A Certain Precious Magic

Today is the 22nd anniversary of the first time I contacted the girl who became my wife. Here is the song I wrote and sung for the occasion last night.

There’s a certain precious magic in communication
When distant souls discover they are close;
Two lonely hearts that have their homes in separated nations
Take a chance, and thus a friendship grows.

That friendship can plants seeds of love that sprout and grow and bloom,
And multiply the joys and stakes of life,
Until the two stand side by side as blushing bride and groom,
Forever to be joined as man and wife.

I’m so glad I started down this path that led me to your heart
And grew my soul immensely on the way,
So I’ll do my utmost to always play my part
In blessing you, my treasure, every day.

Victory

The Devil rested on his laurels
Knowing that he’d won;
He’d arranged for God’s own people
To kill his Only Son.

“His wrath is unavoidable,
He’ll cast them all away,
I’ll drag them down to join my fate,
Despairing all the way.

“The great plan of his creation
Has failed so utterly,
The thought of all those screaming souls
Fills my heart with glee.

“What other torments can I plan
For the fools who followed the Son of Man?
They fled the scene and failed the test
When my time came with his arrest.

“Now they cower, now they hide
In locked rooms fully terrified
Of my next great show of power
As morning breaks this very hour…”
 
Then the ground shook, the curtain tore,
The stone was rolled from the entrance door,
Angels stood and told the news;
His soul was utterly bemused.

“How can this be? He’s back to life!
And thrown the gates to heaven wide,
So any sinner can approach
The throne of God without reproach!

“He used the scandal and the shame,
Humiliation and the pain
To pay the price for what went wrong,
Instead of where the blame belongs.

“All my scheming, all my work
To drive the human world beserk
Has come to nought, my power’s broke,
How dare he twist my twisted joke

“Into something beautiful and true
That cure’s man’s ills and will renew
His bond with his creator God
So all will call him Saviour, Lord?”

And so the Devil did retreat
Ashamed by his complete defeat,
His mandate over Man revoked
For those who choose to bear Christ’s yoke.

Your Burden

My failures stand before you,
Adding to the weight
Of your burden on the cross
When you took my fate.

As they drove the nails in
You did not rage or curse,
Determined in your task to save
The entire universe.

As your lifeblood flowed away
You looked to other’s needs:
Your mother’s care, forgiveness
For those who did the deed,

And most of all to pay the price
In anguish of your soul,
Separated from His love,
So we could be made whole.

Let me not forget your grace
In all I try to do;
The thing that everyone on Earth
Needs most of all is You.

Welcome

May You be as welcome
In my heart as on that day
When crowds laid cloaks and branches
To glorify your way,

Proclaiming you as rightful king,
They sang and praised your name,
That you healed the blind, the sick,
The outcast and the lame.

Your rule in me is what I need
To combat my foul pride and greed,
To count the cost and sow good seed
With wisdom and with grace.

So as your influence grows,
Your wondrous mercy flows,
With joy my whole soul knows
That I have put You in your place.

Without Love, There is No Life Finally Released

After far too long to get it ready, I am pleased to announce the release of Without Love, There is No Life, available on most streaming and music platforms, complete with a music video on youtube.

All options for listening to and downloading the song can be found here

https://song.link/WithoutLove

The song has been tweaked and expanded on since the poem version, originally inspired by multiple scenes in Nobility Among Us, and even since the live performance a year and a half ago (which was less than an hour after the piano accompaniment was worked out with the extremely talented Daniela Zoubková).

She is back again providing the piano, Petr Mares is on the guitar, (whose talents you may know from Did you Know? and A Tale of the Once and Future King) and I provide the vocals. I edited the music video using freely available stock footage and imagery from Pixabay and Unsplash. English closed captions are available in the youtube video for the hard of hearing and non-native English speakers, and Czech subtitles are available.

Listen, watch, enjoy, and share with those you think will appreciate it.

Lyrics:

Love is full of purity.
It shows patience and humility.
Love is not a selfish lust;
Instead, love gives a grounds for trust.
Love gives a child security.
Love gives a thing its beauty;
Because, without love there is no life.

Love is a many-splendoured thing.
Love gives a broken man new wings.
It perseveres, no matter what the cost;
If you have love, you’re never truly lost;
Love, seeing all my flaws;
Love, guided by higher laws;
You know, without love there is no life.

Love simply wants to hear the truth.
Love, it is not eternal youth.
Love is more than soothing noises,
‘Cause love steps up and makes hard choices.
Love lasts through the ages,
It’s written on all life’s pages.
You see, without love there is no life.

It makes the ordinary great,
Won’t mind if you are late,
Won’t leave you to your fate,
This is love.

