About Chuck Russell

Finding Rainbows : An Investigator’s1 Journey

(1)You May Not See or Hear
You may not see it in the vastness of a star-filled sky
or across an ocean of raging waves
or in a hurricane
or racing cloud

You may not feel it in the volcano’s power
or in an earthquake’s tremble
or in a tornado passing by
or gentle breeze

You may not hear it in the rolling thunder
or in a song of unrequited love
or in a promise made
or child’s cry

You may not see the hand of God that made it all
or hear Him whisper out your name
or feel His touch
or presence

(2)One Question Still
As I look into the star-filled sky

And wonder how and wonder why
and wonder who and wonder when
and ask it over and over again

The answers come by much too slowly
as questions come and questions go
as questions rise and questions fall
one question still is, “Who made it all?”

———
For those who are looking they can see the signs
A bow in the sky or a tear in the eye
That show God is working in each of our lives

The testimony we share, the brief scan of our lives
No creatures can do except the image bearers of God
And are signs of God’s glory like rainbows and stars

In elementary school I barely passed grades
At recess I’d go in the corner and hide
And stay there inside of my mind

The teachers were sure that something was wrong
My parents were sure there certainly was not
Christian Science said it could not be true

For God is perfect, He created all
And so therefore all must be perfect
If something seems wrong it’s just not true

Christian Science has the gnostics beliefs
Said the spiritual was real but the material not
Disease sin and death are only illusions

The stories in the Bible are just allegories
Not history’s stories, just spiritual tales
But might as well be make believe

So when I was 8, I chose not to believe
Nothing I thought could be proved absolutely
You can make up whatever you want to believe

Then a couple years later one day in bed I lay with a cold
Constantly coughing, cough after cough
My parents disturbed by this coughing disease

They both said “Stop that. You don’t have to do that”
And while I knew there were many ways that they cared
There’ll simply be times when they just cannot

In looking back, I see that was the time
When my emotions would start to shut down
And be sealed off till the day I was freed

Now community service my parents held high
They bought a house with a pond for the neighbors to share
And a hill for the children to run and to slide

And then to make sure the sharing would go on
Before they died they gave that hill and the pond
To a local community land trust

———–

(3)Excerpts from my mother’s eulogy — Down by the Pond

And children, generation by generation by generation by generation
Could catch the turtles and frogs and toads and snakes
Or they could dig or run or skate or hide
Or in the winter take a slide
From the house at the top of the hill
In summer nights the peepers and frogs
Would sing a chorus so loud so loud
And lull to sleep and lull to sleep and lull to sleep and lull to sleep
Go softly, go softly, go softly into the night

That legacy of touching lives
Would pass onto her children and their children
From the west coast to the east coast
From Africa to Asia
A lesson that it’s lives not things that count
It’s memories and a life that’s lived
That makes a difference that makes a difference that makes a difference that makes a difference

———-

I was in grade 7 when they tested IQ
The teachers discovered there was more I could do
And surely my grades they did quickly improve

And then in grade 8 I discovered poetry
Writing it helped me express what I think
And was something even now I continue to do

————

(4)My first published poem, published in the high school literary magazine

Just After Sunset

‘Twas just after sunset, when in through the trees
I say a small cabin, hidden, unkempt
Weary from traveling, I fell on my knees
Crawled to the cabin and in through the door
I sprawled on the floor, by the old cabin door
I slept from exhaustion, but soon was awake
Could just about feel my sore limbs ache,
The fever crept upon me, I couldn’t sleep
My heart was the ticking while my death clock did creep
‘Twas just after sunset when in through the trees
I saw a small cabin.

———–

Then while I was in high school my grades did OK
But emotionally I was only shades of gray
And I wondered if living was really worthwhile

After high school when I thought of careers
Poetry did not seem to pay enough to live
And so instead I chose psychology

And so for a year at a local branch of a college
I took the courses I needed but then
The next courses I wanted were at the main campus

To my chagrin when I tried to transfer
I got frustrated when I could not
That’s when the Air Force recruiter did call

In the section in their aptitude test in electronics
I got the  90th percentile though I only knew
Two sentences of actual electronics knowledge

Then while  in the Air Force my compliance grew thin
I developed rebellion against the rules
And got out quickly after only one tour

When I returned home to my chagrin
I discovered my younger brother had become a Christian
And now I was really trapped between

Christian Science parents and a Christian brother
And my hostility grew and grew
And my brother warned his friends to stay away

At the end of the summer he returned to college
And I worked some temp jobs while I tried to figure
What my next steps would be

Then I remembered that aptitude test
So my next step was to enroll
In electrical engineering at a technical college

Then in the next summer my brother returned
And my hostility continued to  grow but then
An unexpected turn of events

For no earthly reason I snuck in his room
And started to read the books that were there
JI Packer RC Sproul CS Lewis and others

For the next several weeks I read those books
And then one day I was surprised
As in morning’s twilight I could suddenly see

While I hadn’t had memorized all that I read
I had understood what I did
And more than that I now believed

My brother was befuddled by my change of heart
But I was more than ready to grow
And eager for church and what else there could be

(5)Called to be Holy

We are called to be holy
Not yet where we want to be
We are called by the grace of God
It is from the distance we all see
Where we need to be
We know by grace the one who calls
For you, for me and for others
From many paths we come
From many paths we travel
But only one who is the Way
He is near and yet distant
He is Holy

We are called
He is the destination
And the journey
The one who calls is Holy
The who calls us is the Way
The one who simply is
Is apart from the world
And the Holy One calls us to be with Him

We are already Holy
Set apart to be apart
To live as a people of God
Becoming more like the one who’s called us Holy
And is calling us still

Called not so much as to a particular place
But more to a particular journey
To follow a particular living God
His particular way
And particular holiness.
The path we follow is not fixed in unchanging time
That breaks us if we fail to follow
But is fixed in the one who is
Is living in time
Is also the Living Word

The path we follow is not unchangeable Law
That knows naught of our temper or strife
But rather we follow the living Stone
That shelters us when we need it
And gives us a firm place to stand
The path we follow is not unchanging rules
That break us if we fail to follow
But rather we follow the Living Word
That gives us courage and hope
That gives us knowledge of Life.

