Jeremiah (a poem)

It is a strange thing
to realize one day
that you see yourself
as pastor.
 
All that awkward timidity,
the cloudy questions,
have somehow given way
to comfort, presence, place,
to call.
 
When did this shift occur?
When did my leaves turn?
Sometime, I suppose,
while I was praying, preaching, caring,
too caught up in the work
to feel myself change.
 
It is a strange thing, but good:
to know I am appointed,
to finally see
what God sees.

Questionable Philosophy (a poem)

Sometimes I wish I was brave enough
to love only the ones who deserve it.
But mostly I am grateful
other people aren’t that brave either:
I so often don’t deserve it.
 
Some days I fear
I will never fully recover
from all the love I have given away.
Some days I suspect that
life isn’t something
we’re meant to recover from.
 
After all, eventually it kills you.
 
I want to learn how to live
in the pain of always
lacking a little bit more
of myself.
And how to soak in the grace
of all the pieces of others
that flood in to fill the space
left behind.
 
When it comes to love and life
I don’t know about deserving it
But I don’t want to reach my end
without at least trying to earn it.
 
When I drink my morning coffee,
too often, I let it get cold
trying to hold on to each little drop.
And I don’t want to live like that.
I don’t want to turn cold.
I want to run hot.
 
I want to be only brave enough
to give myself away,
to make every mistake.
I want to drink to the dregs.
I want to wear myself
completely out.

Small Comfort (a poem)

Some days are just hard
for no good reason,
other than that you feel lonely
and maybe lost or sad
and a little small.
 
I think of these as mouse days:
when you wake up,
shivering in the cold cave
inside you where fear lives.
 
On mouse days, this tiny hole
seems like a perfectly good
hiding place, even though it’s
a pretty inhospitable space.
 
On days when I feel this small,
I am grateful for a God
who lets me be a little mousy,
a little pouty,
but doesn’t leave me
alone.
 
I am grateful for the tiny
mouse-sized comforts
that life offers me:
a good laugh,
a kind word,
a soft breeze,
or a warm ray of light.
These simple gifts
are like a gentle kiss
that doesn’t take,
but only gives.
 
They are crumbs
God sets at the mouth of my cave
to say: Stay as long as you need.
I’ll be just out here, waiting,
and whenever you’re ready
we will feast.

Power and Truth (a poem)

Did you know
that lightning is born
from the ground
and the sky
at once?
 
Like two sparks of new life,
of energetic truth:
Risking, revealing,
reaching out
for kindred spirit
and colliding in a flash
of electric light.
 
When God created the universe
this is how She dreamed
that power would be made.
 
Yesterday I sat in a space
and heard my sister
speak words into the shape
of the hole in my own heart.
And all around me
were a few hundred
simultaneous sparks.
 
We leaned in close
to drink deep from that
same well of realness.
We were all so thirsty, see,
to feel less alone,
less powerless.
 
The air in that holy room
crackled with honest energy,
It lit up with earnest synergy,
that meeting place of vulnerability,
And let me tell you what:
It was powerful.
It was electric.
 
God knows what She’s doing.
Amen.

The Irony of Womanness (a poem)

A month ago I bought boots
with two inch heels.
I did it on a dare.
See I don’t wear heels often
because tall girls should
surely not try to be taller.

I decided not to care.
I liked they way they gave
my step an automatic swagger.

Today I wore those heels
out into the half-hearted rain
and down the city street
for coffee.
I felt good in my
black jeans and
red blouse and
leather jacket and
those swagger boots.

I held my head high
and smiled to myself.
Until I heard the catcalls
of three men working
on a building and
ogling me from the roof.

So then:
shoulders hunched,
head down,
arms crossed, and
quick, tight steps.

Do you have to take
everything?

Can we ever just be
for us?

Frenzy (a poem)

There may be no
other problem in this world
I’d rather drown in
than too many
friends to see.

This day held
my favorite kind of
frenzy
And I am now
my favorite kind of
exhausted.

A flurry of hellos
and long embraces.
The rush of recognizing
an old familiar face,
unexpectedly present.
Shared memories,
new stories,
and common hope.
These are my bread and cup
today and I am full.

I wish I could always be
this overworked
with loving.
Maybe I can.

Where’s The Fire (a poem)

I work at a church
that sits on the corner
of city and power.
It can be a holy crossroads
where paths and souls
so often disparate
oddly intersect.

The crossing makes me
uneasy sometimes,
the way I suspect a
burning bush might
tingle a finger
if one dared to touch a leaf.

But I have learned that
in the hollow of my discomfort
God’s voice often speaks.

More Sundays than not
I hear sirens ringing out
amidst the music of our choir
or in the pause within a prayer:
a wailed reminder that
world and worship
always coexist.

Today was no different.
The sirens came,
their blaring grew and grew
and did not cease.

In front, a baptism
played out it’s sacred dance
with liturgy and symbols
and well-planned poise.

Then, doors flung wide in back.
An army of uniformed
helpers entered in.
A woman in a pew
reached for aid
to ready, gracious arms
outstretched.

Up front, another, too,
reached out for aid:
for hope, for love, for grace.
The baptized one
proclaiming
with careful water
spilled upon her head
the words of promise:
That Christ comes
and holds us all forever.

Water, too, in my eyes.
Concern for the one
and joy for the other
and wonder
that these two moments,
so wildly apart,
in their meeting told
one story:

Of a God who enters in
to our perfect plans,
our delicate aspersions of hope,
and flings wide the doors
with ready, gracious arms
outstretched
to take us in.

55 and Sunny (a poem)

*Poem-a-day number 11*

Warm days in winter
are my favorite kind of fairy tale.

The kind of fable
that reminds you:
the best miracles
are the regular ones,
the simple goodness
already built into this life,

lost from sight, only briefly,
under layers of coldness
and gray.

The sun lights up
a reminder:
that grace never leaves you.
It never ever leaves.

It’s there beneath your feet,
and behind your wooden doors,
waiting for the sudden burst
within you that remembers
and calls it to come out
and play.

Confession (a poem)

I sometimes struggle,
as a pastor,
with the pressure
to cut off my unseemly bits.

To take all my
unkempt emotion,
and broken edges,
and hungry humanness,
and shove it up under the rug
before company comes.

May I confess something?

I love my unseemly bits.
God made me human,
and I think She knows
what She’s about.

We’ll never get
closer to God
by being less
of what She made us.
She liked humanness
enough, after all,
to try it on for herself.

If my life is to be a ministry,
I hope for the courage
to let it teach this:

Perhaps, to draw close
to God
we need only stop believing
that we’re not.