When Garbage is Blown About

If I were still across the ocean, north in the woodland savannah where Ferkessédougou, Côte d’Ivoire, is situated, there would be cool wind when I walked outdoors in the morning. Right now the harmattan blows daily south from the northern lands, where it scooped up dust as it crossed the nighttime Sahara then miles of dry lands to pass over other countries, heading toward the Gulf of Guinea. As it passes it lets dust filter down to earth, covering whatever leaves have survived the seasonal drought with a layer of rusty brown.

Nothing can stay clean. When we took down our little artificial Christmas tree in early January, we had to wash each piece and hang it on the clothesline to dry, stowing it away before the next day’s wave of harmattan came by. I could dust my desk in the morning and write my name in the powder by 10 a.m.

Outside, whatever plastic garbage has been littered along the road is blown into courtyards to wrap itself around barren tree limbs or just accumulate by the wall. Pieces of paper or rags are scooped up and piled elsewhere.

These days garbage is flipped into our faces by the chaos in our country. If we don’t watch out, sharp-edged fragments blown by the wind can cut into our skin. Lies, slander, innuendo stings like dirt whipped into our eyes. It seems as if one thing that God is doing is revealing hidden things, debris left by evil in secret or camouflaged places and now revealed as his wind uncovers it. And how can we ourselves be kept clean, when the dust just keeps on coming?

At our church service this Sunday, the theme song we sang together spoke the words we need to hear and remember: “Be still. Know that I am God.” He is the God who is King of the world, and even when we can’t see it, he is accomplishing his purposes. So we keep on keeping on, moving ahead and letting him clean us up from whatever soils us or from any participation in the littering, even though there will yet be dust in the wind. And we must take time to be still, to breathe clean air inside the protection of our Father’s love. He is the Breath of Life.

The Cleansing

(February 6, 2010)

I stand in the wind

while it whips through,

plastering my body

with fine dust,

the powdered aftermath

of life and death

and thirsty earth.

Deadwood and seedpods

hit the roof, my legs.

Birds of prey swoop overhead

looking for the innocent,

uncovered, to devour.

O Wind of God,

protect your own.

Hover over, cover us.

Breath of Life, strengthen us.

Heart of Sun, empower us:

your heat, our hope;

your air, our life;

your still small voice

our Word of choice,

while all around us

innuendo and

assumptions swirl.

I brush dust from my face.

His breeze flies by,

consoles my soul

then shivers all the trees

with swoops of power.

The Spirit breathes

and lifts away debris.

The land is swept,

cleaned up and clarified.

I watch. I wait. I listen for

the Whisper of

my heart’s desire.

Be still and know

that I am God,

and I still rule.

Wait patiently for me.

Let go of your concern

regarding those

whose schemes succeed.

My strength is

all you need.

I fight for you;,

and you, my child,

need only to be still.

 (Ps. 46:10; 37:7; Exo. 14:14)

Published by Linnea Boese

After spending most of my life in Africa, as the child of missionaries then in missions with my husband, I am now retired and free to use my time to write! I am working on publishing poetry and on writing an autobiography. There have been many adventures, challenges and wonderful blessings along the way -- lots to share!

One thought on “When Garbage is Blown About

  1. Linnea, this is so powerful and so comforting in the midst of our lives’ turmoil. . .It gave me both tears and chills!! Thank you so much for sharing!!


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