Words Replace The Boot

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Words Replace The Boot

I could kick myself
Literally, not figuratively, no
If I could figure out how
To put a swift quick to the rear
A boot in the hind quarters

A kick in the pants
Would remind me
When I hurt
That I have hurt
And a tangible ache
May move into action
A sedentary bum.

I have widows as neighbors
And poor in my midst
And letters to write to Peru,
To my girl.
But sin visits me
And stays awhile
Inaction is omission
I blame Eve
It is easier that way.

The last time I checked
It stings
It stung
And it stinks.

Preachers preach
And teachers teach
And poets, wax

And weave words that go places
Visiting the sick and shut-in
Takes legs and guts and heart
A body in motion.

Oh I have words, ones that rise up
And hang
Like a cartoon-ish figure
I am a  caricature of one who cares and acts
My thought bubble floats above me
Invisible to all
Seen by no one
The hazy desire to act
Stick a pin in it and pop it
I am done

Faith without works
Is settling in.

It is time for the words that hang in the air
To walk the road that leads to the widow

And mail the note that goes to Peru

And nothing is happening
While I am figuring out
How to kick myself

There is a foul odor
And it smells like guilt

Love is a verb
And a noun
And the greatest of these

Time
To love the all of these
And float the bubble of hope

Love gets off the couch
Ouch.

Words
Replace the boot
But Grace
Replaces guilt.

We’ve Switched Places

What would you do? What would you say to an assignment from Compassion International to write. After you had stepped up to serve.

Would you say “No”. Would you say “not now.” Would you say “wait.”

I can’t not write. And if you speak, or teach, or sing, or fundraise, or rally, or inspire or move out, or impassion others. Go do that. Go do that passion that burns deep. Go use the gift. Go do the thing that keeps you up and stirs your heart.

Now would be a good time to push delete, now would be a good time to file away, these words, or unsubscribe to this blog. Now may be a good time not to read. If you are weary of Compassion. I am looking away because I will miss you if you leave.

Oh good you came back. Or you stayed. But you are here. I see you there and I am grateful.

I can’t not write this Part 2 in my final series. (If you missed Part  1, here is the link.) But you friend don’t have to read. The following is a letter to my sponsored Compassion child. I have traded places with my child, Erlita. This is the one in which I have switched places  and I am now living in Peru, adjusting to the shock, adjusting to life in poverty. Thank you for grace. Thank you for sharing this on your facebook pages and on twitter. Thank you for emailing to others. If you choose to cast a net of words for change in the lives of empoverished children, you might share these words.May God bless my words, may God be glorified.

Dear Erlita,

Your country is so very beautiful and I am overjoyed to be here in your home. Erlita, I think of you, sweet child in my home with my family. I know they love you and I know they are showing you all the places they love. Do you love the ocean, just a short walk from our home, as much as they. Did you see the funny shorebirds running around in the frenzied pace, we laugh and giggle at them and those pelicans. Erlita, they are big and graceful. God designed their pouch with perfection to scoop up the fish. He is an amazing creator. And you will have frozen yogurt and pizza and walks with our silly trio of dogs.

Sweet precious one, my heart dances at the thought of you there. You and my daughter will play volleyball, the game you love so much. Two girls, giggling and laughing, knowing no wall of words, she’ll teach you her Southern English and you
will teach her your beautiful Peruvian Spanish.

And love is the language of girl friends.
Love is the great language that bridges the gap of culture.

Erlita, they will love you well. And you will teach them much.

And I am here in your beautiful Peru. You are surrounded by the beauty of the God created. When I see the mountains and the moon out your window I dream of you, Erlita and your nights here before we switched. And I feel where you were cold. And I smell where you smelled fear. And I hear where you heard crying. And I shiver where you once shivered when the wind whipped and the hearts cried. I see the worn and the torn and places ragged.And the worn out hope and worn down pride. 

I see the sacrifice of parents who choose hunger so a child can eat, in love, out of love, for love. I share your longing, now that I am here, in a way I couldn’t before I came. My empathy, sheer thin like your bedsheets, before, but now. But now my empathy and compassion compounded in the walking here, walking out your life, where you did, child. Where you do child.

You share your home, your bed and I share mine. So I must share my honest heart.  I wish I had come sooner. And I wish I had sponsored sooner. And I wish that I had written you sooner, sent encouragement in a letter sooner. Known your birthday so I could celebrate your life with you sooner.

And as you are in my home and I am in yours, there is no room for things left unsaid, in our world now. That we share family and home.

So I say, forgive me Erlita. Forgive me for not coming sooner. For missing  the joy of knowing you, sooner. For not bending my heart and stretching my abundance, my gracious plenty into the places of your need, your empty your longing, sooner. For living like you weren’t in want and need. For simply doing nothing.

