Healing


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Healing

Bend into the silence
Let it
Tell you much

Guard your heart
From bitterness 
While you journey
Into
A quiet, sacred place

Just as 
Blind men read
The world in
Bumpy Risen Braille
Cup your hand
Against your ears
Bend into peace
Again

Welcome each
Soft syllable
Let it sing
And heal

Inside the inner
Chambers
Quieting the fear

Gentleness
Speaks to you
In a holy hush
Peace
Amid the 
News
Noise wrapped around
The spinning world

Quite
Deafening

With
Tenderness
It appears
Cloaked in gentleness
Precision in each move

Now
Lift the bumpy, broken language
From a 3-D page
Read it through a
Grace-filled lens
Come heal our 
Brokenness

Awash in crimson stained
Mercy
Robed in
Hope 
As you slowly
Turn the page

Now
Listen
To
The quiet, what it  has to say
The poet
Introvert
The timid one
Afraid to add
Another voice 
To join
The
Popular debates

Lean in close
While
Silence adds a
Voice
Somehow, in some
Cryptic
And poetic way
Remain 
Hushed
To hear
No,
Really listen

Listen to the whispers
Decode unspoken words
That never make it
From their frightened
Lips

The words, the cries
Stuck
immobilzed

A blend of sadness
&
Pure joy 
Her world within a hurting world
Lies in
Layered silence
Buried in the dark

As ruins in Pompeii

Archivist
Unburies and unearths
Beauty from the ash

Cries
Whispered
Asking for
Sweet
Release
Remind us of the joy
Recall for us the beauty

Hidden in the ash

Weak, wounded
The message will break through

Listen to the silent ones
The meek
The mild
The child-like
The songstress, artist
Friend

Bend into the silence
Oh, learn from it 
Again

Silent night
Holy night
All was calm
All was bright
And will be once again

Silence bears
Breathes anew
Silence redeems
Have mercy
Teach us to do the same

Healing 
Come
Healing
Calm

Healing ride on sacred wings 
Born in humble beds of hay
And on a silent night
Oh
Healing come again

With Laura today at Playdates at The Wellspring

This Post Is Not About Anything: A Guest Post From Christie Purifoy

I have the honor of having my new writing friend Christie Purifoy guest-posting here today. If you don’t yet know this beautiful soul and her art, you are in for something simply wonderful. Though I have only known Christie for a short while, I feel I have know her as long as her Victorian home, Maplehurst, has been providing a backdrop for living in southeastern Pennsylvania. Christie is real and fresh. And her writing speaks for my own tired soul on days I can only mumble, “me too”.

You will hear a deep thinker but one who is unpretentious. And you will fall in love with the art and the heart of this woman. Christie, I am honored.

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The close of day one of Daylight Savings found my husband Jonathan and I washed up like wreckage on our old green sofa. We could hear all four kids still awake in their rooms. Maybe that is why we left the dinner dishes on the counter and the toy dinosaurs on the floor and simply sat right where we happened to be. We were too tired and too irritated by the noise to attempt anything productive.

We had no energy for choosing or making a plan, but the evening chose something for us. Something lovely. Jonathan opened the laptop left lying on the floor. He hit play on a recent episode of Austin City Limits, and we let the sounds of one of our favorite musicians wash away every irritation and tired distraction.

Listening to these songs, I remembered that the lyrics have always been indecipherable to me. I have no clue what this singer is singing, and yet these song have been some of my favorites for years. They are soaked in beauty, drenched in emotion, and, listening to them, I found myself floating in a rich sea of meaning.

I don’t know what they are about, but I seem to know just what they mean.

***

Living my ordinary day-to-day, I often find myself tripping over the same question. Something like, what is the point?  What is the point of sweeping this floor, what is the point of baking this bread, what is the point of putting the toys back in the basket? The floor will be dirtied again in minutes, the grocery store sells bread, the basket will be upside down in no time at all. If my life is made up of these seemingly pointless activities, then what is my life about?

I am afraid that my life is not about anything beyond time wasted, tasks repeated and minute-by-minute survival. Yes, the minutes might be adding up to something good, but when the minutes are messy I can never feel sure.

But what if I am not asking the right question?

***

The film critic Roger Ebert used to say, “It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it is about it.”

These are important words for more than just movies. These are words to remember for novels. For poems. For paintings. Whether we are making them or enjoying them. These are words that help us appreciate the wholeness of a work of art as well as the small grace notes.

These are words that honor the joy of creation.

We do not ask ourselves what the sky is about. I has a purpose. It is far from pointless. But its meaning is blueness. Spaciousness. Openness. Its meaning is shelter and canvas. Its meaning is the joining of heaven and earth.

What is my life today about?  I don’t know. But how is my life about this thing called living?

My life is about fresh clean skin after a shower. My life is about butterfly kisses on my baby girl’s cheek. My life is about lighting a candle. Brewing tea. Even the back and forth beauty of my arms holding the broom.

I focus on the how, and I am convinced.

My life–yours too–is about great things.

