I’d be a well meaning but destructive spectator in this wide world of perils:

Free the butterfly from his cocoon

The spider from his molt

Quicken the buffalo calf from the wolves’ pursuit

Make all the carnivores vegetarians.

I’d upset the natural order of things in favor of less:

Less effort, less running, less power

Thereby weakening all things and

Have the place overrun.

Instead of shrinking and fearing all these threats,

I pray to meet them as He’s directed:

Be strong and courageous

Not lettuce leaf wilt

‘Neath what would challenge.

Head up, shoulders back, forehead like flint

May I take hold of a freely offered inheritance as

Little conqueror.

Rally

“Lacking in nothing”

Oh, the wonder of this –

This puny puddle

Rallies a little

A slack everything

Perks up with the suggestion

And thrills

To think

It possible

Reclamation

The fullness and

Scope of this

Gulf Stream life

And I’m right saturated and

Even bogged down while moved along.

Regardless of my desire for calmer (stagnant?) waters
I’m the mom

For all practical purposes

But all I feel is to be

“Like butter spread over too much bread”*

*Bilbo Baggins

All these children’s questions

Charge the particles

In my like-an-old-school-tv’s

Snowy insides:
Instead of jolting to life,

Every word

Zaps already taut and sensitive fibers

And this tired old battery sparks only to grinding.
Proof again

That mere machinations

Aren’t the source of life and

Just-function won’t sustain any of us.

Without the proper mechanic’s lifeblood to

Recalibrate all these lifeless moving parts we’re all just

Bound for the junk heap.

Overdue

I wheel myself in for inspection:

Open the hood

Expose the innards

Wait for His assessment.

It took me way longer to get here than it takes for Him to look.

Surprisingly gentle, thorough, and quick

He fusses with something (I don’t see what) and
I expect the damage report – as ever –

To be that this time I’ve ridden too far, too long

Without this scrutiny, this help, this exposure.

Instead, He bids me turn the ignition and

– Expecting dead space –

A deep resonant purr sounds instead.

Instead of more static misfires and sparks

A healthy hum of life and connection fires full and throaty.

Smiling

I shake my head in wonder and thanks and

Roll forward back into the stream

Anticipating a new horizon and steady current to

Carry me along, the Master Mechanic’s prints? My map.

Thank You.

Relief

A new peace descends
It’ll probably be displaced by some scurrying, unexpected,

Terrible trouble

But –

For this moment

Trouble, lofty pursuits,

“Grander” things

(Than savoring a bit of quiet)

Seem a little trumped up

Falsely grand

(a little silly?).

I don’t mean to judge

It’s just that

This new peace that’s descended

Seems enough to accomplish most anything

– Seems like everything –

Without lots of trying

And I do hope that this basking

Will serve to extend it

If even a little further…
Thank You, Lord.
Psalm 34:10

James 1:4

Tasks… And a cheerful doing


Today’s the day I fell in love with food.

I’ve always loved eating food, but its endless preparation? Not so much. I haven’t exactly begrudged it, but I haven’t loved it. This is unfortunate because I make a lot of food and really often. But today, quite without warning, this thing-I-have-to-do-or-at-least-think-about-every-single-day took on a new delight.

I can’t take any credit. I’ve screwed enough things up to know the good things I experience have nothing to do with me. Today’s love affair – like any other – caught me quite off guard. And it wasn’t because everything went perfectly. Taken from another angle, you’d notice the loaves in the above picture didn’t rise quite as much as (I would consider) ideal. Also knowing my tendency towards fickle (moody?), I know that tomorrow might bring quite another conversation that may sound nothing like this one. I might talk about how sick I am of spending so much time in the kitchen. I might bemoan that no one seems to see the crumbs on the counter or cleans up the unidentified sticky spots on the floor. (In our house we have someone called Itwasntme who’s normally the offender.)

