Promise Me

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Promise Me

You will
find love in the places where love is hard
and learn to know it there
Walk the trail that’s hard to blaze
Pressing on, though tripping up
On a broken wing and a cryptic prayer
Your walk will be marked by the limp of grace
Mercy, your salve on every blistered place
Remember the Psalms of Ascent
Came before

Contemplate every word that expires from your lips’ breath
And know with certainty
That each word was first birthed
From the inspiration placed in the well
within (where the echoes grow)
Remember that “think comes before speak and pray comes before it all”
And pride comes before the fall

Promise me
That excellence will find you seeking it
And it will mark the work of your hands

You won’t permit perfectionism
To entangle you, hold you captive
Wrap you up in the bonds of your own creation
Bury you in the mire of doubt
“Carry on” will be your anthem song

As you blaze root-laden trails
Settle without settling
(the third cousin of compromise)
Compromise, the first cousin of grace,
Can yield “and it was very good.”

You’ll always remember
That proximity of heart can be hard to maintain
But never let distance, brokenness, and pride
Place a wedge the size of east Texas
Between you and anyone
You love big back

Promise me you will make peace with
Both and
And
Tough and tender
Fragile and strong
And there are more
You know them well
Just promise me

You will always remember
The world is filled with grand and glorious wonder
Waiting
And there is more where that came from

 

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On The Things We Thought Would Come

I would have bet my life on it. I would have said there was a one hundred percent chance it would be. And then the things didn’t happen. They just didn’t.

We planted tomatoes in the late spring or was it early summer. I even wrote about the bounty that would come. I planned and dreamed and even longed with great expectation for the day. I announced, prematurely that we would have more than plenty and more than enough. And that we would share and give away. Joyously gift what I knew we would have to give.

I was hoping on things not seen. Longing for things to come. I had based my hope on the past. It had been this way year after year. We had experienced abundance. And thriving. And more than we could possibly enjoy. And so we would share this year. My mouth watered with anticipation at hot from the oven tomato pie and homemade pasta sauce made with basil.

Our tomatoes didn’t thrive. Yes, we had a few. But they would not win any awards. No matter how biased the judges would be (the growers). The cucumbers were “meh.” I thought we had planted squash, maybe they just didn’t come up or I missed the one that did while I was away for a few days.

And then there is the issue with our figs. The early spring cold front damaged the tree. Now the few figs we seem to have are being eaten by the birds and squirrels. We cherish the ten or so we pick everyday, rushing out to pick them early in the morning and late in the day. It is us against the cardinals.

I have lived my life as a glass half full person. And I am still that person. I am not Pollyanna but I am hopeful and mostly optimistic.

But I am learning that what we have now, what we have in these present moments are a gift. That looking forward and longing and dreaming are good. Even necessary and so integral a part of our humanity. I am a dreamer too. But these things we hold in our hand now are fragile. Sacred. Tender. The right here right now is what we have.

I will miss the tomatoes and the figs. I am missing squash from the garden with basil and onions four nights a week.

But the lack of fruit and vegetables from our backyard garden  has been a physical reminder, a needed remedial lesson. With the mild disappointment of a rather pathetic garden, I see through the lens of continued hope. Hope that holds fast and hard and firm. Even through disappointment. Even when we felt so sure we knew the outcome.

Life went a little off script. And that is increasingly more than okay.

Hope and faith which have permanence and staying power are hope and faith which ride out disappointment. Which wait for the tide to turn, for the next time, for redemption to color it all in technicolored grace.

As I work through the final stages of a writing project, I am reminded that the outcome is held in a place of unknowing. And I am increasingly okay with that. Because every step of the process, every word I have put down, deleted and re-written has somehow changed me, formed me anew.

Thank you for being here. For reading and journeying with me. You are a bountiful harvest for which I am grateful. You are friend. You are reader. You are co-journeyer.
You are subscriber, follower. You take time to read and to be here.  You listen. You listen well.

And I am grateful.

It would be an honor and I would be filled with gratitude for your continued support in these ways: if you would support my writing by liking my Facebook writer’s page, click the link here and if you would consider subscribing to my monthly newsletter, click here or at the tab at the top of this homepage. If you are on twitter or instagram, I am @graceappears there and there.

As a writer and artist it is always difficult to ask for help in these areas. So thank you. Thank you. Know that I am grateful.

 

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When Grief Is Like A Runaway Train

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When Grief Is Like A Runaway Train

There is a hole as wide as a manhole cover
Shot through the inside of me
We are tangled up in a web of grief
And darkness cannot hide

The sun is screaming today
There are words behind the rays
Sweat and blood drip
We are hot and tired

The ties that bind
Cords of humanity are stronger than the death grip
I see a cord of three
Still
I know

The web is tangled, connecting us
All
Me to you and you to them and me to them
The those who gathered to pray
When hate walked in

Shot a hole through the insides of the souls
Gathered and huddled round the holy
And darkness cannot hide
For we all shall gather to pray

I want to wipe the tears
And say I love
And say I am sorry
Holy Comforter call us into the healing

My sentences run fast and hard and choppy
The train of grief is slow, then fast and then it runs away
Before it slows and stops
And lets the grieving grieve

Heavy
The past that casts a shadow on the
Now
They chose the nighttime to gather and pray
I met my husband in the city
Love lives there too

Let the grieving grieve
And the healing fill the holes
The ones in the flesh and the bones
Of the ones who ache
With the pain of loss

My child
She learns in this city, and my child
She learns in the middle of this
Tangled web we weave
Holy City, hold your hurting

Love lives here too

Lord, have mercy
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The Unwrapping

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I was a ripper. A peaker. An unnoticing receiver. Noticing by default. The things under my nose. You can’t miss what lies in wait to capture you, hold you and wrestle you to the ground. By grace, we are entrapped by the beauty of surprise and ordinary miracles.

By grace, He holds our chin and turns our heads. With beauty.

We are the walking dead if we miss it all. I glanced a ways away and I was no longer there. I was gone. Hurled into the land of Alice’s world and a Narnia place.

I had to leave. Forgive me. The crowd was a cacophony. The china on chargers held me too. But for awhile. And then I left, to keep my peace. To go and find it. To hold fast to my soul and to open my eyes to the better banquet. One nestled in trees and leaves and lawns.

I was always an eaves-dropper. Picking up and honing in. Not missing the sounds surrounding a soul on the run. Even when I was barely awake.

And so I have some small gift. That I must unwrap. So that I may unwrap, the beauty.

Oh, how grievous I would be, if I had missed the blossom, as big as the Queen’s head or the Cheshire Cat. While dining on the finest of fine.

Seeing the shadows dance on white linen and spotless glass. Silver to the right and to the left.

I left to find more. Avoiding a melancholy grief.

Missing the divine, the holy, the huge?

Never unwrapping the gifts?

Oh how dreadful it would have been. To have never seen. Those ordinary, most extraordinary of things.