Respecting the awesome power of words!


(Here’s a throwback from 3 years ago.) The season of Epiphany unfolds on us – maybe even in us – every year. It is not lost on me that it follows immediately after the paradoxical stress (including the inability to endure, much less champion, the Christmas spirit for more than a few minutes at a time) and release (“Send ’em all home before we all fall apart!”) of Christmas. The manger is continually shadowed by the cross.


Photo by Owen Jenkins

Was Jesus born on hospice care,
propelled toward his earthly demise
from the moment Mary and Joseph
unwrapped the magi's myrrh?

Is that what incarnation –
being in-the-flesh – is all about;
preparing for death
by learning how to live,
and preparing for life
by learning how to die?

When my mother was
on her death bed,
with less than 24 hours left,
brain tumor ravishing her body,
we arrived home to find her asleep.

She woke up and asked,
in childlike innocence,
“What have you been doing?” 

Answering from a place deeper
than my 26 year-old self
knew existed, I replied,
“We’ve been playing at work.”

Ever since that day,
both haunted and propelled
by the mystery of that exchange,
I’ve caught glimpses
of the hospice care
with which my life's surrounded:

love, support, and nurture
that strengthen and encourage me
to breathe deeply of each moment,
savor people, treasure the journey,
and give grace free flow to rush in
and out of my broken places,
washing fear and anxiety away.

These are the gifts of the one
who was calm and secure in both
his going out and his coming in,
inhaling death and exhaling life.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins



2 responses

  1. Precious, so precious to me on this fourth anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 6, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    • What a bittersweet calendar pairing, Maren! I pray that you find angels, in your waking, if not your dreaming, who continue to guide you home by a holy way.


      January 6, 2017 at 12:47 pm

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