Please forgive me for not extending my more than enough, with unfurled hands to you, sooner…sooner..so much sooner.

Thank you for your forgiveness and your love. Embrace my family as I embrace yours. We are sisters in Christ Jesus and my gratitude for you in
my life grows and grows, as does my heart. Because of Jesus. Because of His Grace. You have taught me more about generosity and giving and compassion than you will ever know.

I love you, Erlita. Be warm and safe and loved and cared for, though you have my family now and not your own. And every night when I see the moon we share, I thank God for you.

Love your sister in Christ,

Elizabeth

P.S. Ask Spencer to read you our favorite books, the ones we read when she was your age. And please take them back to your beautiful Peru and start a lending library for your community. We love words and we love you. Feast your heart on God’s word. Its the richest, Erlita. It will fill you up to overflowing, sweet girl.

Linking with Jennifer, Duane, AnnEmily,Mary Beth and Michelle


And I Named My Dreams, I Named Them Big

This is Part 1 of a Series in my final blog posts for our month long blogger campaign for Compassion International.

This is one of the most difficult posts I have ever tried to write, but what follows is my heart and my words in a poetic voice, on the sights, sounds, and smells of poverty. Aligning my heart with a child in poverty. This is my voice as a child living in extreme poverty.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for grace.

The rumbles come in the night.
In my tummy.
They are funny like its talking.
Like its saying good night but it lasts for a long long time.
Like its saying hey, you forgot something.
Hey you forgot to say good night with warm food.
They talk to me every night.
It’s funny cause they sound like rumbling thunder
My tummy noise.
But it hurts too.
I named him, my tummy and tell him not to worry.
We’ll be fine.
And we’ll eat something and then you’ll stop your rumbling noise.
Its okay.
We’ll be fine.
I tell him not to rumble so loud, he might wake my sister.
And I say sshhhh. You might wake up my mommy too.
We’re nestled in a small small space.
It’s love. It’s home. It’s cramped. It’s mine.

And I tell my tummy to be brave and strong.
Tomorrow we have much to do and much to learn at school.
And I tell him to be brave and strong and at school he’ll rumble less.
Sshhh, we are learning.
Sshhh, we are praying.
Sshhh, we are singing.
Sshhh, we are working.

And in the night the crying comes.
But I tell my eyes, be brave.
I tell my tears, don’t roll.
I tell my heart, be still.
I tell my eyes, don’t cry.
I give my eyes a name and I say don’t be sad, my eyes.
Be strong and brave.
Tomorrow we have much to learn at school.
And I tell my eyes, be dry.
Sshh, don’t cry. You might wake up mommy too.
We’re nestled in a small small space.
It’s love. It’s home. It’s cramped. It’s mine.

And in the night the dreaming comes.
And I tell my dream, dream on.
I tell my mind, keep dreaming.
And I tell my heart keep dreaming, the hope-filled dream.
And I tell my heart dream loud.
Don’t be quiet.
Don’t be silent.
Don’t be shy.
Dream loud, my dreams.
And I named my dreams “Big”.
And tell my dreams I will share you with my sister.
I will share you with my mommy.
I will share you with my classmates at school.
We’re nestled in a small small space.
It’s love. It’s home. It’s cramped. It’s mine.

And in the morning new mercy comes.
And I say oh new mercies how you are welcome here.
And I thank God, for His new mercies every day.
I say Praise you God for your mercies and your love.
I say I will worship you God for your mercy is great.
And I name His mercies, I call them Jesus.
And I tell God I will tell my sister.
And I will tell my mommy of God’s mercy.
And I will tell my classmates of the Savior.
I will tell it loud and happy, strong and brave.
I will tell it full of joy and hope and faith.
We’re nestled in a small small space.
It’s love. It’s home. It’s cramped. It’s mine.
But Jesus lives here too.
And He is love and He is mine.

Remember, God told us to become as little children.

There is a link here to Compassion International if you’d like to learn more about child sponsorship.

Linking with Eileen, Jen, and Heatherand at Seedlings In Stone

And with Emily for Imperfect Prose

A Grateful Hand

May we walk together,
linked
all together as a bold one
into a land
of extravagant generosity…
of
time &
talent
words &
love
prayer &
kindness
where
we unfurl from the white-knuckled grip of the insatiable I and me.

Linking in community today with the folks at Still Saturday. Thank you Sandy.

Opening the door for you my friends, may we always open the door for one another in a community of His love.

And holding it open for a long while, as you walk into the wonderful wonders of your week’s end.