C. Douglas Caffey
THOUGHTS ARE THINGS WITH WINGS
Thoughts are such fragile things – here for a moment, some truth to bring, then gone to be lost among the canyons of time. Catch them and pen them down lest they roam the universe looking for a landing down.
Some thoughts are so very lite, like a feather in its flight, wafted here, then there, and finally blown out to sea where no heart can moor them or call them back! Once gone, what are the chances that, upon their return, they can be caught again, unlike spider webs which catch a stray gnat or fly? Thoughts slip through the nets of time and move on into eternity.
Lord, enable me to hold my thoughts long enough to pen them upon some tablet down, that they escape not again and like golden threads bind themselves about your feet, useful in Your plan, helpful to some wayfaring stranger, or some hurting man.
Bring them back to me, lest, “lost” they shall forever be. Time, this elusive present, becomes too soon the past, here for a micro-moment, then the present becomes the past – not to stay – not to last, but leaving tracks behind, like phantoms of the mind. Thus memory becomes the spider web, holding the images of passing thoughts upon my bed, within my head.
How big is a thought? What does it weigh? How soon it slips away! My dream is for it to stay for eternity and not to vanish away!
How much of me are my thoughts? Precious are the thoughts of my God, which come to me in the midst of waking hours of the day or sleeping time of night. When morning comes, some take flight and some return to me again at night.
In Your image, Lord, You designed every man and lighted every heart, wound us up, gave us a start, loosed us from the womb – a living soul to journey with our thoughts upon mountains high and valleys low. Your presence is known, Your seed is sown, so that our thoughts, like seed, may reproduce our kind – in flesh and mind – in thought and deed. Do thoughts get caught in this earthly web or traverse the heavens looking for repose at the feet of God? Is it odd, God, that since they came from You – they so return and cluster ‘round angels’ wings, these thoughts and things! Are thoughts so sterile they cannot produce the needed changes in those to whom you gave them? Thoughts are not the products of this earthly frame, but of the heart and soul, which You did name! So, Lord, give me thoughts which mark the man and leave him better than before they came.
Let me not treat lightly the thoughts which stir within my breast, but fly with them to become Your best upon this parched plain called Earth, the place wherein You gave Adam birth, and from him took a rib so that Eve, his helpmate, could live and be a source of thought and presence ever. What thoughts did Adam give birth, there in the Eden place on Earth? Did Eve perceive her thoughts, so feminine and such, in that Eden place of Earth? Were their thoughts so transient that they were lost among the roses of Thy garden, yet, like perfumed flowers, they darted in and out for hours? Are those thoughts still floating about in the universe without wings, yet, here and there, they come again to join the ones we loose?
Teach me more about the life of thoughts – are they so without life that they are neutral? Do they have eternal hearts of golden hue and come to me and go back to You? Will all my thoughts gather ‘round me in that mansion above, which You have prepared for me in Love?
My soul is so naked without the thoughts that once were mine. Are my thoughts my own, or, are they Thine? Oh, Miracle-working God, the Covenant-making ONE who keeps His word, gather for me the thoughts which have escaped my soul and herd them like so many sheep into your fold. For in Your presence, forever, they are kept, those thoughts of joy and those thoughts for which I’ve wept.
Lord, I would not cage my thoughts like some wild things, but turn them loose to fly on wings into the hearts of friends, lest, keeping them, my soul grows old and stale, and to no avail, they die upon the vine, for thoughts are not mine alone, but also thine. I acknowledge that they are thine and are for Your use; therefore it pleases me to turn them loose.
So, Lord, I give them back to You from whom they found their birth – for use in Heaven and upon Earth. Yours they are – mine a while to use and then to loose for a season.
Teach me, Lord, to seek your thoughts and lose myself that You may have both – the thoughts and the man! I would not cage myself and keep from use that which You possess, for I am not my own. With a price I have been bought – both myself and my thought! Take possession of Your own, Your will to prove, and mine to do, and mine to yield, both in your forest and in your field.
So plant my thoughts that they may grow and yield a hundred-fold upon Your Earth and in Your soil, lest I should plant and Your plan I foil.
Thoughts are still a mystery to me! I do not give them birth, so they are free. They belong to You and not to me, therefore I am pleased that you allow them to pass through me, yet I am so human, and of the Earth, that I wish to hold them to my heart awhile before they depart to transverse the town I live around. I’ll share them with the Home of Grace, for grace is Yours to give and mine to live. Bill Barton’s heart is the place where did begin the Home of Grace, for You did plant that thought within his heart, yes, The Home of Grace! He is my pastor and my friend, shall be to the end. Both of us are old now, and not too many more thoughts shall come to stay with us. We, therefore, must give of our best before we rest within the clay from which we came.
Lord Jesus, grant for Bill and me your will to see and do. Take our lives and our thoughts – use us up while we are here and allow our thoughts to take wings and fly about to touch hearts so dear to you. We both, Bill and I, are soon to come to Your place there in the sky. Let us send our thoughts ahead as your messengers, telling all we meet of “Who You are”, and “Why You came”, and how wonderful it is Your grace to proclaim!
