Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mourn with those who mourn

Tears flowed as news came, death has no bias or preference. It takes indiscriminately and leaves devastating voids in its wake. And some, with best of intentions, smiled through tear stained eyes, heads tilted to side, and spoke of heaven being a little brighter with its angel home now. Heaven was little more than a thief in the night, devious thief, taking that which did not yet belong there.

And they say that He walks through the suffering with us, but what do you know of her heart, the gaping wound blasted through, eyes pried bright like the deer on a highway just before impact; but the impact has not yet come, the full, devastating weight of this tragedy, and now slow motion torment of the oncoming breakdown tears us all apart. We were not meant to bury our babies; we were not built for it.

Oh heaven, you devious thief, she was not yet yours.

For the time being, love is keeping her afloat, drowning out the coming silence, keeping eyes moving rather than allowing them to fix on the empty bed or toys that have fallen still. Love is keeping her moving. Love will keep her heart beating.

We are laughing through tears and crying through jokes and stopping to hug and fall apart and remember these last 20 years as friends and how we are now called adults. We remember days of old and marvel that we are now old enough to have days of old. Salt and pepper has replaced lush brown, and we have said goodbye to babies who did not make it to our world and now bury a baby who graced us for too short a time. We laugh at body aches and cry for infertility and divorces and how broken we grew in the years since we last poured wine. But we are all still growing, some better and some wider and some just older, but we cannot help but to grow. And somehow in distance we have continued to grow together, and I still call you sister. Precious sister, lean in now.

Oh heaven you devious thief. She was not yet yours to take. You had no right to snatch such life, leaving empty arms and broken hearts.

So we will stand together now, arm in arm, hands interlocked, cheeks salty wet, bracing each other, bracing her, and there are no platitudes to lay thick the grief that hovers. Adulthood has steamrolled us, but somehow in the midst of it, we have smiled at each other and whispered "I love you."

I love you, friend.

Mourn with those who mourn.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Foolish Bird

Wounded wings stretched high, damaged feathers rustle in the night air. 
Toes to the edge; listen for the echoes of rocks tumbling down the canyon walls. 
Long, careless tumble.

You do not want me, and yet I am plagued by thoughts of you. 
Something was different. In your kiss, in your eyes. There was something different. 
I saw it, you saw it too. When you looked at me, you saw right through me, I felt it. 
Maybe I’ve imagined it all, but it felt so real. 
And then you pushed me away.

I’m terrified of being hurt, but I fear it is already too late. 
The heart burst forth from the chains of regret and leapt in to your outstretched arms, 
not realizing that those arms were already pushing away. 
You don’t want to get hurt, so you choose not to engage, 
deeming the risk of hurt as too great, not worth the risk of falling.

For the sake of knowing how it feels to fly, I would risk the fall.

But if you wanted me in your life, it would happen, 
and I need to accept that you don’t, no matter what I felt.

And I thought I could be friends with you and wait it out, 
but it turns out that I’m not that strong. 
I have held you and you have held me. 
We have laughed and shared stories; 
your eyes have seen through me and your fingers have traced my lines. 
Fingernails across a strong back, lips to neck, 
and I cannot separate it out, the having of that, and the not having that.

Toes to the edge, I tumbled down, careless and ridiculous, 
laughing till I realized I would not be caught, 
then cried the ugly cry that leaves swollen eyes. 
Free fall with damaged wings and bruised up heart. 
Careless, foolish bird.

But, oh, to fly again.
I would risk it all.

Monday, September 9, 2013

This Time of Night

It is now that I miss you the most.
The littles have slept, the house is quiet, 
save the tunes filling the space
and the smoke rising high from candles lighting the darkness. 
Twilight has settled in and my feet finally lift from the hard ground that beat them all day. 
Globe-carrying, battle-negotiating, nose-wiping,
arms wide-open to save their precious worlds. 
And I settle in, wondering where your arms are,
craving the warmth that only your embrace brings. 

It is now that I miss you the most.
There is no damsel in distress here, but how I long to be rescued, carried,
hoisted high on your white horse to rest there for a while. 
I am a sinking ship, weighed down by all that life has dealt
And yet your chest is a safe harbor, catching my head before it slips under,
safe haven of rest, with wings that fold me in. 
I melt into the crevice where arm meets chest,
and your strength overpowers me like a gentle wave lapping up the sandcastle on the shore.
You swallow me whole and I willingly surrender it all. 

It is now that I miss you the most, my friend.
The moon has become my lone night light, and the littles mumble through their dreams.
I stand at their doorway, in awe that they are mine,
little lips moving in incoherent giggles while eyes slumber tight. 
I stumble to a cold bed, all of my own dreams held in like a breath desperate to be let loose,
lungs aching tight. You are not here to share them. 
Victories of the day tucked away for only my complacent celebration,
defeats stashed in the dark corners of the heart.
It is all my load to carry alone. 

