Even Song

Even when the night dances so dark on your mind
that your peace splinters tears,
when life feels over-budget and overdrawn
but under-spent;
in the ache and stall and prickle
and in the fear that can sit so heavy on a belly
that you freeze clear through to your spine
…even then it is there,  rumbling low,
fluttering hope.

In the fear that your mistakes may cost more
than you can ever help to pay,
that you may have loved much but not well,
may have caused more harm than healing,
more thicket than clearing,
more frustration than good,

that a stray word or exhausted miss
may have broken things so hard
that the
final word
is suffering.

Even there in what could quickly become despair,
a bud burns still inside to open,
to sizzle and surge and batter through rock
and shriek life into all that died.

In the stabbing glare of all you may have wasted
or wandered off from,
there’s an epilogue unwritten still
but swirling always fierce with hope
that won’t let go even when you must.

It rumbles new beginnings,  new pages,  new leaves and buds and seasons,
that what was lost may still be found,
that what was buried may yet live.

That in all of the loss and leaving,
in the dreams that died in the shell,
your heart is safe to lean in to what’s coming,
into the quiet thunder that’s humming
resurrection,
hold steady,
it is well.

“What is this breaking,
this hopeful re-making,
shifting stones,
addressing dry bones,
dizzying me with blessings,
intercepting my grieving
and raising the dead all around me.”
– Enuma Okoro

Happy Springtime,  dear you:)
I’ve been busy living like a farmer and I realize I say that every April or May; it’s as true as ever.
I’ll be back regular now – thanks for being your loving selves with my
dirty,  achy, sunburned,  tuckered out Springtime way.
You are a lovely garden and I plop down grateful in your gentle shade:)

40 years the Spring

I’ve posted this for many years;  a loving,  healing ritual.
Because I need to honor this out loud,
especially for those who haven’t found their voices yet
And to honor all of the days these 40 years since

because they are each of them marked by both pain and light.

And to honor mothers everywhere,
because our hearts bear always the stretchmarks
of loving and letting go.

 It was March 1979.
Breezes turned balmy and I pulled off my shoes,
letting swollen feet tramp across the warming earth.
I was pregnant with my first baby,  due St. Patrick’s Day.
For weeks I had ached for time to stop,  squeezing myself shut to the coming separation,
the word “relinquish” heavy on my heart.

But today the weather had turned,  and hadn’t everything somehow changed?
Spring had come with her own dreamy wildness
and waves to ride far beyond the looming loss.

I spent the morning sun-soaking,  watching the wind stir the tire swing
I’d played in not so long ago.
I was newly seventeen,  an “unwed” mother
with an unwanted task:
to give my baby to someone she deserved.

Soon she would come apart from me,
gone before the leaves flushed out;
their buds were fat and ready to pop.
Like me.
I went quiet with the knowing.

But this day was vivid lovely and it got inside me.
As the sun began to dip low,  a storm of pain rumbled
and hammered down urgency inside my belly
as grownup voices began herding me into the night.

As my frightened parents gathered my things into the car,
I lunged back inside for one last minute alone
with the gentle life that had so shaken mine
with her own tender worth.

I lowered my heavy frame onto the bed and tried to sing one last lullabye
but could do only tears, a fragile goodbye.

Following strong contractions downstairs and
into
the
night,
I returned home with only fierce memory
of her tiny fingers and face.
But I’m marked forever by her essence,
often swept away by her melody
as it drifts across my heartstrings.

I recognize her song.

Forty Springs.
I honor each of her days.
Today I tenderly comfort the girl-in-me who carried her
before she was transplanted into the garden
that nurtured her to thriving.
And I remember those shimmery days when we were just us,
when she was still mine.

“I don’t have much money but if I did
I’d buy a big house where we both could live.
If I were a sculptor,  but then again,  no
or a man who makes potions in a traveling show

I know it’s not much but it’s the best I can do
my gift is my song and this one’s for you.

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind,  I hope you don’t mind
that I put down in words
how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”
– Elton John

Thanks for giving a listen.
For being a witness.
I hold this as a gift
with love and thanks – Jen
( Self care gift to myself this week – lots and lots of words;))

Here’s to the lovers who love…..

Here’s to the lovers who love,
who show up wholehearted or hang back in respect,
who honor with presence or make needed space,
who lavish their time or spend themselves instead
with the fierce kind of patience that affection may require,
who ask questions or who ask nothing,
go the distance or go back home.

Whatever love asks.

Here’s to the givers who forgive.
To the ones who grieve well,
who show up for celebration
and for dry bones,
Who care gentle and fight fair,
who invite God and raise hell.

To the ones blazing love,
lighting fire to the night,
egos laid down
and hearts bared to the light.

Here’s to the lovers who love.

“We can have our junk together in a thousand areas,
but if we don’t have love,
we are totally bankrupt.”
– Jen Hatmaker

“Ego judges and punishes;
love forgives and heals.”
– anonymous

Over here celebrating my heros:  everyday people who love.
Oh God,  take us there.

From the loving tree…..

Morning breaks through branches scratching words across the sky
and I draw back sometimes like a stranger to love
because I’ve taken on some lies
that sting and shame
and so I look down
and miss the affectionate twinkle
in the only eyes who get to tell me who I am.

But when I listen for the truth,
close my eyes and listen low,
there comes the soft storm of a sound like drumming,
the sweet strong thunder of a river humming,
breaking off the shame and home to me coming
back to the true of my heart.

And I remember it fresh – don’t eat from the tree
made of eyes that can never see or know me.

And so again I am breaking up with shame
as the wind rustles valentines from God.

“Distrust shame.
Even when you don’t fit.”
– Mandy Bird

In the awkward stage of practicing new skills over here –
taking a personal challenge to learn to say what I mean without so many words
and this is a fearful thing
because I don’t want to be misunderstood.
It’s my nature,  instead,  to explain.
To use lots of paint to try and say it clear:)
Having an awkward go
and grateful if what I write down
meets you where you are.
With love:)

To leave behind a well-worn life…..

I want to live my life – the whole messy thing –
live all the in-betweens and almosts and dark corners.
To live even when I’m spooked and my living starts to freeze up,
when I’d rather go sleepy
or let a blue day swallow me down.

I want to live above the ground for all of my days
until my body is done,
to recognize quick those moments when I opt out,
when busyness makes a racket and I can’t hear the un-lived moments
float silent down like the ash of a cigarette left burning,
the soft stink of something left to die.

I want my life to smell well used and air-dried and open-windowed,
never dank like a room shut up and left
until someone comes back to find it
later.

I want to live all the way alive,
 each morning early when I pull myself from pillow
and live for real the whole of the day until I sleep,
to leave a well-used life still warm and speaking
like a blossom,
like a mountain,
like a shriek.

“A storm was coming but that’s not what she felt.
It was adventure in the wind
and it shivered down her spine.”
– Atticus