What are your thoughts of Bill and me? I know that our thoughts are not Your thoughts for Your Word tells me this. Your thoughts are high above both Bill’s and mine, for they are thine.
Yet, You have imparted thoughts to us I know, and they grow and grow while upon this terrestrial sphere we stand, but You are God and we are man! We both stand in awe of all You are and all You command! Yes, You ARE GOD and we are man!
For Bill and me, what will it be when all the sand runs out the timer, when we both shall stand upon that golden strand – that peaceful shore when You declare that time, for us, shall be no more?
Ah! Those days will have no ends for Bill and me, who are both your friends, when we, removed are, from this ball of clay. Thinking of that day and that place, prepared for the human race, whose hearts have been purified by the Crucified – our thoughts take wings and fly about, leaving room to shout and sing of that heavenly thing to come when our thoughts come to meet at Your feet.
What are thoughts? Do they indeed have wings? Do they flit about and sing? Do they have heart-beats of their own? Do we own them, both Bill and me? Can we capture them in a net like butterflies? If we catch them, can we hold them? Should we let them loose to roam the universe and touch the hearts of younger men, to whom you call to preach the Word, are sent? Where are our replacements Lord? Touch the hearts of younger men today, who can preach Your Word and pray; who can catch Your thoughts and send them to homes and foreign lands where those unborn yet may hear of your commands to repent of sin and claim the Bridegroom whom You’ve sent!
For Bill and me, our lives are almost spent – gone to seed, they say! But the words we’ve said, and the thoughts we’ve had, will never be put to bed, for on they go and more they grow for Your promise is that Your Word shall never void be, the Word preached by Bill and me!
So, Lord, give us thoughts within our heads – but most of all, give us thoughts within our heart so that Your love may never depart – from Bill and me!
Thoughts are born and borne of Thee, for both Bill and me. Let my LAST thought be, as it ought, of Thee, for both Bill and me.
Thoughts ARE things with wings, alive and free, for Bill and me.
Thy geese I fed today as they traveled on their way, I know not the life you impart to the wild who flit about and cannot shout of the life they have from You! Do they have thoughts as they fly about? Do my dogs have thoughts of me as I have thoughts of Thee, both Bill and me? Do they have thoughts of food and such and do their thoughts often leave them as mine do me, as they lie in the sunshine or beneath a tree?
Do we own our thoughts or do they to You belong? I’m inclined to the latter for that matter is Thine for all to see, yes for all and for Bill and me!
Let my thoughts from Thy Paraclete be, whose presence inhabit both Bill and me, for all to see, that it IS NOT US, but You they see!
Thy thoughts come to Bill and me while we walk Your Earth and sail your sea. Fill us with your Spirit while time shall last, for us, both present and the past. Here a thought, now it’s gone and where it goes, no one knows, but Thou dost know, for it came from Thee and runs its course ‘til time shall cease and find remorse! (This thought must have been mine, for it is so lean of meat, surely it was not thine.)
Are thoughts and “time” twins? Can one exist without the other? Are they sister and brother? Do they share the same DNA today and forever? How can I know or see -that is the question for both Bill and me! Though WE are not twins, we share the same spiritual DNA, for brothers we are, and the blood of Jesus has set us free together – both Bill and me!
Bill and me together! Here on Earth in our old age – and yet to be together in glory forever, from which nothing can sever. Forever in GLORY by miracle of the new birth, but here now we walk upon the Earth. Forever in that land ‘where the roses never fade’ and where no night shall ever be, forever in that bright land, You have prepared for both Bill and me. Happy Day when Jesus washed our sins away! Happy Day to be forever with Thee, for both Bill and me! Praise God from whom all blessings flow, and doth bestow upon both of us Your rich grace that all who see our face shall know that from Adam’s race we came and to that Second Adam we now belong – saints and angel’s song! Redeemed, yes, both Bill and I, to Thee we cry, and to Thee we fly. Praise The Lamb of God to whom we owe our lives, and both our wives, Helen and Jean, with whom we are now seen, and shall be seen forever. Praise the Lamb whose blood was spilt for all mankind. Both here and forever we shall “Look To The Lamb of God”, for He is alone worthy, both in Heaven and upon this present sod!
And what shall our “street address” there be, for both Bill and me? The same Golden Street to share – will it be in the city or RFD, for Bill and me? Both of us are from the ‘open spaces’ here on Earth, where You gave us birth, yet to dwell in that celestial City, which is prepared for us, we’ll not need taxi or bus, to gad about Your Universe!
So, as says the poet, may there be no ‘moaning of the bar’ when we put out to sea, for both Bill and me!
What thoughts roll ‘round my head, when sitting in my chair, not lying in my bed, for old age and atrophy keep me sitting up, not lying down, lest I fall asleep before my appointed round, when lights are dim and I have no more earthly thoughts of HIM who died for both Bill Barton and me!
