Friday, April 18, 2014

Rend Your Heart

Humanity is weeping
with the mystery of Now.
Misery multiplies like questions-
questions demanding
the invention of answers,
the fakery of assurance,
desperate for any security.
Knowledge of Good
and Evil got everyone
nowhere and it seems we can never stop.
We broke the everlasting
circle of our lives and made it into a rigid line. Are
we the inventors of time? An unchained
necklace, and death
the clasp? Who
cannot help but eat the fruit
of an understanding tree
when discovery mothers
curiosity? We imagine it desired
until we learn it becomes
an insatiable need. How might we
be free from our own twisted webs
knotted tightly across our worlds,
without severing the cord
which feeds our hope
into waiting wombs of trust? Oh, God
we must find the key to our selves
and nothing else urgent as this-
this calling to seek and ask
and stand at the door
with our fistfuls of Why
and a battering ram
of How Long, How Long, O Lord?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Let's Make It Ok To Be Needy

Sometimes you read yet another Christian book and instead of the warm fuzzies it triggers a deep and unmet need. A vision for the whole community of believers where there was formerly blindness and unseeing. A sudden realization of the plank in the proverbial eye. Our collective eye. Who are we seeing and writing about? It's important.

Dear Christians Who Write About Faith,

Please stop this endless parade of heroes and stop telling us we all have to be one. I am tired. Body, soul, and mind. And I don’t want to be a savior anymore. Stop telling me we all have to be the saviors. Don’t give me only the stories that look like do-gooding.

Don’t just tell me the story about that sacrificial single taking care of orphans.

Tell me about the orphans. And how their needs and dependence are part of the ministry, too.

Refrain from telling me again how someone’s organization is Changing The World and show me how the underprivileged are pretty cool, too. (Without condescension; have you noticed that?) If we are so poor in spirit then why are we always talking about the champions in the tale? Why must every tale include Mighty Marvels?

Maybe the appeal corresponds directly with our ability to overcome?

A hero overcomes.

What if we can’t overcome? What if we are the ones
who wait forever beside the healing pools
to be helped; to wade in? What if we have waited all our lives?
What if we are waiting still? But no, we must talk, talk,
talk about the Peter and the Paul, or the faithful martyr.
The naked man with demons? Nobody wants to see that.
Nor do we look fondly upon the Girl Who Was Dead
as one of the Top Ten of good book notables.
She was a mere recipient of a miracle. The Dependent.
Eyes on Jesus here, please. We like pizzazz. Pretty people,
miracles, romantic jobs. Everyone covets romantic jobs
and romantic job stories. I wonder from what our aversion
to mundane life stems? An unacknowledged fear, perhaps.
We did not notice nor could we see, so busy were we
doing The Lord’s Work.

The Lord's Work? Oh dear God what I would give to have a volume of Jesus’ carpenter days. Maybe a journal.

I imagine what it might say:

“Had another full day sanding for the next project. I always get to sand because Joseph says I am so thorough at making smooth the rough places. It gets a little tiresome, but I think of the beauty of all the pieces coming together into one final masterpiece. My Father chose wisely in placing me here. Still, some days I do get a little bit bored. Sometimes it feels like even my callouses hurt. There is not enough magic in my fingers to keep preserve me from this pain. I am looking forward to Sabbath. Someday, I’m going to wander the desert and bask in all that time to myself. Maybe my hands will stop aching.”

Wouldn’t that have been something? A journal of the mundane? Of Jesus doing The Lord's Work?

People, I’m tired of pretty. I’m tired of romantic. I’m tired of jobs and roles and boxes and gates.

I’m tired of all this focus on the great people building the kingdom and what a big beautiful sacrifice it is and how the unseen will one day be seen and acknowledged like all the Important Ones but not until we all reach The Other Side.

Why can’t the Important Ones see the unseen now? Why should the Important Ones only ever keep seeing and speaking about the Other Important Ones? Why the small world?

Why such focus on what we must always be doing? What of those who cannot build but only be and even just the being is a battle? Can you tell me that story? Can I see Jesus in the darkness, please? That’s where the light needs to be.

Can we bear to hear about someone’s daily, unceasing pain without thinking “boy, they sure do complain a lot. If I complained that much I’d get nothing done, either.” And all the while the story being told goes unheard, because we got bored with someone’s "whining" over their battle with illness. If a Christian in a group of Christians isn’t sure they can share one more time the same prayer request they keep bringing to the table, for fear of being a burden, or because it seems pointless to expect a response, we have failed to grasp the gospel message.

It’s not just for the heroes. It’s for the invisible, the feeble, the homeless, the naked, the prisoner, the lonely, and the underprivileged. The children. They deserve to be put in your books, too. Fair representation and equal time. Let's make it okay to be needy. Please?

Who are you writing about today?

Lectio Divina:

“Every valley shall be lifted up,
   and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
   and the rough places a plain.” Isaiah 40:4 (ESV)

Lifelong Struggle

“How can you keep a poem
from losing its spirit?”
she asks wistfully,
staring at her reflection in the broken
bottle of her once stored tears.
She sets the remnants
gently on the hardened clay
that shattered her salt-water
prison, leaving her no choice
but to shed the remainder
in unchecked rivulets over
surface smile contorting
to angles grotesque.
The tears are spilling now into her lap,
shed through fingers covering her face,
eyes peeking through the cracks,
seeing only as much of her world
as she can bring herself to accept.
She lifts her gaze, eyes full of rivers,

turning the sun into a thousand
gleaming wishes, flashing their
sharp radiance across the horizon
like a trove of uncut diamonds
promising a storm
of light. And she believes the truth:

it can and it will save her life.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What If

***photo credit Jennifer Upton

I see you there,

on the other side 

of that vast stretch of golden glory.

I sense you across the living sea of wildflowers,

making their long journey across the wilderness

toward you; the land barren no longer

because of their presence. The wilderness

has now been transformed to a field

of light. Is there anything 

I want as much 

as to chase this light? I feel

the invitation

that is a call

that is a plea

that is a demand on my soul

to venture in. But what if

you are only 

the cloud on the horizon? What if

the joy is in pursuit and not arrival? What if

there is no arrival

and life everlasting is a circle 

that spins

‘round and around 

on an endless quest for home?

Inspired by the photo prompt above, which was shared at a write-in with the Story Community. Join the magic!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Poetry: At The Foot of the Mountain

Hey friends,

I'm guest posting over at a story sister's place in honor of National Poetry Month. If you like poetry, specifically love poems in this case, I think you will enjoy this one. Join me over at Alissa's blog today!

Here's a snippet to pique your interest:

At The Foot of the Mountain

Broken white statues lay before us, Greek
columns in fragments on the ground, scattered
           like disjointed
The man, my husband and fellow adventurer,
pressed his palm against mine, nervous but resolute,
retreating with me in desperation... READ MORE over at Alissa's blog!

See you there?