Monday, December 31, 2012

My one word

One word.
Because that’s easy to remember all 365 days of the year.
Not as easy is the choice to live it out. To let it shape your year. To allow it to shape you. But if you’ll let it, your One Word will become the filter through which you see and live your life. It will steer your decisions and guide your steps



-in the company of
-next to, alongside
-in the charge or keeping of
-in support of
-in spite of
-in the same direction as
-so as to be touching or joined to

This year, I will set up camp in the company of three amazing boys. They will talk and I will listen and we will do life together in ways real and hard and beautiful.

This year, I will keep my eyes open and I will choose to come alongside others, to anchor with them, to stay nearby.

This year, I will stay true to that which has been put in my charge. I will be thoughtful in my commitments, faithful in my duties, true to my word.

This year, I will look for people and causes that need support and willfully act. If standing with someone means making a statement, so be it. Life is too short and people are too important to worry about what love looks like.

This year, I will no longer try to fade into the scenery. I will not turn my head when confronted with difficulty. Instead, this year, I want to be counted among the broken-hearted, the downcast, the ones that others dismiss. I will not try and pretend that I am not one of them.

This year, I will press on, in spite of my mistakes. I will not let my failings define or constrict me. I will not let them become excuses.

This year, I will, once again, join hands with my beloved and join his gaze. For what Antoine de Saint-Exupery said is true: " does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward in the same direction." I will choose to look forward with him, not around or behind or over.

This year, when given the opportunity, I will choose touch over tension, embracing rather than rejecting, joining in place of separation. I am not an emotional island, nor are the ones I love. I will choose to move towards them, even when it is hard.

I will choose to be with those that are in front of me.

Friday, December 28, 2012

How the light falls

The darkness and the light are wrapped together like twine
these midwinter days
The sun
it walks with a crook in its back
and it sheds its rays

I walk around the house
switching on lamps
I need the light to spill over
onto chairs and floorboards
I keep stumbling

It is cold now
most of the time
and I've been wearing
the same wool socks
for days on end
I know I should wash them
start fresh
but they

That is what it is like
these last days
of the year

Old dancing with new
reminiscing wrapped in foretelling

I think
that I will just
keep going around
switching on lamps

whatever I do
I can see
more clearly

Friday, December 21, 2012

Take Joy!

I will be taking a break from the blogosphere over the Holidays so you will probably not see me here until after Christmas. Until then, I leave you with one of my all time favorite passages. I shared it last year but I will share it again--for it is good and right and true.

Take Joy!

I salute you! 
There is nothing I can give you which you have not;
but there is much, 
that, while I cannot give, 
you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
Take Heaven.

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant.
Take Peace.

The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet, within our reach,
is joy.
Take Joy.

And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for you,
now and forever,
the day breaks
the shadows flee away.

-Fra Gio

So as you gather with family and friends this holiday season, as you look into their faces and wrap your arms around them like you will never let them go, as you feel the ache of dear ones lost. in all of this, my prayer is that you will take joy.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

There are cracks

Outside the wind is howling . . . H O W L I N G . . . wrapping around corners and rattling old windows and I wake from the moans of this old house. I try to shut it out, that shriek of swirling air, but it pursues me and finds me hidden under covers and there is nowhere that I can escape its grip.

I get up and walk through the darkened house, lit softly by the glow of star shaped lights, to get to the front door. It's an ill- fitting door, old and wooden, and I can stick whole fingers in the gap at the bottom. The cold air is rushing in, streaming like a hemorrhaging vein that can't be stopped, and I feel like that little Dutch boy looking at that leaking dike. I look down at my hands and know that ten fingers mean nothing.

I find the yards of foam caulking in the closet and I rush to shove it into the one huge gap that circles round the entire perimeter of the door. It is a swaddling of sorts, with all of the tucking and patting and wrapping... yet ... still
my house whines.

I cannot keep the wicked wind of the northwest from sneaking inside.

