Secondhand Joy: The Parable of the Garden

wpid-img_20140802_182507.jpg

Second Hand Joy

I am a lover of old, repurposed, recycled and worn. Drawn to objects which have age and patina. The chips and breaks are badges of honor. Tarnish tells me love was there. Run love through the sieve of time. Until it stands the test of time and time again. Watch the beauty multiply. Compounding adds to the interest. Cracks are doorways for the rays to pass through. Of hope and light. Sealed by perfection, honed to perfection, perfect cannot bear the weight of beauty in the broken.

Faded sepia outlasts the lives of the living. Remaining to tell of love and life. Proud of her browns and white and nearly monochromatic memory.
++++++++++++++++

She met me at the fence line. Wearing a story in her silhouette, curved like an ampersand, bent logogram, a symbol of her life. Joy comes like the morning fog. Lays down and covers the pregnant day. She had excavated joy from my joy. Joy in spades. Joy in triplicates. For mine was there. Then hers arrived. And mine was doubled by her proclamation. At the fence. The currency of love. Exchanged.

+++++++++++++++++

My joy is not my own. The mystery of the winter seeds we planted is unfolding. And I bear witness to the miracle of love. Lonely and a bit alone, she watches as our garden grows. And she can write the story of my chickens and how they spend their day. Acting out their antics on the stage for her amusement and viewing from her front row seat.

I was blind. But now I see.

Amazing grace. How does your garden grow.

To The Lady In The Big SUV In A Big Hurry In The Starbucks Parking Lot

wpid-img_20150311_134344.jpg

To The Lady In The BIg SUV  In A BIg Hurry  In The Starbucks Parking Lot

I know you. And I forgive you. I was in your blindspot. That’s a stretch, but so is grace. (You almost ran into me. Head on.) I almost ran into you. It works both ways. You never slowed down. Let me guess. It was a child-forgot-his-lunch, your child-forgot-his-library-book, you-are-out-of-diapers kind of day. Or it was an I’m-late-for-tennis, I’m-out-of-Tide, I’m-about-to-miss-the-one-hour-dry-cleaning-deadline type of day.

I know you. That’s a stretch. I see me in you is more precise. (And if this is to be at all poetic, let’s be precise.) But I would like to get to know you. Invite you in for tea and a chat on my porch. If you sit, you may never get back up again. An object in motion stays in motion. And you cannot stop or you will collapse. I know your tail-wagging-the-dog pace. I see you speeding through the parking lot in your all -about- your- needs way. It feels like the world is winning and you are losing. Survival of the fittest and dog-eat-dog feel read. It takes one to know one is not just a cruel childish chant.

I know you. If you sit with me I will confess, raise my hand and tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But you won’t. You don’t have time. You rise and shine and race until the break of night. Turn out the light. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

And you don’t remember the glory in your day. The art. It is there. You are missing the good stuff. The best stuff. The important stuff. Pay attention child. The poetry, for goodness sakes. It is everywhere.

The shades of green in the moss. Did you count them? The way the garden has grown at a rate much faster than it did in April. May is full of hope and vegetables. The way your chickens seem to know their names and you. And you believe they have a soul, almost like a feathered dog-soul. Did you see the rain drop race on the window. Did you bet on the drop on the left. Yes, he won.

I know you. I am tempted to come back to Starbucks and look for you. Find you, in love. Invite you for tea. But you won’t be in your big white Mercedes SUV. You’ve traded it up and in. (And I know you. You wouldn’t come anyway.)

I know you. You may have been in a hurry to Bible study, which you lead. No judgement here. No sideways looks. No put-downs. No corrective finger-wagging shaming. No unkind thoughts.

In love. Slow down. In love, you will miss so much. In love. I have walked where you are walking.

My porch is waiting for you, when you are reading to come sit. There are no roses to stop and smell or cliches to toss your way. Grace. Pure grace. I pray you find your way. But knowing grace?

It will find you. Even in the parking lot of Starbucks. Perhaps, especially there.

And that Grande Skinny Latte with two Splenda? There are even better things waiting for you.

I promise.

Love.