Love puts you in harm’s way.
Though you try, you can’t always save the day.
Love is there to share your pain,
To weep and help you on your feet again.
Love is a healing flow.
Love gives you room to grow.
You know, without love there is no life.

Love looks you in the face.
Love helps you find your place.
With love, you can forgive the past,
Move on and build a peace to really last.
Love is where you find your worth;
If you’re loved, you’re more precious than the Earth.
You see, without love there is no life.

Love is full of light. Love does what’s right.
Love is patient, love is kind.
Love is humble, but not blind.
Oh, love is beautiful!
Oh, love is wonderful!
You know, without love there is no life.

It shows you you belong,
It admits when it is wrong,
It’s majestic and it’s strong,
This is love.

But love is not every time returned;
Love is not something you have earned.
Sometimes our care isn’t even prized;
Instead our thoughts are utterly despised.
True love goes on caring anyway,
Even when we walk the other way;
It knows that without love there is no life.

Love is how your soul can truly shine.
Through love, I am yours and you are mine.
Love expressed is such an open book;
A life of love is worth a closer look.
Can it be, that here is love for me?
Come explore this greatest mystery,
And see that without love there is no life.

**EDIT** Czech subtitles are now available, translated by Petr Mares. It is not meant to be singable and is not always an exact translation, the emphasis was on the beauty and flow of the text while capturing as much of the original meaning as possible.

Kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Láska – ta je vždy čistá,
Plná trpělivosti a pokory,
Není sobeckou vášní,
Ale právě naopak: je základem vzájemné důvěry.
Dítě pocítí v lásce bezpečí
A každá věc jen v lásce nabyde své krásy.
Protože kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Láska je něco nadmíru zázračného.
Je to láska, co dá zlomenému nová křídla.
Láska vytrvá, ať to stojí cokoli.
A máš-li lásku, nikdy nejsi ztracený případ.
Lásce nejsou moje chyby skryté,
Řídí se nicméně vznešenější logikou.
Totiž tam, kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Láska chce znát pravdu takovou, jaká je.
Láska není slib věčného mládí.
Láska je víc než plané konejšení.
Umí se vydat i cestou těžkých rozhodnutí.
O tom, že láska přetrvá věky,
se dočteme na každé stránce života.
Ono totiž kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Věci běžné promění ve skvělé,
nerozladí ji zpoždění,
nenechá tě napospas osudu.
Taková je láska.

Láska tě neušetří těžkostí.
Rád by ses jim vyhnul, ale není to vždy možné.
Ale je tu láska, aby sdílela tvou bolest.
Aby s tebou plakala a pomohla ti znovu na nohy.
Láska je proud moci uzdravení.
A láska ti dává také prostor k růstu.
Totiž tam, kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Láska ti hledí do tváře,
A pomůže ti přijít na to, kam patříš.
V lásce dokážeš odpustit věci minulé,
dokážeš jít dál a budovat trvalý pokoj.
V lásce najdeš svou pravou hodnotu.
Když jsi milován, jsi vzácnější než celý svět.
Ono totiž kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Láska je plná světla; udělá to, co je správné.
Láska je trpělivá a vlídná,
je pokorná, ale nikoli slepá.
Jak nádherná a úžasná je láska!
Víš, kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Láska ti dá najevo přijetí.
A pokud se mýlí, dokáže to uznat.
Je vznešená a silná.
Taková je láska.

Láska nicméně není vždy opětovaná.
S láskou to není něco za něco.
Občas zůstane naše snaha bez ocenění,
někdy se setká dokonce s opovržením.
Pravá láska i tak vytrvá.
I tehdy, když je jí odpovědí lhostejnost.
Ví totiž, že bez lásky není skutečného života.

Teprve v lásce se tvoje duše skutečně rozzáří.
Skrze lásku jsem já tvým a ty jsi mou.
Láska vepsaná do stránek otevřené knihy,
Život v lásce stojí za bližší prozkoumání.
Mohu se opravdu i já setkat s pravou láskou?
Pojď, prozkoumej to největší tajemství.
A přesvědč se: není života bez lásky.

He Knew, and Yet…

He knew we would betray Him,
He knew we would rebel,
He knew we’d turn this good, green Earth into a living hell.

He knew our vicious natures,
Our lusts to mar and maim,
And how we’d mock and sneer at Him as He died in pain.

And yet He came down to this world
As a weak and helpless babe
To give new hope to all mankind, our souls to cleanse and save.

So when you look within your heart
And find so much that’s wrong,
Remember that he paid the price so you could become strong

In faithfulness and mercy, joy,
Peace and self-control,
Kindness, gentleness and love that heals your very soul.

This joyous day, the tides all turned,
The Devil’s schemes all crashed and burned,
And purity revealed its power to make our spirits whole.