And I think about all of the people who have lived in this house, all these last hundred and seventy years.
How, every winter, there has been the same battle against wind and weather.
How, every winter, there is moaning and howling.
And how, no matter the attempts by good, well meaning folks to keep the storms outside,

There are cracks, to be sure, and you can find them all over this house. And the wind, it roars straight to those thin places.

And as I stand in front of the old door I feel it.

I feel my cracks.

And when the wind blows, there is a rattling deep down that is hard to muffle.
When the gusts cut round my sharpest corners, sometimes, there is a howling.
And when those storms sit atop my house, holding me fast in their grip, there is a rending.

But The Song, it says that those cracks are also how the light gets in.

All these storms--they will never cease. These winds--they will continue to blow and shriek and howl. I can't stop them any more than I can stop the light from rushing in with them.

There is wind, yes. But there is also light.

And as another gale crashes into the walls outside, I hear it. The wind chimes.

They are ringing.

Photo credit: krystian_o on flickr

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Noel {A Haiku}

Inspired today by the thoughts of Seth Haines over at Tweetspeak Poetry. The structure of certain poetry  forms can provide just the right space in which to share raw and ragged emotion. Here, I fall into the haiku and I am grateful for its conciseness. It hems me in--in just the right places.


When there is silence
my ears are tilted upwards
catching the holy

Into my empty
there falls a swelling presence
that keeps me breathing

For these days are stretched
across my breaking heart space
and I need comfort

But haven't I always?
every Noel finds me poor
in mind and spirit

This one only rips
closer to the quick, the root
from which life is born

The idea of God
as a child burns deep and wide
it is at once, mad

And beautiful, because
it is the heart of the young
from which springs glory

And in the inky
black sky a crop of new stars
sing Hallelujah

O come, o come, now
usher in sweet songs of joy
be born in me again.

i'm a poetry chick

Saturday, December 15, 2012

On the darkest night

the darkest night
greedy arms

wider, thicker, stronger

there is yet 




Friday, December 14, 2012

{Adagio: A Poetry Project} Born in the Night

Today I give you a second offering of Adagio: A Poetry Project. Perhaps you saw the first poem? The one where Elizabeth Marshall and I each strung words on colored threads and then wove them together into one unified piece. That idea, of writing collaboratively, was what initially launched this project and it is the heart and soul of how we see this project growing.
But just as its name suggests, an Adagio is a dance between two partners. A dance in which there is a lifting, a balancing, a turning. So, today, we are dancing as individuals to the same music. There is a poem from me, here, and another poem from Elizabeth over at her place. Together and apart, we are writing from the same prompt, the hymn "Born in the Night, Mary's Child."


It is night when you come

We have not made it to a place that makes sense
a place proper 
a place right

But still 
you come

there is darkness

But then
you burst forth
pulling on skin and bone and sinew
and the light
from your face

who at once
knows nothing
are the one
that will tell us
God is good
even while
all around you
that early darkness

grips at your heels
a streamer
dancing and flapping
on the wind
and it
kingdom dust 
on the streets


Writing is, most often, a solo venture, a process worked deep inside the confines of one’s heart and soul. But when two pilgrim poets turn towards each other and embrace the tension that lies between, something new emerges.  A writing “pas de deux” is born and the two begin weaving their words together, in and around, over and under, into something bigger than themselves. The writing becomes a lifting, a balancing, a turning…and the words on the page become an Adagio.

We would love for you to enter into this project with us. Please feel free to leave your own poem in the comments, either here or at Elizabeth's place. We welcome your choreography on this endeavor and we long to hear your offerings on the prompt.

The space that remains

I have been so very quiet this week.

I was not prepared for how my heart would fold in upon itself after it had spread itself so wide open. It was the writing of My Broken Hallelujah piece that did it. After slowly and carefully pulling together the words to share that story I found myself needing to sit in the hushed space that remained.

For when one reaches deep into the vulnerable places, its as if a thread comes loose, dangling and exposed at the edge of the soul's fabric. And with each passing moment, that thread shakes in the wake of waters churned and is pulled a little further out of its seam.

And there is a slow unraveling.

So this week has been spent gathering up the gold colored filament that hems in my heart.
And slowly and with great measure,
I have wound

And now Christmas is coming.

