Friday, April 15, 2011

getting there

We're tilting towards you, we're bending back as a stem leans towards the sun through a nearby window- it cannot hide, or draw the shades nor can we (or even wish to) hide. We're coming out, we're leaving darkness with palms and heels dragging behind us, and faces stretching forward and upward; we Gleam. The rest of our bodies follow with timid motions tripping over each step and stopping to dwell in the hurt- the biting pain of raw knees against rocky earth over and over again until the wounds are familiar and we feel them all the time. But you- you are the river, the end. where our Friend stands inviting us to wade, ready to share with us the healing you have invented, beneath the cool cover of water. we fall in as broken pieces and emerge all solid and white, like dust turned to hard wet clay- You can hold us now, we can feel you now. once scattered, now collected. once exhiled, now welcomed.

Monday, February 14, 2011

the forgetful and the forgotten

A common man's life, more notable than mine-
with no title to distinguish it otherwise,
I’m an empty page, with so much to say
But no money to employ the scribe

Yet you who sees and feels all things-
each square of ground on which I step
Surely knows the words I’d choose
Or even better yet-
The ones I at this hurried pace
Most likely would forget

The wonderful author,
The celebrated pen,
The forgotten creator
Of all that we spend
on books we don’t read
And stories that end-
Apart from the one within us.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

feeling small

a dream is like an acorn
being kicked along the path by a boy
on his way home from school,
straining to catch up with his friends
while insistently trying to shepherd the tiny seed ahead;
and then,
with attention divided,
one careless angle sends it flying
into the grass above the curb

and in that moment he wishes to retrieve it,
the meaningless haste interrupts
and easily sways
his chin to turn sharply forward
and direct his scurrying steps home.

Today I am that acorn,
lying above the ground with great potential
that's powerless and still-
and thirsty
and ever so slowly expiring

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Poem

"This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." -Lk. 2:12

The unromantic-
that's where you are
in the unkempt corner
of a smelly old barn

You came into our mess,
laid in a wooden piece
that was really a place for the noses of beasts
(and they were the cleaner ones)

For we're not as pretty
as the songs make us feel.
parking lots,
strip malls,
and the five-minute-meal-
How do you like what we've done with the place?

The unromantic-
where we feel the most real,
sitting alone
at the table to eat
with crumbs below that stick to the feet

And in this season we make believe
we're ready for you,
but our hearts are niave
or distracted at least

In this season where quiet
redemption meets
with itchy dry skin on cold leather seats

What a peculiar story.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Today was the first time I talked to Carl at the common. I'd seen him there many times before, but I'd never started up a conversation with him. He's usually weaving around people, casually and fearlessly making eye contact with his bright and beady blue eyes. His chin tucks securely into his neck and there's usually some soup or coffee dripping down around his rounded belly.

Everyone else was engaged in conversation but him, so I figured why not? I plopped down on the bench next to him and immediately found that he was ver pleasant to talk to. I found out quickly that he wasn't technically homeless, and began to wonder why it was he came by every week for coffee and bagels. He was very childlike in the way he spoke. Not in his vocabulary or choice of language, but in the simplicity and unabashedness of his speech. He was completely unintimidating. Just like a child. I don't even think he noticed the fact that I was a female (often a conversation partner's keen awareness of this can be the cause of discomfort).

He wasn't a conversation hog either. The conversation felt perfectly balanced, and I never felt like I was zoning out and feigning interest.

He started telling me about some store where you can get really cheap second-hand movies and electronics. He was trying to help me out since, "like most college students, I assume you're in a financial strain." Then he started asking if my school gave transitional assistance: aid for graduating students looking for careers. He complained about how it's not fair that people go into college thinking they will have a career secured, and then they often "end up in very soup line you serve."

Then, interrupting his own speech, he siad "but that's not such a bad thing," pointing to the seemingly out-of-place christmas display accross the common. Inside a giant glass box atop a pedestal was an unusual nativity scene. "It's okay, because he came into this world homeless," Carl continued. "Our Lord and Saviour was a homeless man."

I smiled.

"Carl, what happened to Jesus?" I said, noting the fact that one thing was missing from this symbolic display, where Mary and Joseph stood looking blankly down at nothing but a tuft of artificial hay.

"Apparently, in recent years, Jesus has been a clepto-target."

