Natural Disaster – A Short Poem

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The quaking earth aches
as it swallows its people,
ending the life it is trying
to re-create.

Land crumbles into water,
hitting refresh–this isn’t it.

The water retorts the barren land,
sprinkling its dust over new cities.

More lives lost,
more dirt turned into mud,
and eventually dissipated.

The dance of land disintegration
and sea vomit continues,
as the people watch in curiosity and awe.

//Is our job to pick up the pieces?
Rebuild?
Watch?
Hide?//

The dancers hit a rest
and the people quickly forget.

 

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Beauty & The Beast: The Reflection Within

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The new Beauty & The Beast release has been bringing joy to those who grew up on the classic cartoon. Reliving the story of the transition of young Belle seeing the Beast as only a monster, to eventually seeing someone lovable is a moving tale.

Lately I have been plagued by the mirror of myself, feeling like all that’s visible is the ugly scars. Discouragement has set in, but I don’t think giving up is an option this time around. My EnneaThought today said, “Recall the times in your life when you let significant opportunities for growth and challenge pass you by. Why did you let them go?” My mind originally read it as, “Where did you let them go?” Either way, the opportunity for growth has come at me once again, and this time I’m not interested in letting it go.

As I think about the story of Belle and the Beast, I am struck by the freedom that the Beast receives through the love of another–and in turn, the freedom that those in his presence receive.

It truly is love that removes our binds and allows us to live. Love is patient, kind..it does not envy or boast..it is not proud or rude..it is not self-seeking…it always trusts, always hopes. Love never fails.

I long to look at my scars and failures with love: what’s hurting? what’s being triggered? are you afraid? is there someone you need to forgive? is there someone you need to apologize to? 

And in the process, I long to do the same with others. When we are free, we invite others to be free too. I’m grateful for Belle’s hesitancy in the beginning, and watching her progression from furious to free–and eventually able to love beyond the surface.

Equipped

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The cinder blocks are stacked high in a circle that I’ve surrounded myself with.
Small holes to exchange love and kindness, criticism and rage in unfulfilling transactions.

I’ve dropped the sledge hammer for an ice pick, slowly trying to hack my way through;
Exhausted by day’s end.

Light hits the floor and illuminates the forgotten hammer.

I pick it up.

Today is a new day.

Engaging in Light of the Current State of the Church

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It’s difficult to not be worried about the present state of the Church. Countless stories echo the same message: “I just couldn’t anymore.” For some, the weighted messages of guilt has drowned them in an inescapable pool of despair. For others, the imperfections of those in leadership crumbled their ability to see a God who makes people perfect (guided by a misinterpretation of the process of redemption and the expectations of a leader). There are many reasons why people have no longer felt safe, loved, or committed to local expressions of church over the past several years.

Instead of losing hope, how might we engage? What are some of the ways that the Spirit is moving? 

The expression of church that I grew up in was highly focused on obedience for the sake of obedience, having sound theology that enriched our mind and can defend our faith, and serving those around the world. Growing up, this way of life shaped me and provided me with the structure that I was craving. It gave me boundaries, answered vague questions, and gave me a community of friends to do activities with. In time, my heart lost connection with these structures that once defined me.

What do we do with lost connection? How do we not give up on God in the midst of giving up on our failed expressions? 

I’m trying to practice being open to God in the midst of my sin and shortcomings. What does it look like to lean into grace while not completely letting go of obedience? What does it mean to slow down and see that processes take time to unfold? Change and redemption doesn’t happen over night. These are the questions I’m asking myself as I long for relationship over religion.

I see more people leaning in to community–sharing their experiences of church and how it left them feeling empty, talking about peace and restoration over a cup of coffee or cigarette, meeting with friends in houses to talk about life. Perhaps opportunities of discovery and wonder are being birthed in the midst of disappointment and frustration.

I see more people caring about their neighborhoods–starting groups like Buy Nothing and Next Door, engaging in free outdoor summer concerts, organizing city-wide volunteer days. Perhaps deep down we recognize our finitude and want to be a part of something that will outlast us.

I see people trying to find ways toward unity–blasting posts about Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter, creating Facebook filters to show support to those suffering from the latest tragedy, giving a voice to those who have felt oppressed for being gay. Perhaps our longing for restoration and shalom is tucked in this desire for life to be whole.

May we encourage one another to not give up on the journey, to keep leaning in and searching for the One True God, and to recognize that the Spirit is moving–we just have to pay attention.