Oh how I wish to be caught up in that story again. The one that I never tire of hearing. The one that, despite knowing it backwards and forwards, never fails to alight on my heart space anew.

The one in which, once again, a baby's birth changes my world.

O come, o come Emmanuel.

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Broken Hallelujah

He burst forth this side of heaven with a flourish, arriving earlier than expected.
It was there, in the hushed predawn light, before even the birds could herald the coming of the day, where I pulled him to my chest and breathed deep his nativity. For the holiness of that moment hung heavy and I lay still under the weight of it all.
In the months that followed I cradled my son continuously, in every crook and curve of my body. A skin to skin, breast to mouth, finger to toe rhythm emerged and soon we were connecting in thousands of ways, over and over. This sacred dance had no fixed steps. It was simply that Love led and we, the beloved, followed.
Both of us continued to grow in knowing and being known.
We leaned into the hard places, into the fevers and the pain.
And, together, we rose on zephyr winds, celebrating new exploits and the joy of new milestones.
My son was incredibly affectionate, with me. He would nestle down quietly into the folds of my body and he would fling his chubby arms around my neck, pulling me deeper into his heart space. I was enraptured with this little soul that longed for connection. He was mine and I was his.
We were growing into our God-stained selves and it was good.

We were together, always.
We spent hour upon hour curled up on couches, befriending the likes of Huckle and Lowly and Wilbur and Charlotte. We perched near our large picture window at every meal and, just as if he were learning his ABC’s, my son learned the name of every bird that visited our feeder.
Because we shared our home with other families, we almost always had one or two other children laced in and out of our every hour. My son learned the difficult realities of sharing and compromise early and he practiced them long.
I’m not exactly sure at what point I began to notice that things were changing.
To read more of this post, please join me here at SheLoves Magazine today as they partner with Prodigal Magazine in hosting a "Broken Hallelujah" link-up. Through stories of hardship and redemption we hope to open wide the gates of brokenness. Will you consider joining us by sharing your story?

Sunday, December 9, 2012


"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
Jeremiah 31:3

With swirls of light
there is


has always been
always be



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Where there is life there is love

Christmas Lights

In my last two posts, here and here, I shared about being open to the hope and the wonder of this Advent season. I mused on long darkness and piercing light and holy spirit smoke. I swelled with anticipation.

It's amazing how everything can change in a day or two.

My first week of Advent has been ripe with hard conversations, thwarted goals, and deep soul walking. There has been no lighting of the Advent wreath, no dwelling in Words of life, no mighty nesting instinct spurring me on to small acts of preparation.

Instead, there has been life.

And it has been drippy and sticky and complicated.

I lost every ounce of patience with my children, closed the door to the world and lamented my fate to the skies. And never fear, there was much cursing and clenching of fists.

I surveyed my house on several occasions and wondered how I could possibly want for more when I was already drowning in piles of paper and trinkets and dust.

And as people near and dear to my heart spun like dervishes in the wake of their own deep churning, I felt the strain of impotence.

But that is not all.

For "where there is life there is love" and this week delivered that, as well.

I learned the spiritual discipline of letting go... of control. of unrealistic expectations. of perfection.

Every year since we have been married, I have put up the Christmas lights. Not to take a stand on equality or anything else noble like that. No, I have always put up the Christmas lights because I am a control freak.
But this year found me committed to another task on the 65 degree December weekend that simply insisted be dedicated to donning holiday lights. And my husband and two boys needed something to do together. The answer was simple=put up the lights.
The lights did not go up in the order or manner they were supposed to. There were colored lights hanging all willy nilly from columns and door frames and I didn't understand the arrangement and it was.all.wrong.
I was just about to intercede on the behalf of Christmas lights everywhere and offer some constructive criticism when I felt my tongue freeze heavy in my mouth. Something stopped me. It was not because of anything generous in my own spirit. No, my mind was busy talking my body off the ledge of Christmas madness and encouraging deep breaths and closed eyes. No, something bigger and greater and wiser than me was taking over. And it was winning.

That is what love does. It wins.

