To newborn you and your yawn

All the time in the world 
is held within the cradle of your yawn, 
held there with innocence and determination.
You take your time as your tiny body is overtaken,
your mouth stretched wide, your eyes tight lines, your fists clenched and wobbling. 
You yawn, and time seems to stop.
And after the yawn comes the after-yawn sigh, 
the sweetest softest breath, silvery slippery soft, 
the sound of every dew that’s fallen every morning in the wooded places of the world
cooling the grass after the dark of night as everything is new again in sunrise. 
And then you look at me with those sleepy eyes under that furrowed brow—
you’ve come back to earth, back to the present, back to me. 
And I laugh.

I watch your yawns greedily
I don’t want to miss a moment of you being so small
I am afraid that there isn’t enough time.

But you tell me there is time
in your pure abandonment to your yawn
There’s time for love and growing and yawns, morning and night.

Oh your newborn freedom!
Perfectly shameless in your perfect, complete body
fully present to feel delight, surprise, sleepiness, hunger, and pain.

I find my freedom, I find my enough-of-time,
when we are abandoned to the moment, to each moment. 
In binding myself to the present I experience it fully
and then there is enough—not when my mind is halfway to elsewhere 
worrying about time passing.

Teach me to be here, little one, 
you teach me to be here, my little love, that there is time enough.

Time to watch the soft pink beetle of you on your back,
slowly kicking and flinging your arms erratically, 
your fingers pointing at nothing in particular,
that thoughtful fascinated look on your face,
your wide eyes taking in the light with an impressionist painter’s wonder. 

Time enough to tell you I’ll stay, I’ll stay by you as you sleep,
I’ll stay by you crying from growing pains.
I’ll stay, and you’ll grow, and I’ll be there the whole time. 

Time to behold the lengthening of your eyelashes
and to hear your baby voice transform into a little girl’s. 
Loving you every day means nothing gets lost, 
there’ll be only love left in the past with baby you, and love carried forward to each day,  
and there will be nothing to regret because I’ll be there the whole time.

Time to hold your hands that fit entirely inside mine, 
only for now. But the hands that will one day be the same size as mine 
will still be your hands and I’ll love them, I’ll love you the whole time.

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28 years with 2 weeks in his arms. My loves.

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I stand at the shore of a language

I stand at the shore of a language foreign to me
Will I ever swim? I must dive in–

I could just stay in the shallows of greetings,
just get my feet wet with politeness—the ocean water is cold.

But the teacher pushes me in.
Phonemes and syllables and words crash over me,
leaving me gasping for which way is up,

and then comes the heavy rush of a salty sea swell,
rough with unknown grammar—suffixes, tenses, conjugations, and

further out I see them coming–breakers over mysterious depths—
nuance, emotion, history, and culture carried in sounds,
the story of a people in their own words.

I must wrestle the waves for some confidence,
and learn their rhythm in time.

As each wave recedes, hope is left in the sand,
a bit more beaten, a bit more polished.

I stand at the shore of a language foreign to me
Will I ever swim? I must dive in.

 

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One of my fears before coming to this new place was that I would fail everyone’s high expectations of me as a linguist learning a new language. It has been so good to finally be starting, to see months stretching ahead of us here & know that there is time, & that we are doing it together. & Even we together are not alone. The preparation for this place He has done for us, some of which we were completely blind to, blows my mind. For example, on the first day of language learning, we were told that French & Arabic are the largest influences on Turkish—the two languages with which I have spent the most time. This poem is what the process feels like, here at the beginning.

Hope caught in the bushes

Did the mountain’s ancient silence lay too loud for human ears?
Did the frantic inner struggle show as calmly chosen words?
Did the three-day climb in thin air steal their breath & take their strength?
Did the warm torch-fire’s steady glow whisper faithfulness & sight?
Did the boy’s handwoven garment bear his mother’s scent of home?
Did the well-known knife glitter strangely in the far-setting sun?
Did vision cloud & two hearts pound as unceasing nightmare flowed?

& They heard hope caught in the bushes,
Horns of power, crowned with thorns & pain.

We’re weary, searching for hope in the bushes,
Horns of power, crowned with incense & shadow.

Show us the hope caught in our bushes,
Horns of power, crowned with stars & praise.

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Last night I attended with a friend a worship service in a language I do not know. As the sea of unfamiliar syllables poured around me, my brain grabbed at them, trying so hard to ascribe understanding but, of course, simply could not. My craving for meaning was met in a stained glass window picture directly in front of where I sat on the floor: Abraham with the knife raised over Isaac. I thought I knew just what medieval cathedral-goers felt like: pictures speak every language just as the Artist does. It was there I found buried this poem; in my heart was buried this prayer. We are made to see you in our everyday every day, God. Open our eyes to the hope caught in our bushes. ◆

A Single-Word Meditation: “Sanctuary”

Spellbound, my eyes catch and soul inhales a holy, layered phrase:

 “… the sanctuary of His body.”
John 2:21

Strong’s word G3485, translated temple.
Or, sanctuary.