Anyway, this falling in love with one of my household tasks and all its quirks and (’til today) annoyances has happened before. Take laundry. One day I was retrieving the clothes from the washer for approximately the 11,000th time (I actually did the math this morning to roughly calculate how many loads of laundry I’ve done in my married/motherhood life. Some people count profit margins, I count clean clothes.) and I suddenly loved it. Where it had before seemed an endless chore it suddenly became a comforting task. It had a start and a finish. Sniff (the nose is the measuring rod in our house), gather, wash, dry, fold, put away. Repeat. At least 11, 600 times. (For those of you who are stuffy about all things green, would it help to know that I do full loads and dry on a clothesline whenever I can?). Laundry, I realized, leaves my mind free to roam while keeping my hands busy. And you know it allows for alone time (the others in my household do not share my Laundry-Doing-Is-Sacred perspective).

Maybe it happens when you do something so much that you either drown in a mundane-tasks-depression or you decide to love it. Though like I said, I don’t know that I decided so much as something just switched over. I will say that I was giving thanks intermittently during both processes. (Not that I can take credit for that. Prayer and its doing is yet another gift inspired by not-me.) Been prayerful. I see a trend is what I’m saying. Slime on the broccoli earns it a blessed place on the compost pile, sourdough not rising presents more as another bread lesson learned than as a baker-failure, sticky rice seemed, well it was still sticky but I didn’t mind it as much, I was even grateful for slimy pre-cooked chicken as it meant we were having chicken. Crumbs, instead of being an annoyance, reminded me that there’s a lot of life ’round these parts. This spills over to the endless piles of laundry, children’s chatter, 7 billion dishes to wash (and counting. Ok, not really, but it would be a REALLY big number), aggravating relationship troubles, lawn mower maintenance, frustrating coworkers – whatever our daily challenge(s). These aren’t just simple sucky things-to-get-through. They’re sacred ground spaces, and they’re everywhere if we have the eyes for it. I know that I’ve talked about this before, but it’s such a wonderful gift to see things with an eye towards redemption. No matter how messy, uncomfortable, or inconvenient our circumstances, there is a great sacredness – a great potential – in all of it. I’m not theorizing: giving thanks for things, maybe especially for that thing we first found unsavory, elevates the thing. Redeems it. Redeems us. And if there’s a gift, there must be a Giver. Thanking Him’s appropriate and it changes everything. He’s not stingy, people. Given a little attention, He does things like make tiny moments and seemingly insignificant tasks magical.

Y’know, like how we expected and hoped life would be.

A Poet Gathering

I had a dream about a gathering of poets. 
All anxious to see others’ work

One stretched his neck to read my scrawl but

All I had on my page was what I’d studied about

The hard work not yet done

The hoped-for work

Put off for 

The hunch that this self needed to grow up (more) in order to produce.

I awoke with my self still attached.

Come to find that its place and presence doesn’t so much need reckoned with

Other than to be taken captive and hushed

Yes, it’s already in the art by virtue of its inextricably bound contact

But this is no mystery needing solved.

That examination can (blessedly) be over.

The self need not be a major player:

Noticed, stroked, hailed for its presence among us.

It needs only to record its findings 

Is needed only to examine spaces, places, abiding mercies

And share what it’s found.

The artist’s generosity is in communicating

The gifts.

Souls have value:

Let’s not dispute that.

Questioning the validity of their voices

Wasn’t the dream

The discovery and unpacking of those voices 

As they reflect all the goodness of their Creator’s the dream.

Little mirrors co-creating in honor of the One artist.

The unexamined life may not be worth living

But that may also be true of the morbidly examined one

So intent upon its own navel that life

Is lost on it.

And this isn’t to devalue our personhood:

Rather it is the reinforcement of it.

See! and then Share! 

Have a peek at my scribbles

I’ll peek at yours

And may there be something to see:

Some connective tissue from a

Personhood all intact.

Adding to the beauty

Reflecting things true and needful

And so see the world through another lens

– His –

Ah, the dream of poets.

One of Those Days

It’s one of those days​

When I’m a little shell of a thing

Not the usual small

Smaller.

