Love and a Waiting Room

In the waiting room
There’re all these darling couples

All this youth and love

All this wrapped-up-in-each-other sweetness

Primped and dressed for world-presentation

There are undeniable glimpses of the behind-closed-doors them:

Their private life and intimacy’s

Worn out here too –

In the way they look deep

(with suggestions and strains of hungry)

Light touches

The business of their daily’s

Peppered with playful talk and soft laughter

They’re marked by an insulating strength

In their unuttered yet undeniable shared secret

Bound together by the primal-est bindings 

To threaten their unity-strength’s

To threaten one’s own pullulation 

Their occasional comfortable silence carries 

Right back to comfortable sharing

Inadvertently staring 

My can’t-help-it-you’re-so-beautiful sunshine

Tries soaking in theirs

Without interrupting their gravity 

Aware of my olderness and otherness

I’m startlingly struck by and reminded about the wonderfulness of people-potential

When we’re bound together by life and love

Cautioned afresh about the fragility and power of the ties that bind us

All this protected selfish loving and I

Remember our sameness

This part of humanness and

How every love affair’s uniquely its own and

Every love affair’s a wonderful miracle

As common as day

Remarkable as light

All these lovely swelling bellies

Testament to life and hope and LOVE

The preservation and perpetuation of all these 

A love affair of all of us

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.

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

Thanksgiving

 Hard things turned sweet

Lap around my edges

What’s true and good

Trumping the dark and the hard

Life is everything I feared

And everything I hoped

And more still

Coming into my own

Even more momentous than I thought

This little voice in the wilderness

Is louder and clearer than I expected

My mouse squeak carries through the noise

My fibers pulse with lion strains

Hope doesn’t just rise

It travels ahead

And should I follow

Should I meet this melody

And sing strong with this (His) voice all intact

Other noises will continue to quiet

And take lovelier shapes

No longer fit just for silencing mine

Will sweeten in deference to the love song

Written and sung by the most unexpected and perfect and dependable

Of lovers…

Jesus, Lover of my soul

my Lion

my Song

my Savior

Culmination and realization of all the hopes and dreams of 

A world gone sour

– But that still longs to sing –

Can.

The evidence in a tiny voice finding its voice 

Clear and strong and Found

Thank You.

Return

Leading a study on the book Devotional Classics for a number of weeks now, and we’ve reached Thomas Kelly. In the practice of returning more consistently to what he calls “the Divine Center,” everything changes. I knew this, I guess: knew that every single remembrance of God redeems, restores, affects everything it touches. But when it happens in my own life, it surprises me every time.

And this seems to me the very most important thing a person could possibly talk about… yet I worry that in communicating this experience that either I or the beautiful, life-changing reality of what I speak will be chalked up to what my husband would refer to as “flaky.” (Defined as “crazy or eccentric.”)

The thing is, remembering God in moments – more consistently, more wholly – is not only closer to the reality that I believed in as a kid (only to wake up as an adult a little bewildered and blinking in my present reality wondering where all the magic went), but on a practical level, really does change everything. Not to go all Brother Lawrence on you, but this morning the ironing and matching of socks had a very different feel. It wasn’t drudgery all of the sudden with God in the mix. It was sacred, peaceful, joyful, big and small and beautiful and simple all at once. Y’know, life without the ugly.

It didn’t take long for me to get prideful. To start taking credit for remembering Him in like two! consecutive! moments! So repentance is definitely a huge part of this practice. Not morbid self awareness, but more like a willingess to be honest. I’ve heard it said that confession of sin is really just being honest about ourselves.

So here’s to being honest today. Here’s to a God who knows my wretchedness and miraculously condescends to come down here and be with me, guide, comfort, and love me anyway. Jesus as the Divine Center isn’t flaky at all. He’s the best thing to get to happen to a person. (I know. I’ve been without Him.)

Praying for you today, dear one, and hoping that He will draw near to you and you to Him in increasing measure.

fear, Light, and hope

‘Hallowed be Thy name.’ When all your strength ought to be focused into one pencil of light pointing up through the darkness, you allow it to be dissipated in a moss fire where nothing is consumed, but all life is suffocated.

Dag Hammarskjold Markings p. 15

A single speck of light –

I can afford that.

This day when sanctification looks like

Getting out of bed.

