Poem: Perfect

7A7C9241-DB6F-4D28-A5B2-23105E6BEC09The birds all sing without concern

For how their song might sound.

Quietly the water runs atop the rock

Without knowing where it’s bound.

With the wind sway the trees

The rustling leaves their royal crown

As the light breaks through 

And dances on the ground.

This beauty and this balance

Abundant life in harmony

But man will burn and chop and pave

The irreplaceable for a penny. 

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A Prayer (1)

Adonai, I hear Your praise

in the rumbles of the thunder

in the warbles of the songbird

in the dancing of the leaves.

 

Elohim, I feel your presence

in the warmth of the sunlight

through the softness of your grass

by the washing of your waves.

 

Lord, I hear your cry

in the plea of the hungry

Through the weeping of the lonely

By the lament of the mourning.

 

O God, I know communion

through palms pressed together

By the lifting up of voices

in the sharing of oneself.

 

And to You goes my worship;

to You, Lord, goes my praise.

To You, Abba, I cry out;

to you I give all my days.

 

Lost at Home (a Short Story)

She paused on the Pont des Invalides and he moved to rest his hand upon her lower back only to pause right before he touched her, momentarily frozen. The moonlight danced softly on the gold of his wedding band. Glancing at her silhouette, he slowly withdrew his hand as he said, “It’s not… nothing.” She kept her back to him, looking down into the dark water beneath them, observing its movements. The air vibrated between them and they moved cautiously, careful not to touch the other or make eye contact. An ache arose in his chest that nudged him forward. He repeated it again with a greater firmness in his voice, communicating confidence where he felt desperation. “It’s not nothing.”

She took a step backwards, angling her body partially towards him as she raised her hand, almost as if in defense. “I don’t know what you’re taking about,” she sighed. He felt his eyes fill with tears that would never fall and his hands formed into fists as he pushed his emotions deep into the pit of his stomach so that when he spoke his voice was cold, monotone. “That’s a lie. Otherwise it wouldn’t matter. None of this would matter. It matters because it’s something.”

“No… a bunch of little nothings still add up to nothing,” she stated hollowly, resignation dripping from her voice as her eyes finally met his. Tears pooled against her mascara laden eyelashes but they weren’t going to fall either. Her voice felt like a cold steel that cut through his heart. The air went out of his lungs and a shadow fell over his countenance.

And with those words he knew. Their walls were too high and their hearts too guarded for them to ever get close enough to share anything real again. What could have been something was nothing because that’s how they both had treated it. He closed his eyes and just for a second, he imagined what it would have been like if the walls were gone. Instead of her moving further from him, his arms would pull her close and he would feel her warmth as she leaned into him and laid her head against his chest. He could almost feel her hair brush against his cheek as he laid his head on hers and they shared the events of their days with each other… With a small sigh, he opened his eyes and she was gone, faded into the night fog as if she had been an apparition.

He felt alone, but no more alone then when she was standing there in front of him. He walked over to the edge of the bridge where she had stood moments before and stared down at the same spot she had gazed upon, but these were different waters, different shadows. He breathed in the night air and he closed his eyes. The cacophony of Parisian sounds had the same quality as the water that stirred below; although familiar, each moment that passed by swept away the molecules, the voices, the horns and bells, making each moment equal parts familiar and unfamiliar. He opened his eyes again. Perhaps, he thought, that is why one can feel completely lost upon returning home.

Sometimes, I Forget

From December 6th, 2016

 

Sometimes I forget, God.

I forget that You come close when we find ourselves sinking.

I forget You loved me when I was darkest.

I forget that You love us so much, you sent your Son and the Advocate to help us.

I forget You are the God who humbled Egypt for your people.

I forget You are a God who gives children to the barren.

I forget You spilt your blood for us.

I forget You gave us rulers because WE insisted.

I forget all the ways You have been faithful to a faithless people.

I would rather be anywhere with You than in paradise without you. You are my paradise.

Two Questions

“Who is this guy?”

”Do I trust him?”

These two questions sat at the heart of our service today. They were talking about God and Scripture. Discovering who “this guy” is through the Word and asking us where we have stepped out in faith. Where we have trusted Him. To illustrate this, the woman speaking shared a story from her own life when she found herself trusting in a group of strangers.

And as she spoke I felt conviction about this lie that I’ve treated as truth for so long, I didn’t notice how it had entangled me. This lie that said I can’t be trusted.

It is rather unfortunate that I’ve been through some pretty dark seasons. Seasons that most often involved me looking at a boy or man and believing I knew him and I could trust him. And then being proven very wrong. Although I have forgiven them and found healing around those things, today I realized I hadn’t forgiven myself. After discovering over and over how wrong I was about so many people, I started to believe I could not be trusted with my own well-being. That if someone wanted a relationship with me (dating, friendship, etc) it was because they were deeply broken. And if I was attracted to someone, it was a sure sign to run. Literally. All sirens went off internally and I would flee.

Ultimately though, this story isn’t a story about me, but about God and God’s desire to redeem, restore and reconcile. A God of Truth certainly cannot abide this lie I have been somewhat unknowingly agreeing with.

When I began to seek God, one of the first things I discovered (and one of my favorite attributes) about God is how available God is to me. God gives me complete and total freedom to explore who God is, to know God’s past and future. To seek God not because God isn’t already here, but because the breadth and depth of God is so vast that I am able to become totally “lost” with God.