Poetry: Breathe In, Breathe Out

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The past four months the themes in my poems have revolved around breathing in and breathing out. Inhaling love and exhaling life. Inhaling patience and exhaling peace. Inhaling freedom and exhaling love. So much of what we take in nourishes how we live and once digested is what we pour out. Here are a few of my short poems/prayers. Enjoy!

#1
The morning light strikes
to welcome in the day.
Wind blowing gently.
/Exhale/

The moments of down time
are so irregular that they end up
being drowned in anesthesia.

Awake! Awake, O my soul.

Can the soul awaken without being drowned?
Can it give of itself without being taken over?

Jesus, I see you now, calling out
to the Father,
asking for strength,
asking if there’s another way.

I act as though my soul feels your very betrayal,
but if only I knew…

If only I knew the depth of loss you experienced
when for a moment you were separated from
the One who gave you hope,
the One asking you to sacrifice,
the One whom you were a part of.

O Lord, thank you that I’ll never have to know.

#2
Disgrace that plagues the unwelcome face
met by the gift of Love.

Awakened heart, pain unearned
where can my poor heart roam?
Do not delight in that which gives the
healing you desire.
I’m not there to greet you.

But here in the dark I wrestle,
a lover’s intimate quarrel.
Producing life out of love
under the sheeted veil.

O Life, I cry for healing
calling loud your name.

Until the release has reached its peak
and I hide back in my shame.

Where is love, it’s ended–
taking all I can get.

And then alone I crawl into bed,
falling asleep with my face wet.

#3
The walls are up and here I lie
/Enter in/
But when you do, know it might take awhile
For me to learn not to inhale you
But to let you go
-FREE-
As you are with me
Helping me stand on my own two feet
Love helps loosen, it does not bind

#4
I have my heart to bring,
ready to let in those who are willing to open
their hands,
their eyes,
their hearts;

and listen,
breathe in–
gently, and exhale
a part of them that meets the air of my lungs,
to help me breathe life in
so that I can breathe life out

I can smile at life,
healed in my deep by
purpose,
acceptance,
and love

The dissonant melody
revised to sing a sweeter song

I’m here! I’m here!
I’m ready to be a partner on the journey.
To breathe out life so things can grow
and too find their purpose

#5
In come the words,
then grabbed and torn,
filed into memories of other fragmented lines,
wrapping so tightly they bruise
what’s left of my already tired ego.

Healer–can you hear me? I need Your love,
to hug me and hold my hand.

Unwrap the cords that hang so tight,
that together we can walk forward.

In come the words,
can you set them free?
Creating a new translation.
Love, heal me, and may I listen…

Freedom Doesn’t Come In The Dark

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Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to say that freedom doesn’t come through the dark, because I believe the deepest healing often happens through seasons of confusion, uncertainty, and a shading from the most pure light. The darkness brings us to our knees in ways that nothing else will. It makes us face the depth of our souls. But what I’m getting at in this title is that freedom doesn’t come in the dark.

I’ve heard it before and have ignored it, but tonight it was so obvious. Satan loves to keep us alone, really alone, by keeping our secrets in the dark. He thrives on us hiding our shame so deep that light never has a chance to touch it.

“If they knew, they wouldn’t understand.” 

“If they found out what you did, they wouldn’t trust you anymore.”

“You can’t tell anyone about this.”

These lies have kept me isolated, as I have been convinced with certainty that God and any other person would be unwilling to love me in the midst of my story.

“Try to be good, really good, and maybe then God will see you.”

“Be His slave, that’s all you are worth.”

The lies won’t stop if they remain in the dark. They must be presented to the Maker of Light who redeems the darkest of spaces.

Friends–come to the light. Find freedom. Share your hearts, your true hearts, with others. Find peace in coming to the Father. Freedom comes in the LIGHT.

/Holy Week/ Maundy Thursday

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the morning light strikes to welcome in the day; wind blowing gently /exhale/

the moments of down time are so irregular that they end up being drowned in anesthesia

awake! awake, o my soul

can the soul awaken without being drowned? can it give of itself without being taken over? 
Jesus, I see you now, calling out to the Father, asking for strength, asking if there’s another way

I act as though my soul feels your very betrayal, but if I only knew…

if I only knew the depth of loss you experienced when for a moment you were separated from the One who gave you hope, the One asking you to sacrifice, the One whom you are a part of

o Lord, thank you that I’ll never have to know