A Matter Of Life And Death

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A Matter of Life And Death

Everything pointed to life
(Doesn’t it always, at death)
As I watered the wall-to-wall carpet
I don’t know the color, but it soaked up my grief
Strange, the mind can find solace in stained glass and wood and the smell of Methodism
Trace the patterns and grooves to avoid the casket in front of the grieving widow
The windows bled pink in the April sunlight
Hat tip to last Sunday
He died on Easter, oh Jack

And afterwards there is so much life
Every bite of food explodes in your dry mouth,
Starving for more from the sweet Earth
Family feels warmer, blood pumping fast in a panic, white-knuckling life
Praying you’re not next, not just yet
And you could swear you heard him whisper from the grave
Odd how the breezes blow by your cheek like any other Tuesday’s breeze
But it is Thursday and you don’t know how many Thursdays are left
But you count it a matter of life at all costs
To gobble up the Wednesdays too
All of it like he did

But of all the tributes
And all the testifying
The greatest part about this man who loved Jesus
Because he did

The mold was broken after him
And the mold was broken after you and me
And that is a matter of life and death

This, loving people, as they are
Who they are
Mold breakers everyone
In grief life is clearer

My eyes took a poll of the room
They loved him
Well, oh so very well
His daughter held his hand in death
(I vow to hold hands more Mondays and Saturdays in my life)
And he wasn’t like you or like me
He was just Jack

Go live life now
I heard him “loud” whisper from his new life,  as I left a trail of regret in my wake
And please remember to laugh at all my jokes, through that precious impish grin

My heart took a poll at the graveside

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It’s Okay to Change Your Mind

It’s Okay To Change Your Mind

Decide you want to stay another day
To wake the morning of the First

And then
With the whole Earth

Rub the sleepness from your tired & wondering eyes
Wash  your weary face
Look up to the heavens
Feel a hundred flakes of confetti,
Crimson gold guilt leaves
Blow over you, thrown in celebration from the sky
Oh what a party it shall be

Then choose to find sweet beauty moments in

The midst of almost
unbearable

Pain

See

Over the horizon, this new and glory-filled day

Made by The Artist, who loves us

And knows well the grief of pain

Decide to look out on this life

To hear we love you

And embrace mankind’s collect cry

We’re so glad you chose

To see the Earth unveil her love

What amazing grace,

You changed your mind, its okay

You chose to see another day

We’ll name it, call it, celebrate with you

Your miracle,

Your second birth, your

Changed-your-mind birthday

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To read the series in its entirety click here

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The Glider and The One In Which We Grieve While Living

the glider

The Glider

Calls her out
Into the night

Anchors the seating
For souls
To search

Stars with wings
The lightening bugs
Of all the things we recall
Are insects in a Mason Jar
Holes punched through to last the night

Conversation
In the crosshairs
We open Pooh and cry at the news
Of loss, our Mia

We go back
And forth
Counting on a change
Then see it was made
After all

The wall art reminds
We live forward
But understand in looking back
Truth proclaimed in pottery
Words lined up and down
In the cross

No idle living
On the porch
If metal spoke
It would tell
Of healing there
Black metal harbinger of hope

A forty dollar yard sale
Piece
Be with you
Found and tossed
Find a seat
Gather
Afresh
Huddle anew

The glider
Guides
Groups
Out under the waxing
Moon

She waxes poetic

Remembering her friend
The one who died too soon

Cancer
Claimed another

Come glide with me
The days are numbered
The phone has rung
And doctors tell of cancer
And the fighting man
Who loves to rock and hold a glass
Always more than half way full
Of hope, spins it good and glorious

Sit and rock
Roll back the rock of death
It lost its sting
And tell me all

We’ll knit one pearl two
And make the days

Count
Don’t drop a stitch
In time
The stitches one by one
Will make a perfect
Covering
Come

And glide
You must not move
Mother may I

Gather on your
Glider
Under our moon
With you

Death has lost its sting
Forty dollars
Buys a lot of living

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In Which We Grieve While Living

Death both stops you in your tracks and thrusts you onward. Propels you forward, harder, faster, fighting mad that it came at all. Births a new desire to grasp the days like a starving man, deprived of food and all that is good. To savor, taste and see that it is good, so good. The all He makes and made. We  ride the waves of grief, nestle in the glory goodness that it wakes us up to see.

