September 20

I’M ASKING

What did he mean, that man who asked me for water?

“If you knew who it is…you would plead and you would get – living water.”

What did he mean, and why did he seem to look into

my eyes and see everything about me?

I am exposed, and yet–

How did he know so much about me yet there was no

judgment in those eyes,

those eyes, brown lasers of mercy.

What did he say I could have—living water?

Never be thirsty again?

Dry?  Oh, yes I’m dry—parched, split, bleeding.

Could he—that man with the laser eyes—

A man, yes, but what kind of man?

Not the kind I’ve known.

Water my soul?  Quench my thirst?

He said to ask; that’s what He said—ask.

Well, I’m asking.

No, I’m begging.

If you can wash, cleanse, water,

Oh Jesus,

rain

down

on

me.

August 20

DIVORCE, DEPRESSION AND DANCE

For the last two days, I have been frustrated.  I have tried and tried without success to sell people on the idea of poetry therapy.  However, I think that Christian women have been doing this ever since the first woman came into her own papyrus and quill.  There was even (oh, the thrill of it) the rumor going around in the first century that Priscilla wrote The Letter to the Hebrews!  Oh, my, that rumor was squelched quickly.  But never mind, the women kept on writing.  (You can do the history for yourself.)

As I walked out of divorce court in 1992 I had a stone in my heart. My son and I walked down the street together, saw a book store and ambled in. Down close to the floor a title stood out to me:  May I Have This Dance?   It was written by a nun, Joyce Rupp.  She begins with a poem:   “But just when the old heap of bones seems most dry and deserted, a strong Breath of Life stirs among my dead.   Someone named God comes to my fragments and asks, with twinkling eye:  ‘May I have this dance?’” I bought the book and wrote for the next decade all over the front page reminding God of His question.

I write two or three pages every morning as part of a dual commitment—to read the Psalms recommended in a Bible study I’ve joined and write my prayer, but also to write as part of an artist’s challenge.   This morning I came to the journal with my frustration at the back of my mind and began to write.  Then I looked at Psalm 5 and 6 and slowly began to realize that God has already heard my heart’s desire.  For some time, I have longed to have a reunion with my best friend from childhood and my cousin who live in the same state.  Just a few weeks ago, my sweet sister called to say she wanted to visit our cousin and after a few conversations, realized that she had enough airline travel to fly us both to see our friends.  We’re going! This is a wonderful blessing.  So the lesson for me is–let God be God.  Trust God not only to open doors and close them, but do it with perfect timing. God is still inviting me to the dance.  (And that is poetry therapy.)

August 16

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

Everybody loves a good story!  The teaching team at my church (The Fellowship at Two Rivers) is teaching the next series through the New Testament by telling the stories of the people.  We will very likely remember the stories and make the connection to our own lives.

So I’ll tell you a story of my latest trip to McKay’s Used Book Store.  I traded in some books and came back with some treasures.  One in the free bin caught my eye.  It was written by a psychiatrist/psychotherapist who contrasted the medical model of treating people with mental illness with what the author believes is the more accurate means—psychotherapy.  And why?  Because, he says, we are more than our brain—we are souls, souls in need of healing.  (E-mail me if you want the author’s name; I’m at poetryforthejourney@gmail.com.)

What do people need?  We need as infants to be nurtured and loved (I personally saw one precious little child in Haiti now receiving lots of love, but who cannot speak possibly because of just such a lack in infancy).  But we don’t stop needing love.  When we don’t get what we need, when we are hurt or neglected, we might survive physically but we carry around the wound.

Medicine can anesthetize a symptom but this author says to pay attention to our symptoms, they are trying to tell us something.  We are not physicians, but we as Christians are in the business of offering spiritual (or soul) healing.  How do we do this?  Well, one way I believe is simply to tell our stories.  I am starting to look at the senior members of my fellowship as treasuries of a lifetime of stories of God’s faithfulness.  Do you have a story?