The Rusting Carousel
(a poem my mother wrote in the early 1980's and mailed to me...

It was so sad a poem that I sent her the reply below it)

Yes, I rode a carousel
Not a many-splendored who-oo-sh
      and whirl of a rush through life
Such as Ruth's,
But still a musical, wondrous carousel
      of dreams.
I rode the horses; how grand they were
With flowing manes and tossing tails.
The music played and, oh, how I sang
So free, the wind in my hair.
Young and strong...of course it would go on.
The dreams of far-away places
That tugged at my heart.
Castle walls...mountains so tall
Waterfalls and singing streams...
Surely Carcassonne was really there
Waiting for me.
But, no, like hers it suddenly stopped.
It did not flame and burn...cremated,
It simply stood there unmoving...silent,
No sound of tinkling bells,
The horses' heads began to droop
And year by lonely year
I watched it fall apart.
It's out there still, my carousel, empty of all life,
The paint quite peeled away, the poles rusty with disuse.
Oh, the lovely horses--so still--so quiet
Slowly dying like my dreams
In loveless loneliness and isolation.

(by Verne G. Charles)



Jesus' Reply:

My own Verne,
     My beloved one, may I hold your hand and stand   with you together to  look upon the rusting carousel  of your youth's dreams of  life? I care so very much, My Verne, about the deep, deep pain its rusting, peeling silence has brought to you. Your carousel was actually more beautiful than Ruth's, you know. It was painted with more flaring dream-colors and the horses arched their necks and held their stride with all the royal passion and pride of tournament mounts or Crusade chargers. The pennants snapped in the crisp wind of romantic hope. I know every inch of your carousel, My dear one, and there is not one part of it anywhere that I am not acquainted with. I understand why this one has a saddle painted blue and why you chose carved   lilies for this one and gold  tassels for the one over there. Will you turn and look into My eyes, dear Verne, and see there how I loved the young, strong you who devised this once glorious carousel? I mean you to really, really look until you see that love for young Verne. And in that love may I put My arm about your shoulders as we walk together in a circle about your present carousel? As we gaze upon it together I want you to know that just as I knew every shining part of its newness, I also know every rusting pole and every flake of peeling paint. I know the date each chip flaked off--but more than knowing--I care. I  do understand. I know the pain you feel as you touch the rust when you remember its   shining newness. How could it all have come to this? The sadness has an amazement mingled through its fiber. How COULD this be all that's left? How can there be no movement, no music, when the very same Verne who first dreamed it all is still here within your body?

But now, dear one, what does one DO with a silent, rusted carousel? There is so much pain in standing and looking at it, so much pain in remembering how once it was, and even more pain in thinking of how the chips were formed and the  rusting spread. What does one do NOW? Stop and really ponder the uses of a silent, broken carousel. Then turn and look into My eyes again and behold there the even deeper love for the Verne of today. "As the lily among the thorns, so are you, My beloved, among the daughters." Let Me be your Bridegroom---let Me love you. I have love for you beyond your wildest imaginings and desire. I am Love itself and do desire you let Me BE love to you. Please take both My hands as you stand before Me and say from your heart, "My Beloved is mine, and I am His."

Now, turn with Me  and behold the carousel again as I ask you one question. "Whom have you  in heaven or earth, My Verne, but Me and whom does your heart desire beside Me?"  I love you, Verne. I love every inch of you, the present you, the past you, the future you.

Now, come sit beside Me here in these tall weeds awhile. Lean your cheek on My shoulder---it is everything you ever dreamed a shoulder could be---and let Me put My arm around your back. Lean into Me and rest as we see what one can do with one's rusted carousel.  A new carousel is beautiful, isn't it?  To ride it round and round in the wind...what  exulting joy! But that, My dear one, is the true nature of  carousels...round and round. Your carousel is here in the same meadow where you built it almost sixty years ago. Carousels built in meadows get rained on and covered with ice. They sometimes have sandstorms blast by and even muddy floods.  But most of all, the clock ticks at them...year after year the clock ticks at them while love and castle walls are off beyond some purple hill.

What shall we do with it, poor sad and lonely carousel? What shall we do with it?  The meadow, once filled with wildflowers and butterflies; the carousel, once gloriously strong and fresh,  have become for you, My Verne, the Garden of Gethsemane. So the question, "What do you do with your rusting carousel?" does no more apply. The question, rather, has become, "What do you do with your Garden of Gethsemane?"  For most of your life you have watched the rust spread and the paint chip and you have reluctantly known it would come to this. With Me sitting here beside you and My arm about you, let us face together the immediate reality of the death---for it is no less than that---of your carousel. Face the death squarely and wrestle in agony  with it until it is finally and  forever resolved. You must actually accept its death---which is, in fact, your own death, too, before we can leave the meadow together.  You see, My Verne, all My life I knew I must die, but there came the time one day when I had to face it as an immediate reality and accept it. My battle was in the Garden, not on the Cross. You, too, must do battle with the death of your carousel and you must weigh its death in the balances of what has eternal value for you.


You cannot go back to fifteen nor twenty-three and the only way out of here is with Me...and I ask much of you. I ask everything of you. I ask that when you are compelled to choose between Me and something less, that you are to hate the alternative. I ask you  to come to the place whereby you see that you really HAVE no choice when anything or anyone else is offered even by your own heart as an alternative to Me. I ask you to present your body a living sacrifice unto Me and find your meaning and fulfillment in Me alone. Your carousel is gone---finished---whom HAVE you in heaven or earth but  Me?  I will stand beside you now as you sit in the weeds and think upon these things, and My hand is waiting for your hand in reply.  I stand here, your Bridegroom, and I know you better  than anyone has or can know  you and My love for you is tender-strong. Be Mine! Say to Me with joy on your lips, "I AM My Beloved's!"  Do not stay here on the fringes of this sorrowful meadow. The very best carousel in all the world is just that---in the world---and by its very nature a temporary creation. I offer you permanence. I offer you colors that never fade and music that never stops---but you must willingly accept this death first. So many have promised Me lightly and without thought "whithersoever Thou goest!" But they did not stop to make sure first they knew WHERE I was going so they would know where  they were going---for I was  going to Gethsemane. 


You must count the cost in following Me---and for you, the cost is in getting through this, your own Gethsemane. But I am with you; you are not alone. Count the cost, and the path you follow afterwards will be a deliberately chosen one.  "Rise up, My love, My fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."  Let Me sing My songs for you and let My Spirit blow back your hair. Choose to live in Me and move in Me and have your whole  being in Me  and pain for crumbled  carousels can pass---will pass---and be forever overwhelmed by expectation and enjoyment of My Self and My love for you, My Verne, My very own sweet Verne.

I will not give you a new carousel, however.  For a new carousel would still stay in one place and go round and round. Carousels are for earthly dreams and needs.  Come!  Leap with Me upon the High Places in the strength of lasting confidence. Press onward---not in endless circles---but onward with Me. Whom HAVE you in heaven or earth BUT Me? Abandon yourself to Me and where we go someday I WILL  have a horse for you---not a wooden horse however beautiful and well-carved and painted---but a pure white horse with eyes like flame. And you shall sit upon him, radiant in your strength and beauty and courage, and shall follow Me across the fields of Heaven.  And I shall smile at you and say aloud for all to hear, "This is My Verne, in whom I am well pleased."  and you will say with the voice of your heart, "I am my Beloved's!"