Vulnerability Looks Like Grace

Vulnerability

I checked the pot
Truly
Over and over again
And they weren’t ready
The nouns, the verbs, the words
They needed salt and light
Heat
And time, grace to grow
Space to separate then blend
Oh friend,
Patiently I stirred with an old wooden spoon
Swirling clockwise and counter
Checking
Re-checking
You know in the folds of your soul, when they are ready
To share
And
Release

These took longer,they required
Time, it stood still
The hallmark of the moment
Generosity of minutes moved, yet frozen
The gentle branding of the transaction
Between two
Women sharing sips of soul-filled words
Vulnerable, the two

I asked if I could spill over
About the woman with the spirit of generosity
Of heart
Of honesty and humility and second chances
And when we are our most human
Our most vulnerable
You with me and I with you
A sacred thread runs through
The space and time
We are dusted by the holy
Threaded artists we

I tell you my ache, my pain
And question deep the need to rest

You tell me of your winsome brave wild and wonderful
Dream
You know we can do better than we have
I tell you I want to write a song
You tell me that I can
And we are in a ping pong match of words
Vulnerability fuels that flame

And you re-tell
A second chance
For me, the first
A chance meeting, one on one
Eyeball to eyeball, soul to soul
We speak encouragement

And I am marked forever
By the chance
Or was it God-ordained

I hope I stirred it long enough
And let it simmer, taste and see that
He is good

You are a joy
And I,  a grateful saint

Who learned what
Generosity, sensitivity
And brave can taste like
Poured out from the lips of one kindred
Spirit, Flesh, and Bone

Vulnerability looks like grace
With a soulful artist’s heart

Doors with cut out crosses

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This poem is dedicated to Joy Thigpen at Joy Thigpen dot com who taught me much about the making of art– and rivers and margins and more at Allume 2013.

Church

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Church

A place for dry bones to shake rattle and roll in the spirit of the Lord
Among a cast of hundreds of women who were strangers
Strangers I tell you until hours before
A foretaste of heaven
Look to your right and to your left
Look with the eyes of your heart
The countenances shine like you have stepped to the other side
This is the Hyatt for goodness sake
This is a hotel, glory be
Sisterhood deep and wide like the mighty Mississippi after the rains
Came for forty days and forty nights
Shoulder to shoulder breaking bread
Singing standing, singing sitting, singing dancing
And there were tears
No shortage of the salty rivers of release
Each drop a celestial star, blinking, twinkling
A milky way of mothers and others.

A room
Small and crowded
Where you listen deep and hard and squint and furrow
Your eyes and brow
Like a net, you cast your soul to catch every single drop of good words
About art on the other side
Of the cross
You meet a woman
A sister
She is waiting in another repository of words to tell her story
And you listen
To why you breathe and make and write and why it matters
And a sister jumps up and ends the talk in prayer
Preach it sister
Preach it
Worship, in a small crowded room
Hearts seeking to make art to His glory
A gathering, communion of saints, prayer
A good word delivered
Focusing on Him
In a downtown Greenville hotel.

And we rush out
Discuss how very late we are
We are late paces from the house
We are at the door
Their dog is lying in wait for church to let out
And her bike with the artful basket
Propped up on the side of this old
Church
We slip in, slither in a pew, the sermon
It is well into the resurrection story
Of life and death
You could hear a pin drop among the sea of graying
I cast my net
Eager for words of living and dying
Shoulder to shoulder, twenty-five years
And a baby cries
And the organ plays
And we speak to the preacher on our way out
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
As it was, it shall forever be

The dog picks up his people and they go home
Church is out.
And we breathe deep the glory from our time
In church.

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Joining Laura at Laura Boggess dot com

If You Will Walk Beside Me

Image

Will you walk beside me

On the level ground

Of the holy cross

Not out front, ahead, so slight

My view is of an eyeless back

Forging fast ahead

And I can see your imprint

Leaving me behind

When I see your back

I see no face at all

Just someone rushing fast ahead

Fixed on a mission of their own

There are no portals of your soul

Gazing back at me

The words are lost

And I am deafened

By the silence

On the path of one who walks

WIth single-mindedness

And do not walk behind me

I cannot see your face

Or heart, your voice, your soul, your cries

Or wipe your salty tears

There is no sister to my left nor

Even to my right

When I am weary and  alone

Grab my hand and hold it tight

And walk beside me to the cross

To grounds of level fields of grace

Where dark rich soil of mercy waits

To hold or bear a million strong

Or even maybe more

Sojourners on the journey

Who walk not proud

Nor out in front

There’s power in a strong wide berth

That presses forward facing storms

That choose to stand on ground en masse

Encouraging and holding hands

So grab your life, your gift, your pen

You writers of the words

And walk with and beside me

As we cross the ground

Headed toward the sacred place, the cross of common ground

And with our words

We’ll all be heard

We ‘ll walk and stumble, not alone

March or crawl

Together, shoulders side by side

If you’ll but walk with me

My aging hands are reaching out to link

With sisters on the road

Would you  humbly go with me

Sojourners on a common road.

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Joining Jennifer Dukes Lee