But for all the blackness

A tiny tendril of light

From Him to me

Is blessedly enough.

No, Doubt,

I won’t succumb.

That pencil of light

Will hold

After all.

He’s promised it

I believe it

Hallowed be His Name!

Burdens (and their proper carrier)

Swinging on this crazy pendulum

Between all right and all wrong

Is dizzying, wildly disorienting.

Atrabilious! This brainy black bile

And I feel to be held under by all this care.

Loving ought be liberating:

Come to find out that the world’s weight

Is anything but light.

Then I look up

(A common, but too uncommon theme)

And realize that You’ve been gentlemanly

Standing, waiting

For me to lay all this burden down.

I’ve been bent over with it,

Eyes to the ground

Impossibly straining neath all this weight,

Saturated with the sweat and the load.

I look up at You (finally)

And You smile at me:

All that impossible, tender, complete, understanding, compassionate love in a look.

With nary a word – it took but a second to see you there, to remember You there –

I hand over the load.

It’s not heavy for You:

I don’t know what or how You do with it,

But it’s gone

– or completely changed into something else –

And we walk, You and I.

And there is nothing superfluous or in question

(There is little to be said in true love’s companionship,

Once the repentance is over.)

No more swinging or straining

I find that I am standing upright

Eyes straight ahead

With You

Reconciled and whole and free of all those many burdens

Ready to tackle more

Now strong and courageous

Thanks to the nothing’s-impossible-for-God

God

The next step blessedly clear

And beyond it

A burden not mine to carry.

This moment, this quiet, His assurance

All I’m responsible for.

Hallelujah!

Brain Conversation

  

 I must insist, brain,

 That you quiet down.

 Yes, I am the boss of you.

 Even if, at this minute, 

 That seems untrue. 

 Even if taking you captive

 Seems an impossible feat,

 I am.

 I can no longer afford your company 

 In its current way of being.

 You have taunted and shamed 

 And convinced me that

 All my best parts are buried and forgotten.

 Encouraged me to blame.

 Riddled me with confusion.

 And though “I listen to my words but they fall far below”* *Cat Stevens

 As an honest admission 

 Sounds terribly weak and puny,

 There is truth to it.

 In spite of all your efforts to confound me,

 (And with so much life feeling to be swallowing me up)

 Maybe I ought to be relieved.

 In healthier moments

 Such “sensitivity” coins as “virtuous.”

 I don’t know what makes the difference:

 Why and when moments posing as majestic or terrible

 As savor-able or unbearable

 As breathtaking mountaintop or suffocating pit

 Pose thus.

 That song 

 Before today too light, too cheesy

 In light of today’s darkness 

 Held just about too much poignancy to bear.

 I want to put words to this

 more-than-anxiety more-than-depression more-than-difficult

 overwhelming-not-severe-enough

 terrifying-may-be-a-start

 Experience.

 Suffice it to say

 I want to figure it out,

 Only it’s you who needs do the figuring

 (you and your ridiculously murky waters).

 Come to think of it,

 Such navigation requires a sounder captain.

 I think I’ll ask your Maker.

 He’ll know.

 Brace yourself.

 ‘Cause for all your best efforts,

 He’ll undo you

 In all and truly best ways…  

Beautiful Outlaw

His ability to live with all these qualities we’ve seen, in such a way that no one quality dominates—as is so often the case in our personalities—eclipsing the richness of the others. To live in such a way that there is always something of an element of surprise, and yet, however he acts turns out to be exactly what was needed in the moment. Oh, his brilliance shines through, but never blinding, never overbearing. He is not glistening white marble. He is the playfulness of creation, scandal and utter goodness, the generosity of the ocean and the ferocity of a thunderstorm; he is cunning as a snake and gentle as a whisper; the gladness of sunshine and the humility of a thirty-mile walk by foot on a dirt road. Reclining at a meal, laughing with friends, and then going to the cross. That is what we mean when we say that Jesus is beautiful.

But most of all, it is the way he loves. In all these stories, every encounter, we have watched love in action. Love as strong as death; a blood, sweat, and tears love, not a get-well card. You learn a great a deal about the true nature of a person in the way they love, why they love, and, in what they love.

But it takes a beautiful heart to recognize the beauty in a scandalous act, and to love it as he does. This is why we say Jesus is beautiful. A Beautiful Outlaw. John Eldredge