tending into the turn


He deploys in early Fall……. “sometime soon after August”
– fresh stretch marks on my heart grow purple and deep
as the wave of summer crests,
rolling and spending itself towards shore.

I feel the lurch as the earth begins to exhale,
leaning into the turn of the season
like cows hungrily rambling back to the barn
as the sun slips slowly lower in pink and golden skies.


Those  tender places in my soul that groaned with the coming change
as I waved my brave boy off to camp
and then college
now sting with the coming release
as I watch him get ready to go off to war

(this thought still strikes my senses with the same sharp metallic pings that pelted my soul
while watching the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan
on the big screen
while back at grandma’s house he built soldier forts
and carved battlegrounds into sand
…..how I wanted a better world for you,  my brave little towhead
always rushing at injustice and rising to protect the bullied).

I don’t want this.

Today he celebrates his promotion to “specialist”
and packs to fly far, far away
and I slip outside to suck in more air
and breathe with the tree branches rising and falling like sleeping giants.
the whole earth seeming to puff and heave with the change.

I wonder what
they dream as their leaves flutter above the rising heat.
Do they long to pull them closer,  hold them a little longer,
and dread the letting go?
Or do they sense a primal beauty in this painful dance with seasons
and relax even with the coming fall,
held firm in the grip of Love that is stronger than shadows.

Like friendly ents groaning under the weight of their own wisdom,
they seem deeply at peace with the coming release
and so,  my soul,  join them
and let go.