(6)He Made Us More than Perfect

He made us more than perfect
He made us more like Him
He made us more than hearts with hope
He made us free from sin
He gave us more than beauty
He gave us endless grace
He filled our lives with so much glory
It shows upon our face
He gave us more than intellect
He gave us minds like His
Along with wisdom for each day
And boundless, endless grace
He gave us more than peace on earth
He gave us peace with Him
And peace within our willful hearts
That overflows our brim
He gave us broken bodies
So that He could make us more
More beautiful than angels
And more holy evermore

He gave us more than circumstance
More than hopeless chance
He gave us time to know Him
And to more than catch His glance
He made us more than holy
Despite our will to sin
He made us more than beautiful
He’s starting from within
He gave us more than courage
Though our spirit had been broken
He gave new life to precious souls
Through His power and grace He strengthens
He made us more- more like Him
More priceless than earth’s treasures
More beautiful than angels
Much more than can be measured
He gave us broken bodies
So that He could make us more
More beautiful than angels
And more holy evermore

———–

The Lord was ready for this investigator’s heart
And for my very first Sunday School class
I was assigned a paper to write

I wrote a paper on the Peace of God
And was challenged when I discovered
The peace of God was most clear

When the conditions of peace were not there
And while I might not have needed that insight right then
The need surely would come in due time in my life

It was also then with a small group I spent a year
That took a year to study Philippians
While covering the rest of the Bible

The following summer twas in a cow pond
I was baptised in the water and mud
At the very first Jesus event in PA

And that was the time that the Spirit broke through
The emotional wall that I built through the years
The proof is the rainbows that look like my tears

In a community church up near UCONN
I offered my gift of service just as
My parents had lived their service before

It was in the singles Bible study the next summer
I met the woman I married the very next year
In a double ceremony with her sister

When looking for a job after college I saw
A large ad for instructor when I remembered
What my mother had said 10 years before

She said unlike your brother and sister
You have to work to get good grades
So you’ll probably make a good teacher

The next ten years were full of life’s changes
3 miscarriages the birth of 2 daughters
Moving twice a new town and new church

———-

(7)This Child of Ours

This child of ours we give to you
This little one we surrender
This tiny child we offer you
This helpless one so tender
This helpless one so tender
For ours is not to give and take
But merely hold awhile
It’s from your hand that we bring forth
Then return into your hands
Then return into your hands

What we conceive we dearly love
With bitter tears we grieve and lose
But we remember you also grieved
When from your Son you turned away
When from your Son you turned away
And it was yours to give and take
But you let go awhile
And from your Son you turned away
Then returned him to your hands
Then returned him to your hands

And we await the final day
When we shall finally see
The ones we lost beside you|
And we shall cease our sorrowing
And we shall cease our sorrowing
It’s only for a little while
That we must bear our pain
The hands that brought us all forth
Shall restore us then in peace
Shall restore us then in peace

———-

Then the school-owner’s sin caused the school to close down
And in the year of recession I was left to hold
No insurance, unemployment and hospital bills

With the grace of God and the church we continued on
Worked for a community college for 23 years
As we served in a church for 30

Taught Sunday School and confirmation
Served on various boards and the leadership team
Rewrote bylaws and guided revitalization

And in the meanwhile I created 3 books
Forty years of poetry, a Biblical overview
And lessons on the Tabernacle and Passover Seder

And then in my wife’s unexpected career
She ended up working in New York the last few years
But was commuting back to Connecticut

So this last year when I turned 62
I retired early so we could be
Living under only one roof again

So with my children in Boston and Chicago
My wife in Kingsborough college
I’ve been only 8 months in Brooklyn full-time

With the help of Blue Apron I’ve learned how to cook
And I do all the shopping and errands
As I investigate what to do in this next stage of my life

(8)Quiet Echoes

The rooms still quietly echo
With the children’s voices and steps
The years of nurture and tending
Have blossomed into joy
Memories float through daily routines
Accompanied by smiles and tears
For the children were precious
but now they are gone
Becoming less like children
And more like friends
In this season when the children have grown
And they walk on paths they have chosen
We now take delight
As we watch them take flight
And our world has grown larger
As we’ve learned to see through their eyes


 Our relationship has also grown
As our children now make their own way
We now have become less like parents
With each other we’re more like friends
 Memories float through daily routines
Accompanied by smiles and tears
For our young days were precious
But now we have grown
And our love has grown stronger
As we have grown through the years
 When our children were young we held tightly
Then let go as we carefully watched
Then we learned to let go as they grew even more
And our watching turned to waiting and prayer
 In this season as we recall where we’ve been
And walked along roads we’ve not chosen
We still take delight
As we walk in the light
And our vision’s grown larger
As we’ve learned to see through Christ’s eyes

1 According to Enneagram

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