And the other miraculous thing? I didn't put up a fight.
I let love win this one.

Something hard and brittle broke in me that day. A rigid cast of contention that I had made my uniform for all these years, it simply fell away.

And in its absence I could move. And breathe.

And now my sweet, little house shimmers with color and beauty and glory and I had absolutely nothing to do with it.

That has been my Advent lesson this week.

quote: Mahatma Ghandi

Saturday, December 1, 2012



Standing on the edge of darkness
so deeply hushed with quiet through and through
I can feel the surrounding
the holy rushing, silent
whispers of spirit smoke

It is upon me
this swelling hope
grafting my detachment
to its pulsing
for it believes

This hope
it rolled in atop 
the mighty words of prophets
springing forth day from night
life from death

And here it is now
billowing on the edges
of my coming
reaching for my hand
with wonder
and blessing

The silence
it is upon my lips
while my mortal skin
I must keep awake

 Sweet Blogger Grey

in sweetening the world with poetry words.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Five Minute Friday

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
Writing for five minutes.
A sort of writing flash mob.
Each day, we are moving closer to the long darkness, the season of night everlasting. 
When days melt quickly into inky blackness and linger long on the edge of dawn. The days, they grow colder. The trees, they stand rigid and bare and stoic. 

How curious that in the deepest parts of this season, when there is more darkness than light, we would be offered the gift of wonder.

For who among us can abide in this darkness? To dwell here is to live among the walking dead.

So, the Wise One, He drew back the veil of stars and entered in. In a place at once dark and dingy, the bearer of light broke through the shadows.

It is on such an Eve that wonder lives and breathes and has its meaning. For there is no precedent, nor moment following, that can outshine the resplendence of Love made incarnate.

Even the moon seemed to feel the depth of darkness as it hung low and heavy in the twilight this week, full to bursting and burning with a fiery richness. Almost as if it was wondering as it wandered across the frosted sky. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Adagio: A Poetry Project

It's amazing how, in the enormity of the internet, one can still find deep, genuine community. It's remarkable that, despite far reaching miles and the skipping of time zones, one can find themselves drawn close and held fast by another person. It is wondrous and it is true and it is the story of Elizabeth Marshall and me.  
Both of us are writers who hammer out the questions of our hearts and our faith as they dance in tandem with our lives. And both of us fall humbly into the arms of poetry, believing in its power to communicate both the known and the unknown in powerful and poignant ways. It is from this deep place of thought and meditation that this project was born. 
Elizabeth and I love each other's words. We drink them up, let them drip from our lips, and let them press deeply into secret places. We very well might have been content to do that from now until eternity. But when Elizabeth cast a vision, one that imagined a coming together of hearts and minds, mingled among shared words on a page, I immediately stood at the ready. And although neither of us had ever attempted a project like this, we stepped out in faith, not fear. With hope unending and love abiding we offer you this...Adagio: A Poetry Project. 

Writing is, most often, a solo venture, a process worked deep inside the confines of one’s heart and soul. But when two pilgrim poets turn towards each other and embrace the tension that lies between, something new emerges.  A writing “pas de deux” is born and the two begin weaving their words together, in and around, over and under, into something bigger than themselves. The writing becomes a lifting, a balancing, a turning…and the words on the page become an Adagio.


It is in this spirit that we have threaded together pieces of our souls as our offering to the world of poetry and to fellow poet friends. Most especially, though, we offer it as a gift, and lay it right at the feet of our Creative God who is  the Giver of this love of writing and purposeful word weaving.  Today we sing this song and tell some of our story…..elizabeth and holly.

