Respecting the awesome power of words!

Wordsmithing

Here's a place where ordinary words attempt to reveal the extraordinary grace of life as we live it. Consume the words; breathe in the blank spaces; travel to the places they take you; enjoy the journey, and the people and places you meet along the way. In these relationships, may the meaning and purpose of your life become more clear.

Latest

Building

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That building we call
church isn't really a church.

It only becomes church
when people show up
to make church;

when people use it
to be and become church.

What difference would it make
for the community
if we, on the inside,
not only understood that,
but lived it more intentionally
on the outside?

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

 

Looming

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Photo by Anne Shurley



The world is full
of three kinds of people:

[1] The one man (Yeah,
it’s most certainly a male.)
who's more convinced
than anyone else that
all of the privilege
and power he wields
is rightfully his, and his alone.

[2] The yet-to-be-jaded children
whose bones have not
developed a single sliver
of brittle entitlement.

[3] All the rest, whose worldview
lies somewhere on the spectrum
between the other two;

a perch that’s narrower
than we might imagine,
and heavily tilted toward
our own experiences.

We are all a lot closer
to one another than we imagine;
our common humanity
capable of weaving unbreakable
bonds of hope.

Our stories, the loom upon
which the warp and weft
of this tapestry are created.
Are we ready to listen?

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

 

Falling

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When your heart flutters
for the plight
of some other species,
when your wallet falls
readily open
for helpless and abused animals,

by all means,
give of yourself
in ways promising
to make the world more whole.

And when your breathing
levels out again,
giving you opportunity
for reflection,

ask yourself how
you might interpolate
such far-flung love
to those whose DNA
and messy life
are intertwined with,
if not strangling your own.

Love, however it begins,
whether near or far,
is the creature for and
in whom we exist.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

Somebody Else’s Babies

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It's a convenient way
to distance ourselves
from both blame and responsibility;

"Somebody else"
is a sly way of saying,
"Don't look at me!"
But it actually makes me
want to stare; to stare and ask,
"Just who do we think we aren't?"

No matter how many barriers
with which we desperately
surround ourselves –
racial, economic, national, religious –
our shared DNA
of biology and spirituality
denies every construct of "other."

If we aren't our sister's keeper,
whatever else we're keeping
isn't worth it.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

Make Believe

K Cox 20Photo by Kendall Cox

John 2:24-25 But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.

Pretending takes
a tremendous amount
of focus and energy.
That's why children are
so adept at it.

I don't think we ever lose
the fuel for imagination.
Instead, I think we use it up
in unnecessary and
unhelpful places in our lives.

We spend so much creative capital
on a persona we either
want to convey, or think
others want us to be,
that there's no
imaginative fuel left.

When we learn to be and
be comfortable with
who we really are,
we will have much more
passion from which
our creative souls can emerge.

We will also have
a much keener awareness
of the true and false
selves revealed in others.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

Repeat

VT Joe StephensonPhoto by Owen Todd Jenkins

 

"Those who don't know history 
are destined to repeat it." 
(Edmund Burke)

What of those who know it
but willingly choose
to relive it?

Are not they more dangerous
than the uninformed?
To know what happened
in the past and seek
to duplicate it, with no desire
to learn history's lessons,
 
is to willfully subject the world
to a life lived backward –
a life turned toward and
tuned to the past.

There is no hope
in such a focus;
for hope, by definition,
is grounded in a future that
both learns from history's pitfalls
and visualizes a more gracious outcome.

Those who cannot unsalute yesteryear 
will always find the future behind them, 
its forward pull creating dread, anxiety, and fear.

Ignorance can be overcome
with education, but choosing
to hopelessly repeat history
can only be cured
by a seismic reorientation.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

Reason

otj3Photo by Owen Todd Jenkins

When it comes down to it,
logic is really little more
than the fragile,
non-anxious branch
of confirmation bias on which
we temporarily light.

Once the bough breaks,
and our wings resume
their frantic flap, reason
goes the way of the wind.

The difficulty lies
in this big surprise:
truth, especially the kind
that resonates across
time and cultures, rests
not in the branches,
but in the one
who gives us wings.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

Reflection

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Forgiveness is a light
shining forward,
out of a painful past,
toward a hopeful future.

We are like the mirrored cone
around a flashlight bulb.

If we convince ourselves
that we are the source
of this light, it is dimmed
with our pride and
blocked by the judgment
of our withholding.

All we can truly do
is accept the gift of it,
mind our own shadows,
and reflect the light toward others.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

Past

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"Put the past behind you."
he said, so matter-of-factly
you'd think it was
as easy as rinsing scraps
of scrambled egg
off your breakfast plate.

I've come, not just to believe,
but to feel in my marrow,
that our past, however different
from what we hoped
or who we think we are currently,
is the DNA through which we exist.

And the pull of life and
breath itself are toward
an integration into a now
that owns the past
rather than being owned by it,

and a future that frames
both past and present
as path toward a tomorrow
in which who we've been
and who we are
are not only incapable
of thwarting our created purpose,

but are being transformed
into the very rails of hope
on which we ride.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

 

Grace Bats Last

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When she steps to the plate,
I’m pretty sure the bases
are loaded; more loaded
than we ever imagined they’d be.

You never know what
the skipper’s going to do.

Even if you’re in a slump longer
than Rip Van Winkle’s nightmare,
and slower than an uphill freight train,
you’re likely to be inserted
as a pinch runner.

Taking the count full,
so all’s on the line,
she steps out of the box
one final time;
tapping the bat against her cleats,
carefully knocking loose
any clods trying to cling.

She points the polished white ash
toward the right field bleachers
with a confidence making
the Bambino look like
a rookie out of his league.

No matter what pitch
the opposing pitcher
has up his sleeve –
heater, curve, knuckler, change-up,
screwgie, spitter, slider, cutter,
or something we’ve never ever seen –
I’m pretty sure that ‘tater’s gonna be
tattooed like a wrinkled sailor.

Hear the crowd roar, child.
Hear the crowd roar.
A walk-off swing;
a dance-off sing.
Grace bats last, my child.
Grace bats last!

© 2017 Todd Jenkins