When the Skies Were Silent

I was saddened over the weekend to hear of Lou Antonelli’s passing. He was a true gentleman, a kind and joyful soul and a gifted writer, and it deepens my sadness that I never got to meet him in person (he was supposed to stay at my cousin’s house with me for DragonCon 2017, but terrible traffic conditions prevented him from making the journey). While I didn’t write this song with him in mind, it seems somehow appropriate.

When the Skies Were Silent

When the skies were silent,
No song came from the clouds;
No whisper wafting on the wind
To calm the madding crowds,

No burning words of wisdom
That leave a man in awe;
No key to all my problems
That opens every door.

I sat there in the quiet,
Frustrated and alone;
Despair welled up inside me,
To which I’m all too prone.

But then I looked up at the trees
That speak of His great artistry;
The sun and rain, each in their time,
His generosity;

A mountain’s great endurance
Reflects His faithfulness;
Birds sing songs of glory
That words cannot express.

Animals at play give us
A glimpse of His pure joy;
The beauty of the stars above
Our sins cannot destroy.

A shoulder there to cry on,
A smile and warm embrace,
Expresses part of His great love,
His mercy and His grace.

So when the skies are silent
Above the dreadful noise,
I’m clear on my assignment:
It’s my turn to be His voice.

Yellow Roses for My Love

Today is my twentieth wedding anniversary. Here is the song I sang to my wife as I handed her the below bouquet.

Yellow Roses for My Love

Yellow roses for my love,
Who I’m always thinking of,
And ways in which I can support and help her soul to grow;
Though my love for you is deep,
Mere sentiment is cheap,
The thing I really struggle with is how to make it show.

I’ll wipe the table in the kitchen,
Take away your dirty plate,
Think of other minor kind requests I can anticipate,
Find ways to lift your spirits, give you strength to last the day,
And in the calm and quiet moments, most of all I’ll pray

For your heart to find its rest
In Him, and all he’s blessed,
In our lives together as we’ve built this family.
Two decades have flown by
Of such abundant life
That I still can’t quite believe it’s happened all to me.

When You Are in Your Prime

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday, and since her age is now a prime number, I came up with this song for the occasion (rosnička is the Czech word for a tree frog, which was my wife’s nickname as a teenager. According to Czech folk tradition, tree frogs can be used to predict the weather, and so rosnička is also used to refer to weather girls on TV)

Chorus:

When you are in your prime,
Your eyes begin to shine
At all the wild adventures that have led up to this date;
Five kids, two dogs, two cats,
Countless silly games and spats,
With lots more fun in the future we anticipate.

Verse 1:

Though you can’t predict the weather,
Climbing trees is not your game,
You’re still the greatest rosnička
To ever bear that name.
From childhood to this tender age
As sister, colleague, friend,
You’ve blessed so many lives down here
In ways that never end.

Verse 2:

Your kindnesses uncountable,
Your wisdom deep and strong;
You create a home in which
We’re glad we all belong.
The noble feasts you set before us
Fill us with new life,
It’s a privilege to know you
As a daughter, mother, wife.

Drowning

I barely have the strength to keep my head above the waves,
My face bombarded by a roar of driving rain and spray;
The broken hull of my old ship is sinking out of sight,
Flashes from the thick, black clouds illuminate the sky.

I’m losing vital body heat,my limbs are growing numb,
Cries of rage and anguish pour from my embittered tongue.
I’m sure the sharks are circling below me in the deep;
As soon as one dares venture up, I’m nothing but fresh meat.

I let my head go under, the storm is muffled, faint;
My struggle to survive seems somehow unimportant, quaint;
I am so very tired now, why not just let go
And let my body drift down where the mighty currents flow?

Off to my right approaches a patch of light and calm,
Could it be the peaceful eye within this awful storm?
A chance to feel the sun upon my face one last sweet time,
Float a while, forgive the world, then join the glorified.

I spot a pair of sandals on the surface over me;
The one who lost them overboard evokes my sympathy,
But then a strong hand reaches down from between the two,
Grabs and pulls me up into the clear and crystal blue,

It is the Lord of Life, he came walking on the waves
Through this brutal hurricane my puny soul to save!
He rebukes the mighty storm, the sea becomes as glass;
Every cloud evaporates, the sky is blue and vast.

“Take a breath, get back your strength, be healed and be restored
To the role and purpose you were created for;
There’s still so much for you to do before I call you home:
Many tasks and challenges, and skills you need to hone.”

And so he walks me to the shore,
Where life awaits and so much more,
Invigorated, full of joy and hope enough to share.

From this day I start afresh,
Battling my mortal flesh,
Beginning every morning in grateful, reverent prayer.

When we talk at length,
It gives my soul new strength,
To carry out each worthy work for which I am prepared.