Huddled masses, He hears each cry,
As you lie wallowing in dust and earth,
Surrounded by the sounds of pain
Compounded with the clanging hammer strikes.
Piece by piece you are chipped away,
Broken from the heavy mountain holding you,
From the only home you have ever known.
The hills echo with your distress
As rough edges are chiseled and polished,
Smooth and more smooth you become with each passing day,
Until it happens:
The work is finished.
You come to rest in your new home,
Where there is peace and a place for you,
And all is quiet.
In building the temple, only blocks finished at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.
1 Kings 6:7
Lord, I am afraid of hope.
No good reason, I know.
Plenty of good reasons, I feel.
I acquiesce your sovereignty
Over clothing and food.
Lily of the valley,
Sparrow of the field,
Yes, even the least of these.
Never mind needs.
Wants are the stuff of hope,
And these I refuse to count on
With good reason.
Good isn’t about getting what I want.
And Lord you are so good.
So you see I doubt myself,
To know good when I see it.
I feel depravity deep in my core.
The heart is deceitful
Above all things.
So Lord I’m scared to tell you
What I want.
I’m afraid it won’t be good enough,
Afraid even that the very speaking will negate
Any positive response
You may otherwise have been considering.
I know all the Bible answers for this problem of mine.
But I’m betting on the fact
That you want to hear from me.
So here I am,
And here is what I want:
To see hopes fulfilled.
To hear YES while I still care.
To trust that somehow
Good doesn’t always mean NO.
To know and feel your love.
For that love to be enough.
Lord hear my prayer.
There is rhythm
Even here, in the click-clack of the keyboard
As I compose another test
In a never-ending line of assessments.
What is this definition
Label the part of speech.
Categorize and explain,
Until at least one small piece of your world
Is neatly quantified and set aside.
Some of the same things.
Mostly the same things.
We are a forgetful people
Circling round and round to remind ourselves
Of what we knew, once.
The heart of my discontent:
Day to day life
Goes by unnoticed.
It needs a filter,
A change in perspective.
Some mask to trick me into seeing
I’ve been calling them my Attitude Class.
I named them for their hinge,
Which bends this one way for now,
But tantalizes me with the potential for a reversal.
The challenge of them crowds my mind.
I feel for the other classes;
The very joy they bring
Is what allows me to rest from them.
I wonder if God is God
Because he can hold Joy and Challenge
All at once,
And yet know Joy the most.
They didn’t teach me
How best to express an ache
For people I don’t know,
Or how to help heal a wound
That never closes.
They didn’t teach me
Five steps to fix an evil next door
And a continent away.
But they did teach me how to love
They taught me to stand up
They taught me to be compassionate
Even when I’m afraid.
They taught me grace, grace, grace.
They taught me that no one is perfect
They taught me to listen, carefully.
They taught me “I’m sorry”
And they taught me apologies paired with action.
They taught me to paint with all the colors
Because no one ever made art
Just staring at white paper.
They taught me “all men are created equal”
And Jesus loves me, so He must love you
Just as much.
They taught me so many things
But here I am, still learning.
I stand ankle deep,
Clutching dirty rags in lonely fists,
Attempting to soothe my soul with bitterness.
Until you pull me further in:
You begin waltzing me through the dark waves.
You lead me back and forth,
Disregarding the rhythm I expected.
You move me.
And we dance,
Until every step glows in the midnight ocean.
Hope, so they say,
Is a thing with feathers
Which springs eternal:
The sustenance of faith.
For me, what is left:
Defaulting to hope
As a seasonal activity
Intermingled with rainy clouds
And bursts of sunshine,
Here again, back again.
Tattered and frayed,
This year finds me
A little worse for wear.
Yet still I cling
To tendrils of hope:
Searching for beauty
In unexpected places;
Taking wobbling steps
With strong certainty;
Weathering the days given me
With quiet joy
And sure expectation.
I drive over the same pothole in the road
Every time I come home.
Today I notice it
Like it’s something special.
I suppose it could be a metaphor
If that’s what I really wanted.
The way it appeared in the wake of a snowplow
Over a year ago
And is always patched yet always widening
And how I drive over it
Over, and over, and over.
I know my car can make it
But still I worry.
One day my tires will burst
Or something else will break.
So maybe my life is summed up
In driving over the same patched potholes
Over, and over, and over,
Praying I hold together
Just one more time.
And maybe you could draw
Significant Spiritual Conclusions from this
If you really wanted.
Something about Total Depravity
And/or Man’s Need For Grace.
Maybe you don’t even need to go that far
To realize that I’m human
And therefore a Natural Born Idiot
Who bets her car
On the potholes
Because she doesn’t want to change lanes
Right before turning onto her street.