Being “the sacred edifice itself,
consisting of the Holy place and the Holy of Holies”1.

God’s sacred, structural space of habitation,
taken up to satisfy His desire to dwell among His people.

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Where light fills arched space, to be received. 6.13.11

Then, the greatest paradox of all miracles:
“…God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him…”
Colossians 1:19

His body became the Holiest of Holies.

Spine, lungs, heart
Face, hands, feet
Skin, bone, blood
Hunger, thirst, fatigue

and, God with us.

Through the ages, the structure of a sanctuary has come to be
“a place of refuge or safety”2

with synonyms including:

haven,
harbor,
port in a storm,
oasis,
shelter,
retreat,
hideaway.

In Him, these meanings have converged.

He comes among us as the thinnest of any
Thin Space: a place where the wall “that separates heaven and earth
is nearly transparent.”3

He has provided
Cwtch: a Welsh word roughly translating 

“the act of creating a small space between you and another”4
or, “the safe place provided by a loved one’s hug.”5

Our safe place, just as our Way, Truth, and Life, is a Person.
With eyelashes since infancy and scars earned in deepest suffering;
eyes that burn as fire and callouses gained at the carpenter’s bench.

His are safe hands, healing hands. Hands that give and bless.
Where we go for healing and forgiveness, to be touched and changed by God.
Our living, breathing Lord who is Himself our Sanctuary–
our restful haven and shelter.

Our place of peace is our Prince of Peace.

◆◆◆

Father, fill us also, that our bodies may be
thin spaces, holy places,
cleansed houses for You and luminescent shelters for people.

AMEN.

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Safe hands that give. 7.7.15

1 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, from the Blue Letter Bible’s site
2 Google Dictionary
3 Pressing into Thin Places by Dr. Margaret Harrell Wills
4 http://the-cwtch.blogspot.com/2008/08/what-is-cwtch.html
5 The “Untranslatable Words of Love” of Vashi.com

One wisp of Conversation caught in the wind.

Drink a song
and breathe the forest
Come and find
Me waiting

I’ll show you Glimpses, visions–
only a white thread of light through the lock of your soul,
as the faint beam of a star through shield of atmosphere
    For more than that is more than you can bear.

Come, Child, dance with Me
We’ve many roads to wander
    I’ll not let go

I delight in moments of hiddenness from all sight save Yours
I imagine Your eyes brimmed with love, observing; I glow in Your gaze
I need to let You watch for danger
    or I’ll never be free to play

Souls are deep and complicated, precise workings
Landscapes interlace within
    Do You see me there, praying?

If only You would rend my being reverse, inside out–
all strands of soul-dwelling Light would become my clothing
    Faith as sight, You my covering

Why do I take refuge in the transient, placing my hope in change
it’s all I’ve ever known
But even the faintest touch of You is a vast underneath-ness, sustaining, carrying
    as the lowest notes and the sound of a near sea…

Hide in the moment with Me;
I am where you are

I hold fast the moving suns–
I made you and your waiting worlds within

You are wild as I am, Child
you can dance in the desert, or wrestle with Me–
    for {I know where the water is} …


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These words have waited a while to be seen, but here they are at last.
First caught in May.

He has so many secrets.

The Star, the Bird, and the Grecian Statue Figure

The following are miniature poem portraits of three glorious creatures I am blessed to know as friends, and to be so regarded in return.

The Star — R.

Singularly bright, a veil thin for the Light within
a Lady fair born of the North Star, deft with love and free in thought
Ever transitioning, her mind turns in colors, words, movements
As stars shimmer through our atmosphere,
      so she glistens through experience.

The Bird — L.

The Songbirds consider her Friend
she, so like them, flies over minds and souls
and sees where on the Path they lay; birds-eye view
Wisdom of the arial landscape picture and quickness of mind
      are hers, and the birds’.

The Grecian Statue Figure — H.

Crowned with a weight she stands unyeilding
concise Grecian solidness carved with deeply thoughtful eyes; poised
To walk, to bear, is her destiny
determined, resolute she carries her burden as a braid
      plaited ’round her golden head.

Memory Healed

Memories are colors gathered in pools ◆ Experience produces such colors as filtered by our minds ◆ Some pools are silty with festering dregs, or briny and brackish–lifeless ◆ Some pools are golden blurred perfection, true or idealized ◆

If reminded of a person, place, thing,
the pools begin to drain, to flow
back to consciousness

Reminded of a darkness, a foul pool may run for some time
but must run dry, for healing

{Sometimes the Surgeon removes memories in kindness
by reaching down in, or moving us}

But most usually, let the memories run their course

Let Him bring healing through new people, places, things

Then you may see the new
clearly
left with soundness underneath.

Memories must serve their purpose;
and while some are cut too deep and may never bleed dry in this life,

what is left in the End will be beautiful delicate lines,
swirls of carving on our souls, immovable, the Image.

For my L. A. T.
and anyone else with memories that get in the way