Writing Across The Distance
Her words they twist and swirl creamy smooth
One into another and I drink them in deep and long
She dips her pen into the well of ink
That is her very crimson rushing pulsing life.
And brings up words to stamp white page.
She is like the smiths of old, holding passion fire hot and glowing
And working the ember into ghostly shapes
That cool only when set aside
Full of vibrant living breathing voice,  poetic prose
For all to know her very soul
She lives into days fringed with salt-crusted breezes
And her words they ripen and swell
And drip heavy the fruit of quiet days made full with patience and wonder
She dips her pen into places wet with tears of joy and sorrow mingled down
Always honest, her voice knows only raw and real
She a pilgrim soul on a journey long and winding
Open and bare her heart rests upon the feast table
She is waiting quiet and still
While the shaping takes place
She is still and she knows.
No room for mask or veil or artificial
Her art, like incense to her God.
And she’ll dip her pen in nature’s oil
And mingle earth with bone and flesh to make a  mix of all the world
Not leaving places unexplored, she will blend the wild and tame alike
And make a holy sacrifice and offering of her very  self
A calm and tranquil melody
Poetic heartfelt words.
Two pilgrims on a journey.
Will you join us as we move in faith on this new poetry journey? And perhaps you might consider partnering with another writer to come along side us in this endeavor?  We covet your presence in this space.
If you, like me, would like to read more from Elizabeth, please visit wynnegraceappears. My writing can be found here at A Lifetime of Days. Together, Elizabeth and I are writing across the distance as our homes are hundreds upon hundreds of miles apart.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The changeling

There are places that I return to and
each time
things have shifted
I walk paths familiar and run my hands along signposts
the places where I once hung my knowing
the light slants different and the recollecting softens
and I feel at once full and missing

It's been said that the act of remembering
changes things
changes the memory even
rewrites the code
and so
it becomes something altered
something different
than before

So I balk
because when I walk through the frames
I want them just the way they were caught
rough and unawares
true and alive
honest and proper

I want to wear the garments
of old
because some of them wrap round
just so
and I know and am known
just in the very wearing of them

But memory
it is a changeling
And when I slip into its fabric
there is a pinching

That shifting that happens
it is also a kind of grace
For perhaps in the remembering
we can know our lives anew
We can know that
in all our joys and sorrows and wrong paths taken
and in all that has been or ever will be
we are being made

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


This is a repost from last year but it remains the prayer of my heart.
As we pack up the car and drive over the river and through the woods 
to family and all those we hold dear, 
I pray that these words would sink deep.
And I hope that wherever you find yourself this Thanksgiving
you will be full to bursting with love unending.

“Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.” 


Despite the fact that I can feel the dance begin,
the one that sweeps up family and feasting, bustling hands and beauteous light and twirls them round and round my heart,
I sense You pulling me deeper.

Yes, it is good to gather, to greet each other with holy kisses and to give thanks.  Generations after generations have taught us that ritual.  We know it by heart.

But Lord, I long to live out my thanks giving.  I don’t want it to be reserved for pre-appointed dates on the calendar.

I need to practice this act of thanks giving so that it becomes a sacrament. 

Because on many days, the thanks are slow in coming.
And some days, they don’t come at all.
How can this be?

Perhaps it is because my wandering heart finds your shadow and declares you absent, choosing to embrace emptiness and despair.  Looking closer I might see that the darkness that puddles around me is actually cast by the breadth of your wing.  And that you are always passing by.

I must burn the Truth on my lips--that your mercies are new every morning-- so that when my heart fails and my vision blurs, my mouth will declare forth your praise.

Lord, may my thanks giving always be a response rather than a ritual and may I learn to see that your love is everywhere.


Monday, November 19, 2012

The Feast of Broken Pieces

Photo credit: Bread! Flikr, Creative Commons

We sit at a table round and old, the edges burnished by years of reaching deep and sidling close. It was bought by my parents, this table, when their love was still young and the road less littered. The years and their offerings, they have left their mark and there are scars to remind us all. But when I run my hand across the polished top, I smile at the way that my fingers glide and dance.

We are a motley crew, this gathering of souls, and yet we are all cut from the same cloth. Our blood runs thick with crooked noses and broad shoulders, almond-shaped eyes and cowlicked hair but despite the familiar echoes, I sometimes feel as if I am looking into the faces of strangers. 

For aren’t we all just stories draped in flesh and can’t it take years to peel back the layers that mask our true forms? 

Some of our tales have never even been whispered but yet, they blow silent through cracks, wanting to be heard. It is their muteness that rings loudest.

We’ve all come hungry...