Oh, that people would stop stealing Jesus out of Christmas!

[*Carl's name has been changed]

Sunday, September 26, 2010

dead or sleeping

I met I new friend at the common this weekend, as I walked up to the group.

His name was Pete, and he had beef stew all dripping down his white beard, and sunglasses covering his eyes. He was mysterious in his speech, immediately bringing me into a gospel story, and beginning to probe me with questions:

"Jesus said Lazarus was sleeping before he was brought back to life. Do you think he was dead or sleeping?"

Me: "well if he was truly dead, that would mean he was resurrected. If he wasn't, then he was only rescusitated."

-"says who?"

"well, medicine i guess."

-"How do you know there's a difference?"

"Well maybe in the way Jesus meant it, there isn't. But I do believe we'll all be resurrected one day. "

He pointed to thgraphic on my Tshirt. "What's that, one of those rubix cubes? Can you do one in 2 minutes?"

"Not quite that fast I don't think."

He pointed again. "It's just like that puzzle. And we're trying to figure out which side to start with, and how to get the yellows with the yellows and the blues with the blues and the reds with the reds."

Then, referring to the Bible, he remarked, "It's hard when you can't be sure of anything."

Me: "well we can be secure in some things."

"Like what?" He asked, with a marked curiousity that was difficult to distinguish as genuine or feigned.

"We know that Jesus is coming back to fix everything that's broken, including us," I answered.

"And how do you think he's going to do that?"

"By conquering Death."

"Ahhhhh," he said, smiling to himself. "The sleeping kind of death?...or spiritual death?

well, both I suppose, at the same time.

He smiled and said a few more words and then left, as abruptly as he came.

Soon I moved on to get my weekly sermon from Derek. Yet this time he was looking to me for counsel:

"How do I do it, I mean REEEEAALLY live for Him. with EVERYTHING I am? How do I do it?"

I was shocked to hear him asking me this. I consider him to be the authority on faithfulness. The spiritual side of him never seems to shut off. All day long, he asks and seeks and tells, and whispers: God is alive, God is alive.

"I don't know the answer Derek. I know that grace is a big part of it. Just as we can't love others without grace, we can't love Him without grace. We must ask Him to make us desire Him more. Praying for this is a good place to be."

He kept going on: "But how do I really live for Him? there's just so much temptation."

In the distance, behind Derek, a man, tall and lanky with short dark hair, and shadowy eyebrows was meandering accross the common with a stack of pamphlets in his hand. Slunkily drifting from person to person, not saying a word. But reaching out his hand to offer the words on paper: "I was blind but now I see", written in bold and tiny print at the top. People took them un-alarmedly, and kept walking.

What does it mean to love others? what does Grace look like? Grace that's not cheap, or shy, or made of paper? Grace that's alive, in you and me.

What does it mean to live in hope of the resurrection? As we move hesitantly and confused between life and death, do we know- and REALLY live as if we know- that the cycle will one day be transformed?

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. -Philippians 3:10-11

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Here are the lyrics to this song, as a few people have requested them:

Home, I see it in the faces of this place,
but in my heart I picture places far away
as I dream of breaking free and setting out
and suddenly I feel so small
I go to speak and no one hears my call
And I wonder if it made a sound at all
I'm a prisoner of silence-
will I ever break the silence?

When I leave here, will the moon
that follows me home
turn and follow me wherever I go?
And when I am gone, will I find
Home, away from home?

Home- these houses and these streets are all I've known,
but I seek a destination all my own
And if I ever make it there,
when I finally get there,
will I make it home?
the birds are flying south and I've been told
that when winter ends, I'll still be feeling cold
Is home where I am running to, or what I'm running from?

When I leave here, will the moon
that follows me home
turn and follow me wherever I go?
And when I am gone, will I find
Home, away from home?

Home, will I ever find another place like you?
And will there always be a home to come back to?
Or will I dwell among the many scattered souls that wander,
searching for a home?

When I leave here, will the moon
that follows me home
turn and follow me wherever I go?
And when I am gone, will I find
Home, away from home?


Now I know you sent the moon to follow me home
and you will follow me wherever I go
I'm not alone, cause you're my Home, away from home

It's You who told the moon to follow me home
and I will follow You wherever I go,
cause it's You alone who counts my steps
and calls me Home