Part Two – A Confessional: I Write Imperfect Poetry and Prose

Fave Chicken Pic (This is part two of a two-part post. Part One may be read here. You may consider reading it first. Thank you for being here for my imperfect poetry and prose. Grateful to have you here.) And so I write. Today is Monday and I want to write as honestly as I strived to on Sunday. This is not about false humility or humbled low-bowing for the sake of, well, humble low-bowing in and of itself. Let’s admit it: Writers humbling themselves can be a spectator sport on the interwebs. And often it is difficult to discern  the writer’s spirit. The authenticity. (Now that’s an over-used word.)

I know in my deep places that my craft, my art, my writing, well, they need time to ripen and mature. I need to read more poetry, write more poetry and listen to the wisdom of beautifully gifted writers. I need to pay better attention. Read more excellent fiction. Sit in the wake of the backdraft of the giants.

And yet, I am still Elizabeth. There is no changing that. I am still the woman who burns with passion for seeing the world in a beautiful, grace-laced way. I am the writer who hears God wooing me into a world of words, with His own. I am a long-processor and so I need to write. Everything that I see, hear and experience needs to run back through the sieve of the pen. But it doesn’t. One cannot sustain quite that level of writing. Or I can’t. But I understand an event a bit better after I write. Most writers do. This is not unique to my writing life.

It is important for me to continue to remind myself and others that I was not always bound to the pen or bent on paying close attention. I have missed a million small moments. Beauty has gone unnoticed. Miracles of creation, tucked into the intricate places have been seen by the attentive ones. But not by me.

I am awake now. I am paying attention. Going digging. Searching for mystery, miracle and wonder. Sharing it with others. And savoring a thousand intricately nuanced moments. Looking for the hidden. And writing toward a more perfectly crafted poem. Bending in to learn to show you in more eloquently written prose.

And so I write.

Expectantly. Honestly. Awake.

I am writing my poetry. My prose.

For us.

A Confessional: Why I Write Imperfect Poetry ( & Prose) – Part One

wpid-img_20150328_180400.jpg

Sunday feels like a good day to write a confessional blog post. And when you tell another writer you are going to write said piece, you have some built in accountability. AKA, there is no turning back. I told Esther on Voxer that I was working on this in my head. That I was trying to get it out on paper or on a screen. Anywhere but inside of me.

I am sitting in a wicker chair. One that holds me like cupped hands. The mountains present themselves before me, like a movie screen painted and prepared for an audience. Artificially beautiful. But realer than real. And I am down the road from the church I attended this morning, as a guest. I can still smell the holy and hear the hallowed hymns. The stone and wood and worship linger in the air. My soul feels a lingering in the confessional we spoke. I prayed for the church today. It feels like a particularly important time to come clean.

I am not a great poet. I am not a great writer. I don’t know where I am in the bell curve of learning and honing my craft. But honestly, I am just a mediocre writer at best. But I have the fire in my belly and a passion under the folds of my wrinkling skin to write. Hiding out is an option. Always.

Giving up is always an option. I have an old computer which I could heave over the side of the mountain and life would go on. (Poetry is all about specificity. I would tell you just how old this Mac is but I truly do not recall….it is THAT old.) See the ellipsis back there. That is a taboo in the guidebooks of some writers.

Let’s face it. You can go other places for richer writing. Poetry, certainly, which shows more and tells less. Words that reach deeper with less adverbs. Lines which travel deeper into the beautiful. Verses which sing sweeter and lift you higher into the holy.

But my craft and my art are simply dressed in their everyday ordinary. I am honing and grooming them. Hoping for leaps of growth. Trusting that I will not remain in my writing where I reside this day.

But honestly. I am flawed as a writer. Imperfect. But I am flawed as a parent. Imperfect in my mothering. And certainly I fall short as a daughter to a mother suffering from dementia. My house could be cleaner. My food burned less often. My time spent more wisely. My morning devotions  could be longer.

But grace attends me when I write and when I breathe and live. And tells me to continue. No, encourages me to press on. Perfecting my imperfections.

My mother has dementia. Often her speech borders on faint mumbling. But I listen. I would not stop. She has something to say. And she is alive and living and wants to enter in. To tell what she sees. How this life feels and  how it smells. She wants and needs to process her living.

And so do I.
And so I write imperfect poetry. And prose
++++++++++++++++

Please join me tomorrow for Part Two.