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Christie Purifoy writes at an old desk in the parlor of a Victorian farmhouse called Maplehurst. After earning a PhD in English literature from the University of Chicago, she traded the university classroom for a large kitchen, garden and a henhouse in southeastern Pennsylvania. When the noise of her four young children makes writing impossible, she tends zucchini and tomatoes her children will later refuse to eat. The zucchini-loving chickens are perfectly happy with this arrangement. The chickens move fast and the baby even faster, but Christie is always watching for the beauty, mystery and wonder that lie beneath it all. When she finds it, she writes about it at There is a River (www.christiepurifoy.com)

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Joining Jennifer Dukes Lee for #tellhisstory and Emily Wierenga at Emily Wierenga dot com for Imperfect Prose

The Narrowing

dolphin duo show offsWe discuss the newlyweds in Spain. Their picture has just popped up on Instagram. I confess now this is something I could really long for. I might even really want to do this, go there. They are sitting under a shade tree, white linen table spread like a banquet with olives and wine and cheese and the cured meats. And they are smiling relaxed newly married bliss-filled smiles.

We are riding down the salty creek in our little boat when we stop to visit with friends sitting up on the top deck of their house boat. They are breathing in salt and watching the old lady dolphin swim, rising up above the surface now and then, she smiles at them. And they exhale the stress of their long work week in a thriving restaurant business. Owners never seem to sleep. I tell her “I hope you have a wonderful sunset tonight”. And her response is Elizabeth, you know, I really don’t care. Her cup is full with all that is there. There is nothing lacking in her dusk date with her husband.

And they tell us they are celebrating ten years of being in business with a really big trip. They are going to Scotland for three weeks. I exhale, ah Scotland.  And remember my two trips there. Lovely, they were. Good memories I have. And it creeps up again, this hazy desirous emotion and longing. Should I stay or should I go. In my inner parts, into my day dreams. Into my internal wish list.

There is a well-aged and well-tended friendship in my life. I believe I tell her everything. She has the enormous responsibility of listening to me spill it out, beat it to death, and wallow in it. My stuff. I confess, I complain, I confess some more. I doubt. I dream. And I drop off all my innermost parts at her feet. I am safe with her.

And in her wisdom she reminds me that no matter what we do or where we go we always have fun, in the simple. She reminds me of this truth. We have discovered the journey into extracting maximum joy from some of life’s most simple activities. We are four. We are two couples who though we have had our passports stamped a time or two, are happiest now in the execution of a simple plan. One of discovering that life explodes with God beauty in the trips down the African Creek, the one right here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. And life is beautiful when we pack a sandwich, even bologna, or especially bologna, and kayak out to the wooden cross on the shore of the Waterway.

He came up to me yesterday with the heart of a child. Laid out all of the shells he was collecting on the kitchen table. They were all so shiny. There is a scientific term for the shimmer and sheen, the particular sparkle and shine. But the child in him just saw the shiny. And he pulled out a light and shined it on the splendor and everything glistened in this moment of ordinary.

And then he brings me his two special ones. He is not a mid-Fifties adult, he is a child, wide-eyed discoverer of beauty.

These he says, these are my special ones. Please don’t move them. He has found extraordinary beauty in these two found objects. Because they are imperfect. They are perfect. Barnacles and a  combination of shells have been molded together by the sea  to make a hybrid of beauty. And this is all we will ever need.  This sacred simple.For we are learning to go into the land of discovery of the God simple. The natural wonder of the unexplored. Exploring what is under our sandy toes and sun-burned noses.

We cut the motor on our favorite part of the creek and it seems that all we can see is green lush marshgrass, oystershells and sky. There is so much sky. Have I forgotten how large that canopy of unending sky is.  How could I forget the shades of blues so life-giving even on a cloudy day. And water. We are surrounded by water, sky, and wonder. And then the pod of frisky dolphin show up and we are all children. Each one of us in our human pod of four, is a child filled with a spirit of  fresh discovery.

And we are narrowing. And we are traveling. And we are home.

Oswald Chambers writes:

“If you ask for things from life instead of from God, ‘you ask amiss’; that is, you ask out of your desire for self-fulfillment. The more you fulfill yourself the less you will seek God.”…seek, and you will find…” Get to work-narrow your focus and interests to this one thing.”

Our conversation, the one with my friend Harriet,  turns to Him and any desire we have to “go and do”. It is our term for living. Unless He plans the trip, we decide we don’t really want to go after all. Because traveling on the outskirts of His will, is less than each time. And isn’t seeking Him as children the better way. And isn’t seeing His world as children, with the impressionable spirit of a discovering child the most tender way.

Our conversation, the one with my husband, turns to an older couple who are no longer walking out this earthly life. He reminds me of their routine. He says do you remember how they would get into their boat every night and ride out to see the dolphin play in the surf.  And they died not long after that.

I wrap my mind around age and living simply and death and heaven on earth, the glory in the sacred daily wonders.

And realize that there is beauty in the narrowing, in the simplifying.

We are soaking in the wonders of our Sunday, a day that we marked as family day and prayed would be the beginning of the best summer of our lives. This house we are renting to “test drive” this new town, to see if it likes us and  if the feeling is mutual, has a wonderfully small kitchen. We are bumping into each other preparing our summer supper. And my husband yells, Look, Come See This is Classic.  When he calls out wonder and beauty I have learned to listen, to stop and look. He means business when he sees moments of grandeur.

I walk to the glass front door and see the neighbor’s chickens are out running around  her neighbor’s yard. And we laugh at the sight of chickens out of place. And the variety of the brood, there seems to be one of each. The silkies might be my favorite. And we laugh some more and find surprise in the spontaneous wonder of chickens running around the green lush lawn of a neighbor who carefully maintains a beautiful yard. She just happens to be out of town this night.

And who needs wine and cheese in Spain after this. This most perfect day.

Of ordinary. Of extraordinary.

The vision is wide in the narrowing.

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Joining Laura at The Wellspring for her Playdates  and Jen for SDG and Emily and Jennifer