Life is revealed in death. We float in seas of salty remembering. Hold on to each other harder, stronger, longer and buoy a grievous soul in love. Linking arms and planning how to rip the wrapping off the day. Crazy to unwrap the gift.

Awake anew to the mystery of the world. The unknowing of the numbered days. Shot out of a canon,  we declare we will press on in living with our grief and sacred remembering of the lives that end. Ended. Continue on in heavenly glory. Bless and pray and thank and grieve. But live. In a holy place of remembering.

We  weep at life without our loves. People, those who have marked our lives, the lives of a child, importantly. Who have invested, sacrificed and loved us well. Smiled when aching, loved when hurting, played while pushing back their own sorrows. They teach us love while living life. Show us mercy upon mercy. Currents of grace whirl round their brilliant countenances.

And we are changed forever and ever, amen.

And it is then we pull out Pooh. Because it is an anchor with its words on living and mysteries, child-like exploration into unknown forests and chasing after demons disguised as hephalumps. We gather the musty pages which smell of childhood and life. That smell of laughter. And yellow smells wise and knowing. Turn the mustard colored pages where a child has added to  with scribbles of their own. Crayons colored green and red have left their waxy mark of random scribbly scrabbly child’s play.

In my home, Pooh anchors with belly laughs. And memories of the best times. Of silly sayings and pages which read a hundred and leventy leven times ninety sound new and as fresh as a the morning’s first drips from a French Press. The world wakes us up. Turns in circles and cycles seem comforting. As life is supposed to be.

Cycles of life, cycles of death, cycles of grief. And Pooh.

My mother read it to my grandmother in her eighty’s. In the home. And in Latin. And they laughed tears, tracking down aging cheeks in salty rivulets.

And on the morning of more news of death, we pull out Milne and let him take us back to happy youth. Where rabbits and owls and kangaroos talk and donkeys struggle with depression and angsty life views. Where a small pig can be a best friend. Where loss and grief loose a little of their sting in the imaginations of an Englishman, a poet a writer a giver of hope.  Years upon years after his birth and death.

His words, a healing gift.

So we press on a little  more gaily into our day. Looking for honey in the sour sorrow of loss. My mother reads Pooh aloud and the pain diminishes a small amount. Our family gathers around grief.

And around story. Childhood joys. We will pray tonight. And lift up the grieving ones to God. We will bow and lift and whisper and cry.

But for now its words of poetry and children’s lit. At times like this, it is always  words. Of prayer.

And a bear.

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photo of A.A. Milne – Wikipedia.org

photo of glide – Elizabeth W. Marshall, poetry and prose through a lens of grace

Joining Jennifer at Jennifer Dukes Lee dot com

In community with Emily at Emily Wierenga dot com

Giddy-Up

the nets - mcvl at  night the mary margaretGiddy-Up

Yesterday I felt the sad creep up
Mixed with confusion
Draped around my soul
I swallowed my tears, the hurt in my inside
Places, deep and dark
Pushed them down
With all my might

And all the while I wrestled
Joy was creeping up and in
Waiting to soothe me with her balm
It was the words of a sister friend
And news waiting to rock me gentle
Balm on gaping throbbing
Places

And faith restored in me
In eyes that met
Mine
In love standing on the dock
Reminding me of love
That overcomes
Screamed the breeze
That brought the joy
That raised me up again

And I recalled the moments giddy
Cheered me up
A flash of scattered happy
At small and wondrous things
And I recall the look of kids at work
Hanging over sides of boats
Beside a mender of the nets

So I raise mine
In hopes of catching giddy joy
Even while I stand graveside today at two
Especially there
Remembering that life will always
Bring me joy
If I raise my net high, in the breeze when it blows hard
When it comes gentle
Always
While I raise my net
Untangling sadness from the threads
Breathing deep of sweet forgiveness

And reminding and remembering
The days of giddy-up
Are here
When I stand beside the grave
At two o’clock today