If You Will Walk Beside Me

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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

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Jesus, The Cross &Tofu Scrambles

It was Easter and we had not watched any of The Bible series on The History Channel. I had planned to sit with the conclusion, the final episode this Easter evening with my husband and maybe a teenage child or two if we could get them to sit down and stay still. More challenging than the toddler years, some days with all the moving around. I longed to experience the story on the screen and to honor Him in re-living the story of His suffering as the creators portrayed it through art. But I was hesitant too because this was the final night and this was the Cross.

And as we prepared dinner and snuggled by a Spring fire, burning wood, warming the room, I said to my husband, I hear this is really hard to watch.

His brilliant response to me was isn’t that the point. I meant what I said and so did he and we were both “right”. Yes, it was both hard to watch and the point of the Cross.

We watched and it was difficult and that sounds overly simplistic. But don’t we want to turn away from the suffering and the blood. We want to shield our eyes and our hearts from the slow painful walk to the cross, Jesus falling over, the cross, so heavy, so very tortuous in its weight on his back. The magnitude of the moments there on the screen so filled with the cruelty of man. The vinegar on the sponge, the mocking. And there was certainly an out for us, golf or basketball or even Duck Dynasty re-runs. But not truly. There had to be the cross. And there was no out for Jesus.

And in the days since Easter the discontent and pain right here, well its hard to watch too. A teenager struggling mightily, friends and strangers arguing about theology or discussing scripture and its truths. Its hard to live it out. The pain of this life, this side of glory. The disappointment this week is oppressive. And wasn’t it just Easter with all its glory and hope and new. The news through the phone, through the screen, through the mouthes of those I love. There is suffering here.

But this we know.

I stumble on a recipe for tofu scrambles. While the photography is beautiful and the ingredients are fresh I don’t choose this for myself. Or my family. But I am not going to throw tofu scrambles under the bus. Literally or otherwise. I may throw them down the drain if I have a chance. Or I may think twice before turning my head in visceral disgust. Tofu, not a big fan.

But more and more I am learning about life and God from people who do not see the world or faith the way I do.  And when I start to shut my ears and eyes and heart then I shut down my capacity to love, the different, the not quite like me, the others in this world. When I start closing myself with all my senses, my capacity to love my willingness to love, well it will be next. And I am called to love, maybe not agree, but love.

My faith, my world-view and my interpretation of scripture are all as they are for me, now. But I seek to love those who have a nuanced view of this life as believers, as Jesus followers. And those who are not believers. Because I am called to love like Jesus loved.

More and more I find refuge and beauty in poetry. More and more I run there to express my heart, to find my creative place to play, to delve deep into life through the framework of the poetic.

But I step out of that for this. These words here.

I must think about how Jesus loved,  to review all that He said of love. Review in my mind how beautifully diverse his followers were, especially the early ones, the inner-circle. And aren’t we called as followers of Jesus to love as best we can in our brokenness and sinfulness like he loves. Like he loved. And in and by His power we can love deeper and more tenderly than on our own.

I have seen so much fighting and disagreement in these recent days.  And though I am tucked into my little part of this world,  I know I  am not alone. I have seen it very close up, audibly in my world. And I have witnessed it from a distance too.

This is being human. This is the world this side of heaven.

But can we love as we disagree? And disagree as we  love. Can we honor those with whom we don’t agree on matters of faith and walking- out- life decisions. Can we wrap ourselves in the cloak of the greatest of these, the one that bears all, the banner over all – Love.

And you can have your tofu scrambles and I may have my cheeseburger. And as I play back in my mind’s eye my night in front of a warm Spring fire while watching Jesus walk bleeding and bent. Christ wearing a crown of thorns, a cross on his back covered in blood, carrying my sin in scripture and on the screen. I want to weep.

I have to ask myself now and daily, how would Jesus love. And then I must walk out the answer as I hear it, in my daily living.