I am humbled and very excited to be joining 
SheLoves Magazine as a contributing writer today. 
You can read the rest of my piece here at the

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Light that falls

There is a light

square upon the leaf

when I lift my face
just so
the kiss of heaven
warms my cheek

Friday, November 16, 2012


Five Minute Friday

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
Writing for five minutes.
A sort of writing flash mob.

I bend low, nuzzling cheek and ear, drinking in the smell of boy and soap. It is warm in the crook of his neck. And his arms, they circle round and round my neck. And this child, he won't let go. Not tonight, at least. Or tomorrow. Or even the day after that. This nightly ritual, this silent clamoring, this desperate is, at once, constant and fleeting. Everything in him cries out for me to

And I should listen.

Because there will come a day when his cheek will be coarse and his smell will slant towards manhood. And his arms, they will lengthen and his reach, it will widen. And that wish for me to stay will cool in the wake of shifting winds.

So, for now, tonight, I will stay. 

And as I nestle into the folds of his fleeting boyish charms I find my soul has a clamoring all its own. 

Stay. Here. 

Remain. Here.

"Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you."
John 15:4 (CEV)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Love came down

I can remember what it was like before you were born.
There was love.
So much love.
On and in and around, love moved your dad and me.
Sometimes, love was close at hand, fingering lines in silhouette. Other times, love stood back, just watching and waiting.
But, all the time, love was.

And that love?
It remained. Blossomed. Grew.
After a time, it began to seek you out.
And there was prayer, with hands spread atop my head and lips dripping desires at the doorstep of heaven.
At night, as I lay flat in the dark, you came to me in visions. And in the morning, your form began to shape itself in the deepest hiding places.
And slowly, beautifully, perfectly you became.

And, oh, how there was rejoicing!
For when you burst forth this side of heaven, I laughed. I cried Glory! and pulled you closer still.
For more was born into our lives than just you.
More and bigger love--even greater than that which had stirred you into being--held fast to your feet and left trails of holy dust that sparkled as it flew and drifted and settled upon every living thing in the room.
Nothing was left untouched by the holy that day.


Yesterday, as I listened to the doctor explain to me, in scientific terms, the aspects of your uniqueness I couldn't help but marvel at the gift.
You, the gift.
Planted in my belly when I thought it was yet winter.
You, the gift.
Arriving with determined purpose and laughter right round.
You, the gift.

Because when love comes down, it leaves a trail. 

As we walk this path of your life, complete with twists and turns unexpected, your finger, it trails in the milieu, leaving flecks of that first holy dust. 
And it alights upon my coming in and my going out, my standing up and my kneeling down, my struggling and my accepting.

To walk with you means to walk into trust.
Right into its arms spread wide. 
And it is there, beneath that wing that shelters, that I remember.
Love is always 

Linking with Emily and Jennifer

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dust of heaven

In the still
of the afternoon
when the sun

If you
your head
just so

You will find
the dust

Friday, November 9, 2012


Unscripted.  Unedited.  Real.
Writing for five minutes.
A sort of writing flash mob.

Five Minute Friday

I lay down in the field, crunchy with decay and prickly with spent blooms. Such is the bed I choose, sometimes. Down low, nestled among the swaying skeletons of summer, my only view is skyward. The blue expanse is dotted with a billowy white that absorbs my piercing gaze and, if I stay still long enough, I can almost feel the tilt of the globe.  I am captured by the quiet.

I am resting in the eye of the storm and nothing can penetrate this hallowed space. It might be true that a storm rages at the edges and the thunder claps and flashing lights compete to frame this space outright but I choose to remain in this circle of quiet. It is only here that I will be able to hear the murmurs riding atop the gentle breezes. It is here where I can be still and know.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