It is now that I miss you the most,
this time of night, when all around me has rested,
and yet my heart refuses to give in. 
It is in this time of night when I feel most alone, most lonely.
When all others have gone home with their loved one, hand held, supported, cherished, 
and my world is silent,
save this heart that will not let go of the hope of you. 
It is this time of night that I miss you the most. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Damaged Goods

My friends, they sit around me and talk about timing and when to call and when to ignore, and they have more experience at this than I do, so I try to listen, and then just shake my head. It's all spinning. I gave a solid 10 years of my life to one person, who tossed it aside as worthless, and so now I'm starting over. When did it get so complicated?

It is complicated now. Maybe it always was and I just never recognized it. I certainly had my baggage back then, deep wounds of bubbling hurt, parts of me taken violently, but I was much stronger then, or maybe just younger and more resilient. At least for a while. I had fight back in those days that has long since died out. And I just feel weak, scared, used up. And so now it's all very complicated, and I'm having to learn about timing and how to hold my cards tight and pretend that I don't care, when I do, and play a game that I was not built to play.

But when you kissed me, it didn't feel complicated at all. And in fact, it felt like you saw me, like no one ever has. And we talked on the phone for hours, like only teenagers do, and I smiled giddy and ridiculous as I drifted off to sleep. You commented on how beautiful my green eyes are, but I looked away because I felt naked and you could see through me. And you called me baby and sweetheart and cutie and I felt, for a short time, that Atlas could take the world back and give my shoulders a rest, that I could just be a lady around you and not a superhero, that I might have some rest. We talked for hours on a patio and laughed at silly things and took a walk just for the sake of holding hands. And it felt so good to be held again.

And I got excited and scared and insecure and was sure that it was all just too good to be true. I could only look away so many times before you really did see through me. I am damaged goods and continue to hear the words that laid me low for years, stole my fight and leveled me a to a pile of useless. His insults rattle in my heart like a pinball bouncing off of bruised chambers, and they lodge in my ears like a freight train, about worthlessness and unlovable and too big and too blind and too much of me to ever really be loved.

And a friend told me to be coy and ignore and be me, but less of me, and I don't know how to play these games, and I guess I've already lost because now you're gone. So I sigh a deep, resolute breath, hunch shoulders low and place the globe right back between the blades that bore them for so long. And yet this time, I am not buried. There is a burning in those bruised chambers, chasing down lies and strengthening walls, rebuilding what was once torn down, and I feel it.

Dare I call it Hope. I thought she was dead to me. I thought she was smothered in the wreckage of the life that once was, a total loss. And yet her embers burned the whole time. So while I have lost this round, she has been awakened, busying herself with the necessary repairs of damaged goods.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Beast of Redemption

"For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight; I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?"
Exodus 33:16
Oh, Moses. You beautiful beast of redemption. You who ran at the first sign of trouble, you who would rather start life over than face up to acts done. You, who quivered and quaked at a bush engulfed in flames, you who swore that your tongue would not work and your words would not be embraced, you who begged for a replacement, you who stood in shadows while someone else spoke your commands; you started out so small, cowardly lion, chirping monkey.

And then you changed, He changed you. You saw that He kept His word, that He moved through you and used you. You took down an empire, one plague at a time, unseated a god and pulled a people out of slavery. You were a conduit, and so you grew bold, dangerous, reckless even. Blood dripped from door frames, angels passed over, and Egypt wailed. You beautiful beast of redemption. Oh how he changed you.

It started at the sea. You stood at the edge and watched waters roar past, thousands of people doubting behind you, death pounding the ground in pursuit. He told you to step in, toe to water, staff to ground, you will not be swept away. And you crazy beast, you did it.

Did you have time to ponder, for even a moment, wonder at the dry ground so nourished by the sea? Your sandal had no mud, and the children gazed in wonder at the fish swimming on either side. It was the world's first aquarium, and the Great Architect used you to build it. Please tell me that you paused for even a moment in awe and wonder. Your feet were dry.

Then your boldness grew, with sweet water, quail flying in and manna on the ground, heaven rained down on you. Staff struck boulder and sweet water flowed, mountains burst open and carried the law to a wandering people.

But on that mountain, after a lifetime of growing into obedience, after failures and doubts, after scrapes to face and ego, after all He had done, you communed with the Creator of it all. He covered you in cloud and fire breathed and the people you led swore you had perished. But you experienced him as no other living being had. What happened to you on that mountain? Did your soul take flight? Did you glimpse eternity as His presence hovered thick? Because you made a move, wild in admiration, overtaken by love, and raptured by the desire for more.