When the regular, run-of-the-mill indecision

Looks like all out perplexed and

Feels like paralysis supercharged with tension and

Progress feels like a no-option thing.

Reason (and experience) would tell me this is temporary

But a moment’s still a moment

With all its time and requirement

And can’t be discounted

A moment can feel timeless

In all the worst ways.
But wait, confusion stupor,

I don’t accept your terms!

Oh, snake oiler,

You may have enticed me with such hocked wares as these before, and

I may have bought your lines and swallowed your bitter pills once upon a time, but

I’ve no expendable currency

To support such business today.

In fact, I don’t even have time for the rest of your pitch.

Roll on by

And find some other pig to inhabit

What you offer’s not the only merchandise in town.
I’ll wait and watch and listen for

A lovelier voice

A truer product

A sweeter purchase.

I can spare this moment while I wait

I’ll hold on

For One who always offers what’s good, what’s needed, what’s best

Even if I can’t hear Him right this minute

He’s coming.

Blessedly and with Him, it’s always that day.
Thank You.

Turn (to the light)


What’s all this angst that rises to the surface?

This right to be vexed?

Are they sourced in these irritations that challenge

my (snotty and ridiculous) sensibilities?

No.
These children, these demands, these challenges,

circumstances, inconveniences, or others’ bad behavior

Are not the cause of my reactionary ugliness.
No.
Just the me’s to blame.
But thrillingly, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
In a signature moment of said angst and growing irritation

– just another day together during life and learning –

An unexpected choice was made.

A lightening bolt epiphany supernaturally

(how else would I have chosen well?)

Suggested I laugh instead.
Laugh instead of explode, fume, brood, resent, chafe,

offend.

I could just laugh out loud at that dark power that was

ready to steal our joy and erect more walls.

So I did.

I laughed out loud

At all this wretched humanness.

And then they did.

And our communal laughter

Tsunamied over all the filth and

Diffused all that impossible tension and

Revealed a clean place.

A brighter place.

A start-over place.

And the tone and the magic and the potential of an entire day

Re-upped.

Sweet redemption

In its mind blowing everything-changing way

Prodigiously entered the room and

Effortlessly swept away the (now) silly-small vice.

In its wake an entire room’s climate and

all the relationships in proximity to it

Were enabled to shift and turn to a better way.

All ’cause in a solitary moment

One soul turned to the light

Instead of bowing to the dark.

The ripple effect

Enabled us upright and

Drew us together

In light and in love.
Thank You.

The Dark Won’t Hold

  
  All these words have already been used –

I can only hope not used up

Looking back on all this time 

And all these mine-times

Is like looking painfully and unaware 

At someone else’s life

That’s not so bad, I guess;

A long aching road’s

Being replaced by snatches of sunlight

That stretch and change

And quietly brighten all these inner rooms

Simple unexpected joys burn away 

(What I thought were) too many shadows

The light dances

In all these unexpected ways

(But always yearned after)

And the dark can’t hold

Praise His Name

The dark won’t hold

Crumbs

Feed me, Word of life.
I don’t mean to sound demanding –

Just desperate.

So much to think about 

Yet nothing too 

All these little lives 

Need filled right up

By You who has compassion 

Who leads beside springs of water* Is. 49:10

Otherwise we’d be left alone

To salvage and scrabble

In all this wide world

For some semblance of satiation

To at least fill these bellies

(Never mind nourish)

From all the shiny garbage heap-

So utterly much on the surface

But stinking underneath

‘Cause that’s the thing about all 

These many amusements:

Without Him

Nothing satisfies

All’s little more than a smoke screen distraction

Belying the true nature of life, of meaning, of real, of good.

So, Lord, please free the captives from all these many (false) warriors

Your plunder retrieved from the fierce.

Contend with all these many false gods

And please save these children.

May all mankind know that You, Lord,

Are THE Savior.

And in the meantime,

Thank You for (nourishing) crumbs

That constantly – consistently –

Keep the path blessedly illuminated 

With constant promise of fullness and expectation.

Thank You.