident

Excuses

I started this one sometime in early May, but due to several interruptions, I forgot about it until recently.

When you’re running late:
Headed to pick up a date—
Perhaps her name is Kate;
Or you’ve a meeting at eight,

To your rendez-vous you’d better hie;
And you realize there’s no good reason why,
Your brain begins to fly
To find some reason that’s not a lie.

When your obligations are not done:
The deadline is a rigid one—
Perhaps when Monday’s course is run;
Or you don’t want to disappoint your hun,

To the task at hand you’d better apply;
To avoid seeing disappointment in another’s eye,
Your brain begins to fly
To find some reason that will satisfy.

And yet, these times are ruled by fate,
When excuses are not shy,
And they will not make fun—
Unlike when you’re filled with butterflies.

Copyright © 2014 H.K. Longmore