Grief is patient and unwieldy,
So much of a thing and lingering there
And here in a breath, in a moment, in a whiff
That incites memory and oh the weight.
Grief is obtrusive and deafening,
A ringing in the ears to signal all is not well,
As if that were not already felt to the bone,
It is brutal and honest and personal.
Grief is bitter and necessary,
Like un-sugarcoated medicine or a splint,
A reminder of need and lack and pain
And, in dear unforeseen time, of mending.
May we meet and be met with grace in our grief.
May we meet and be met by grace.
Smothered by our blanket statements so grand and unnuanced we are blinded, but particulars from this distance dodge about like the dust hanging in the air and are equally as hard to catch and know up close. Variables, circumstance, history, future - seeking to form an ethos without an objective truth is to spin and spin and spin and pin the tail on something arbitrary, or at least incomplete. A party game without a winner, with spectators chuckling nervously at the failed attempts, perhaps uncertain they will be able to stumble any closer to the objective, but boasting that their aim is more true. Dizzy. Buzzing. Busy. Shouting hoarsely these coarse things as if they were not made of the same hate the shouter claims to decry. Why is it like this? Or why is this how it appears in this all-seeing, biased biased screen of scrolling, trolling news. It is abuse - to peace of mind and to good thought and to honest, personable conversation. Is this how to process now: In screams and slapdash justice without a beat to listen or extend grace? Without a care for the soul behind the face? What are we? What are we here in this place?
Days, moments, years take on a mixture of hues, but this through-line keeps its color. This through-line anchors me in peace, when I will look to it, recognize it, believe it. So often I run in scattered ways, scrambling to catch a breeze, not listening to the constant melody, the rhythm that can truly hold me, the rhythm that knows me. Selves take form in situations; I flutter and dash, but in some stillness, in some loving action, in some choice to listen, there is stability, growth, genuine childlike faith.
- - -
You don’t feel solid, whole - you think because there is room
for growth you do not have all you need now. You have been sheltered, but you don’t fully trust Me. You don’t know how to balance faith with how overwhelming it all feels. But you do know Me. You do know My heart for people, My heart for you. You have sat in My presence and met My eyes and felt My sincere love, grief, patience, joy, humility. It is much. I Am complete. You don’t have to do everything.
I see you completely.
I see you completely.
I see you completely.
I want you to trust Me out of loving obedience.
I want to spend time with you.
I don’t want to be a passive checklist item in your day - a phone a friend,
I want to live life with you.
I want to be your center, the first person you run to with everything.
I Am your encourager, comforter, counselor, friend, Lord.
I want you to recognize and walk in My stability.
My humble peace is for you, for My kingdom.
we run full out and leap into this swirl of a thing,
knowing it is limited in the physical realm,
because the worth is in the intangibles
of its nature: heart, narrative, and relationship.
so we invest ourselves in the process,
growing in experience and skill, together,
because we have felt the worth of the work
and we in some grand sense are the consequences
of the labor of those before.
then the swirl ceases and we must release
its magic to resonate in memories
while its form we deconstruct and cleanse
to allow space for new ventures and we are
the better for having dwelled and let go.
made up of all kinds of things
that are magic and earth, and, like alchemy,
made up of the endeavor to see the mundane
go gold and brilliant. quaint. both nostalgic
and optimistic. hopeful in a certain sense.
certain that in the substance of things
there is magic.
A brightness flows out from all sides of forgiveness
A brightness that would be silly if it were not true
A brightness because the weight of bitterness has no claim anymore
A brightness because humility begets empathy and grace
A brightness that speaks a language of peace
A brightness that is joy in suffering
Oh a brightness
A brightness that reflects the heart of the King
I build my own pigsty and wallow.
But, daughter, there is Kingdom work to do.
I wrap myself up in deflective material.
But, daughter, your heart is for feeling.
I swallow my tongue and hush up.
But, daughter, your words are for testimony.
