Thursday, March 29, 2012

the broken next door

The veil is fragile
the stories are true
the world is broken and
breaking all over again
under our noses.
I can't hold this truth
she told me
it has buried her alive
and I dove in after.
How do we dig out together
when we are down so deep?
The old heavy rocks
press into my back
and my eyes sting but
I meet her gaze.
But for the grace of God...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

to give up early

I wish I knew a perfect way
to give up early every day,
rip off the bandage quick and sure
wash the wound with water pure,

and remember who I am.

How many wasted hours I spend
as though my soul and worth depend
on anything I've ever done
or felt or had or lost or won,

forgetting whose I am,

Who is I AM.

Friday, March 23, 2012

stories headlines prayers

A girl who is a mother,
a mother's mother,
and a little girl
who saw too much:
things her parents never
thought could happen,
"Mommy's shirt was blood."
she told me, matter of fact
like a four-year-old newscaster.
A runaway, an illegal alien,
an alcoholic on her third round
of inpatient treatment,
and me:
people who love you, Ruby.
People first.

A man who tried
to save the world but
saw it crumble around him
from the inside,
broken both by those who
loved and hated,
bedridden by compassion.
Child soldiers, angry bloggers,
well-meaning experts
and me:
people who hear you, Jason.
People first.

A mother rich in love,
two grandsons and two
pregnant daughters,
others waiting in the wings.
"Stage four" casts a shadow
over all the stages yet to come,
though hope upstages them all.
Pastors, friends, strangers
and me:
people who are praying for you, Mary.
People first.

Monday, March 19, 2012

a mother summer

Today, my children like me. My children like me today. If they are their mother's sons, there is a long winter coming: months and years of freezing me out, calling me condescending but mostly innocuous names, and avoiding my eyes, to say nothing of my hugs and kisses. But now is the summer of their affection for me and I won't let these sunny days be wasted. When the heat of their utter dependence and need makes my skin slick with sweat, I will remember to breathe in the warm air and hold it somewhere safe for a colder day.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I want to listen, I do, honest, but these people keep jibber-jabbing their gibberish and it makes me want to run around with my hands over my ears but instead I raise my voice to drown out the nonsense, so sure that my words are sensible or at least they have a beginning, middle, and end that flow into one another, unlike this guy prattling on about God-knows-what and I mean that literally because I honestly don't think God himself could sort that into a coherent set of statements, but then again what do I know and who am I to judge, I'm just a girl trying to listen by talking too loud.

Monday, March 12, 2012


One thing I can say
for mothering
is that it forcefully
presses one into the present.
There is no way to
store up treasure
on earth in the form
of cheeks wiped clean
apples sliced
stacks of grass-stained
jeans dryer-warmed.
They are only for today.
Tomorrow there are
crumbs and pajamas
on the floor
hungry bellies
untold stories.
They can't be stolen
from tomorrow
by any work or
greed or treasure
hunts today,
there is only today.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

everything yes

Is the sun shining?
Will anyone come see our home today?
Can I talk to you for a minute?
Will this turn into a deep, hour and a half long conversation?
Can I still catch the end of Bible study and pray for my friends?
Do you have an hour or two to watch the boys this afternoon?
Can we meet today to talk about the event this weekend?
Isn't this art exhibit amazing?
Should I go to seminary?
Do I have time to squeeze in a run?
Will he take a nap today?
Can we play at Nana and Papa's?
Aren't the mountains pretty?
Can we have a friend over after school?
Do you know what's for dinner?
Can our friend stay for dinner?
Are we staying home and relaxing tonight?
Will Daddy read Narnia to us?
Are the kids asleep yet?
Should we open a bottle of wine?
Is there a new episode of Parks & Rec?
Do you miss having a baby in the house?
Is that a full moon?
Isn't this a beautiful life?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

my little gidding

This morning I read a part
of Eliot's Little Gidding;
this evening I played it out
with a feisty two-year-old.
Fear and fire
and a fight about toothpaste;
then the weightless terror
of falling
from the height of
who I thought I was,
watching some lady with
my face tear sopping
wet pajamas off a
small screaming child.
But now this grace:
what is terror but fear
and fear the beginning
of wisdom.
At the foot of the cross
in a rocking chair,
he slips his hand in mine.
The weight of his
body curled in my lap
holds me here,
a welcome heaviness.
I need this heavy love
that gives a fight
to bring an end
which is always a beginning.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

all small

When I was little
everyone told me
I could do something big.
This would-be blessing
sunk roots too deep,
lingered too long,
loomed large,
and festered into curse.
I am big now,
to my smaller self,
swimming upstream,
giving my all
to do something small.