As I ache
and unfold to the coming season and it’s unique beauty
my hands struggle open to offer up  dread
swirling surrender and tears and paint and prayers onto fresh canvas,
fists rolling wide to let in the grace that will come
….always it comes.

~~~Please wrap this warrior poet in arms bigger than mine
and hold him close to the tender light
and love him whole even in breaking
….. cover him with your bright wings
and bring him home safe to us again~~~~~

(this is harder than I dreamed,  friends…..I embrace and appreciate your prayers)

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing such an emotionally charged piece of your life with us. An experience so many have dealt with. May your family be safe and cared for during this time and always.

  2. Whenever I think of war, I can’t help but think of the Mother’s who wait and watch and hope. What a painful time for you, saying goodbye to your beautiful son.

    The last image of him sleeping is so beautiful. Whenever I look at my daughter when she is sleeping, I see all the ages she’s ever been. They are all in there, in her peaceful sleeping face. I hope you can see that in your son’s face, and hold it in your heart.

    Keep painting, keep writing, keep praying.

    Peace to both of you.

  3. My heart goes out to you and many, many prayers for his safety throughout the next months. You should be very proud of his service to our country! We all thank him from the bottom of our hearts!

    Hugs,

    Jill

  4. How my heart reaches out to you in prayer and support. Both you and your son will be in my thoughts and prayers. May God go before him, behind him, and surround him with angels in all of his ways. And may He give your “mother’s-heart,” peace.

  5. sweet dear,

    those hungrily moving cows…
    how you touch me!

    i send prayers for your
    warrior poet…
    & big hugs to you.
    i can’t even imagine
    how difficult this would be
    as a mom!

    ripples & ripples & ripples
    speaking of
    lovelovelove to you,
    rachel
    xox

  6. My heart is heavy with this motherly unspeakable pain… I am speechless but I will be praying…I will. Hugs and love and prayers, kath

  7. I walked down my little road last night, in the dark, with the half moon behind me…and thought of you and your son. My son is about the same age as yours. I said a prayer for you and yours. I hope you felt it. Big, big hugs, kath

  8. Jen honey i weep as i read this, i weep for the pain you are experiencing as you send your precious boy-man off. know i am praying, for you, for him. praying for God’s comfort, praying for safety, praying for his heart as he will certainly see and experience things we wish he did not have to. praying for hearts, minds, and souls to be entrenched in God’s love and being.

    much love to you my friend.

  9. Jennifer.

    This is my third time coming back to this post and I still cannot find the words….
    Your son is beautiful. I know he fills your heart.

    Trust … be brave … cry when you want to … love deep … allows others in … be proud …
    know he will return safe and whole.

    Much love and light is being sent to you and your beautiful family.
    hugs,
    Eydie

  10. Lynn Wilkinson says

    Jennifer,
    here is my hand.
    And I know that my prayer that a hand much greater than mine is extended to you.
    I know the Lord will comfort and give you grace in this time.
    I wish I could do more to comfort you, as you extended a hand and touched my heart.
    Just know that you, your son, and the rest of your family are in my thoughts and prayers,
    and will stay there.
    My hand….
    Lynn

  11. Cousin Cathy says

    Jenny, All the Broughman (plus) family will keep him in our thought and prayers for till he returns home safely. The power of prayer especially in numbers is a powerful thing. Lets us know when he is deployed so we will start sending up extra prayers for him. Love to you, Cathy

  12. Hugs and prayers to you, your family, and your son.

  13. what a tender post and such special photos … your warrior poet shall always be in my thoughts for safety and return . For you my dear I hold your hand under the towering trees of life .. silent in the knowledge of this difficult goodbye .. let the tears flow along with the paint and deep breath ..

  14. sending love and light to you both… i will keep you both tucked into a special place in my heart…

  15. I wept as I read. I’ve no fancy words, no push to ‘have faith’ or ‘think positive’ or any of that. Instead I stand utterly silenced, moved to tears and awed by the magnificence of the love, the devotion, the courage in your heart and his. I can’t even begin to express the gratitude I feel for the families and the young men and women who rise so valiantly in the darkest of times.
    Praying my friend…

  16. The bottom picture of him sleeping so peaceful, I’m sure it’s a favorite. Please pass along my gratitude for his service. Also thank you for your part in all this too. I served in the Air Force but fortunately never saw any combat.
    I enjoy your idea of trees and leaves departing.
    All the best

  17. Wanted to tell you, it was encouraging all over again to read some of these posts of yours….your journey always hits the bullseye of my heart, which i needed today, as I am sorting through some of my *own* journey this morning……some “letting gos” of my own……I know about ‘letting gos’, my friend….and with all my heart I am praying for you peace and vision to carry you through this upcoming season……

    I would love it if you’d pray the same for me……..

    thank you again, Jen, for your heart and your high art……so very healing I hope you know…..

    your friend,
    liz

  18. Jennifer, I can’t imagine
    your emotions releasing
    your son out into the world
    sending love and energy
    to surround you both

  19. gwen lilly says

    Dear Jen–I sent you a private FB message—-this moved me in so many beautiful ways–makes me able to “see:” the landscape of your life –each word painting so well spoken–I feel with you!
    HIS BIG GIANT LOVE COVERS YOU!!!Gwen

  20. Your heart must be breaking right now — it’s hard enough to say goodbye for a simple holiday or college experience; the added concern for deployment must be challenging indeed.

    I love this post — I love the “love” in it, the open honesty, the beautiful photos that carry us through, your colors… everything.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  21. Well here I am, have unfollowed the old blog and reconnected with you here, so far so good. What a beautiful and emotional post, my thoughts will be with you.

  22. cissy beckert says

    What a beautiful son you have. How hard it much be too watch him deploy. He is in my prayers.

  23. Blessings to you and your family. I pray for your son’s safety and I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.
    XOXO

