Did you know, Lord, that you could feel this – emptied, depleted in the wilderness?
Does the voice of the tempter sound just like your own, insisting, if you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread. Do you stretch a hand toward them, trembling, wondering if you can fill yourself and end this hollow torture?
Do you remember that other voice, booming as you rose from the glistening Jordan, skin dripping wet, when the Spirit descended dove-like upon you, and your Father claimed you as his own?
Then that same Spirit drove you into the desert; you wandered forty days and nights. Did you know this world you gave life to could blister your feet and turn a blind eye, deaf to all your needs? Can you hear your Father in these dry stones, or do you perceive only silent, cloudless sky?
In the dull hours you dreamed of ending, but think how you would never
have heard the birds sing above the quiet streets, seen the snow melt as January leans
toward thaw, or watched the red sun light the tips of the bare trees,
burning but not consumed.
Holy fire of sunset takes the world in stride; flames lick away what need not go on,
and you cannot kneel in ash forever; a gentle man once said,
let the dead bury their own dead—perhaps the harshest words he ever spoke.
But we are the ones still breathing, in and out, this ancient sacred breath,
inclining our eyes to the bright skies, branches aglow like embers;
they declare in the voice of YHWH, “You are standing on holy ground.”
Would you turn away from this world reviving?
Would you close your small body into a dark tomb?
Or would you rise again with the morning, feel sinew thread around bone,
blink as the dawn fills your eyes and see that the world, again, is wide?
It felt like each of your dreams died in the winter,
buried deep beneath frozen earth, and you stood alone
in the cold til you forgot what they looked like.
A part of you stopped believing that anything means anything.
We are just puppets here in God’s great game. We play our roles and fall in love or fall apart,
and all the while the world’s a burning explosion. Stare deeply into your glass of wine.
There are no answers.
Yet, even yet, snowflakes waltz from the grey sky—old shroud of a dead day,
weeping new fractals that spin in sheer exuberance, etching a message into the air:
the world dances on an axis of grace, and even in these frigid moments lives beauty.
This is the way God loves you,
in the quiet of blue mountains
that have only to stand tall to speak,
and this is the way God loves you,
in red clay earth staining rivers across palms,
blood-splashed dirt drunk on men
who fought for freedom and men they kept as slaves;
from this unholy ground springs flowers,
pressing blue petal-lips to sky.
a blanket of snow, somehow warmer than every fall night
snowflakes dropped from the sky like stars falling,
in morning a bright world shines, made new
and the weather’s different everywhere,
but for me, here, it’s like the Lord taking my hand saying, I know things haven’t been easy, but look how it glitters for you,
a miracle sent to the cold, bleak world
as the savior sent to cold, bleak hearts
born beneath a great shining star: the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shown his name is Immanuel, God with us
Here am I kneeling on linoleum,
because Immanuel came to set the captives free
and yet I chain myself to cruel gods
who breathe despair into these lungs
made alive by the breath of YHWH,
I have poisoned them day after day.
I was grasping at grace sent from heaven,
joy more abundant than ever before
like manna in the wilderness,
it was bundled in arms with fear
of not having enough.
You might notice that my blog looks a bit different. I changed the theme and deleted a lot of posts. I’m trying to transition my blog into adulthood, I guess you could say. A lot of people probably just delete their teenage blogs, but since I’ve used mine intermittently and I really like a lot of things about it, I figured I could just give it a bit of a makeover.
Anyway, as I was going through and deleting lots of things, it was a bit of a strange experience. It was strange to remember what it felt like to be in high school, to feel the things I felt then but to be so far from it. I believe C.S. Lewis said, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” That sums it up pretty well. I also write a poem about it:
Dear girl who is me and not me,
you were seventeen and bleeding
anger and hope. You were just holding yourself together,
aching to know who you were.
We are exiles in the broken world, slowly following the Lord home.
He found us and said, Come to me, all who are weary and heavy leaden. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
And we believed and rejoiced as he washed away crimson sin.
But soon things stop being easy;
no shining future in sight—
only a rugged wilderness, and all we can see of our savior
is a pierced hand dragging us forward.
Then one day bruised and weary, we stumble into a garden:
a fragment left of Eden and the Lord says, Grow here.
You are born with tears in your eyes
and screams in your throat;
air in your lungs the first time is a gasp of cold—
but then you are wrapped in blankets, held in arms,
called precious for the mere fact that
You are here.
You’ve opened your eyes.
For a few years you live with the belief
that people will come when you cry
to fix everything that is, or ever could be wrong
But one day they just stop coming.
One day what’s wrong can’t be fixed.