Lasting Words

Fear is a feeling you wish
you did not have to feel
your suffering
is a hard fact
(you suffered – 
you cannot change that)

You wish you could change
the “what was” and erase
the hopelessness, worthlessness
of that dark place;
wish that your story could somehow be shaped
with an alternate slant

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Hidden Signs

In seeking always for a concrete sign,
you watch the sky expectantly – with stars,
prophetic moons and meteors in mind.
You wait for words descending from afar
to tell you where to go and at what hour
you should begin. But night does not reveal
divine intent. The clouds obscure its power
and when the stars appear they all are sealed.
They ought to tell you: Look towards the earth,
where little stones and shrivelled petals lie,
where life in its perpetual small birth
lives simply and is not afraid to die.
Be not in search of grandeur or in haste
to know the whole. But be content with grace

(The giver never has a thought of waste)

Dear Beloved: Beauty in the Whole

Dear Beloved,

It is hard for you to look at yourself and see something that is beautiful. This is because you see only the separate component parts and never the whole. You isolate a particular physical feature and analyze it as though it can be stacked up against others of this kind. But as soon as you remove this feature from the living, breathing whole, it becomes lifeless and flat. On its own, this one “part” of you is nothing, and yet when seen in the fullness of its context, the whole self radiates through, and the brilliance and uniqueness of this self overshadow so-called objective “imperfections.” 

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The Mother’s Prayer

On days, on days like these I gaze
Upon the face where only beauty dwells
I cannot tell
Of darkness, there is only light
Inside these eyes and in my own
My heart will break, my heart will break
And would that you would never be alone
Now and at the hour when you will wake
And see the world the way I see
For love of you
Your eyes and all the truth they speak to mine
The rippled blue reflection of
a thought divine
My heart will break, my heart will break
And love like this so pure it can erase
The sorrow so long carried in this soul
And give a glimpse of nameless, boundless joy
For now we see in part but then
For love of you
We will see face to face
As I now gaze
Upon the eyes that shine up back to mine

Broken Parts

I want to see the world in broken parts:
These pieces only seem a wholeness when
a mind (which fears the mystical) is bent
on neat abstractions. Oh, to have a heart
that loves the littleness instead! A hand
to hold the pieces – pure as incomplete;
to see in brokenness an unknown plan,
in fragmentation joy and not defeat;
a peace to love small things in idleness
without the lusting drive to seize, convert
and mould mysterious things to my own shape;
to be content with glimpses, and to rest
in half-veiled truths – though unexplained, not less

Dear Beloved: Misperceptions

Dear Beloved,

If others perceive you wrongly, this does not alter the truth of who you are in any form. You are still too concerned with what other people think of you. A sense of ‘justice’ burns within your spirit as you listen to words you do not think are true, words that seem to belie the integrity or complexity of your character. But these words (and false impressions) are only meaningful insofar as you allow them to affect you. There is nothing wrong with advocating for truth, but there is a time when it is worthy to so act and a time when this staunch defense of truth derives more from your own insecurities or fears than  from anything else. 

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Hushed Suffering

The sirens all are silent from up here
and suffering is hushed, though present still.
She searches for that strange elusive place
where rest can greet unrest and peace can fill

the parched and empty spaces of the soul,
and slow the frenzied pulsing of her thoughts
(the mind can have a heartbeat of its own –
in overstraining anxiously, will clot).

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Dear Beloved: Kindness

Dear Beloved,

Be kind. There are many things that seem to matter, but few things that do, and this is one of them. Never underestimate the difference a little kindness can make on this world. It is not just about doing kind things or listing off acts or accomplishments as concrete displays of kindness. It’s about being kind. Perhaps you are kind to a stranger you will never see again or to a person who will never appreciate your kindness. Kindness does not exist because of visibility. In fact, unseen kindness is often the most beautiful, because it is guided only by love. And kindness cannot be measured – there is no way of determining the exact impact of a moment of kindness, but it is true that God gathers up each little kindness in His hands and never lets a single one go.

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Dear Beloved: Little Triumphs

“Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” -Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved

In this new series, beginning with the post below, I want to reflect on the idea that each one of us is the Beloved – we have a value that cannot be taken away and that is rooted in our dignity and uniqueness, a worth based on being and not contingent on what we do or have not done. With this in mind, I wrote these letters to myself but also more broadly to all of us, to each individual who desires to love and be loved, who has felt that thrumming doubt within them – the voice that says perhaps you are not enough. In these letters, I want to listen to a different voice – one that says you are set apart and loved, and can love yourself as well; that your value does not rest on anything other than being, and that you can rest in this truth and feel at peace.

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