Poem for the cloud ceiling


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What was

 

truth is dark medicine

with a teaspoon of honey

I swallow hard

keep it down

and it will set me free

 

forget everything, they say

forget what lies behind, run the race

redemption for

a half-life of lies

 

instead I’m mudlarking

hip waders swamped

by stagnant water

sucked into detritus

where turtles burrow

slow and silent in the dark

 

this is the way, they said

I was too young to argue

fight back

hindsight is tree tangled

deadfall

sun hazed and glaring

what have they done to me

what have they done?

 

masters of fence lines topped

in barbed wire, ripped flesh

hung as a warning

this is the way, they said

this is the only way

 

I am not a victim

I was gone

long before

the last word

shun

 

God loves me

God loves me not

God loves me

 

I was a good girl, scars

on fire with holiness

who are you to say otherwise?

 

LAE2017

 

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We are not done


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We Are Not Done

We are not done. We are
ongoing conversation,
sometime monologue, sometime soliloquy.
Done is undone in our transforming reality,
our we that is, and will be.
As perplexing as speech sometimes seems,
I will wrap my errant tongue unceasingly
around the shape of this dialect we long for
yet hesitantly speak. Years down the road
we’ll continue our halting imperfect communion
because we have chosen this holy union.

No. We are not done.
Done is baked bread filling the air
with aromas of childhood, golden crust, served up,
butter and jam, eaten, gone, done.
Done is my hair, washed, cut, coloured, and styled.
Done is your fishing trip into the wild.
Done is each finished task, our completed to do lists,
but done is not done when we both choose us.
Yes we will disagree for a time,
but when emotions
and the need to be right mellow and calm
we’ll be right back here; take my hand, carry on.

Because we are not done
striving, surviving, staying alive, relational jiving.
We are not done doing and undoing
all we’ve messed up, gluing what’s come unglued.
We don’t live the
“you complete me” sentiment.
We chose, our promise remains.
We are not done. Always, we begin again.

One day, I imagine
you will hear my breath reach
between the words I cannot speak,
nearly there, almost, there.
In that pregnant space you will hear
the language of your heart, beloved.

My heart will be the echo.

Dem Bones, Dem Bones ~ Of Bugs and Bones, Part 2.


Dry-BonesCoincidence is the term used to describe two events which unexpectedly occur together in a way that makes one wonder if this is chance and simple happenstance, or is there a hand.  John Terpstra, Skin Boat ~ Acts of Faith and Other Navigations

The following year, after my first encounter with a ladybug at Seton House of Prayer, I returned to the retreat centre for what was becoming my spiritual practice of solitude and silence. I left the busyness of my daily routine, and, for a day, invited God into the silence, into the inner room of my heart. I have not yet found my journal from that visit to confirm the precise date, but my experience that day remains indelibly etched into my psyche.

In planning my time of solitude, I gathered my journal and pen, my Bible, spiritual books I was currently reading, my camera, some lunch, some layers in case the weather turned, a plain wooden box with an inscription, “Buddy ~ Forever Faithful, Forever At Rest,” and Buddy’s old collar. I carried a painful weight of loss. Buddy, my companion and muse, my gorgeous German Short Haired Pointer, had died not long before. I was not moving past his void in my life, and I thought I might be able to bring Buddy to Seton House, release his ashes there, and in that find some release for my deep sadness, find some solace from the God who again felt so distant to me.

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I drove to Seton House, unpacked my car, and moved into the Poustinia for the day, alone, with Buddy.

By now my solitude practice had widened to include several ways of contemplative and prayerful being, the stations of the cross, several walks with niches and statues of saints, a lovely woodland altar where one day I came upon a doe resting, a labyrinth, and a small chapel at the top of the property. I quietened myself in the Poustinia, fed by the views of my natural surroundings, read some scripture, prayed, journaled, and then took a walk to the chapel.

I felt broken, empty, so placing my body prostrate on the floor of the old chapel felt right to me, to lay myself down in a response of surrender to God and to my feelings, there, in an old wooden chapel, with a plain altar, and embraced by the forest beyond. I lay myself down. And when I opened my eyes and looked around me, I saw dozens of dead ladybugs.