Thoughts! Of what are they made? Is it from the sun or from the shade? Do thoughts cast shadows? Can they be weighed? Are they pulled by gravity down, or, are they so lite that upward they bound to the very feet of God? Will my thoughts come back to me? Shall I again own them – or shall they own me? Both of us, yes, both of us, Bill and me!
In our old age, are there yet pages left? There IS a LAST page upon the stage of this life, though whose number we cannot tell. God knows the day of our exit – whether together or separate, both for Bill and me!
This thought just came to me – now it’s gone again – like a lost friend, before I can pen it down!
Is it so far gone that it can’t come back to me? Dear Lord, send it back from its trek ‘round the globe of my habitat. You alone can perform that task, that’s why it’s You I ask!
Thoughts come and thoughts go. Some are fast and some are slow, like my steps upon this present stage where the present is now old age – for both Bill and me.
What paths are left for us to tread – either sitting up or in bed; Plan out the path for me and for Bill. We are not our own at all. Never has it been so since You drew us in from the field of sin, to live for you, us two, that is Bill and me.
Time out for lunch – or brunch, my wife fixed for me – can’t say “for Bill and Me” for Bill is not here, you see!
The best soup on Earth, I say – made from ‘cream of mushroom’, left-over shrimp scampi, scalloped potato slices – with added spices. What a treat for me, though I thought of my friend Bill, while the soup I did eat, it was not his treat for he is doing what a man does whose life is in the hand of God.
Lord, in Your hand we both remain, ‘til the sand of time runs out. Until that day, or night, keep our thoughts in motion, upon the land or upon the ocean of Your will.
I claim not to be a poet, or a poet’s son. I haven’t come from Heaven to Earth – just the reverse, therefore my pen is foreign to “True Verse.” I do have thoughts now and then of “where”, and “how”, and “when”, and try to slow them down with pen. God knows my thoughts which I cannot express for words are scarce and rhymes a mess.
Dear God, upon Thee I call to make sense of this “free verse” to all! I do not wish all to read these sparse thoughts which have gone to seed – it’s just for those friends who understand all the ends of time and space I’ve seen – and chiefly for my friend Bill, his wife Jean, and all the lives tucked in between.
We love you Lord, God of the Harvest, with fields so white and so few to garner in the grain. If it pleases You Lord, though we long to go, allow us to continue the Harvest to please You so.
If I go first, and you remain, it will be your loss and my gain. The sun will shine on tomorrow’s day and thoughts shall come and stay, you see, not just for Bill and me, but for all who name THE NAME, and never choose to remain the same.
Yes, THOUGHTS ARE THINGS WITH WINGS! Catch them if you can and send them on their way – like ripples on the water still, to travel on with no shore to stop them – not even me and Bill.
Where does this pen find a resting place? Not here and not the Home of Grace. God’s grace does not end. Never does it stop with a friend but goes on forever in the path God chooses, to touch those yet unborn if time continues here, as it surely will, yet not for me and brother Bill!
I do not claim to place myself on par with Bill, for God has set him in a special place, both at Wade and Home of Grace, a place which I can never fill. God is good. Always good! He plants His foot upon the storm and calms the troubled sea – both for Brother Bill and for me.
We dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name. We shall always ‘Look to the Lamb of God’, whether on this Earth or far beyond. He came from Heaven’s day to scatter our darkness all away, and now no night brings us fright. Shadows, though they be dark, can never hurt us, no, not for Bill and Me and for all those to whom He has given eyes to see.
He alone is worthy, you see, never Bill or me, for we WERE lost and now are found, were blind, but now we see, both Bill Barton and me.
Aches and pains come to me. They know my thoughts of Thee, and still they know that for a season or so they remain, but not forever, for the Good Lord from them and me will sever when He separates my soul from this body of clay and Oh, that it were today!
It is the soul that sings and has wings – like thoughts and things of which much has been spoken.
Through eternity the soul shall live and its wings shall never be broken.
Then upward and onward in our flight, to Glory from Earth, from sadness to mirth, from transient thoughts to God’s eternal place where both Bill and I shall stand too amazed to utter a single word other than “THANK YOU JESUS!” Only then we can see what lies in store for Bill and Me!!!
©Copyright October 24, 2000 by C. Douglas Caffey
Author’s Note: The above are some thoughts I had on the morning of October 24, 2000. It is in two parts, the first has to do specifically with the idea of thoughts themselves, while the second part, with no clear division, has to do with Brother Bill Barton and myself, both of us in old age, and both of us in God’s service through the years. On Sunday morning, October 23, 2000, at Wade Baptist Church, Moss Point, MS, before the preaching service, Jean asked me to write something about her husband, Bill, and me. I agreed and the above is the result.
I call it “Free Verse”, for no one in his right mind would “pay” for it, and not many would hold still long enough to listen to it read. Have mercy, O Lord, (as one deacon used to say out loud as I preached.)