Go slowly my comrades,
I can’t keep your pace,
I have battle scars hidden
That slacken my pace.
In the dark of the night
While you dreamt in your bed
My mother drank cocaine, it
Deformed paths in my head.
You clearly face issues,
You logically think.
My thoughts flip the brakers,
Straight thinking’s extinct.
Be gentle when listening
To my rants and raves,
She was trying her best
No one shared – Jesus saves.
Kindly tend to my limping
I’m learning new ways
To function as normal –
The scars fade as you pray.
Go softly my comrades,
I envy your pace,
Battle scars heal when
We link in this race.
This poem is in honor of the many innocent foster kids. I wrote it recently after listening to a dad share some of his experiences and the heartache and sacrifice that goes with being a parent to foster kids.
“So we went to this dinner party, and my brother wasn’t with me, and so who do I go with through the line? Follow Mom and Dad. Take a niece. Go with a married sibling. What if I’m still single at thirty-two?” she wailed, making me conjure up pictures that the end of all time would have come.
I smiled. Good question, my child. Good question. What if you’re still single at forty-two? Would that be the end of the world? What if that is the worst possible scenario that could play out in your life? I’d say your life is pretty pleasant. Pretty easy. Pretty nice.
Going through a dinner line alone is not nice. I’ll agree.
Welcome to the waters of identity.
Aloneness often brings us to the bare bones of who we are. Where we are. Why we are. Do you know who you are outside of my mother, my brother, my uncle, my cousin? Do you know why you are where you are?
And as you search let me ask, “Have you found an anchor for your soul? Do you know the Anchor?”
May God grant you the waters of adversity until your face is only turned in one direction. Until your cry is voiced only to the One. Until your heart is at rest in the bottom of the boat, riding the crests, knowing Jesus Christ is at the helm and you are safe. With Him. Until you can say with soul-resonating confidence that seeps down, down, down into your bones like warm chocolate on a cold gray day, “And WE KNOW that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
“Life is what happens to you while you are planning the future,” a friend quoted around the feast of chipotle and death-by-chocolate.
Several recent incidents have jolted me with a similar thought, “This is life. It is happening now. How will I respond?”
With tears flooding my cheeks I watch my stoic brother-in-law bow his head and break. I watch a man weep. The lot is cast into his lap. The calling is of the Lord. The service closed and the days marched on. But a thought caught me mid-stride. We aren’t teenagers anymore. We aren’t playing anymore. We are the adults. This is life. We aren’t even young-married anymore. (of course not, when one is single) We are the middle-aged. We are the ones that should be shouldering the load.
The phone rings. A friend asks, “Have you checked your email?” My gut wrenches with the message of the traumatic death of a dear older man. When I was little I always thought I would go to funerals to be there with the family. It doesn’t suit. I don’t go. Since when do funerals suit the schedule? This is life. Funerals happen. And you have two choices: to not go or drop all and go.
A scrumptious Sunday lunch – eating in a ring on various lawn chairs and other chairs under a slanted roof chevroned with those cute little bulbs-on-a-string. Mennonites and other-nites contributing to a ‘variety-is-the-spice-of-life’ conversation. A breeze blows and we conclude this is not the normal weather of hot, humid July in the south. But this is life today.
A Sunday afternoon relaxing on the couch with a stack of eight books-plus my Bible, journal, laptop, cell, a water bottle, and a pillow. The AC is purring. The blinds are slanted. This is life. Stillness soaks into my bones. I read the next and next page. About homespun pleasures and attending.
I read that maybe we should journal before reading, create before consuming. I’m challenged again to find a keyboard. God, give me eyes, ears, and a heart for the now. To embrace You and your gift of life today. To live fully, to be your hands and feet. Today. Now.
Some days we dream and then other days we take the plunge. This playground is composed of words.
I concur with John Burroughs when he said, “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, all the friends I want to see. Our time is too short for pettiness, angry words, wounded feelings, crushed souls. Perhaps the measure of life is not in its length, but in its love.”