Ashes, ashes

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

When my thoughts go to your younger years and I hear your deep voice cursing the time, my eyes fill with hot tears and I wonder if singing Jesus Loves Me with you as a toddler was enough.

I lit a fire this New Year and watched the hot embers fly high and burn out fast and fall cold and faltering to the ground and felt my mothering was the same.

A seed may die and defiantly sprout up to new life and grow a tree. But ashes, ashes, they just fall. Hot for a moment and that’s all.

I have no hope for these burned out years unless ashes can be traded. But who does that?

I don’t know how, but here I offer all my ashes. Will you take them Resurrected? Will you make them a crown?

Peacemaking

As much as it depends on me I’ll lose, I’ll defer, I’ll wait.

Not because I’m weak, even though I am. Not because I’m less than, even though I happily consider you greater. Not because I’m not able, not willing, not right. But because I want to walk with you through the night. Through the light. Through the hard days and long days and everyday normal days.

As much as it depends on me I’ll look for ways to bridge a connection between you and me and the everlasting.

As much as it depends on me I’ll make a home, a good pot of soup, a place to relax and laugh and hold each other. Not because I’m stuck here. Not because it’s home. But because I want you to know that home is a place you’ve only felt a little of here.

As much as it depends on me, I’ll keep walking with you. I’ll slow down, even stop, even wait, even ache, even bear the pain of all the shame that comes with forgiving. Not because I can’t escape. Not because there is no other way. Not because you are my only way to feel whole. But because I’ve already found the way.

I’m already promised Shalom. I’m already alive and free and no one can take that from me. I lay it down willingly.

Waiting

You could shine your face on me and I would be rescued from this degree of pain I can’t escape.

But you don’t.

You show me trees and leaves and shine light through the breeze and make fire in the branches with rays from the expanse of your power.

And I’m tired. But I’ll wait.

How long? How long until you shine your face in full and I don’t have to see you through metaphor?

A weight of glory

This morning before I headed out the door for work, when you were about to jump in your truck and drive to school, I looked up at your face anxious about what you don’t want to face, curious about what you won’t say until it’s too late and then you’ll want to find a way to make space for a debate-

and I grabbed your green eyes with my teary ones and laid a mantle on you like a weighted blanket. The kind they use for overstimulated senses. And I said,

“Son, you can run. You can deflect and avoid reflecting on the truth, but you were born to know the One who made you curious. You can’t get away. He’ll never stop pursuing you. He wants you.” And you rested.

Your shoulders settled. Your eyes relaxed. Your fingers stopped. And I stopped too. Stopped worrying about you for a minute standing under that weight of glory.

This year

This year I watched the world burn
with anger and lies
I watched my sons wallow in the mire
and I prayed.

This year I watched my friends build theories about conspiracies
and I watched my neighbors wave their flags high.

This year I heard cries for justice from the least of us among us and felt strange disdain from those who I thought would claim the fame of Jesus and gladly refrain from blaming

…but they didn’t.

This year I heard a woman say, “I can’t bear the grief anymore,” while one side of her body tried to dragged her to the floor and I stood close and propped her up and helped her see the ones she loves through the window on the third floor.

This year I cried for deliverance
“How long,” can I keep asking you to grant repentance?

This year I felt overwhelmed by the throngs of elders left alone to let someone else find them shelter

and we stood by.

This year I sat next to Job and decided to shut my mouth and hold
his hand.

This year I opened my mouth and said, “Follow Jesus with me!” to the friend who cried not knowing what she could possibly do with her falling apart life.

This year I realized I couldn’t see past the thorn in my side and the plank in my eye and almost decided to give up.

But what? What is there to let go of except the delusion and illusion that this coming year or another person would bring Shalom.

This year made me long more for home
and King
and the ones he’s redeemed.