  24. I will keep you and your son in my thoughts and prayers. What beautiful words about such heart wrenching emotions. Thanks for sharing, friend! xoxo

  25. Why does the best writing and art often come out of great pain? I’ll be praying for God’s protection for him. “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.” And I’ll pray that God will keep holding you close.

  26. When i read this I thought of my son, of how I would feel if he was going off as your’s is – and my heart would break. Love and prayers for you all – may he always be surrounded by loving care.

  27. Oh Jen, my heart goes out to you and my prayers will be lifted for you and your special special son. I cannot imagine how much your mother’s heart must be breaking for him and what is ahead that you cannot be there to fix in any way. But God can! I pray that He will surround him with his great love and protection and when the time comes, will bring him back home safely. What a big hearted, courageous man you have raised. Really my dear friend, you can count on me to pray and to be here for Y♥U.

    My love and prayers to you,
    Lee Ann

  28. Jennifer, tears well up in my eyes
    my heart aches
    and I want to wrap my arms around you
    and tell you, be of good heart.
    My prayers circle you and your son and family
    with love and courage and strength and white light.
    There are so few words to give
    I give you all I have
    and still it is not enough.

    Be of good heart my friend.

  29. Sweet Jen,
    I couldn’t get the other one posted so I will just express myself again….Mom to Mom I know your heart is aching inside with the mere thought of him being so far away….that sweet baby you have raised to be a man.
    We have talked so much about freedom and obviously he’s ready to fly but it’s never easy on the mom when it’s that time….Tears are falling but God promises to catch each one and hold them gently and I know He will comfort both of you as time for this separation draws near…..
    I will be praying for you and for him and each of you will be blessed beyond measure with comfort and peace and safety…..

    Love you sweet friend,
    Nancy

  30. Oh, Jennifer, I’m catching up w/ your blog and my heart is so heavy for you, having to let your “little” boy go off into the far and wide, into the unknown, into war. It sounds to me, though, like this is what he wants. And I know you believe in following your heart. And maybe it will wind up being the ride of his life, an experience that shapes him and fulfills him in wonderful ways. Oh, I hope so. I think of how you so bravely let go of your baby daughter and are still waiting to have the love of that action returned/reflected back to you. My prayer is that this experience allows you to let go of this child AND know how much he loves you for it. Holding you in my prayers.

  31. Oh, Jennifer, I’m catching up w/ your blog and my heart is so heavy for you, having to let your “little” boy go off into the far and wide, into the unknown, into war. It sounds to me, though, like this is what he wants. And I know you believe in following your heart. And maybe it will wind up being the ride of his life, an experience that shapes him and fulfills him in wonderful ways. Oh, I hope so. I think of how you so bravely let go of your baby daughter and are still waiting to have the love of that action returned/reflected back to you. My prayer is that this experience allows you to let go of this child AND know how much he loves you for it. Holding you in my prayers.

  32. Jen,
    Lots of love to you and your son,
    You’re in my prayers.
    Lynne

  33. I’ve read all the comments that have come before mine, and I know that you and your family are surrounded by love and prayers. I add my own prayers for your family to that warm blanket that might protect and comfort you.

    Sam

  34. Claudia Kaul says

    Your elegant and grace filled poetry in such unimaginable letting go moves me deeply. Thank you for this profound piece. Peace and love and prayers to you and your son and your family.

  35. Your writing is so beautiful, you really touch my heart. I know what you are going through, I know how tough it is… I found comfort in knowing that that is what my son wanted to do. Now when he comes home on leave, he is a strong and confident man, so grown up from the boy that left for Parris Island 4 years ago. But still the same… The last time he was home for his predeployment leave, was the happiest I’ve seen him in probably 5 years. He spoke with a purpose, with confidence, and with pride. I know he is happy, I know he is doing what he wants to do, he loves his job. He doesn’t love being over in afghanistan as you can imagine, but he is proud of the work he is doing that that helps me get through this. I actually got to chat with him on line this morning, first time in 5 months. Here he is over Afghanistan, Kandahar and he is trying to get in touch with us to make sure we are okay with the hurricane. Please thank your son for my entire family, thank you for raising such an honorable young man. God Speed, until they are all home again. Much love and light.

  36. Oh Jenn– prayers for your dreamer poet and warrior son. Prayers for guardian angels all around him, that he will be safe everywhere he goes and that God will supernaturally protect. My heart aches just thinking about this…..

  37. my prayers are with you.

  38. Being a mom is the greatest joy and the greatest challenge at times. Sending prayers and a million angels to be with and protect your son. Love to your tender heart. Blessings, Nancy Lennon

  39. I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve been a military spouse for 18 years. It’s hard to watch them go and harder to hold them back from walking their own path. I will pray for his safety as I have prayed for so many soldiers in my life. God bless him on his journey.

  40. Tears streaming down my face. Your writing is so moving.

  41. Your post was pretty brave if you ask me. Moms give their unending love and support, even when it’s hard and you don’t want to. It doesn’t get any braver than that. Love and support as your child deploys.

  42. I can’t imagine how you cope with this. May angels be with all of you.

  43. What a beautiful, heart-wrenching post. I can’t even imagine how you feel (my girl is 2.5), but your writing so eloquently paints the picture that I feel the pain. Thank you for sharing such a big part of your life and psyche.

  44. Laney McDonald says

    What a beautiful post! That must be so hard for you – I can’t imagine. You write so well – it really draws people into your story.

  45. Beautifully written, Jennifer. I am sending thoughts of safety and thanks to your son and your whole family. Thank you for your brave, beautiful post and for your generous spirit to be raising people up so much when you are in the midst of such a difficult time.

  46. Wow. I am crying over here, Jennifer. Peace to you and your dear son.

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