My poetry awaits. It is sort of like a carriage waiting to carry me off to a place of beauty and peace. But I cannot hide. I must love like Jesus.

I want to live as a child of God and I want to love like Jesus. So can we sit at the table of fellowship with our tofu and our cheeseburgers, break bread together, love harder and better and more like him.

And remember the Cross.

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joining Emily, Jennifer, and Shellyimperfectprose

mt church

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Beautiful Broken

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Maybe the best way to write of the broken, to tell of the broken, to bleed words of broken, is  in a broken way. And that is all I have any way. Outside of The One Who Makes Things Whole and New. The Great Restorer Of All Broken.

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Why do I miss the beautiful in the broken, when the broken is the beautiful. At first glance I saw a dried flower. Crooked, bent and missing petals. At second glance I saw through a lens of grace and true beauty.

I played and basked in the warm early Spring sun, wrapped in layers of warmth. My body warmed by clothing. My soul warmed by her children. Their creativity and passion for living called out to me. Called out to my needy soul. Their invitations  to enter into a world of imagination were beautiful and trusting. We had never met. But we were lost in the world of playful discovery for two of the happiest hours of my week, this Holy Week. I was renewed, my dry bones in need, by two children who took me from my broken adult world, into their precious world.

My joy came from their contagious child-like joy. To see through the eyes of little ones with their unbridled thirst for twirling and running and dancing. For going as high in the sky as the swing will go. Brave and bold. Their hunger for a story of imaginary brides and their clover bouquets. And eyes that see dirt as a canvas.

I looked at the dried hydranga. And though it is my favorite flower and the one that I long to see bloom in the spring, I missed the beauty upon first glance. And then the artist eyes of Kelly revealed the beauty to me, anew. Fresh. Glorious beauty in the broken. Do you see the transformation from broken to beautiful. The tender way her fingers hold this fragile flower.

How many times must I be shown the beauty in the broken.

He reveals it to me fresh and new, in His patient way. And I am  a child learning  again.

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cross on a wall

I keep returning to this picture taken by a friend, my dearest. I have spent time staring at its broken beauty. The wall is gray, the day was
gray, the one when we stumbled on this wooden cross. But what shines through is the rugged beauty, tilted beauty and simple truth about the cross. Here there is no gold, nor diamonds or even turquoise or silver. Here there is wood, faded and barely hanging on.

There is beautiful broken redemptive love shining through the gray.

And I am learning to see the beauty in the broken. And to seek the broken and find true beauty there.

That is what I am and He loves me in my broken, shattered, imperfect, fragile state. And sees even me as beautiful.

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The new life is seeking to push through the cold dark winter that does not want to end. And daily I am wrapping around the needs of the broken
lives of friend. We pray for each other. Cry out in pain to one another. Please, please pray.

And I write down the names and the list is long. And I read the news and shutter and walk away. At the brokeness. At the pain and despair.

But the beautiful part is that He knows, sees and feels every ounce of my pain and hurt. That my trembling is held in the hands of the Healer. And that He hears the weakest of prayers and the feeblest muttering of my heart as I intercede for my family, friends, and strangers.

We are broken but held, broken but heard, and broken but Loved.

And  I can take it all in my broken strides and my limping gate to an Easter cross where the Savoir arises from the dead and the broken body is made whole.

There is so much glory in the broken.

And I am learning to seek understanding as I  wait for the re-creation of broken to whole.

As I look upon that wondrous cross…

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I see beauty and my heart cries out for Him.

He is making everything Easter new. That news is worthy of loud praises, shouts of Alleluia and twirling and dancing like a child, a child of God. Write it down, in the dirt of the earth. Write it down and remember.

Finally,  I am learning again and again  to see through a lens of His amazing Grace, the beautiful in the broken.