Daughter, I continually choose you.
Daughter, I continually love you.
Daughter, I continually call you Mine.
Daughter, I know your wounds and heartache and pain.
Daughter, I am with you in your dark places, with you, and calling you into My light.
Daughter, I tenderly care for your heart.
Father, I will trust You.
Father, I will believe Your love.
Father, I will listen to and obey You.
Because, Father, You are totally good.
I am short and the youngest of five
So I have spent abundant time looking up
The line for inspiration and wisdom and humor
Confidants and critics and caretakers
These people with blood like mine are there
As legends in my eyes and as dear friends
Siblings with strengths diverse and specific
To balance and sharpen each other in love
Sharing joy and sorrow and the mundane
Given to one another at birth and choosing
To stay given we champion our kin in growth
Hold snuggly in grief and laugh oh we laugh
I am the youngest and I have learned much
Through seeing and being well seen
What privilege it is to be fifth
The manner in which we go matters, dearly,
And there is a special grace in going together
Through the mire and meadows of humility,
Embracing our strength and our fragility.
There is a meter in the music we run to,
Even in its variances there is a quality true
And unchanging, which will inform our route,
Our pacing for that present passing time.
Time transitions, so we must stay attuned
And watchful. Running in a pack prompts attack
From that divisive mindset, dark comparison,
So we must be smart and diligent in our care
For one another. Honor as sister and brother
Learning to be dependable co-runners
Who recognize each other’s pains and walk
Without guilt-tripping and talk with honesty.
On the path to being made perfect we none
Of us have yet achieved the goal so our role
Is to be genuine in our need and unbelief,
To allow ourselves to be brought into the tent
Of the medic who has run, is running, will run
This race through and who knows completely
Our insufficiency and so draws us to himself
Through one another so he may bind up
Our wounds and renew our road-weary spirits
As only the medic-creator can: with fullness.
Oh this medic is attentive, gracious, unafraid
Of our lack and brokenness for he can mend
Muscle and heart string and soul and his hope
Is that we will invite him to, so we may grasp
His hand as we learn to run again, healing,
Eyes trained ever on him, no fear of death.
It is in our continually maturing dependence
On him that his melody and rhythm sync our
Movement with his, pulsing out hope to those
We meet who share the invitation to come,
Follow where he leads. We must be active
In our welcome, in our encouragement,
In our calling forth and seeing one another
As he does. We must run in such a way.
We are sprinting at omniscience
But we cannot fathom the cost
To our sanity, to our humanity,
When we neglect rest for our thoughts.
Too much too quickly and the overwhelming
Overwhelms until we are numb to the news
Of another tragedy, triumph, or mundane
Moment. Numb. We’ve seen it all before.
Still we are sprinting, dogged in our lack
Of restraint. We are hysterical and bleeding
Out, yes that is a blood trail behind us,
Dried dark blood mixed with the bright new.
At war with ourselves and this mad pacing,
Crashing through the barriers and thickets
Which were never on the true path to begin
With, but we will have it our own bloody ways.
Dearly beloved, when we cannot agree how
To move forward, we side-step and we trip
And we blame every single one but our own
Person. Shame will not untether us from this.
Shame will have us drip dripping in dross,
Hearts too oily to get a grip on ourselves
And appreciate the things that are good,
For shame seeks to disenfranchise gratitude.
And there is much to recover, to restore.
If we would just pause to consider the weight
Of our daily decisions and words and thoughts,
We may be slower to run towards false gods.
For we are makers in the image of the grand
Creator, but our grasp has limits and our soul
Will bear the consequences of this ragged
Racing, this untrained, haughty motion.
Contemplation is not tantamount
To complacency. Our empathy will not be
Productive without training and discipline
And a therapeutic sense of humor. Hold.
Gather your breath and your dear thoughts
And hold them in place for a moment there.
Just there. Consider their substance. Listen.
Wait. There is grace for the moment, now go.