You made one more request. Mad beast of redemption. Bold soul, reckless heart. Just as your toes brushed the water's raging flow, you set toes to the edge of a cliff that surely should have swallowed you in. You stood at a pinnacle, stuttering tongue long forgotten, and boldly made your demand.

"Now show me Your glory."

Show me the source of Your fame. Show me the full weight of who You are. Let me experience Your magnificence, welcome me in to Your  renown. You, Almighty Creator, You, who commands the oceans, You, who directs the insects, You, who reigns over life and death, You, who can cause the earth to open and swallow men whole, You, who takes down nations and raises up a people.

You, who are our very breath, Show. Me. Your. Glory. Show me You.

And He said Yes, and protected you, and showed you as much as your humanness could handle.

And at the end of it all, there was no reminder of how bad you were, or what a coward you used to be, how you were such a terrible sinner but isn't it great that God loved you anyway. God spoke to you in the beginning as He spoke to you in the end. Your hearing of His voice had changed, which allowed your actions to change. He commanded you as the man He created you to be. That's what He knew of you, because He made you. You knew a different version of you, tainted by the ways of the world, stained by blood, fractured by unwise decisions, splintered by emotions, separation from the divine causing jagged edges.

You see, God isn't great because He loves us in spite of our sinful, broken ways. He is great because He loves us for the us that He created us to be. It's not that we are hopeless sinners who will never get it right and God loves us anyway. He knows us in the fullness of His image, He knows us in the greatest potential that He created in us, and the redemption that has already flowed. He knows what we are capable of by His own design, if only our ears and our hearts would stay in tune. He is great because He can see me, even as I am not able to see myself.


He says, "You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you."


And I have put toe to water while the rapids rush by, and I have wondered if I was going to be swept away. I should have been swept away by all accounts. But I am still on dry ground, and my sandals bear no mud, and the walls of water billowing on either side are, at times, deafening. But it's been a while since I paused in wonder at what the Architect has built, and even longer since I dared step to the edge of the cliff and beheld His glory.

Too long.

Oh, Moses, you beautiful beast of redemption, you bold lover of God. How you inspire, how such humble beginnings morphed into such audacious inclinations. I. Am. Inspired.

Toes to edge, heart to sleeve, chin to heaven. I will not be swept away.

Now show me Your Glory.

Grace and peace, yall. 
Beautiful Emily is hosting quite a shin-dig over at her place. I am humbly joining in. Stop by to be in awe of some gifted writers.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

stand, fall, weep, carry on...

Sometimes I wish that God loved me more. More than it feels like He does. And I know the pat Christian answer is that He died for me, and what more could I ask for. Yes, I know the stinging rebuke of that response, but truth be told, in the cold, dark loneliness of this life, and His seeming silence over so many requests, I have not come to know Him as trustworthy and good.
I see the ladies bow their heads, beautiful, tenderhearted saints with voices who speak with Him often. The prophetess lays heart bare and I know that she has spoken with the Majesty many times before, I hear the Spirit wings on her voice as it rises to His throne. And I wonder what He does with the words when they arrive.
Do You not see our pain? Do you not see our tears? Do You not see that we are hurting down here? Some lonelier than others. And yet your ears seem deaf or our tongues seem mute or maybe it’s a bit of both. I have not seen You move in what feels like ages, and my bones are weary, and my heart is wandering, tired from such a heavy burden. And I wish that you loved me more, that I too may be loved.
And I remember Job and how You did him, how You let him suffer in some weird chess match, and in the end, when he was broken and crying, You rebuked his pain and he fell even lower. But I cried with him, because I know that pain, the pain of losing everything, of starting life over at a time when it was meant to be flourishing. I cried with him because he wept, and You stood by and watched. I know that feeling, the being watched while your world falls apart. The being watched, in loneliness and desperation, wishing for a Savior to do something, to save the day.
I do not understand Your ways, and though I cannot deny You in any way, shape, or form, I find the truth buried in my heart that I do not trust You. When I cry out, I do not believe that You will answer, and so I have stopped crying out. I do not call out with confidence that You will hear or respond, because so many prayers before fell on deaf ears, and so I have stopped calling out altogether. And yet I tremble still. I cannot help it. I cry in the darkness after the littles have slept and I have poured out all, empty and exhausted, alone. Your spirit has revealed too much for me to walk away, and yet Your silence and laissez faire approach to us is baffling. So I stand, fall, weep, carry on. And wonder. And believe still.

After a long silence, I am honored to link up with beautiful Emily once again at Imperfect Prose.