There are places

There are places
one wants to go

and these places
they can be seen
in the distance
draped in misty cloud breath
with silver tendrils
pink cheeks

some days
it is as if
these places are
at hand
brushing the
of fingers
making them itch

and this desire
to go
to be
walk in tandem
a pulling
a grounding

enough so
to make
one walk
in circles
I suppose

but the
around and on and in of each other
weaves patterns of
which are beheld
only in the looking back

beauty is the vapor trail
of having once

--sweetening the world with poetry words--
 Sweet Blogger Grey

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A curtain torn

I take my shower in a bathroom small
there is no vent so
the steam
it billows and rolls
about the space                    

the hot water
my skin
and it is at once

in this private space
I practice
once again
the dance of

I try
to scrub away the proof
of my erring ways
the fact that
I have lived on sugar and chocolate
for the last
seven days

And it is confusing
because the act of putting
hand to mouth
is supposed to be
but I seem to always
ruin it

It is the nakedness
I think
that hollers loud
The baring
wide open and needy
renders me

And I murmur prayer words
but they get lost
in the rushing
and I can’t escape
my skin

The water
it washes over
my shell
this casing that
houses my
I know that it
is a temple
but I
don’t believe it

I shut off
the flowing cataract
stand silent

I step out
of that
the one
that sometimes
spins dizzy
and it happens

In that moment
the curtain
and I stand
foot bare
holy ground

John baptized
in the desert places
even if there is still
sand between my toes
I can now speak
the tongue of

Linking with Emily

Monday, November 5, 2012

In which I choose Peace

The other day, I was still long enough to hear it.

That has not been the case much lately.

For, even in the times when I move slower and speak less, I'm still running circles in my head. In there, in that small sheltered space, is a rumpus of imagined debate and flourishing retorts, each with a pointed desire to shine brighter, stand taller, pierce deeper. You may think me a quieter soul but believe me when I tell you that there are places down deep that rage.

For you see, I want to be the one who is right. 

And I don't mean the kind of right that wins a debate. 

I want to be righteously right. 

At the end of the day, despite my carefully chosen words and filtered sentiments, despite my humble offerings of compromise and understanding, I want to land on the right side of glory. And I want everyone to know it.

But, the other day, in the midst of this internal storm, this desire to wage war with words, I felt this alight upon my heart:

But the wisdom from above is 
first of all
It is also peace loving,
gentle at all times,
and willing to yield to others.
It is full of mercy and good deeds.
It shows no favoritism
and it is always sincere.
And those who are peacemakers
will plant seeds of peace
and reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 3: 17-18 NLT

And it was as if something broke. Down in that deep place, where fires burn hot and joy is a stranger, my soul was doused.

And I heard the Lord speaking to my most fragile self, the one that had been the source of all this unspoken vitriol but also, the one that most wants to change the world. On the trails of holy whispers I caught hold of this:

The Lord God has told [you]
what is right
what he demands:
'See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God.'
Micah 6:8 CEV

And all I could do was fall into the truth.

I am not called to bring down kingdoms or exercise judgment upon the land.
I am called to lift up the brokenhearted.

I am not called to point out the faults of others.
I am called to look deep and love hard.

I am not called to find the highest virtuous point and stake the flag of faith upon its peak.
I am called to help others to the top.

"Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers,
hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul,
which are the causes of war.
If you love peace, then hate injustice,
hate tyranny, hate greed--
but hate these things
in yourself,
in another."
-Thomas Merton

I am convinced, now more than ever, that we will never know a political landscape that represents the hearts of all people of faith. Because I've watched folks with deep belief and love and conviction tirelessly search their hearts and souls for answers and declarations but, in the end, still find themselves gazing at each other across fences denoting political affiliation. I have been such folk. 

No, the answer lies not in the establishment of a holy land. The answer lies in the laboring for hallowed hearts. It's not about fashioning this world to fit our cracked mold. It's about looking for "the way he works so we can live the way we're made" (Isaiah 2:3 MSG).

I know it now.
I know it deep and long and far and wide.
I am called to be a peacemaker.

On the eve of one of the most decisive political contests in the history of our country, I choose peace.

Peace over paradigm, over pontification, over pretension.

(photo credit: Google images)

And to all of you with whom I have stood opposite, even as we both sank, knee-deep in grace, I give you this:

"I pray that the Lord will bless you and keep you,
and that he will show you mercy and kindness.
May the Lord be good to you
Numbers 6:24-26 CEV