God and I have been through some good times and bad, but the characteristics of god I read in the Bible are present in our relationship today. I am confident I can trust God.

But I couldn’t trust me. I couldn’t trust the people around me. I couldn’t take that risk because I thought my judgment was impaired. It wasn’t. The problem was that I had tried to discern through my own humanness, my brokenness, my wounds rather than through the Spirit that God gives me and the wisdom God blesses me with both through our relationship and the Word.

So I repent. I repent of believing that God could not equip or protect me, of not trusting that God would continue to shepherd me. And I bless this space, that I would move forward confident in that I am covered in the armor of the Lord, who is my stronghold and my rock in difficult times. I pray that the rest of my story would be a testimony to the kind of Love God extends to each of us. I pray that I would be able to step with the confidence of one who is led by the King of Kings. Amen.

Another weird Dream

I was in an impoverished neighborhood with my sister and I arrived at an apartment complex. I was returning something to ________, and somehow I gained access to his apartment (in the dream I recall thinking about how it was weird to be here when I hadn’t thought about or seen him in years). I was grateful he wasn’t there.

It was a spacious apartment but quite messy and I couldn’t find a key to lock up. I figured while I was looking I may as well clean, so I found trash bags and picked up all the trash, took care of dishes and quickly organized the bedrooms. The kitchen was like stepping back in time to his old apartment but the rest of the place was really quite nice. It was clear the kids were older, less present. It also seemed that he had someone else in his life, a partner. There were thoughtful touches in the home but no pictures.

I grabbed the filled trash bags to throw them out but I couldn’t shut the door behind me, so I left the door open. From the dumpster I saw people heading into his place and panicked, thinking how mad he would be! I sprinted back and as I ran into the kitchen I ran full speed into a person.

He was a tall black man, dressed well but very serious. It was like running into a wall. I apologized but he didn’t respond. On either side of him was a shorter white man wearing striped coveralls and a white mask that covered their faces. One was _________.

He lifted his mask up. ”What are you doing? Why was my door open?”

“Oh, hey… sorry. Yeah, I was just dropping that thing off. I wasn’t sure how to lock up so I straightened up while I was looking for a key.”

Suddenly he seemed nicer, kinder. “We were just getting ready to go.” He laughed and smiled, “What the deal with your hair?”

Apparently in my dream, I had some subtle rainbow highlights under my hair. Most people didn’t even notice them. “Oh! Right. I was just trying a little something new. __________ thought it was nice.”

At the mention of another mans name, it was like a shadow fell over him. Suddenly he was a million miles away. “Uh-huh, that’s nice. Well, we gotta go so…” and he gestured me toward the door. Meanwhile, this huge party seemed to be kicking off and people were arriving.

”Sure, yeah. Well, it was nice seeing you. Enjoy your evening.” I leave and as I walk to a car my heart begins to slow down. I realize my heart must have been racing that whole time.

I get to the car where my sister is waiting and I have an email from him. He wrote  me to tell me he didn’t care about my hair and he doesn’t care about my boyfriend or what I’m doing with my life. The next thing I know, we’re suddenly face to face again. “________ isn’t my boyfriend.”

”Oh, really?” Suddenly the shadow is gone and he softens again, but there’s an edge to his tone. He could wield words like weapons, and I saw a little bit of delight enter his eyes as he spoke: “I really only wrote you because I was concerned about that hair. With other people it’s a sign of instability, that they aren’t okay. A cry for help.”

My heart drops a little. I had hoped he’d be different, that things would have changed. That he might have learned to be kind. I don’t say a word to him as I get in the car and drive away.

 

 

A Dream of Woman Camp

My sister and I are walking with all the other women up to the big, white tent at the top of the hill. As we draw closer, we can hear the rhythm of the instruments and the sound of voices singing.

Then my vision changes.

The sky is so lovely; the bright white of the tent pops against a sky that’s so blue I feel like I could dive into its depths. And the voices, the songs, sound so beautiful! I feel them soak into my very core. They fill me with joy and love. My sister and I look at each other and laugh; the joy bubbles and spills out of us like children breaking out of the school doors to summer break.

Then I notice there are other voices singing. It seems to be coming from the beings of light that are around us now, but not quite. Almost as if their voice is the wind, as if they make the very molecules of the air rejoice. As I pass by one of the light beings, my heart responds to it as if it knows it, like this saturating and abiding peace that envelopes me is as recognizable as a face, a laugh, a fingerprint. This one somehow I know.

I smile widely in the beings direction and begin to sing as I reach for my sister’s hand. I answer it’s peace with love, with gratitude. With thanksgiving. I am sure this is a friend who has been with me all my life. My Comforter and Protector. Tears fill my eyes as my sister and I begin to dance; jumping, twisting, laughing.

Suddenly I see us from outside myself, like the being of light was revealing to me for just a moment what it was seeing. And my sister was 4 and I was 8 and we were lost in our joy, and surrounded by other girls laughing, dancing, hugging, singing. We glowed, Light spilled from us, and we were surrounded on all sides by innumerable Light beings who moved, a dance wholly unlike any dance I’d ever seen. And in the field and space where colors were more than colors and light more than light, the universe suddenly expanded into this fixed moment and I glimpsed the infinite.

And then I was back, and the world was small, and I was just one of the many grown women out in this totally unremarkable field. And yet the beauty of what was happening here was not lost. Here in this moment we had let go of all the things the world had laid on us and we danced as we did when we were children, reckless in our Love.