In me

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

there’s a dancer

a singer

a crafter

a word-wielder

In me there’s a hospital builder

a wound washer

a home maker

a child discipler

In me there’s a shepherdess

a prophetess

a pianist

a lyricist

In me there’s a warrior

a defender

a rescuer

a runner

a strong-armed carrier

In me there’s a companion

a champion

a queen on her knees

making way for the weak

In me there’s a servant

a diligent worker happy to labor till the day

her King scandalously bows to say

“Well done. Be seated. Let me serve you, my beloved.”

Christ, in me. My hope of glory.

Whatever you do this Christmas

Come

with your indifference

with your mocking

with your doubts

with your questions

come with your lies

with your rejection

with your acceptance

with your imperfections

come with your health

with your doctrine

with your thoughts

with your past

come with your burdens

with your poverty

with your riches

with your fear

whatever you do just come near

to the king come to set you free

What motherhood was meant for

2E5D3CD5-B75F-4DB4-B154-759438F9C11EIt was never intended for you to be mine
Only that my womb would be the secret place where you were knit
Only that my body would bear the pain that gave you breath.

It was never meant that I would get to keep you close
Only that my days would be crouched low telling you what you did not know
Listening and smiling at your every coo
Wondering at the fact I get to raise you

It was never the plan that I would keep you from falling
Only that when you did I’d come running
Holding you close while you were crying.

It was never my role to teach you everything
Only to rub that spot on your back all knotted up
While you told me you didn’t feel like you would make the cut.

It was never meant for me to hold you tight
To keep you from sin’s deadly plight
Only that I should proclaim to you
The good news that could make you new.

It was never scheduled that you would stay
Only that while you were away
I would pray, and pray and pray…
You were born that way.

One day you will leave
And it is not me to whom you will cleave
Only to another
Someone never meant to be your mother.

The 4th with a plague

backlight backlit countryside dusk

It’s 110 degrees
there’s a significant wind moving the leaves
of our sissoos and elms.
From the window outside looks inviting

I’m tired of being inside
tired of air conditioning and my couch
I want to feel some heat, some breeze
something

Watermelon
that’s what I want
I’ll go get a watermelon

“I’m going to the store for watermelon!” I shout to my husband
laying on the couch watching videos of mountain biking
“That’s all? Watermelon?” my husband questions the necessity of the trip
“I’ve got my mask. I’ll be quick”
and off I went.

I found myself wondering the isles, not being quick
watching people, some masked, others not.
Going to the store wasn’t like this last year
Melon and some popcorn, I check out
a Plexiglas shield between me and my masked cashier

“What are you doing for the 4th, honey?” she asked,
It struck me funny she called me honey
she could have been my daughter
“Just trying to stay safe, you know” I pointed to my mask
“Me too. I wish I could just stay home” she confessed
“I’m sorry dear. I pray you’ll stay safe.”
“Thanks! Happy 4th!”

I was tired of being inside
she just wanted to go home.

Home again I wash my hands
and the fruit
and cut into that idealistic melon.
Small red triangles dotted with black seeds
fill my bowl.
I’m satisfied
but I don’t want to stay inside.

It’s hot
so I walk to the nearest patch of shade in the yard
the stinging invisible rays burning enough
to make me a little uncomfortable.
I brought the rinds from the watermelon
to our goats and chickens
who I found hunkering down, panting in the shade of our aluminum corral

I set the green and red rinds down in their troughs and watched them
get up from their spots
They seemed to enjoy the cold, crunchy shell of the melon
pecking and chomping
refreshed

A neighbor down the alley has started up
the mariachi band that usually plays on Saturday nights
I listen for a bit
Mariachi always sounds like happy children playing in the yard to me
dancing and laughing and chasing each other

There will be no fireworks in town tonight
a young cashier will be calling strangers “honey” from behind Plexiglas
a Latino family down the alley will play mariachi
my friends will fight off panic in the hospital
a woman will grieve that Covid took her love
a daughter will weep that it took her mom
a stranger will call a nurses station hoping for good news
and when the sun to goes down
I’ll sit on the porch and watch the sky
change colors
and pray