My sharp intake of breath, as in the next thought vicious words drove into my mind;

This is you, Lesley-Anne! Dead. Empty. Dried up like these dead ladybugs. You are not worthy of flight. You are not who you thought you were. Rise up… I don’t think so. You aren’t going anywhere.

No, no, I cried. Tears, running down my face. No, that’s a lie! God does not speak this way. I am not dead or dried up. I am sad, mourning, and that does not disqualify me from anything. I recognized the darkness, the lies of the enemy of my soul. Thank you God that I recognized who spoke.

But I was shaken. I quickly left the chapel, made my way back to the Poustinia, as these thoughts, jumbled but memories of a certain story came to my mind;

And God took his servant to a mighty valley, full of dry bones, and he asked the man, can these bones live? (My own paraphrase and just enough to send me back to my bible with hunger to learn how God can make dead things live.)

For the next two hours I poured…poured over the scripture verses I found in the book of Ezekiel, poured out my deep anguish and despair over the death of my sweet dog, and the death of my spirit because of his loss. And I felt God asking me the same questions as were asked the prophet of old, And He said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, You know! And in me a shift, a realization, a revelation, something opening me to the answer within my pain. God knew how he might take my loss and turn it from death to life again. So I prayed it out, anguished out a surrender of whatever was going to come from my pain, and I thanked him for my dog, for the love I had experienced, and I thanked him that he could make my dry, broken, mourning bones live again.

And then, my time was over, and I packed up my things, and I went back down the mountain, with everything I took up. And the plain wooden box with the ashes of my precious Buddy remain unreleased, instead gathered, to my bedside table.

And change comes, and life comes, more pain, more loss, more dry bones transformed.

My journey continues, and the mystery of ladybugs returns from time to time,

chance and simple happenstance, or is there a hand?” “You can decide for yourself if…[these events] together have meaning or are only interesting but ultimately random coincidence of events. If you decide they do have meaning this does not imply you know what that meaning is.” John Terpstra ~ Skin Boat

Like last week…but that’s another story.

On the way,

Lesley-Anne

P.S. If you missed Part 1 of this story, see Of Bugs and Bones, Part 1.

Sunday Soliloquy


Lanckorońska as a child, with her father

Image via Wikipedia

The Nature of things

Breathing isn’t something I accomplish by my own effort
No. Breathing is hard wired, natural, subliminal, subconscious, like
sneezing
or sighing,
or desiring to leave a lasting mark,
something to echo when I’m gone.

There are things that require tenacity, that fight against
what comes naturally, and that, my friend, is the
straw that’s breaking.
The ache for making a change for the better eludes and
deludes me into thinking
it’s up to me to buckle down and
try harder, to strive with more deliberate intent,
To repent.

Take for instance
forgiveness of things, like
a sideways look, or a word unspoken, or a birthday forgotten, or a violation
of my body, or a crime
like taking the life of what’s mine, or a lie
told in the form of a story or a prayer
that’s clearly crossing the line.
Contrary to what I would like to think, or what I’m being told,
I can’t make myself forgive.
I can’t close my eyes, concentrate harder and presto, forgiveness
comes like a blessed dove, and makes beauty of my broken bits.
No, the hit hurts and the blood squirts red
and I need more than a King James bandage to
fix this. ‘nuff said.

Or, while we’re talking about expectations
there’s Sacrifice and Surrender, a pair married for years, and still
making it work despite their differences.
While the world screams, ‘self-actualize’ and ‘to thine on self be true,’
these two
quietly stand, hand-in-hand,
watching, suggesting
submission brings freedom and life,
contrary to the strife of opinions on everything
every little decision that must be
made and played out, all things being equal.
No. I can’t by my own willpower choose these.

And Rest, well
that’s another idea I respect, but
for the life of me can’t get around to it, yet. So many other things to
accomplish and prove my own worth, while
my to do list is longing just to be still
and know that someone else will
pry the steering wheel from my sticky fingers,
take back the waste,
redeem the
trivial Facebook posts
twittering reality shows
and mid-winter naps.

Human nature being what it is, real life being what it is
it’s contrary. Preposterous, this
Kingdom upside down thought
that Sunday morning ideals
can root in
and stick ‘til Thursday.

And while I rant and rave
on things I don’t have the capacity to understand, nor
the power to change,
He waits for me to be still
and listen.

Lesley-Anne Evans
January 2011