The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

Archive for May, 2014

Let It Shine

I rode alone, a Solitary rider, pushing a small sphere of light across the darkened landscape. I count the elements of night riding amongst my closest friends. The storms, the languorous moonlit sky , the chattering twinkle of starlight, we have ridden together many times.

But tonight, as I passed through the mouths of coastal valleys that reach inland like fingers, and the hills and ridges between, I could sense something important afoot, something much larger than the usual intimate setting. The clouds drift in a fractured, broken floe, holding together like pieces of a stained glass window. Their only color is a somber pale gray-blue of moonlight weeping through the broken sky. It forms jagged halos around the clouds, bathing the landscape .

The fields, that should have been brilliant with the festival of tonight’s full moon, lie alert, waiting, listening. This is not a night to talk, nor revel. Nor was it a languorous moon, casting a lazy respite from a busy day. This night, the council of all the land and sky attend to its own affair, all the smaller beings of the night – accustomed to being in itself with the moonlight in attendance, leave off their nocturnal intimacy of individual doings, and hearken to the celestial council.

The closest clouds only barely veiled the majesty of this night’s Queen. The nearness of the clouds made the moon’s light feel a little too close for the grave matters being weighed. But it was not the queen’s majesty that was the center of attention. It was the matter of a light, that had gone out too soon.

Some lamps, extinguished, are easily replaced or relit. But some shine in small but irreplaceable ways, in places that would destroy the average lamp and keeper. These are kindled by troubles, mistakes, and sometimes bear the soot of hell itself. They burn in a dank wilderness most would not go into, and many could not. Their service is not for the highway traveler, nor the seafarer. Nor does it announce a destination. It is a scarred, dim, smoldering outpost, mere yards from hell, the first ember guiding the unluckiest souls back towards home. The keeper of that light know little of highways, but everything of the twisting badlands beyond.

And now, this night’s council was set, a loss unexpected, a lamp had gone out too soon. Such a small lamp, but giving a critical service. It’s loss grieving all of nature. It’s replacement unknown.

This little light wasn’t a pretty one, unless you were a traveler lost in the dankest of swamps. But it’s keeper let it shine anyway.

This light wasn’t bright, but in that deep a darkness, he let it shine anyway, a salvation to those lost, even as he himself struggled

This light struggled to stay lit. He let it shine anyway.

If you have a light, Let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.


My Mother did not give birth to me

My Mother
did not give birth to me.
She arrived 18 months late for my birth.

She did not carry my developing body around in front of her – to the grocery store, to the park, the library, to work.  To the bathroom, to bed.  She did not lie in pain on the edge of a chair, waiting for me to get out.

 I did not drain her body of nourishment.

We did not share that battle of gestation together, that epic struggle that bonds mother and son together, that makes a mother nurturing, or fiercer than any living being when the need arises.  No, all that stuff was already in her.

She was sent when I needed her, when the one who had gone through all that could not continue. She took on a battle with no shield.  With no sword.  She took on the world for me.

She took on me.

There are easy things to love, and easy ways to do it.  Its fragrance is light and delicate, like the delicate garden flowers.

And then there is the love whose scent is of courage.

It takes courage to be someone‘s mother, when you have not given birth to him.  It takes the deepest bravery to look inside, and find the very best of yourself, and give that to your child – when he is not your child.

The things she looked inside for were yet unknown.  The love she committed to required experience she did not have.  And yet, she stepped in, and called me her own.  She gave me everything she had.  She somehow gave me more than everything she had.

She loved and endured this wild boy who could not stop.
She loved me all the way through that awful, petulant day when I tantrumed, “You‘re not my real mom!”
She guided me, prayed for me, taught me how to BE.
She loved me enough to let me BE, eventually, what I grew up to be.

My mother did not give birth to me.

She arrived when God sent her, right on time.