With and through the eyes of a child.
wrecked house boat

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Joining Michelle and Jennifer

Two Tear Types – A Week In The Life of A Mother and Daughter

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The stories of our lives. They are lovely in the living, lovely in the telling. And the re-telling sends them out to those who want to capture hope, redemption, love from the lives of co-travellers. We all walk into these story webs, hold on to some, shake some off, release their glistening parts to others.

Your story gives me hope and gives me pause. I gather fragments of redemption when you tell me where you were and where you are. How you love and how you live.

So when I tell you mine that is my hope unfurled before you. That you would hold a remnant of my life. Place it by your ear as a child cups a shell to hear the sea whisper a haunting call, the mystery of the sea of life, just held. Just hold.

We remember better when we record. There are fragile, tender moments that feel like water in our hands. They evaporate but we extend their living by freezing frames, holding on in a form that remains a little longer, life extension in remembering. And tears they hold and record the tender places, drop by salty drop. As they roll.

We sat in the pew on Friday, upright rigid waiting to mourn in harmony. The shoulders of our rock between us. We the mother daughter bookends. And she simply could not stop the tears from rolling fast and long, slow and steady, changing speeds as the funeral moved through stages of remembering. She wept and we could not catch her tears fast enough, her father and I. The stockpile of kleenex was no match for the arsenal of tears. The tears won today. As they should. This was the day for weeping and mourning. So she did. The cold air marched in as she wept. The winter battling spring can be a good companion for a crying girl. Weather matching moods.

The preacher preached of down here and up there, his words wrapped healing round the little chapel, old, historic holding all the mourning as day turned to dusk. But grief can heal. And people heal. And don’t we come together over loss in a way that only God could orchestrate. That though we break we break together and that begins the glueing back together. Maybe even stronger. A down here mystery. The up there realms are dancing in glory. Only if they like to dance. No forced marches there, after all. But yes, the broken whole and yes, the captives free, and yes the tears are dried.

And only hours later when a momma thinks that all the tears have been harvested in this season there are more. And they are rare as precious diamonds from her eyes, falling, running down her soft young cheek. A man may be of few words, she this girl, a lady of few tears.

So when they flow they are precious in their rarity. Infrequent, they send love notes, clues from her heart.

In the mother daughter mystery that started in the womb of reading clues and cracking codes of emotion sent out by child, morse-code tapping in the tears. I am there to translate.

Saturday’s tears are of a new variety. And each one drips like liquid gold. We nestle around to hear the man tell his Jesus story. Big and burly headed to the NFL. He now lives a different story refined by the tender touch of the Nazarene.

She sends out messages in her tears. Of how her heart is hearing life around her. Each one holds a wet penned-note. Some dry before I can break the seal, read the letters from her soul. But that she lets them roll, communicating in the dripping wet is golden. I’d catch each one if I could.

But up there is a tear catcher. And I trust Him to hold them because I am a leaky broken sieve.

And after all. He has been the parent of the crying chid. The Son of Man and Son of God has cried out from the cross-bars of a wooden cross. So I trust The Catcher of All Tears to catch hers and mine. To hold the ones born of joy and born of pain. Bearing clues to love and life and death. Of what can spring forth from the springs of joy and springs of sadness.

Each caught triumphantly by the Father of The Son of Man. Who captures by Him every tear. Not one is missed, not one slips by.

There are two times twenty types of tears, really or even more. Each wet one a clue to more of you and more of me. And I know well the holders back, the holding on who fight with every fiber not to let one roll. To remain high and dry, but cry heaving heavy deep inside.

Be a catcher of the tears down here with me. And leave the ones that we can’t catch to Him who reigns up there. The Comforter, The Healer, the dryer of all tears.

But mother, daughter, father, brother, look for the tears of joy, tears of sorrow in your day. Rejoice with those rejoicing, grieve with those grieving. And wipe the tears with me of those who remain with us down here.

And I shall weep when I survey the wondrous cross and look to it in times of hurt with gratitude. The Restorer of All Brokenness sacrificed for us.

Catch with me two types of tears.

joining sweet dear Laura.